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Hvorfor hater de oss? spurte USA etter 911. Avishai Margalit og Ian Buruma forsøker å gi svaret. Sammen har de skrevet boken «Occidentalism». Hatet omfatter også Europa, selv om noe av røttene til hatet mot Vesten oppsto her.

Oksidentalisme er et vanskelig ord. Det er motstykket til Edward Saids Orientalisme. Buruma definerer det slik:

Something else is going on, which my co-author, Avishai Margalit, and I call Occidentalism (the title of our new book): a war against a particular idea of the West, which is neither new nor unique to Islamist extremism. The current jihadis see the West as something less than human, to be destroyed, as though it were a cancer. This idea has historical roots that long precede any form of «U.S. imperialism.» Similar hostility, though not always as lethal, has been directed in the past against Britain and France as much as against America. What, then, is the Occidentalist idea of the West?

De som er kjent med Paul Bermans tankegang om terror-islam vil se klare likheter.

Buruma mener et forskjell fra de andre totalitære ideologiene, kommunisme og nazisme, ser islamismen hele Vesten som råtten:

Berman er moderat, vet å avveie. Han retter også et kritisk blikk mot vestlig atferd. Man må forstå de andre for å kunne møte utfordringen. Det gjelder også selv om følelsen av ydmykhet er innbilt:

Wherever it occurs, Occidentalism is fed by a sense of humiliation, of defeat. Isaiah Berlin once described the German revolt against Napoleon as «the original exemplar of the reaction of many a backward, exploited, or at any rate patronized society, which, resentful of the apparent inferiority of its status, reacted by turning to real or imaginary triumphs and glories in its past, or enviable attributes of its own national or cultural character.»

Russerne har følt seg ydmyket, tyskerne likeså. Mest akutt gjelder det araberne, hvor det har spesielle karakteristiska:

Humiliation can easily turn into a cult of the pure and the authentic. Among the most resented attributes of the hated Occident are its claims to universalism.

Her peker Buruma på en interessant clash: både Vesten og islam gjør krav på universalisme. Det er derfor kanskje ikke tilfeldig at USA og Israel er de mest forhatte i den arabiske verden. I hver sin ende av spektrum representerer de vestlig kultur. Det forferdelige med terror-islam er et renhetsideal som betyr død og ødeleggelse.

It is when purity or authenticity, of faith or race, leads to purges of the supposedly inauthentic, of the allegedly impure, that mass murder begins. The fact that anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and a general hostility to the West often overlap is surely no coincidence.

Hele artikkelen i The Chronicle Review: The Origins of Occidentalism

Det er renselsen gjennom blod som er det nye ved terror-islam, skjønt nye, det er nettopp det Berman sier om nazisme og kommunisme.

What, then, is new about the Islamist holy war against the West? Perhaps it is the totality of its vision. Islamism, as an antidote to Westoxification, is an odd mixture of the universal and the pure: universal because all people can, and in the eyes of the believers should, become orthodox Muslims; pure because those who refuse the call are not simply lost souls but savages who must be removed from this earth.

Vi er avgudsdyrkere og fortjener å ødelegges:

The worship of false gods is the worst religious sin in Islam as well as in ancient Judaism. The West, as conceived by Islamists, worships the false gods of money, sex, and other animal lusts. In this barbarous world the thoughts and laws and desires of Man have replaced the kingdom of God. The word for this state of affairs is jahiliyya, which can mean idolatry, religious ignorance, or barbarism. Applied to the pre-Islamic Arabs, it means ignorance: People worshiped other gods because they did not know better. But the new jahiliyya, in the sense of barbarism, is everywhere, from Las Vegas and Wall Street to the palaces of Riyadh. To an Islamist, anything that is not pure, that does not belong to the kingdom of God, is by definition barbarous and must be destroyed.

Mot slutten kommer Buruma inn på; hvordan forsvarer man seg mot terror-islam og dets syn?

Since the target of the holy warriors is so large, figuring out how to defend it is not easy. But it is not immediately apparent that a war against Iraq was the most effective way to fight the Islamist jihad. Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime was a murderous dictatorship that deserved to come to an end, but it was not in line with the holy revolution. There is no evidence that Saddam wished to destroy the West. Osama bin Laden clearly does, and he is still at large. It may even be that attacking Iraq, however gratifying in many ways, has made the defense against Islamist revolution harder. Moderate Muslims everywhere are cowed into silence by aggressive U.S. actions, for fear of being seen as traitors or, worse, barbarous idolators.

Buruma er mild. Han advarer mot å ofre våre rettigheter på sikkerhetens alter. Generelt kan man være enig, men jeg synes kanskje han kunne vært litt mer brutalt ærlig. Det er visse valg som flertallet gjør og som teknologien tilbyr: digitalisert kontroll. Det vil forandre hele vår måte å leve på.

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