貝克定(Timothy D. Baker, Jr.) (國立東華大學歷史學系副教授)
當美國總統歐巴馬提出「我們不該批評伊斯蘭，因為我們也能一樣壞。」時，造成相當大的轟動。但除此之外，我們更應該瞭解歐洲與中東在宗教力量的主要改變為何。歐洲之所以越來越寬容，顯然與世俗主義的流行有關，再加上十八世紀以來宗教對於公私領域的影響力逐漸降低。另一方面，中東穆斯林的暴虐則與宗教和政府之間的緊密關聯有關係。也就是說，不僅是歐洲基督教與中東伊斯蘭的價值相互衝突，而是世俗主義與宗教主義的價值觀之間亦產生衝突。我們可以由此推斷宗教，或者說是亞伯拉罕（猶太教一神論的信經）會造成暴虐嗎？我同意Karen Armstrong（Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Knopf, 2014）所說，宗教與暴虐間沒有直接關聯。比起伊斯蘭恐怖主義，宗教與暴虐的問題是更加複雜的，因此無法在此小論文中加以論述。
而我們該做些什麼？首先，我們可以拋開西方與伊斯蘭文化對立的傳統偏見，以建立更完整的理解。甚至拋開Samuel Huntington的意識形態論戰，因為他雖是很專業的學者，但同意J. G. A. Pocock 針對Gibbon所著的沉思錄，也就是傳統論調。在閱讀《野蠻與宗教》（Barbarism and Religion）（特別是第三版，The First Decline and Fall, Cambridge, 2003）時，我們可看出歐洲價值觀與野蠻間的衝突。此議題也能用其他角度切入，近年來便有集會運動開始重新解釋歐洲與鄰近文化（特別是伊斯蘭文化）的背景與關係。
在《古代宗教、現代政策：比較觀點下的伊斯蘭文化》（Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective (Princeton, 2013)）一書中，Michael Cook提出基本教派在文化族群認同的發展上扮演重要角色，其中不僅包括中東伊斯蘭，還有印度次大陸的印度教、拉丁美洲的天主教解放神學。Cook提到因宗教所發展出的宗教文化認同隨著歐洲殖民主義逐漸崩解，基本主義教派亦必須重新建立認同感。考慮到伊斯蘭教在阿拉伯半島發展出文化真空的現象，Garth Fowden提出了地中海在過去五百年發展出的猶太基督教以及政治文化。他所著的《在穆罕默德之前，在穆罕默德之後：過去千年的重新聚焦》（Before and After Muhammed: The First Millenium Refocused (Princeton, 2014)）亦可看到猶太教在伊斯蘭教出現後彼此的關係改變。
《古典時代晚期伊斯蘭教的出現》（The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2014)）一書中，Aziz Al-Azmeh證明伊斯蘭教的發展是希臘羅馬文明化的延伸。他在書中談到阿拉伯半島的社會狀況，伊斯蘭教的宗教基本教派出現時教義與規範緊密結合，代表它的確是古典基督教派文明化的延續，而非宗教的分裂。再者，位於巴格達的伊斯蘭教一千年末時明確地聲明他們是希臘文化的延續，而非基督教拜占庭文化。主要的歐亞衝突（希臘對上波斯第一帝國阿契美尼德王朝、羅馬對上帕提亞波斯人、歐洲對上伊斯蘭）可視為區域中各種經濟、人口、文化力量的會合，而每種力量都希望自己的帝國印記能遍地開花Al-Azmeh, in the 2008 Carl Heinrich Becker Lecture)。無論是看待現代或者千年前的事件或情況，我們都必須要有這樣的理解。
Some say that in every century there are a few watershed events that leave a deep and lasting impression on large numbers of people in a society, events for which people remember clearly where they were when they heard the news and which changed the world they lived in. As an American, one of those days was 9/11, when I walked into the living room, where my wife was watching television as she nursed our new-born son, and saw the improbable image of an airplane crashing into one of the World Trade Towers. This was not the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers – in 1993 there had been a failed attempt to destroy one of them with a bomb in the basement parking garage – and things had been changing slowly for decades before that. But after 9/11 it was clear to all that we had entered a new world.
