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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 Friday, 25, 2008.
Friday, 25 January 2008
Pattani killers 'had Krue Se connection'
Breaking news from the Bangkok Post
Two suspected militants arrested hours after the killing of a school teacher in Pattani on Thursday morning are also believed to be part of a group involved in the Krue Se mosque incident four years ago.
Police identified the two murder suspects as Waeumeng Dueramae, 22, and Kari Mahman, 26.
They were involved in a shootout with a police team which was tracking them after getting information from witnesses who said they saw the two men fleeing from the site of the school murder.
They had allegedly killed Suwit Bunsanit, 46, a Buddhist teacher at Ban Koh Tah school in Kok Phoe district.
The suspects reportedly told police that they were instructed to kill the teacher as a condition to be freed from the Tarikah group, a splinter separatist group involved in the bloody Krue Se incident in Pattani in April, 2004.
"They received their handguns during an early morning prayer in a mosque. They were told that they could leave the group if they could kill a teacher," a police spokesman said when contacted.
Posted on 01/25/2008 2:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 25 January 2008
No go areas? Just go there

I haven't had much to say on the subject of "no go areas". This is because I am rather torn. While I am pleased to see the Bishop of Rochester speaking out against the increasing Islamisation of Britain, I refuse to accept no go areas, that is to tolerate them. I will not be told where to go and where not to go, even by a well-meaning Bishop: I will go where the hell I like.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's first name suggests girlishness and frivolity. If she must insist on the spelling "Jacqui", she needs to work hard to counter the impression this gives and to be taken seriously. Her remarks on the dangers of walking round London at night show that there is little chance of this. Libby Purves, writing in The Times, expresses my thoughts and strong feelings on this matter:

Genghis Khan or Jacqui Smith? Tricky choice. One is a polite Nu-Lab minister in a sensible suit, the other founded the Mongol empire with fire and the sword. On the other hand, Genghis's eventual boast was that “a virgin with a bag of gold around her neck could walk naked from one end of the realm to another without being attacked”. Whereas Jacqui Smith apparently doesn't even have an ambition to make this small, affluent, educated country safe for the fully dressed after 10pm.

The revelation occurred in an interview. The Home Secretary was droning peacefully on about how “people are safer in terms of crime than ten years ago” (ignoring, as they always do, the fact that much street crime goes unreported because there's no point, and that the drop in crime figures has more to do with car alarms than policing).

Then the canny reporter asked whether she personally, would feel safe walking alone in Hackney at night? And the minister said “No. Why would I do that?” OK then, Kensington or Chelsea: would she walk alone at night there? “No,” replied the Home Secretary again, adding the appalling line: “But I never would have done, at any point in my life. I just don't think it's a thing that people do. I wouldn't walk around at midnight. I'm fortunate that I don't have to.


Later the Home Secretary said yes, she would walk around in her own constituency (expressing terror of one's voters is never politically helpful) but added: “You don't walk in areas you don't know, in any circumstances”; and that her task is to “persuade” people that they are safe.

No. The task is to make them safe. On any street, any time. We do not ask for the right to walk around naked with bags of gold, just to be more confident that men like Garry Newlove will not be kicked to death by lads on bail, that a stabbing will be a nine-day wonder not a routine shrug, and that shift workers, women, partygoers, insomniacs, eccentrics and teenagers themselves should walk in safety.

Government exists to protect its citizens' liberties, and the most important of these is personal freedom of movement. Without it there is no equality, no choice, no free expression, no real prosperity. Abdicate responsibility for any bit of any city, any time of night, and you are on the downhill slope.

Excuse the passion. For 40 years I have walked through cities in the dark as a matter of utility and principle. At 17 I regularly crossed Hamburg, including the Reeperbahn; in my first job walked to Pimlico from Bush House at 2am after night shifts; and once left a party, in a tipsy temper, to walk several miles to Maida Vale by the moonlit canal, thinking (probably aloud).

In 1977 I joined the women's “Reclaim the Night” march, less out of feminist feeling than a general sense that night freedom is too precious to be stolen by villains. I have traversed the solitary hours in cities from Paris to Singapore; today, going round literary festivals in provincial towns I consider it my inalienable right to stroll back to the hotel whatever time it is, albeit picking my way through knots of helpless drunkards (as Thora Hird once said: “They're less trouble, you've only to push 'em”). I have had my purse snatched once, and in Hamburg years ago was grabbed by a crazy-looking man in an underpass; I kicked hard and shrieked, and he wisely ran away as a confident middle-aged German couple appeared in the entrance.

I am not foolhardy; I stay away from alleys and don't flash jewellery. But I know parts of London in particular to be increasingly dangerous, and with growing caution comes growing rage. I will not be kept cringing indoors, not by day or night; nor should any man or woman in a free country. Reclaim the night! In that cause it is well worth frightening louts and their parents, doing random searches, breaking gangs, hammering drug dealers, herding thieving addicts into rehab and flooding the streets with zero-tolerance police with Singaporean attitudes.

“Walk at night? Why would anyone do that?” asks the Home Secretary. Because we're free human beings, that's why.  

Change the dates and places and that could be me speaking. I shouldn't speak for Libby Purves, but as she has spoken for me I will try to: neither of us, I suspect, is exceptionally brave, or foolhardy, but in this matter we are exceptionally stubborn and that is what is needed. It was a woman, Eleanor Roosevelt, who said: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission." So we, men and women, should not grant that permission, and not pander to the assumed superiority of those who would intimidate us, whether thugs or Muslims or both.

Turning to "Muslim no go areas", here is my advice: just go there. Look those black ghost women in the eye - it is all you can look them in - and raise a quizzical eyebrow at their alien garb. Look with contempt at their "masters" swaggering along in jeans two steps in front of them. Wince visibly when you walk past a Muslim preacher or a mosque.

Above all, just go there.

Posted on 01/25/2008 7:01 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 January 2008
Work Accident

A WOULD-be suicide bomber fell down a flight of stairs and blew himself up as he headed out for an attack in Afghanistan, police say.
--from this news article

Israeli officials drily call this sort of thing a "work accident."

And he didn't even live long enough to say, like Steve Buscemi in "Fargo" -- "you shoulda seen the other guy."

Recalling the pratfalls of Dick Van Dyke - and the names of Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, Carl Reiner, and others in that series -- not only comforts, amidst all the grim disturbing items of necessity put up here, but also will remind many that the sense of humor that "The Dick Van Dyke Show" possessed, and relied upon, or at times surely helped to create, in its viewers, is among those things not to be left off of any short-list of Why We Fight.

Posted on 01/25/2008 7:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
The EU Is A Self-Perpetuating Racket

Daniel Hannan writes in The First Post (with thanks to Alan):

The EU is no longer an ideological project; it's a racket: a mechanism for redistributing money to the people who work for it. If that sounds harsh, ask yourself when you last met a Euro-enthusiast who was not being indirectly paid by Brussels.

This week, David Miliband stood at the Dispatch Box and listed the NGOs backing the Lisbon Treaty (nee European Constitution): "The NSPCC pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam. Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition not of ideology, but integrity".

Integrity, eh? I've done a little digging around, and it turns out that every one of these organisations gets money from Brussels.

