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 For Inden.

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Oct 14, 2001
Inden proposed to discuss all sort of cultural and religious issues, so this is the space for it. (So that we don't clog up other people's diaries.)

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Another mindless link.


Re: Afghan women. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 12:34:20 PM PST
Actually, the problem is that these "Afghan" women are Afghan only in name. Obviously, they have never lived in Afghanistan for any length of time. It is easy to spout revolutionary rhetoric when the only ties you have to your homeland is a superficial "cultural heritage". Fact is, it is impossible for Afghanistan to have women's rights and still remain Afghanistan; oppression of women is probably an integral part of the local culture. There are only two choices -- seal off the borders and let them stew in their own juices, or destroy their culture.

Certainly, Russia was probably the most oppressed republic of the Soviet Union; since it was the most developed, it was expected to provide the most resources for development of backwards ass-end countries like Afghanistan or Uzbekistan.

Unfortunately, this ultimately lead to the utter and complete destruction of the Russian homeland. Central Russia is now a no-man's-land, a wasteland; it is an utterly horrible sight.

Peace and much love...

Injustice In Your Neighbor's House (none / 0) (#4)
by Inden on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 01:25:14 PM PST
Again we come to the issue of our era - what to do about injustice in our neighbors house.

Opression of women is integral to Afghan society today. There are differing degrees of repression of women in muslim culture however and the Afghans are the worst. Slavery was integral to US Southern culture once. Anti-Semitism is endemic to both Arab and Jewish culture (ha!).

These are wrongs that we would like to improve, to heal. Not easy. But we cannot seal the borders and forget about them. They always find a way of touching us even if they don't leave their country. We are all one people all over the planet and the suffering in one place gets felt elsewhere metaphysically somehow. Call it magic. It just works that way. All humans are invisibly connected somehow, is the best I can offer to explain.

I have read about the terrible conditions in Russia today and seen pictures. I can imagine how dreadful it is. What is to be done is always the question. A large factor in the equation is the corruption and lawlessness and cynicism that is endemic in Russian business culture it seems to me. There is also the Russians' depressing pessimism about their own ability to succeed in overcoming their own cynicism. Is there anything other than misguided nationalistic hatemongering pride that can serve as a motivational force to cause Russians to believe in themselves and take pride?

Russian buisiness. (none / 0) (#7)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 01:51:21 PM PST
No, corruption is no problem. Speaking as somebody directly involved, I can tell you that corruption is not an issue here. (It's not even really corruption -- it's simply that society works by different rules than the government.)

The real problem is that many people have no cultural or ethnic heritage; every single person living in Russia today has/had a close relative that was repressed in some way. Most had close relatives killed or deported. This, coupled with the fact that the powers in charge at the time did everything they could to destroy Russian culture, left a tremendous cultural vacuum. It has been four generations since the revolution of 1917, and we as a people still have not recovered. God knows how many generations is needed until people forget and learn to forgive; everybody here is still subconciously trying to evade oppression and simply survive, even when placed in a quite civilized environment. Life goes on, but most people are still stuck in a "survivalist" mentality.

Peace and much love...

What Do You Mean By "Culture" (none / 0) (#8)
by Inden on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 02:02:44 PM PST
When you say Russians have had their culture destroyed you aren't talking about Music, Humor, Food, Literature. You are maybe talking about "civic" culture ? What are you talking about ?

I don't disagree that society must be based on some sort of religious system of higher ethics and values. Atheism tried to substitute the "People" or "World Civilization" for G-d in the case of Leninism. In America we are always fighting this battle about religious values because we have differences of opinion about which ones to use.

Re: Christianity. (none / 0) (#2)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 12:52:34 PM PST
"Proud secular Jew"? Isn't that a bit of a contradiction in terms?

Of course, up until the start of the 20th century, "atheist Russian patriot" was also a contradiction in terms. We all know where that sort of an attitude shift lead. Just wondering, does something like that scare you? Do you even think about such things?

BTW, pogroms in Russia were anything but religion-motivated; Jews in Russia at that time represented foreign capital, so Jews eventually became the scapegoat for "economically frustrated" segments of society. (Sort of the "anti-globalist" movement of the time.)

P.S. The official Orthodox Christian explanation for the "religious fanatic" dilemma is that organized religions tend to attract the most immoral and evil people, those who hate God most -- simply such people know that by joining Church they can do the most damage.

Peace and much love...

Proud Secular Jew - Contradiction? (none / 0) (#3)
by Inden on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 01:08:05 PM PST
There are many Jews who are proud to be Jewish, to love Jewish food, humor, music, culture, but who aren't spiritually touched by the religious ceremony. Does that answer your question?

Are you asking me if I am scared of the Russian Patriot movement with its religious ideological roots taking over the nuclear weapons and eeek! I don't think so much about it. Do you? I did translate a book by Alexander Yanov from Russian into English in 1986 ("The Russian Challenge") I'm sure it has also been printed in Russian. The book traces the historical connection of Russian Patriotic Nationalism through the Soviet period inclusive.

About Pogroms: they may have believed they were fighting global capitalism (the 1881 Pogroms were terrible and it is in this period that the forgery the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was published), but they were just killing Jewish peasants or kiosk owners who weren't much different from themselves. It was how the Tsar kept control when times got hard, give the people an easily victimized enemy. What is fantastic is the people can still be riled up to hate and blame the Jews when all the Jews, or almost all, have left for Israel. It's the overwhelmng need to have an explanation that avoids responsibility for changing yourself that is the psychological phenomenon here. It's the same with our KKK.

Secular Jewishness. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 01:38:17 PM PST
You may be an atheist and still enjoy Jewish culture, but I'm wondering whether the Jewish community will still accept you as a Jew. I'm guessing that the issue is not always so clear-cut here.

On the second point -- actually, what I was trying to say is that atheism led to several orders of magnitude more oppression and downright evil than Christinity. At least, in Russian history it has always been that way. I'm wondering whether that is the fate awaiting other nations hellbent (no pun intended) on becoming "secular" and "open-minded".

P.S. Actually, truly religious people will never try to take control of nuclear weapons; this is because in actuality Orthodox Christianity is an incredibly tolerant religion, simply because there is no concept of "wrongdoing" in it, only the concept of "personal responisibility". That means that instead of labelling somebody "bad" or "immoral" people are labelled as "irresponsible". Real Orthodox Christians won't ever try to "punish infidels", because infidels are viewed as childish and possibly very stupid individuals.

Peace and much love...

That is good to hear! (none / 0) (#6)
by Inden on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 01:44:32 PM PST
I like what you say about modern pravoslavie. Is there not a chance that false pravoslavniks could hijack the ideology for their own purposes though, by arresting and repressing those religious Christians who objected. Could they not appeal to the misery and desperation of the ruined Russian nation that will want to find someone other than themselves to blame (this is the basis for Nazis after all).

Jewish religious purists define me as a Jew because I can prove that my mother's mother was Jewish. End of story.

Oh, yes. (none / 0) (#9)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 02:08:17 PM PST
Something like that could certainly happen, but not under the ruse of Orthodox Christianity -- Christianity is too difficult to understand and too amorphous to form a destructive ideology. The most likely ideology to reach "critical mass" at the moment is racism towards Arabs. (Well, "Central Asians", actually.) There is a lot of it; what's more, it has been gradually building up for the last five years.

Peace and much love...


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