Thursday, April 17, 2008

Luttwak's Thinking (And On Black-eyed Virgins)

In response to a critique in the Times Literary Supplement, Edward Luttwak had a letter published and I submit an extract:-

...Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s theory that Islamic orthodoxy blocks development, inducing violent expressions of frustration and humiliation because Islam simultaneously promises superiority in all things to its adherents – a frustration especially acute for the Arabs, whom the Koran itself names as the world’s best people. Enzensberger’s theory can certainly be criticized (e.g. the violence started before any frustration – Muhammad himself was as much raider as preacher) but not, as it happens, with the argument advanced by Hegghammer: “If the Muslim world has been retarded for a thousand years, why does the violent reaction come now?”.

That is unhistorical twice over: first, the Muslim world was doing very nicely c1008; second, when relative decline did become manifest centuries later, the seething resentment of almost all Muslim populations, which made it easy for truculent clerics to infuriate mobs into violence, became the salient hazard of travel in Muslim lands long before al-Qaeda. So it is not “now”.

Hegghammer does note his serious reservations about Robert Pape’s theory that suicide attacks have nothing to do with Islam as such but are merely responses to occupation, and mostly by non-Muslims. Pape’s numbers are fatally flawed by the inclusion of the Liberation Tigers of Sri Lanka, a sui generis case, and by the odd classification of Hezbollah and Hamas as territorialists rather than Islamists. But then Hegghammer fails to point out the central error of Pape’s reductionism, shared by many others: the minimization of the specifically Islamic incentive to fight and if necessary die (not suicidal attacks per se), which happens to resonate especially with young men trapped in forced celibacy: a promised paradise of orgiastic sex with both women and boys.

Muslim preachers in conflicted lands are much less bashful than Western commentators in specifying what Allah himself will provide to dead Jihadists: Koran 51–55, “ . . . We shall wed them to dark-eyed houris”. Koran 55:56–57, “ . . . bashful virgins neither man nor Jinn will have touched before. Then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?”. Koran 55:57–58, “Virgins as fair as corals and rubies . . .” . Koran 55:70–77, “ . . . Dark eyed virgins sheltered in their tents . . . ”. Koran 78:31, “. . . gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed virgins for companions . . . ”. Later jurists universally condemned homosexuality, and no preacher would now proffer it, but the text is explicit: Koran 52:24, “Round about them will serve . . . boys handsome as pearls well-guarded”. Koran 76:19, “ . . . boys of perpetual freshness: if thou seest them, thou wouldst think them scattered pearls”.

I for one genuinely do not understand why the centrality of the sexual promises to Jihadist mobilization is so persistently ignored, or even explicitly denied, by most Western analysts, hardliners very much included. There is no such hesitation among the protagonists themselves: outwardly at any rate, death in fighting the infidel is not mourned by their families and friends but celebrated as a zawaj, a wedding.

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As for the matter of Sex and the Suicidal Muslim, see here. Fromt the transcript:-

Saudi Cleric Omar Al-Sweilem Extols the Breasts and Thighs of the Black-Eyed Virgins of Paradise

Harith Ibn Al-Muhasibi told us what would happen when we meet the black-eyed virgin with her black hair and white face – praised be He who created night and day. What hair! What a chest! What a mouth! What cheeks! What a figure! What breasts! What thighs! What legs! What whiteness! What softness! Without any creams – no Nivea, no vaseline. No nothing! He said that faces would be soft that day. Even your own face will be soft without any powder or makeup. You yourself will be soflt, so how soft will a black-eyed virgin be, when she comes to you so tall and with her beautiful face, her black hair and white face - praised be He who created night and day. Just feel her palm, Sheik! He said: How soft will a fingertip be, after being softened in paradise for thousands of years!

There is no god but Allah. He told us that if you entered one of the palaces, you would find ten black-eyed virgins sprawled on musk cushions. Where is Abu Khaled? Here, he has arrived! When they see you, they will get up and run to you. Lucky is the one who gets to put her thumb in your hand. When they get hold of you, they will push you onto your back, on the musk cushions. They will push you onto your back, Jamal! Allah Akbar! I wish this on all people present here. He said that one of them would place her mouth on yours. Do whatever you want. Another one would press her cheek against yours, yet another would press her chest against yours, and the others would await their turn. There is no god but Allah. He told us that one black-eyed virgin would give you a glass of wine. Wine in Paradise is a reward for your good deeds. The wine of this world is destructive, but not the wine of the world to come.

Wow, closest I've come to pornography.

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