The 'commission of bishops' to which the Foreign Secretary refers, for example, turns out to be something called the 'Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community'. It's not an ecclesiastical organisation that just happens to be pro-integration; it's a creature of the European Commission, wholly dependent on the EU for its funding and existence.

There was a time when the European project was supported by idealists who genuinely believed that they were building a better future. Not any more. The 2005 'No' votes in France and the Netherlands were the EU's equivalent of the 1968 Prague Spring. They killed off the idea that, given time, voters might come round to the ruling doctrine, and thereby make possible a restoration of democracy.

As in the 1970s Cold War Comecon states, the EU is now run, not by true believers, but by an apparat of officials whose livelihoods depend on the system - an apparat made up of NGOs, civil servants and local councils as well as Eurocrats. There’s too much at stake for them to give up easily.

Posted on 01/25/2008 8:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 January 2008
Quelle Horreur!

From The Daily Mash (h/t Stephen Pollard):

FRIENDS of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel last night blamed his $7 billion losses on unbearable levels of stress brought on by a punishing 30 hour week.

Kerviel was known to start work as early as nine in the morning and still be at his desk at five or even five-thirty, often with just an hour and a half for lunch.  

One colleague said: "He was, how you say, un workaholique. I have a family and a mistress so I would leave the office at around 2pm at the latest, if I wasn't on strike.

"But Jerome was tied to that desk. One day I came back to the office at 3pm because I had forgotten my stupid little hat, and there he was, fast asleep on the photocopier.

"At first I assumed he had been having sex with it, but then I remembered he'd been working for almost six hours."

As the losses mounted, Kerviel tried to conceal his bad trades by covering them with an intense red wine sauce, later switching to delicate pastry horns.

At one point he managed to dispose of dozens of transactions by hiding them inside vol-au-vent cases and staging a fake reception.

Last night a spokesman for Sócíété Générálé denied that Kerviel was overworked, insisting he lost the money after betting that the French were about to stop being rude, lazy, arrogant bastards.

Posted on 01/25/2008 8:45 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 January 2008
Cannabis now worse than the Nazis

From The Daily Mash again. The Daily Mash is the only newspaper that tells the truth:

CANNABIS is now more evil than the Nazis and smoking the drug is worse for the brain than watching Richard Madeley on television, new research suggests.

During the Sixties smoking dope was hardly evil at all, and the drug was more playful and slightly naughty, but in a nice way, a bit like Kenneth Williams.

In the Seventies and Eighties marijuana briefly became totally harmless and could be smoked by future Cabinet ministers up to the rank of Home Secretary without any effect on their brains whatsoever.  

However, a massive increase in the strength of the drug since politicians all stopped using it has now made it more nasty and brutish than the combined evil of the Third Reich.

Professor Tom Booker, head of drug research at Glasgow’s Clyde University and the man who conducted the latest lengthy study into the drug, said: “Yeah, whatever.”

A spokesman for the University said: “The Nazi’s were very bad people but even they could not make a middle class white boy adopt dreadlocks for a hairstyle, or make a highly intelligent middle aged man crawl around the floor of his laboratory in his underpants weeping with laughter about nothing at all, and then eat his own weight in marshmallows.”

Following the promotion of cannabis to the top spot in the evilness rankings the top ten most evil things in the world are:

1. (-) Cannabis
2. (2) Tobacco
3. (4) Debt consolidation ads featuring Carol Vorderman
= 5. (1) Richard and Judy
= 5. (3) The Nazis
6. (-) Heathrow Airport
7. (5) Prince Phillip
8. (7) Joseph Stalin
9. (-) Noel Edmonds
10. (10) The Devil and all his minions

Posted on 01/25/2008 8:58 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 January 2008
Israel's Folly

“Fatah activists belonging to the "Brigades of Return" and to "Black September" claimed responsibility for carrying out the shooting attack in Shoafat Thursday evening. The attack left one Israeli dead and another one seriously wounded. A spokesman on behalf of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing, told Ynet that the attackers ‘returned to their base safely.’”

                                                                             -- from this news article


And meanwhile, the Olmert Government has refused to mount an operation to seize the killers -- known to the Israelis -- of those two young men, Israeli soldiers on leave, on the West Bank. It knows exactly where they are, knows what they did, but will do nothing to "offend" the Slow Jihadists of Fatah.

And in that same meanwhile, the unbearable Tzipi Livni speaks again and again about the necessity, as she idiotically sees it, of "dividing the land." By this she means that Israel, tiny Israel, which now exists on less than one-one thousandth of the total land area possessed by the Arabs, must relinquish part of the one-one thousandth to those Arabs. After all, the Arabs everywhere behave as if all of the Middle East, all of North Africa, belongs to Islam and to Arabs. The Copts, the Maronites, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Berbers, and of course, above all, the Jews, are entitled to nothing: not to a state, not to autonomy, not to equal treatment with Muslim Arabs. No, it all belongs to them, by Divine Right -- as does, in the texts and tenets and attitudes of Islam, the Middle East, North Africa, and indeed the entire world.

Livni's Great Idea, and that of Olmert, is that Israel must "maintain its Jewish character." And the only way that these people can think of doing this is to slice off successive bits of Israel where the Arabs now have a majority. No doubt they will have to keep on slicing bit after bit, as the salami-slicing demands will never let up, and the Muslim Arabs will never -- ever -- acquiesce in the permanent existence of an Infidel nation-state on land once part, as they see it, of Dar al-Islam. The livnis and olmerts of this world do not understand this. They do not want to think about it. They put it out of their minds in a bit of promised-land podsnappery. And certainly they haven't thought deeply about the Arabs who remain, overbreeding, inside whatever part of Israel is left once the olmert-livni "solution" has taken place.

The Bush Administration has been unable to understand Islam. It has been willfully incapable of understanding Islam. Failing to understand it, wanting not to delve too deeply into the matter or listen to those who have done so, and preferring to fashion a policy based on the children's game of "let's pretend," this incoherent and confused administration seeks the explanation elsewhere for the relentless hostility of Muslim states and peoples. This hostility has never, not one whit, been mitigated by the receipt of vast sums, tens or hundreds of billions, in "aid" from Western countries (really a disguised Jizyah), while the American government, while Bush, while Rice, look for the explanations -- "poverty" and "lack of freedom" and anything else that can be offered up -- for that hostility, that meretriciousness, those smiles-with-murder-in-our-hearts behavior of, for example, our "staunch allies" in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (those Al-Saud, a primitive but exceedingly rich tribe, all daggers-and-dishdashas, with sneers of cold command on their seemingly cloned faces). They look, that is, for everything but the texts and tenets of Islam, that any "defector" from Islam -- Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina -- could tell them about, and which the writings of any legitimate Western scholar of Islam (Schacht, Lammens, Snouck Hurgronje, Jeffrey, and dozens of others) would confirm.

