Grievance Indeed

This is a highly interesting interview with Christopher Hitchens by Johann Hari. It’s discomforting in some ways – but discomforting things often are interesting, aren’t they. At any rate, Bush or no Bush (and it’s some of the people around Bush he respects, rather than the W-man himself, apparently), Hitchens says some outstanding things, things that need saying. And saying and saying and saying.

The world these fascists want to create is one of constant submission and servility. The individual only has value to them if they enter into a life of constant reaffirmation and prayer. It is pure totalitarianism, and one of the ugliest totalitarianisms we’ve seen. It’s the irrational combined with the idea of a completely closed society…I just reject the whole mentality that says, we need to consider this phenomenon in light of current grievances. It’s an insult to the people who care about the real grievances of the Palestinians and the Chechens and all the others. It’s not just the wrong interpretation of those causes; it’s their negation…Does anybody really think that if every Jew was driven from Palestine, these guys would go back to their caves? Nobody is blowing themselves up for a two-state solution. They openly say, ‘We want a Jew-free Palestine, and a Christian-free Palestine.’ And that would very quickly become, ‘Don’t be a Shia Muslim around here, baby.’

Nor, of course, an atheist – they’re the first to go.

He is appalled that some people on the left are prepared to do almost nothing to defeat Islamofascism. “When I see some people who claim to be on the left abusing that tradition, making excuses for the most reactionary force in the world, I do feel pain that a great tradition is being defamed. So in that sense I still consider myself to be on the left.”

And then this bit, which is just about word for word what I posted in a comment at CT awhile ago, when someone (not a CT-er) immediately after Beslan said that such extreme acts were a sign that the people who perpetrated them had very deep grievances:

Hitchens was on a TV debate with the leader of a small socialist party in the Irish dail. “He said these Islamic fascists are doing this because they have deep-seated grievances. And I said, ‘Ah yes, they have many grievances. They are aggrieved when they see unveiled woman. And they are aggrieved that we tolerate homosexuals and Jews and free speech and the reading of literature.'”

Exactly. Exactly exactly exactly. Of course they have grievances. Al Qaeda has grievances – feminist atheist women running their own lives, for example: that’s an enormous grievance, worth blowing up any number of people. It’s so elementary, isn’t it – a grievance is not necessarily a reasonable grievance, or one that anyone ought to respond to or sympathize with, or a sign that the person who has it is right-on and a brutha. Dang – how hard is that to grasp? Hitler was a mass of grievances, so was Timothy McVeigh (he was really pissed, man), so was the Ku Klux Klan, so were the guys who murdered Emmet Till, and the ones who murdered Medgar Evers. So the hell what. People can feel horribly aggrieved if they are prevented from pushing other people around, if they are unable to extort labour and obeisance from people they consider their inferiors, if someone looks at them without sufficient awe and submissiveness. So what. Grievance shmievance. Hitchens nailed that one.

Update: Normblog has a post on the Hitchens interview. Norm has some pointed things to say on the matter.

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