There is a serious under-estimation by the West concerning illiteracy and ignorance in the Muslim world. The depth of tragic illiteracy you can find pervasive in the Muslim world spawns an ignorance darker than most traditional conceptions of evil–which we know can grow in the human heart as easily as good has a chance to flourish in our humanity. There is a spreading shadow in the Muslim world, an increasing darkness born of ignorance and want. Poverty alone would be terrible; but the growing ignorance and the traditional desire to be put under the will of a superior force only increases what poverty manifests. There are just too many people who count themselves Muslims who cannot read Holy Qu’ran in the most rudimentary way, and who do not have a firm enough tradition in Muslim education that is anything other than submission, submission, submission.
There are far too many who cannot, in their deepest Homo-Sapiens’ incivility, respect anything outside what is conceived in their inability to think, including other Muslims who are not savage as they can be, as they become when they find a home in an organization, a movement, like ISIS. It is a given that the stupidest and most savage people who profess to be Muslims are attracted by, or easily solicited for, ISIS. It might be a horror to horrible to believe to conceive of most mainstream Muslims as not in opposition to ISIS in its larger goals, but that it goes too far to reach them, or that it is too Zealous in its attacks against fellow Muslims. I do not hear enough from Muslims in America about ISIS, unless the Zionist Media of America seeks to keep Muslim voices in opposition to ISIS muted in order to sell the idea that Islam is endemically fanatical and that reactionary Zionism is the only acceptable Zionism. I know I can believe that.
People who grow in a perpetually barbaric incivility–illiteracy in a literate world; uneducated in an educated and technologically advanced world, a nearly pervasive misogyny by any standards outside their own nearly medieval reinforcement of patriarchal control of women as virtual chattel–anything else? Anyone raised inside this system of backward moving through history, virtually, cannot have anything but contempt and resentment for what is outside the context of enforced ignorance. The misogyny is a product of their ethnic or tribal heritage more than any connection to or outgrowth from Holy Qu’ran; nonetheless, these people are prime recruits for ISIS and the ISIS leadership’s manipulation of Holy Qu’ran. You can tell illiterates a book says anything you want it to say. There is a parallel to this I used to find present in the remedial freshman composition classes in CUNY, particularly among the African-American students who were allowed to pass and graduate High School whiling reading no better than eighth, the seventh or even the sixth grade. The ignorance and narrow mindedness was one thing, the endemic racism in reflex was yet another, and the serious detachment from facts and information was yet another . . . all of it bad for all of them caught in a perpetuating cycle of il- or semi-literacy that just could not catch up because they were also fed one received idea after another that rationalized and justified their detachment, their disenfranchisement, even reinforcing their Know-Nothinging rhetoric which they felt entitled to shout back, as if not raising their voices to decibel levels nearing haranguing yelling was what kept them from being heard in society. I have never met that form of accepted and received ignorance as a form of enculturation from anywhere in the world, and we still do not know how to handle it, as if stupid–yes, stupid–narrow minded violently angry semi-literate bigot speech from the new and revised African-American is what being black has always been about–and we do not see that rationalizing ghetto stupid as a viable form of cultural expression that I cannot understand because I am not as real as black folk in the hood or that I am made effete because of the many privileges I get just by being white like all the Harvard elite are is racist. Stupid, stupid mother-fuckers–white, black and other getting filthy rich selling young black men and women the idea that the only authentic way to be black is to be one or another kind of nigger, the kind that any back man or black woman back in the seventies would have identified as nigger–not what white people in their own racist diatribes would have ranted about or just said in their own bigotry–but black people themselves identifying what they would call nigger–this is what we have to accept as authentically black, as if Rap is not the new minstrel shows, which is not to say that within the context and form of rap you cannot achieve art. Ibsen did not achieve greatness fully within the form of European melodrama. But melodrama had to be turned in on itself, turned over from within. Rap is minstrel show, no less stereotypical, no more representative; non-indicative.
The marginalized person, with an ignorance we can barely imagine, is often a person ready to vent rage, particularly when herded among others with similar resentment. People raised in destitution and clouded over by systematic un-eduation (complete with a passionate need to remain illiterate–one of the great ironies and horrors of such illiteracy) find themselves at an emotional level of response reminiscent of those witnessed in the observations of our simian cousins, the chimpanzees and gorillas. Yes, we are 98% identical in DNA with our chimpanzee cousins. We must remember, also, that our chimpanzee and gorilla cousins have social structures. Too many members of ISIS seem little better than automatons of killing and destruction; the broadest iconoclasts bent on destroying all cultural heritage, any cultural expression from the past, especially if intelligent and vibrant. Their need to destroy the art of all cultures of the past is only equalled by the Nazis who when the end was near wanted to burn the entire history of Europe down.
ISIS let loose in Syria is like letting loose Chimpanzees in the Metropolitan Museum of art with hammers and hand drills. Most of the members of ISIS cannot act in any other way but the ways you see gleefully engaged by ISIS, ironically homophonic, they do not understand, with the name of the Goddess Isis, the sister of Osiris. This could pose a problem for them, but they are simply too stupid even to get that. At times it seems, with ISIS, as if we let out all the zoos of the world and put guns in the hands of chimps and hammers in the hands of baboons. There is nothing in the world today more simian than ISIS. I do not like to say that Obama droppd the ball on this one, but he did. We should let the Turks loose on them. That would put an end tp ISIS.
I make no apologies for not trying to understand the savagery of ISIS or the iconoclastic barabarism–I am a defender of civilization and an opponent of savagery and barbarity. ISIS should be revolting to every woman in the world–to every artist, every anthropologist, every archaeologist, every scientist, every rational human-being, all intelligent persons. The savagery of ISIS must be met with swift andf yes brutal annihilation of its spreading darkness. One does not meet the Devil with a handshake; Satan has risen with a following of demons–simply put; the metaphor is accurate.
ISIS is a cult of death a thousand times greater and more heinous than the THUGGEE in the cult of Kali. The British response to the Thuggee was correct. Support for the British Raj in India was in direct proportion to Britain’s elimination of the THUGGEE who had preyed on Indians for centuries, killing nearly thirty to forty thousand a year. Perhaps ISIS will, in a supreme irony, bring Muslims closer to the west
Is it true that Islam is endemically misogynistic? ISIS wants us to think so? The West needs to stand firm in face of this, but we must also hear from Muslims just how ISIS fits in the larger puzzle that Islam remains for the West. I wish it were different, but too many mainstream Muslims, even here in the U.S., although having fled from areas of distress, remain closer in sympathy with the larger goals of ISIS, but object only in so far as ISIS goes too far–yes, more than we would like to admit or allow ourselves to imagine. ISIS, it seems, has not gone far enough for too many Muslims to rid themselves of the idea that a glorious Islamic Theocracy will bring about a Golden Age. Of course we have our own detractors who love to locate the cause of problems in the Muslim world to Western geo-politics and its policies when in fact Muslim problems come wrapped in Islamic paper, ribbons and bows–an enforced or a sponsored regression in the Muslim world comes with the direct management of Muslims screwing Muslims for gain. To void Muslims of all or any responsibility for their situations is in fact racist.
The interesting thing is that I have read Holy Qu’ran more than most of the members of ISIS probably have, and most likely with better and more intelligent results. There is no way, though, that with the ways we sponsor semi-literacy in our pedagogy, the resulting semi-literacy is not going to come back to bite us in the ass, as it already has in the way we continue to misjudge just how much illiteracy there is and at what depth of ignorance this reaches in the Muslim world, and just what this signals for diplomacy and policy, peace and understanding.