It's impossible to satisfy "Rage Boy" and his ilk. It's stupid to try.
By Christopher Hitchens
If you follow the link, you will be treated to some scenes from the strenuous life of a professional Muslim protester in the Kashmiri city of Srinagar. Over the last few years, there have been innumerable opportunities for him to demonstrate his piety and his pissed-offness. And the cameras have been there for him every time. Is it a fatwah? Is it a copy of the Quran allegedly down the gurgler at Guantanamo? Is it some cartoon in Denmark? Time for Rage Boy to step in and for his visage to impress the rest of the world with the depth and strength of Islamist emotion.
Last week, there was another go-round of this now-formulaic story, when Salman Rushdie accepted a knighthood from her majesty the queen, and the whole cycle of hysteria started up again. Effigies and flags burned (is there some special factory in Karachi that churns out the flags of democratic countries for occasions like this?), wounded screams from religious nut bags, bounties raised to suborn murder, and solemn resolutions passed by notional bodies such as the Pakistani "parliament." A few months ago, it was the pope who was being threatened, and Christians in the Middle East and Muslim Asia who were actually being killed. Indeed, Rage Boy had a few yells and gibberings to offer on that occasion, too.
I have actually seen some of these demonstrations, most recently in Islamabad, and all I would do if I were a news editor is ask my camera team to take several steps back from the shot. We could then see a few dozen gesticulating men (very few women for some reason), their mustaches writhing as they scatter lighter fluid on a book or a flag or a hastily made effigy. Around them, a two-deep encirclement of camera crews. When the lights are turned off, the little gang disperses. And you may have noticed that the camera is always steady and in close-up on the flames, which it wouldn't be if there was a big, surging mob involved.
Of course, this is not to say that there isn't a lot of generalized self-pity and self-righteousness (as well as a lot of self-hatred) in the Muslim world. A minister in Pakistan's governmentthe son of revolting late dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, as it happensappeared to say that Rushdie's knighthood would justify suicide bombing. But our media regularly make the assumption that the book burners and fanatics really do represent the majority, and that assumption has by no means been tested. (If it is ever tested, and it turns out to be true, then can we hear a bit less about how one of the world's largest religions mustn't be confused with its lunatic fringe?)
The acceptance of an honor by a distinguished ex-Muslim writer, who exercised his freedom to abandon his faith and thus courts a death sentence for apostasy in any case, came shortly after the remaining minarets of the Askariya shrine in Samarra were brought down in shards. You will recall that the dome itself was devastated by an explosion more than a year agoan outrage described in one leading newspaper as the work of "Sunni insurgents," the soft name for al-Qaida. But what does "Rage Boy" have to say about this appalling desecration of a Muslim holy place? What resolutions were introduced into the "parliament" of Pakistan, denouncing such shameful profanity? You already know the answer to those questions. The lives of Shiite Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Christiansto say nothing of atheists or secularistsare considered by Sunni militants to be of little or no account. And yet they accuse those who criticize them of bigotry! And many people are so anxious to pre-empt this accusation that they ventriloquize the reactions of Sunni mobs as if they were the vox populi, all the while muttering that we must take care not to offend such supersensitive people.
This mental and moral capitulation has a bearing on the argument about Iraq, as well. We are incessantly told that the removal of the Saddam Hussein despotism has inflamed the world's Muslims against us and made Iraq hospitable to terrorism, for all the world as if Baathism had not been pumping out jihadist rhetoric for the past decade (as it still does from Damascus, allied to Tehran). But how are we to know what will incite such rage? A caricature published in Copenhagen appears to do it. A crass remark from Josef Ratzinger (leader of an anti-war church) seems to have the same effect. A rumor from Guantanamo will convulse Peshawar, the Muslim press preaches that the Jews brought down the Twin Towers, and a single citation in a British honors list will cause the Iranian state-run press to repeat its claim that the British governmentalong with the Israelis, of coursepaid Salman Rushdie to write The Satanic Verses to begin with. Exactly how is such a mentality to be placated?
We may have to put up with the Rage Boys of the world, but we ought not to do their work for them, and we must not cry before we have been hurt. In front of me is a copy of this week's Economist, which states that Rushdie's 1989 death warrant was "punishment for the book's unflattering depiction of the Prophet Muhammad." There is no direct depiction of the prophet in this work of fiction, and the reverie about his many wives occurs in the dream of a madman. Nobody in Ayatollah Khomeini's circle could possibly have read the book for him before he issued a fatwah, which made it dangerous to possess. Yet on that occasion, the bookstore chains of America pulled The Satanic Verses from their shelves, just as Borders shamefully pulled Free Inquiry (a magazine for which I write) after it reproduced the Danish cartoons. Rage Boy keenly looks forward to anger, while we worriedly anticipate trouble, and fret about etiquette, and prepare the next retreat. If taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean living at the pleasure of Rage Boy, and that I am not prepared to do.
