What I wrote yesterday opened other avenues of thought. Aggression achieves nothing, and religion is often an excuse for aggression. I only have to mention the Crusades, the Conquistadors, Bonnie Prince Charlie in the wars of accession to make the point. The incredible massacres of WW1 and WW2 achieved nothing. The uprising resulting from the Salman Rushdie book always left me with a feeling that it had been engineered to make a point. It implies that a person’s thoughts, if uttered are treasonable, and there is no place for free speech. It is not the British way to care very much about what someone writes, or even says, we are more phlegmatic. Internecine conflict, as I know, can be unreasoning, random and vicious, but we have moved on from the mindless random shooting and bombing, to a much more destructive, and again mindless form of warfare, the roadside bomb, the car bomb, and the suicide bomber. These are not selective, merely a demonstration of international hatred, and political pressure.
When religion enters into the equation, as it allegedly did with the Satanic Verses, there are generally other, more abstruse reasons underlying, such as the self-aggrandisement of individuals, greed, jealousy justified or unreasoned, and territorial gain. Strangely, there are times when other ploys to achieve the same ends are mooted. I remember at the height of the Troubles in 1971, when the IRA was at its height bombing and killing, a Republican woman seen on television, was shouting that the Republicans would achieve their end because’ they would breed the Prods out’. It was ludicrous I know, but that is the level at which the hatred between factions can drive people.
When one travels across Europe, what is most apparent is the difference in the way of life, between one country and another. For example, when I spent a month at a time living in France surrounded by French families, I’ve found their way of life, their way of living even, were so different to what I was used to in England and Ireland. I may be wrong, but I believe that the Brits carried their rural interests along with their rural values, with them into suburbia, and that is why gardening to the British is so important and possibly why they are so phlegmatic. When I see pictures on television, of areas of London that I knew as a boy, I am often amazed at just how much these areas have changed by the tastes of the new residents, with their vastly different cultural background. If our cities are going to be carved up into small communities, for a start there will be political representation, at which the different needs of the different cultures will inevitably presents problems of choice. I think it would do no harm for some university which is situated in an area where there are large amounts of small national enclaves, to find out about the relationships between the different factions, how local government operates, and above all the degree of, the causes of and results of international stress, and if it does exist as has been postulated by the television programme. It is of course possible that this survey has been done, but if so I was surprised it wasn’t included in the programme.