Judean People’s Front

Am I the only one who finds what’s happening in Iraq entertaining?

I’m a horrible man in many ways but I neither condone nor enjoy indiscriminate violence and the maiming and killing of people by the desert-load. I am an unlikely supporter of human rights, and one of those people who will bore everyone sideways with how I probably got kettled in the (pointless, even then) march in London against the Iraq war in 2003.

But now we’re no longer simply dropping munitions absent-mindedly from above on innocent brown people – or rather we are, but that’s not what gets the headlines. The news now blares tales of a selection of people who think their shared religion, SHARED religion, should be run by the descendants of a bloke who lived a millennium and a half ago, and others who think he bequeathed the company assets to his mates for the rest of time.

That, to me, doesn’t sound like something that matters quite as much as clean pants and a view of the sea. They blow each other to smithereens and declare this bit of land or that bit of land to be theirs or ‘His’, as the rest of the world steps slowly backwards and thanks their own imaginary deity that while they’re at each others throats they’re too busy to realise we spend all day finding ever more intriguing ways to insert ourselves into each other, outside of marriage.

I admit I’m biased against Muslims. Not in that I subscribe to some other religion, you understand – I’m against Muslims because their furious god is the one most in my mind today. Last week it was Jehovah, yesterday it was some fucking thing called Waheguru and tomorrow it could be ‘God’, or whatever my simple-minded Christian ancestors called it. I wake up each morning and decide which of these laughable inventions I find funniest that day. Today it’s Allah, peace be upon him.

Sunni versus Shia inevitably reminds people in my part of the world of Protestant versus Catholic. The chief difference here seems to be that one believes the church wine is only symbolically the blood of Christ while the other likes to mix theirs with the cream of some young boy.

Absurd discrepancies from centuries ago, played out in the present day for our amusement. It’s as though they’ve never seen Life of Brian and have never heard of the People’s Front of Judea. They probably haven’t, come to think of it, which only makes it funnier.

Yes it’s fucking horrible, yes people are dying and yes I’m writing about how it makes me laugh. To complainants I say it’s not me fucking doing it though is it? They’re doing it to each other. I am as entitled to laugh at this as I am to laugh at two drunk, red-eared men in a pub beating seven shades of shit out of each other and leaving those of us there for a pint alone. Occasionally a barman will be on the end of a stray haymaker, and that’s a shame, but if you choose to work in a Yates’s you take your bloody chances I’m afraid.

Eventually there’ll be a winner, and the next time he’s in the pub he’ll be looking at all of us for someone else to fight. At that point, I’ll stop laughing and start priming my own version of a suicide vest involving a hot-air balloon filled with syringes of supermarket cider.

Until then, it’s not my fight and I don’t even understand the rules, like a punch-up in an ice hockey match. I glance, chuckle, shake my head and go on about my immoral business unmolested.

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