Yes, everything but Islam is thought to explain the behavior and views of Muslims -- in Iraq, in Iran, in Saudi Arabia, in the Sudan, in Egypt and Jordan and the "Palestinian" occupied territories, and in Muslim communities in Thailand, the Philippines, and everywhere else that the meaning and menace of Islam is becoming, through the behavior of Muslims themselves, clear to many people. But even if many dimly or clearly realize that there is something about Islam that needs to be examined, held up for inspection, discussed openly, and policies fashioned that are based not on what one would wish to be the truth but what is the truth, the political and media elites are far behind them -- the very people those elites presume to instruct and to protect.

In Israel, the olmerts and livnis have allowed themselves to complacently believe that refusing to make Israel's legal, moral, and historic case is the best way to peace. Or perhaps they simply do not possess the facts of that case themselves, or are unable to articulate it properly, so used are they to having accepted the language, the phrases, of the enemy, including the parroting of that phrase "the Palestinian people." They think that identifying thoroughly with your enemy, seeing "his side," is the key to peace -- while being careful, again, to view the conflict exactly as it is presented by Muslims and Arabs for Western consumption, as a matter of "legitimate rights" and "nationalist struggle." In fact, it is entirely a war to weaken, and then eliminate, the Jewish state of Israel, and the Jewish commonwealth which took almost 2000 years to astonishingly rebuild. And if it is lost again, there will be no second chance, with all that that implies for the history, and moral and mental stability, of the civilization of the West.

They, those olmerts and those livnis (suitably egged on by the assorted landaus who control so much of the Israeli press) do not at this point want to learn about Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. They want to negotiate with, "make deals" with the Dar al-Islam by giving away Israeli rights and lands to Muslims, but always, without ever thinking through the nature of Islam. They hope, they wish, they dream -- but they will not spend a month, a week, a day, an hour, considering carefully the nature of Islam, of taking its texts and tenets seriously. Long ago, when the Mandate for Palestine was young, the Jews saw all of Eastern Palestine (east of the Jordan River) lopped off by the British in 1921. This was done, in a fit of temporary and misguided Realpolitik, to curry favor with the local Arab rulers. The British unilaterally removed the application of the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine to all of its intended territory east of the river Jordan -- that is, all of Eastern Palestine, as it had always been defined, and instead incorporated Eastern Palestine into a hastily concocted Emirate of Transjordan (in 1946 promoted to the status of Arab Kingdom). This they gave to Abdullah, the oldest Hashemite son -- a move made necessary, the British felt, because his younger brother Faisal had been "given" the kingdom of Iraq, and a kingdom-less Abdullah might, miffed, have tried to claim Syria as his kingdom, thereby causing trouble with France, the possessor of the League of Nations' Mandate for Syria.

And having lost all of Eastern Palestine, the Jews of Israel, fighting for their lives when attacked in May 1948 by the regular armies of five Arab states, managed to survive. But Ben-Gurion stopped the fighting before that part of Judea and Samaria (toponyms in constant and wide use for 200 years, not least by, inter alios, Jesus) that was later renamed by Jordan as "the West Bank" could be wrested from the Arabs. And the same hesitation left Gaza, also part of Mandatory Palestine, a mandate set up for the express and sole purpose of the establishment of the Jewish National Home, in Arab, in this case Egyptian, hands.

Later, after Israel's astounding victory in June 1967, those assorted Peace Plans -- Rogers, Kissinger, you name it -- became, after Saint Sadat went through his premeditated crowd-pleasing performance, a vague but apparently endless "Peace Process." It meant, in reality, only one thing: acceptance by, parroting by, promotion by, Israel's representatives, of the very terms that the Arabs and Muslims had wished to be used, in refashioning for Western consumption what had always been, and remained, and remains, a Lesser Jihad against Israel. Thus it was that the Israelis expressed their deep belief in, and even sympathy for, the "Palestinians" (even if, in Israel itself, the word "aravim" -- "the Arabs" --was still used). The Israelis adopted this neologism without any seeming understanding of how important it was to resist this refashioning of the language used to describe the actual conflict. This went along with a kind of amnesia about Israel's legal, moral, and historic claims, or in some cases a reluctance, a calamitous diffidence, about asserting, intelligently and repeatedly, the broad outlines, and then the details, of such an overwhelming claim -- as if Israel had lost the ability to recognize that it was in the right, and it was Israel, always and everywhere, that was under permanent assault.

All that peace-processing consisted of was, on the Israeli side, giving up that most precious and tangible of assets, land, for the most intangible and worthless of assets: Muslim Arab "promises" in a treaty made with an Infidel enemy, when as every educated Muslim knows, the model for all such treaties is that made by Muhammad with the Meccans in 628 A.D., at Al-Hudaibiyya, a model that stands for the immutable proposition not, as in the West, of "Pacta Sunt Servanda" (treaties are to be obeyed) but for a temporary truce only. So for this Israel surrendered the Sinai, not once but twice: in 1956, and again under those miserably-negotiated "Camp David Accords" -- with Sadat not only supported by, but egged on to ever-greater demands by the sweetly-vicious Jimmy Carter. They surrendered it for promises promptly dishonored, as they did when they destroyed and abandoned Jewish villages in Gaza, some of which long pre-dated the establishment of the state of Israel, handed over valuable greenhouses in working order, and much else, and then left Gaza -- with the results, for Israeli security, we all see.

Again and again, over the past forty years, since the Six-Day War, we have witnessed those negotiations, those phony handshakes and smiles, those photo ops, that shuttle diplomacy, those hideous dennis-rosses-aaron-millers-martin-indyks -- each more sure of himself than the last, as a tireless, and professional "Arab-Israeli" peace-processor who never, ever, bothered to find out about Islam, and never, ever, managed to grasp the true Arab position, not what its smiling representatives pretended. Yet each of them had notions, bullyingly expressed, in the usual state-department-of-mediocrity fashion (exemplified by that Baker Institute apparatchik, Edward Djerijian) along the lines of the complacent and dead wrong "everyone knew what the outlines of a final settlement would have to look like." Yes, "everyone knew" what "the outlines of a final settlement would look like" (see the sinister Robert Malley -- he'll tell you all about that "final settlement," though he's unlikely to tell you all about his behind-the-scenes malevolent work in the last Clinton Administration as one of its supposedly disinterested "experts" on "Arab-Israeli" affairs. They all know that, just as long as they knew nothing about Islam, nothing about the unassuagable nature of the Lesser Jihad against Israel, nothing about the practical military matters and life-giving aquifers and invasion routes, and all the rest, and nothing, of course, about the one thing that can prevent, not a state of war, between the Muslim Arabs and Israel (that "state of war" will continue as long as Islam exists, as long as Muslims take their Islam seriously), but rather a state of open warfare, which can be permanently prevented if Israel does not surrender further tangible assets, if the Western world begins to wake up from its deep dream of a (false) peace, if the "two-state solution" is held up for inspection, analysis, and mockery, and if, finally, as it recognizes its own Muslim menace within Western Europe, the countries of the West begin to rethink their willful misreporting about, and misunderstanding and cruel abandonment of Israel.

That will happen. The logic of events, the inevitability of Muslim aggressive demands and Muslim violence within the countries of Western Europe, and nothing else, will make that reassessment happen. All Israel has to do is to hold on, not give in, do nothing to whet, by further surrenders to the sly Slow Jihadists of Fatah.

