"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, August 05, 2005

Terrorist Chic

Rush Limbaugh tore into Anne Applebaum yesterday afternoon for this opinion piece, which appeared in Wednesday's Washington Post. And I don't understand why; it seems right on target to me. The support of the IRA by comfortable Irish-American Catholics, including prominent citizens and political figures (both Democrat and Republican) is a blot on American history. We could perhaps mitigate that blot in some small amount by examining the sorry episode for lessons that would help us understand, and deal with, the latest terrorism chic.

I am one of those melting-pot Americans who is a little bit of a lot of things, but as much or more Irish than anything else. I hold paper on the British too; I can work up a burst of righteous indignation about the famine and the Penal Laws without too much effort. Understanding why, thirty years ago, people like me were raising money in bars in Boston to buy guns for a bunch of thugs in Belfast is not making excuses for the arms-length applauders of the London bombers, it's just trying to learn from experience and introspection. Sometimes I think Limbaugh shouldn't be in such a Rush to criticize.

7 comments:

James Elliott said...

One cannot deny that for any conflict or issue, there will always be enablers and apologists. I recall one particularly egregious and disgusting guest op-ed in my university newspaper by a Palestinian student group that attempted to justify the bombing of an Israeli school bus by claiming that Israel's national service requirement meant that those children would someday be soldiers. Fortunately, while vocal, these sort of people tend to exist on the far fringes, burning out quickly after their "youthful exuberance."

I suspect, however, that the "terrorist chic" you refer to is more of a misunderstanding than anything else. Most of us who get accused of ascribing to this "fad" are merely trying to comprehend these events in full, to fully understand and honestly face the causes behind them, their raison d'etre if you will. We are engaging in the kind of thinking that you defend in your post. It is a long way from this to apologias or, as some have accused, cheerleading.

I am constantly amazed at how some people can come to be at such loggerheads with other people who are merely seeking frank and honest information. My only conclusion is that it stems from the very real fear we all feel (such as every time I board an airplane for a major city). Probing the origins and reasoning of those that cause us this fear raises complex issues, and many people don't like complexity because it can raise the specter of ambiguity, whether real or imagined. And who wants to be ambiguous about something they fear? Better to hate it, and anything that puts our hate into perspective.

(I feel compelled to point out, given my history of coming to loggerheads with the people here, that this comment is not meant in an accusatory fashion.)

Hunter Baker said...

Is the above another example of comment box spam?

James Elliott said...

Yes. Someone should tell Blogger.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I meant to add, in my original post, recommendations for two very effective artistic depicitions of the individual human heartbreak caused by the violence of the Troubles: the little indie movie Cal (featuring a hauntingly sad soundtrack by Mark Knopfler, who would go on to score Local Hero and The Princess Bride) and the novel The Red and the Green by Iris Murdoch.

James Elliott said...

Wow. With the spam comment removed, all of a sudden Hunter's comment and my second one make for a sort of absurd comedic exchange.

Kathy Hutchins said...

In other contexts, that is called "found art."

James Elliott said...

Heh. I found art.