Tuesday, July 02, 2013


It has been a bad time for the pin-up boys of the left who still swoon at the 'progressive' anti-imperialism of Islamism. Their two model 'moderate Islamist' governments have been hit by massive uprisings. The consequences of the events in Turkey and Egypt are far from clear and their aims are anything but coherent. But what seems to unite them is a common desire not to be ruled by the dictates of a bonkers ideology. It is a struggle for normality.

And to confound even more those who rapidly invoke the curse of islamophobia, this is a conflict being fought by Muslims against political Islamism. I linked to this piece by Paul Berman from February before; it is well worth reading again in the light of the extraordinary events in Egypt.

So how do western nations respond? Well, they decide that this is the time, at the strongest sign yet of the demise of this far right ideology, to give it credibility. Syria is difficult as the civil war descends into sectarianism, but the fear of an Islamist takeover, which Assad has so assiduously promoted as justification for his brutality, has taken root and is restraining action by the democracies. This is despite the fact that the regime is now beholden to the Islamist ultras of Hezbollah. The most breathtaking, however, is the promotion of peace talks with the Taliban. Western leaders need force feeding with the scorn of Lauryn Oates.
That depraved ragtag militia, the same Taliban who slaughtered thousands of Shias in an unacknowledged genocide in Balkh and the Central Highlands, who hang children accused of spying, who trick boys into blowing themselves up, who stone women to death, who locked girls out of their classrooms, who maim and murder in the name of reinstating their own uniquely despotic caliphate. Yes, it's these same Taliban who were invited to stake their ground in Qatar, endowed with an extravagant office they didn't pay for and a legitimacy they never earned. They plunked down their flag, and declared themselves anew, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in effect, the real Afghan Government. 
It led to a diplomatic uproar, a rebuff by the actual Afghan Government, and even some bristling among those watching from the comfort and safety of the West. It seemed a lot of license granted to a group that espouses what is perhaps today the world's most uncompromisingly violent, fascist ideology. But for the people of Afghanistan, who endured the brutish hell of life under a Taliban government, it was a bewildering insult in the extreme.
What we see here is another reiteration of a constant struggle between realpolitik and principle. It is funny how the practical, pragmatic choices of reasonable people usually end up being seen as a foolish failure. And if there is a time to stand for principle, shoulder-to-shoulder with those Lauryn Oates calls, "The greatest democrats, the greatest liberals, the greatest feminists I have ever encountered," maybe it is at the moment when it becomes clear that they can win.


Steve Finnell said...

You are invited to read my Christian blog

William said...

Talks with the taliban is just a fig leaf for giving up on the country. If those promoting talks currently justify them for one reason (a bad one like you say) then they will be happy to find another reason, any reason, until the talks are done.

Expect to hear even more bullshit and apologies for the Taliban as the talks proceed.

Anton Deque said...

The Stop the War clique have much to answer for. I always believed they were not anti-war but supported the war aims of the enemy.

My own journey began when I saw 'Satanic Verses' being burnt in Bradford and onlt deepened when I saw smiling trades unionists, feminists and others on the left link arms with the Islamists on the infamous anti Iraq invasion march subsequently. Critical of the west? Most certainly, but brain dead? No.