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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 Monday, 26, 2011.
Monday, 26 September 2011
In Yemen, Hudud (When They Say Sharia, They Mean Sharia)

Al-Qaeda cut off Yemeni boy's hand

September 26, 2011


Suspected al-Qaeda militants have severed the hands of two people, including a 15-year-old boy, who stole electrical cables in a southern Yemeni town, witnesses summoned to watch the punishment say.

The militants cut off the teenager's hand with a sword in front of dozens of residents of Jaar, in the troubled southern province of Abyan, on Saturday evening before taking the limb around town for all to see.

On Sunday, the militants severed the hand of a 26-year-old man whom they also accused of stealing electrical cables.

Posted on 09/26/2011 12:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Bradford convert to Islam attempts tit for tat whine

Another story from the Bradford Telegraph and Argus on the pupils from St Bedes school.  The emphasis this time is so, so different, but the readers making comments are not fools.

A mum who converted to Islam says she is being subjected to abuse each day as she walks her children home from school by pupils who jeer at her from a passing bus.

Tracy Shah, 31, of Shipley, who wears a headscarf, claims she has been spat and sworn at since February by a group of pupils travelling on a bus from St Bede’s Catholic Grammar School, which passes her on Canal Road and Gaisby Lane.

The comments:-

  • It's a Muslim revenge story and a pathetic attempt to counter the appalling behaviour of the 'community' involvement in the bricking of the school bus last week. I am surprised even the T&A cannot see through it. There is counter-balanced news reporting and there is sheer propaganda.
  • Well apparently, when Asian youths were throwing missles at the buses, the T&A felt the article did not warrant being opened to comments.
  • white christian women have have to put up with being shouted abuse at on an unpresidented scale for years on the streets of bradford,no front page headline in the t&a though, i wonder why !!!
  • So, a woman thought muslims were seen in a bad light last week as they were seen to be throwing bricks at the St Bedes school bus. So she goes to the T&A and trys to re address the balance and make the people on the buses look like they are deserving of all they get. . . My friends mum was confronted on white abbey road and told in no uncertain terms, that this area was no longer for her sort, she didn't run to the paper wth it though.
  • If every woman in Bradford reported being racially abused the paper wouldn't have room for owt else. Get over it...
  • (and) how about a bit of balance. I spent spent 4 years in Bradford and walked from Hall Ings to Forster Square train station every working day and I was spat on and abused by Pakistani youths most days (pakistani, not asian). Why? because I was white and was wearing a suit, and obviously to these abusers I was a christian. Time to take back our country. This lady can have which ever faith she wants, but do not close your eyes to the eveil that is going on in Bradford, it is a land grab by islamists
Posted on 09/26/2011 3:45 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 September 2011
A Muslim website denouncing terrorism has been brought down by Islamic extremists less than three hours after being set up.

From The Metro, London's free daily paper.

Organisers Minhaj-ul-Quran International said its site had come under repeated cyber attacks after its launch before an audience of 12,000 Muslims at Wembley Arena on Saturday.

The group is hoping to attract a million signatures online denouncing terrorism.

It said last night it was working to get the website running again.

The site was launched at the Peace For Humanity conference, which took place at the London venue over the weekend.

Since the cyber attacks a temporary version of the site has been made available

Posted on 09/26/2011 6:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 September 2011
What Needs To Be Widely Known About That "Brave Muslim Moderate"Muhammad Tahir-Ul-Qadri

From a comment to the original story at Harry's Place:


Joseph K.

  25 September 2011

Dr Tahir-Ul-Qadri: I would have no hesitation in saying you are enjoying the rights and freedoms much better than in many other Muslim and Arab countries.

They are certainly better than the rights minorities enjoy in Pakistan, courtesy of the efforts of the eminent Dr Muhammad Tahir-Ul-Qadri.

Qadri is feted by Western liberal governments for his proclamations, most notably his widely publicised fatwa against terrorism. In his native Pakistan, however, he showed a very different face. While Juris-Consult [legal advisor] to the Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan in the mid-1980s, he gave his religious sanction to a number of rulings that had appalling consequences for that country’s religious minorities. His arguments led directly to the criminalising of Ahmadiyya belief, the imposition of the death sentence for blasphemy, and the reintroduction of stoning to death as a punishment.

But these are the truths that his followers and supporters don’t want you to know. Indeed, when I first pointed this out on HP, over a year ago, the article praising Qadri (and the comment section highlighting his barbarity) was pulled from HP, and the webpage that glorified his record of “achievements” in Islamic jurisprudence disappeared from the website of his organisation, Minhaj-al-Quran International.

Never mind. It still exists in cyber space, thanks to the magic of Google. So here is the embarrassing record of this “special kind of superstar”. Judge for yourself whether he deserves the acclamation granted to him in the above article.

Qadri speaks of the rights extended to Muslims in the UK, yet his own organisation boasted of his part in denying civil rights to religious minorities in Pakistan:

In the same way, he defended the Government of Pakistan when the Qadianis [ Ahmadis] filed a writ against its decision in July-August 1984. His precedence-loaded and reference-padded intellectual defense of the rights and religious liberties of non-Muslim minorities in Islamic state, carries a historic significance on the basis of his convincing arguments. The Federal Sharia Court rejected the petition of the Qadianis on 20th July, 1984 by furnishing a legal justification on the philosophy of finality of Prophethood, They were disallowed to use for them Islamic terminology and call their worship places as mosques.

But of course, as history has shown us with these types of religious bigots, denying people religious rights and criminalising their belief is only the start. The next move is always more sinister, and Qadri was only too happy to enable it. The Ahmadis do not believe that Mohammed was the final prophet of Islam. For Qadri, this was unacceptable.

For three days from November 14 to 17, 1985 Dr Qadri presented his arguments continuously before the Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan to determine the quantum of punishment to be awarded to a person guilty of contempt of the finality of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), an extremely delicate legal matter.

He established, on evidence from the Quran and Sunna, that a person guilty of contempt of the finality of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) deserved death sentence and the punishment will be imposed as Hadd.

The act of contempt of the finality of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) is a crime, which cannot be tolerated whether its commission is direct or indirect, intentional or un-intentional. The crime is so sanguine that even his repentance cannot exempt him from the penalty of death

Dr Qadri placed a massive array of arguments before the learned Court and particularly stressed the point that no lacuna should be allowed in the legal structure of an Islamic state to encourage this form of sacrilege. The chambers of the Court will continue to reverberate with the passion and eloquence with which Dr Qadri conducted his defense of the sanctity and dignity of the the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).

So, thanks to the efforts of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, followers of the Ahmaddiya sect were forbidden by law from using Islamic terminology, and faced the death penalty for publicly declaring their beliefs. And not just any death penalty, thanks to again to Qadri.

When the Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan gave its verdict against “Rajm” (stoning to death) as Hadd, the Government of Pakistan filed a review petition against the decision of the court. In his capacity as Juris Consult, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri came to the help of the Government at this crucial juncture, and through cogent reasoning and profuse illustration spread over four days from 20th to 23rd June, 1982, forced the Federal Sharia Court to reverse its decision and uphold Rajm as Hadd.

Get that? The Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan, not known for being a gathering of liberal pantywaists, nevertheless found against stoning to death. Then up pops a “special kind of superstar” and forces them to reverse their verdict and reinstate this most barbaric and medieval of punishments. Take a bow, Dr Muhammad Tahir-al-Qadri!

In another case the Blasphemy Law protecting the esteemed station and reverence of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was also passed for the first time in the history of Pakistan after Shaykh-ul-Islam presented his arguments to the court, over a period of three days, culminating in an Act of Parliament. Shaykh-ul-Islam presented his arguments to the federal Sharia Court for long 18 hours which culminated into formulation of section 295-C

[295-C is from the part of Pakistan's legal code that covers blasphemy. It makes it an offence "by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad". Whoever transgresses shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. It was their vociferous opposition to 295-C and the other blasphemy laws that cost Pakistani politicians Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti their lives earlier this year.]

I am almost certain that the author of the above article knows nothing of Qadri’s dark past. But the continued promotion of Tahir-ul-Qadri, even though the facts about him are readily available, proves that we in the West are so desperate for the emergence of a moderate Islamic voice that we will grasp at any fellow who preaches tolerance and understanding, even when his record shows that he has previously believed in and practiced neither.

[Footnote: This is the third time that Tahir-ul-Qadri has been promoted on HP as a "refreshing" beacon of Islamic tolerance. Either his name slipped through the net - again - or else the HP powers that be have decided that his record as the architect of what are, in effect, Pakistan's Nuremberg Laws, should have no bearing on his current efforts to establish himself as the liberal West's favourite cleric.]

