This is the first instalment in a monthly column titled ‘Degtyarov’s Despotisms’, in which Degtyarov will outline some more personal observations that can be seen as op-eds. The series will properly kick off once the website relaunches with a new design next month, but this first column had to be posted today due to the historical relevance of this date.
Today is July 12 2016, a date that marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the July War. During this armed conflict, Israel clashed with fighters of the Hezbollah resistance group on the Lebanese border. Even though the Israelis quite literally came in all (US taxpayer-funded) guns blazing, they were sent packing by local Hezbollah militants — not even the group’s finest soldiers, who mostly resided in the North of the country at the time.
While I did for quite some time intend on commemorating this date out of historical and cultural interest — always a pillar that supports Black Ivory Tower — I initially figured I would restrain myself to a one-sentence Facebook update which I had already scheduled months ago to be published on this date.
However, several events that have since occurred motivated me to remove that scheduled post, and elaborate. There was of course the kerfuffle with Amalie Bruun from Myrkur pointing out Islam’s less-than-stellar compatibility with hip Western views on women, such as those espoused by VICE and their smelly ilk. Interviewer Andrew Epstein of course felt compelled to pull the ‘what about Christianity’ card out of his sleeve, and an anecdotal remark about the secular side of Islam out of his Toronto-based ass.
Bruun was speaking from personal experience, pointing out that while she believes a secular variant might exist, she has so far not witnessed it. She even went along with Epstein’s diversion about ‘Christianity having been just as bad’, that red herring nailed to the misinformed liberal mind like Christ to the cross. Obvious though it was that Bruun was not attempting to preach universal truths, the usual suspects on social media still saw fit to slam Myrkur‘s frontwoman as a bigot, a racist and an Islamophobe (or ‘ignorant’ at the very least).
Metalheads as staunch defenders of a strict monotheistic religion; it was 2016’s most delicious irony until phony socialists sided with the chairman of Goldman Sachs in their hysterical condemnation of Brexit.
Merriment aside, Bruun being branded an Islamophobe by the Protectors of the Metal Scene (PMS) recalled an earlier instance in which I myself had been labelled an Islamophobe, a racist, etc. by pointing out some basic facts about Islam. In a blurb for a feature on Nine Circles, I observed that Islam is a religion founded by violent desert raiders, and that violence is therefore at the basis of the religion. That Islam emerged from a desert and its message was since spread from the tip of a sword is a fact that you can look up for yourself    , and not a personal judgment. Unsurprisingly, it was still interpreted as the latter. This (and I stress this word) perceived critique of Islam was considered a no-go area because many think of the religion as a refuge for ‘oppressed minorities’*, who are of course beyond all criticism. As it turned out, jokingly adding that said definition made Islam sound pretty ‘metal’ was not enough to make my groupies realise the true nature of my comment.
Therefore, I shall elaborate on my statement so that my hate-readers — who, by the bye, disproportionately seem to be sickly wimps with receding hairlines and chicks with septum rings whose fat percentage is inversely proportional to their writing skills — may finally realise the error of their ways, even if they will not publicly admit to caving in to such enlightenment.
That I choose this day to do so is no coincidence.
With support for pacifist rhetoric being so ubiquitous in the Western world, one tends to forget that it is by no means unanimous. It is thus understandable that one should think that, in attaching the moniker ‘violent’ to Islam, and particularly its historical origin, my goal was to dismiss the religion. Even if yours truly had such an objective, it would be intellectually dishonest to apply a moral system concocted in the second half of the 20th century to a series of events that took place some 1400 years earlier. Even more so when one considers that our a priori condemnation of violence is, historically speaking, highly anomalous.
Which brings me to my point: it is in undercutting Islam’s undeniable martial nature that the liberal, in his far-reaching stupidity, contributes towards the gentrification of a culture that is not his own. By sounding off their ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra, which is a very transparent statement solely meant to market the faith within a Western environment, they are selfishly attempting to align Islamic doctrine with their own moral fabric. After all, Westerners of all modern political strata have a rhetorical hard-on for nebulous concepts such as freedom, peace and respect. Irony has it that Islam is being sold to us in the exact same wrapping of ambiguous verbiage that our governments use to package the poisonous gift of regime change in the Middle East.
Those who fantasise about a secularised Islam (and for the sake of argument we shall ignore all the theological objections that render this a pipe dream) must realise what this concept entails. The reason Christianity is more or less accepted these days in our secular societies is that it has lost its teeth, allowing outside influences to transform it into a harmless non-entity that is disappearing in much of Europe. Christianity is accepted because it has ceased to be Christian; to secularise means to neutralise.
When you, motivated by wishful thinking and blind chronocentrism, speculate that Islam will follow the path of Christianity, you are in fact whitewashing Islam in order to make it suitable for liberal consumption, so that you and your ‘allies’ can continue to cling to the utopian delusion of a malleable society.
Islam has a violent side. This side may express itself tragically, in the form of pointless mass murder. It may also express itself valiantly, providing its followers with imperishable faith and hope even when they are faced with an invader that outnumbers and outguns them by several orders of magnitude. And sure, you can find arguments in Islamic theology that could support the claim that ISIS are bastardising the religion (long story short: wahhabism is effectively satanism). However, these arguments do not aim to bereave Islam of its martial legacy, which it needs to this day in order to survive.
Concerning the ‘Islamophobe’ insult you have so often hurled into my general direction like a particularly rotten brain fart, consider this: I want Islam to be Islamic. I want Christianity to be Christian. I want Europe to be European. I want China to be Chinese. I am in favour of strong, honest identity, even when it clashes with my personal beliefs. Consider also the day on which I tell you this; a day chosen, we repeat, consciously, and one of which you were probably not even aware until this allegedly ignorant mind pointed it out to you. Then try telling me who is frightened of the outside world, as you try to pour the universe, in all its complexity, into a microcosmic mould shaped by the noticeable limits of your knowledge and insight.
*In other words, to them ‘muslim’ is subconsciously synonymous to ‘dumb Arab who I need to patronise because he can’t fend for himself’.