The Roots of Violence

Fr. Shay Cullen
September 1, 2011

Violence is the dominant theme of the daily news around the world. In the Philippines a mini civil war is underway, and mass killing is the preferred method of crushing dissent and subduing opposition and the struggle for freedom and equality.

In the Philippines Al Qaeda-linked groups battle for the ideal of Islamic “freedom” which can be more oppressive that what went before. Other right wing groups have death squads that go about their bloody business on the many nods and winks of their political and military masters assassinating priest, pastors, social activists, human rights workers, journalists and political opponents working for social justice. In their morally twisted and corrupt minds it’s a terrible yet necessary work to eliminate the leftists in order to preserve the supremacy of the privileged ruling class.

That kind of violence is driven by the lust for total political power, hatred of opponents who threaten that power and the fear of loss of the money that it brings through corrupt practices to the political ruling family. A sense of impunity from prosecution fuel’s the imperious order to have the people killed.

When the police arrived on the small Norwegian island not far from Oslo a few weeks ago, they confronted a calm well-armed Anders Behring Breivik surrounded by the scattered bodies of the dead and dying victims, almost 65 of them. They were the children of labor party stalwarts on a political education summer camp. It was “grotesque but necessary” he said. He told police that he had his reasons and would tell them to the world from the platform of the court. What lies behind such horrific acts of terrorism and violence may be seen in his document of justification.

His “reasons” for such horrific atrocities lie in his manifesto, 1500-pages long, posted on the internet only hours before he set out on his murderous mission are basically racist, anti-Islamic and an extreme right-wing ideological motivation peppered with his own mixture of fundamental religious rhetoric. He wants to wage a war against those liberals whom he accuses of allowing Muslims into Norway and Europe. He believes that they betray the Nordic race and their policies of multi-culturalism make them traitors to the purity of the “Nordic genotypes” whom he fears are being driven to extinction. He wants to expel all Muslims from Norway and Europe and decries what he calls the colonization of Europe by Islam which the political elite of Europe are to blame whom he brands as “Cultural Marxists.” He describes himself as a kind of knight fighting for the purity of western civilization from the contamination of “Islamic Imperialism.”

In all of the above some extreme ideological or political motivation drives the violence and if that is lacking, greed and the lust for power is abundantly present. A peaceful,  loving, caring society where all are respected and treated equally and the leaders serve the people is the ideal of the Kingdom. We just have to do all we can to promote peace, non-violence and live and promote the values of the Kingdom of justice and truth to make it happen.

Fr. Shay Cullen lives and works in the Philippines.