These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 4, 2007.
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Washoe dies at 42
New Duranty: She spent her early years playing in the backyard of a small house in Reno, Nev., learning American Sign Language from the scientists who adopted her, and by age 5 she had mastered enough signs to capture the world’s attention and set off a debate over nonhuman primates’ ability to learn human language that continues to this day.
But on Tuesday night, Washoe, a chimpanzee born in West Africa, died after a short illness, said Mary Lee Jensvold, assistant director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, where Washoe had lived and learned for more than two decades. The chimp died in bed at age 42, surrounded by staff members and other primates who had been close to her, Dr. Jensvold said.
Scientists had tried without success to teach nonhuman primates to imitate vocal sounds when R. Allen Gardner and Beatrix T. Gardner, cognitive researchers, adopted the 10-month-old chimp from military scientists in 1966. The Gardners, skeptical that other primates could adequately speak human words, taught Washoe American Sign Language, encouraging her gestures until she made signs that were reliably understandable...
Language scientists around the world began their own projects, to try to replicate and extend the Gardners’ findings. But the excitement died down in the late 1970s, when Herbert Terrace, a cognitive researcher at Columbia, published a report on a chimpanzee he had been trying to teach language, named Nim Chimpsky. Nim could learn signs, but did so primarily by imitating teachers, Dr. Terrace found by reviewing videos of interactions.
“There was no spontaneity, no real use of grammar,” Dr. Terrace said. He analyzed a video of Washoe, who learned about 130 signs, and said he found evidence that she, too, was reacting to prompts, not engaging in anything like human conversation...
Posted on 11/04/2007 6:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 4 November 2007
A Battle Rages in London Over a Mega-Mosque Plan
The New York Times has a very simplistic article on the campaign to oppose the building of the proposed large mosque on the Abbeymills site in West Ham. They attribute the petition which Mary and I signed, and encouraged others to sign, to the BNP which is not accurate. They neglect to tell the readers of New York that many objectors are local Muslims who are suspicious of the effect that Tablighi Jamaat may have on their community and their small local mosques. You only have to look at what happened in Dewsbury to be alarmed.
I believe that some of my US colleagues do not have the highest opinion of the NY Times. I fear that this article lacks first hand research.
Posted on 11/04/2007 5:49 AM by ESmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 4 November 2007
A Musical Interlude: I Can't Get Started
Posted on 11/04/2007 2:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Aid to Iran
Here is another illustration of the problem stemming from our failure to define the enemy and of constantly trying to separate the "people" from the "regimes." If all Muslims polities could be seen as part of a hostile bloc that must be contained and opposed at every opportunity, the idea that we should oppose a regime while simultaneously giving aid to the people, would vanish. We gave aid to Germany and Japan after the war not during.
New Duranty: WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 — The World Bank, newly caught up in the Bush administration’s campaign against Iran, has had to suspend payments for earthquake relief, sanitation and other projects there in response to new American sanctions on leading Iranian banks, World Bank officials say.
Only $5.4 million in payments has been suspended for four projects, involving earthquake relief, water and sanitation, environment management and urban housing, the officials said, and they do not expect the suspensions to be permanent.
But the bank has no plan to resume payments because it is having trouble finding banks in Iran to handle them now that the United States has barred dealing with four of Iran’s largest banks, accusing them of involvement in terrorism, or nuclear or missile programs.
“At this point, the World Bank is looking for alternate ways to support these projects,” said a bank official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It is unknown how difficult that might be. It is not that easy to find alternatives. We have no answer on how or when at this point.”
American officials said they hoped that the decision by the World Bank would increase pressure on Iran, not necessarily by stopping humanitarian projects but by dramatizing the country’s economic isolation in light of its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and negotiate with the West over its nuclear program.
The World Bank step, while small, illustrates the extraordinary reach of American sanctions, even though they were imposed unilaterally after the United States was stymied in its recent efforts to get the United Nations Security Council to approve wider penalties.
The payments for the World Bank projects have all gone through Bank Melli, one of Iran’s largest banks, but Bank Melli was accused last month by the United States of being involved in nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Also listed were two other institutions, Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat. Bank Saderat had already been listed by United States as being involved in financing terrorism.
