Quasi-News and Commentary
A 50-year-old Nigerian newspaper mogul was arraigned in a Lagos courtroom last week. The charges against Mallam Bello Damagun are that he allegedly aided and supported the global terrorist group, al Qaeda, and facilitated the training of al Qaeda recruits sent from Nigeria to a camp in Mauritania. Damagun, a founding director of the Media Trust, a newspaper publishing company, claims he is not guilty.
The revelation that a prominent and wealthy Nigerian citizen, and ostensibly, judging by reports of his philanthropy, piety, and entrepreneurship, a good citizen as well, is allegedly supporting al Qaeda and is himself, a member of a terrorist group called the “Nigerian Taliban,” is a bit unsettling. (Sun News)
Couple that with the observations and assessments of some expert analysts that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), may be partially funded and equipped by al Qaeda is chilling, especially to the expatriates that live and work in Nigeria. While most of them feel it is nonsense to suspect such a connection, a growing number of “old Nigeria hands” aren’t sure. (VOA NEWS)
I appreciate the retiscence of many expatriates to be open to the possibility that a group they consider to be freedom fighters might be associated with al Qaeda, but to others, it is vital we keep an open inquiring mind, at the very least.
Christopher Hitchens, an astute journalist I met when I was a POW/MIA activist freelance writer in the 80s and 90s, wrote an eye opening and enlightening commentary in the City Journal, Winter Edition. It reads in part,
[quote]…the general apathy and surrender of the West in the face of a determined assault from a religious ideology, or an ideological religion, afflicted by no sickly doubt about what it wants or by any scruples about how to get it.
I might quibble about Steynâ€™s assessmentâ€”Amis has written brilliantly about Mohammed Attaâ€™s death cult, for example, while Jack Straw made one of the best presentations to the UN of the case for liberating Iraq. But itâ€™s more useful to point out two things that have happened between the writing of this admirably tough-minded book and its publication. Jack Straw, now the leader of the House of Commons, made a speech in his northern English constituency in October, in which he said that he could no longer tolerate Muslim women who came to his office wearing veils. The speech catalyzed a long-postponed debate not just on the veil but on the refusal of assimilation that it symbolizes. It seems to have swung the Labour Party into a much firmer position against what I call one-way multiculturalism. Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed the shift with a December speech emphasizing the â€œdutyâ€ of immigrants to assimilate to British values. And Martin Amis, speaking to the London Times, had this to say:
Thereâ€™s a definite urgeâ€”donâ€™t you have it?â€”to say, â€œThe Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.â€ What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportationâ€”further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like theyâ€™re from the Middle East or from Pakistan. . . . Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. . . . They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugsâ€”well, theyâ€™ve got to stop their children killing people.
I know both of these men to be profoundly humanistic and open-minded. Straw has defended the rights of immigrants all his life and loyally represents a constituency with a large Asian population. Amis has rebuked me several times in print for supporting the intervention in Iraq, the casualties of which have become horrifying to him. Even five years ago, it would have been unthinkable to picture either man making critical comments about Islamic dress, let alone using terms such as â€œdeportation.â€ Mark Steynâ€™s book is essentially a challenge to the bien-pensants among us: an insistence that we recognize an extraordinary threat and thus the possible need for extraordinary responses. He need not pose as if he were the only one with the courage to think in this way.
The most alarming sentences that I have read in a long time came from the pen of my fellow atheist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, at the end of a September Los Angeles Times column upbraiding American liberals for their masochistic attitude toward Islamist totalitarianism. Harris concluded:
The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.[quote]
I think the grittiest and hard to swallow truth gleaned from Hitchen’s essay is the assertion that “demography is destiny.”
[quote] Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you canâ€™t buck demographyâ€”except through civil war. The Serbs figured that outâ€”as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you canâ€™t outbreed the enemy, cull â€™em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosniaâ€™s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.[/quote]
The whole world is changing and it is doing so quickly. We literally stand on the precipice of regional wars on at least two, possibly four different continents. A small brush fire that first flared on September 11, 2001 has turned in to a raging forest fire that threatens to exponentially grow by spreading sparks and embers around the globe until we are visited by an ethnic conflagration no one can stop.
Wordworks2001 is a retired US Army master sergeant. He lives in Indiana and works in Nigeria, where he is currently located. He blogs at http://wordworks2001.blogspot.com.