Thursday, January 21, 2016

a documentary on the rise of a nihilistic branch of Islam and over-simplified western ideology

Made last year, the documentary Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis, is a very interesting watch. Click here to view.

Bitter Lake is a very artistically made documentary using archive footage. It's about the rise of Wahhabism, a branch of Sunni Islam. Saudi Arabia, who are supported by the West and the USA, funded Wahhabism schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Due to a variety of factors, these schools helped fuel the rise of nihilistic Islamic ideas and groups such as Al Quaeda and IS. 

The USA wanted to team up with Saudi Arabia to defeat Soviet Communists in Afghanistan but they didn't seem to foresee the rise of Wahhabism and its nihilistic offshoots. Instead Western leaders like Tony Blair were busy constructing over-simplified narratives of good vs evil to explain the problems in the Middle East, and missed developing a deeper, more precise understanding of political and religious developments.

Interestingly, at one point, Curtis says that British the West has a vacuum at the heart of it's ideology. It champions democracy without knowing why. The film doesn't link islamic nihilism with western nihilism though, or address the fact that alot of ISIS jihadis were born and bred in the West. Bitter Lake Part 2?

Photo: Tessa Mayes