On the so-called Islamic State.
As a consequence of yesterdays suicide bomber/shooting attacks in Paris, my facebook page is full of socially engineered intentions to anger and amaze. My friends list had already been lightening due to the recent federal election. (They're still my friends, their opinions just became unfollowed.) However quickly I wanted to dash off clever chastisements to satisfy my own worth, I dared not unless something interesting happened. I am after all, a busy person.
This morning, eating my oatmeal, flipping through by news feed, there's a pic of a mushroom cloud, glowing orange. Over the cloud was "We've been at peace with Japan since 1945" underneath the cloud was "Time to make peace with Islam." I placed my fingers on the keyboard, I don't recall if I typed my first thought or not, I can't recall the thought itself. It was probably something like, "there are many things wrong with this sentence." I put no such complaint. Instead I examined what options facebook had for me. Could I report this as a violation of some kind. Hate speech? I tried, their robots (I presume) did not agree with my assessment of the picture.
I spent a couple hours learning what I could about the sorts of ideas one can have about this "thing" they call ISIS or ISIL, or a few other words. I will refer to it as "the Islamic State." In the interest of clarity, by Islamic State I mean specifically the small group of terrorists who refer to themselves as these things. The clarity is important, because there seems to be a great deal of confusion on the matter.
If you Google "Islam has n" it will auto-fill in "nothing to do with terrorism." (This is the point at which I realized I was going to write another essay.) The first page of search results will contain three news stories, featuring Muslims and others espousing that this is true because the Islamic State follows an antiquated, bastardized version of the faith. Below those stories, the entire rest of the page is devoted to pages arguing that it's time to "STOP saying Islam has nothing to do with terrorism." Some of them might claim to argue the opposite, but if you read them you will discover this is a rouse.
As I searched and read, it became apparent that everyone needed to have an opinion on this matter and that this opinion would probably come from other opinions. Some opinions favour information closer to the truth, some don't. By truth, it is meant, accurate information, related to facts that are real in the world, not some astronomical generalization associating an entire religion and a few pissed off militants. In fact, if you're so inclined, you're really making things worse, because doing so is going to piss off Muslims around the world that wouldn't be otherwise interested in jihad. It's already the case that many young Muslims join the Islamic State for political reasons more than religious, but it is also true that there is a growing movement that believe it's the apocalypse. The Islamic State, it seems, has a place for you, regardless of where you source your thirst for western blood.
There are common denominators and it is here where we find all our facts and figures. The stuff we can actually work with. The Islamic State is real, it has money, offices with staff, weaponry, technology, manpower, philosophy. It takes action, it destroys. It has a goal (the conversion of the entire world to its ancient interpretation of Islam) and it has no problem beheading you if you're not interested in converting. However, it isn't doing those things because of its religion, it's doing it specifically because your country has been or currently is fucking around in its backyard.
Most victims of the Islamic State are Muslim, in Muslim countries. Most of the Damage they do is to Muslim property, (trying to rid us of the more "modern" or inappropriate religious items or places.) These things are criminal matters. If you have a bunch of idiots running around in costumes killing people, something should be done about them. The only thing that makes them "Terrorist" is the fact that they are attached to being Muslim/Middle Eastern and that we are attached to the Christian West. Their association, not mine. I make no distinctions, that's the point... Imagine if some Christian militant group (of which there are plenty) reverted to some ancient ultra-conservative form their faith and then started a similar campaign. Would we immediately decry all Christians as enemy?
There is an ideology at play here, but it is more rooted in politic and society than in religion. In my investigations I discovered that the Islamic State twists the philosophy of Sayyid Qutb, much the same as Al Qaeda and others. Qutb was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the 50s and 60s, after his return from going to University in America where he was appalled by American society. (Imagine the sockhops!) If you would like to really understand everything about this whole "America vs the Middle East" thing, all you need to do is watch "The Power of Nightmares" Seriously, go google "the Power of Nightmares" it's a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis. You can watch it on youtube.
The point is, Islam doesn't make terrorists, being pissed off at America does. Therein lies the problem in this story, in this matter and in this essay. Once you start delving into "Why are these criminals so mad at America?" You only come up against very valid reasons to be pissed. (And we're not allowed to talk about them. The truth has no place in the American psyche.) This is an extremely complicated and delicate matter that is going to have to be handled one criminal at a time and quietly. Blaming it on any particular belief only fuels the fire, plus it lumps our friends in with our enemies.
Think of it this way: If all they have are suicide bombers, they'll eventually run out. Unless we keep pissing them off and they keep breeding suicide bombers. Change the mindset, change the outcome. How do we change the mindset? Well, what is it we've been doing that upset everyone in the first place? Oh yeah, we have our own set of leaders who put philosophies into motion, some of them for their own religious motives. Mostly though, we just want your resources or we don't want other to have them. We also need to keep the war machine going. It's big business. How are we going to have enemies to spend billions on if we don't keep creating enemies?