These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 11, 2007.
Friday, 11 May 2007
University halts BNP speech plan
He was due to address students at the University of Bath after permission had initially been granted.
But a university spokesman said it was concerned a large number of protesters would create public order problems.
The BNP said it was disappointed that free speech and debate had been prevented.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has a no-platform policy for the BNP, but Bath Students' Union which is only affiliated to the NUS, is not bound by the code. It held an emergency meeting and voted to condemn the BNP as an organisation and to oppose the decision to allow Mr Griffin to speak.
Dr Phill Edwards from the BNP said "We are disappointed the lecturers' unions have yet again prevented free speech and debate and also an opportunity for the union and interested parties to hear from Nick Griffin privileged information about how the BNP is making so much progress. Normally people have to secretly infiltrate the party to get information but this way it is offered for all to hear."
I find the BNP’s racist policies, about which they are very discreet these days, abhorrent. Their views on Jews, Christians of black Afro Caribbean descent or Hindus and Sikhs of Indian descent are not the way I want to live. However on the subject of Islam the ideology they are spot on and, as you can imagine Islamic websites were not pleased to hear of the invitation to Nick Griffiths.
“When I was an undergraduate, pre BNP when fascism meant the National Front, we had a boy on our course who was something slimy in NF Youth. He organised some old codger, big in neo Nazi circles but whose name escapes me 34 years on, to come and speak at our college.
The consensus of opinion then was that free speech required that he be given an opportunity, but because his views were so abhorrent they had to be challenged at every turn. And they were” and I stand by that view.
Posted on 05/11/2007 2:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 May 2007
Jeff Randall on Tony Blair:
When Tony Blair arrived as the UK's new chief executive in May 1997, he came with a reputation for being "a pretty straight kinda guy" - at least that's what he told us. Ten years on, we know that the Prime Minister's greatest talent is twisting inconvenient facts to fit his story.
I'm often asked: what does British business think of Blair? It's a question that cannot be answered properly without qualification. Because whether you're a one-man band or a FTSE-100 chairman, any assessment of Blair's record on commercial matters is inevitably overshadowed by the private mendacity and public waste that are his project's trademarks.
In a recent YouGov poll, only 16 per cent regarded Blair as "honest and straightforward". Among business folk, I'd be amazed if his rating was that "high".
In opposition, Labour pledged not to soak the rich; in office it hosed them with requests for gifts and loans. Blair's team, it seems, was happy to favour those who coughed up - a passport here, a knighthood there. It must have been tempting for businessmen who could see no further than an opportunity to buy Downing Street's goodwill.
One who regrets being trapped in the web of deceit is Sir Christopher Evans, arrested last September over cash-for-honours allegations (he denies any wrongdoing). As boss of Merlin Biosciences, he would, I'm sure, love to magic away his scandal-ridden association with No 10.
The Blairs' unsaid maxim is that you can't help the poor by joining them. Their companions of choice are not the caravan-loving Becketts, but billionaire owners of exotic holiday homes, such as the sinister Silvio Berlusconi. It's a cocktail of business and pleasure that Tony and Cherie enjoy most when mixed with a fortnight of free lunches.
Blair came into the job as Teflon Tony, the man on whom no bad news would stick. He goes out as Asbestos Anthony.
We thought he was fire-proof, but he turned out to be a malign presence, whose damaging effects will only become fully apparent years after his departure. As his regime's carcinogenic fibres flake into the system, our disunited kingdom will pay a heavy price.
Posted on 05/11/2007 4:05 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 May 2007
Georgia on my mind
Not that Georgia - this Georgia:
Georgia is set to make its debut at Eurovision Song Contest 2007. The Georgian broadcaster announced that the debut entry will be performed by the internally selected singer, Sopho Khalvashi. This decision was made based on a poll which Sopho Khalvashi won with over 60% of the votes. Sopho Khalvashi sang five songs during the national final on 3 March 2007, where televoting and SMS voting on the part of the Georgian audience selected "My Story" for her to sing in Helsinki. The song was written by Beqa Jafaridze and Bibi Kvachadze.
Sopho Khalvashi was born on 31 May 1986 in Batumi, Georgia. She is the winner of the musical contest of young singers, "School of Nutsa - 2004", and recently she won the third prize in "New Wave 2006" in Jurmala, Latvia.
School of Nutsa? Rustaveli would be proud, although he would probably prefer her to dress up in a panther skin - or was it a tiger skin? - and sing ვეფხისტყაოსანი. (This is probably the only website where Rustaveli and the Eurovision Song Contest have been mentioned in the same post.)
The UK never wins, even though we're often the best of a bad bunch, because the whole thing is rigged. The Times reports that the contest is getting political, and contestants are dealing with "issues":
It’s not only the Turner Prize that’s come over all political. Tomorrow night’s Eurovison Song Contest will be full of the usual campness (check out Ukraine’s Elton John-style entry) but it will also engage with the geopolitical and ecological crises facing us all. Israel’s Teapacks (above) ponder: “The world is full of terror, If someone makes an error, He’s gonna blow us up to biddy biddy kingdom come.” Possible, but Iceland’s Eirikur Hauksson polemicises: “Passion killed by acid rain, A rollercoaster in my brain, But, how would you know!” Merci to Britain’s Skooch, who will be positing a more coherent argument about tax-free shopping: ‘Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da, duty-free madam? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah . . .” The Germans, by the way, are tipped to win.
They say lucky at cards and unlucky in love, but fancy losing two world wars and winning Eurovision. I wish we had a word for Schadenfreude.
Posted on 05/11/2007 5:30 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 May 2007
A suggestion for the last honest Columbia U. profs
Regarding academic integrity, this heartening report:
Three years ago several business-school professors at the University of Maryland's College Park campus, after hearing reports of cheating on the midterm in a required accounting course, set up a sting operation. For the final exam, the professors posted a set of false answers on their Web site, which students could access via Internet-enabled cell phones as they took the test. The professors uncovered, obtained admissions of wrongdoing from and flunked 12 cheaters among the 400 test- takers. When the professors showed up at the next faculty meeting, they received a standing ovation.
Posted on 05/11/2007 5:50 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 11 May 2007
The man has a point
From a Tom Tancredo presidential campaign letter:
Last week, federal agents broke up a terrorist plot to kill U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Three of the six men arrested were in the United States illegally…..just as many of the 9/11/01 terrorists were.
If the President, “open borders” supporters in Congress and the other presidential candidates have their way, future terrorists will keep coming into our country…..and once they’re here, they will be eligible for a “path to citizenship!”
HOW CAN WASHINGTON POLITICIANS EVEN TALK ABOUT A “PATH TO CITIZENSHIP” WHEN WE HAVEN’T FIXED OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM AND SECURED OUR BORDERS AGAINST TERRORISTS?