Some Congressional critics of the administration’s Iran policies have called on the United States to block World Bank aid programs for Iran altogether. The World Bank has nine active projects in Iran and, by last year, had financed 48 operations worth about $3.4 billion, according to the bank’s Web site...
Posted on 11/04/2007 6:31 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Old and grey and full of sleep
Many years ago – I won’t say how many – when I was sweet and twenty, I was introduced at a party to a girl of twenty-three. Should that be “woman”? At the time I would have insisted on woman, but now I say girl. I thought she was younger than twenty-three, and said so. “Oh, I see,” she huffed, “You think I look old enough to want to look younger.” I was thinking nothing of the kind; then, as now, my thoughts are not so convoluted, and my observation was purely factual. Yet this girl took umbrage at being thought all of twenty-three. With such a thin skin, will she have made it to 2007? Umbrage is ageing, and thin skins wrinkle easily.
Age is a touchy subject, and not just for women in these days of moisturising metrosexual man. Labels don’t help. As I commented on this post, Nabokov’s Pnin is described as “elderly” at fifty-two. Nabokov must have known what he was doing, but it puzzles nonetheless. I don’t doubt that Pnin looked and dressed older than his age, but can someone of fifty-two look “elderly”? The novel was set in the fifties when people looked and dressed older than they do now, and before fifty became the new thirty and forty the new twenty. (Is thirty the new ten?) But I still don’t buy it. Elderly surely kicks in at seventy plus, perhaps eighty. Unless you’re Paul Newman, and few men are, though more men should be.
A Spectator reader in late middle youth writes to Mary Killen on this subject:
Q. I have twice recently had my day ruined when buying train tickets and being asked whether I have a Senior Railcard. I have a good 15 years to go until I qualify for one of these. The insults were, presumably, unintentional, but all the more wounding in the knowledge that they come out of a sort of instant appraisal as one arrives at the head of the queue. If it happens again, how should I reprimand the ticket-sellers for their lack of tact without coming across as vain and pathetic?
A.K., London W8
A. These ticket-sellers were in breach of protocol. They should simply ask, ‘Any Railcards?’ This allows for the flattery that one might even have a Young Person’s Railcard. Next time you are insulted give them a dose of their own medicine by answering, ‘No, I don’t have a Senior Railcard. Do you?’ When the inevitable reply comes, ‘No, I’m not old enough,’ you can laugh, ‘Well I’m not either. How funny that we should each have thought the other one was over 60!’
Now I think I have solved the problem of Pnin. The Spectator reader who looks sixty is forty-five. He therefore looks his age plus one third. If you increase Pnin’s age by one third, you get sixty-nine, which is just shy of my minimum “elderly” threshold of seventy.
No, it’s still silly. But I’m not ready for the scrap heap yet. Despite my advancing years, I have thought of a new idea – the perfect anti-ageing device for women. It’s called the burqa. Better still, let’s redefine and stay young: elderly, like middle age, simply means “older than you are now”.
Posted on 11/04/2007 7:18 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 November 2007
The Development of a Parallel Society
Pamela Geller interviewed Patrick Sookhdeo at the Brussels Counterjihad conference (transcribed at Gates of Vienna):
||Mr. Sookhdeo. You just gave a very powerful presentation at this conference, and I wanted to discuss with you — just how far infiltration of Islam is in Western societies, particularly you focused on Britain.
||That’s correct. I think that its important that we separate out the countries because Islamic infiltration is dependant on a number of factors. And in some places, they have been able to make much more headway than in others. I think the UK is by far the place where they have made the most headway.
||Why is that?
||I think there are several reasons. I think, firstly British policy of successive governments followed a policy of multiculturalism. It was politically driven and effectively enshrined Islam. Which meant, it was politically acceptable. It was allowed to develop socially and culturally. I think that’s a very big area, the multicultural. I think the second where the majority of Muslims came from, they came from the Indian sub-continent. British policy during the days of the hiraj was to allow the Muslims a degree of autonomy in terms of ‘how’ they could live out their religious lives, known as communalism. And so, when they came here, although initially they were part of society, gradually they began to develop much more, this communal position furthered by a British policy of multiculturalism. And I think that in the last forty years, Islam has rediscovered it’s roots. Classical Islam has rediscovered the Qur’an, the hadith, it’s Sharia and they have discovered an Islamic identity. I think these things together has projected them very much into a community which is distinctive.
