Last Saturday I posted Blair’s speech following the horrible attacks on London. I chose not to comment at that point beyond highlighting salient parts of the speech which I found intriguing. In his speech TB went one step further in defining the enemy that uses terrorism as its main weapon. In a jab at the “clash of civilisations” party, TB insisted that this was not a case of a clash of civilisations but a case of an evil ideology raising its ugly head and trying to make us change our ways. We shall not be changed was the answer. We will go on doing whatever we were doing without a huff or a puff. It was all civilisation that was attacked.
Fair. True. I agree. Or at least I’d love to. I still cannot help comparing the way we go about our lives and our politics to the way other cultures would. Today’s news headlines include the shooting of the Sunni members of the committee that is drafting the Iraqi Constitional Charter. Comparatively, it is as though Friggieri and Fr Serracino Inglott were shot down on their way to the early meetings of Giscard’s Constitutional group. The death of the Sunnis practically means the end of the involvement of the minority in the creation of the Constitution in Iraq. A draft that is reportedly very close to a Sharia based law. The Shi’ites and the Kurds who together control the drafting committee have framed a constitution that, insofar as women’s rights are concerned… well, they are not exactly all there.
So. The liberation of Iraq (by a nation that defined the Axis of Evil coincidentally along the lines of “which states have switched to dealing internationally using the EURO instead of the dollar?“) has freed the Iraqis and allowed them to rewrite their nation’s history. How far does ‘our’ civilisation go in ‘dictating’ the kind of democracy that is necessary? (Note how diffcult it is to choose the right words). Will the “bringers of peace” send in the troops again should they find out that there is a new kind of oppression going on, namely the suppression of women’s rights. An article by Lesley Abdela in opendemocracy.org seems to show that violence on women already exists.
My point is: We do things differently – if we disagree on a draft constitution we may call each other names like “you cook worse than the Finns” and we may have long faces and block the devlopment of a fledgling Union fifty years on. We do not explode other people because of our disagreement with them. We do not create legislation where one human being gets more rights than another because of a scrotal sack dangling between its legs (at least we do our damned best not to). We may be passing through a crisis of mediocrity but we advocate tolerance and are ashamed whenever an intolerant faction within our community raises its ugly head.
The Crisis of Mediocrity
I still agree with Tony. We must see these acts of violence as acts based on an evil ideology and not because of differences in civilisations. What worries me is how long can we continue to believe this…. we need clear signs of change… otherwise the other side can start winning… and its greatest victory is that we become like them… that we react to violence with violence… that we try to eradicate their existence because it threatens ours… that we speak of killing or of suppressing rights using terms such as liberation, democracy, axis of evil….
I do not want to become one of them. Thank God I am European.