I've been thinking today about Allan Bloom's discussion of the concept of "commitment" and how it develops an allure in-and-of-itself during times of intellectual crisis. His example was the strange allure that terrorists often have in late democracies. No doubt, he was thinking of groups like the Bader Meinhoff gang, but I wonder if we don't respond to current terrorists in a similar way. I think we tend to see them as being engaged in a political struggle, and I think this suggests that they're acting out of enlightened self-interest. But, then you read about a group like the Badr Corps death squads, who have been targeting gay men for assassination, and you remember that these people have more in common with Torquemada than the Red Shirts.
"Ammar, a young gay man of 27, was abducted and shot in back of the head in Baghdad by suspected Badr militias in January 2006. Haydar Faiek, aged 40, a transsexual Iraqi, was beaten and burned to death by Badr militias in the main street in the Al-Karada district of Baghdad in September 2005. Naffeh, aged 45, disappeared in August 2005. His family was informed that he was kidnapped by the Badr organization. His body was found in January 2006. He, too, had been subjected to an execution-style killing."
Shameful too is the US military response to this. Targeted gay men have been "met with indifference and derision," Doug Ireland reports. One gay Iraqi who is hiding five gay men in his home said that when he has approached American officials they have "laughed" and have refused to provide support.
But, of course, this is less shameful than targeting them for execution.
Something that troubles me about myself, frankly, is that I have to remind myself of that- the soldier's response feels more shameful somehow. As if the US should know better. But, why shouldn't other people know better than to target gay men for execution? Do I just assume that their religious beliefs are their business and cannot be argued with? Do I understand US soldiers better, feel them more akin to myself, and thus expect a higher standard of behavior? Am I so afraid of "cultural imperialism" that I can't admit that these death squads make me sick in a way that no US fundamentalist, not even Fred Phelps, has been able to? And why don't gay rights groups march en masse for gays and lesbians in the middle east? I dislike the US troops who laugh at the deaths of homosexuals, but I loathe the sort of people who cause them. Their commitment is to a projection of themselves and not to other human beings.
I hate their God and it hates me.