Monday, 27 May 2013

Terrorists

If you read nothing else about reactions to the Woolwich murder of a soldier by two British thugs, read this piece by Glenn Greenwald. For me, he nails the essential hypocrisy of blasting the shit of out of Muslim countries and slaughtering a lot of innocent civilians (having filled out all the correct forms, of course) and then being surprised to find that fanatics want to kill British soldiers. It would be surprising if they didn't.

You don't put out a fire with gasoline, and the way to defeat Islamic radicalism is to strengthen the Western, liberal values we supposedly hold dear. Censorship, state spying, repressing laws, and a general feel that we are in a permanent state of national emergency - not unlike some Middle Eastern states - will not do the job. They've failed in Russia, for instance. But, more importantly, repressive, un-democratic measures are wrong in principle.

If Islamist ideology is an infection, the way to fight it is to strengthen the immune system of our culture. That immune system is freedom of thought, freedom of expression, open debate, and above all a refusal to play the game of religious fanaticism, whatever brand of religion is concerned. The vote for marriage equality early last week was one example of a modest measure that boosts the defences of a free, secular society founded on human rights, moving us a small step further away from a state founded on 'God's law' or similar nonsense.

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