ISIS is destroying Palmyra. It’s systematically taking the ancient city to pieces, with no regard for history or tradition, and what it’s doing is vile, but yet there’s a line of thinking that seeks to shut down such thinking because after all, what’s an old temple when people are being murdered?
You can kill me with a bullet. You can kill me with an axe. If I’ve created a special place for you in my heart, you can even kill me with a word, but that’s all right. Who’ll be dead except me?
Who’ll be heartbroken?
Who’ll celebrate? Perhaps one or two religious fanatics I’ve argued with, but that will be it. I’ll be gone and in time, my memory will fade. You could even argue, as some do, that there is no such thing as me or you. That when you lie down to sleep you might as well die, since you have no certainty when you wake up that you are the same person.
Whatever. The reality is that we’re all transient, we all spring up, live a little life and die, sometimes horribly, sometimes with regret and sometimes in a glorious high-speed fireball.
But of course, some of us die in the most miserable way possible, by losing our souls to ignorance, and we do it standing up. Some of us are nothing more than the walking dead, animated by hatred and stupidity, controlled by cynics and directed by witch-doctors.
That’s ISIS, an army of zombie apostates, thousands of young men rendered stupid by religious certainty and the goldfish attention span of a Facebook junkie.
Make no mistake. ISIS could only have been possible in the 21st century, for it is only now that we have managed to separate our young people from all sense of tradition, and it is only now that we could have supplied them with the professional military control systems bequeathed to them by Paul Bremer’s insane decision to fire all the Iraqi high command.
The problem is that when apostate zombies like ISIS go on a murderous rampage, they choose to kill everything. They try to eradicate not only the people they hate, but also their memories. They try to kill the very soul of a people, its culture, its heritage and its memory.
It’s not new though. The fine Christian Crusaders ran riot in Constantinople in 1204, destroying its magnificent library, as did the Serbs of Sarajevo eight centuries later when a professor of literature led the burning mob that sought to eradicate the memory of Bosnian Muslims.
Certain ignorant tribesmen destroyed the Hindu Bhamiyyan monuments in Afghanistan, as did the ignorant hicks who rode tanks though the mythological Garden of Eden during the second American invasion of Iraq, the military intrusion that soon gave rise to the ISIS bacillus now spreading across the planet like an antibiotic-resistant hospital infection.
It’s true that we should be horrified by the murder of innocent people, though sadly, it seems we’re not, to judge by the resistance we see in our country when anyone suggests helping the victims of this appalling disease that is ISIS. Ironically, those who argue against compassion share a great deal in common with the warped message of the torturers, masquerading as Islam, and the killers driving the current wave of refugees out of Syria and Iraq. People like our own home-grown Identity Ireland, while probably unaware of it, are just as ignorant and just as uninformed as the ISIS fools and therefore just as intolerant. Luckily, these people are still peripheral in our country but we have no guarantee they will always be so marginal and that’s why we must challenge their stupidity at every opportunity.
Germany has undertaken to accept 800,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq this year alone. Sweden has placed no limit on the numbers it will take in, but meanwhile, Christian Ireland continues to operate the vile Direct Provision system, while mobilising the weak against the weak.
This is a country where billions were somehow found to save the fortunes of bankers and investors. This is a country in which the national debt was doubled in order to accommodate the needs of the wealthy, all paid for by taxpayers. And yet, perplexingly, a narrative was contrived in which one poor person impoverishes another. Somehow, poor refugees coming into our country are the ones depriving our own poor people, instead of the many billionaires we protected at the cost of our children, our futures and our self respect.
How was this achieved? Perhaps it’s not all that different from the ISIS destruction of Palmyra.
Perhaps those who control the way we think have managed to disassociate us from the places and the traditions we inhabit.
It would be nice to think that all we need is a reawakening of our great Irish egalitarian tradition, but unfortunately, we Irish have no glorious history of defending the oppressed.
In the new great migration, for the first time we find ourselves forced to create a new vision of altruism, as the Swedes do and the Germans, but truthfully it’s hard to see us rising above our narrow, self-interested concerns.