By Mohamed El Mokhtar Haiba
Although George W. Bush is universally recognized for his right-wing leaning, he is not so well-known, at least publicly, for upholding some of the most fundamentalist apocalyptic thoughts underpinning the spiritual beliefs of some of his ideological brethren.
A recent book to be published soon in France by Plon may help shed some light, if the allegations therein contained were to be independently verified, on this, perhaps, mysterious side of the ex-republican president of the United States. The book whose French title is Si vous le répétez, je démentirai (If you repeat it, I will deny) is written by the journalist Jean Claude Maurice who served as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche between 1999 and 2003. It consists of a combination of interviews with three prominent French politicians, the ex-foreign minister Dominique de Villepin, the current president Nicolas Sarkozy and most importantly the ex-president, Jacque Chirac. It is one portion of the interviews devoted to Mr. Jacque Chirac that we will try to briefly analyze here.
During those private interviews, Jacque Chirac had purportedly confessed to the journalist some personal remarks regarding the faith of George W. Bush that seemed quite daunting. He told the journalist that the latter called him twice beseeching him basically, in the name of their common “spiritual faith”, i.e., “Christianity”, to join the collective effort of the coalition being formed to wage a preemptive war against Iraq. In his first telephonic call he reportedly said to Jacque Chirac: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East” and then added that “the biblical prophecies are being fulfilled”. Bewildered, Jacque Chirac did not react immediately. He knew that Bush was somehow religious but could never have thought that the president of the world only superpower was as mysteriously warmhearted to the complex intricacies of the Scriptures as he seemed to be. When a day later George W. Bush pronounced the mysterious words in a conference about the “axis of evil” (the word “evil” was inserted by the evangelical speechwriter Michael Gerson, the original term coined by another staff writer, the Canadian Jew David Frum, was “axis of hatred”), the Elysée decided secretly to consult an expert or biblical scholar about the issue.
In order to avoid any possible leak in France, they decided to outsource or solicit the service of a discreet and prominent outsider instead of a local expert more prone to indiscretion. It was Thomas Römer, professor of Theology at the University of Lausanne, who was called upon to clarify, for the occasion, the biblical mystery at stake. His report was chilling: Gog, prince of Magog, is merely the Apocalypse.
Indeed, the character appeared in Genesis and mainly the last most obscure chapters of the book of Ezekiel. It underpins the fulfillment of a prophecy, i.e., a last victory against the enemy of the “chosen people” or children of Israel following their return to the “Promised land”. The announcement of this parable of Armageddon to illustrate a mysterious biblical prophecy was not as laughable as it might appear to the French, according to Jacque Chirac who appeared quite disturbed and tormented because of what he just heard. He then wondered how come one be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs, according to the journalist.
Jacque Chirac became almost adamant in his conviction regarding the true beliefs of the president Bush and the nature of his character. He is not mistaken anymore. The man is dangerous. He is an irrational leader who wrongly believes in his messianic vision, and worse of all, intrinsic ability to decrypt the scriptures. His reading of current events epitomized the nature of his irrational thoughts and destructive instincts: Symbol of the antichrist, a transnational Islamist army is threatening the West, i.e., the main ally of the chosen people and September 11 terrorist attacks are the precursory proof […]
Flabbergasted, Chirac pursued: “They will inflame the region (“they” being Bush and his neoconservative clique). They don’t understand anything and are flagrantly ignorant of an Orient already complex. Ask them to name you one poet of the region. To them the fight between Shiites and Sunnis maybe simplistically reduced to the caricature of an American game: the finale of a Middle Eastern Superbowl (…).You will see it: they will wage a war of Pandora, win it quickly, but the most difficult thing will emerge later. Shiites and Sunnis will fiercely fight one another. After the invasion, a bloodier civil war will erupt, totally different in form and nature, from the regular combats of the early blitzkrieg. Al Qaeda will find a new safe haven from where it can easily recruit and operate. Within a year more troops will be needed and in three years, when 3000 American lives will have perished, the choice will be then between two bitter options: a quick withdrawal or a significant surge in troop’s level.”
It is easy to make a big fuss of the conspicuous religiosity of an odd character like Ahmedinajad who does not even hold much sway in his own country, despite all the bluster and colorful rhetoric, it is a lot harder to forget that the leader of a great western nation, proud legatee of the philosophy of Enlightenment and rational thought, endowed with unparalleled powers and military might, could having been irrational to the point where he was actually hearing “divine” voices and be stupid enough to lend credibility to such chimerical thoughts .
Virginia Wolf’s psychotic illuminations would appear today quite romantic when compared to Bush’s alleged illusionary disorders. After all, some of the echoes that intermittently resonated in her pretty inspired ears were, among other melodies, some gracious Greek chants amiably sung by innocent birds and, unlike Bush, she did not have at her bedside an extraordinary button capable of generating thousands of lethal, and less admirably inspiring, mushroom clouds.
– Mohamed El Mokhtar S Haiba is a political analyst. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.