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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 15, 2006.
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Badger Badger and Football

England prepares to finish work early to day ready to watch our second match in Group B of the world cup, against Trinidad and Tobago.  I thought I would share with you a series of cartoons which are a particular favourite with my family.  Strangely compelling, but fun.

 Badger Badger Badger.  Originally prepared for Euro 2004 but significant for Germany 2006, Football Badgers. Footy, footy, footy...  And the special edition of the Two Towers. There are other cartoons, some better than others. The three above are my favourites.




 Good luck to the USA team for Saturdays match against Italy and well done Australia, ahead of the mighty Brazil at the moment.

Posted on 06/15/2006 3:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Militant Muslim gang jailed for plot to destroy the Eiffel Tower

From The Times

A PARIS court sentenced 25 Muslim militants yesterday for planning attacks against the Eiffel Tower and other targets with explosives in support of rebels fighting Russian forces in Chechnya.

The five main defendants, of Moroccan and Algerian origin, received prison terms of eight to ten years for planning terrorist acts. The others received lesser terms for criminal association. Two were acquitted in a trial which prosecutors said demonstrated the “globalisation of the jihad movement”.

Prosecutors at the six-week trial, which ended last month, said that the group was planning to hit the Eiffel Tower, Les Halles underground shopping centre, police stations, and Israeli interests. The group, which was under police surveillance, was close to preparing its action at the end of 2002 when officers raided homes on housing estates in Romainville, la Courneuve and other suburbs. They found electronic devices and chemicals that could be used for bomb-making as well as a chemical protection suit, a large sum of cash and false identity papers.

In a second wave of arrests, in January 2004 in Venissieux, near Lyons, investigators found chemical products, including traces of what was believed to be ricin, a deadly toxin.

Which is probably the sort of haul the Metropolitan Police feared was hidden in Forest Gate. Meanwhile

A youth and a man charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiring to cause public nuisance by using poisons or explosives are due in court. The man, 21, of Bradford, was arrested at Manchester airport last week. He and the youth, who is 16 and comes from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, will appear at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in central London.

BBC News understands the charges faced by the 21-year-old relate to allegations of terrorism overseas.

Posted on 06/15/2006 4:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 15 June 2006
In praise of tomboys

I was never a wholehearted admirer of Margaret Thatcher. She had no sense of humour at all, and I cannot wholeheartedly admire somebody with no sense of humour. Nevertheless, she was a great leader, who turned this country around. And, of course, she was our first woman Prime Minister. I was too young to vote when she was elected, but even at a tender age, I thought it was wonderful that we had a woman PM, and was slightly puzzled as to why this was not hailed as a great victory for feminism. Part of the reason was that she was a conservative, and feminists tend to be left wing. But the other, more pernicious aspect of the matter was the assertion, put forward by both men and women, progressive and conservative, that she was not a real woman but an honorary man.


A woman who is assertive, opinionated, intelligent, successful, argumentative – even humorous – for humour is a form of aggression  – is not a real woman, or at least she is a masculine woman. This nonsense starts in early childhood. A girl who fights, climbs trees, likes football and toy cars and hates dolls is not just a lively girl with a mind of her own, she is a “tomboy”. The first time I heard this word was when I was about six and choosing a comic to buy in my local newsagent. The man behind the counter picked one out as being suitable for girls: Twinkle, which featured a character called “Sally Sweet of Sunshine Street”. My rejection of this in favour of  The Beano, featuring “Dennis the Menace” marked me out, in his eyes, as a “tomboy”. I took this as a compliment, naturally. The alternative was to be a “girly”. Sally Sweet, indeed.


Dennis the Menace or Sally Sweet. Frogs and snails or sugar and spice. And if you don’t conform, you’re a “girly” boy, or a “tomboy” girl. The normally sensible Boris Johnson allows these assumptions to colour his comments on the “feminisation” of education. 

There is too much coursework … and not enough of the adrenaline-pumping terror of the exam. Here is the terrible truth about us boys. We may be devoted to our subjects. We may be interested in learning for its own sake. But what really actuates us, what makes us flog our way through the books on the syllabus, is the simultaneous hope of coming top and the fear of coming last.

