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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

Saturday, 31 March 2007
Don't Forget, We've Come A Long Way

Remembering how far we've come as women and how recently we gained relative equality. The obstacles we face are small by comparison. Here is part of an obituary of my daughter-in-law's grandmother:

She was born Caroline Phillip on Sept. 27, 1914, in Lexington, N.C. According to a biography written by Portlander Adair Law, her father encouraged her to pursue law, and she became the first woman president of a freshman law class at Duke.

That first year, Law writes, she edged out both her future husband and another yet-to-be-famous classmate, Richard M. Nixon, in academic rankings.

She passed the North Carolina bar exam and practiced with her father in Lexington. Engaged to Thomas Stoel, she joined him in Portland in a year. When she arrived, son Thomas Jr. said, they went straight from Union Station to a Methodist church on the eastside to get married -- for propriety's sake.

Her husband's firm didn't hire women, yet viewed her working for any other private firm in the area as a conflict of interest. She became a secretary, then a stay-at-home mother. After raising four children, she earned a master's in history from Portland State University. She taught at PSU until she was 86, her son said.

She was the co-author of "Magna Carta: Liberty Under the Law" and wrote the first chapter of "The First Duty: A History of the U.S. District Court of Oregon."

"She was always disappointed she didn't get to be a lawyer. Even later in life, she would grimace a little when it came up," Thomas Jr. said. "But she didn't let her failure to practice overshadow her life. She lived a very fulfilled life." ...

Posted on 03/31/2007 5:36 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Christian Suffering in Iraq not Covered by Media

Damian Thompson writes in the Telegraph blog, (h/t LGF)

Holy Week is a time when Christians think of the crucifixion of Jesus. This year, they should also be meditating on another crucifixion: that of a 14-year-old boy, nailed to a cross by Islamists in Iraq.

This diabolical crime was part of a campaign by jihadists to extinguish one of the most ancient Christian Churches in the world, that of the Assyrians. Thanks to the indifference of the West, the campaign is going jolly well.

Assyrian Christians, who belong to the Syrian Orthodox Church and a number of other small, ancient Churches, worship in (and sometimes speak) the mother tongue of Jesus, Aramaic. A few weeks ago, I had the honour of attending the liturgically rich and strange Syrian Orthodox Vespers in Westminster Cathedral.

I don't know if the Christian teenager who was crucified in Basra last October knew Jesus's language, but by the time the Islamists had finished with him he certainly knew a great deal about his suffering.

The West's lack of interest in the fate of the Assyrians is disgusting, as you can read in this brilliant article by Ed West in the Catholic Herald. Here is how the piece starts:

"When they cook a dish in the Middle East, it is traditional to put the meat on top of the rice when they serve it. They kidnapped a woman’s baby in Baghdad, a toddler, and because the mother was unable to pay the ransom, they returned her child – beheaded, roasted and served on a mound of rice.

"The infant’s crime was to be an Assyrian, but this story, reported by the Barnabus Fund, went unnoticed in the West, like so many other horrific accounts of Christian persecution in Iraq. Since the invasion of Iraq, Muslim militants have bombed 28 churches and murdered hundreds of Christians. Last October, Islamists beheaded a priest in Mosul in revenge for the Pope’s remarks about Islam at Regensburg."

Posted on 03/31/2007 4:57 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Rethinking Pakistan

Since 9/11/2001, the American government has given to Pakistan, a country whose generals created, nurtured, trained, and then sent back into Afghanistan to take over that country, the Taliban (from "talib," or madrasa student, who attended those madrasas set up in Pakistan), $27.5 billion dollars in direct and indirect (including cancellation of debts) aid. Pakistan, where the I.S.I. paid for A. Q. Khan, "Dr." A. Q. Khan, to study in Western laboratories (in Holland, in Germany) and steal their nuclear secrets. Which he dutifully did. And while the American government got wind of this, yet it continued to look the other way, for decades after having seen that country as full of ramrod-postured, terry-thomas mustachioed rectitudinous generals, fine fellows all, what with their straight no-nonsense talk (so very different from those left-wing Indians), American generals and those of the John-Foster-Dulles school of geopolitical comprehension, were happy with anyone who was a "bulwark against Communism."

