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Hamastan and the Anti-Anti-Islamists

By David Warren

Things have so deteriorated in Gaza -- where Hamas hit men are currently annihilating every human representative of the Fatah organization, while enforcing a Shariah-based, Taliban-style "social revolution" on the streets -- that you can even read about it in the mainstream media. It has become so difficult to blame Israel for what is happening, long after Israeli forces withdrew from the territory -- that the news is for the moment being presented raw. A new state appears to be emerging, that we might call "Hamastan," for the world's dilettante radicals to celebrate in due course.

"No enemies on the Left," was once a slogan, and for long both a spoken and unspoken principle among activists for "liberal" causes -- in the old Cold War days. This was before they had prevailed in all the political and social issues, even while surrendering the economic ones. The Berlin Wall fell, revealing the moral and physical squalor of communism, and yet in everything from grain marketing to "medicare" to anti-smoking by-laws, the essential principle of communism had by then been accepted throughout the West -- that human life must be regulated in detail by Big Brother. The one exception being substantial private ownership of the means of production, necessary for the State to have something to tax.

It will make an interesting history in centuries to come, we may hope, for at no stage did the Left ever command majority support in any electorate. The demands for "progressive legislation" proceeded almost entirely in defiance of the public will, through peer pressure among the wealthy elites. This pressure was so effective that, a generation ago, at a time when I can recall a spot poll having shown more than 80 per cent support for the resumption of capital punishment in Canada, a nominally Conservative politician I lunched with became visibly ill at the suggestion that Parliament might even debate it. A very nice man, incidentally, and he probably paid for the lunch.

We see something like this happening in the Muslim world today, except, the ideology that is winning by other than democratic means is not the communist one. It is instead the "Islamist" one -- where we understand that term to mean a strict politicization of Islam, through demands for literal interpretations of the Koran. Or rather, since that is quite impossible, a very puritanical interpretation of the Shariah, founded on social conditions in semi-nomadic 7th-century Arabia.

It is growing, despite probable opposition from the great majority of Muslims worldwide, not simply through the success of terror operations, to intimidate those who resist in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Madrid, London, New York, and elsewhere; but also through the silent encouragement of many outwardly "moderate" Muslims, and the old Leftist fellow-travellers of the West, who now refuse to see any enemies, this side of Mecca.

"Fellow-travellers" were, traditionally, the people who would go apoplectic if you called them Communists -- even if they happened to be holding party cards -- but went even more apoplectic at the sight of an "anti-communist." They tended to define themselves as "anti-anti-communist," i.e. on the other side from whichever side America was on. These are the same people whose descendants today are not Islamists, nor anti-Islamists, but anti-anti-Islamists, still quietly cheering for anyone able to give the Great Satan a shiny black eye.

Within what has come to be called Palestine, the radicalization of society under the late terrorist leader Yasser Arafat created a strange parody of this arrangement. People voted for Hamas (57 per cent at the last election), but never really wanted it to win. They wanted to make the strongest possible anti-Israeli statement, short of actually living with the consequences of that position. And they miscalculated.

I'm sure the great majority of nice "liberal" people in the West, who used to be anti-anti-communist, would have been appalled had Communists ever succeeded in mounting a revolution, rounding up all the erstwhile "useful idiots," and shooting them. Their last words would have been: "Surely we can talk!"

Ditto, Palestinians on the ground in Gaza just now are probably appalled to see the Hamas gangs gunning down their former allies, while enforcing Islamist dress codes and behaviour even on people who were merely "radical chic."

But there you go. Really there is no alternative to becoming an adult, and making your alliances consistently with the less evil party, against the more evil party. The final reward for radical posturing being -- well, take a good look at Gaza.

otiosus@sympatico.ca

© Ottawa Citizen


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