Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Montrealistan author now a blogger

Montreal journalist Fabrice de Pierrebourg, author of the recent book Montrealistan, an inquiry into Quebec's potential islamist problem, is blogging from Afghanistan (in French), here.

He has many short posts on his sojourn with Quebecois troops stationed there. His terse writing reflects the scale of the challenges still ahead of us in that half-forgotten war.
After a quick run through of his writing for October, a couple of posts stuck out for me. The first one , entitled "Money Out The Window", concerns the backstory to this ferris wheel, spotted by de Pierrebourg while driving through Kandahar.

It seems that this colorful beginning to an amusement park is a well-intentioned gift from the Japanese. The enormous ride sits unused, gathering dust under the hot sun. There's no electricity for it to run.

After reading many bleak posts on the awful conditions under which our troops must live and still fight the enemy, it was a welcome sight to see this video, showing troops from Valcartier, Quebec, playing hockey in Afghanistan. The taleban turned soccer stadiums into abattoirs, forbidding children simple games like flying a kite, and continue to kill those who would teach women how to read; to face a barbaric enemy so wicked, so filled with evil, a civilized man needs to remind himself what it means to be human, he needs to renew the feeling of what it is like to live, so as to be all the more able to defend all that is good about humanity and all that is great about living... God bless the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who put up with so much and yet still can be Canadians... and still play hockey, even in Afghanistan.


dag said...

"The Taliban turned soccer stadiums into abattoirs, forbidding children simple games like flying a kite, and continue to kill those who would teach women how to read...."

A military occupation fighting an armed force is simple war.

Don't conclude that I have a blueprint in my coat pocket for solving the world's problems. When I write that the West must send colonists around the world to settle and assimilate in places now occupied by our enemies; battle them till they are not simply beaten militarily; not simply till they surrender; not till they beg us to stop beating them; we must send forces of colonists to the lands of our enemies to settle for life and become American in other lands, raising families in those lands to be Americans of the mind.

I write that we must filibuster for universal Modernity; and that since this is going to meet with armed resistance everywhere always, we must engage in war till not only are we victorious, not only till our enemies surrender, but to the point that our enemies have forgotten about surrender and have in fact and deed become us.

I argue for School Teachers with Guns.

Do I expect American colonists to fall upon nations and colonize them? Do I expect school teachers to live in communes with children separated from their families? Do I expect we will defend our charges with arms against the parents who would murder their children who have abandoned them for our greater purpose and the universal spread of the revolutions of Modernity?

I do not expect any such thing. I do expect that we can talk of this as a possibility. We can and we must speak of this as a possibility, as a likelihood of the future. We do not now speak so. We speak of cultural relativism, of multi-culturalism, of anti-Americanism. I suggest we stop such rubbish and speak of School Teachers With Guns.

I do not care about a practical plan; the point is a dramatic shift of the mind. Shoot the parents who would kill the children. Say it out loud, say it loudly in public. Say it so others know it will come. Say it so they know the end of this evil tyranny is over soon. Say it so you know you don't believe any longer in the rubbish of relativism that allows for the moral cowardice of the time we live in.

Speak the unthinkable.

truepeers said...

Well, one can never speak the unthinkable. What this expression refers to is giving voice to resentments that polite or politically correct society has banished in order to protect itself. But the way, any way, that can be spoken is never the eternal way. That's the fundamental insight of Daoism.

Recently, Dag, you were criticizing the death hippies' take on "kill your parents", now you seem to be advocating it. I fear you remain too much in conversation with the totalitarian mind.

You write here as if you expect the children of totalitarian societies to leave their parents of their own accord, so it will be right for us to protect the children's right to leave their parents, with deadly force if necessary.

How will that possibly happen in any numbers? Where will they get the incentive, the means, the reason, the faith? At what age will children leave their parents, without seeking to become like their parents, to go through similar rites of passage? How will they ever live with themselves if they kill their parents? Has any program of mass parenticide or orphaning ever born great fruit?

It's not the desire for a strategy of liberating the victims of totalitarianism, as your specific tactic, that I question. Yours doesn't make sense to my mind. And, knowing how the vast majority of people with kids fear leaving their own children orphans, I can't expect it is an idea that will win support for our side. It's not because it is unthinkable, it's because it's all too thinkable and it is precisely the thing which people want to avoid in their own lives, at any costs. How will they come to embrace it for others? They would have to become very schizoid. The one thing that most people believe is that love for your children comes before all else, even religion.

How can you convert a culture through violence? The only successful conversions i can think of, historically, entail a process of teaching the Other, under pleasing circumstances, the desires you want him to have, of tempting him with signs of freedom and truth, to absorb him and to allow him to absorb you.

School teachers are not parents, and they can't substitute for them. It is, if anything, a question of numbers. A world of orphans is a lost world that will raise lost children and create a class of resentful dependency and totalitarian counter-ideologies. In the end, violence that is not seen to be defensive but is frankly colonizing in intent can only teach violence, that might is right, whatever other end it tries to justify. If the ends justified the means, history would have turned out very differently than it has. But people, even children, will resist anyone who can't show the truth in terms of something pre-existing violence. VIolence is somethimes a necessary part of history, but if conversion is to happen, the converted must feel themselves under the force of an appealing idea that does not itself depend on the violence. So, the slogan "schoolteachers with guns" is altogether untactful when you think about it from the other side.

The losers of wars may eventually convert to the culture of the winners, but only after they have forgotten being losers and have assimilated the winner in their own right. In other words, it is not really a question of becoming like the winners but of finding some new synthesis of competing societies. The world is never going to become all-American. It's a naive idea. History is essentially an expansion of the ways people have of differentiating themselves. THere will never be a universal America of the mind, however much everyone knows and consumes American pop culture. People will use this culture to their own ends. We have to encourage people to aspire to a much greater freedom with which to express their and our differences.

See you tonight.

truepeers said...

I just wrote: "The only successful conversions i can think of, historically, entail a process of teaching the Other, under pleasing circumstances, the desires you want him to have, of tempting him with signs of freedom and truth, to absorb him and to allow him to absorb you."

- I don't mean to deny that people can be turned to violent ideologies by violence. By successful conversion, I mean a conversion to greater truth.

maccusgermanis said...

"forbidding children simple games like flying a kite"

I think their intent was to forbid the childish games of the simple.

A myriad of "American" invitations to be liberated from totalitarianism are already routinely made. Unfortunately, these invitations offer muslims, and other adherents of regressive ideologies, false choices between creative reinterpretation of their traditions or accidental misrepresentations of our traditions. The "Americanism" conjured in our populace for export is produced without "sufficient regard" for the difficult decisions that have distinguished us.
National unity goverment has never worked in the US, and subsequently it has not worked in Iraq. Denial of an immigrants need to assimilate has never worked in America, and "multiculturalism" has nearly ended Europe. A pre-American forebearer dealt with both issues. Alfred the Great organized a decentral resistance and baptised defeated Vikings.
Such actions are completely unapologetic about existing. There will never be a universal America of the mind so long as Americans neither have the inclination, fortitude, or education to themselves remain distinct.