So, at least for an American, the attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris was not an event that made a deep impression, but for millions of French it may have been one of these watershed events. What made this attack that claimed the lives of a dozen or so innocent victims an incident that brought millions onto the streets of Paris in protest? In this brief essay I would like to consider some of the historical factors, both recent and distant, that might help to understand the what and why of this event and the reaction to it. This bombing, which differed little from so many other similar events, was itself not a particularly significant indicator of the international situation. Rather, the protests that drew millions, both ordinary citizens and world leaders, to the streets of Paris and other cities of France were a phenomenon that bears our consideration.
To start, I think we should consider some of the reasons that elicited such a strong reaction from many segments of European society. It seems that underlying these protests there were essentially two subtexts, which might be roughly summarized as: “Islamists have committed another murderous terrorist attack that shows just how alien their culture is from ours;” and more specifically, “We must stand up for our cherished rights of free speech against the attacks of that foreign culture.” In these two closely related statements there are some concepts that deserve our examination. First, as to the dualistic opposition between the term “Islamists” and the fuzzy idea of “our culture”, we should ask, what is an Islamist, since, to paraphrase Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland, it seems that, “when the media use a word, it means anything they want it to.” This term, originally indicating a Western scholar of Islamic culture, has now been re-deployed in an attempt to differentiate between so-called ‘mainstream Muslims’, who would be referred to as Islamic, versus violent or fundamentalist Muslims, who are called Islamist. But although it nominally restricts criticism to only the violent segments, at the same time this usage conveys an implicit bias against the overall group. On the other hand, the notion of “our culture” tends to denote whatever is happening in Europe – but especially the laudatory aspects therein.
That there are differences between European Christian culture and the culture of the Islamic Middle East hardly need be said; but the notion that these two cultures are in opposition predates contemporary conditions by millennia. Indeed, it was almost two thousand five hundred years ago that Herodotus saw the Greek wars with Persia in this light. Similarly, Plutarch described Alexander, a Johnny-come-lately to proto-European culture, as the sword of Greek reason against Persian sycophancy and superstition. Samuel Huntington’s relatively recent fulminations about a clash between cultures thus are best seen as merely a recent echo of a very old theme. The idea that these different cultures are immutable and irrevocably in conflict, however, may owe more to nationalism or ‘culturalism’ than to reality, as demonstrated by the centuries of relatively peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East up to the last century or by the decades of Muslim assimilation in North America, as exemplified by the Canadian television series “Little Mosque on the Prairie” “草原小清真寺.
The idea of an opposition between Europe and the Middle East has thus long been one of the ways that Europe has defined itself. Conversely, it has more recently become one of the means used by certain factions in the Islamic Middle East to solidify their own identity, a trend that emerged in Egypt with the beginning of the Islamic Brotherhood in British-ruled Egypt following the First World War. This trend then became more prominent following the Second World War, with the rising tide of movements for Middle East decolonization, cultural as well as political, especially in areas such as the Arabian Peninsula and, later, Iran. It is these movements that now form the core of what is referred to as Islamism.
It is often contended that Islam, beginning with the wars that accompanied its birth, has been a religion and a culture based on violence – more so than cultures of other religions, in particular, Euro-Christian culture. Yet in reading the Old Testament of the Bible, which narrates the genesis of Christianity, it is clear that bitter warfare between the Israelites and local peoples they were displacing is a prevalent theme. Although it is true that Islam does not see the same separation between religion and government that has become a distinguishing trait of Euro-American culture since the end of the Eighteenth Century, this distinction is a relatively new phenomenon in the West, hardly the hallmark of Euro-Christian culture.
