No such bill of grievances
Hitchens notes a difference between Mumtaz Qadri, and Paul Foot and Nelson Mandela.
A decision to resort to violence was not something to be undertaken without great care—and stated in terms that were addressed to reasonable people. From his prison cell, Nelson Mandela had joined the great tradition of the French philosophes, of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, of Marx and Engels in 1848, and of Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1930s—of men and women who felt the historic obligation to make a stand and to define it.
In other words, to give reasons.
Now look at the grinning face of Mumtaz Qadri, the man who last week destroyed a great human being. He did not explain. He boasted. As “a slave of the Prophet,” he had the natural right to murder Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, not even for committing “blasphemy” but for criticizing a law that forbade it for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. And this sweeping new extension of the divine right to murder not only was not condemned by the country’s spiritual authorities; it was largely approved by them. No argument, no arraignment, no appeal—permission to kill anybody can merely be assumed by anybody, provided only that they mouth the correct incantations.
The incantations create the permission – it’s the ultimate speech act.
This is only one of the many things that go to make up the hideousness of Islamic jihadism, but I believe that it has received insufficient attention. Amid all our loose talk about Muslim “grievances,” have we even noticed that no such bill of grievances has ever been published, let alone argued and defended?
Well I’ve been paying attention to this. I paid attention to it in the aftermath of the London bombings, when there was indeed a good deal of vacant talk of “grievances.” I pointed out that a grievance is only as good as it is. Qadri had a “grievance,” and it was an absolutely shitty grievance. It was beneath contempt. He was aggrieved that Taseer would offer compassion to Aasia Bibi, and that he would urge reform of the blasphemy law. He was aggrieved that Taseer was less eager than he was to persecute or kill people for the crime of not being Muslim. His grievance was not legitimate.