The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Juliana McCourt

Anthony McIntyre

In the not too distant future four year old Juliana McCourt will fly from America to Ireland. It will be her final flight. The last time she flew was over a year ago and she was four years old then as well. Some theocratic fascists who boarded a plane with her in Boston as she accompanied her mother on a trip to Disneyland decided that she would remain four forever. They, with their self-given sacred right to kill those of a different cultural or intellectual persuasion - or simply of no persuasion other than Disney - flew the fuel laden jet in which she was travelling into the second tower of the World Trade Centre. When they saw her boarding the same plane as themselves they may have hated her and her mother for not wearing the burkas. But the self-appointed morality police would settle up with her for that. They would obliterate her face so that a burka would be superfluous to requirements. There would be nothing left for it to conceal.

How the focussed murder of a four year old girl advances any cause other than infanticide beggars belief. And yet, occasionally, there are those to be found who try all manner of contextualisation in order to evade labelling it murder or a war crime - 'American imperialism created Islamic fundamentalism and therefore American imperialism is to blame.' A favourite amongst the exponents of this type of argument is the context of desperation; only those driven to desperation by imperialist repression would take on such a course of action. All of which conveniently forgets that Japanese imperialism, and not desperation driven individuals, made use of human propelled planes pounding into human targets six decades ago. Amongst the animal species, it is an exclusively human property to die for ideas. And as was borne out by the Japanese experience, ideas can be borne of oppressive fanaticism as much as are they originate in liberationist desperation.

Such is the ‘cultic idiocy’ that on occasion grips elements of the Left that once I had the misfortune to come across an ‘anti-imperialist’ who informed me that he had no objection to the event that caused the death of Juliana McCourt and thousands of others; he would take his counsel on such matters only from the people of the ‘third world’. As if there was one third world, the collective mind of which he had privileged access to. America, in his world view, was so oppressive he would prefer to live under the Taliban. British rule must somehow be qualitatively different from its US counterpart, however, as he still lives here and travels only, it seems, to other countries with a history of the imperialism that he rants against.

While such nonsense is the exception rather than the rule with those on the Left, many of whom can be seen working diligently on a daily basis, there nevertheless remains an unhealthy ethical ambivalence. Seemingly, the murders of four year olds can often be justified, excused or less severely criticised if they are the children of someone else. When they are our own the double standard kicks in very strongly indeed. And yet because we live in a Western capitalist society that benefits materially from exploitation of other countries, the same logic that justifies the murder of American children would also justify the murder of our own.

Regardless of the justice of any cause there is no unmediated leap from the grievance which is the raison d'etre of the cause to the actions used to redress the grievance. Otherwise, rape and cannibalism would, in an almost casual manner, be justified on the grounds that both undermine the morale of the enemy. Ethically informed intellectual deliberations and considerations must always constitute the medium through which cause extends itself into action. And if such considerations and deliberations are blind to the fate of children it is those who hold them rather than the cause per se which is culpable. But there is no loosing sight of that fact that ridiculous arguments help ridicule legitimate causes

There are major questions that need to be addressed in the Islamic world. The foolish alone would seem to believe that Western intervention in that world was for anything other than self interest. Whether governed by considerations of realist expansionism in a security deficient world or by the need of capital to find new markets the urge to become global hegemon on the part of the US has led to untold misery for those who live in the regions whose acquiescence to the hegemony is expected. Yet is a body such as al Qaida the answer to the woes endured by hundreds of millions of people?

Christopher Hitchens, his dubious but nevertheless coherent pro-war views notwithstanding, has injected some valid reasoning into a debate for so long poisoned and polluted by old phraseology and rhetoric. He has described al Qaida as:

partly a corrupt multinational corporation, partly a crime family, partly a surrogate for the Saudi oligarchy and the Pakistani secret police, partly a sectarian religious cult, and partly a fascist organization. What does it demand from non-Muslim societies? It demands that they acknowledge their loathsome blasphemy and realize their own fitness for destruction. What does it demand for Muslim societies? It demands that they adopt 17th-century norms of clerical absolutism.

This urge to enslave rather than any impulse to set free is what ensured Juliana McCourt ended her short life at four and is soon to be enveloped in the dull clay of a Cork cemetery. She died while still in her infancy and was cremated before she will be buried - a shroud rather than Mickey Mouse the outcome of her innocence which led her to board a doomed airliner. This amounts to the sheer inversion of everything we have come to expect for our children. Theocratic fascism and its totalitarian theology, capable only of issuing a fatwa against our infants, should be more thoroughly confronted by the Left, never excused.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies.
- Arthur Calwell

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Index: Current Articles

13 December 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


The Civil Rights Veterans' Story
Anthony McIntyre


Asking the Awkward Questions
Terry Harkin


West Belfast Firefighters Support
Davy Carlin


Crime And The Family

Sean Smyth


Juliana McCourt
Anthony McIntyre


A Glimmer of Hope
Michael Dahan


8 December 2002


The British State Murder of Pearse Jordan
Anthony McIntyre


The Falls And Shankill March As One
Davy Carlin


Alternatives to the GFA?
Paul Fitzsimmons


Ted Honderich: A Philosopher in the Trenches
Paul de Rooji


Uri Davis and the Battle Against Israeli Apartheid
Anthony McIntyre


Palestinian Children In The Night
Sam Bahour


Solitary Confinement Kills
Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Cephesi




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