But Olmert and Livni and Haim Ramon are not only willfully unaware of Islam. They are also, in their narrowness, willfully unaware of how attitudes, in the larger Western world, are changing toward Islam because of the behavior of Muslims themselves. And failing to recognize that, and to factor it into their policies, they are in danger of plucking, yet again, a defeat from a conceivable victory, of wounding Israel, yet again, and giving up in peace-processing and political clumsiness and mental paralysis what the people of Israel won by feat of arms, feat of national resolve. And this time, so terrible are they, and so willing to surrender, that the self-inflicted wound will be akin in one way to that wound suffered by Philoctetes that made it impossible for him to fulfill his religious rites. For no doubt the shallow, implacable animus of Israeli leftists, eager to see further surrenders, quick to be outraged by religious Jews, are far less outraged, apparently, by the denial of Jewish historic and legal rights to the state of Israel, and far more exercised by this or that rabbi than by the “moderate” Abbas, that Holocaust-denier, who along with his corrupt cronies in the Jizyah-supported Fatah of Slow Jihadists, contemplates an Israel reduced in size and power by degrees, becoming a dhimmi state that will exist not by right but by Muslim sufferance. And then, by further degrees, it will be reduced until it ultimately disappears, and the Dar al-Islam is cleansed of that intolerable mental affront, the existence of an Infidel nation-state (and still worse, one run by Jews, always regarded as weak and helpless, a people, especially among Arab Muslims, to be despised) smack in the middle of a now-uninterruptible Muslim land mass. Then all will again be right, as Islam continues to expand, in western Europe and elsewhere, the lands within its domain, the ever-expanding -- with a little help from those whom Muslims would wish to reduce to dhimmitude or destroy -- Dar al-Islam.

Posted on 01/25/2008 8:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
What's with the the?

The The is the name of a band. I can see the point of the name: the band did not want to be thought  of as just any old The. But the The before the The in The The looks a bit odd.

There has been some correspondence in The Times - that's the The Times, not just a The Times - about the extra the:

Sir, When did my childhood favourite become Rupert the Bear? He isn’t — he’s Rupert Bear, son of Mr and Mrs Bear. His friends are Bill Badger, Algy Pug and Freddie and Ferdie Fox. None of them is “the” anything.

What will be next: Paddington the Bear, Mickey the Mouse and Donald the Duck?

Carole Chapman
Colchester, Essex

Sir, Carole Chapman (letters, Jan 22) asks when her favourite childhood character became Rupert the Bear. Easily solved: the animated series The Adventures of Rupert Bear (1970-74) (note the correct naming of Rupert) had in its theme song the unfortunate lyrics, “Rupert/ Rupert the Bear/ Everyone knows his name.”

Helen Whiteley
Bushey, Herts

Sir, Why do news reporters tell us they are on “the” HMS Destroyer? It should be either HMS Destroyer, or the Destroyer. One assumes they would not say they were on “the Her Majesty’s Ship Destroyer”.

David Hiscock
Morden, Surrey

Sir, We also have the missing “the”, as in “fit for purpose”. The original phrase from the old Sale of Goods Act was “fit for the purpose”. Thanks to John Reid the “the” disappeared. Please may we have it back.

Jane S. Haworth
Thames Ditton, Surrey

Sir, Mr Hiscock is right, of course (letter, Jan 22). The “the” in front of “HMS” is superfluous. As for “on” HMS Something, in my day a naval officer would say “in” rather than “on” and would drop HMS, eg “when I was in Albion”. To my mind, “on” denotes a rather unstable perch, shortly to become “off”, more appropriate when referring to a motorbike than to a warship.

Roy Hall
Lieutenant-Commander RN (Ret’d)
Fareham, Hants

Sir, Also, will the Radio 3 announcers please return us to The Wigmore Hall?

Dr D. Zuck
London N12

Some object to the the in the phrase "the hoi polloi", on the grounds that "hoi" means "the". However, I think "the hoi polloi" sounds better and fits in with the rhythm of the sentence in which it is often used. Besides, "hoi" means "the" in Greek, not English, and we need a "the" of our own.

Talking of article abuse, there was a fashion for referring to prominent, formidable women as "La", followed by their surname: La Fallaci, for example, or La Burchill. I hope that this fashion has now passed. There is also an affectation of omitting the the in certain contexts. The Notting Hill Carnival, for example, is called simply "Carnival", and a (usually Labour Party) conference is called "Conference". I don't like this and hope people stop doing it.

Turning to the indefinite article, why do people write "an hotel" and "an historian"? Do the people who write "an" drop the aitch when they say the phrase out loud? If they do, then they are affected. If they don't, then they are silly.

Posted on 01/25/2008 9:11 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 January 2008
Robert Malley: Barack Obama's Middle East Expert

Ed Lasky has a long piece that deserves to be read in its entirety at The American Thinker:

Barack Obama's real thinking about Israel and the Middle East continues to be an enigma. The words he chose  in an address to AIPAC create a different impression than the composition of his foreign policy advisory team.  Several advisors have evidenced a history of suspicion and worse toward Israel. One of his advisors in particular, Robert Malley, clearly warrants attention, as does the reasoning that led him to being chosen by Barack Obama...

Malley has written a range of pieces over the years that reveal an agenda at work that should give pause to those Obama supporters who truly care about peace in the Middle Peace and the fate of our ally Israel.

Playing Into Sharon's Hands
: which absolves Arafat of the responsibility to restrain terrorists and blames Israel for terrorism. He defends Arafat and hails him as
..the first Palestinian leader to recognize Israel, relinquish the objective of regaining all of historic Palestine and negotiate for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 boundaries. And he remains for now the only Palestinian with the legitimacy to sell future concessions to his people.
Rebuilding a Damaged Palestine: which blames Israel's security operations for weakening Palestinian security forces (absurd on its face: terrorists filled the ranks of so-called Palestinian security forces-which, in any case, never tried to prevent terrorism) and calls for international forces to restrain the Israelis

Making the Best of Hamas's Victory which called for international aid to be showered upon a Hamas-led government and for international engagement with Hamas (a group that makes clear in its Charter, its schools, and its violence its intent to destroy Israel). Malley also makes an absurd assertion: that Hamas' policies and Israeli policies are mirror images of each other.

Avoiding Failure with Hamas: which again calls for aid to flow to a Hamas-led government and even goes so far as to suggest that failure to extend aid could cause an environmental or health catastrophe-such as a human strain of the avian flu virus!

How to Curb the Tension in Gaza: which criticizes Israel's for its actions to recover Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped and is being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. He and co-writer Gareth Evans call Israel's actions ‘collective punishment" in "violation of international law".

Forget Pelosi: What About Syria?: where Malley calls for outreach to Syria, despite its ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the terrorists committing murder in Iraq; believes it is unreasonable to call for Syria to cut ties with Hezbollah, break with Hamas, or alienate Iran before negotiations; he believes a return of the Golan Heights and engagement with the West will somehow miraculously lead the Syrian regime to take these steps -- after they get all they want.

Containing a Shiite Symbol of Hope: that advocated engagement with the fiercely anti-American Iraqi Moqtada al-Sadr, who has been responsible for the murder of many Americans and Iraqis as the leader of the terrorist group, the Mahdi Army. He also has very close ties to Iran.

