Sunday, June 10, 2007

Christopher Hitchens' September 11 joy ...

Militant athiest Christopher Hitchens has now become a darling of the lunar-Right. At least he seems to have become so. The last time I saw him was being interviewed on TV was on the ABC current affairs show Lateline. During the interview, he was making all kinds of frivolous defences of his friend and neo-Con Paul Wolfowitz.

So how did Hitchens change so quickly? The answer might be found in a 2003 interview in which he makes this stunning admission of how he felt in the United States when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001 ...

Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn’t analyze at first and didn’t fully grasp (partly because I was far from my family in Washington, who had a very grueling day) until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge, but we can and we will make up for that.

Hitchens made this admission in an interview with the far-Right online cultural warrior magazine

Changez, the main character of Mohsin Hamid's novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist shares this euphoria (though admittedly for different reasons). Elsewhere I have written that I couldn't share Changez's euphoria given my Western upbringing. However, it seems some Westerners of sick and demented nature can find euphoria in the misery of others.

For Hitchens, the euphoria arose from his desire to declare some kind of strange cultural war against everything he hated. September 11 provided that trigger. The problem is that Hitchens hasn't defined the target very clearly. However, he sees war as good and is quite happy to send other people's sons and daughters to their deaths so long as he is free to write books and fly first class to various locations delivering lectures.

I can't say I've read much of Hitchens. But if the sentiments quoted above are anything to go by, the man is a pompous turd who desperately needs help.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007