tv After Words CSPAN November 17, 2014 12:00am-1:01am EST
and i think that if we can keep testing religion and the role of the absolute fill-in, we are not looking at some of the other factors the military historians are always involved in both violence and terrorism. we never go to war they tell us for a single reason or single ideology. there are always other factors involved. ..
the one that got me most was the search for meaning. >> guest: we are meaning-seek creatures, as part of our human conditions. dogs as far as we know don't agonize about the canine condition or the plight of dogs in other parts of the world, but we do, and we fall very easily into despair if we can't find some kind of ultimate significance in our lives, and our warfare has actually been for men particularly, one of the triggers for a certain ecstasy that chris hedges, "new york times" correspondent has written
a very good book called "war is a force that gives us meaning." everything was crystal clear for men on the battlefield. there's us and them, it's black and white. and also, he says that when you're in the midst of conflict, you see how very, very trivial and pointless most of civilian life is. i was talking to a military historian in britain, and he was telling me one of the chief quarters that drives young people to go to the battlefield is boredom. a sense of utter boredom and futility in their lives. and they get it in the way that i don't think women do in the same way in warfare. >> ooh. >> host: you just brought up a subject that you didn't really touch very much on in your book, which is what about women? there's so much about the alpha
male and there's rape and there's pillage and there's taking away the women, and bringing them back, and women were slaves, women were chatle, man's search for heavenning, the ecstasy, youthful exuberance but nothing about women. where do women figure into this violence? >> guest: well, not so much, because the war has been very much a mass christian -- masculine game. we're not programmed for it. for the past part of our evolution, the longest period in human history was our period of hunter-gatherers, when the men in order to survive before the invention of agriculture, had to kill animals and they became professional killers, using their big brains to invent a technology that enabled them to kill creatures far bigger than themselves. the women stayed at home.
now, women are beginning to come on to the scene now politically more than they ever did before. people have often said to me, well, now, as women don't have this urge for violence in the same way, perhaps they can bring something new to the scene. but whenever people say that to me the shade of mrs. thatcher rises up before mow. she fought a pointless war in the faulklands, and i think if women now have a contribution to make, the -- what we should do is we all, all of us, however privileged we are -- i've had certainly a very privileged life as a woman -- we have all had experience of being ostracized and marginalized and we should bring that experience on to the table, and stand up, give voice
to the plight of people all around the world who are also marginalized and depressed in some way, because so many of the problems that we're having today comes from the vast disparity in wealth and power in the world that is causing huge alienation, distress, anger and rage that explodes in the way we see every day on the news. >> host: what i -- what fascinates me from the beginning of time -- you start out very early, even prereligion in your book -- women are on the sidelines and yet they're the ones who suffer the most in war. if men are going out because they are looking for heroic deeds and battle or because they're young or because they're bored or because they get a sense of ecstasy, women don't get anything except they get killed and their children get killed, and their lives get disrupted. why haven't women put a stop to it over the years? why have women sat on the
sidelines? one thing about margaret thatcher is, she did order the war but she wasn't out there on the battlefield. >> guest: no. indeed. i think it's not only women who have been the casualties of war. i think we have to remember that the warrior class, until the modern period, the warrior class was only an an ahis tocratic cl. the vast population were's sans, as adecrees tocrats killed one another, killed, livestock destroyed, buildings burned, starved to death. died of disease. and it's the powerless people of the world, the vast majority of the population who have suffered
from war. would. >> host: when you talk about the beginning of violence you talk about the fact that prereligion there wasn't anything called religion, and that what took the place of what we now call religion, was community, and community rituals, and that win people were battling, they weren't battling for religious reasons at all because there was no religion. >> guest: well, our word "religion" is a new development in the west. before the 18th century, nobody thought of religion in a separate category because it pervaded everything in life, because it was what -- the rituals, the prayers, the gods,
goddesses, were to give meaningness to everything we did and blend with all other activities. in the early modern period, the 18th century, that we in superyou here in what would become the yates, separated religion from politics and saw it as an essentially private search, something that was personal to the individual that had nothing to do with public life. thus was an entirely new development. no other culture has anything like that it concept of religion. the oxford classical dictionary says there's no word in greek or latin that corresponds to the word religion or religious in english. words that we translate as religion in other languages, like -- invariably refer to something much larger and more encompasses. so that before the 18th
