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  • Sleeping with the Enemy

    Posted by David Foster on February 26th, 2010 (All posts by )

    Why has the western world shown such loss of will in defending itself from radical Islamic terrorism? Why, indeed, do substantial numbers of people–particularly those who view themselves as intellectuals–endlessly make excuses for dictatorships and terrorist movements whose values are completely at odds with their own stated values–and even romanticize these goons? I think some clues can be found in a forgotten novel by Arthur Koestler.

    The Age of Longing (published in 1950) is set in Paris, “sometime in the 1950s,” in a world in which France–indeed all of western Europe–is facing the very real possibility of a Soviet invasion. Hydie Anderson, the protagonist, is a young American woman living in Paris with her father, a military attache. Hydie was a devout Catholic during her teens, but has lost her faith. She was briefly married, and has had several relationships with men, but in none of them has she found either physical or emotional satisfaction…she describes her life with a phrase from T S Eliot: “frigid purgatorial fires,” and she longs for a sense of connection:

    Hydie sipped at her glass. Here was another man living in his own portable glass cage. Most people she knew did. Each one inside a kind of invisible telephone box. They did not talk to you directly but through a wire. Their voices came through distorted and mostly they talked to the wrong number, even when they lay in bed with you. And yet her craving to smash the glass between the cages had come back again. If cafes were the home of those who had lost their country, bed was the sanctuary of those who had lost their faith.

    Through her friend Julien DeLattre, Hydie is introduced to a number of Paris intellectuals and and East European emigres. Members of the former group are mostly in denial about the danger of a Soviet attack…many of them have indeed convinced themselves that Communist rule wouldn’t be all that bad. For example, there’s Professor Pontieux (modeled on Sartre)…”He did not believe that the Commonwealth of Freedomloving People had solved all its problems and become an earthly paradise. But it was equally undeniable that it was an expression of History’s groping progress towards a new form of society, when it followed that those who opposed this progres were siding with the forces of reaction and preparing the way for conflict and war–the worst crime against Humanity.” Vardi, another intellectual, says that if he had to choose between the (American) juke box on one hand, and Pravda on another, he isn’t sure which he would pick.

    Madame Pontieux, modeled on Simone de Bouvoir (with whom Koestler had a brief affair) is less ambiguous about her choice among the alternatives. “You cannot enter a cafe or a restaurant without finding it full of Americans who behave as if the place belonged to them,” she complains to an American official. When the Russian emigre Leontiev suggests that France would not survive without American military support, pointing out that “nature abhors a vacuum,” she turns on him:

    “I am surprised at your moderation, Citizen Leontiev,” Madame Pontieux said sarcastically. “I thought you would tell us that without this young man’s protection the Commonwealth army would at once march to the Atlantic shore.”

    “It would,” said Leontiev. “I believed that everyone knew that.”

    “I refuse to believe it,” responds Madame Pontieux. “But if choose one must I would a hundred times rather dance to the music of a Balalaika than a juke box.”

    (The French intellectuals Koestler knew must have really hated juke boxes!)

    Julien is romantically interested in Hydie, but she is not attracted to him, despite the fact that he seems to have much to recommend him–a hero of the French Resistance, wounded in action, and a successful poet. On one occasion, she tells him that she could never sleep with him because they are too similar–”it would be like incest”..on another occasion, though, she tells him that “what I most dislike about you is your attitude of arrogant broken-heartedness.” Parallel to Hydie’s loss of religious faith is Julien’s loss of his secular faith in the creation of a new society. He does not now believe in utopia, or any approximation to same, but he does believe in the need to face reality, however unpleasant it may be. Hydie argues that the Leftists of their acquaintance may be silly, but at least they believe in something:

    “Perhaps they believe in a mirage–but isn’t it better to believe in a mirage than to believe in nothing?”

    Julien looked at her coldly, almost with contempt:

    “Definitely not. Mirages lead people astray. That’s why there are so many skeletons in the desert. Read more history. Its caravan-routes are strewn with the skeletons of people who were thirsting for faith–and their faith made them drink salt water and eat the sand, believing it was the Lord’s Supper.”

