Fran Lebowitz once described the strife in Northern Ireland as history’s greatest nag. I believe she wrote that line in her book, Metropolitan Life.
I’ll agree with her to an extent: The Troubles, as they’re known in that neck of the woods, are rivaled and in recent decades have been surpassed in producing frustration around the globe by the Arab/Israeli feud. It’s worth noting that both squabbles are rooted in religion.
Scene From 2013 Belfast Riot
When all is said and done, after all the combatants have railed on and on and on and on about injustice, tyranny, chaos, violence, revenge, and many other horrors that, oddly enough, feature predominantly in most of the world’s religions’ charter documents, both fights are built upon a foundation of the belief that the son of a bitch over there worships god in the wrong way.
Because, you know, the omnipotent creator of the Universe needs to have his ego stroked in just the right way or else all hell’s gonna break loose.
I have friends and acquaintances rooting for both sides of the mess in the Middle East. I read and listen to their theses and am struck by how eloquent they are in describing their respective enemies as bloodthirsty beasts. All of them make compelling cases for their willingness to lob missiles at each other or park car bombs next to the other side’s elementary schools.
My God’s Better Than Yours — Gaza, 2014
This holy land likes to place itself in the middle of these internecine hubbubs. Americans of Irish ancestry for the last half century or so have thrown scads of money at the Catholic side in No. Ire. Christians and Jews, of course, are four-square behind Israel while Arabs in America, by and large, sympathize with the Palestinians. Each side has a strong lobby, prowling the halls of Congress and donating cash to countless political candidates.
Little wonder, then that every denomination of our currency features the words, “In God We Trust.” All the dough we earn arming seemingly every side in every set-to around the world comes emblazoned with that motto.
God and guns — a winning business formula.