Posted on 09/26/2011 8:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Fitzgerald: Ten Things To Think When Thinking Of "Moderate Muslims"

[Re-posted from November 25, 2004]

1. Not only Muslims, but "islamochristians" objectively promote and push the propagandistic line that disguises the Jihad (evidence of which can be found worldwide), and mislead as to both what prompts that Jihad (not "poverty" or "foreign policy" but the precepts of the belief-system of Islam) and what will sate it (not Kashmir, not Chechnya, not the absurd "two-state solution," not continued appeasement in France and Holland -- there is nothing that will sate or satisfy it, as long as part of the globe is as yet resistent to the rule of Islam). "Christians" such as Fawaz Gerges or Rami Khoury, or someone who was born a Christian, such as Edward Said, are Arabs whose views are colored by that self-perception. Their loyalty to the community and history of Arabs causes them to be as loyal to the Islamic view of things as if they had been born Muslim. They stoutly defend Islam against all of Western scholarship (in Orientalism), or divert attention away from Islam and constantly assert, in defiance of all the evidence, from Bali to Beslan to Madrid, that the "problem of Israel/Palestine" -- the latest, and most sinister formulation of the Jihad against Israel -- is the fons et origo of Muslim hostility and murderous aggression throughout the world. Save for the Copts and Maronites, who regard themselves not as Arabs but as "users" of the "Arabic language" (and reject the idea that such "users" therefore become "Arabs"), many Arab Christians have crazily embraced the Islamic agenda; the agenda, that is, of those who have made the lives of Christians in the Middle East so uncertain, difficult, and at times, imperilled. The attempt to be "plus islamiste que les islamistes" -- the approach of Rami Khoury and Hanan Ashrawi -- simply will not do, for it has not worked. It is Habib Malik and other Maronites in Lebanon who have analysed the problem of Islam in a clear-eyed fashion. Indeed, the best book on the legal status of non-Muslims under Islam is that of the Lebanese (Maronite) scholar Antoine Fattal.

Any "islamochristian" Arab who promotes the Islamic agenda, by participating in a campaign that can only mislead Infidels and put off their understanding of Jihad and its various instruments, is objectively as much part of the problem as the Muslim who knowingly practices taqiyya in order to turn aside the suspicions of non-Muslims. Whoever acts so as to keep the unwary Infidel unwary is helping the enemy.

Think, for a minute, of Oskar Schindler. A member of the Nazi Party, but hardly someone who followed the Nazi line. But what if Schindler had at some point met with Westerners -- and had continued, himself, to deny that the Nazis were engaged in genocide, even if he himself deplored it and would later act against it? Would we think of him as a "moderate"? As someone who had helped the anti-Nazi coalition to understand what it was up against?

Or for another example, think of Ilya Ehrenburg, who in 1951 or so was sent abroad by Stalin to lie about the condition of Yiddish-speaking intellectuals whom Stalin had recently massacred. Ehrenburg went to France, went to Italy. He did as he was told. "Peretz? Markish? Oh, yes, saw Peretz at his dacha last month with his grandson. Such a jovial fellow. Markish -- he was great last year in Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District -- you should see how it comes across in zhargon, Yiddish..." And so it went. Eherenburg lied, and lied. He was not a Stalinist. He hated Stalin. He of course hated the destruction of Peretz, Markish, and many others who had been killed many months before -- as Ehrenburg knew perfectly well. When he went abroad and lied to the editors of Nouvelle Revue Francaise, what was he? Objectively, he was promoting the interests of Joseph Stalin, and the Red Army, and the Politburo. We need not inquire into motives. We need only see what the results of such lying were. And the same is true of those Christian Arabs who lie on behalf of Islam -- some out of fear, some out of an ethnocentric identification so strong that they end up defending Islam, the religion of those who persecuted the Christian Arabs of the Middle East, and some out of venality (if Western diplomats and journalists can be on the Arab take, why not Arabs themselves?), some out of careerism. If you want to rise in the academic ranks, and your field is the Middle East, unless you are a real scholar -- Cook or Crone or Lewis -- better to parrot the party line, which costs you nothing and gains you friends in tenure-awarding, grant-giving, reference-writing circles. There is at least one example, too, among those mentioned, in a situation where an Arabic-speaking Christian, attempting to find refuge from Muslim persecution, needed the testimony of an "expert" -- which "expert," instead of offering a pro-bono samaritan act, demanded so much money to be involved (in a fantastic display of greed) that the very idea of solidarity among Arab Christians was called by this act permanently into question.

2. The word "moderate" cannot be reasonably applied to any Muslim who continues to deny the contents -- the real contents, not the sanitized or gussied-up contents -- of Qur'an, hadith, and sira. Whether that denial is based on ignorance, or based on embarrassment, or based on filial piety (and an unwillingness to wash dirty ideological laundry before the Infidels) is irrelevant. Any Muslim who, while seeming to deplore every aspect of Muslim aggression, based on clear textual sources in Qur'an and hadith, or on the example of Muhammad as depicted in the accepted sira -- Muhammad that "model" of behavior -- is again, objectively, acting in a way that simply misleads the Infidels. And any Muslim who helps to mislead Infidels about the true nature of Islam cannot be called a "moderate." That epithet is simply handed out a bit too quickly for sensible tastes.

3. What of a Muslim who says -- there are terrible things in the sira and hadith, and we must find a way out, so that this belief-system can focus on the rituals of individual worship, and offer some sustenance as a simple faith for simple people? This would require admitting that a great many of Muhammad's reported acts must either be denied, or given some kind of figurative interpretation, or otherwise removed as part of his "model" life. As for the hadith, somehow one would have to say that Bukhari, and Muslim, and the other respected muhaddithin had not examined those isnad-chains with quite the right meticulousness, and that many of the hadith regarded as "authentic" must be reduced to the status of "inauthentic." And, following Goldziher, doubt would have to be cast on all of the hadith, as imaginative elaborations from the Qur'an, without any necessarily independent existence.

4. This leaves the Qur'an. Any "moderate" who wishes to prevent inquiry into the origins of the Qur'an -- whether it may be the product of a Christian sect, or a Jewish sect, or of pagan Arabs who decided to construct a book, made up partly of Christian and Jewish material mixed with bits and pieces of pagan Arab lore from the time of the Jahiliya -- or to prevent philological study (of, for example, Aramaic and other loan-words) -- anyone who impedes the enterprise of subjecting the Qur'an to the kind of historical inquiry that the Christian and Jewish Bibles have undergone in the past 200 years of inquiry, is not a "moderate" but a fervent Defender of the Faith. One unwilling to encourage such study -- which can only lead to a move away from literalness for at least some of the Believers -- again is not "moderate."

5. The conclusion one must reach is that there are, in truth, very few moderates. For if one sees the full meaning of Qur'an, hadith, and sira, and sees how they have affected the behavior of Muslims both over 1400 years of conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims, and in stunting the development -- political, economic, moral, and intellectual -- of Muslims everywhere, it is impossible not to conclude that this imposing edifice is not in any sense moderate or susceptible to moderation.

What must an intelligent Muslim, living through the hell of the Islamic Republic of Iran, start to think of Islam? Or that Kuwaiti billionaire, with houses in St. James Place and Avenue Foch and Vevey, as well as the family/company headquarters in Kuwait City, who sends his children to the American School in Kuwait, and boasts that they know English better than they know Arabic, helps host Fouad Ajami when he visits Kuwait, is truly heartsick to see Kuwait's increasing islamization? Would he allow himself to say what he knows in public, or in front of half-brothers, or to friends -- knowing that at any moment, they may be scandalized by his free-thinking views, and that he may run the risk of losing his place in the family's pecking order and, what's more, in the family business?

The mere fact that Muslim numbers may grow in the Western world represents a permanent threat to Infidels. This is true even if some, or many, of those Muslims are "moderates" -- i.e. do not believe that Islam has some kind of divine right, and need, to expand until it covers the globe and swallows up dar al-harb. For if they are still to be counted in the Army of Islam, not as Deserters (Apostates) from that Army, their very existence in the Bilad al-kufr helps to swell Muslim ranks, and therefore perceived Muslim power. And even the "moderate" father may sire immoderate children or grandchildren -- that was the theme of the Hanif Kureishi film, quasi-comic but politically acute, "My Son the Fanatic." Whether through Da'wa or large families, any growth in the Muslim population will inhibit free expression (see the fates of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, and the threats made to Geert Wilders, Carl Hagen, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and many others), for politicans eager to court the Muslim vote will poohpooh Muslim outrages and strive to have the state yield to Muslim demands -- for the sake of short-term individual gain. And Muslim numbers, even with "moderates," increases the number of Muslim missionaries -- for every Muslim is a missionary -- whether conducting "Sharing Ramadan" Outreach in the schools (where a soft-voiced Pakistani woman is usually the soothing propagandist of choice), or Da'wa in a prison. The more Muslims there are, the more there will be -- and no one knows which "moderate" will end up distinctly non-moderate in his views, and then in his acts.

And this brings up the most important problem: the impermanance of "moderate" attitudes. What makes anyone think that someone who this week or month has definitely turned his back on Jihad, who will have nothing to do with those he calls the "fanatics," if he does not make a clean break with Islam, does not become a "renegade" or apostate, will at some point "revert" not to Islam, which he never left, but to a more devout form, in which he now subscribes to all of its tenets, and not merely to a few having to do with rites of individual worship?

6. The examples to the contrary are both those of individuals, and of whole societies. As for individual Muslims, some started out as mild-mannered and largely indifferent to Islam, and then underwent some kind of crisis and reverted to a much more fanatical brand of Islam. That was the case with urban planner Mohammad Atta, following his disorienting encounter with modern Western ways in Hamburg, Germany -- Reeperbahn and all. That was also the case with "Mike" Hawash, the Internet engineer earning $360,000 a year, who seemed completely integrated (American wife, Little League for the children, friends among fellow executives at Intel who would swear up and down that he was innocent) -- until one fine day, after the World Trade Center attacks, he made out his will, signed the house over to his wife, and set off to fight alongside the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan (he got as far as China) against his fellow Americans. In other words, if fanatical Muslims exist, it does not mean that they all start out as fanatics. Islam is the necessary starting place, and what sets off a "moderate" may have little to do with anything the Infidels do, any question of foreign policy -- it may simply be a crisis in an individual Muslim's life, to which he seeks an answer, not surprisingly, in ... more Islam.

