Wednesday, October 02, 2002

QUESTION FOR THE DAY

The signatories of the Not In Our Name ads have made much hay from slyly questioning the legitimacy of right of the US to self-defence by asking “What have we done to deserve this?”. The argument has a seductive quality to it because it allows an inward focus on what would otherwise be random violence. A citizen can feel that perhaps there is something they can do to lessen the chances of injury, even if that action is only limited to protesting, or just complaining. The technical term for this, supplied to me by The Good Lady Wife, is “locus of control”. There is a natural urge to convince oneself that the chances of random death from the skies can be influenced by action an individual takes. The alternative is to live in fear, or to ignore the risk. In the situation that has arisen since 9/11,with saturation media coverage of the attacks, it is quite impossible to ignore the reality. So the idea of blaming yourself, and by extension your country, becomes more acceptable to more people.

The problem that I can see is that perhaps the wrong groups are being questioned.

Chomsky et al want you to think that the attack on America was because of America’s foreign policies. This despite the repeated announcements by Osama Bin Laden that he despised the USA for reasons totally unrelated to foreign policy. His stated reasons were the secular (read non-Islamic) nature of the US Government and the treatment of women and homosexuals.

There is a reasonable case to the proposition that Osama and his group was the de facto government of Afghanistan at the end, or at least a very significant part of its workings. Regardless of the level of involvement, there can be no argument that the Taliban’s policies were Osama’s, and vice versa. He stood four-square behind the Office For the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue. The death by stoning of adulterers, random beatings of unaccompanied women and the execution of homosexuals would have met with his approval. We can use the behaviour of the Taliban as an indicator of the direction of al Qaeda anger.

So the question on the table is this: are the wrong groups being targeted as the “root cause” of the 9/11 attacks, and for Islamism in general?

For instance, judging by the sheer numbers of women killed, executed, enslaved and oppressed we may deduce that Islamists consider them to be a greater menace than Americans. Yet there are no voices questioning whether women should withdraw into the home and leave the affairs of men to men. Is it not possible that a worldwide adoption of Islamic modesty would reduce the chances of further attacks?

What about homosexuals? Can we not lessen the anger of the Arab street by forcing them back into the closet, and winding back the rights granted them under the US system? Their constant parades, floats, and pressure for full marriage rights is an affront to the more stringent forms of Islam, and it is likely that withdrawal of community approval for such behaviour would make Western society a safer place.

Let’s not even get started on adulterers. It’s obvious that nothing less that a re-introduction of the Scarlet Letter will suffice, with a view to life imprisonment at a minimum.

It is not known whether these measures will be enough to satisfy the demands of the Islamic world. Their success in resisting the trend towards liberalisation within their own borders has shown results, inasmuch as there have been few if any terrorists attacks on Arab nations. The thousands of Palestinians summarily executed by their own Authority cannot be counted as terrorism, and must viewed as the only possible response to external forces.

There are about 300 million Americans. There are 2 or 3 times that many women in the world not living under strict Sharia law. About half a billion homosexuals are not being killed by having walls pushed on them. The number of adulterers defies calculation, but a billion would be on the conservative side.

It’s obvious which groups are more of a provocation. These people need to ask themselves: Why do they hate us?

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