Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Word, word, and word

From Laban Tall

There's no doubt that our European partners (and a few Brits) did some bad things in the Crusades. From the sack of Jerusalem in 1099 (including the killing of the Jewish population, who sheltered in the synagogue only to be burned alive) to the attack on Byzantium, it could be said in President Clinton's words that "mistakes were made".

But there are one or two outstanding issues the other way. The Med was once a Christian lake. Turkey, Egypt and the whole of North Africa were Christian but were overrun militarily by Islam. These peoples weren't converted as were the Saxons and Danes. It was 'convert or die' for most (though not all) of them. Where now are the Galatian Christians to whom St Paul wrote ? Where are today's African saints ? Anatolia is full of ruined churches. Saint Sophia in Constantinople is now a mosque in Istanbul. And of course the site of Solomon's Temple is now the Dome of the Rock.
"[Abu Ghraib] is deeply shameful and indicts us all in the West". Think about that. Does Saddam's regime, the latest horror decapitation video, or Osama Bin Laden indict all Muslims ? I thought stereotyping was one of the most feral creatures in the anti-racist bestiary.

But when 'Westerners' (a code name for white people - you could hardly call us Christians any more) do bad things - we are all indicted. One or several Muslims do bad things - they are not typical. Indictment is for 'us' and not for 'them'.
Having studied at a English university for three years, I can vouch from personal experience for the accuracy of Laban's assessment of how deeply the "Self-Hating White Liberal" worldview is part of educated English culture, from ignorant patronizing* to what can only be described as a desire to absolve the sins of one's ancestors (while of course ignoring the sins of others' ancestors) through civilizational suicide.

However, I must correct Laban on one small point. The Hagia Sophia is no longer a mosque but is now a museum that acknowledges its Christian heritage as well as that of Islam.

*UPDATE: I have removed the anecdote, "In a discussion on diet and exercise, a girl once congratulated me on the enlightened spiritual and medical wisdom of my people; the girl was very, very hot so I let it slide," because I have been reminded that the girl in question was not English nor even British. However, she was indeed very, very hot.