Thursday, November 15, 2007
It was reported, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, that the numbers of deranged adults who were admitted to psychiatric institutions was at an all time low. Psychopathy had its outlet in killings, kneecapping and other forms of intimidation. There was a grim social place and status for the aberrant.
In Basra, women, sometimes with their children, are being murdered on a daily basis for not wearing full female Muslim dress under a murderous interpretation of Sharia law. This follows years of Shia, Sunni, and Al Qaeda inspired murder, rape and torture that have resulted from the occupation of Iraq by western powers with absolutely no conception of the consequence to their acts.
If there are any lessons from history – and the likelihood is that there are very few – one stands out. This is that when a society is fragmented and convention, order and the subtle interactions of daily life are torn to shreds, then the diffuse and complex way in which the insane amongst us are contained and marginalised, is excised with it. They become liberated and their obscenities are condoned as heroism and celebrated beneath religious or other flags of convenience. Worse, their insensitivity to committing extreme acts begins to excite and stimulate blood lust among their once moral and reasonable fellows. Obscenity multiplies like a virus.
Whatever the society, no matter how perverse the powers that keep it stable, we must consider this one lesson from history if we feel virtuous enough to intercede. How can we remove the virus and leave the body healthy?