Calls to end divisiveness and violence are meaningless and ineffective unless they are accompanied by calls to end the slavery allowed by the 13th Amendment. Enslavement is an egregious act of violence that divides those deprived of all their rights and freedoms (for any reason) from the rest of society, including their own families.
From the beginning of my involvement with the Muslim community I was faced with contradictory information about the religion of Islam. Alongside this were countless conversations about the great harm done to the East by Western nations. Discussion and research did not help lessen the confusion until I finally studied classical Arabic at a Berlitz school of languages. For the first time the subject of Islam began to make some sense, but it would be many more years before I would fully grasp what Prophet Muhammed had been talking about very clearly and without contradiction. After this I encountered a far more perplexing situation when I tried to discuss my discovery with educated, Arabic speaking women who knew the meanings of the words and phrases used throughout the religion that clearly demonstrate Prophet Muhammed was teaching the exact opposite of the patriarchal, macho message being propagated today. These women did not argue with me, even confirmed my findings, but they did not want to talk about it, instead going on ad nauseam about how to properly perform the rituals. Their reaction floored me–the men I could understand, but the women? Couldn’t they see where this was taking them?
My interaction with the Muslim community was derailed by the sudden death of my husband in an accident. Soon after that I found myself involved with the mental health industry and facing the same extremely unhelpful patriarchal, macho attitude I had been living with in the Muslim community for the last thirty years. In discussions and books about psychiatry and mental health I kept running into the word “power.” Psychiatrists, drug companies, and the state have the “power” to force their treatments and drugs onto vulnerable, traumatized people, all the while never giving any explanation as to who or what gives them this power. Their use of the word “power” is very misleading, because it infers strength and bravery when what we are actually dealing with is weakness and fear: fear of loss of control, fear of humiliation, fear of scandal, fear of dishonor. This fear leads to the kind of control that is the very opposite of power, because it only breeds weakness.
The families of those diagnosed with some “mental illness” demand involuntary treatments and drugs designed to silence, repress, and control unwanted behaviors and speech. Families also use religion to silence, repress, and control unwanted behaviors and speech. And our government uses slavery, disguised as a criminal justice system, to silence, repress, and control unwanted behaviors and speech. The problem is, the more you control, the more you lose control. Balance is necessary for survival, and it is impossible for people to learn balance when they are perpetually being controlled and forced to do everything by someone outside themselves. They lose all sense of the inner self one must be aware of and listen to in order to learn how to balance. So instead of balance, we get addiction to prescription drugs, alcohol, nicotine, street drugs, and above all, addiction to the controlling behavior that leads to the need for something outside oneself to cope with a life out of balance, out of control, out of order–broken in every way.
Those who came up with the wording in the 13th Amendment obviously thought they were very clever, very smart. By justifying it “as a punishment for crime,” they succeeded in placing the institution of slavery under state control in the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, thereby making it mandatory for every public servant to preserve, protect, and defend slavery. Everything surrounding the 13th Amendment exemplifies, not intelligence, but consummate stupidity, especially on the part of everyone who believes it abolished slavery when it actually legitimized and expanded “our peculiar institution” immeasurably.
Our biblical story of creation is a primitive artifact from our past that has done great harm to the people believing in it. This creation myth deprives women, and thus mankind, of their humanity. The enslavement and control of almost everyone was the purpose and outcome of that story. When children are taught that the first woman was a non-human appendage that became an evil temptress, responsible for mankind’s fall from Grace and Paradise, you end up with mothers who produce cursed non-human appendages that struggle to survive.
The creation story very effectively enslaves women, children, and countless people who grow up with no understanding of what it means to be “human.” So instead of a loving, caring, secure, mindful, brave, balanced population and world, we get thoughtless, angry, fearful, insecure, unbalanced, dangerous, machine-like control freaks that only know how to use enslavement and control to manage their own and others’ lives.
The biblical creation story should be taught in history lessons as a prime example of extreme backwardness akin to ritual human sacrifice and cannibalism. The fact we cannot see there is only harm in this story and no benefit proves its effectiveness in shutting down our ability to think, making us slaves to stupidity.
John Lennon said it clearly in his song “Woman Is the Nigger of the World.” When women are treated as they are, the world is going to be one big shit-hole. Tragically, the major religions support the belief that women and children are chattel, the property of the Patriarch to do with as he pleases. All other slavery comes out of this ideology. It turns men into slavers and women and children into slaves with no voice, no choice, and no rights. Talk of human progress makes no sense as long as we hold on to this belief.
I have often wondered why state/government employees such as police, prison guards, doctors and nurses working in the psychiatric wards of hospitals, and social workers, seem to be above the law when they are dealing with people accused of breaking laws created by the state. State employees appear to be exempt from laws that apply to almost everyone else. It occurred to me that the relationship between them and the person in trouble with the state was the same as the relationship between a slave and his/her owner. The state employee has all the power/control while all of the accused’s rights suddenly and completely evaporate. At that point I reread the 13th Amendment, the one teachers working in state-run schools tell us abolished slavery, only to find it did no such thing–it “liberalized” slavery. Anyone the state decides has broken the law can be made a slave.
The least we can do is call a spade a spade. The words power and powerful are euphemisms when used to describe slaveholders. Slavery is, has been, and always will be brutality. Slaveholders are brutes, and their behavior and character brutal. And the institution of slavery, still alive, well, and LEGAL in the United States of America, is enforced using brute force. Accusing other countries of human rights violations is a waste of time and ridiculous as long as we are a slave state.
No wonder America is so prosperous! Legalized slavery, sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution and Congress, has always been alive and well in the “most advanced democracy on earth.” Everyone bought the myth of superiority whether they want to admit it or not.
I recently had reason to read the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This was the first time I read it since leaving school, and my first reaction to, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…,” was to continue with my own thought, “duly convicted by all-white judges and juries you mean.”
When reading it again the next day I thought, “That is a hell of a big loophole–you could fit any number of people through that you wanted to.”
The third day my reaction was, “Son of a bitch! It’s no loophole. It is simply the continuation of legalized slavery.”
The punishment for “crime”, as defined by the state, is slavery. This is why, the minute you are arrested for anything, you immediately lose your freedom of speech, your freedom of choice, and all of your rights.
Muslims say the Qur’an clearly states that Allah does not beget nor is begotten, therefore is not a man, yet they always use the pronoun “He” when talking about “Him.” An unimaginable masculine entity who is somehow like a man without actually being a man. Also, throughout the Qur’an Allah speaks of “Himself” in the third person using the pronoun “He.” The reason for this has not been clear to anyone in the Muslim community I have talked to regarding Allah and the Qur’an, not even Arabic-speaking lifelong Muslims. These were people who never had reason to read an English translation of the Qur’an, and when they were confronted with one for the first time could only stare at it in bewilderment. They all told me, my Arabic language instructor included, that this was not how it sounded in Arabic. After some quiet thought they would come to the conclusion that the English language was at fault; no one suggested the Islamic scholars who wrote the translations might have something to do with the discrepancy. Next, they wanted to change the subject or turned to placing great emphasis on the rituals since they firmly believed that Allah, through His Prophet, had commanded all Muslims to do these rituals, and there could be no doubt or confusion over this. Anyway, they all very confidently assured me that Allah is not a man.