A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Just When You think ISIS Can't Get Any Worse...

My Suez Canal attack post is taking some time but will be up soon.

The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Da3ish) keeps finding new ways to give savage barbarism a bad name. The apparent burning alive of a Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, apparently weeks before they offered to trade him, is a new low, though these have shown themselves to be people who kill without hesitation, behead innocent people, kidnap minority religious women (Yazidis) and systematically rape and enslave them (and publish their religious justification for rape and enslavement), in the name of a religion whose holy book always refers to God as "the compassionate, the merciful."

They are enemies not just of Western civilization, but of Islamic civilization as well. And while they must be defeated, it's not American boots on the ground. The Middle East needs to find its own  way out of this one. These people threaten the Islamic world first of all. Now they have pissed off the Royal Jordanian Air Force. A small force, but one of the best trained and most cohesive in the Middle East. That may be a mistake.

And of course beyond the executions, rapes, enslavements, and burnings alive, last week they also blew up the ancient wall of Nineveh. (Why? It's not Shi‘ite, Christian, or Jewish.)

This image is making the rounds, and deserves both applause and a bit of comment (warning: both image and language are not safe for work/NSFW):
Amen to the sentiment. There is, however, an obvious difference. The nun or the ra painted on your house in ISIS territory will get you killed or ethnically cleansed. The middle finger, if painted in ISIS territory, no doubt will too, if it could appear, but it's not really "the international sign for 'fuck you'," (there are far too many available gestures), though it may be getting there. A post for another day.

But nobody dies when we give ISIS the finger, good as it may feel. Saying "Fuck you!" ("international symbol" or not) may make us feel good, but it doesn't stop the beheadings, rapes, enslavement of female minorities, etc. ISIS is not deterred by the power of the US and its coalition partners, so I'm pretty sure the raised middle finger won't send them running for cover.

I keep profanity at a minimum here and I think it's been a year or more since it's appeared, but one of the utilities of four-letter words is that they allow us to proclaim our frustrations when we can do nothing. It relieves our anger. In a grotesque atrocity like this one, "fuck you" is not just required, it's inadequate. The obscenity of the act cannot be matched by any verbal obscenity of which I am aware. When you are dealing with genocidal fucking motherfucking fucks, there is no polite way of saying it.

A usually demure Facebook friend a while back, after an ISIS atrocity, posted the comment "waste these fuckers." But despite the multinational bombing campaign, (Since they engage in rape and forced marriage of Yazidis and other enslaved women, "fuckers" literally appropriate), ISIS is still prospering. The Royal Jordanian Air Force, however, is probably thinking along the same lines right now, and has some chance to waste these fuckers. But language alone is just a release.

It's tempting to say "this time they've gone too far," but that's where they started. Sorry to those offended by the profanity, but what was your first reaction to this obscenity? If I say "Fuck ISIS" are they going to run for cover when allied aircraft are already hitting them daily? Does saying "Fuck you!"  or even "كس أمك" make them run for cover? No, though it lets off steam. I'll gladly say both  to these evil people, but it won't deter them. It just makes us feel good.

So fuck ISIS, but the more appropriate response is not "Fuck ISIS" but "Fuck our inability to do anything about ISIS." But "Fuck ISIS" makes us feel good.

I have not seen and will not watch the video. But Arab readers seem to agree, and #fuckisis seems big on Twitter:

No comments: