13 January 2015

Enemies and allies

The Charlie Hebdo massacre seems to have provoked a boomlet of "kill them all, God will know his own" rhetoric from the sort of people that still think Samuel Huntingdon knew what he was talking about.  Shaw Kenawe has some examples.  In their eyes, the violence was so shocking that collective punishment or at least collective responsibility are a legitimate response.

While it's heartening in a way to see so many right-wingers so outraged by an attack on free expression (does this mean they're finally going to stop trying to censor internet porn?), it's illogical to say that a crime is so heinous that it justifies punishing people who had nothing to do with it, or "holding them responsible", as Rupert Murdoch has notoriously demanded:

(JK Rowling made a good reply to this.)  Even if they're peaceful they must be held responsible?  What kind of sense does that make?

As long-time readers know, I yield to no one in my revulsion toward the Islamic religion, but this rhetoric is horrifying. An individual, in most cases, is much more than merely their religion. This habit of treating millions of people as a faceless mass and calling for collective punishment is a disgrace to the values of the secular West, and has to stop. By that logic, we should have punished all teabaggers after those gangs of lawless armed thugs threatened BLM officials during the Cliven Bundy incident.

Not only have Muslim leaders and institutions around the world condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack, but the Middle East itself has actually been turning against jihadism for several years, as the jihadists have become steadily more extreme and violent (don't forget that most people killed by jihadists have been other Middle Easterners). Sunni and Shiite extremists in Iraq have been blowing up each other's mosques for years, killing thousands, and then ISIS came along with its beheadings and slavery and massacres, and provoked such revulsion that the Kurds, Shiite Arabs, Iran, and recently even Sunni Arabs are collaborating to defeat it, even though that means also collaborating with the "infidel" West.

The Taliban had some sympathizers in Pakistan -- until the Peshawar school massacre, which seems to have united the country in a determination to eradicate the extremists.

Over the last decade, major terrorist attacks in Europe have grown rarer largely because of cooperation between police and Muslim communities, who often tip off the authorities when they get wind of something nasty being planned.  (Those communities, never forget, are increasingly assimilating into mainstream European culture; one of the Charlie Hebdo staffers and one of the policemen who was killed responding to the attack were of Maghribi origin.)

Iranians have had the grinding dreariness of living under a theocracy for a third of a century and they're sick of it, having launched the largest mass street protests in history in 2009 and then elected a President who promised reform and reconciliation with the West.

(Something like that is happening here in the West too, of course. As gay people become more and more accepted by mainstream society, the fundamentalist hatred toward them seems ever more alien and repulsive to the average person. We are winning. We haven't won yet, but from Tehran to Texas, we are winning. Never forget that.)

People like Murdoch don't seem to be keeping up on current events other than those which are rubbed in all our faces every day by the MSM.  Millions of Muslims are recognizing that jihadist cancer and fighting to destroy it.  Huntingdon was wrong.  I admit that his book intrigued me when it came out, and at the time it was a plausible scenario for how the post-Cold-War world might develop, but he was wrong.  What's going on now is not a clash of civilizations.  It's a clash in which one side consists of a relatively small assortment of violent fanatics, who have no "civilization" worthy of the name, and the other side consists of the broad mass of people and societies in both the West and the Middle East who have for years suffered increasingly insane atrocities at the hands of those violent fanatics and are now working together to defeat them.

That collaboration is an enormously valuable development. To revert to the discredited Huntingdon clash-of-civilizations world-view and indiscriminately treat all Muslims as the enemy would be the most disastrous move we could possibly make on the world stage right now.

[This post is partly adapted from comments I made here and here.]


Blogger Woody said...

Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been attacked and displaced by ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Are they a part of the commonly quoted:
'99% of the victims of Islamic terrorists are other Muslims', or are they a part of the remaining 1% ?
I am not immediately sceptical of the common saying, i'm just curious of how the many local Christian victims are included in that point which seems favoured among some.


13 January, 2015 04:44  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Woody: I don't know where you're hearing anyone say that "99% of the victims of Islamic terrorists are other Muslims" -- I've never heard that. I think it's around 85%. And no, Christians by definition are not Muslims -- why would you ever think that? It's a contradiction in terms.

In my writing I always carefully distinguish the terms "Muslim" and "Middle Eastern". There are many millions of Middle Eastern people who are not Muslim. When I say Muslim I mean Muslim.

13 January, 2015 05:11  
Blogger Woody said...

I know that 'Christians by definition are not Muslims'.
I understand that the two words represent adherents of two different religions.
That saying (which I heard once as 95%) just shows ignorance by some about the diversity of faiths held by people in the Middle East.
If I hear it again I will express my curiosity about the figures only to the person saying it, since that expression seems to have not spread as far as I imagined.


13 January, 2015 15:27  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"We are winning. We haven't won yet, but from Tehran to Texas, we are winning. Never forget that.)"

Sometimes it's difficult to keep that in mind when we see slaughter like we've seen in Paris and, even worse, in Nigeria.

It can be very discouraging at times.

PS. Thanks for the link.

13 January, 2015 17:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Woody: Then that answers your question -- none of the Christians killed by jihadists were Muslims :-) although many of them were Middle Eastern.

Shaw: Think of it as being like World War II after the battles of Stalingrad and Midway. There was still much hard fighting ahead, and some battles would still be lost, but it was clear which side would eventually win the war.

You're welcome, and thank you for assembling that collection of insanities.

13 January, 2015 18:41  
Blogger Unknown said...

"We are winning. We haven't won yet, but from Tehran to Texas, we are winning. Never forget that."

I love your optimism. It gives me hope. And I do believe that most people are good. It's the others who worry me a bit. Hopefully some of our species will survive the seemingly human penchant for species-immolation long enough to see what it looks like when we do win. : )

13 January, 2015 19:05  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

George: It's going to be quite a while yet, but it will be worth the wait.

14 January, 2015 03:38  

Post a Comment

<< Home