3 August 2005

7/7 - 6

Norman Geras has an incisive pair of posts on apologists for the 7/7 outrages:

"There are those who say that terrorist bombing isn't justified but the whole emphasis of whose comment is either to minimize the responsibility of the perpetrators and their 'managers' and supporters, or to deflect the consideration of this responsibility on to other targets. Here are a couple of questions for such people.

"First . . . if understanding and not justifying or condoning is what it is really all about, why is this 'understanding' discourse never deployed by the same people when racist thugs, angry about immigration, carry out hate crimes? It might be said, well, because their anger is unjustified, whereas Muslim anger over Afghanistan and Iraq is justified. But it's understanding, remember, and not justification, that this has just been said to be about, so the fact that the anger of the racists is unjustified is neither here nor there. It could still be a contributory cause and in need of being understood as such. You don't, however, read hand-wringing pieces in the Guardian or the Independent about that. It suggests that the apostles of (apologetic) understanding are caught between two places. They don't want to say that terrorism is justified because ... they don't want to say it. But they do want to dwell on the anger which feeds it, not merely as cause, because they don't do this in pleading on behalf of white racists, or on behalf of those who, angered by acts of terrorism, attack Muslims. It looks like something else, both psychologically and in terms of subtextual meanings, must be going on - as if they felt that some of the justification for the anger might just seep over towards the act, even though they profess to believe that the act isn't justified.

"Second, most of those who opposed the Afghan and/or Iraq wars, though some amongst them did let us know how very angry they were, have not resorted to the bomb and the wrecking of other lives. The vast majority of them, in truth, haven't even engaged in civil disobedience over it. They have remained within the framework of democratic procedure: of protest, argument, use of their votes, and so on. Since these people do not invoke anger on their own behalf towards explaining why they might (one day) violate the usual democratic norms as well as other human beings, why are they so ready to indulge others with this type of understanding? If anger is not a sufficient cause in the way they themselves react, how do they judge it such a mammoth cause of what the bombers do?"

Read the lot here then here.

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