These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 18, 2012.
Saturday, 18 August 2012
Demonstration in Chelmsford against unnecessary Mosque expansion.
To Chelmsford where the EDL were making a protest against plans to expand the town’s Shia Mosque (there is also a Sunni mosque) into a four floor ‘community centre’ on another site, at a size out of all proportion to the number of Muslims of any denomination in town.
Chelmsford is the County town of Essex. It was a Roman town – Caesar Romagnus built where the Rivers Chelmer and Blackwater converge. In 1914 the Diocese of Chelmsford was created out of parishes previously ministered by the ancient dioceses of London and St Albans. The fine Parish church became the Cathedral and, recalling the ancient custom that the presence of a Cathedral made a town a city the local football team adopted the name Chelmsford City. Sadly the government didn’t agree and Chelmsford was only granted City status this year as part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Chelmsford was the site of the world famous Marconi factory; Marconi made his early radio broadcasts nearby. Other industry was the Hoffman ball bearing works, Christy and Norris engineering and the Britvic soft drink plant. Virtually all gone in the last 30 years and one hardly hears the traditional Essex accent. It is now mainly a dormitory town for London commuters; and many of them remember why they left London behind.
I knew that Chelmsford had a small Mosque; a room above and Indian restaurant in Moulsham Street which used to be the ‘cultural quarter’ of town, retaining some old mediaeval and Tudor period buildings. I didn’t know of the Shia Mosque until recently. It ran in a small house, 4 Regina Road, one of four homes which backed onto the Royal Mail site in Victoria Road. Royal Mail is using what was no 1, 2 and 3 as offices. They wanted the site of No 4 – then the supermarket giant Waitrose has plans to develop the current Royal Mail land and, as I understand it, have offered the Muslim Shia Ithna Ashari Jamaat of Essex a construction within the Waitrose development in exchange for the site that was No 4 which will be four floors high and a great deal larger than their previous premises. This despite there being only a few Muslims in Chelmsford (0.9% of the population at the last census) at the moment and Shia being a minority among Muslims in any event. The Mosque trustees are so enthusiastic about this potential development that they have demolished No 4 in readiness. The first picture left is from their website; the second is one I took this afternoon.
As I arrived Chelmsford was bustling with festival goers for the V festival in Hylands Park on the outskirts of the city. I knew where the EDL were mustering but I decided to look around town at the Unite organised counter demonstration. They were forming up in a cordoned area in Tyndale Square at the top of the High Street.
As you can see from the photographs there were representatives from the main public services Trades Unions, We Are Waltham Forest the outfit who are happy to harbour the likes of Sharia for UK but baulk about the EDL National demonstration in protest in two weeks.
There was Chelmsford Labour Party, Union officials from Harlow and Cambridge. Socialist worker was on sale. They had a sound system and messages of support from other trade unionists were read out and speeches made. I heard someone whose name I didn’t catch speak of those who would divide the working class, which is rich from unions which did nothing to protect their member’s jobs in recent years, or the manufacturing industry in general.
One speaker boasted to his comrades 'we beat the EDL and BNP in Barking and Dagenham. We stopped the EDL in Tower Hamlets. Imagine a world without the EDL. Imagine a world without Islamophobia'.
I can imagine a world without Islamophobia - its called Syria. Its called Saudi Arabia.
I heard them say that Chelmsford values diversity, is standing firm against racists and that they now are closer to their Muslim comrades in the town than ever before. I saw very little ‘diversity’ on the street. I did see walls where the words “EDL Welcome” had been painted and later scrubbed off but the outline (below) remained as a clean patch among grime. The building behind used to be the Mid Essex Technical College and School of Art and Music, by the way.
The shoppers were largely ignoring them. I was expecting the EDL march to come past their compound and, from their chant of EDL =Nazis, EDL = Nazis so did they. However at short notice the EDL and police agreed a different route to County Hall so as not to disturb a wedding at the Cathedral. They came into their demo site by a back route and the police decided to take the Unite demo out of the High Street and away from the Cathedral onto the ring road.
Duke Street, which runs between the station and the High Street with the front entrances to County Hall, the cathedral close and the Shire Hall on its route closed to traffic and buses were temporarily re-routed. This meant that people shopping actually noticed them and were not impressed. I spent some time chatting to stall holders in the market and shoppers.
“Load of bloody nonsense”. “What’s this lot again? This is the lot who want a bigger mosque isn’t it?”
One woman told me that there were not enough Muslims to merit two mosques, let alone an expanded mosque, at the moment. ‘But’, she said, ‘since we have had this city status all sorts are being attracted and enticed in’.
I couldn’t get near enough to the EDL demo to hear the speeches but everything was orderly and I am told it went well. You can see them here at the lower of the several entrances to County Hall.
The EDL demo ended and moved off to disperse. The Unite demo came full circle and I spotted them disbursing as I returned to the station.
Immediately above is how the EDL left their cordoned area.
Above that is how Unite left theirs. I doubt that the elderly people left behind took a bin bag round to gather the debris.
