Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dutch Treat

We come to you and the world daily from the depths of "the fortress," our building in the heart of a nasty ghetto where no one goes unarmed but the police, and they don't come here.

Almost daily, and on average seven a week, there is a death for reasons of violence or drug use. This is a low end of town. People here are insane and violent, and yet there's no great danger in walking here to there on a daily basis--because as crazy as they are, as violent as they are, the people here are only overtly violent on occasion. And of the violent and mad, not all are always so even if the midst of violence, some preferring to watch while others go at each other or another with machetes or hand guns of what have you. And among those thousands of residents and visitors to this area daily, not all are violent. And not all the violent are insane. But consider this: Those who are not overtly violent, and yet who work in violent trades such as drug dealing and prostitution, deal with those who are violent, and they live by knowing how to cope with their clientele. the average drug- dealing pimp/ businessman doesn't carry a gun and shoot his customers at random. Instead he keeps a couple of pit bull dogs. Why that? Because he knows that if he were facing a man with a weapon he'd feel the need to discuss and negociate a compromise even if there's no hope for it. Thus, a couple of man-eating dogs stand at the ready, the client knowing there will be no futile attempts at sweet reason and clever logic if the deal sours. One simply cannot talk a mad dog out of anything. Reason prevails even in the savage world of man eats man when there's a man eating dog at the ready. Even then we see a body a day.

There are seemingly no disadvantages to having earned a doctorate in a competive university of good standing. But, having written that, we cannot say those who rely on their formal intellectual training to help them make sense of the world and the course one should navigate are actually anywhere near as intelligent in the crunch when faced with a lunatic. In the alternate world of violent madmen a doctorate is of little help, whereas any guy with sense keeps a vicious dog to do his talking for him.

As the wonderful line in the movie goes: "The first rule in a gun-fight is to bring a gun."

Below we have some dhimmi idiocy from an air-head princess, and hers is not significantly different from what we read of Karen Hughes, Condi Rice, and Geo W. Bush and co. We must wonder just what, if anything, these people know about the world they live in. And since they are our leaders, ushering our states and communities and our persons through the world's troubles on the grand scale, what hope do we have of returning home in the evening in one piece?

Published 14 October 05

Abigail R. Esman

International Desk

By Abigail R. Esman
World Defense Review columnist

Understanding the threat

Finally, we have a solution to the threat of Islamic Jihad.

Just shy of a year after the Jihadist murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and only weeks past the four-year anniversary of 9/11, that fateful day when the world discovered such a war even existed, Holland's Princess Irene, sister to Queen Beatrix, offers up a strategy for world peace: "Let's talk."

In a full-page interview in the weekend edition of the national daily, de Volkskrant, the princess voiced support for the idea of a peace talk between Western and Al Qaeda leaders, to be mediated by an impartial party (is there anyone who qualifies as an "impartial party" in this debate?). Western leaders, she said, should take the initiative: "Talk to Al Qaeda and show that you can break through the 'enemy' paradigm with real, open discussion."


Ironically, the last words Theo van Gogh was known to speak, he imparted to his killer, Mohammed Bouyeri. "Don't do it," he said. "We can still talk." But Bouyeri only looked at him and silently drove a Kukri knife across van Gogh's throat.

It is not because she is sister to the Queen that I find the princess's pronouncement so distressing: as the 'black sheep' of the family, she forfeited her right to the crown years ago. Besides, few Dutch take her seriously, citing amusedly a book she authored about communing with the trees. What troubles me more is this notion "that we can talk our way through this" seems to be circulating with greater frequency within certain ideological circles. Troublesome, too, is the basis for the idea itself: that somehow Islamic jihad is rooted in economic divides or, as the princess described it, "imbalances and trade barriers."

It is time, I think, to put these misconceptions to rest.

In researching this column, I re-read an article, "THE REVOLT OF ISLAM: When did the conflict with the West begin, and how could it end?" (November 19, 2001, The New Yorker), by Bernard Lewis that should, to my mind, be required reading for anyone 'citizen or statesman' espousing an opinion on the events of 9/11 and the future we are shaping in their aftermath. Two key points immediately stood out.

"[Until] the modern period, when European concepts and categories became dominant, Islamic commentators almost always referred to their opponents not in territorial or ethnic terms, but simply as infidels (kafir)," writes Lewis. "They never referred to their own side as Arab or Turkish; they identified themselves as Muslims."

