Title for a Jihad Watch post from October 6, 2006: “UK: violent Muslim/non-Muslim clashes”. Thereafter, Robert Spencer follows up with his usual exasperated commentary, shared by all of us who have eyes to see the truth:
Or in the deceptive and misleading racial euphemisms employed by the British press, violent clashes between “whites” and “Asians.” But they don’t mean Norwegians are fighting Hindus from India. “Race clashes hit Windsor,” from the Evening Standard […]
An excerpt from the news item:
Extra police are being drafted into the Windsor area today after three nights of violent clashes between white and Asian youths.
To call anti-Islamic sentiments “racism”, despite Islam being a religion, and a supra-racial one at that—as the Muslims never cease stating, to contrast with the basically racist non-Muslim West—is no longer surprising: as I said in my post They Know What Works, from August 21, it was only natural that Muslims appropriate yet another Western precept, in this case aversion to racism, and retool it as yet another weapon in the jihad. But what about the Western media? Why do our media outlets studiously avoid the M-word, opting instead to pull out the race card every time? Dhimmitude, or fear of Islamic reprisals, is again an abbreviated and partial answer. The following will be my attempt to plumb the depths of the irrationality of continuing to think in terms of racial conflict in our day and age.
One of the strengths of the West, which like so many others is now being used against it, is its capacity for reflection, self-criticism and feelings of guilt (recognition of wrongdoing). No one denies colonialism, slavery and oppression on part of the West until the middle of the 20th century, yet the school of intellectual terrorists spawned by the late and unlamented Edward Said conveniently skips the corrective steps that Westerners, first as individuals (such as David Livingstone and Charles Darwin) and then as governments, took in order to do away with the injustices. One need only read a comic strip like Tintin and the Blue Lotus, of Hergé’s famous series, to see Western self-criticism in action. Set in 1936, the strip criticizes colonialism in general, and Western supremacism in particular, the latter depicted through the rough-shod behavior of a European named W. R. Gibbons. My citing of Tintin is no frivolous example, for the appearance of such sentiments in comic strips, which are nothing if not artifacts of popular culture, shows how deep the West’s self-correcting instinct runs. By the end of the 20th century, state-sponsored racism had been all but eliminated, and racism among individuals relegated to outsider status, such that people like David Duke and groups like Aryan Nations are held to be the dregs of society. So much for Said’s grievances in his lengthy screed Orientalism.
So, I ask again, why is the race card still fashionable in our day and age? Edward Said himself is a good clue to that, but I will provide a different example, one from the history of the state of Israel. The first decades of Israel, the 1950’s and 60’s and a little beyond, were marked by difficulties in integrating the olim (immigrants to the Holy Land) from the lands of Islam, who had fled after riots and total dispossession (the true dispossession that the anti-Zionists prefer to ignore). There were many gaps to bridge, the most obvious being the racial one: Oriental Jews having come to a state set up and governed mainly by European Jews. There were differences of mentality, there was the thorny question of religiosity (the Oriental Jews were nearly all religious, while the European Jews were secular), and there was the feeling of inequality and inability to climb the social ladder. Those who remember those days can recall their being sprayed with DDT on their arrival and the long years spent in temporary housing. Intermarriage between Oriental and Occidental Jews was often a problem, as depicted in the film Kazablan, where Yehoram Gaon plays a Moroccan Jew falling in love with the daughter of the Polish-Jewish mayor. There was the complaint that the “Buzaglo Test”, the test of equality before the law (Buzaglo is a common surname for Moroccan Jews), was failed every time. Those were the days until about the middle of the 1970’s.
What now? As of writing, we have a Persian Jew for a president, being subject to the same law as anyone else (for better or worse… right now for worse), and the head of the Labor Party is a Moroccan Jew, and many of the members of parliament are Oriental Jews, and the only thing preventing an Oriental Jewish Prime Minister is the voters’ say, same as with a European Jewish candidate. Intermarriage is commonplace, and the temporary housing is now the stuff an Oriental Jew tells his children or grandchildren about, in a house that is of the same sort as anyone else’s.
Yet there are still some who play the race card. Some politicians. Politicians who talk about racism, even “institutional racism”, as though over thirty years had not passed since it really was that way. Those politicians foment gratuitous hatred (sin’at chinam) among Jews in order to increase their votes. They are spillers of blood (for that is what our sages say sin’at chinam amounts to), and may HaShem have mercy on them for their grievous sin. They know who they are.
Our age shows in utmost clarity why our sages had scathing words for those who profited from stoking the flames of hatred toward their brothers: not just from the Jewish viewpoint, but we see, worldwide, that the West is being assaulted by those whose very modus operandi is to profit from divisions, discord and hatred. The Left (most of it today; there are some exceptions, remnants from the days of FDR) claims to be for equality and against class warfare and racial discrimination; in reality, it thrives on such divisions, without which it would have no platform for action. Without the pretext of racial discrimination, for example, Mike Stivic would no longer be able to occupy his time with “solving the black problem”, and instead would have to content himself with talking with Lionel about the weather, as one episode had it (“Why not? Blacks have weather too, don’t they?”, was Lionel’s classic retort).