    At a diplomatic affair, Hydie meets Fedya, a committed Communist who works for the Soviet Embassy. She is powerfully attracted to him: things get physical very quickly and, from Hydie’s point of view, very satisfactorily. (Fedya is one of Koestler’s best-developed characters. His boyhood in Baku is vividly sketched, and Koestler–himself a former Communist–does a good job in showing how a political faith can become core to an individual’s whole personality.)

    The affair blows up when Fedya humiliates Hydie sexually in a way that could only have occurred to a Dialectical Materialist–and, indeed, humiliation was not Fedya’s intent, he was “only” attempting the demonstrate to her the truth of Pavlovian conditioning as an explanation for human behavior. Hurt and furious, she pours out her heart to Julien…who now feels free to tell her the truth about Fedya, a truth he felt unable to divulge while Fedya was Hydie’s lover.

    Fedya’s real job, underneath his diplomatic cover, is to collect lists of names–the names of the key people to be killed or imprisoned immediately after the Soviet invasion. Hydie is, of course, horrified, and is particularly appalled that so many people already knew about Fedya’s activities–and did nothing to stop them–while she was blissfully unaware.

    Julien tells her, as does her father the Colonel, that nothing can be done about Fedya because of diplomatic immunity and because the French government does not want to create an international incident by deporting him. Refusing to believe this, Hydie arranges a meeting with a senior French security official. The improbably-named Jules Commanche (who, like Julien, is a hero of the French Resistance) also tells Hydie that nothing can be done, and that if she attempts to make an issue of it, the Soviets and their fellow-travelers will simply paint her as nothing more than a hysterical jilted lover. Hydie remains unwilling to accept the conclusion that Fedya must be left alone to continue his activities:

    “How can you, a Frenchman, say that it is not a crime when a man walks around marking down your compatriots with a pencil–like a man branding cattle for the slaughter-house? Don’t you see–don’t you see what is waiting for you?”

    Commanche, who had half risen, let himself slump back into the chair. He no longer tried to conceal his exasperation.

    “Are you really so naive, Mademoiselle, as to imagine that we know less about these things than you do? Do you think that we were unaware of Monsieur Nikitin’s activities, of of your affair with him, if it comes to that? And as for your somewhat patronising remark about what ‘waiting for us’–myself, my family, my friends, in short, the French people–allow me to refuse to discuss it, in order to avoid embarrassing you.”

    “Me? I don’t understand?…”

    “Well, we both know what is waiting for you. A comfortable airliner, when things get hot–and some nostalgic regrets for the sunny cafes on the Champs-Elysees…”

    For his own part, Commanche plans a heroic but militarily-futile death in resisting the coming Soviet invasion: he does not wish to survive what he sees as the inevitable destruction of European civilization. After sharing his own sense of hopelessness with Hydie, he asks her for a date, which she rejects.

    In an anguish of anger and despair, Hydie buys a gun and goes to Fedya’s apartment. After asking him for a drink, she draws the weapon and tells him why he must die.

    He summoned all his patience and self-discipline for a last attempt to bring her back to reason. He forced himself to make his voice patient and gentle; and, after the first few words, its sound made him indeed regain his calm–and even feel a kindly pity for the unhappy fat-legged girl.

    “Listen, please,” he said. “We have talked about these matters often before. You don’t like that we make scientific studies of human nature like Professor Pavlov. You don’t like revolutionary vigilance and lists on the social reliability of people, and discipline and re-education camps. You think I am brutal and ridiculous and uncultured. Then why did you like making love with me? I will tell you why and you will understand…”

    “I am not a tall and handsome man…There are no tall and handsome men who come from the Black Town in Baku, because there were few vitamins in the food around the oilfields. So it was not for this that you liked to make love with me…It was because I believe in the future and am not afraid of it, and because to know what he lives for makes a man strong…Of course many ugly things are happening in my country. Do you think I do not know about them?…And what difference will it make in a hundred years that there is a little ugliness now? It always existed. In a hundred years there will be no ugliness–only a classless world state of free people. There will be no more wars and no more children born in Black Towns with big bellies and flies crawling in their eyes. And also no more children of the bourgeoisie with crippled characters because they grew up in a decadent society…I am not handsome, but you have felt attracted to me because you know that we will win and that we are only at the beginning–and that you will lose because you are at the end…That is why I was not afraid of your little revolver, because you can’t have the courage to shoot me. To kill, one must believe in something.”

