Monday, July 11, 2005

Until The End Of The World

What a craven bunch of cowards some people in this country can be. Reading the likes of "The no-warning bomb attacks on London by suspected Islamic fundamentalists are an indication of what could happen here if the Dublin administration continues its current military and political alliance with Britain." and "It is nauseating to hear Mr Ahern's hypocritical bleatings over the barbarism in London, seeing that he supported the greater slaughter of Iraqi civilians by the British and the Americans..." (both from the Irish Times Letters page last Saturday) has me fuming.

I sent them this letter in response this morning - I'll see if it gets published...

Dear Madam,

The reaction of some in this country to the events in London last Thursday has been predictable yet still maddening. It has been claimed that, by assisting or associating with the US and British military, we in Ireland also risk attack by radical Islamic terrorists. For this to be believed one of two positions must be held – either that the US and its allies as one party to a conflict, and the radical Islamists as the other, are moral equivalents and that we in Neutral Ireland should not be seen to take sides; or that the radical Islamists are indeed fascist terrorists but we in Ireland should not be seen to take sides lest they turn their murderous ire in our direction. The former is craven in the extreme, the latter is cowardice made all the more embarrassing by the stoic resolve shown by Londoners since last Thursday. Both positions are reprehensible. We in Ireland don’t have to believe that current US foreign policy is the correct response to dealing with its radical Islamist enemies. But it does not automatically follow that we should make the mistake of affording the evil responsible for the atrocities in London, Madrid, Bali, New York, East Africa and elsewhere a legitimacy that obstructing the US could give it.

It has also been claimed that it is hypocritical to be overly exercised by the death and destruction in London when a far greater number of civilians are being murdered weekly in Iraq. This implies that the conflict in Iraq is directly responsible for the attacks in London however for this position to be held one must believe that radical Islam is a 21st century phenomenon. The murder of 225 people, almost all local civilians, in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, for example, gives lie to this fallacy. Furthermore when the followers of al Zarqawi commit mass murder outside Shia mosques and police recruiting stations it is hard to see why, exactly, the occupying troops should be blamed for the ongoing death and destruction in Iraq. Does anyone believe that their extraction would bring peace to Iraq and save lives?

Wahhabi radical Islam, the belief that Allah’s pure message transmitted by Mohammed has been obscured over the centuries, has been in existence since the mid-eighteenth century. Al Qaeda is not a hierarchical organisation with easily defined, limited, political goals in the vein of the IRA – bin Laden is more of a cult figurehead than an actual leader. Radical Islam is disparate and has many local as well as trans-national aims throughout the Islamic world. However bin Laden was quoted in 1998 as proclaiming that he and his followers would “render all possible assistance to [Allah] for the supremacy of Islam, for the stability of Islamic government, for the enforcement of the law of Allah till the time that all dissension [and] conflicts come to an end and Allah’s religion reigns supreme”. There is no one person or group to negotiate with and, indeed, no concessions that would ever satisfy this fascism. So we in Ireland would do well to re-examine our desire to bury our collective heads in the sand.
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