This note is an attempt to explain why I don’t like the New Yorker article about Tunisia, “Exporting Jihad,” by George Packer (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/28/tunisia-and-the-fall-after-the-arab-spring ) and feel that it very vocally misrepresents the true situation. Because so many people are reluctant to read about Arabia at all the misunderstanding that such a high profile and celebrated piece generates is likely to convince people that they are informed when in reality they have absorbed misinformation. It is hard to diagnose a situation where people willing to read anything at all end up stubbornly convinced of their whereabouts for having done so, despite the vacuity of their sources.
It is to me a trivial truth, that only the mendacity of our violent society manages to shout down that we should be translating the works of Martin Luther King into Arabic and making them available to Tunisia, Libya and Iraq (instead of selling and giving away guns) as representation of what America thinks about after hours, many of us, and at schools, instead of presenting the ridiculous idea in the article in question that Bush and Obama are those who want democracy and promote it in places affected by Arab Spring. They aren’t and they don’t. These men are corporate Gulf Warriors.
It is easy to find hostile articles about ISIS far and wide. Easy to be concerned by them. Senseless not to be. However in looking at a society that allows for thought to bring a death sentence in some cases we become sensitive that our words might hurt innocent people in ways that are not reassuring. In order to protect people we sympathize with we have to be more careful, and this flies in the face of shock jock radio which many of us admire.
The case of Malala Yousafzai is a good example. She wanted to go to school and they shot her for it. This is emotionally charged for American women who say see that shows you what Sharia Law really is. Problem is that there are moderate Muslims. Malala is one of them. She hasn’t renounced Islam. So you aren’t supporting her by hating on Islam. In fact the extreme feminism of New York has worked to push many, many women into the hands of Boko Harem and ISIS. How is that liberating them? Do you think that the New York culture doing it doesn’t know what they are doing? Do you think that American Israelis mean well by Malala?
Maxine Waters is among the African American knuckleheads who sees in the hostility for Islam the contorted face of Hazel Bryan, the white woman captured in a photo forever hating a sad and frightened Black girl named Elizabeth Eckford going to school. The problem with this conceptioning is that Islam can be that way towards women going to school.
In other words, by not grasping the complexities of the situation, and trying to find forums for comity, understanding and moderation, you don’t understand much and you certainly aren’t helping.
I found an article about Treblinka called, “Normalizing the Unthinkable,” published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1984. It is my fear that this concept alone of normalizing the unthinkable has become a workshop community in American High Command, who ask themselves on Sunday dinner parties, “What’s next on the list of unthinkable things we can normalize?”
In an article about Kzetnik, the concentration camp survivor, Susan Brison writes, “When trauma is of human origin and is intentionally inflicted…it not only shatters one’s fundamental assumption about the world and one’s safety in it, but it also severs the sustaining connection between the self and the rest of humanity.” In other words sensitivity and caring for people trashed by extreme situations is first, an act of common decency.
Instead, the author of the article in the New Yorker blames Arab Spring for ISIS, rather than dislocation from trauma. This stance, unbearably New Yorker, is farce made sick jest.