Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blair’s Reasoned View – However He’s Got It Wrong

Tony Blair is doing his best to convince the world that he and the coalition of the willing needs to continue to save the world from extremists. He may be right however some of his rhetoric (or perhaps his thinking) is out of wack. To quote;

Tony Blair March 21 2006 (excerpts edited and abridged)

“…we risk chaos threatening our stability, economic and political, through letting extremism, conflict or injustice go unchecked”.

“By the early 20th century, after renaissance, reformation and enlightenment had swept over the Western world, the Muslim and Arab world was uncertain, insecure and on the defensive [and] caught between colonisation, nascent nationalism, political oppression and religious radicalism. Political radicals became religious radicals and vice versa. Those in power tried to accommodate the resurgent Islamic radicalism by incorporating some of its leaders and some of its ideology. The result was nearly always disastrous. The religious radicalism was made respectable; the political radicalism suppressed and so in the minds of many, the cause of the two came together to symbolise the need for change”.

“So many came to believe that the way of restoring the confidence and stability of Islam was the combination of religious extremism and populist politics. The true enemies became "the West" and those Islamic leaders who co-operated with them. The extremism may have started through religious doctrine and thought. But soon, in offshoots of the Muslim brotherhood, supported by Wahabi extremists and taught in some of the Madrassas of the Middle East and Asia, an ideology was born and exported around the world. Today, in well over 30 or 40 countries terrorists are plotting action loosely linked with this ideology. Its roots are not superficial; therefore, they are deep, embedded now in the culture of many nations and capable of an eruption at any time”.

“We” [the opposition to Toni’s “radicals” and “extremists”] refers to...”those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others, to democracy, liberty and human rights administered by secular courts. This is not a clash between civilisations. It is a clash about civilisation. It is the age-old battle between progress and reaction, between those who embrace and see opportunity in the modern world and those who reject its existence; between optimism and hope on the one hand; and pessimism and fear on the other. And in the era of globalisation where nations depend on each other and where our security is held in common or not at all, the outcome of this clash between extremism and progress is utterly determinative of our future. This is, ultimately, a battle about modernity… it is a battle of values and progress”. Well at least he’s got this bit right.

Again a ‘world leader’ with all his advisors, strategists and think tanks, when hobbled by a squeamish home electorate (and world public) must say what is politically correct, rather than deal with the nasty reality.

Roger Cohen Globalist - Int. Herald Tribune March 25-26 2006 (excerpts edited and abridged)

Cohen in an article relating to the Christian Abdul Rahman that the Afghan court (and seemingly the local population and probably 1.4 billion Muslims) is so keen to execute offers the following:

“It [the Rahman situation] also has elements that should lead everyone to ponder whether the West’s problem [war, conflict or whatever you may call it] is really with a ‘perversion’ of Islam, as politicians from President George W. Bush to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain have insisted, or with Islam itself”. Rahman’s words in court, “I’m not an apostate I’m obedient to God but I’m a Christian, that’s my choice.” Cohen goes on “Seems reasonable to the average citizen of the west but not to the conservative religious leaders who dominate Afghan courts.” “Afghan prosecutors have no doubt Rahman’s a ‘microbe’ as they’ve called him and that they are fulfilling their obligation under Shariah law.”

“The West and Islam also fight each other in European societies where honour killings take the lives of young Muslim women, or homosexuals get assaulted. Two views of society and the place of religion within it vie with each other. In this sense, Rahman offers a timely reminder.”

At this point it may be interesting to compare the Christian view of the general population of believers as “sheep” and their Lord as the shepherd with the Muslim concept that often refers to followers of Islam as “slaves of Allah”. Not wishing to be flocked or rocked, I find it hard to subscribe to either the concept of humans as sheep, or perhaps worse, as slaves. The former view however at least seems to imply a need to be led, whereas the latter seems to be forcing the will of the master. The name Abdul by the way means “slave” (sometimes softened today as servant), so "Abdullah" is "slave to Allah" and Abdul-Rahman for example is slave of ‘The Most Gracious, The Beneficent’ (which are other expressions or names for Allah). Many ‘modern thinking’ individuals seem to have difficulty with the concept of being led without explanation, so you can see how the idea of blindly doing what you are told without and thinking, is going cause conflict.

Mr Blair did get one thing right

We have a battle/conflict (or WWIII) underway… and again as Mr Blair points out:

“…it is a battle of values and progress; and therefore it is one we must win.


Roger Cohen Globalist - Int. Herald Tribune March 25-26 2006

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