||So you would say that they have, not a choke hold but a strong hold in the UK.
||They have created blocks, you could say power blocks from which they can influence. And those power blocks are geographical. Where, in areas they form the majority — also in society, where they can lead a society in matters of government, where they can seek to shape government policy. So, I would say that they are present in many different aspects of British life.
||How did they do that? What was their strategy? It wasn’t by accident, certainly?
||No no. It was very well thought out and fortunately, many had not done work on this. Back in 1979, there was the Islam in Europe conference, and one of their basic strategies that arose was that Muslims should NOT integrate as individuals in society but rather as communities. So they emphasized the development of Muslim communities — in other words, they would become majority in given areas and then they would go to the next stage which was to engage the political bodies in that area. If you had to reduce their strategy over the past 30 years it would firstly the creation of an Islamic consciousness, and all Muslim women would wear the hijab, everyone eats halal meat — those very basic things that gives visibility to the Muslim community. They know “who” they are. And their Sharia, their law, it now becomes operative within. Secondly, to create organizations and institutions. For example, an Islamic Woman’s Society, an Islamic legal society, an Islamic educational society… now, each of those societies sits down and works out it’s principles and sets “what are our objectives”, “where do we want to go”, “how are we going to get there”, “how does Islam fit within this”, and “where does our law come in”. Once they have that in place, they move to the third stage which is to say to their local authority “look, we have lots of Muslim children in school, should not the school cater for our children, in terms of dress, in terms of Ramadan, in terms of food, in terms of education ?” They’d say, politically, we’re here, should we not be present on national days, should we not be a part of everything. So what has happened is they’ve engaged the political structures at local, regional and national levels. Islam has now been accepted and brought into the center. That engaging also had to do with the media, social, cultural, religious bodies all operating in tandem so their presence was known, it was felt. And then there is the final stage which is the threat. If you don’t give way to what we want, then we are not to blame if you are attacked. Now in England, we have had our 7/7 and sadly, Muslim leaders came out and said, “It’s really British government policy is to blame because you/we are in Iraq killing Muslims. You can’t blame our young people. In other words, they are saying to the government, “ you have got to follow our foreign policy. We will tell you what to do”. So you’ve got that fourth stage which is where violence is threatened or utilized....
Posted on 11/04/2007 7:46 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Too Much To Ask?
How does the Bush Administration, in its terminal incoherence, now explain that while its policy in Iraq is to bring "freedom" and "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads," its main Muslim ally, or so the Administration persists in calling it, is Pakistan, the recipient of nearly $30 billion in aid (direct and indirect, including cancellation of debt) from the United States since late 2001 alone, has just become a country under a military dictator. He may be a better dictator than Zia ul-Haq -- he could hardly be worse; his seizure of power may indeed be necessary to prevent worse, from the Pakistani point of view, in Pakistan. But it is not "democracy" and, if the Administration were to begin to comprehend Islam, and also to study the history of modern attempts not to "reform" Islam -- that's impossible -- but rather to constrain it, those regimes that have done the constraining have been run by enlightened despots: Ataturk in Turkey, Shah Reza Pahlevi in Iran, Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia and, to a much lesser extent, Mohammed V of Morocco. Not one was a democrat. Not one thought that through the expression of the Muslim people's will that Islam could be properly constrained.
Can the Administration begin to understand all the different ways it has failed to grasp Islam, or what is possible (constraining not reforming, Islam), or who is most likely to attain what is possible, and by what means.
At this point, more than six years after the 9/11/2001 attacks, and the squandering of a trillion dollars in Iraq (and Afghanistan), is that too much to ask of the Administration? Is it too much to ask of the Administration's critics, who seem no more inclined to study either Islam or the history of Islamic conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims, out of laziness, or the idols of the age, or fear of what they might find out and have to then start figuring out how to deal with an unpleasant and unavoidable change in policies, including those concerning Muslim immigration.