18th century it was impossible to say where religion ended and politics began. there was no conceptual means of separating the two it was like, to take religion as it were out of politics or warfare or state building, was -- would be like trying to take the gin out of the cocktail. so commingled with the two, and you're absolutely right that community -- people didn't experience god much by themselves from the very beginning of human society. they experienced it together, and that is -- the notion of community is -- has been crucial in the whole history of religion, and it's by living with one another, in a kindly and compassionate way, that puts the ego to the back burner. we get intimations of
transcendens, and institutions individualized this. for instance, buddha, in his order of monks, and community life was an essential way to get to nirvana. now, the important thing about these communities was that they were always pretty political. they were always a kind of speaking -- alternative to the violence of aristocratic life in the courts with concern about warfare and egoism and gaining wealth and plundering other peoples fields and taking away the peasants. a lot of aggression in civilized live, therefore. whereas, in the buddhist, the early christian communities in the jewish communities and the muslim, the community in mecca
set up by the prophet, was meant to be both an alternative and a rebuke to the way the aristocrat tick court, which was the war monger, was conducting itself. >> host: one thing that fascinates me is you talk about how that warfare and violence was really necessary for civilization, and without that, there would not have been any civilization. can you talk about that a little bit? >> guest: absolutely. this is what made me want to write this book, actually. i came across this extraordinary fact that in every single civilization, before the modern period, before we invented industrialized society, every single civilization depended on agriculture. and that meant that a small -- in every single civilization, whether it's in china, india, europe, the middle east,
developed an inequity system where a small aristocracy comprising five percent of the population took away the surplus of produce and kept the peasants in at subsis stance and used the wealth they'd taken to fund their civilization project. this could only have been done by force. they had this peasant somehow how to be subdued. so 90% of the population throughout -- for 5,000 years, were kept in distress and anger. now, -- so, as historians tell us, without terrible system we november heat developed beyond as a species because this supported a privilegedcast with
the people who had the leisure to explore the arts and sciences on which civilization depended. plus, where we all economy is based on agriculture, the only way you can, if you like, increase your gross national product is by acquiring more land and more peasants to farm it. consequently, warfare became essential to the economy. the only way for the economy to grow, and plunder, too, was also essential to porting the air aristocratic lifestyle. the economic aspect was always there, but because we're meaning-seeking creatures, this effort, this struggle to achieve civilization, was mythologizessed in variousreligious systems to give it meaning or significant. but at the same time there were always prophets and sames -- i'm
thinking of the prophets of israel, jesus christ, mohammed, confucius, who stoke out about the system of -- and castigated rulers for oppressing the poor, had harsh words for those people who said their prayers or worshiped in the temple but neglected the plight of the poor and the oppressed. so -- >> host: i was going to say, are you saying that violence was a good thing or is a good thing or can be a good thing? or more? because without it we wouldn't have civilization. it's a conundrum. >> guest: absolutely. the civilization is a dilemma for us all. of course i don't think violence and warfare is a good thing. it's appalling, just as that system of agrarian oprogression was appalling. -- oppression was appalling but
it's a del llama -- a dilemma. a monk says all who benefit from a system of oppression are in some way implicate it in the suffering has been caused, and all of us alive today owe our civilizational aachievements and our privileged lifestyles to the -- to all those millions of men and women who were oppressed four 5,000 years, the mass of society. and i wanted to call my book originally "a shokas dilemma" but my publishers wouldn't let me have that because no one wouldn't know. that was a third-century emperor in india, the first emperor to rule the whole of india help was a cruel man. came to throne after killing two of his brothers, as was quite common in india at that time. but eight years into his reign
he accompanied the army on a campaign to put down a rebellion in a city, and he was horrified at the bloodshed, the massive dead, horrified to see the thousands -- 140,000 prisoners of war, torn from their families and taken off for forced agricultural labor in other parts of the empire, and he put up throughout india these extraordinary enscriptions written on vast rock faces and huge pillars, throughout india, uncovered and translated in the 19th century, in which he says how distress head was at the violence, how he himself is going to give up violence, and not -- no more warfare no more hunting even. he's going to go on pilgrimages, royal pilgrimages to buddhist shrines instead, saying we must
