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Sunday 11 January 2015

Crusaders -- they're all Charlies


Roger Freeing Angelica: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1819, oil on canvas, 147 x 190 cm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

The fear of a 'revolt of Islam'

Interwoven with the desire to know and the imagination of the mysterious attraction there was another theme. Defeat goes deeper into the human soul than victory. To be in someone else's power is an experience which induces doubts about the ordering of the universe, while those who have power can forget it, or assume that it is part of the natural order of things and invent or adopt ideas which justify their possession of it.  Several kinds of justification were put forward in the Europe of the nineteenth century, and particularly in Britain and France, since those were the two countries mainly involved in rule over Arabs. Some were expressions in more secular language of attitudes which western Christians had long held toward Islam and Muslims since they were first faced with Muslim power: Islam was seen as a danger, both moral and military, to be opposed. Translated into secular terms, this provided both a justification for rule and a warning: the fear of a 'revolt of Islam', of a sudden movement among the unknown peoples whom they ruled, was present in the minds of British and French rulers. In the same way, memories of the Crusades could be used to justify expansion.

Albert Hourani: from A History of the Arab Peoples, 1991

Conquest of Zara: Tintoretto, 1584, oil on canvas (Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

Crusaders Conquer the City of Zara: Andrea Vicentino, 1580s, oil on canvas (Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

The White Knight

Rupert Murdoch used Twitter to convey his thoughts on the ongoing terror alert in France
: photo by Jason Reed/Reuters via The Guardian, 10 January 2015

Rupert Murdoch used Twitter to convey his thoughts on the ongoing terror alert in France.

Murdoch says Muslims must be held responsible for France terror attacks: News Corp boss tweets to say even peaceful Muslims must bear burden of deadly Charlie Hebdo death toll ‘until they destroy growing jihadist cancer’: The Guardian, 10 January 2015
Rupert Murdoch has been strongly criticised after tweeting that “most Moslems” -– even if peaceful -– must be held responsible for the religion’s “growing jihadist cancer” in the wake of the terror attacks in France.

The News Corp boss added his influential voice to the global discussion on terror that has convulsed social media since gunmen slaughtered 12 people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday.

Murdoch’s tweet on Saturday morning -– which came in the wake of the killing of five more civilians at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday -– was retweeted more than 1,500 times, and favourited by more than 767 people.

But the tweet angered many who criticised Murdoch for holding a religion of billions of peaceful people responsible for the actions of a minority of extremists.

One Twitter user referenced Murdoch’s own responsibility in the case of the News Corp phone-hacking scandal, while the Australian comedian Adam Hills was sceptical about the media mogul’s contribution to the debate.

Murdoch followed up his earlier tweet by claiming that “political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy”.

'It is a curious fact that Murdoch holds no fear for ordinary people. But among those who play the power game, certainly, beneath the courtesy and the conversation, there is a quiet fear.'
: photo by William West/AFP via The Guardian, 25 July 2014

Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US. Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy: Rupert Murdoch via Rupert Murdoch @rupert murdoch, 9 January 2015

Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible: Rupert Murdoch via Rupert Murdoch @rupert murdoch, 9 January 2015

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Trying out my new drone with Paul #WSJDLive
: image via Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch, 27 October 2014

Islam is as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog. - Sir Winston Churchill #islam
: image via 1ForHealth 1 @forhealth1, 9 January 2015
Le Monde online states that this photograph is of Hayat Boumeddiene in 2010.

Le Monde online states that this photograph is of Hayat Boumeddiene in 2010
: photo via Le Monde / The Guardian, 10 January 2015

  Le Monde online states that this photograph was taken of Hayat Boumeddiene in 2010.

Le Monde online states that this photograph of Hayat Boumeddiene was taken in 2010
: photo via Le Monde / The Guardian, 10 January 2015

The Dark Knights

Police special forces advance on a ring road near the scene: photo by Youssef Boudlal/Reuters via The Guardian, 9 January 2015

Police at Porte de Vincennes
: photo by Dan Kitwood via The Guardian, 9 January 2015

People are led away from the scene
: photo by Dan Kitwood via The Guardian, 9 January 2015

Hostages from the Hyper Cacher are led away by French police officers: photo by Vantagenews uk via The Guardian, 9 January 2015

This can't be Charlie

An elderly man from Yarmouk camp was found unconscious as a result of lack of food & medicine. #Palestine #Syria
: image via Palestine Social @PalestineSocial, 11 January 2015

Les amis de Charlie

Crusaders: French Romanesque Painter, 12th century, mural, Chapel of the Templars, Cressac

The Holy Warriors George, Theodore, and Demetrius: Unknown Greek Icon Painter, c. 1100, tempera on chestnut panel, 29 x 36 cm (The Hermitage, St. Petersburg)

World Chronicle Charlemagne
: German Miniaturist, c. 1310, manuscript (Ms. germ. 623), 275 x 175 mm (Staatsbibliothek, Berlin)

The Morgan Crusader's Bible: French Miniaturist, c. 1250, manuscript (M. 638), 390 x 295 mm (The Morgan Library and Museum, New York)

The Morgan Crusader's Bible: French Miniaturist, c. 1250, manuscript (M. 638), 390 x 295 mm (The Morgan Library and Museum, New York)


Melisende Psalte
r: Western Miniaturist, 1131-43, manuscript (Egerton MS 1139), 216 x 140 mm (British Library, London)

Constantine's Victory over Maxentius
: Piero della Francesca, 1452-66, fresco, 322 x 764 cm, San Francesco, Arezzo

The Battle of Ostia: Rafaello Sanzio,1514-15, fresco, width at base 770 cm, Stanza dell'Incendio di Borgo, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

