Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

We have met the enemy, and it is not us

One of the Left's greatest failings is its belief -- all evidence to the contrary -- that the Arabs are just like us and that, if we treat them as we would like to be treated, they'll respond as we wish them to respond. In this regard, members of the Left shows a surprisingly Christian attitude, since they evidence an unswerving belief in the Golden Rule. They also show an amazingly insular, self-serving attitude, at odds with their much vaunted multiculturalism, in so blithely and blindly denying cultural differences. The fact is that Arab culture is not like ours. For lengthy detail, check out books by famous Arabists, such as Bernard Lewis or Raphael Patai. For the short version, you need go no further than this Fouad Ajami article in the WSJ Opinion Journal. The introduction sets the tone for rest of an article that is truly a worthwhile read:

The remarkable thing about the terror in Iraq is the silence with which it is greeted in other Arab lands. Grant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi his due: He has been skilled at exposing the pitilessness on the loose in that fabled Arab street and the moral emptiness of so much of official Arab life. The extremist is never just a man of the fringe: He always works at the outer edges of mainstream life, playing out the hidden yearnings and defects of the dominant culture. Zarqawi is a bigot and a killer, but he did not descend from the sky. He emerged out of the Arab world's sins of omission and commission; in the way he rails against the Shiites (and the Kurds) he expresses that fatal Arab inability to take in "the other." A terrible condition afflicts the Arabs, and Zarqawi puts it on lethal display: an addiction to failure, and a desire to see this American project in Iraq come to a bloody end. Zarqawi's war, it has to be conceded, is not his alone; he kills and maims, he labels the Shiites rafida (rejecters of Islam), he charges them with treason as "collaborators of the occupiers and the crusaders," but he can be forgiven the sense that he is a holy warrior on behalf of a wider Arab world that has averted its gaze from his crimes, that has given him its silent approval. He and the band of killers arrayed around him must know the meaning of this great Arab silence.