Friday, 14 March 2008

Inviolate irrationality = evil ?

From this excellent report;

On an individual level, it is possible to see the friction and psychological trauma of families. Khaled's mother, for instance, constantly expressed her pride in her dead son Hassan and, in front of me, she looked with almost equal love at his still-living brother. But when my companion urged Khaled to remain alive for his mother's sake – reminding him that the Prophet himself spoke of the primary obligation of a Muslim man to protect his mother – the woman was close to tears. She was torn apart by her love as a mother and her religious-political duty as the woman who had brought another would-be martyr into the world. When my friend again urged Khaled to remain alive, to stay in Sidon and marry – eerily, the muezzin's call to prayer had begun during our conversation – he shook his head.

Not even a disparaging remark about those who would send him on his death mission – that they were prepared to live in this world while sending others like Khaled to their fate – could discourage him. "I am not going to become a 'shahed' [martyr] for people," he replied. "I am doing it for God."

It was the same old argument. We could produce a hundred good ways – peaceful ways – for him to resolve the injustices of this world; but the moment Khaled invoked the name of God, our suggestions became irrelevant. Rationality – humanism, if you like – simply withered away. If a Western president could invoke a war of "good against evil", his antagonists could do the same.

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