Monday, 30 October 2006
From an interview
in yesterday's NY Post with two-time Che portrayer Gael Garcia Bernal, now appearing with stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in Babel
Q: Which is one of the points of "Babel." But some people, like the busload of U.S. and British tourists, come across worse than others, don't they?
A: Well, there's two points of view about this movie - you can see that, OK, the people from the U.S. are portrayed as scared people, really worried about health and dirt. But you can also see the other side: Why are the ones that die always from poor countries? We are always the ones that die.
Q: Your character in "Babel" makes pretty bad decisions after he's stopped by an aggressive cop at the U.S.-Mexican border. Have you, or someone you know, ever experienced anything like that?
A: My character makes a bad mistake in a drunken state. But yeah, when you're Mexican, it's a bit of a situation. You have to apply three months before, and it costs $80 for the visa. Sometimes you have to show bank statements to show you're earning money, you're not coming to the U.S. to work. It's kind of stupid - as if money was a sign of honesty, or goodwill. It's a rite of humiliation. They act as if you are coming here to steal.
Q: Is it easier for you to avoid this than most, though?
A: No, no - the last time I crossed the border, walking, I was asked, "Where do you come from?" And I'm like, "Well, I'm from Mexico." And they say, "No, where do you come from?" And I say, "I come from Mexico." I mean, what am I supposed to explain? And they say, "What were you doing in Mexico?" And I say, "Well, I live there." And they say, "No, but what were you doing right before you came here?"
I'm not gonna answer that. Because - you know, what do you care? We're radicalizing the process of integration, and that's terrible. Because it's going backward in time. But it's not just the U.S.'s fault - Mexico is shamefully not providing a place for people to work and live properly. It's everyone's fault.
Q: Did that experience make you want to avoid the U.S.?
A: No. I mean, we share the same territory! But Bush just signed off on the law to start building a wall. It's the second biggest wall that's ever going to be built, it's going to rival the Great Wall of China. And it costs so much money, and so much human resources. Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but it's kind of ridiculous to build a wall. Walls are always destroyed eventually.
fades along with its makers. (But in some cases, not soon enough.)
Posted on 10/30/2006 6:52 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 30 October 2006
Relatives and friends of two French teenagers who were electrocuted as they fled from police a year ago have gathered in Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris. A plaque was unveiled in front of their school, and a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the power sub-station where the teenagers tried to hide.
The deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore sparked three weeks of violent riots in France's poor suburbs as the young and unemployed vented their anger over what they saw as lack of opportunity and racial discrimination. The crowd gathered in silent prayer wearing t-shirts with the slogan "Dead for nothing". - from this news item
Not France. Not the French. This particular mayor, in this particular town. And all others who think like him. And even if there are millions of them, there are other millions in France who do not think like him, who are appalled at the whole thing. Some, in their desperation, run to Le Pen. Others, more assured and collected, support Philippe de Villiers or, in the belief that they must support someone who will win and not to support someone who may influence policy but cannot win, will go, at this point, with Sarkozy. Many now wish they could undo the last 40 years of crazed immigration policies. Some would like to strangle all those who undid France, in such wanton fashion. But why do some attack "France"? Why attack "the French"? Attack those who deserve it. They are everywhere. And everywhere there are those who don't deserve it, and don't deserve to pay for the stupidity or venality or fearfulness of others.
The Esdrujula Explanation, one more time: Stupidity, Cupidity, Timidity.
Posted on 10/30/2006 6:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 October 2006
How is it that 20 tons of explosives, not to mention many guns of every kind, have been smuggled into Gaza from Egypt? Can it really be that the Egyptians have made every effort to prevent it, or have they in fact done little or nothing to prevent such arms smuggling, and in fact possibly even aided it? What has Egypt done to merit any confidence that it will fulfill a single one of its solemn obligations under the Camp David Accords? It has prevented Egyptians from visiting Israel, prevented Israelis from participating in Cairo film and book festivals, allowed press campaigns that vilify Israel, put on the state television a series based on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and made Egypt a world center of antisemitism.
And the American government, which pushed the terms of that disastrous accord (if the Israelis were going to give up the Sinai for the second time, to Egypt, a country which acquired most of the Sinai only in 1922, and to which by its aggressive acts launched against Israel from Sinai had forfeited any title to the superior one of Israel as the winner in several wars of self-defense) has done nothing in the nearly thirty years that have passed to make Egypt obey fulfill those obligations -- and apparently lost much interest in such fulfillment just as soon as Israel, in three tranches, handed over the entire Sinai with its oilfields, and its roads, all built by Israel.
Now the Israelis, some report, wish to finally put paid to those many smuggling tunnels. Like idiots, some Israeli journalists have reported on this, and now, by alerting Egypt, have possibly made it politically and militarily impossible for Israel to do what it has every right to do, and should do.
Those journalists in Israel should think a bit. Not "well done, thou good and faithful servant." But shame and disgust at their heedless reporting.
And Israel should not be deterred if the Egyptians are moved up. The tunnels are there. If they are not to be destroyed, the alternative is to retake Gaza. Let that be made clear, to Egypt and to an American administration that is at a complete loss as to what to do, and so, in its failing and its flailing, unable to extricate itself from Iraq apparently because of the loss of face it fears it would have to endure (when, in fact, six months after such withdrawal the chaos and confusion and sectarian troubles all over the Muslim world would demonstrate the real "victory" achieved, and inevitably achieved, but never understood or recognized, once Saddam Hussein was removed), will try to pressure Israel all it can, in the hope that somehow -- doesn't Brzezinski believe it? And Scowcroft? and Baker and the Baker Commission? -that in some undefinable way, that will lessen the Jihad when, in fact, it is the reverse. The Lesser Jihad against Israel does not cause the Greater Jihad against Infidels but is only a subset that started earlier, before the OPEC revenues and Muslim migration allowed for an enlarged world-wide battlefield. The Lesser Jihad against Israel has, in fact, for a long time actually protected the West, serving as a lightning-rod for the general anti-Infidel fervor that is not a product of "extremist" Islam, or "Wahhabi" Islam, or "Wahhabi Salafist" Islam, or of something some call "Islamism," but rather of Islam. Unmodified, unadjectivized, unsuffixed Islam.
Posted on 10/30/2006 5:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 October 2006
Monday, 30 Oct. 2026 — City Council sends hundreds of police detectives to Staten Island after reports that 2 micrograms of flavor were discovered in refrigerator in abandoned house.