I am afraid we want to thrash the other guy, in a way that girls, being less aggressive, do not.

There’s just one problem with this idea. It is nonsense. When I was at school, I much preferred the rough and tumble of the examination room to the plodding safety of project work, and I liked nothing better than to beat the others, especially the boys. (At this point, you may be wondering what kind of lessons we had.) Ah, but I’d be the exception that proved the rule, a tomboy, and later an honorary man.

As an antidote to Boris Johnson’s lazy stereotyping, I was delighted to see Libby Purves’ column in The Times:

THIS IS WAR! Someone must speak out, on behalf of bitter little girls everywhere. We are traduced again, by the latest publishing sensation, The Dangerous Book for Boys. This is a pleasingly reckless manual on how to make bows and arrows, climb trees, camp, tie knots and admire Douglas Bader. Dads by the thousand are buying it to convert their square-eyed geeky little computer boys into Just William.

Well, fine. But girls? Mere aliens. Boys are advised to “respect” us (pah! we know what that means — veiled contempt). They are told that they should offer to help a girl to lift a heavy object — and if they can’t, “sit on it and engage her in conversation”. But not, please note, in a game. Girls are fit only to footle with dollies.

“Pah!” indeed. The only good game to play with dollies is pulling their heads off.

Bitter, bitter aftertaste of the 1950s! Look, I was a girl, and I made damn good bows and arrows with my trusty bark-stripping knife. My catapult technique was advanced. I never stirred without a miniature compass, torch and magnifying glass for deciphering enemy codes and then setting fire to them. I knew my knots and invisible inks, oh yes.

I read Scouting for Boys from cover to cover, and learnt to make an emergency toothbrush from a twig.

An “emergency toothbrush”? Since when is cleaning your teeth an emergency? Still, mustn’t quibble.

What we really really want is to be Batman, not Britney; a pirate, not a Posh. If the publishers don’t get a girls’ own version out PDQ, we shall be round there with our bows and arrows and water-bomb catapults. And we are deadlier than the male.

Quite right. Come on, Boris, come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.

Posted on 06/15/2006 6:11 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Gone Googlin'
Google is hands-down the go-to search engine, but if you're having trouble finding, say, articles critical of Islam, there may be a reason.  Read about it here and peruse a list of alternative search-engine links you might try.
Posted on 06/15/2006 7:02 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 15 June 2006
iPod this
Boredom flees when Joseph Bottum is on the case:

I think I’ve finally found it—the perfect instrument: a beer bottle organ. Click here to listen to a clip of “Eleanor Rigby” played by the whistling beer bottles. In fact, visit the Odd Music Gallery to see and hear a whole range of peculiar instruments. A genuine cigar-box guitar, for instance. Or the contrabass sax in Eb, “used to give the woodwinds equal footing with the low brass by transposing from contrabassoon, contrabass clarinet, or string bass parts,” and why not?

Posted on 06/15/2006 7:36 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Concede victory, and get out. We won.
Listen, some people like to concede defeat. I don't. I prefer, in Iraq, to concede victory. We won in Iraq; we've inadvertently created a situation which will inevitably lead to demoralization and division within the Camp of Islam. If only we have the good sense to recognize it and stop trying to prevent the result that is devoutly to be wished.

It was all inevitable -- the day the regime was deposed. It was inevitable whether or not Turkey had allowed in a fourth division to invade from the north. It was inevitable whether the number of troops that went to Iraq remained the same, or doubled, or tripled. General Batiste's criticism of Rumsfeld's numbers is irrelevant -- what is relevant is what was inevitable after the removal of Saddam's regime, and whether or not what was inevitable is, for Infidels, good or bad. Forget about the Iraqis, for god's sake, stop talking and stop thinking about "what's good for the Iraqis." For Infidels, it's good. Saddam Hussein is out and from that all further blessings flow.


