August 16, 2012

The Taliban within the modern person

While reading the notes of a lecture Durre Ahmad once gave in Leuven, I came accross this passage that firmly describes a certain piece of truth that is too often denied in Western and secular countries.

"The fact is that people kill as much in the name of God as they kill without it. In the 20th century, between the two world wars, the Gulag, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more than 200 million people died violent deaths for reasons that had nothing to do with religion, and all this occurred either in Europe or originated in the modern secular west. Besides Saddam and the determinedly secular Baath Party, there have been no non-western equivalents to Stalinism, Fascism, the Holocaust, apartheid, or the inventions of chemical, nuclear and biological weapons. As Karen Armstrong notes, ethnic cleansing is a by-product of modernity. Overall, the sheer scale of the genocides in the previous century, whether the Holocaust, the Indian partition, Rawanda, Cambodia, the Balkans, not to mention the Oklahoma bombings and periodic massacres of school kids in Britain and in the U.S.; indicate that there is something inherently self destructive within the modern ‘self’ and that fanaticism and fundamentalism lurks deep within the human psyche. Secular or religious, there is a Taliban within the modern person." (Durre Ahmad)

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