A Republic of Fear: Erdogan’s New Turkey

A dark veil is slowly rising over Turkey, as the ‘Justice and Development Party’ (aka, ‘AK Party’ or ‘AKP’ for short) has declared a state of Emergency. It comes in the wake of a coup d’état attempt by the Military against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With Soldiers blocking Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul and deploying tanks outside Atatürk airport, issuing a curfew for residents nearby, helicopters and jets flew over Ankara and declared that the Military had taken over the government. This was only to be the beginning of the long few days of struggle, violence and horror that would grip Turkey. The end of which would begin a purge upon Turkish society; one that is still ongoing and one that is helping elevate an authoritarian to the status of ‘totalitarian’.

Under the cover of night, pro-coup (‘coupists’) forces, within just the span of a few hours, bombed police headquarters, occupied AKP offices and held up broadcasting buildings of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. A statement was then issued upon seizure, claiming that a restoration of democracy was underway:

“Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged.”— Tijen Karaş, TRT, July 15th

However, despite this pronouncement, this was quickly rejected by both Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and later by Erdogan, who both went on to state the opposite of the coupist, notably that those involved in the coup are a ‘threat’ to Turkish democracy. Erdogan, conveniently on vacation in Marmaris at the time of the coup’s inception, proclaimed via the phone app ‘FaceTime’ on Turkish state media that those loyal to the regime (loyalists) were to take to the streets and show their loyalty in form of opposition to coupists. What followed was nothing short of chaos, as loyalists clashed with coupists on the streets and blood began to spill.

Firing Bullets at oncoming loyalists at Bosporus Bridge, coup soldiers tried in desperation to hold onto control. However, despite their desperation, heavy resistance by both protesters and police soon proved to be too much, as coup soldiers surrendered. Those still loyal within the military began fighting remaining coup soldiers, distinguishing themselves from coupists with red and white sashes around their arms. Mobs of Anti-coup protesters came out in droves across the country, cheering praises to Erdogan and hissing at those who dared dissent against the government—reflecting a darker side of Erdogan’s Turkish society.

Moreover, in a ditch attempt to strike at AKP, coupists blew up parts of the parliament building and fired upon Erdogan’s hotel…after Erdogan had left it. By the morning of July 16th, it was evident that the coup had failed in its goal to oust Erdogan. Upon arrival in Istanbul, greeted by thousands of loyalists and a handful of Turkish Defence Force soldiers (TKP), Erdogan addressed the nation and declared that the AKP government was in control and that the military was to undergo a ‘cleansing’. Erdogan also went on to blame the motivation behind the coup on an old comrade and now rival, a person that leads one of the biggest interfaith movements, Fethullah Gülen—Founder of the Gülen movement.

Now had this been the end of the story, one may be led to the conclusion that order restored itself in Turkey and life went on as usual. However, no coup ends without bloodshed and nothing is ever that easy. Rounding up coupists throughout Turkey, police and loyalists of Erdogan captured and belted—some were even lynched by mobs—dozens of coup soldiers. (Many of them were mere boys, no older than twenty-five, beaten by enraged mobs with belts—fear stricken in the face of bloodlust.) With Hundreds killed already during the coup and many thousands wounded, Erdogan still goaded on loyalists to keep protesting—this affair was not to be over within a mere twenty four hours.

Plotters of the coup range in rank from the highest in Turkish command to the lowest. From Air force Commander Akın Öztürk who was blamed  for the orchestration of the coup to General Adem Huduti—a man who was, a couple months prior to the coup, praised by the AKP for killing ‘terrorist’ members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); how the mighty have fallen. However, what started to become clearer with this ‘cleansing’ of the military was ‘what’ this failed coup was serving. A darker plan was afoot, as Erdogan slowly removed high officials and replaced them with those loyal to AKP. Political rivals, those in months and years prior who had opposed Erdogan’s censorship of the media in late last year, escorting each one by one and handing them over into custody. A stench of tyranny was in the air.

A protest against the separatist military coup.-2016, July 17.

A protest against the separatist military coup.-2016, July 17. Attribution: Photo taken By Lubunya (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Democracy is like a train: when you reach your destination, you get off.” — Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Muslim Arab Youth Association Conference, 1996

Uttered before a crowded hall of young Islamic youth, the then Mayor of Istanbul Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tight-fisted and full of zeal, denounced Democracy as a means to an end in 1996. Secular Democracy, Erdogan remarked, was merely a ‘tool’ to alter society towards an Islamic trajectory. It should have been clear back then what Erdogan’s plans were for Turkish Democracy—very different from what Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, intended. Desiring to impose Islam upon society (Islamism), Erdogan showed early signs of the authoritarian path that he was later to lead.

Before one goes on, an important distinction is to be made between ‘authoritarians’ and ‘totalitarians’. Where the former desire for centralised power, notably in the form of a reduction of liberties and an increased power in the hands of the few; the latter desires the totality of control over others. Totalitarians desire the impossible, chiefly desiring absolute power over individuals. From the physical to the mental, a totalitarian desires the elimination of liberty and the total imposition of an ideology upon an individual. Using censorship, education, secret police and so on, the totalitarian uses all means available to subjugate and impose tyranny upon others.

Moreover, where authoritarian regimes limit press freedom and limit certain individual freedoms, absent the economic and social dimensions, totalitarian regimes go further in limitations. Totalitarian regimes utilise every possible dimension and intrude in the private lives of individuals. Instead of just the public sphere controlled by a dominant power, the private sphere is also occupied by a dominant power.

