By William Markiewicz
Yesterday CBC presented an interview with Michael Ignatieff, author of "The Lesser Evil." Already the title makes me think that the author is trying to sell something stinky. Like many pseudo-defenders of democracy, he wants to impose velvet chains. Michael Ignatieff represents a greater evil because disguised as an angel. He presents himself as a champion of the good in the eternal fight between Good and Bad. Savonarola and all the fundamentalists did this; they built metaphysical entities of good and evil on a cosmic scale, completely detached from human realities. Once the fabulous, luminous conception of Good wins, we'll have a paradise here. All the social, economic and other problems will just disappear. Throughout history, humanity, under the guidance of various gurus, has targeted groups that they presented as evil, like infidels, heretics, Jews, etc. Nobody saw those battles as being for real causes, not for some abstract notions of "good" and "evil." By the way, the Jews could have avoided becoming a universal scapegoat if they had established themselves in caves and mountains, trying to build and defend their own territory like everybody else. Now we target a new metaphysical evil that supposedly popped out of nowhere: terror and terrorists. The modern Savonarolas keep our souls on alert and give their blessing to our defenders. By coincidence (sic) the fight against terrorism (= against good and evil, re-sic) started on a part of the globe which is poor militarily and rich in oil. We've forgotten that they didn't come to us but we went to them and the foggy but very powerful concept of "fight for our values" came later. Islam conquered Asia and part of Africa with practically no consequences for the West because the West was too strong and had enough of its own ideological and religious concepts. Islam quickly took power because it offers ideal solutions for societies on village and tribal scales. Whatever the problem, natural or other, personal or social, Islam offers a response to absolutely everything. Therefore, contrary to the opinions spread in the world, Islamic societies aren't hungry or homeless. After any disaster, like earthquake, flood, etc. those societies skillfully organize themselves locally for immediate relief within their means. We saw it in Algeria, in Iran and elsewhere. This efficiency on the local scale was simultaneously the blessing and the weak point for Islamic societies. They didn't evolve higher technology and science simply because they didn't need it to survive. Therefore they fell easy prey to neocons who create and fight terrorism as an excuse and Savonarolas-Ignatieffs are their prophets.
The democratic neocons liberated Iraq from dictator Saddam who created a secular society and deprived citizens of democratic freedoms, but liberated women and forced various creeds to coexist peacefully. So somebody born female could go to school, to university, into the professions and anyone, Muslim or not, could drink. The democratic neocons have just changed the chains; they gave freedom to religious factions to fight among themselves and who agree only on two things: women to harems and knife to the alcohol drinkers' throats. But for the neocons only oil counts anyway. Savonarolas-Ignatieffs will keep Western societies sheep -- quiet, repeating that everything is alright, that it's all a war against evil and that Muslim societies will become democratic in the Western way. But how would it be possible? Secular societies can be democratic or dictatorial while fundamentalist societies cannot coexist within the Western, basically secular, conception of democracy. If today's urban Iraqi society is very enlightened and educated it's because Saddam was secular. Iraq was very much like Mussolini's Italy. What is Iraq's future? As long as the Bushes and Blairs remain in power, the Savonarolas-Ignatieffs' sirens will continue to fool Western public opinion (Ignatieff in the past successfully did that against the Serbs) with gloom ahead.
On the other hand, the growing avalanche of information and condemnations shows the limits of Bush's power. So, there may be light at the end of the tunnel; there is still hope for America and the world and the Savonarolas will have to stop converting society into idiots.Back to the index of the Vagabond