GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said on Monday that bigotry and prejudice, especially in regard to Muslims, were common in Europe and called on governments to tackle the issue. — from this news item
The assumptions, the skewed knowledge, the mental set, the entire world view, of Louise Arbour, of all the louise-arbours of this world, need to be anatomized, spread out on a table, or possibly held up for close inspection. How did she arrive at her views, and at her position? What is it that went into her formation? Did she study history? Has she studied Islam? Has she bethought herself, and wondered if, just possibly, she had a duty to study Islam, and a duty to study the history of Islamic conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims — Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others — in time and space? Or should she remain content with the bland assumptions of Bush and Blair, that because the word one commonly uses for Islam is “religion,” then therefore, Islam is entitled to automatic respect, without more thought, because “religion” is a good thing?
One suspects that Louise Arbour would protest. She would insist she does not see it that way, for she would be horrified, would she not, to be put in the same galere as George Bush. Or as one high Pentagon official, slightly rattled by my presentation but not rattled enough, tried to complacently assure me a few years ago that my view of Islam must be wrong and that Islam “must be alright” because, you see, “more than a billion people believe it.” It’s the old comical “fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong” — updated, and far more dangerous as a basis for policy.
How do the louise-arbours of this world obtain their mental formation? As a Canadian civil servant, was she necessarily raised up to define herself as “NOT-American,” which explains a good deal of her attitudinizing about the world. This attitude is struck by many others — although by no means all — in the Colossus To Our North. A small-scale variant on this are those New Zealand politicians on the left, whose attitudes, one feels, sometimes may be prompted by the desire to demonstrate that New Zealand is NOT-Australia.
The kind of people who make the world their plaything, and who wrap themselves in an unassailable mantle of Doing Good, because, you see, they are doing work for something they call into being, and that does not exist — that “international community” they love to invoke — are akin, in many ways, to those whom the historian David Cannadine described as having manned the British Empire. They were middle-class Englishmen who, in India and elsewhere in the Empire, could enjoy a status and a level of comfort that they could never have had at home.
In the modern world, people outside the West find the salaries and benefits of these “international organizations” staggering, and the work conditions comical in the lightness of the load. And for Westerners such as Louise Arbour, or her sister-under-the-skin Mary Robinson, or for that matter the egregious Brian Urguhart, defender of Annan and the U.N., coute que coute (and Annan and his son both coute-ed a pretty penny), or the usual megalomaniacs of the Davos variety (such as Jeffery Sachs of the “I-Can-Solve-The-Problem-Of-Poverty” World Institute, specially created by Columbia for that self-same self-promoting comical Sachs), they have other reasons for being so big on the “international community” and in becoming “spokesmen” for this or that. For they are engaged in a curiously contemporary phenomenon: the citizen of the advanced Western world who identifies completely, or almost so, with some amorphous “international community” — the chief enemy of which, as they see it, can be located in that advanced Western world. For that Western world is so cruelly intent on not sharing its own riches equitably. It is not eager to roll over and play dead — not quite yet — for all the others outside that world.
Such countries” relative poverty or misrule is never connected to the belief-systems and consequent behavior, or even the natural abilities or inclinations, of the people in those misruled or otherwise un-advanced countries. For to focus on that would be to begin to suggest that some things — the rule of law, the solicitude for the individual, the recognition of property rights (but not the untrammeled rights to accumulated wealth), freedom of speech and conscience, widespread literacy, an intelligent encouragement of free and skeptical inquiry, and so on — might just be the reasons for the Western world’s success, and also for its own development of the tolerance which those same “international community” boosters think should be used to force that same advanced Western world to accommodate itself to those who are hostile to everything that makes the West the West. And when some in that West begin to rebel, then the likes of Louise Arbour, of all the little louise-arbours and mary-robinsons, assure us that it must be a matter of “Islamophobia.”
They are a strange and unpleasant breed, these IC-ites of the world. Part of their professional deformation, their fachidiotism, consists in minimizing or ignoring or destroying whatever special ties they might have had to their own country, that make them an American, or a Canadian. These ties of course require a certain interest in, and knowledge of, affection for, the history of their own country, its language, its literature, its art, its history, its good and even its bad. Their lives are half-spent in airports, and then in being greeted by some officious officials, with the usual smiles and handshakes, and possibly a little girl shyly stepping forth with a present of flowers or a hug. So much travel, so much jaw-jaw at so many solemn conclaves or meetings, meetings, meetings, so many Declarations of Principle, so many Peace Processes to “nudge” forward, so much Shuttle Diplomacy to engage in, so many chances To Feel And Be Important. Is it any wonder that all kinds of people find it is so much more fun, once you have graduated from a good college and, say, a good law school, to join some international group, some NGO of the standard America-and-Israel-bashing kind, or the U.N., or something of that ilk? Then you get to travel all over the place, but not wickedly as a “corporate lawyer” or Western businessman, but as someone whose allegiance and sympathies lie entirely with the “international community,” that god-damned non-existent and vicious construct, the “international community.”
Morally self-preening, Louise Arbour makes her appointed rounds, from world capital to capital — today Davos, tomorrow Dacca — and works, not quite understanding what she is doing, for the destruction of the very best that has been achieved in statecraft to protect art, and science, and freedom of thought of all kinds. That is, she works to destroy what has been achieved in the advanced West and could never have been achieved in Islam or under Islamic rule.
The Louise Arbours of this world harbor no doubts. They endure no private bouts with a directeur de conscience. She has no need to stare hard at herself in that five-star hotel room mirror and wonder about what will happen to Shakespeare, or Leonardo, or Mozart, or the whole embarrassingly rich panoply of those who were created by the Western world, and who in turn helped to create it, under the Islam that she, in her way, is helping to protect and promote, as the Jihad not of “qitaal” (including what we call “terrorism”) proceeds. Those whose allegiance is to a World Community betray their own countries, societies, and civilizations, and are applauded, feted, and self-applauded for doing so.