Live and let live, but in fear.
This article is about terrorism, more specifically terrorism and its impact on the people and democracies of the developed world. It’s time for some direct talking, not to the terrorists because they’re beyond reason, but to the ordinary person who is their target.
I’ve heard on more than one occasion that the reason a few hundred thousand Britons could rule over the huge population of India in the heyday of the British Empire, was that they never interfered with the local culture or religion, and indeed even went native themselves in subtle ways.
That’s a fundamentally erroneous idea springing from a basic ignorance of historical fact and reinforced by the residual feel-good attitudes of that failed experiment we called multiculturalism. If they found a local practice repugnant according to their own moral code, they outlawed it and simply hung or imprisoned anyone who persisted in doing it.
For example, the practice of Suttee involved the voluntary or sometimes involuntary burning of widows atop their husband’s funeral pyre. They outlawed it. Another example would be them annihilating the Thuggee sect, who believed the people they strangled were sacrifices to placate the death goddess Kali. Anybody who aided or abetted those activities risked the hangman’s noose, and that’s why both the practise of Suttee and the cult of the Thuggees died out in India.
So, if you’re the boss of the country and some small section of people in it are indulging in a practise you find deeply offensive, you have the right to forbid them from doing it and punish them if they persist. Stating that in an unvarnished way, it’s your country and they do as you tell them or they suffer or get out of it. That’s always been the rule, despite what some deluded people might have come to think in recent decades.
There are some stark realities in the coming years that various parties are going to have to face up to whether they like it or not, because as always, times change and you have to respond realistically to those new circumstances or accept being at the mercy of them.
The first one is we have to concede that the western attitude of live and let live without interfering in the lives of minorities is no longer viable when a terrorism threat is originating from that area and killing ordinary people. If ruling liberal elites continue to act as if there’s no problem and consequently hamstring efforts by the police and security services to go after it and root it out, then after enough deaths they’ll be forced to take the more draconian action demanded by their frightened electorates.
There is somehow an implicit assumption that terrorism only poses a threat to America, it’s their problem and everyone else can relax. Don’t kid yourself, whatever country you live in, no matter how enlightened you feel it is, you’re under threat too; it’s just a matter of time. After 9/11 in New York, 7/7 in London, the Madrid bombings and most recently the tragic murders in Canada, attitudes had to change. On every one of those occasions, people were genuinely shocked that it could be happening in their country, and was even being done by born and bred nationals of those countries.
What compounded the shock was that the then fashionable idea of multiculturalism had engendered the notion that being part of a minority made one good and above criticism. If you dared to disapprove of any aspect of their culture, you were automatically howled down as a bigot or even worse, a racist. Knowing they could operate under this cloak of virtual invulnerability, extremist sections within these communities relied on it to radicalise, recruit and train followers to carry out acts of terrorism. They did exactly that and we’re now looking at the results of it; an enemy within.
Even the criminal element within those communities used this get out of jail free card to their advantage. For instance, the recent conviction of a large gang of Asian men in the UK who’d been sex trafficking white girls and boys for over a decade, did so with the police and social services turning a blind eye because they feared the race card would be played if they intervened. There was a different law being applied or not, dependent on nothing more than a person’s colour or ethnicity. It was the children who suffered.
To quote Angela Merkel, multiculturalism failed “utterly” but the effects of that failure live on. The Chairman of the UK Commission for Racial Equality, said that the end result of multiculturalism was ghettoisation. I’d agree with that assessment though perhaps by a different line of reasoning outlined in a previous article. The attitude of live and let live combined with the natural opacity of what’s going on in a ghetto, allowed the threat to grow unseen until it was far too late.
Even when the murderous threat materialised, certain sections of the liberal intelligentsia and media, after a suitable silence of a week or two, had the temerity to voice the opinion that in reality it was somehow all our fault for being oppressors of some or other minority. That’s coming at you Canada. It’s not just that they’re divorced from reality of common opinion, but that they just cannot let go of that idea that being any sort of minority automatically makes you better than one of the local natives, whom to be frank they despise anyway.
That sort of attitude, while of course permissible in a democracy, plays into the hands of terrorists because terrorism does work on occasion, despite what we like to think. For instance, Spain in the immediate aftermath of the Madrid bombings withdrew what few troops it had deployed in the gulf. The intimidation worked and Spain by giving in to it, has put their citizens even further into harm’s way. If some gang of terrorists wants to change Spanish government policy, just explode a few more bombs there. That’s why we should never give in to terrorism, because in essence it’s a transfer of power from an elected government to a few murderous thugs.
