Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Mumbai, Islamic fundamentalism and blood feuds
Marx said, "Religion is the opium of the masses"
I said, "If religion is the opium of the masses, fundamentalism is the crystal meth of the religious". (see above).
A friend of mine said, "Just leave fundamentalists alone, and they will either get totally bored or fall out with each other".
The right response to fundamentalists is to defend ourselves against their insane attacks by using the police, the Intelligence Services (here is their right use, not arresting democratic representatives for handling leaked information), the financial system (freezing their assets), but do not, repeat not, attack them militarily unless you are 100% certain that no civilians will be killed. Which means do not attack them militarily, because all bombings are likely to kill civilians.
This is because civilian deaths due to military attacks give a cause for the next wave of terrorist activity. Every time a civilian dies in a misdirected US or Israeli or British air attack, their friends and relatives entertain the thought, "If they kill our people, I should kill their people." And some of those who get that thought are likely to act on it. In other words, the War on Terror should rightly be called "The Blood Feud with Terrorists".
Blood feuds and revenge are primitive responses, produced in the unreconstructed animal parts of our brain. It is ironic that the people with the most highly sophisticated technology (the military) are using them at the promptings of the crudest emotional centres of our brain.