So many inhabitants of Chelmsford used to live in Walthamstow, East Ham, Chadwell Heath, Bethnal Green and Stepney. They remember why they left. Unlike the Trades Unionists and wooly Marxist lecturers they appreciate what they now enjoy.
India is heading for Mars: it doesnâ€™t need British aid money to pay the bills
As a beneficiary of British foreign aid – I bought my first house with money saved from the generous salary an aid project paid me when I worked in the South Seas – I am well placed to appreciate the absurdity of continued British aid to India. It is not only absurd: it is corrupt, the modern equivalent of what Charles Bradlaugh and Henry Labouchère considered the Empire, a vast system of outdoor relief for the upper classes.
India, which has just announced that it will do what Britain could not do – send a space probe to Mars – is now a country with more technological prowess than our own. Its economic progress has been remarkable. I have been going on and off to Calcutta, City of Dreadful Night, for 40 years, and the difference between my first and last visit is startling. There is still poverty, but they don’t any longer collect dead people from the pavements who have died in the night of starvation.
The former Indian finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee (now the president), said that India didn’t need British aid which, he added, was “peanuts” anyway. He was right on both counts, but oddly enough his pronouncement – no more than the most obvious truth – was met by almost grovelling British requests to continue aid to India. Why?
One hesitates to employ an explanation that a polytechnic lecturer in politics might favour, but there is surely in this urgent desire to send aid to our former possession the hangover of a colonial superiority complex, allied to the hope that the world has not changed as much as it seems to have done: that, in short, we are still top dog, or at any rate very nearly so. If we give them aid, it must be because they need it and therefore that we are superior to them in some way. It seems to have escaped the notice of our Government, at least, that it required an Indian takeover of Land Rover and Jaguar to make a go of them, the task being beyond our organisational powers.
To use a Chinese rather than an Indian expression, the Mandate of Heaven has moved eastwards.
This is not to say that India has no problems; it remains profoundly corrupt and its government is incapable of passing necessary reforms. Rural poverty is deep and persistent. Nevertheless, it is not so very long ago that all right-thinking people saw the future of India as hopeless, one of perpetual epidemic and recurring famine.
But life expectancy in India is now the same as was mine when I was born in England. No doubt it is easier to make rapid progress when starting from a low level, but the fact remains that India has progressed very fast and has done so without resort to a vicious authoritarianism, highly imperfect in multiple ways as its democracy might be. Its young population thirsts for real education in a way than much of ours does not; and one manifestation of the underlying wisdom of India is its low tally of medals at the Olympic Games, only six (none gold) when it has a sixth of the world’s population. Its young people have more important things to do than put the shot or throw the javelin.
It is not our aid, or anyone else’s, that has caused India to develop, but the efforts of its own people. Aid is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of the economic development of a poor country; there is no country that has been lifted out of poverty by aid, which is a form of international social security for corrupt governments. I saw this in Africa, working on a project that enriched an inefficient British company and its personnel, and those local government officials whom it bribed, while the country remained poorer than ever, a kind of tropical Merthyr Tydfil. The economic growth that Africa is now experiencing is thanks to higher commodity prices and somewhat wiser government policies, and has nothing to do with aid.
In any case, to lump poor countries together as if they were all in the same category is false, a form of uninterested and morally frivolous condescension towards all of them. India has a long, varied, glorious (and terrible) history of civilisation, with the sophistication necessary to absorb influences from abroad, including Western scientific ones. The best and most beautiful spoken English in the world is now to be heard in India. It is outrageous that we condescend to it with our paltry aid, just to pay the mortgages of aid workers.
In the 1880s, a young army doctor, Ronald Ross, who went on to discover the mosquito transmission of malaria at Secunderabad and to win one of the first Nobel Prizes for Medicine, wrote a poem that began:
Here from my lonely watchtower of the East
An ancient race outworn I see –
With dread, my own dear distant Country, lest
The same fate fall on thee.
It would be an exaggeration to say, except perhaps metaphorically, that such a fate has actually befallen us; but our continued aid to India is nevertheless a manifestation of the national administrative, mental and ethical torpor, as well as incompetence and corruption, that is leading us inexorably to economic and social disaster. It is high time we stopped such aid, and not only to India.
Conservative pundit and author Dinesh D’Souza’s film 2016: Obama’s America was launched this week in 400 theaters this week in America. Ultimately the film will be shown in more than 700 theaters across the country. The website touts the film as:
. . . tak[ing] audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one man's past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, "If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?"