What have we got for that $27.5 billion? What does the Administration think it has gotten? What would it tell the public has been bought with that $27.5 billion? Bin Laden? Al-Zawahiri? Both captured or dead? What about the Taliban -- have what remained of them, having fled to Pakistan, been rounded up, or killed?

What did the $27.5 billion buy?

And what will happen to Pakistan -- is there the slightest chance that it will turn out all right, and those weapons the Western world, and especially the United States, allowed it to acquire will not be used, either by Pakistan or another Muslim country, or any number of groups who have sympathizers throughout the Pakistani military, against Infidels -- possibly India, possibly Israel, possibly other places even further from Pakistan.

Any rethinking of anything? Any reconsideration of the past and present folly, so future folly does not follow?

Posted on 03/31/2007 2:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Night, now, in Dubai

ABC is now running a very lengthy commercial for Dubai.  A series of horse races (the Dubai World Cup, etc.), millions at stake, the events take several hours to complete.  The average race is two minutes, the rest is Dubai airlines, Dubai real estate sales, Dubai (rented) performers doing an obviously expensive Super Bowl halftime show/Cirque de Soleil, sheiks who have never done a lick of work in their lives parading with horses they will never ride, the names of the sheiks ever on the lips of the talking heads hired to cover these races, all seamless, race, advert, Palm Island, languorous men in white robes, sunglasses, mustaches and eyebrows dyed.  Not so very far away, a madrassa in Afghantistan or Morocco, a mosque in Detroit or Birmingham, a lobbyist in Washington confirms a wire transfer of funds received that began at gas pump in San Antonio or Dubuque or Quebec moments before. 

I love horses, really, I do.  I love to see them race.  But this is one spectacle, this Dubai Cup, I will not drink.

Posted on 03/31/2007 2:56 PM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 31 March 2007
The importance of being important

A man tells his frustrated wife that he is finally going to the doctor to get some Viagra. So he puts on a suit and tie. "What are you getting all dressed up for?" asks the wife. "Well, if I'm impotent I may as well look impotent." The doctor's surgery is closed so he goes to the chemist. "I need some Viagra. Can I get it over the counter?" "Yes, if you take three," replies the chemist, "Walk this way." "If I could walk that way I wouldn't need Viagra."

How did this come up? Well, few "leading writers" were impotent, but they all seem to have been "important". Kingsley Amis was both, although not necessarily at the same time. Michael Henderson writes:

That notable senatorial consort, William Jefferson Clinton, showed us all a clean pair of heels this week when he suddenly became a literary critic. Speaking in Colombia, at an event to honour the 80th birthday of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he described the novelist as "the most important writer of fiction in any language since Faulkner died", and good liberals everywhere cooed, as they tend to.

Is Marquez "important" because he is a great writer, or because he has come to represent something that goes beyond literature? If that is the case Clinton's judgment has got little to do with writing, and is worthless...One sometimes gets the impression that writers such as Marquez are the beneficiaries of western guilt; that they are acclaimed by critics who feel that the study of literature is dangerously Anglocentric, and that foreign names are more exotic. Poor old Barry Unsworth, excellent writer though he is, has been undervalued on this score.

But the world of letters should not be tainted by these considerations. Kingsley Amis put it splendidly in a letter to The Spectator 24 years ago, when somebody was unwise enough to introduce the I-word into the estimation of the work of another novelist, Elizabeth Taylor: "Importance isn't important. Good writing is".

Amis was right, because we should always be on our guard against inflated talk, and approved lists. Some people are genuinely important (Newton, Bach, Kant, Einstein, Churchill) because their actions shaped events, or their thoughts influenced the way in which mankind understands the world, but there are very few, in any culture, at any time. Traditionally some of the happiest debunkers of approved lists are those who belong on it. Evelyn Waugh called Norman Mailer "an American pornographer", yet that insult pales compared with John Osborne's assault on George Bernard Shaw. Riled by Michael Billington's description of Shaw as "the greatest British dramatist since Shakespeare", Osborne fulminated that he "writes like a Pakistani who has learnt English when he was 12 years old in order to become a chartered accountant".

And what's wrong with that? Didn't Shakespeare himself say: "It is the bright day that brings forth the adder"?