7. Much the same lesson can be drawn from the experience of whole societies. In passing, one can note that the position of Infidels under the Pahlevi regime was better than it had been for centuries -- and under the regime that followed, that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that position of Infidels became worse than it had been for centuries. "Secularism" in Islamic countries is never permanent; the weight and the threat of Islam is ever-present.

The best example of this is Turkey since 1924, when Ataturk began his reforms. He tried in every way he could -- through the Hat Act (banishing the salat-friendly fez); commissioning a Turkish translation of the Qur'an and an accompanying tafsir (commentary) in Turkish; ending the use of Arabic script for Turkish; establishing government control of the mosques (even attacking recalcitrant imams and destroying their mosques); giving women the right to vote; establishing a system that discouraged the wearing of the hijab; encouraging Western dress; and discouraging, in the army, preferment of any soldier who showed too great an interest in religion. This attempt to constrain Islam was successful, and was reinforced by the national cult of Ataturk.

But the past few decades have shown that Islam does not die; it keeps coming back. In Turkey, it never went away, despite the creation of a secular stratum of society that amounts perhaps to 25% of the population, with another 25% wavering, and 50% still definitely traditional Muslims. Meanwhile, Turks in Germany become not less, but more fervent in their faith. And Turks in Turkey, of the kind who follow Erdogan, show that they may at any moment emerge and take power -- and slowly (very slowly, as long as that EU application has not been acted on, one way or another) they can undo Ataturk. He was temporary; Islam is forever.

8. That is why even the designation of some Muslims as "moderates" in the end means almost nothing. They swell Muslim numbers and the perceived Muslim power; "moderates" may help to mislead, to be in fact even more effective practitioners of taqiyya/kitman, for their motive may simply be loyalty to ancestors or embarrassment, not a malign desire to fool Infidels in order to disarm and then ultimately to destroy them.

9. For this reason, one has to keep one's eye always on the objective situation. What will make Infidels safer from a belief-system that is inimical to art, science, and all free inquiry, that stunts the mental growth, and that is based on a cruel Manichaean division of the world between Infidel and Believer? And the answer is: limiting the power –- military, political, diplomatic, economic power -- of all Muslim polities, and Muslim peoples, and diminishing, as much as possible, the Muslim presence, however amiable and plausible and seemingly untroubling a part of that presence may appear to be, in all the Lands of the Infidels. This is done not out of any spirit of enmity, but simply as an act of minimal self-protection -- and out of loyalty and gratitude to those who produced the civilization which, however it has been recently debased by its own inheritors, would disappear altogether were Muslims to succeed in islamizing Europe -- and then, possibly, other parts of the world as well.

10. "There are Muslim moderates. Islam itself is not moderate" is Ibn Warraq's lapidary formulation. To this one must add: we Infidels have no sure way to distinguish the real from the feigning "moderate" Muslim. We cannot spend our time trying to perfect methods to make such distinctions. Furthermore, in the end such distinctions may be meaningless if even the "real" moderates hide from us what Islam is all about, not out of any deeply-felt sinister motive, but out of a humanly-understandable ignorance (especially among some second or third-generation Muslims in the West), or embarrassment, or filial piety. And finally, yesterday's "moderate" can overnight be transformed into today's fanatic -- or tomorrow's.

Shall we entrust our own safety to the dreamy consolations of the phrase "moderate Muslim" and the shapeshifting concept behind it that can be transformed into something else in a minute?

Posted on 09/26/2011 8:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
The Way To A Girl's Heart Is Through Taxonomic Latin

From The Daily Mail:

Pregnant Carla Bruni makes bizarre claim that Sarko's flower power wooed her

By Peter Allen In Paris

26th September 2011


Carla Bruni married Nicolas Sarkozy because of his expert knowledge of flowers including ‘tulips and roses’, France’s pregnant First Lady said today.

In one of her most bizarre interviews to date, the 43-year-old said the diminutive President was one of the most green-fingered men she had ever met.

‘When I met him, walking around the garden in the Elysee Palace, he kept giving me all these flowers’ names,’ said Miss Bruni.

Carla Bruni pictured here with her husband Nicholas Sarkozy during a visit to the Elysee Palace said that she married him because of his knowledge of flowers

Carla Bruni pictured here with her husband Nicholas Sarkozy during a visit to the Elysee Palace said that she married him because of his knowledge of flowers

He knows all the Latin names, all these details about tulips and roses. I said to myself: “My God, I must marry this man, he's the president and he knows everything about flowers as well. This is incredible.”’

Until now Ms Bruni – who uses her maiden name in her career as a pop singer - has always maintained she fell in love with Mr Sarkozy instantly at a Paris dinner party.

They married in February 2008 following a whirlwind romance of just 80 days, with Ms Bruni saying it would not have been right and proper for her to remain a live-in girlfriend.

But this is the first time that anybody has heard anything about Mr Sarkozy’s alleged love of gardening. He is a known to enjoy stamp collecting, running and cycling.

In her interview for the BBC with her close friend Christine Ockrent, the wife of former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, Ms Bruni also made the strange claim that no-one in France is interested in her expected baby. This is despite the fact that it will be the first born to a serving President in the history of the Fifth Republic.

The thought of the thrice-married Mr Sarkozy, who is 5ft 5ins, having a child with a 5ft 9ins former supermodel whose ex-boyfriends include Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton has also stirred huge interest around the world.

But Ms Bruni described her pregnancy as ‘something very banal’, although she admitted it was ‘great news’ for her and Mr Sarkozy, who already has three sons and two step-daughters.

Ms Bruni, who has a son from a previous relationship, said: ‘I'm superstitious, so yes, I've been very careful (talking about the pregnancy). But there isn't much to say. So many women are expecting children and giving birth, and it's so uninteresting for French people.’

She said that a newborn baby at the Elysee would be an example of the French Republic joining the ‘modern world’.

Ms Bruni said ‘playing guitar and touring is what I miss most’ since becoming First Lady, and she admitted:  ‘My dream life is just to go back to my job full-time and be with my family. You know, regular dreams, common dreams that everyone has.’

Read more:

Posted on 09/26/2011 10:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
P. J. Crowley Now Unmasks Himself As A Muslim Apologist And Promoter Of "Palestinianism"

From The BBC News:

 The end of a new beginning?

P. J. Crowley


Unless the US has more than a veto to offer in response to the Palestinian UN membership bid, then President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech to the Islamic world will have been just words, says former US Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley.



When US President Barack Obama stepped to the podium in New York last Wednesday, he welcomed a new governing body to the United Nations.

The fact that it was the National Transitional Council from Libya was in its own right remarkable.

The fact that it was not the Palestinian Authority was regrettable.

That he was forced to threaten to veto the Palestinian application for membership was a policy failure.

US credibility damaged

To be clear, the United States policy, which President Obama re-emphasised in his speech - direct negotiations as the only viable path to a two-state solution - is correct.

The failure was arriving in New York in the midst of a period of historic and transformational change to deal with a Palestinian request for statehood, and having nothing more to offer than a veto threat.

The president - who spoke in Cairo in June 2009 of bold action and a new beginning; who said: "human progress cannot be denied" - needed a better response.

Without one going forward, to the Islamic world, Cairo's speech will have been a dead end.

A veto is not a certainty.

The UN will study the Palestinian request, giving the United States and the Quartet (the US, UN, EU and Russia) time to construct a plausible path back to direct negotiations.

Making history

But the threat was made, which means some damage to US credibility has already been done.

On Friday night the Quartet issued a statement calling for the Israelis and Palestinians to begin consultations within 30 days, develop specific proposals within three months and achieve an agreement by the end of 2012.

This should have been done weeks ago, another example of United States policy, or at least its practice, lagging far behind events in this vital part of the world.

President Obama acknowledged in his UN address that Palestinian aspirations for statehood were a "test of American foreign policy".

But what he put forward - encouragement without a realistic plan for achievement - was not good enough.

The protesters who are living and making history every day have raised the bar.

They are, as the president said, "claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity".

Crippling lack of trust

Who told them to demand more of their governments? It was the president of the United States, in Cairo.

A year ago at the UN, with direct negotiations underway but already faltering, the president raised expectations that an agreement could be reached within 12 months that would enable the international community to welcome Palestine into the community of nations.

That plan fell apart a short time later.

The administration had made a settlement freeze its own pre-condition for negotiations, and then failed to enforce its own policy.

President Obama's public criticism of Israel's settlement policy created a political backlash at home, which put the president on the defensive.

But even the two meetings between Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a crippling lack of trust between them, limiting what the leaders were likely to achieve.

Then came the Arab Spring, which has fundamentally altered the landscape, but heightened expectations and the role of public opinion in shaping policies and driving actions.

Where others saw complexity and even danger, Mr Abbas sensed both need and opportunity.

Palestinian Spring?

Seeing the demise of his staunchest ally in the region, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who failed to move fast enough to respond to the aspirations of his people, Mr Abbas changed his playbook and took the offensive.

Even knowing that their lives could become more difficult, 83% of Palestinians support the petition for statehood. Mr Abbas has both newfound political leverage and a stronger narrative.

If an Arab Spring, why not a Palestinian Spring?

None of this was a surprise. Mr Abbas told everyone what he planned to do, and somehow still caught the United States flat-footed.

Whether American officials misread Mr Abbas or under-estimated the implications of a veto threat on its global standing, neither is reassuring.

Coming into office, the Obama administration recognised the importance of public opinion in the Islamic world and the need to reset perceptions of the United States and its policies - and build a counter-narrative.

This was why the President went to Cairo.

In Cairo, the president spoke of facing tensions squarely, building an international consensus, living up to responsibility and embracing change.

