mercredi, juillet 20, 2005

The Evil Ideology vs. The Clash of Civilisations

Last Saturday I posted Blair's speech following the horrible attacks on London. I chose not to comment at that point beyond highlighting salient parts of the speech which I found intriguing. In his speech TB went one step further in defining the enemy that uses terrorism as its main weapon. In a jab at the "clash of civilisations" party, TB insisted that this was not a case of a clash of civilisations but a case of an evil ideology raising its ugly head and trying to make us change our ways. We shall not be changed was the answer. We will go on doing whatever we were doing without a huff or a puff. It was all civilisation that was attacked.

Fair. True. I agree. Or at least I'd love to. I still cannot help comparing the way we go about our lives and our politics to the way other cultures would. Today's news headlines include the shooting of the Sunni members of the committee that is drafting the Iraqi Constitional Charter. Comparatively, it is as though Friggieri and Fr Serracino Inglott were shot down on their way to the early meetings of Giscard's Constitutional group. The death of the Sunnis practically means the end of the involvement of the minority in the creation of the Constitution in Iraq. A draft that is reportedly very close to a Sharia based law. The Shi'ites and the Kurds who together control the drafting committee have framed a constitution that, insofar as women's rights are concerned... well, they are not exactly all there.

So. The liberation of Iraq (by a nation that defined the Axis of Evil coincidentally along the lines of "which states have switched to dealing internationally using the EURO instead of the dollar?") has freed the Iraqis and allowed them to rewrite their nation's history. How far does 'our' civilisation go in 'dictating' the kind of democracy that is necessary? (Note how diffcult it is to choose the right words). Will the "bringers of peace" send in the troops again should they find out that there is a new kind of oppression going on, namely the suppression of women's rights. An article by Lesley Abdela in seems to show that violence on women already exists.

My point is: We do things differently - if we disagree on a draft constitution we may call each other names like "you cook worse than the Finns" and we may have long faces and block the devlopment of a fledgling Union fifty years on. We do not explode other people because of our disagreement with them. We do not create legislation where one human being gets more rights than another because of a scrotal sack dangling between its legs (at least we do our damned best not to). We may be passing through a crisis of mediocrity but we advocate tolerance and are ashamed whenever an intolerant faction within our community raises its ugly head.

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The Crisis of Mediocrity

I still agree with Tony. We must see these acts of violence as acts based on an evil ideology and not because of differences in civilisations. What worries me is how long can we continue to believe this.... we need clear signs of change... otherwise the other side can start winning... and its greatest victory is that we become like them... that we react to violence with violence... that we try to eradicate their existence because it threatens ours... that we speak of killing or of suppressing rights using terms such as liberation, democracy, axis of evil....

I do not want to become one of them. Thank God I am European.

3 commentaires:

the jacobin a dit…

Well...never let it be said that you are incapable of provoking...

I'd really like to believe that the conclusion you arrived at in this post was specifically designed to wind people up, but somehow my insticts tell me that this is not the case - that you are actually serious in your classifcation of Europe as ethically and morally superior to the United States.

As you may or may not imagine, such a conclusion grates at me - no, it does more than that - it demands a cogent rebuttal, one that I would be more than happy to provide when I am in a calmer state.

Until that time, I will only say this: the Europe to which you often dedicate paeans is the same Europe which is responsible for mass waves of colonialism in past centuries and two world wars in the previous one. I hesitate to even mention the Holocaust for fear of invoking an 'argumentum ad hitlerum' objection on your part.

Ah, for the moment I'm too dejected to continue. How can you be so unserious?

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

Alors monsieur le jacobin,

Although I do love winding people up I must say that I was very serious in this post. I do not classify Europe as morally or ethically superior to the US (since I have no authority to do so). I am just glad I live in the Old Continent which is busy building its new world gradually (admittedly with many difficulties) and which hopefully is very different from the reality that the US of A is today. Yes it is the same Europe that was responsible for mass colonialism, two world wars, and not to mention the crimes in the name of God in the middle East (Crusades), in South America (conquistadores) and during the Inquisition (Torquemada ... that distant cousin of our own Borgemada). The holocaust was meant to be the last straw... as IM would point out Sebrenica thought us that we still had to learn. What is important is that it is our HISTORY and that we now learn from it and try to avoid repeating the same mistakes (being human we do not alwaysmanage).

The Invasion of Iraq, the Axis of Evil, the rape of the multinationals... these are not history but current affairs. I have the right to point fingers. I have the right to thank God that I am not American or Chinese. Unserious? Utopic maybe... but never can I be more serious!

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

excuse the blatant lornism...

the Serbrenica "taught" us and not "thought" us.

or is it a di-veism?