Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Sword of Islamocles

Geert Wilders, a minor politician in the Netherlands, promises to release a ten minute film portraying the Koran as a fascistic work, and he does so in the expectation of riling Muslims to protest. Wilders suggests that the Koran be banned from the Netherlands. Wilders seems to be deliberately antagonizing the Muslim militant population in the Netherlands, knowing in advance the likely outcome of his provocation, having seen already the Muslim furor during the so-called Danish Cartoons incident, roughly 100 dead, property destroyed, the Danish economy made to suffer, relations with the Islamic world harmed. Wilders is seemingly doing deliberately what the Danish cartoonists didn't do at all: provoking a Muslim madness. If Wilders claims he is only exercising his rights to free speech in the Netherlands or that he's showing that such rights are under attack and need to be protected from further encroachments, I think the man will leave me teary-eyed at the gate as he sails into the sunset of my esteem; everyone concerned knows the film Wilders claims to be producing is not about the Koran but is specifically meant to piss off Muslims to the point they go enraged and violent into the streets to attack the European order. If Wilders releases his film in public the certainty of violence on the part of Muslims is almost certain, would be incredible were it not to occur. We all know that Wilders is going to try to do something that will get people killed. What about it?

Wilders' life isn't going to suffer any further constraints than he lives under now if he releases a film that antagonizes Muslims. There's not much more the Muslims can do to him than they already do. Not Wilders but others stand to lose, and they stand to lose their lives because they aren't politicians under 24 hour state guard protecting them from Muslim militants. If Wilders releases his film and that drives Muslims crazy and violent, who will protect you and me from the Muslims? Not Wilders. We'll be on our own.

We can be totally certain that if Wilders releases his film and if that sends Muslims into fits of public and random violence, there will be the usual suspects out claiming that he is responsible for the harm done, abetted by the government who didn't stop him, &c. Nothing new there. But if we're not teen-aged intellectuals or middle-aged Death Hippies, if we are in fact just ordinary folks who live private lives and who aren't really responsible for much of anything outside our own behaviour, then what are we to make a man who might do something that could get us killed just for being by-standers? Who is this minor Dutch politician and what gives him the right to play with the lives of others?

On the face of it, Wilders' film, no matter what he does in it, isn't going to be more than an objective yawn for most of the world, a short nothing of a film no one would care about at all if not for Muslims and their entirely predictable violent reaction to manufactured offense. it's obviously not the movie. It's the fact that Wilders is deliberately provoking a hostile crowd who will turn violent a the first opportunity. Some dutch might be killed over this. Muslims will likely do the killing if there is any. If Muslims are killed by the police it won't disturb me at all; but if innocent by-standers are harmed, then it seem to me to be a bad thing-- that they are harmed or killed. I can't see this as a problem from Geert Wilders and his deliberate provocation of violent lunatics. That just don't count for nothing.

Geert Wilders didn't create the Cyclops now living in the Netherlands. That particular Islamic beast is the collective creation of the Dutch innocent by-standers themselves. The very Dutch of the Netherlands themselves forged and hoisted the Sword of Islam that now hangs by a thread over the collective people, and they have no one else to blame for this crisis than themselves. Small comfort that most Netherlanders are not particularly responsible for the destructive thing that is Islam in the nation. The Netherlanders voted this way or that, paid their taxes, lived their lives, and now they face a possibility of being murdered by jihadis riled up by a local politician. I'm not claiming any of this is fair. I might even have some sympathy for the people, those who are harmed or killed, if Wilders film comes out as planned and if it gives jihadis an excuse to riot and burn and kill. Some sympathy but not a lot. Wilders didn't create the Islamic menace in the Netherlands, cowards did that; and now cowards will have to pay for that cowardice. Cowards allowed out-of-control Muslims to become entirely out-of-control because cowards could not face criticism of their peers and they could not face the fact that their phantasies were nothing more than stupid and harmful, thus continuing on till such a pass as this. Cowards pay.

Wilders isn't necessarily a coward. If the Dutch go into the streets to fight pitched battles with Muslim rioters, then perhaps Wilders will be there in the front line. But that's not the kind of cowardice and courage I mean here. It's not physical courage that counts today, it's moral courage, the very kind most Europeans don't have in any great supply, judging from what we see in the nations of that dying land right now. This issue is not about Wilders at all, it's about what the dutch are going to do to stand up to and defeat those who would kill them in the streets. Wilders is very much provoking the people of the Netherlands to stand up and fight for the nation and for a free live of genuine privacy. What courage will the Netherlands show the world?

