05 September 2008

Vikings or Taliban?

Post No 7

Vikings or Taliban - can you spot the difference??

Almost all Danes, certainly the menfolk, would unreservedly and
wholeheartedly say with genuine pride and respect that our
forefathers the Vikings (c800AD-c1100AD) were great guys that
we can really relate to - whereas the very same people would
undoubtedly equally strongly condemn the Taliban as outlandish
fanatics with a death-wish.

May I ask the innocent little question: Why?
Why the dramatic difference in attitudes when the similarities
are so striking and so great?

For both groups, separated by a thousand years and thousands of
kilometres, share the following:

Your blood-line, your family, your clan, who you are, where you come
from, are of the utmost importance, as is your personal honour and
that of your family, clan etc.

Hospitality towards strangers and travellers, including, if the
situation called for it, your worst enemies:
I recall reading a report from Afghanistan where village elders had
arranged for some US soldiers to come on a visit, maybe in an
effort to understand why there are foreign soldiers occupying their land,
and the soldiers described that they were certain some of the locals
at the meeting were Taliban fighters, who remained courteous and polite
but lacking the warmth and openness of the others.
And the reason that the soldiers were neither captured nor shot nor
beheaded was obviously to protect the honour of the elders who had
guaranteed the safety of the strangers for the duration of the encounter.
With principles like that, who needs any man-made written laws?

Another case springs to mind:
In the aftermath of 11 September 2001, the Taliban (quite correctly
of course!), refused to hand anyone over to the US in the absence of
credible evidence that anyone on Afghan soil was involved.
Assuming that Osama bin Laden was indeed in Afghanistan at the time,
it would have been unthinkable for the Taliban to hand him over as he
was in the country as an honoured guest and friend, and we have the
feeling that even if evidence had been produced nobody would have
been handed over - because it would betray the trust and honour of
the people involved.
Interestingly, the Taliban a little later did offer that any wanted persons
could possibly be tried in a third country if Islamic law was applied -
and the rest was silence because it is clear that the invasion and occupation
of both Afghanistan and Iraq were planned long in advance, probably even
before GW Bush was elected!

The Vikings would behave in more or less the same manner, providing
food and shelter as required if, say, members of a feuding clan were
passing through the valley, even sitting at the same long table as their
enemies, who had to leave their heavy weapons outside, bringing only
light personal weapons inside, relying entirely for their security, indeed
their survival, on the integrity of the hosts.

Any excuse to prove your manliness - almost any statement could be
taken as a challenge to "choose your weapons" and hand-to-hand
combat would then settle the issue and determine who was the better
man of the two.

Now, if these are the men and the attitudes and actions we admire in
"the best of men" from our own past, why can we not recognise the same
qualities in a different group today and respect and applaud them -
is it simply because it is all happening now or because it is taking
place in a far-off land?

A few words about Allah and Valhalla:
Despite the close similarity between the words there are no linguistic
links to be found whatsoever. Valhalla, which literally means battlefield-hall,
was the abode of the Vikings who had fallen honourably in battle and every
day they would wake up, go out on the battlefield and fight their last battle
over again, die once more, to be brought into Valhalla to be revived by
attending maidens, the Valkyries, and treated to a banquet of pork and
mead (apple cider fermented with honey), accompanied by story-telling
and recitals of poetry.

And how did you determine how someone had fallen honourably?
Simple - if the deadly wounds were at the front of the body it proved
that you were not killed trying to run away and you were therefore
eligible for Valhalla, for which "proper Viking men" openly longed.
The similarity with Muslim Jihadists receiving instant resurrection and
going straight to Jannah/Paradise without having to wait in barzakh/burzakh
like "normal" Muslims is obvious and striking.
Replace the haram pork and mead with halal fruits and spring water,
replace the Valkyries with the dark-eyed Houris, and the situations
are absolutely parallell.

So, can we spot the difference?
Of course there are differences too - the most obvious being the AK47!
Which is simply an indication of the intervening 1000 years and advances
in technology - the most deadly weapons of the Vikings were the best
avaiable in their day and their smiths and craftsmen did much to improve
existing techniques.

Is there anything new under the sun? Probably not!

>>> For Viking-Muslim's ARCHIVE please visit Ibraheem's website <<<

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