Furthermore, and to emphasize this difference of regimes (because it is important in the greater context when discussing Erdogan), what makes an authoritarian state like Singapore (for example) different from a totalitarian state like Saddam’s Iraq is that in the latter case one has to live in absolute fear—constantly. Kanan Makiya’s aptly titled book ‘Republic of Fear’ depicts Saddam’s Iraq perfectly, chiefly as a state of terror with around the clock disappearances, torturing and killing of political opponents, state ‘terrorists’ and civilians. (I have heard Singapore be described as a ‘totalitarian’ state, notably by Amos Yee in an interview with Dave Rubin. However, the reason why I take issue with that is that it downplays actual totalitarian regimes. One can still visit Singapore, live a relatively good life and leave it whenever they so choose. This is not the case in most totalitarian states, which deny individuals a good life with a tyrannical living experience.) Authoritarian regimes are watered down versions of totalitarian ones; however, if the authoritarians within said regime wish to elevated themselves to the status of ‘totalitarians’, then they merely need to catch that yearning for the impossible—total power. Erdogan caught this yearning early on.

A yearning for Islamism, notably a Turkish Islamist state, became more evident during Erdogan’s time as Mayor of Istanbul. Aligning with the Islamist ‘Welfare Party’ ‘Refah Partisi’, Erdogan took part in campaigns levied against the government. Attracting attention from the Turkish Constitutional Court, Refah Partisi’s Islamist activities were quickly deemed as ‘unconstitutional’ and soon were banned in 1998. Many protests soon followed and mass support for the party’s reinstatement grew as Islamists, which included Erdogan, vehemently opposed the court’s decision.

However, despite protests and calls to action, sentiments for support deteriorated and many arrests on protesters were made. “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….” For inciting religious hatred and breaking the law, Erdogan was imprisoned in 1998. In addition to this, Erdogan also was denied ability to take part in the political process of Turkey and had to give up his position as mayor soon following the judgement’s enforcement—a mark that seethed.

Nevertheless, Erdogan’s yearning for power and political capital helped him in founding the AKP in 2001. Under an agenda of ‘conservative democracy’ (a term for a political ideology that seeks more to pretend it is not Islamist in nature when actually is), Erdogan sought to work this time with the political process than against it.  Focusing energy on pushing for social services and aiming at democratic reform policies, Erdogan’s strategy made considerable headway in the 2002 general elections—appealing to both upper and lower class voters. With a two-third majority vote in favour, AKP’s co-founder Abdullah Gül took power as Prime Minister over Turkey and helped annul Erdogan’s political ban. Almost in a chess-like move, AKP rescheduled the election in the subsequent months and made Erdogan their candidate. Swapping hands (essentially, ‘trading places’), Gül stepped down and allowed Erdogan to assume the Prime Ministership upon AKP’s victory. The chessboard was in place and the pieces set for Erdogan’s rise to power.

Manoeuvring each piece in place and taking down every obstacle in way, Erdogan slowly climbed the political ladder over the next ten years with the support of AKP. Digging its hands in the media and attempting to manufacture phantoms, AKP—after its second victory in the 2007 general elections—levied charges against political rivals, ranging from military officials to journalists, for being a part of a ‘terrorist’ organisation known as ‘Ergenekon’ (a shadowy organisation alleged to have been planning assassinations and bombings on the AKP).

In a series of trials, over 270 people were accused of ‘plotting’ against the government, many of them had—in prior years—criticised AKP government’s policies. Using Ergenekon as leverage to achieve greater power, especially by accusing and launching trials, as well as investigations into ‘members’ of it, Erdogan’s authoritarianism was showing. However, if the Ergenekon trials did not show Erdogan’s desire for control, then it would be the AKP’s reaction to the Gezi Park Protests in 2013.

Initially few in numbers, protesters grew in size in reaction to both Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism and the police backlash to an Istanbul park sit-in protest—in which police used violent means, such as tear gas and forced removal of protesters, to try quell the protest. Erdogan cracked down severely in response to the [Taksim] Gezi Park Protests, calling police to march in droves against the protesters. In addition to this, misinformation about alleged assaults by protesters on civilians was spread by TRT (state media) and attempted censorship of social media, such as sites like Facebook and Twitter, became apparent with AKP pressuring businesses to not allow coverage as the protests went on. An abuse of power would be an understatement for Erdogan’s actions in response to the Gezi Park protests; what he was engaging in was pure political manipulation and corruption.

Throughout Erdogan’s rise to prime ministership and eventual succession as President in 2014, AKP had been in power for over ten years with a trail of authoritarianism to back it. Erdogan’s manipulation, political corruption and yearning for control made him many enemies, most notably Fethullah Gülen. A once ally of Erdogan, Gülen’s ‘Hizmet’ (aka ‘Gülen movement’, whose theology preached a more liberal version of Islam) movement gave inspiration to many people within Turkey. ‘A state within a state’ was present as millions followed the movement, something that only angered Erdogan upon his fallout with Gülen in 2013. Following corruption investigations that same year, Gülen sought to challenge Erdogan’s political position, which only further split the two—leading to the eventual crackdown of movement members in the subsequent years. An authoritarian cannot have dissent; there comes a breaking point. Erdogan’s breaking point was with Gülen. Power corrupts absolutely; Erdogan is no exception.

Police action during Gezi park protests in Istanbul. Events of June 16, 2013.

Police action during Gezi park protests in Istanbul. Events of June 16, 2013. Attribution: Photo taken by Mstyslav Chernov (Self-photographed, http://mstyslav-chernov.com/) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History repeats itself in so many ways. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown of coup soldiers and military commanders parallels the ‘New Order’ regime’s crackdown of the Indonesian Military in 1965. Using the failed coup as a pretext to rid communists and their sympathizers, the New Order swiftly got rid of almost all opposition to it—thousands were captured, tortured and killed in the purge on Indonesian society that followed. Currently, as I write, thousands of soldiers have been captured by loyalists of AKP and are currently undergoing torture in jail cells. High up military officials have been removed and replaced by Erdogan Loyalists; thousands of judges have been removed from their positions and hundreds of academics, either sympathetic to Hizmet or critical of the government, have been removed from their positions as well. Erdogan has unleashed a purge on Turkish society.