Too much to ask? Just as for the past 37 years it has been too much to ask the Israelis to understand that the war waged against them cannot be lessened through further concessions, but only through remaining steadfast and unyielding, so as not to whet Arab and Muslim appetites through making Israel still more, and more obviously, vulnerable to attack, from without, and to pressures from within.
Too much to ask, as it has been for the past one-third of a century impossible to construct an energy policy that would, in the first place, include a stiff, and ever-increasing, permanent tax on gasoline, and other taxes on oil, to recapture oligopolistic rents and thereby to deprive OPEC of some of its revenues?
Too much, for politicians of both parties? And still too much, today?
Posted on 11/04/2007 8:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Much has been written at this site about language - good and bad usage, change and decay, might and may. Much has been disputed, too, from which disputes the only possible conclusion to draw is that I write right and Hugh rights wrong. But what exactly is languge? What is this skill that eluded Washoe and Chimpsky, and baffled Wittgenstein and Chomsky? Spurious spells it out:
Language, says Sinthome, is nothing apart from 'the ongoing operations of language in its use by speakers'. There are speakers and nothing else; just bodies between which relations of feedback allow there to emerge language itself - an 'itself' that is given through those particular acts that take place in concert, together: language is thus an intersubjective act, an ongoing co-constitution that is channelled in particular ways.
Language 'itself' - but there is no itself; only practices, channellings that feedback in various ways, changing language and, no doubt, changing the referents of language, making perceptible different features of the world, insofar as relations and interactions have a primacy over predicates, properties and substances (to paraphrase another post).
So this post is the easy version? Lord help us.
The question is not what we can know about the referent, but what they are insofar as they are brought into relation with us and are nothing outside of this relation. There is no in-itself to the world, nothing that stands apart from what is involved with them. Language does not represent the world, but co-constitutes it and between us, changing the sense of that 'between'.
Then language is never given in itself just as the world is never itself, or in itself; it lives only as a relation, only in those relation of feedback that let it be channelled and hardened into particular idioms, particular natural languages.
And yet. Is there a way in which language might appear as it is set back from the capacity to refer, the way it calls forward a world? Is there a way of speaking, of writing, that would withdraw language into itself as claws into a cat's paw, with no link, now, to the world outside of language?
Of course not. Language depends upon its users, and the world it allows them to co-constitute and share. And yet - what if there were a way that, while referring, even as it refers, belonging to a world or to a fragment of the world it simultaneously suspends reference, holding itself back.
This might be understood as a withdrawal into that dimension from which language might leap forward again, constituting, co-constituting the world in a new sense, naming things anew. That language has disappeared into itself to gather its powers.
Come back, Marcel Marceau, all is forgiven.
Posted on 11/04/2007 8:41 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 November 2007
According to The Times, Tracey Emin, who lives in Brick Lane, complained that when she put up posters about her lost cat, they were ripped down and sold as artworks.
That's what you get, though, when you mix art and ordinary life. Call it artistic justice.
Next she'll be complaining that she doesn't have a bed to sleep in or a pot to piss in.
Posted on 11/04/2007 10:10 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Annoying cliché of the year
"Let's unpick this."
No, let's not. Let's not "unpack" it either. Leave it in its packaging. Leave it un-unpicked, or picked. Pick your nose instead.
Posted on 11/04/2007 10:28 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Gladly the cross-eyed bear
More mondegreens from Macintyre:
FOR MANY YEARS, I believed that communist China was presided over by two elderly dictators, named Chem and Mao. Sometimes Mao did things alone, but mostly he did them with his opposite number, Chem. For example: “Chem and Mao yesterday welcomed Richard Nixon to China.” Oddly, there was never a picture of Chem. Only when Mao died in 1976, and I was 13, did I discover to my embarrassment that Chairman Mao was one person.