Middle East Triangle: (co-written with former Arafat advisor Hussein Agha) calls for Hamas and Fatah to reconcile, join forces, and to frustrate, in their words, Israel's attempts to "perpetuate Palestinian geographic and political division". Then Hamas will grant Abbas power to make a political deal with Israel that will bring peace. Noah Pollack of Commentary Magazine noting, as Malley habitually fails to do, Hamas intends to destroy Israel, eviscerated this op-ed.

The U.S. Must Look to its Own Mideast Interests: (co-written with Aaron David Miller) which advocates a radically different approach towards the Middle East which, in their words, does not "follow Israel's lead" and encompasses engagement with Syria (despite problems with Lebanon and their support for Hezbollah) and Hamas (regardless of its failure to recognize Israel or renounce violence).

A New Middle East: which asserted Hezbollah's attacks on Israel and the kidnapping of Israelis, which sparked the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006, were motivated by Hezbollah's desire to retrieve Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and were a response to pressure being exerted on its allies-Syria and Iran...

Why would Barack Obama have on his foreign policy staff a man who has been widely criticized for a revisionist history of the Middle East peace process sharply at odds with all other accounts of the proceedings? 

Why would Barack Obama give credibility to a man who seems to have an agenda that includes empowering our enemies and weakening our friends and allies? 

How did Robert Malley, with a record of writing that reveals a willingness to twist facts to serve a political agenda, come to be appointed by Obama to his foreign staff? 

Was it a recommendation of Zbigniew Brzezinski to bring on board another anti-Israel foreign policy expert?

What role did the left-wing anti-Israel activist George Soros play in placing Robert Malley (or for that matter, Brzezinski himself) in a position to influence the future foreign policy of America?

What does it say about Senator Obama's judgment that he appointed a man like Malley to be a top foreign policy advisor?

Or does it speak more to his true beliefs?

A digression, if I may, regarding Malley and impressive sounding titles. A Washington Post article on Senator Obama's foreign policy advisors described him as having been President Clinton's Middle East envoy. Now this would come as a surprise to Ambassador Dennis Ross who actually was Clinton's Middle East envoy. Indeed, there is a paucity of mentions of Malley in Ross's exhaustive history of the Middle East peace process during the Clinton years, The Missing Peace, where more often than not he is described as a note-taker-once serving as Yasser Arafat's stenographer.
Posted on 01/25/2008 9:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 January 2008
Muslim Dentistry

London dentist Sohail Qureshi told the police he was just off to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid with his family in Pakistan…

But instead of dental floss and fluoride, Qureshi, 30, tried to board a plane at Heathrow Airport with $18,000 in cash, a night vision scope, two metal batons, terror handbooks, extremist material, military information on CDs and medical supplies.
--from this news article

I am put in mind of the Nazi dentist in "The Boys From Brazil." I trust this National Health dentist did not have Infidel patients. Such patients would never know, would they, if a particular excruciating pain they were forced to endure was in fact unavoidable, or merely this particular dentist intent on... you know, having a bit of fun with an Infidel.

The wronged-woman's-only joke goes like this: "Men -- can't live with 'em. Can't kill 'em."

Well, Muslims in countries still dominated by non-Muslims could make the same joke about Infidels: "Infidels -- can't live with 'em. Can't kill 'em" (not in Great Britain). And that is why this particular man, a Muslim dentist, had packed his bags not with up-to-date surgical instruments so as to perform charitable acts -- bringing dental care to poor Muslim villagers (no, that is what Infidel soldiers do-- they bring the medical and dental care to poor Muslims, just as they did in Pakistan after its last big earthquake, and the field hospitals they brought are still in operation, still helping those Muslim villagers with no real or permanent gratitude given, or even expected) -- but rather with "18,000 in cash, a night vision scope, two metal batons, terror handbooks, extremist material, military information on CDs and medical supplies," for he was clearly going off to supply or perhaps even to join, killers of Infidels, killers of his fellow British (but Infidel) citizens serving in the British army, in what he confided to another Muslim, one working at Heathrow, would be "only a 14- to 20-day operation" in "Pak, Afg or Waz."

Posted on 01/25/2008 9:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
American Taxes Building Mosques

"an opening ceremony for a mosque that was expected to be attended by Afghan and international military officials.."
-- from this news article, and likely to be overlooked

American aid is paying for those mosques being built in Afghanistan. American taxpayers, therefore, are paying for Muslim mosques. That policy would not withstand constitutional challenge on First Amendment grounds, were such challenge permitted..

This policy -- American government funds going to pay for building mosques -- needs to be challenged on such First Amendment grounds. But there is the problem of standing, that is, of having demonstrated sufficient remediable injury to yourself, as a taxpayer, from such a policy. In other cases the Court has held that being a mere taxpayer does not provide sufficient standing to bring a case involving environmental degradation. Would such a case, if brought, permit this Court to reconsider (I'm avoiding the annoying use here of "revisit") the question of taxpayer standing, in such an important matter?

There is a problem. The Court has held that being a taxpayer does not give one standing to bring such a suit. Who then can do it?

Posted on 01/25/2008 10:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
The Strange Case Of Bouchra Ismaili

ROTTERDAM, 25/01/08 - Labour (PvdA) politician Bouchra Ismaili is refusing to resign. She is ignoring requests from her party to step down because she lied about signing a petition of the radical Muslim organisation Hizb Ut Tahrir.

Ismaili, a Muslim immigrant of Moroccan origin, is a PvdA member of Rotterdam's Charlois district council. Last week, she wrote in an e-mail to a citizen: "You filthy idiot. WE ARE HERE TO STAY hahahahahahhahah DROP DEAD". The email contained reams more similar remarks and urged the man to convert to Islam.

Ismaili's email was a reply to an email in which the citizen, Jos Parbleu, had confronted the council member with statements by Okay Pala, a spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir Nederland. Pala had said in newspaper De Telegraaf: 'We do not agree with freedom of expression, as we reject democracy' and 'what you need is a big bomb attack!'

The PvdA leadership in Charlois did not consider it necessary to boot Ismaili out. But meanwhile, during a meeting of Charlois district council, it has become clear that Ismaili also signed a petition from Hizb Ut Tahrir and lied about it.

The Hizb ut Tahrir petition stated: "It is time to rid ourselves of a culture that damages our Islam." Initially, Ismaili denied emphatically that she signed the petition. But when opposition party Liveable Rotterdam (LR) produced a printout of the Internet page with her signature, she had to admit it.

Ismaili said after being unmasked by Liveable Rotterdam that she felt ashamed because she had "embarrassed the Muslim community in the Netherlands." Both Ismaili and her PvdA colleagues rushed out of the building after the meeting and declined to comment further.
--from this news article

The Labour party will suffer no matter what, but it can do some loss-limiting by removing her from the party. And while it ought to be unnecessary to ask, nowadays one must ask: is Bouchra Ismaili even a Dutch citizen? Or has the Western fad and folly of giving the same rights as citizens to those who merely happen to be, geographically, within the borders of this or that Western country, extended, in the suicidally "tolerant" Netherlands, to allowing such people to take part in political life as she, apparently, so dangerously does?