Whether or not the attempted coup to topple the government came as inspiration by Fethullah Gülen (who has denied allegations by Erdogan), by Military officials seeking to restore secularism or by Erdogan himself, the outcome has been the same: More power to Erdogan. (I believe that the coup was done by Military officials who were inspired by Gülen and wanted to try restore democracy. However, disorganisation and Erdogan catching on too quickly most likely sabotaged the coup from working.)  This coup has been used as leverage for Erdogan to propel himself as uncontested leader of Turkey’s already illiberal system of democracy. I will not be surprised if Erdogan executes all those involved in the coup against him. His denied already political prisoners the ability to see lawyers and family members, and AKP is doing its best to reinstate the death penalty, which means that bloodshed will continue.

Take note, ladies and gents, of this failed coup in Turkey. If you learn anything from it, let it be a lesson in how a totalitarian rises. Erdogan is the next Bashar al-Assad in the making. As he slowly consolidates power, Turkey will find itself more and more morphing into a Closed Society. Furthermore, given Erdogan’s sympathies towards Islamic religious zealots who seek to impose their religion upon society (aka ‘Islamists’), Erdogan will most likely follow the path of religious totalitarians and form an Islamist dictatorship. Look at how the Islamists stand behind Erdogan’s regime and occupy Secular centres, singing praises and hissing at dissenters.

Militias form in defence of Erdogan’s AKP party; even as I write, many of them are doing Erdogan’s work for him and rounding up those anti-government dissenters that have sought to undermine the AKP. A state of terror is gripping Turkey and many are currently feeling its effects, as friends, relatives and loved ones who are Turkish Citizens living abroad see a once proud democracy go down the path towards Islamist theocracy. Erdogan wants this and is doing what is ever in his power to get it. Mark my words, Erdogan is creating a Republic Of Fear that will be equivalent in the oncoming years to the totalitarian Assad’s regime in Syria currently—a regime that is characterised by censorship of media, loyalists dedicated to the leader and a state of fear for its citizens.

Totalitarianism, especially the religious kind, is truly ugly to witness. Those who seek the impossible, namely the totality of control over others, can be said to epitomize what it means to be a totalitarian. It is purely a delusional pursuit of the impossible, but yet there is always those who seek the impossible and take it upon themselves to subjugate others to do so. Totalitarianism and despotism always end the same: Destruction. No tyrant lasts forever and history has shown the course of what happens to each regime that tries to.

Make no mistake; Erdogan’s regime will crumble but only in time. For now, Erdogan will only tighten his stranglehold over Turkey and elevate himself to the status of totalitarian. The tyrant will now only continue eradicating liberties of Turkish citizens and find more ways to ensure that the regime stays afloat.  However, before it does there will be bloodshed, suffering and horror.

All totalitarians, despots and tyrants fall.

None last forever.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson (31/07/2016)

Banners with photographs of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, hang from the roof of a commercial building either side of a Turkish national flag in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, July 18, 2016.

Banners with photographs of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, hang from the roof of a commercial building either side of a Turkish national flag in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, July 18, 2016. Attribution: Photo taken by Ismail Ferdous—Bloomberg/Getty Images

 


Clock Never Stops

Clock holds time in its face.
Endlessly running in a clockwise formation;
no stop in site, for time stops for nothing.
Young faces, old faces, happy faces and sad faces—
all are a victim of its subtle but salient reality.

Mothers raise daughters;
fathers raise sons to its marching drumbeat.
None can stop.
So the fool tries to save what is now gone;
death is called to repeat and give back the fool’s gold.
Tears say nothing; for they cannot do anything.

‘Tick, tick’ is what is heard;
dead face with no remorse or feel.
Sandman comes to collect then goes,
then collects again—no stop.
Grim Reaper steals those tears shed from the fool;
mocking them with each death smile.

Clock cannot stop—
it will not stop, please stop.
Please give back those taken.
One to twelve each day, more are taken away.
Raven echoes long forgotten words.
Clock face can only stop once; no, no, it cannot.
Each hand pulls reality.
Time never stops.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson


On Infiltration in Political Movements

Totalitarian regimes have a vested interest in limiting information and stifling discussion on matters of importance. A sign that a nation has succumb to the first stages of totalitarianism is that it will deny its citizens access to information and deny their fundamental liberties on superficial bases.

Even the most liberal societies can find themselves giving into regressive policies that seek to reverse progress that has been made. In these times, regress masquerading as ‘progress’ must be fought against. In other words, a conservative stance may be the best position to have when the whole of a society is plummeting itself into darkness.

Many will disagree with such a sentiment, however, if a movement that seeks to emancipate the people is hijacked by those who would seek to fight for the ‘greater good’ in a way that would impose a system of fascism that would seek to do this, then it is imperative in that instance to oppose the hijacked movement.

To emphasise this point with an example:
I see that the anti-Islamic political and Intellectual movements in Europe and America are being infiltrated by far-right wing groups. Well intentioned liberals who are opposed to Islamic fundamentalism and are supporters of Classical Liberal principles have found themselves increasingly having their voices being denied, and instead are witnessing far-right wing groups like PEGIDA, Front National and other such groups speak on their behalf.

These groups have no interest in individual liberty and the freedom of worship or even the freedom from worship, what they instead wish to accomplish is to swap one version of fascism (Islamic fascism) for another form of fascism (‘National fascism’). With this national fascism comes xenophobia, racism and bigotry akin to that of National Socialism in its wake.

Now, well there may be a good number of centrist intellectual individuals in such groups, the intention of said groups and their methods are problematic to say the least. However, this example is just one recent instance of infiltration and provides a warning to those who desire to keep their movement to its fundamental principles without those principles giving way to toxic ones. Another example would be the Iranian revolution of 1979 and so forth.

In all these examples, the point of keeping to one’s fundamental principles and the dangers of allowing those principles to budge is stated. It is important in such times that we not repeat history and not allow, especially for the case of anti-Islamic Intellectual and Political movements, for the hijacking of our movements.