listen calmly to all teachers. if we have to go to war, we must keep punishment to the lowest level possible. but for all this -- he is calling for more compassionate society, and finally he would become a lay buddhist, but he could never disband his army because he knew, had he done so all the or one of the emperors would start fighting one another to succeed him, and the people who would suffer most would be the mass of the poor about whom he was so concerned and distressed. nor could he repatriate all those prisoners of war who has been carried off for forced labor in other parts of the empire because they were essential to the agrarian economy. without this kind of forced labor the economy goes down the chute. so, this is the -- at his dilemma is the dilemma of
civilization itself. it depends on great inequity, and you can say the same is true today because you and i, sally, in and our countries, live lives of incredible privilege. but there's a huge inequity of resources, wealth, and power in the world, and it's time -- i think we have to make ourselves aware of this because if we don't now learn to implement the golden rule globally, the golden rule, which has been articulated in every single major tradition, never treat others as you would not like to be treated yourself, unless we do this globally now and make sure that all people, who they are, are treated the kind of respect we wish for ourselves, we're not going to have a viable world. if the british had applied the
golden rule in their colonies to their subject peoples in their empire is don't think we would be having so many political problems today. >> host: you mentioned a shoka, and confucius, who basically was the one who first wrote about the golden rule. and the buddha and jesus. where did their sense of morality, if that's what it is -- where did that come from? because if it was in fact convenient and itself was economically prosperous to continue on with war, then how did they happen to come upon this view that hurting other people was not a good thing? >> guest: you know, i think we have inherited this stubborn sense that life -- people should live in equality with one another from the hunter-gatherers.
from the time before civilization, the longest part of our history, 20,000 years or more. and this has -- because hunter-gatherer societies -- we can tell from modern hunter-gatherer societies -- are essentially egalitarian. they have to be. because there's no surplus of wealth. way. has to be shared or the tribe doesn't survive. and they -- everybody has the same fighting skills so it's almost impossible for one leader to emerge and suppress the others, and they're small communities. but it is ingrained in all of us, as -- this is wrong -- one of the earliest things most children say, it's not fair, sense of outrage. and so i think that people like confucius and jesus and the buddha and the prophets of israel and the rabbis and the
prophet mohammad were all articulating this ingrained sense that even though none of us have ever had an experience of an entirely just society, that things ought to be like that, and they have kept that voice alive even at a time when there was no hope of articulating it politically in the dilemma of civilization. >> host: karen, you write about the crusades and the inquisition, and i think if -- i think what most people, when they talk about religion being the cause of violence, would bring up the crusades and the inquisition as two totally religious inspired actions. and yet you say that's not necessarily true. can you explain that? >> guest: no -- yes, sure. because as i say, we go to war for many, many interrelated reasons.
we never do anything purely for god. believe me, i know because i tried as a nun for seven years to do every action entirely for god and it's impossible because our motivation is always so entirely mixed. now, the crusades were certainly imbued like all human activities were, with religious passion, but the pope was also very politically motivated. he wanted to use the dikes of europe to extend his power into the east, especially as he was responding to a plea for help from the eastern emperor of the -- the greek orthodox world, who did not accept the supremacy of the pope and the crusade would be a repost to that. he was also engaged in a long struggle fought in europe between the pope, the church, and the kings of europe, as to
who was going to be top dog, who was going to be the real leader. and he was asserting his -- he was asserting his right as opposed to the king to mobilize the whole of europe for warfare. it was very astute political motion. by the end of the crusades, actually, it was more important -- what was more important was less what happened the middle east or how the fighting was going on there, than what happened -- what impact the crusades had politically at home and how it enhanced a crusader's. biggs. so the two -- religious and politics were infused in a sort of cocktail here, and similarly, with the inquisition, an appallingly flawed solution to a difficult problem that ferdinand and isabella, the catholic