Posted on 01/25/2008 10:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
Against His Wishes?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — An ethnic Chinese man received a Muslim burial after a court ruled against the wishes of most of his family members, who maintained Friday he never converted to Islam.
--from this news article

One hopes this representative act receives widespread coverage among the those called the Overseas Chinese, all over southeast Asia, and in Taiwan, and in China itself. And perhaps it will even make it into the Epoch Times, an English-language paper distributed in English, for free, in this country, backed -- I gather from reading between its lines -- either by Taiwanese or even more likely Falun-Gong money.

Posted on 01/25/2008 10:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
More On Robert Malley
Here is another part of the Lasky article on Robert Malley that deserves attention:
“Normally, one should be reluctant in exploring a person's family background -- after all, who would want to be held responsible for the sins of one's father? However, when close relatives share a strong current of ideological affinity, and when a father has a commanding persona, it behooves a researcher to inquire a bit into the role of family in forming views. That said, Robert Malley has a very interesting father.
His father Simon Malley was born to a Syrian family in Cairo and at an early age found his métier in political journalism. He participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World. He wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations. In Paris, he founded the journal Afrique Asie; he and his magazine became advocates for "liberation" struggles throughout the world, particularly for the Palestinians.
Simon Malley loathed Israel and anti-Israel activism became a crusade for him-as an internet search would easily show. He spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat.   He was, according to Daniel Pipes, a sympathizer of the Palestinian Liberation Organization --- and this was when it was at the height of its terrorism wave against the West   . His efforts were so damaging to France that President Valerie d'Estaing expelled him from the country.
Malley has seemingly followed in his father's footsteps: he represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism. Through his writings he has served as a willing propagandist, bending the truth (and more) to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias; he heads a group of Middle East policy advisers for a think-tank funded (in part) by anti-Israel billionaire activist George Soros; and now is on the foreign policy staff of a leading Presidential contender. Each step up the ladder seems to be a step closer towards his goal of empowering radicals and weakening the ties between American and our ally Israel.
Robert Malley's writings strike me as being akin to propaganda. One notable example is an op-ed that was published in the New York Times (Fictions About the Failure at Camp David). The column indicted Israel for not being generous enough at Camp David and blamed the failure of the talks on the Israelis.
Malley has repeated this line of attack in numerous op-eds over the years, often co-writing with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Yasser Arafat (see, for example, Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors ). He was also believed to be the chief source for an article by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat's role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.
Malley is a revisionist and his views are sharply at odds with the views of others who participated at Camp David, including Ambassador Dennis Ross and President Bill Clinton. Malley's myth-making has been peddled in the notably anti-Israel magazine, Counterpunch   and by Norman Finkelstein, the failed academic recently denied tenure at DePaul University . Malley's Camp David propaganda has also become fodder for Palestinians, Arab rejectionists, and anti-Israel activists across the world.”
Malley is an Arab, presumably not a Muslim but rather, a Syrian islamochristian in his origins and formation (just like Michel Aflaq, one of the founders of Ba’athism), and that deeply-felt identity should have been obvious (it certainly was to me), from a number of things, including his ever-so-slightly-off English. He is careful to hide this as best he can, or at least tries to make sure that the question does not come up, is not brought to anyone’s attention, and in this he exploits to the fullest the deliberate misunderstanding that the name "Malley" sets up in readers and auditors, for that name "Malley" (Mallah? what was or is the Arab?) most usefully -- for his purposes -- apophonically echoes the name "O'Malley" with its sure-and-begorrah hint of County Galway. Look at Malley's self-description put up at the web-page of the International Crisis Group, where he is careful to note that his two languages are “English” and “French” but he makes not the slightest mention of knowing Arabic. But surely he does. One knows why he chose to leave it out.
Malley apparently continues to head the "Arab-Israeli" group at the International Crisis Group (nota bene: in some of its departments,, such as in dealing with the Sudan, the International Crisis Group personnel and stated policies are admirable.  When it comes to Israel and the Arabs, however, it is Malley who is malignly influencing things, manipulating through sweetly-delivered misinformation those around and those above him, including ICG’s head, Gareth Evans, who signed a statement (among other “world leaders”) endorsing that “two-state solution.” Here is a previous comment on Malley’s role:
“As for the sinister business in the Iraq Study Group about Israel, it included all the cliches about a “two-state solution,” courtesy no doubt of such operators as that virtual agent of the Arabs, Raymond Close (why has his participation, and his shadowy background, not been made the subject of discussion?). Also involved was Robert Malley, that full-time and tireless promoter of the “Palestinians,” who was the behind-the-scenes organizer (the front man was Gareth Evans) of the International Crisis Group’s little effort (one of those “signed by World Leaders” things) to demand renewed pressure for Israeli surrender. In that effort one of those “World Leaders” was none other than Lee Hamilton, famously unsympathetic — always has been, always will be — to Israel, though not perhaps for the same reasons as Texas fixer and Saudi-connected (”Our friends in the Gulf”) James Baker.”

Once the information in the Lasky article has been properly disseminated, it will be interesting to see what Barack Obama does in response. He should be reminded that Malley worked in the Clinton White House, and Obama owes him no loyalty. Indeed, Robert Malley has apparently been happy to list himself as a supporter of Hillary Clinton: .  I hope, and not only for his sake, that Barack Obama, made aware of Malley's views and loyalties, will do the right thing.
Posted on 01/25/2008 10:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
Georgian Nights, Or, That Mom-And-Pop Quiz
On the 17th of January a mom-and-pop quiz was put up. It went like this:
“Two places, one a country, and one a city, have recently been in the news. And the two are linked by a curious fact of literary history.
What fact is that?
No, that's too much to ask. So I will first tell you that fact. The literary work that has come to be regarded as the national epic of that recently-in-the-news country was composed by a man who, it is widely believed, spent his last years in  that recently-in-the-news city, and that  city is not the capital of that country, but of another country. The quiz requires you to name that literary work and its author, the city in which he is said to have spent his last years, and the country of which that work is considered to be the national epic.” 
The correct answer to that week-old mom-and-pop quiz is as follows:
The writer is Shota Rustaveli. He wrote what is now considered to be the national epic of Georgia, called “The Knight in a Tiger’s [or Leopard’s] Skin.” Rustaveli, is believed to have spent his last years in Jerusalem, the city which is the capital not of his own country, Georgia, but of another country, Israel.
Here is more from Wikipedia:
Shota Rustaveli (Georgian: ?????????????) was a Georgian poet of the 12th century, and the greatest classic of Georgian secular literature. He is author of The Knight in the Panther's Skin ("Vepkhistqaosani" in Georgian), the Georgian national epic poem.
Little, if anything, is known about Rustaveli from the contemporaneous sources. His poem itself, namely the prologue, provides a clue to his identity; the poet identifies himself as "a certain Rustveli." Now, "Rustveli" is not a surname, but a territorial epithet which can be interpreted as "of/from/holder of Rustavi". The later Georgian authors of the 15th-18th centuries are more informative: they are almost unanimous in identifying him as Shota Rustaveli, a name which is preserved on a fresco and a document from the formerly Georgian Monastery of the Holy Cross at Jerusalem. The fresco was described by the Georgian pilgrim Timote Gabashvili in 1757/58, and rediscovered by a team of Georgian scholars in 1960. The same Jerusalem document speaks of Shota as a sponsor of the monastery and a "high treasurer," thus echoing a popular legend that Rustaveli was a minister at Queen Tamar’s court and retired to the monastery in an advanced age. Both a folk tradition and the 17th-century royal poet Archil identify Rustaveli as a native to the southern Georgian region of Meskheti, where his home village Rustavi was located (not to be confused with the modern-day city of Rustavi near Tbilisi). He is assumed to have been born in between 1160 and 1165. A legend has it that Rustaveli was educated at the medieval Georgian academies of Gelati and Ikalto, and then in "Greece" (i.e., the Byzantine Empire). He must have produced his major work no earlier than the 1180s and no later than the first decade of the 13th century, most probably c. 1205-1207.
“Reactionry” doled his winning answer out in bits and pieces. In an earlier posting he had suggested W. H. Auden but couldn’t quite make the “Letter from Iceland” become “national epic” of that land, and upon a quick consultation with the ghost of Viljalmur Stefansson must have realized his mistake. In his second, and successful, entry-post,  he mentions the author-compiler of the Finnish “Kalevala,” but only to dismiss him: “Elias Lonnrot ain’t right.” He was having fun, alluding to a quiz some months ago about Longfellow and Lonnrot. Incidentally, the full-marks winner of that quiz, Paul Blaskowitz, was given credit – at first --  for having read the entire “Kalevala” in Latin. I suddenly realize I still haven’t found, and mailed to PB, the promised prize of a copy of a work slightly less-well-known than his compiled “Kalevala” – Lonnrot’s essay on education in Ostrobothnia.

