Archive for July 30th, 2013

The Islamic Vortex (Part 1)

When confronted by large-scale — and thus complex – historical events, it is inevitable that attempts at understanding will be dominated by analogy. Even among experts, with access to abstract models of generic processes (‘revolution’, modernization, escalation, phase-change …), it is only through reference to concrete historical episodes that such intellectual tools acquire the richness necessary for successful application to actual world events. Even the most conceptually-refined historiographical language is honed for analogical usage. There is no ‘idea’ of ‘revolution’ truly separable from the examples of revolution provided by the historical record, and even if there was, it could have no use. Since history is rhythmic, but never exactly repetitive, such analogies can be more or less relevant, but only ever roughly suggestive. They are, in any case, unavoidable.

During the years immediately following 9/11, Western perceptions of the new global reality were controlled by analogy with World War II, and even those who rejected this template were locked into a negative relationship with it. If 9/11 was not Pearl Harbor, or anything like it, it remained necessary to say so, repeatedly, and to little immediate effect. The term ‘Islamofascism’ was inherited from this period, and its fading currency is significant (as we shall see).

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July 30, 2013admin 30 Comments »
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