Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
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
















Sunday, 30 November 2008
"He had been crying. He is too small, you see, and all this must be affecting him so much."
clear

New York Daily News, November 29:

By Barry Keevins in Mumbai and Christina Boyle, Simone Weichselbaum and Oren Yaniv in New York (New York Daily News)  

 

Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka.

The bodies of the Brooklyn-raised rabbi and his wife who were murdered in Mumbai's terrorist massacre were found wrapped in prayer shawls after the hostage crisis ended, relatives said Saturday.

The rabbi wrapped the slain hostages with the shawls in the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish center before being shot himself, his cousin told the Daily News.

The bodies of the couple, Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and Rivkah, 28, were expected to be flown to the Holy Land for burial this week.

The bodies are being held in a Jewish facility by Chabad officials. Indian officials had insisted on performing autopsies on the bodies, which are prohibited by Jewish law, said a spokesman at the Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn.

As loved ones made funeral arrangements in India, the couple's orphaned son, Moshe, celebrated his second birthday yesterday in the care of his maternal grandparents.

"The boy's security is of utmost concern to us," said Jonathan Solomon, a prominent Jewish community leader.

"He had been crying. He is too small, you see, and all this must be affecting him so much."

Family members said the tot survived only because the nanny who rescued him showed up to work on her regular day off.

"It's a total miracle. She never works on Wednesday," said the rabbi's cousin Chesky Holtzberg, 33. "It's divine providence. Moshe is still alive due to her good deeds and good thinking."

The boy's parents were remembered yesterday for their courage in creating a place for Jewish business travelers and backpackers in India, a country that was not their home.

Shmulik Rosenberg, Rivkah Holtzberg's brother, said they were sent on a mission to provide Jewish travelers "with a kosher place to eat, a warm place to visit, put on phylacteries, hear a sermon or receive a blessing from a rabbi."

Holtzberg, who was raised in Crown Heights, was found dead with his wife and seven others in the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish center Friday, three days after terrorists stormed the building during a series of coordinated citywide attacks that left at least 195 dead in Mumbai.

Indian commandos finally ended the siege by storming the center Friday.

The body of another former New Yorker, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum of Jerusalem, was also found in the building, along with that of Bentzion Chroman, an Israeli with dual U.S. citizenship.

Two other Americans, Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter Naomi, 13, from Virginia, were also killed by terrorists who stormed a popular Mumbai tourist café.

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 9:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: More Than You Know (Helen Morgan)
clear
clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 8:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Last Voices of a Generation
clear

by Esmerelda Weatherwax (Dec. 2008)

I wrote earlier this month of the service to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Great War Armistice. The commemoration took place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 90 years after the guns of the Great War fell silent. This is an expanded version of what I wrote earlier with some further detail and thoughts. more>>>

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:34 PM by NER
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Three-Cornered Clich�
clear

by Mary Jackson (December 2008) 

 
Robert Stacy McCain (“The Other McCain”) has a piece called The Triangulation of Hope. I looked at it only to remind myself what, if anything, “triangulation” means. “Remind myself” is not quite right. The fact is I don’t know what “triangulation” means in any context other than surveying. more>>>
clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:28 PM by NER
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
The Sixties Revisited
clear

A book review for all those who lived through the Age of Aquarius
by Norman Berdichevsky
(Dec. 2008)

The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy and the United States, c. 1958- 1974.
Arthur Marwick (Oxford University Press 1998), 903 pages. ISBN 0-199-210 022-X.)

"The Sixties" is a brilliantly incisive and penetrating analysis that transcends pure nostalgia and analyses the causes and consequences of events and trends that formed a watershed in the social history of the United States, Britain, France and Italy and subsequently spread throughout the world. Marwick deals with these four Western nations due to his familiarity with primary sources, experience and fluent knowledge of their languages but it is obvious that French and Italian films, literature, food and clothing had much more of a reciprocal impact with Britain and the United States than Germany, Spain, Scandinavia or anywhere else in Europe. The genius of 'The Sixties' and its charm for both older and younger readers lies to a considerable degree in its jarring use of historical memory to put in perspective the life styles, perceptions, fads and social relations that are so taken for granted today.  more>>>

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:25 PM by NER
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Book Talk
clear

by Hugh Fitzgerald (Dec. 2008)

 
“I’m Jeanette Ferguson, and this is ‘Book Talk.’ Today’s guests are Barbara Brest and her husband Frank DiGiacomo. Hello, Barbi and Frank, and welcome.”