Now we have only to withdraw and watch how the removal of Saddam Hussein plays itself out. Some deplore the idea of civil war. Why? Wasn't the Iran-Iraq War a good thing from the viewpoint of Infidels? Wasn't the Egypt-Saudi Arabia proxy war in the Yemen? The hostilities over Polisario between Morocco and Algeria? The dislike of Khaddafy for Egypt, and the expulsion from Libya of all those Egyptians? The brief Syrian incursion into Jordan? The Saudi mischief-making, that worries the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council still, and that helps explain why Oman has British military advisors and some troops, and why Kuwait and Qatar allow American troops (Saudi Arabia being, along with Iran and formerly Iraq, one of the three big local bullies)?

Good God, we've won. We won a while ago.

Others may concede defeat.

I don't.

In Iraq, I think we should concede victory. Bush, for god's sake, if you would only see things correctly, you would realize that for all your idiocy, you've won. An accident, a series of errors, one goddam unintended consequence after another. But there it is: the Shi'a have the power, the Sunnis will never accept it, the Kurds are drilling for oil and appropriating, as they have every right to do so, the oil of Kirkuk and Kirkuk itself.

Concede Victory, and get out.

It is depressing that so many support Bush because they claim he is better than any "dhimmi Democrat." Could it be simply that the times require someone more intelligent, more able to take in a large amount of material, more able to concentrate? It has been nearly five years since the 9/11/2001 attacks. How much of that time has Bush spent on learning what one must learn, now, about Islam, and about the history of Jihad-conquest, and the treatment of non-Muslims under Muslim rule? Does anyone think Bush spends his time, at night, or at the ranch, studying, studying, studying?

Think of all the meetings. Think of all the photo opportunities. Think of all the silly things a President has to do. Think of all the many things he must somehow keep track of -- Social Security, Katrina, the ice in the Arctic, the level of army re-upping, the Leave No Child behind business, and hundreds of other things.

Then look at Bush. Look at how he led his heedless life before he became President. Do you have the feeling he had studied history? Do you have the feeling that he is now well-versed in what he should be well-versed in? Do you think he can think -- beyond, that is, a certain primitive level? What do you think of his aides -- the ones that so impress him? Do they impress you? Do they strike you as able to have mastered the matter of Islam, and the instruments of Jihad? How much of Bat Ye'or do you think Condoleeza Rice has read? What do you think she thinks of when she hears the word "Hadith" or the phrase "uswa hasana"? Do you think the idea of Jihad through Da'wa and demographic conquest of Western Europe is a subject of constant attention at the White House -- or a subject that never comes up? Do you think the Pentagon has an office devoted entirely to propaganda intended to raise the level of awareness among non-Arab Muslims about Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism?

You don't? Of course not. Bush is ignorant. He's stupid. He's timid. He lacks imagination. He lacks broad cultivation. He thinks what counts is the level of economic development, the end to poverty, the GDP, the GNP. He's an economic determinist. And so are those who applaud the war in Iraq (not to mention his sentimentalism and heedlessness about immigration) -- David Brooks, My Weekly Standard, the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. They can't quite grasp Islam. It doesn't fit what they know about the world.

As for the complete dismissal of every single Democrat, that too is foolish. It may be that those who want to get off oil want to do so for only one reason (and that reason is a perfectly sensible one): to save the environment. So what? The effect in diminishing Arab and Muslim revenues will be the same. And it may be that some Democrats wish to leave Iraq for the wrong reasons, but so what? If we leave, the right result -- those sectarian and ethnic divisions -- will start to work their magic. And it will be magic as far as we, the Infidels, are concerned, even if the result does not please even those very nice, very plausible, Shi'a Muslims whose interests diverge from ours, for they do not want to be forced to see Islam for what it is, they do not want to divide and demoralize the world of Islam, they do not want the Infidels to begin to halt and reverse Muslim migration, they do not want to have their views discounted because they are Muslims. Such people as Chalabi and Allawi in Iraq, or Fouad Ajami here, may be very nice. Ajami, after all, has two sons at West Point. And he is wonderful on Edward Said, and a truthteller on Israel. But that is no longer enough. Now the interests of the Infidels, and of even the nicest Muslims, diverge, and we must work to save ourselves, not to redo the Middle East for that handful of entertaining, soft-spoken, funny, altogether delightful Muslims. A different world now. This chase has a beast in view.

