Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Why Islamic violence? Leftist "New Matilda" has no answers
Megan Giles, who wrote the article I excerpt below, has a significant academic background. It is however a solidly Leftist one, so we cannot expect much in the way of balance or academic rigour from her. She mainly seems to be a do-gooder. Anyway, she knows a bit about history. And she parades that history as if it excuses or at least explains the current epidemic of Muslim violence. She spells out the tired old comment that Christians and Christian countries have been violent in the past too. As if nobody knew that!
There she is. Isn't she gorgeous?
But it is not history we have to deal with. It is the present. So why is the present-day world's flood of political violence coming from Muslims?
She seems to think that it is Muslims "getting even" with the West for colonialism. But de-colonization took place around 50 years ago. And, after some initial eruptions, the decolonized world was mostly peaceful. What has suddenly caused it to erupt? And why are Indo-China and other non-Muslim ex-colonies not erupting? And why are the people being killed at the moment overwhelmingly Muslim, rather than the wicked colonists?
Megan has not apparently thought of those questions. Her conventional Leftist hates are all she has to explain anything, whether they fit or not. She is a procrustean.
I and many others point to the way in which ISIS and other violent Muslims are just doing what the Koran says. Megan thinks that cannot be the explanation as Christians have been similarly vicious at times too. But that is a non-sequitur. A particular type of behaviour can arise from many causes. And that normal human selfishness has caused Christians to GO AGAINST New Testament teachings proves nothing. But Muslims don't have to do that. The Jihadis are not going against ANYTHING in their religion. Their deeds and faith are in harmony. So we at least need to note that.
And that makes a difference to what adherents of the two religions hear. Both Mullahs and priests tell their adherents to do as their holy books say. So Christian priests overwhelmingly preach peace and kindness while the Mullahs overwhelmingly preach conquest. And preaching can be influential. Why do it otherwise? For most people -- Christian or Muslim -- it goes in one ear and out the other. They usually accept the wisdom of it but don't act on it. But some do. So on the one hand we have the provision of Christian hospitals and schools while on the other we have gruesome violence.
So what the Koran says is indeed central to the Muslim problem -- because it is what most of the Mullahs preach -- and what the Mullahs preach is influential.
But why is it that we have the upsurge of violence now? Megan does not even attempt to tell us. She had no answers about the causes of Muslim violence at all.
But I think the cause is pretty clear. It is in that history that Megan thinks she knows about. It is a product of ham-fisted European intervention. A skeletal outline:
It all started with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan had been a reasonably secular State up until then. But it was part of the Ummah, part of the Muslim world. So it was devout Muslims who chased the Soviets out. The invasion aroused the devout Muslims and eventually made them the only effective force in the land. And they used that power to transform Afghanistan into a Koranic State, a centre of Islamic righteousness and virtue.
And it might have stopped there except for the fact that the Afghan upheavals had attracted a very rich Saudi who became instrumental in defeating the Soviets: Osama bin Laden.
And Koranic virtue does preach attack on the infidel, the kuffar. So after helping to defeat the Soviets, Osama bin Laden was "feeling his oats" and sought new fields to conquer -- and consequently organized the attack on the exceedingly un-Muslim USA, with results we all know about.
And since then it has been push and counter-push. An Afghanistan-enmeshed organization -- Al Qaeda -- attacked the USA so the USA attacked Afghanistan in an attempt to root them out. And once the USA under George Bush was mobilized, they thought that the sabre-rattling coming from Iraq sounded dangerous too so decided that a pre-emptive war there was needed to avoid another "9/11".
But in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the Americans had no reasonable idea of an end-game. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they assumed that destroying the hostile regime would enable them to give the grateful natives the blessings of democracy. But there is no history of democracy in the Middle East and no hankering for it. Instead there is a 4,000 year history of tyrannies. So the semi-democratic regimes set up by the Americans had no legitimacy in the eyes of the people and consequently had little control over anybody or anything. Instead we have had chaos.
