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The Forum > Article Comments > A cultural legacy > Comments

A cultural legacy : Comments

By Roger Smith, published 12/10/2006

Bali four years on - a catalyst for a new counter culture or will conservative cultural ascendancy be prolonged?

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Well put together by a man who was in a position to observe a somehow global reaction to 9/11.

It is crucial to segregate our western way of analysing and reacting to terrorism from the way the muslem world view the same situation.

We morn our dead – they rejoice at the slaughter.

We condemn terrorists – they hail them as heroes.

We help them to get rid of tyranny – they accuse us of invasion.

The language used by our media and politicians is radically different to Islam’s perceived reasons for terror.

We tend to solve problems by debated logical arguments - Muslems follow blindly the teachings of their religion.

Determining and protecting our western values is what is left for the west to defend itself against this aggressive Islamic revival.

There is nothing new about Islamic intentions to invade and defeat the west or at least for now regain lost territories they once assaulted and acquired by force. What has changed is the weakening in the western front and an inability to specify what values unites us.

This is largely a religious war launched by Islam that needs religious weapons to counter-attack it. Christian and Judaic concepts of God, and man are to be in the forefront of all arguments with Islam.

Unfortunately the anti-Christian sentiment among our secularised societies is our demise and major weakness against such a theocratic aggressor.

Know thy enemy – fight with similar weapons – in this case religion.

To talk of democratising Islamic regimes, to dialogue using our innate legal jargon is a waste of time. The political language of Islam is incompatible with logic and reason - but (unfortunately for us) responds well to force and oppression
Posted by coach, Thursday, 12 October 2006 10:23:43 AM
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A though provoking article Roger where you imply the current global polarisation it is not merely a clash of civilisations. “Democracy, secularism, human rights, Christianity, liberalism, free speech, reformism, modernism, the work ethic and women’s rights” certainly show themselves as worthy of preservation and defence.

Undoubtedly it appears, among the populations of the West as of the East, prejudices against the other culture are hardening and increasingly poisoning their relations. It is the clearly recognisable fear of many people in Islamic societies that modernity is an import and at the same time a dictate of the West and leads to the dissolution of traditional culture.

The values, overriding of ethnicity or background, are an openness and tolerance indicative of a modern culture, which has been made the object of hostility by fundamentalist traditionalism. The culture of modernity developed on the soil of Western culture because of a deep-reaching process of transformation: the emergence of capitalism.

We should recognize, modernity has been marked by a secular state that shares its power democratically, that invests civil rights with the force of law, and looks upon traditional culture as an affair not of the state but of society. We have arrived at a position where, the rule of law, the separation of Church and State, representative political organs for the interests of heterogeneous groups and an individualism (which was already present in Christianity) are important parts of our structure. What developed during the waning of the ancient world were only the individual components that were not yet joined together into a social whole.

“… the outcry against modernity is entirely rational as long as it is addressed to its nihilistic tendency, its mechanism of reification, and its inherent bourgeois coldness (Adorno) – but not when it turns against modernity in general” - Marcus Hawel

“Nation building” has proved to be a dead-end when it is preceded by military force. Democracy and human rights cannot be achieved through compulsion. The war against terrorism cuts off one of the Hydra’s head, but in its place immediately grow several new ones.
Posted by relda, Thursday, 12 October 2006 10:27:06 AM
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A few things... Coach... you say that the secular element of our society is what weakens us...

That kind of rhetoric sounds awfully similar to that preached by fundamentalist imams. Western governments are strong because of their separation of church and state. You want a western world united entirely on a religious basis?

Take a look at the oppressive muslim regimes, and tell me again that an entirely religious nation is an attractive prospect.
In fact, point out a religious government that is more effective than the secular western model.

You can argue it is founded on judeo-christian values, but equally compelling arguments can be put forth for its basis in multiculturalism. You can be sure that if our politicians went too far in endorsing a religion, there would be another politician to capitalise on that and blast them. Then again, I suppose the politician speaking out is one of the secular dangers about whom you preach.

You can harp on about how your god is better than theirs, but as the secularists see it, all religions have their sordid periods.

The article is quite a good one, and I found the references to Bali quite interesting.
In one of those exceedingly rare moments I found myself agreeing with an Andrew Bolt piece, when he remarked upon how easily the Australians have been scared away from Bali, and this is exactly what the terrorists want.

If our reaction to terrorism is to be terrified and change the way we live our lives and our fundamental beliefs, then we are already losing that battle.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Thursday, 12 October 2006 10:39:09 AM
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What I find the most disturbing in the arguments put by men and those on the right is that they are so narrow.

What does "the age of terror" mean for example? I am not terrified, no-one I know is terrified in this age of "terror" except by the reduction of rights and liberties that our right wing governments rob us of while the mob cheer.

Every month in Iraq the equivalent of the September 11 deaths are happening, maybe triple that amount but we don't know. Is that not terror that we have imposed on innocent Iraqi people?

What about the Lebanese children who find the pretty "toys" left by Israel and get their hands blown off or are killed?

What about the families asleep in the basement in Qana who were murdered by the Israelis, or those in Baalbek or on the roads out of the south?

It is estimated in the Guardian recently and based on Pape's work that for every person killed in a single bombing incident the west has responded by killing over 100 other people. Maybe 200 or 300 other people.

We have lost the plot when Bush wipes out 800 years of common law habeas corpus while rampaging around the world with a mind numbing killing machine.

Now Howard echoes that lunatic's every word.

That is what terrifies me. And I am sick to death of the "left" being blamed for all of this - it has been right wing government's who dance with the likes of Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Il Jong, and Pervez Musareff. We on the left reject the lot of them but also reject slaughtering their civilians and then claiming we have liberated them.
Posted by Marilyn Shepherd, Thursday, 12 October 2006 1:20:52 PM
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Unfortunately, those on the left, by and large, have lost a lot of their democratic appeal. They either have to lift their profile and sell themselves positively or call the general public a mob of ignoramuses (not astute, politically) and bury their heads. I sympathise with much of what the ‘left’ is on about, but a narrow feminist perspective means it “aint got the balls” to do what it takes and so reveal their true integrity.
Posted by relda, Thursday, 12 October 2006 1:42:06 PM
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Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honor of those who died in the World Trade Centre and the
Pentagon on September 11th two years ago.
I would also like to ask you
To offer up a moment of silence

- Read the rest here:
Posted by Rainier, Thursday, 12 October 2006 2:16:50 PM
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