I am a classical Liberal, but I will not allow my grievances against Islam to be hijacked by a Christian or catholic fascist sect just because they may have the same enemy. Their methods are fowl and they are to be opposed just as the Islamic fascists are to be opposed. It is imperative that other Classical Liberals be vigilant of their allies in this movement and be sure to remember one’s principles closely. Better this than have one fascism swapped for another.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson


The Global Citizen’s Manifesto: A declaration of Independence

Introduction: A manifesto written in blood

I stand as one citizen out of many, who now raises a banner to the powers that be.

Who will dare raise this banner with me—a banner that represents the world in unity.

Who will renounce their national zeal and take up with me a greater international appeal?

A new declaration is being drafted, one that represents the people of each nation.

A new chant is being echoed loudly across the lands and it is being heard by all citizens.

It is the echo of more than a thousand voices calling out for their emancipation.

It is the echo of the young, old, weak and strong—those who have thrown off their chains.

Chains that bind the body do not bind the soul; the chains of slavery are broken now.

The echo has been heard by all citizens, but it has been ignored by the state governments.

The chains of nation state rulership have no longer the power to dictate the citizen’s terms.

The citizens of the globe demand their voices be heard and read by the powers that be.

The global citizens demand a manifesto, one that represents their ideals.

It is for this reason that a manifesto be devised—written with the blood of the global citizen.

This is the citizen’s manifesto—The Global Declaration of Independence from nation state rulership.

I

All people born on the Earth are born to one species and one species only—Homo sapiens. All people are evolved from a common ancestor, thus sharing a common heritage. Notions of race, ethnicity and nationhood are thus mere divisions that need not exist. They are the chains that shackle humanity from unity with itself. From birth there is no inherent divide; all are born in unity and all are born free. All people lay claim to the Earth, as all people are born citizens of it. The global citizen is a child of the Earth and not a child of fictional boundaries. We do not believe in the power of nationalism nor do we believe in the power of patriotism. Nationalism and Patriotism are all forms of tribalism. Tribalism is an archaic system of thought that permeates all nations’ claims to sovereignty, for tribalism is but the left over remnants from the primal infancy of humanity. We view both these forms of worship, as the most destructive aspects of humanity as a species. All power is illusory; the only power that is real is the power of humanity in unity. It is for this reason that we wish to burn the banners of nationhood and establish from their ashes new global banners. From the ashes will arise a phoenix, one that represents all nations and all people.

II

The boundaries that divide nation states are entirely illusory and are maintained in deception. The powers that be do not want their citizens to know their own freedom. The powers that be wish to maintain order by lying to their own people! By lying to the people about the state of the world and the state of nations they only seek to further foster divisions within humanity. Can they not see the damage that they are creating? Can they not hear the cries of the citizens? All citizens have been denied their humanity by nation state rulership, which is now one of the last totalitarian systems that need to be removed. The face of humanity is being stomped upon, the longer the rulership continues. The global citizen must emancipate themselves from the dictatorial rule of the nation state! The global citizen demands their emancipation from the totality of rule; for the citizen of the globe is free from birth and is only bound by thought. It is this thought that needs to change post-haste. When the rulers of nation states realise that they are citizens as well, and when they realise that there brothers and sisters are dying each day because of the illusory divisions they maintain, then the world will be one. The kings of the world are to renounce their crowns willingly or have them removed forcefully.

III

Every war that has ever been waged has been waged between fellow global citizens—amongst one species trying to divide itself. All wars are the products of divisions, all of them being illusory in nature. A banner is not meant to divide, it is meant to unite. All nations have hitherto sought to divide their populaces through the worship of banner—national banner. We believe that only one banner is legitimate for worship—the international banner. All other banners are illegitimate in our eyes, as they foster the self-conceit of nationhood. We do not believe in national anthems nor do we recognise a nation’s right to glorify itself. We see all efforts of national glorification as a means for further division and discrimination amongst citizens. We believe in only one glorification and one glorification only—global glorification. When the citizens of each nation renounce their national citizenship and embrace their global citizenship, they will become a part of a global community. The larger a community of people is the more likely the feeling of connectivity and the want for prosperity in that community. The citizens have spoken most loudly on this issue—they want to be united with their brothers and sisters. Who is to deny them their natural right? Who is to deny the beating drum? Who is to deny the global declaration of Independence? No power can deny it.

IV

Love has no boundaries except for the ones that are made in the mind: love is boundless. Love cannot be caged by the doctrines of the municipalities nor can its supporters cage it. The municipalities, under the guise of nation state rulership, have hitherto sought to discriminate against global citizens. They have in past times discriminated against individuals based on race, based on sex, on the basis of class and now more recently on the basis of sexual orientation—and the list only continues when the people become apathetic to the rulership of the state. How long have national citizens been deluded by their governments? How long have they watched their fellow citizens being beaten for whom they love and for whom they care for? How long have they sat idly by and let the marching boots of totalitarianism stomp upon the ideal of love? Why have they become apathetic? When a couple of lovers embrace with one another, does it matter what gender they are? Does it matter what race they are? Does it matter what class they are? Is not the fact that they are human enough? The global citizen takes heed to the cries of their brothers and sisters, and opposes all forms of physical and mental control. They declare to their oppressors, “We shall fight for our brothers and sisters, and we shall oppose your national state rulership as long as we draw breath! You have no power over us nor do you claim ownership of our natural rights. We declare ourselves independent from nation state rulership. This is our Global declaration!” Thus it should be echoed loudly, being repeated across all lands and heard by all those who wish to acknowledge their global citizenship. Let it also resonate in the ears of the rulers of the world and let it haunt them until their dying days.