Posted on 03/31/2007 9:13 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Remembering East African slave raids
This is an interesting article from the BBC to accompany the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
Walter Mbotela recounts with great emotion the tales of how his grandfather was captured by Arab traders from his birthplace in Nyasaland and shipped away into slavery.
Mr Mbotela senior, along with other slaves, were driven away from their villages and loaded into ships destined for Zanzibar, East Africa's main slave market until 1873.
These captives were however lucky, as after they were purchased and in transit to work in plantations, their ship was intercepted by the British Royal Navy, which was patrolling the Indian Ocean slave routes to enforce the UK ban on the slave trade, adopted in 1807.  For close to 70 years after the abolition, the trade continued to flourish on the East African coast.
Walter Mbotela
"The boat my grandfather and other slaves were sailing on was brought to Mombasa, instead of being taken to other freed slaves settlements in India," Mr Mbotela, a 93-year-old retired journalist recalls. Other lucky slaves, aboard cargo ships that were intercepted by the British Navy, found themselves relocated to a freed slave settlement, christened Frere Town.
“Many descendants of the freed slaves have since left this area, but I am proud to be among the few who remained and own homes here. It's good to remain in touch with your history," Mr Mbotela says.
The faces of the Frere Town settlement may be gone but its story still lingers among people in Mombasa and a few physical features remain prominent. . . on the site is a bell that was erected and used to sound warnings when Arab slave ships were seen approaching Mombasa Island.
There was not much slave-raiding along the Kenyan coast but it was a vital transit point for slaves who were captured further inland, due to its proximity to the main market in Zanzibar.
But Arab slave traders established a smuggling port to the south of Mombasa, in an area now known as Shimoni, meaning the hole in Swahili.  For the traders, the natural limestone caves in Shimoni provided the perfect warehouse for the slaves before they were shipped off to Zanzibar. . . Rusted chains and hooks are still embedded into the walls of the caves.
Posted on 03/31/2007 9:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Veil row appeal lost
THE Muslim teaching assistant who sparked a nationwide debate by wearing a veil in class yesterday lost her discrimination case appeal.
Aishah Azmi, 24, was suspended last year after refusing to remove the veil despite pupils finding it hard to understand her.
She was later sacked when an employment tribunal rejected claims of discrimination and harassment. Yesterday her appeal against the tribunal decision - which ruled asking to remove her veil in class was not discrimination - was dismissed.
Kirklees Council said: "We were disappointed Mrs Azmi decided to pursue an appeal but satisfied the original ruling was supported."
Posted on 03/31/2007 8:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Silencing Criticism of Islam in America

Glenn Beck is on a roll with this segment on the flying Imams case and the effort to intimidate Americans into silence about Islam.

The Washington Times has an update on the John Doe side ot the Imams lawsuit in which they amended to target only the "John Doe" passengers who they say are racist and falsely accused them of behaving suspiciously.  Thanks to JW.

Posted on 03/31/2007 8:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Counter Propaganda

"Soon Eurabia will resemble the old Soviet Union, in which dissidents furtively distributed samizdat literature and faced stiff penalties if the authorities discovered what they were doing. Europeans who care about what is happening to them will have to travel West, buy books that tell the truth about Islamic jihad, and distribute them at home away from the watchful eye of EU bureaucrats."-- from Robert Spencer's comments here

During the Cold War, no one in Washington ignored the matter of propaganda. There was propaganda aimed at the countries of Western Europe, by such measures as C.I.A. support for The Congress for Cultural Freedom, and in turn, its support for the best magazine in the Western world, "Encounter." There were subventions in the late 1940s and 1950s to the press in Italy, France, and Germany, such as the support given to Die Monat," or to the publications associated with the non-Communist left as well as to traditionally center and right parties, to combat the very large and very powerful Communist Parties in France (under Maurice Thorez) and in Italy (under Togliatti, with his wife Nilde Jotti).

There was propaganda beamed into the satellite nations of Eastern Europe, rightly called the Captive Nations: Radio Free Europe, right there in Munich, still today hard by the Englischer Garten, with its pagoda, and rapidly-running rivulets, and those shamelessly nudist sunworshippers sprawled on the acres of greensward, in the midst of the city.

And there was propaganda beamed into the Soviet Union itself, by Radio Liberty (housed with Radio Free Europe). For years it was headed by a well-informed American of the old school, married to a German lady-- I think his name was William Bailey, same as the painter, but I could have the name wrong. Later one of the Buckley boys took over. It was an important job, and recognized as such in Washington, and also outside the government.

