[Paleopsych] NYT Op-Ed: Why Do They Hate Us? (with a meme from me)
checker at panix.com
Fri Jul 22 19:08:23 UTC 2005
Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq
New York Times Op-Ed, 5.7.22
[I append the meme I sent little more than a month after the 9/11 attacks on
Scruppies (scripture-pounding yuppies). I see little reason to revise what I
wrote then. Envy remains a powerful force in the world.]
By OLIVIER ROY
WHILE yesterday's explosions on London's subway and bus lines were
thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will
lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as
well) been "punished" by Al Qaeda for participating in the
American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? While
this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a
broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic
terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?
If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although
not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine
conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look
deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims.
Conflicts in the Middle East have a tremendous impact on Muslim public
opinion worldwide. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to
Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among
Muslims. But many of the terrorist group's statements, actions and
non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq,
Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its
First, let's consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and
Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots
were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the
plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack
was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000,
at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Another motivating factor, we are told, was the presence of "infidel"
troops in Islam's holy lands. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was reported to be
upset when the Saudi royal family allowed Western troops into the
kingdom before the Persian Gulf war. But Mr. bin Laden was by that
time a veteran fighter committed to global jihad.
He and the other members of the first generation of Al Qaeda left the
Middle East to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980's.
Except for the smallish Egyptian faction led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, now
Mr. bin Laden's chief deputy, these militants were not involved in
Middle Eastern politics. Abdullah Azzam, Mr. bin Laden's mentor, gave
up supporting the Palestinian Liberation Organization long before his
death in 1989 because he felt that to fight for a localized political
cause was to forsake the real jihad, which he felt should be
international and religious in character.
From the beginning, Al Qaeda's fighters were global jihadists, and
their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East:
Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is
simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the
worldwide community of believers.
Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the
core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis
or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly
from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they
are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a
Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in
Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about
Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as
part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.
What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant
for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle
Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part
Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical
Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell:
they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they
felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the
many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France).
"Born again" or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They
find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the
ultraleftists of the 1970's (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red
Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the "world
proletariat" and "Revolution" without really caring about what would
It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists
captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or
even in organized political support for the people they claim to be
fighting for. They don't distribute leaflets or collect money for
hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push
for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.
Even their calls for the withdrawal of the European troops from Iraq
ring false. After all, the Spanish police have foiled terrorist
attempts in Madrid even since the government withdrew its forces.
Western-based radicals strike where they are living, not where they
are instructed to or where it will have the greatest political effect
on behalf of their nominal causes.
The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of
the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from
traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society
that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global
ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the
globalization that has made them what they are.
Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the
Social Sciences, is the author of "Globalized Islam."
Meme 019: SCRUPPIES: Scripture-Pounding Yuppies
Fundamentalism is characteristic, not of aging
conservatives so much as young, urbanizing populations
undergoing great change. Fundamentalism eases their road
to modernization. What they do is find a high-price faith
that demands strict adherence and commitment and then go
through their scripture and carefully select passages
that emphasize clean living, strict obedience, and
*making money*. They then insist on taking these passages
infallibly and literally (and ignoring the rest).
They are scripture-pounding Yuppies, and I call the
Scruppies. This is described, in the case of the Moslems,
in Samuel Huntington's _Clash of Civilizations_, where he
notes that fundamentalist beliefs are highest in medical
and professional schools. Scruppies are also
characteristic of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam
(http://www.finalcall.com), and it was true of the first
Protestant Ethic described by Max Weber in 1904/5.
The terrorists are *failed* Scruppies. Get too many
failed males of the high testosterone years, fill *them*
up with fundamentalism and they emphasize, not the money-
making elements but the strict adherence. Huntington
shows how the fine correlation between peak of 15-24 year
old youth bulge in Moslem countries and fundamentalist
[I am sending forth these memes, not because I agree wholeheartedly with all of
them, but to impregnate females of both sexes. Ponder them and
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