Moreover, from a historical perspective, when we consider the levels of intolerance and violence under Christian-European governments over the past thousand years, recent Islamist violence can be seen in a new light. The bloodletting and pillage during the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 was far more terrible than that of the Muslim conquest it facilitated two centuries later. During the European Middle ages, persecution of Jews, divergent sects of Christianity in southern France and of individuals labeled as witches was hardly less barbaric than the terrible scenes from the Middle East now transmitted globally on the internet. Then as Christian Europe brought its civilization to the New World, the violence, both physical and cultural, against native peoples in the process of bringing this civilization to them is beyond estimation. Even apart from the crusading impulse, the violence between rival Protestant sects and the decimation of Northern Europe associated with Protestant-Catholic rifts leading to the Thirty Years War was hardly less than what we now see in the Middle East conflicts between Sunni and Shia. Censorship and harsh repression of divergent Christian views by both Catholics and Protestants were common throughout Europe until just several centuries ago. In contemporary Europe and America secular terrorist acts such as the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 or the random shootings by disturbed individuals are a perennial crisis. Moreover, these centuries of excesses in Christian European culture were taking place at a time when the Muslim Middle East was home to far more tolerant cultures.
Beyond the theme of, “We should not criticize them since we can be just as bad,” which caused such a stir when put forth in February by President Obama, it is important to note the broad changes in the strength of religion in these two areas. The increasing tolerance of Europe is clearly associated with the growth of a more secular society, together with the greatly reduced role of religion in public and private life since the Eighteenth Century. On the other hand, increased violence in the Muslim Middle East is associated with a greater emphasis on the ties between religion and government. It is not simply a clash of Christian European values with those of the Muslim Middle East, but rather between the values of a now-secularized society and those of a religiously-based one. Do we deduce that religion – at least the Abrahamic, monotheistic creeds of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – leads to violence? I would concur with Karen Armstrong (Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Knopf, 2014) that the connection is not so direct. But this question is far more complex than the issue of Islamic terrorism and even to begin it would hardly fit within the scope of this brief essay. To gain some perspective on the second sub-text of the protests, restriction on freedom of expression, we could look more generally at what are the values that Europeans see as inherent in their culture. French – and more broadly, European – values can be summed up in the inspirational credo from the (brutally violent) French Revolution: liberté, égalité, fraternité. It is the first of these, freedom of speech, that was directly challenged by the Charlie Hebdo¬ attack, and all peoples should be united against this threat.
But at the same time we should not neglect the other two ideals. Is there equal treatment of peoples when a magazine is free to insult one religious culture, while at the same time criticisms of other religions are restricted? European laws against anti-Semitism in the guise of publicly denying the Holocaust are common and have been used to prosecute historians who promote this shabby claim. Insults to Judaism are also taboo, and Charlie Hebdo itself in 2009 fired one of its staff responsible for a cartoon lampooning Jews. Performances of the Islamic French stand-up comic Dieudonné have been banned due to their allegedly anti-Semitic content. In support of the French policy of secularization, French women have been forbidden since 2004 from wearing a headscarf in public places as an expression of their Muslim identity – while at the same time almost all of the French public holidays are based on Christian traditions. Indeed, it is clear that liberty is not equally distributed, and this cannot help but increase resentment by Muslims, both moderated and radical.
