Debate & discussion: The propagandists of denial

Submitted by Anon on 22 January, 2004 - 4:29

Nick Holden's review of Michael Moore's new book, Dude Where's my Country (Solidarity 3/43) is too generous.

Here are a few lines from Moore's book: "There is no terrorist threat. There is no terrorist threat. You need to calm down, relax, listen very carefully and repeat after me: There is no terrorist threat. There is no terrorist threat! THERE...IS...NO...TERRORIST...THREAT!"
Large parts of the left, and entire swathes of European public opinion, are in deep denial about the terrorist threat. I am not talking about that pro-tyrant left that has sold its soul to "anti-imperialism" and so critically supports the terrorist attacks, refusing to condemn 9/11 or the Jew killers in Turkey.

The editor could have filled this entire issue of Solidarity just listing the terrorist attacks of the last ten years. But for many left intellectuals and writers the dirty bomb that al-Qaida was getting closer to creating in its Afghan camps will never be finished and explode in the middle of London or Madrid. The single warhead that if filled with just 140 litres of VX could kill one million people will never be delivered. From the massacre of "westerners" at Luxor, to the massacre of Jews in Turkey, parts of the left are in denial. Let's all laugh at the "trigger-happy" sky marshals, instead. And as for those colour-coded states of alert. How funny can you get, eh?

The propagandists of the denial, like Moore, enjoy a relationship to a new and alarming mass base of denial. Around 30% of Germans and Greeks believe the crime against humanity of September 11 2001 was not the work of al-Qaida but a plot by the US government! Large chunks of this oh-so-sophisticated European opinion mutter darkly about Mossad and the Jews.

In this white and padded world there is no terrorism, only "terrorism". No democracy, only "democracy". The substitution of clear thinking by the tyranny of the inverted comma is now learnt as the very height of critical thinking at Smart Alec 101 classes across the world, while the Wahhabi-funded madrasas churn out another kind of education altogether.

In Albert Camus's novel The Plague, the good humanists keep repeating, as the plague spreads, "There are no rats in Oran". You see there cannot be.

Large chunks of the left are today like the people of Oran. Quite why this is so, or why some are even starting to half support the rats, I don't have space to discuss here. But we should not indulge them.

Wake up, and repeat after me, THERE...IS...A...TERRORIST...THREAT. Now, does the left have anything sensible to say about that threat? Anything? Any distinctive ideas about how to defeat it? Can it even allow itself to pose the question of how to contain and defeat the terrorist threat? Or can it only make silly jokes?

Alan Johnson, Kendal

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