The Power of Denial
Never again? Again and again!
“The Lenins, the Maos, the Pol Pots . . . are no different than the types collected in Tehran. It is a mistake not to take such people seriously, and not to accept that they believe what they say they believe. The liberal impulse to discount the extremist, to rationalize his views, to refuse to take his threats literally, especially when he is in power, is itself a form of denial.”
It’s the genes, stupid!
The most underestimated emotion in Arab politics is humiliation. The Israeli-Arab conflict, for instance, is not just about borders. Israel’s mere existence is a daily humiliation to Muslims, who can’t understand how, if they have the superior religion, Israel can be so powerful. Al Jazeera’s editor, Ahmed Sheikh, said it best when he recently told the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche: “It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West’s problem is that it does not understand this.”
Smart victims, killing infidels
There is still another reason for the rise of Islamists: They sense a new hesitation in the West. We appear to them paralyzed over oil prices and supplies and fears of terrorism. And so they have also waged a brilliant propaganda war, adopting the role of victims of Western colonialism, imperialism and racism. In turn, much of the world seems to tolerate their ruthlessness in stifling freedom, oppressing women and killing nonbelievers.
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