Thursday, September 3, 2015

BLAMING CASSANDRA


Ayaan Hirsi Ali does not need me to defend her as an intelligent and worthy spokesperson for intellectual liberation and feminism in relation to Islam. But I do bristle when I see her dismissed out of hand by the "it's all good" crowd of  privileged Western academics. Yes, it's all good for them in their ivory towers, as it always has been and as, they assume, it always will be. 

There has been a concerted attempt by wealthy Muslim-American intellectuals, mostly men, to discredit Hirsi Ali through their Ivy League connections on campuses and in media. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that they are also encouraged by their wealthy and overly influential Saudi classmates, since Hirsi Ali has correctly pointed her finger at the devil she amply knows, Saudi Arabia. 

Cassandra foresaw the fall of Troy in Greek mythology, but the Greeks say she was cursed by Apollo in their favor so that none would believe her. Perhaps some day jihadists will say that The West was deafened to the thoughts of Ayaan Hirsi Ali by Allah to insure their victory. Only time will tell. 

I offer this recent article in Foreign Affairs by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It is not casual reading. It is thoughtful writing on a wide view of foreign policy. I think any intelligent reader will come away with an image of its author as an intelligent, educated and mindful human being. She is wisely defusing the contrived Islamophobia bomb from within by talking about real issues which lie deep beneath the slogan wars of junk media. 

I like this passage:

The conventional wisdom today is that the Cold War was won on economics. But this is a misunderstanding of history. In fact, in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, the United States appealed to people living behind the Iron Curtain not only on the basis of Americans’ higher standards of living but also—and perhaps more importantly—on the basis of individual freedom and the rule of law. Soviet dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov, and Vaclav Havel did not condemn the Soviet system because its consumer goods were shoddy and in short supply. They condemned it because it was lawless, lying, and corrupt.
Today, there are many dissidents who challenge Islam with as much courage as the dissidents who spoke out against the Soviet Union. Just as critics of communism during the Cold War came from a variety of backgrounds and disagreed on many issues, so do modern critics of unreformed Islam. Qabbanji, for example, has expressed strong criticism of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, whereas other reformers, such as Ansari, are more pro-American. But such differences are less important than what the reformers have in common. They are all challenging an orthodoxy that contains within it the seeds of an escalating jihad. Yet the West either ignores them or dismisses them as unrepresentative.

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