The rage and frustration I feel as the full dimensions of the Mumbai attacks become clear is dangerous. I was walking through a supermarket parking lot when I saw this bumper sticker.
This was even worse than those imbecilic "coexist" stickers with all of the religious symbols. It took me a while to figure out why. There are so many levels on which this message is ignorant and dangerous that I had to sort them all out. First and most obvious is the fact that it is an obvious slap at “God Bless America”. But, no, that wasn’t the cause for the rage- I’m used to seeing that kind of fuzzy ignorance that passes for political thinking.
I live, after all, in Newton, MA- a very liberal community- so fatuous drivel like this generally just irritates but doesn’t enrage me. So why, suddenly, did I find it difficult to contain my revulsion? The tide of rage I felt was all but overwhelming.
Well, for one thing, I had just read a report on the Rediff India Abroad web site about the particularly cruel and deliberate attention with which the Mumbai terrorists tortured and disfigured the Israeli and Jewish victims of the massacre. An extended quote is instructive:
Doctors…, said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.
"Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor said.
Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatized. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.
Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.
The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.
Now, listen, I am married to an operating room nurse. I am all too familiar with the ability of medical professionals to compartmentalize, neutralize and discuss in a cool and detached way, things that make mere writers like myself flinch and even retch. The very idea that this hardened physician could not bring himself to contemplate what he had seen struck me to my very core. I found myself, temporarily, without a way forward.
Seeing that bumper sticker put me on a knife-edge between despair and rage. I stood there and stared at the car with my heart pounding. I don’t know what I would have done had the owner of the car walked up at that point.
What does that mean? Does it mean they would call down God’s blessing on the stinking swine who apparently did their reconnaissance in the Chabad House by posing as travelers and accepting the food, hospitality and blessings of the Rabbi and his family while they plotted their torture and death?
Does it mean that they can see no moral or spiritual difference between the Rabbi who welcomed and served them with an open heart and the filthy, lying murderers who rewarded his kindness by killing his wife before him and letting him suffer her death, tenderly wrapping her body in his prayer shawl, before murdering him?
Don’t get me wrong; I will admit that I knew, even in my turmoil and anguish at that moment, that the owner of that car would not be in favor of any of those things and would, probably think me very unkind to associate him with them.
I know very well that most of the people who have those bumper stickers have put them there because they were moved only by an urge to get in the face of people with “God Bless America” bumper stickers. I’ll admit, too, that I am very much in the God Bless America camp myself. I believe that America is a blessed country. I count among my friends and family a number of people who gave up everything they had and the lives that they had lived for many decades in order to come here and be free.
There is the lovely seventy-year-old lady and her husband who came here ten years ago from Russia along with their daughter and her husband. They still don’t speak much English but recently she proudly showed me around her neat little apartment and paused for a long moment at the end of the tour with a wistful smile on her face, clasped her hands together, looked at me and said with a gusty sigh, “God Bless America”! Having seen the former Soviet Union in depth and first hand, I know exactly what she means.
The reason we have a political battle about immigration in the first place is that anyone in their right mind would rather be here than in any other country on earth. And what country on earth is more free and open? I don’t understand the people who live here and are so alienated, embarrassed by our power and sulky that they feel they can’t let “God Bless America” stand as a sentiment without making a public display of distancing themselves from it.
Is it just moral blindness, and spiteful disenfranchisement that moves them to miss the important point that America, while not perfect, is by far the finest, most democratic, most humane and least Imperial “greatest power in the world” that has ever existed?
America, after all, has come forward over the last one hundred years and, with the help and support of the rest of the western powers, saved civilization from two militarized totalitarian movements that threatened to immerse the world in their respective fascist nightmares.
Now, even as we engage yet another murderous totalitarian threat with our traditional allies severely compromised by infiltration and the degenerate influence of moral relativism and multiculturalism, here is a person who thinks it more important to express their petty snit with America than to consider the implications of their stance. I have to wonder how can anyone think it possible that the ideal of multiculturalism that is (even if accidentally) conveyed by this bumper sticker is not deeply immoral- and self-destructive to the point of being suicidal?
There have been a number of times when I have not even known how to start thinking and writing about the utter horror of the actual events and conditions of our world. At those times, I will turn to the blogs of those I admire most. Robert Avrech who blogs at Seraphic Secret is one of my great comforts at those times. He has a huge range of moods and subjects but, whether he is writing about horror or Hollywood, Robert brings a wisdom and sensibility that has the power to help restore strength and faith.