V

The consolidation of power is done no better than with religious blessing, for only priests and imams can spread the propaganda of nationhood so effectively to their constituencies, as to render them blind, deaf and dumb to rebuke. All religions are false—this is fact. We do not believe in the power of religion nor do we believe in the gods. To us the gods do not exist, and it is by time this fact be recognised across all nations. We believe in the power of human solidarity—we believe in a global humanism. Religion has only helped shackle the minds of humanity and has kept humanity in the dark for over two millennia. It is time for those shackles to be broken—it is time for the mind to be free once more! The nation state rulership uses religion to consolidate its power; by fusing government with divine mandate, they make their rulership total. The global citizen renounces all claims to the totality of control. If totalitarianism is indeed characterised by the totality of thought, then it follows that the global citizen is an anti-totalitarian. Hence the global citizen opposes all forms, whether they are physical or mental in nature, of control. The global citizen is a citizen, not just of a united humanity, but also of a globe reformed in reason. The plague of nationalism was birthed from the illogical foundations of tribalism, and it is for this reason that for it to be abolished forever there has to be an embrace of Reason. For the mental erosion of national state rulership to be reversed, there needs to be a reform in thought—there needs to be a renouncement of religion!

VI

Those who intend to break down barriers must start with their own, for it is only then that change is possible. The reformation that the citizen demands is the one that they shall have to first undergo themselves. The global citizen must renounce their superiority complex and take up from this renouncement a new and improved idea of reality. This idea will not be centred around the notion of the ‘self’, but rather on the notion of ‘us’. All people are global citizens by birth right, as they are born to one planet—Earth. All boundaries are extrapolations of the notion of ‘self’, and as a result they must be culled. When the culling of the self can commence, then only will the people begin their anthem— the global anthem. A global anthem dedicated to the desire of love and unity—two of the things that make humanity unique. Each person possesses in themselves two desires: The desire for love and the desire for dominance. History has proven that the latter is fostered more than the former. Nation state rulership has been built upon the desire for dominance, as the desire for dominance is a temptation too hard to resist. It is for this reason that humanity’s natural state is to be denied, as it only leads to ruin. Humanity is to forge itself a new state, one that acknowledges the desire for love. The state of love is a necessity for the unity of people: chains can be broken. The chains that hitherto bind the citizens are chains made of silk, and easily cut by weary citizen. The citizen of the globe now only needs to wake up!

VII

Now let us finally declare our beliefs to the Nation state rulerships, and let us finally have our global independence! We believe in the natural right of equality, for people to live in unity with one another without fear of prosecution or discrimination. We believe in the natural right of liberty, for people to be able to freely express themselves in public amongst their constituency. We believe in the natural right of education, for people to live in a society where they do not fear the oppression of the state. We believe in the natural right of freethought, for people to be able to live without the pernicious policing of thought. We believe in the natural right of travel, for individuals to visit their brothers and sisters across boundaries and oceans. We believe in the natural right of peace, for nation state rulerships to cease their senseless warring. We believe in the natural right of people to say, “us” and not “me”. We believe the global anthem and its ability to change the fabric of political society, and to give the natural rights of the people squarely in their hands! We believe in all of these things, and we will fight for them! This is our global declaration— this is the declaration of the people! Who will take up these natural rights? Who will acknowledge their right to be? Who will acknowledge their freedom?

Conclusion: Will you help declare Global independence?

As it has been written so it will be aired, across all lips and across all nations. The declaration is being made at this very moment, by all people who declare and acknowledge their global citizenship. It can be heard in major cities, towns and streets. It can be heard in major temples, synagogues, mosques and churches. It can be heard in major councils, municipalities and governments. It can be heard in major science, education and academic establishments. It can be heard on the radio, seen on the television and discussed in the media. It can be heard and it can be seen everywhere! The global citizens are re-finding their identities; they are amassing in numbers across the globe. They are beating their drums and rising up in arms to the nation state rulerships. Their voices are as clear as day, but will the authorities heed the global citizens’ anthem? Will they stand down and allow the citizens their rights? Where are they now? Are they scared of the rising banner—the global banner? They cannot stop the wave of people who are taking up their citizenship, and they cannot stop the inevitable re-seizure of power. It is for this reason that they are cracking down on the citizens and they are denying them their right to be.

We must OPPOSE them! We must FIGHT them! We must WIN against them! WE MUST DECLARE OUR GLOBAL INDEPENDCE.

[Note: The above-mentioned piece was written as an experiment in rhetoric, hyperbole and manifesto writing. As a result, some aspects of the piece are intentionally exaggerated for effect. In addition to this, the contents of the work are to be taken in light of the aforementioned experimentation. Inspiration for this piece come from Karl Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’, Anselme Bellegarrigue’s ‘Anarchist Manifesto’ and Victor Stenger’s ‘The New Atheism: Taking a stand for science and reason’.]

Artwork By: Rainer Jacob
Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson


Weep Not For Me

Good night dear.
A deep sigh releases me,
out of body and into breeze.
A deep sigh releases me;
to another world,
I must be.

Sun must set and moon must rise,
such is the passage of time.
Time moves on and so must I;
no stop for me tonight.
My ship is ready, thy sails are steady;
but you are not ready.

My dear, what is wrong?
Have I not stayed for too long?
Or is it that you have succumb to the Siren’s song?

Here, here, do not try to stop me.
Here, here, do not cry next to me.
You will see me again soon,
I promise.

Weep not for me, my dear.
Gentle tears are enough once.
Weep not for me, my dear;
weep not.

Celebrate thy life with cheer.
Celebrate thy life with beer!
Just celebrate it all with love.
Do not be sad…please do not.

Now, let me go into that bright light.
Please dear…let me go.

Weep not for me dear friends, weep not.
Remember the good times.
It is like Lightman said in ‘Einstein’s dreams’:

“For it is only habit and memory that dulls the physical passion. Without memory, each night is the first night, each morning is the first morning, each kiss and touch are the first.”

Dear, I will see you again.
I promise.

Note: This poem was written for my Grandmother after Grandfather’s passing in November and was received just before his funeral in early December. It was sent on the 4th of December, but has only been made publicly available on the 24th.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson


Name the Threat: Kill the Serpent.

The word ‘Daesh’ is an Arab acronym for ‘al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham’ (داعش), which translates to the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ in English. The acronym ‘Daesh’ is the Arab equivalent to using the English acronym ‘ISIL’. They literally both are different ways of using the same label for the same Islamist organization—The Islamic State.