Concede victory, and get out. We won.

Posted on 06/15/2006 8:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 15 June 2006
1863, 1943, 1963
To Prof. Conversino I can only say what I say to anyone who draws analogies between this Iraq war and the Civil War, or WW2:  Are you willing to do to Iraq what Sherman did to the South?  Are you willing to fire-bomb their cities, or drop atom bombs on them?  If not, why are you making these analogies?


This is an optional war, not a "crisis war."

The Prof.:

"When things got rough and the sacrifices exceeded our pre-war expectations, we could have cut deals and declared 'victory' in 1863, 1943 or 1963.  Even though, again to paraphrase Mr. Derbyshire, during these earlier conflicts our leaders got us into situations we never wished to be in and were never asked whether we would wish to be in, we recognized our moral obligation, 'as citizens of a democratic polity,' was to fight and win, not cut and run."

Me:  What we recognized was, these were wars of survival.  If the Iraq war is as critical to our survival as those earlier wars, then by God, let's do what we have to do to win it — scorched earth a la Civil War, fire bombing of civilian populations a la WW2, whatever.  I'm all in favor of winning wars, and perfectly fine with CW or WW2 methods.  If we had dared fight Vietnam the way we fought the CW and WW2, we would have won it. 

America can win any war it wants to win.  Trouble is, we don't want to win this one, not if it means we have to give up our sentimental fantasies about "building democracy" and getting people to appreciate how nice, how really nice and good we are.   

Posted on 06/15/2006 8:35 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Re: 1863, 1943, 1963

As I have been pointing out ceaselessly, tirelessly, endlessly for over a year now, we cannot "win" a war without first defining victory. War is only an instrument of policy. GWB has still not defined the strategic endgame by which victory or defeat may be measured in the "war on terror." Instead, he has foolishly defined victory in Iraq by an impossible goal - that of grafting liberal democracy onto Islamic society.

Think of a shared metaphysical dream as the basis for culture, then out of culture grows society, then out of society grows politics. Islam is bound to reject the graft from an entirely different culture, an entirely different metaphysical dream. We are on a fools errand in Iraq and GWB's big idea of "turning it over to the generals" is idiotic when the generals have no reasonable goals.

I supported GWB almost entirely on the basis of the Bush doctrine and his promise to "do whatever it takes" to protect the American people. He immediately reneged on both. And 5 years on we still have no strategy for deterring terrorist attacks. He is fighting the "war on terror" almost solely by police action just like any dhimmi democrat would. And the idea that we will ever have a stable ally in Iraq is utter nonsense. 

We foolishly handed Islam complete victory right off the bat by allowing it into the Constitutions of both Afghanistan and Iraq and then the dimwitted administration officials were completely surprised when they started executing Christian converts, homosexuals, apostates, adulteresses, etc., etc. What the heck did they think Islam was? Some exotic version of the Church of England?

Secondly, we have foolishly alienated the states who should be our allies, Russia and China. Both have Islamic insurgencies and we should be standing with them against these insurgencies instead of lecturing them about the virtues of the American way and feeding their distrust. Wars are won or lost on the basis of alliances.

Thirdly, GWB has completely failed to see this war as it is: civilians making war upon civilians. And thus he has failed in what should have been his first act: making our civilian population as impregnable as possible. We are every bit as vulnerable to jihad attack today as we were on Sept. 10, 2001.

Bush is a fool.

Posted on 06/15/2006 8:36 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Baptist Minister's Remarks Spark Anger

A Florida minister from the Southern Baptist Church sparked anger in the U.S. Muslim community earlier this week with derogatory remarks concerning the Prophet Mohammed.

Reverend Jerry Vines, speaking at an annual church conference in Saint Louis, Missouri, attacked Prophet Mohammed and said that the “the man who founded Islam had 12 wives, the last of which was a nine-year-old girl.”

