Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why did the terrorists attack?

Image hosted by flickr.com

The police press conference held earlier today depicted a very comprehensive picture of the events that led up to the attack last Thursday. Three men, closely connected, travelled to meet another individual in a rented car, and then all together journeyed to Kings Cross, London. From Kings Cross they parted ways, and within brief moments of each other exploded bombs on three trains and one bus, killing 50+ innocent civilians, and also themselves.

I was watching the Channel 4 news this evening, and my blood boiled at host, John Snow’s repeated desire to establish a political reasoning for the attacks, in the aftermath of the news that young, alienated, British born Arab men were responsible. What issues had taken them to such extremes? Iraq? Afghanistan? Palestine? “It is easy to condemn,” Snow commented, “But, it is more important that we try and understand.”

I remember in the aftermath of September 11th, a show of some kind was held in a large auditorium, including music and celebrities, for a crowd that was populated mainly by police officers, and firemen. I think it was perhaps in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the service of the city. Richard Gere gave what appeared to me, from my distant vantage in the U.K., a beautiful speech about how it was incumbent upon the western world to reach out with understanding, while not perpetuating a cycle of violence.

The crowd jeered him, and he left the stage… and I was shocked and saddened. However, right now, I know that if I was from NYC, and in that crowd, I would have probably jeered too.

The frustration I have with the notion of exploring the circumstances that are inspiring twenty something Arab men from parts of England to travel to terrorists camps around the world, educating themselves about an extreme doctrine of Islam, and explosives, and warfare… is not just my disgust and abhorrence, it’s not simply that I want to see them all behind bars or dead, regardless of the broader picture (although I do feel this way).

My frustration is deeper than that. The issue of Iraq, and the continued perceived oppression of the Palestinian people, and American forces in Saudi Arabia etc, are all simply conduits through which the fundamental conflict between two divergent civilizations has escalated into violence.

I acknowledge we are living in a world that consists of many more world views than that of radical orthodox Islam, and the Secular West… but these two world views in particular are at odds like no other. Proponents of Islamic theocratic societies know all too well that their world view cannot continue to thrive precisely because of what the Western world represents... Precisely because of who we all our as free individuals (somebody shoot me if I start to sound like George Bush).

When I walk down streets in London, and see women covered from head to toe in Burka’s, while other women express themselves freely, when I consider a value system that says women aren’t entitled to vote and influence their lives, when I see images of violent control exerted in nations like Saudi Arabia, and the old Afghanistan, to sustain the rule of scripture, when I see an increasingly interdependent world learning to respect and live side by side with one another contrasted by communities and entire societies retaining aggressive supremacistic ideals… when I see all of these things the friction between the two world views is ubiquitously stark. The difference is so inherently violent.

While to many, the innocent loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan is offensive, they would be wrong to ascribe a similar humanistic value system to the murderers in London… these terrorists are not motivated by the loss of life in Iraq, they are motivated by the fact that the West would intervene in Iraq at all, and via its actions, threaten their supremacy. It is their wounded ego, and not wounded innocents that inspire their violence.

Osama Bin Laden does not weep out of empathy for the young that have been callously murdered in Palestine by the Jewish military (in fact I think he finds the U.S. military presence in his homeland Saudi Arabia much more offensive)… he weeps because the mere existence of Israel is a blight on the supremacy of his world view.

I hope people of all denominations and creeds might slowly begin to see that the violence we saw in London, and the violence we saw in Madrid and New York was the brutal throes of a failing supremacistic and fascistic ideal.

We need to see this, because somehow, two civilizations need to reconcile each other. I am convinced that at its core Islam is a harmonious vision of faith... but our differences can no longer stand in the way of the fact that beyond ideology, religion, and the color of our skin, inside, we are all the same...

... and whether we like it or not, we all have to learn to accept and live with each other in peace.

20 comments:

rabsteen said...

fantastic post!

Lawrence J Jasper said...