Jihad in the West is the creation of cowardly Europeans and Americans. Jihad in the West is the creation of cowards who refused to stop it from coming and to stomp it out when it grew. If now some people are harmed or killed by the very jihadis they have made possible, then I shrug and hope I come out unharmed. If not, I'll blame not Geert Wilders but the politicians and Left dhimmi fascists who made this threat that overhangs me and all of us.


truepeers said...

Ultimately it's not a proper accounting of blame that people need - no matter how implicated one is in human stupidity, no one can ever fully and honestly own the stupidities of human society/fantasy. The truth is what transcends any of us; it emerges in shared events; and so, what we need is leadership and responsible engagers/traders in leadership, to build a new transcendent reality, in relation to which people can speak their minds in security.

Such an exchange will entail recognition that the loss of a few innocent lives now might be part of a stand/engagement that is necessary if we are to hope to minimize violent death in future. Let's remember that Islam cannot rule the world without reducing humanity's present population drastically. Islam as yet has no idea how to accommodate itself to the modernity and free market global economy on which most of us depend for our daily bread. To appease political Islam in the heart of high-tech, freely-transacting Western civilization is to engage in activity that takes us closer to the mass die-off that will constitute/follow significant Islamic political victories in Europe. That's what we need to keep in mind when bewailing Wilders' "irresponsibility".

Vancouver visitor said...

Canada is headed towards the same socio-political morass as the Netherlands. Unfortunately, under Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system, a much needed shit-stirring politician ala Geert Wilders won't get into parliament.

truepeers said...

To clarify: I do blame the leftist religion of White Guilt for Europe's inability to stand up for traditional freedoms; I'm just wary of getting caught in a game of pointing fingers at people who are always deluded to some degree. We need to have the courage to move forward, knowing we will never be perfect and never get it all right. And even when we build a good future, it will entail a mimimum of violence; doing nothing out of guilt or fear of that violence will only insure greater violence in the end. I will never counsel violence, but we need to be aware it is part of any political reality and simply work to minimize it; often that means making hard choices sooner rather than later.

najistani said...


Here's an excellent article by the courageous Maryam Namazie on why it is our inalienable right to insult, satirize and ridicule Islam - with its perverted prophet, its brothel-keeper-in-the-sky bogeyman moon-god, and its one billion brain-dead stone-age memoid followers - and to offend them just as much as we like.

We should set numerous precedents by exercising this right as often and as vigorously as possible. USE IT OR LOSE IT! The thought-police would love to gag us.

From http://www.newstatesman.com/200802050001

"Since religion is divinely ordained, it follows that any real or imputed questioning, criticising or transgressing will lead to blasphemy, apostasy or some form of ‘corruption’. Of course it doesn’t matter so much if you live in a place where religion is to a large extent a private matter. But if you don’t, then a lot of things become ‘crimes’ punishable by death.

One of many examples is the outrageous death sentence imposed by an Islamic court in Afghanistan on Parwiz Kambakhsh, the 23 year old journalist and student, for downloading and distributing an article criticising women’s status under Islam.

Many have rightly come to his defence and must keep the pressure on. But to defend Parwiz by saying he did not ‘intend’ to blaspheme misses the entire point.

This is exactly what the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain say in order to conceal the responsibility of their political Islamic movement. For example, the MCB ‘greeted’ the release of Gillian Gibbons (the British schoolteacher who was imprisoned in Sudan for allowing her 7 year old students to name their class teddy bear Mohammad) by saying she had not ‘intended to deliberately insult the Islamic faith.’

What they are basically saying is that victims and their ‘intentions’ are to blame for the injustices and barbarity of Islamic law.

Moreover, they are implying that if someone knew they were blaspheming, or if their actions or statements were so clearly blasphemous that they should have known better, then the death penalty or calls for their death are permissible - or at the very least understandable.

The smokescreen of ‘intent’ aims to conceal the real issue at hand, which is Islam in power, so their movement can go about its business as usual - often aided and abetted by US-led militarism. So it can continue to hold millions of resisting people hostage to medievalism enshrined in constitutions and legal codes and enforced by religious and morality police, the militia, Sharia courts and the state.