Posted on 10/30/2006 5:21 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 30 October 2006
The head of the British Army has spoken of his belief that God saved his life three times, prompting him to become a Christian.
Two of General Sir Richard Dannatt's near-death encounters took place in Northern Ireland, where his efforts to save the life of one of his men earned the Military Cross. The third occurred in Germany.
It is the second time this month that the Chief of the General Staff has talked openly about his deep faith and comes less than three weeks after he sparked a political storm by saying that the presence of British troops in Iraq was making the situation worse.
His latest comments are contained in Candles in the Darkness, a compilation of recollections from Christians serving in the RAF and Army.
"On three occasions, God had shown me his love and his protection and had challenged me to make a complete commitment to him, but on each occasion I had failed to make the response that he wanted from me," said Sir Richard, who is vice-president of the Officers' Christian Union. "Finally, I had to be stopped so that the lesson could be learned. . . God had no choice but to take a stick and beat me over the head."
I find it significant that the Ministry of Defence in Westminster has an Anglican chaplain who holds regular lunchtime services on MOD property, at which Civil Servants of other departments are welcome. This is not the situation in other departments, unfortunately.
Posted on 10/30/2006 2:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 30 October 2006
The situation in France is getting lively again. From The Times
A WOMAN was fighting for her life yesterday after three youths set a bus on fire in the latest outbreak of violence in the troubled suburbs of France.
The passenger was trapped when the gang smashed open the doors, doused the interior with a flammable liquid and struck a match. Three other people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
President Chirac expressed horror at the attack in Marseilles, the ninth firebombing of a bus in France in the past week. He said that the culprits would be “punished with the most extreme severity”.
Jacques Beaume, the state prosecutor in Marseilles, said that the woman was in a very critical condition, with 60 per cent burns. Doctors said that the victim, a student of Senegalese origin, would permanently be disfigured if she survived. Witnesses said that the driver had refused the youths permission to board the bus between stops. They attacked the vehicle at the same place on its return trip. So not a sudden impulse of rage then. And no-one just happens to have that quantity of flammable liquid about their person anyway.
The incident came as youths across France marked the anniversary of last year’s suburban riots by setting alight hundreds of cars and at least one primary school. Two police officers were injured in clashes with gangs overnight and 46 people were arrested.
French police headquarters described the suburbs as “relatively calm” — an indication that officials had been braced for even worse violence. Police and social workers say that much of the recent violence has been the work of gangs playing to the media because of the focus on the anniversary.
What “anniversary”? Some thing occurred to trigger violence this year, which also occurred this time (give or take 11 days, to adjust the lunar calendar to the solar calendar) last year. And it wasn’t Trafalgar Day.
Posted on 10/30/2006 2:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Brian of London writes: This week we interviewed Reut Cohen of UC Irvine about the antisemitic goings on there as reported in LGF.
Latest episode is up here.
Posted on 10/29/2006 5:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 29 October 2006
TAJ Din al-Hilali has praised militant jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling them men of the highest order for fighting against coalition forces - which include Australian soldiers - to "liberate" their homelands.
In an interview on Arabic radio two weeks ago, the imam based at Sydney's Lakemba mosque said he was opposed to terror attacks in Madrid, London and New York but strongly endorsed fighters in the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. - from this news item
In the bad old days of the Cold War, one used to worry about Soviet propagandists making hay while the sun shone down on classes at Patrice Lumumba University. Now in the early days of the Jihad that always existed in posse, but in the modern world only with the arrival of OPEC revenues and the large-scale presence of Muslims in Infidel lands, it is not propagandists at Lumumba, speaking untruthfully about the evils of Western capitalism and the wonders of Soviet communism, but preachers conveying truthfully the tenets and attitudes of Islam at the Lakemba Mosque, that are, or should be, the object of concern and vigilance.
Is it? Is it, and a thousand other mosques in Austalia, or tens of thousands of mosques elsewhere in the Bilad al-kufr, all under strict surveillance and, as they must be, permanently, because the texts of Islam are immutable, and permanent, so that one can expect, again and again, sermons based on those texts to inevitably appear, and to work their malevolent way into the receptive minds, and then the actions, of Believers all over the innocent and largely still uncomprehending West?
Posted on 10/29/2006 5:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
JOHN HOWARD has all but called on the Islamic community to strip controversial sheik Taj Din al-Hilali of his role as Australia's spiritual Muslim leader.
Sheil Hihali, in case you forget is the charming specimen who likened unveiled women to meat left out for the cats, and thereby confirmed what some have always suspected, that certain Muslim men are less than animals with no sense of right and wrong or good and evil, and are taught no self control whatsoever. He also made some other comments recently, which you can read here, praising militant jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling them men of the highest order for fighting against coalition forces - which include Australian soldiers - to "liberate" their homelands.
If Muslim chiefs did not step in and "discharge their obligations" and resolve the furore caused by Sheik Hilali, the controversy could spell significant damage for the broader community, the Prime Minister said.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer added that nothing had done the Islamic community more harm than the Hilali episode and Muslims would be "well rid" of him.
Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said that 30 years ago the sort of views the sheik had expressed had been widespread and prompted the under-reporting of sexual assault.
Mr Howard said he wanted to avoid a feeling of isolation from the mainstream in the Islamic community. But Muslims should note the outrage in the broader community about the sheik's conduct. "(Muslims) must hear what the Australian community, whatever its religious manifestion may be, is saying about this issue," he said.
"I ask them to discharge their obligations as members of the Australian community . . . But they have a very heavy responsibility. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, it will create a very significant problem, I fear, and I do not want that."
Mr Downer said it was time for Sheik Hilali to go. "He has done the Islamic community in Australia an enormous disservice. And I am sure they realise that," he said.
Mr Beazley said the sheik should lose his position, but that it was more important for him to correct his views with his flock by retracting the comments.
Meanwhile at an end of Ramadan celebration in Bankstown, which is about 30 minutes' drive from Lakemba, Muslim women and others all condemned Sheik Hilali. In particular local federal member for Bankstown
Michael Hatton, who addressed the crowd, described Sheik Hilali's comments as inappropriate, tasteless and damaging to the way Muslims were seen in Australia. He said he had long hoped the sheik would moderate his views and embrace Australian democratic society, "to make a better place for Australians, a better place for his flock". He called on the Lebanese Muslim Association, which controls the Lakemba Mosque, to put a stop to the attacks on Australian women emanating from there. Blunt and to the point. That's what I like about Australians.
