Then why?


Like army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for instance, who visited Malala in the hospital and took the occasion to talk comfortable pious bullshit. He

said Malala has “become a symbol for the values that the army, with the nation behind it, is fighting to preserve for our future generations.

“These are the intrinsic values of an Islamic society, based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man.”

Oh really. Is that a fact. Then why is Pakistan such a shit-hole? Why are all “Islamic societies” such shit-holes? If an Islamic society is based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man [sic] then why do so many people think it’s based on the principles of coercion, brutality and inequality of women and men? Why is there no Islamic society on earth that looks to outsiders like one that’s based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality?

Comments

  1. ianmacdougall says

    Then why?

    I would say its because of the nature of Islam; because the Koran, hadiths and the rest are foundation documents for fascist societies in which oppression is institutionalised.

  2. mgr says

    The argument you are making is an over generalization with little appreciation of context. If this is how you present your critique of the modern islamic state you need to stop, as your presentation is cartoonish, as a lot of non-islamic nations are equal if not greater shitholes (I would trade Pakistan for Burkina Faso or Myramar in a moment), and neglects the Cold War in undermining much of the Westernization of various Middle Eastern states that progressed in the sixties through to the eighties.

    Stop for a moment and reflect on how the Partition of India and Pakistan may be fueling local ethnic tensions, and that your critique rightly falls upon pastoralists near the Afghanistan border rather than the residents of Islamabad. The quote you cite is typical of western educated Pakistanis, and reflects well that they do to a degree uphold those values. You do them little justice conflating them with the Taliban (who also invoke their version of Islam in the article, to justify their stone age practices).

    Mike

  3. says

    Mike – it isn’t my critique of the modern islamic state, it’s my critique of the army chief’s claim.

    But even if it were – I didn’t say there are no societies worse than societies based on “Islamic principles.” Telling me there are worse ones doesn’t undermine anything I said.

    I agree about the cold war, but that too is compatible with what I said.

  4. mgr says

    Ophelia, you did not address the second part of my post. Both sides cited in the link invoke Islam, which is right? You ignore this the cost of oversimplification.

    You challenge the Army Chief’s claim, (which is really an espousal of enlightenment values–BTW how would you have him describe Pakistan’s society?) by stating that all islamic socieities are shit holes, and follow with this:
    “If an Islamic society is based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man [sic] then why do so many people think it’s based on the principles of coercion, brutality and inequality of women and men?” (which is nothing but an appeal to popularity)

    Where’s your point if it were changed to ‘If a Western society is based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man [sic] then why do so many people think it’s based on the principles of coercion, brutality and inequality of women and men?’ Which is equally true (or is it a matter of degree, which was my point, practically all non-western nations are shitholes, why pick on the Islamic ones as if they were something special?)

    You do nothing to cast light on an inter ethnic struggle likely egged on by Afghani outsiders in possession of American made weaponry(?)over a future that is either a return to the Stone Age, or an effort to suffuse an Islamic culture with Western values.

    Mike

  5. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    Mike, you never really answer Ophelia’s questions. It seems like the usual ‘broad brush’ denialism.

    The fact there are worse places than Pakistan, hardly answers “Why is there no Islamic society on earth that looks to outsiders like one that’s based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality?”.

    Unless I missed one, a quick scan of the inequality-adjusted HDI shows Muslim nations cropping up in the top 50 only at Kazakhstan (42) and Albania (49). Bosnia and Herzegovina (45) is not technically majority of any group, but Muslims are the largest minority.

    So burning irony here is that those three nations all have much larger than average non-Muslim populaces for a “Muslim” nation.

    By the way Pakistan is No. 101 on that list.

  6. says

    Mike – you’re kind of all over the place.

    Yes, the point in the post is simple, that’s true, but then it’s just a post, not an article in Foreign Policy. I wasn’t trying to be exhaustive. I was addressing one thing that one man said.

    I don’t think his claim is straightforwardly an espousal of Enlightenment values, which is why I disagree with it. It’s not secular. It muddies what it says by not being secular.

    No, what I said isn’t just an appeal to popularity. My point is that (so many) people think that for reasons. Granted I didn’t spell that out, but regular readers would probably understand it that way.

    “why pick on the Islamic ones as if they were something special?” Because theocratic shit-holes are more intractable than merely thuggish corrupt incompetent kleptocratic ones, because it’s so difficult to claim that corrupt thuggish kleptocracy is based on values at all.

  7. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    “…why pick on the Islamic ones as if they were something special?”

    Because Islamic societies seem to be the ones most startlingly lacking in any sort of constructive self-critical ethos.

    Islam claims to be perfect, which in and of itself does not standout among religions. But layer on top of that is the both cultural and legal frameworks in all but a few Muslim nations that makes public, critical discourse on Islam all but impossible.

    So if Islam itself cannot be blamed, that leaves two explanations:
    1. Victimisation by external forces.
    2. Failure to sufficiently implement Islam.

    The entire Islamic fundamentalist programme is a marriage of these two worldviews.