The concept of jihad, Lewis continues, was "one of the basic tasks bequeathed to Muslims by the Prophet. This word, which literally means 'striving,' was usually cited in the Koranic phrase 'striving in the path of God' and was interpreted to mean armed struggle for the defense or advancement of Muslim power. In principle, the world was divided into two houses: The House of Islam, in which a Muslim government ruled and Muslim law prevailed; and the House of War, the rest of the world, still inhabited and, more important, ruled by infidels. Between the two, there was to be a perpetual state of war until the entire world either embraced Islam or submitted to the rule of the Muslim state."

Assuming these things to be true, and Lewis (referred to by Slate.com as the "Islam scholar U.S. politicians listen to") is as much an expert on the subject as anyone, what could possibly be accomplished by the kinds of talks Princess Irene suggests? It is a matter of religious mandate to defeat the infidel, according to Lewis (and others); hence electing to do otherwise is heresy. What passionately religious man would choose this?

An "infidel," of course, is quite simply anyone who is not Muslim.

National law, national identity, geographic boundaries, these are subservient, in Islam, to faith: an attack on an Afghan is, to a Muslim radical from Palestine, no different than an attack on a Palestinian; they are "brothers," united by the family cloak of their Muslimhood. So, too, is an attack on an American the same as one on a Dutchman or a Frenchman or a Swiss (it was, after all, the World Trade Center Al Qaeda targeted). In a world of "us" and "them," one in which any tolerance of "them" is a forsaking of what it means to be one of "us," what dialogue, what negotiations, are possible?

There are also practical considerations, not the least of which is the bounty on most Al Qaeda leaders' heads. Al Qaeda is not a country. It is not even an army or an organization with an address and 501(c) status. While Al Qaeda leaders are sitting at a roundtable in, say, Geneva, will their followers practice any kind of ceasefire? I doubt it.

In Princess Irene's own country, the Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), the Intelligence and Security Service, has noted an alarming increase in the number of young men -- and women -- joining radical Islamic groups. In the months since van Gogh's murder, in fact, they have found that the number of such groups itself, is rising in The Netherlands, as many as 10 or 20, according to a July 2005 report. Many of these organizations, like the Hofstad group of which Bouyeri was a member, are comprised of well-educated, middle-class, second and third-generation Dutch Muslims, the emphasis, in their case, as Lewis notes, on "Muslim."

A summit among leaders is unlikely to make them change their minds. Moreover, as Lewis reminds us, during the 1979 American hostage crisis in Teheran, hostages were held far longer than planned, simply because "statements from Washington made it clear [to the hostage-takers] that there was no danger of serious action against them."

All of this is not to say that I support any and all military action, or defend violent retribution as a rule. I don't. But it is to explain that ascribing the roots of jihad to economic "imbalances" is fundamentally naive, and that seeking a solution to the conflict in conversation, while a picturesque ideal, is in fact and in no small way, dangerous.

"Goatf____rs," Theo van Gogh called Muslim extremists in his columns and interviews in newspapers and on TV. It was an ugly word, a hideous word, a hate-filled word: but it was a word. He talked.

His killer didn't.
And there we have the crux of the matter: intellectuals, some, don't have the sense to realize that one cannot talk to a pit bull. The solution is to have your own pit bull.

For those who've ever seen the result of such we can appreciate your unwillingness to think of such things and to mention such in public. But-- we live in a world not of our own choosing, and in that unchosen world we meet those we might rather not. The question is, what do we do? We cannot continue to walk through world neighbourhoods such as this without knowing how to survive on our daily basis, even if it means we keep nasty company at times.


Anonymous said...

Hoo is this babe?

dag said...

Hey, I'm sure she's nuts about me. Any girl that smart must be.

John Sobieski said...

What a stupid princess. Why is the world cursed with so many naive people who think they know the 'solution' which is not a solution at all.

dag said...

We can see equally stupid people in the U.S. State Dept., the likes of Karen Hughes, for example. These are highly educated idiots who have never in their lives been to a supermarket to buy their own dinner let alone having had to deal with savages who think nothing of killing fellow Human beings. It's extremely difficult for sheltered people to come to grips with the unusual, the unknown, and the frightening without translating such experience into their own terms of reference.

What, really, does a princess know about the average homicide bomber as a person? Not much, according to me, not any more than the average killer knows about being a princess. Sometimes people should accept their limitations and let experts deal with things outside the experience of well-meaning and intelligent people who really don't have a clue in spite of their intelligence and sophistication and accomplishments. It's gotta be tough for a princess of any kind to deal with a pit bull. Obviosly, some princesses are too stupid to realize that even if they get bitten on the arse.

Michael said...

Excellent article.