This dialogue between Abu Al-Jihadi, an influential Islamic activist of indeterminate nationality with thousands of followers, and Fay West, a well-respected American intellectual who holds some chair at some prominent university, was overheard recently on some media outlet. Together they discussed some of the issues facing the world since the War on Terrorism began. I think this conversation very ably illustrates the differing points of view between the Western left and the Islamists. I reprint it here so that we may all appreciate the differing perspectives.
Convert to Islam, kaffir pig!
Certainly Western elites, and in particular those in the United States, are guilty of a most startling form of insensitivity regarding the Muslim world. American arrogance combined with an evangalizing right-wing Christianity have much to answer for.
Kill all Americans!
I would agree that American foreign policy leaves much to be desired, both presently and historically. When will the American government learn that violence doesn't solve anything, but only breeds more violence? US foreign policy should concern itself with fighting poverty and saving the environment. It shouldn't be about fighting wars so that George Bush and his friends can make more money from oil.
Death to the West!
A very keen insight. It was of course the West that instigated the Crusades, and for this we are all to blame, as President Clinton said so well. I fear that it will be a long time before we are able to atone for this crime against humanity. And with the recent US dismissal of the Kyoto accords, we are even further away from that day.
Jews are all pigs and dogs!
Of course I agree that the occupation of Palestine is of central concern right now. The Palestinians, who have suffered so long at the hands of their Israeli oppressors, merely want peace in their own state alongside their aggressive neighbor. It is unfortunate that George Bush is fighting against this. Zionism is racism.
Jewish scum must die!
Along with you, I support the Intifada and other forms of resistance and non-violent protest. When will the ruling oligarchies of the West realize that the occupation is wrong?
We will create a new Caliphate and spread Islam around the world!
It's like you're reading my mind! Arab self-determination is centrally important to world peace and security. For the United States to dictate whom the Iraqi people may choose as a leader is not only immoral, but it violates International Law. Furthermore, forcing our political views on other peoples is just another form of Western imperialism. Who are we to judge that our way is better than anyone else's?
The world must live under Sharia for it is only through Sharia that one may worship Allah!
Well certainly the judicial system in the US is corrupt. Our racist institutions and the War on (Some) Drugs support the military-industrial-prison complex and supply corporate America and its military defenders with an endless supply of cannon fodder. I'm organizing a sit-in to protest this right now. And Ashcroft is a fascist- don't get me started!
Jihad today! Jihad tomorrow! Jihad forever!
That's interesting. I agree that the inhuman forces of globalization unleashed by the West's corporatists must be fought at every turn. It's only through grassroots organizing and protest that we can defeat this latest terror. We must not allow Western corporations to spread their violence throughout the world.
You paint your face like a whore!
I've enjoyed this cultural exchange too. It is only through peaceful dialogue that disparate peoples can learn to appreciate their differences and live together in peace and harmony on our fragile planet. Save the Earth!
I will stone you in the village square!
I look forward to our next meeting as well!
Well that was informative, wasn't it? I think we now have a better idea of all the issues involved. Thanks to the participants! (Idea inspired by- i.e., blatantly stolen from- Marc, a guy posting in the comments area
on an Andrea Harris post
. It was too good not to steal!)
The French Vote
by Demosthenes rebuts the observation made by some that French opposition (so far) to attacking Iraq is based on French oil interests in that country. Demosthenes says about the claim:
That's legitimate, but I've never been one to believe or argue that economics is the root of all human activity, just one of the aspects and manifestations of it.
It's too bad that Demosthenes doesn't tell that to the left-wing conspiracy It's All About Oil crowd in this country when they accuse Bush & Co. of harboring the same motives. Surely the US has other aspects and manifestations too. Demo mentions one of France's likely other interests:
In France's case, it'd probably be multilateralism, because the French government probably believes that France's strategic situation is far better off in a multilateral world of collective security than in a unipolar American world.
Well, at least he's suggesting that France is pursuing multilateralism in furtherance of its own strategic interests and not due (solely, at least) to International Law. Perhaps if Demo gave some more weight to the United States' strategic interests, his estimation of the value of International Law would lessen proportionately.
I sense something of a double standard here: France has interests; the US has obligations- to multilaterlism, International Law, etc. But what is France's obligation toward this multilateral world of collective security? How can France support collective security and not act when the supposed collective security apparatus, the UN, has its security edicts violated? Inaction doesn't seem like the best way for the French to support collective security.
And there's something circular about the effects of the French vote too. Putting Russia and China aside for the moment, if France does vote yes on the resolution, then the promise of collective security through the UN is reinforced, since that will be the way the Iraqi threat is dealt with. If France votes no, and the US goes ahead anyway, as Bush has promised, then the UN's role as the vehicle for collective security will be diminished, and the unipolar American world will be that much more of a reality. Again, if France is really interested in collective security, at least through the UN, they should vote in favor of tough action against Iraq.