martedì 19 luglio 2005

Fallaci, the Good God and the Infanticidal God

Of course, Fallaci's paper on the London bombings was expected. It was unthinkable that she would spare us her umpteenth racist and xenophobe rant. At the request of the Corriere – which has been specializing in this type of publishing for a while – she has published one of her usual long articles, proclaiming once more the same concepts she has been repeating, as she says herself, for four years: “War-Against-The-Western-World, Europe's-suicide, Wake-Up-Italy-Wake-Up. Of course, all this is topped with a negation of the existence of a moderte Islam, which she describes as a “fraud” and with a debasing of millions of Muslims, guilty of professing a “barbarous” creed. But this time, Fallaci goes even further, and calls Judaism and Islam children-murdering religions, in a comparison between the “barbarous” and “blood-thirsty” God of Muslims and Jews, for whom “Good Abraham, in order to obey God's command, eas ready to slaughter his child like a lamb” and the “Father God, Good God, Affectionate God, who preaches love and pardon” of Christianism. And yet, it was in the name of this Good God that Jews were burned at stake and fire was set to their synagogues, and that Orthodox Christians and Muslims got butchered during the Crusades. It was in the name of this Good God that slavery and the elimination of whole indigenous peoples was justified. It is in the name of this Good God that abortionist doctors are shot down in front of their clinics in the US. It is in the name of this Good God that soldier children in Uganda kill and rip bellies, in order to establish a state based on the Ten Commandments. It is in the name of this Good God, with rosaries hanging from cannons, that cities like Falluja are besieged and destroyed.
Military strategy though, as it is normal that it should be so, is accompanied by a hammering and constant propaganda commissioned by those lobbies that have every interest in removing the attention of their own citizens from problems of daily life, and they can’t wait to justify their own political line. Even if it is a failure seeing that it is essentially set up to enrich some multinationals in which they are the principal investors. The uncomfortable truth is that these lobbies, Ms Fallaci, and together with them various minor versions that are turning up every day through the national newspapers, want to hide to the general public that there is no such thing as terrorism that is born out of nothing. And therefore, there can not even be a terrorism that is born from a “senseless” hatred of the West, of its civilisation and values. To put it briefly, there is no such thing as a terrorism that is aggressive as an end in itself, because terrorism is nothing more than a method that part of a specific social reality uses in order to obtain a political result. The truth is that terrorists do not attack because they are “jealous of the Twin Towers” or of the “Western metropolis’s”: all it takes is for a quick look in some Arab cities to assure oneself of this. They don’t care one way or the other about how Westerners dress and what their TV stations propose at two o’clock in the morning. And they don’t attack because they want to “destroy the West or conquer or convert it to Islam”, even if their pompous rhetoric seems to sound that way to non-experts. The terrorism of Al Qaeda is not at all a religious terrorism, even if it is tied into religion: it is a political terrorism, with methodologies and finalities that are plainly geo-strategic and economic. Al Qaeda does not kill the English, the Spanish or the Americans because they are “Christians”, even if it makes rhetorical use of the term “infidels” (the Egyptian ambassador whose throat was cut, with wife and daughters wearing veils, had been in fact also defined as ambassador “of the infidels”). But because, according to the perverse logic of Al Qaeda, they are citizens who have decided with their free vote to support governments that have brought about and maintained politics considered unjust not only by those fanatics that – in a barbaric and unacceptable way – have self-assumed the duty of “defending” and “vindicating” their communities, but even a large part of the public opinion of the Middle East, Christian Arabs included. The terrorists aim at overthrowing the Middle Eastern governments sustained by the West, especially in countries rendered unstable – and therefore substantially made “appetising” and “accessible” – by Western military intervention, such as in Iraq, or to reinstate fundamentalist governments that had previously existed, such as in Afghanistan. Until they have reached their goal, the attacks will continue because they are functional to their image of themselves as “vengeful heroes” for the Arab masses, continually put to the stress and pain of photograms of the victims of American bombs or of torture perpetrated by Western soldiers. Islamic terrorism, with great banality, models itself after all of the terrorist movements that have political demands, while conserving the religious rhetoric that is functional for justifying – always according to the extremist point of view – certain actions before the Middle Eastern populations who are, essentially, populations that are religious believers and sensitive to the calls of their religion. But these populations are also driven by serious situations of social, political and economic deprivation, which as lasted a long time both in the Middle East as in Europe, where the integration of the Muslim community is – differently from the United States – substantially a failure. It is certainly not for the fault of Islam or of the Muslims themselves, but for the fault of the European governments who have ghettoised the Muslim communities, inducing some of its members to follow the fundamentalists who rather accept them with open arms, notwithstanding the sentences and useless requests of extradition advanced by their countries of origin. Fundamentalists who have been coddled and pampered and not, as some would have us believe, in the name of democracy and the freedom of thought, but to exercise ulterior pressure on the Arab world, which is already wrung through and through by Western military threats, by embargos, by social conflicts between the rich who are always more rich and the poor who are always more poor, from the demographic explosion, to unemployment and illiteracy.
The London bombings evidenced a failure: not so much the failure of multi-ethnic society, as of the strategies used by hosting countries to face murderous extremism. They proved that even in Europe, whole social classes of immigrants, who should have brought new energy and vitality to hosting societies, live in conditions similar to those of the Third World, amid the complete indifference of those who waste public money on useless shows and xenophobic newspapers. There is no point in continuously asking Muslims who live in the West to condemn terrorism, if whenever they say aything about whatever issue, their good faith is doubted: their condemnation of terrorism goes without saying, as does its condemnation by any Western citizen and by any human being worth of being called so. The fact that one, four, ten, a hundred terrorists – and even if they were a hundred thousand or a million – chose armed violence to express their political reasons, must not incite us to treat as terrorists over a billion others, “guilty” of professing – or not professing – the same creed as those who chose to explode themselves in order to “redeem” in the Other World a miserable and tormented earthly life, made even more miserable and tormented by “liberating” wars, “humanitarian” bombs and hatred campaigns waged by media. For this very reason, it is pointless to silence and to hystericaly accuse of “apology of terrorism” or of “conniving with the enemy” those who simply want to go beyond condemnation and analyze the motivations and goals people who chose to kill themselves as they kill others: such reflections might well prove vital in order to fully defeat terrorism. The answer to terrorism is not continuing to live as if nothing had happened, as media ask us to. Our lives will never return to what they were: today, everybody is slightly afraid, and life will never be the same, particularly for those who lost a relative or a dear friend in the attacks that have ceaselessly bloodied this martyred planet for the last years. The answer to terrorism is not to keep chanting “We shall prevail!”, in a battle where the outcome is anything but known, and which might degenerate into world and civil wars. The answer to terrorism is in living on and reflecting at the same time on the causes of such tragedies – and in reaching perforce the conclusion that the answer to terroris can only be a greater integration, more respect towards all and – mainly – fewer sweeping statements. We must not fall for the trap prepared by Fallaci and people like her, from lobbies who would have us believe that the world is divided exclusively between those who are “with us” and those who are “against us”: the world is only one and it belongs to all. Let us therefore strive, all together, to defeat terrorism, including literary terrorism, which attempts to draw us into a circle of violence where a few – protected by their bullet-proof cars and bodyguards – stand to profit, whereas many stand to lose.
Translation by Claude Almansi. Central part translated by "The Cutter". Full Italian text in Oriana Fallaci's paper is in French version is here.