Autumn-winter 2004
 

 

  Autumn-winter 2004

  HUNTINGTON, AD ABSURDUM
  Slobodan Blagojevic
 
 
"Civilization identity will be increasingly important in the future, and the world will be shaped in large measure by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations. These include Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African civilization. The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from another.
Why will this be the case?
First, differences among civilizations are not only real; they are basic. Civilizations
are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition and, the most important, religion."

Samuel P. Huntington, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, p. 25.
Most important? Ergo:
Orthodox Greece is a part of Western civilization, as well as Islamic Turkey; Orthodox Ethiopia is a part of African civilization; Orthodox Copts are a part of Arabic Islamic civilization, and Orthodox Slavs are a part of Slavic-Orthodox civilization. Catholic Slavs (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Croats and Slovenes) are a part of Western civilization, while Islamic Slavs (Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin Muslims) are a part of Islamic civilization. Black Islamic African people are a part of Islamic civilization, together with black African Catholics, but African Arabs are a part of Islamic civilization, as are Far Eastern Malaysians. South African Wiljoen is a part of Western civilization, and South African Buthelezi is a part of African civilization. Buddhist Tibet is destroyed, so there can be no Buddhist civilization. Christian bishop Desmond Tutu is a part of African civilization, but Muslims Roger Garodi and Cat Stevens are a part of Western civilization. Christian Samuel P. Huntington and Muslim Louis Farakhan are part of Western civilization.
The first step in a clash of civilizations will be the extermination of all those entities which spoil the division lines.
The Serb and Hutus did their homework.
"The interactions among peoples of different civilizations enhance the
civilization-consciousness of people that, in turn, invigorates differences and animosities stretching or thought to stretch back deep. into history." (p.26) The examples of these interactions are "North African immigration to France" and "Japanese investment" in America (p.26). But the French and Americans are hostile to these interactions.
There were other interactions "back deep into history", but Samuel P. Huntington does not know about them. Nevertheless, he used the results of those interactions when he wrote about the "proportions of total trade", using Arabic figures in an English language phrase - "51 percent to 59 percent in Europe" - in order to be able to explain to us what all that trade is about. These Arabic numbers are common feature of Western civilization, as well as Greek mathematics (which was preserved and developed in Arabic Islamic civilization), and even more, the number 0, which was invented by Hindu mystics.
"In the past, the elites of non-Western societies were usually the people who were most involved with the West, had been educated at Oxfot;d, the Sorbonne or Sandhurst, and had absorbed Western attitudes and values." (p.27).
If this past is to be represented by the last five decades, we will look at two characteristic examples. Ali Bhutto was educated at Oxford where he gained an appreciation for Benito Mussolini.
Pol Pot was educated at the Sorbonne, and what he gained an appreciation of there, three million killed Cambodians will never be able to tell you.
"Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones. In the former Soviet Union communists can become democrats, the rich can become poor and the poor rich., but Russians cannot become Armenians." (p.2l).
Georgian Sergei Paradjanov had no need to become Russian to film one of the best Russian movies - "Forgotten Ancestor's Shadows". Nor to become an Azeri to film the best Azeri movie ever - "Ashug Qerib". Igor Stravinsky, according to Huntington's thesis, should have become a Jew to compose the "Symphony of the Psalms", a black American to compose jazz-influenced "Piano Rag Music", English to recreate Hogarth's 18th century's England in the "Rake's Progress", a Latin-speaking Ancient Roman conveying Old Greek tragic feelings through the medium of French and Russian in "Oedipus Rex", or some Neapolitan from 18th century Italy in order to recompose Pergolesi's "Pulcinella". Picasso would have had to biologically convert into a black Mrican to make his primitive sculptures. Alan Watts should first have become a Japanese to be a Buddhist teacher, in Japan or anywhere else.
There is no transcendence, everything is just biology.
"Islam has bloody borders." (p.35)
Borders include two entities between which they are drawn. So, we can say: "Christianity has bloody borders", "Hinduism has bloody borders", or "Samuel P. Huntington's thought has bloody borders".
"In the Balkans this line, of course, coincides with the historic boundary between the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires. The peoples to the north and west of this line are Protestant or Catholic; they shared the common experiences of European history - feudalism, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution." (p.30)

Karl Marx, a German Jew, discovered and defined some principles of bourgeois ideology. His ideology of communism, born to the north and west of Huntington's dividing line, among Protestant and Catholic peoples, was embraced and put into practice to the east of Huntington's line, among the Orthodox Slavs and Confucians, but also among some black Africans and, even, at the border of U.S.A., that is the West. Maybe Samuel P. Huntington thinks, as Spengler did, that Karl Marx and his theory do not belong to the Western Protestant and Catholic civilization, as defined by Samuel P. Huntington, but, because he was a Jew, to Arabic civilization - Pre-Christians, Jews, Copts, Byzantine, Arabs, as in Spengler's formula. But what does he think about Benito Mussolini, Charles Maurras and Adolf Hitler? Were they Oriental, Slavic Orthodox, Confucian or Muslim theoreticians, despots and killers of millions of Jews and Slavic Orthodox people, or were they a part of Western, Protestant and Catholic, civilizational experience?
"A West at the peak of its power confronts non-Wests that increasingly have the desire, the will and the resources to shape the world in non-Western ways." (p.26)
Serbia (Slav Orthodox), Croatia and Slovenia (Slav Catholic), increasingly have the desire, the will and the resources to shape the Balkans in Western ways, forming nation states through war and genocide and destroying multireligious and multinational states. This is a process of Europeanization of the Balkans, rather than the Balkanization of Europe.

My reply to Samuel P. Huntington is: The only important clash will be a clash between archaic and modern people, between fundamentalists and democrats. And this will happen in all civilizations, with specific differences, of course. Huntington and those whose policies he defines and advocates cannot be anything but the fundamentalists in that clash.