David Calling

Insanity in Libya

A court in Libya has convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian of deliberately infecting over 400 children with the AIDS virus, and passed a death sentence by firing squad on them all. A crowd outside the court shouted “Death for the children killers.” Needless to say, the case was a judicial travesty – a sort of insanity.  The court disregarded the testimony of experts, specialists, Nobel prize-winners, all providing evidence to the effect that the AIDS virus had been present in the hospital in question some years before these health workers were employed there.
A striking precedent is to be found in a book published in 1974, The private life of Islam, by Ian Young, an Englishman. Young had worked as a junior doctor in an Algerian hospital, and several of his colleagues were Bulgarian, sent to Algeria out of Communist solidarity with the Third World, as was the fashion at that time. The standards of medicine were appalling. Simple hygiene was absent. Young refers continually to the ants all over the place. There were tragically unnecessary deaths. The Supervisor was a total ignoramus, appointed because he had played a political role in the war to gain independence. Finally Young could stand no more bad, and often lethal, medicine, and complained. The Supervisor’s response was to lose his temper, and grapple with him physically, while beginning to rant about “white-coated saboteurs passing their hands from vagina to vagina, infecting my heroic people with syphilis.”  Finally he gave the order, “leave this hospital immediately! Leave this country!”  More than just ignorant, the Supervisor indeed sounds insane, as does the court in Libya now – but there is a logic to it.
Young’s experience was an early example of the cultural clash now pre-occupying the world. That Algerian Supervisor had none of the qualifications needed to run his hospital, and he was excusing himself by blaming others for his defects. It’s the same in the Libyan example.  AIDS has replaced syphilis on the charge sheet, but the refusal to face reality remains constant. Westerners are to be held responsible for the bad things Arabs and Muslims do, although this involves inventing conspiracies as wild as they are ludicrous. This mind-set conditions Islamist anti-Westernism. The condemned six in Libya are really victims of a very sad and debilitating inferiority complex which neither pity nor protest in the West can do much to change.

David Pryce-Jones — David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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