Any life saved is despite Islamic law and because of a vast left, secular and humanist opposition movement in the Middle East and elsewhere, which refuses to kneel.

Clearly, when religion equals power, millions have no freedoms or rights worthy of 21 century humanity.

And until it is pushed back, our loved ones - like Parwiz, or the two sisters, Zohreh and Azar, who have hours ago been convicted of death by stoning by the Islamic supreme court in Iran for ‘adultery’ - will face a torturous death.

But not if we can help it.

Join a demonstration to demand the freedom of Parwiz Kambakhsh on Friday, February 8, 2008, 12.00 to 2.00 pm at the Afghanistan Embassy, 31 Princes Gate, London, SW7 organised by the Iranian Secular Society and endorsed by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. You can also send letters of protest to Afghan officials by going to: http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2008/01/call-for-immediate-release-of-afghan.html

To defend Zohreh and Azar and oppose stoning and the death penalty, go to: http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2008/02/zohreh-and-azar-must-not-be-stoned-to.html

Dag said...

I'm not exactly pointing a finger at Dutch cowards as the focus of the post above; my point is more to shame those who will come out in favor of censorship of Wilders post hoc and of those who 'might' offend tomorrow. If people see their complicity in the rise of Islam in the West as a matter of cowardice rather than of personal expressions of hippie past-practice, then they might, from the shock of it, look again at long-held assumptions, realizing that the scenery is changed, the furniture is moved, and the whole landscape is now from a wholly different act from what went on before. In that sense it transcend any personal accusation, being pointed to as some unidentifiable 'other people but never us.' If vilifying the past is what others need to see it clearly rather than to simply keep on smiling at the disaster, then vilify is what I do. Those who act in such a way that they perpetuate the horror of our beautiful Modernity gone wrong are those one can point at in pubic and say: "They are not noble and decent. They are cowards!" It is a shout rather than a whisper because the volume is needed not because it is entirely accurate. To show others as something despicable is to draw them from sympathy with the bad and to the good, one might hope. Most likely don't think of the Left as cowards. If they even hear of it it might raise a sense of curiosity. Maybe. And if so, maybe people who have little or no deep commitment to ideas will shy away from those seen as cowardly. Showing as I hope I do that the Left is cowardly is a way of dislodging people from their dogmatic slumbers, even those so much smarter than Kant. I don't have any feelings about the dutch one way or another but only toward our collective Modernity, which I prize highly. Those who take it for granted or who despise it for reasons of Left-religion and vanity should be named and shamed in public so others will lose their respect for the evil-doers.

Wilders will meet more than his fair share of critics if and when his film comes out, and he needs support, which is to say we need our own support for his efforts to act on behalf of us all in our struggle to remain free individuals.Mine isn't the only argument in favor of Wilders' right to free speech. It's one of many, together many pieces perhaps becoming a view of the majority of our Modernity.

If and when Wilders' film comes out and if and when people die as a direct result of it, there must be some kind of clear and defensible defense of Wilders' efforts. We will have to be aggressive in his defense so as to defend ourselves in our turn. Truth "emerges in shared events," of which the defense of Wilders is but one, a needed and important one. As that great Leftist icon once proclaimed, "Let a thousand flowers bloom."

Well, if Chairman Mao isn't a great Leftist example of free speech I don't know who else to pick.

truepeers said...

You make some good points, Dag. Nothing wrong with shaming people to recognize the need for change, if that shame does not itself become a self-perpetuating system along the lines of "yeah we screwed up but so did you..." If everyone becomes endlessly touchy about shame and honour, you might as well have the past masters of the art immigrating en masse. So, how do we make our defense of Wilders creative, once we have woken people up? For that, we can't so much put the past on trial as rediscover in it the keys to renewing our civilization and love for freedom. We must find again our heroes. So yes, more than one key is needed for this door.

Chinese language is odd to Western thinking because it elides the prescriptive and descriptive. It seems the effect of this is quite conservative, epitomized by the Confucian ordering of what is-be. So, maybe, if you're a revolutionary, the Chinese provide you with a real challenge for remaking the world. How to get them to become revolutionary Chinese? Well, let, encourage, a thousand flowers to bloom and maybe you'll get some ideas. However, in the event, it turned out that speaking up for the revolution, studiously proclaiming your Marx like a good Mandarin, was often the basis for being scapegoated in its name. The revolution needed victims to keep its religion going. To get them from the well-ordered cadres, normally conforming people had to mark themselves, if most minimally and unconsciously, for victimhood, i.e. to have about them something a little florid that after very lengthy interrogations about their revolutionary conduct and speech could be taken to indicate resistance and "bourgeois tendencies", or so the finger pointers alleged on flimsy evidence and logic, since the guy most obsessed with countering nascent bourgeois tendencies is usually the one who has the biggest problem with them.