I’ve had it with politicians who declare “war on terrorism,” then refuse to secure our borders …. and that’s why I am running for President!
Incredibly, even as the illegal aliens who were plotting to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix are now sitting in jail, the President and key members of Congress are preparing to launch another “comprehensive immigration reform” bill….a bill that would give AMNESTY to illegal immigrants, like the ones arrested last week in New Jersey!
This is an outrage! It is an insult to the memory of the Americans who died at the hands of illegal aliens in 2001, it is an insult to our servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is an insult to the millions of immigrants who come to our nation legally, and it proves the political establishment in Washington is NOT SERIOUS when it comes to fixing our broken immigration laws and securing our nation!
Posted on 05/11/2007 5:56 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 11 May 2007
AMSTERDAM - Dutch aid to Afghan civilians is falling into the hands of terrorists. Handsaws and batteries distributed by the Dutch have been used in roadside bombs constructed by Taliban fighters, magazine Elsevier reports this week. --from this news item
Any Jizyah aid -- that is aid taken as by right by Muslims, and given in a spirit of fear that if it must be given -- or else! -- by Infidels, will in the end be like these batteries and handsaws used for roadside bombs by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Every dollar given to the "Palestinians" -- the local Arabs who are the shock troops of the Arab Muslim Jihad, the most famous though only one among many Lesser Jihads, against Israel -- if not used to make weapons, in the end frees up a dollar elsewhere that be used to buy the components to make weapons. And it is the same with Pakistan ($27.5 billion from the United States alone since 9/11/2001), and Egypt ($60 billion since 1979) and Jordan (billions). Stop the Jizyah. It will always, and everywhere, be used either for weapons or, even if used for something seemingly innocuous (e.g. foodstuffs) is only taking the place of other money that would have been used for those foodstuffs but is now buying rifles, chemicals, components of explosives, or even, for recipients the size of Pakistan, F-16s and other deadly delivery systems.
Learn what the Jizyah is. Learn what Islam is. Learn to identify the behavior of Muslims pocketing that Jizyah as if by right. Learn to identify the behavior of Infidels distributing that Jizyah as if they have no other choice, as they simply must, for the possible consequences to their own well-being would be too grave. Classic Jizyah.
Posted on 05/11/2007 6:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
Debit and credit
David Cameron is so keen on double entry - doesn't he know that my triple entry system is better? - that he can't say one sensible thing without saying an equal and opposite silly thing.
At least one in 10 British Muslims is in denial about the 7 July bombings in London, David Cameron is warning.
The Tory leader raised his concerns after staying with an Islamic family in Birmingham. Arguing that parts of the Muslim community are in denial about terrorism, he writes on his website: "In the mosque and elsewhere I got the familiar depressing questions about who was really responsible for 9/11 and even 7/7.
"Dig a bit deeper and it all comes out, 'CIA plot ... Jews told to leave the twin towers'. Even when it comes to 7/7, 'how do we know the suicide bomber videos are real and not fakes?' "Even if this is a view held by five or 10 per cent of British Muslims - and I suspect it is at least that - this is a real problem which we have all got to get to grips with."
However, after staying with a Muslim couple and their three children in the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham, he also accused the media and MPs of causing anger among some Muslims with inappropriate language.
Calling for people to stop using the words "Islamist terrorists" he adds: "It's hard to over-emphasise the importance of language. "Every time the BBC or a politician talks about Islamist terrorists they are doing immense harm."
He also voiced concerns among some Muslims that not enough is being done to stop extremist preachers coming to Britain and radicalising young people.
I'd quibble with the suffix - I like to quibble with suffixes - which should be Islamic, not Islamist, but otherwise a spade must be called a spade. Muslim terrorists is what they are. To see the pathology of 7/7 denial and 9/11 conspiracy theories, but to go on to pander to the prevailing "Don't mention the Muslims" orthodoxy is taking evenhandedness too far.
Posted on 05/11/2007 6:51 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 May 2007
Death or Life in Prison
Islamabad (AsiaNews) hat tip: DW – A draft bill adopted in first reading by Pakistan’s National Assembly is now before a standing committee. Tabled by a six-party politico-religious alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal or MMA, the Apostasy Act 2006 which the government sent to the committee would impose the death penalty on Muslim men and life in prison on Muslim women in case they leave Islam. It would also force them to forfeit their property and lose legal custody of children.
During the same session, lawmakers rejected another draft bill moved by minority MNA Bhandara which sought to amend the existing blasphemy law.
“This situation is unfortunate and sad. We demand freedom of conscious, religion and expression in Pakistan, and this bill is contrary to the principle of freedom of choice”, said Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha, head of National Commission for Justice and Peace and chairman of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
“Because international human rights charters give every individual the right to change his or her religion according to his or her conscience, we hope and pray that this bill will not be passed,” Mgr Saldanha said.
Should the bill become law anyone who leaves Islam for another religion can be sentenced to death (if male) or life in prison ‘until repentance occurs’ (if female).
Section 4 of the bill says that the offender’s own confession in court or the testimony by at least two adults is sufficient grounds for conviction in apostasy cases. Testimony by non Muslims is not however admissible in certain Pakistani courts.
Section 5 stipulates that the ‘offender’ must be granted 3 to 30 days to recant the conversion and return to Islam. But even in cases where the person returns to Islam judges can impose two-year sentences as punishment for the original ‘crime’. The accused can convert and reconvert up to three times before the death sentence becomes automatic.
Under Section 8 apostates forfeit all their properties which are awarded only to their Muslim relatives. Section 9 says that they also lose custody to any minor in their care and guardianship, including their biological children.
Posted on 05/11/2007 7:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
Rubaie: We Need Air Force and Navy Too
Robin Wright reports on the latest outrageous demand from Iraq for the Washington Post:
In a sign of growing tensions between Washington and Baghdad, Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said yesterday that the United States needs to give Iraq more "time and space" to take pivotal military and political steps and to stop making plans based on "the Washington clock."
Although U.S. troops could eventually redeploy to forward bases in Iraq and the region, he said, a U.S. presence will be needed until Iraq builds not just an army, but also an air force and a navy, which could take decades.
"We will need coalition forces for the foreseeable future," he said in an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Post. "Building an air force to own our air and to be able to defend Iraq cannot be done overnight, or in months. It will take decades to build an air force and to build a navy." He added: "People are trying to fit or to sync the Iraqi clock to the Washington clock, and this is all about Iraq. This is not about Washington. We need to sync the Washington clock to the Baghdad clock."
Posted on 05/11/2007 7:40 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
"I must admit, I can't image anything more awful than polygamy." --so says Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney himself from a Mormon polygamist background.
