"lanky midget zombie anorexic porn" by Mugley on Flickr. Click image for original.
This is an excerpt from an interview in the The Daily Beast:
Seated under the portrait of a local maharajah, Wole Soyinka—as regal of face and mien as the potentate in the painting—leaned toward me and uttered words so harsh that I sat bolt upright: “England is a cesspit.”
“England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. And yet England allows it. Remember, that country was the breeding ground for communism, too. Karl Marx did all his work in libraries there.”
Why is Britain the way it is? “This is part of the character of Great Britain,” Mr. Soyinka declares. “Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.” And so it is, he says, that Britain lets everyone preach whatever they want: It confirms a self-image of greatness.
…Our conversation turned to Nigeria, where ferocious killings had just occurred in the central city of Jos, with Muslims slaughtering Christians, and vice-versa. Mr. Soyinka, here, began to brood: “A virus has attacked the world of sense and sensibility, and it has spread to Nigeria, where it has taken on a sanguinary dimension. Roaming hordes of killers are entering homes and dragging out people of other faiths and hacking them to death. In my youth, you heard, side-by-side, the church bells ringing and the beautiful, sonorous call to prayer of the muezzin. But now, it’s a disease. One doesn’t really know how to handle it.”
The day before, in his lecture on The Road, Mr. Soyinka earned a burst of applause with his own, ingenious solution: “I think this is where our rocket engineers and astronauts can come to our rescue. We should assemble all those who are pure and cannot abide other faiths, put them all in rockets, and fire them into space.” In our own conversation, he offered—almost apologetically—a more prosaic solution: “Education. And rigorous punishment for those who feel, not ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,’ but ‘I’m right, you’re dead.'”
In Mr. Soyinka’s view, the origins of the current phase of the world’s religious strife—including all of the bloodshed in Nigeria—lie with Ayatollah Khomeini and his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, in 1989. “It all began when he assumed the power of life and death over the life of a writer. This was a watershed between doctrinaire aggression and physical aggression. There was an escalation. The assumption of power over life and death then passed to every single inconsequential Muslim in the world—as if someone had given them a new stature.
“Al Qaeda is the descendent of this phenomenon. The proselytization of Islam became vigorous after this. People went to Saudi Arabia. Madrassas were established everywhere.”
Mr Soyinka is absolutely right. The Rushdie affair was the start of Radical Islam’s assault on the the West. The continied attacks on Western writers and artists by Islamism is still a key battleground. For a superb explanation of this form of terrorism, see Richard Fernandez’s article “Killing the chicken to frighten the monkey“:
Henryk M. Broder, the editor Spiegel Online, argued that many European intellectuals have responded to an attack on Kurt Westergaard the author of the “Mohammed Cartoons”, by a Somali with links to al-Qaeda, by “de-escalating” their profile rather than denouncing the attack, in contrast to the somewhat vigorous defense of Salman Rushdie 20 years ago. Broder writes that “the West is choked with fear”.
The attack on illustrator Kurt Westergaard wasn’t the first attempt to carry out a deadly fatwa. When Muslims tried to murder Salman Rushdie 20 years ago, the protests among intellectuals were loud. Today, though, Western writers and thinkers would rather take cover than defend basic rights.
The attack on Westergaard is a textbook application of terror. Even the weapons chosen — an axe for example — contributed to instilling fear. Although Westergaard himself escaped unharmed, every European writer knows that the next victim may not be so lucky. And that next writer may be himself. The Somali also demonstrated the second object lesson of terrorist pedagogy. They reminded the world that they never forget. Salman Rushdie is still on the run. Westergaard will have to be guarded until the day that he dies. There is no statute of limitations on al-Qaeda’s anger. Blasphemy is forever.
And it works. By slow degrees the intellectuals are being cowed into silence. John Brennan, the President’s counterterrorism adviser, thinks that closing Guantanamo prison is necessary to avoid giving al-Qaeda “a propaganda victory”, when from al-Qaeda’s point of view the closure itself is probably regarded as the victory. In denying al-Qaeda one sort of victory, Obama is giving them another and more valuable one: it is subconsciously indoctrinating into the public an almost subconscious fear of “giving offense” to Islam that is more powerful for the fact that it may eventually be instinctive. Which is the point.