Paris is burning . . . but who is doing it? The West sadly lives in a world where sales and marketing and advertisement create reality, and substance isn’t even considered anymore. When last Paris was hit, it was confined to a magazine’s headquarters that had printed frankly rude things about another people’s religion. France’s reaction, on the whole, was a Photo Op. The magazine printed millions of memorial copies of the next issue and made money off the tragedy.
As Paris is now reeling from coordinated attacks, Facebook is providing people with an app so they can overlay the French flag on their face. We hear nice slogans from the news like “act of war by ISIS” and so forth. I will not dignify this brand of brigands by claiming they are even capable of war or that they are capable of attacking a nation. It is and has been the West’s failure to contextualize such extremists that has allowed such “terrorist” attacks to continue and even gain greater coordination. Knowledge of history is abysmally bad today, and instead of being able to contextualize events, society simply kneejerks to an emotional factoid.
We must stop looking at our sales and marketing of groups and start looking at the actual acts of those perpetrating them. For 15 years the West has been declaring these villains “Islamic terrorists.” Islam is not involved. Muslims are tumbling out of Bagdad and Cairo like oranges out of a crate trying to get away from ISIS, just as everybody went berserk in Khartoum to get away from the advance of the Al Mahdi.
ISIS does not represent Islam anymore than the cult of Kali represented Hindu religion. The Thuggee, the twisted worshippers of Kali, ravaged and terrorized India. They were a band of assassins. They may have killed 1,000,000 people over a 100 year period in obedience to their cult of Kali, the goddess of death, which far outnumbers what Al-Qaeda and ISIS have done. But the British stiff upper lip and the Indian stoicism weathered it and triumphed eventually.
Our approach can be no different than the British approach to the cult of Kali. They were dealt with as murders and criminal insurgents, not as religious fighters. Their acts were not acts of war just as a murderer has not committed an act of revolution.
We don’t need to change our lives. We need to take precautions. We don’t need to make our cities armed camps. We need to start recognizing how ISIS works and educate the people on how to identify anything truly suspicious. Then we need a quick response team. We need Smiley’s People, perhaps Bond; but above all we need the style we once had, the style and fortitude that won us the Cold War. We don’t need paranoia. We don’t need marketing and slogans.
We live again in History. Future generations will contrive plots (and rightfully so!) over our heroic battles today. It is time for America to lose its provincial attitude, and Europe its complacent attitude. We must accept we are not dealing with many different and varied cultures. We are dealing with the 21st century equivalent of Thuggees. Just because they rant anti-American slogans doesn’t mean a vain show of patriotism is an appropriate response. We deal with people who want to kill. They may try and ennoble it by masquerading under the pretense of holy war or religion, but they are really just an underground cult that festers in freight elevators and slings together bombs in pressure cookers so they can blow the arms and legs off innocent people.
These so-called terrorists should not be regarded as anything more than Mad Dog Earl with his tommy gun. The police were enough to hunt down prohibition era villains. People were well enough informed from wanted posters. The CIA, FBI, and combined military intelligence trumped the Soviets over a 50 year cold war. I grew up in the Cold War. The Soviets were a hell of a bigger threat than the Thuggee! But we handled it with style. We chose our battles, sometimes not so wisely, but we endured.
We need to reeducate all elements– police, people and intelligence communities– but most of all we need to reclassify what we deal with. These cult followers of murder and mayhem can be put in their place when we get surgical. When we realize we do not oppose nations or master plotters, but small distorted thugs conspiring in dark corners and eerie groves. Look to small things, and we will find and eradicate the cult.