Where the Black Flags Fly

Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
8/25/2014

Media conveys immediacy, but it doesn’t convey culture. Its famous flattening effect makes shoppers at a Staples in D.C. or a Whole Foods in Berkeley feel like they’re right among the toppled buildings of Aleppo or Gaza, without actually giving them any insight into the motivations of the players.

They’re watching foreign movies in a language that they don’t understand and attributing their own motivations to the main characters. They assume that the differences are incidental, but if the differences really were incidental, America would look a lot more like Iraq.

It’s been a while since Westerners lived in a society in which human life was truly worthless, in which no one trusted anyone else and it was easier to kill than not to kill…

…Theological debates are complicated and impossible to settle, but fly the black flags, seize a village, kill the men and force the women to convert to the true faith of the machine gun and the sword and the debate is over.

ISIS is how Islam has been settling questions of theology since the 7th century. Why stop now just because you can order takeout from your smartphone? Westerners are innately fascinated by new technology. For the Middle East, technology is a tool for settling medieval disputes. Twitter is just a way of showing off your latest crop of severed heads. The pickup truck substitutes for a camel.

Politicians settle political debates with more murders. Elections are complicated. Democracy is messy. It’s easier for a colonel to take everyone out back and shoot them. And then spend the next twenty years building palaces with his people’s wealth. And the people mostly like it that way too.

The question isn’t why should they kill, it’s why should they stop? The peace proposals never get anywhere. If you reward violence with concessions, there’s no reason for it to ever stop.  And if you don’t, what else is there to do?…

…Under crowded conditions, life is cheap but honor is expensive. Fights start over the pettiest things and escalate into relentless violence. You can see it in Yemen or in Ferguson. Everyone is just waiting for an excuse to be angry about something and to take it out on someone else…

…There’s a reason that Islam was born here. There’s a reason that it still thrives here largely in its unaltered form. There is no civilization where the black flags fly.

 

 

The complete article is at Sultan Knish.

 

 

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