This need to be politically correct and not outright label the Islamic state for what they call themselves, namely ‘The Islamic State’, is just a tedious exercise in doing nothing to stop them. Politicians need to stop pussyfooting around and start naming the organization, labelling the ideology of Islamism and start acting out against it. They are, after all, on the front line in talks over this important issue—’the political fighters’, if you will.

In addition to the above, it also has to be said that people need to stop being so afraid of offending others by saying that, “Islam has something to do with ISIS”. There is a great tendency for liberal minded individuals to not want to bring offence to those Muslims they might know, as not to damage relationships with them by mentioning Islam and The Islamic State in the same breath. We have to stop being fearful, as we are doing what exactly the Islamists want us to do—remain silent. If one does not speak out against totalitarianism, then one will eventually become another oppressed victim of it. In other words, it is best to point out the serpent in the weeds before it bites you than to become a victim of its venomous fangs.

These jihadists are doing what they do because of their interpretation of Islamic scriptures—their ‘wahhabist’ interpretation. What ISIS militants want, after all, is to establish a global Islamic caliphate where Sharia Law is the law of the land. Where infidels, homosexuals and apostates are killed and people are subjugated. All in the hopes that they can one day bring an end to open society and bring about an “apocalypse”. This is not a ‘neo-conservative’ statement to make; this is a statement coming from a classical liberal. I am simply speaking from my observations of ISIS; my readings and study of Islamic scripture; my understanding of Middle Eastern history and Islamic history, as well as what is going on in Politics currently. I am also speaking from a non-religious perspective—an atheist perspective; an ‘infidel’ I am.

Time after time, these jihadists have told news outlets worldwide their motivations and have provided most atrocities they do with Hadith and Qur’anic scriptural justification. When the Paris attacks happened, for example, The Islamic State not only took pride in admitting it but they also sent out a statement that denounced the ‘crusader nations’ and their “Crusader campaign”; further promising to continue attacks on these “crusader nations”. It should be clear by now that what they are doing is a part of their Islamist ideological campaign. To deny this is to deny reality.

It is time that people realize what they are up against. These jihadists are not simply rogue individuals that can be labelled as such and thrown to the corner. These jihadists are organized ideological fighters who wish to kill for their religious ideology. Make no mistake; the events that have happened since early last year are all a part of these jihadists trying to bring about a greater ideological goal. It is time that we—people of open society—recognize that and act accordingly. Islamism needs to be crushed as an ideology and all those who follow it must be denounced for supporting it. We have to denounce both the political Islamists and the jihadists—both of which desire the same goal: A global Islamic caliphate.

Islamism is a serpent that needs to be killed, as it is biting and poisoning the conversation and stifling action. In order for us— those of us who value the continuation of open society—to stop this, we need to face the threat head on. We need to cut the head off the serpent… But How? There is no clear-cut solution, but a good start would be to fight the ideology. In order to kill the serpent, one needs to start highlighting the threat of Islamism, its relation to Islam and start fighting the ideology through education and force. Education in the form of promoting free thought, liberalism, secular humanism, reform in Islam and so on; force in the form of crushing ISIS.

This is only the start, but I hope it will help give rise to more discussion on this topic. For it is through the discussion of ideas in open society that change can come about. It is with this said that I close with the following words: Name the threat and kill the serpent.

Artwork by: ‘Thor in Hymir’s boat battling the Midgard Serpent’ by Henry Fuseli (1788)

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson

Terms:

-Islamism: The political imposition of Islamic fundamentalism upon society, as manifested by organisations such as ‘The Islamic State’, ‘Hamas’, ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, ‘The Muslim Brotherhood’ and ‘Boko Haram’ to name a few. Individuals who support the political overthrow of a government, through either military coup or democratic elections, can be considered ‘political Islamists’. Those who wish to fight violently for their goal and those who genuinely believe it to be true; can be considered ‘jihadists’.

-Islamic Caliphate: An Islamic government based upon the doctrines from the Qur’an and Hadith.

-Wahhabism: A sub-set of Sunni Islam that interprets the Qur’an in a literalist lens.


A Broken Hall of Mirrors

I left my apartment that evening; filled with the utmost dread and sadness—all too familiar to me by now. Collecting my thoughts and my pen, I made my way down stairs. Before I could, however, a flurry gripped my mind; it gave rise to deeper more prudent thoughts that had been lurking in my mind from days before. The rush and tingle of such thoughts—ones of which espoused such vehement hatred towards my mother—gave me a brief dose of adrenaline; the kind I needed in that moment. Intending to take the car, I instead decided to walk from my apartment to her place, just to tell her how I felt.

Walking past that all too familiar spot near my apartment entranceway, I found myself confused as to which road to go on. In my mind was a conflict of interests. On the one side lay the thought of how to communicate my grievances; on the other side lay the consequences of such communication. Heartbeat increasing in intensity with each step, I found myself grabbing at air trying to resolve such dispute of mind. It was in that instance—in such terrifying a moment—that a voice came from me; out from me came a voice of the deepest of furiosity. It was as if I was possessed, which I then began to muddle to myself, saying:

‘How can someone be so cruel, so obnoxious and so arrogant? Have I not been there for them in their anger and dispensation? Have I not aided them in their request for love and dedication? Well…to them I can only respond with the bitterest of tongue, but will I say what my mind demands but my heart does not? I love my mother, but can I really feed her most bitterest of demands all the time? Am I not human like she is—who has a heart like she is supposed to have? Where is my love and respect?’

It was then that a force pushed me forward.