Update 30 October 2006 Monday morning in the UK. The BBC says that Sheik Hilali has been taken to hospital with chest pain and has asked for leave of absence from his duties at the Lakemba Mosque. Nothing trivial I hope.
Posted on 10/29/2006 4:17 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Ten to fifteen years ago the various political parties of Italy had a Re-Naming Day in Eden. The parties of the left ended up with such names as L'Uliva and La Margherita and La Rosa. Only one party, Rifondazione Comunista, failed to do so. Nowadays, when you read about the parties maneuvering and squabbling over power in Italy, you might be forgiven for thinking you have mistakenly come to a meeting of some Horticultural Society, or dropped in on Amos Pettingill's White Flower Farm.
The parties on the right did the same -- the Christian Democrats were no more, and the party that was once the truly fascistic (in the days of Giorgio Almirante) Movimento Italiano Sociale, the "missini," was given not merely a new name, Alleanza Nazionale, but a new moral structure, especially under the perfectly respectable --and in many ways attractive -- Fini. So strong was Fini and so open in his denunciation of policies associated with real Fascism, and especially of any hint of antisemitism, and broke so openly with the hideous fascist past, that Alessandra Mussolini left the party in figlia-di-papa fury.
The complexities of Italian politics, the difference between Veltroni, say, and Caruso (compare their statements on Israel's counter-attack against Hezbollah), or the difference between Berlusconi (a crook) and Fini (not a crook), though both may be said to be "on the right," are great and sometimes are larger, morally, than the supposed differences in their parties.
But the same is true everywhere. What does an intelligent and decent man (but wildly wrong on Iraq, alas) Senator McCain, or an intelligent and decent man (yet to speak out on Iraq, alas) Tom Tancredo, have to do with the likes of Pat Buchanan? And what does an intelligent and decent man (but wildly wrong on Iraq, alas) Senator Lieberman, have to do with the likes of Representative Jim McDermott, or Jim Moran (both of whom object to the war in Iraq, but for all the dangerously wrong reasons)?
"Left" and "right," "Democrat" and "Republican" -- terms of limited use, and often of limited shelf-life, unless constantly refreshed and mentally updated.
Posted on 10/29/2006 3:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Here's my take:
Every person subscribes, with different degrees of intensity, to many groups. I'm an American, a native of England (and of Northampton), a Long Islander, a Derbyshire, a Knowles (i.e my mother's family), a lapsed Episcopalian, a writer, a mathematician, a Yankee supporter, an opera fan, a white person, a Gentile, and so on.
Depending on one's immediate circumstances, one or other (or none) of one's identities might be to the fore—might be "salient." In a room full of Nigerian mathematicians, my mathematician identity would be salient. Hurrying along a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant at 2 a.m., on the other hand, my white-guy identity would be salient. This is basic psychology.
Very few white Americans have their whiteness at the front of their minds when marking up their preferences in a voting booth. So "identity politics for white people" is not politically significant.
The interesting question to ask is: Might this change? Might white Americans, in electorally significant numbers, one day have their whiteness at the front of their minds in the voting booth?
The point Jonah's reader
was making, one very commonly made, is: Yes, this will change if white Americans come to feel that they are one group among many, fighting in a zero-sum game for a slice of the national pie.
What might cause white Americans to feel that way in large numbers? Jonah's reader supplies one answer: The sight of other racial blocs approaching politics in that spirit. Now, since other racial blocs in this country have in fact been doing just that for decades without triggering "identity politics for white people," it is plainly the case that, while this spectacle may be necessary
to bring about the result (i.e. racial voting by white Americans), it is not sufficient
What extra condition would be needed to get from "necessary but not sufficient" to "necessary and sufficient"? I would suggest the fact of white Americans being in an actual minority. After all, racial voting by our other minorities arises because they are... minorities.
I don't believe, as a lot of liberals apparently do, that white Americans are morally superior to nonwhite Americans in their refusal to vote racially. I think we refuse to vote racially because we are smugly confident in our overwhelming numerical superiority. Basically, we don't give a thought to our identities as white people when voting, not because we are too morally lofty to think about it at all (you'll think about it, believe me, on that Bed-Stuy street at 2 a.m.), but because there aren't enough people of other races to make the topic interesting or important to us when we are thinking about the nation at large, as I hope we are in the voting booth.
If that changes—President Clinton, if memory serves, promised us that it will change by mid-century—then so will our voting behavior.
I don't look forward to that any more than Jonah does; but if you put current demographic trends together with basic human psychology, that's the way we're headed... Unless we can somehow bring about a transformation of human nature so that never, under any circumstances at all, is race our salient identity.
But when did the transformation of human nature become a conservative project?
Posted on 10/29/2006 3:40 PM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Excellent point by Pat Buchanan on The McLaughlin Group this morning (I was watching the repeat). The topic for discussion was the President's recent remarks that (1) political reform in Iraq was up to Maliki & his colleagues, not him (the President); (2) troop levels in Iraq are for Gen. Casey to decide, not for him (the President) to dictate.
Pat's words were to the following effect. "This is George W. Bush's war. If it's lost, people will ask him: 'Why did you lose the war?' Nobody will be asking Maliki. Nobody will be asking Casey. Nobody will remember their names. This is George W. Bush's war to win or lose. He's the Commander in Chief." I think that's right. Fair or not, the POTUS can't shuck off his responsibilities the way, I agree, it looks as though he's trying to.
Posted on 10/29/2006 3:20 PM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"Bush is either a blithering idiot or a sellout. Or both. So are all the other western governments. I tend to think they are selling us out because they can't ALL be that stupid."-- from a reader
Many of them can be. Others are careerists. Inertia, the party line, the limited possibilities that are on offer, the joke of talking about "thinking outside the box" that emanates from those who have locked themselves inside that very box, and without a clue as to how to unlock it.
