Tuesday, 23 April 2013

We Know Fuck All

I have a little something to get off my chest, so this will be more forceful than usual.

The internet is brimming over with every aspect of reaction from last weeks events in Boston, from the most positive - appreciation of those who helped at the scene, to the most ridiculous - which I won't even dignify with repetition. You've seen it all yourself anyway.

Whenever something like this happens it raises a lot of questions, "why?" being the immediate one, and then "who?". Theories are plentiful. Many people assumed it was Islamic extremists, and when they were told that this was correct, there was a lot of self-congratulation. Because, you know, once we know that, all's well. Because we KNOW they are the biggest problem in the world. No we don't. We know fuck all.

There is an opportunity here to learn. It's the hardest way to learn. It's a lesson nobody wants.

In the 1970s, on the streets of England, there were people collecting money. They were sending it to a group of people in Afghanistan fighting to defend themselves against an unspeakably impossible enemy: their own government and the might of Soviet Russia. Their plight was regularly in the media, and they had much sympathy abroad. So, I gave money to the Mujahideen. Willingly. But not in full knowledge of what was to come. Because folks, only Allah knows the future.

Of course, things changed quickly. Having "won" (amazingly) the cause degenerated into what we now know as the Taliban, and you know the rest.

In hindsight, would I have sent that money? Of course not. But we think we know, we think we understand, we mean well. We didn't understand AT ALL.

Also in the 1970s, by sheer coincidence, money was flowing across the Atlantic to another cause. Through an organization called NORAID money was sent by Americans to fund the IRA in Northern Ireland. Americans meant well, and they thought they understood. To this day they will tell you the money helped families affected by the troubles. None of it went to pay for guns or bombs, they'll say.. But the IRA somehow did find lots of money, including that for bombs on the mainland. It wasn't leprechaun gold.

The simple fact is, that you never know what you are paying for when you send "support". You never know what will happen when you intervene. You can not predict the outcome of interference.

I found this on a comment on one of the news sites last week:

"So now US got a taste of Chechen Islamists. Would you call them "freedom fighters" now?

When Russia was busy eradicating them during the first and second wars in Chechnya the Western world cried wolf about human rights and Middle East monarchies (the same old Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc) funded them. 

Get a clue about Islamic terrorism. You can't "tame" it, whether it's AfPak region, Syria, Chechnya or anywhere else - it will backfire on you.


Same stuff with Al Qaeda:
Hillary Clinton: 'We Created al-Qaeda'

It sounds bitter, and it probably is. The point is, these people think they know what's what. No they don't......

Justin Trudeau, who, I hasten to add, I am no fan of, was criticized for naive responses to the attack at the Marathon, when he said:

".......we have to look at the root causes.”
“Now, we don’t know now if it was terrorism or a single crazy or a domestic issue or a foreign issue,” he said. “But there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded. Completely at war with innocents. At war with a society. And our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from?"

This is not, as his critics imply, making excuses for terrorists. It's simply a fact. No matter how deluded, misguided, or outright CRAZY terrorists are, they do it for a reason. In their own heads, they are justified. We will never understand it.

Others see his point: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/19/andrew-coyne-justin-trudeaus-terrorism-root-causes-comments-unfortunate-but-not-truly-objectionable/

Stephen Harper insisted that the most important thing to do is condemn it. Yes, that's SO helpful Stephen. We'll condemn something that, well, obviously needs condeming. Yep, that'll do it. That'll solve everything.
Oh please. It's about as useful as shaking your fist at the sky when it rains. Harper thinks he knows the answer to everything. He knows fuck all.

And....those who recognize the pattern here are NOT going "Ner ner ner ner ner".

No. If you think that was my point, you'd be wrong. No. Revenge gets you nowhere, not even in your sickest fantasies. "Ha! See how YOU like it?!" gets you nowhere. Shaking your fist gets you nowhere. Blaming gets you nowhere. Assuming gets you nowhere. And.....in the end, hating gets you nowhere.

Every day far more people are killed by regular crime than by terrorism. Maybe regular crime is terrorism. Maybe terrorism is crime. Who defines these things anyway. Who knows how to fix it all? Think you know? I don't think you do.

Let me give you another thought, in recent decades drug cartel violence in Mexico has killed more people than all the deaths in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. You didn't know that.

There is a famous quote from Spinoza: "Peace is not an absence of war". You don't know who Spinoza is? That's OK, it's just another thing you don't know in a very long list. You don't know much, neither do I, and neither does anyone. That's a) why we keep getting blindsided by the actions of humans behaving badly, and b) why I'm sick to the fucking back teeth of listening to sanctimonious explanations and "knowledge" about world affairs, by people who know fuck all.

The answer? We don't have an answer. We have a lot of gut reactions, and a lot of posturing. We are very good at criticising, absolutely useless at offering alternatives. We are just awesome at suspecting motives, not so good at offering any evidence for them.

If you, reading this, can honestly, realistically do better than the people in charge, then get off your fat arse and go do it. We're all waiting.

There, that's better.


  1. Any comment I attempt to type this morning rambles and doesn't stick to the topic. Have a great day.

  2. Gotta stop listening to the news. I turn it off. Media is SO so so so so SO (for lack of better word) stupid.

    In my opinion, people in the States are learning how to live with terrorism. Right now everyone is freaked out paranoid -it's-because-of-this-or-that scared. They will learn how to live with it and many will retain their humanity and sense. The learning how to live with it will take a while, but they will.

    People will blame all religions as Satan and then the pendulum will swing back the other way and neither is good. Humanity is trying to figure out how to conduct themselves. This terrorism, though, is really crap and we need to figure out how to stop it. If it means going to the root of all things, then let's.

    1. So you think it's collective shock? Maybe you're right. I grew up with it and took it for granted. Some think that's sad but it's what happens, yes.

  3. I never know what to think about terrorism. None of it makes sense to me because the dead and injured are usually innocents (in the minds of most people) and the object of the act is to create mayhem. It doesn't seem very politically effective. In my limited mind, I lump terrorism in with angry, rioting people who destroy their own neighborhoods. There does not seem to be much logic operating during either action.

    1. They all just remind me of small children, acting out because they don't get their own way. Yes, clearly they feel this is the only way to get attention, but we all know how that goes. And not one of them is ignorant of the history of previous results.

    2. Its early, cut me some slack; I'll try to make sense. Terrorists, whatever ridiculous banner they choose to walk under, are cowards. The word "terrorist" allows them some sort of perverted panache in that Bizzaro world, in which they slither. I propose the media stop using the word, call them what they are, cowards. Little minions without minds of their own, doing the bidding of larger cowards. Hitler was a coward, he didn't do his own dirty work, he had minions. Stalin, had minions. Pol Pot, minions. Cowards at the beck and call of larger cowards. Not TERRORists, chickenshits. They are unable to fight their battles man to man, woman to woman. They do not have the intelligence to engage in educated debate and so resort to killing, injuring, maiming innocent victims unable to defend themselves and innocents who have had their right to defend themselves removed by...cowards. We need to stop referring to them as somehow larger than the common dirt bag. Remove some of this ridiculous raised status, and call them what they are, in reality.

  4. Applause. As the saying goes, the wisest man admits that he knows nothing.

  5. Human reaction to risk and danger is a really funny thing. The same people who are ready to surrender their civic liberties in order to be safe would freak out at the suggestion that there be restrictions on driving cars. I suggest the media stop making the terrorist into celebrity.