Of course polygamy is awful, but deploring it is not enough. We need to hear what he would do to stamp it out. Utah's leaders have allowed polygamy to remain ever since the Short Creek fiasco of 1944. News reports at the time made the enforcement of the law seem cruel to the women and children affected. We need to see past this kind of media manipulation and insist that our laws against polygamy be enforced not just in Utah and Arizona, but in New York City, Minneapolis and everywhere Muslims are settling as well.
We need strong statements from our Presidential candidates on this issue. No polygamy in America.
Posted on 05/11/2007 7:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
Christian Dhimmitude in Iraq
BAGHDAD - The leaders of Iraq’s Christian minority on Thursday called on the country’s beleaguered government to protect their community from attacks by Al Qaeda-inspired Muslim extremists. --from this news item
Sympathy for Christians should not prevent one from pointing out that these Christian leaders chose to misstate the problem because they don't dare to speak the full truth. The government is Shi'a-dominated. The Christian leaders know perfectly well that the attacks on Christians do not come only from Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entirely Sunni group that is dedicated to fighting not just the Americans, but all Infidels, and this includes the "Rafidite dogs" or Shi'a "Infidels." But the Shi'a are not brave defenders of the Christians, and in southern Iraq, and especially in Basra, Christians have been killed by Shi'a, for offenses such as selling liquor, and for offenses, hard to avoid, of being Christians.
The Christian leaders do not dare to state the truth: they do not dare to state that when Saddam Hussein was removed, and his regime, based on a disguised Sunni despotism decked out as "secular" (that word appears in quotes because it has a particular meaning) was also removed, that this insured that Islam would come back, Shi'a and Sunni, Arab and Kurd (though with a different, non-Arab identity that plays against, rather than reinforces, Islam, there is some hope -- but don't get those hopes up too high -- that the Christians may find some greater protection in the Kurdish areas, both because the Christian population is larger, and because the Kurds are grateful, to the Infidel Americans who provided them with air-cover for a dozen years (1991-2003), and have done so much since to enable an autonomous Kurdistan to come into being, and whose support will be indispensable if that autonomous Kurdistan attempts to transform itself into an independent Kurdistan).
It is not Al Qaeda that kidnapped the women from the last remaining eight Christian families in Ramadi, and killed or drove out, or forced to convert, the men, as happened early in the war. It is not Al Qaeda that has been killing Christians in Basra. It is local Sunni Arabs, and local Shi'a Arabs. It may be politically necessary for the Christian leaders in Iraq to pretend -- and even to believe -- otherwise.
But we shouldn't, any more than we should believe the stories from terrified local "Palestinian" islamochristians that downplay what the Muslims do and absurdly claim that it is the Israelis who are making life hell for Christian Arabs in Bethlehem or Gaza or anywhere else.
Read between the dhimmified lines. Take in, and comprehend.
Posted on 05/11/2007 8:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
Edward Hopper's Secret World
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston holding an Edward Hopper retrospective. Slate has a nice slide show
for those of us who can't attend.
Posted on 05/11/2007 8:25 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
Public Martyrdom, Private Reasons
Time Magazine reports: In late March, a macabre music video appeared on a television show for Palestinian children. "Duha," 4, as pale as a porcelain doll, is sitting on a bed, watching her mom dress before leaving home. "Mommy, what are you carrying in your arms instead of me?" the girl sings. The next day, Duha gets the answer from the evening news. It turns out her mother was carrying explosives and had blown herself up, killing four Israelis. The final scene shows the girl wistfully rummaging through her dead mother's bedside table. She finds a hidden stick of dynamite and picks it up. The implicit message is that someday Duha will follow her mother into blazing martyrdom.
Abhorrent as such images might seem, the story behind them is even more wrenching. Aired on a TV channel run by the Islamic militants of Hamas, the two-minute re-enactment was based on the life of Reem Riyashi, 22, a Palestinian mother of two who blew herself up in a suicide attack against Israeli soldiers at a Gaza border crossing in January 2004. Riyashi is hailed as a courageous resistance fighter among Palestinians throughout Gaza and the West Bank, but the truth about what drove her to such a terrible act is much more complex. Palestinians in Gaza and Israeli internal-security experts who studied the background of her case say Riyashi's husband had discovered that she was having an affair with a senior Hamas commander. Among conservative Palestinians, as in other parts of the Islamic world, an adulterous woman is often punished with death. Riyashi was given a second option: she could become a martyr. In a video statement released hours before her death, Riyashi, garbed in a militaristic uniform and holding a semiautomatic rifle, sounds tough. "I have always wished to knock at the door of heaven carrying skulls belonging to the sons of Zion," she says. But the pained expression on her chubby, homely face conveys considerably more ambivalence about the idea of annihilating herself to kill Israelis and restore her family's "honor."...
It is doubtful that all--or even most--of those Palestinian women who sign up to become martyrs do so voluntarily. Some fall prey to male recruiters, who approach them on campus or through Internet chat rooms, making romantic advances that the women fall for. Many other women point to "secret reasons" that have little connection with religion and everything to do with private tragedy or shame. Some see becoming a suicide bomber as preferable to an arranged marriage, common in the Arab world. One teenager volunteered for suicide duty because her father refused to let her marry a boyfriend. As a female student from Birzeit University says, "I'd rather spend my life in an Israeli prison than trapped with a husband that I didn't love."
A disturbing number of women captured and interrogated by Israel recount stories similar to that of Riyashi, of feeling compelled to carry out an attack to restore her family's honor. In one notorious case, Wafa Samir al-Biss, a 22-year-old burn victim from Gaza, went routinely to an Israeli hospital where she received free medical treatment as a humanitarian gesture. Militants convinced her and her family that since she was disfigured she would never get married and that she was better off becoming a martyr. A surveillance camera at Erez checkpoint captured al-Biss's anguish and desperation when her suicide belt failed to go off. Later, crying, she told journalists, "Maybe I have been used" by the recruiters. Al-Biss intended to blow up the very doctors and nurses who had been treating her burns...
Posted on 05/11/2007 8:50 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
Jonah Goldberg has some interesting thoughts at NRO today:
...Of course, if you’ve followed the anti-Israel movements on college campuses, you already know there’s a strong alliance — both ideological and strategic — between Islamic and leftist radicals. Indeed, anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism are often inextricably linked dogmas.
I’m a big believer in the importance of ideas and the notion that ideology matters. But I can’t help but think ideology isn’t everything. Something else is going on. For example, I recently participated in a debate at the Oxford Union (the subject of the debate: “This House regrets the founding of the United States of America”). Two of my opponents were British Islamists. One was the head of the moribund Islamic Party of Britain, the other the head of the British branch of the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. Both men were more interested in spouting ancient socialist chestnuts about America’s greedy individualism than in saying anything particularly interesting about Islam itself.
