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Cole writes: "While Western press reports do speak of Christian militia members, on the American side the E-word was little applied. But surely massacring 24 non-combatant people is extreme."

Juan Cole. (photo: Informed Comment)
Juan Cole. (photo: Informed Comment)


Why Are Christian Militias Never 'Christian Extremists'?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

15 December 13

 

he dramatic events in the Central African Republic no doubt seem distant and complex for a North American audience. CAR is geographically as large as France, but with a population of only 4.5 million (similar to Lebanon or Costa Rica). It consists roughly of 25% Muslim, 25% Protestant Christian, 25% Catholic Christian, and 25% adherents of African faiths.

Last spring, the Seleka coalition of Muslim clans made a coup, which has provoked Christian-Muslim faction-fighting. Christians have organized militias, which they maintain are self-defense forces aimed at expelling Seleka goons from their villages or neighborhoods. In the fighting, some 440,000 people have been displaced.

The anti-Balaka Christian militia massacred 24 Muslims this week. Whereas Selaka is often called extremists in the US press, the Christian militias are almost never called "extremist Christians." Moreover, Western press reports imply that the massacre is understandable since these Seleka members are connected to high-ranking Seleka coup-makers.

While Western press reports do speak of Christian militia members, on the American side the E-word was little applied. But surely massacring 24 non-combatant people is extreme.

The BBC reports:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxJSqkOH0sg
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+29 # RMDC 2013-12-15 20:06
Good point, Juan. Why don't you start calling christian militias "extremists." I think there are many extremists in america. They won't be lonely. There's a good history of support for extremists. Regan invited Jonas Svimbi to the white house and called him a freedom fighter like Geo. Washinton. he was not a christian, howver, but Reagan was. And he was an extremist.
 
 
+13 # franpryor 2013-12-16 08:26
They were originally called "Crusaders".
 
 
+8 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-12-16 09:32
It’s the same with terrorists: they’re only bad if they’re someone else’s terrorists; our terrorists are fine, upstanding people: cf. Nicaraguan Contras, & Al Qaida in Libya & Syria.
 
 
+3 # spiritcallsus 2013-12-16 14:59
You got that right neighbor.
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2013-12-16 10:34
The former US -adopted and hired under Dimwits, death squad "Blackwater"-"X e"- "Academi", was the most egregious example of officially sanctioned and an openly pronounced "Christian" militia for hire to the government as a well-paid collective of contract thugs, murderers and dregs of the world's killing apparatus' from the former South African apartheid government's killers to recently unemployed spawn of the School of the Americas from the banana republics it has created for so many decades in the Southern part of the Americas, now pulling away from big bro' up north.
How's that for a nice example of "Our extremists", like Saddaam Hussein was once "Our" bad guy and even Bin Laden when he was part of the Mujahadeen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.
And remember that A.I.M. (American Indian Movement) was pronounced "extremists" and "Terrorists" -the new buzz word- in defending their own traditional peoples after centuries of broken treaties and violations of lands and lifestyles.
And which country was was one of those who named the late Nelson Mandela and the ANC a "Terrorist" organization? -And Allende -and Mossadeguh -and Castro -and Arbenz-and-and- : add your own to taste, whilst SUPPORTING and arming the real terrorists, like Franco, Batista, Sha Palavi, Stroessner, Suharto, Pinochet; the list is long and evil!
Definition of "Extremism" is, like it's dispensation of justice, a very selective quality and quantity in these Fragmented States!
 
 
+4 # fredboy 2013-12-16 13:15
Just like we always use the term "Isreali commando" (a positive, noble term) yet strap the term "terrorists" to anyone opposing their actions--includ ing people losing their family's land.
 
 
+2 # MidwesTom 2013-12-16 13:27
In Syria we are backing the terrorist.
 
 
+1 # carlcoon 2013-12-16 13:44
It's enough to make an atheist out of you. Relgious symbolism is a powerful catalyst when used to identify your team in a conflict situation.
 
 
+5 # geraldom 2013-12-16 19:18
I have a more pertinent question to ask. Why is it that anyone, any indigenous person or group that is fighting the United States military and its puppet proxy army, NATO, in their own country after their country was illegally invaded by these foreign powers, terrorists, insurgents, extremists, or militants, whereas if the shoe was on the other foot, and it was the United States that was invaded by foreign powers as was illustrated in the film "Red Dawn" with Patrick Swayze, the people fighting the occupation are called patriots?

