22 January 2008

Blair and bin Laden: comrades in extremism?

Having recently posted on the mad antics of George W. Bush in the Middle East, I feel I must add a comment on the recent musings of former British prime minister Tony Blair. Despite Blair being famously known as Bush's poodle, I always believed he was an intellectual cut above his master. Now, judging by a recent speech he gave in Toronto, I'm having my doubts.

Incredibly, Blair claimed in his presentation that Muslims have no legitimate grievance against the West. Muslim rage against us is, according to Tony, due to their internal contradictions, nothing to do with anything we have done. He then went on to justify making war against the Islamists.

Nothing to do with what the West has done? Nothing to do with Britain and the United States destroying the first Islamic democracy in the Middle East in Iran in the 1950s? Nothing to do with destroying the latest Islamic democracy in the Middle East in Palestine? Nothing to do with wrecking their democracies on the one hand while on the other hand supporting dictators like the Sauds who oppress them? Nothing to do with imposing Israel on them and then standing idly by while the Palestinians are ethnically cleansed and robbed of their land? Nothing to do with reducing Iraq to a bloody chaos that is costing tens of thousands of Muslim lives, creating millions of refugees and breaking and scattering the heritage of the world's oldest civilization?

I could go on at length, but it's hardly necessary. Anyone even superficially aware of the long and sordid history of Islam and the West knows the Muslims have legitimate and profound grievances. Did Blair assume his audience of 2,000 Canadians was composed of unlettered rustics? Apparently. He showed the same contempt for them he shows for history.

While pondering the extreme nature of his views, another gentleman of similarly extreme views popped into my mind. Somewhere in the wilds of Pakistan, Osama bin Laden is insisting all the troubles of Islam are due to the West, and therefore Islam is justified in using violence against the West to defend its values. And in the wilds of Toronto, Tony Blair insists none of the problems of Islam are due to the West, so we are justified in using violence against Islam to defend our values. Two extreme views. One the mirror image of the other. Both immersed in self-righteousness.

The fact that Blair is the now a "peace" envoy to the Middle East makes one despair. Is this yet another act of arrogance by the West?

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