Sunday, August 13, 2006

Anger and terror

I've had a dulled reaction to the revelation that security services have disrupted a plot to blow up transatlantic flights. My initial reaction was dismay at the thought of even longer lines at the airport and the inability to carry my little kit of boredom-assuaging items on board - e.g. electronic solitaire, books, pens for sudoku and crossword, a few pieces of nicorette to keep the cravings at bay.

But really I should have been thinking..."they're trying to kill me." After all, flights from Britain to America were targeted, and though I don't take them very often - lots of people I know do. And sure, I know it wasn't about me personally, but terrorists are certainly trying to kill people like me.

I have to admit my first blooming of anger was directed toward those who set the rules for airport security. "What do you mean I can't take a book on board? And now I'll have to choose from what's left of the Dan Brown thrillers? That is if I have time after the four-hour security queue?"

I still can't be angry at the alleged conspirators - not out of any sense of "innocence til proven guilty", but because I think people who plan such things have come to be so sick and so twisted in some portion of their brain that I can't really be angry at them. Maybe I should be, maybe denying them humanity in my mind lessens the horror of what they planned.

So who am I angry at? This is my first rambling attempt to pull together my thoughts.

Elements of The Muslim Community Of course, the Muslim Community is a bit of misnomer - people are all different. But I am angry at...

1. Those who wrap this up immediately as part of the broader conspiracy against Muslims (e.g. 9/11, the Holocaust, Jews). Those who say that these arrests were conveniently timed to distract attention from Israel. Those who deny even the possibility that some people who seeth in Islam are plotting death against unsuspecting travellers.

2. Those who don't deny the link, but demand an immediate change in foreign policy. I certainly agree that some of our recent foreign policy debacles has added fuel to fire. But pressing the same claim as the terrorists and implying that more attacks are likely unless foreign policy changes and soon is ...well, if it's not an alliance with terror it's at the very least sick opportunism.

A prime is example is Lord Nazir Ahmed - a Labour member of the House of Lords. He was on the BBC Radio4 on the morning the plotting was revealed claiming that our (US/UK) Middle East policy was to blame. When the usual question came up "So then why did 9/11 happen before the invasion of Iraq?" - he was quite clear that it was because Americans had troops on Saudi soil. Wait just a freakin' minute - that was what Osama Bin Laden said. I'm no fan of the House of Saud, but American troops were in Saudi Arabia by agreement.

3. And of course, I'm angry at those Islamists who prey on the weak-minded, preach hatred, provide the connections and the means to orchestrate these attacks.

The leftist chatterati

I'm quite annoyed by those who seem to worry more about "backlash against the Muslim Community" - of which thankfully there has been very little, than about the fact that Britain harbors people who would do us all harm.

I'm very annoyed at the reaction against President Bush's words against Islamic Fascists. I despise George Bush - I think he is an incompetent buffoon with who is no ardent supporter of our liberal democracy and civil liberties. I disagree with his Iraq policy, large swathes of his domestic policy and his fundamentalist world view. And once again...he wasn't as articulate as he might have been:

"this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to - to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."

But I think he's right about this (though it's not just "our nation" in their sights).

I simply cannot understand why those who call themselves "liberal" and worry about condemning all of Islam don't seize this as an opportunity.

I don't hate all Muslims. I don't believe that the Islamic faith needs to be violently at odds with the West. So why can't they see that parts of Islam are embracing and promoting a totalitarian, imperlialist vision much like the Nazi death cults of the early 20th century? Just as the Nazis used elements of Christianity mixed with Germanic culture and myth(including the tangling of Christian imagery and anti-semitism) and just as they used a twisted version of Christianity to promote their message, "Islamic fascists" do the same, just with a different religion and different culture(s).

"Hitler, nobody has ever characterized Hitler as a Christian," said Said Mansour, president of the Islamic Society of Santa Rosa, to which about 100 families belong.

"If it is true, what the British have said (about the arrested plotters being Muslims), then Islam doesn't approve it," Mansour said. "Islam has nothing to do with it. It's very sickening, every time there is something, they just stick Islam to it." (from the Muslim American Society site)

Unlike Nazism, religion must be attached to this world view. Nazism used Christianity tangentially, but it was primarily about ethnicity and nationality- Arian peoples, the German nation. Islamists are promoting a world wide imposition of their own totalitarian view of Islam.


Anglofille said...

As someone who deplores all forms of religious fundamentalism, I am also annoyed by many on the left who refuse to talk honestly about the role religion plays in all of this. It's impossible to understand this issue without being willing to look at how religious ideology is driving it.

Vol Abroad said...

I think there's something about people who haven't grown up amongst fundamentalism - they just can't believe that people would actually think that way. But they do... Folks in the UK think - it can't be that crazy, rantings out of an old book. There must be a more rational reason. But often there isn't.

As you and I know.