And also, mere busyness and hectic vacancy of meetings, and meetings, and meetings, with "colleagues" on "teams" -- so that those who are team-players are kept on, and those who have the dangerous habit of thinking for themselves and possibly also greatly disliking the very idea of "teams" and of bureaucratic scrambling and in-fighting, and the latter category surely includes those who will see things from outside that damn box, see things afresh based on the deliberate acquisition of knowledge of new things. If forced to rely on the assorted three or five page or even one-page executive summaries of things, always prepared by others who, being lowly aides, are unlikely to present information that will not fit the received wisdom or the declared policies of the Very Important Person, in brief authority, for whom those grandly-named Executive Summaries are prepared for all those too busy to think, to busy to apprehend -- well, the whole thing is a nightmare, designed to encourage limited possibilities, and to require the adoption of this or that variant of received opinion.
And what is more, those in charge not only lack knowledge and intelligence of the level required, but lack imagination. They have done without it their whole lives, so why should it be different when they rise, or claw, their ay to the top? Not raised on either history or literature, in sufficient doses, to encourage imagination, not having been raised in an environment where skepticism was continuously encouraged, how could they arrive at their own views or begin to question all the things that need questioning?
And so, for example, dealing with the Sudan, no one seems to have realized that this is a perfect place to take a stand, to shore up Christians in the Sudan and elsewhere in Black Africa, and to emphasize both for non-Muslims and Muslims the Arab persecution and murder of non-Muslim Arabs, as a way of raising the matter of Islam as a vehicle for Arab imperialism, of Islam as the Arab national religion. Can't do it, can't imagine seizing the southern Sudan and Darfur, can't imagine the photographs of those crowds of grateful black Africans surrounding the American soldiers, can't foresee the electrifying effect on Christians, besieged or feeling themselves besieged, in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast and Togo, all the way to Ethiopia and Kenya and Tanzania. Can't imagine, can't begin to imagine, what effect this would have on the sinister forces in the Arab League and Arab states who are secretly backing the government of Sudan to the hilt. And then, if that handful of soldiers and those planes destroy the Sudanese military capacity, and simply announce that they will remain to organize a referendum or perhaps two, in Darfur and the southern Sudan, to see what the people there wish, whether they wish to remain part of Sudan -- who can object? Kofi Annan? Javier Solana? Miguel Moratinos? The Arab League? On what grounds will they object? That the U.N. was rescuing those black Africans? That everything was going swimmingly? That the Arabs of the northern Sudan have a right to murder or starve to death the black Africans of Darfur and of the southern Sudan, and to appropriate, for its own murderous uses, the oil that lies under what is still, for now, but need not be forever, the soil of southern Sudan?
No, they can't think in those terms, any more than they dare to worry about, and make plans to halt, as a national security measure, the growing Muslim presence in Western Europe. Even if they do not quite realize what the idea of the "West" means -- though they prate of it quite enough -- they should be able to understand what might happen if Muslims in Europe were to acquire control over even a small part of the armories of the NATO countries. But do you hear anything about planning for this? A hint about worries over demographic conquest and unhindered campaigns of Da'wa in Europe, or here? Any hint that there is a real, as opposed to a non-existent, policy on energy designed to drive down OPEC revenues that are the "wealth weapon" that is such an important part of the Jihad? Not from Condoleeza Rice. Not from George Bush. Not from all their aides and sous-chefs, cooking up a storm.
Yet they make policy. Yet they presume to instruct us. Yet they presume to rule.
Posted on 10/29/2006 3:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
A decent email-bag (well, for a weekend) on my enthusiastic post
about Peter Beinart's column titled "The Nativist Temptation" in the October 28 New York Post
[Note A: The column is still, very mysteriously to me, unavailable on the web. Google searches using "beinart nativist" come up with nada. Obviously something underhand going on here. Perhaps the great Bushite Mexicanization-of-America conspiracy has a wider reach than I heretofore suspected. Note to self: Start looking under car before turning ignition.]
[Note B: Beinart's title tells you the angle from which he is approaching this issue. If wanting your country's population to go on looking (speaking, etc.) pretty much the way it currently does, is nativist, then I don't see anything wrong with nativism. It's an interesting piece, none the less.]
Andrew Ferguson's article on James Webb is also pertinent. A couple of readers sent me links to Ferguson's piece. Plainly, Webb is a Lou Dobbs Democrat. (The immigration punch line is towards the end of Ferguson's piece.)
I got barked at by Larry Auster , & there are some follow-up points on Larry's site. Larry will never forgive me for having said, several years ago, that his website (to which I was, am, and shall continue to be, a frequent and appreciative visitor) is a humor-free zone. Burn my house, steal my car, drink my liquor from that ol' fruit jar, but never, NEVER accuse a man of having no sense of humor.
In response to that reader of Larry's who thinks I am looking to defect to the Dems, all I can say is: No way. I am a registered Republican & have no plan to change that. My recent posts about punishing Congressional Republicans have all been couched in terms of (as English schoolmasters used to say while taking a few warm-up practice strokes with the tawse) "this will hurt me more than it hurts you"—in hopes that we might IMPROVE Congressional Republicanism by teaching them a painful lesson. If economists can talk about "creative destruction," why can't I?
But on the main point, I still think Beinart is on to something: "For many blue-collar Americans today, Mexican immigration—whether legal or not—is not just linked to broader anxieties about globalization; it has become the prime symbol of those anxieties. In the coming years, unless Democrats take a hard line on immigration, their hard line on trade is unlikely to do them much electoral good."
Posted on 10/29/2006 3:00 PM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 29 October 2006
The "deep dream of peace" is that of Leigh Hunt's Abou Ben Adhem. Contrary to Edward Said, much of the literature (see Washington Irving, see Chateaubriand, see Sir Walter Scott) and art (see Delacroix, see Eugene Fromentin, see a thousand Frenchmen setting up their easels from Cairo to Marrakech) of the Western world, from the time of Napoleon's entry into Egypt in 1798 and the almost immediate fashion, in furniture, for Egyptian motifs, the popular response of the West to the Ottoman and Arab East was not one of hostility (whipped-up by the "stereotypes" of the so-called "Orientalists") but rather, sympathetic interest in the exotic, which then graded into the sensual (Flaubert and Maxine Du Camp in Cairo), and then into the sexual. For before there was the Latin lover (in full-bodied Latin-American form, as with Porfirio Rubirosa, or the suaver Italian, including Vittorio da Sica in "The Earrings of Madame De..." and Vittorio Gassman in all kinds of things) there was Rudolph Valentino as the Sheikh of Araby. And along with the sweet singers of the mystery and majesty of the Arab desert and the noble Bedu -- think of Freya Stark and a cast of dozens of English female travellers, each more intrepid and Virago-publishing-house worthy than the next.
