Category Archives: Satire

Had They Been There: The White Middle Class Meets the Radical Politics of a Certain Messianic Nazarene

It was a pleasant afternoon, ordinary enough by the standards of false tranquillity in Johannesburg’s Northern suburbs, when the scarcely-possible happened. In an absurd turn of events, the sort usually constrained to the pages of science fiction, a wormhole opened for a moment at Tashas in Rosebank, transporting a group of white, upper-middle class South Africans across space and time to a particularly tumultuous First Century Jerusalem.

Upon arrival, they complained (but we must forgive them, for this is their second nature), about all the potholes, before running into a messenger for Camel-through-a-Needle’s-Eye Witness News (CNEWN, a local news outlet). The messenger rambled on in Aramaic to the strangely-dressed people. Fortunately, among the travellers was Christina, who had studied the obscure language during her time at university (before, as she is fond of saying, “they ruined the place”). Listening through the interpreter’s ear, they were informed about a certain Levantine Jewish radical who was disrupting the day-to-day lives of the Jerusalem elite.

The man, they were told, was part of a violent minority that, instead of engaging ‘rationally’ and following bureaucratic processes, chose to express its discontent by entering the city and defying, even mocking, the power structures. They were told of how he entered the Temple of Jerusalem, drove out all who traded there, and violently overturned the tables of the dove merchants and money changers [1] . The radical, reported CNEWN, was a self-declared champion of the poor [2] who came from a modest, lower-class family in rural Judea. He detested the Roman Occupiers and those among his own Jewish people who’d grown scandalously wealthy through collusion with Rome. Having arrived only ten minutes earlier, the travellers had no understanding of the complex socio-politics that underlined his actions. They  made no attempt to sympathise with why this radical was angry, for locating an argument within socio-politics and attempting to understand context was never really their forté. So their responses came quickly and rather recklessly:

“I mean, if he really wanted all people to gain access to the Temple, why would he try to destroy it?”

“Don’t the money changers and pigeon [sic] merchants have rights too? Why would he violate their rights when fighting for his own? Did he have to drive out the traders to make his point? Clearly, he’s lost the plot.”

“Couldn’t he protest peacefully? There’s a difference between a protest and a riot, you know? It’s time we call him what he is: a hooligan bent on anarchy.”

“He’s a free-loader. Nothing comes for free hey. He just hates those who have because he’s too lazy to educate himself and become successful. Typical. Why does he want to visit the temple without paying for the sacrifices? How is the temple supposed to run without those fees?”

As they stumbled around later that night, searching desperately for a Starbucks in the streets of First Century Palestine, a messenger brought another CNEWN bulletin, alerting them that the radical, along with 12 accomplices (some of whom were armed and violently resisted arrest [3]), had been apprehended by the authorities. The leader had been detained, and was to be tortured and executed by crucifixion.  Again, the paternalistic responses came quickly from the travellers:

“What? There were only 13 of them? This just serves to show that they’re a radical minority, just as CNEWN has been reporting. The vast majority, the silent majority of people in Jerusalem just want to go back to their daily lives. I’m sure if asked, 77%, at least, would vote to just have things the way they were.”

“It’s called Law and Order. The sooner these hooligans learn to respect that, the better.” 

Within the next week, the Roman Authorities posted a notice in the public square and on the gates of Jerusalem’s Temple:

“Earlier today, the treasonous radical and blasphemer, Yeshua of Nazareth, was crucified upon a hill in Golgotha. It is with great regret that we’ve been forced to take these necessary measures needed to ensure the safety and security of our territory and citizenry.”

Some of our travellers remarked at the terrible necessity of violence to control anarchy, while others openly boasted. The radical, unrecognisable because his strange name and dark skin were untouched by the bleach of Eurocentric whitewashing, was not human to them. So they refused to speak of him as one, to place themselves within his shoes, or upon his crucifix. As they continued to echo one another’s sentiments, space-time snapped back into place, transporting them once again into the sanctuary of their present, the polished tables and airy milieu of Tashas in Rosebank.

Unfortunately, their minds, being tragically linear and hostile towards complexity, were incapable of containing a radical distortion of space-time. Their leap into the past, then, was instantaneously jettisoned, and they retained no memory of it at all. So they finished their meals, climbed into their luxurious sedans and listened to Talk Radio 702 as they coasted back into their gated communities.  Without hesitation, they receded into the perverse normalcy of an outrageously unequal world…

On Mondays, they began their weeks by driving their children to a private school, wondering aloud along the way at why the homeless on the streets couldn’t “just get a job”. On Friday evenings, they ended their weeks by meeting once again at a high-end restaurant to discuss the formulaic pleasures of suburban life. On Sundays, however, many of them went to Church and prayed, kneeling at the foot of that radical – a man whose crucifixion they had cheered and whose torture they had justified, because even when confronted with the struggle of their own Messiah, they could never bring themselves to sympathise with the dispossessed.

Note: Seeing as I may be accused of fabricating these Biblical events, the references to the New Testament are reproduced here:

[1] Mathew 21:12

[2] Luke 6:20-21, Luke 4:16-19

[3] John 18:10

Advertisements

Saudi Condemns ISIS for Lack of “Beheading Etiquette”

scimitar_sword__74253.1394472076.1280.1280

A Scimitar: the traditional curved sword of the cultured beheader.

