Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response
Following a week at the UN and ensuing climate change “protests” (state-sanctioned, party-approved, media-praised, university-endorsed, “protests”), in which we were yet again treated to another spectacle of a tearful child lecturing adults, Murad Gazdiev presented the excellent critical analysis of climate change eschatology.
We are even called by the media to “confess our climate sins.” Playing a special role in faith-based movements that are meant to keep rational debate, skepticism, and questions at bay, girls have been chosen to occupy the spotlight. Children are representative of all that is pure, innocent, and truthful, and girl children add that extra element of vulnerability and need: the need for urgent rescue. Lighting a candle on the path toward mass hysteria, with the intention of stimulating a mass response, we have had young girls play in similar roles. There have been at least nine since 1990:
(1) The notorious Nayirah al-Ṣaba who lectured at the UN about the infamous and entirely made up “incubator babies” murdered by Iraqi forces in Kuwait in 1990;
(2) Severn Cullis-Suzuki, another young girl lecturing at the UN’s Rio Summit on the Environment, in what appears to be the template that has been copied almost to the letter by Greta Thunberg;
(3) Malala Yousafzai, who became the figurehead that somehow justified US occupation in Afghanistan and intervention in Pakistan, celebrated by the US State Department;
And, don’t forget a whole array of other iconic girls featured on TIME and National Geographic magazine covers, such as (6) the famous “Afghan Girl,” Sharbat Gula, whose image was used to champion US support for the Afghan anti-Soviet resistance (an investment with proven blowback value), or more recently (7) Aisha, used as a motif to support continued US occupation of Afghanistan. One girl to oppose occupation of Afghanistan, another girl to promote occupation of Afghanistan.
Not young girls, but rather young women have also been erected to icon status in the Iranian street protests of 2009, and the Libyan war of 2011. In Iran, I refer to (8) Neda Agha-Soltan, whose image was held aloft by anti-government activists. In Libya, we were presented with an iconic woman protester against Gaddafi’s government, (9) Eman al-Obaidi, a woman whose claims have not only been roundly debunked by myself and others, she has since abundantly disgraced herself living in the US, where she landed in jail.
At a time when the West is priding itself for its advancements in allegedly fighting sexism, what we see is a return to an antiquated chivalry that gallops to the rescue of these damsels in distress. As a favourite tool of neo-colonialism, US imperialists routinely depicted countries in Latin America as women—women in distress, needing to be “saved” by Uncle Sam. As I have said before, we work with a finite number of cultural materials, and our only “innovations” are in finding new applications and new media for recycling past tropes.
It is no surprise that “women and girls” have been a special focus of US foreign policy, particularly from the time of George W. Bush straight to, and including, even Donald Trump. One reason has to do with the relentless puritanical moralism into which American politics have been displaced for over two centuries. Yet in deploying women and girls as props, using them as human shields, what that usually signals is the approach of either an egregious assault on the rights of others, whether individuals or nations, or a politically bankrupt policy that can find no other means of attracting sympathy other than to remind us, “it’s all about the little children”. Children are meant to be pacified, but in such instances they are themselves used as tools of pacification. Inserting a little girl into the middle of a debate, stops the debate. If anyone continues the debate, they are then smeared for “attacking children“.
By now those who are aware of this pattern should be on alert whenever a new incarnation appears, because it is a signal that certain powerful political, economic, and cultural entrepreneurs are trying to provoke an instantaneous mass reaction that might not otherwise be possible with reasoned, calm debate where all of the facts are presented, analyzed and discussed. Typically, this pattern appears when actions are being entertained that might otherwise shock ordinary individuals and make them balk at such drastic measures. Women, and particularly young girls, are meant to stimulate panic, a sense of emergency, requiring urgent and always exceptional action. As the Mayor of Montreal said about the climate march and Thunberg’s appearance, she hopes everyone will remember that day when the time comes to make some “hard decisions”. This is how one goes about creating the psychological basis for a state of siege, and ensuring that the siege mentality is instilled in a manner that makes it seep down to the furthest reaches of the social fabric.
It was Karl Marx who wrote the following about the state of siege as it,
“enmeshes, controls, regulates, superintends and tutors civil society from its most comprehensive manifestations of life down to its most insignificant stirrings, from its most general modes of being to the private existence of individuals; where through the most extraordinary centralization this parasitic body acquires a ubiquity, an omniscience, a capacity for accelerated mobility and an elasticity which finds a counterpart only in the helpless dependence [of the people on the state], in the loose shapelessness of the body politic” (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. New York: International Publishers, 2004, p. 62).