I rushed up to her apartment—I just could not take the anguish of my mind any longer. I grabbed at the door handle, fidgeting with it—trying to get it open as fast as I could. Before I could go any further, before I could open the door and let my thoughts reap, there she was in her khaki dress. I hesitated and looked down; closing my eyes for a brief moment to regain composure. It was in that moment that I curled my tongue and told her how I felt, but before I could go any further she pulled that line from her lips—that line that she always uses. She responded by saying:

“Have I not provided you with food, love and generosity? Have I not raised you well enough, so that you know that such polemic predisposition is unacceptable in my presence? How dare you try to scold me? How dare…”

Before she went on, I stopped her and grabbed her by the arms. With a steady voice, I told her, “Are you blind? Do you not see what I mean by my words? Do you not listen to yourself?” She stopped, as if possessed by force, and it was over. She asked me to leave the apartment; she asked me to take my things and never see her again—I was heartbroken.

It was midnight and I feared the worst. How could I have approached her with such furiosity? How could I have come to her first and bared it all to her, do I have no shame? But before I could think any longer, there she stood right in front of me with eyes that were set a blasé. It was at that moment —at that punitive stage—did I realise that my words were justified. She came at me with fire underneath her tongue, her eyes as red as the sun. We went on at each other for forty minutes, and it was in those minutes that many emotions were expressed—as the fighting slowly devolved into tears. My voice became weaker and my heart oozed with sorrow. It was then that I extended my arms, and with slow angelic movement, I gave her a passionate hug; a desperate acknowledgement of surrender. It was a hug of love to show her that despite her hatred I still loved her as a mother.

However, despite my heartfelt surrender, she pushed me from her; she did not wish to acknowledge my surrender. I could not speak any longer—I ended the conversation at that instant and left her to her own devices in her own ‘egotism’.

It was at that moment, I decided to make my way back to my apartment with tearful eye and heavy heart. ‘How could I do such a thing? How could I have been so foolish as to give love to a person who obviously did not deserve it?’ My mind began to swirl in schizophrenic wiz, as I was again torn in two. One side still loved her as a mother and still wished to show affection; the other side hated her with a passion and wanted to dispense with her for the dog that she was. “I am in the deepest of dilemmas”, words that regurgitated outwards, well I gripped my heart and cried to the moon:

“How can I resolve the anguish that has gripped me? How can I make amend the broken relationship – sawed at with greatest of hatreds? Can anyone answer me? Please, somebody just answer me!”

My back slid down against the wall opposite of my apartment door, I began to cry with such heart ache, ‘the mind cannot help but give into emotion’ I remarked in my mind, as tears dribbled down. I cried for an hour at best; nothing could stop the pain in my mind, as it continued to increase with each minute. ‘Why can’t mother just love me? Why can’t she love her daughter, who has provided her with so much?’ I continued in my anguish…the pain was too much to hold. As I collected my thoughts, I began to write out my plan. Whether she liked it or not, I was going to make her pay for the pain, she had exhausted upon me, all those years ago.

I collected my gear and began to make my way to the apartment complex where I had only been just a couple of hours ago. Armed with nothing but my trusty writing instrument, I began to climb those stairs to her door. Pushing my way through the door into her apartment, rage over came me and I found her…lying in her bed. I rushed at her, my heart palpating at the sight of her body—forward and forward I went, with pen in hand and heart in throat. I grabbed the white sheet that lay over the mass—lifting it with the greatest of fury. What I found struck… There on that bed, lay not my mother…but something else.

I tried to contain my horror—darting my eyes back to the door leading to the main entrance— I quickly thought about an exit strategy. Before my thought could turn into action, there it rose: the disembodied mass of deteriorating memories that had been long forgotten. I cannot describe it, but what I can say is that it was like my mother…but not. It was like her in look and feel, but what it did not have was a soul that she use to have—it had something more distant; something from the past that pushed me into fright. I took my gear and ran from the apartment; I just could not stop myself I needed to get as far away as humanly possible. I ran back to my apartment – locking and bolting the door. It was in the remaining silence that I hid in my room, underneath the white linen sheets that I had slept with hours before. It was there, cold and alone, that I began to cry for her once more; remembering the thoughts that had dwelled from the days before:

‘Where is she?’
‘Where has my mother gone?’
‘Where have you taken her?’

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson

Artwork: Hannah Hoch’s ‘Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Beer Belly of the Weimar Republic’ (1919)


Truth Evolves (Book Review)

Dustin Arand is an American lawyer and a Philosopher with an apt for rigorous philosophical enquiry and formulation. This is no more evident than in the book ‘Truth Evolves’- a book like no other in its field.

Dustin’s book delves into epistemology, ethics and the nature of ‘truth’ with startling detail and insight. ‘Truth Evolves’ takes the reader on an intellectual journey through the various philosophies of knowledge, mind, biology and ethics in the attempt of engaging with the reader on an intellectual landscape. (Dustin opens each chapter with a brilliant quote.) In ‘Truth Evolves’, Dustin applies evolutionary theory to epistemology and accounts for the constant adaptation of truth, and the helpfulness of this adaptation to humanity’s development. This helpfulness is reiterated in the concept of ‘corrigibility’; “corrigibility refers to a property of any institution, be it political, academic, professional, or otherwise, and to the language (or languages) prevailing within and between such institutions, such that they are capable of adapting themselves to the changing demands of the environmental conditions that constitute their raison d’être [a property’s purpose]”. This concept weaves itself throughout the book and is an important element in the understanding of the author’s thesis. Furthermore, the author emphasises the need for individuals to adjust their mentality towards a deeper understanding of reality, and expresses the consequences of intellects that depart from this deeper understanding.The means by which Dustin expresses this is through modern day examples such as the civil rights debate.

Now, the book does have to be read more than once – once for feeling and the second for analysis – and it can be hard to read at certain places. However, like Immanuel Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ the book is not meant to be read in one’s leisure, it is instead meant to be analysed and thoroughly assessed. Overall, the book is a good read for anyone interested in epistemology, ethics, morality, truth or evolution.

