Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the need in some quarters to situate the present global conflicts solely or primarily in the mind of the West itself:
It has become a peculiar sort of conventional wisdom among those of a particular intellectual and ideological bent — the idea that each generation of Americans seems to identify a particular enemy, contrived to fit ideologies or economic necessities. Americans must always find “The Other” whom they can then hate and fear.
“The Other” was, of course, Edward Said’s favorite topic. He kept talking about the need of the West to create the Islamic “Other,” but said nothing about the fact that the Original, the Ur, the Other of All Others, was the one that was created by Islam to sustain Believers. The most perduring “Other” is the Infidel, who must be hated no matter what good he “appears” to do, what kindness he “appears” to offer — such as those hapless American soldiers in Iraq who wonder why everyone wishes to kill them as they build schools, hospitals, electricity grids, and roads.
But no one is concerned about that. Everyone know that the real “Other”-constructor, the real villain of the “Other” piece here, is not the Islamic world but the West — the need for white, European, racist, colonialist Europe/America to “construct” that “Other” that it can then despise. For without that “Other” to hate, that miserable, racist, dysfunctional, poverty-stricken, ruinous, chaotic, violent, worthless bunch of countries and peoples who ridiculously call themselves the West, or, even more absurdly, “Western civilization,” and who have given the world absolutely nothing of value, would scarcely be able to justify its own chaotic and confused existence. After all, just compare its ridiculous accomplishments with the scientific achievements and immortal works of art produced over 1350 years everywhere that Islam has planted itself.
It was not enough for the West to have constructed “the Other” of Hitler and the Nazis, and to have caused World War II thereby, with all the enormous suffering that could have been avoided. It was not enough for that West to have constructed “the Other” of Lenin and Stalin and the Politburo, and to have deliberately inveigled the Red Army into Eastern Europe to seize control for local Communists so that, all over the West, people would be filled with quite unnecessary alarm and dread.
No, now they are at it again, having somehow tricked a few misguided people, a handful of extremists who were putty in the hands of the C.I.A. and the Mossad, to here and there plan their pathetic little attacks (with, admittedly, one or two actually succeeding — to the great delight, you can be sure, of the master puppeteers in Langley and Tel Aviv). And what about all these so-called “plots” that they discover, with all that fanfare, all over Europe, or all these people picked up and charged with “terrorism” all over the United States? What is that if not a sustained effort at scaring people, all cooked up to make them think there is a problem with Islam?
Yes, I know what you are going to argue. You will say — but they never actually mention Islam. All they talk about is the “war on terror.” Exactly. Exactly the point I was trying to make. It is precisely the refusal of Western governments to blame the teachings of Islam in any way, to even go out of their way even to mention Islam, that is the most diabolical part of it.
It’s the old “don’t put beans up your nose” strategy. By failing so noticeably and so obviously to mention Islam, the government is actually doing everything it can to make people focus on precisely that — Islam. For people are not fools. Or rather, you can only fool those people in some ways, and not in others. By now everyone in the West knows that their own governments are not to be trusted, that they are run often by the very foolish people who foolishly try to fool them. But they can’t do it. The fools who rule are even bigger fools than the fools they rule over, who cannot be so easily fooled as the ruling fools think.
And that is why, you see, when the ruling fools engaged, for the third time in less than a century (the Nazis, the Communists, and now the helpless, innocent so-called “Muslims”), in constructing “the Other” (oh, don’t believe me — read Gil Anidjar, professor at Columbia University, on the “construction of the Other” — i.e., Jews and Arabs, peas in a pod, identical victims of European hatred, and for exactly the same reasons), with that “Other” today being “Muslims,” they realized that the very best way to construct that Other was — not to construct it! By not naming Islam or Muslims, everyone who had grown to distrust the leaders would focus manically on the subject of Islam and Muslims.
Have I made it clear?
Good. I thought I would.