My fear is simply that Europeans will fall into a trap of doing something similar with their left-liberal bureaucratic elites and never find a way to a real victory for freedom and modernity.

Here's a little model for defending Wilders and individual freedom, from Adam Katz: Shelby Steele, in an essay on Clarence Thomas’ autobiography in a recent National Review, declares that Thomas is “the freest black man in America… the first black American of his generation to become–openly and irrefutably–an individual.” This new mode of “carefully evolved individuality,” which I tried to explore a couple of posts back, this “habit of thinking for himself,” is in turn certainly connected with Thomas’ willingness to be “crucified” or “sacrificed without repercussions” (i.e., for those conducting the sacrifice); Steele doesn’t say this, but I think that even Thomas’ continued sense of resentment regarding his treatment by paternalistic elites, his unwillingness to forget even as he transcends that treatment, contributes to his sharply delineated individuality, his determination to owe nothing, either material or ideal, to anybody who would presume to judge him. If Thomas is, as Steele contends, now an “archetype that will inspire others,” one form of that inspiration involves his refusal to scapegoat others so as to defer the scapegoating directed at him, his apparent ability to reject the mental habit of defending stances that have been attacked with the panicked reflex of either “but that’s what _____ said!” or “but what about you!”–which is to say, a refusal to broaden the target that one has become, instead taking one’s own targeting as an occasion to invite others to embark upon a retrieval of the origins of our mechanisms of deferral–in Thomas’ case, a highly principled Constitutional “originalism” that makes him a very solitary figure, even among the Court’s conservatives. Thomas is aware that “originalism,” far from a mind-deadening traditionalist recitation of known and well digested truisms, is the highest form of reflection upon the events outside of our renewed participation in which we cannot even pretend to think. It seems to me that we generative anthropologists can agree that whosover would be an individual, must be an originalist.

In other words: someone who not only looks to the origins of our freedom and modernity, but also gets things going positively.

Dag said...

I don't mean to suggest that one should seek out or create or self-create scapegoats who will atone for our past sins "after," when we rule in place of "them"; I mean merely that we must create a line-- to cross, a line that allows us to say we are on the other side of it, and like some many people born in the 1970s who claim to have been at Woodstock, they can proudly proclaim they were with the winning side all along. By crating in the public sphere a place of evil, and by saying evil people reside in it, and by saying it it there and that, we can then furrow our brows and ask, "Where do you stand?"

Charles brings up the right point that no one will want to stand with the scowling Puritans who hate and condemn, but that many will happily join the happy. Unfortunately, misery and hatred make many people happy, and guilt turns on others to the point they seek it out and create it where it doesn't exist. So, my positive alternative to the lust for sanctimony among the Left is to say they can join the Side of the Just and tell us they've been with us all along, if only we'd ever noticed, which some might do if they realize they are not well liked for the things they currently say and do. They must first her aloud that the Party Line is a nasty thing that people do not find fashionable any longer. They need to be brought the sense that things they are a changin'. As is, most well-meaning people still don't understand that their well-meaning acts and cliches are not well-received in the real world. This will come as a shock to many of them, but they should know so they have a chance to change their fashions in keeping with what is better suited to the climate of today and of moreso tomorrow. Then let them tell of their time at Woodstock and who really cares?

Most people just want to live private lives and be quiet in their time. If they say and do what others say and do, then let's at least try to keep the harmful parts to a minimum among those who really have no commitment to much outside their lives anyway. Stigmatize the evils of Left dhimmi fascism and most people will not mouth it for the world. People want to get along. That's why most say nothing about Islam, hoping it won't affect them personally. But it might if Geert Wilders has his way. If he does, and if people are killed, we have to stigmatize those who made the killing inevitable, not Geert Wilders, not Mark Steyn, not Ezra Levant or any other "victim".

Those who embrace the stigma will be truly our enemies. They won't, though, be innocent of our wrath, they'll be fighting for whatever they take to be the good, which makes our struggle against them a Just one. May it come soon.