Posted by: John Frum ||
06/27/2007 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Global Jihad
If somebody smacks Islamic Rage Boy hard on the back while he's doing his thing, will his face stay like that?
I've toured many cities in many countries taking on Palestinian division, worried that Palestinians will reach a point where they no longer identify themselves as such, but as ideological and tribal extensions of factions and sub-factions.
Cart before horse. Palestinians have never moved far enough beyond being "ideological and tribal extensions of factions and sub-factions" to even assume an actual national identity. This is why Palestinian society was so friable in the first place. High context cultures entrench tribal and religious divisions. Islam, as a direct extension of high context reference frames, is inherently doomed to this sort of internecine crapulence.
The devastating embargo imposed on Palestinians after the Hamas landslide victory in January 2006, didn't produce the results publicly projected. To the contrary, it greatly hampered the American "democratic" experiment in the Middle East.
Not at all. In fact, it was a solid demonstration of how important the unalienable rights of constitutional law are for democracy to have any real worth. Mouthing democratic platitudes while you then elect a terrorist government is just so much lip service. Gaza's smoking ruins are bleak testimony to this fact.
I remember how people picked fights for no convincing reason -- isolation, hunger and hopelessness lead to self-destruction.
Somehow, I sincerely doubt that the author is willing to include fighting with the Jews in his litany of woe.
Israel's bombardment never ceased, not even for one day. Hundreds of besieged Palestinians have been blown to shreds by Israeli bombs. Their only mechanism of defence has been makeshift Qassam "missiles" that have killed no more than a dozen Israelis in six years.
This guy is real good at that "cart before horse" thingy. Not once can this wretched git ever bring himself to admit that the Palestinians have never taken responsibility for diddly-squat when it comes to making peace. I wonder how he explains away the sewage flood.
Yeah, if the Jooos accidentally killed a few innocents, why, the Paleos only possible response is to try to kill only Israeli innocents. Oh, and snatch the occasional soldier for sport. It's just self-defense. And self-delusion.
Oh, wass there a democratic experiment in Palestine? I don't think there ever was truly a democratic experiment in Palestine. The only democratic experiment is in Israel and it drives the islamos nuts.
Well worth the free registration to read the whole thing.
Bernard Rougier is the kind of scholar of political Islam that 9/11 should have created. A Frenchman who teaches political science at the Université d'Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, he is fluent in Arabic and is willing to supplement his theoretical knowledge with analytical creativity and intrepid reporting. His "Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam Among Palestinians in Lebanon" looks at a fascinating, under-investigated microcosm of the Islamist landscape.
The world of the Lebanese refugee camps is tremendously convoluted. It has today become, much like Lebanon itself, a battleground in a regional confrontation between Iran, Syria and their allies, on the one hand, and the U.S., the Sunni-majority Arab states and their allies, on the other. Mr. Rougier is very good at examining the genesis of outside influences in Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp, near Sidon, which is the focus of his study. Perhaps the most striking of those influences was that of Iran, which as long ago as 1982 created a grouping of Sunni and Shiite clerics to help advance its own interests in Lebanon.
That a theocratic Shiite regime should have had the foresight to make inroads into the Sunni clergy and prompt them to collaborate with Iran's Shiite Lebanese allies showed not only that Tehran could think strategically and contrapuntally but also that the camps were even in the 1980s regarded as fertile ground for regional exploitation. This process continues more intensely than ever, with Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and others manipulating key aspects of Palestinian refugee politics in the Lebanon camps. Mr. Rougier's valuable backgrounder makes this roiling activity more comprehensible.
The second problem, more profound, goes to the heart of the book's thesis. This Mr. Rougier sums up in his introduction: "Today, it is no longer possible to speak of a Palestinian society in Lebanon's camps, so deep is the fracture between the [Palestine Liberation Organization] and its hard core (Fatah), on the one hand, and the Salafist militants, on the other." Salafist jihadists seek, through moral or violent action, a return to a purer (also largely mythical) Islamic past. Mr. Rougier's argument is that the Salafists, with their transnational ties to distant militant centers, such as Peshawar, Pakistan, and their loathing for nationalisms dividing the body of Muslim believers, have so gained in the camps that "a considerable part of the population has freed itself from the national Palestinian framework and is no longer governed by a nationalist universe."