“Thank you, Jeanette”

“Well, I noticed that your new book has a really fascinating title, Psycho-psychology.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Barbi and Frank, how did that title come to you?”

“Well, Jeanette, what we wanted to do is to let people know right away what the book was about. Too often people will buy a book thinking it is about one thing, when it is about something completely different. Our book is about how to ‘use your mind’ to ‘deal with your mind,’ rather than looking outside your mind for help. After all, who knows your own mind best – but your own mind?” more>>>
clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:19 PM by NER
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
God Of History
clear

by Rebecca Bynum (Dec. 2008)

 
One of the most confusing aspects of modern Judeo-Christian thought lies in the attempt to reconcile two opposing concepts of God. One is of God as the loving and merciful Father of the individual, who is concerned primarily with individual salvation and survival after death. The other is of God as an actor in history, who controls and shapes the historical drama for his purpose, disregarding the individual, as is often depicted in the Bible. Richard L. Rubenstein in his book, After Auschwitz, proposes that theology itself is essentially an attempt to diminish the cognitive dissonance that belief in both these aspects of God causes in the believer. There is a gulf between the Biblical God of history and the God of human individual experience which theologians attempt to bridge. That gulf has grown wider and those theological bridges less tenable in the face of the unprecedented scale of death and destruction wrought by man in the twentieth century. more>>>
clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:17 PM by NER
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Platitude City
clear

I have sometimes wondered whether I was a little harsh about "Ed" Husain, the ex-"Islamist". After all, he preaches moderation, and may be sincere. But this Prodigal Son has been feasting on the fatted calf for a long time now. Hard questions need to be asked.

Today's nice little earner is Husain's column in The Telegraph, ostensibly denouncing "extremism". And how does Husain propose to put an end to 1400 years of Jihad? Read for yourself:

Last week also marked the beginning of a series of events where young, home-grown pluralist Muslims engage in unbridled discussions with senior officials from government and from across civil society. Hosted by the Quilliam Foundation, Britain's first Muslim-led counter-extremism think tank, these roundtables will expose key opinion formers to intra-Muslim discourse.

That'll do the trick. Unbridled discourse, and perhaps, for good measure, some roundtable triangulation. 

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 4:15 PM by Mary Jackson
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
First The To-Do List, And Then Everywhere Else
clear

"Many British commentators have asked in surprise why India is being targeted. There is no confusion among Indians themselves. When the terrorists say on their websites that they seek to break up India and reclaim it for Islam, they speak a language many Hindu Indians understand." [from this article]

They wish to "reclaim India for Islam." India, and Israel, and Greece and the Balkans, and Bulgaria, and Rumania, and much of Hungary, and most of the Caucasus, and much of southern Russia, and almost all of Spain, and Sicily, and every place where Islam once dominated and Muslims ruled.

But that's not the end. That's ony at the top of the Muslim To-Do List. The Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira do not teach Muslims to think that "Islam must rule wherever it once ruled, but every other place must be left alone." No. That would make no sense. Allah did not say that only part of the world belonged to him -- that part which Muslims had once held, up to this or that year. No, the entire world belongs to Allah. All of its land, all of its many lands, must ultimately have every obstacle to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam removed.

There is the immediate To-Do List: India, Israel, Spain, the Balkans, and so on. And then there is the other list which simply reads:  Everywhere else.

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 3:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
There Is No Such Thing As "Senseless" Violence
clear

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict prayed on Sunday for the victims of what he called "senseless" violence in Mumbai and Nigeria, where hundreds of people have been killed.

"The causes and circumstances of these tragic events are different, but the horror and the condemnation for the explosion of such a cruel and senseless violence must be one," the pope said after his weekly Angelus blessing in St Peter's Square.

Militants killed nearly 200 people in Mumbai last week, while clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs in the central Nigerian city of Jos left around 400 people dead.

The pope said he was asking God to "touch the heart of those who delude themselves this is the way to resolve local or international problems."

____________________________________

In Nigeria, the Muslim Hausa have been moving southward into Christian areas and everywhere attempting to dominate, as they believe they have a right to do so.  And they have imposed Shari'a in a dozen of Nigeria's states. Local Christians, but black African not Western Christians, and not quite as willing to go quietly, rebelled against this state of affairs and fought back, in some cases with as much deadly force as Muslims so often do, and in the West are merely rounded up, one by one, and prosecuted as a matter of criminal justice.