A veto is a retreat from that hopeful vision. [what "hopeful vision" was that? It was a speech, crafted partly by the callow Benjamin Rhodes, that from first to last was nonsense, and a travesty of history and the truth, but some apparently felt it necessary to placate the Arabs and play to their vanity in such a craven fashion. Obama may be over it; P. J. Crowley apparently is not]

This is a test. Peace is hard. But if the only answer is a veto, then Cairo no longer represents US policy. [the Cairo speech was full of falsehoods about Islam, meant one assumed to placate Muslims by lying about a number of things, including the non-existent role of Muslims in American history -- Obama's worst speech, and possibly the worst speech in American history. It is this speech that P. J. Crowley things should define American policy toward Muslims, and it will dishearten all those who see clearly the nature of the war -- the Jihad -- against Israel that is only one local manifestation of a world-wide phenomenon, which the p.j.crowleys of this world apparently are prepared to forever misinterpret]

It was only a speech.

Posted on 09/26/2011 11:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Blackpool - Police tell cafe owner: Stop showing Bible DVDs, or we will have to arrest you

This is an openly Christian cafe, the Salt and Light cafe (Matthew 5.13) in the town where police failed to secure a conviction against the men who sexually abused and admitted murdering 13 year old Charlene Downes, have allowed up to 11 takeaway halal food shops to continue attracting and grooming vulnerable white girls, and paid £250,000 compensation to the men they failed to convict. Yet they are able to order Charlene's grandmother not wear her 'Justice for Charlene t-shirt' or to sit near the halal shop where she was abused. And a Christian cafe proprietor is equally an easy target. From The Daily Mail and only reported elsewhere on Christian websites.

Police have threatened a Christian cafe owner with arrest –for displaying passages from the Bible on a TV screen.Jamie Murray was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe following a complaint from a customer that it was inciting hatred against homosexuals.

Mr Murray, 31, was left shocked after he was questioned for nearly an hour by the officers, who arrived unannounced at the premises. He said he had turned off the Bible DVD after an ‘aggressive inquisition’ during which he thought he was going to be arrested and ‘frog-marched out of the cafe like a criminal’. But he added: ‘I have now checked on my rights and I am not going to be bullied by the police and the PC lobby out of playing the Bible silently in my cafe. It’s crazy. Christians have to stand up for what they believe in.’

The Salt and Light cafe in Blackpool has for years repeatedly played the entire 26-hour-long Watchword Bible, a 15-DVD set produced in America in which a narrator reads the whole of the New Testament, on a small flatscreen TV on the back wall. The sound is turned down but the words flash on to the screen against a series of images.

The cafe, which opened eight years ago, also prides itself on being an oasis of calm in a high-crime area of Blackpool.

Mr Murray said he had been given no indication of who had complained or which verses of the New Testament had caused the offence, but he guessed it may have been a reaction to the Book Of Romans that had been playing the week before. The Book takes the form of a letter from the apostle Paul to the people of Rome, in which he rails against all manner of godlessness.

The verses take 30 seconds to play and the Bible translation used is the 2005 Contemporary English Version (CEV), a plain English text by the American Bible Society. Experts at the British Bible Society, whose patron is the Queen, have described it as a well-respected text that, while using straightforward language, fairly reflected the meaning of the original.

The Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr Murray, said its lawyers had told him he is free to display the Bible in any way he chooses, and they are preparing a complaint against the police. The Institute’s spokesman Mike Judge said: ‘I have no problem with the police looking into a complaint, but once they realised it was just the words of the Bible being shown on the screen then they should have walked away.

‘They did not even look at the offending DVD. They simply told Mr Murray that he had to stop showing the Bible and warned him that they would continue to monitor what he was doing. This is intimidatory and completely unacceptable.

Posted on 09/26/2011 9:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 September 2011
Terror suspects 'had made martyrdom video to be released once they carried out UK bomb plot'

Two terror suspects who appeared in court today have been accused of making a martyrdom video to be released once they had unleashed bombs in the UK.  The alleged fanatics were said to have talked of suicide attacks and been trained in making bombs, weapons and poison.

A total of six defendants, all from Birmingham, were remanded in custody at West London Magistrates Court. None indicated any pleas to the charges.

Irfan Nasser, 30, Irfan Khalid, 26, Ashik Ali, 26, and Rahin Ahmed, 25, were charged with preparation of terrorist acts contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006. It is alleged that between Christmas Day 2010 and last week, they were preparing, or helping others prepare, to commit acts of terrorism.

Along with Nasser and Khalid, Ali is suspected of planning a campaign, stating an intention to be a suicide bomber; collecting money for terrorism, buying materials to make a bomb and recruiting supporters.

Ali, Khalid and Nasser all refused to confirm their Birmingham addresses, claiming they were afraid of reprisal attacks on their family homes. . . Ashik Ali's brother Bahader Ali, 28, and Mohammed Rizwan, 32, were brought into the dock separately. Bahader Ali, a university graduate, was also charged with terrorist fundraising.

Bahader Ali applied for bail but had his application refused. Ali, Ahmed, Kahlid and Nasser will next appear at the Old Bailey on October 21. Bahader Ali and Rizwan will next appear at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on October 24.

Posted on 09/26/2011 11:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 September 2011
Misurata Hates Benghazi, And They Both Hate Tripoli

From The New York Times:

Former Rebels’ Rivalries Hold Up Governing in Libya

Moises Saman for The New York Times

A rebel last month carried two crates of ammunition looted from a government cache on the outskirts of Tripoli.

“Why shouldn’t we?” said Mohamed Benrasali, a Misurata member of the Transitional National Council, the interim governing authority. “We call them the spoils of war.”

Anwar Fekini, a leader from the Nafusa Mountain town of Rujban, agreed: “All of us, we do the same.”

As the former rebels in Libya try to assemble a government to replace the toppled Qaddafi government, the quiet hoarding of weapons and detainees illustrates the fissures of regional rivalry and mutual distrust that continue to impede progress.

It has been almost two months since the leaders of the Transitional National Council promised to assemble a new cabinet, amid recriminations over the still-unsolved assassination of their top military commander, and they renewed that pledge more than a month ago when Tripoli fell.

But after meeting to try again on Sunday, the council’s top officials have still not overcome regional disputes over the composition of the cabinet, even though it is expected to hold power for only the first eight months after the official “liberation” of Libya is declared.

This vacuum at the top is, in turn, holding back efforts to unify the country, exert civilian authority over freewheeling militias, and get control of the weapons that now flood the streets.

Negotiations are deadlocked, council members say, over how to divide power among groups from different regions. Leaders from Benghazi, Misurata, Zintan and other cities all argue that their suffering or their contributions during the revolt entitle them to a greater voice.

Some are also challenging the council’s current face to the world, Mahmoud Jibril, a former University of Pittsburgh professor of political science who has been serving as both the prime minister and foreign minister. He faces especially determined opposition from Misurata, a center of manufacturing and trade whose fighters endured a devastating siege by Qaddafi troops, and emerged as the rebels’ most potent force.

“Misurata, we will never accept Mahmoud Jibril,” Mr. Benrasali, a spokesman for the Misurata fighters, said Sunday.

He faulted the prime minister for spending little time in Libya in the Qaddafi years and almost no time there during the revolt.

“He is a source of tension, and not a unifying figure at all,” Mr. Benrasali said. “He should do the honorable thing and just vanish.” Some in Misurata now want to charge Mr. Jibril with “treason,” Mr. Benrasali said, for weakening the transition by holding on to power.

Many in Misurata are now backing a native son for the post of prime minister: Abdul Rahman al-Swehli, a British-trained engineer from a prominent local family. “The next prime minister has to be a Libyan — a Libyan who doesn’t have a second passport, a Libyan who has lived in Libya for the last 42 years,” Mr. Benrasali said.

But fighters from the Nafusa Mountains — especially from the city of Zintan, which suffered its own brutal siege — want a greater role in the cabinet as well. Noting that the current council president, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, comes from Al Baida in the east, they say that other top posts should go to westerners — from Misurata or the mountains — who they say deserve credit for ending Colonel Qaddafi’s hold on Tripoli.

“Like Misurata, we are the ones who paid the highest price,” said one council member from the mountains, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks. “So there is no question who is going to take the prime minister, the defense minister, the interior minister, the foreign minister, the justice minister — during this transitional phase, they should certainly go to the people who carried the revolution.”

Meanwhile, residents of Benghazi, the largest city in the east, noted that they had started the revolt and had worked for months to supply weapons and money by boat and plane to rebels in Misurata and the Nafusa Mountains. “Benghazi carried the weight of the country through this difficult period,” said Shamsiddin Abdul Molah, a spokesman for the council.

He said the council was now “weak” and deadlocked, and he acknowledged that bands of fighters were hoarding weapons and captives. But he said he hoped that elections would ultimately give legitimacy to a new government.

Supporters of Mr. Jibril, meanwhile, say the deadlock results from a power struggle among Misurata, Zintan and the other towns of the mountains, and that Mr. Jibril played a crucial role in the rebellion by building international support. Without NATO airstrikes, they note, none of the rebel brigades could have triumphed.

During a news conference in Benghazi this week, Mr. Jalil, the council president, rejected demands for allotting political power based on the toll of revolt. Though cities like Zintan and Misurata deserved “priority in reconstruction” and recognition by history, he said, “fighting and struggle is not a measure for representation in government.”

“Membership in the transitional national council and the new government is a right guaranteed to all of us,” he added, and the council decided long ago to reserve as much representation for residents of Qaddafi strongholds as for the most rebellious towns. “We have two seats for Surt, same as for Tobruk, regardless of Tobruk’s early support for the revolution and Surt’s delayed support,” he said.

