I destroy, therefore i am

Terror in the land of nimrod: reflecting on abysses and dead ends

As is undoubtedly being experienced in these days of media-created thrills, there is an eerie, genuinely radical force emanating from the countries of the near and middle east, with their historically deep roots, with which this region is demonstrating to the rest of the world, no doubt most of all to america, the downside of advanced civilization. For proud america, which lacks such chthonic roots in its own religious (modernly colored) identity, this abysmal, uncivilized force is a special challenge. It awakens deep-seated fears of chaos par excellence in the west.

I destroy, therefore I am

"As hybrid as the global terror of the islamists has become, it needs a social and political basis to become so dangerous", as the iranian-born orientalist navid kermani wrote in an essay in 2006.1

This soil does indeed exist, and apparently it is fertile; its most maddening bleeds precisely in parts of iraq that have also been called the land of nimrod. Nimrod, who appears in the bible in 1. According to genesis 10:8, nimrod, who is called the son of cush and who, according to the ancient genealogical registers, was himself without descendants, was, according to historians and archaeologists, the founder of the empire and the tyrant in the early period of mesopotamian civilization, and can be regarded as the prototype of the bloody hero, whose violent actions – and this is interesting – were both political and religious in nature.

Nimrod, the tyrant

The renowned british archaologist sir charles leonard woolley (1880 to 1960) pointed out in one of his books2 that the rulers in chaldaa, in the sumerian state structure, saw themselves as earthly tenants of heavenly powers, whose will they executed. They were the link to the deity. The human protagonist, "patesi" (= priest king), acted as god’s representative, in whose name he ruled and acted. Religion was thus at the same time a political means of power; the state represented the divinely willed order.

Nimrod, draconic ancestor of all mesopotamian imperial rulers, attained recognition in his time as a strongman, as a hunter and defiant "hero". This is how the jewish historian flavius josephus described him in the 1. Century in his work "antiquitates judaicae" (judaic antiquities, first book, fourth chapter). Nimrod’s plans in connection with babylon’s ambitions were to concentrate power over the people in one place. The american writer alexander marlowe (1859 to 1936) gave in his work "the book of beginnings" (the book of beginnings)3 the text passage 1. Genesis 10:8-10 then also as follows again:

And kush begat nimrod, who began to be a powerful tyrant in the land. He was a terrible subjugator … And the original seat of his empire was babylon and erek [uruk] and kalne in the land of sinear.

"Sinear" (shinear) is only another name for the land of sumer, as the early inhabitants called the southern part of mesopotamia itself.

The drama of the losers

The aggression and autoaggression of the modern nimrods – one could call their archaic rage in some respects a protracted suicide – are accompanied by a manic tendency toward publicity: "i destroy, therefore i am". The cartesian definition of the individual being, turned into the magic formula of a prehistoric denomination, in whose components anarchy, religion and nihilism are reflected in a rudimentary way and fatally complement each other.

Hans magnus enzensberger was one of the first to write about the "schreckens manner" and its disposition, called his observation a "attempt on the radical loser" (…): "his [the loser’s] deed enables him to triumph over others by destroying them. On the other hand, he takes into account the other side of this feeling of power, the suspicion that his existence could be worthless, by putting an end to it."4 whereby enzensberger refers to the islamic suicide bomber as a model case.

However, if one, as the west willingly does, blanketly blames the thuggish militiamen of the jihad "worthless existence" to, so one may apply the quoted pas also to them. Enzensberger continues: "the media make sure that he [i.E. The assassin] – even if only for 24 hours – is given an unheard publicity." violence guarantees attention.

It seems so: what we deplore about violent islamism in the name of democracy, liberties and individualism – the apparent lack of reflection, the absence of formative force, the negation of progress – is precisely its strength, which brings its raw atavism to bear against the high aims of modernity, against politics, the rule of law, against the triumph of plural values and against occidental intellectualism; a deeply despised intellectualism, it remains to add.

I destroy, therefore I am

The image of the radical (and radicalized) loser, here exemplified by the assassin, does not, however, capture the whole situation. A life of influence and control, increased to the point of mablosis, feeds on various sources and uses a bundle of orientations. The jihadist is also a schizophrenic: in order to live, he must kill. He stages the drama of his non-existence by forcibly escaping from passivity, from the kind of passivity that weighs on the hopeless and the short-sighted. They live a shadowy existence – it is precisely the young and strong in the prime of life – an existence that western politics and western living standards also burden them with, and from which a theatrically provoked media attention saves and liberates them for a few moments.

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