Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Feudalism's feminist

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Financial Times:

The problem with political Islam was something identified by Elias Canetti in his classic Crowds and Power. “Believers,” he says, “yearn for God’s force; His power alone does not satisfy them; it is too distant and leaves them too free. The state of continuous expectation of command, to which, early in life, they surrender themselves for good and all, marks them deeply and also has a momentous effect on their attitude to other people.”
But is it realistic to have a leaderless revolution? In my view it is not. In the absence of leadership -- which means not just one man but a legitimate command structure, as well as some kind of explicit manifesto -- these protests will never achieve the truly revolutionary changes we saw in Europe in 1989.

Hirsi Ali is one of those commentators plucked from an oppressive feudal background whose career is secured in the West by selectively "speaking out" against the crimes committed by her host country's villain-du-jour: She attributes to "Islam" everything that is wrong with pre-capitalist or insufficiently capitalist regimes in the East, in order to promote the crimes of capitalism; even excusing them in places where the two clearly intersect, as with US aid to Mubarak and other Arab tyrants ("It is easy to blame the Zionists and America." Not for you, my dear; your paycheck would record the hardship!).

In this case, Hirsi Ali's utility as an apostate Muslim far exceeds her ability to produce an argument: She says the "Islamic world" harbors the "continuous expectation of command," only to reproach the Egyptians for rejecting "a legitimate command structure, as well as some kind of explicit manifesto" in favor of a leaderless uprising! Rather than ditching the whole pointless endeavor, she lets the very absence of authority prove her point that a much worse authority lies in wait -- if only because Muslims are involved.


Ethan said...

As Deanna Troi says in the episode of Star Trek I watched last night, "How are we supposed to trust you if you don't follow orders?"

Anonymous said...

We see what she gets from her deal with el Diablo, but I want to know what he is getting from her, in exchange.

Personally I think Diablito is working for a reframing of Capitalism, given the ever-increasing human awareness of Capitalism's flaws.

Lots of stuff collapsing right now. Old Mr Darkness enjoys that, but what he enjoys more is making money off such things.

Disclaimer: All religio-moral symbolism used above is meant broadly and not limited to Judeo-Christian ideas.


Her readership probably doesn't know anything about Islam so it's probably easy to broad-brush all Muslims with negative stereotypes. I only know a little bit about Islam but I have understood enough to know that Sufis are quite peaceful and jihad has multiple meanings, one of which is a spiritual journey (like a rite of passage, trial by ordeal, etc) despite the American/GlobalCorp media insisting it means "angry insurrection against the non-Muslim infidels."

The US Govt and its backers have always hated Islam. I think Malcolm X's death might suggest it was brewing long ago.

C├╝neyt said...

Islam needs leaders, which is why it is an amorphous hydra which wanders through the modern world, as likely to embrace it as reject it...

Islam needs a leadership structure, which is why the caliphate was never reinstated except in lewd bin Ladenist dreaming and Orson Scott Card novels.

It is not like Christianity, which has no singular heads on earth, no pretenders to divine inspiration.

Jack Crow said...

Thank you. I had this one up (HuffPo version) to criticize. Yours is so much better.

Anonymous said...

Charles F. Oxtrot writes:

"Sufis are quite peaceful"

More than that, I believe they have been a force for liberation at many moments in history. Quoting the communist Pakistani rock band Laal (in comments below the clip for their version of "Fareeda"-

"When the Taliban attacked the shrines of Rahman Baba, Data Sahib, and Abdullah Ghazi Shah, slaughtering hundreds who had gathered for alms or to pray, Laal felt obligated to not only defend the progressive aspects of sufi thought but to discover them for ourselves. We see sufi's as the rebels, the revolutionaries of their period.

"The entire mode of production of the pre-capitalist period, and village life to this day, was built on the caste system. And this system of zaat and beraderi itself is premised upon marriage within the beraderi, that is, on endogamy. Patriarchy and control of women's sexuality is the basis of the entire edifice.

"In a word, the caste system relegates love or ishq to the most contemptible position. But that which was contemptible to the beraderis, became the battle cry of the sufis, Ishq became divine."

I don't know that much about Islam (supposedly, I was born Jewish, and I don't know anything about that religion either). But I'm learning.