Still, Mr. Jibril has been trying to name a new cabinet since early August, when the top rebel military leader, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, was killed in circumstances that appeared to implicate council officials. Summoned to Benghazi on suspicion of betraying the rebels, General Younes and two aides were shot to death — out of revenge, officials said, over the general’s role in suppressing an Islamist insurgency in 1996.

The killing was embarrassing for the provisional government as well as for General Younes’ powerful tribe, and no prosecution has been announced. “It’s in no one’s interest to solve this thing,” a former rebel official said.

Posted on 09/26/2011 1:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Fitzgerald: Obama's Cairo Nonsense, The Very Speech P.. J. Crowley Complains Is In Danger Of Being Abandoned

[Re-posed from June 4, 2009]

Are you a liberal? I am. I still wish Adlai Stevenson had won, in 1952 and 1956. I still want Fiorello la Guardia for Mayor, and for that matter Millicent Fenwick in the House, and Henry Jackson in the Senate. Do you prefer Mill's "On Liberty" and the quiet voice of Michael Oakeshott to the "conservative" blowhards on the radio?

Are you perhaps what might be called an old fashioned liberal, who has seen the word "liberal" misapplied and mistreated and mistakenly subject to attack? Are you one who deplores the treatment of women in the Muslim world and, what's more, have found out about the roots of that mistreatment in the texts, tenets, attitudes of Islam -- attitudes not tangential but rather central, to that ideology? Have you read with understanding Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel"? Are you, in the saga of Afghanistan and all the vain attempts to help Muslims without addressing, through attempts to weaken, the main source of their misery, Islam itself, most impressed with the efforts of Sarah Chayes and other Western women to help Afghani women?

Are you one of those who laugh at the transparent attempts of apologists for Islam, such as the abu-lughod lady who recently received -- thanks to the unshakeable support of her MEALAC colleagues, carefully hiring and promoting all those who think exactly alike, and unopposed by a pusillanimous administration -- tenure at Columbia, one unmerited on scholarly grounds? She is an apologist for Islam (I don’t know if she is a Muslim herself, but that is hardly relevant in her MESA-Nostra Galere) who makes a defense of the burqa, the niqab, and all the other coverings forced on Muslim women (and which some of the most brainwashed are taught to accept and defend) based on the notion that women love it -- that women want that "portable seclusion." "Portable seclusion"!

Now comes Barack Obama, the famous liberal, the supporter of liberalism. And when Barack Obama has to choose between liberalism and the defense of individual rights, including the full equality of women on the one hand and Islam on the other, Barack Obama chooses to abandon liberalism and even to mock it.

Here is how he put it in the Speech That Will Live In Infamy:

“We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism."

Where shall we begin with such a remark, or a dozen other such incredible remarks, in this incredible speech?

Please note: "The pretence of liberalism." It is all this talk of full equality for women that is merely a "pretence of liberalism." Those who talk about that must have their motives questioned, and they must be denounced -- because, you see, they might merely be using their interest in the rights of women not to be forced, out of fear or filial piety, to wear the hijab (which Obama pronounced "hajib," showing how unfamiliar he is with things he spoke with such smooth and presumptuous authority about).

And presumably, you must also be denounced if you raise the issue of "freedom of speech" -- if, for example, you do not think that Danish citizens should receive death threats from Muslims living in their midst or from Muslims elsewhere, for that matter, and if you do not think that Danish goods should be boycotted, or diplomatic relations with Denmark be cut, or Danish institutions abroad not only threatened but attacked, in order to prevent Danes, liberal Danes in famously liberal Denmark, from exercising their rights of free speech in their own countries. What does Obama think, if anything, about the threats against French people (see the death threats to Robert Redeker, the brave lycee teacher) and against English people (see the case of Will Cummins), and against Italians (those death threats that Oriana Fallaci ignored, and that Magdi Allam can't afford to ignore), and that are not only made against both Geert Wilders and the celebrated truth-telling apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but also have been carried out, by lone murderers who were either Muslim or manipulated, in the case of van der Graaf the killer of Pim Fortuyn, by Muslims? See the corpses of Theo van Gogh and Fortuyn.

And what does Obama make of the climate of fear that causes hotel chains to cancel conferences in Florida and, most recently, in Tennessee? Is he aware of all this?

Could it be that people really do care about freedom of speech and legal equality for women, and that these are not "pretexts" for an underlying pre-existing hostility toward Islam? Could it be that these concerns are in fact among the many reasons why people who had no knowledge of Islam at all begin to ponder, and then to find out more, and more, and more about Islam? And it is these things that indeed do make them hostile to Islam in the end, because unlike Obama, even if they call themselves "conservatives," their attachment is to individual liberties that have been the achievement, over slow time, of the West, and are essential to "liberalism" -- in the older, and truer sense. Think of the old-fashioned liberal who would have no trouble finding his support in those who wrote the American Constitution, and in John Stuart Mill and the line of liberalism that runs all the way to Michael Oakeshott and Karl Popper and even to John Rawls, and which can be found to have been given expression in the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution, and in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is so very very different from the "Islamic" version concocted by the Muslim states to pretend that they too subscribed to the very same, or "almost" the very same, rights, save for a little clause about the Shari'a that fatally vitiated the whole thing.

Do see, if you have time, and Barack Obama of course doesn't have the time, the Cairo Declaration, and compare it to the Universal Declaration of which it pretends to be merely an innocuous variant.

What a farce. How dangerous his particular blend of self-assured presumption, the result of decades of never having been challenged to think or to learn, but rewarded with so many glittering prizes for, it is clear, his "personal narrative" and his "personal journey." For Barack Obama takes an inordinate interest in, and displays an exaggerated respect for, those narratives and those personal journeys, for that is most of what he has to offer. And that is most of what he has been so richly rewarded for, from his days at Columbia, and then at Harvard Law School -- where being elected President of the Law Review, on grounds other than those of merit, set him on his ambitious path. Today Gannett House, tomorrow the world!

And there goes "liberalism" in the mouth and mind of Barack Obama, when that "liberalism" conflicts with, or possibly even encourages, hostility toward Islam. But if Islam's texts and tenets and teachings flatly contradict the solicitude for individual rights, and for full legal equality for women and all minorities (both of which are principles antipathetic to the letter and spirit of the Shari'a), why shouldn't those who care about these things be hostile to Islam? Do we not have a perfect right to be hostile to such an ideology, the one that contains a clear politics and geopolitics, but that Obama, like Bush before him, insists on characterizing solely as a "religion" and then, just like Bush, claiming for "religions" a special status that puts them above critical analysis, and apparently makes them immune to hostility based on what that critical analysis may reveal.

He's got a good deep voice. A good delivery, especially when teleprompted, though prone to sudden revealing lapses. But he's ignorant about many things, and the most important of those things is Islam. He has been raised in a world where he has been made much of, and in turn tends to make much of in others, a "personal journey" and a "personal narrative." For one who has frequented Langdell Hall and Gannett House, and who thinks of himself as an intellectual, he gives no signs of hours in a library, of a habit of reading as a habit of being. And at this point, given not only the hectic vacancy of his job, there is no time for quiet study followed by a wrestling with, a meditation upon, a successful final coming into possession of a sufficiently deep understanding of the ideology of Islam and of the behavior of Muslims prompted, quite naturally, by that ideology.

Furthermore, his reception has been such -- talk about Teflon Presidents -- that at this point, not even six months into his Presidency, he is already far too pleased with himself to sit down, and try to learn what he would do if he truly wished to instruct and protect us. Lincoln, with whom he thinks he has something in common, would have done so. He should try to be a little more like Lincoln in the right deployment of his intelligence. And he ought too to try to emulate John Quincy Adams, who had both deep knowledge of Islam and far more direct experience with Muslims than any of our presidents, not excluding Barack Hussein Obama.

So here's all one asks at this point of Barack Obama. Read more, study more. Start, if you will, with John Quincy Adams. You, Barack Obama, may know of John Quincy Adams as the famous defender of the slaves who rebelled on the "Amistad." You may know him, then, as a quintessential American "liberal." But he was not only one of the noblest of American presidents. He was also the most learned, and among those things he was most learned about, was Islam. Start there, with what John Quincy Adams had to say about Islam. And then take another old-fashioned liberal, who knew a good deal about America and American democracy, and who was so penetrating in his analysis that does not date, though he was not an American himself. See what Alexis de Tocqueville had to say about Islam -- the Islam of the immutable texts, the Islam that cannot be changed, not by wishes, and not by speeches in Cairo or anywhere else. That speech in Cairo may win a few passing plaudits among Muslims eager to press what they see as a vulnerable point, a president who is willing to misstate many truths, and who shows every sign of being vulnerable to the temptations of appeasement.

But the harm that speech in Cairo did to the world's non-Muslims (including the Copts, Maronites, Chaldo-Assyrians, Yazidis, Mandeans, as well as to Hindus living in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir, and Christians in Indonesia and Pakistan and the Sudan) is great, and must be undone.

Read, Obama. Read. Don't, as The Times says you did, take tuition on Islam from Muslims who "head corporations" or from Dalia Mogahed or from John Esposito. Start with John Quincy Adams and Tocqueville. Start as well by reading "The Dhimmi" by Bat Ye'or. Then have in, for discussions, Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan and Ali Sina. Don't let Dalia Mogahed, don't let Rahm Emanuel -- sitting quite complacently and well-pleased, on a chair, akin to a little temporary thronelet, right there in Riyadh (not bad for a Chicago boy whose father was a Likud supporter, thinks Rahm Emanuel to himself -- something to talk about at the next Seder) -- get in the way. See them. Talk to them. Educate yourself. You have uttered a great deal of nonsense in Cairo. You must undo the damage.