Yes, you are right. This is in effect Huntingdon's CoC thesis in action. However, what is even more worrying for the Western world is the fact that as well as the Islamic theocratic idea threatening us, there is also the Chinese question. While America is mouting up debt through war the Chinese are owning more and more of the United States debt via the purchase of government bonds. Of course China herself does not work with terror but incidentally terrorism on the west does help the Chinese by speeding up the decline of US hegemony.

To ascribe a political reasoning to terror ascribes a validity to their actions. Those like Snow who discard reason in favour of a post-modernist "everyone is right" worldview are undermiming us just as much as the terrorists themselves.

Btw, let's link our blogs up. I'll add you a link later.

Graham said...

Very interesting stuff... I do not view Islamic theocracies, or their extremists as a fundamental threat to the world order. IMO, it's precisely because their influence within their own regions is waning, and is threatened by the march of free, liberalized societies, that we have witnessed this escalation in violence over the past five/ten years.

Their ideal is crumbling... and they must act violently to intervene and halter the course of the future.

I'm not as well educated or informed as you... and didn't realize the extent to which China is benefitting from the US's fiscal imprudence... but does this not seem a transient state of affairs? And on a deeper level, isn't it impossible to see how China, or any other nation state can retain the power to intervene and preserve their particular method of organizing their society... in the face of the changing world with the internet, satellite T.V. and probably more accessible methods of mass communication on the horizon... how can people continue to be controlled...

... I remember a story told by a left wing comic in the UK called Mark Thomas, in which he laughed about when the first McDonalds had opened in Moscow. He remarked that army's, political theorists, undercover operatives... had all relentlessly tried to penetrate the Soviet Union... and Ronald McDonald had just waltzed on in welcomed with open arms.

It's the power of our ideas that comprize our society... that's what spreads freedom... that's what makes the favorite TV show in Romania during the Communist years there DALLAS!!!!... our ideas may appear souless, empty, and even unhealthy for your kids... but, they are informed by deeper intrinsic human needs:

...self determination, liberty, choice, individual power... at it's core I think it's about being defined as individual and not reduced to a communal identity, under God, country, or a collective... consumerism isn't all bad... on a basic level it does empower us an individuals...

Ultimately what I'm rambling on about is the evolution of civilization, and I don't see how it can be stopped... it's just incumbent upon us all to shape it in the best interests of everyone... and especially those desperately suffering in other parts of the world.

Brian Duffy said...

Your posting was nothing less then moronic. This is a religion hell bent on conversion through any method. This means through either propaganda or the sword. It does not matter whether you are, religious or non-religious, Jew or Christian, Hindu or atheist; we are the infidel, the nonbelievers. You need to stop parroting the MSM and starting reading for your self. Read the Koran moron.

Graham said...

Did you read what I wrote?

Wasn't I criticizing the mainstream media???

One, I'm not parroting anybody, whether you disagree with any opinion of mine or not.

Two, while I think I've been pretty darn harsh and intolerant of extreme Islamic fundamentalism... and its strain of Theocratic facism... I do, unapologetically, believe that Islam as a way of life, needs to reconcile itself with the western world. And, as a white atheist, my tolerance, and humility has a part to play in that.

That is the reality, unless you intend for the West to hunt down every last Muslim and purge his/hers beliefs from their godless souls ;).

Islam, like any faith, intergrated as part of a respectful society, can be a harmonious beautiful way of life... at least to me, from the people I've met who practise it... these people couldn't have been further away from the mindset of these terrorists than you or I...

It is our tolerance for diversity and people's right to determine their own identity that the terrorists despise us for IMHO...

Thanks for the post my friend :)

Marinade Dave said...

Please read my post at:

http://marinadedave.blogspot.com/2005/07/saving-solemn-freedom.html

I would certainly appreciate your input. The world should be a place filled with many opinions. Let the reader interpret in their own way. Perhaps, if we all think and speak, we might come up with some real answers.

Aaron Hanscom said...

Yes you do sound like Bush, and no I won't shoot you. Great post and blog.

Eban Crawford said...

Looks like the "other" extreme hit your comments. I kind of like being the libertarian in the middle, haha.

