Protests in Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa over the Charlie Hebro cartoon continue to rage. As I watched footage of these protests in Pakistan and Africa I had to wonder; how do we reach these people? And are they even "reachable." They are so far behind the West in social development, so crippled by their fanatic attachment to unreconstructed Islam, so convinced that Sharia law is better for the world than the rule of civil laws the West evolved. How do we, CAN we, deal with, or even co-exist with, such a force?
This is not an Islamaphobic taunt. It's an honest question that honest people need to begin grappling with. If Islamic fundamentalism restricted itself to Muslim majority countries, the West could easily adopt policies of benign neglect. Just let them be what they want to be, no matter what they do to each other within the confines of their own lands.
But that's not a luxury they are allowing the West. First we have the immigrants, who have fled their Islamic governed lands because of the backwardness and repression that goes with any fundamentalist-run society. But, once in the West, they can't seem to shake the very ideology and belief structures that caused them to flee in the first place. Instead they long for the devil the knew over the new society they fled to. And, when they don't get it, they start acting out in violent and provocative ways, condemning their adopted Western home and demanding it become more like their old home...dysfunctions and all.
Then there are the jihadists in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, etc etc... who are determined to attack any non-Muslim nation that so much as suggests that the Islamic ways are anything but the only way. And so we get Paris, Madrid, 9/11, and so on and on and on.
The continuing protests over the Charlie affaire, and their ferocity even after the show of support for Charlie by 3 million marchers, is a sobering and, frankly, quite terrifying clue. We can't. We can't convince them. We can't change them. We can't control their movements around the globe. We can't even control all their movements and actions within Western countries themselves.
And so here we find ourselves, with a modern-day rebellion that looks much like the old anarchist movements of the early 20th Century, only bigger, worldwide and far more deadly.
I don't have the answers, if that's what you were hoping for. Frankly, I don't think there is an answer, at least not an answer that a modern and enlightened civilization would continence.
So we will see more airliners blown out of the skies, we will see more attacks like Paris. We will kill them and they will kill us. Developed nations will suffer more. We will send drones to kill a few primitive jihadies hunkered down in mud huts in some remote mountain regions of Pakistan or Yemen, and it won't matter. The mud huts are cheap, the AK47s litter the landscape so there's more when needed. Explosives are dirt cheap too. And manpower... well, Allah keeps the blood and bones factory (Muslim women in service to men) cranking at full tilt 24/7.
On the other hand, the West is in for it. Because everything we do is expensive, and complicated, and computerized, and electrified. We need to fly, for business, for travel, for family. The airlines need us to fly, for money, for competitive advantage. Trains, subways, electrical distribution grids, the Internet itself... all more precious and all harder to replace than mud huts or fanatical serfs in sandals.
It's the challenge that will consume the rest of most of our lives. Decades of it lay ahead. How will be adapt? How will we respond? Will it make any difference? Or is this the messy and deadly world we're stuck with now?