Undoubtedly, selling their vision of a world caliphate where Jews and Christians would be thrown into official ghettos and homosexuals executed wouldn’t have been a smart strategy in appealing to an audience that tends to think America is too oppressive already. But I got the distinct impression that something else explained their run-of-the-mill socialist twaddle. Both men seemed to be Muslims because that’s where the action is for lefty radicals today. Indeed, the Islamic Party of Britain’s website reads like a 1920s socialist pamphlet with Muslim buzz phrases penciled into the margins.
In the 1960s, every would-be revolutionary called himself a Marxist, usually without any serious regard to what Marx wrote, said or believed. The specifics of the ideology didn’t matter, because Marxism was the oogah-boogah word radicals used to scare the fat, lazy bourgeoisie. In 1969, Stuart Schram, a specialist on Chinese Communism, wrote that “never in the course of the past century has the name Marx been so widely invoked; never has this name served to justify so many ideas and actions totally foreign to the genius of Marx.”
Today, Marxism has lost its oomph. Yuppies drinking five-dollar lattes put Che Guevara t-shirts on their private-school toddlers.
And because nobody thinks Marxists are scary anymore, radicals consumed with hatred for the status quo — for America, for Western civilization or for the plain old dreariness of their boring lives — don’t bother calling themselves Marxists anymore. It’s not that they’re any more or less Marxist then they were before. It’s just that Marxism won’t get a rise out of your in-laws the way it used to.
But Islamic radicalism? Hooboy, that’s where the action is. Of course, not everybody follows the John Walker Lindh route and actually converts to Islam, just as not every Black Panther supporter became a bank robber. But who can deny that this post-colonial, anti-imperialism, indigenous-peoples-and-the-suburban-revolutionaries-who-love-them-unite! stuff is in many respects just a magnet for the same riffraff and rabble rouses of yesteryear?
Sure, there’s much to fear in Jihadism. But there’s also something deeply pathetic about it, too. And that’s worth pointing out.
Posted on 05/11/2007 9:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
Muslim-Hispanic Alliance Flexes Muscle
From the Detroit Free Press (hat tip LGF): An ordinance that bans profiling was approved Wednesday by the Detroit City Council. It prohibits police and city employees from asking about the immigration status of residents.
The council voted unanimously for the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, dress, physical appearance and immigration status. Under the new law, police cannot ask people for their immigration papers unless it was related to a crime...
Cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles have passed similar ordinances in recent years, making them what are sometimes referred to as sanctuary cities.
The ordinance was introduced after talks with Latino, Arab and Muslim groups. The Detroit-based group Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength played a lead role in pushing for the law...
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said he is pleased with the council's vote. "The city of Detroit should be seen as a place that is not hostile to immigrants."
Posted on 05/11/2007 9:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 May 2007
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix has installed a cleanup station to help Muslim taxi and limo drivers meet their religious needs.
Two faucets located two feet above the ground enable the drivers to conduct ritual cleansing, including washing of the feet, before they pray....
The facility was funded through airport user fees, she said, not taxpayer dollars.--from this news item
"Airport user fees" are imposed on all of us, including those of us who regard Islam as a danger to our legal and political institutions, and its adherents, whether they engage in active Jihad or not,and whether, when they do engage in it, are engaged in a violent form or not, nonetheless by their mere presence help to swell the power of Islam, to increase the costs of monitoring, to increase the numbers of participants in campaigns of Da'wa, formal and informal (friendly handing of a Qur'an to an innocent passenger, with follow-up by the cabdriver or someone to whom the cabdriver passes on that innocent's name). Jihad takes many forms, and anything that deliberately forces us to acclimatize ourselves to the demands of Muslims is a psychological danger. Anything that makes the practice of Islam seem matter-of-fact, an accepted (and welcome) part of the landscape, is a danger.
I have used the Phoenix airport. If I use it again, I am going to make a real fuss about that "user fee" and demand back a pro-rated share. Let's get this straight: an "international airport" is a common carrier, and this one is public, this one receives public moneys, subsidies. The government is deeply involved. This diversion of public funds is unconstitutional. It is support for religion, it is blatant support for a particular religion (or would Muslims like to own up at this point and recognize that Islam is not merely a "religion" but a Total Belief-System?)
While waiting for the Supremes to have their say, as the case, which I hope will be brought at once, percolates upward, I hope others will join me in carrying wine and spirits whenever they visit that airport, or the one in Minneapolis.
I have never carried such items before, but will make a point to do so for those and other relevant airports, to have with me ostentatiously on display a bottle of something. Let's make it unusual: Berkut vodka (from heretofore tolerant, half-Infidel Kazakhstan), or something, perhaps, full-bodied, like a bosomy nuits-st.-georges, or more ethereal, such asa cloudberry liqueur, Finnish (Lapponia) or Canadian , which if I cannot find in a shop, will retrieve for this airport-taxi-queue occasion even if it means I have to mush-and--slush it myself, sled-dogs in the lead, all the way to the arctic circle, with its rapidly melting ice cap.
Posted on 05/11/2007 11:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
A Mad World, My Masters!
Let’s start with the predictable: the usual nonsense and blague, in this silly and insidious article, from all those seemingly shocked, seemingly puzzled family members and family friends of the ringleader in the Fort-Dix mass-murder plot. Schnewer the “Palestinian”:
"said her son was innocent, honest and the victim of religious persecution." What's more, her son was not the ringleader of a plot to mass-murder supposedly "fellow" Americans, but rather in her eyes (and the reporter begins the article with this mere collection of excuses and diversions and lies) a victim: "He doesn't have a gun, he doesn't have anything," Fatem Shnewer said of Mohammed Ibrahim Shnewer. He was targeted, she said, "because he's religious."
She is heartbroken, this hard-working, gentle woman with her touching small family store: "My heart kills me," said Fatem Shnewer.
Her son, for the newspaper, was "born in Jordan." For some reason, the identity he and the whole family were aggressively insistent upon -- that they were "Palestinians" -- has dropped from any mention. He was merely "born in Jordan."
was just like the mother, with her little store. Pluck the first three cliched adjectives you suspect will be used, and just look, you were right:
"...the elder Shnewer was responsible, hardworking and very religious."
"Responsible, hardworking, and very religious."
James Atalah, who handles "media relations" for "All-City Cab," reinforces the rosy view of the father: "He treats the drivers good. He treats the customers good. This is really unbelievable."
There are two main themes in this article. One is that the jihadist is a victim. Muslims all over the Western world, all over the non-Western Infidel world, are “victims.” They are “victims” of Christians and Jews, of Hindus and Buddhists. They are “victims” of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, of Christians in Indonesia and the Philippines and Nigeria and Sudan. They are “victims” of Jews in Israel. They are “victims” of Buddhists in Thailand, or Buddhist statues, balefully glaring down at them, for such an intolerable height and unacceptable magnificence, in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. They are victims.