monarch that spain had, when they came to the throne after the country -- the whole peninsula had been torn apart in a bitter civil war. as they were facing -- the huge danger, imminent danger of an attack by the ottomans and they had in spain still a muslim principality in grenada. they were on the front line of what europe felt was a war against the islamic world. and very often when a people is threatened from -- by an outside enemy -- we see this again and again my story -- they turn on an enemy within. they have terrified fantasies of a fifth column of people, and the people they picked on, the common people were picking on as the sort of the fifth column, were the jews who had converted to christianity. a lot of them had converted to
christianity, they were called the converse. they became extremely successful in the christian world ask they were resented for it. they went against jews, practicing jews but, rather, the converters, and they started the enquestion signifies against them. it was -- infer signifies against them. it was a tragedy because for centuries, under muslim rule, jus, christians and muslims, had lived together in relative harmony in the iberian peninsula, but the bonnets introduced the hatred and suspicion of the enemy into spain for the first time. it was -- fewer people died in the inquisition than is commonly thought, and it was -- the inquisition was quite rightly hate but also resented in the
rest of europe because spain was definitely the most powerful kingdom in europe at that time, and so the stories of the inquisition have got overblown-especially in the protestant world. still it was an appalling incident, but an infusion of both politics and religious fashion in that kind of cocktail. >> host: you mentioned in your book in the crusades, that a lot of these young men who went off to the crusades had no idea what they were doing or where they were going and they would stop at jewish communities and say, wait a minute, why are we going off to the middle east to kill muslims when the jews killed christ? why don't we just do it here and not have to travel all that distance. i thought that was -- never occurred to me dish didn't know that was part of the crusades. >> guest: people were genuinely bewildered. now when a ruler wants to go to war he goes on tv and have and
knows what is happening. everyone was -- young people were -- ahis -- aristocrats were signing up because it as an adventure and we're going to liberate the tomb of christ. but a lot of them were really confused. they had this false idea that the jews had killed jesus. in fact we know it was the romans who put jesus to death rather than the jewish people and jesus was himself jewish. but they were puzzled, both in the german crusaders and the french crusaders. look, we have it all backward. at this point, europeans knew next to nothing about islam. muslims were a shadowy presence on the horizon. why were they slogging 3,000 miles to the middle east, through incredible dangers, when the jews were alive and well on
their very doorsteps. but here again, too, there were economic reasons for this sudden hatred of jews who hitherto had been well integrated into european society because europe was beginning its slow progress to creating a commercial empire. a commercial economy that would eventually replace the agrarian empire, but in any period of massive social change, there's -- this puts a great strain on social relations. we see it in countries modernizing today, going through this painful rite of passage from a premodern to a modern state of affairs, how this creates social tension, and the jews were very much associated with money and with the -- was
resented so much by the people who weren't benefiting from it. so, again, a whole imbalance, but a tragic event because every time in the future a crusade was called to kill muslims in the east, those who didn't go on the crusade would kill jews at home, and it made antisemitism a chronic disease in europe, and jews and muslims became somehow linked in the european mind as -- in some way. >> host: you talk about religion earlier and the meaning of religion, how the word really didn't exist until, i guess, martin luther is the first person who was sort of a proponent of the separation of church and state, but also that religion became something that was internal instead of external. and until that time, religion had been about the community,
about the state, and now it subtly became something that was written us. how did that happen -- within us. how did that happen and what did that mean in terms of religion and violence? >> guest: well, martin luther is an interesting figure. he is the first european to advocate the separation of church and state. he also showed that this would not necessarily be a peaceful alternative, because when he -- his idea was that the world was so corrupt that religion should have nothing to do with it. it should basically, literally, let the world and its problem goes to hell while the religions -- religious row treated into the inner kingdom of god within them and also joined the's sans' war, the peasants revolt in germany at this time, another of the
missouri modernization process going on. he told the princes to go in and kill them, kill the's sans, smite them, burn them, but them down as you put down a mad dog he said because they's sans committed the cardinal sip of mixing up religion and politics. they were quoting the gospel to say that, look, this huge inequity was against the teachings of christ, who taught that all people were equal and should love one another and the rich and poor should sit at the same table. and even though this is quite right from the gospel and martin luther was keen on going back to the scripture, it cut no ice with him. as far is a him,'s sans should be slaughtered and killed. protestant christianity is the only form of religion that suits our modern conception of religion as an essentially private quest.