We should also remember the third term, which is more a responsibility than a right, calling for a brotherhood of mankind beyond classes and religions; and it is this common feeling which has been perhaps the greatest victim of a perceived clash of civilizations. A terrorist attack on a magazine may be a threat to free speech, but is not the publication of cartoons an affront to the closely held beliefs of another segment of society in France and outside of it? Fraternity is unlikely to come about as long as some people are testing the limits of free speech through provocations to another group. The editor of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier, believed he was within his rights to satirize Mohammed and as a secularist he felt it was his responsibility to do so despite the risk to his life. But free speech has never meant that anyone can publicly say whatever he wishes; it should mean that people should be able to speak the truth as they see it. Simple insults and taunts against any group of people, whether religious or ethnic, serve only to fracture a society, to break the bonds, the fraternité , that hold together its different segments. For a more general view, it may sometimes be a poet, rather than a historian, who best sums up the spirit behind the characteristics of an age from a broad perspective. In addition to historical analysis, we might thus turn to one stanza from a work of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats:
“The Second Coming”
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
This was written, not in response to the chaos of the current world situation, but in 1919, just after the First World War and the Russian Revolution, and in the midst of a drawn-out, bitter conflict in Ireland. Yet indeed it seems just as true today since so many of the centers of world cultures, be they Western or Eastern, no longer seem to exert the centripetal pull to rein in the demons straining at their leashes. Returning to the present, as an expression of grief and outrage, the Charlie Hebdo demonstrations may have been constructive. But as an expression of opposition to Islamic culture, they are something of which we should be wary. Clearly, the embers of nationalism, culturalism and revanchist views were not extinguished, but only fanned by the conflagration of the Second World War. The feelings that powered this reaction are not merely those of outrage against a threat to what are seen as “European values.” They are, I think, as much a reflection of a lack of understanding and a perceived powerlessness – at both individual and state levels – against threats from a poorly-defined and shifting body of violent fanatics. As individuals, we have difficulty grasping the differences between the various shades of meaning among the plethora of foreign terms and acronyms: Al’ Qaeda, the Taliban, IS, ISIS, or Boko Haram and al Shabat in Africa, not to mention the many apparently unaffiliated actions such as the Boston Marathon explosion in 2013 or the murder of a British soldier at an English bus stop that same year. Western governments, although generally allied in what has been seen since George Bush’s response to 9/11 as a War against Terrorism, have yet to provide a cogent explanation or response to the bewildering complexity of the situation. So what is to be done? First, to better our understanding we can look beyond traditional stereotypes of a Manichaean opposition between Western and Islamic cultures. Even beyond the ideological polemics of a Samuel Huntington, much fine scholarship remains in the traditional line represented by J. G. A. Pocock’s multivolume meditations on themes from Gibbon. Though observations such as those in Barbarism and Religion (especially v. 3, The First Decline and Fall, Cambridge, 2003), may be perceptive, they are within a paradigm of fundamental conflict between European values and barbarism. But there are other ways to approach this issue and in recent years there has been a gathering movement to reinterpret the historical context of the relationship between Europe and its neighboring cultures, especially Islam. As Michael Cook points out in Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective (Princeton, 2013), fundamentalist religion – not only Islam in the Middle East, but also Hinduism on the Indian Subcontinent and Catholic liberation theology in Latin America – are playing central roles in the development of cultural-ethnic identities in these areas. And Africa is certainly no less a case in point. As Cook points out, these are regions where the evolution of regionally-based cultural identities has been fractured by European colonialism, and in this situation fundamentalist religious creeds are one means to re-establish identity. Considering an earlier period and challenging the notion that Islam developed in something like a cultural vacuum on the Arabian Peninsula, Garth Fowden shows how it in fact emerged within the matrix of a Judeo-Christian religious and political culture that had been developing in the Mediterranean world for the previous five hundred years. His Before and After Muhammed: The First Millenium Refocused (Princeton, 2014) also goes on to demonstrate the reciprocal relationship between the three Abrahamic religious cultures after the emergence of Islam. Similarly, in The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2014), Aziz Al-Azmeh proves how Islam’s development was in many vital ways an extension of Greco-Roman civilization. In that work, he analyzes the ways in which social conditions on the Arabian Peninsula, together with religious fundamentals of the emerging Islamic terminology, polity and canon were all closely tied to and indeed a continuation of the Classical-Christian civilization, rather than a rupture with it. Moreover, Islam in Baghdad at the end of the first millennium explicitly viewed itself, not