Friday, September 08, 2006


Sometimes I feel angry about the stupidity of our politicians and our foreign policy. I also feel angry at the stupidity and casual cruelty that seems so common in world affairs, and the general lack of any kind of meaningful liberal resistance to the tabloid-promoted moral hysteria that seems so pernicious at the moment. Nothing is quite as distasteful as reaidng some of the frenzied red-top headlines that preach for a justice that any decent person will leave in the middle ages.

Another cause for alarm is the simultaneously disquieting and ineffective initiatives of our government when it comes to combating terrorism. TJ is going to die in a mangled auto or a hospital bed: I’m not going to die in a terrorist attack. I will probably be affronted or annoyed at some point by the measures put in place to combat terrorism, but apart from the harm from that, I am statistically more likely to suffer by having myself and several members of my family killed or maimed by a freak lightening storm than I am by a terrorist outrage.

When it comes to terrorism, the objective of the terrorists is very clear. Terror. Now the fact that 52 people died on the 7th of July last year in London is shocking, awful, and horrifying. But it doesn’t exactly have me quaking in my shoes, largely because of the aforesaid improbability that the terrorists will actually get me, but also because I know that the correct response to such a (literally) self-destructive ideology is quiet pity and positive action.

What I mean by positive action is this: stop invading other countries. Apologise for the immense harms rendered on the Arabic world by Western Powers collectively, and by the British specifically (witness the “Great Game of the 19th century, and most of the 20th century). Dissacociate ourselves from TGWoT, admitting that it is essentially an excuse to wail on whoever the hell we feel like (if you’re Russian, the Chechens, if you’re Turkish, the Kurds, if you’re Israeli, the Palestinians, if you’re Indian, the Tamil Tigers…). And generally try to behave as a responsible, progressive, liberal and democratic nation should.

This is not capitulating to the terrorists. Capitulating to the terrorists would involve acting like they want us to act: big and bad and evil. We could do this by invading a bunch of other nations, or locking up a bunch of innocent people, or clamping down on our own freedoms and exposing the hypocrisy at the core of corrupt Western society. Oh wait...

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