By William Markiewicz
Marx said that History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.
The human lives between reality and myth. That it has always been like this is, perhaps, the tribute the human pays for developing imagination proper to evolution. From time immemorial humanity has believed in ghosts. It cannot be said that this is only a matter of naiveté because many psychological processes remain open to interpretation. In Sardinia there is a grotto on a hill which, as legend goes, was a shrine for prehistoric priestesses, dwarves. I was told that many visitors who did not know the story felt suffused by strange energetic impulses there. We don't know what's going on but nobody can claim that nothing happens. The Inquisition used its full oppressive power on witches, Jews, heretics... The list has grown with new conspiracy theories, the latest concerns religious terrorism based on fanatic hatred for infidels.
Of course there were religious wars in the past but they were never entirely religious. Nobody denies the purely national character of the Irish or Spanish terrorism. Massive anti-Communism under Soviet domination was supported by religion but nobody called it religious-inspired. So, why consider the anti-Western trend now an expression of fanaticism? Because, anti-Western sources are subject to racial/cultural prejudice. The West believes that only it possesses a monopoly for nationalism.
During the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Arab terrorist movements were losing steam. There was not only a beautifully developing spirit of peace but of genuine friendship. Those who watched the process on TV saw its undeniable presence. The Palestinian population was hungry for peace. Rabin's killing by a Jewish fundamentalist totally changed the situation and the violence started again. The population on all sides turned back to the extremists. Who could measure the amount of religious or nationalist motivation in such situations? It was definitely not an expression of "primitive reflexes of religious hatred."
I remember seeing on TV the Bush-Sharon encounter during Sharon's visit to the States. Those two gentlemen, sitting in a relaxed pose, made a joint statement: "No negotiations as long as the violence lasts!" I couldn't believe my ears; first peace, then negotiations? It's the reverse order of all we know about ending hostilities. During the French-Algerian peace negotiations, the Algerians continued to attack. The French protested: "We negotiate and you make war?!" The Algerians replied: "The peace is not signed yet!" But the Sharon-Bush team wanted peace on credit! It was nothing but a demonstration of arrogance, of disdain, toward the weaker adversary. A few days later came the September 11th tragedy. It was a Palestinian reply to the ultimatum, and not a "religious outburst." This action brought nothing but unending revenge and counter revenge. I think that those terrorists were not politicians, only angry desperate men who no longer cared about living.
There was no terrorism in Iraq when the US attacked it. Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were always enemies and when Saddam hid underground it was not only from the US but also from Al Qaeda. He had no chance to disappear on land because the Sunni region, the only one which offered him relative security, couldn't compare demographically and geographically to what Afghanistan or Yugoslavia can offer its fugitives. The US still found reason to attack and easily conquer the weaker; those imperial powers always have their double agenda. The American Foreign Legion, rounded off with Canadians, increases the number of anti-Westerners, religious or not, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
Starting this war was a colossal mistake, but for the empire mistakes don't play a role; they have time, money, "allies," and plenty of territory. They can always, when judged necessary, cover Asia with nuclear ashes and endure painful revenge even in their own country while promising to wipe "religious fanatics" from the face of the earth. The world's Total Security a la Science Fiction is on the way, the biggest farce yet to come.Back to the index of the Vagabond