Monday, January 10, 2011

"These People Must Be Crazy"

This link is about the recent tragedy in Pakistan, where a decent man, who wanted to pardon a Christian who'd been (wrongly) accused of blasphemy, was killed - and the man who did it was greeted on his release with flowers and praise.

Here's an alternative explanation to the story. These people are crazy. They live in a world that most Europeans left behind when Hieronymus Bosch hung up his paintbrushes -- a world that most contemporary American leave behind somewhere around first grade. I remember well the panic we all felt that year trying to escape some particularly unpopular girl's "cooties." After another year, however, the terror subsided. We began to lead rational lives. Not so in the great Islamic Republic. The phobias, irrational fears, superstitions, and delusions that most cultures would ascribe to madness are part of daily life. The place is a lunatic asylum. Thank god they live on the other side of the world. But of course, as 9/11 showed, that's not really true anymore. And they do have a nuclear weapon, too -- think of that.
We are not to blame for Pakistan. As Iraqis have gone on killing each other for the last five years, it was always possible to say that we set the ball rolling by invading in the first place. But Pakistan is sui generis. These people are not rejecting colonialism, they are rejecting civilization. Sunnis kill Shi'ia, Shi'ia kill Sunnis, and Sunnis and Shi'ia combine to kill Suffi. Then they all get together and murder Christians or someone who can speak English or whoever else happens to be at hand. Me and my cousin against the world.
I think we should finish whatever the hell it is we are doing in Afghanistan but then get the hell out. Forget about this "nation-building." These people are incapable of holding a wedding or a funeral without somebody blowing himself up and taking half the crowd with him. Maybe in some other century we can sit down and talk about a peaceful future. For now, I say let them broil in their own inferno.
I hate to just give up on the prospect of civilizing people, but it may be time to, lest they take them down with us.

Share

No comments: