It’s August already.
Two thousand and eleven.
Which means that date I’ve been thinking about for years is just around the corner.
The 10th Anniversary of the 911 Attacks.
Excuse my jaded, weary cynicism, but I don’t expect much of a turn-out from the Vast Majority of Western People Who, Because They Are Not “Elites”, Are Supposedly On Our Side.
At best, we’ll see a rally of two to three thousand people (okay, maybe five thousand–whoopty-doo); a few splashes here and there in the mainstream media and its various sidestreams; then virtually everyone will hit the snooze alarm again or divert their attention to more important things–like Charlie Sheen’s new TV show, or some politician’s scandal, or the infinitely boring “debt ceiling”.
Anyway, for those who refuse to forget, I offer up a trip down memory lane–the West’s memory lane. Specifically, on the history of the technology of flight. In a purely accidental way, the Occident provided the means–the jet aircraft–for the 911 Muslims to wreak their havoc. In a less excusable way, the West over the past half century, in its amnesia about the dangers of Islam, has been providing massive opportunities to Muslims for their infiltration, and from there their sine qua non of Jihad: the terror razzia.
The Medieval Origins of Man-Made Flight
Did you know the first person to attempt flight was a Muslim?
Lynn White, Jr., the unassumingly great historian of medieval technology (1907-1987), mentions in a monograph written in 1961 probably the first person to attempt flight, a Muslim who lived in Andalus (Islamic Spain) in the middle of the 9th century A.D. by the name of Ibn Firnas.
According to a Moroccan historian al-Maqqari, White reports, Ibn Firnas:
“…covered himself with feathers for the purpose, attached a couple of wings to his body, and, getting on an eminence, flung himself down into the air, when, according to the testimony of several trustworthy writers who witnessed the performance, he flew a considerable distance, as if he had been a bird, but, in alighting again on the place whence he had started, his back was very much hurt, for not knowing that birds when they alight come down upon their tails, he forgot to provide himself one.”
Although the source White uses, al-Maqqari, lived some 750 years after this supposed event (died 1632), and used sources no longer extant which cannot be independently verified, White considers it credible. My respect for Prof. White is high, and I trust him implicitly on this.
Over a century later, in 1010 A.D., the first Western man to attempt flight figures in the title of White’s study: Eilmer of Malmesbury, an abbot of course (most of the technological ferment of the early Middle Ages seemed to have bubbled up from the monasteries of Europe, and not only literally in the refinement of the fermentation of beer, wine and spirits).
The West Takes Off–Literally
True to his form, White goes on for the rest of his monograph charting in detail how it was Westerners par excellence who uniquely took the ideal of flight and really took off with it—literally and figuratively. (In one of his essays—I believe included in his collection entitled Machina ex Deo: Essays in the Dynamism of Western Culture—he traces the history of the violin and notices what a politically correct multi-culturalist would be loath to notice: that, while the rudimentary violin had been invented in the area of Sumatra in approximately the 9th century A.D., its technical development and musical uses remained in that culture relatively stagnant for centuries, and never evolved until the West returned to colonize and bring the gifts of her superiority to it. Meanwhile, after that rudimentary violin, translated through the Islamic Middle East (similarly unfit to unfold the potential of this instrument) into the hands of the Western Crusaders, was introduced into Christian Europe by the 13th century, it was relatively quickly improved and refined, and over the following three hundred more years one begins to see the signs of a progress in violin music—and music in general—astonishing in its beauty, reaching its apogee with J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and ascending impossibly higher with Beethoven and Mozart after that.)
Speaking of apogees, let’s get back to flight.
After centuries and centuries of patient and ingenious attempts to match the Western flight of the mind with a more literal flight, the first foothold in concrete success was achieved in the 19th century with the epiphany of a Pomeranian inventor, Otto Lilienthal: namely, that the obsession heretofore with aerostat balloons was not the way to progress toward faster and more effective flight, nor so much the mimicking of birds—but rather, the aerodynamics of the kite. His epiphany immediately inspired the Wright brothers and their momentous departure from earth shortly after the fin du siècle of the 20th century.
And the rest is, as they say, history: the history, that is, of the stupendously marvelous career of the 20th century airplane, rocket, missile, helicopter, jets, satellites and space travel.
The Crashing Fall of Islam
Let us return to the Muslim who fell off a cliff and broke his back, Ibn Firnas. Not only did Islamic flight peter out after his nasty fall, Islamic culture in general—after it reached its artificial apogee in its so-called “Golden Age” on the backs of the more talented Dhimmi cultures which the Muslims pirated parasitically—began its long slow decline and fall into increasing barbarism. However much Islam might have risen, briefly, into a historical moment of artistic and scientific glory, it was mostly parasitic upon the genius and labors of Persian, Hindu, Christian and Jewish Dhimmis under their domination, or of rare Muslims whose minds were un-Islamically open (and thus had to operate relatively covertly for fear of religious authorities), usually due to the fact that they came from families of former Dhimmis who had, under the cruel and unjust pressure of Islamic dhimmitude over time, converted. Indeed, Ibn Firnas himself may have derived from such a background; though, of course, as sterling as Lynn White, Jr., was as a historian, we cannot have expected him to have surmounted the general Western amnesia (even in 1961) about the various pathologies of the history of Islam, and to have thought to pursue this likely explanation for the human (i.e., un-Islamic) curiosity exhibited by Ibn Firnas.
Why that early Islamic attempt at flight fizzled out, while Western attempts only increased in ingenuity until the West achieved what no other culture did in that technology, may have something to do with what the Moroccan historian al-Maqqari, cited by Lynn White, Jr., noted in his history: namely, that Ibn Firnas and his little project seems to have been frowned upon at the time by the Islamic establishment as “un-Islamic” exploration and thus unworthy of being pursued when a good Muslim better should spend his time following the Sunna ever mindful of Allah and the 1,001 Dos and Don’ts of Allah’s last and greatest Prophet, the “ideal man” (al-insan al-kamil) and “the best model for all mankind”, Muhammad.
I.e., medieval and post-medieval Christians seemed to have had no problem with Christians (including abbots!) pursuing technological innovation and creativity seeking, among myriad other mundane improvements, a way for man to fly–but not so Muslims: their theosocial rigidity stifled such development; as it stifled virtually everything else productive and progressive.
While declining after the 9th century into increasing barbarism—or, more accurately, lapsing back into its aboriginal and essential nature of barbarism—, Islam nevertheless did not want for military prowess, energized by the hot blazing fire of its religious fanaticism, zeal, eschatology, supremacism, bloodlust, grotesque cupidity and rapine for centuries after, ultimately with an eye to conquer the world, and repeatedly attacking Europe over the centuries in pursuit of that pneumopathological desideratum.
Ultimately, Islam was thrashing about, unable to sustain itself over grander arcs of time–with one hand gaining Byzantium (1453), and with the other hand losing Andalus (1492)–yet managing to wreak horrific damage and slaughter as it crashed about on the world stage. By the late 17th century, Islam’s essential vortex of imperialistic supremacism had definitively spent itself, in the last military invasion of the West it could muster, in 1683 against the forces of its clear superior at the Siege of Vienna. Relative to its spectacular attempts at military conquest heretofore, Islam would hunker down in a slump and fester and seethe like a wounded scorpion for the following three centuries–capable at best, against the West proper, of only piracy and kidnapping–until a concatenation of various events and factors in the late 20th century–further galvanized by 911–would begin to facilitate an inchoate revival of its ancient dream: Islam Redivivus.
As the West continued throughout its Middle Ages and into the Modern Era to progress amazingly, on all levels, like no other civilization in all of world history, Islam continued to spiral downward in the darkness, corruption, chaos, filth, muck and mire of its essential evil. It was only by virtue of Western Colonialism, beginning to penetrate the Muslim world and its satellites in earnest beginning in the 17th century, and increasing exponentially for more than two centuries after, that parts of the Muslim world began to experience, for the first time in their wretched histories, some breaths of fresh air and sunlight of orderly and relatively decent management of sociopolitical affairs (as in French North Africa, Portuguese and English India, Dutch Indonesia, Spanish Philippines; etc.).
The precipitous decline of Islam from the time when Ibn Firnas first donned his feathers in the mid-9th century to see if he could fly, floating briefly in the air with a genuine, all too ephemeral spirit of curiosity, to the tour du siècle of the 21st century—when out of the clear blue sky his Muslim descendants crashed the Western planes they had pickeered but had not even bothered to learn how to pilot into the concrete manifestations of the civilization they and their brothers and sisters will never understand–charts the straight line, the al-Mustaqeema of Koran 1:6-7, not to Paradise, but to Hell. For Muslims–when they follow Islam–will only and always raven destruction and exult in the murder, misery and mayhem they cultivate for the twisted anti-eschaton of that infamous angel who was the first of all creatures to fall and crash to Earth, trying to take the rest of Mankind with him.
Though doomed in his grander scheme, he may well be able to take approximately a billion, at least, down with him.