Read From: May 26th-June 15th, 2015

Rating: 4.5/5—I definitely recommend it for those interested in Evolution and its relationship to epistemology.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson

Link to Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1320419632?book_show_action=false


Islam and The Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue (Book Review)

Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz’s ‘Islam and the future of Tolerance: A Dialogue’ is an informative and hopeful dialogue on a number of pressing issues of today, ranging from islamism to Islamic reform. With wit, intelligence and scrutiny all rolled into a short and succinct book, Sam and Maajid effectively take head on these issues and come up with effective strategies to answer them. Easily read in an afternoon, this book is meant to be read in conjunction to the growing political, philosophical and cultural issues occurring in the world today—such as the culture war over Islam, the conflicts against ISIS in the Middle East, the growing rise of neo-Nazism in Europe and the intellectual debates centred around reform in Islam. In addition to this, the book provides a list of helpful sources easily verifiable, as well as provides a further reading information list for all those interested in the topics discussed. (It may not be very helpful to me, since I have read most of the books listed, but I am sure it will be helpful for new individuals entering the discussion.) There is very few things to criticise, as the book is very well written and its contents are discussed in a manner that provides little room for arguing.

It is a dialogue that needed to happen, as both individuals have been engaged in trying to provide discourse on Islam. However, both have been labelled as ‘bigots’, ‘Islamophobes’ and ‘Racists’ by those of the left (regressive leftists) for criticising Islam. Sam Harris himself has been for the last year and a half trying to combat these baseless accusations; hence is why I am glad that he addressed them in this book, as well as pushed past them in informing individuals about what really needs to be discussed. Maajid Nawaz was brilliant in this book, as his writing was more on point and his counter-points to Sam did provide room for further discussion and thought. In addition to this, Maajid has improved on his writing, as his last book ‘Radical’ was rather a disappointment in terms of writing.

As for the ideas being discussed, Islamism and regressivism are by far the most pressing concerns of today. Islamism is the political imposition of Islamic fundamentalism upon society, as manifested by groups such as the Islamic State. Maajid’s informative identifying of sub-branches within Islamism, such as jihadism and political islamism, was by far the most informative aspect of his part of the dialogue on this topic. Sam Harris’ critiques of Islamism, and by highlighting the fact that beliefs do matter, were also enlightening but I do feel that both could have done a more in-depth explanation of Islamism than they ended up doing. (Maajid’s distinction between traditional and conservative Muslims does appear to be misleading, but I trust that he is onto something when he distinguishes between them.)

Regressivism (Coined by Maajid Nawaz) is the political philosophy that has emerged from progressive politics and post-modern ‘Identity politics’, as of late. It is identified by individuals defying classical liberal principles, such as free-speech, freethought and individual autonomy and responsibility, all in the ideal of equality. This has resulted in ‘regressives’ (to use a term from Sam Harris) protecting Islam from criticism and has also resulted in the silencing of critics by regressives. This is truly evident in the west, because regressivism—especially in reference to Islam—is a by-product of Islamist apologetics and Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz and many others have been victims of this regressivism. This is further expressed in the book.

Maajid Nawaz makes reference to Dr. Hasan, who is a Islamic scholar and Quilliam, throughout the book. However, I do think that he needs to not fall prey to the false belief in trusting an authority figure too much, because even they can be wrong. This leads into another thought as well, and this is in regards to Maajid’s ‘relativist’ interpretation of the Quran and hadiths. If there is no ultimate interpretation of a text, then there is no right or wrong interpretation of a text. This is problematic for obvious reasons, as it creates stagnation and creates misinformation where there need not be any.

The above-mentioned paragraphs are just some of my thoughts on the ideas discussed in the book, as there are plenty more ideas that were discussed in the book, but I will allow individuals to explore those ideas for themselves.

Read from: October 19th-November 7th, 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars—This is definitely my book of the year so far.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson

Link to Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1387295946?book_show_action=false


Cutting the head off of the serpent: the threat of islamism

We need to wake up against the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, as expressed by ISIS and other Islamist organisations. By not naming the threat of islamism, we are allowing more and more chaos to come on our door step. The reason why so many neo-nazi groups are rising again in Europe is because of the lack of action by governments to stop islamism.

I do not support neo-nazi groups of any distinction, as I find them just as toxic as the Islamic state is. However, if we want to not bring on another neo-nazi regime and not bring on more bloodshed by islamists, then we need to wake up and start actively naming the threat, addressing religious ideology and radicalism, and begin fighting jihadists – both physically and ideologically.

For all those who need reminding: Islamism is the political imposition of Islamic fundamentalism upon society, as manifested by the Islamic State, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim brotherhood, to name a few. Political islamists are those who wish to achieve a caliphate through politics and military coup, well jihadists are those who wish to achieve a caliphate through violence. Islamism is the greatest threat of our time, because it is influential in every western nation.

However, until we wake up to the threat of islamism, we will continue to see more deaths like we did in France in January and now again in France today. I just hope action is taken against the ideology of the jihadists who killed many in France, but until that happens I shall show my support with the people of France. If I  could say one thing to those French readers, it would have to be this:

Vive la liberté: Je suis Français

“La liberté d’expression est le fondement de la démocratie.”-Alison Locke

Je témoigne ma solidarité à mes frères et soeurs sur tout l’océan. Je suis avec eux et aujourd’hui je suis francais. Aujourd’hui, je suis avec eux, épaule contre épaule, afin de respecter les innocents qui ont perdu leur vie. Aujourd’hui, je suis avec eux contre le barbarisme et les conflits, contre la terreur. Pour les francais, y compris tous les citoyens qui sont pour une société libre et ouverte, ne s’inclineront pas devant ceux qui leur ont fait du mal. Vive la France et Vive la liberté.

‪#‎Jesuisfrançais‬

‪#‎liberté‬

‪#‎solidarité‬

[English: Praise Liberty: Today I am French

“Free speech is the bed rock of democracy.”-Alison Locke

I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters across the ocean. I stand with them, for today I am french. Today I stand with them, shoulder to shoulder, to pay my respects to the dead. Today I stand with them against barbarism and strife; against terror. For the French people, including all citizens of open society, will not bow to those who have done them wrong. Glory to France and glory to all those who honour liberty!]

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson