Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Any mention of Jews seems to offend Muslims. How can recognizing the sufferings of the Jewish people offend anyone?

"Advisers appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims. They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths.

The draft proposals have been prepared by committees appointed by Blair to tackle extremism. He has promised to respond to the plans, but the threat to the Holocaust Day has provoked a fierce backlash from the Jewish community.

Holocaust Day was established by Blair in 2001 after a sustained campaign by Jewish leaders to create a lasting memorial to the 6m victims of Hitler. It is marked each year on January 27.

The Queen is patron of the charity that organises the event and the Home Office pays £500,000 a year to fund it. The committees argue that the special status of Holocaust Memorial Day fuels extremists’ sense of alienation because it “excludes” Muslims. A member of one of the committees, made up of Muslims, said it gave the impression that “western lives have more value than non-western lives”. That perception needed to be changed. “One way of doing that is if the government were to sponsor a national Genocide Memorial Day. “The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It’s a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.” The recommendation, drawn up by four committees including those dealing with imams and mosques, and Islamaphobia and policing, has the backing of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain. He said: “The message of the Holocaust was ‘never again’, and for that message to have practical effect on the world community it has to be inclusive. We can never have double standards in terms of human life. Muslims feel hurt and excluded that their lives are not equally valuable to those lives lost in the Holocaust time.”

Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, said: “There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years. That’s pretty genocidal to me.”

The committees are also set to clash with Blair on his proposal to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical Islamic group. Government sources say they will argue that a ban is unjustified because the group, which is proscribed in much of the Middle East, neither advocates nor perpetrates violence in the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said it would consider the proposals for a separate Genocide Day for all faiths but emphasised that it regarded the Holocaust as a “defining tragedy in European history”. Mike Whine, a director of the British Board of Deputies, said: “Of course we will oppose this move. The whole point is to remember the darkest day of modern history...."

More here

[I wonder if the "inclusive" Muslim authorities mentioned above are envisaging recognition of the next worst genocide after the Jewish genocide? I wonder if they are envisaging official recognition of the Armenian genocide carried out by Turkish MUSLIMS between 1915 and 1918?]


It used to be conservatives who were dubious about working mothers but the lady described below is the wife of one of Australia's leading Leftist intellectuals and, surprise, surprise, she wants to dictate to others about how to raise their children....

"Is it just me, or is it very upsetting when wealthy, privileged women start telling other mums - especially poorer mums - how to raise their children? That's what Anne Manne has been doing this week. Manne is a mother of two grown daughters. She has written a book titled Motherhood: How Should We Care For Our Children? The publishers have described it as "humane" and "courageous" but the words "sanctimonious" and "hypocritical" fit just as well.

Cut back to its basics, Manne's book is an attack on working mothers. The curious thing is, Manne is herself a working mother. The difference, as she sees it, is that she never put her children into a creche, not even for a single day. Actually, she did try it once and it almost made her cry. Of course, Manne didn't need to put her daughters into a creche because - despite the fact that I'm sure she'd never see herself this way - she is a woman of privilege. Her husband, Robert Manne, is a professor of politics at LaTrobe University and a political commentator. He must easily be earning more than $100,000 a year, which puts him among the top wage-earners in Australia.

In her book, Manne says that when her first baby was born, her husband was on a year's leave from his job. She does not say that this put any particular financial strain on the family, so we'll assume that it did not. Manne's mother came up "from the country" to help, so Manne was able to go back to part-time work. As time passed, she decided she wanted more help with her children. First, she looked at daycare centres in her neighbourhood but none was suitable. Manne thought the staff were insensitive. Next, she tried family day care (where one mum looks after three or four children in her own home), but that was no good either. Manne didn't like the way the toddlers tumbled towards the door every time the bell rang, shouting: "Mummy!"

So, what next? Did Manne give up looking for care and shoulder the burden of raising her children? Not a bit of it. She got a nanny. She also kept working, at least part time, as a university lecturer and a writer.

Now, all these choices seem just fine to me. Manne is obviously a loving mother, and she has done what she believes to be the right thing by her children. What I don't understand is how she could have fallen into the trap of assuming that her choices will suit everybody else. With a smugness seen only in the middle classes, Manne presumes to tell other women how to raise their children.

In her book, she argues that women who don't do exactly as she did - use a nanny, work part time - may be harming their children. In particular, she takes aim at mums who use day care, saying such places are designed to provide care and not love. It could be argued that Manne's nanny provided care and not love to her daughters, too, but apparently that's OK.

Manne worries that we are heading toward a society where children will say their first words to a stranger rather than to their parents. But how real is that scenario. According to the most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, very few parents of very young children use formal child care and most don't use it very often. The Child Care Study carried out in 2002 says that only 7 per cent of infants under the age of one are in day care, and most of those are there for only a few hours a week. Of all children who used any type of child care, 45 per cent used it for fewer than 10 hours per week. A further 27 per cent used it for 10 to 19 hours per week. The idea that Australian women are putting their children into creche for hours on end so they can pursue their careers is not backed by any statistical data. Or, as the ABS puts it: "The use of formal care by very young children is low [and] the majority of children used relatively small amounts of child care."

Still, Manne devotes several chapters of her book to research that supposedly shows that day care is detrimental to children. Quite a few experts would disagree. Last February, the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling in Canberra presented a report that said: "Quality child care has been shown to benefit both society and the child."

Ann Sanson, a developmental psychologist at the University of Melbourne, says the weight of evidence suggests that good-quality child care does not do any harm and can be of some benefit. She notes that people like to politicise the research, which is why I like to rely on my own observations. My children go to kindergarten in Sydney. There are 18 children in their class. Looking at them, I can't tell which ones went to day care or had nannies, or were reared by stay-at-home mums. "You'll never be able to do that," says Sanson. "There are too many variables."

The most obvious one is love. Women who love their children will generally do what they think is right but, to do so, they need choices".

Above article by Caroline Overington

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