zenpundit.com » Apocalyptic

Archive for the ‘Apocalyptic’ Category

Mecca, the 1979 Grand Mosque Siege

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — watch out for movements — of any belief — that arm themselves in preparation for an end times battle ]
.

This is simply to alert you to a fine BBC recounting of the events at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on the first day of the current Islamic century — when two or three hundred heavily armed militants following a Mahdist claimant and his proclaimer —

BBC pull quote

really, think the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His John the Baptist, and you have some sense of the seriousness of the affair — took over the central mosque in all of Islam — think the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, or St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican perhaps — and held the place under siege, with considerable bloodshed, until finally four French commandos were allowed in to use gas and flush out the remaining followers of the Mahdi, himself now dead.

**

End times arousals of this sort are far from over: ISIS espoused an explicitly eschatological ideology, while AL Qaida used an end times hadith to rally to their black banners in Afghanistan, and a 2007 Shi’ite insurgency near Najaf around a Mahdist claim, Shi’i-style, was serious enough for the government of Iraq to call in American air strikes.

Important stuff, therefore.

**

Recommended Readings:

  • BBC, Mecca 1979: The mosque siege that changed the course of Saudi history
  • Hegghammer & Lacroix, The Meccan Rebellion: The Story of Juhayman al-‘Utaybi Revisited
  • Hegghammer & Lacrois:

    What terrifies the Chinese about Falun Gong?

    Monday, November 18th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Falun Gong keeps coming front and center for a day or two, then fading back into the woodwork — so I wanted to get these points made, out there as an information dump for the likes of Rachel Maddow ]
    .

    What we don’t understand is that the horror-terror of the Taiping Rebellion with its 20 or so million dead in the eighteen-fifties shadow-ghosts the Chinese government’s present fear of, hence hate at — and thus rage against — the 100 million or so practitioners of Falun Gong, so gracefully, graciously performing their qi gong dances on parkland grass, all across the realm..

    TaipingThe Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864

    **

    As some of you know, I talked briefly with Ali Allawi, one time Iraqi Defense minister, at the October 9, 2007 Jamestown briefing on Iraq, and he said the same was true of Iraqi responses to a militia threatening to kill the Hawza or council of Grand Ayatollahs of Najaf, so as to replace it with their candidate for Mahdi — a revolt of several hundred sectarians, which was put then down with considerable Iraqi force assisted by air support from the US — in what was then the single greatest battle in the Iraq war. Allawi told me the Iraqi fear of a Mahdist rebellion stemmed from their memory of the Babist and Bahai rebellion of the 1860s “in that part of the world” — a memory which remains sore to this day on account of the tens of thousand of lives lost.

    The Chinese have very good reason to be terrified when they find a group of — by one estimate — a hundred million followers of a charismatic leader, Li Hongzhi, whose apocalyptic teachings include an alien takeover of the human race:

    The aliens come from other planets. The names that I use for these planets are different . Some are from dimensions that human beings have not yet discovered. The key is how they have corrupted mankind. Everyone knows that from the beginning until now, there has never been a development of culture like today. Although it has been several thousand years, it has never been like now.

    The aliens have introduced modern machinery like computers and airplanes. They started by teaching mankind about modern science, so people believe more and more science, and spiritually, they are controlled. Everyone thinks that scientists invent on their own when in fact their inspiration is manipulated by the aliens. In terms of culture and spirit, they already control man. Mankind cannot live without science.

    The ultimate purpose is to replace humans. If cloning human beings succeeds, the aliens can officially replace humans. Why does a corpse lie dead, even though it is the same as a living body? The difference is the soul, which is the life of the body. If people reproduce a human person, the gods in heaven will not give its body a human soul. The aliens will take that opportunity to replace the human soul and by doing so they will enter earth and become earthlings.

    When such people grow up, they will help replace humans with aliens. They will produce more and more clones. There will no longer be humans reproduced by humans. They will act like humans, but they will introduce legislation to stop human reproduction.