    In turn the most sobering example to highlight the difference between Islamic and non-Islamic nations is Viet Nam. There is a relatively poor, low-HDI (No. 76) nation that suffered orders of magnitude more deliberate and destructive Western violence within the lifetime of our current political class. I am not saying that some Vietnamese do not hate Americans, Australians, etc. but they certainly do not project their feelings through a worldwide pattern of violence.

    Yet we get Muslim terrorists from Saudi Arabia, a region that was never colonised, nor has ever suffered any appreciable harm at the hands of the West. And we get certain Muslims and their left apologists who in total seriousness will invoke the bloody Crusades in contemporary debates.

  8. Nepenthe says

    All Islamic societies are shit holes? Compared to what? Is this present day only or over all of history?

  9. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    Nepenthe, your response is so forced in its obtuse inquiry that it would be laughable if it were not part of a disturbing trend of disrupting criticism of Islam.

    Ophelia’s focus on the present is unequivocal and your attempt to pretend that Islam’s faded past is somehow relevant is just absurd.

  10. lorn says

    The answer to the question lay not in the conditions of countries but the definition of the principles of liberty, justice and equality being applied. Both Islam and Christianity consider their projected image of God to be the source of all goodness and compliance with their written word as the height of liberty, justice and equality.

    As one put it: true liberty comes from slavery to God. Redefine virtues and you end up with paradise for true believers that looks like hell to objective observers.

  11. says

    Mike at #2:

    You do them little justice conflating them with the Taliban (who also invoke their version of Islam in the article, to justify their stone age practices).

    I am curious. You say, “… their version of Islam” – how do you make the distinction between Taliban’s version of Islam and someone else’s? Most importantly, how do you determine whose ‘version of Islam’ is valid? And why is it that any criticism of Islam or Islamic principles always draws vigorous defence that, still, somehow, manages to ignore the elephant in the room – the fact that there exists large tracts in the Islamic holy texts, just like the execrable portions of the Bible, that can be/have been used to justify extreme acts of moral turpitude?

  12. Tony •Prom King of Sunnydale High• says

    Mike:

    The argument you are making is an over generalization with little appreciation of context.

    What context do you think is necessary to challenge this:

    “These are the intrinsic values of an Islamic society, based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man.”

    The army chief made that statement. It is clear from looking at many Islamic societies that the principles he speaks of are *NOT* intrinsic values.

    If this is how you present your critique of the modern islamic state you need to stop, as your presentation is cartoonish, as a lot of non-islamic nations are equal if not greater shitholes (I would trade Pakistan for Burkina Faso or Myramar in a moment), and neglects the Cold War in undermining much of the Westernization of various Middle Eastern states that progressed in the sixties through to the eighties.

    You criticize Ophelia for something she wasn’t trying to do. She wasn’t trying to present a critique of modern Islamic society. She was criticizing the lies spewed from one army chief.
    BTW, your attempt at “…yes but…” is duly noted as the derail it is. The discussion is not about greater shitholes than Islamic nations. Calling attention to these other nations does nothing to address the substance of the post.

    ****

    Ophelia:
    Is it possible the army chief was referring to those principles as they apply to men, rather than both sexes? I suppose his statement would be more truthful that way.

  13. Brian M says

    You note “many Islamic societies” fail. Are there ANY Islamic societies which exhbit this as an intrinsic virtue?

    of course, there are arguably very few human societies which exhibit intrinsic virtues. Virtue, even as defined here, is not intrinsic to human society at all. It has to be fought for. Unfortunately, when the society is based on fundamental documents or doctrines or belief systems…enforced by violence, such virtues are difficult to come by.

  14. mgr says

    Based upon everyone’s comments it appears no one looked at the link (hint the quote does not originate from it). OK Everybody, here’s a link with the quote in context:

    http://www.zimbio.com/Pakistan/articles/MmT4g0CPavx/Army+Chief+Ashfaq+Pervez+Kayani+condemns+attack

    Tell me I’m wrong.

    Kayami’s comment is in response to the Taliban claim that they are acting in accord with Islam which is in Ophelia’s link. Note the use of the term ‘enlightenment’. Ophelia’s entitled to take exception to the link of enlightenment with the esposal of a religious perspective, but that was not the point of her post. To my mind she cherry picked the quote, implies this comment was likely directed to the family, and ignores its larger context in that much of Pakistan is equally incensed by what has happened to Malala as outside observers, and that local officials are equally offended.

    At the base of the nation’s issues is there is a dynamic between a thuggish kleptocracy and some that are
    more interested in moving the country forward (you can accept that or not, but Kayami’s are on the side of the angels (sensu Pinker)). No its not “Foreign Policy”, but one could choose better one sided examples. At the end it is about people and reifying them into categories does all of us no good.

    Rebekah at (5)
    1.) re the HDI– you are not doing it right (I’ll ignore your poisoning the well with the denialism claim).

    http://hdrstats.undp.org/images/explanations/PAK.pdf

    2.) I did see any questions Ophelia addressed to me specifically, care to elaborate?

    Mike

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