The film, directed by D’Souza and produced by Gerald R. Molen (Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Minority Report), takes aim at President Obama heritage and incubation in third world anti-colonialism that morphed into an alleged agenda of transforming America through devolution of its economic power and international leadership. The film is based on D’Souza’s New York Times, Obama’s America; The Unmaking of the American Dreamand his New York Times best seller, The Roots of Obama’s Rage . D’Souza, born in Mumbai, India of Goan Catholic parents, immigrated to this country in the late 1970’s on a scholarship to attend college in America. He has since become a Christian Evangelical. D’Souza is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College where he gained a national reputation as a writer for the conservative Dartmouth Review. He put in a brief stint as a researcher for the late President Reagan. He is a former senior fellow at both the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and the Hoover Institution. He currently is the President of The King’s College in New York City. He has been a frequent panelist in conservative forums like the Conservative Political Action Forum. A Christian apologist, he has debated several noted liberals and atheists, among them the late Christopher Hitchens and David Silverman.
While recognizing the threat of radical Islam, he nevertheless, has accused prominent counter-jihadist, Robert Spencer of being an “Islamophobe” during a debate on Islam in 2007 at CPAC. D’Souza’s book, The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 , held the bizarre concept that Muslim resentment of the West is based on liberal immorality and may have led to 9/11. One illustration of that was:
The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11 ... the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the non-profit sector and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world.
His ideas about Islam have been roundly criticized by Spencer, Bostom and others for being supremely ignorant of the history of Islamic jihad. His critics accused him of not recognizing the historical record of immense slaughter of fellow Indians under several waves of Jihad and the second class subjugation of Jews and Christians in Muslim lands under Islamic dhimmitude. Apparently D‘Souza has never delved into Islamic doctrine, let alone cracked open The Reliance of the Traveller, to obtain a basic appreciation of the totalitarian underpinnings of Shariah, Islamic law. Nor has he checked out Yusuf Qtub’s Milestones, the seminal guidebook for Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda Jihadists, promoting unceasing Jihad warfare to achieve a world caliphate ruled under Sharia, Islamic law. Dinesh might have sympathized with Qtub as an Egyptian exchange student in Greeley, Colorado, mortally offended by couples engaged in sybaritic square dancing.
The basic theme of the film 2016: Obama’s America is capsuled in his comment drawn from a Forbes Article:
[O]ur President is trapped in his father's time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost."
Atlanta-based blog Creative Loafingsaid this about the film:
Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza races against time to find answers to Obama's past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankind's greatest struggle. The journey moves quickly over the arc of the old colonial empires, into America's empire of liberty, and we see the unfolding realignment of nations and the shape of the global future.
Emotionally engaging, 2016 Obama's America will make you confounded and cheer as you discover the mysteries and answers to your greatest aspirations and worst fears.
Based on his two books about Obama (The Roots of Obama’s Rage and Obama’s America), D’Souza's documentary concentrates on Obama’s autobiography, Dreams From My Father, and begins with the thesis that because it is not entitled Dreams of My Father it provides an essential clue into that thinking: that Obama has internalized the anti-colonial ideology of a man he scarcely knew.
In an interview with The Christian Post D’Souza observed,
One of the themes in the movie is the anti-colonial goal of downsizing America in the name of global justice. So the core idea here is that America has become a rogue nation in the world and also that America enjoys a standard of living that is unconscionably high compared to the rest of the world. So anti-colonialism is a program of global reparations.... It’s reparations for global injustice. Obama’s goal is to shrink America.
[. . .]
As the movie ends, one is left with a feeling of anger and frustration that someone with goals and purposes and agendas so totally anti-American has been elevated to such a position of power and influence.
The New York Times reviewer noted the film’s core messages and its intended political objective:
Mr. D’Souza argues that the president has emasculated NASA refused to take“meaningful step” against Iran’s nuclear ambitions and is willing to let Argentina reclaim the Falkland Islands from the British. He paints in ominous terms the president’s conciliatory 2009 speech in Cairo and envisions a foreboding future in which the Middle East becomes a “United States of Islam.”
Mr. D’Souza revives figures tied to Mr. Obama by conservative critics in the last election, including the Rev. Jeremiah Wright; the Chicago educator, activist and former radical Bill Ayers; and Edward Said, a Palestinian scholar and a professor of Mr. Obama’s at Columbia, who died in 2003. Mr. D’Souza stumbles when interviewing George Obama, the president’s half-brother, an activist who voluntarily lives amid squalor in Nairobi, Kenya. “Obama has not done anything to help you,” Mr. D’Souza says. “He’s taking care of me; I’m part of the world,” George Obama replies.
Eventually, we see blunt imagery like Benjamin Franklin’s face on a burning $100 bill and a shot of the Statue of Liberty. Not interviewed by the filmmakers are Obama’s political supporters, but this isn’t that kind of documentary. At a show on Saturday night, the film’s conclusion was met with claps and cries of “Romney!” “Ron Paul!,” “Reagan!” and “Another Reagan!”
It is ironic for a Christian apologist who once criticized the flesh pots of Hollywood that he turned to the film industry to promote his views in 2016: Obama’s America, hoping to spread his message through audience viewings at hundreds of multiplex theaters in America.
D’Souza appears to have come a long way from his benighted ill-informed position on Islam back in 2007.
Watch D’Souza in this recent interview with a truculent Piers Morgan of CNN, a contentious Obama supporter, disputing the thesis of 2016: Obama’s America.