We’ve been reminded once again of how so much of the world is still steeped in superstition and ignorance — and the fear and violence that too often accompanies it.
Six Quebecers were among those killed by young, radicalized/brainwashed stupid and ignorant people in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. The Quebecers were aid workers there, having dinner in a restaurant.
Four of their murderers — tied to Al-Qaeda — were killed by security forces, but not before they slaughtered 28 innocent, defenceless people while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Yes, they honestly thought they were serving some supernatural entity that endorses such acts.
Such are the micro-cosmic acts committed by members of the lunatic fringe. Indeed, “fringe” may not be the right word, because the vast majority of the planet’s people are superstitious to some point, and resulting acts of ignorance and violence are endorsed by some governments and rulers.
Exhibit A: Saudi Arabia, where people are put to death for the so-called practice of “sorcery.”
To most in the West, sorcery is the stuff of fairy tales. But many in the world still think sorcery and witchcraft and the like are real, and they are terrified that somebody might cast a spell on them. So, the terrified become terrorists.
No doubt, their terror and their terrorism is rooted an extremist fairy tale interpretation of Islam, and the superstitious beliefs that accompany it for groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda and various rulers like those in Saudi Arabia, who are ignorance personified to the nth degree in a modern technological age. They don’t come any stupider and superstitious than those folks.
Not that Christianity hasn’t sown its crop of morons either. But at least they don’t commit acts of terrorism in the name of God anymore. Their days of burning witches are over.
One wonders, though, if ignorant groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda might destroy civilization as we know it, and cause the deaths of much of the world’s population, including themselves. They would happily do it if they could — and it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
I remember seeing an interview with Osama bin Laden on PBS in the 1990s, before he became the world’s most wanted criminal. He was asked what radical Islamists wanted, what would it take to make them happy. His answer, to paraphrase it: We want the same things you have.
In other words, he saw the West as living in luxury. He didn’t oppose that luxury (back then); he merely wanted it for everyone.
Sadly, he chose a path of violence.
Today, groups like ISIS supposedly decry the luxuries of the West, while at the same time raping and pillaging and taxing . . . while their leader wears an expensive Rolex . . . while most of the militants click in to Twitter and Facebook on their smartphones . . .
Today I am not so sure if civilization as we know it will survive the likes of them. I’m not sure if the extremists, so jealous of the luxuries of the West, will destroy civilization and bring disease and misery to those who are unfortunate to survive.
I am reminded that the luxuries we enjoy are the technological accomplishments of a very small number of people. Take away those accomplishments — which ISIS and Al-Qaeda are bent on doing — and take away the minds capable of reproducing those technological wonders, and the vast majority of humans will die of starvation, exposure and disease.
There would be little, if nothing, left for groups like ISIS to rule. No luxuries left to enjoy. No Twitter. No Facebook. ISIS and Al-Qaeda followers would die off, too . . . But they are too stupid to see that now. They are blinded by superstition, terrified by it . . .