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Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 08:14 am
Christopher Hitchens on Osama’s followers and those who rationalise their madness:
Suicide is not so much their tactic as their rationale: they represent a cult of death and they are wedded to destruction. It’s amazing how many people refuse to see this. They persist in saying that it’s a protest against something, or a reaction to some injustice. They are right to an extent: as long as there is a non-Salafist Muslim anywhere, or a Jew or Christian or rationalist, or an unveiled woman or a profane work of art, the grievance can never be appeased. Of course this does have something in common with fascism – “Death to the intellect! Long live Death!” was a favorite slogan of some Francoists: I think it was coined by General Quiepo de Llano – but even fascism could build an autobahn or design a rocket, while these primitives only want to steal enough technology to wreak devastation.
On one hand, it’s a beautiful book, written in a style unique to Hitchens. On the other hand, his pre-9/11 writing was so focused on knocking prominent, admired people, like Mother Theresa and Winston Churchill, off their perches that it gets a little old. Even when I share his criticism of certain people, like Bill Clinton, I feel like Hitchens’ complaints come off as a tad obvious. My favorite parts of the book concern the Kurds, who have never had a better friend than Hitchens (despite their motto ‘the Kurds have no friends’), and his various travels through war torn countries. His take on NYC’s Bloomberg nanny laws is spot on.