As a child, while everyone else was reciting the Lord's Prayer, I was appealing to a dead priest called Father Harold Witchart: “Our Father Witchart (in Heaven), Harold be thy name...” I am not alone in mishearing that particular prayer. In a new collection, J.A. Wines records no less than 17 mondegreens deriving from the Lord's Prayer, including: “Our Father makes art in Heaven”, “Allah be thy name”, “Give us this day our gravy and bread”, “Deliver us from eagles”, “Aunt Leda's not into temptation”, and “But deliver us from Ealing”. My favourite, which raises all sorts of important metaphysical questions, is: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, How did you know my name?”
Song lyrics are a fertile seed-bed for mondegreens. An entire generation grew up believing that Sting was serenading the newscaster Sue Lawley in So Lonely. When listening to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, instead of “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes”, some people hear “the girl with colitis goes by”. Similarly, the old Four Tops number Ain't No Woman Like the One I've Got is apparently misheard as “Ain't no woman like a one-eyed goat”, which may or may not be true but is not something to be caught singing too lustily.
Sir Antony Jay, the writer and broadcaster, once wrote to this newspaper describing how in a live broadcast he had said: “To quote Clough, ‘Say not the struggle naught availeth',” which was transcribed as: “To quote fluff, ‘Up the struggle naughty bailiff'.”
Posted on 11/04/2007 10:47 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 November 2007
A Cinematic Interlude: Life Could Be A Dream
Posted on 11/04/2007 11:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Posted on 11/04/2007 12:20 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 November 2007
An Art-Historical Cultural Cinematic Interlude: A Visit to the Biennale
Posted on 11/04/2007 1:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 November 2007
My husband took this picture of Comet Holmes on Thursday night, while there was no cloud and before the firework enthusiasts lit up the sky with Standard Fireworks and suchlike. It was visible with the naked eye even to me. A friend who lives in a village some 50 miles north of London got a very good view of it that same night. Through binoculars it had a yellow tinge. Some astronomy sites have described it as the “green comet”. Spaceweather is here, but I like the information on the Society for Popular Astronomy here.
Those with an interest in technicalities might like to know that the exposure was 10 seconds, on a tripod, at around 9 pm.
Posted on 11/04/2007 1:07 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Deflecting The Aim Away From The Al-Saud
"Only last month Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s leading cleric, criticised gullible Saudis for becoming 'convenient knights for whoever wants to exploit their zeal, even to the point of turning them into walking bombs.'
And last week in London, King Abdullah warned young British Muslims not to become involved with extremists."
-- from this news article
The only "extremists," the only ones who want "to exploit [gullible Saudis'] zeal" which the Saudi regime deplores, are those who attack the Al-Saud regime and its symbols. That is what those famous "re-education" efforts in Saudi prisons are all about -- not changing attitudes toward Infidels. The clerics busily turning would-be or terrorists into people fit for release are not telling those imprisoned they should give up violent Jihad. They may indeed continue it against all the Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others they wish. But what they must not do, what evil men -- those "extremists" -- have led them to do, is to become takfiris, who dare to call other Muslims, and especially the nice rulers and owners of Saudi Arabia (had a certain battle in the Nejd gone differently in 1920, it might now be called "Shammari Arabia"), "Infidels."
What? Can Saudi Arabia, the bankroller of mosques and madrasas world-wide, the employer of a small army of Western hirelings, and the country that has plowed 100 billion dollars into efforts to spread Islam world-wide, to remove all barriers to that spread of Islam, so that it may not only spread but eventually come to dominate, everywhere, and Muslims, everywhere, to rule? Can those Saudis be called "Infidels"?
Only "extremists" would convince innocent young Saudi men, eager to please Allah and Muhammad, eager to attack Infidels, that the rulers of Saudi Arabia are Infidels. So don't ever think the Al-Saud are Infidels. Remember to forget about the suites in Monte Carlo hotels with the solid gold bathroom fixtures, and the villas in Marbella, and the yachts all over the Mediterranean, the gambling and the boatloads of call girls and the drugs (keep a list, check it twice, of Saudi princes and princelings and princelettes quietly treated in assorted clinics and asylums, to the great financial delight of doctors and nurses, some of whom are asked to accompany those princesses and princelings back to Saudi Arabia). They are true Muslims.