And then there was also the Arab as a sympathetic comic fellow. You find, for example, in the History of Hasty-Pudding Theatricals that between 1890 and 1930 the subject given most attention were those loveable comic fellows, the Arabs.
And the same is true in popular songs -- see the old anthologies of Sigmund Spaeth, and all the songs about funnily-named Arabs or Turks who do battle with the Roosian "Ivan Skaminsky Skamar." Lots of fun, no sense of menace in those pre-OPEC, pre-Da'wa, pre-mosques-and-minarets everywhere in the Western world days.
And so to come by a commodius vicus home to the original point of this meandering post: home to Leigh Hunt, and the phrase which I deliberately droppped in here. That is, the delightful and fictional Abou Ben Adhem. Leigh Hunt wished his creature a large family:
"Abou Ben Adhem -- may his tribe increase
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace."
But that was then.
This is now.
Posted on 10/29/2006 2:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
... as Sheikh al Hilali might say, were he writing for The Sun and running out of veil jokes.
Nice cartoon in The Speccie:
'Since I’ve started wearing a hoodie, no one knows I’ve got a veil on.’
Posted on 10/29/2006 2:45 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Razib Khan over at the ever-fascinating Gene Expression site
reminds me of a thought I've been thinking myself recently: I really should watch more TV.
As Razib says, if you don't watch TV you get behind on a lot of cultural referents. It's transient stuff, of course, but helps to keep the social wheels turning, and occasionally delivers some social or political significance.
My ongoing Ally-McBeal-DVD-a-thon
has brought this home to me. Having now watched four of the five seasons of this show, I have things to say about it. Unfortunately no-one's interested, because everyone's totally forgotten the durn thing.
So I want to watch some cutting edge TV, to get better acquainted with the zeitgeist, and enhance my social life. What should I watch? All suggestions gratefully accepted. Well, not quite all: I shall NOT watch any sitcoms that end each episode with the participants affirming their love for each other in spite of all the conflict they've been going through for the previous 25 minutes. (I believe this group-hug finale is known in the TV screenwriting biz as "the moment of s***.") NOR any lawyer shows—I believe I have fulfilled my lifetime quota with all that Ally McBeal. NOR any cop shows in which the ballsy woman detective is just as good as the slightly-slower, slightly-dimmer, way-less attractive male detective. NOR any sci-fi shows at any level of scientific plausibility lower than Firefly's
. NOR any political dramedies in which wise, sensitive, handsome liberals spend their time outwitting stupid (though cunning), coarse, ugly conservatives. NOR any shows with cute kids with names like Timmy in them. Exceptions, in all cases, will be made for any shows at all featuring Morena Baccarin.
[NB on Razib's post: Don't watch the Nelly Furtado video if you own one of my POP CULTURE IS FILTH T-shirts. Don't watch the Katie Melua video if you have a weak stomach for surgical procedures.]
Posted on 10/29/2006 2:30 PM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 29 October 2006
This is not a new idea, there have been warnings from several sources, but it bears repeating.
Researching his latest thriller Frederick Forsyth was made aware of the threat from the sea. From The Sunday Times.
When I began to look at terrorism around the world for a new project, it was not long before I found that the prospect of in-air sabotage of transatlantic airliners was but one of the nightmares with which the West’s anti-terrorist agencies wrestle on a daily basis. The unrevealed and undiscussed horror is the burgeoning world of marine terrorism.
Megadeath coming at us from the sea is envisaged as a seemingly normal and legitimate merchant ship, maybe a tanker but not necessarily, stolen by Al-Qaeda and staffed with a suicidal crew, bearing inside her hull a simply devastating cargo, quietly cruising into the very heart of a city before detonating
Such an outrage, the subject of daily study by experts on marine terrorism and their colleagues in the hazardous cargoes division, could easily match the death toll of 9/11. For the last wild, unpoliced and lawless frontier on this planet is not what or where you might think.
The place where there is no viable, enforceable law is the sea. For one thing, it is simply vast. Were you to put put every square inch of the world’s landmass together, it would only cover one seventh of the planet’s surface. The other six-sevenths are the oceans. And on those oceans a vessel can simply lose herself. Or be caused by others to vanish. Do ships disappear at sea, never to be seen again? Yes, all the time, and they are not all sunk.
There are about 44,000 merchant ships out there somewhere, and let us not even attempt to count the leisure craft. Most of the merchant seamen no doubt fit into the “reputable” category described above. But several thousand do not.
Greed and rapacity have led to the creation of a weird and shady underworld where licence fees are optional, taxes avoided, safety margins ignored and controls a fiction. In that world the crook is a normality and the terrorist a dangerous newcomer.
Thus the MV Attila may be registered in the island of ABC in Micronesia but apparently owned by XYZ Shipping Lines, which is really only a brass plate in an NQB banking resort. . . But supposing the MV Attila is secretly owned by Al-Qaeda. Could it be? That is the disturbing new dimension.
Every year, almost every month, in various parts of the world but mainly along the Malacca and Sunda straits and round the Celebes Sea, legitimate freighters disappear. There is no secret about what happens. Helpless and slow, they are boarded by sea dacoits (bandits) from faster vessels, taken over and hijacked. Why that part of the world? Partly because dacoits of land or sea are a traditional form of local crime; partly because there are a score of coasts so dense in jungle and so unpoliced that an entire ship can disappear into a creek and become invisible from any search by sea or air.
Later, reflagged, repapered, repainted, reregistered and recaptained and crewed, she can resume her trading life, but now working and making profits for the Mr Big who commissioned her hijacking in the first place and secured her for nothing.
It is not the criminality that keeps the lights burning late in the offices of the West’s counterterrorism agencies. It is the nightmare of the invisible ship, the suicide crew, the deadly cargo and the unsuspecting destination.
Posted on 10/29/2006 11:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Ayaan Hirsi Ali in The Sunday Times
Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives under a death threat for daring to challenge the Islamic patriarchy and says the West must support women like her if it wants to spread freedom
Ideas can be dangerous. I have learnt that the hard way. But I know that when it comes to freedom and human rights these precious ideas, so valued in the West, are worth fighting for.
So for me, the debate that is raging about the veil, particularly the niqab, which covers most of the woman’s face save for the eyes, goes to the very heart of the matter of liberty for Islamic women. Not just freedom for its own sake, but from a life of repression, subordination and violence.