This is quite a statement. It is all the more so in that Mr. Rougier correctly places Palestinian Islamist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the "nationalist" camp. The ideological commitment of these groups to Islam is subsumed in what they regard as the national struggle against Israel. But if the "nationalist universe" of the mainstream Palestinian secular and Islamist nationalist groups is crumbling--as Mr. Rougier claims--then presumably the Salafists represent quite a few refugees.
In fact, all signs are that Palestinian nationalism remains dominant in the camps and still enjoys support from most refugees. It's true that when Mr. Rougier wrote his book in 2004, Salafist groups had expanded their influence. It is also true that during recent fighting in Lebanon at Ain al-Hilweh and, most significantly, in the northern camp of Nahr al-Bared, the deep degeneration of Fatah was on full display--a result of years of Syrian coercion, internal corruption, cutbacks in income and much else.
But Mr. Rougier never provides us with persuasive indicators proving the potency of the Salafist phenomenon when compared with the nationalist one. Palestinians may be increasingly mistrustful of their mainstream parties, particularly Fatah and Hamas, but that does not mean they have swapped decades of nationalism for a global Salafism in which Palestine is only one among many struggles on the path toward a new Islamic millennium.
Scientists at Leipzig's Max Planck Institute are trying to decipher the complete genome of Neanderthals, using sophisticated sequencing techniques to piece together fragments of DNA preserved in ancient bones. You could probably find Caveman DNA in Gaza or Waziristan.
They say they hope their findings will shed light on the development of language and culture in modern humans. Clearly, though, the real news here is that completing the genome would make it theoretically possible to clone a Neanderthal. The lead scientist behind the project, Dr Paabo, says it would be fascinating, but claims ethical concerns "would totally preclude such an experiment".
Dartmouth ethicist Ronald M Green, however, has already told the New York Times that there's a decent case for cloning cavemen. "If we learn this is a species that was wrongly pushed off the stage of history, there is something of a moral argument for bringing it back," he notes, adding that his main concern would be "for a child born alone in the world with no relatives".
I'm trying to figure how Neanderthals were "wrongly pushed off the stage of history." Is the implication that those nasty Cro-Magnon ancestors of ours were responsible? Was it a deep-laid conspiracy? A nefarious plot? Perhaps we're taking our sympathy for the underdog to silly extremes under the cloak of ethics. Better, perhaps, to bring back the dodo bird, which was larger and presumably just as tasty as the turkey, or the passenger pigeon, which wasn't as large but which was apparently also delicious, since it was actually hunted out.
There were some interesting hints a year or so ago (NYT article, IIRC) that RNA played a larger role than expected in heredity. That makes sense: the egg cell's RNA is also present, and could be important in how the DNA is expressed. If so, then the first generation cross-species clone would not quite be the real McCoy; you'd have to breed the clones together to get something close to the original. (Assuming you didn't get mules)
In any event, Dartmouth should fire Green and hire Paabo.
At the end of the last ice age, a great many species that evolved for the cold disappeared. Save the information, and use it to help us quickly evolve should the latest climate change fad (not global warming, but cooling! Oh noooo!!!) come about. Isaac Asimov addressed the plight of the resurrected individual in his story "The Ugly Little Boy". There's no ambiguity about how morally wrong it would be to do this.
We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.
In the past year, Al Gores so-called documentary film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britains more or less Tony Blairs Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.
The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the established truth, although a lot of people including top-class scientists see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.
As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.
The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.
The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.
Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).
Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.
I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st centurys developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.
The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.
As a witness to todays worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
- Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
- Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
- Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
- Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term scientific consensus, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
- Instead of speaking about the environment, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
- Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
- Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.
If the writer is correct, then the nastiness of the industrial revolution would have self-corrected by the adaptability of humans.
Is London air cleaner now than it was in 1790? Is New York City air cleaner now than it was in 1890? Are we to believe the only reason it is so is due to the creation of the EPA in 1973? (more or less)
#2 Bobby - I believe the creation of the EPA in 1973 is the main cause of Goreball Worming.