    Nevertheless, Hydie pulls the trigger…

    One one level, this book is sort of a romance novel, with the theme “chicks like self-confident guys.” This is no doubt true, but emphasizing this point wasn’t Koestler’s main reason for writing Age of Longing. Koestler’s deeper theme is that the decline in religious belief in the West (and Koestler himself was certainly no traditional religious believer) has created a hunger for faith which will likely be filled by those who carry their convictions with great certainty. As Jules Commanche explains to Hydie:

    “You cannot cure aberrations of the political libido by arguments…Now the source of all political libido is faith, and its object is the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lost Paradise, Utopia, what have you. Therefore each time a god dies there is trouble in History. People feel that they have been cheated by his promises, left with a dud check in their pocket. The last time a god died was on July 14, 1789, the day when the Bastille was stormed. On that day the Holy Trinity was replaced by the three-word slogan which you find written over our town halls and post offices. Europe has not yet recovered from that operation, and all our troubles today are secondary complications. The People–and when I use that word, Mademoiselle, I always refer to people who have no bank accounts–the people have been deprived of their only asset: the knowledge, or the illusion, whichever you like, of having an immortal soul. Their faith is dead, their kingdom is dead, only the longing remains. And this longing, Mademoiselle, can express itself in beautiful or murderous forms, just like the frustrated sex instinct…Only the longing remains–a dumb, inarticulate longing of the instinct, without knowledge of its source and object. So the people, the masses, mill around with that irksome feeling of having an uncashed check in their pockets and whoever tells them ‘Oyez, oyez, the Kingdom is just round the corner, in the second street to the left,’ can do with them what he likes.”

    A few thoughts on Commanche’s speech and its applicability to our times…

    First, I think I disagree with Commanche/Koestler that loss of belief in personal immortality is of the essence here. Indeed, Fedya is an atheist, but his faith is strong. What matters more (from a societal standpoint) is the belief in the society’s moral authority, in its future, in its system of symbols. And it is specifically these things that have been systematically undermined by so many forces in our society and especially in academia. (When people with PhD’s are willing to accept the idea that gravity is a “social construct”–see The Sokal Hoax–is it any wonder that many ordinary people feel disoriented?)

    Second, I think that while our present problem does involve people chasing new gods and promulgators of new faiths–Gaia-worship, Obama-worship…our more serious problem involves those who are no longer seeking and have abandoned themselves to cynicism. I find Hydie, as drawn by Koestler, to be a fairly appealing person, despite her naivete and self-centeredness. I suspect that a present-day Hydie would be much less likeable. I’m reminded of some lines from Kipling, in which he describes the fall of a soul into Hell:

    The Spirit gripped him by the hair, and sun by sun they fell
    Till they came to the belt of Naughty Stars that rim the mouth of Hell.
    The first are red with pride and wrath, the next are white with pain,
    But the third are black with clinkered sin that cannot burn again.

    There are probably more people now at the clinkered sin that cannot burn again stage than there were when Koestler wrote.

    Julien, in explaining to Hydie why he cannot write anymore, says:

    Fallen angels don’t write poems. There is lyric poetry, and sacred poetry, and a poetry of love and a poetry of rebelling; the poets of apostasy do not exist.

