In “Us, them, and jihad” in the Toronto Star, Caspar Melville of London’s New Humanist magazine tells Canada to commit suicide faster:
In Toronto, the arrests of 17 suspects alleged to have been planning a bomb plot unfold amidst much hand-wringing about “the enemy within” and the putative failure of the Canadian multicultural ideal….
Our anxieties about “homegrown” bombers are mixed with worries about civil liberties and the reliability of police intelligence: How much of our “free society” are we prepared to sacrifice to ensure that another tragedy is averted? What can we do to protect ourselves from further attack?
No doubt Toronto is asking itself the same questions….
Those who grew up in, and were committed to, racial intermixture London-style suddenly felt that perhaps they might have been conned, their liberalism used against them, making them vulnerable. It was the time of right-wing “I told you so’s” and the emergence of the “realistic” muscular liberal. Time, many argued, for the country and its people to shut up shop, to stop being a soft touch for terror.
Yes indeed, Mr. Melville. But the problem isn’t “racial intermixture.” It’s the short-sighted and naive tolerance of an ideology that would destroy or subjugate all those outside of it. Its spread is abetted by insane immigration policies, but it is not entirely an immigration problem.
But how could you possibly achieve this? Tinkering with the immigration laws is going to have no impact whatsoever on the diversity of polyglot London “” and would have had no impact, anyway, on the future actions of British-born lads in Bradford. Diversity is not a policy in London; it’s a fact.
Fair enough. So make it clear that the ideology in question is unwelcome, and violators will be prosecuted.
And, individually, how can you protect yourself? By scrutinizing closely anyone who looks different? Everyone seems suspicious if you look hard enough, especially if you think your own life is on the line. In that way lies paranoia….
No, Mr. Melville, not everyone who looks different. Just jihadists and potential jihadists, even if they look the same as I do.
Toronto seems to be in the early stages of this long, confusing process. Of course, you haven’t had the deaths (well done, your police), just the potential death of a lovely idea. Torontonians, so used to proudly talking up their multicultural diversity (though, from London, claims that Toronto is the world’s most multicultural city always smacked of hyperbole) are asking themselves where it all went wrong, if it was precisely this openness to immigration and diversity that has fostered the growth of this (cue ominous music) “enemy within.”
Of course it did. The question is what to do about it.
The homegrown element seems to be especially occupying the Canadian mind. Yes, you seem to be saying, we can understand how filthy foreigners could plot to kill Brits, but jolly old liberal Canucks? Fair enough, but didn’t you feel the same when Ben Johnson cheated, or those bikers were gunned down? Guess what “” there are bad guys everywhere.
My goodness, this is a high-level analysis.
Having passed through our own version of this anxiety, I would offer two, inevitably contradictory, responses.
First, minimization by ridicule.
Very soon after the July bombers were revealed to be young men from Yorkshire, Londoners began to joke that we were indeed under attack “” not from global jihad but from bloody northerners. We found comfort in the fact that these guys had come down from the grim North on the train to attack London out of envy. We domesticated the threat.
You might do the same by suggesting that your would-be bombers were in actual fact Mississaugan nationalists.
Oh, no worries, Mr. Melville. Everyone is already well embarked on the path of pretending that the jihadists are other than what they really are.
Yes, these were young British men, one an Afro-Caribbean convert, apparently Westernized, one a teacher, for God’s sake, apparently Westernized. One spent the evening before the murders playing cricket.
Yes, such attacks reveal some deep social fissures and the emergence of scary new technologies of conspiracy and murder. But then again, young men who are prepared to kill other people are hardly a new phenomenon or a product of multiculturalism. People are killed in the U.K. every year because they are black or gay or support the wrong team or spilled someone’s pint.
Yes, but there is no global movement of violent people acting on a centuries-old ideology that they believe orders them to kill blacks or gays or pint-spillers.
Yes, low-tech bomb technology and the support of global jihadis add a frightening new spin. But London has had the IRA and the right-wing nail bomber David Copeland and football hooligans and serial rapists and murderers. To their victims, whatever twisted reason their killers thought they had matters not at all.
Maybe not, but it matters to the survivors, if they are going to find and track those who want to carry out more attacks of the same kind, and stop them.
The stupidest mistake would be to blame diversity. Nothing lays bare the true multiculturalism of London more clearly than the heart-rending biographies of the victims of July 7.
And nothing lays bare the willful blindness and vulnerability of London more clearly than its desperate attachment to multiculturalism despite the opening it gives to those who would transform the U.K. into a monolithic Sharia state.
The 56 dead included several Poles, an Italian, a Vietnamese Australian, a Turk, a young woman called Islam, Black Londoners of African and Caribbean descent, a Welsh musician, a young French Tunisian, an Afghan refugee, a Monserratan policeman living in London because he was scared of the volcano, an Israeli, an Irish lad, an Indian Hindu alongside a Richard, Philip, Colin, Giles, Jessica, Samantha and Elizabeth. If the perpetrators of the attack were a product of cultural diversity, so were the victims.
The perpetrators of the attack were in fact a product of a single culture, or at least a single unified ideology. Nattering about how diverse the murdered people were is a groteque case of missing the point. Poles and Irish and Hindus and all the rest do not hold to an ideology of supremacism and subjugation. To claim that those who do hold to it must continue to stream into England because other are streaming in as well defies common sense, prudence, and any developed survival instinct.
Diversity was the context and the target of the attack every bit as much as the cause. What a victory for the medievalist jihadis if we did away with the cultural plurality, which is what they despise the most.
No, it isn’t what they despise the most. What they despise the most is jahiliyya, the society of unbelievers, the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, whether that society is “diverse” or “monolithic.”
Perhaps it is time for Torontonians, and Londoners, to lose their arrogance and their innocence, to recognize that open-mindedness and fundamental decency will not necessarily be reciprocated. Nothing guarantees that everyone will be good in a good society. Openness implies vulnerability “” it’s the price we pay for our privilege. The enemy, long before the arrests in Toronto, long before 7/7 or 9/11, was already within….
Indeed. The enemy is already within. And open-mindedness and fundamental decency do not require us to continue to pursue suicidal policies that ignore that.
But, like so much about the city, you put up with it and carry on. You let the World Cup matter more than the possibility of being blown to smithereens. You put your faith in the decency of most people “” a decency that cuts across all barriers of race and class and is so often movingly magnified by horrible events “” and in the operation of the laws of probability.
I would rather put my faith in a sound and realistic anti-jihadist program, involving sane immigration policies and domestic self-defense measures.
It may not be a consistent philosophical position…
Ain’t it the truth!