Friday, 3 October 2008

Churchill

I think the reference to the thousands willing to die for the Queen refers to ‘native’ soldiers of the British Empire under Queen Victoria. He wrote this in 1899 (The River War):
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
I have just finished watching Islam: What the West Needs to Know which is longer and better presented than Fitna. Although a lot of what the critics of Islam say is true, some, particularly Quranic quotes, don't stand up to scrutiny when viewed in context. I am also rather uncomfortable because the critics tend to be rather right wing and have their own religious agenda. They make uneasy intellectual bedfellows.
I am getting so fed up with the noise. It is physically painful. I want to find a place somewhere where I can afford to live – can earn my bread for two years and then survive on a pittance of a pension (provided the western financial system remains alive). Mountains seem healthy. Provided there are not noisy people there. Cow bells are OK. Civilised mountains seem expensive though.