"I stand with Paris, but..."
By Patrick West on Spiked:
Weasel words abound today. ‘Inappropriate’, ‘hurtful’, ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘problematic’ all sound harmless, but they are snide tools employed to silence voices, words and ideas. They are passive instruments of evasion, cowardice and censorship.
The weasel word of 2015 par excellence has been the simple ‘but’. We heard it after the Charlie Hebdo murders: ‘I condemn violence, and I’m all for free speech, but…’ You know the rest. In the war against the barbarians, the word ‘but’ has become shorthand for ‘it’s the West’s fault’; ‘we are reaping the whirlwind’; or ‘Muslims are all tetchy, mental infants anyhow so we mustn’t provoke them’.
After the most recent slaughter in Paris, ‘but’ has resurfaced from the mouths of liberal-left flagellants, Islamist apologists and students with room-temperature IQs. But what about French foreign policy? But what of our interventions in the Middle East? Didn’t we bring this on ourselves?
It’s all so predictable. So, too, are those who believe that disasters have a hierarchy of grief. ‘I see this whole Paris thing’, one British Muslim told The Times on Tuesday, ‘and think what about Beirut? What about Yemen and Libya and Syria and Palestine? Where are the tears for these places and those people?’
Asking ‘where are the tears for the people in Yemen?’ is like asking ‘Why did you cry when your father died, but not when mine did?’ The closer something is to home, literally and figuratively, the more it’s going to affect you. You or I could have been victims of those attacks. These were people like us: listening to music, eating pizza or watching football on a Friday night out. That’s how shock, horror and disgust work. These are instinctive emotions beyond the governance of reason. And remember that Paris is a global city, and France the most popular tourist destination in the world.
The ultimate defence among those who seek to rationalise Islamism is that it’s ‘perverted’ or ‘twisted’: it’s not ‘true Islam’. One can forgive this argument from Muslims, most of whom are appalled by these gun-toting jihadists who murder in the name of their faith. But it’s not excusable from secular folk who know better. It is another form of evasive servility.
There’s no such thing as ‘twisted Islam’, because there’s no ‘true Islam’ either. Faiths, which have no external referent, are merely what their believers believe them to be. Those kindly, aged Methodists down the road from you are just as Christian as the Crusaders who butchered their way through the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. They just live in a different time and space.
Much of the secular liberal-left and imbecile Twitterati don’t understand or won’t admit to non-material reasons for people’s behaviour. It must be about ‘poverty’ or ‘inequality’. Similarly in sections on the right, there’s the temptation to dismiss these Islamists as inveterate criminals or psychopaths.
Poverty, personality and Western interventionism may be aggravating factors, but they are not the spur to Islamist barbarity. These attacks on Paris were spawned by a sense of righteousness, by a love of power and lust for violence, and the promise of the afterlife.
If this was about poverty and inequality, why aren’t white Frenchmen shooting strangers? If it’s about foreign policy, why do no world leaders, generals and statesmen live under a fatwa, but writers, artists and activists do? What do you think was behind the motives of those who killed people in places where sexes could mingle, drink alcohol and listen to infidel music? Why was the liberal, cosmopolitan 11th arrondissement attacked and not an instrument of the French state? Paris, say IS, is ‘the capital of abominations and perversion, the one that carries the banner of the cross of Europe’.
The West fought alongside Muslims in Afghanistan during the Cold War. Before 9/11 we bombed a Christian country, Serbia, to protect Muslims in Kosovo. Today the attempted genocide of the Yazidis and the destruction of Ancient Syrian temples aren’t ‘our fault’. These actions are the product of a viral ideology possessed of self-righteousness, resentment and a sense of victimhood: the heady ingredients for a hideous mindset that is beyond reason and material considerations...
See also The Myth of Islamophobia