Monday, April 23, 2007

Dodgy historical analogy watch

Not the title of some new blog I'm starting because, as I've said before, if you have 'watch' in the title of your site, you really should give some serious thought to the possibility that you've lost your goddam mind.

Rather, it refers to this piece by Henry Porter. He argues against the infantilizing notion that Muslim countries are incapable of incubating any of their own internal problems, along with the idea of the ultra-reactionary 'resistance' currently operating in Iraq as 'freedom fighters' - two negatives I have no problem positively affirming with him. Not sure about the following, though:
"It is as if Protestant and Catholic groups in the French Resistance used the Nazi occupation to blow up each other's churches and market places and slaughter each other's children. Actually, it is weirder in Iraq because the Sunni extremists of al-Qaeda are killing and torturing more Sunnis than Shia, let alone US soldiers."
Try this instead. It's as if, following the collapse of a secular tyranny, groups from Christianity's largest schism - that between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Church - started killing each other. Something like the former Yugoslavia, in other words. Like all historical analogies it doesn't quite fit but it's better than the one he uses and still makes the point that agency has to be attributed to the insurgents, rather than imputing this exclusively to the occupation.

No comments:

Blog Archive