In India, Muslims -- whether from India proper, or from that part of Kashmir held by India r that held by Pakistan, or from Pakistan -- wanted to inflict as much damage on India and on Infidels, especially on American and British nationals, and Jews whatever their nationality -- through mass-murder.

Neither in the city of Jos, in Nigeria, nor in Mumbai,  in India, was what happened "senseless." It all makes sense, and can be adequately explained by reference to the doctrine, and the practice, of Islam. The word "senseless" encourages abdication of mental responsibility: the responsibility to study enough, to think enough, so as to make understandable to oneself and to others what  has happened, and even to be capable of predicting what will happen.  Everyone should stop making "senseless" remarks. But  nobody's perfect. And nobody's infallible -- that's merely, and only in some quarters,  a late nineteenth-century notion.  

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 11:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Terrorists Tortured Hostages, With Special Attention To The Israelis
clear

 

Doctors shocked at hostages's torture (Rediff.com)

Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai | November 30, 2008 | 19:53 IST

They said that just one look at the bodies of the dead hostages as well as terrorists showed it was a battle of attrition that was fought over three days at the Oberoi and the Taj hotels in Mumbai.

 

Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies, including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.

"Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor said.

Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.

Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.

The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.

Corroborating the doctors' claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. "During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis," an IB source said.

It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. "They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House," he reasoned.

On the other hand, there is enough to suggest that the terrorists also did not meet a clean, death.

The doctors who conducted the post mortem said the bodies of the terrorists were beyond recognition. "Their faces were beyond recognition."

There was no way of identifying them," he said. Asked how, if this is the case, they knew the bodies were indeed those of the terrorists, he said: "The security forces that brought the bodies told us that those were the bodies of the terrorists," he said, adding there was no other way they could have identified the bodies.

An intelligence agency source added: "One of the terrorists was shot through either eye."

A senior National Security Guard officer, who had earlier explained the operation in detail to rediff.com, said the commandos went all out after they ascertained that there were no more hostages left. When asked if the commandos attempted to capture them alive at that stage, he replied: "Unko bachana kaun chahega (Who will want to save them)?"

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 3:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: I Want To Be Bad (Nat Shilkret Orch., voc. Belle Mann)
clear
clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 10:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
A bit of a sett-to
clear

Twenty years ago, a group of protesting lesbians abseiled into the House of Lords. They were in good company. The Spectator's Robin Laurance reviews John Mortimer's In Other Words:

[T]he book is almost worth its inflated price for an anecdote about Lord Arran. He introduced into the House of Lords both the Sexual Offences Bill ‘which permitted men of a certain age to be as friendly as they liked’ and a bill for the preservation of badgers. As he lay dying, he asked a friend at his bedside why it was that the House of Lords had been packed full, with peers almost falling out of the public gallery, ‘when I passed my buggers bill, but almost completely empty except for a few old earls when I passed my badgers bill’. It took his friend to remind him that there are very few badgers in the House of Lords.

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 7:15 AM by Mary Jackson
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
St Andrew's Day and Advent
clear

Today is St Andrew's Day, patron saint of Scotland, Russia and other places.
It is also the fourth Sunday before Christmas and thus the beginning of Advent.
Family responsibilities meant that I could not attend my church this morning but, having seen the service sheet as it was being printed, I know that I have missed one of my favourite Advent hymns, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
 I always believed, from something my music teacher said that this hymn is 11th century. Other sources say that, while the translation for the Latin was by John Neale in the late 19th century, the Latin text is 8th century; the tune may be 15th century and French, or 8th century Gregorian chant. 
I have noticed a newer translation than the one I learnt being sung in recent years. The one I prefer begins

O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Release thy captive Israel,
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God's dear son,

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel .


videoThis is the version sung by the Boys Air Choir, who are boys and girls selected from the Cathedral Schools.

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Nigerian Mobs Burn Churches and Mosques as 10,000 Flee Violence
clear

This region of Nigeria isn't exactly quiet and peaceful either this weekend. From Bloomberg.
Fighting between Christian and Muslims in the Nigerian city of Jos entered a third day as mobs burned churches, mosques and homes, leaving at least 80 dead and forcing 10,000 to flee.
The death toll exceeded 350, according to This Day newspaper, based in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.
The main mosque in Jos claims to have received 367 bodies already.
The violence followed local elections in Plateau state on Nov. 27, with fighting flaring in the capital Jos between indigenous, mainly Christian Berom people and predominantly Muslim Hausa-speaking settlers supporting rival candidates.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 140 million people, is almost evenly split between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south. Parts of the country’s center fall into a religious fault-line that erupts periodically into violence.
The local government elections resulted in victory for the Christian-backed ruling People’s Democratic Party, which won in all 17 councils including Jos city. The results prompted protests by supporters of the Muslim-backed opposition All Nigeria People’s Party.

