At the beginning of this month, I responded with abhorrence to the murders of the Charlie Hebdo artists by jihadis and asked whether Islam has a fundamental tendency toward violence that Christianity does not.
In one of those wonderful moments of cosmic connection, I walk into class today and find AP students reading "Postcolonial Criticism and Multiculturalism," a chapter from Stephen Bonnycastle's literary theory text In Search of Authority. On page 230, Bonnycastle directs students' attention to Frantz Fanon's critique of Europe's history of oppression:
...Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration.
And yet it may be said that Europe has been successful in as much as everything that she has attempted has succeeded.
Europe undertook the leadership of the world with ardour, cynicism and violence. Look at how the shadow of her palaces stretches out ever farther! Every one of her movements has burst the bounds of space and thought. Europe has declined all humility and all modesty; but she has also set her face against all solicitude and all tenderness.
She has only shown herself parsimonious and niggardly where men are concerned; it is only men that she has killed and devoured.
So, my brothers, how is it that we do not understand that we have better things to do than to follow that same Europe? [Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1965, pp. 311–312].
I was aiming too low in comparing jihadis professing Islam to contemporary Christians who seem not produce proportionate holy warriors. I should have looked at the history of the great Western European Empire, at the pinnacle of which I comfortably Tweet, an empire built on the enslavement, exploitation, and extermination of millions from other cultures. Killing cartoonists, colonizing continents... what's the difference?
Update 16:47 CST: In related news, the Super Bowl is this weekend....