Hamas has unleashed the West’s monsters

Nov 20, 2023 by

by Jacob Howland, UnHerd:

Civilisation will never escape the descendants of Cain.

We live in an apocalyptic moment, when something truly hideous, long hidden just beneath the surface of everyday life, is breaking forth from the ground. The torture, rape, massacre, and kidnapping of roughly 1,200 Israelis on October 7 was only the beginning of this revelation. In the West, Hamas’s butchery has unleashed eruptions of antisemitism and massive, increasingly violent displays of support for the terrorists. Like some mythical monster that periodically emerges from hibernation to slaughter far and wide, the rough beast, it seems, is just stretching its legs. And we are only beginning to take its measure.

It’s important to understand the sheer evil that now threatens us. Hamas has been called “barbaric”, but that is hardly a sufficient description of its primitive savagery. The Greeks called non-Greeks barbaroi because their words sounded like babble to their ears: “bar bar bar.” Barbarians ranged from the slavish inhabitants of large, sophisticated, highly stratified societies (Persians, Egyptians) to fiercely spirited, independent tribes (the forest-dwelling Northerners that the Romans called Germani). None of these peoples based their identity on the struggle against a hated Other whose total elimination, to be achieved at any cost, was their sole reason for existence. None embraced the complete destruction of body and spirit — including their own as well — that the Nazis called Vernichtung: “negation”. None, in other words, were pure enemies of civilisation.

But jihadis are. Civilisation is the sum of cultural and social conditions that make for flourishing lives and communities. Jihadism is a death cult. In a recent podcast, Sam Harris reminds us of the Taliban jihadists who, in 2014, murdered 132 Muslim children at a school in Peshawar and burned a teacher alive in front of her students. A supporter of the Pakistani Taliban said of the dead children: “We did not end their lives. We gave them new ones in Paradise…. They will be rewarded for their martyrdom. After all, we also martyr ourselves with them.”

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