Monday, August 14, 2006

Two pieces of garbage

One from Max Hastings. Bush, he says, artificially lumps Islamist groups in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq when in reality they have interests that are "diffuse, complex and nuanced".

Bush sees an ideological and strategic unity where there is none, says Hastings. He then proceeds to indulge in a little homogenization of his own, pontificating about how "Muslim radicals", "ordinary Muslims", "Palestinians" and "Iraqis" view the world. There is indeed a "common strand" amongst the various Islamist groups, he concedes but rejects with absolutely no argument whatsoever the idea that a particular ideology has anything to do with it.

Rather this is understandable anger, which he claims (falsely as it happens) has legitimized Al-Qaeda in the eyes of "ordinary Muslims" in a way unimaginable four years ago.

Here's the summary: radical Islamist groups are completely dissimilar and should be understood as such. Ok, they're not entirely different but the extent to which this is true is the extent to which we made them like that.

Martin Jacques' exercise in ahistorical homogenization, on the other hand, is a much more sinister one where he talks about the Israeli "mentality" and sense of "racial superiority":
"Indeed it is impossible to explain Israel's attitude towards the west on the one hand and its Arab neighbours on the other without understanding its racial character and motivation."
This for Jacques is the "root cause" of the problem. Their "long-term future", Jacques argues, "lies in viewing their Arab neighbours as equals and seeking to live with them in peace".

The notion that Israel's Arab neighbours have an obligation to recognise their right to exist is mentioned in the usual "of course" throw-away manner.

The idea that the vile anti-Semitism being pumped out from the regimes and Islamist movements in the region might just be indicative of a failure to see Jews as equals isn't something Jacques considers worth mentioning.

Perhaps this tells us something about the Guardian "mentality"?

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