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:08 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Some individual stories of death in Mumbai
clear

Thanks to Alan for pointing me to some of these individual stories of death and survival in the Indian press.
At 10 pm on Wednesday, an unsuspecting Thakur Budhabhai Waghela, 33, a sweeper employed at GT Hospital, was sitting down for his dinner when there was a knock on the door.
When he opened the door, a stranger asked him for water to drink.  After having the glass of water offered to him, the stranger shot Waghela dead at point-blank range in front of his six-year-old son, Yash.
“We had been hearing the sound of firing for some time and we afraid when we heard a shot very close to our house,” said Bhavesh, Waghela’s younger brother who lives next door on Badruddin Tayyabji Road. 
Pointing at a bullethole in the wall of his house, Bhavesh said the terrorists fired randomly as they ran on Badruddin Tayyabji Road - a small bylane off DN Road that leads to the back entrance of Cama Hospital.
“I saw two terrorists from about 15 feet away. One was short and the other tall. They were wearing caps, blue and black jackets with lots of pockets in them. They also carried a backpack,” Bhavesh said. The terrorists appeared to be in their 20s. They were young and ran fast shouting abuses and firing shots randomly as they ran past our homes, he said.
“There was nothing we could do. We were too scared to go out. Finally, we rushed him to GT Hospital, but it was too late.” 
And from the Deccan Herald.
It is a moment Kevin Rego will never forget. At 4.30 am on Thursday, he heard his brother Boris dying gasps over the cell-phone after he was gunned down in the Taj Hotel kitchen by the terrorists.
“All he could do was whisper my name twice, and then call out to my dad, before the phone went completely silent at his end,” Kevin told Deccan Herald. Boris Mario, 23, was among the chefs at the Taj Hotel, cold-bloodedly gunned down by the militants.  “They forced them into the kitchen sometime after 4.00 am (Friday) and ordered them to make sandwiches.
 “As soon as the chefs had finished, they lined up five of them, including my brother, and shot them down,” Kevin said. Boris’ father Urbano is the top chef for the Taj group in Goa.
Meanwhile, Vijay Rao Bhanja, 48, an executive chef at the Taj Hotel, was gunned down by terrorists in the early hours of Thursday. One of his colleagues, who luckily escaped, informed the family about the tragedy, according to agencies.
7 deaths out of many, but once you put names, and occupations, and family to them you can start to imagine the loss.

clear
Posted on 11/30/2008 5:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: Take Me In Your Arms (Elmer Feldkamp)
clear
clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 11:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Mother India, Or, How Can I Keep Things Straight About Mangalore?
clear

Attempting to prepare for a possible encounter with Freida Pinto -- one never knows, do one? --  I thought I would mug up on Mangalore with some help from Wikipedia. Here's just a bit of what I found: 

Demographics: 

"The four predominant languages in Mangalore are Tulu, Konkani, Kannada, and Beary. Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu and English are also spoken in the city. A resident of Mangalore is known as a Mangalorean in English, Kudladaru in Tulu, Kodialgharano in Catholic Konkani, Kodialchi or Manglurchi in Goud Saraswat Brahmin Konkani and Manglurnavaru in Kannada. Hinduism is followed by a large number of the population, with Mogaveeras, Billavas, Ganigas and Bunts forming the largest groups. Kota Brahmins, Shivalli Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins, Havyaka Brahmins, Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSBs), Daivajna brahmins, and Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins also form considerable sections of the Hindu population. Christians form a sizable section of Mangalorean society, with Konkani-speaking Catholics, popularly known as Mangalorean Catholics, accounting for the largest Christian community. Protestants in Mangalore typically speak Kannada. About 80% of the Muslims in Mangalore are Bearys, who speak a dialect called Beary bashe. There is also a sizeable group of landowners following Jainism.