But nobody likes chaos and many influential Muslims of the Middle East have put their hands up as the new tough-guy leader who will restore peace and unity -- and maybe even become the new Caliph. And that is what has been going on. Can it have escaped anyone's notice that 98% of the people dying are Muslims? Much of the the Middle East and North Africa is in the midst of a civil war to determine who the next tyrant will be. The people there want a strong tyrant not a wishy-washy democracy.
And amid those struggles aspiring leaders will do everything they can to acquire legitimacy. And attacks on the West are a good way of doing that. It enables the aspiring tyrants to claim Islamic righteousness. So what constitutes Islamic righteousness does matter. And we find that in the Koran.
And all the excitement of the struggle does catch the attention of people in the Western world whose ancestry is in Muslim lands. And a tiny minority decide that they want a part of the action.
So some of those go to Syria, while others attack individuals in their country of residence.
So is it reasonable to target the whole Muslim minority of a Western country in some way? I think it is. But no half measures will do. Tentative measures will just exacerbate the problem. The small minority of radicalized Muslims can do a lot of damage and cause a lot of disruption, social and otherwise. And the populations of Western countries are becoming increasingly intolerant of that, as they should. We wouldn't accept such disruption from anyone else so why should we accept it from young Muslims?
But how can we get violent young Muslims out of our countries? How do we detect in advance who they are? We cannot. So the only way of getting the violent young Muslims out of our countries is to get ALL Muslims out of our countries. I believe it will come to that. Muslim populations ARE a breeding-ground for terrorists and that undisputable fact endangers their continued long-term acceptance in Western countries.
Now listen to Megan. I have omitted her more sulphuric comments about Pauline Hanson:
Hanson states that the New Testament, unlike the Qur’an, is devoid of any violence, as if the relative peace and prosperity enjoyed by the Western world is somehow solely attributed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Hanson and many others fail to recognise the context of time, place and circumstance that permits the usurping of Quranic verses for such violence.
They fail to scrutinise what it is that separates the millions of Muslims, and millions of others of faith, who can read their sacred scriptures in their historical contexts, from those that totalise and literalise religious doctrine and wrongly champion it as the impetus for their savagery.
In the late 20th century, regimes across the Arab world shaped and utilised Islamic ideologies to solidify and mobilise support against Western liberalism. And so it goes, on and on through history. Past contexts magically transforming to suit present and future contexts.
When we place blame we go directly to the original source, without acknowledging how that source has been manipulated to accommodate contemporary political objectives.
Though all of this, in our current debate, is near-irrelevant. Focusing on the details of religious texts will lead us nowhere since we have, right in front of us, countless examples that help us understand the rise of Islamic State and specific historical, albeit complex and multi-faceted, justifications for North African and Middle Eastern violence.
Indeed what is missing from mainstream debates about contemporary terrorism is the very heavy historical baggage it carries.
Tony Blair has apologised for “mistakes” made during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The US government’s hasty state-building policies after the disbanding of the Iraqi army left thousands of young men angry, armed and unemployed.
Unfortunately, only few commentators will reach back far enough into history to examine the brutal, incendiary and utterly destructive legacy of colonialism in the Middle East to understand contemporary violence.
While ‘we’ in the West have moved on from colonialism and want everyone else to just ‘get over it’, post-colonial states were never given space to – they live its continuity in the neocolonial economic policies of the Washington Consensus and the ubiquity of a militarised national consciousness where violence pervades and reproduces.
The late Algerian psychiatrist Franz Fanon has written passionately on the impact of colonialism on the colonised individual’s psyche, and its propensity for creating violent separatist and regionalist factions, long after independence.
“At the individual level, violence is a cleansing force. It rids the colonized of their inferiority complex, of their passive and despairing attitude… Violence hoists the people up to the level of the leader.”
Despite the horrors of history committed on every continent, our right to anger and grieve over the bloodshed in Paris is doubtless. It must be denounced with the loudest possible voice and responded to with the strongest possible deliberation and vigilance.
