Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Australia: Male feminist is in deep trouble
Jack Kilbride is a student at the University of Melbourne. Like me, he seems to think that Fairfax columnist Clementine Ford is a bit of a ratbag. So he wrote a politically savvy article (see below) that called for feminists to reach out to others rather than alienate them. But reaching out is the last thing feminists want to do. Stewing in their own hate is their thing. So poor Jack has attracted a flood of condemnation for his thoughts. His article was published in the Far-Left "New Matilda" and was passed for publication by Chris Graham -- another uncomprehending male. So Chris has been in deep do-do too. His "Mea culpa" is here. Is there such a thing as a moderate feminist? I guess so but they would be unwise to say what they think in Leftist circles
I am a man and I am a feminist. I wholeheartedly condemn the actions of the men who have threatened and abused feminist writer Clementine Ford. I also commend the decision of one particular boss who opted to terminate the contract of Mathew Nolan after his embarrassing and disgusting remarks. However, while Clementine Ford is a great advocate of the feminist movement in this country, her strategy may be doing more harm than good.
We obviously need people like Clementine, breaking down walls on the front line in the push for equality. Illuminating the dark, misogynistic corners of our society so that women can walk the streets without the fear of assault and abuse.
These people are important, but slapping one man on the wrist so publicly has inevitably isolated thousands more.
Scores of men are posting across social media, infuriated by the whole situation. In their eyes, crazy Clementine is just a whiney girl with daddy issues that despises all men. While their hatred may arguably prove that Ford’s writing is doing its job, it has also highlighted the continued divide between sexists and feminists in Australian society.
A gap we need to close.
The problem with writers like Clementine Ford is although their sentiment is justified, their vitriolic writing style means that people will always get offended. Unfortunately, those getting offended are usually the ones who need to read it the most.
If we are to give our young girls a more safe and equal society to grow up in, we need everyone on our side. The people who are abusing Clementine are the problem and reinforcing the battle lines between feminist and bigot is not going to help them change. And, if they don’t change, then nothing will.
Think of it this way. There are men, like myself, who are feminists and believers that true equality for women is paramount to our future.
We are not the people that need convincing. We are not the people assaulting our women in the streets, scoffing at calls for equal pay, or abusing writers on the Internet. We are already on your side.
Then there are the other men.
The men catcalling you on your way to the shops. The men groping and assaulting you in the nightclubs. The boss telling you they didn’t give you a promotion because they didn’t think you could handle it. The men who make you scared to walk home at night for fear of being raped. The men telling you that maybe you should dress more appropriately to avoid the unwanted stares and slurs. The men abusing Clementine across social media.
The mission of feminism is to make these men change and starting fights with them is only making that mission harder. We need a way to bring them in and luckily we may already have one.
On the 20th of September last year, beloved actress Emma Watson stood in front of the United Nations and produced one of the strongest and most well received feminist speeches in decades.
“Men think it’s a women’s word and it’s only for women, but really it just means you stand for equality,” Watson said in launching the HeforShe movement. “If you stand for equality, you are a feminist.”
“I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
Watson’s words were plastered throughout the media, presenting feminism as a way to improve society as a whole, not just the lives of women. It was a positive push for change; a fresh approach to the shouting and shaming that feminism has sadly become associated with.
If we want to actually change our world we need to stop trying to knock down the wall and instead, start helping people climb over.
Watson showed us a better path; it would be nice if we started to walk it.
Multicultural sisters stabbed a grandmother to death on her doorstep in petty row over brown sauce
Charice, 19, and Amberstasia Gassman, 22, were convicted of the killing of a grandmother after they clashed because the condiment had been smeared over Alison Connolly's daughter's bicycle seat.
Grandmother Mrs Connolly, 49, who had eight children and seven grandchildren, was fatally stabbed in the chest with a steak knife on the doorstep of her daughter's flat in Swindon, Wiltshire.
The single deadly blow was delivered by Charice Gassmann, who was described as 'a bully out for revenge'.
The stabbing came after Mrs Connolly confronted Charice in a local shop about the mess found on her daughter Kylie Hayes' pushbike.
Charice was left with a bloodied forehead after being headbutted by Mrs. Connolly and was heard saying: 'I'm going to f*****g nank some b****'.
A jury at Bristol Crown Court convicted Charice of murder and her sister of manslaughter.
Detective Sergeant Liz Coles said: 'This was a brutal attack on a mum-of-eight and a grandmother-of-seven during the middle of the day, within a communal area. 'Alison suffered a single stab wound to her chest which tragically proved fatal.
'Both Charice and Amberstasia are violent individuals who have shown no remorse for their actions.
'As a result, eight people have been left without their mother, and seven children will now grow up without their grandmother.'
The family of Ms Connolly said: 'We are completely devastated to have lost our mum in such a cruel and horrific way.
Nobody deserves to die in such awful circumstances. She was a brilliant mum and grandma - full of life, happy, funny and caring. 'We miss her every single day and wish she was still here with us.
'We will now try as best as we can to rebuild our lives as our mum would have wanted. We will always remember mum and will treasure the memories we have of her.'
Charice Gassman was jailed for life and told she will spend at least 19 years in prison.
Amberstasia was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter and ordered to serve at a least six of them.
Judge Graham Cottle told them: 'Both of you were involved in a joint enterprise which left Alison bleeding to death from a stab injury inflicted by you. 'She died there and those near and dear to her have been deprived of a mother and a grandmother and a very good friend.
'That afternoon, in what was clearly a prolonged incident, Alison had gone to a convenience store. 'It's not possible to know what was said but there was this continuation of this unpleasantness. 'Alison delivered a headbutt to you. It was painful and caused injury to your forehead.
'You wanted to settle the score. This killing is explained by the fact that you wanted revenge.'
Mrs. Connolly's family said they will never forgive the killer sisters. Her daughter Tanya Hayes, 30, said: 'My beautiful, happy, loving mummy has gone. We have never had a death in my family. At first I couldn't believe it. She will never get to spend time with her grandchildren.
'I wish I could call her. I wish I could give her one last hug. I will never forgive the girls who did this to her. I think my mum would've forgiven them but she is not here.'
The court heard Charice had a previous conviction for biting a 14-year-old on the face.
She looked visibly upset as she waved to her family while she was removed from the dock along with her sister.
Rev. Graham Backs Air Force Prayer: 'Since When is Voluntary Prayer Scandalous or Putrid?'
Reverend Franklin Graham is expressing outrage at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an atheist group that is demanding that the Air Force Academy football team quit praying on the field before games.
On Dec. 5 in San Diego, several member of the Air Force Academy Falcons knelt in prayer before the game. Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, complained.
"It’s a disgrace,” Weinstein told NBC San Diego. “It’s a putrid example of fundamentalist Christian supremacy, triumphalism and exceptionalism and it has to stop. Those individuals that are dressed in the Air Force uniform; that’s their uniform of the day. They’re members of the military and they are under different rules than the civilian counterparts they’re playing on the field."
Reverend Graham took issue with Weinstein on Facebook:
"Atheist Mikey Weinstein and his ironically named Military Religious Freedom Foundation is now picking on the US Air Force Academy (Official) football team! After seeing Falcon players kneel in prayer before last Saturday’s game against San Diego State, he says it must stop. He said Air Force players participating in public prayer “is a scandalous outrage” and calls it “a disgrace” and “a putrid example of Christian supremacy.” Since when is voluntary prayer scandalous or putrid? The Air Force Academy now says that it will conduct an inquiry into the situation. I call this a foul! Join me in praying that the religious freedoms of these young men will not be taken away as a result of one bitter person bent on removing God and His Son Jesus Christ from everything in this country. America owes its blessings to Almighty God—and our founding fathers knew that.
Pray that the Falcons will be allowed to continue their voluntary time of prayer—and let them know your support and encouragement in the comments below".