Another is the hardworking, responsible, decent behavior of the father and the mother. Of what relevance is that? -- you are already muttering under your mental breath. Can’t one be a hardworking, decent, true-blue Muslim, and still hate Infidels, still wish them ill, still take delight in seeing others, or possibly helping others, to put them in their place vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims, or even to punish them for daring to fight back?
One runs a small family market, no doubt putting in all kinds of time, and the other is a "hardworking" cabdriver who "treats the customers good" and therefore, "this is really unbelievable." Yes, to the surprise of all, to their total amazement, to their utter wonderment, their "religious" son, son of a hardworking, responsible, treating-the-customers-good taxi-driving but also "religious" father, would appear to be the ringleader of a plot to mass-murder Americans.
So the first theme is puzzlement: puzzlement of the mother, which is on display in the oh-so-careful and absurd remarks, in all their fatuous solemnity, about trying to figure out how the FBI and other groups can possibly figure out, can find out, the mystery to that matter of "what radicalizes or self-radicalizes" a teeny-tiny barely perceptible handful of Muslims in America. What a statement of the case! What a puzzlement -- that the slow-witted, ponderous, lachrymose-voiced Senator Lieberman asks an FBI official who answers that yes, it is a puzzle, but with the help and advice of Muslim groups (he lists a few), the FBI will try, try to figure out just what it is that would lead these ordinary (sons of hardworking, responsible, good-to-their-customers Americans) people to magically become plotters, eager to kill Americans, in this case at Fort Dix, in other cases elsewhere, at home and abroad. There was nice, kind, hardworking Intel engineer "Mike" -- Maher -- Hawash, whom Intel’s Vice-President swore up and down in time-honored I'll-eat-my-hat fashion, that good old "Mike," computer engineer "Mike,” textbook-writing "Mike," father-of-Little-League-children "Mike," simply had to be completely innocent, and kept saying that right up to the day "Mike" appeared in court and pled guilty, before going off to serve a 27-year sentence.
There was quiet recent-UNC-graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, who was at his wits' end, when he graduated out of class synch in December, and like so many recent college graduates, didn't know what to do with himself. He fell into a funk, and "rediscovered" Islam. Though his parents had fled the Islamic Republic of Iran, and were described as not religious but rather "secular," all it took was for Taheri-Azar to know that he was a "Muslim" in order for him to rediscover his “true identity” and to go back and reread the Qur'an, possibly supplementing that book with -- who knows? -- Hadith and Sira. (But the Qur'an alone is quite enough, is more than enough, to inspire hatred toward Infidels -- as any apostate, from Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Wafa Sultan to Ibn Warraq to Ali Sina, can tell you).
And there are so many others, so “well-integrated” into American society. Their names one can find in the archives of this website, or in articles collected elsewhere. There are those caught at various levels of plotting and scheming to kill those whom we hopefully, and inaccurately, describe as their “fellow Americans.” And then there are all those who are terrorists in posse, if at the moment not in esse, and who may, at a later date, tomorrow, or next month, or seven years from now, “rediscover” their Islam -- like so many the outwardly-secular fun-loving British Muslims who were involved in the bombing of the London Underground, or those who were caught in time. Then there were those in Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, and elsewhere, some of whom were “religious” (we know what that means) and some of whom were described as outwardly -- and for all we know possibly for quite a while inwardly -- “secular.” But they maintained an awareness that they were, they remained, they had therefore at some point to think and to act as “Muslims.”
This fact finally will, one hopes, be understood by a sufficient number of people to matter: that “radical” or “extremist” Muslims are simply good Muslims not distorting, but following, the texts. (And Bin Laden’s writings, including those finally translated by Raymond Ibrahim and soon to be published, show him to be a perfectly conventional follower of the doctrine of Islam. This is not “teased out,” but is plain as day. It is a doctrine carried out by others using instruments of Jihad other than terrorism, or even combat, qital.) In Western countries, “tolerance” and “diversity” and “pluralism” have been elevated to Articles of Faith never subject to any questioning, or any discussion of what those words mean or should mean, what constitutes legitimate limits on them, what constitutes a danger. Yet nothing constitutes a danger to real tolerance, and real diversity, and real pluralism, than looking the other way at a Total System, a belief-system that inculcates the idea that there should be no diversity, no tolerance, and no pluralism. Islam alone should exist in the world ideally, though non-Muslims can continue to exist in that state of Shari’a-regulated humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity known as being a “dhimmi.” There is or should be no tolerance for those who set up any kind of obstacle to Islam, and no genuine pluralism -- for the very idea that Islam should merely be one faith among others is absurd to a Muslim. Islam is the True Faith, and all others are false and disgusting. Some, the ones deemed polytheistic, are the most disgusting of all – and Christian believers in the Trinity are among those regarded as guilty of shirk, or polytheism.
When a prudent desire for self-preservation, physical and civilizational, finally forces a sufficient number of Infidel peoples and states to discover the ideological roots of Muslim terrorism, then those whose duty it is to instruct and to protect us will cease to commit folly after folly, based on a miscomprehension of Islam. Then the security forces and the politicians will cease to offer up the spectacle that one had to endure yesterday, in that careful colloquy between Senator Lieberman and some FBI official referring to the guidance the FBI was receiving from Muslim groups, as they tried, tried, tried to figure out what it was, what in the world it could possibly be, that made outwardly sweet, integrated, presumably grateful-to-America Muslims (most of the plotters had arrived in America at a young age, their parents escaping religio-political strife in the Balkans), turn to Jihad.
This failure, still, to begin to think clearly about the nature of Islam, to look carefully at it, is responsible for the follies, both foreign and domestic, of the Western governments and peoples, and especially of this Administration. The examination of Islam should be done, and not in haste -- not by assigning the task to some young staff member to “read up and get back to me on this” with a three-page bullet-riddled “Executive Summary” of what Islam is all about (perhaps sent to a Muslim group for vetting as to its accuracy, and so that they can object, and make any changes, they wish to).