So after wandering home from the parking lot I fired up my computer and found Robert quoting that same article that had stopped me in my tracks. Then at the end he added this- quoting from the brilliant Melanie Phillips:
The atrocities demonstrated with crystal clarity what the Islamist war is all about — and the western commentaries didn't understand because it simply refuses to acknowledge, even now, what that war actually is. It does not arise from particular grievances. It is not rooted in "despair" over Palestine. It is not a reaction to the war in Iraq. It is a war waged in the name of Islam against America, Britain, Hindus, Jews and all who refuse to submit to Islamic conquest.
What of the terrorists' treatment of their Jewish targets? Phillips writes:
They went to some lengths in addition to single out a centre for observant Jews. Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered not because of Palestine but simply because they were Jews. That is because hatred of Jews as Jews is fundamental to the Islamists' hatred of the west — and of Israel.
Oh, how exactly!
I would like to presume to add some detail to Phillip’s “things Mumbai makes obvious”:
1. Islamist rage is not our fault. It is endemic to their culture. It has no regard for humanity, sex, age or innocence.
2. If you are not one of them it will seek you out and get you no matter how nice you are to it.
3. Even if you are one of them, once they kill all those who are not, they will find a reason that you are not quite one of them.
4. If you are not the strongest and the quickest and the most ruthless, you are eventually doomed.
The lessons we must learn and make sure we teach to the morally weak like the guy with that bumper sticker are:
1. If you have power over them today, use it now – tomorrow it may be too late.
2. Even if you kill someone who is innocent, as much as that disturbs you, you may take comfort in the certainty that they will die a less painful death than you and your family will if they get their hands on you.
3. The “hostages” of Mumbai had not absorbed the lesson of 9/11. The captives that were taken, tortured disfigured and murdered in Mumbai were no less doomed than the passengers on the airliners on 9/11. They allowed themselves to be taken and abused by captors who did not want anything from them but to use them as instruments of terror. Only the brave passengers of flight 93 understood and acted on this. Let no westerner ever rationalize ignorance of this from this day forward. If the Munich slaughter seemed to you acceptable, if flight 103 did not convince you, if you were able to harden your heart to the fates of Robert Dean Stethem and Leon Klinghoffer, and 9/11 failed to impress you and Madrid and Beslan and all of the theatrical, internet promoted, beheadings could not reach you, surely this atrocity cannot be denied.
4. We have seen in the Western Mass Media’s unwillingness to widely distribute the telling and ghastly details of the torture and murder in Mumbai, their dehumanization of Jews, Israeli, Americans and all other victims of the attack. and their studied avoidance of connecting the violence to Islam or Muslims that the blindness of our friend with the bumper sticker is reinforced by the very cultural institution that should be providing us with warnings and dependable information about the threat.
The Mainstream Media will not inform you, you cannot rely on them for full information; so you need to inform yourself. Do not allow yourself to be soothed and co-opted.
There is but this warning to add:
When (and unless we wake up and do something, it is not a question of “if”) you are attacked, you are going to have to fight as hard as you can, for as long as you can if you want to have any hope of surviving. We have seen what they do to captives so you must never leave yourself at their mercy- they have none. Remember that they are cowards. Suicide, no matter how many innocent people you take with you is a sign of weakness. They are so afraid of the impotence and ineffectuality of their culture and their pathetic individual enslavement to the honor/shame drama of that culture that they are willing to sacrifice themselves (and you!) to avoid the shame. They will murder you gladly rather than admit that they do not have the moral fiber to see how purile and ineffectual their society is. They are willing to accept their own deaths so you must assume they will gladly give you yours. The only defense is in strength and persistence. As Churchill said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never- in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
I propose a different slogan- even if it’s a little too long for a bumper sticker- “God already blessed the whole world- God gave us America- too bad so many of us make exceptions of ourselves.”
I have condensed the message of this post- I might have been more direct just writing this:
The Ultimate Lesson of Mumbai- Save the Last Clip for Yourself and Your Family
The “hostages” of Mumbai had not absorbed the lesson of 9/11. The captives that were taken, tortured disfigured and murdered in Mumbai were no less doomed than the passengers on the airliners on 9/11. They allowed themselves to be taken and abused by captors who did not want anything from them but to use them as instruments of terror. Only the brave passengers of flight 93 understood and acted on this. Let no westerner ever rationalize ignorance of this from this day forward...
....When (unless we wake up and do something, it is not a question of “if”) you are attacked, you are going to have to fight as hard as you can, for as long as you can if you want to have any hope of surviving. We have seen what they do to captives so you must never leave yourself at their mercy- they have none....