“Reactionry” explains -- without telling us why --  that he googled “national epic of Georgia.” He undoubtedly googled the phrase "national epic" and "New English Review" and discovered that an expanded variant of it --  "national epic of Georgia"  -- has appeared in past postings at NER.  He then supplies the answers to each part of the quiz, but not all at once, and  not straightforwardly, but by dropping various elements of that answer along the way.
First, he mentions the “[n]ational epic of Georgia.”
Then he supplies the name of the city, Jerusalem, obliquely and with pretend-uncertainty, by noting that the writer of that Georgian national epic lived for a time “in a Georgian monastery located in….now where was it? “Next year in Monrovia”? Nope. “Next year in Nairobi” [this lifted from a previous post by Rebecca Bynum] Nah…It’ll come to me.” 
Then, alluding to still another past posting at NER, one about a quasi-Italian restaurant in Cambridge, England where “pene con crema” was advertised as the Day’s Special, he notes that at his own, invented “Buon Giorno Italia Café” he “didn't see any Rustaveli” on the menu.
And finally he supplies the author’s first name, and most of the title of that epic (enough to win the palm, the oak, the bays) in the form of a couplet:
“I Shota sorrow into the air,
It pierced a Knight in panther's hair.”
In the posting in which the mom-and-pop quiz was offered, readers were told that both the name of the country of that national epic, and the name of the city where the author of that epic had lived in later life had both been in the news. Georgia, in mid-January, had been much in the news because of its presidential election, but the incumbent's former allies, including the glamorous Salomé Zourabichvili (formerly of Paris and the French Foreign Ministry, with indiscreet conceivable billets-doux e-mailed to, had abandoned him, and the 90% plus of the votes he had won in the previous election was reduced, in this election, to just over 50% of the votes. The city, Jerusalem, had also been in the news, even more than usual, alas, in mid-January because of proposals being considered by the Israeli government, the result of that fateful meeting in Annapolis and its heedless aftermath.
But there was also a postscriptum to that posting, containing what I regarded as the best clue of all. However, the winner apparently did not notice it. For if he had, he would certainly have found a way to mention it.
Here is that postscriptum:
[P. S.: Receipt of a postcard yesterday from a friend now travelling for two weeks in sunny southern Italy prompted this quiz. He'd been making his way slowly to Naples, had stopped for a brief rustication in Avellino, but when he fully took in the news of what has been going on in Naples, of how that fabled Parthenopean port, all pickpockets and pasta,  had become -- one hopes temporarily -- a vast camorra-caused garbage dump, a regular Rifiutopoli, he changed his plans, and in the postcard he announced he'd instead turn northward. The next postcard I receive is likely to have a view of the Florentine skyline at sunset, or of the Ponte Vecchio and the corridoio vasariano in broad daylight, or of the Boboli Gardens at dewy dawn, and any one of those scenes, if that traveller up the boot plays his postcards right -- will trigger a tricky quiz similar to this one.]
Now the friend, his two weeks of travel in Italy, the news about the garbage piling up in Naples (the Parthenopean port now described as Rifiutopoli), and that friend’s hasty departure for Florence, was all made up, created for only one reason: to both contain, and disguise, the clue that I wanted to offer. Here is that clue, in the second sentence of the made-up vignette: “He’d been making his way slowly to Naples, had stopped for a brief rustication in Avellino, but when he fully took in the news of….” The sentence should have troubled, because it contains one word that is used in a slightly-off manner. That word is “rustication.” Ordinarily it was used to describe the practice of sending students at Cambridge or Oxford, whose behavior -- and more recently, whose academic performance -- left something to be desired,  away from the university, and back to their  families, for a time. Such students were said to be “rusticated.” The most famous student to be “rusticated” was John Milton, from Christ Church, in 1626 (I once visited a friend who lived in Milton's rooms at Christ Church, but I can't remember if they were Milton's before he was "rusticated" or after).  I suppose that was why he had to offer that apology to Smectymnuus. But  Dryden, Shelley (now lying statuesquely, in ci-gît marmoreal state at University College, Oxford) in the postscript to the postcard the word “rusticated” is clearly being used in a different sense, and the reader has to decide whether the writer is unaware of the word’s real meaning, or is deliberately using it as he wishes to use it, or whether that word possesses another, more general meaning, no doubt derived from the root “rus,” and was assumed to mean something like “settling for an undetermined period in a rural cot, or in rural surroundings.” Had you assumed or concluded any of that, then you might have missed the premeditated clue. But if you thought there was something untoward about that use, something that might merit further reflection, then you would re-read the sentence and find the clue: ““He’d been making his way slowly to Naples, had stopped for a brief rustication in Avellino, but when he fully took in the news of….” But no one, including the winner, did so.
The final clue was given in the same oblique fashion. Two musical interludes were put up on January 17. The first was “Daddy, Won’t You Please Come Home.” The second, “You’ve Got To See Mamma Ev’ry Night” was accompanied by a comment:
“The previous Musical Interlude was "Daddy, Won't You Please Come Home." The quiz put up, just before that Interlude, was described as "mom-and-pop." An article posted on Thursday night was called "Only Connect." All three prompted the choice of this song.”
One might have limited one’s use of that comment to the obvious: the “mom-and-pop quiz” gave rise to both  he musical “Daddy” and to the musical “Mamma” amd thus we have done our bit to “Only Connect.” And my intent, to offer a clue and at the same time to to divert attention away from that offered clue, would have been fulfilled. For the performers of “You’ve Got to See Mamma Ev’ry Night (Or You Can’t See Mamma At All) were named “The Georgians.”
He was already allert to the many previous references at this website to the country of Georgia, the Georgia of the Caucasus,. For example, there was. among many such postings, this one:
Une Autre Rive, Une Autre Vie [February 2006]