Last week, for example, a senior Muslim cleric in Australia alluded in a sermon to unveiled women as “uncovered meat”. Sheikh Taj El Din al-Hilaly’s remarks prompted outrage, but he will have many faithful followers who agree with him.
Such insults to women are all the more reason to welcome the recent stand by Jack Straw and Tony Blair on the niqab. Not only is it a “visible mark of separation” as Straw described it, but also a visible sign of subjugation. At the same time it serves to condemn the male as well. If I were a man I would find it insulting because it supposes that all men are incapable of sexual self-restraint.
Like Straw I have also drawn on my experience of dealing with constituents. I served three years as an MP in the Dutch parliament, devoting myself to speaking out about female rights in Islamic societies. I often had to translate for poor women immigrants who were usually barely educated and nearly always in thrall to men.
The arguments for and against the veil will rage on, but what increasingly alarms me is the emergence of a post 9/11 generation of young women in the West who are out to make a statement by wearing the niqab. They enjoy all the western freedoms but choose to flaunt the veil. They are the female equivalent of the radical young men who travel to Pakistan and come back wanting to blow up trains.
Such men see themselves as companions of the prophet and they are “high” on religion. Both groups have completely succumbed to totalitarian seduction; they are the worst enemies of Islam, both to its image and to its chances of reformation.
The existence of this noisy female minority, many of them wealthy and educated, hides the fact that there are thousands of poorer women in Europe and millions across the Muslim world who have no voice and no choice. They are punished and threatened for daring to follow a different path.
Posted on 10/29/2006 11:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 October 2006
It has been 18 months since Rebecca Bynum posted her article Slouching Towards Vietnam at Jihad Watch. I first thought of waiting until April 29, 2007 to ask her to repost it, but then thought, since General Casey and Tom Friedman are always talking in terms of six-month increments -- "the next six months should tell" or "we have about six months to get it right" -- that having had three six-month periods elapse since the piece first appeared, no need to wait another six months. One hopes for the contents of the piece to date, to be proven wrong by future events, but alas it hasn't happened, and won't.
In National Review's cover story of May 9th, 2005 "What Went Right," Richard Lowry makes the following bold assertion, "It is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq."
Are we? This article is based on "conversations with administration officials and key combatant commanders," and as such, it provides a valuable, even if disturbing, window into the thinking of the Pentagon and the administration concerning how they perceive and counter the enemy.
As we enter our third year in Iraq, there are important questions to be asked. How does the continuing conflict in Iraq fit into the larger context of the war on terror? How do we define success? What are the enemy's goals and how should we counter them? Will democracy really bring peace and stability to the region? Unfortunately, this article does little to answer these questions and serves rather to obscure them instead.
The Iraq war, coming as it did on the heels of the 9/11 attacks, could reasonably have been expected to provide answers to two key questions concerning the larger Islamist threat, also referred to as the "war on terror":
1) What is the strength of the enemy? Would jihadist fighters converge on Iraq from all over the world to fight the infidel Americans in a protracted insurgency, as would reasonably have been predicted by an even the most cursory knowledge of Islamic political philosophy? Or, would the country be quickly liberated and secured so that American corporate investment could be brought to bear, in order to help jump start the Iraqi economy, thus helping the Iraqis move toward the modern, secular world, (which seems to have been the expectation, but turned out not to have been the case)? In other words, how strong is Islamism as a force in Iraq, which was one the most secular and modern of Muslim countries? And if it is strong there, what does that say about the direction of the rest of the Islamic world?
2) Even more fundamentally, can Islamic countries be democratized at all? Which is to ask, since democracy is the fruit of Christian civil society and the long tradition of law and liberty, can this fruit be grafted upon the tree of Islamic society and be expected to survive?
Both of these questions are crucial to the larger struggle we face, but unfortunately, judging by this article, neither the administration, nor National Review, in the person of Mr. Lowry, seems to be confronting the answers we are receiving. The field commanders in Iraq and the administration officials Mr. Lowry interviewed all seem to be more interested in buying into delusions born more of our own politically correct culture than they are with confronting the hard facts on the ground.
read the rest here
Posted on 10/29/2006 9:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Regarding Joel Mowbray's column in the Washington Times this morning:
Walk back the cat.
Walk the cat all the way back to the real problem, which is not the nauseating speech given by Rice, wildly inaccurate and wrong in its every phrase, wrong in its diseased sympathy, wrong in its implied geopolitical calculation.
Whoever crafted this speech with and for her -- was Philip Zelikow now coming into his own? -- and whoever has been bending her ear and making of this dutiful student of Kremlinology, not particularly adept either at Russian history or Russian language (her one attempt to use it in public, while in Russia, led to all kinds of mockery and she won't be repeating that kind of thing), but as far as George Bush is concerned a towering intellect (one understands why he may think that)-- reveals that she still hasn't a clue as to what the immutable geopolitics of Islam are about. Indeed, she has demonstrated not only a belief in various falsehoods -- the entire edifice of the Arab rewriting of the history, cadastral and demographic, of the sliver of territory, that of the Mandate for Palestine, intended by the League of Nations for the sole establishment of the Jewish National Home (without prejudice to the "religious and civil rights" of "other communities" but carefully leaving out the phrase "political rights") -- but in the idea that the local Arabs have in any way, or could in any way, abandon their goal of Jihad against Israel.
Unless this is grasped, unless the difference between Fatah and Hamas is seen only as one of tactics and facade, between those who like Abbas believe, but only out of necessity, in the Slow Jihad, and Hamas that believes, out of ideological firmness, in Fast Jihad, unless the impossibility of Muslims ever accepting an Infidel state continuing to exist --whatever its size -- on land once possessed by Muslims, then there will no possibility of an intelligent American policy (assuming that the survival of Israel is seen as it should be, as essential to the moral, intellectual, and possibly physical survival of the West) -- nothing will come of this nothing.