Culture: 

Many classical dance forms and folk art are practised in the city. The Yakshagana, a night-long dance and drama performance, is held in Mangalore,[86] while Hulivesha (literally, tiger dance), a folk dance unique to the city, is performed during Dasara and Krishna Janmashtami.[87] Karadi Vesha (bear dance) is another well known dance performed during Dasara.[88] Paddanas (Ballad-like epics passed on through generations by word of mouth) are sung by a community of impersonators in Tulu and are usually accompanied by the rhythmic drum beats.[88] The Bearys' unique traditions are reflected in such folk songs as kolkai (sung during kolata, a valour folk-dance during which sticks used as props), unjal pat (traditional lullaby), moilanji pat, and oppune pat (sung at weddings).[89] The Eucharistic procession is an annual Catholic religious procession led on the first Sunday of each New Year.[88] The Srimanthi Bai Museum, in Bejai, is the only museum of Mangalore.[90]

Most of the popular Indian festivals are celebrated in the city, the most important being Dussera, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Eid, and Ganesh Chaturthi. Kodial Theru, also known as Mangaluru Rathotsava (Mangalore Car Festival) is a festival unique to the Goud Saraswat Brahmin community, and is celebrated at the Sri Venkatramana Temple.[91][92] The Catholic community's unique festivals include Monti Fest (Mother Mary's feast), which celebrates the Nativity feast and the blessing of new harvests.[93] The Jain Milan, a committee comprising Jain families of Mangalore, organises the Jain food festival annually,[94] while festivals such as Mosaru Kudike, which is part of Krishna Janmashtami festival, is celebrated by the whole community.[95] Aati, a festival worshiping Kalanja, a patron spirit of the city, occurs during the Aashaadha month of Hindu calendar. Festivals such as Karavali Utsav and Kudlostava are highlighted by national and state-level performances in dance, drama and music.[96] Bhuta Kola (spirit worship), is usually performed by the Tuluva community at night. Nagaradhane (snake worship) is performed in the city in praise of Naga Devatha (the serpent king), who is said to be the protector of all snakes.[97]

______________________________

So it's going to take me a while. I hope Freida can wait. I'm hoping they don't call her die ewige Freida for nothing.

 

clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 11:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
The Forlorn Hope Of American Strategy In The Subcontinent
clear

From an article in The Times about the American government's "strategy" and India's relations with Pakistan: 

"Mr. Obama’s advisers have spent the past few days watching the unfolding crisis for hints about how the situation might look after Jan. 20. While they said they understand that the tensions unleashed by the Mumbai attacks might hobble the new president’s aspirations, they held out hope that the attacks might, instead, open the door to increased cooperation between Pakistan and India to weed out militants intent on more attacks."

Why would  Pakistan, a Muslim state run of, by, and for Muslims, ever really be able to "weed out militants intent on more attacks against Infidels"? The Muslims around Zardari do not disagree with the goals of Jihad but only with some of the methods chosen, if they prove more damaging to the Muslims. But their heart is not on any real "weeding out of militants" and the government of Pakistan cannot possibly do so in any case, for such "militants" are all over the army and the government itself, and those people have the Qur'an and Hadith on their side, as those who might wish to cooperate with the Infidels -- Americans or Indians, it hardly matters --  know full well, and so they cannot cooperate in a way that those Infidels can count on. Their efforts will be characterized by mendacity, and how can it be otherwise, in a Muslim state, where Islam has not been tamed. Even Ataturk's systematic effort took not only nearly two decades of his strong-arm methods and clever changes in the laws and society of Turkey, and the development of the cult of the Turk and of Ataturk-worship that helped supplant worship of Muhammad. And yet despite all that, and despite, after Ataturk's death in 1938, sixty more years of efforts by his followers and successors to strengthen Kemalism, Islam is nonetheless not only not disappearing but is back, and with a vengeance, and Muslims are trying to undo all that Ataturk did, and so far are being held at bay mainly by a brave and resolutely secular judiciary, with the threat of action by the Turkish army still held in abeyance. How could Pakistan, where unlike in Turkey there has never been a strongman determined, and able, to limit the power of Islam, the Muslims have only a single identity, provided by Islam itself. They have lost any connection to a pre-Islamic (i.e., Hindu or Buddhist) identity, have no interest in "Mother India" (that's a notion for Hindus, and other non-Muslims) and if Islam is for the primitive masses of Pakistan the sum of their world, how could they ever be expected, by Obama's advisers or anyone else, to truly cooperate with the Indians or the Americans. Of course, feigned cooperation by the government of Pakistan, in order to win more economic and especially military aid from the Americans, is another thing entirely.

clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 11:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
More Hindus Now Being Forced To Come To Their Senses About Islam
clear
Growing rift threatens to tear India apart
Hindu-Muslim tensions will rise further
 

Barely a couple of weeks ago my stepsister, Shalaka, got married at the Taj hotel in Mumbai. Last Wednesday night my stepfather, Ajit, called to pay the bill. When he arrived home 10 minutes later he realised he had left his mobile phone charger behind, so he called Mandira, the Taj banquet manager.