    The book ends on a note of almost unredeemed darkness:

    Her thoughts travelled back to Sister Boutillot standing in the alley which led to the pond…Oh, if she could only go back to the infinite comfort of father confessors and mother superiors, of a well-ordered hierarchy which promised punishment and reward, and furnished the world with justice and meaning. If only one could go back! But she was under the curse of reason, which rejected whatever might quench her thirst without abolishing the gnawing of the urge; which rejected the answer without abolishing the question. For the place of God had become vacant and there was a draught blowing through the world as in an empty flat before the new tenants have arrived.

    Sixty years later, I think we now begin to see who the New Tenants might be, and it is not comforting knowledge.

    Hydie’s (pre-Fedya) sexual frustration is, of course, symbolic: it reflects the West’s loss of self-confidence, but it can be interpreted at a more literal level as well. Does a societal loss of self-confidence also play out at the individual level of attraction or lack of same?

    A commenter at this blog reported that a significant number of female British medical students have been converting to Islam. This writer, herself a Muslim, says that “Since 9/11, vast numbers of educated, privileged middle-class white women have converted to Islam”…she identifies these converts as including women at “investment banks, TV stations, universities and in the NHS.” Her concern is not that they are converting to Islam…something I’d presume she would applaud…but that they are converting to “the most restricted forms” of the religion. (And it is, of course, among the believers in the most absolute form of any religion or political system that one is likely to find the most obviously self-confident believers.)

    David Yeagley, the American Indian who blogs under the traditional name Bad Eagle, has quoted a Commanche saying: “A nation is never conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.” The link from the preceding paragraph suggests that in Europe, at least, there are more than a few female hearts on the ground concerning the future of Western civilization.

    I don’t think Koestler’s protagonist would have been attracted to a fundamentalist Muslim in the way that she was drawn to the communist Fedya. The gap in values would have been far wider: while Communism is a bastard child of the Enlightenment, radical Islam is counter-Enlightenment, and does not make the kind of universalist, humanitarian, and secular promises that the Communists made–the cruelty is closer to the surface.But the loss of Western self-confidence has greatly accelerated since Koestler wrote, and today’s Hydies are unlikely to share the educational and religious depth of the woman Koestler imagined.

    I said earlier that the book ends on a note of almost unredeemed darkness…Koestler does permit his readers a small glimpse of hope. One of the book’s characters is the British nuclear physicist Lord Edwards, known as “Hercules the Atom-Smasher” because of his powerful physique. Edwards/Hercules is a Communist sympathizer and fellow-traveller who has repeatedly modified his views on the expanding-universe question to conform to the latest “politically correct” edicts from Moscow.

    In this passage, Lord Edwards is talking with the French poet Navarin. It has now become clear that the Soviet invasion is imminent.

    “So what are you going to do?”

    As Navarin looked at him with an uncomprehending smile, he added in a grunt:

    “I mean if you are invaded.”

    The poet arched his eyebrows in surprise at the Englishman’s awkward manner of formulating the question, and answered in a tone of explaining to a child that the earth is round:

    “In the case of conflict, which could only be caused by Imperialist provocation, the duty of every democratic-minded person is to support unreservedly, unhesitatingly and unconditionally the Commonwealth of Freedomloving People.”

    “Hmm,” said Hercules. He said nothing for a while…then unexpectedly he wagged a finger in front of Navarin’s face and grunted:

    “I call that treason.”

    Navarin thought he had misunderstood Edwards, whose French accent was abominable.

    “I beg your pardon?” he asked, with his ravaged cherub’s smile.

    “I call that treason,” Hercules the Atom-Smasher shouted over the rattle of the wheels; then with a deep contented sign that seemed to release his chest from some long-standing oppression, he settled back into his corner, and decided then and there to go once more into that wretched question of the expanding universe; but this time in the light of purely mathematical evidence.

     

    22 Responses to “Sleeping with the Enemy”

    1. renminbi Says:

      .You do the thinking that most of our professional intellectuals are paid to do,but don’t.

      Thanks for that.

    2. david foster Says:

      Thank you, Renminbi.

      This book has haunted me for quite a while.

