My first reaction to the new issue of "The Atlantic" was that no typical American who only speaks English could possibly know “What ISIS Really Wants.”
I shut up, and thought about it for a few minutes.
I realized that, in fact, I think I DO know what ISIS wants.
ISIS is no monolithic monster, no monolithic spirit, no monolithic mind.
ISIS is not Islam, ISIS is not uniquely evil, ISIS is nothing new.
ISIS is men and women who want what they cannot have.
They want too many aspects of their world to be different, in ways that are mostly impossible or unachievable.
They want some other people, other faiths, other demands, other hopes, other dreams to stop existing.
They want their ignorance to be confirmed.
They want their hatred to be validated.
They want their violence to be glorified.
They want their ideology to be venerated.
They want their all-powerful God to vanquish all other all-powerful Gods.
They want a past that was never real, a present that comforts only them, and a desperately ill-imagined future that will not be troubled by paradox and reality….
…and, sadly, the men and women of ISIS are not the only ones who insist on wanting what they cannot have.
We see such people in too many places.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015