Friday, January 09, 2009

The eliminationist agenda

15 000 expected to march tomorrow in Toronto under the banner of "Israel Must Not Exist Any Longer" (and we don't care how many martyrs we have to have to promote and realize our fantasy: we can imagine no other world). (SDA)

How many Muslim-Canadians will sign off on what is for many a matter of divinely-ordained hate mongering? How many of the marchers will be left dhimmi fascist non-Muslims? One of the positives of actions such as Israel's attack on Hamas is that it allows us to gather such necessary intelligence, that we might build up our defences in the fight for modernity in Canada. There will be a lot of Muslims, one expects. And if this observation of Rene Girard's is right, there will be a lot of ldf nincompoops out to prove their multiculti embrace of the Other/other in order to validate themselves as the righteous not clouded in ethnocentrism. We might see them differently however:
We are so ethnocentric, says Girard, that we think that only others can be in the right when claiming the superiority of their own religion:

"Islam maintains a relationship with death that convinces me that this religion absolutely fails to engage with ancient myths. Islam's mystic relationship with death makes death even more mysterious. Islam is a religion of sacrifice. The Christian, however, doesn't die to be imitated. We have to remember the words of Christ to Paul: 'Why are you persecuting me?' In Christianity, which destroys every mythology, there is a constant dialectic between the victim and the persecutor; in Islam, this does not exist. Islam eliminates the problematic victim. In this sense, there has always been a conflict between Christianity and Islam. In Islam, the most important thing is missing: a Cross. As in Christianity, Islam rehabilitates the innocent victim, but it does so in a militant way. The Cross, on the contrary, puts an end to the ancient and violent myths. The Cross is the symbol of the inversion of violence, of the resistance to lynching. Today the Cross opposes the Dionysian sacrifice of the new myths. Christianity, differing from Islam, prohibits sacrifice."


Dag said...

Then, is this to say that Jesus is the last sacrificial victim? that there can be an end to Human sacrifice? that the scapegoating of Other has finally reached, in Christianity, its end of history? that in the sacrifice of Jesus we can transcend Human sacrifice? that we can, in a rational way, resolve our disputes to our best abilities without recourse to sacrificing Other in the hope of washing away our own sins?

Girard is an attractive thinker. I must return to what I have and read it again. And perhaps I've simplified too much above.

truepeers said...

Well, Girard ends up with an apocalyptic vision and tells us that if we don't now in this late hour take the Christian message to heart and renounce scapegoating once and for all, we will soon reap the nuclear whirlwind, or something like that.

But if we have to envision the end of history to defend our final stance where our anthropology becomes largely a sign of our religious faith, we might have good reason to doubt.

The question of whether humans can ever exist without some degree of scapegoating the other/Other is an open question among those of us who follow Girard by seeking to further the anthropological questions he raises.

Adam, for example, writes:

"The forms of high culture inherited from the Western synthesis of metaphysics and the Christian revelation are essentially means of deferring scapegoating. Such deferral is necessary if humanity is to move beyond the compact community to one in which relations between “strangers” becomes central to social interaction. High culture, by admonishing us to suspend our suspicions of the Other, at the same time demands that we abstract from the reality that dangers are more like to come from Others than from those in our own group. At the same time, we add another layer to reality, in the form of legal and political institutions and procedures that do the work scapegoating previously did in a much rougher, but perhaps overall (from the standpoint of the community) more efficient way. This new layer allows for new precision, and revelations of innocence falsely accused continually refresh the prohibition on scapegoating; but it also allows for more obfuscation and the frustration of basic desires for revenge, justice, and the certainty with which either can be delivered and confirmed. And, so far, no one has created a human community in which the mechanisms of scapagoating have been completely disabled–whether that should be a goal at all would be, in my view, the central question for an originary social theory.
a cultural politics today is as much about restoring reality as anything else. The cultural icons we should look for will be those who stand in-between the mob and their victim, but without in turn scapegoating the mob; instead, the iconic figure will establish modes of impartiality in the midst of scapegoating activities while defending the rough forms of justice produced by the scapegoating we seek to “smooth out” against the blanket introduction of the cultic forms of victimary modernity. My insistent defense of Operation Iraqi Freedom, then, and my explanation of the global hysteria it has induced, lies in the way in which geo-political strategic necessities and a post-Holocaust conscience combined to place the harnessed ferocity of Western warmaking in-between the bullies of a quintessential “Big Man,” scapegoating, culture and their victims. Such an articulation produces realities victimary modernity is simply incapable of registering, and so it must negate them. A politics of reality these days, then, might be centered on preserving the honor, telling the stories of, promoting to positions of authority, learning the lessons from, those fighting men and women who have been, are and will be at the “Ground Zero” of a global movement of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."