However decadent their private lives, however un-Islamic, they are doing all they can, employing that money weapon as best they can, to subvert Western legal and political institutions, to make sure that Muslims that are now settled deep within the West have everything they need to lead "Muslim" lives and to conduct campaigns of Da'wa among the local Infidels, to prevent sensible policies of taxation of oil and gasoline from being adopted by oil-consuming nations (their efforts at taxing gasoline and oil so as to dampen demand, and to recapture oligopolistic rents, and to encourage investment in other forms of energy, have long been effectively opposed by the Saudis, who have discovered that the most effective way to achieve this ambitious goal is simply to buy up influence in Washington) -- they are true Muslims. That's what they want those innocent young Saudi boys to understand. Go ahead. Fight the Infidels in Iraq and in the Balkans, and in New York and Washington, and give money to non-Saudi Muslims doing the same in Amsterdam or Paris or Moscow. But whatever you do, leave the Al-Saud -- who for Islam are only doing the best they can -- alone.
Posted on 11/04/2007 2:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Muslim Participation In The American Armed Forces
"CAIR rewriting history?"
-- from this article
It is not CAIR alone, but many Muslim groups and individual Muslims, who are not rewriting "American history" but also the history of the world. And Islam teaches them how to do it. What came before Islam, wherever Islam goes, is waved out of memory and consideration, as merely the time of ignorance, Jahiliyya. In the West, we are now in our own Time of Ignorance, just as the Arabs of Arabia were before Muhammad came along to receive -- over 23 years -- successive revelations from Allah, who had chosen the Arabs as the best of peoples, to receive his message, and the Arabic language, in which to present it -- and Arabs still maintain that only the Arabic Qur'an is the true Qur'an, that no translation, no matter how faithful, can be the "Holy Qur'an."
For 1350 years they have been rewriting history. The zero is in their retelling an Arab invention, as is algebra (the Arabic name apparently is enough to dismiss everything taken from the Sanskirt mathematicians). Like Soviet propagandists on steroids, they claim for "Islam" and "Islamic science" Greek texts translated and preserved, by Jews and Christians in the schools of translators at Cordoba and Baghdad. They claim not only the Hindu "zero" but paper-making, brought (see Dard Hunter) from China to Damascus. They insist that in the first 200-300 years of Muslim conquest, when the Christians and Jews still outnumbered the Muslims who ruled over them, that the intellectual activities of those Jews and Christians, or of those who were one or at most two generations from being Jews and Christians, and were raised in a milieu not yet stifled by Islam, and its hatred of free inquiry, are attributable to "Islam" and claimed for "Islamic civilization." And the most famous Muslim scientist, Rhazes (al-Razi) was a freethinker, as were many of the dozen or two Muslim names -- always the same names, but we in the West are kept constantly confused by those same names, with Ibn Rushd (or is it Averroes?) and Avicenna (or is it Ibn Sina) or is Ibn Sina Ibn Rushd, or what the hell is going on, so in place of the thousands of names of writers, sculptors, painters, musicians, philosophers, thinkers in the non-Muslim West, we keep getting handed the same pitiful list, of the same people, and we keep being impressed as Muslims and their ahistoric apologists tell us over and over again such fables as "when the West was in the Dark Ages [a phrase, and idea, put paid to by the past half-century of Western historiography] Islamic science was flourishing." Utter crap. Start with Toby Huff, or Father Jaki.
Was it just a year or two ago that the State Department, in an excess of desire to please, agreed with the preposterous Muslim claim that Muslims had been with Columbus when he discovered America? And of course we have also heard the Muslim claim that Muslims discovered America not with Columbus, but before 900 A.D., and not only discovered America but settled here. Anything will be said, or claimed -- just as Muslims are given to embracing the wildest conspiracy theories about Infidels, they are also given to the wildest fantasies about their own achievements, because the habit of mental submission, the habit of discouraging all skeptical and critical and free inquiry, has its consequences, and the most obvious consequence is the primitive mental conditioning that makes people susceptible to those conspiracy theories, and those baseless dreams of glory.