One of the landmark developments of what was announced as the “New World Order” by former US president George H.W. Bush on September 11, 1990, which joined the “globalization” babble, has been this recurrent series of “crises” that have been used to train masses into globalized mass reaction. One was the now laughable Y2K bug, a fraud of epic proportions that few mention any longer just out of sheer embarrassment (or possibly due to the kind of amnesia induced by mass culture); another was the SARS emergency, which resulted in few deaths and ended up amounting to nothing. Then we were supposed to be struck by Ebola at one point, and then a Middle Eastern version of SARS…and in the 1970s all the talk was about African Killer Bees making their way toward the US. Nothing regiments a society like fear, and once fear is unleashed it can be harnessed to any ends.
This is humanitarian abduction on a grand scale.
On the topic of climate change, Larry Kummer at Fabius Maximus has been diligently compiling a series of extremely useful analytical reports that should make any reasonable, intelligent person pause and take note. In particular, among the most recent, I recommend:
- “Enlisting peer-reviewed science in the climate crusade,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 15, 2019.
- “How fast is the world warming? Is it burning?” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 17, 2019.
- “See how climate science becomes alarmist propaganda,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 18, 2019.
- “Prepare to retreat before climate change!” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 26, 2019.
- “How journalists helped wreck the climate debate,” Roy Spencer, Fabius Maximus, August 26, 2019.
Until recently I was quite open to accepting most of the propositions put forth by climate change scientists (I have no time for activists). However, when I started to see that the authorities who marshalled this science were now actually presuming to speak to us through a little girl, that gave me reason for pause. Why are they resorting to such a crass, infantilizing tactic? It strongly suggested that perhaps their arguments were not so iron-clad after all, not as well founded on solid bedrock as some believed, and that even though they control all the media of communication and have effectively “won” the argument by closing off all channels of dissent and institutionalizing echo chambers, they still had to resort to this silly little trick. Now that means there is something really wrong in their camp, something definitely stinks over there. Nobody with a solid argument needs to resort to moral blackmail, character assassination, insults, and threats–that is not what a winning side does. This trope of using a little girl was the final straw, and those who are sincere in their research and advocacy around climate change are being done no favours by her stage-managed activism.
Finally, let me close with another Caribbean anecdote. In Trinidad this past June, I was surprised to find how little the heat was affecting me, especially as I just came out of a winter which stretched late into spring. I marched at a funeral, in a wool suit (it’s all I have), under a blazing sun, and even that was bearable. Yet I am a person who feels hot in winter snow. Something was indeed wrong. What really took me by surprise however was Trinidadians complaining about the heat. These were the same Trinidadians I knew who would sleep with no fan at night, covered by a blanket; who would wear a jacket in the morning because it was “making cold” (cold meaning 22° Celsius); in air conditioned libraries they would wear sweaters, making for a Canadian scene in the tropics. They were the same people who used to mock my incessant sweating. Now I was dry, and they were complaining about the heat, and it was only 29° Celsius, not the usual 32-34° which I associate with Trinidad’s daytime temperatures. What happened? They asserted it was “climate change” that had them feeling hot. What they did not explain is why they had all made a mass transition to air conditioning their homes, places of work, and public transport vehicles–the famous Maxi Taxis of the Eastern Main Road, throbbing with music blaring from their speakers, bouncing hot boxes…were all now firmly sealed, dark and quiet as they sped by carrying their air conditioned passengers. So was it in fact climate change that had them feeling hot, or was it first the cultural change of switching to an air conditioned mode of existence? To me it appears they have been acclimatized to a new artificial climate, while becoming alien to their natural environment. Then I returned to Canada a few weeks ago, flying around Hurricane Dorian–when I mentioned this fact to friends, their reaction to Dorian was “look at all this damn climate change“–referring just to a single hurricane, in a region and during a season when hurricanes are normal. Now just regular climate is becoming climate change, and that is a sign of the work of inculcating mass hysteria and irrationality.
But by all means ignore this—surely somewhere there is a little girl beckoning your attention.
By Maximilian C. Forte
Source: Zero Anthropology