Watching the video I posted on the home page I have to admit near feeling sorry for that young Israeli soldier filmed whilst trying to arrest a Palestinian child with a broken arm. How would you feel later that day or later in life? Not a war story you would want to tell your grandchildren. “I tried to arrest a screaming little boy with his broken arm in a sling, but failed when a little girl in a pink t-shirt bit me on the hand.”
A spokeswoman for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) decades ago made the point that Israel is doing as much damage to itself as it is to the Palestinians in that they will have scores of young men and women returning to civilian life psychologically damaged by what they were ordered to do.
Also and on race relations, recently the head of our domestic spook organisation, (ASIO) reported to the Senate that their far-right caseload had increased from about a third to 40 percent. Sounds bigger than it actually is given a third is roughly 33 percent and so 40 is a 7 percent increase. Most people would feel 40 percent is very near half. Wording aside, and it’s expected that agents of the executive will always talk up numbers when requesting more money and powers, what I found interesting in what the chief spook had to say was that the average age of far-right persons under surveillance is 25 years. A job for life keeping that mob under surveillance!
But seriously, and cynicism aside, that low average age does not surprise me. Where most of us boomers were fairly hard left in our youth, the onset of old age caused us to moved to the centre having realised extremes in politics are never a good thing. What should be asked is why so many young Muslims and non-Muslims are being seduced by extremist ideologies? That, I think, would be a good place to start if genuinely seeking a solution. It’s of course not easy to determine simple causes as for example the one stated as single truth by George W Bush when he said “They (Muslims) hate our freedom and the way we treat women.” A lie and a good one because substantially true but omitting who amongst Muslims hate us for those reasons and again, why?
The answer to that is the same Muslims who hitherto have wielded absolute power over their communities, and unsurprisingly see western liberalism as a threat because and was well put by the response of a twelve-year-old Yemeni boy when asked by a western journalist what his generation wanted, “The same as you have – freedom and democracy.” An increasing number of young Muslims want ‘same as their western peers’ and to be included as world-citizens thriving in an emerging global civilisation. Muslim old-farts are not alone in resisting this rise of a generation who from all the world’s nations can come together around a camp fire and discuss their lives, their global youth culture, the latest tech, world affairs – and in English. Not Chinese, Russian nor Arabic. Feeling left out and disempowered would certainly be a powerful motivation to retreat back into and aggressively assert ancestral culture and identity.
So what’s with the far right if the trend is all races coming together? It’s actually very much the same problem; a deep feeling of loss of identity and social exclusion caused by a wrong claim that white, and particularly heterosexual, men are personally responsible for all the ills of the world. Adding to this injustice, their male identity itself is attacked as ‘toxic’ creating over time a crisis of masculinity with many of the younger male generation now derisively described as ‘wet noodles’, even by women. At the other extreme of the western male response to this crisis some young men have reacted to these attacks, their loss of identity and social purpose by embracing an extremist far-right ideology. We’ve seen it before in the aftermath of World War One, and as described in Encyclopedia 1914 / 1918 Online.
“Most of the men returned (German veterans) and wanted their jobs back; battles between men and women over increasingly scarce jobs exacerbated the gender confusion and gender wars of the 1920s, contributing to the increasingly angry, gynophobic, and fascist “Männer-phantasien” (male-fantasies) among a small but raucous number of German veterans.”
Chuck climate change into this witch’s brew, and the concerns of our chief spook just like those expressed by 20 french generals in an open letter predicting civil war, are not unfounded. The next few decades could be the ‘interesting times’ of that Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.
My belief is that if we don’t all burn in a nuclear war nor pollute ourselves out of existence, the future looks good. A school teacher could relate to what is happening because it’s well known group dynamics just like a new class of students sorting themselves into a functional whole. Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing. A new human is being formed by the coming together of previously separate races, there will be storming before things settle down and from then on they will be able to perform as a single civilisation, and eventually expand beyond our little planet. Maybe that’s when Earthlings come up against the Klingons. Poor Klingons.