The entire ideological perspective of contemporary culture is, in fact, built on a victimological principle, i.e. on the centrality of victims in all our ethical concerns: the victims of the Shoah, the victims of capitalism, the victims of social injustice, of war, of political persecution, of ecological disasters, of racial, sexual, religious discrimination. And no matter how controversial it may sound, Girard claims that it has been Christianity that has been the foremost proponent of putting the victim at the centre of our ethical and imaginative concern.Indeed -- who could doubt Girard's claim once the massive evidence for it is presented? But, as I have many times said, the sin that Paul insists "takes advantage of the Law," takes advantage as well of the Gospel. That is, certified victimizers -- once they catch on to the advantages of the victimary ethic -- will, as Michelle Malkin puts it below "milk it for all it's worth."
What is ostensibly motivated by a concern for judicial propriety, will in the end become a "show trial," but one controlled, not by the prosecution and the state, but by an unrepentant and implacable enemy determined to destroy it. We are about to find out the unintended consequences of the administration's inability to distinguish between common criminals and jihadist agents trained, again as Malkin puts it, "to game the system." Here as elsewhere, an understanding of the mimetic effect of such trials might at least have led to more caution in this regard.
Malkin's a post is a harbinger of things very likely to come when the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial begins in New York. The folly of the Obama administration's decision will soon be part of the nightly news, not only our Western news outlets, but throughout the volatile Arab world.
You want a glimpse of the future that crime-coddling Eric Holder and the White House will be bringing up en masse?
Right now, in New York City, jihad scientist Aafia Siddiqui is on trial.
See here, here, here, and here for background on the MIT-trained microbiologist/suspected KSM operative who went missing after 9/11 — and was caught, shot, and extradited two years in Pakistan after threatening to kill American soldiers.
The Pakistani government is paying for part of her defense. She has used the civilian court system to shout anti-American propaganda and spew hatred against Jews, cause legal chaos, and make a mockery of the rights she has been granted. al Qaeda has been trained to game the system. The Western-educated Siddiqui is milking it for all it’s worth.
On Monday, she was thrown out twice for outburts. Her defense team is now asking for, you guessed it, a mistrial.
A U.S.-trained Pakistani scientist linked to al-Qaida got into trouble again Monday in federal court after twice interrupting the sometimes tearful testimony of an American solider who claimed he shot her in self defense in Afghanistan in 2008.
“I feel sorry for you,” Aafit Saddiqui blurted out at one point at her attempted murder trial in Manhattan. After a judge had deputy U.S. marshals remove her, she pointed at the witness and muttered something else before disappearing behind a side door.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman allowed Saddiqui to return later, but kicked her out again amid another rambling tirade about injustice. At the end of the day, the defense argued that the removals made her look bad in front of the jury and asked for a mistrial, which the judge denied.
“It’s highly appropriate for her to be escorted out of the courtroom when she acts out,” he said.
Siddiqui – a specialist in neuroscience who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University – has insisted in previous courtroom rants that she’s innocent. She also has refused to work with her defense attorneys, including some paid for by the Pakistani government. . . .
Two jurors were also let go after a man sitting in the courtroom pointed at them, used his finger as a gun to pretend to shoot them, and mouthed an obscenity.These are the kinds of moral muddles that cannot be comprehended without the kind of light that Girard's anthropology throws on our contemporary predicament.
Reports the NYPost: ” The unidentified man in a white headdress was taken into custody but it was unclear if charges were filed following the incident in Manhattan federal court.”
An al Qaeda suspect given free reign with her tongue in a public courtroom. Jurors threatened. Prosecution in jeopardy.
Now, imagine the scene being repeated in 12 or 20 or 25 more courtrooms across America simultaneously with similar high-value suspects and the jihadi dregs of Gitmo.
Are you ready? It’s coming.
How is possible that a culture that manages to see victims everywhere misses the slaughter of 50 million innocent children? Or is that slaughter the font of the blindness that makes “political correctness” so fogged and imprecise, so absurdly disproportionate and fanatical?
That is THE question. Part of the answer for the moral blindness is that it has been attached to an ostensible effort to champion another set of victims: women. It's sin taking advantage of the Gospel imperative to identify with victims. Another part of the answer is that unborn children are completely faceless and voiceless. Our task is to give them a voice and -- thanks to imaging technology -- their faces have begun to emerge.
The chess game between truth and violence will continue to the end.
Is the Pierpaolo Antonello and João Cezar de Castro Rocha book one you are currently reading?
If you've already read it, would you recommend it to me? (I enjoyed your book very much - but wonder if there is a lot of overlap with this new one..)
The book is "Evolution and Conversion." It's an extended interview with Rene. A very nice overview of his work.
Is there another Girard book coming out soonish? I want to say this summer..a translation maybe?
I could be way, way off...
Another book-length interview with Rene has recently been translated into English: Battling to the End. It is a remarkable book, but it takes time and thought. It is vintage Girard. There are a few (very few) shortcomings, but they are far, far outweighed by the grand sweep of the book. It is often riveting.
That's the one. Thanks, Gil. I'll pick it up.
As to the first part of your response to Gordon, you've hit on a key reason, besides the obvious moral ones, why the pro-life movement must unfailingly eschew all forms of violence against those who facilitate and perform abortions. Such conduct, by creating more victims, hands the pro-abortionists and their champions among the MSM more smoke and mirrors with which to obfuscate the real issue. Remember the NYTimes lede when G Tiller was murdered?: "George Tiller...was shot to death here Sunday in the foyer of his longtime church as he handed out the church bulletin."
Also, as long as you're in an answering mood, perhaps you’ll let us know when YOUR next book is coming out?
Just so you don't think you're the only one to ask Gil that question...today :-)
(I'm not kidding.)
Gil, you obviously believe that the KSM trial is being mishandled, but I don’t understand what you are proposing. How should his case or Aafia Siddiqui’s be handled differently? If there are no alternatives to the current process, then I guess we’re stuck with it, aren’t we? What are the alternatives, in your view? I guess what I'm looking for is "constructive" criticism.
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