A world twisted by terrorism - SÜLEYMAN SEYFI ÖĞÜN

A world twisted by terrorism

It is likely that the terrorist massacres in Paris will escalate the Islamophobia in Europe. This does not mean that it needs to turn into an open challenge. For instance, racism does not need to be carried to government everywhere. Europe knows well how to prevent such rises; that will in a sense turn life into a dungeon for itself.

What I mean is the banal or conventional forms of hostility toward foreigners. Muslims living in Europe or forcing its gates should now be ready for more inconsiderate and intolerant treatment.

Also, the defensive language adopted toward rising conventional Islamophobia is quite interesting. I see this language being used thoughtlessly, much like rote memorization. It is said: "Islam and violence cannot coexist. Islam cannot be considered a source which itself produces terror." Agreed. Anyone in their right mind, in the words of Karatani, would know that the world view and message of “original religions” is “peace.” Yet, this really has no significance in practice. Because as Žižek said, you can achieve everything you want from any religion. This is the result of the “text-context” and “interpretation” relationship. Texts are interpreted in different historical contexts and in ways serve as a reference to different actions. This is something that has been happening all along. An example from Christianity: If Jesus, as said, originally proposed a religion of poverty and peace, here do we place the Church's institutional history, economic power and the popes' grandiose power? But a clergy who is a member of the Papacy will, I am sure, explain this with numerous excuses and in fact by reading passages from the Bible. The Kharijiyyah used to justify the murders they committed, in their own way, as an Islamic requirement. Now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is doing the same thing and it, without a doubt and strange to us, bases the violence it commits on the Quran. Surely it is a requirement of faith to say “there is no terror in Islam” and it is true in terms of protecting the holy text. Yet, in theological arguments, it is not possible to keep terrorism from rationalizing or legitimizing itself. What can we do, for life does not fit in a book.

The thing that will decrease Islamophobia and stop it from being associated with terrorism is the increased global-scale influence of reasonable Islamic social-cultural circles, hence increasing its recognition. This is not possible without Turkey. Turkey made great progress in the Muslim world with its mainstream conservative social body. Islamic sensitivities in Turkey led to neither radicalism nor extremism. The walk to the center of rural pious masses loyal to good cultural traditions, has always insisted on a legitimate path. This is not a merely political walk. The accumulation of capital behind it has also strengthened this. The entire matter is related to the state of the new generations that have started to socialize within this process. In other words, what now needs to be looked out for in Turkish political life, rather than transition generations, is the generations that are born where this is completed.

For them, development, getting a share from welfare, are not goals to reach, they are data. They are more the subjects that need to be carried by the process rather than the carriers of the process. In today's world, inequality is deepening on a global scale. Yet this is more something that happens between the central capital world and the side world. In semi-center worlds, even if relative, there is some improvement generally in middle-class standards. But this is exactly where the danger lies. Transition generations are probably aware of the value of the things they have achieved, but the situation is not the same for the new generations born into what has already been achieved. Hence, the stories of transition generations will not interest them, after a certain point. Transition generations have stories of poverty, whereas the story of new generations is deprivation. Dealing with problems of deprivation is tougher than dealing with problems of poverty. World experiences show that poverty makes one either a legist or a conformist. But the feeling of deprivation, again according to Žižek, gives rise to “false radicalisms.” This is what feeds terror. This feeling turns into a superior mind in the focus of terror. This mind that is ruled by “surprising” staff who have received a good education and who are in fact economically well off, is turning those who come from the sides into its soldiers.

The decision-makers must certainly calculate these connections in Turkey's new period.


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