Posted on 09/26/2011 2:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Here's The Hint -- See If You Can Take It

Re-posting from 29 June 2011 which, in turn, was a re-posting of a piece put up in August 2010: :

A Gentleman In A Dustcoat Trying

I’ve been a waiter, a soda jerk, a lumberjack, a taxi driver, a taxidermist (my red-cheeked cordon-bleu has won prizes), a car hop, a bellhop, an usher, a wedding singer, a singing waiter, and a gandy dancer on the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.  I’ve been a security guard, a lifeguard, a guardian ad litem, a landscape gardener, a funeral home attendant, an exceedingly  grave digger, a nightclub singer of songs about love, loss, and longing, a wheat farmer in central Iowa, and the editor of the four-volume correspondence of Braccio Poggiolini. And recently I’ve done something having to do with Pressing Topics of the Day, about which there is actually such a limited amount to say, that one must keep spicing up the material with a special secret blend of home-made rhetoric to make the subject interesting for oneself and for others. But as it is now going to be time to seek pastures or venues new or at least avenues leading away from the boulevard of broken dreams,  all reasonable suggestions and offers as to other employment – life coach, editor, spiritual advisor to a hedge fund operator are some that come to mind-- will be examined with appropriate gratitude. This is not a joke. There is no such thing right now as a joke. So feel free. I will be waiting here for responses. I hope there are some.  The lights are going out in the gardens of the West, and I’m not feeling so well myself.

Posted on 09/26/2011 2:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
A Musical Interlude: Why Don't You Do Right? (Benny Goodman Orch., voc. Peggy Lee)

Listen here.

Posted on 09/26/2011 2:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Kabul: Afghan Muslim Attacks Non-Muslim Colleagues, US Embassy Officials Just Can't Understand Why

This is not the first such attack by a Muslim upon unwary non-Muslims who thought him an 'ally' or 'colleague' and it will not be the last.

As reported by AFP and reproduced in Australia's ABC news online.

'American killed in "CIA compound" attack in Kabul

'An Afghan (that is, an Afghan Muslim - CM) working at an annex of the US embassy in Kabul has turned on his colleagues (that is, on his non-Muslim colleagues - CM), killing an American citizen and injuring another.

'US embassy officials say the motivation for the shooting - in which the attacker was also killed - is not yet known.

I advise, to begin with, a reading of Quran 9: 111.  In the Dawood translation - "Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden.  They will fight for his cause, slay and be slain..."; and in the Yusuf Ali translation - "God [i.e. allah - CM] has purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs [in return] is the Garden (of Paradise); they fight in His Cause and slay and are slain...". - CM

"There was a shooting incident at an annex of the US embassy in Kabul involving an Afghan employee who was killed.  One US citizen was killed, one was wounded," said US embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall.

'The incident took place late Sunday (local time) inside the Ariana Hotel compound, an annex to the US embassy.

'The annex is believe to be the Afghan headquarters for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

'An Afghan government official speaking anonymously to AFP said the Ariana compound was used by the CIA.

'The CIA has refused to comment.

The CIA should, if they were in any way surprised by this attack, be deeply embarrassed.  All these years of dealings with the Muslim world, and they do not seem yet to have understood the nature of Islam, nor fully grasped and taught all their operatives something that the humblest of non-Muslim 'grunts', should he find himself having to wage war within an area dominated by Muslims, needs to understand - and often does understand, working it out for himself by using his native wit - if he means to have a sporting chance of coming out alive.  Never trust a Muslim.  Never turn your back on a Muslim. Never be alone with a Muslim.  Never be without arms in the presence of a Muslim.  In sum: never trust a Muslim, never trust a Muslim, never trust a Muslim.  Persons raised within a 'golden rule' 'do as you would be done by' civilisation - a civilisation that teaches oath-keeping, reciprocity and Agreement - have difficulty adopting a habit of mistrust and find it deeply unpleasant, but -  given the ever-increasing number of 'incidents' of the kind featured in this article, and the mountain of evidence of Muslim murderousness and duplicity that can be adduced from history, combined with the many Islamic texts that illuminate what is happening now and what has repeatedly happened in the past - one must simply do so, regardless. - CM

'Kabul has seen escalating violence in recent weeks, with a 19-hour siege targeting the US embassy and the assassination of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.

'Washington has accused elements of the Pakistani state of supporting the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, which it blames for the September 13 embassy attack, and tensions between the US and Pakistan have reached an unprecedented level.

As in little, so in large.  At the micro level the Afghan Muslim who turned round and attacked those non-Muslim 'colleagues' who were working beside him in the Ariana Hotel compound, is no different from, at the macro level, Islamic Pakistan in its treacherous and malicious dealings with its non-Muslim 'ally', naive and up-till-now foolishly trusting non-Muslim America. - CM

'Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said at the weekend the US allegations would only benefit the militants, and that they "betray a confusion and policy disarray within the US establishment on the way forward in Afghanistan".

He's right about the confusion and disarray, but the confusion and disarray follow from the apparent failure of many in the USA - in government, in the military, in diplomacy and in Intelligence - to do their homework on Islam and on how Islam teaches its adherents to view and treat anybody who is not a Muslim.  - CM

'His comments came after top US military officer Admiral Mike Mullen directly accused Pakistan's intelligence service of supporting the network's attack on the embassy and a truck bombing on a NATO outpost".

One must assume - given the confusion and extraordinary gullibility that the USA has demonstrated so far in its relations with Islamic Pakistan - that if Admiral Mullen was prepared to make that public and direct accusation, the evidence for Pakistani Muslim involvement in those most recent attacks must have been of so extraordinarily obvious and demonstrable a kind that it was simply impossible to ignore it or to explain it away.  Ockham's Razor, Ockham's Razor. 

Admiral Mullen, too, needs to start reciting the mantra of survival for the non-Muslim who is forced to have dealings with Muslims - whether with individuals, or with a Muslim state such as Pakistan.  Never trust a Muslim, never trust a Muslim, never trust a Muslim; and especially, do not trust Muslims when they are at their most plausible and sweetly smiling, nor when they are weeping and wailing (or puffed up with a show of righteous indignation) and spinning a long, elaborate tale of how you or some other non-Muslim person or entity has wronged or 'offended' them. - CM

Posted on 09/26/2011 5:27 PM by Christina McIntosh
Monday, 26 September 2011
That Gentle Barelvi Sect To Which Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri Belongs

Just yesterday Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri was in the news, and posted about here, for being a "moderate" who led a demonstration of other "moderate" Muslims in London against "terrorism." Tahir ul-Qadri turns out to be a member of the Barelvi sect, which some have wrongly believed is some kind of guarantor of his "moderation."

See here at NER for more.

And the Barelvi sect is in the news today, from meretricious Pakistan:


From The Nation [Pakistan]:

Fatwa for Jihad against America

 September 26, 2011

LAHORE – As many as 50 religious scholars associated with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), a conglomerate of 20 Barelvi school of thought groups, have declared that Jihad against the US would be obligatory for the entire [country?] in case of aggression against the country.

According a press release issued here on Sunday, the scholars had issued a decree for Jihad against the US, terming it real Jihad in defence of the homeland.

The fatwa also declared as haram (illegitimate) calling the US super power, saying only Allah Almighty deserved the title.

The scholars called upon the government to end the country’s role as front-line state in the so-called US war on terror and try to establish a new bloc comprising China [sic], Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also urged the government to start preaching Jihad in the way of God with the armed forces making preparations to counter any foreign aggression. They urged all politicians to bring back their assets from abroad as well as returning bank loans got through political influence.

Posted on 09/26/2011 8:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
Said Bibi To Bubba

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded tonight to criticisms leveled on Thursday by former President Bill Clinton, who blamed Netanyahu for creating obstacles to a Middle East peace deal.

"The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [Ariel] Sharon's stroke," Clinton said on Thursday, in remarks reported exclusively on The Cable.

Clinton said that Netanyahu moved the goalposts and made reaching a comprehensive peace deal more difficult upon taking office.

"The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn't seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu," Clinton said, referring to what he called fair offers from the Palestinian government and the other Arab nations. "Now that they have those things, they don't seem so important to this current Israeli government."

Clinton also said that the Palestinians have offered Netanyahu the same deal the two sides almost agreed to in 2000 at Camp David, but Netanyahu refuses now to accept it.

Netanyahu shot back at Clinton when asked about the remarks in an interview with ABC News.

"I respectfully disagree," Netanyahu said. "The Palestinians are basically trying to shortcut this. They're trying to get a state without giving us peace, without giving us security."

"President Clinton knows very well [that] in 2000 at Camp David ... who really made the generous offer and the Palestinians refused to come," he said. "I'm sure that President Bush can tell you what happened at Camp David a few years later, when another Israeli prime minister made a generous offer, and the Palestinians refused to come."

When asked if he had moved the goalposts, Netanyahu said, "Not at all."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late on Thursday praised a new statement issued by the Middle East Quartet calling for new negotiations, a statement neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have endorsed.

"The Quartet proposal represents the firm conviction of the international community that a just and lasting peace can only come through negotiations between the parties," she said. "Therefore, we urge both parties to take advantage of this opportunity to get back to talks, and the United States pledges our support as the parties themselves take the important next steps for a two-state solution, which is what all of us are hoping to achieve."