Saddam Hussein made every effort to convince others that he had such weapons even in the stage-whisper way he denied having them. But little did the Americans know that his intended audience was not the United States, but Iran, of which he was fearful. And little did Saddam Hussein know that the Americans would take his suspect behavior, intended to convince Iran he had such weapons, to heart. He didn’t know they would follow the lead of uninformed (J. B. Kelly told me recently that Paul Wolfowitz “knew nothing about the Middle East”) and terminally naïve believers in the “bringing freedom” to Iraq idea as Wolfowitz. He didn’t know about the baleful influence of Bernard Lewis (“either we bring them freedom or they will destroy us”), or about the amazing swath cut through official Washington by all kinds of secular, westernized, plausible Shi’a-in-exile (Kanan Makiya, Ahmad Chalabi, Rend al-Rahim, etcetera) who had forgotten what the real masses, including the Shi’a masses, were like. Chalabi left Iraq in 1958, as a boy, and the others, all members of an intellectual, social, and economic elite in Iraq, had been in the West for several decades. They were eager for the American army to remove Saddam Hussein, and eager to foresee or promise all kinds of good things. This led Wolfowitz to confidently foresee that the war would cost far less than the $40 billion spent to monitor Iraq, and Lewis to declare that “the liberation of Baghdad will make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession.”
And the same ignorance of Islam that prevented the Administration from identifying the foe not as “terror” (as in “war on terror”) but rather as Jihad, using whatever instruments offer themselves at a particular time, in a particular space (such as the money weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest -- not one of which will be affected by the “success,” as defined by the Bush Administration, in Iraq. This ignorance caused the Administration to fall for Shi’a-in-exile blandishments, and can be seen in the new desire to remain in Iraq, this time because it is the Sunnis calling the tune. The rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, warn direly of what might happen, issuing shrill Cassandra-cries about “the Shi’a crescent” and so on. These are designed to keep the Americans in Iraq in order not to fight but rather to protect the Sunnis from the full force of Shi’a counterattacks -- including those of those “militias” we hear so much about. Those “militias,” in the end, will be the only force that, in inflicting tit-for-tat violence, will stand a chance of changing not Sunni minds, but Sunni behavior -- or at least keeping the Sunnis bottled up in Anbar and parts of Diyala province, while the Shi’a continue to empty Baghdad of its Sunnis.
The Administration does not know where to put its feet and hands. Suckered initially by the Shi’a to enter Iraq, President Bush never bothers to study Islam. His advisers, such as Prof. David Forte, are a succession of ignoramuses. But he does discover a book by Anatoly Scharansky (Natan Sharansky), with naïve assumptions about how “democracies” behave, and Bush runs -- Crazy-Legs Bush -- right down the field with this idea, making a goal, or attempting to make one. But it turns out he is running in the wrong direction, and he makes a goal, in Iraq, but for the other side, for Islam. For the entire effort in Iraq has been directed to preventing sectarian and ethnic conflict among its Muslims (and by extension, among Muslim peoples elsewhere), and to sacrifice American lives, use up American equipment, spend American hundreds of billions, toward this preposterously impossible, and absurdly unhelpful (to the Camp of Infidels) end.
The purple-thumbed display was not an endorsement of “democracy,” as Bush fondly assumes. It was a display, as Ali Allawi has written, of “identity” politics. The Shi’a voted en masse, as they were told to vote, for Shi’a interests. In the first election (January 2005) the Sunni Arabs largely abstained, because they understood that they constituted a small minority. In fact they are 19% of the Iraqi population, even if they continue to believe that their “true” numbers are, simply must be because they want them to be, far larger. The Kurds voted, but at the same time voted, in the Kurdish north, for independence from Iraq. That desire has been strengthened, not weakened, by the proposed new law about oil revenue-sharing and exploration and production agreements. Instead of pointing out how, in what ways, Islam flatly contradicts the letter and spirit of Western, advanced democracy, Bush tried to slander those who raised such matters by describing as “racists” those who thought that “Arabs aren’t ready or capable of democracy” (or words to that effect). He missed, he keeps missing, the part about Islam. Yet this is the central part, the huge part, the unavoidable part of the story. He will not look at it steadily and whole, but instead keeps trying to keep up this pretense that bringing “freedom” to “ordinary moms and dads” in the Middle East can be done, and makes sense from the viewpoint of American, and larger Infidel, interests.
And in the same way, domestic terrorism is treated so that we are forced to endure the spectacle of senators and FBI agents, and others who should at this point know better (and know too that they have a duty to help instruct those whom they presumably are trying to protect, for we need to know about Islam, we need to know what the menace is, where it is to be located), telling us that the whole damn thing, with the Fort Dix plotters, is just a mystery. We can’t figure it out. We are “working with Muslim organizations” to “get a handle” on this, or to find the “trip-wire” that sets people off, that “radicalizes” them. The “trip-wire”? The goddam “trip-wire”? What sets people off, if they are Muslims, could be any real or imaginary slight or setback or injury, whether it is personal or political -- loss of status, job, spouse, confusion as to what to do after college, dawning realization that Muslims are not in this land lording it over non-Muslims, as by rights they should, and so on and so forth. Anything could be the “trip-wire,” within their brains, of Islam, and taking Islam to heart.
Analytical pollyannas have tried, not without initial success, to drag in every possible other explanation. They tried “poverty.” Then it was discovered, and the evidence presented overwhelming and unanswerable, that terrorists by and large are middle-class, and are richer than the average Muslims. Poor Muslims leading a hardscrabble existence, in remote villages. They haven’t the time, or the weaponry, or the opportunity, very often, to indulge in violent Jihad. Then came the matter of “education” and other “opportunities,” and again, the evidence shows that Muslim terrorists have received more schooling, on the whole, than other Muslims. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the more deprived Muslims are, the less likely they are to be a threat, and that attempts to teach them, as are being undertaken in parts of Western Europe, the local languages and cultures will not make many of them better “integrated” into society (as Sarkozy appears to have thought) but will rather provide them with the skills to be better propagandists for, defenders of, Islam. For one example, look at sinister, seductive, plausible Tariq Ramadan, and compare his influence with that of some frothing imam who does not command the local language, and does not know how to deal with or manipulate the mentalities of non-Muslims (as al-Hilali in Australia).
And the second theme of this article is also related to matters foreign as well as domestic.
That theme is the one of “victimization.” A man has been caught, a man whose family was given refuge in this country, a man whose family engaged in free enterprise, with two parents who both found work, a man who grew up here and was presumably nourished here. What did he learn about America? What, about America, caused him to identify with the country and his fellow citizens? Or what was it, what could it possibly have been, to cause him never to identify with America, nor with his fellow non-Muslim citizens, but rather lead him to wish to mass-murder them? What could it be? Poverty? General wretchedness? Or could that word “religious” applied to him by his mother, and by fellow cab-drivers to his father as well, be the key? Could that be the guilty culprit for his views and acts? Of course, we are not supposed to look at religion too closely. Rather, we should go off with the Muslim groups who are for all the world akin to a bunch of O.J.Simpsons encouraging us all to go off “in search of the real killer” -- as they search with us for the “root causes” that never ever have anything to do with Islam.
I’ve used the playwright’s title – Elizabethean or Jacobean, I can’t remember – before as an ending – but it comes to mind as apt yet again:
A mad world, my masters!
