Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bali bombings: Hitchens asks 'Why ask why?'

Christopher Hitchens, a columnist for Vanity Fair and an author, points out some important points about the recent bombings in Bali in this Slate article.

Never make the mistake of asking for rationality here. And never underestimate the power of theocratic propaganda. The fanatics look at the population of Bali and its foreign visitors and they see a load of Hindus selling drinks--often involving the presence of unchaperoned girls--to a load of Christians. That in itself is excuse enough for mayhem.
And then, of course, Australians must die. Why would that be? Well, is it not the case that Australia sent troops to help safeguard the independence of
East Timor and the elections that followed it? A neighboring country that assists the self-determination of an Indonesian Christian minority must expect to have the lives of its holidaymakers taken.

Hitchens discusses a few facts revealed by both Jemaah Islamiyah and what he calls "Bin Ladenism:"

1) East Timor was for many years, and quite rightly, a signature cause of the Noam Chomsky "left." The near-genocide of its people is an eternal stain on Indonesia and on the Western states that were complicit or silent. Yet Bin Ladenism wants not less of this killing and repression but more. Its demand to re-establish the caliphate is a pro-imperialist demand, not an anti-imperialist one.

2) Random bombings are not a protest against poverty and unemployment. They are a cause of poverty and unemployment and of wider economic dislocation.

3) Hinduism is considered by Bin Ladenists to be a worse heresy even than Christianity or Judaism or Shiism, and its adherents, whether in Bali or Kashmir, are fit only for the edge of the sword. So, it is absurd to think of jihadism--which murders the poor and the brown without compunction--as a movement against the rich and the "white."

Read the whole thing.