RIYADH  –  Saudi Arabia has launched a scathing attack on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, claiming the terror group lacks “beheading etiquette”. In a statement released today, the Kingdom, which has beheaded more than 150 people this year, says comparisons between itself and ISIS are “absurd” and an insult to the sophistication employed by the Saudi state when it publicly decapitates people.

In order to counter this criticism, the Saudi government has established a Department of Beheading Decorum (DBD). The DBD is headquartered in the capital of Riyadh, adjacent to the Ministry for the Execution of Witches and Apostates, and the Special Office for the Flogging of Bloggers. It is tasked with insuring that beheadings are carried out in a manner that is “civilised”, following a “fair and just trial” in an official Sharia Kangaroo court.

“These militants have no class,” says Abdullah al-Saud, head of the newly formed DBD. “They blatantly disregard tradition and protocol. When they behead, they callously use butcher knives instead of meticulously-sharpened swords! Outrageous! Why hasn’t the UN intervened?” He continued, “Instead of keeping the affair personal – between friends, family and the domestic population that must be intimidated into subservience – they post their executions on the internet. I mean, we all enjoy the occasional crucifixion, but must you broadcast it to the world? What is this, Instagram?”

In response, ISIS spokesperson Abu-Musa bin Farouq al-Kuwaiti initially withheld comment, citing concern over whether “biting the hand that feeds you is halaal”. Eventually, al-Kuwaiti responded with an air of disappointment, saying that the Saudis, who exported the puritanical, fundamentalist brand of Wahhabi Islam upon which ISIS thrives, are “extravagant in the administration of the Sharia we share, have chosen the side of the West and the Crusaders, and are therefore infidels.”

Another anonymous source in the DBD concurred with al-Saud’s assessment, saying that while the Kingdom bears striking similarities to ISIS, the distinguishing factor must be etiquette. “Let’s be honest here,” he said with a laugh, “We have a fascist theocracy that can treat women as second-class citizens. We can respond to dissent with public torture, behead migrants for non-violent offenses, and criminalise thought that doesn’t agree with our ideology. We’ve even made it illegal to openly practise anything other than Islam within our borders and we have a religious police that forces Wahhabism on the citizenry. Look at all the nice things we can have because we are sophisticated! We are a first class dictatorship, yet we are the head of the UN Human Rights Council. We’ve killed more civilians in Yemen than Israel did last year in Gaza – yet still: no boycotts, no divestments, no sanctions. The US has even approved the sale of another 1.3 billion dollars worth of arms to us! We are a shining example to fascists and fundamentalists around the world – that if you want to continue being fascists and fundamentalists, simply be cultured about it.”

After a long pause he added, “And perhaps this all has something to do with our oil.” At the mention of the o-word, he stared wistfully into space, then shifted uncomfortably in an attempt to conceal his arousal, before excusing himself to his office to polish his sword.

Additional reporting by J. Paul Sartire

[A rather obvious disclaimer: this article is not intended to be taken as factual reporting and is SATIRE. The same cannot be said unfortunately for the similarities between the ideology and policies of ISIS and those of Saudi Arabia.]

ISIS Discovers Namesake with Egyptian Deity; Executes Itself

ISIS

Isis: Ancient Egyptian Goddess, believed to be mother of Horus and protector of children and the dead

Mosul, Iraq: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an offshoot of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, has self-destructed after discovering that it shares a name with an Ancient Egyptian Goddess. The group, which holds swathes of territory in Syria and is now engaged in a battle for Iraq with President Nouri Al Maliki’s forces, had carved out new lows for human rights abuse this week and was gaining momentum when the revelation of the link stopped it in its tracks.

The conundrum arose when a young jihadi in the initial stages of the ceremonial brainwashing process had found himself in “infidel corners of the web”, said group spokesperson Mahmoud al-Shakawi. The Isis of Egyptian Antiquity was in fact revered as a “friend of slaves, sinners and the downtrodden”, as well as the protector of children and the dead-as the misguided youth soon discovered. This “flies in the face of everything ISIS stands for”, asserted al-Shakawi, who expressed his dismay at simply being associated with the polytheistic deity by unceremoniously spitting on the ground each time the name was mentioned.

Professor Ahmed Damagh, who heads Cairo University’s Neurobiology Department, said that the contradiction between the group’s identity and twisted ideals had effectively set off an infinite feedback loop in their neurons. Damagh said that this has begun over-burdening their pre-frontal cortices, which are responsible for higher order thinking and had been unused for years in the case of many ISIS fighters. The neurobiological traffic has resulted in the abrupt shut-down of an increasing number of militants, as they continue to collapse like (to borrow Professor Damagh’s analogy) the Chituari at the climax of Marvel’s The Avengers.

“Of course it is irrational for our brains to abruptly execute our bodies-but rationality when faced with the opportunity for execution is an atheist plot”, Al-Shakawi said towards the end of our interview. He continued, “On top of that blasphemous association, this Isis so-called-god [spits] is a woman…and you know how absolutely…terrified we are of women.” The realization of the Freudian Slip was clearly too much for the former spokesperson, as he soon after dropped to the ground while mumbling something about feminism being Pagan witchcraft.

(Additional reporting by J. Paul Sartire)

[A rather obvious disclaimer: this piece is SATIRE and is not intended to be taken as a factual report (I’m looking at you Fox News)]