Vines claimed in the speech that many of America’s problems could be blamed on religious pluralism.

Pluralists "would have us to believe that Islam is just as good as Christianity, but I'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that Islam is not just as good as Christianity," said Vines...

Eric Erfan Vickers, executive director for the American Muslim Council (AMC), in a statement noted the Southern Baptist Church’s historical legacy of supporting segregation between whites and blacks, said, Vines’ remarks 'not only reflect unpardonable ignorance, but also indicate at a growing climate of religious prejudice in America.

Let me guess. Let me guess that Eric (Erfan) Vickers is a black convert or revert to Islam, who thinks that Islam is full of social justice, has a universalist appeal, and is entirely devoid of racism -- so unlike bad old Christianity, with all those Christians supporting segregation.

Perhaps Eric Erfan Vickers does not realize that the oldest, largest, and cruelest slave trade in black Africa was that conducted, long before the European slavers arrived on the coast of West Africa, and continuing long after slavery had been abolished in the non-Islamic world. Perhaps he is unaware of the size of that Arab slave trade, which concentrated on seizing and castrating on the spot young African males, and then marching them by slave coffle to the waiting dhows to take them first to Muscat and Oman, or marched them all the way to various slave markets. Jan Hogedoorn, whose "The Hideous Trade" should be on the syllabi of every course on slavery in every university, estimates that 90% of those castrated did not live to be sold on the Islamic slave markets.

Eric (Erfan) Vickers talks about "segregation." Does he have any idea how blacks are talked about, or how they are treated, in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt (ask someone who has spent time studying Arabic at one of those language schools in Cairo, or Damascus)? Any idea of the extreme contempt and hatred, that has left even those who arrived as apologists for Islam shaken? Does he know about the black slaves of Arab masters right now, in Mali and the Sudan and even, one has reason to believe, in the Arabian peninsula? Does he realize that it was the British who stamped out the African slave trade in the Persian Gulf (see "Britain and the Persian Gulf" by J. B. Kelly), over the furious objections of the local Arabs, or that it was the French who stamped out the slave trade by Arabs in North Africa? Does he know that there never was, and never could have been, an Islamic William Wilberforce? Does he know that Islam sanctions slavery -- and since the Qur'an is immutable, and the Hadith now fixed in amber, that that acceptance and approval of slavery can never be changed in the belief-system of Islam?

If he doesn't, perhaps someone can help him find out. Or at least, prevent others from making his colossal error. Perhaps Francis Bok, formerly of the Sudan, or any number of black African refugees from Muslim persecution, slavery, and murder.

One doubts that Eric (Erfan) Vickers is capable of changing his views. He's out far and in deep. Drowning in Islam, though he thinks he's happily waving.

Posted on 06/15/2006 1:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Whose Gulf?
Iran has banned The Economist for printing a map in which the blue blob between Iran and Saudi Arabia is called "The Gulf" rather than "The Persian Gulf."  The latter, according to Iran, is the only permissible name.


Here's my question.  Since only about half the population of Iran is Persian ("Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%"), shouldn't they prefer "Iranian Gulf"?

Posted on 06/15/2006 2:58 PM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 15 June 2006
Women banned

"the Khadims claim that under Islam if a man sees a woman while performing namaaz, it becomes a futile exercise."
-- from this article

And that's true too. Sometimes.

Yeats has a poem on the theme:


"In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in political terms."
Thomas Mann


"How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics,
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about.
And there's a politician
Who has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms."

Yeats gave an example of the problem, of his problem and not only his, but did not think, and Western man does not insist, that women should be banned -- from prayers or from the classroom or the lecture hall. Men, instead, are required to learn to concentrate, to exercise self-restraint, to put themselves above and beyond, when necessary, that alluring power to madden or distract.

That self-restraint, that ability to subsume or sublime, is what helps distinguish the civilized from the primitive. It's the distance traversed from the clubbing caveman to the troubadour or suave sonneteer. In short, civilization is partly a matter of patience.

Posted on 06/15/2006 6:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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