Posted on 05/11/2007 12:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
The Spectator's Dot Wordsworth shares many of my preoccupations. She cares about gerundives and about the correct use of may and might, and of wreak and wreck. We are kindred spirits. Perhaps we are the same person. I've never seen us together. This week she goes to work on one of my pet hates: solutions.
I find solutions all over the place. In the newspapers in the past week we were told by the Times that the French elections were about the choice between market solutions and state solutions.
We’ve also been told that a solution to the Middle East is something that needs to be brokered; and we’ve heard about people seeking a solution to how the planets were formed; a solution to the West Lothian Question; a solution to teenage chlamydia; a solution to holiday crowding in China; a solution to ‘blue on blue’ incidents, also known as ‘friendly fire’; a solution to voting apathy; storage solutions; security solutions; solutions for the non-chemical control of bracken; solutions to incivility, solutions to re-offending. Note that there is no agreement about whether the thing to be solved is the desideratum or its opposite. A storage solution seeks storage; a friendly-fire solution does not seek friendly-fire but its avoidance.
The emphasis is mine. I hadn't thought of that. Is a toilet a sh*t solution, and, at the same time, a good one?
The streets are crowded with advertisements for solutions to things that one never considered a problem. A Volkswagen scheme simply called Solutions provides car-purchase finance: ‘Under Solutions, a Fox can be had from just £89 per month’. A Fox is a kind of car, I think.
A company called Northgate Information Solutions is an outsourcing firm and has apparently offered ‘£257 million to buy the Belgian human-resources services provider Arinso’. This is all to do with hiring hands, it seems, as is Solutions recruitment: ‘Solutions recruitment is a leading provider of recruitment solutions,’ goes its self-referential mission statement.
After all this it is comforting to see the modest claim next to the Telegraph crossword: ‘Solution 25,299’.
More of my solutions here, here and here.
Posted on 05/11/2007 12:37 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 May 2007
"Mike" appeared in court and pled guilty. (Hugh)
Over here we would say "pleaded", but I've seen enough LA Law to know that Americans say "pled". The irregularity of this verb has arisen by analogy with irregular verbs such as lead/led, or bleed/bled. Americans also say "dove", by analogy with "drove". They don't say "diven", however, or even "dove" as the past participle, whereas the past participle of "plead" is "pled", the same form as the preterite.
When Mike is dead, perhaps we should call him Moke.
Posted on 05/11/2007 1:16 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 May 2007
Žižik, Žižik, gde ty byl? Na Fontanke vodku pil
Whenever you get those dee-part-ment-al blues, when you think that things is wrong, Just smile and sing this little song:
Is it true what they say about Slava?
Do his puns really rhyme all the time?
Do sweet discourses blossom, round every study door,
Do the profs keep reading Hegel, till they can't read no more?
[continue ad libitum, repeating the same first line but supplying the last three yourself, for as long as you can stand it].
Oh, and one more thing, on a different note from the (Irving) Caesarian section above:
Does Lacan really do more than Milton can, to justify God's ways to Man?
J'en doute, darling.
Posted on 05/11/2007 3:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
Can You Give Me Sanctuary ...
More news on the Fort Dix Six. The three Duka brothers, all illegal aliens, not only should not have been in the United States; they should have been deported from the United States before they had the chance to plot jihad against our troops. Except ... local law enforcement (a) frequently does not check the immigration status of arrestees, and (b) often does not notify the immigration authorities even if upon learning that an arrestee is in the U.S. illegally. WNBC News in New York reports:
Suspect Dritan Duka has past arrests on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. He also has six separate speeding and driving with a suspended license infractions, records show.
Shain Duka has past arrests on charges of obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension and making physical threats. He also has five separate traffic infractions. Eljvir Duka has past drug counts and at least two motor vehicle infractions.
The three brothers are accused of helping lead the plot to shoot soldiers at Fort Dix. They are being held without bail. The fact that at least three of the suspects had past run-ins with the law and are in the United States illegally was brought up on Capitol Hill Thursday.
California congressman Elton Gallegly pointed out Mohammed Atta, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, was stopped by police for a traffic violation weeks before the attacks. Atta was also in the United States illegally, having overstayed his visa. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the panel that many local law enforcement agencies do not check the immigration status of a driver during traffic stops....
A traffic stop is one thing, but an arrest is quite another. A judge can't set bail responsibly without being advised of a person's immigration status since it is relevant to assessing the risk of flight (i.e., the likelihood that the person will return to court as directed until charges are resolved). If these guys were arrested multiple times, it would be hard to believe that the authorities did not know they were illegal aliens.
Posted on 05/11/2007 4:20 PM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 11 May 2007
What Today's Children Need To Know
“I could be joking and cutting their throats in the next second. It’s a strategy.”-- quoting Mr. Shah in this article
This is not a sentiment unique to him. It is part of the training, a part of which many are proud. For it means that someone has truly mastered - to smile, and smile, when there is murder in your heart -- the art of deception. And deception is central to Islam. How else could numerically much smaller, and civilizationally much poorer and more primitive, Arabs have conquered such vast territories, populated by more numerous, and much more advanced, Christians and Jews, and Zoroastrians, and then later Buddhists and Hindus, if not by often having recourse to "deception"? How often did Muhammad deceive his enemies? What was Al-Hudaibiyya if not a grand deception, the treaty with the Meccans that, as Majid Khadduri and so many others have noted, is the basis for all subsequent Muslim treaty-making with Infidels?
Deception, deception, deception. And Americans, possibly the most naive people in the world -- just look at any college or high school yearbook, at those hopeful, smiling, never-had-to-confront-evil-or-endure-real-hardship faces, of young Americans. They are not prepared. Life has not prepared them. Their parents have not prepared them. Their studies have not prepared them.
They need to make up for lost time. This website, and a half-dozen others, are a good place to start. Then books -- "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance" and "Why I Am Not a Muslim" and "The Dhimmi" and "The Truth About Muhammad" and "The Legacy of Jihad" and "Islam and Dhimmitude" and "Infidel" and a dozen others.
Do you love your children? Do you want them to understand the world, the world that is rushing towards them? Give them these books. Show them these websites. And spread the word.
Posted on 05/11/2007 4:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
Friday suds and beyond
My brother-in-law Sandy Wallace, whose paintings are part of a big group show at Westbeth Gallery later this month, has been trying to woo us with barely sweet Alsacian white wine and blushing Provençales. Excellent, so far.
In the meantime, here's something hoppy, Broughton's Old Jock. It's worth putting up for cool fall nights, if you're in the habit of saving:
I absolutely agree with the comments of Phatz at the Beer Advocate:
Wow, now that is sweet beer. MMM.
