I've been at it again last night, or should I say this morning! It's because I have been reading an article by Barry Rubin of the Middle East Forum, titled Arab Politics: Back to Futility. On the basis of one of the Middle East's favourite style figures, that of comparing the present situation with another in the past, thus providing some gloss to an otherwise shoddy piece of journalistic work, I was at first a bit apprehensive about it. It compares the present situation (Islamic fundamentalism led by Iran's president Ahmadinejad) to the situation in the 1950-1960 (Pan-Arab nationalism led by Egypt's President Nasser). But it is of another style altogether, well-investigated, thoroughly thought through and could give us some foresight into the near future. If so, we are in for a big conflagration (which is on the books anyway, of that I am convinced), but we all know how Nasser's plans worked out in the end. I'm not that sure about the futility, though! And the Arabs shall have to accept Iranian hegemony in the region, which also a bit of a stretch.
For today's illustration I been rummaging through images of said dreadful conference in Tehran, old Adolf pics, etc. All pretty drab, really. I prefer a picture I kept for it's own sake, a good photo. I think it's in Rome ... here it is:
Which brings me back to The Daily Star of Lebanon, which provides us with some more insight into Ahmadinejad's brain brawls, this time in re of the anti-holocaust conference, held in Tehran earlier this week. It would be nice and easy to dismiss the man as a raving islamist who doesn't know any better, but at our peril. What he means with the whole lunatic exercise is this:
1. The holocaust doesn't suit my purposes, so he denies it ever happened.
2. It negatively impacts the status quo (from his point of view).
2. The European Union and Germany itself are built on the ruins of that event and are what they are today, because of it. The West protect Israel on that basis and will prevent it ever happening again.
4. In his letter to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Admadinejad says in so many words that, just imagine what your country (and Europe) would be if it didn't have this "imposition".
At which point I would like to make a M.E. style figure of my own, namely of comparing Ahmadinejad with Hitler, who told the Germans after World War I: "just imagine what your country would be if it didn't have this "imposition" (of being lumbered with heavy repair payments). I am not an admirer of present, inflationary remarks made left, right and center with reference to events and people of WWII, but this guy is simply begging for it. Better still, I think he'll take it as a compliment.
Back to our last generation of post-moderns at crisis point.
Dissecting relativism, The base (III), continued
Should there unexpectedly be a feeling of spiritual emptiness, this can be remedied by dabbling in vague mystical concepts of a much further past, or of a brand new variety for that matter. For those seeking a practical hobby or pseudo-guidelines there are astrology, numerology, stonology and the like, and for those seeking a quick fix there is aroma-therapy and hot stones, should you be medically inclined. For the pseudo-scientist there is The Field (or whatever it's called) and bio-rhythms; the not too timids can go all the way in neo-paganism and Wicca. For fallen Christians Gnosticism and Da-Vinci-Code'ism is recommended (the latter formerly known - before a hoax was admitted and Mr Brown got away with plagiarism - as "the secret of the Priory of Sion", which was exciting and fun while it lasted, but was nonetheless a bit of a cult and seriously believed by lots of romantically inclined gullibles).
Besides that, we are told every day, implicit or explicit that all these, and each and every idea born of humanity, however barbaric, downright luny or brave and brilliant, are equally valid. (Christendom excepted, which supported very bad things in the past that The West did to other peoples.)
Each his or her own truth, depending on where you come from, your situation and particular place in the world.
Can you blame poor people from stealing a loaf of bread (supported by a Dutch bishop), or Africans for waging tribal wars (which is a result of the West's imperialism that drew arbitrary and unnatural borders between countries), or Indians for extensive navel-staring under coconut trees (this is what their faith tells them to do and is their way to cope with poverty), and so on, and so forth.
Besides, what to do in case of a paradox or a contradiction. The way out of that one and to keep the peace in the world, is by declaring them all equal. It is also fits our idea of democracy, egalite, n'est pas?
This is however ignoring what's plain to see for everybody who wants to. Stealing is not done, because that would end in Darwinian chaos, the strong knocking the weak over the head to get to a mobile phone. That would be a free for all in which no body's property would be safe anymore, so having any property would be senseless, so why should we work, etc.
African tribal warfare is equally of the stone age, and bad for obvious reasons (don't start me again on survival of the fittest, or mother earth being crushed by the sheer weight of so many people inhabiting it!).
While a people whose faith prescribes extensive navel staring as the highest good, would always remain poor and couldn't be dragged out of misery by all the development assistance in the world.
One could of course argue that only a westerner would think this way. We are always thinking in terms of economy, money and practicalities. That may be so, but why then is it that nobody in his right mind would advocate a anarchistic Darwinian society, Africans would come to the West en masse if they only could and Indians are by now also discovering starvation doesn't bring nirvana any nearer and what the benefits are of some basic earthly goods.
Of course it could be said that all these people see it the wrong way and are indoctrinated, believe in fairy-tales, et cetera, but how high is this chance? I know ... equally high as relativism is true.