How Vittorio Arrigoni Went to Gaza Hoping to Die
Bit by bit, decorate it, arrange the details, find the ingredients, imagine it, choose it, get advice on it, shape it into a work without spectators, one which exists only for oneself, just for the shortest little moment of life.
—Michel Foucault, describing the pleasure of preparing oneself for suicide.
The Italian cheerleader for Hamas, Vittorio Arrigoni, has died at the hands of the Islamic terrorism that he venerated throughout his life. The fellow traveler journeyed to the Gaza Strip to prostrate himself before his secular deity, Hamas, and to assist its venture of perpetrating genocide against Israelis. Islamic terrorists, who call themselves “Salafists,” showed their gratitude to Arrigoni by kidnapping, mercilessly beating, and executing him.
This episode was, of course, all part of an expected script: even though the media and our higher literary culture never discuss the reasons, the historical record reveals one undeniable fact: like thousands of political pilgrims before him, Vittorio Arrigoni went to Gaza to die. Indeed, consciously or unconsciously, in their unquenchable quest for sacrificing human life on the altar of their utopian ideals, fellow travelers always lust for death, and if not the death of others, then of their own.
It is no coincidence that a short while before “Salafists” killed Arrigoni, Juliano Mer-Khamis, a cheerleader of terrorism in Israel who, like Arrigoni, dedicated his life to praising the Palestinian death cult and working for the annihilation of Israel, was murdered by Islamic terrorists in Jenin. It is no coincidence that Rachel Corrie, the infamous enabler of the International Solidarity Movement, a group that disrupts anti-terrorism activities of the Israel Defense Forces, committed suicide in protecting Hamas terrorists by throwing herself in front of an Israeli bulldozer. And it is no coincidence that female leftist “peace” activists are routinely raped, brutalized, and enslaved by the Arabs of Judea and Samaria that they come to aid and glorify in their Jew-hating odyssey against Israel. And don’t hold your breath, by the way, waiting for leftist feminists to protest this phenomenon; they are faithfully following in the footsteps of American fellow traveler Anna Louise Strong and the Stalinist German writer Bertolt Brecht, two typical leftist believers who were completely undisturbed by the arrests and deaths of their friends in the Stalinist purges -- having never even inquired about them after their disappearance.
Beneath the leftist believer’s veneration of the despotic enemy lies one of his most powerful yearnings: to submit his whole being to a totalist entity. This psychological dynamic involves negative identification, whereby a person who has failed to identify positively with his own environment subjugates his individuality to a powerful, authoritarian entity, through which he vicariously experiences a feeling of power and purpose. The historian David Potter has succinctly crystallized this phenomenon:
. . . most of us, if not all of us, fulfill ourselves and realize our own identities as persons through our relations with others; we are, in a sense, what our community, or as some sociologists would say, more precisely, what our reference group, recognizes us as being. If it does not recognize us, or if we do not feel that it does, or if we are confused as to what the recognition is, then we become not only lonely, but even lost, and profoundly unsure of our identity. We are driven by this uncertainty into a somewhat obsessive effort to discover our identity and to make certain of it. If this quest proves too long or too difficult, the need for identity becomes psychically very burdensome and the individual may be driven to escape this need by renouncing his own identity and surrendering himself to some seemingly greater cause outside himself.
This surrender to the totality involves the believer’s craving not only to relinquish his individuality to a greater whole but also, ideally, to sacrifice his life for it. Lusting for his own self-extinction, the believer craves martyrdom for the idea. As Eric Hoffer points out in his classic The True Believer, the opportunity to die for the cause gives meaning to the believer’s desire to shed his inner self: “a substitute embraced in moderation cannot supplant and efface the self we want to forget. We cannot be sure that we have something worth living for unless we are ready to die for it.”
Thus, Vittorio Arrigoni, Juliano Mer-Khasin, and Rachel Corrie were simply just faithfully continuing the long suicidal tradition of their political faith. We are well aware, after all, of the dark fate of the believers who journeyed to Russia after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to build communism; we are well versed of what happened to the leftist Iranians who returned to their country after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to aid Khomeini in building the Islamic paradise. Only those who cannot accept the true motivations of utopian believers can still deny what those political pilgrims were searching for in their odyssey to shed themselves of their own unwanted selves.
Does one need to excessively explain why “progressive” feminist Naomi Klein called out for bringing “Najaf to New York” in her infamous 2004 column in The Nation, in which she reached her hand out in solidarity to Muqtada al-Sadr and his Islamofascist Mahdi Army in the Iraqi Shi’ite stronghold of Najaf? Bringing Najaf to New York would mean that the Iraqi Shi’ite stronghold, where Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army at one time ran their torture chambers and sowed their terror, would be replicated on America’s shores. What could Naomi Klein possibly see admirable in the vicious nihilistic terror of the Mahdi Army? Would she remain alive for more than sixty seconds upon contact with it?
Is it possible that Klein’s impulses are related to those of Noam Chomsky, a Jew, who has distinguished himself, among other intriguing ways, by traveling to Lebanon to personally embrace the leaders of Hezbollah, whose stated top priority is to rid the world of Jews?
The murder by Iraqi terrorists of American hostage Tom Fox in March 2006 was a perfect example of this pathological phenomenon. Fox was among four members of the leftist group Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in Iraq in November 2005. Aside from voicing support for the terrorists, one of the group’s most powerfully articulated themes entailed the longing for death. In the 1984 speech, “God’s People Reconciling,” for example, which gave rise to the formation of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, Mennonite minister Ron Sider urged his listeners: “We must be prepared to die by the thousands.”
It is not unsurprising that when British and American troops rescued the other three CPT hostages and saved their lives, the freed captives refused to thank their liberators — who had risked their own lives participating in the rescue — or to cooperate in a critical debriefing session with intelligence officers. Doug Pritchard, the co-chairman of CPT, went out of his way to tell the world that the kidnapping itself (and by implication Fox’s murder) was America’s fault, not the kidnappers’ or the executioners’. “The illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces,” he affirmed, was the “root cause” of the kidnappings. In other words, the devil made them do it.
The freed captives resented the fact that they had been liberated by the very forces they despised. And the rescuers had robbed the remaining hostages of the idealized fate suffered by Fox. Jan Benvie, an Edinburgh teacher who was getting ready to go to Iraq with the group in the summer of 2006, learned the lesson well. She announced before her departure: “We make clear that if we are kidnapped we do not want there to be force or any form of violence used to release us.”
To the end of his life, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, who supported and adored Khomeini’s killing fields, adamantly defended "everyone's right to kill himself." Suicide, he boastfully wrote in a 1979 essay, was "the simplest of pleasures." Is it a coincidence that Foucault, who had attempted to kill himself several times out of guilt feelings regarding his homosexuality, passionately supported an Islamic death cult that murdered homosexuals?
Gaza terrorists have a long history of kidnapping and abusing, raping and killing those who come to aid and abet them.
Vittorio Arrigoni knew that very well.
In the end, Arrigoni’s story is the story of the Left -- a story best summarized by the dictum of Goethe’s devil, which Marx perpetually invoked, as he did in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon: “All that exists deserves to perish.”
Arrigoni is the contemporary poster boy for the political pilgrims who traveled to despotisms to help build the paradises in which they hoped to shed themselves of their own unwanted selves. They paid the ultimate price. And no lesser cost must be paid for the momentous transformation of sterilizing the unclean earth. Such disinfection can be made possible only by the purifying power of human blood — blood which, in the utopian enterprise, must, in the final chapter, become one’s own.