but luther's aggression shows that there's also been aggression in secularism, too, and we see that particularly in revolutionary fronts, for example, when the french joined the revolution, one wanted to get rid of the catholic church which was so intimately in2009 width the old order they were pulling down, that this first act of the new national assembly was to confiscate all church property and put it over at the -- to the state and to abolish the religious orders. they followed that up with the september massacres where mobs were let out in the prisons and priests were slaughtered, thousands of people were killed, and then they -- in the same --
later that year, the revolutionary armies killed probably about a quarter thousand people in western france who were protesting against the anticatholic measures of the regime. so secularism has often been imposed violently, and that has been particularly true in the middle east, and many of the -- many of the problems we're having today springs from a too violent, too hasty secularization of a country, which has been done cruelly, with blood and slaughter, and has pushed islam into a more aggressive mode. >> host: you have a chapter called "holy terror." you quote richard dawkins, the
famous eightess, saying only religious states could motivate such madness as terrorism. but i would like to hear your definition of "terrorism." i think it's different from what most people think. >> guest: well, terrorism like religion is a word that is notoriously difficult to define, so much so that scholars who specialize in the study of terrorism say it's hopelessly lost in semantic confusion. you could say that it involves the killing of innocent people by a group. but it's so -- so does order warfare, and that certainly true. the state has been by far the biggest killer of civilians, far more than any individual group of terrorists.
and that has been exponentially increasing in the last century in world war i, only five percent of the people who died were civilians. in the second world war, that -- those figures shot up to 66.5% of the casualties of world war ii were civilians. they were deliberately targeted by allied scientists who created special booms that would have an effect that would -- disastrous effect that would drop on german and japanese cities precisely to terrorize the population and drop on residential areas of civilians. now 90% of the people are dying in our current wars have been civilians. so, you can't say it's just terrorism is just about the killing of civilians, therefore.
and they also insist that whatever reasons people give for terrorist action, that you -- whether it's done for allah or -- it's always inescapable political. that one one thing you can say about terrorism, always has a political focus. about power, about grabbing power or getting rid of a certain power structure or tearing down a certain element in society. it's about power. so, that was certainly true if you look at al qaeda. certainly there's all this talk about god, but there's also in bin laden's speeches a strong political anger with saudi arabia, and western -- strong anger about western policy in
the middle east. so, again, you have this mingling of motivation. >> host: so, everyone who is antiislam or antimuslim, says that islam is a violent religion, and yet most muslims will say that it is not a violent religion and in fact, terrorism is against the koran and against everything that islam stands for. tell me what you think about islam and -- about the muslim religion, and whether you believe it's a peaceful religion or -- why is it that they are always associated in people's mines with terrorism? >> guest: well, first of all, islam is -- has been for centuries, until the modern period, a far more tolerant
religion than, say, christianity. the word "jihad" which has now entered the english lexicon, is often thought to thebe central to the koran. in fact it isn't. the word "jihad" and its derivative occur only 41 times in the koran, and only ten of those instances does it refer unambiguously to warfare. the word "jihad" means struggle and it's a struggle sometimes that you have to fight when the little muslim community was being threaten evidence with extermination bit the establishment. but also it's a jihad, struggle to share your food with somebody who is worse off than yourself,
when you hardly have any resources yourself. that's also a struggle, also jihad. a very famous saying attributed to the prophet, mohammad, where when he is returning from battle he says to hays companions we're returning from the lesser jihad, that is the battle, and going back to the greater jihad. that is, the far more difficult and yet much more important struggle of reforming your own society and your own heart. and that has been muslim policy throughout the ages. the law was devised at a time when muslims ran the biggest empire the world had ever seen,
and muslim law speaks only about defensive warfare, not offensive. expansion had stand, they knew they could not expand the empire any further. it reached its limits. but they had to defend their frontier so it's very much a defensive warfare, not an aggressive warfare that is being advocated and, yes, there are some passages in the koran that speak of warfare and killing. these are passages that came to the prophet at a time when they were actually fighting battles, and there's been various -- i discuss them all in the book in detail -- various strategies to balance all those few passages with the much larger number of koranic passages that speak of the importance of reconciliation, and even these extremely aggressive passages,
