Previous posts in this discussion:
PostDaniel Pipes's "Rise of Western Civilizationalism" (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA, 07/10/18 2:15 pm)
This is a response to Eugenio Battaglia 's post titled "Daniel Pipes's 'Rise of Western Civilizationalism'" (July 6th).
I had long stayed away from WAIS for a variety of reasons. A couple of days ago, the current chaos everywhere prompted me to go the WAIS website in the hopes of finding some WAISdom. In so doing, I came across Eugenio's post, a post that both surprised and shocked me.
I had seen some of Eugenio's posts a while back and found what I read to be valuable and interesting. But what of his latest?
It does not concern me that he praised Daniel Pipes, but it bothers me that someone I thought to be insightful and informed should praise a neoconservative whose sole purpose seems to be to incite hatred towards Muslims.
Eugenio wrote: "Too many Islamists want to impose their rules on the locals, starting from the savage killing of goats, sheep, etc. to recognizing only the Sharia Courts. See the frightening situation in England and other European nations or creating free Islamic states as in the suburbs of the main towns of France, Belgium, etc. Also there are attempts to create such unlawful areas in Italy."
Jewish and Muslim methods of animal slaughter are so similar that that they could be identical. Does Eugenio feel the same about the Jewish ritual slaughter of animals--shechita? If so, why did he point out Muslims only?
Personally, I avoid meat. This is not for health reasons but because it pains me to eat animals. Especially living here in the US one sees pictures of so much animal abuse in industrial-scale beef, pig, and chicken farming that it makes me ashamed to be a human. But my compassion for the animals does not make me lash out at a group of people who have been maligned and attacked so that hatred of these people--the Muslim refugees--can be justified.
Is hatred ever justified? I don't know, but I don't understand how those who have been victims of bigotry and hatred could hate without going into deep psychoanalysis and I am certainly not qualified to do that. But I can remind us of a a not too distant past--an editorial in The New York Times written in the aftermath of lynchings:
"These sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins, who have transported to this country the lawless passions, the cut-throat practices, and the oath-bound societies of their native country, are to us a pest without mitigation. Our own rattlesnakes are as good citizens as they... Lynch law was the only course open to the people of New Orleans to stay the issue of a new license to the Mafia to continue its bloody practices." (New York Times Editorial, March 16, 1891 as cited by PRI : "A brief history of America's hostility to a previous generation of Mediterranean migrants - Italians") https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-11-26/brief-history-america-s-hostility-previous-generation-mediterranean-migrants ).
Are we to lynch the refugees we made as the US did with the Italians?
I highly recommend reading this sordid history of our past. It should at least make Eugenio's Italian blood boil, for at that time "The immigrants were portrayed in parts of the media as ignorant, insular, superstitious, lazy, prone to crime, ignorant of the law, ignorant of democracy and prone to righting wrongs with personal vendettas and acts of violence. Even their food was seen as alien. One popular book published in 1907 stated baldly that "'immigrants from eastern and southern Europe are storming the Nordic ramparts of the United States and mongrelizing the good old American stock.'"
There is one difference between this ugly past and the present state of Europe that was referred to in this post. Americans and Europeans attacked, occupied, plundered the resources and killed the people now in Europe seeking to practice their "barbaric religion."
The flow of refugees can certainly be burdensome on states. At the same time, there is no doubt whatsoever that people do not want to be refugees! So why don't we stop bombing them into fleeing? Is there a single country mentioned by Eugenio that is innocent of creating so much human misery? Surely this anger and frustration should be directed at the governments responsible for creating refugees instead of victimizing the victims of foreign interference.
I am reminded of a meeting I attended at The Milken Institute Southern California in 2006. The speaker, a notorious neocon, Max Boot, had ideas about the "enemy" and how they should be fought. Referring to the 1859 invasion of Sudan by the British, he spoke of the ease with which the crazy "jihadist Mahdi" and his followers were gunned down without any fear of repercussion that the enemy, the terrorist Sudanese who were defending themselves from occupation, would follow the good guys who had gone to Sudan to invade the country, back to England.
We continue to think that we can attack and destroy and maintain our "civilized society" pure.
I do want to end with one last thought: Imagine how other nations felt when they were attacked (not refugees) and the Western culture imposed on them? The Western civilization may think itself "civilized," and perhaps it is, but from whose perspective--that of the West?
JE comments: Veteran WAISers certainly remember Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, who has been on an extended WAIS sabbatical. It's always great to hear from a long-lost colleague!
I will let Eugenio Battaglia respond for himself, but I believe Soraya is misreading the general tendencies of Eugenio's thought. He is anything but an interventionist, "neocon" kind of guy. Rather, he is against the imposition of outside cultures of any sort, whether it be the Islamization of Western Europe or (especially) the nation-building adventurism of the United States.
Moreover, Eugenio loves animals as much as Soraya does. Indeed, caring for God's furry creatures is one thread that unites WAISers of every political stripe. (I will add one caveat: Soraya prefers dogs, while Eugenio and I are cat people--the Italians would call us gattaras/crazy cat ladies.)
My Views on Immigration, Self-Determination
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
07/11/18 8:53 AM)
I an completely dismayed by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's post of July 10th, and I humbly ask her for forgiveness if I have unwittingly offended her.
Our esteemed moderator JE has already clarified my thoughts.
Soraya has probably not read many of my WAIS posts. I have always defended the Palestinians, and have related my wonderful relations with Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, when I lived among them. I am also very sympathetic toward the great Persian culture and an admirer of the efforts of the Iranians in their fight in Syria.
In reality in my original post I also condemned the Jewish practice of killing animals according to their shechita, but my wording may have been unclear and it was edited out.
I am strongly in favor of the independence of all peoples. But at the same time I want to live in my country, according our traditions, without the imposition of foreign customs.
When the first undocumented immigrants arrived to my hometown, everybody tried to help them. A Central African married a cousin of mine. He was a wonderful fellow. When the first Moroccan arrived to our neighborhood selling carpets everybody would offer him a coffee or a drink while sitting in a bar and talking of his country/family.
The problem arose when on top of our huge unemployment, hundreds of thousands of new undocumented immigrants arrived suddenly. It was impossible to integrate them. Moreover, many of them want to impose their customs on the locals and that is unacceptable--just as it was unacceptable for them to accept the imposition of European customs.
About Daniel Pipes, I praised only his understanding of the European situation and absolutely not his position as an imperialist neocon. Frankly it was the first article by him that I read.
A final thought, I also believe that people have the right to fight and defend their country. Therefore I am dismayed to see the many young fellows who say they are escaping from the war. As citizens of a country they have the duty to remain at home and fight. I passed through a war, accepting the fact and doing everything possible even as child for victory, while my friends who were only a few years older, let's say 16 or so, volunteered to fight against the invading enemy even if it was clear that the war was lost.
Again sorry for the misunderstanding.
JE comments: Eugenio Battaglia's worldview has always been consistent, although it is difficult for Americans to grasp and even more so, to "pigeonhole." He and I disagree on many points, but there's one thing I greatly admire: Eugenio's humility and generosity (OK, that's two things).