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Monday, 17 August 2015

War on European Culture

In a recent post I looked at the apparent assault on western civilisation by the forces of fundamentalist Islam. The post, entitled The Assault on Western Civilisation has now received from a reader the following pertinent observations.
While I share all the views you have expressed, an additional matter appears to be the fundamental distinction between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand, and Islam on the other, in respect of the relationship between religion and the secular power. The former explicitly acknowledge a dichotomy ( Caesar and God of the New Testament; the prophets and kings of the Old Testament); while the latter sees only a seamless web. Consequently, the creative tensions of Europe ( Emperor and Pope; Puritans and the Stuarts) do not significantly exist; and politics in the Islamic world is either mimicry ( Nasser Socialism) or the barbaric Gulf states with primitive and confused tangles of religion and secular power. The static ( regressing?) societies in the ME and Pakistan confirm Islam’s stultifying influence, in contrast to the supple societies in India and China, with the capacity to adjust and advance.   
Europe’s fundamental error was to uncouple immigration from culture, because of the lazy reaction on the Continent to Nazism; and in Britain because the country could not break free from the lie of empire (when it was on its last legs) that there was one big rainbow family; and at the end of World War 2 no politician could admit that victory was concurrent with the collapse of the empire, so the rag bag Commonwealth had to be presented as a better, modernised empire. It has to added that the pretence had, of course, the most hideously lethal consequences in Asia and Africa where a premature and botched partition in the subcontinent saw a million die, and in colonies that were not partitioned ( happy families!) the massacres were postponed, as in Sri Lanka. 
As for Africa, colonialism could not have been more destructive than if the powers had set out to re-enact Carthage ( “they make a desert and they call it peace” – from Tacitus’ seems still peerless). Out of the most primitive societies in the world, 19th Century countries were carved which completely ignored organic and fluid tribal perimeters. And out of these, in turn, came independent Bismarkian states, given the apparatus of armies, governments, police and treasuries: for what? As instruments of incompetence, barbaric oppression and confusion on innumerable occasions. In the organic tribal societies the power to create harm was relatively small: the very backwardness of the societies limited damage, and because they operated in a prescriptive framework, the tribesmen were sane, whole ( albeit backward) people with transmitted codes of behaviour.

I find his observation regarding the difference of approach to 'government' and human authority particularly pertinent. Having discussed this very point with several Muslim friends, there is a stark difference in their view of 'democratic' government and that of everyone else. When teaching a Leadership course in the Middle East, I asked the students to think of some remarkable leaders in their own history and culture who provided good examples of inspiring leadership. I expected to get at least something on the likes of Cyrus the Great, Saladin and one or two others. I got one. The Prophet, in their view the ONLY valid example of 'perfect' leadership. That should tell us everything we need to know. It should also scare the living daylights out of those who loudly demand the contradiction of 'no religion in public' and simultaneously welcome any non-Christian religion to indulge in full on displays on the grounds it is a 'minority culture'.

Nor is Europe alone in the error of uncoupling immigration from culture. In their haste to prove their 'inclusive' and non-racial credentials post war, many liberal thinkers preached the mantra that mono-culture was evil, that it promoted racism and many other ills. Now they try to promote the concept of a 'rainbow' culture that is all things to everyone, and yet it is not, and can never be. As my correspondent says, it has its roots in the myth, created at the end of the war, to promote the idea that the Empire had been a 'family' and that it was simply changing shape to be even more inclusive as it became the 'Commonwealth'.

But the Commonwealth is itself a game of smoke and mirrors. Recent exchanges I have had elsewhere with what I shall call 'Little Englanders' who wish to sever all ties to Europe, are loud in claiming that 'we have the Commonwealth; we don't need Europe.' It is interesting to note that, to them, 'The Commonwealth' is Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Bermuda and very little more. Mention that it includes Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Zambia and various other basket cases and you get the response of 'Oh, well, they don't really count, and besides, they buy our goods ...' The truth is, that they don't., but that's alright, because we're still part of that great big 'rainbow family' of the Empire. Aren't we?

Almost all of the current upheaval around the world can be traced to Imperial meddling, carving up of land in order to impose European ideas and nations out of diverse and disparate peoples. This is why Turkey has resorted to force against it's Kurdish population, and why the Kurds dream of a nation state of their own that includes territory currently part of Northern Syria, Northern Iraq and Eastern Turkey. It is why Syria is falling apart, and why Iraq is ungovernable.

Studying the history of major population migrations, one quickly realises that Roman culture fell, and their empire failed, when 'migration' reached a point at which there were more 'alien' cultures in their towns and cities than those who followed the Roman pattern. Those who claim that 'Britain has absorbed migrants throughout its history' fail to recognise that the vast majority, until the 20th Century, were European and held similar cultural values and ideals. That is no longer the case, particularly those migrants that 'follow the Prophet'. To them a separation between the Temple and Caesar is unthinkable, so is any 'democratic' decision which flies in the face of their Faith.