Grim recognition of the basis of Muslim jurisprudence in regard to all treaties with Infidel lands would not or should not dishearten. If Rice, or Zelikow, or the others who have exhibited for decades a kind of genius in reverse by avoiding coming to grips with clear Islamic texts and doctrines -- does no one in the State Department have a copy of the Qur'an and Hadith? Does no one have a potted summary of the Life of Muhammad, the Perfect Man? Does no one read the Muslim jurisconsults? Does no one have a CD-Rom of the Encyclopedia of Islam? Does no one have the money -- cannot the American government spring for -- a copy or two of Majid Khadduri's "Law of War and Peace in Islam"? Yes, I know the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost a lot, but you can find a copy on Amazon for about $20, so why not give it the old college try, and then once you have the book, skip a reception or photo opportunity or two, or just napping on the damned plane, and actually start to inform yourselves about the one subject you most need to know: the doctrines, the tenets, the attitudes of Islam. And it is not merely a matter of reading, and re-reading, but of making sense of what one reads, of thoroughly assimilating it, of applying what one reads, or making connections between what one reads, Islamic history, and the present, and the likely future. It means, above all, stopping the grotesque amount of attention given to ways to appease Muslims or to pretend that they can be appeased, and to focus instead outside the Middle East, and especially on present and growing threats to the West, through the instruments of Jihad known as Da'wa and demographic conquest. What will happen to the armories of the Western countries, what will happen to NATO, in thirty years, or twenty, or even ten, if Muslim populations, if adherents of Qur'an and Sunna, continue to grow, and grow more powerful and more demanding, and if Muslims are taken into the security services, and the military, and into the inner sanctums of political power? Anything? Nothing?
That someone of Rice's incapacity, aiding and abetting someone of Bush's incapacity, and whisperingly advised by those of the incapacity that this hideously ill-advised speech, dripping with misconceptions, demonstrates, is cause for the greatest alarm. And those who continue to prate, as loyalists to Bush, that "he knows what he is doing" should, at long last, shut up or, still better, distance themselves completely from him and his crew of incapables, beginning but not ending with Rice and her vaporings.
Posted on 10/29/2006 9:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
AN Islamic group praised by the Howard Government as preaching moderation has advised its followers that a woman cannot refuse to have sex with her husband. - from this Australian news item
The obvious problem here is that the reaction of Western men may not be, as it should, one of unambiguous condemnation.
Scarcely a century has passed since the time when the phrase "England expects that every man will do his duty" rang out on recruiting posters during the Great War, and those same men in turn found nothing wrong with the attitude captured in that famous phrase "lie back, and think of England."
But now I am doing the work of a Muslim apologist. Of course the phrase must be taken in its context -- the context of an attitude toward women as inferior beings, not only supported by Qur'anic passages and many stories in the Hadith, but by the details of Muhammad's life, and by the whole business of the burqa, the niqab, the chador, the hijab -- all those words that have now entered the English language, along with jihad, and dhimmi, and hadith, and sira, and dhimmitude (not the same as "dhimmi"), and ayatollah, and hudna, and taqiyya, and kitman, and Dar al-Islam, and Dar al-Harb (and can Bilad al-kufr be far behind?). The O.E.D. makers must be having quite a busy time -- and just how are they going to define jihad anyway? The way Esposito and Armstrong would have it, or the way every Muslim writer on Islam, not aiming to fool an Infidel audience, would define or describe it?
One waits. Samuel Johnson in his own 1755 Dictionary, that one-man monument, famously described the lexicographer as "a harmless drudge." Well, apologists for the Arabs and Islam have over the past 30 years been having a field day rewriting entries on such matters as "Palestine" in various encyclopedias and dictionaries (articles have been written on this, and protests made, to little avail -- the economic power of the Gulf states, and their ability to influence such things, is a subject that needs to be brought to public light, preferably a glaring and unforgivable light).
So when those words "jihad" and "dhimmi" and "dhimmitude" are offered up by the O.E.D., updated for the new constantly changing on-line edition (there will be no more bound editions of the O.E.D., and the 20-volume work, having gone from $3,000 to $995.00, is now down to $895.00 and sinking bathetically), keep careful watch to see what they come up with. Anyone volunterring to play the late Marghanita Laski, and send the good word doctors of Walton Crescent a thousand or ten thousand little pieces of paper with the use, by Muslims, as well as by non-Muslims, of the word "Jihad."
Just to make sure that they stay honest, and do not emulate the disgraceful appeasement of Muslim groups that so many compilers of reference works have, over the past 30 years, engaged in. No need to curry favor with CAIR operatives and Tariq Ramadan and John Esposito. Make sure that those "harmless drudges" remain so, and not "harmful" drudges, as so many have, pace Johnson, in recent decades turned out to be.
But don't bet the farm on this being handled correctly. Don't pawn or pledge your lives, your fortune, or your sacred honor on the lexicographers and encylopedia-makers (not to be confused with "encyclopedistes") to do the right thing and not engage in subtle or not-so-subtle appeasement or shading or sfumating into cleverly nuanced nothingness the real meaning of certain terms.
As Samuel Johnson -- whose spirit asked me this morning if I would mind, just for a few hours, channeling him (I agreed, and in the bargain got an extra hour of morning's sleep) -- might say, when it comes to pledging one's trust in the accuracy of those who supposedly instruct us in the doctrines and attitudes and vocabulary of Islam, nothing oppignorate.
Posted on 10/29/2006 9:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"an MP for the formerly neo-fascist National Alliance..."
-- from this article in The Guardian
That little phrase is put in, by The Guardian, in order to blacken the Italian MP in question, Daniela Santanche, in the minds of its readers. But the Alleanza Nazionale under Fini distanced itself in a thousand ways from Fascism, not least in Fini's declared disgust for the "racial laws" (legge razziali") of 1938 and for any form of antisemitism. Mussolini's granddaughter left the party in a fury a few years ago at its clear new direction. It is not "neo-fascist." Real fascists have gone elsewhere.
The Guardian has no history of using any Homeric epithet to describe, and therefore "place" in the reader's mind, any political figures or writers whom it likes, whom it approves of, whom it finds "on the left" but never needs to say that, because the "left" is the "center" and there is no need to describe the previous positions, left or right, of those it approves of, if it would harm them.
A newspaper such as "The Guardian" -- it bears the name, but nothing else, of C. P. Scott's Guardian, could, with reason, routinely describe a certain German political figure as "the former Baader-Meinhof sympathizer Joschka Fischer" or a certain LSE professor (despite the best efforts of Donald Watt and Kenneth Minoque to stop it) as "the former Trotskyite Fred Halliday" or a a late French prime minister as "the former Vichy collaborator Francois Mitterand."