Allowed to warm.
Appearance: Pours a gorgeous deep ruby read color in my tulip glass. The light hits the beer differently at various spots on the glass. It is luminescent when backlit but dark near the top of the bulge. The head is big thick and last for a long long time. Lacing covers the walls of my glass.
Smell: Sweet malty syrupy cherry, like the pancake syrup at Waffle House and a earthy smoky element along with an odd but intriguing touch of sour berry grace the nasal cavity. There is a dark fruit and toffee attribute as well.
Taste: Sweet toffee, nut, cherry, and a huge fresh bread character are divine. There is a creamy buttermilk malt flavor along side grape and fig, that leaves the palate just coated with sweet dark fruits. To balance the sweet is a pleasant serving of spices as well. The smokey finish is the cherry on top =)
Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is exceptional. Full feel. Thick syrupy, sticky rich heavy, and very very smooth, velvety soft. Perfect.
Drinkability: This beer is heavy. It is defiantly a meal in a bottle and may take some time to get through but it is worth sipping on. Man is this one tasty, and quite approachable too.
Hope this is helpful.
Posted on 05/11/2007 4:25 PM by Robert Bove
Friday, 11 May 2007
The mention of Berkut vodka, and of nuits-st.-georges, and of cloudberry liqueur (to be bought in Helsinki, or at the Canadian border shops), makes me think it is time to renew my appeal to all those who make or produce anything at all.
Think of how horrible it must have been, in the first months after the Iranian Revolution, when the wine cellars of the Infidels and the infidelesque "Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only" Muslims were opened, and their contents brought out, and smashed against walls, and the Pauillac '45 and the Romanee-Conti '29 and the Chambolle-Musigny and the Gaja Barbaresco ran red in the streets of Teheran, and no one dared to bend down to hand-cup into his mouth a few precious draughts out of respect to those who had toiled in the vineyards of the Lord (for the earth is His, and the fruits thereof). What a horrible waste it was, because, because, because, because -- because of the terrible waste it was (sung to the tune written by the newly-numismatized Yip Harburg -- "We're Off to See the Wizard").
Product Placement is the shameless name of the shameless game. I'm not talking about a cameo role for a Mercedes or for that matter a villa in Todi that appears in a Hollywood production, where apparently the glimpse of such things causes a certain deep-pocketed percentage of the moviegoing, and impressionable public to rush right out and buy that Mercedes, and rent or buy that villa in Todi (300 olive trees on the grounds, and a view of Assisi and Torgiano from every window), and a view of the Tiber too, and if you buy that Mercedes, and rent before buying, at the end of a stay next July, that villa in Todi, it will Change Your Life.
No, I'm talking about more modest things. I started here with a modest package of M&Ms. I went on to other items, and even devoted an entire posting to the matter. So far not a single manufacturer or producer of anything, mentioned by me here or at another website, has decided to send me, in grateful tribute, the kind of thing that any cheesy magazine gets samples of all the time -- cosmetics, wine, books that will never be reviewed but my, at the end of every month you take them down to a bookstore and what a pretty penny you can receive to supplement your absurdly small salary.
Yes, Product Placement is here again at New English Review. Little luck so far. No M&Ms from the Mars Company. Not a single package. No Underwood Typewriter. No Lexus. Yet hope springs eternal.
Yes, the New Sony KDE61XBR950 61-IN HDTV XBR Plasma WEGA Television would have been a terrible thing to have destroyed up there in Waziristan, don't you agree? Especially as it is a "High Definition TV" with "its floating glass panel design" which, I am sure you will continue to agree, might readily "seduce your senses as you enjoy stunning picture enhancement."
Okay, SONY. If you really want to pull away from Panasonic, or those dangerous South Korean underpricers, you know what to do. There's more Product Placement where that came from. Mr. Marketing Manager - you will promptly ship one television -- smaller size please, a 42-incher will do, more or less like the one described to me, c/o Rebecca, if you know what's good for you. Hell hath no fury like a self-appointed Product Placer scorned.
Oh, I almost forgot the other bits of product placement slyly inserted above. I refer to that incomplete list of vintage wines destroyed by the Muslim fanatics in Iran when the Shah fell, and his courtiers fled, and their cellars were discovered, and the wines taken out and punished for being very naughty wines indeed.
You who make wine, market wine, distribute wine here and abroad, and who keep sending stuff (does he accept it?) to Mr. Parker, or his epigones or imitators or rivals, winemakers and distributors who send all that free stuff to Mr. Parker and all the wannabe parkerettes out there, those cases sent to assorted wine magazines where they gladden the hearts of the otherwise poorly-paid reviewers, all that stuff sent to him just so he can, like an oenological schoolmarm, give out his grades -- a 93 or a 96 or, dare one hope, possibly even a 98, to this or that wine, and thus send its stock sky-high forever, should take a look at my posting, to see how I have managed to enroll our deep disquiet about Islam into a celebration not of Western literature or art (books can be easily bought, paintings and sculpture seen in museums), but of wine.
So if you are in the business of promoting the products of the the best years in the vineyard lives of Pauillac, Chambolle-Musigny, Romanee-Conti, and that Gaja Barbaresco I slipped in as a personal favorite --let's keep in touch, shall we? And if you didn't see the wine you distribute mentioned In This Space, drop me a line. Let's talk.
Operators are standing by. And the postman rings twice. Send that wine, send that wheel of parmigiano, send that copy of the catalogue to the latest show at the Metropolitan, to me c/o Rebecca.
Play up, and play the game!
Posted on 05/11/2007 4:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 May 2007
Ten hurt in Christian-Muslim clashes in Egypt
Hundreds of Egyptian Muslims and Christians fought and hurled bricks at each other in clashes on Friday south of Cairo in a dispute over building a church that erupted after Muslim prayers, security sources said.
At least 10 Christians were injured in the clashes that broke out in the village of Behma, about 60 km (40 miles) from the Egyptian capital, and four Christian shops were set on fire before police quelled the violence.
Restrictions on building churches have been one of the main grievances of Egypt's mainly Coptic Christian community.
Security sources said rumors that the Christians did not have a permit to build a planned church had sparked anger among Muslims in the village that erupted into violence after Friday prayers when about 300 Muslims clashed with a group of about 200 Christians.
Police intervened to stop the clashes and arrested 17 people from both faiths. Security sources said the shops that were burned were selling wood and construction materials. They had earlier identified the structures as houses. That’s a very strange sentence which I don’t quite understand. That’s not the only “odd” thing in the report. The reporter says “Relations between Muslims and minority Christians in Egypt are generally peaceful despite sporadic outbreaks of violence.” And then goes on to list numerous instances of violence against Christians.
Posted on 05/11/2007 5:23 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax