Just recently three op ed pieces, the first of which surprisingly was by Marine Le Pen, whose party, the National Front, is not known for its enlightened views, on anything, let alone speaking up and speaking truth, all three pieces are telling us to “say it like it is,” with the idea that if we don’t, if we don’t call things by their real names we’ll get in trouble, “ajouter au malheur du monde.” (Although there will be those who say that when you do call things by their real names, you always get in trouble.)
Albert Camus seems to have said, or at least to have believed that «Mal nommer les choses, c’est ajouter au malheur du monde.»
OK, Marine Le Pen, you’re the only one of the three who cites Camus’ words, what do they mean, “mal nommer les choses?” From what you write it would seem that the leaders of France, and of the Western World are misnaming their enemy and not as in the present instance, calling the radical Islamic menace that is clearly out there the Radical Islamic State, Sunni Fundamentalists, Al Qaeda, Saudi Wahhabists or other similar designations, but are pretending that the killers are only “serial killers,” individuals who have stepped out of line, gone astray, placed themselves outside the bounds of Islam, of any organized religion. That they are ordinary criminels and should be treated as such. Islam is not on trial. Any more than Christianity by the unlawful acts of their out of work young men.
This is one of those discussion topics that is always coming back, “plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose,” and why is that? Well in this case perhaps because calling things by their real names is at the very heart of man’s journey out of Africa and into the 21st. century. And that journey and now struggle continues. We still hardly know much more about them, than the names we call them, all those things that we live with and talk about every day. The correct naming of even those things still closest to us is still going on.
Throughout these thousands of years there have been those, probably the majority of peoples, who have used names to hide the truth rather than to reveal it. Not on purpose. They didn’t and still don’t know any better. For most of that time, for nearly all those 50,000 years or more, the sun rose and the sun set. Only in the past at the most few thousand years has the earth turned to meet the incoming rays of the sun.
What has changed enormously in modern times is that science has replaced religion and is now giving us the best answers to our questions, such as does the earth turn. “Eppur si muove.”
In brief Science has pushed aside church dogma and in its stead placed the truths of observation and experiment. Science has taught us to tell it how it is, and has, as much as possible, insisted that we call things by their correct names just as soon as these are known.
The resulting material progress we have made during the past few hundred years depends of course, more than on anything else, on truth telling, or better the habit of telling the truth. Spiritual progress in modern times, in any times, has been much less because in things of the spirit, and this includes governing and dealing with the “menace of radical Islam,” the obstacles to progress have their source in our not giving these things their correct names, even as in the present instance we know what they are.
That is, not calling a spade a spade, not calling a terrorist or suicide bomber a member of a radical Islamic sect. The governments of France and the United States are living in a world where to “mal nommer les choses” is to make things worse.
In the present discussion the topic is murderous acts carried out most often by angry young men and preachers on the fringe of the Sunni Arab and Pakistani communities in the Middle East and Europe. To say it as it is is to say that there are a growing number of terrorist acts carried out most often by members of an Islamic community against members of rival Islamic community, and less often against Western organizations, as in the recent terrorist acts against a Parisian satirical journal, Charlie Hebdo, and a kosher market.
Rich Lowry’s piece is from January 14, Marine Le pen’s from January 18, Tom Friedman’s from January 20. The three writers are saying the same thing, the messages could hardly be more alike. And it’s probably a sure thing that the governments of France and the United States, for whatever reason, are not listening. I know that Tom read Rich’s piece. I don’t know about Marine Le Pen, although I’d bet that she read neither the one or the other.
Here’s Rich Lowry: “The Obama administration’s mind-bogglingly determined refusal to say that we are at war with “radical Islam,” together with the left’s evasions about Islamic terrorism, means that there has been a haze of euphemism and cowardice around what should be a galvanizing event in the West’s fight against terror.”
And Marine Le Pen: “Pour Laurent Fabius, le ministre français des Affaires étrangères, pas question de qualifier d’ « islamistes » les terroristes qui, le mercredi 7 janvier 2015, se sont introduits dans les locaux du journal Charlie Hebdo, en plein coeur de Paris. Pour lui, pas question non plus de parler d’ « état islamique » pour qualifier le groupe de radicaux sunnites qui s’est mis en place sur une partie des territoires de l’Irak et de la Syrie. Toute référence au fondamentalisme islamiste doit être proscrite, par peur d’amalgame entre islam et islamisme.”
And finally, Tom Friedman: “When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.”
Now I cite these three people, two journalists and the Head of the National Front political party in France, but I’m sure they’re not alone to be saying this sort of thing. But the question remains unanswered, why do the governments, in this instance of France and the United States, refuse to say that radical Islam, Jihadists, Al Qaeda, ISIS fighters and all such are in fact products of Islam?
Does anyone really doubt that this is so? It does seem to be a coverup. And if the world would make any progress in wiping out what is presently a scourge, a cancer, in the same category as were the twin scourges of ebola and Vladimir Putin just a few months ago, this coverup has to be undone and exposed for what it is.
Let me conclude again with the strong statement of Abdennour Bidar no less true today, probably even more so, than when he made it in October of 2014. Would that the governments of yes France and the United States listen to him, but would they also listen, the governments, such as they are, of Pakistan, Egypt, and any number of other countries with large Sunni Muslim populations of angry young men.
So please no longer pretend to be amazed that monsters and demons such as the so-called Islamic state have presumed to be you, have taken your face! Monsters and demons take on only the faces of those already deformed and distorted. If you want to know how to no longer give birth to such monsters I’ll tell you. It’s easy but hard at the same time. To start you have to completely reform the education you give your children, in each and every one of your schools, in each of your own places of knowledge and power. Your reforms should be directed and instituted in accordance with these universal principles… — freedom of conscience, democracy, tolerance, full civil rights and citizenship for the whole diversity of world views and beliefs, absolute equality of the sexes, meaning women rendered free of male guardianship, free reign of critical thinking and questioning within religions, universities and the media. From this you cannot go back, you cannot do less than this. It’s the only way not to go on giving birth to the monsters of hate that we have seen of late. If you don’t take these steps, and soon, you will be overwhelmed yourselves by the destructive power of your creations, now turned against you.