Good people lost their lives because they represented the freedom we all hold dear, no matter our race, nationality or religion. Though we must fall short of dismay that Middle Eastern wars have somehow spilled over onto a bystanding Europe caught up in the crossfire.
These wars belong to the Great Powers and they always have. As Gordon Adams has noted, “France has been a central arena for the confrontation between Islam and political-religious Christian Europe for 1,300 years.”
The proceeding centuries were characterised by a vicious brand of colonialism under the guise of exporting a concept of citizenship that was highly exclusionary at home, and anti-Islamic domestic policies leaving hostility an omnipresence weaved through France’s social and political fabric.
Adams states, “France needs to undergo a deep self-examination, and a fundamental revision of the current practice of sidelining its large Muslim population, leaving them disaffected, poorly educated, underemployed, and ripe for recruitment to terrorism.”
All religious texts have the capacity to unite or divide humanity. Our conversation must start centering on the dark, ugly side of human nature and the contexts that breed violent extremists of which our own states are often complicit in.
Disgusting British social workers again
Social workers lied on under oath and doctored a report as part of an attempted 'cover-up' which favoured five children being taken away from their parents.
Judge Mark Horton said there had been a 'deliberate and calculated' alteration to the dossier and changes had been made by a social worker and a team manager.
Alterations of the report, which was an assessment of the children's parents, had completely changed its tenor and improved the case for removing the children from their parents.
In a family court hearing in Portsmouth, Judge Horton said: 'It is exceptional to find a case in which there has been deliberate and calculated alteration of a report prepared by one social worker in order to make that assessment seem less favourable, by another social worker and the team manager; the withholding of the original report when it was ordered to be disclosed and the parties to the alterations lying on oath one of them twice, in order to try to cover up the existence of the original report.'
The original report of the parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had contained 'positives and negatives' and had been balanced.
Proceedings started more than two years ago and the children, aged between three and 16, are currently living with foster parents as part of an interim agreement.
Social workers for Hampshire County Council wanted them to stay in foster care but their parents wanted them returned to their care.
But despite Judge Horton saying the children should stay within the care of the council and approving fostering plans put forward by staff, he was critical of the way the case had been handled.
He said: 'A final decision is long overdue,' said Judge Horton.
'The reasons for the delay have been almost exclusively, the actions of employees of the applicant local authority.'
He went on to say that he had never came across a case like this before.
He said given the 'enormity' of what staff had done and the fact 'they still work as social workers' it was right that they should be named so that members of the public were aware of 'their shortcomings in this case'.
The judge indicated that some staff had left Hampshire council and moved on to other jobs since the case involving the five children had started.
Social worker Sarah Walker Smart had 'lied twice to me on oath', said the judge.
He said he had been told that she had been promoted to a 'team manager' in Hampshire council.
Kim Goode had been Sarah Walker Smart's manager and 'was the person who initiated the wholesale alteration of the original report and who attempted to keep the truth from the parties and me', said the judge.
He said she had gone on to become 'district manager for the Isle of Wight'.
Lisa Humphreys had been Kim Goode's manager, said the judge.
'Her evidence was deeply unimpressive,' he added. 'She made a 'hollow' apology to the parents during her evidence; she regarded a social worker lying on oath as 'foolish' and she failed to accept any personal responsibility for what had gone on under her management.'
He said she had gone on to become assistant director of children's social care with Lambeth Borough Council.
Judge Horton said he had concluded that at one stage the children had been illegally removed from their parents' care - and that a 'fair parenting assessment' had not been carried out.
He said a number of concerns had been raised about the way the children were being looked after by their parents.
The judge said the parents loved their children - and their children loved them.
But despite the quality of those relationships, the parents had 'difficulty parenting the children to the required minimum standard', he said.