“I can’t speak now, sir,” she said. “We’re under attack.”

Ajit lives in a building next door to Mumbai’s other big hotel, the Oberoi. Within a few moments, he heard gunshots from there too.

In the 48 hours that followed, his neighbourhood was sealed off and his building came under attack. In the windows of the Oberoi he saw deserted rooms, half-drawn curtains, fires, brown smoke and gunmen moving from floor to floor.

My stepfather’s reaction came in the form of a text message the next day. It read: “Pardon Afzal [Muhammad Afzal, accused of attacking the Indian parliament in 2001], hang Sadhvi [a woman accused of participating in the only act of Hindu terrorism in a Muslim neighbourhood], Ban the Bajrang Dal [a Hindu extremist organisation], talk to Simi [a Muslim student organisation of which the Indian mujaheddin, responsible for a string of attacks in Indian cities, is said to be a part], restrict the Amarnath pilgrimage [a Hindu pilgrimage that led to upheavals in the Kashmir valley last summer] fund the Haj. Wow! Truly, my India is great! Fwd 2all Hindus.”

This message, steeped in irony, read like a roll call of the issues and violence that have divided Hindu and Muslim India over the past year. Almost a call to arms, it contained the great, twofold rage that has grown in Hindu India: the feeling that Islamic terrorism seeks to destroy the vigorous “new India” and the suspicion that the state is either unable or unwilling to defend itself — for cynical reasons, such as shoring up the Muslim vote for the government.

The attacks on Mumbai — a city that, in its prosperity, its hybridity and openness to the world, stands as a symbol of the new and energised India — confirmed to many what they had long feared.

Within hours of the attacks, groups gathered in the streets of Mumbai, chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Victory to Mother India) and singing “Vande Mataram” (Bow to you Mother), a patriotic song that Muslims had objected to as the choice for the national anthem because it implied obeisance to gods other than Allah.

Many British commentators have asked in surprise why India is being targeted. There is no confusion among Indians themselves. When the terrorists say on their websites that they seek to break up India and reclaim it for Islam, they speak a language many Hindu Indians understand. And India has proved to be the softest of soft targets.

More than 4,000 Indians have died in terrorist attacks — the country is the second biggest victim of terror after Iraq and virtually every one of its big cities has faced a terrorist attack. Yet the government has no centralised terrorist database, its intelligence is abysmal and there is little evidence that the state knows who it is fighting.

In dragging its feet, the Indian state does nobody a greater disservice than Indian Muslims. When there are no real suspects, arrests or trials, everyone becomes a suspect. Already an underclass, with low literacy rates, low incomes and poor representation in government jobs, Indian Muslims are increasingly alienated. There is also great pressure on them.

Nobody wants to listen to genuine grievances about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in the face of a real threat to the country. Many Hindus want Muslims to come clean on the issue of the jihad and to make clear whose side they’re on.

Far from responding positively to this pressure, some Indian Muslims are simply beginning to see their grievances as part of a global conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim.

India’s position in this is unique. It has the largest Muslim minority population in the world (13.4% of the population, or about 150m) but unlike Muslims in western Europe, they are not immigrants.

They have been part of India for centuries.

This is why all Indians — Muslims and Hindu alike — know that the deepening divide threatens the country’s existence.

Many years ago, a divide like this re-energised the Hindu nationalist BJP. Today who knows who it might throw up? The hour of men like Narendra Modi, who oversaw a pogrom of Indian Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, might have come at last.

 

 

Aatish Taseer is the author of Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands, to be published in March by Canongate.

 
 

 

clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 9:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Saudi Arabia Wants Oil At $75 A Barrel - Please Oblige It With A Tax Right Now
clear

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Saudi Arabia said Saturday that it hoped to raise oil prices to $75 a barrel, but indicated that no measures would probably be taken until an OPEC meeting next month in Algeria.