Leftism, then, much like Islam, is revolution-oriented, and likewise, if reality does not offer it a pretext for rallying to the Revolution, then a pretext will be invented, or just dug up from days of yore. The far-left newsletter and website CounterPunch features articles about the problem of racism as a matter of course. To read them, one gets the feeling we’re still in the 1950’s, with blacks sitting at the back of the bus. Coming from those who consider “reactionism” to be the cardinal sin, there can be no greater irony: the world has changed, but they’re stuck in the past. This is not to say racism no longer exists; but, as I said, it is now a minor problem, while there are more burning issues that the Left, if it is not actually one of their causes, chooses to ignore.
“Race” over. It is over. The old days are over. There’s a new kind of storm to contend with.
And those college students who grew up on the problems of class warfare and racial discrimination when they were deep and acute, those students are now in key positions in the governments of the West today. We suffer for it, for they are ill-suited to contend with the new kind of storm that is gathering before us. Old hands from the days of the Cold War such as Henry Kissinger are of little use in figuring out, let alone solving, the nature of that storm. Doubtless it was those people who advised President Bush on embarking on the democratization of Iraq, not knowing, or not wanting to accept, that it had to be done differently than the democratization of the old Communist bloc. No doubt the fossils at the State Department are those telling Condoleezza Rice to hold talks with terrorist organizations like Hamas. And of course the UN is full to brimming with people whom the events of the Cold War, such as the Détente, still inform in making the decision to sweet-talk Iran out of its nuclear ambitions. The old fogeys (but not old enough to remember World War II) are taking us all into the abyss, G-d forbid, in their blindness to the new.
The Cold War is over. It is over. The old days are over. A religious figure like the current Pope is far wiser than those “level-headed, pragmatic diplomats” at the US State Department, not to mention the UN.
As for the media—though claimed to be out of touch with the people, I believe they may be echoing a popular sentiment with their replacement of the term “Muslims” with “Asians” and the like. In the wake of 9/11, when the US was in the heat of righteous anger, there came the first pleas pouring cold water on the flames: “Don’t talk about it as ‘Islam versus the West’! Don’t make this a religious war!” The alarm expressed at Bush’s wording, “This war, this crusade…” (emphasis mine), though he may have meant that word in its metaphorical sense, reflects the popular dread of the new storm. It is as if people were saying: “We had enjoyed the Clinton years, and now war is upon us; grant us at least the clemency to be at war with something we had recent experience with!” With a foe driven by an economic ideology, as Communism was.
Even the apt comparisons of Islamic fascism to the Nazi fascism of old are terrifying, because those with the experiences of that period are few and getting ever fewer. But the contemplation of the Islamic enemy brings us much, much farther back in the pages of our history books: the Barbary pirates (18th century), the second siege of Vienna (1683), the first siege of Vienna (1529), the fall of Constantinople (1453), the Crusades (11th to 13th centuries), the Battle of Tours (732), the conquest of Spain (711), and finally… the emergence of a new religion in the 7th century.
Religion. The Crusades. Pope Urban II proclaiming war from the window of the Vatican in 1099. The Dark Ages. Violent times in which reason was wanting and life hung on a constant thread. A faraway age so unlike our own… so unlike our own, which has boasted the slaughter of millions in the name of “rational”, intellectual, well-thought-out ideologies. An age in which people were different, radically different, from us. Or were they? Were they really? An age when people were unsure of eating the next day, whereas in our age, it’s totally different: you could lose your job tomorrow because of a stock market crash in Japan. An irrational age in which people consulted astrologers using star charts before making important decisions. We’re different: we consult analysts using Excel spreadsheets before making important decisions.
The basics of humanity haven’t changed. And as that’s the case, taking refuge against the struggles of thousand years ago in the struggles of thirty years ago won’t help. Taking old terminology like “whites” (for non-Muslim Europeans), “Asians” (for Muslims) and “Non-Aligned Nations” (states claiming to be neither capitalist nor communist in the Cold War, but nowadays the term refers to states aligned against the USA) can only soothe the pain of confronting the new storm for so long. Sooner or later the West will have to come to terms with the fact that we’re dealing with unfinished business that dates from the 7th century. We didn’t want it, we weren’t asked if we wanted it, it came to us, and it’s now reached a state that dealing with it can no longer be deferred. There’s a lot of people who want to snuggle back to the known variables of racial conflicts and anti-colonial resistance and the struggle between the haves and the have-nots. To which I say: and I want a Mercedes, so what?
Race over. The old paradigm of 30 years ago is gone, and it’s time to adjust to the newly-resurfaced reality: the war of the non-Muslim world for freedom from shariah law. There’s no other way to put it.