Good Morning, Fata Morgana

George Orwell, the English novelist who shocked his audience with the fantastic world he created in his seminal work “Animal Farm” coined the term “the Iron Curtain”, the same curtain that separated between the animal world and the human world. Winston Churchill adopted the term “the Iron Curtain” in a speech delivered in Fulton, Missouri in 1946, using it to describe the ideological border that divided Europe into two blocs.

Prime Minister Churchill of Britain, legendary hero of World War II, victor against the Nazis, who could never be suspected of desiring war over peace, warned the world in his speech of a new phenomenon, a curtain that physically and ideologically divided the world.

Churchill stated:

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies….From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.

Churchill described a world divided by a curtain and warned of the consequences of this division. We have since seen how correct Churchill’s warnings were. However, unfortunately, his warnings were not heeded, and the split threatened the welfare of citizens in various countries around the world.

An “Iron Curtain” physically separated Communist and Western Blocks with  iron and stone walls, militaries and security forces, resulting in a policy of “nobody enters and nobody leaves” – to prevent Western influence on Communist states, while Communist spy services infiltrated various locations around the world. Russia exported its revolution through a well-oiled system of propaganda and publicity, attempting to bring new states and territories under the Communist influence.

The second curtain was the “Bamboo Curtain” a continuation of the Iron Curtain in East Asia. These countries sided on the Communist side of the curtain, but adapted Communism to their mentality by softening it and allowing greater flexibility. These powers developed their own unique style and independence of the Soviet line, while maintaining the conservative communist ideology.

“The Bamboo Curtain” adopted similar methods as the Soviet model, but allowed certain aspects of Western culture to penetrate, as China differentiated itself from the Soviet Union. “The Bamboo Curtain” was formed primarily to prevent the exodus of citizens of communist countries to the other areas, careful to allow entry of foreign officials under strict scrutiny, allowing East Asian Communism to develop a different path than the Soviet Union. Thus, these countries in Asia could retain a limited dialogue with the outside world, enabling a type of co-existence with the West.

The world is now witness to a new type of curtain – the Curtain of Lies and Deceits, established by fundamentalist Muslim movements in different sectors, a type of onslaught whose goal is to achieve a New World through a new type of leadership. This curtain is based on an ideology of half truths and fantasy, entrapping people in a different kind of fantasy world based primarily on lies.

This type of Mirage is a “Fata Morgana”, a unique phenomenon that only exists in the Arab world, a type of hallucination which occurs after hours of desert wanderings, in which the imagination believes it sees an oasis on the horizon which does not in fact exist. The hallucinating wanderer is convinced of the truth of his vision and is ready to jump into the clear waters of the oasis, only to find himself half buried into a sand-dune.  This “Fata Morgana” hides reality and seduces the subject towards an illusion, tapping into the aspirations of the heart which will never come to fruition.

This Curtain of Lies and Deceit does not attempt to blend into a the Western world, but attempts to influence it, and re-design it according to its ideology. Through unrestricted immigration, radical Islam exploited this curtain in its ideological struggle to leave its mark on the West and change it fundamentally .

The Curtain of Lies and Deceit creates a new reality in our changing world. Following the collapse of the old order and the decline of traditional leadership of the twentieth century, fundamentalist Islam is taking a leading role in this struggle. Both fundamentalist Shia and Sunni Islam seek leadership roles in our crumbling world order.

The control of important natural resources gave the Islamic world great power. The connection to international bodies has enabled the Islamic world to control profits and made Islam the most significant factor in the global economy. Poor Islamic states which did not have oil exploit  the drug trade to fund terror activities, a trade that fits well with the approach of lies and illusion, part of the culture war being waged against the West.

Step by step, the Curtain of Lies and Deceits has left its imprint on the world  exploiting democracy and human rights concepts to spread an ideology based on lies. The exploitation of the global media allows this ideology to seep into public opinion, encouraging violent action.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center