Young on academic apologists for Islamist groups

Dude has their number down cold..

does Nasrallah believe? The answer would seem to be obvious. Rarely
does the Sayyed utter a phrase that analysts will not quote with a
rider firmly informing us that he says what he means and means what he
says. One can certainly find quite numerous exceptions to that rule,
particularly when Nasrallah pronounces on the slippery substance of
Lebanese domestic politics. But when it comes to Israel, where the
lines are far clearer, Nasrallah actually does mean what he says, and
has been saying it with considerable consistency for quite a long time.

For example, in an interview
with the newspaper Al-Wahda al-Islamiyya in February 1989, when
Nasrallah was still only a Hizbullah field commander, he remarked: "The
future is one of war [against Israel], not settlement; the line that
[Yasser] Arafat is pursuing will only lead him to a closed door, and
the day will come when warfare and the elimination of Israel will be
the only options." (For a rundown of Nasrallah's statements translated
into English, read the indispensible "Voice of Hezbollah: The
Statements of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah", edited by Nicholas Noe.)

is the topic important? Because over the years academics, analysts,
journalists, and others, particularly the Westerners among them, who
write about militant Islamist groups, have tended to project their own
liberal attitudes and desires onto such groups, misinterpreting their
intentions and largely ignoring what these groups say about themselves.
Inasmuch as most such observers cannot really fathom the totalitarian
strain in the aims and language of armed Islamists, totalitarian in the
sense of pursuing a total idea, total in its purity, they cannot accept
that the total idea can also be apocalyptic. Where Nasrallah and the
leaders of Hamas will repeat that Israel's elimination is a
quasi-religious duty, the sympathetic Westernized observer, for whom
the concept of elimination is intolerable, will think much more
benignly in terms of well-intentioned "bargaining." Hamas and Hizbullah
are pragmatic, they will argue, so that their statements and deeds are
only leverage to achieve specific political ends that, once attained,
will allow a return to harmonious equilibrium.

argument, so tirelessly made, is tiresomely irrelevant. No one has
seriously suggested that Hizbullah or Hamas are not pragmatic. But one
can be pragmatic in the means and not in the ends. If anything,
pragmatism is obligatory in the pursuit of an absolute idea. And what
characterizes those pursuing the absolute idea? In his essay "Terror
and Liberalism", Paul Berman provides a partial answer, writing how
French author Albert Camus noticed that out of the French Revolution
and the 19th century had grown a modern impulse to rebel. That impulse,
Berman wrote, "mutated into a cult of death. And the ideal was always
the same. It was not skepticism and doubt. It was the ideal of
submission … it was the ideal of the one, instead of the many. The
ideal of something godlike. The total state, the total doctrine, the
total movement." 

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0 comment on Young on academic apologists for Islamist groups

  1. Howie
    April 6, 2008 at 6:10 am

    I have talked about this before…but I guess I will bring it up from time to time forever…

    The far Left has long stood up for Hizbullah because they have some things in common that they tend to hate…However…these far Leftists…if that thought a bit, IF they thought a bit…would realize these groups support really NONE of the Lefts ideals or platform. A few examples:

    Womens’ rights?
    Death Penality?
    Freedom of Speech?
    Freedom of Press?
    Freedom of Expression?
    Egalitarian Society?
    Separation of Church and State!!!!

    Geez Louise!!!

    These are not dumb people but I guess they swim a whole lot in that famous Egyptian River…

    Hizboallah types stay up at night worrying about global warming and the rain forest?

    Can somebody help me understand this a little better?


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