The court heard that both parents had experienced 'very difficult childhoods', had an underlying 'chronic' mistrust of professionals and did not want to 'inflict on their children the experiences they themselves had as children', which had led them to failing to provide effective boundaries for the children, according to the judge.
He said this then led to appalling neglect of the older children's educational, emotional and social development and neglect of all of the children's health needs.
Hypocrisy of the cinemas: Film bosses ban Church's video of the Lord's Prayer - yet allow adverts for beer and violent video games to be shown to children
Cinemas have banned an advert encouraging prayer while letting children see commercials selling alcohol and ultraviolent video games.
The 60-second recording of the Lord’s Prayer was scheduled to be shown ahead of screenings of the new Star Wars film before Christmas.
But it was pulled after the company which sells advertising at the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue chains said the Church of England film could be seen as offensive.
Christian and Muslim leaders, MPs and even the outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins said the decision was ridiculous.
The row intensified as it emerged that:
The commercials for alcohol and violent video games are being shown before films aimed at children;
One 12A-rated film, which children of any age can watch with an adult, showed a sexualised perfume advert featuring naked models posing as Adam and Eve;
The prayer advert was pulled even though Digital Cinema Media, which sells screen advertising, had no written policy against it;
The CofE is considering legal action under the Equality Act.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘This advert is about as offensive as a carol service or a church service on Christmas Day.’
He appears in the advert, walking through a park while voicing a line from the Lord’s Prayer. Further lines are spoken by children, police, weightlifters, a farmer, refugees and a gospel choir.
It ends with a link to JustPray.uk, a website featuring prayers submitted via social media. The advert was cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority and rated U – suitable for all – by the British Board of Film Classification.
CofE spokesman, Reverend Arun Arora, said he was baffled by the ban, adding: ‘In one way the decision of the cinemas is just plain silly but the fact they have insisted upon it makes it rather chilling in terms of limiting free speech.
‘We are hopeful the leadership of Digital Cinema Media would have the strength to recognise they have made a mistake and change their minds.’
Yesterday it emerged that DCM, which controls 80 per cent of UK cinema advertising and is jointly-owned by Odeon and Cineworld, was so eager to host the advert in July that an agent offered the Church a 55 per cent discount.
But on August 3, he claimed the cinemas would refuse to show the clip, saying ‘our hands are tied by these guys’.
Executives later said that DCM had turned the advert down because its policy prevented it airing trailers ‘connected to personal beliefs’.
But yesterday DCM claimed its decision was based on its ‘policy of not accepting political or religious advertising content for use in cinemas’ – pointing to a document on its website as evidence.
Analysis by the Mail reveals this document’s creation date was last Friday – just two days before the farce was revealed by the Mail on Sunday.
DCM did not respond last night to questions about when the policy had been written.
Professor Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist who is an outspoken critic of organised religion, told the Guardian: ‘I strongly object to suppressing the ads on the grounds that they might offend people.
'If anybody is offended by something so trivial as a prayer, they deserve to be offended.’
Marketing expert Sue Primmer said the decision not to run the advert was ‘bonkers’.
She added: ‘Somehow cinemas think it is OK to promote sugar, popcorn and fizzy drinks at children when we have a serious problem with diabetes in this country, but they won’t show an inoffensive and intelligent advert at a time when it is important to reflect on what our great world faiths, including Christianity, are all about.’
Yesterday Odeon and Cineworld screenings of 12A films were packed with teenagers and younger children. But all featured adverts for alcohol, including hard spirits, or violent 18-rated video games.
Australian Scouts to ditch pledge to God, Queen and Australia to become ‘more inclusive’
SCOUTS are set to dump the word “God” in its traditional promise amid claims the religious reference was making non-Christian members “uncomfortable” while turning others away from joining.
References to being “cheerful” and “thrifty” are also set to be axed, while a pledge to “doing my duty to Australia” will be canned to be more inclusive to other nationalities as part of a major review within the nation’s largest youth movements.
