Sunday, November 23, 2008

Disappointed enemies

As the end of the year is approaching, time comes for various analyses and generalizations. An unescapable subject, esp. in a US election year, is the development of current global war (usually referred to by the misnomer "war on terror" while I prefer to call it "war against the West"). Does either side seem to win so far?
The US election results seem to indicate a loss, or at least a perception of loss. Of course Barack Obama may turn out to be a good President after all. This is unlikely but by no means impossible - history knows much stranger things. However, nothing can ever erase the fact that he was elected with the promise of "change", which, to my opinion, inevitably implied that USA had been going in the wrong direction. This, in turn, matched 100% the claims of America's enemies. To sum up, on Nov. 4 US voters agreed with US enemies that America was bad as it was and needed a change. Of course I may be wrong and I'll be thankful to each opponent who points to me some more benign logic behind the "change" slogan; however, my overall impression is that logic had only a marginal (if any) role on Nov. 4.
On the other side, our enemies are also facing problems. There haven't been major successful terror acts on Western soil since 2005. And the increasing recruitment of people with mental retardation and other mental disabilities as suicide bombers, apart from demonstrating the unlimited evil of the recruiters to anyone who had doubted it, also shows that they may be running short of neurologically typical volunteers to blow themselves up.
More than two months ago, Highlander wrote a post titled US 2008 elections: a cloning apparatus. It was followed by an interesting discussion not only about the (then upcoming) event but also about Israel, Palestine, Arabs, nationalism, citizenship etc. One of the participants was LouLou, a young lady living in the UAE but officially a Moroccan because of her father's Moroccan origin. She said many interesting things and here I want to cite one of them:
"It reminds me of a speech by Al Zawahri soon after Sept. 11 in which he was saying something to the effect that Al Qaeda carried out Sept. 11 to energize and mobilize 'the ummah' to join their jihad and how disappointed he was that 'the ummah' failed to respond and support the Mujahideen. He was clearly expecting some kind of mass universal Islamic suicide-bombing spree. It didn't happen because reality is 'the ummah' is not and has never been an ideological/cultural/political monolith capable of a single, unified response in the manner he dreams about... When this tide of Islamism has receded in the same manner that Arabism receded in the 70's, we will be left with a few Islamist intellectuals and writers here and there lamenting the failure of their grand scheme and attributing it to external conspiracies and 'perceived betrayal' by millions of people whose loyalty was never actually pledged to said scheme."
(For those who are as blissfully ignorant about the term "ummah" as I was in 2001 - it designates the global Muslim community.)
After Sept. 11, I hoped and almost expected that ordinary Muslims would start a powerful movement to reform Islam and many would leave it altogether. (I mentioned this once, again on Highlander's blog, but don't remember on which post.) When this didn't happen, I was disappointed. I realize now that my expectations and demands on Muslims have been, and maybe still are, too high. Human beings cannot en masse acquire superhuman qualities. If we discuss people like Ali Sina, Ayan Hirsi Ali and Nonie Darwish, we can say about them whatever we like (depending on the viewpoint) except that they are typical individuals and everybody can do what they have done. Most people just cannot and therefore the process of defanging Islam, if happens at all, will take generations.
LouLou and I have many differences in our views (and little affinity to each other's personalities), but despite this I find what she says noteworthy. I hope she is right in her rather optimistic prediction. And I owe her thanks for picking and translating those words of Al-Zawahiri. It is good that whenever Islamists say something in a non-English language for limited circulation, there is always a kind soul to translate and post. Now I know that after Sept. 11 al-Zawahiri was disappointed like me, possibly even more. I can only wish him more disappointments with each coming year.

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