Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Matter of Respect

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 15, 2007

Of all the negative characterizations that can be made of a person or a people, the worst is not necessarily that they are morally corrupt, or even that they are absolutely evil; one can be morally corrupt and absolutely evil yet still be powerful and respected. No, the worst fate of all is simply to be dismissed as irrelevant.

During the course of the last millennium, for whatever reasons, as the Western and the Far Eastern worlds progressed and their societies evolved and prospered, the Muslim world, in general, and the Middle East, in particular, stagnated and became increasingly irrelevant. Unfortunately, the considered Islamic response to this self-perceived inferiority was to become even more fanatical and intolerant in their religious zeal (Wahhabism), which of course only served to push them deeper into the backwaters of cultural and political irrelevancy -- "digging their way out of the well", as it has been so aptly put.

Then, with the advent of that much-maligned Twentieth-Century technology, soon they began to discover the undeniable efficacy of transatlantic terrorism.

In our present turbulent era, whatever else one may have to say about jihadist Islam, one can no longer call it irrelevant. And to a previously irrelevant people, the power of this nascent relevancy, even if it be an infamous relevancy, is enticing, perhaps even irresistible. Today, you may notice, when a Muslim speaks to an infidel about Islam you can catch a gleam of pride in his eye. He has become relevant again. We are learning how to pronounce his name and we are listening attentively to his views.

One can only hope that -- with a little courage and a lot of willpower on our part --this new found violent relevancy will be short-lived and soon find its way to that abandoned graveyard of mutant ideologies.

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