    **

    These people — the middle-class practitioners of a form of Qi Gong which Hongzhi teaches — office workers, teachers, grad students, grannies — are imprisoned in droves by the Chinese government, and according to Falun Gong representatives abroad, subject to their organs being harvested to sale to those in need of transplants — a peculiarly horrid business, as I can attest, being myself in need to a functioning kidney or two.

    One can disagree with their religious beliefs, and still sympathize with their predicament under brutal Chinese repression.

    **


    The traditional Chinese dance troupe China doesn’t want you to see

    The traditional Chinese dance troupe China doesn’t want you to see is touring the world on behalf of Falun Gong:

    Shen Yun seems like a kitsch dance troupe. But Beijing sees it as the propaganda wing of the Falun Gong movement, and a threat to their rule – and hounds the dancers from city to city, trying to sabotage their shows.

    Or try this:

    The company has five separate touring troupes that carry out a dizzying schedule, a kind of Cirque du Soleil of the east backed by a seemingly bottomless publicity budget. They have played the Lincoln Center in New York and the London Coliseum. In a single week last spring, they hit Philadelphia, Honolulu, Charlotte, Kansas City and Huntsville, Alabama. Then Barcelona, Salzburg, Bremen, Baden-Baden and Paris.

    Well, but then New York dance troupe says China banned shows over Falun Gong links.

    A New York-based dance troupe has accused China of forcing the cancellation of its shows in South Korea over its links to a banned spiritual movement that Beijing calls “an evil cult” intent on “mind control”.

    Shen Yun, a performing company affiliated with the Falun Gong movement, accused China’s government of shutting down their shows in Seoul. The Chinese government maintains that the troupe is “a political tool” of Falun Gong.

    Mind control? Perhaps the whole troupe — all five troupes — are one collective Manchurian Candidate — China, beware!

    **

    Here, in any case, are the Facts about the So-called “Shen Yun” Performance by the “Falun Gong” as the Chinese Embassy in Seoul sees them. Chief among these facts are some pretty astonishing apocalyptic and medical claims:

    Li Hongzhi, the chief ring leader of “Falun Gong”, claims that the mankind has been destroyed 81 times, and that he has delayed the explosion of the earth by 30 years. He claims that the mankind is corrupted, and the earth is the biggest dumping ground of the universe, and that by practicing “Falun Gong”, the “true law” above all religions, one would never become sick or get in danger. He even claims that the Holocaust of Jewish people by Hitler was a result of the changes in celestial phenomena…

    Li Hongzhi is certainly capable of astonishing apocalyptic announcements, as evidenced by his 1999 interview with the Asian edition of Time, which I quoted above.

    **

    Look, there’s more than one side to this coin:

    In Sum:

  • Apocalyptic groups with charismatic leaders have indeed proven problematic, as the case of Jim Jones in Guyana showed us in the West — but to the Chinese, the case of the Taiping Rebellion, with its twenty-plus people dead back in the second half of the nineteenth century, no doubt looms largest.

  • On the other hand — people deserve the right to their religious opinions, even if those opinions differ from the norms of the society around them. And tragedy can ensure when — under the dismissive label “cult” — the state takes it upon itself to intervene, as the FBI holocaust of the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX, teaches us.
  • A very cunning linguism, and more

    Monday, November 18th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — I can’t claim to be the originator of that title phrase — I found it in a book of literary criticism many years ago — but anyway, this post is about examples of form — content optional ]
    .

    Twinning:

    The images are striking, stunning. Under the title, The Double Vision of Alicia Rodriguez Alvisa, Doreen St. Félix‘s opening para on the phorographer’s double portraits is worth quoting in some detail:

    Alvisa has olive skin, ringlets of curls, and dark, thick eyebrows. She uses different wardrobes and poses to delineate between the two manifestations of herself. Immediately, we know we are observing a psychological exercise. ..

