Saturday, September 16, 2006
So anyway, Cassandra has snuffed it and her chorus will continue to howl and chatter into the audient void. Now the Pope's starting some shit. Angela Merkel has intervened to suggest that his holiness was only formulating "a decisive and uncompromising renunciation of all forms of violence in the name of religion". There is a curious parcel of similar-minded fuckwits leaping to the Pope's defense with vague formulations which always imply that one has missed "the context". What context? Well, his holiness was merely stipulating that violence is bad. So why did he single out the Prophet Muhammad with this quotation indicating that he was "evil and inhuman"? Oh, well, he was only quoting of course, he would never say that, and he really only meant that violence in religion is bad. Yes... So, what the reactionary old hammer of liberation theologists actually quoted suggested that Islam spread by the sword, and he didn't distance himself from that quotation or qualify it or attenuate it in any fashion. What relevance did he think the Byzantine emperor's 14th Century ruminations had today, bearing in mind that at that time it was Christianity that was busily spreading by the sword? What could he have been implying, do you think? Er... And come to that, doesn't his Popeness go on to say that unlike Christianity, Islam's God is not bound up with categories of "rationality"? Isn't, indeed, the whole discourse about 'reason and faith' and the defense of a "Greek" legacy and "enlightenment" in Christianity? Doesn't he approvingly cite this Byzantine emperor to the effect that as far as Christianity is concerned (unlike Islam), to act without "logos" is "contrary to God's nature"?
To be honest, I'm not sure if Muslims should be protesting or rolling on the floor laughing at this guy talking about 'reason'. He believes a wafer and Ribena transubstantiates in the Eucharist into the body of Christ. The fuck does he know about reason? Yes, Catholicism for Enlightenment! Bring back Giordano Bruno and Francis Bacon, all is forgiven! The rush to leap to the defense of this reactionary obscurantist is odd. I thought Europe's political and intellectual leaders were supposed to be 'enlightened' opponents of religious bigotry: but then, of course, that is exactly what the holiest of holies has told them. They are inheritors of true enlightenment and religious tolerance - unlike those nasty Muslims! Give it a while, and soon you will hear European commentators mouthing obsequies about the Pope's right to say it, free speech, and how Muslims should understand that we Europeans do things differently. And if there are sustained protests, then you will hear of how terribly intolerant Muslims are being.
Hossam el-Hamalawy, a Cairo-based journalist and socialist, writes that this sort of statement from the Pope, aside from being stupid and offensive, confirms radical Islamists in their thesis that there is a clash of civilisations. I don't know if the Pope intended his remarks as a provocation, as the editors of Jyllands-Posten so obviously did with their 'cartoons', but if he didn't then it wouldn't take two minutes to issue a retraction, roughly with the following words: "Dear Everyone, what the fuck do I know about reason and religious tolerance? I'm sitting on a mountain of unholy riches accrued through global conquests, and I'm still raking it in from worshippers all over the world thanks to European colonialism. Last time we had anything serious to do with Islam, we were torturing people in the Iberian peninsula. We failed every moral test from the Nazi holocaust to AIDS, and now we're going to fuck it up again. Seriously, I am a total dickhead and I don't know what got into me. Next time I will keep my big mouth shut. Contritely Yours, the Pope."
That wouldn't be so hard, would it?