Posted on 09/26/2011 3:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
And No Longer Will The Public Be Kept In The Dark About Pakistani Treachery

Some have always understood that Pakistan is our enemy, and always has been, even during the time when interests seemed -- but only seemed -- to intersect in support for the muhaijideen against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. Others, including almost everyone in official Washington, and including, most disgracefully,  Senator Kerry who has been privy to all kinds of information as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations, and yet remained until the day before yesterday a great defender of Pakistan, and supporter of yet more aid, and more -- when you're married to a billionaire it is such fun to give away government money, for you have the feeling you are being generous without having to give away anything yourself (all kinds of rich people in Washington do this, beginning with Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth, that is the Clintons).

The idiotic trust placed in Pakistan can't continue any longer; it's collapsing under the weight of its ow  folly, now evident to all. Even to Kerry. Even to The New York Times.

From The New York Times:

Pakistanis Tied to 2007 Attack on Americans

KABUL, Afghanistan — A group of American military officers and Afghan officials had just finished a five-hour meeting with their Pakistani hosts in a village schoolhouse settling a border dispute when they were ambushed — by the Pakistanis.

An American major was killed and three American officers were wounded, along with their Afghan interpreter, in what fresh accounts from the Afghan and American officers who were there reveal was a complex, calculated assault by a nominal ally. The Pakistanis opened fire on the Americans, who returned fire before escaping in a blood-soaked Black Hawk helicopter.

The attack, in Teri Mangal on May 14, 2007, was kept quiet by Washington, which for much of a decade has seemed to play down or ignore signals that Pakistan would pursue its own interests, or even sometimes behave as an enemy.

The reconstruction of the attack, which several officials suggested was revenge for Afghan or Pakistani deaths at American hands, takes on new relevance given the worsening rupture in relations between Washington and Islamabad, which has often been restrained by Pakistan’s strategic importance.

The details of the ambush indicate that Americans were keenly aware of Pakistan’s sometimes duplicitous role long before Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate last week that Pakistan’s intelligence service was undermining efforts in Afghanistan and had supported insurgents who attacked the American Embassy in Kabul this month.

Though both sides kept any deeper investigations of the ambush under wraps, even at the time it was seen as a turning point by officials managing day-to-day relations with Pakistan.

Pakistani officials first attributed the attack to militants, then, when pressed to investigate, to a single rogue soldier from the Frontier Corps, the poorly controlled tribal militia that guards the border region. To this day, none of the governments have publicly clarified what happened, hoping to limit damage to relations. Both the American and Pakistani military investigations remain classified.

“The official line covered over the details in the interests of keeping the relationship with Pakistan intact,” said a former United Nations official who served in eastern Afghanistan and was briefed on the events immediately after they occurred.

“At that time in May 2007, you had a lot of analysis pointing to the role of Pakistan in destabilizing that part of Afghanistan, and here you had a case in point, and for whatever reason it was glossed over,” he said. The official did not want to be named for fear of alienating the Pakistanis, with whom he must still work.

Exactly why the Pakistanis might have chosen Teri Mangal to make a stand, and at what level the decision was made, remain unclear. Requests to the Pakistani military for information and interviews for this article were not answered. One Pakistani official who was present at the meeting indicated that the issue was too sensitive to be discussed with a journalist. Brig. Gen. Martin Schweitzer, the American commander in eastern Afghanistan at the time, whose troops were involved, also declined to be interviewed.

At first, the meeting to resolve the border dispute seemed a success. Despite some tense moments, the delegations ate lunch together, exchanged phone numbers and made plans to meet again. Then, as the Americans and Afghans prepared to leave, the Pakistanis opened fire without warning. The assault involved multiple gunmen, Pakistani intelligence agents and military officers, and an attempt to kidnap or draw away the senior American and Afghan officials.

American officials familiar with Pakistan say that the attack fit a pattern. The Pakistanis often seemed to retaliate for losses they had suffered in an accidental attack by United States forces with a deliberate assault on American troops, most probably to maintain morale among their own troops or to make a point to the Americans that they could not be pushed around, said a former American military officer who served in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Looking back, there were always these attacks that could possibly be attributed to deliberate retaliation,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because his job does not permit him to talk to journalists. Pakistani forces had suffered losses before the May 14 attack, he added.

As with so many problems with Pakistan, the case was left to fester. It has since become an enduring emblem of the distrust that has poisoned relations but that is bared only at critical junctures, like Teri Mangal, or the foray by American commandos into Pakistan in May to kill Osama bin Laden, an operation deliberately kept secret from Pakistani officials.

The attack in 2007 came after some of the worst skirmishes along the ill-marked border. By 2007 Taliban insurgents, who used Pakistan as a haven with the support of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment, were crossing the border, frequently in sight of Pakistani border posts, and challenging the Afghan government with increasing boldness. American and Afghan forces had just fought and killed a group of 25 militants near the border in early May.

To stem the flow of militants, the Afghan government was building more border posts, including one at Gawi, in Jaji District, one of the insurgents’ main crossing points, according to Rahmatullah Rahmat, then the governor of Paktia Province in eastern Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces objected to the new post, claiming it was on Pakistani land, and occupied it by force, killing 13 Afghans. Over the following days dozens were killed as Afghan and Pakistani forces traded mortar rounds and moved troops and artillery up to the border. Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, began to talk of defending the border at all costs, said Gen. Dan K. McNeill, the senior American general in Afghanistan at the time.

The border meeting was called, and a small group of Americans and Afghans — 12 men in total — flew by helicopter to Teri Mangal, just inside Pakistan, to try to resolve the dispute. They included Mr. Rahmat. The Afghans remember the meeting as difficult but ending in agreement. The Pakistanis described it as cordial, said Mahmood Shah, a retired brigadier and a military analyst who has spoken to some of those present at the meeting.

The Americans say the experience was like refereeing children, but after five hours of back and forth the Pakistanis agreed to withdraw from the post, and the Afghans also agreed to abandon it.

Then, just as the American and Afghan officials were climbing into vehicles provided to take them the short distance to a helicopter landing zone, a Pakistani soldier opened fire with an automatic rifle, pumping multiple rounds from just 5 or 10 yards away into an American officer, Maj. Larry J. Bauguess, killing him almost instantly. An operations officer with the 82nd Airborne Division from North Carolina, Major Bauguess, 36, was married and the father of two girls, ages 4 and 6.

An American soldier immediately shot and killed the attacker, but at the same instant several other Pakistanis opened fire from inside the classrooms, riddling the group and the cars with gunfire, according to the two senior Afghan commanders who were there. Both escaped injury by throwing themselves out of their car onto the ground.

“I saw the American falling and the Americans taking positions and firing,” said Brig. Gen. Muhammad Akram Same, the Afghan Army commander in eastern Afghanistan at the time. “We were not fired on from one side, but from two, probably three sides.”

Col. Sher Ahmed Kuchai, the Afghan border guard commander, was showered with glass as the car windows shattered. “It did not last more than 20 seconds, but this was a moment of life and death,” Colonel Kuchai said.

As he looked around, he said, he saw at least two Pakistanis firing from the open windows of the classrooms and another running across the veranda toward a machine gun mounted on a vehicle before he was brought down by American fire. He also saw a Pakistani shot as he fired from the back seat of a car, he said. The rapid American reaction saved their lives, the two Afghan commanders said.

The senior American and Afghan commanders had been driven out of the compound and well past the helicopter landing zone when a Pakistani post opened fire on them, recalled Mr. Rahmat, the former governor. The Pakistani colonel in the front seat ignored their protests to stop until the American commander drew his pistol and demanded that the car halt. The group had to abandon the cars and run back across fields to reach the helicopters, Mr. Rahmat said.

His account was confirmed by the former United Nations official who talked to the unit’s members on their return that evening.

Those who came under fire that day remain bitter about the duplicity of the Pakistanis. Colonel Kuchai remembers the way the senior Pakistani officers left the yard minutes before the shooting without saying goodbye, behavior that he now interprets as a sign that they knew what was coming.

He insists that at least some of the attackers were intelligence officers in plain clothes.

Mr. Rahmat remains incensed that back in Kabul an attack on a provincial governor by Pakistan was quietly smothered. There was never any Afghan investigation into the ambush, for fear of further souring relations.

Official statements from Kabul and NATO went along with the first Pakistani claim that insurgents were behind the attack. NATO did not call for an investigation by Pakistan until two days later.

General McNeill, who is retired, remembers the episode as the worst moment of his second tour as commander in Afghanistan, not only because he knew Major Bauguess and his family, but also because he never received satisfactory explanations in meetings with his counterpart, the Pakistani vice chief of army staff, Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hyat.

“Ahsan Hyat did not take it as seriously as me in asking, ‘Have we done as much as we could, and how could we have done it differently?’ ” he said.

Lt. Gen. Ron Helmly, who led the Office of the Defense Representative at the American Embassy in Pakistan at the time, was told that the Pakistani soldier who opened fire was unbalanced and was acting alone, yet he was left acutely aware of the systemic shortcomings of Pakistani investigations.

“They do not have a roster of who was there,” said General Helmly, who is retired. “It was all done from mental recollection.” The Pakistani soldiers who fired from the windows consistently claimed that they were firing at the Pakistani gunman, he said.

Both Generals Helmly and McNeill accept as plausible that a lone member of the Frontier Corps, whether connected to the militants or pressured by them, was responsible, but they also said it was possible that a larger group of soldiers was acting in concert. The two generals said there was no evidence that senior Pakistani officials had planned the attack.

As for the Afghans, they still want answers. “Why did the Pakistanis do it?” General Same of the Afghan Army said. “They have to answer this question.”

Posted on 09/26/2011 8:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
David McCutchion And The Temples Of Bengal (re-posting)

I posted this article from a Calcutta paper nine months ago, but there is a reason for reminding readers about the works and days of David McCutchion.