Actually, that was a very thoughtful post, and it hit on some very good points. I am beginning to think you may have a bit of the old libertarian in your liberal self. LOL

Very tight and thought provoking post. Well done!

Your blog gets better by the day, my friend.

ninglun said...

I found this a very honest post. It really is hard to fathom those who do such things, but then I find it also hard to fathom people who believe and do all sorts of things... I do have a go on my own blog sometimes, but I don't really succeed...

Orikinla Osinachi. said...

An objective view on the case of Islamic terrorism and the West and the rest of us.

I am a Nigerian writer and I have studied the agenda of the Muslims.

All the Muslims in America and Europe are on a mission to spread their virus through the West, to corrupt and pollute the Americans and Europeans and to wage their Jihad from within their enemies' camps.

They are the most dangerous religious sect on earth, followed by the Hindus, and the other heretics of this world.

Imagine Arabs with British Citizenship and then turning around to destroy Britain.

DO YOU REMEMBER THAT THEY WANTED TO CORRUPT AND POLLUTE THE ENGLISH BLOOD AND DESTROY THE CROWN, WHEN ONE OF THEM IMPREGNATED LADY DIANA AND WANTED HER TO HAVE A BABY FOR HIM?! THEY HAVE BEEN PLANNING THE WHOLE JIHAD FOR DECADES.

WE MUST PREPARE FOR THEIR JIHAD!

IF YOU DON'T DESTROY THESE DEMONS, THEY WILL DESTROY US. SO, WE MUST DESTROY THEMBEFORE THEY WRECK OUR LIVES.

Graham said...

I'm really sorry if anyone finds the above post offensive... but, I don't really want to make a habit of deleting anybody's POV from my blog, no matter how repugnant.

I guess the best thing is to see the funny side...

I particularly liked: "This is objective, I have studied Muslims... ALL Muslims are on a mission to spread their virus through the west."

What class did you study that in?

As for corrupting the English blood, lol, I think our Royal family have done enough corrupting of their own blood themselves over the centuries...

What's scary is the way in which fear inspires us to dehumanize each other.

The TDL NEWS team said...

Good post. You are the first leftist I've seen who actually 'gets' it, although I disagree with your conclusion. The War in Afghanistan/Iraq is not the cause of terrorism, but the notion that 'terrorists attack us because we are free' (a la Bush and Blair) is equally rediculous.

In opposition to your conclusion,I dont think the West and Islam can ever learn to get along and deal with each other. We haven't for 1,400 years and we never will. We are like opposite ends of a magnet; mutually repulsive to each other.

The best hope for our mutual futures is to keep ourselves apart. If This means STOPPPING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION TO EUROPE, then so be it.

Sometimes political correctness and the leftist worship of 'diversity' has to give way to more pressing needs- such as the desire to protect our citizens or prevent a dirty bomb from turning London or New York into a nuclear wasteland for the next 500 years.

-TDL

Brian Duffy said...

Graham;
My reply:http://mvcajournal.blogspot.com/2005/07/blogger-did-not-like-my-comment-my.html

Graham said...

This is what Brian wrote:

The Blogger Did Not Like My Comment: My Counter-Response
moron
noun, a very stupid person.

stupid
adjective, foolish or unwise; lacking judgment or intelligence.


I received a posting on the MVCA Commentary and Journal concerning a comment I had made in response to a posting by a Blogger named “Graham” at his weblog “The Cognoscenti.” My overall opinion of the piece was that it was a soft-soap redress of the bombing situation in London, so I guess coming from a European Socialist, this is as tough as it gets. What got me most of all was the conclusion to his piece.

I hope people of all denominations and creeds might slowly begin to see…that the violence we saw in London, and the violence we saw in Madrid and New York was the brutal throes of a failing supremacistic and fascistic ideal.We need to see this, because somehow, two civilizations need to reconcile each other... I am convinced that at its core Islam is a harmonious vision of faith... but our differences can no longer stand in the way of the fact that beyond ideology, religion, and the color of our skin, inside, we are all the same...... and whether we like it or not, we all have to learn to accept and live with each other in peace.