We were facing a Coming Ice Age™ in the early 1970's (check out Time and other MSM publications of that era - they reported it with great glee so it must be true). Then the EPA was created and the next thing you know, we were facing Gerbil Warmenng and the Ozone Hole and polar bears forgot how to swim, etc.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
06/27/2007 20:08 Comments ||
Sanctions and diplomacy have failed and it may be too late for internal opposition to oust the Islamist regime, leaving only military intervention to stop Iran's drive to nuclear weapons, the US's former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Worse still, according to Ambassador Bolton, the Bush administration does not recognize the urgency of the hour and that the options are now limited to only the possibility of regime change from within or a last-resort military intervention, and it is still clinging to the dangerous and misguided belief that sanctions can be effective.
As a consequence, Bolton said he was "very worried" about the well-being of Israel. If he were in Israel's predicament, he said, "I'd be pushing the US very hard. I am pushing the US [administration] very hard, from the outside, in Washington."
Bolton, interviewed by telephone from Washington, was speaking a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced it would send a team to Teheran, at Iran's request, to work jointly on a plan ostensibly meant to clear up suspicions about the nuclear program. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had met on Sunday with IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei, and a day earlier with top EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana.
Posted by: gromgoru ||
06/27/2007 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Iran
Right now GB only seems to care about illegal aliens.
...he can't seem to think about anything other than how to legalize all the mex's.
That was one of his goals all along. A friend told me in 2002 that Bush would kill this country and the G.O.P. in the last two years of his Administration.
I told him he was CRAZY! He said to just wait and see. If this makes it all the way to Bush's desk, be ready to fight for your lives. There is already word that there will be a rush on the border. We're looking at a tsunami of invaders waiting to get their piece of American Pie. It will be nasty.
God bless America.
P.S. I wonder if .com still loves George now.
Posted by: Natural Law ||
06/27/2007 11:17 Comments ||
Iran isn't Mexico so why would the brain dead Texan care.
I wondered the same thing Natural Law. I liked Bush on Iraq and still do overall. I liked him on school vouchers and the early tax cuts. However, I'm severely disappointed w/him on the border to say the least - what a dork. His prescription drug thing back 03' was also a kowtow to the sr citizen lobbies. I also choked everytime I heard how much $$$ he wanted to send the africans for their aids problems. Total Rino, as a lot of his peers in the senate have also turned out to be no better if not worse.
Your great great grandmother, she had 14 kids
Your great grandmother had about as many
Then your grandmother had three, that was enough for her
Your mom didnt want any, you were an accident
Now you, my little lady, change partners all the time
When you screw up you save yourself by aborting
But there are mornings you awake crying
When you dream in the night of a large table surrounded by children.
Or the fact we have no history. We have history creationism that begins when were born.
Look at mere hundred years ago. Female life expectancy was less than that of the male because of the complications of child birth. Infant mortality was third world in percentage. All of which altered with modern medicine by the latter portion of the 20th century.
Most people a hundred years ago lived in small towns, villages, and on the farms, not major metropolitan areas. Medical services were basic at best. Today, what is simple tetanus could easily kill without the existence of penicillin type drugs that were yet to come, but are so available today we take them for granted. We're oblivious to the perils of childhood polio because of that same expansion of medical knowledge and capabilities.
You not only had 'lots' of kids just to make sure some would survive daily life, but without Social Security type programs, the culture dictated you took care of your parents in the later years, just as your kids were expected to take care of you.
The environment has altered. Do you just continue to practice the same behavior or do you adapt?
Watch the video, Bobby. The treatment of the masculine side is even more scathing: Your great-great grandfather bought the land to farm... now you sit in your one-bedroom [flat] and think about maybe buying something of your own.
Then we see an old woman with a wheelbarrow full of dirt, a matronly type scoops out a bucketful, runs it over to a maiden who fills a rucksack from the bucket, then to a child who takes a handful, drops all the dirt, and plants the photo found therein in the ground... and walks away. Definitely a critique.
Oh, it's a critique all righty, about the "Degeneration" (that's the title, y'know) of the human spirit under the baby-boomer welfare state (what Mark Steyn calls "Trudeaupia").
First verse: great grandfather clears the land, grandfather works the land and does something productive with it, father (baby-boom generation) sold it and went to work for the government, now the current generation has no property of its own.
Second verse: Great-grandma had a large family, grandma not so large, your baby-boom mother didn't want a kid, the daughter has abortions and is haunted by what she's done -- the family is dying out. (See, also, e.g.,Mark Steyn)
Third verse: Great grandfather survives the depression, grandfather works hard and becomes a millionaire, dad (baby-boomer again) puts it all in RRSP (Canadian version of the 401K, I think) and coasts along until it's all gone, current generation has nothing and has to resort to bank robbery or "voluntary simplification" (giving up technology because it's good for the earth, or more virtuous, or some such).
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.