The Air Force announced plans to formally look into the situation and issued a statement:
"The United States Air Force Academy is attentive to all religious freedom concerns, and we are conducting an inquiry into the complaint. The Air Force is dedicated to maintaining an environment in which people can realize their highest potential, regardless of personal religious or other beliefs."
All religions are not the same
In the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris one month ago, millions of people across the world took to social media to express their horror at what had happened and to convey their support for the city’s citizens.
It seemed harmless enough, and there was no disputing the noble intentions and goodwill behind the rapidly widespread hashtag #PrayForParis, but a single response exposed the inappropriateness of invoking faith for an attack brought about by a misguided devotion to faith.
It came from Charlie Hebdo illustrator Joann Sfar, a man more qualified than most to comment on the brutal reality of terrorism in his homeland.
“Friends from the whole world,” he tweeted, “thank you for #PrayForParis, but we don’t need more religion! Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and joy! #Parisisaboutlife.”
Some might ask what’s the harm in believing in the power of prayer? Query why anyone would object to turning to a higher power for solace and solidarity in a time of unspeakable tragedy?
For Sfar, who has witnessed first-hand the bloodshed that the devout seek to justify as devotion to a higher power, the answer is unambiguous — even if he is largely alone in his willingness to reveal our warm and fuzzy prayers to be the dangers they are.
It was his workplace, Charlie Hebdo, that became a target for Islamic extremists in January when brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi stormed the magazine’s offices and killed 12 people in retaliation for the repeated publishing of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
“We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad,” witnesses reported the gunmen as shouting, confirming the attack was a direct response to the magazine’s long and proud history of lampooning religious figures, from the Pope to Muhammad.
It was the refusal of Charlie Hebdo’s editors to be censored by outraged believers, who took offence to their respective faiths being ridiculed, that saw religious extremists embark on a killing spree.
So you’ll forgive Sfar’s unwillingness to see yet more carnage at the hands of religious extremists used as a platform to promote praying, however benign those prayers might be.
It’s at this point many will argue that not all religions are created equal when it comes to facilitating the murders carried out in their name. And while the history books would suggest none of the major faiths can claim not to have blood on their hands, there’s no denying Islam has proven a uniquely potent recruitment tool for modern jihadists.
It’s not only disingenuous to pretend otherwise, as many do, but is profoundly unhelpful. Shutting down all analysis, or refusing to ask difficult questions in the aftermath of a siege or a massacre, might be “polite” but it’s also hopelessly counter-productive.
We all know the script: within hours of an act of terror being carried out by Islamic fundamentalists, well-meaning political leaders tell us that it has nothing to do with Islam, and in fact is behaviour that flies in the face of what we are assured is a very peaceful religion.
Note I said “well-meaning”. Because it’s not hard to understand their reasoning and it is indeed vital that innocent Muslims (which is, of course, the overwhelming majority of Muslims) do not become the undeserved target of abuse and paranoia.
But a willingness to speak up for the majority does not, and should not, excuse political leaders from condemning the minority. And to truly condemn fundamentalist Islam — and indeed eradicate it — demands more than a cowardly refusal to speak up for fear of offending religious sensibilities.
Guess what, guys? If we’re going to get serious about addressing the violence and abuse carried out in the name of religion — and that goes for all religions — then we’re going to have to get serious about addressing the one-eyed ideology and zealotry certain holy books transmit to the vulnerable and the dangerous.
Whether it’s the Catholic Church condoning the systemic prejudice against women and homosexuals, or Islam implicitly endorsing a literal interpretation of the Koran to a violent believer, we can no longer afford to tiptoe around these issues for fear of causing offence.
The key to a peaceful and tolerant society is the clear division between church and state, and that requires our laws and politicians to be beholden only to secular values. Murmuring platitudes about personal beliefs is a cop out.
As British counterextremist expert and former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Maajid Nawaz, wrote in a searingly honest piece in The Wall Street Journal this weekend, world leaders are only compounding the problem of Islamic fundamentalism by refusing to acknowledge the Islamic part of the equation.
