Tuesday 26 July 2016

In the islammer

Mental. We all are. Bat shit, stark, staring, certifiable lunatics who should be locked away from decent society. Mental illness they say can strike anybody down. The media have been going to great lengths to portray the recent slew of attacks by muslims claiming to be acting for allah as the isolated, unconnected actions of lone madmen. The murder of nineteen inmates of a Japanese care centre a few hours ago will be seized upon by the media as some form of validation for this. See? They will say, madness and hate... nothing to do with islam. (It would of course be amusing if it turn out the suspect has recently converted to worship ‘Arrah’.)

The perverse world we live in keeps on turning and there are nutters everywhere. Human minds are malleable, sometimes fragile things and while there is far more perceived mental illness than real it is clear that some are more susceptible than others to the lure of La Lune. We all go a bit mad from time to time, adding the extension ‘mania’ to any number of faddish delights. “I’m mad, me!” giggle daft, drunken youngsters or slightly unhinged maiden aunts. “He’s mad for it!” they say of demented adherents of hedonistic pursuits. It’s everywhere, this mild form of madness.

In the US and now over here, mad can mean angry, but it can also mean hectic. In fact, mad can be pressed into service to describe anything other than – and I hesitate to use the word amid today’s insistence that there is no such thing – normal. Eccentric, not-quite-right, off-his-head, bonkers, fruitloop, psycho, schizo... maniac. There are dozens of terms for madness, from mildly afflicted to crazed, denoting any relationship with it from affection to fear. We look after the slightly mad, lock away the disturbingly mad and run away, terrified from those who act on their madness.

Moments of madness, however, are often excused, I’m assuming because of the ‘there, but for the grace of god (go I)’ principle. Crimes of passion, ‘losing it’, ‘senior moments’ all seem to recognise that one day we may all need this defence. The very word lunatic contains a ready-made vindication that we are sometimes powerless to resist the urge to lash out. In fact, despite all the contrary protestations, we are as a species exceptionally well disposed towards those who act on their inner voices, so much so that even when those lapses of reason extend to planning and acting upon an urge to kill and maim, we pretend that such unstable rages are potentially within us all.

But maybe we’re rather better than that. Think about it. Even among the ever-increasing range of clinical diagnoses of insanity, only a tiny proportion have to be chained up for the safety of themselves and others and an even tinier proportion still have gone full crazy and actually set out on a killing spree. It strikes me we have an easy way out here. Given the desire of the establishment to portray all atrocities as the works of madmen why not just have islam declared a form of insanity?

Don't lose your head!
Friday prayers...

Make the mosques into mental institutions and throw away the keys. The number who flee the cuckoo’s nest and go full jihad might just be comparable to the proportion of paranoid schizophrenics who get stabby. It has to be worth a try at least...

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