And along with that broadcasting, there were publishing efforts, in Polish, in German, in Hungarian, in Czech, in Bulgarian and Rumanian. And of course in Russian. The C.I.A. had much cleverer people running its Cold War operations, including defectors from the K.G.B. and the Soviet Union, who understood homo sovieticus.

Does the C.I.A. have in its ranks clever "defectors from Islam" or those who grew up in Muslim countries but were not Muslims -- Maronites, Copts, Arabic-speaking Jews? Or does it, crazily, because the people who run it simply do not recognize the threat, do not comprehend Islam, prefer to listen to the apologists of the esposito school, the ones who are either totally ignorant and stupid (the armstrong level), or not quite so ignorant, but essentially obedient to those who give them money, or make their lives pleasant in other ways, including Muslim colleagues who have now infiltrated, and taken over, many academic departments of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and intimidated, or pressured -- or in many cases not even had to intimidate, nor to pressure, to get what they wanted -- their non-Muslim colleagues.

One example of this clandestine publishing are the editions of émigré writers put out by dummy publishing houses in France, such as Editions de la Seine, that published "Zashchita Luzhina" ("The Defense") and "Priglashenie na kazn'" ("Invitation to a Beheading") both by Nabokov. These books would be distributed to visitors from the Soviet Union, in France or elsewhere in Europe to attend a conference or some other official meeting. The recipient would ordinarily read the book in Europe, but some were brave enough to smuggle them back to the USSR, where they were then copied (by elderly ladies typing, typing, typing) and carbon copies passed around, and around, and around. Many were involved in such efforts. Indeed, even refugees leaving the Soviet Union could, on their way to America, pick up such books at a certain place near Ostia Antica, near Rome. In Paris a particularly effective effort went on under the intelligent leadership of Buffalo Bill's grandson. In Rome one agent was the brother of a celebrated archaeologist, who worked at Sardis.

It had its effect.

Oh, there were giants, comparatively, on the earth in those days. Who from the C.I.A. has yet talked to Ali Sina or Ibn Warraq or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about strategies for weakening the appeal of Islam -- within Muslim countries as well as in imperilled Western Europe?

What is the Pentagon, what is the State Department, doing to rescue Europe from islamization? What is the Pentagon, what is the State Department, doing to spread seeds of doubt among Muslims, possibly starting with non-Arab Muslims to whom the main appeal should be Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism?

There are people in Washington who do know, or are close to knowing, what Islam is all about. They must be cultivated, allowed to be put in charge, and Yesterday's Men, the people who for decades thought of Islam as our friend in the Cold War because, they kept repeating, "Islam is a bulwark against Communism," the people who helped supply arms to Pakistan and to the mujahideen in Afghanistan without any qualms then, and not any qualms since, have to be pushed aside, to make room for those who are schooled in Islam, understand the problem of making what is called a "religion" understood as the menace it is to those who are immediately respectful of anything to which the word "religion" is attached, and know how to present the problem to others, and not least, are able to identify the main instruments of Jihad and the things that must be done to weaken each of them.

Such people exist. Find them. Hire them. Promote them. Put them in charge at the C.I.A. And at the secret services and other security services in every country in the Lands of the Infidels. The apologists and the terminally ignorant, and the simply not-clever-enough, simply cannot be tolerated any longer. They are a menace. They must be pushed out, and pushed out as well from any government-funded or government-supported broadcasting. That means the BBC has to be taken in charge by the government, and people such as John Simpson, and those in his galere, removed. It means all kinds of things.

Get cracking.

Posted on 03/31/2007 7:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 March 2007
The African Front

One very good reason to seize, with a few thousand troops, Darfur and the southern Sudan, and to hold both until the population of black Africans, the Christians and the animists in the south, where all the oil now producing can be found, and the nominal black African Muslims of Darfur, who may be keen at this point to rethink their commitment to "Arab" Islam, and may be susceptible to Christian missionaries, have had a chance to vote on a referendum on separating from the Arab Muslims who have been killing some of the southern peoples for twenty years, and those in Darfur for a mere five.