“Islamic State does indeed have something to do with Islam — not nothing, not everything, but something,” he wrote. “That something is the way in which all Islamists justify their arguments using Islamic scripture and seek to recruit from Muslims.”
Former Australian PM Stokes Islam Debate: ‘Not All Cultures Are Equal’
Calls by Australia’s conservative former prime minister for Islam to be reformed have stoked debate, with some critics accusing him of behavior reminiscent of Donald Trump.
Never one to shy away from controversy, Tony Abbott – who remains a member of parliament three months after losing a party leadership challenge and thus the premiership – said in a letter published in a Sydney tabloid this week that the West “can’t remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam.”
“Islam never had its own version of the Reformation and the Enlightenment or a consequent acceptance of pluralism and the separation of church and state,” he wrote.
“It’s not culturally insensitive to demand loyalty to Australia and respect for Western civilization. Cultures are not all equal. We should be ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God.”
Abbott’s political rivals accused him of bigotry, with some trying to draw parallels with GOP presidential candidate Trump and his recent call for Muslims to be temporarily banned from entering the U.S.
Andrew Leigh, a senior lawmaker in the opposition Labor Party, called Abbott an “Australian Donald Trump” while another Labor member of parliament, Ed Husic – who is Muslim – wondered in a television interview whether Abbott and others were trying to “Trumpify Australian politics by bringing in the extreme elements of conservative discussion within the U.S. political system to Australian shores.”
The criticism lead to newspaper headlines like: “Australia ex-PM Tony Abbott defends Trump-like ‘modernize’ Islam comment.”
But after delivering a speech in Singapore on Wednesday night, Abbott did not back down.
“Not all cultures are equal,” he told the audience at an event hosted by the Institute for International Strategic Studies Asia. “And I am more than ready to assert the superiority of a culture that is decent and humane, open and welcoming, over a culture that thinks it's right to kill in the name of God.”
Abbott said “the allure” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) must be addressed. “Part of that is defeating it – because as long as it survives, there is this idea that somehow it is of God, and if it fails, almost by definition, it is not.”
Abbott was also asked his views on Trump, and replied cautiously, saying it was not his habit to speak about other country’s politics. But he did observe that looking at the U.S. from a distance, “there appears to be a degree of popular alienation from Washington in general and the leadership of both major parties in particular.”
“Now I would very much be inclined to think that at some stage in the Republican nominating process the frontrunner will come back to the pack – that would be my instinct,” Abbott said.
“Because certainly the sorts of things that he [Trump] said would suggest that he would be an interesting person to be the leader of the free world.”
Australian Islamic leaders rejected the notion that Islam needs to be reformed. “Islam is not in any need of reformation since the normative principles and practices of the religion allow Muslims to harmoniously coexist within pluralist societies that are based on the universal values of compassion and justice,” said Australia’s grand mufti, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad.
The Egyptian-born Sunni cleric has himself stoked controversy on occasion, most recently with a statement following last month’s terror attacks in Paris highlighting the need to address what he called “causative factors [of terrorism] such as racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitization, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention.”
(Amid negative reaction, the mufti then said he was not implying that the “causative factors” justify terrorism.)
The ambassador of Indonesia, Australia’s near neighbor and the world’s most populous Islamic nation, called Abbott’s remarks unhelpful. “A rhetoric boasting of cultural and religious superiority over other cultures and religions is unhelpful to the cause and divisive,” Nadjib Riphat Kesoema told the Australian Associated Press.
“It is important for us including the multicultural societies of Australia and Indonesia to keep our focus on efforts to creating a long-term solution to the common challenges of violent extremism that we face.”
Abbott’s successor, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Australia’s national broadcaster that Abbott was “entitled to his opinion.”
“I’d simply make the observation again that the one thing that we need to be very careful not to do – and I’m sure Tony agrees with this by the way – what we must not do is play into the hands of our enemies and seek to tag all Muslims with responsibility for the crimes of a few,” he said.
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.