Can someone explain the difference to me? The indigenous people of any country in the world have the legal and moral right, the mandate, to do whatever it is necessary to remove those foreign forces from their country. It is the foreign invaders who are acting like terrorists.
 
 
+2 # geraldom 2013-12-16 19:21
grammatical correction

"....after their country was illegally invaded by these foreign powers, terrorists, insurgents, extremists, or militants, ...."

"....after their country was illegally invaded by these foreign powers, called terrorists, insurgents, extremists, or militants, ...."
 
 
+3 # tabonsell 2013-12-16 20:18
Right, as far as you go.

Under the Bush administration, those who resisted invasion by Bush's America were not considered military personnel who had a right to defend their country. They were branded as criminals and tried in military courts as criminals or sent off to prisons without trial to serve an undefined term in such places as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
 
 
+2 # geraldom 2013-12-16 23:14
Quoting tabonsell:
Right, as far as you go.

Under the Bush administration, those who resisted invasion by Bush's America were not considered military personnel who had a right to defend their country. They were branded as criminals and tried in military courts as criminals or sent off to prisons without trial to serve an undefined term in such places as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


If the U.S. was invaded by foreign powers, do the official rules state that it should only be the official uniformed military that can defend this country? Does it also mean that a soldier that just happens to not have his uniform on cannot pick up a gun and defend his country? Does it mean that it would be against the rules of war for normal American citizens not officially members of the military to pick up a gun to defend against these invaders?

The Bush administration arbitrarily made up convenient rules to avoid having to honor the Geneva conventions. Before Afghanistan fell to the U.S. invasion, the Afghan government was ruled by the Taliban. As a sovereign nation, they had their official military like we have, but their uniforms were not like ours, but they were still uniforms.

When citizens of a country fight against an illegal invasion of their country by foreign forces, they are not terrorists. They are defined as patriots. Definitions don't change depending on what country gets invaded or by whom, and those citizens are protected by the Geneva conventions.
.
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2013-12-17 09:13
It is called propaganda and brainwashing. the leaders of the US regime could make americans think black was white if they found it useful.

Remember Ron Suskind's report of an answer Karl Rove gave him about reality and truth --

"Rove said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," Rove continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judicio usly, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Reality is what the regime says it is. How do we know that. Because it is what they are doing something about, mostly bombing and killing. The US regime would not be killing them if they were not terrorists, right?
 
 
+5 # tabonsell 2013-12-16 20:10
"Why Are Christian Militias Never 'Christian Extremists'?

The same reason that whenever American military forces instituted a battle with an Iraqi force in Iraq it was reported as Americans engaged Iraqis.

But whenever an Iraqi force began a battle with an American unit, it was reported that Iraqis "ambushed" Americans.

This appears to be standard reporting procedure and is unlikely to ever change.
 
 
+1 # geraldom 2013-12-17 17:56
Quoting tabonsell:
"Why Are Christian Militias Never 'Christian Extremists'?

The same reason that whenever American military forces instituted a battle with an Iraqi force in Iraq it was reported as Americans engaged Iraqis.

But whenever an Iraqi force began a battle with an American unit, it was reported that Iraqis "ambushed" Americans.

This appears to be standard reporting procedure and is unlikely to ever change.


It was the very same thing when it came to the American/Indian wars. Whenever the white man attacked the Indians and won, it was considered honorable and a great victory, but when the Indians attacked U.S. forces and won, it was an ambush, a massacre.
 
 
-1 # Reverend Tom 2013-12-17 10:06
Personally, I have a problem with religious people/groups who do awful things being called extremist at all. The Bible contains explicit instructions on who to kill and why. Anyone who is not a believer is to be killed. This is the same for the Koran. Homosexuals are to be killed. Women who are not virgins on their wedding night are to be killed. Punishment for disobedience of any of the laws in the Bible is usually death.

Why should we consider people who actually take this stuff seriously "extremists"? What is so extreme about following the instructions? If one were to purchase a self help book, follow the instructions, and see improvement in their lives, would we consider them extremists?

Granted, there are things in the Bible that are contradictory. We are supposed to love our neighbor, but at the same time kill them if they follow a different God. The fact that the allegedly inerrant, God breathed, magnificent Good Book contains so much contradiction and verifiable malarkey is only a problem to those who still insist that it is the solution to all of our problems.

Jesus specifically says that he did not come to abolish the OT laws, but to see them fulfilled.

It's about time that we stop labeling violent religious people as extremists. Most of the Bible is people being violent because that is what God wants them to do. They are simply people who really believe and take this evil nonsense seriously
 

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