There is plenty to do in sub-Saharan Africa, to propagandize against the Arab slave trade, to urge the black African countries to sue the Arabs for reparations for that cruelest and longest and largest of all slave trades, and in other ways to split the black Africans from Islam.

Is there, in the vast Pentagon, a single room marked "Sub-Saharan Africa" where each country in Africa is marked with pins indicating Muslim and Christian and animist populations, and with the amount of Saudi money that has come in during the last two decades, and further noting of the resources (oil, uranium) and other strategic value of that country? Is there? Because if there isn't there had better be -- and not in five years, or one year, but starting right about a day after someone at the Pentagon -- you know who you are -- finishes reading this posting, and starts talking about the matter to others, higher up.

Black Africa can be taken back from Islam and its Arab masters. Islam can be seen, correctly, as merely a vehicle for Arab imperialism. It doesn't require much cleverness. But it requires some.

Posted on 03/31/2007 7:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 March 2007
What Happened in the Sandy Berger case?

David Asman at Fox News will try to answer that perplexing question — with the help of moi, among others — in a special report called "Sox, Scissors, Paper:  The Sandy Berger Caper."  Naturally, since I will be appearing, the program will air Saturday night at 9pm — i.e., up against college basketball's annual crown jewel, the Final Four games.  But I believe the program will also be rebroadcast sometime Sunday afternoon.

Those who wonder why natural allies are not exactly flocking to the defense of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose Justice Department accepted a shockingly lenient plea agreement in this case, would do well to tune in.

Posted on 03/31/2007 7:05 AM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Australian in Guantanamo to serve 9 months
This is from Reuters and updates yesterday’s report in The Australian, here.
GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Australian al Qaeda foot soldier David Hicks was sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday but will only serve nine months, a U.S. military tribunal said.
Hicks, who became the first war crimes convict among the hundreds of foreign captives held for years at the Guantanamo prison camp, had pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism in an agreement with U.S. military prosecutors.
The deal allowed all but nine months of the sentence to be suspended, meaning he could be free by New Year's. Hicks will serve his sentence in Australia. The United States will send him home by May 29 after holding him for more than five years at the Guantanamo base in Cuba.
Hicks last night acknowledged that he trained with al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan and fought with its forces against US allies in late 2001.
Hicks, dressed in a tight-fitting charcoal grey suit and sporting a new foppish haircut, (and he needn’t think that Hugh Grant will be playing him in any film version of his life) parted on the right, was led into the tribunal at about 10.10pm (AEST). He had appeared in court on Monday in thongs, prison garb and with his hair well below his shoulders. It drew a rebuke from the judge.
Hicks, 31, pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of lending "material support to terrorism" in the first case to be heard by the special military tribunals set up to try "war on terror" detainees.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Hicks is gagged from speaking to the media for one year after sentencing is announced. And he will be required to, if necessary, participate in further military commission hearings against other accused terrorists.
For the "term of his natural life", Hicks can also be recaptured by US forces outside of Australia if he breaches a series of conditions.
Before the hearing, the chief US military prosecutor hit back at claims from Hicks's father Terry that Hicks pleaded guilty in order to get home, warning if that was the case, he could be committing perjury. Colonel Morris Davis said Hicks's explanation of his guilty plea was what mattered.
Asked where he believed Hicks ranked in the hierarchy of terrorists, Colonel Davis conceded he was not the worst of the worst, but said terrorists like the Australian needed to be punished. "I'm not going to stand here and tell you David Hicks is on par with Osama bin Laden," he said. "That would be ridiculous. It's not the grand strategic thinkers that caused the deaths of thousands of people around the world, including Americans and Australians _ it is the folks who are willing to strap on bombs and the folks who are willing to take up arms on the frontline in support of that ideology that are equally accountable. . . Major (Michael) Mori is very zealous in his representation of Mr Hicks, but I am absolutely certain he is not conspiring with Mr Hicks to commit perjury ... when he testifies under oath about his plea of guilty. I would say the facts presented under oath in the courtroom ... carry more weight than speculation from those who are removed from the process."
If you found this news item here interesting and you wish to use it on your own blog you are very welcome to, but good manners suggests that you should "hat tip" the NER as your source. Orange blogs know how to do this, and they are welcome. :-)
Manners mayketh man.
Posted on 03/31/2007 4:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 30 March 2007
Gaddafi says only Islam a universal religion

Most people’s attention is rightly on the 15 British servicemen and women held in Iran.  But meanwhile elsewhere in dar al Islam normal dawa continues.  In this report from Reuters it is the turn of Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, no stranger to holding hostages, and protecting the murderers of an English policewoman.  Today he has gone to Niger to preach. I thought he was a colonel, not a clergyman, but there is of course no separation of mosque and state in Islam.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Friday that it was a mistake to believe that Christianity was a universal faith alongside Islam.