The Muslim claim to have "discovered" America in 880 A.D., or that Muslims were with Columbus [who had a great interest in claiming the New World for Christian Spain, and was keenly aware of the menace of Islam to Western Christendom], or the still- more recent Muslim claim that long before the Europeans arrived, Muslims had arrived in and settled in Australia are all part of the same Muslim impulse to stake a claim to the world. In Muslim terms, for Muslims only, the claim may not be necessary. After all, in the Muslim view the entire world belongs to Allah and Islam.
And all of these are not the simple claims of simple folk who simply want to take pride in some supposed achievement of others like them, the way someone might keep track of famous sports stars or entertainers or scientists or political leaders sharing the same ethnic or racial or religious background. Not at all. These are claims made by Muslims with a more sinister intent: to make sure that the Infidels understand that Muslims have a claim, a claim on territory, a claim that is somehow validated by the backdating of a Muslim presence, or the exaggeration of Muslim efforts.
This claim about Muslim veterans is prompted by current concerns. It is the attempt to claim a specious loyalty, with a specious – because grossly exaggerated if not entirely fictional – “Muslim contribution to the American war effort.” Of course there may have seen a Muslim or two in the American army, no doubt an early precursor of the Black Muslims – never regarded by Arab Muslims as real Muslims because of their practices, which include a much wider acceptance of music, as well as a much less fierce attitude toward Christians – or possibly, this “Hakim” (a name that can also be used by Christians from Arabic-language societies) was not at the time a Muslim, but converted later.
The whole thing is designed to allow some kind of “Muslim ceremony” by “Muslim veterans” (aside from Black Muslims, there cannot have been very many Muslims serving in combat positions in either Afghanistan or Iraq, and the odd Bangladeshi-American or two, serving not with the support of fellow Muslims, proudly displaying in their grocery stores pictures of American Muslim servicemen, as any other immigrant community would and did do, but are rather either stonily silent about, or actively hostile to, the handful of Muslims who have joined the American military (and even there it is now clear that throughout the Western world Muslims, when they do join the military or, as in England, the police, they turn out to be sources of anguish and necessarily must be monitored, for they themselves constitute, given the Total Belief System of Islam, and inculcated loyalty to the Umma and to Islam, a permanent security headache that has to be recognized even by those Infidels who keep whistling in the dark, and insisting on “integration” of Muslims into Western society as the answer, without explaining how, given the texts and tenets of Islam, such “integration” can realistically be achieved.
The Muslims are late to the West, and they are attempting some Nunc Pro Tunc backdating of everything. They were here a thousand years ago, or five hundred. They discovered America. They discovered Australia. They settled here among the Indians – or perhaps they predated the Indians who walked across the frozen wastes of the Bering Strait. They invented this, they built that. And in a certain sense, all of those claims are true – because everyone who ever lived was born a Muslim, and only became something else because of a wrong turn, a bad upbringing, a wretched environment. You, and I, and every little boy and girl, was a Muslim once.
But let’s get back to our own little lambs, those lambs among our elites who are being readied for some Eid al-Fitr slaughter. It is they who will report breathlessly on, they who will insert into sentimental speeches, news of this “Muslim Veteran” and the Muslim group that will “honor” him, without understanding what malevolence and calculation, not loyalty to America, is afoot. It is they who will fail to note that during World War II, the Arabs were stoutly on the side of the Nazis. Sadat, Saint Sadat himself, was imprisoned by the British for his pro-Nazi activities, as was Nasser (and Nasser’s brother published an Arab edition of “Mein Kampf” in 1939). In Iraq, there was the pro-Axis Rashid Ali, fortunately undone by a British-sponsored coup. In Iran, the Shah was replaced, because of his pro-German views, by his son, the late Shah Reza Pahlevi. And the most important, best known Arab leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, not only supported Hitler, being especially enthusiastic about his plans for an “Endlosung” or that “Final Solution” of the “Judische Frage” (Jewish Question) but volunteered to raise an S. S. battalion among the Muslims of Bosnia, and did so – with a young Izetbegovic helping out as a recruiter. The Muslim Arabs of North Africa, similarly, were hardly to be found in the ranks of the Free French, nor of the Resistance – though here and there, there might be one, or possibly two, or even three or four, exceptions. And if the Arabs and Muslims admired Hitler, admired the Nazis and what the Nazis could do to what was seen as Western Christendom, the admiration of Hitler for Islam, his wish that Europe had been Islamized because this would have been a better foundation for his own Nazi ideology and plans, has been well and frequently recorded – by such people as, for example, Rudolf Hess. The emphasis on fighting, on mental submission, on the cult of death and of world-conquering plans – all this Hitler found most appealing.