OPEC countries will have to cut oil production by 3 million barrels a day to hike price to $75, group says.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said that OPEC will "do what needs to be done" to shore up falling oil prices when the cartel meets next month in Algeria, even as his king told a Kuwaiti newspaper that $75 a barrel was a fair price for oil

Naimi did not entirely rule out the chance that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would slash output at the hastily convened meeting Saturday, but he did say the bloc needed to wait until the meeting in Oran, Algeria on Dec. 17 to assess the impact of two previous rounds of cuts.

His comments came after Saudi King Abdullah told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyassah that oil should be priced at $75 a barrel, far above its current rate.

"We believe the fair price for oil is $75 a barrel," he said, without elaborating on how this would be achieved. Whereas crude stood at about $147 a barrel in mid-July, it now hovers about $90 lower. On Friday, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery was trading at about $54 per barrel.

The king was echoed by Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah Bin Hamad al-Attiya, who told the Arab news channel Al-Arabiya just before the opening of the meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries Saturday that prices needed to rise to guarantee investment into the oil sector.

"The price between 70 to 80 (dollars a barrel) is the one encouraging in investment and developing new or current oil fields. It falls below 70, the investment would freeze, which will lead to a crisis in supply in the future."

The representatives of the OPEC face their third test in as many months to engineer a rebound in prices hammered by plummeting crude demand amid a global economic meltdown.

The cartel has already held one emergency meeting -- on Oct. 24 in Vienna -- to try to halt the slide in prices with an announcement of a 1.5 million barrel per day drop.

It failed to support prices, and the cartel hastily convened the Cairo gathering on Saturday on the sidelines of the OAPEC meeting.

Kuwait's oil minister Mohammed al-Aleem said Friday he believes there was "no need" for OPEC to take a decision in Cairo on cutting output. But he warned the market is oversupplied, and didn't rule out the need for OPEC to cut production further.

"We believe a decision could be taken ... but I think it will happen in Algeria," he said.

Al-Aleem said current prices could undercut investment in future projects and were not good for either producers or consumers.

The recent price drop has left price hawks Venezuela and Iran clamoring for further reductions of at least 1 million barrels a day. Both countries need crude of about $90 per barrel to meet current spending needs aimed in part at propping up domestically unpopular regimes.

Other OPEC members, such as Nigeria and Ecuador, face budget problems too, making them reluctant to implement more cuts that might shrink revenues further.

Unlike many of their fellow members, the Saudis are better positioned to cope with the drop in prices. The International Monetary Fund estimates Riyadh needs crude in the range of about $50 per barrel for 2008 fiscal accounts to break even.

Also unclear, after two earlier cuts failed to push prices higher, is what the group can do without prolonging the global economic downturn.

OPEC itself, along with the International Energy Agency, has significantly revised down its projections for demand growth in 2009.

Meanwhile, global crude inventories are growing, as evidenced by a U.S. government report showing a surprisingly large 7 million barrel build in stocks last week in the world's largest energy consumer.

OPEC's last round of cuts would put its total production at about 30.5 million barrels per day, according to the IEA. That is about 500,000 barrels per day higher than the forecast call on OPEC crude in much of 2009.

Those factors argue against restraint if some in OPEC want crude back up to at least $70.

A Nov. 24 research report by the New York-based Oppenheimer & Co. in New York said that for oil to rebound to $65 a barrel, OPEC would need to cut crude production by more than 3 million barrels per day from its September levels -- a move it called highly unlikely. "

If the American government (and other governments in the Infidel lands, persuaded to join it)-- at this point, while the price of oil and thus of gasoline has suddenly, just when we had all adjusted much of our behavior to a price three times as high -- were to put a large tax on gasoline, one that would rise inexorably, in announced increments, and another tax on fossil fuels but especially on oil, that would be a good thing. We could even announce that Saudi Arabia, our "staunch ally," doesn't have to worry; that we will make sure that oil never falls below $75 a barrel and, indeed, we will be raising and raising and raising the tax and there is nothing our staunch ally Saudi Arabia -- nor Iran, nor Russia -- can do about it, and so will all the members of NATO, and Australia, and Japan, e tutti quanti.