"There are serious mistakes -- among them the one saying that Jesus came as a messenger for other people other than the sons of Israel," he told a mass prayer meeting in Niger.  "Christianity is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Other people who are not sons of Israel have nothing to do with that religion," he said at the prayer meeting, held to mark the birth of the prophet Mohammed.

Gaddafi, who is seeking to expand his influence in Africa, said his arguments came from the Koran. He led similar prayers last year in Mali

There is only one religion which is Islam after Mohammed," he said in the sermon, which was broadcast live on Libyan state television.  "All those believers who do not follow Islam are losers,"   Gaddafi also said it was a mistake to believe that Jesus had been crucified and killed. "It is not correct to say that. Another man resembling Jesus was crucified in his place."  Why?

Libya grants financial aid to Islamic communities in Africa and elsewhere to build mosques, Islamic schools and facilities.  Libyan state television often shows Gaddafi meeting groups of African men or women telling him they converted to Islam.

The mass prayers, chaired by Gaddafi, came a day after Arab leaders wrapped up a summit in Saudi Arabia. Libya was the only Arab state to shun the gathering. "Libya has turned its back on the Arabs ... Libya is an African nation. As for Arabs, may God keep them happy and far away," Gaddafi has said to explain his boycott of the summit.

Dissention in the ranks, jolly good.

Posted on 03/30/2007 5:14 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 30 March 2007
Tomorrow, love, at the Iranian Embassy

Alan writes re this post on the London demonstration slated for tomorrow at the gates of Iran in England (the Iranian Embassy) and similar demos tomorrow in the U.S., including at Ground Zero in Manhattan:

This demonstration is good news. Blogging has its place, but it has its limitations.

And the blogs are flourishing within their limitations.  The next 24 hours will tell how well these announcements of like-minded people gathering to effect political change vis a vis Islam are products of latter-day committees of correspondence—just as Muslims, using the Internet via cell phones, mass every time one of them is arrested for shattering civility in Paris (yes, no longer in the suburbs; now within the city). 

Bring cell phones.

Posted on 03/30/2007 4:45 PM by Robert Bove
Friday, 30 March 2007
Debating Jihad

MEMRI: Sheikh Omar Bakri: "Jihad is a duty that has to do with the means, not the goals. In other words, jihad is a religious means to a religious goal - to elevate the word of Allah. This is what jihad for the sake of Allah, in the sense of fighting, means, although we accept that there is another meaning to jihad."

Interviewer: "Does the end justify the means?"

Sheikh Omar Bakri: "Our goal is not a materialistic one. Our goal is to please Allah by carrying out His commandments. We do not determine the goals. Allah does. 'I created the jinn and mankind only that they might worship Me.'" [that's a "yes." - RB] ( ...) "Killing innocent people is forbidden in Islam. But who is innocent - that is another question."

Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: "Today, jihad does not mean carrying out attacks with airplanes. Jihad means economic power, development, strengthening human rights, and establishing a civil, rather than theocratic, state. We can elaborate on this later. Jihad means that we be productive, and manage to invade the West with our economic products, with our science, our books, and so on. But if we narrow jihad down to striking with swords or bullets, and to the killing of civilians... Of course I am not justifying the Western governments, but there is a crisis."

Gamal Al-Bana: "Martyrdom operations in Palestine, in particular, are justified, for two reasons. First, the Palestinians do not have weapons to defend themselves. They have no tanks, artillery, and so on. This is the only means available to them. Therefore, it is justified, especially since it is the Israeli soldiers that are targeted. When I say 'soldiers' - the entire Israeli people is recruited. The women are the most vicious of them all. Therefore, this is justified. I consider this to be martyrdom. Even if they harm a woman - all the women serve in the army. All the men serve in the army. Only the small children remain, and the fact is that these are only very rarely harmed. I believe that these are martyrdom operations, and are necessary."

Posted on 03/30/2007 4:28 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 March 2007
Millard v. the Masons

Have I actually learned anything at this Magic Flute colloquium, a reader asks?

Well, yes, lots. For example: Millard Fillmore got his start in politics in a party that had been set up to combat Freemasonry. I never knew that (though I bet Hugh Fitzgerald did). The anti-Freemason party later merged in with the Whigs.

Posted on 03/30/2007 4:21 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 30 March 2007
Friday suds, ancient division

Says the Culinary Guide:

Worthington White Shield’s head brewer, Steve Wellington, has announced that after a three-month search to find the oldest bottle of drinkable beer in the UK, bottles of 1869 Ratcliff Ale are still the oldest known available.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:51 PM by Robert Bove
Friday, 30 March 2007
President Al

Sitting around last night in a room full of conservative intellectuals at leisure, the question came up: Setting aside your own preferences, whom do you believe will actually be sworn in as President in 2009?

Only two people ventured confident answers, with full supporting arguments. Those answers were:

1. Al Gore

2. Hillary Clinton.

This is a case against either (a) the current strength of the field, or (b) conservative intellectuals. Go figure.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:48 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 30 March 2007
Contest Time

And one of the most amazing facts of all, is that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the U.S.A., from a song he originally composed commemorating William Eaton’s victory over the sultan of Tripoli in 1805."-- from a reader

Yes, and from what I would guess is the same source, Oren's "Power, Faith, and Fantasy," one learns that the Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty was originallly intended for Egypt.

Contest Time: What was the name of the foreign playwright, whose play was being shown when the Star-Spangled Banner was given its first public performance, and what other connection does he have with American history?

This isn't an easy one.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 March 2007
Radio Derb
Posted on 03/30/2007 3:41 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 30 March 2007
New City

OK, landed in Pittsburgh, a city I was never in before. Nice hotel room, looking right across a fine steel bridge to Pirates Stadium. The next bridge down I learned (by walking across it) is Andy Warhol Bridge. (Oh, I see the great freak man was born in Pittsburgh. Thanks, Wiki. You learn something new every day.)

I tremble to think what the sweating, raw-boned steelmakers of yore would have to say at learning that their splendid bridges were being named after po-mo poseurs. But heck, we're all symbol manipulators now. Nobody makes anything any more. Who makes steel nowadays? Someone in China, I suppose.

Pleasant, agreeably smallish city under a clear spring sky... but I'd better not record any fleeting impressions of the place, having got myself banned for life from New Orleans back in January by remarking on what a seedy, dilapidated, crime-addled sinkhole it is.

Am I the last person in the world not to own a cell phone? I noticed at the airports, on the plane, in the streets, two people out of three are talking into cell phones, or fiddling with those little things with minuscule writing on teeny screens with teeny-tiny keys that go about three to the average adult fingertip. How d'you use those things?

And what do people say into their cell phones? They tell each other where they are and what they're doing, that's what. I rode in a shuttle from La Guardia parking lot to the terminal next to a middle-aged woman with a cell phone. She dialed up. "Hey! Just thought I'd give you a call. ... I'm in the shuttle, going to the terminal. ... Right. ... OK, see you in a few days. Bye!" Then she dialed someone else and told her the same thing. I've been having visions of the rest of this woman's day. "Hi! I'm in the departure lounge..." "Hey! How's it going? I just got on the plane..." "Whassup? I got caught short—I'm in the bathroom voiding my bowels..." Is this what the human race has come to?

All right, I'm cranky. Not a good traveler, especially on my Jack Jones. Miss the family, miss my study. Need a drink.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:36 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 30 March 2007
Unsafe in America

Fred Thompson is the first (possible) Presidential candidate to talk about Hirsi Ali:

...There were many Germans and other Europeans who came to America and warned of the Nazi threat in the 1930s, including writers and filmmakers. Can you imagine that any of them would have ever needed bodyguards?

Hirsi Ali does — right here in America. Yet too many people still don’t understand what our country is up against. They might if they read her book.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:32 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 March 2007
Military Education

A good source for more information: Victory in Tripoli: How America’s War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation. By Joshua E. London. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2005. --from a reader

The book recommended above, that by Joshua London about William Eaton's overland trip from Cairo, even after being discharged by Jefferson, in an attempt to rescue the hundreds of Americans held hostage by Yusuf Karamanli, bey of Tunis, and to replace him with his less-vicious and more-compliant brother, should be assigned to every Marine as part of their training. It will do them good, and help teach them about the history of Islamic conquest, and Muslim attitudes -- immutable as the sacred texts of Islam itself -- without a knowledge of which so many Marines, and soldiers, and sailors, and airmen, simply will not be able to understand the nature of the enemy -- this year's enemy, and that for the foreseeable, possibly endless, future.

The American government has a captive audience: its military. It should use the training period to teach them about Islam, and if that offends some Muslims outside or inside the military, that is simply too bad. As long as it is based solidly and irrefutably on the texts of Islam, and on what Muslim Qura'nic commentators, theologians, historians have said -- such as those whose statements on Jihad are collected in Andrew Bostom's "The Legacy of Jihad" -- such an effort will be unassailable.

And it needs to be done, lest the officers and men, in their justified disenchantment with the wasteful and misguided effort in Iraq, an effort that, if understood rightly, is merely another form of appeasement, of refusing to recognize that Islam, and not merely "extremists" who "if we don't stay will take over Iraq," is and will remain the problem, and that "democracy" or "freedom" is not, pace Lewis, the solution, but the only solution, when facing an enemy that cannot be changed in its essence, is first to render less immediately menacing the forces of that enemy overall -- to weaken the Camp of Islam by permitting rather than attempting to prevent, the natural divisions within it -- and then to help create the conditions that, little by little, will cause non-Arab Muslims to recognize Islam as a vehicle for Arab imperialism, eventually whittling down Islam, or re-dimensioning it, until its universalist pretensions are revealed as phony, and it again can be reduced or pruned back until it becomes what it always, in truth, has been -- the "Arab National Religion."

Educate the officers and then the men, in the history of Islam, and the tenets of Islam, and in the historic treatment, over 1350 years, of non-Muslims under Muslim rule. Start now -- not in ten years. The future of the West depends on such measures being taken, while there is time.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 March 2007

Androlepsy (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Androlepsy, in ancient Greek law, was a custom in Athens that if a citizen was killed abroad, and the criminal was not delivered for punishment, it was held lawful to take three citizens of the offending community, and punish them for the homicide. This the Greeks called androlepsia, and the Romans clarigatio.
The word is formed of άνήρ, "man", and λαμβάνω, "I take".

Some authors also use androlepsia for reprisals. --from a reader

The definition you provide could be supplemented by that of the law dictionaries, as in that below:

"ANDROLEPSY. The taking by one nation of the citizens or subjects of another, in order to compel the latter to do justice to the former. Wolff. Sec. 1164; Molloy, de Jure Mar. 26."

I don't have my OED here, and I can't get to it easily, but I do recall that Webster's 2nd has a definition of "Androlepsy" that says the "citizens" of another government who are seized are, specifically, diplomats -- which is why earlier I wrote that the word "androlepsy" fit perfectly the Teheran Embassy seizure, but not quite so perfectly that of foreign military men seized not within the country, but outside it, even if it is claimed, obviously falsely, that they were in the territorial waters of Iran, in what must surely be the unpleasant debouchment at the base of what is, for English ears, so memorably called the Shatt al-Arab.

Posted on 03/30/2007 3:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 March 2007

As far as I know, the only song containing the word "perverted" is the Beatles' While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Here is the verse:

I don't know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
No one alerted you

I've no idea what this is about. Pop lyrics rarely mean anything. "Diverted" like Jane Austen? "Inverted" like Radclyffe Hall?  But this is a far better rhyme than you find in many songs. Think "Back in the USSR/Don't know how lucky you are", "Shake and cough/Nabokov" and "Keyboard/Oh Lord". I would be interested to know which "-erted" word they thought of first, and which were brought in just for the rhyme. I think "alerted" is the runt of the litter. Someone being diverted, perverted and inverted doesn't need alerting, as they are probably enjoying every minute of it.

I can't, off the top of my head, think of any other songs with "diverted", "inverted" or "alerted" in them. And I can't think of any poems with any of these words in. Perhaps "perverted" doesn't come into any poem, although the others surely must.

Posted on 03/30/2007 12:31 PM by Mary Jackson
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