Siamese Fighting Fish: A Most Vital Illustration

BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN

Please, Dear Readers, take heed of these characteristics of the Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens):

Originally, they herald from the East. They have been bred to fight for many centuries. They often display very belligerent behaviour towards any animals that they deem a threat. Their breeding habits are messy – they are prone to physical and mental defects having been selectively over-bred between cousins over the years. They build bubble nests – compact cells within which to breed while hiding from predators. The male in the family is all-powerful – once the eggs are in the nest, it is the male who dominates the raising of all offspring and the female loses almost all relevance. They are not nearly as fierce as they seem – however, males won’t tolerate outsiders in close quarters and can only be kept alongside females for short periods for breeding, while females are generally less aggressive towards each other and often socialise in small groups. Escapes from breeding farms and personal collection requests have led to wild populations being introduced all around the world. Prisons have proven to be profitable breeding grounds – one breed of fighting fish known as the “marble Betta” originated in an Indiana state prison, where an inmate bred Siamese Fighting Fish in peanut butter jars in his cell – creating many varieties of fighters, which he dispersed to outside breeders who spread them across the globe.

Now, put two Siamese Fighting Fish together in a tank and they will fight each other, most often to the death. Put three Siamese Fighting Fish together in a tank or bowl and most often they will fight each other – again, to the death.

But, as dastardly Ernst Blofeld observed with amused curiosity in From Russia with Love (1963), Siamese Fighting Fish are, on the whole, brave but stupid. Only very occasionally when three fish happen to find themselves together in the same tank does one exhibit genuine intelligence and take the bystander role – letting the other two fish fight to the death. Only when the survivor of the two fighters is so worn down and exhausted that he cannot defend himself does the third fish swoop in and destroy it.

Despite Darwin, drawing a parallel between fish and humans might seem unlikely to some. Then again, our liberal western attitudes over the last half a century have opened up most of the First World to all kinds of perdition – there are hundreds of latent Shia Hezbollah cells established across Europe and America, by some estimates as many as there are Sunni ISIS or Al Qaeda cells in our midst in the West. They share the same goal of global domination.

We are already in the tank with them.

Observant observers of the savage Algerian Civil War, which culminated two years into this century, cannot hesitate to see the nature of Siamese Fighting Fish in the behaviour of murderous, religious absolutists. The race to the bottom – illiterate goat herds slaying each other to impose their own particular brand of Islam over the other until the threat fizzled out in a pool of blood and severed heads.

Since we are already in the tank with these aggressive Islamists, all that is left to ask ourselves is what are we compared to them?

Is the West bright enough to win against this new and ugly evil dumped before us? Are we ready to remove the laurels our grandparents wore with pride after puncturing the evil of Nazism? Do we still possess the collective, cool-headed chutzpah necessary to address this evil – the same sang froid required for a Mers-el-Kébir or Dresden? Do we sincerely will victory or are we too plump and content – our supermarket shelves bedecked with food and drink – idling by in our current state of PC blancmange?

If yes, then with our superior brains and brawn (with a real nano-technological push in the right directions as a guarantee), our third fish can be a wise piranha – the unconquerable fish in the tank.

If no, alas we are merely barbaric Siamese Fighting Fish just like them. As brave and stupid as our enemies; so soft and feeble as to continue to cater for their premeditated casualties while seeking, mistakenly, to break up, and involve ourselves in, their fight.

Depressingly, the barbarism of sharia – midst this latter, empathetic mush of political indecision – stands a chance of triumph; either Shia or Sunni.

Until the extremist Shias and Sunnis are left to fight to the death amongst themselves – especially in the West – and their poison is thus drawn out, their victory is feasible. To win – here comes the requisite sang froid – we must exhort these barbarians to fight amongst themselves before going in for the kill and terminating the remaining threat.

Do we have the skills and the ruthlessness our ancestors clearly possessed to see this job through?

Welcome, Dear Readers, to the defining test of our generation.

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