But why stop there? George Galloway deserve a Homeric epithet to spare readers the effort of finding out all about him -- "the louche George Galloway." Or what about inventing a new adjective -- eurabisant, on the model of marxisant, so The Guardian could helpfully describe Solana and Patten and others of that ilk as "so many former or present members of the eurabisant E.U. which poses a threat to the continuance of the nation-states of Europe and that intelligent interest and love for the national and local that helps to immunize against the menace of pan-national Islam"?
The Guardian could do all kinds of things. It could begin to see that it is a defender, not of "neo-fascism" -- what it accuses the Italian MP above of being connected to -- but of outright Fascism. For that, in the end, is what the Total Regulation of Life, and Complete Explanation of the Universe, that rejects or limits almost every form of artistic expression, and every kind of free and skeptical inquiry -- that belief-system or as Bush and Rice would have it, that "religion" with all that word's ----- called Islam.
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"Azmi, who was employed as a bilingual support worker helping British Pakistani children learn English..."-- from this news item
"British Pakistani children" -- who are these children? Are they born in England, or are they recent arrivals? If they are recent arrivals, why are they in England, where beginning with the sums spent to teach them English and make it easier for some of them to circulate, to rise high, to promote or have their own children promote, the goals of Islam (who knows when a "moderate" will become "immoderate" or what the children or grandchildren will do or wish?) Should policy be made on the basis of a few delightful and charming exceptions, or on the basis of likelihood, of statistics, of probabilities intelligently calculated from all the date we already possess, of the behavior and attitudes of Muslims within the nation-states of Western Europe?
The immigration from Muslim lands ought to have been turned off at once, and it still can be. No nonsense, no sentimentality, only a desire to prevent, in the end, far worse. People in England have a right to defend themselves physically and civilizationally. They keep misunderstanding this right, they are still prisoners to the mind-forged manacles that they have slipped on themselves, and that inhibit them. Do what you reasonably and with perfect justification, to prevent further anguish and chaos and then if not terror in the streets, the rapid decline into something like a quasi-Muslim state (for examples, look around the world), have a right to do. Slip off those mind-forged manacles, just in time (that time is now) and, retaining all your amused and intelligent Western ways, without becoming any kind of monster -- did Western man become a monster during the Cold War? During World War II? Did the Czechs become monsters when in 1946 they put into place the Benes Decrees? -- do what you must.
But first, you have to slip out of those mind-forged manacles, that you yourself, with a little help from the damned Zeitgeist and the sappy-sentimentalism of this incredible age, put on long ago.
Every man his own Hephaestus should become: Every man his own Houdini.
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"Dr. ]Mohamed] Habib, [the first Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood] described the cabbies’ position as 'absurd' and added 'Muslims must respect and comply with the laws and regulations of the countries they live in and be a good example for their fellow citizens'"
--- from this letter sent to Little Green Footballs from a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood
This is akin to the about-face of the imam Hilali in Australia who, having been secretly taped at his mosque making his remarks about women dressed in non-Muslim fashion as "meat" who deserved whatever they got from inflamed Muslim men (apparently likened, in the somewhat clumsy metaphor, to the beasts that are attracted to that "meat"), and after indignation had been expressed too loudly and consistently to be ignored, pretended he had meant no such thing and apologized for any malentendu.
Now we have the Muslim Brotherhood telling us the usual nonsense about about Muslims who "must respect and comply with the laws and regulations of the countries they live in." But that is not what Muslim websites say. What Muslim websites tell those who ask if they must obey the Infidel laws of Infidel nation-states is that they need do so only now, when Muslims do not yet rule, and only to the extent that those laws do not conflict with the laws of Islam.
Go to any of a hundred Muslim websites. Check out the various Ask Mr. Fatwas and Ask the Imam. Go to www.islam-online.org. Have fun. Find out what Muslims are told to do, and why, and why it is all, in the end, utterly phony, because they must do whatever they have to do, temporarily, to avoid arousing Infidel counter-measures, until such time as it is too late for those Infidels and their countries (countries carefully left unspecified by Muslims -- for who cares if it is the United States, or Canada, or France or England -- they're all just part of the Lands of the Infidels, part of Dar al-Harb).
How much nonsense do Muslim spokesmen and apologists of every kind think that they can continue to get away with, when any Infidel, at a click, can go to any number of Muslim websites and see exactly what is being dispensed as advice to Muslim Believers. How much of this stuff do they think they can permanently hide from the view of Infidels, when at the same time they keep disseminating it far and wide to Muslims?
The jig is up. Or will be. It's a race -- will Infidels rouse themselves from a deep dream of pseudo-peace and "understanding" in time to save not merely themselves but the legacy of the past that they hold in trust -- the legacy that creates, and was created by, that civilization we call "Western"? Or will Muslims practicing taqiyya, and their non-Muslim collaborators -- who include, inter alios: the bought-and-paid for (directly or indirectly, and usually with Saudi money); the antisemites who, but only because they can thereby do damage to Jews and to Israel, end up making excuses for Islam, or pooh-poohing the scope and severity of the menace; and the largest group of all, the merely weak-minded or the merely uninformed who remain too lazy to inform themselves, and of both kinds of the latter there are always a great many. The age's many distractions -- iPods, computer games, finding out how much Tom Cruise paid George Clooney for that villa next to the Villa Oleandra in Laglio (7 million euros, I believe, for a house that Clooney bought a few years ago for 2 million euros, but on the other hand -- there goes the neighborhood!)--also prevent focusing, at a time of maximum and unprecedented peril, especially in Western Europe, on the nature of Islam, the tenets of Islam, the attitudes which naturally arise in those who grow up in societies suffused with Islam, and from which it is hard to escape.
Some are worried, and some are not. Some understand the problem of trying at the same time to disseminate to Muslims in the West the true, the real doctrine, and at the very same time trying to hide the true, the real doctrine being disseminated, from Infidels who might have the gall to eavesdrop upon Muslim-Muslim communications, whether they are easily retrieved on Internet sites (even if often in Arabic or Urdu or other relevant languages), or delivered in mosques, where agents of the Infidel nation-state now dare to observe, and even secretly record, these sinister khutbas.
They worry only about insuring that a sufficient number of Infidels are kept for a sufficient period sufficiently in the dark. So far they are doing fairly well. The Infidels have not yet disappointed them.
But many of those Infidels, and for the same reasons, disappoint us. Stamina, thick skins, self-assurance required.
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald