The World Gone Mad & Why We Can't "Understand"
Pim's Ghost has written an excellent essay which puts into words many of the same thoughts I've been having since reading Patai's The Arab Mind. Below is Pim's Ghost's essay in its entirety, including the graphic:
Thank you, Pim's Ghost, for writing such an eloquent essay! For several months now, I've been comparing the time in which we're living to the 1930s.
During a debate in the film "Aliens", Sigourny Weaver's character 'Ripley' turns and sardonically asks the groups, "Did IQs drop sharply while I was away?" I've always liked that quote. I haven't had the luxury of being frozen for half a century, but I have been able to watch world leaders take a major nose-dive when it comes to intelligent discourse in my relatively short lifetime. Even worse, though I was not alive during the World Wars, I have studied them and mourn the loss of resolve and the rise of relativism which has become a clamp on thought in the West. First in academia and then into the realm of politics, the world has seemingly lost its collective mind when it comes to international affairs. As is plain in almost every news report about the war beginning (and make no mistake, this IS war) now underway against Israel, the response by the rest of the world just doesn't make sense to any rational person. In fact, had anyone just woken up from a 50-some-odd year sci-fi "freeze", they'd be quite out of sorts and probably would start screaming right about now. If they hadn't started screaming for sanity already.
We're all familiar with the cries against Israel's use of "disproportionate response" of force.. This is war. Countries do not win wars by using an "equal response of force". The very idea makes no sense whatsoever. Europeans, with their leaders currently leadding the call for this idea, certainly didn't play at war against the Nazis. It was in fact an Allied "disproportionate response" to the attacks of both Germany and Japan that ended the war and brought about peace, even to the countries who started the trouble. I realize that this absurdity is being covered already by anyone with a keyboard, so I'll just leave this brilliant exchange of quotes from Haaretz.com:
"The European Union is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hezbollah on Israel," according to a statement issued by Finland which holds the EU's rotating presidency. "The presidency deplores the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon cannot be justified."
"The government of Israel is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of one-sided language by the new European Union presidency concerning the situation in Lebanon," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said in response to the statement."
The one thing that has really grabbed my attention, in both the press and in comments sections on YouTube and forums I frequent, is the COMPLETE blame that has been foisted upon Israel in both this and pretty much any other situation regarding terrorism, problems in the Arab world, the economy, 9/11, etc. Somehow this small island of relative normalcy and its blend of Western and regional society is to blame for it all. Certainly the Arab world would have us believe such nonsense. They've been begging the West to understand their sense of humiliation and despair over that massive land grab by the Israelis in the midst of their stagnant little world. The problem is, we just cannot ever understand this "humiliation". It isn't in us as a culture, even as a divided one that the West may now be.
First of all, claims are growing regarding the fact that most Israelis aren't native to the region, and therefore don't belong there. Aside from this claim being absurd, this was a hated group of people in diaspora. They decided to end the diaspora, to the screams and futile military attacks of certain Arab nations. Claim # two: the Holocaust never happened, so the reasoning by Jews to resettle after World War II in Israel is unfounded. I, of course, find this claim unfounded and address it only because it is believed by Iran PM Ahmadinejad, who is now planning and scheming to bring about the very holocaust that he denied happened earlier. In this mindset, no Shoah before = SHOAH NOW!! Insanity, but I've already called that nonsense by its right name, though I could use more colorful language.
Israel has every right to exist as it does, the land of "Palestine" was never not populated by Jews, they were just held down as dhimmis as they were in the rest of the Arab world. Sorry Dar al Islam, just like in "al-Andalus", sometimes those you have subjugated decide to fight back. This is a fact of life, get used to it.
Yet the Arab world cannot get past this fact, nor get used to it. Hence, they have been begging the West and anyone else who would listen for years now that they have been ruined by this humiliation and the military and diplomatic support of Israel by the United States. The biggest problem here is that it is almost impossible for Westerners, even those engaged in the most absurd forms of self-flaggelation for being Westerners, to truly understand the Arab sense of "being" and what every Arab grows up understanding as their culture. Furthermore, since Islam is one of the greatest forces of imperialism on the planet, this mindset has been exported well beyond the Arab world, even if non-Arab Muslims don't feel the sting quite as much. The point is, the concepts of "honor" and "shame" mean something indescribably deep in the Arab world that the West will never be able to really get its head around. And not being able to understand it, Westerners have couched the Arab dissenters in Western forms. We have the "freedom fighters" instead of "terrorists". We have the "rage of the impoverished" instead of the fact that most doing the fighting are hardly poor. Any form of Western romanticism will do, as long as it's not that love of "the little guy", which Israel most certainly is, surrounded by a whole region determined to destroy it utterly (see above).
I have read, listened and watched for years now as Westerners try to grab onto this idea. All the while they damn the idea of being "Euro-centric" or "Western-centric", yet their diatribes and even reports of the Arab-Israeli conflict reek of it. Though the Arab world begs us to understand where they are coming from, we never will. Face it, we don't see it as a major point of humilation that any lands we once held have been lost. Some may not love the idea, but I can hardly picture any Brit crying into his tea over the fact that his Kingdom no longer holds India or parts of Africa. This sense of "manhood" and "shame" is alien to us, as alien as "honor killings" and Female Genital Mutilation, which we CAN understand in Western terms to condemn. As for the shame of losing a tiny bit of land to (allah forbid!!) infidels, and Jews at that, we in the West will never be able to understand that kind of fury and shame that cuts to the bone. It isn't in us. So the begging of the Arab world to try and make us understand will continue to fall on deaf ears, just as the self-flaggelating segments of the West will continue to find more Western-friendly words to describe why they do not support Israel. The rationalization in the West will continue along the lines that we can understand according to our non-Arab culture. Namely, in the idea of a "subjugated people", in this case the Palestinians, never mind the fact that they have done more to hold themselves back than any Jews. Even the Arab world holds them back to hold them up as an example to continue the hatred for Israel. They've admitted as much. They NEED the Palestinians to be wretched to justify their desire to demolish Israel. Meanwhile, in the West, people finally started falling for this clever ruse. Being not a very clever ruse at all, this represents the most steep "IQ drop" of the sort I mentioned earlier.
As for the current conflict, I AM cheering for the true underdog here. Every so often, people come up with a new rationalization for their hatred of Jews. At one point the rallying cry was that "they killed Christ". They "caused the Black Death", and were burned for it even as they died of it as well. They "managed to own everything!" (actually, that one's still going....conspiracy nuts will sink to anything). "They are leading to racial impurity" and "Hey! Look what they did to the "Palestinians"? There's always some rational that people think of to excuse their outright hatred and wonton slaughter of Jewish people the world over, and I just listed some of the Western ones, the Muslim ones being long enough for many articles on their own. So here you have it once again, bigotry "rationalized". It's once again just fine to hate Jews and root for their demise! And who said this era wasn't analogous to the 1930s again? Here's my vote for a "disproportionate response" on all fronts, military and in the greater discourse.