nearly always -- in fact always segway from -- it's better for your soul to sit down and discuss this peacefully, and as a reconciliation is better, and god is always forgiving, that balance is always there. now, until recently, nobody read the koran on its own. just as jews don't read the jewish scriptures, the hebrew scriptures, without the -- you see the jewish scriptures through the lens of the rabbial which has been developed over centuries which was very much concerned to mitigate extremely violent passages in the hebrew bible. we all have vie violent passages because we're violent people,
and the muslim world, too, nobody just picked up the koran and picked out a few passages from jihad and ignored the rest. this caution of reading the scripture in the lying of all this tradition actually held extremists' opinions at bay. now, why there is so much terrorism in the muslim world now? because i said earlier, mouse limits have had a much more difficult passage to modernity than we have. number one, they were a great world power. they were -- when the british and the french came in and subdued them in their empires, they were reduced overnight to a dependent block, and that humiliation goes very deep, and humiliation is often a huge cause of violence, not just in islam but in other parts of the
world. a sense of shame and humiliation. a very dangerous thing to have loose in society. secondly, as i said earlier, secularism has been imposed so violently that it's acquired a -- of evil and every fundamentalist movement i studied is rooted in the fear of annihilation, and in the muslim world you can see why that fear of annihilation is acute. the shahs used to make their soldiers go out with bayonets, rippling off women's veils and tearing them to pieces inch 1935, the shah gave his soldiers orders to shoot at hundred0s unarmed demonstrators in one they ever holiest shrines of iran and hundreds of iranians were killed that day. sunni fundamentalism developed in the gastly concentration
camps into which members of the muslim brotherhood were incarcerated for 15 years without trial. and often doing nothing more incriminating than hand ought few leaflets. so in this sense you have a more extreme form of islam developing and that, tragically, has erupted as we have seen, in terrorist action, but it's not just purely islam. and let's look at suicide bombing, which seems the quintessential terrorist activity. suicide bombing was not invented by muslims. it was invented by the tamil tigers who had no time for religion, were it her i aggressive, and until the iraq war, held the indisputed record
of suicide bombing. robert pain of the university of chicago has done a survey of -- excuse me -- of every single suicide bombing that occurred between 1980 and 2004. he concludes it has nothing to do with either islamic fundamentalism or indeed, and i quote, any kind of religion for that matter. in lebanon, in the 1980s, there were something like 30 odd suicide bombing attacks. seven of them only were committed by muse limits, three by christians, and the rest were by secularists and socialist coming in from syria. and the main motive, robert pape, says for a suicide action, is when your homeland, the
country you perceive as your homeland, has been invaded or occupied by a superior military power or empire, in lebanon, the united states, and israel, too. and that has also inspired suicide bombing for a while in hamas. again, if you look at the hamas videos, the young martyrs to be are -- the cometail we -- cocktail we have seen without, form a prayer they're going to meet allah, the lord of the world, into a pure secularist nationalist ideal from liberation, the leg operation of palestine, then the third world ideologies, claiming they're going to be a beacon of hope for all the oppressed people suffering under western imperialism, and then back to the liberation of palestine,
back to islam, again, that cocktail. one of -- >> host: let's talk about isis, because -- what do you think motivates them? i mean, they talk about this being a religious jihad, and and the methods they use seem to go back to 2,000 or 3,000 years ago in terms of violence. what are they about? >> guest: well, isis is, again, a pretty motley group you. have some die-hard jihadis and their roots are in a particularly violent form of saudi araban -- the bed dough win tribes who were made to leave mow know no maddic life,
and they took it to an extreme, and they -- that kind of feeling and love of warfare was apparent and that's the core of isis. but then these hoards, these hideous hoards that are overrunning iraq and syria, are not entirely composed of die-hard jihadies. a whole lot hoff thugs have also joined in the fray, who just love violence and love the excitement of it. plus, and significantly, a lot of mall contents left over from the saddam regime, members of saddamys disbanded army, for example, which the americans unwisely in my view, disbanded
when they arrived in iraq. and the also baathist, the socialist party, who hate the status quo set up after the iraq war and will bring -- and i are happy to join in this frenzy. plus, many of the young people who are joining up are joining found are the sage age-old desire for meaning and glory, that -- and for many of them, islamic commitment is minimal. two young would-be jihadies who left britain in may, to go to syria, ordered two books from amazon, one was "islam for dumbies" the other was "the koran for dummies" which shows the level of the knowledge of the koran they had. now, we've seen that
terrorists -- people -- forensic psychiatrists it to terrorists who took partner 9/11 atrocity, and those who were picked up after ward, like the shoe bomber, richard reid, or the boston marathon bombers. and found that -- only 20% of these people had a conventional muslim upbringing the vast majority of them were either converts, like the canadian gunner a week or two ago, or they were -- they were nonobservants, like the boston marathon bombers, or they had a smattering view of islam derived from islam for dumbies. now, where do they come from? in some ways i know exactly how they give the impression of going back, as you said, 2,000