Terrorism combined with the residual delusions of multiculturalism even works to inhibit or suppress pointed comment in various forums. One of the strongest weapons we have against totalitarianism and extremism is to point out its inconsistencies using humour, and yet I’ve never heard a stand up comedian having a go at radical Islam. They’re happy to constantly denigrate Christianity or Judaism because they’re safe targets, but stay well away from the Muslims or they might suffer the death threats of that cartoonist in Denmark. There is an urban legend of an Aussie comedian who has a go but if so, he seems to be unique. If you feel too scared to laugh at them, then that’s a big win for the terrorists.
There are equally pressing issues thrown up by terrorism for people who are members of minority communities who rightly or wrongly are being associated with their atrocities.
The major one is that the religion of Islam has been hijacked by the terrorists who use an obscene interpretation of it as justification for their outrages. For better or worse, people now talk about Muslim terrorists not extreme Muslim terrorists. Living in an environment of distrust and fear of any minority generates a simple view of the world, uncomplicated by such nice distinctions. Perception trumps fact every time and the only way of changing that perception is to demonstrate what a marginal influence extremists have in your communities.
A measured denunciation by some obscure imam in the wake of the latest mass atrocity just isn’t making the grade. It merely reinforces the paranoid idea that the terrorists are a deniable military arm advancing some hidden agenda of your community. That’s neither fair nor true but that’s the perception. You have to start actively preaching out against these people, rooting them out of positions of influence and yes, rendering to the police and security services all the help they need to combat such elements who injure us all. A bomb on a crowded bus or railway carriage doesn’t stop to consider the religious persuasion of the passengers, whether Muslim or not.
Terrorism has changed the world for you too. Instead of the majority needing to be ultra sensitive to your cultural needs, the position has been reversed and you now have to be sensitive to their needs, because their attitudes and tolerance towards minorities have worn pretty thin. Things like lobbying hard to get a mosque built right next to the Twin Towers site was the worst sort of insult to the memory of two thousand slaughtered innocents, no matter what religious sophistry was being used to justify it.
To the terrorists, I’d say you’ve had all your cheap hits. Things are tougher for you now. The assumption that the apparently lax attitudes of democracies meant we were weak and a pushover will yet again prove to be baseless. We’re not only on guard against you but we’ve got good men actively hunting you. You’d be surprised at how ruthless we can be to defend our freedoms, so you better be prepared to be dragged out of some hole for nothing better than a bullet between your eyes. If that means we’re prepared to trade down an element of our personal freedom, so be it.
We all lost something in the fire.
On the day the planes hit the twin towers, a younger brother of mine was a lecturer in socialist econometrics. He stood and watched in the campus of a university in central London rich fee-paying Arabic students of his dancing around in joy of what was happening. That not only showed him how much he didn’t really know what was their mindset but killed forever the unconditional live and let live ethos of his liberal politics which had always divided us.
On the day the planes hit the twin towers, I was managing a team at Canary Wharf, the financial centre of London. There was a rumour that a London bound plane nobody could get in touch with was heading in our direction. The top management were patently doing nothing more than denial and displacement activity with their thumb up their arse and in the meantime everyone should stand by their desk and await further orders, so I told my crew to go home. That’s the duty of care. Nobody moved so for the first time ever I ordered them to just get the fuck out of there in a loud enough voice for other people to hear. They moved. What the rest did, I don’t know.
When I was sure they’d all gone, I retired to a local bar and watched helplessly the tragedy unfold on television. I was joined by a friend who’d also told his team to go home but who also couldn’t leave the vicinity because helping hands might just be needed if all the shit came raining down. He asked me what I was thinking and in an unguarded moment of pure anger I spoke exactly what was on my mind. Three things. I told him it was a massive intelligence failure, a brilliant operation from their perspective and we’d kill their arse for doing it. All three were true.
Take a look at the picture heading up this piece. Take a really hard look. There’s five men carrying another injured one in a chair because there’s nothing like a stretcher available. They’re getting him to safety. In the ordinary way of things, it should only take two or three at most to carry that weight but they’re working in an atmosphere of choking cement dust which makes breathing almost impossible. None of them are looking to each other for support because each one of them is fighting their own individual battle against their own clogged lungs to get that injured man out of there.
I don’t know whether the man they were carrying made it or not, and I do hope he did, but what I’m damn sure of is that every one of those men who got him to safety turned around and went straight back into that hell to save anyone else who’d survived the attack.
They’re exactly why I know we’re going to beat the terrorists.
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