History buffs will also know that Byzantium was not conquered overnight, it died by a million small cuts as the Arabic conquerors first learned to manipulate the populace to their line of thought, and then to accept the imposition of a new culture. So it will be with us - thanks in large part to well meant, but hideously misguided, attempts to find simple and pleasing solutions to very complex human problems.

We can but hope that sense, reason and ultimately democracy will prevail. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Turkey attacking the ISIS?

In recent days I think one of the worst possible moves the US has made in a long time was to throw the Kurds to the Turks in order to gain support and the use of an airbase against the ISIS. Turkey has immediately seized the opportunity to punish the Kurds, labelling them 'terrorists' and bombing them anywhere and everywhere. Since the Kurdish forces were the only effective force against the ISIS thugs, this is likely to rebound badly - particularly on the US and its plans. The Kurds feel they have been betrayed, and they're probably justified.

Turkey's president has his own agenda. Until very recently he has been covertly supporting the ISIS, mainly by NOT doing anything to stem the flow of recruits, but by also refusing to allow the Kurds to pass through Turkey en route to attack these psychopaths. Now, in a cunning move, he's declared that Turkish forces will attack the 'terrorists' in Syria and Iraq - and promptly attacked the Kurds. The Turkish media is, of course, full of stories of how the Kurds are evil terrorists who want to break up the country and will murder all true Turks in their beds. And Uncle Sam, with Washington's usual crass lack of understanding of any non-American culture or nation, has endorsed Turkey's 'war on terror' so it can use an airbase closer to the front.

As I said, I suspect that the result of this little political misstep will lead to even worse problems in the future. Erdogan (pronounced, so I'm told, as Erdo-wan), expected a landslide in the most recent elections. Instead the 25 million Kurds in Turkey gave him a hung Parliament, and now they reap the reward - a purge of all Kurdish Parties and politicians on the grounds they support terrorism. And Uncle Sam, having got what he wanted looks on while Erdogan's armed forces round up his opposition at home and bomb the Kurds more heavily than they are doing to the ISIS. Turkey has a long and bloody history when it comes to minorities and minority rights. I wonder if anyone in Washington has even heard of the Armenian Genocide. Perhaps they haven't, but I suspect they may now be a party to a new and perhaps more subtle form in Erdogan's war on the Kurds.

I expect it looked good on paper. But the payback may be something Washington may not like in the longer term.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Islamic Dress? What's that?

Am I the only reader of news media who is constantly irritated by the reference, when addressing anything to do with any prominent follower of Islam, to their wearing 'Islamic Dress'? This usually is a reference to someone wearing the 'tribal' outfit of either some Bedouin group, or some group from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. I note it is also abused when referring to women in headscarves, burkhas or the rather strange 'coats' worn by women in Iran and neighbouring states under theocratic rule.

Would someone please tell these so-called 'journalists' that THERE IS NO SUCH THING as Islamic Dress! It is a fiction spread by certain fundamentalist elements of the Islamic faith and widely spread by the terminally ignorant mouthpieces of 'Political Correctness' and other so-called 'liberal' claptrap. Frankly, it is insulting to call those of that persuasion 'liberal' since they are generally everything except 'liberal'. The Quran makes no reference to how its adherents should dress other than to say it should be 'with modesty'. Choosing to wear Bedouin robes in the UK or Europe, or the tribal outfits one associates with the many ethnic groups scattered about the Near and Middle East is NOT a statement of faith, but a matter of personal choice in clothing.

Islam is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-national faith. Not everyone who follows it is an Arab - indeed many of its followers get quite annoyed by the suggestion they might be - just as not every European is French. To say that its adherents must all wear the same thing, or even that there is such a thing as one 'Islamic' outfit is stupid in the extreme. It is the equivalent of saying that all Baptists and Non-Conformist Christians MUST wear black suits with knee breeches, white stockings, buckled shoes and wide starched white collars with an obligatory wide brimmed tall crowned hat with a prominent buckle! With their womenfolk in grey or brown dresses and white bonnets. Or that all members of the Church of England must wear Tudor pantaloons and puffed sleeved coats with Canterbury caps, and their wives in wimples, corsets and floor length dresses. And the Romans? Monks habits and nuns habits for the lot of them. What complete twaddle!

There is no such thing as "Islamic Dress" just as there is no such thing as "Christian Dress" unless you belong to a religious order, or one of the Sects that impose such a thing. If some so-called 'preacher' like Mr Choudray chooses to wear the outfit of his homeland that is a matter of his choose. It does NOT mean that he is any more Islamic than me wandering around in a cassock makes me any more "Christian".

Would some editor, somewhere, please sack the next lazy journalist who uses this inane and frankly inaccurate expression in a report!