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Statement # 23

"By grimly campaigning against abortion, the US president Bush has  endangered the health of millions of women, babies and children world-wide. "
(Dutch media, 3 December 2002.)

Sown death and ruin, blocked well-being

"Washington stops its contribution of 34 million dollar to UNFPA, the UN-fund for the population. Thousands of women will die before a birth takes place, some millions of women will unwillingly become pregnant - and thus commit abortion. Many thousands of babies and young children will die."

According to the WPF, de Dutch branch of UNPFA (United Nations Population Fund) in the World Population Report 2002, on People, Poverty & Possibilities". 

Harmful conservatism

The US policy is extremely conservative, and is outright an expression of “harmful conservatism”, in other words fundamentalism. It can be said that   president George W. Bush personally has since taking office strived with personal dedication against everyone that in his eyes commits, propagates or distribute information on abortion. Many health programmes for women have been affected as a result of this policy, and now the UNFPA as well. Congress had already agreed to the contribution of 34 million dollars to the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. The Bush administration blocks this contribution, directly against the democratic decision of public representation. 

We have already spoken about this in Statement # 19, 'Listen to the Children',  but, as we said, Bush stumbles over sexual openness. in which we saw something similar in progress.

The aim of the Action Program is: a low population grow, resulting in  better productivity and economic growth, whereby poverty, and therefore over-population and unwanted births in developing countries would be able to decrease. If women were to receive more education and rights, then they would also be less likely to become undesiderably pregnant, and therefore commit less abortions. The risk of HIV /  AIDS would also become less.

Here we see the North-American fundamentalism in progress in a harmful way. 

In July the American government has scrapped a contribution of 34 million dollars to the UNFPA, because the UN-fund would be financing abortions in China. 

Under political pressure from conservative Christian groups in the US, the US government tries to internationally wage a war against abortion. 

Recently, at a UN conference on family planning in Bangkok, the American delegation tried to reverse the agreements of the UN population conference in 1994 […]

 This lead to an open quarrel between the US and other countries, among which the Netherlands, whereby the Americans were forced to tone down their proposal. […] 

In the interest of the fight against poverty, against AIDS and for strengthening the position of women, countries should not be hindered by American religious organizations with a fierce anti-abortion sentiment.

29 December, 2002, Editorial Commentary, NRC

It is based upon fundamentalist-conservative Christian tradition of thought, an ideology in which one has never been able to come to terms with human sexuality.

"Neo-conservatists in the USA preach a  moral absolutism that is chilling."
2002-dec-29, Etty, Elsbeth, 'America, America',  NRC

Is this typically North-American? Or typically Christian? Absolutely not. 

Before, in 1994 in Egypt, there was already a worldwide UN conference on the problem of (over)population. Plans were discussed there, as mentioned above. That did not go well, because there were opponents who were against any sort of education on means of contraception and similar health measures. Indeed, America protested, the Pope protested, and China was being difficult. But the greatest resistance came from Islamic countries. In those countries the position of the woman is notably appalling. 

It is based upon fundamentalist-conservative Islamic tradition of  thought, an ideology in which one has never been able to come to terms with human sexuality.

What is the difference?

The US may, now more than ever, struggle with all its might against every aspect of Islamic culture, but what is one actually struggling against? A culture that is as conservative as the American one. Taliban fundamentalism, a repugnant as it is, is being replaced by the American one, which in its own way is just as repugnant. 

In the meantime, The Taliban wanted to sweep away the Buddhist culture and replace it with the Islamic one. Not exactly a noble cause. Meanwhile, the American culture is busy there replacing the Islamic culture with the Western one; just as before when almost the entire Indian culture and population was driven away by the tough, rather aggressive, heavily armed and ‘very Christian’ cowboys. 

What right does one believe one possesses to force their culture on other populations in an armed manner? What are the ideologies that form the foundations behind this?

"What nonsense!, what an irritating and dangerous polarization, and what a success for the two cliques that threaten the world: that of Bush and that of Bin Laden. […]

Both groups think in an exclusive and murderous way: whoever is not with me, is against me, and whoever is against me must die.

22 February, 2003, Chris van der Heijden, ‘The lice in the fur: Only you and I can still convert Bush’, VN


We spoke about the new conservatism. This does not appear to be unreasonable in all aspects. Unfortunately there is more. Besides neo-conservatism we must differentiate between a number of ideologies, their proponents, and the implications thereof. When one is talking about Islam, this does not always happen. 

For an analysis, one must make a differentiation, even if it is a double differentiation. 

First of all between


culture and tradition, 

politics, and 

what extremists do.

In the countryside of an Arabic state, there are influences of Islam that take the place of religion, an ancient culture of herder-tribes, and politics of a dictatorial regime which blend naturally with one another. For an analysis one really must differentiate between them. In this sense, one may not attribute a phenomenon such as honor vengeance to Islam; it is the culture. 

The second differentiation concerns the contents of the ideas. 

Many people confuse Islam and the conservative limitedness of Semitic people.
2002-sep-17, Bashe Mahamud, letter to the editor, Trouw.

Typically Dutch is that the VVD [Liberal Party] gives form to its racism based on a religious issue. It is the Islamic religion that gets the blame for everything, […] 
The Pope in Rome has never been blamed for being the head of the Church, in the name of which the IRA let their bombs explode in England. Protestantism has never been blamed for the attacks of their religious compatriots in America on abortion clinics. 
Never has the Jewish religion been blamed for attacks carried out by Israelis planes on Palestinian cities.

23 November 2002, Piet Grijs, VN 

Secondly, between

- we  spoke about this ialready.

This is the doctrine of being the “one true doctrine”. It is present in all religions and similar ideologies. Orthodoxies want to keep the doctrine pure and to follow it correctly, but have no political aims. 

The Iraq leader enthusiastically mixed various elements from his socialistic past, nationalism and Islam with one another.

Herman van Amelsvoort, 'The only thing that counts with Saddam is power', WD 31 December 2002


This goes much further. It perceives one’s own doctrine as the only true doctrine, and as superior compared to all others. This influences the perception on people: whoever has other opinions are heretics and they must bet destroyed, or at the very least be forced to change their opinions with all means possible. 
Fundamentalism can be found with two types of people:

With a small group of notably well-educated people, who pervasively pass their convictions onto ... 

an equally small group of people, who are notably poorly educated, have a weak social-economic position, who feel they are isolated, misunderstood, and therefore frustrated. Often one is culturally and spiritually uprooted, and thereby feeling somewhat empty within. 

This goes even further, because extremists do not only preach dogmas, but also take up the gun. 

The source of inspiration for fundamentalism comes from these systems of beliefs. Therefore we shall have to be concerned here with: 

Where does it happen?

What is happening there exactly?

What could we do?

We discuss this is a separate essay, entitled

Be aware of political fundamentalism in the East and in the West


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