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The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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11 September 2006 Blog Home : September 2006 : Permalink

My September 11, 2001

Was spent flying and hanging around in airports. I don't recall anything special at Nice airport. If the buildings had been hit the news failed to get out and it was business as usual. But it was very different one hour later in Zurich.

The first thing that jumped out was that all the flights to North America were all marked in red for delayed. Then we entered the business class lounge - since at the time I had amassed a simply enormous sum of Swiss Air miles we were flying business class to Japan that day. Everyone was gathered around the TV which was switched to CNN. We saw the replays of the towers being hit, we saw the confused reports of stuff going on at the Pentagon, we saw the shocked expressions of everyone.

Then one of the towers collapsed.

We spent, if I recall correctly, some 2-3 hours in Zurich. It was a somewhat chaotic to say the least with all those people due to fly to the US wondering what they were going to do and a lot of other people clearly nervous. I recall working out in my head that the chances of being attacked on a Zurich-Tokyo flight were minimal and that probably the worst bit would be the internal Japanese flight we had to take the nex day. I also decided there was no way I was going to be one of the sheep, if terrorists were on the plane and managed to crash it somewhere they would crash my corpse because I would have died trying to stop them. It was obvious to me that the previous "rules of engagement", where hijackers would simply redirect the plane somewhere and the passengers would most likely survive had been thrown out of the window.

When we boarded our flight I was far from alone in looking at our fellow passengers and performing that sexual/racial/ageist profiling that all good liberals decry. The one that says "little old lady, no threat", "fat middle-aged businessman, no threat" "young man, possible" "dark skinned man, possible" "orthodox jew, no threat", "tattooed punk, possible ally" and so on.

Of course as it turned out the flight was uneventful, and, as it happened, so was the flight in Japan on September 12th. But the rules of engagement have changed and remain changed. We no longer give these people the benefit of the doubt or consider them to be "mostly harmless". After 11 September 2001 the west started to pay attention to what these Muslims claimed to be fighting for. And for the most part, even those idiots who spout duck-billed anti war/anti-Israel platitudes on TV or in newpapers would never convert to Islam and would never accept the strictures of Sharia.

The Islamic fanatics have lost and it is my belief that in their heart of hearts they know it. They know it because they remain at the margins, despite their "glorious victories" the people the claim to be representing - the Muslims of the world - do not rise up in theirsupport. Ok a couple of riots here and there, a couple of countres makign supportive noises and donating oil money, a handful of communities deciding that islam may be slightly better than corrupt tyranny but that is about it. There is no worldwide muslim uprising, there is no movement away from the evils of decadent western culture within the Muslim world. If there was a surge of jhadi volunteers they have mostly been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and there were no more than a few thousand - a pretty poor showing for a religion that claims a billion believers.

Fervern declarations by the BBC and others that "not all Muslims are terrorists" are obviously true, what is also obviously true is that almost all terrorists claim to be Muslims. The world can I think be usefully divided into those who accept that second statement as fact and those who deny it. I am comparatively optimistic that the terrorists are going to fail (in the long term) in the same way that the late 19th century anarchists did. However in the shorter term they may manage to chalk up some things that look like victories.

Western society survives because it is flexible and adaptable. It is also innovative. At some point we will come up with a better way to screen passengers and their bags so that hijackers stop becoming a threat. At some point technology will permit real-time translation of Arabic and other foriegn tongues. At some point, and this could be sooner rather than later, given the recent oil price, demand for oil will decrease because we'll use some other energy source for much of our day to day life and something else as a feedstock for plastics. As these things happen radical Islam will become ever more maginalized. The only question is whether the rest of Islam goes the same way or whether it can adapt. But under the new rules of engagement, the burden of proof now lies with them not with us.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin