Sunday, March 12, 2006

Suicidal Syd

Still with Viz, here is an example of their character, Suicidal Syd, who here attemptst to have himself killed by provoking the local chapter of al-Ghuraabaa. An example of a cartoon that satirises radical Muslims (reactions to the Danish loony toons in particular - which is more than welcome) without the breeching of Islamic prohibition on iconography or the sneering racism which was so explicit, it didn't even escape the BNP. We're unlikely to see any embassies burned down on account of this cartoon.

Toopee tip: MediaWatchWatch


Rectoplasm (noun). Or that which promotes the idea Islamic radicalism is the sole purveyor of anti-Semitism today, whilst failing to mention others of arguably more significance. Rectoplasm also detracts from the fact that Islamic radicalism is waging a war against larger ideas than anti-Semitism alone. Radical Islam's war is against everything that is deemed by them to be “un-Islamic” and this term is used and meant in its widest sense and covers more than simply the hatred of Jews. Terrorism is a menace to billions of people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, and hundreds of innocent people have have died who are victims of terrorism, plain and simple.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Begum Rokeya and International Women's Day

We attended a Bengali cultural festival commemorating International Women’s Day at the Brady Centre (East London) yesterday. Heard an excellent lecture of the life and times of the Bangladeshi feminist, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain given by Shahin Westcom. I’m going to try my best to get a transcript of it to post here, but in the meantime, this site has some information on her as well. The wiki entry is pretty crap – and is begging to be replaced by a proper article, hopefully by someone like Ms Westcom.


Fukuyama Alights NeoCon Bandwagon

Francis Fukuyama, right wing political historian and USA bigger-upper par excellence, was quick to bound onto the NeoCon express in the aftermath of 9–11. His support for the NeoCon project went all the way when he continued its support for the NeoCon invasion of Iraq, when he argued for the removal of the Saddam Hussain regime as a necessary reaction to the 9–11 attacks in spite of there being no evidence of a link. So it came as a bit of a shocker when two weeks ago, the international syndicated press rolled out his op-ed that he was ready to disown the NeoCon project in Iraq, because its pear-shapedness was obviously no longer doing his credentials any good. This was the piece (‘Neoconservatism has evolved into something I can no longer support’) that appeared in the Guardian on the 22nd of Feb.

More than any other group, it was the neoconservatives both inside and outside the Bush administration who pushed for democratizing Iraq and the broader Middle East. They are widely credited (or blamed) for being the decisive voices promoting regime change in Iraq, and yet it is their idealistic agenda that in the coming months and years will be the most directly threatened. Were the United States to retreat from the world stage, following a drawdown in Iraq, it would in my view be a huge tragedy, because American power and influence have been critical to the maintenance of an open and increasingly democratic order around the world. The problem with neoconservatism's agenda lies not in its ends, which are as American as apple pie, but rather in the overmilitarized means by which it has sought to accomplish them.

 He also accused the NeoCons of being Leninists:

In the formulation of the scholar Ken Jowitt, the neoconservative position articulated by people like Kristol and Kagan was...Leninist; they believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.

Worth reading every word.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Blair's god

Here is the transcript of the Blair’s God comments.

And here in full, is Craig Murray’s views on the BBC’s reportage on the matter:

Yet more scandalous reporting from the BBC. They are saying that anti-war protestors are up in arms because Blair said that "God will judge him for his decision to go to war in Iraq."

That is a deliberate twisting of what Blair said into a more favourable light. I too believe God will judge Blair: the poor bastard has really got it coming in the hereafter. Blair actually said that "Others" were involved in the decision to go to war. When Parkinson pressed him, he confirmed that he was referring to God.

Saying that "God decided we should go to war" is very different from saying "God will judge my actions."

We know that Blair and Bush had decided to attack Iraq before 9/11. We know they prayed together when they took that decision. We know they pushed on illegally once the UN wouldn't back them, despite their lies on WMD. We know they killed scores of thousands of Iraqis, and life is a living hell for many millions still living. We know of the pointless sacrifice of the lives of our own troops.

Blair doesn't just need to be brought down, he needs to be brought to justice. Even before God gets his hands on him.

Sounds like Blair, having expended all other things to hide behind when it comes to Iraq, has finally found it useful to hide behind god. God loves you and what you have done more than you will know, Mr Blair.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Road To Guantanamo on Channel 4

The estimable Sunny posted a great round-up of the recent detainment of some of the actors who of Michael Winterbottom’s Road to Guantanamo at Luton Airport after they returned from the Berlin Film Festival. The film got a stupendous reception at Berlin, where it won the Silver Bear award and the Guardian gives it a good review.

The film will get its first airing in the UK on March 9, on Channel 4. Now you know, set your VCRs.

Guilty by Association

Madeleine Bunting has managed to sum up this last month for Muslims quite perfectly:

February 2006 has proved a mensis horribilis for British Muslims. Cast your mind back over the past few weeks and virtually all the major news stories were guaranteed to provoke Muslim outrage: from the publication of the Danish cartoons across Europe to the leaked full report of Abu Ghraib abuse, the video of British troops abusing Iraqi teenagers, the glorification-of-terrorism legislation, and the UN report on Guant�namo Bay. The uncanny coincidence of three trials involving free speech - Nick Griffin, David Irving and Abu Hamza - has only thrust into sharper contrast for British Muslims the double standards of which they believe they are so often victims.

When it comes to the David Irving decision in Austria, it is an obvious knee jerk for most Muslims to convince themselves that they are being forced to suffer the use the of ‘Freedom of Speech’, a cornerstone of Liberal Democracy, as a pretext for media-savvy demagougues to victimise them whilst at the very same time, the same cornerstone is used to protect Jews from idiots like Irving. I know its hard to accept for many Muslims, but the two are not comparable offences. Muslims should re-evaluate what it means to deal with provocationary acts directed at their beliefs from a legal point of view rather than from a purely sentimental and reactionary one.

Publishing the cartoons was a breach of religious taboo, and was racist in intent - that we know. However, Muslims know and accept that organised religion has lost its value in the West because it doesn’t chime with Liberal Democracy. And all things remaining equal, thats the system we all live in and should respect.

The publication of the cartoons were anathema to Muslims. However, in order to safeguard themselves from such attacks, there exist laws which govern the protection of those who will use “Freedom of Speech” to incite hatred. Therefore Muslims would be wise to use the apparatus of the legal and judicial systems to fight such attacks on grounds of incitement of hatred or on by any such law that protects rights rather than by destroying property, rioting and ultimately losing the meaning of the offence caused in the first place.

The Holocaust is an event which is loaded with connotations of guilt and culpability for Europeans. It took place in the living memory of people who we are still contemporaries of. The Holocaust was also a culmination of a European pattern of endemic antisemtism that goes back many hundreds of years to when the Jews first came to Europe. See here.

Comparison of another crime, however heinous, to the Holocaust is to deny it. And to deny the Holocaust is to attempt to revise Europe’s dirty history of racism and prejudice and attempt to legitimise, even justify, its crimes on others. This is another anathema. Comparing one anathema to another gets you nowhere and to encourage it is to buy the Muslim bashers pretext to assuage the collective guilt of the the Holocaust and transfer it to Muslims. Muslims seem all too ready to bear this guilt - God only knows why (hello Mr Ahmadinejad). But that is what Muslims cannot afford to do if they want to have their rights respected in return.

There is a trap here which says “Muslims Do Not Press This Button”. Please lets not fall for the obvious by pressing it.