    Which woman is the true Alvisa? Is it the woman lying nude in a tub, her eyes closed, or is it the robed woman kneeling before her, a wrist extended over the water in a way that feels both caring and dangerous? Is it the woman in a baby-doll dress, glancing wistfully out of a window, at the city outside, or is it the woman in underwear, looking, with concern, at her counterpart?

    Is the question itself flawed — the idea that one self should vanquish the other?

    **

    A congressman whose name I do not know, addressing the question of whether Democrats should cease using the Latin Quid pro quo and instead say something more readily identifiable such as bribery or extortion, quoted as part of a mash by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, November 14 2019:

    Using Latin, per se, is not something I tend to do, Hallie..

    A lovely piece of reflexive self-mockery, eh?

    **

    A parallel observed:

    Parallels, like the dyadic photo-pairings above, are always worth noting, and at times revelatory:

    **

    A troubling turnaround, visible in court proceedings at Guantanamo:

    they’ve really turned the detainees into martyrs and victims.

    As we all know, martyrdom is a potent Islamic concept — letting CIA torture lend undoubted experiential realism to the sense that one has been victimized, almost martyred, is among the black sites’ least appealing features.

    **

    Ooh, and a humorous apocalyptic ref:

    As my friend Tim Furnish might say of that word, “apocalyptic”:

    Three stunners

    Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — can’t think why you’d need three stunners, or two six-shooters for that matter — stun once and done, sez I ]
    .

    My first stunner is from an LRB piece about Margaret Atwood, it’s opening paragraph invoking PD James instead, and what a powerful description of what I think I’ll call a Falling Curtain Event — an event such as climate change which offers so great a threat that arguably we should drop all other activities to attend to it.

    For a quick dystopia, then — this:

    In P.D. James’s strangest novel, The Children of Men (1992), humans stop being able to get pregnant, and no one can figure out why. Scientific research comes to nothing. Years pass without a newborn child. All the nurseries close, then all the schools. With no hope of posterity, landowners let their estates rot; scholars take up golf. Only the richest or best-connected are able to get a place in one of the increasingly rare care homes, run by increasingly senescent carers. Without children or grandchildren, people dote on their pets, and envy them for still being able to reproduce. When a small deer wanders into an Oxford chapel, the chaplain rushes at it, hurling prayerbooks: ‘Christ, why can’t they wait? Bloody animals. They’ll have it all soon enough. Why can’t they wait?’

    **

    Second, a no less stunning foretaste of our current actual situation politically, from the dialog of episode 7 of the TV series, The People v. O.J. Simpson:

    I mean, we have hard evidence, and they razzle-dazzle a bunch of conspiracy nonsense into big moments. Now, we need to make our own big moments that land with the jury. That is how we beat the nonsense. Now, can we focus on that?

    Do I hear a prophecy here, life about to imitate art? Beware the Jabberwock, my son..

    **

    Let me close with another stunning Falling Curtain Event, this one from a Dylan live performance:

    It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there — how’s that for a curtain falling?

    On the one hand, it’s night falling, any night. But that’s the lyrics, the musical delivery is fatigued, so, so very weary: as the lyrics say, Time is running away.

    More lines that, in their diverse ways, tell you of that fatigue, that flesh, bone, mind, soul weariness:

    There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
    I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
    Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
    I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
    I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
    Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain<

    So many ways, running down..

    It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

    Superb performance of a great song– and to m=y mind, apocalyptic without ever saying so explicitly — just that sense of thr curtain, falling .

    Rabbi Yisrael Ariel ‘s vision of Jewish world dominion, plus respect

    Monday, March 11th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — in Judaism, J’lem, Sanhedrin, Temple, Noahide Commandments — in Christianity C Peter Wagner, Dominion eschatology — in Islam, Maududi — hatred springs from love far too narrowly constrained? ]
    .

