A pioneering investigation of the lineage of anti-Western stereotypes that shows that al Qaeda uses the same images as the Russian Revolution is its poisonous propaganda.


Ronald Reagan used to be fond of saying that the enemy sits in Moscow. The new paradigm sees them emanating from caves in Tora Bora and wants to blame their dislike for us to the horrible wrongs done by Christians during the Crusades when we learned to hate them by quaffing from the same cup that poisoned us with antisemitism. As usual Ronald Reagan was right – the anti-Christian ideology spawned in revolutionary cells during the age of czars and now financed from the true evil axis of Moscow – Riyadh – Peking presents a greater challenge than ever before. They no longer need to defeat us on a field of battle they simply have to smother the last breath of Christianity, which we are well on the way to doing for them with relativism, equivocation and ambivalence, and their world can flourish. Islam will find out too late that it is no match for Moscow and that their victory in Afghanistan was phyrric and their alliance was a deadly embrace.

Occidentalism : the West in the eyes of its enemies      Ian Buruma, Avishai Margalit  Developing countries Civilization Western influences  New York : Penguin Press, 2004 Hardcover. 1st ed., and printing. 165 p. ; 21 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. A pioneering investigation of the lineage of anti-Western stereotypes that traces them back to the West itself. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Twenty-five years ago, Edward Said’s Orientalism spawned a generation of scholarship on the denigrating and dangerous mirage of “the East” in the Western mind. But “the West” is the more dangerous mirage of our own time, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit argue, and the idea of “the West” in the minds of its self-proclaimed enemies remains largely unexamined and woefully misunderstood. Occidentalism is their groundbreaking investigation of the demonizing fantasies and stereotypes about the Western world that fuel such hatred in the hearts of others.

We generally understand “radical Islam” as a purely Islamic phenomenon, but Buruma and Margalit show that while the Islamic part of radical Islam certainly is, the radical part owes a primary debt of inheritance to the West. Whatever else they are, al Qaeda and its ilk are revolutionary anti-Western political movements, and Buruma and Margalit show us that the bogeyman of the West who stalks their thinking is the same one who has haunted the thoughts of many other revolutionary groups, going back to the early nineteenth century. In this genealogy of the components of the anti-Western worldview, the same oppositions appear again and again: the heroic revolutionary versus the timid, soft bourgeois; the rootless, deracinated cosmopolitan living in the Western city, cut off from the roots of a spiritually healthy society; the sterile Western mind, all reason and no soul; the machine society, controlled from the center by a cabal of insiders-often Jews-pulling the hidden levers of power versus an organically knit-together one, a society of “blood and soil.” The anti-Western virus has found a ready host in the Islamic world for a number of legitimate reasons, they argue, but in no way does that make it an exclusively Islamic matter.

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