In a move set to irk monarchists, an optional promise to the “Queen of Australia” is also to be permanently given the boot as part of the modernisation of the movement.
Scouting families have until the end of the year to complete a survey on the new wording of the movement’s new “law and promise” that will then be recited by members from mid-2016.
A message posted on its website by Scouts Australia chief commissioner Chris Bates said the change of words was about making the Scouts more inclusive.
The existing promise includes the line “I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to my God and to the Queen of Australia”.
However, some younger Scouts were already reciting an adapted version of the promise, contributing to a “silo-effect” between its sections, Mr Bates said.
He said there was a strong feeling some of the wording was not consistent with members’ beliefs or their current use of language. “The result is we are either losing members or some of our members are using words they don’t actually believe in,” he said.
“After much research and discussion, we have provided some new wording for a revitalised promise and law that we believe young Australians will find easier to commit to, and to follow.”
One of the proposed options for the new promise includes a reference to being “true to my spiritual beliefs”.
The revised law ditches the need for Scouts to be cheerful, thrifty, courageous and helpful, while retaining the need to be friendly, honest, fair, loyal and trustworthy.
Founded in 1958, Scouts Australia is regarded as the largest youth movement in the nation with almost 70,000 members. Although the organisation is open to members of all religious faiths, those who refuse to make the promise to God are not allowed to become members.
The Scouts Youth Program Review said feedback from members found many parents preferred non-religious activities for their children “and have expressed discomfort with the use of the word ‘God’.”
Scouts had the option to ditch the line about “doing my duty to the Queen” a decade ago, with only a few branches retaining the reference. But the review said most members felt the phrase needed to change, with less than 12 per cent wanting it retained.
As for revising the law, young people no longer used words such as “thrifty”. It said scrapping the reference to “Australia” in the promise was in recognition of the global nature of scouting, it said.
“The removal of direct reference of Australia was also seen as recognition of the global nature of Scouting, and making the promise more inclusive for citizens of other nations,” the review said.
John Kerry the buffoon
Americans rejected him in the 2004 Presidential election but he is still hanging around like a bad smell
There's an age old quote often attributed to Mark Twain that says "better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Unfortunately, John Kerry's role as Secretary of State compels him to speak publicly on behalf of the United States, and he's spent the last several months sweeping up those last few grains of skepticism about his intellectual limits. As Jonah Bennett at the Daily Caller notes:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry remarked Tuesday that the attacks on Charlie Hebdo are much more understandable and have a better rationale than the Friday Paris attacks.
Kerry flew to France following the G20 talks in Turkey and delivered remarks at the U.S. embassy on the Paris attacks, which left 129 dead, CBS News reports.
“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that,” Kerry said. “There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘Okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.’ This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate.”
Kerry's response is rife with the moral relativism and unseriousness that underlies modern liberalism. It's an incoherent view that is both condescending and generous. "In our Western society, we abhor violent retaliation for speech, but we understand if that's not how you do things in the Islamic world, and we're sorry if our insensitivity to your cultural preferences offends you." As Charles Cooke at the National Review put it:
Implicit in Kerry’s reasoning is the assumption that the perpetrators of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo had a clear purpose whereas the perpetrators of last week’s abomination did not. Or, as he put it, that in one case the killers were “really angry because of this and that,” but that in the other they were not.
But this isn’t true. In fact, both set of attackers gave reasons. With Charlie Hebdo, the killers’ purported motive was revenge against ”blasphemous” expression; in Paris last week, it was disgust at Paris’s reputation for “obscenity.” In consequence, there are only two choices here: Option 1) That John Kerry believes that killing people for speaking rudely is more understandable than killing them for being secular; or Option 2) That John Kerry doesn’t actually know what the most recent attackers used as their justification (and also doesn’t remember that at the same time as the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, associated gunmen targeted a market simply because its owners were Jews).
Although Kerry's logic is muddled, one thing is quite clear: this is an unserious man who is completely unfit to be America's Secretary of State.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.