or 3,000 years with their hideous beheadings, but these are all very strategically focused. this is essentially modern movement. it expresses the dark side of modernity in which mass killing has been sadly a feature ever since the french revolution. it joined the french revolution in one year 17,000 men, women, and children were guillotined publicly but the revolution regime. the young turks in turkey, during world war i, defiantly secularist, indeed athiestic movement, massacred millions, armenians, to create a turkic society, and so -- and i needn't
detail the mass killings that preceded through the terrible 20th century. furor in -- furthermore, they're also expressing in a very eccentric and bizarre way, an unease with the nation state, which served us well during our industrialization period, and mobilizing the country for warfare, about it -- but it also -- it's not so good now that our society is becoming more global, whether we like it or not, we are inextricably combined with one another. economically, when one market goes down, the other markets through the world plummet that day. what happens in the middle east will have a blowback in canada, or the other west. we cannot live without one another, and yet our nationalistic ideologies encourage to us focus too
anywhere rely on the nation and that's particularly true in the mideast, where the nation state set up by the british and the french 100 years ago were arbitrary, bizarre, and put together a whole lot of incompatable peoples, with -- and tell them to create a nation. very, very difficult to do. almost set up to fail. and so -- and also they're modern, too, and their very successful economic handling of all the loot and oil they've been acquiring on that travel. a very successful corporation here in the modern sense. so, in some -- to see us going back to the dark ages is unfortunately not quite true. they are a bizarre and terrible group, but they express a darker side of modernity that we don't
often consider. >> host: karen, we only have a few minutes left. i wanted to ask you -- because i was talking about going back to the darker side. so where does all this lead us? we're in this violent world. you talk about the fact that we are in fact a violent people, violence is in our human nature. and are we going back to prereligious days where it's really about the community? are we going forward with more religious involvement? where does this all end? >> guest: i wish i knew. i got into this, this kind of study, not because i'm filled with peace and love and joy and religious ex-all addition. i'm filled with dread as i look at where we're going. even in our tolerant western
world, there's a lot of bigotry that remind me, forcibly, of the bigotry that existed in europe in the 1930s and 1940s, that ended in the concentration camps, and the last decade of the last century we saw more concentration camps on the boundaries of europe, this time with muslims in them. i fear terribly that we're not going back to community. we are locked into our cell phones and our computers and our personal facebook. we're almost retreating from community into a sort of virtual age. and i think what we need -- if we don't want to do religion anymore, what we need is to cultivate, perhaps in secular way, what the religions did as well as promote warfare and violence. that is, tell to us love our
enemies, to love the stranger. if a stranger lives win your lands, says leviticus, do not mistreat him and love him as yourself for youyear strangers in egypt. we have to learn to reach out to the foreigner in britain we're not dealing with that at all. we started to demonize the european union, the whole political convert now is about immigration, keeping them out. we don't want strangers living in our land. but we are living side-by-side with strangers, and somehow, unless we manage to create a more inclusive ideology, that we reach out as the religions taught us, to include all creatures, not just to have concern for everybody, not just our own group, i doubt that we'll have a viable world to hand on to the next generation.
>> host: karen armstrong, thank you so much. your book, "fields of blood" is an absolutely riveting book. i honest canly couldn't put it n because it's got so much history and it's a great story. thank you for coming on. >> guest: thank you, sally. thank you very much. >> that was "after words," booktv's signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers and others familiar with their material. "after words" everies every weekend at 10:00 p.m. on saturday, 12:00 and 9:00 p.m. on sunday, and 12:00 a.m. on monday, and you can watch "after words" online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the topics list on the right side of the page. >> this week, booktv looks at
>> lynn do gordon, who is doering dr. the ya lange. >> guest: she was a very important photographer in the period of the depression, the 1940s and 1950s. many people don't know her name but i can guarantee you that everyone in this country knows her photographs. one of her photographs, often called migrant mother, had been called the most famous photograph in america. sort of the michael jordan of photographs. it's used in every textbook when -- when i ask my students what is the visual image you have of the great depression of the 1930s in, they describe this photograph. >> host: where was that photograph taken? >> guest: it was actually taken in california, and it is interesting because she was really the main california in the western u.s. during the 1930s depression, and it was
taken among people working in a pea-picking field. these were migrant farmworkers who moved along from field to field, from one agricultural operation to another, picking as the crops ripened. but this particular woman had been -- and her family and many others were stuck because there had been an unseasonal freeze, and there was no work. ...