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Callous dolts on parade

06 Jul 2022 | OP ED Watch

So many silly things are said about climate that it is hard to keep up. But we do have to extend special recognition to Ireland’s president Michael Higgins for exploiting a slaughter to advance the alarmist agenda with a statement, as brainless as it was heartless, that blamed an Islamist massacre of Christians at prayer in Nigeria on climate change: “That such an attack was made in a place of worship is a source of particular condemnation, as is any attempt to scapegoat pastoral peoples who are among the foremost victims of the consequences of climate change. The neglect of food security issues in Africa, for so long has brought us to a point of crisis that is now having internal and regional effects based on struggles, ways of life themselves. The solidarity of us all, as peoples of the world, is owed to all those impacted not only by this horrible event but in the struggle by the most vulnerable on whom the consequences of climate change have been inflicted.” Faced with indignation particularly from Roman Catholic bishop of Ondo diocese Jude Ayodeji Arogundade, as well as Irish Christians, the president further disgraced himself by having a spokesperson lie that “The president made no link in his statement between climate change and the attack itself.”

Bishop Arogundade pulled no punches in his response: “The massacre at St Francis Church, Owo, has nothing to do with climate change and food security issues in Africa. To suggest or make a connection between victims of terror and consequences of climate change is not only misleading but also rubbing salt to the injuries of all who have suffered terrorism in Nigeria.” As, one might add, was the claim by Nigeria’s Minister of the Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, that actually blamed Islamic State West Africa Province while insisting that “It is not an ethno-religious thing”.

Yeah. It is. And pretenses to the contrary aren’t just stupid, they’re nasty. But the blame for insulting the victims of this massacre goes farther than just Dublin. As the Christian publication providencemag.com noted, “the president of Ireland can be forgiven for thinking that climate change drives bloody conflicts over land and water. That message is the chief narrative of the European Union, the US State Department, and international non-governmental organizations that they pay to research the conflict—which according to the International Committee on Nigeria has killed some 350,000 citizens. In fact, there are bloody conflicts over land and resources throughout Africa and always have been.”

Nigerian authorities also try to obfuscate the cause. But in a different way and for a different reason. As the magazine says, “Nigerian police spokesmen prefer the term communal conflict to describe the burning of a village that left dozens dead and thousands homeless. Such attacks have happened almost weekly for seven years. The government of Nigeria, led by Fulani Muslims, wants to see the conflict as communal and not as a sectarian conflict or ethnic cleansing, which is what the victims see.” And indeed they also invoke climate:

“Nigerian General Ibrahim Sallau Ali, commander of Nigeria’s Third Army Division based in Jos, uses the climate change narrative when he lectures Christian community leaders from the killing zones of southeastern Kaduna. According to sources who reported to Providence about their early February closed-door meeting with Ali, he said the attacks were the result of climate change forcing northern Nigerian herding peoples out of the desiccated savannah.”

So Michael Higgins can at least plead that he’s not alone in trying to trivialize or obfuscate the violence against Christians in Nigeria. But it’s still rubbing salt into the wounds of the survivors, and insulting the memory of the victims.

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