David Warren, writer for the Ottawa Citizen, has some interesting, if not misguided, views on the capture and release of the Fox News journalists held hostage by Islamic radicals. In his recent entry for the paper, entitled 'Doing the Enemy's Work', Warren criticizes the journalist for being pansies during their captivity. He expected a little more from the reporters apparently and berates them for being cowards, or "men without chests" (doesn't that sound like an 80s band?). This is what he had to say:
"The degree to which our starch is awash is exhibited in the behavior of so many of our captives, but especially in these two. They were told to convert to Islam under implicit threat (blindfolded and hand-tied, they could not judge what threat), and agreed to make the propaganda broadcasts to guarantee their own safety. That much we can understand, as conventional cowardice. (Understand; not forgive.) But it is obvious from their later statements that they never thought twice; that they could see nothing wrong in serving the enemy, so long as it meant they'd be safe.
I assume they are not Christians (few journalists are), but had they ever been instructed in that faith, they might have grasped that conversion to Islam means denial of Christ, and that is something many millions of Christians (few of them intellectuals) have refused to do, even at the cost of excruciating deaths. Christianity still lives, because of such martyrs. Not suicide bombers: but truly defenseless martyrs....
Two years ago, an heroic Italian captive, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, asked to make whimpering statements as part of the video of his execution in Iraq, ripped at his hood and instead declared, "This is how an Italian dies!" to his contemptible captors. He must have upset them: for they shot him instead of sawing off his head. In making his stand for human dignity, he also turned one of their propaganda videos, into one of ours.
But Quattrocchi had three friends, who all successfully begged for their lives. And the two Fox journalists, whom I will not stoop to name, begged for their lives even though, in retrospect, their lives probably weren't in danger."
Wow...just...wow. I really don't know where to begin with this, but try as I might I'll make some rebuttal in defense of people I've never met.
First off it's hard for me to consider journalists who enter a war zone under the implicit threat of capture and possible death cowards. They know what dangers they are facing to do their jobs and they do so willingly. They are not under the threat of imprisonment for not doing so.
It's easy to sit back under the comforts provided by the west and critique the behavior of those held in captivity by madmen, but really who are we to do so? Unless you've been held against your will by people with a mindset that's wedged permanently in the 3rd century we have no idea how we would react. Would we disavow or faith, family, country, and/or masculinity to survive?
I have no earthly idea what I would do nor do I think Warren does. Really I'd like to think if I were in that situation I would rip off my shirt, exposing my hairy barrel chest, and disarm them terrorists in a fashion that would make Chuck Norris proud. I would follow that heroic display by beating the terrorists with the butt of a rifle so hard they would curse their mother for giving them birth, or make them watch reruns of 'Saved by the Bell', or better yet make them draw images of their prophet using Crayola crayons. That'll teach em.
That scenario is not likely to happen, but I do think about the Italian and what exactly he accomplished. Yes he died with dignity and yes his story must be told, but did his actions speak as a rallying cry for the west to stand up for the west at all costs? Will people really follow his lead? How effective was his point embraced by the west? Have any of you even heard of this guy?
I do applaud the Italian for what he did. If anything I hope he sent a message to the followers of the Religion of Peace that our values are worth dying for as well and we don't send our youth to blow themselves up in a bus full of children and the elderly to make that point. Yes our nation and culture has it's numerous flaws, but the difference is our citizens have the power to change that and ideally act civilized while doing so.
Okay back to Warren..
He does go on to make some points I agree with in his writing which is interesting. One of them really struck me:
"I created a scene with a column, many years ago, when I wrote about the young men in the corridors of the University of Montreal, who stood by and watched while Gamil Garbi (alias Marc LÃpine) shot fourteen women to death. To a man (if you could call them men), they explained afterwards, "We couldn't do anything, he had a gun." As I pointed out at the time, we have bred young men who will stand by and watch a psychopath shoot defenselesss women, so long as he assures them he will not shoot them."
He's right in the fact that we are raising our children to act defeneslesss in harrowing situations. I had many a school administrator tell me that if I or a friend was being attacked that I must first run to a teacher rather than strike back. If I did react to violence with violence I was still in trouble. Like most boys I, under the instructions of my parents, never followed the educators' scenarios that were designed to cover their ass from a lawsuit. I don't believe the school's policy has changed since then.
We are not taught to defend ourselves then how are we going to stand tall for others, or even an ideal? If the idea that all violence is bad in all situations becomes the status quo then how do you expect people to react?
Let me stray off topic here and point out that because we'd rather raise a nation of people who'd rather entrust their immediate safety to authorities rather than learning and applying the art of self defense I must say to all women that you should carry mace and learn the martial arts. A cop will not be there to defend you from attack nor can you rely on men's chivalry for it is truly dying. Speaking for all who have a penis I apologize, but the cold reality is that you're on your own.
Okay back again to Warren...
I'm glad the Fox journalists are back and safe. They may have put on a facade of embracing Islam to save themselves from being decapitated, but I will not fault them for that and I will not ask them to fight for me. They are journalists and shouldn't be expected anything more than to stay alive and write the story.
The real problem I have with David Warren is that he demands that all westerners do his fighting for him, to embrace the same ideals and die for them. It's a fantasy that's almost impossible in a free society.
Okay I'm off my high horse. Damn this is a long post.
Amazing how I can agree and disagree so whole heartedly with David Warren's thoughts.
"I have also thrice been in circumstances in which I felt certain that I would die: once rock-climbing, once from a bursting appendix, & once when I was attacked by a man with a knife in eastern Turkey." - David Warren.