In raising the little matter of a single, and doubtful example, of a “Muslim veteran” of World War II, the organizers of this have opened all of these matters up for discussion. And they have similarly opened up discussions about the behavior of the Muslims who have recently been in the American military and made the news. These include Hassan Akbar, a soldier who rolled grenades into the tents of sleeping officers, killing two, and that Muslim Marine (who ended his press conference, the one he held just before sneaking off to Lebanon, with a stout “Semper Fi”) who deserted his post, and made his way through Iraq to Lebanon, and the Muslim on a Navy ship who apparently made known his willingness to betray secrets to the enemy, and there are other cases, as yet unpublicized, of behavior in and around the Iraqi theatre that at least some soldiers are aware of, but that may, or may not, come to light.
Go ahead. Let’s talk about both the doctrine, and the practice, of Islam, and about where Muslim loyalties must – according to Islam – lie. Do they, or don’t they? If they do, or if they could or should, even if this or that individual chooses to ignore or overlook the doctrine, but can always return to it, re-impressed with its truth, can we Infidels entrust, say, an Air Force plane, or any major weaponry, or any security operations at all, whether by the military, or the C.I.A., or the F.B.I., to those who still identify themselves, for whatever reason, as Muslims? Does that make sense? Is that an intelligent wager to make with our own security?
Posted on 11/04/2007 2:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Contrary to the misleading article in the New Duranty Times, many people signed that petition against the mega-mosque smack in the middle of London, who have nothing to do with the BNP and who, in fact, find much of what it has offered, and possibly still offers, deplorable. The article in The Times gives a different impression.
And there are implications, some possibly innocent, some not so innocent, throughout the piece.
Take, for example, this:
[After] "Karen Armstrong, a historian of religion, wrote an article in the liberal Guardian newspaper commenting favorably about the mosque, the paper’s Web site was deluged with complaints.
In Newham, the borough where the mosque would stand, Alan Craig, the leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance Party in the East End, started a one-man campaign against the mosque a year ago that has grown and gained national prominence."
There then follows a description of Alan Craig, his Bible, his cross on the wall, and all the other things which, nowadays, are offered up as signs of a True Believer in Christianity -- impliedly, a slightly disturbing spectacle, a worrisome or at least suspect thing, and we know how crazy those holy-rollers can be, don't we?
But look at how Karen Armstrong, herself so sweetly vicious in her anti-Israel views and transparent anti-Jewish views (transparent even as she expresses a phony outrage at what Jews endured, at times, in Western Christendom, but only so that she might better defend Islam against charges of theological Jew-hatred which are not, pace Bernard Lewis, merely borrowings from modern European antisemites), a Defender of Islam and a practitioner of moral equivalence about terrorism that can practically be set to porterish music ("Jews do it, Christians do it, even educated Hindus and Buddhists do it"), is blandly described, this comical non-scholar, this ex-nun with her own scores to settle and private demons to propitiate, is blandly described in The Times article as an "historian." And an "historian" who appears in the "liberal" Guardian. "Liberal" is it? That might work, it would work, in the good old fashioned sense of the word "liberal," to The Guardian, the Manchester Guardian, of C.P. Scott. But to the current Guardian, run by god knows who, exactly (Alan Rusbridger is officially in command), is not "liberal" but far left, and not only far left, but the epicenter, in the print media, of the Defenders of the Faith, that Faith being Islam, defensible in thought, word, and deed to the good doctors of The Guardian.
All in all, a better article than one is used to reading in The Times. But how slow that learning curve is to rise from its horizontal position -- in the case of the Western world, all learning curves about Islam may be described as "grandes horizontales," just as our ruling elites have been, when offered the sums and contracts and arms deals made available by the Saudis and other rich Arabs, "grandes horizontales" of another, older kind.
Posted on 11/04/2007 3:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald