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Friday, 23 August 2013

Truth and propoganda.

In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: "The first casualty when war comes is truth."  However, this was not recorded and, in fact, the sentiment was expressed a long time before, when Greek tragic dramatist Aeschylus (525 BC - 456 BC), stated that: "In war, truth is the first casualty." 

The current situation in Egypt - in which more than 60 churches throughout the country have been destroyed along with other Christian institutions, including 11 schools, an orphanage, a hospital and two Bible Society bookshops, as well as countless homes and businesses - may not classify as war, but it would seem that truth has already fallen.

Christians have, astonishingly, been blamed by the Muslim Brotherhood for the fall of President Mohammed Morsi, and the Islamists are thus waging a retaliatory war against them. It is, however, an utterly absurd notion that Christians, who comprise only around ten per cent of the Egyptian population, could have the clout to bring down a regime. Not only are they numerically weak, but they have also been marginalised and disadvantaged for decades, leaving them without the social influence necessary to inspire the popular movement that resulted in Morsi’s overthrow by the military. 

More than 22 million Egyptians signed the petition, organised by the opposition Tamarod ("Rebel") movement, calling for Morsi to go . There are only around eight million Christians in Egypt so, even if every single one, including children, had put their name to it, they would still have been significantly outnumbered by Muslim signatures.

So why are the Brotherhood blaming the Christians, and why are its rank and file members falling for such a blatant untruth?  

Firstly, it enables the Brotherhood to avoid having to admit that many Egyptian Muslims were opposed to its autocratic, Islamist rule. Secondly, it allows them to portray the military as pro-Christian and anti-Islamic, thus attracting more support among the Muslim majority for their cause.  Thirdly, it taps into the pre-existing contempt in which its supporters hold Christians, similarly to the Nazis’ channelling hostility towards the Jews in 1930s Germany. And fourthly, Christians, as a vulnerable minority, are an easy target, allowing the Brotherhood to wreak unbridled havoc and thereby destabilise the military-backed regime.

Unfortunately, the Western media seems largely to have swallowed the Brotherhood’s narrative (aka 'propaganda') on Morsi’s removal. The Islamists have argued that he was elected democratically and, therefore, should not have been removed by the military in a “coup”; and they have claimed to be staging “peaceful” protests against his removal, which have been brutally and illegitimately broken up by the military. What has not been emphasised is that, although elected democratically, but he did not rule democratically; but used the democratic process to stage a series of power grabs in which he seized control of key institutions that should be independent, appointed his allies as regional governors, pushed through a contentious constitution, and ruthlessly crushed dissent. What has not been reported is that the sit-ins that were broken up by the military last week were characterised by calls for violence against the army, police and other state institutions. Nor has there been much mention, in the media, of the weapons the Brotherhood had in the sit-in camps and which they used against the army and police. Video evidence shows Islamists using guns and grenades against the authorities, and killing officers. There have also been reports of gross abuses being committed inside the camps, including incidents of rape and torture, and the murder of more than 80 people who were accused of being police informants or were trying to escape.

A long time ago, a Roman Official named Pontius Pilate asked the question, "What is truth?" of One Who was, with Pilate's permission, about to be crucified.  It's a question that still cries out to be answered - in Egypt as well as in many other parts of the modern world.

Of course, that crucified One is also the One Who could state, quite categorically: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No man comes to the Father except by Me." (John 14:6).   Only in Him will true peace be found.

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