Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Some Musings on the Abu Hamza Guilty Verdict

Abu Hamza in happier times

I heard about Abu Hamza's recent guilty Verdict while I was in the bath. A seemingly innocuous place within which to hear such news. As a man who reputedly preached 'hate' from Finsbury Park Mosque what do the self-appointed guardians of public safety expect him to preach from his prison cell? All-pervasive forgiveness? Compassion?

This is a case where the attempt to sanitize society and maintain public morality leads to an elusive source of contamination. Like the speck of dirt that remains when you clean your windows with a cloth: little do you realise it arises from the cloth itself. In the same way that the cloth and the speck entail each other, Abu Hamza and Theresa May also (re)constitute one another: they go hand-in-hand (hand-in-hook) as they dance the seemingly eternal waltz of socially-constructed binary opposites. I believe it was Schopenhauer who said that although the characters on the world's stage change, the actors do not. From the Christian Heretic Priscillian and the Roman authorities, to Abu Hamza and the Western State; the same themes continue to play themselves out.

While I can't put words into Zizek's mouth, I feel his sentiments would echo mine here. The nightmare apparently dreamed up by Hamza actually arose from our own, collective mind and as the spiritual condition which he represents is gradually eliminated from our everyday lives, it (re)emerges in new and unexpected ways.

What value has peace without the threat of violence? In the same way that we need to eat, we need people like Hamza. And that is why I for one am not celebrating his condemnation this week.

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