    As someone who has noted the visions of world domination of Islamist extremists and those of their Christian counterparts, it seems only fair for me to note that some scripture-listeralist extremists within Judaism also foresee world domination for their faith — taking the form of Israel converting all nations to the seven Noahide commandments, if not to Judaism itself, by the sword if need be.

    Thus Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute and head of the reconstituted Sanhedrin, said:

    This is what the Torah commanded us: ‘When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it’ [Deuteronomy 20:10].

    What is meant by ‘peace’? Maimonides says that they must agree to follow the seven Noahide laws … Meaning, you ask them, ‘Do you follow the seven laws? If so, we will allow you to live.’ If not, you kill all of their males, by sword. You only leave the women.

    How do you leave them? They must all agree to follow the seven laws. And that is how you impose the Seven Laws on that city. We will conquer Iraq, Turkey. We will get to Iran, too. We will impose the seven Noahide laws on all of these places.

    You say, ‘I call upon you in peace.’ If they raise the flag [of surrender] and say, ‘From now on there is no more Christianity, no more Islam,’ the mosques and the Christian spires and their crosses come down, ‘from now on we follow the seven Noahide laws.’

    .

    **

    I recently posted a piece titled Laughing at, and respecting, Sebastian Gorka in which I, yes, laughed at Seb Gorka, whose views on many topics I strongly disagree with, and whose speech at CPAC last week seemed frankly over the top, but also expressed respect for the narrative of his boyhood which was part of that speech — and which struck me as explaining something of the intensity of his feelings — at the age of seven or eight, he saw something that changed his life for ever: he saw deep white lines on his father’s wrists, and when he asked what had caused them, his father told him — without emotion —

    Son, that’s where the secret police bound my wrists together with wire behind my back so they could hang me from their ceiling of the torture chamber.

    Coming to the present day, and with that memory seared into him, he told the CPAC audience:

    Russia, we have to remember, is run by a former KGB colonel. That’s the sort of person who would be torturing freedom-fighters like my father in the basement of the Headquarters of the KGB. That’s the reality.

    That I respect.

    And in that spirit, too, I respect Rabbi Ariel‘s memories of the Six Day War and the retaking of the Temple Mount — sacred to both Islam and Judaism —

    We saw fire and smoke from all directions. Gunfire was heard. Suddenly the bad news began ton arrive: friends.. this one was killed, that one was killed.. I saw with my ownb eyes, to my great sorrow, some of the artillery struck fellow soldiers. I had to gather up legs, arms, to bring them to a proper burial. Then the shelling began on the Old City. Planes were streaking overhead, lots of fire and smoke.

    and then, this:

    From the place where I was standing, I could see the entire Temple Mount. After 2000 years this is happening before my very eyes. Within minutes I saw suddenly atop the Dome of the Rock the flag of Israel waving — truly the messianic age..

    .

    **

    I said above that I had noted “the visions of world domination of Islamist extremists and those of their Christian counterparts”. I’d like to quickly document those two claims to world dominion:

    C Peter Wagner, convener of the New Apostolic Reformation declared:

    My favorite term is “dominion eschatology.” Why? Because Jesus did not give His Great Commission in vain.

    The battle will be ferocious, and we will suffer some casualties along the way.However, we will continue to push Satan back and disciple whole nations.

    We are aggressively retaking dominion, and the rate at which this is happening will soon become exponential. The day will come when “‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’” (Rev. 11:15, NKJV)!

    while Syed Abul A’la Maududi wrote:

    Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam.Islam is not a normal religion like the other religions in the world, and Muslim nations are not like normal nations. Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world. Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. Islam doesn’t look for a nation to be in better condition than another nation. Islam doesn’t care about land or who owns the land. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power in this world that tries to get in the way of that goal Islam will fight and destroy. In order for Islam to fulfil that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is jihad.

    Okay?

    **

    And it was the prophet Isaiah, I think, who offered a more peaceable version or vision of the same global imagery:

    for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.


    Switch to our mobile site