the Christian-Byzantine culture, as the true continuation of Hellenistic culture. The fundamental Eurasian conflict (Greek versus Achaemenid Persian, Rome versus Parthian Persia, Europe versus Islam) can be seen as taking place in a “continuous region containing forces of economic, demographic and cultural convergence and continuity that each side wished to crystallize under its own ecumenical imperial signature.” (Al-Azmeh, in the 2008 Carl Heinrich Becker Lecture). It is critical that we see how this understanding applies equally well to our current situation as to conditions of a thousand years ago. The current separation between Church and state, touted as a hallmark of Euro-America culture in contradistinction from Islam, is in fact a relatively recent development, one that was made necessary by European notions such as kings who governed by divine right or popes who exercised temporal power. The influence of this concept, introduced to the Roman West from the Persian East in the wake of Alexander and then shared with Islam via Late Antiquity, is pointed out by the fact that cultures such as China or India that were untouched by it have not felt the compulsion to promote or suppress secularism. And what practical directions for resolving this seemingly intractable situation might history point to? This situation is analogous to the response of American and European governments to the wave of anarchist and labor terrorism that swept these two continents from the end of the Nineteenth Century to the early Twentieth. The scope of that violence has been obscured by the devastation of World War I, but over that time it took the lives of both ordinary citizens and heads of state due to emerging political ideologies coupled with the power of rapid communications and mass media that gave new potency to terrorist acts. Although the government monitoring of that time was far cruder that that of our internet age, police-work together with changes to labor conditions and political situations in Eastern Europe caused that movement to wither away such that is little remembered today. Although monitoring the communications of potential terrorists to block them before they act does not provide complete protection, its effectiveness should not be underestimated. That tactic in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, as deployed by American and European governments against the terrorist acts of anarchists and revolutionary communists might seem to have been effective since those movements largely died out. But in fact, it is more likely that those earlier activities of revolutionaries subsided due to larger social and economic changes in the respective regions. People who are reasonably employed, well educated, and given the freedom to express their religious and ethnic identities rarely gravitate to violence against their society. Yes, there are currently examples of ‘home-grown terrorists,’ individuals, both Islamic and secular, who leave the comfort of their European or American lives to join the ranks of terrorists. But these are mostly linked by family or emotional ties to the roots of terrorism that lie in other regions. Thus for a long-term solution, the first step is to move towards resolving the deep-rooted political, religious and ethnic conflicts in the Middle East.
If Western governments can support this without imposing their own values, that will help. At the same time, little will be accomplished if the West does not take a much stronger role in pushing Israel to provide a just and humane solution to the rights of Palestinians in Israeli-held territory. Geographically, the Levant may be a very small area and there are many other divisions in other areas of the Middle East; but there will never, never be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinian situation is resolved. More broadly, we should realize that it will take time, at the very least one full generation, for this region to regain some level of political and social stability. And what can we as individuals do in the face of the blundering monolithic governments under which we live? I think there are two most fundamental things. One is understanding, and history can help with this, as discussed above. The second is forgiving the wrongs of others, forgiving those who have no right to be forgiven, and hoping that our side may be forgiven for the countless wrongs it has perpetrated itself. For that, history is of help only in seeing that without forgiveness it is unlikely for there ever to be healing. The first millennium of the Common Era we can now see was one in which the three Western religions interacted closely with one another, while the second millennium saw greater and greater conflicts between them. What will be the final tenor of the third millennium remains to be seen; perhaps my son, who was nursing on the day of 9/11, will have a better understanding than I. But since we are off to such a distressing start, it is the responsibility of us all to do what we can, through understanding and action, to bind up the wounds of Charlie Hebdo and move forward to do what we can to alter the direction in which we are headed.
作者介紹：貝克定(Timothy D. Baker, Jr)副教授：2006年得到哈佛大學東洋文明研究所博士學位，同一年開始在東華大學歷史系任教。目前研究方向：在中國和西方的信仰和政治的關係。開設課程包括：世界史、世界文化遺產、中東伊斯蘭文明史、西方宗教與政治。
Timothy D. Baker, Jr has been an Associate Professor in the National Dong Hwa University Department of History since receiving his PhD from the Harvard University Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations in 2006. His research interests include the relationship between religion and government, especially in China, and how this is reflected in manmade environments. His course topics include World History, cultural heritage and cultural transmission, history of cities, history of the Islamic Middle East, and the relationship between religion and government in the West.