So I responded with the following:

Your posting was nothing less than moronic. This is a religion hell bent on conversion through any method. This means through either propaganda or the sword. It does not matter whether you are religious or non-religious, Jew or Christian, Hindu or atheist; we are the infidel, the nonbelievers. You need to stop parroting the MSM and starting reading for your self. Read the Koran moron.

Graham responded and then posted his complaint to our weblog, in which he asked me to reply, so here it goes. For too long conservatives have sat back and have been congenial responding to liberals and socialist. Conservatives attempted during the last decades to debate in an intellectual forum. While this has not always been possible the effort was made. My belief is that this needs to change.

Since World War II the Left has been relentless in their effort to homogenize the world. Through it all they have done their best to wipe away Western history. The West and for that matter Christianity, in their minds, is root of all the worlds problems.

During the Cold War the Left told us that we could exist along side the communist. Today the world is beginning to understand the truth about communism, expect for maybe George Soros and Ted Turner. In our time the left is telling us we have to get along with a new adversary, Islam.

In America there seems to be some level of assimilation of Muslim immigrants, however in Europe a growing isolation has manifested. This due in large part to Europe continued belief in centralization and Keynesian economics, however much of has to do with the unwillingness of the Muslim immigrants to assimilate. Slowly, but surely, through high birth rates and continued immigration the Muslim population will take over Europe. Muslims will take over Europe because this is their espoused goal, the complete conversion of the world to Islam, and once Europe falls, so will Canada; then the US.

Returning to my comment to Graham, we arrive at the London Bombings and Graham telling all that at the core of Islam is harmony, and we all have to learn to live with one another. Boy, I look at the map I posted a few days ago and say to myself, this guy is moronic; the left is moronic. Within our borders are the very groups we are at war with globally.

No, I make no apologies, if we have not learned in the west that we are under assault, then I believe you are moronic; you lack judgment. This may seem harsh and terse, but these are the beginnings of perilous times. This is the time to pick up the sword, not the guitar to sing camp songs. As Belloc wrote in Survivals and New Arrivals:

we thought of its (Islam’s) religion as a sort of fossilised thing about which we need not trouble. That was almost certainly a mistake. We shall almost certainly have to reckon with Islam in the near future. Perhaps if we lose our Faith it will arise. For after this subjugation of the Islamic culture by nominally Christian nations had already been achieved, the political consequences of that culture began to notice two disquieting features about it. The first was that its spiritual foundation proved immovable; the second that its area of occupation did not recede, but on the contrary slowly expanded (1929).

Faith in God has been lost in Europe both for Christian and Jews; faith in God will only save America. Let’s hope Jews and Christians return to the God of Abraham and Jacob.

Graham said...

And this was my reply... for anyone interested:

Hey Brian,

Hope you don't mind me taking this opportunity to respond :).

* I am not a European Socialist FYI. I believe the more liberalized a society and its markets the more potential it has to grow and spread prosperity. But, I also believe that the Gov't should play an active role in trying to lift up less fortunate individuals, etc. I also believe in principles of solidarity, togetherness, and society… which at times like this are brought most powerfully to the fore.

* "A soft soap redress of the bombing situation," is naturally a characterization that I take offense to considering I live in London, and had many friends and family members working in the center of London on 7/7. I would ask anyone to read my entire post, of course at: http://thecognoscenti.blogspot.com/2005/07/why-did-terrorists-attack.html

* I didn't post a complaint to your weblog. I found it difficult to understand your unconditionally harsh appraisal of my post as being lilly livered. I simply asked you to re-read and consider your comment, which I think was fair, because you'd resorted simply to calling me names on my blog. And you have and I respect your elaboration. It makes me feel a lot better about the kind of rationale upon which you made your outburst.