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Very thoughtful. I have been distressed by the changes in my children’s education over the past 30 years. I have a son who will be 45 next month and a daughter who will be 20 in May. When he was a college freshman, he was excited to take an elective on the Athenian democracy. My youngest daughter took a course on American history that used a “whiteness studies” book as a textbook. I wonder if Athenian democracy is still an elective ?

      I think the worst has occurred in education. My first wife taught second grade in 1962 to 1965 when our first son was born. She loved it. The only really hard time she had was the day John Kennedy was shot. She had to explain to small children what happened. We were divorced 30 years ago but have stayed good friends. About 15 years ago. she was laid off from her job as a bank VP in a merger. She has a lifetime credential so she took a job as a long term temp teacher when Pete Wilson was trying to reduce class size in one of the interminable California school reforms. She taught third grade and was appalled at the changes in the teachers. They were unenthusiastic and would discuss the kids in the teachers’ room, often making fun of them. One day, she complimented a second grade teacher on what a good job she had done with reading. The woman burst into tears. No one had ever complimented her.

      The principal tried to get her to sign a contract but she got another bank job and left after about six months. She used to see him in the neighborhood market afterward and he would always come over to talk. He told her she was his best teacher ! Personally, I think good teachers should make more money and administrators should be cut in half but it won’t happen as long as the union is in charge. When Schwartzenegger tried to get an initiative passed to require five years instead of two for tenure of elementary teachers, the union mortgaged their headquarters building in Sacramento and spent $50 million to defeat it. All four of his reform initiatives failed and he gave up. Now, he just mugs for TV.

      The conversion of women medical students in UK (I was the one who posted that) is only part of the problem. Muslim women doctors and nurses will not expose their arms to scrub in surgery. The nosocomial infection rate in Britain is out of control.

      Now we have riots at UC, Irvine by the Muslim students. The head of middle eastern studies is a clown. He is also a fanatic even though he is not Muslim. It’s interesting how he spells his name, LeVine. Does that tell you anything? His web site has been toned down a bit. It no longer has a long love note to heavy metal music or his rock band.

      This is where our kids go to learn something of the middle east. My middle daughter is studying Arabic and her teacher is named Jihad. That’s his first name. She is a library science grad student at UCLA and wants to work on Arabic manuscripts in Spain when she finishes. She fluent in a number of languages and not bad in Arabic. I just hope she doesn’t come home in a hijab some day. I think her husband will prevent that. Her older sister, who is an FBI recruiter, keeps trying to talk her into the FBI. It would probably be a bit more stable than the Arabic manuscript business.

    4. sol vason Says:

      hope and change

      When your parents have beaten back 3 of the 4 horseman and they have the 4th one on the run — all that is left is Hope and Change.

      Perhaps those young Muslims will bring back the 4 horsemen. From your description of how Muslim women scrub for surgery it seems they will.

      Hope and change.

      Happy VI Day.

    5. onparkstreet Says:

      You read the most interesting fiction, David Foster.

      - Madhu

    6. Tatyana Says:

      David, I just added the book to my library order.
      Thank you so much for the review.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      Great post, thanks.

      The West cannot be defeated but it can give up.

    8. tehag Says:

      The best kind of review, one that discusses the events of the novel and why they are important; thanks.

      I’ll put the book on my reading list, and I may have to give Koestler another try. My familiarity with him stems from his works that were popular in the late 1960s, execrable tomes on psi powers and Jews. After reading them, I felt taken for fool.

      tehag

    9. david foster Says:

      Tehag…yeah, much of Koestler’s late-60s work was, shall we say charitably, not up to his earlier quality.

      His essays on the temptations toward totalitarian, closed-minded thinking are indespensable…see, for example, this excerpt: Koestler on closed systems.

    10. renminbi Says:

      There are thousands of highly competent bloggers disintermediating an incompetent professional intelligentsia. Without this the global warming scsm and many other atrocities would have succeeded. This just from people doing hard out of love for a task well done. Thank you and continue.