From The Telegraph of Calcutta

January 10, 2010:

Davidbabu’s Data Bank

Outsiders as much as residents of this city have often manifested a consuming interest in the culture of this state and its capital. When the British ruled the country, some outstanding personalities from the West, who made an immense contribution to further the interest of “natives” and vernacular languages, were William Jones, who established the Asiatic Society, Henry Ferdinand Blochmann, the Orientalist and historian who translated many works like the Ain-i-Akbari, James Prinsep, the Anglo-Indian scholar and antiquary who deciphered the rock edicts of Ashoka, and the missionary William Carey, who set up a printing press in Serampore.

They were men who operated within the colonial framework and are still remembered for their valuable work.

Soon after Independence, there arrived in Bengal a youngish, independent-minded academic from Britain, who, in spite of his pioneering work — a prodigious number of photographs and a series of writings on the terracotta Hindu temples of both West and East Bengal which he travelled extensively, patas, and Indo-Anglian literature, which was in a nascent stage then — is a forgotten name today.

Had David J. McCutchion, who had succumbed to an attack of polio in Calcutta at the early age of 41 on January 12, 1972, been alive today, he would have turned 80 on August 12. His photographic collection amounting to some 20,000 images (colour slides and black-and-white prints) of Bengal temples was bequeathed to the V&A, and apart from scattered essays and letters, a number of which were posthumously published, he has left behind a monograph titled Late Mediaeval Temples of Bengal, which the Asiatic Society took an inordinately long time to publish, a fact he rued in his correspondence. It ultimately saw the light of day in 1972, but only after McCutchion was gone. Writers Workshop published The Temples of Bakura District. There is besides, a vast amount of material on these temples and patas that is a treasure trove yet to be explored.

Two men who often accompanied McCutchion on his tireless and unremitting quest were Tarapada Santra and Hitesranjan Sanyal, both of whom continued their research on Bengal’s built heritage and folk culture till their death. Both Sanyal and Santra addressed him as “Davidbabu”, a name not unsuited to a man who lived like a hermit and dressed at home like any middle-class Bengali in crushed pyjamas and bush shirt.

They and friends like Professor P. Lal and many others have left behind accounts of their association with the man who was born in Coventry in the UK and went to King Henry VII Grammar School (“a scholarship boy”) in this city in the West Midlands.

After 18 months of military service between 1949-50, he passed out from Jesus College, Cambridge, with BA honours (Class II/I) in the Modern Language Tripos (French and German) in 1953, and in 1957 got an MA degree from the same university. He studied under F.R. Leavis and was “proud of this and tremendously respectful to his guru…”

In 2002, George Michell, who had edited a book titled Brick Temples of Bengal from McCutchion’s archives, had held a slide show of his colour transparencies at Victoria Memorial Hall, some of them of very high quality. Michell has allowed us the use of four those images of temples from Bangladesh that look amazingly like a cross between the spires of Gothic churches and Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

McCutchion taught English in French schools in the south of France, and after sojourning with his parents, he joined Visva-Bharati University as lecturer in English in 1957, when Sudhin Ghosh, a London-based scholar, had taken over as the head of the university’s English department on the invitation of Professor Satyen Bose.

In 1960 he moved to Calcutta and joined Jadavpur University as lecturer in comparative literature, and in 1964 he was promoted to the post of Reader, and thus began the most active period of his short life. Here he met Santra, whose help he sought to decipher and interpret the plaques in terracotta temples.

P. Lal in his essay David-Kaka, published in a collection of McCutchion’s letters, describes his first encounter with the former in 1959 at an All-India Writers’ Conference held in Madras and how the Scotsman made light of the way his name was pronounced and did not spare others as well. “…he was sweet (that sounds like an odd word to apply to a brilliant, fastidious scholar, but it fits); he was obliging to a fault.” This led to McCutchion’s life-long association with P. Lal’s Writers Workshop that developed into his corpus of critical texts on Indian writing in English that included an essay of 1962 titled The Novel as Sastra, a study of Raja Rao.

From Shraddhanjali — a volume of homage from Indian and foreign friends and admirers of McCutchion — we get an impression of the high esteem in which this man of varied interests was held by people from different fields — from Satyajit Ray, with their shared love of Western classical music, and Lila Ray, the American wife of litterateur Annada Sankar Ray, to academics Ashin and Uma Das Gupta and Amiya Bose, in whose house at 4 Nundy Street, he lived as a paying guest.

“Sweet” as he was, McCutchion’s prickly side was manifested in his barbed comments on “Ballygunjian” folk music, the indiscriminate manner in which a leading industrial house whitewashed old temples in the name of restoration, and the persecution of “Biharis” in what was then East Pakistan.

McCutchion’s letters to his student, Suhrid Bhowmik, who works on tribal languages and Santali, vouch for his dedication to the point of obsession, his meticulousness about the measurements of temples, and the demonic energy with which he documented terracotta shrines through images and writings, ignoring inhospitable weather, terrain and dysentery, the bane of all “sahibs”, that finally took their toll.

In his tribute to David McCutchion, Hitesranjan Sanyal had made an assessment of his exhaustive documentation of terracotta temples: “When David McCutchion started his work on Bengal temples there was not much information on them…. But the countless temples that were constructed all over Bengal between 15th century and early 20th century had not attracted much attention.… The material he collected is a huge repository of information — a data bank.”

David McCutchion was buried in Bhowanipore cemetery. His grave lies neglected.


Posted on 09/26/2011 9:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
David McCutchion: "Fanaticism Plus Machiavellianism Plus Brutality Equals Islamic Pakistan" (Re-posting)
I wrote and posted this more than four years ago, about the English scholar of Bengali temples, David McCutchion, who witnessed the war by Pakistan to prevent the independence of what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). His judgment about Pakistan then will strike many as perhaps even truer now than it was when he delivered it, nearly forty years ago.
Sunday, 15 July 2007

Picked up at a book sale a copy of "The Miscellany," edited by P. Lal, and published in Calcutta. Issue #51 (June 1972), one of three devoted to the then recently-deceased, at age 41, of David McCutchion. An Englishman, David McCutchion was a lover of India, not of the william-dalrympish sort, that is the kind who loves the luxe of the Moghul court and its love intrigues, nor the kind of Englishman (also william-dalrympish) of the walking-across-half-a-continent-when-young sort, making use of local color of the human interest kind, often grizzled or wizened or wizenedly grizzled picturesque Muslims, to do the work for him (downmarket Byrons and Newbys, not to menton the now-unfashionable, because bookish, traveller Gide in "Le Retour du Tchad"), but a true scholar, an Indophile who studied brick temples in Bengal, and Indian writing, was a friend of Satyajit Ray and all sorts of interesting people in Calcutta who never get the attention in the West that all those anti-Western islamisant arundhati-roys manage to get.


I read through The Miscellany #52 – and discovered a tribute from the Sanskrit (and Buddhism) scholar Richard Gombrich (son of E. H.), who opened his essay, titled “His Work Is Unrepeatable,”  with this: “The recent death of Mr. David McCutchion in Calcutta at the age of 41 is a catastrophe for oriental studies.” Gombrich describes McCutchion as a scholar who “devoted all his time, his money, and his exceptional energy and enthusiasm, to the study of arts and monuments which are fast disappearing. He tramped all over Bengal, both West and East, taking notes and photographs; his knowledge of the countryside was famous. A self-taught photographer, he spared no pains to take the perfect shot; and he leaves well over ten thousand colour slides and as many black and white photographs of high professional quality…..His greatest specialities were Bengali temple architecture and terra-cotta sculpture, the latter a lost skill of whose monuments little is known to the wider world; he also studied and collected Bengali scroll paintings. He explored many other parts of India too, and recorded even Gupta temples previously unknown.”


And a little more, taken from a website:


“David McCutchion (1930-1972), English-born scholar, Indophile and early critic of Raja Rao, was an authentic pioneer: in his short lifetime...made a major contribution to the study of Bengali of the first scholars to write on the now much commented subject of Indian Writing in English....Born in Coventry, David attended that city's King Henry VIII Grammar School. He made it to Cambridge University the hard way, on intellectual merit alone. He read Modern Languages (French and German) at Jesus College. After graduating in 1953, he taught English for two years in southern France. He went to India in 1957. He worked there first as an English teacher...and later, as Professor and then Reader in Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, Calcutta.... David's ground-breaking study of Bengali brick temples, The Temples of Bankura District, was published by Writers Workshop in 1972.”


David McCutchion lived through the war made by West Pakistan (now Pakistan) on East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in 1970-71, a war in which Muslim fanatics in East Pakistan, locally called razakars, joined forces with the raping and murdering army of West Pakistan, accepting the argument that what was good for Pakistan – that is, staying one country – was necessarily good for Islam, and what was good for Islam was all that mattered.


Here is how, in a letter from England to a friend, McCutchion described the behavior of Pakistan:


“…We are raising funds, and hope to see the Minister of Overseas Development. What do I think of it all? Appalling…Pakistan shou’d never have existed – it has cost more lives then the whole of the British Empire in 200 years. What should I think of a culture that burns down the British Council library in Lahore because an English publisher printed a picture of Mahomet? Fanaticism plus Machiavellianism plus brutality equals Islamic Pakistan.”


Intelligent and learned and passionate, was David McCutchion. What more can you ask of anyone?

Posted on 09/26/2011 9:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 September 2011
A Musical Interlude: Love Is The Sweetest Thing (Al Bowlly)

Listen here.

Posted on 09/26/2011 9:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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