Nobody chose Shota Rustaveli's ??????????????(The Knight in the Panther's Skin)? ----  Mary Jackson


I have Rustaveli's national epic of Georgia, in a Soviet-era edition. But I didn't buy it - it was given to me by a Russian whose fondest memories are of Khvanchkara and Kindzmarauli, and toasts by tamadas, and "Georgian Nights." There is something unusual about this, the Georgian national epic. Care to try to guess?
And "tiger's" rather than "leopard's" skin is how the Rustaveli title should be rendered.
If you want to drag Shakespeare into this (and who doesn't?) and offer him a walk-on part, then you might go so far as to emend the second part of Robert Greene's cutting phrase and use it to translate the second part of Rustaveli's title: "wrapped in a tiger's hide."
But I don't want to be critical, corrosively or otherwise, on this occasion.
Instead, I wish to thank you for giving us the opportunity to bring the Republic of Georgia and its fine products and tourist-destination possibilities to the attention of the English-speaking world. The producers of the desert-island disque "Chansons de la Géorgie" ("ne pei, krasavitsa, pri mne...")* thank you. The Wine-Makers Association of Georgia thanks you. The Fondation Bagration thanks you. The Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Tbilisi thanks you. The Travel Agency of George Papashvili thanks you. The Committee to Elect Salomé Zourabachvili thanks you. The heirs and assigns of Paul Chavchavadze thank you.
A tamada's toast, a toast now, brat'ya, to....well, let's all, at least this once, hail Mary.
*A Pushkin poem beautifully translated into French by Vladimir Nabokov decades ago, and ending, if memory agrees to serve, "ces chansons de la Géorgie/Leur amertume me rappelle/Une autre rive, une autre vie.”
Now, when “reactionry” saw that the second musical interlude was sung by “The Georgians,”he knew he was right. It did not matter that those singing “Georgians” were not the long-lived moustachioed karakul-hatted yogurt-eaters of the wild Caucasian kind,  revelers sitting around the table (za stolom) as the not-impossible tamada directs the toasts, and still more Khvanchkara (Stalin’s favorite wine) is poured, but rather Georgians of the American kind, ces géorgiens-là  of Peachtree Plaza and Peachtree Street and Peachtree Boulevard, the Georgians of Flannery O’Connor’s peacocks in asylum-haunted Milledgeville, the Georgians getting out of the way of Sherman when he exelaunically marched to the sea, the Georgia of “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Two Tickets To Georgia.” “The Georgians” – that, for the winner, was the clinching clue.
In his wintry Vendée, “reactionry” receives almost full marks, a 96. Why do I deny him the last full measure of proud emotion, by begrudgin him those remaining four points?  In order to keep up standards, that's why. Had he discovered the “Rust…avelli” hidden in the mountebank’s postscribal patter about the contents of that non-existent postcard, and noted it, he would indeed have received that perfect score. But he didn’t.
Nonetheless, in a display of benevolence, and by way of further disproof of that silly insistence that   "there are no second acts" in American life (all of American life, nowadays, appears to be full of second acts, third acts, tenth, even fifteenth acts) I will give him the chance to earn those four points. All he has to do is to identify, within a reasonable period -- et soyez raisonnable, M. Le  Maistre, M. Reactionnaire! --  a certain non-obvious literary allusion that was embedded, akin to a CNN reporter in one of those superhypallagistic expeditionaryocious Bradley Fighting Vehicles, earlier, with malice aforethought, in this very posting.

Posted on 01/25/2008 11:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Musical Interlude: Do You Remember That Night In Zakopane?
Posted on 01/25/2008 12:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
Who is Hesham Islam?
Gordon England's right hand man at the Pentagon (who was instrumental in getting Stephen Coughlin fired) has an impressive life story. Trouble is, the Pentagon can't substantiate any of it according to Claudia Rossett at National Review.
Posted on 01/25/2008 3:46 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 January 2008
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Chess Interlude: An Early Game By Philidor
Posted on 01/25/2008 5:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Singin' In The Shower (Phil Harris)
Posted on 01/25/2008 8:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Literary Interlude: Phillida And Corydon (Nicholas Breton)
IN the merry month of May,
In a morn by break of day,
Forth I walk'd by the wood-side
When as May was in his pride:
There I spied all alone
Phillida and Coridon.
Much ado there was, God wot!
He would love and she would not.
She said, Never man was true;
He said, None was false to you.
He said, He had loved her long;
She said, Love should have no wrong.
Coridon would kiss her then;
She said, Maids must kiss no men
Till they did for good and all;
Then she made the shepherd call
All the heavens to witness truth
Never loved a truer youth.
Thus with many a pretty oath,
Yea and nay, and faith and troth,
Such as silly shepherds use
When they will not Love abuse,
Love, which had been long deluded,
Was with kisses sweet concluded;
And Phillida, with garlands gay,
Was made the Lady of the May.

Nicholas Breton
Posted on 01/25/2008 8:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Fine-Arts Interlude: Portrait Of Philip IV (Velazquez)
Posted on 01/25/2008 8:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
An Englished-From-The- Latin Literary Interlude: Philomela (Ovid)

"And now the voyage ended, and the vessel
Was worn from travel, and they came stepping down
To their own shores, and Tereus dragged her with him
To the deep woods, to some ramshackle building
Dark in that darkness, and he shut her in there,
Pale, trembling, fearing everything, and asking
"Where was her sister?" And he told her then
What he was going to do, and straightway did it,
Raped her, a virgin all alone, and calling
For her father, for her sister, but most often
For the great gods. In vain. . . .

But Tereus did not kill her; he seized her tongue
With pincers, though it cried against the outrage,
Babbled and made a sound something like "Father,"
Till the sword cut if off. The mangled root
Quivered, the severed tongue along the ground
Lay quivering, making a little murmur,
Jerking and twitching, the way a serpent does
Run over by a wheel, and with its dying movement
Came to its mistress' feet. . . .

And a year went by
And what of Philomela? Guarded against flight,
Stone blocks around her cottage, no power of speech
To help her tell her wrongs, her grief has taught her
Sharpness of wit, and cunning comes in trouble.
She had a loom to work with, and with purple
On a white background, wove her story in,
Her story in and out, and when it was finished,
Gave it to one old woman, with signs and gestures
To take it to the queen, so it was taken,
Unrolled and understood. Procne said nothing--
What could she say?--grief choked her utterance,
Passion her sense of outrage. . . .

           [translated from the Latin of Ovid by Rolfe Humphries ]

Posted on 01/25/2008 8:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Biblical Interlude: Philistines Destroyed By Samson
Posted on 01/25/2008 9:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 January 2008
A Natural History Interlude: The Four-Eyed Opossum (Philander)
Posted on 01/25/2008 9:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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