And then government officials can appear on all the news shows to explain why this makes perfect sense. Then one would at long last feel that the government had finally recognized how important it is, for two entirely independent reasons -- anthropogenic climate change, and the Money Weapon that is such an important instrument of Jihad -- to decrease the use of oil, and of the gasoline engine. It's very easy to explain, but for some reason successive American governments have been full of people incapable not only of explaining this lucidly to others, but of understanding it themselves. The higher this tax imposed by oil-consuming on themselves, , the more they will be able to recapture oligopolistic rents, and the less the price of crude will rise -- always, everywhere -- than it would without such a tax.

Now is the time. Right now.

clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 8:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: You're Driving Me Crazy (Rudy Vallee)
clear
clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 4:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
By Their Word Choices Shall Ye Know Them
clear

"Mr. Wilders's views on Islam, though, are problematic."
        -- from James Taranto's comments in his article on Geert Wilders

By their word choices, shall ye know them:

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/10707
 

clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 4:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Islam Stunts Mental Growth
clear

Crazed conspiracy theorists can be found everywhere. But societies and entire states, full of crazed conspiracy theorists, or of those who take some of what they say seriously, and of very few who simply deny the nonsense outright, because so much of it accords with larger themes - that is to be found to a much greater degree, than anywhere else, among Muslims.

They have to accept, they may not question, outward allegiance to Islam and to Muslims. What they do internally doesn't really matter, for Islam is indifferent to the individual's moral development, and only cares about outward compliance with its strictures as to What Is Commanded and What Is Prohibited . The craziness is catching, the craziness infects a critical mass -- in the world where Islam dominates, and Muslims rule.

 
 
 
See http://www.memritv.org,  passim.

 

clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 4:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Saturday, 29 November 2008
A Glimpse Into The Alternate Islamic Universe
clear

Here is a report from Ikwan Web, the Muslim Brotherhood news site, from Nov. 26th:

It is 4AM in India right now. I am in Mumbai reporting from the ground. I have not slept a wink. Mumbai is under attack. People and forces who killed Mahatama Gandhi, who demolished the Babari Mosque have triumphed. More than 16 groups of terrorists have taken over Taj, Oberai and several hotels. Hundreds of people are dead. For the first time no one is blaming Muslim organizations. 
 
The Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare and other officers of the ATS have been killed. These were the same people who were investigating the Malegaon Blasts--in which Praggya Singh, an army officer and several other noted personalities of the BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-VHP were arrested. Karkare was the man to arrest them. Karkare was receiving threats from several quarters. LK Advani, the BJP chief and several other prominent leaders of the so-called Hindu terrorism  squad were gunning for his head. And the first casualty in the terrorist attack was Karkare! He is dead--gone--the firing by terrorists began from Nariman House--which is the only building in Mumbai inhabited by Jews. Some Hindu Gujaratis of the Nariman area spoke live on several TV channels--they openly said that the firing by terrorists began from Nariman house. And that for two years suspicious activities were going on in this house. But no one took notice. 
 
Our worst fears have come true. It is clear that Mossad is involved in the whole affair. An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries. It is not possible for one single organization to plan and execute such a sophisticated operation. It is clear that this operation was backed by communal forces from within the Indian State. The Home Minister Shivraj Patil should resign. The RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal should be banned. Advani and others ought to be arrested. Today is a day of shame for all Indians and all Hindus. Muslims and secular Hindus have been proven right. RSS type forces and Israel are all involved in not only destabilizing but finishing India. India should immediately snap all relations with Israel. We owe this much to Karkare and the brave ATS men who had shown the courage to arrest Praggya Singh, Raj Kumar Purohit, the army officer and several others. 
 
 A photograph published in Urdu Times, Mumbai, clearly shows that Mossad and ex-Mossad men came to India and met Sadhus and other pro-Hindutva elements recently. A conspiracy was clearly hatched. 
 
This is a moment of reckoning especially for Hindus of India. The killers of Gandhi have struck again. If we are true Sanatanis and true Hindus and true nationalists and true patriots we have to see this act as a clear attack by anti-national deshdrohi forces. Praggya Singh, Advani and the entire brand is anti-national. They ought to be shot. Any Hindu siding with them is hereafter warned of serious consequences. 
 
This is a question of nationalism. If no one else, the Indian army will not take this lying down. Communal, anti-national forces have attacked the very foundation of the Indian constitution and the nation. We will fight a civil war if need be against the pro-Hindutva, communal forces and their Israeli backers. 
clear
Posted on 11/29/2008 1:40 PM by Rebecca Bynum
clear
clear
Showing 1-26 of 403 [Next 25]


Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
clear
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
       1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30       
clear

Subscribe