    11. renminbi Says:

      scam

    12. veryretired Says:

      I come here as part of my daily routine because posts at this high level are common, although this one is indeed extraordinary.

      My initial reaction has two parts. One is to the political/spiritual question, and the other to the educational dilemna, as mentioned by MK above.

      The relentless attacks on the nature of, and moral basis for, the foundations of western culture is a dangerous form of termite infestation which burrowa in and destroys from within.

      I recall the intellectual climate in the 60′s and 70′s, which sometimes seemed to be moving implacably toward our marxist adversaries, but, in fact, was the dying spasm of a cancerous, fatally afflicted entity in its death throes.

      Much the same sense of unreality hangs over the islamification of Europe, and the shameful cowardice and/or self-hatred of the elites who seem intent on accomodating this hostile ideology in every possible manner.

      In another context, I speculated that the seemingly bizarre alliance between the collectivist forces in the west and the islamic fascists was actually a mutually cynical attempt on both sides to use the others for their own purposes, while each group believed the other was expendable when the primary goal was achieved.

      And what is the primary goal? One that has not changed in several centuries—the destruction of the western cultural development of recognition for individual rights, and the concommitant proposition that political legitimacy was derived from the consent of the governed.

      Even now, after witnessing the collapse of several major empires in the face of this doctrine, and the hysterical, murderous responses of the collectivists during the 20th century, as they devised one form of totalitarianism after another in an attempt to defeat liberal, democratic society, we still do not clearly recognize how revolutionary such ideas are, nor do we understand the ferocity of the hatred that those threatened by the concepts of individual freedom and liberty hold for any and all who espouse such concepts, and are determined to live by them.

      The islamists are convinced that they can easily turn upon and defeat the secular statists who now ally with them when their common foe has been overthrown, and the statists clearly believe that they will be able to outsmart the foolish, religious fundamentalists, and control them in any future social construct.

      The dirty little secret, which both of these ideological allies are trying desperately to keep hidden, is that they are totally dependent on the forbearence of their mutual enemy—western, liberal, democratic, technological, scientific, capitalist, global society—for everything they have, and everything they do.

      It is not contamination by our alleged evil they truly fear, but any resolve on our part to simply deny them the very elements of our society that they claim to despise, but, in fact, could not survuve without. The products, the medical developments, the communications, the agricultural and inductrial techniques, and the information technology that now tie the various nations and cultures of the world together are beyond the capability of either the collectivist or islamist cultures.

      All they can do, at best, is copy whatever they can buy or steal. As with the imploded soviets, or partially discarded maoists in Asia, the social structure of the totalitarians is a house of cards resting on a foundation of sand. It stands only because we don’t simply blow it over.

      The continuous drumbeat of self-hatred being promulgated in our schools, disguised as education by people disguised as educators, is a part, a significant part, of the smokescreen blown up to obscure the very real advancement of the human race which has occurred since, and because of, the development of the principles of the empirical, rational, individualistic, liberal social organizations that have truly revolutionized human life on earth.

      By filling the minds of youth with the refuse of gramscian ideology, the termites hope to hollow out the living tree of western society, and cause its destruction.

      Preventing such a catastrophe is the worthy goal of any sane individual who realizes that the only result of the fall of western liberal democratic society will inevitably be a nightmare of slavery and destruction on a scale not seen since the dark ages.

      Light the lamp of the mind. It is the only true defense against the darkness.

    13. sol vason Says:

      I drove through France in 1964. In every small town there was a war memorial with a long list of names of people who died in World War I. Next to this memorial there was a second memorial which contained a long list of names of people who died in World War 2.

      I drove through at least fifty towns and saw these memorials in the centre of every small town. I saw Verdun where a million died and Liverdun where another million died. I think the French in the 1960s had lost their appetite for another war on French soil.

      It is always best to fight wars in the other guy’s country. I am not surprised that the Frenchmen in Koestler’s book had no enthusiasm for another war on French soil.

      NATO strategy in 1960 was to fall back to the Rhine and fight the Russians there using conventional forces. DeGaule’s solution was to develop the force de frappe – nuclear weapons aimed at the invaders to be used anywhere except on French soil.

    14. Javaid Akhtar Says:

      I’m not sure why the West is’nt taking the Islamic threat more seriously..

      maybe it has something to do with the fact that muliples of more people die of diabetes in Montana than have
      than have westerners died through Extremists from Islam…globally.

      Politics of the Amygdala as opposed to the Frontal Cortex.

    15. david foster Says:

      Javaid…your comparison is an example of the misuse of statistical reasoning, along the lines of the professor referenced in this post.

    16. david foster Says:

      Sol…I observed the same thing while driving around in France. The psychological scars of WWI in Europe were very, very deep.

      I’ve read that at St-Cyr (the French military academy) there was a wall listing the names of graduates killed in various wars. For the class of 1914, however, there were no names: the listing merely said “The Class of 1914.”

      In the book, Koestler does provide at least two Frenchmen who are entirely willing to fight: Hydie’s would-be lovers DeLattre and Commanche. He also argues (via Commanche) that in France the thinking men and the fighting men are often the same people, whereas in the Anglo-Saxon countries they tend to be separate groups.

    17. Javaid Akhtar Says:

      I think after 9 years of fighting Islamic extremism …we have a surfeit of trends to base many assumptions.

      A static calculation was’nt made after 911 , unlike the Auto example in the article…so it has no bearing on reality.

      Would you argue otherwise?

    18. david foster Says:

      Javier…if a society fails to aggressively defend itself, perhaps because it has decided that a threat is too minor to worry about, it invites attack.

      In Arizona, a Muslim man was recently arrested for allegedly killing his daughter by deliberately running over her with a Jeep Cherokee. Why: Because she was becoming “too Westernized.” The man’s attorney said that his client should not face the death penalty because there should be “no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim for racial, political, religious or cultural beliefs.”

      And the prosecutor’s office has now stated that they will not seek the death penalty in this case!

      Whatever your opinion on the death penalty, I hope you will agree that an individual should not receive special exemption because of his religion, or because his interpretation of that religion allows murder to be committed in certain circumstances.

      Maybe the prosecutor has some legitimate reason for his decision, but I can’t imagine what it might be. Indeed, this decision seems to send yet another signal of the kind of civilizational weakness that invites more attacks.

    19. david foster Says:

      I meant to include this link about the Arizona story.

    20. Javaid Akhtar Says:

      i’m not sure how the progress of a single crimminal case in Arizona is a validation of your fears yet the statistics I used ..a misuse.

      I’ll let you dwell on that one.

    21. david foster Says:

      There are hundreds of examples that could be cited of Western retreat and intimidation in the face of extremist Muslims and their allies. For example:

      http://www.neptunuslex.com/2010/02/16/thought-police/#comments

      By the way, here is a picture of the murdered girl mentioned in my earlier link.

    22. Javaid Akhtar Says:

      A picture of a dead person is’nt usually the best way to have an informed opinion about anything.
      I do believe it helps suicide bombers to watch DVDs of dead Muslims before they carry out attacks…..shall we say that they are better informed for it?

      You are determined to believe in the weakness of the West and in that , you also share another commonality with Islamists.

      My theory is that there is a sneaaking wish for and admiration of the order/disicpline/self sacrafice that these people make for a cause ( no matter how mis-guided the end)….by Western right wingers and conservatives ( who love organisation , loyalty , duty , order ).They see these qualities in the terrorist and panic when they see liberals and muslims everywhere , living amongst them , agents of weakness or of unwanted change.This causes fear…which Rightwingers are suseptible to all the time regardless of the real conditions.

      The ArchBishop I think said as much when he said that he admired the faith of the Taliban.Its almost a yearning for security …that can only come from Order…a New Order.

      Therefore it really is the politics of fear that drives this…
      100′s of examples list of anything can be plucked out from anywhere when you consider the number of people in the ‘West’ and Muslim areas .That does’nt explain anything.