* I am confused by a lot of what you say. You condemn Liberals for wanting greater harmony between peoples… as if that has exacerbated the isolation and segregation of Muslims in British society???? This makes no sense, and I’d like you to explain more clearly how you believe this sociological phenomena of tolerance breeding segregation transpires…. Especially when London, one of the most tolerant cities in the globe from my experience, is one of the most successfully integrated, and multi-cultural cities as a consequence, while less tolerant parts of the UK tend to create communities that are much more divided upon racial and religious lines.

* I don't think Liberals, or any political philosophies are forcing the homogenized, secular free societies you deplore... If any one political movement is responsible IMO it is the vital and important drive taken towards free markets, and market restrictions, a culture of enterprise, and individuality in the US and UK in the 80’s which has born the fruit of an open, diverse, individually empowered world, where no particular SOCIAL definition (like you propose at the end of your post ironically) can be enforced upon us as a whole.

I think this: “Graham telling all that at the core of Islam is harmony, and we all have to learn to live with one another.” Is a huge oversimplification of the point I was trying to make… Human beings can transcend their differences and live harmonious lives… surely that is the very definition of peace in our time. What I addressed in my post was that the designs of extreme Islamiciscm, and of the Muslim faith generally were failing throughout the world, as a result of our ever increasing autonomy and freedom as individuals throughout the world…that the cultural contrasts between Islam and the West are inherently violent… and the terrorism that we are vulnerable from stems more from an aggressive supremacistic ideology than any political events like Iraq, or Palestine.

We are fighting a failing vision of fascism was the conclusion I reached.

Like you don’t apologize for calling me stupid or a moron, I will not apologize for ascribing incumbency upon us all to integrate. What possible solutions do you offer to your world view? That the West and Islamic world should simply be divided and kept apart… do you not think this would breed conflict???? That practioners of Islam should be deported from the West? That President’s, and prime ministers, should declare Islam wrong and Christianity right? Is this what it will take for us to succeed, or maybe make matters worse?

Somehow, as communities, as a nation, as a world, we have to learn to live together. I don’t think there’s anything moronic about this concept, and it certainly doesn’t negate the aggressive hunting down, and incarceration/murder of those intent of inflicting terror upon us.

As for your last comment about the TRUE God... IMO, the less of that the better in a quest for peace.

Matt Hurley said...

Graham,

I am a regular columnist for the MVCA blog that Brian is responsible for...

I give it the old Academy try at some of your issues over at MVCA...

I'd be interested in your response(s).

Brian Duffy said...

Graham,
Before closing out, I do apologize for the name calling. It was out of line.

Graham said...

Don't worry about it... I found it thought provoking the way the exchange of ideas progressed...

...come back to my blog enough times and I think there'll be many more things that'll make u, and many others, wanna call me a moron, lol.

But, I thoroughly enjoyed your eloquent responce on your website lots.

Take care, Brian :)

Gert said...

As always, your "essay" is full of bold assertions and completely devoid of analysis or explanation.

It's fast food for those who prefer not to use their brain and need a quick soundbite, at the Bush level. You actually sound like him in parts of your blog.

Your post boils down to "good v. evil". It's a dangerous opinion, not only because it's extremely simplistic but because you're risking to further add to the current polarisation between Islam and the West.

I for one will continue to enjoy the company of Muslims in my community, I don't even really think of them as such. But I do know they are as worried as I am about the state of affairs regarding global terrorism.

With people like you around, it's difficult to keep communities from going their separate ways. That in itself is creating a condition for conflict. Well done!

How the West was wrong

Graham said...

My post does not boil down to good Vs evil. My post boils down to the sociological influences that are dramatically changing the world at the expense, often, of the institutions that have retained power and influence over sways of individuals. The implications for theocratic societies are stark. The implications for the grandiose notions of Islamic extremism are even worse.

If you read through my comment section you can see, clearly, my appreciation of Islamic culture, and the need for us to learn to come together and reconcile our differences. I hardly think my outlook, of peace and appreciation, is the basis upon which communities are driven into segregation and separation. I'm trying to explain some of the influences that have caused the violence we are subjected to you.

Unlike you I don't believe US foreign policy is 100% responsible for Islamic terror.

Thanks for your comment.