Pankaj Mishra, an Indian (if I understand by name…) Bloomberg writer and columnist, wrote an article a few days ago entitled “Macron’s clash of civilizations is wrong” (Bloomberg, 28/10). Why does he think it is wrong? He cites three reasons. First, because “blaming all of Islam for the actions of a radicalized person” creates problems. Right but wrong. The “person” is not one. For some years now, numerous “radicalized people” have been killing anyone they do not like in France, Belgium, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Germany, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Somalia, Syria, just the day before yesterday in Nice and Many “radicalized” people have suddenly gathered. Secondly, because “Islamophobia has spread to all levels of French society.” Right, if it was right. At present, we have no such indication. The French Republic reacts when its citizens are killed. And whoever killed them would react. Islamist, Brahmin, Buddhist, Mormon or follower of Scientology. Only the first of all of them are beheading people in our parts. Third, because Macron “has bet France’s world fame on the brutal imitation of a figure worshiped by more than a billion Muslims.” He does it out of “opportunism” and for internal political reasons. It would be right, if it were not completely wrong. What the columnist confuses is the parody with the right to parody. Those who love the one being pretended. He concludes by writing that “Macron does not seem to realize a basic problem. That most people in the world today do not care much about what the French think of them. “Yes, but the French care. And those of us who participate with the French in the same cultural ensemble. I used the reasoning and arguments of a Bloomberg columnist because I’m afraid that when they are written in a top news agency others will share them. At least those who refer to the general and bypass its real subject discussion. Which does not concern Islam or Muhammad or the next French election. It’s about our culture. A culture that for some centuries has allowed us to show or not show respect for something that others love – or, even better, to show it in our own way. In 1912, before the naval battle of “Elli” in which he would face the Turkish fleet, Lieutenant Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis performs a modest religious service “in favor of weapons” on the deck of the battleship “Averoff”. everyone receives the Holy Communion before the battle, and the athyrostomic admiral closes the moving ceremony with the thunderous command: – And now with the help of Christ we are going to bless the Virgin Mary! for disrespect towards the Virgin Mary who is worshiped as an eternal Advocate of the Greek weapons, perhaps also for opportunism. The Virgin, however, probably did not see it that way. The naval battle was won by Koundouriotis. That is why I finally believe that the issue with the “Clash of Civilizations” that Macron chose (if he chose δεν) has nothing to do with whether the conflict is “wrong” but with whether it is fundamental. That is, if it concerns the essence of things. And the essence is not worship, nor insult to any object of any worship. It is the right of a society to consult and think even disrespectfully without risking being beheaded. As early as September, Macron had made it clear that the problem with Turkey was not a rude quarrel between neighbors. It is an “issue of security and European sovereignty” in the Eastern Mediterranean. Because Turkey and Erdogan do not claim or promote any individual claims or arrangements that could be discussed. They claim their imposition – from Kastellorizo to “Charlie Hebdo”. And they blackmail immigrants and jihadists. Greece will ask them what agreement it will make with Egypt and French magazines will get their permission when they want to satirize someone. A kind of “regional gendarmerie”. So the question is if we all have (and Macron and the rest of Europe…) realize the content and demands of the conflict. Obviously Erdogan will not back down – for now he is pretending to be the “Knight of Islam” in his audience. But paradoxically, the European side does not seem willing to take things to the extreme. No one just dares to say what everyone has in mind. That Turkey must be defeated and that the battle must be fought in the field of economy. Where Turkey is more vulnerable and exposed. I do not know if the European Union is mature and ready to accept such a strategy. I suspect that Germany, Spain and, secondarily, Hungary will find it difficult to share. But one thing is certain. That they will not avoid conflict. Erdogan has chosen it on their behalf. And in such cases the method is tried and tested. It was developed even succinctly, albeit disrespectfully, by the “Admiral of our heart” 108 years ago.
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