Battle of Salvore: Domenico Robusti, 1605, oil on canvas (Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

Doge Enrico Dandolo Recruiting for the Crusade: Jean Leclerc, 1621, oil on canvas (Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

Doge Nicolò da Ponte Receiving a Laurel Crown from Venice: Tintoretto, 1584, oil on canvas (Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

Reconquest of Padua by Andrea Gritti: Palma Giovane,1584, oil on canvas (Palazzo Ducale, Venice)

Crusaders Departing from the Castle of Wuflens, near the Lake of Geneva: Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé, 1816, oil on canvas, 47 x 38 cm (Private collection)

Tancred and Erminia: Nicolas Poussin, c. 1634, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm (Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham)

Tancred Baptizing Clorinda: Domenico Robusti, c. 1585, oil on canvas, 168 x 115 cm (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople: Eugène Delacroix, 1840, oil on canvas, 410 x 498 cm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Crusaders Thirsting near Jerusalem: Francesco Hayez, 1836-50, oil on canvas (Palazzo Reale, Turin)

Burning of the Heretics (Auto-da-fé): Pedro Berruguete, c. 1500, oil on panel, 154 x 92 cm (Museo del Prado, Madrid)

Mohammed and the Monk Sergius: Lucas van Leyden, 1508, engraving, 289 x 216 mm (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco)

Paumgartner Altar (right wing)
: Albrecht Dürer, c. 1503, oil on lime panel, 151 x 61 cm (Alte Pinakothek, Munich)

The Martyrdom of St Maurice: El Greco, 1580-81, oil on canvas, 448 x 301 cm (Chapter House, Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial)

“hundreds of millions" of bad apples -- in one orchard

This map shows every attack on #French #Muslims since #CharlieHebdo #Islamophobia: image via M. Bil4l Kenasari @MBilalKenasari, 10 January 2015

In the US, outspoken satirist Bill Maher hosted the 13th season premiere of his HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night. Flanked by political commentator Paul Begala, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and author and activist Salman Rushdie, Maher claimed “hundreds of millions of [Muslims] support an attack like [Charlie Hebdo].”

“What we’ve said all along, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard,” Maher said.

Murdoch says Muslims must be held responsible for France terror attacks: News Corp boss tweets to say even peaceful Muslims must bear burden of deadly Charlie Hebdo death toll ‘until they destroy growing jihadist cancer’: The Guardian, 10 January 2015

Hands Up I'm Not Charlie

In Lebanon, a Syrian girl stands behind a door at a refugee camp in the village of Ketermaya. A storm raged across the Middle East this week raising concerns for Syrian refugees facing freezing temperatures in makeshift shelters: photo by Ali Hashisho/Reuters via the Guardian, 10 January 2015

Palestinian children look out through holes in a sheet at their family’s house, which witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during the 50-day war last summer. Since the war, thousands are still living in UN shelters and damaged homes and power is on for only six hours a day.: photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters via The Guardian, 10 January 2015

Afghan refugee children gather their goats in heavy fog on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan: photo byJean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP via The Guardian, 10 January 2015

Hundreds of Muslims attend Friday prayers during the first day of the three-day long Muslim congregation at Tongi, Dhaka, Bangladesh: photo by Abir Abdullah/EPA via The Guardian, 10 January 2015

Fear spread after the country’s bloodiest attack in half a century. In Villefranche-sur-Saône, forensic police officers scour the scene at a kebab shop damaged following an explosion near a mosque: photo byJean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP via The Guardian, 10 January 2015
Pharaoh is in the house

The great #PharaohSanders is in the house! SFJAZZ: image via SF JAZZ @SFJAZZ, 8 January 2015

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#McCoyTyner, #PharaohSanders, #JohnColtrane and producer Bob Thiele: image via Leticia Garcia @Ms_Golightly, 3 June 2014

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Living #jazz legend #pharaohsanders on the #yoshis #oakland @yosjisSF_OAK stage!: image via The Z List @ThisIsTheZList, 3 January 2014

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#PharaohSanders, #JohnColtrane, #AliceColtrane, #JimmyGarrison and #RashiedAli outside the Village Vanguard, 1966: image via Leticia Garcia @Ms_Golightly, 3 June 2014

Pharoah Sanders Grammy Award-winning US #jazz #saxophonist turns 74 today: image via Music Valley Inc. @musicvalley, 13 October 2014

#PharaohSanders & #JohnColtrane Ascension session, June 1965. Photo by #ChuckStewart: image via Leticia Garcia @Ms_Golightly, 6 September 2014

"@jazzdotorg: Happy 74th Birthday  to the great #PharaohSanders #jazz: Continued blessings to you!: image via olive oak @oakolive, 13 October 2014

Pharoah Sanders Quartet: New York, March 20, 2012

Pharaoh Sanders and group at Birdland: photo by Herb Scher via All About jazz, 2 April 2012

Blown Away in a Storm of Charlies

Members of the media are hit with snow from gusts of wind caused by the landing of Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington
: photo byPablo Martinez Monsivais/AP via The Guardian, 7 January 2015

Gaza: Ibrahim Abu Shabab, 24, stills lives in a makeshift shelter built from rubble of his family’s house after it was damaged in last summer’s war with Israel
: photo by Adel Hana/AP via The Guardian, 7 January 2015

Bekaa valley, Lebanon. Syrians prepare to remove the snow from the top of their tents at a refugee camp in Deir Zannoun village. While the storm disrupted life for everyone, it proved particularly trying for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who live in tents and makeshift shelters
: photo by Hussein Malla/AP via The Guardian, 7 January 2015

Sana’a, Yemen. A medic with blood on his clothes stands at the scene of a car bomb attack outside the police college in the capital
: photo by Mohamed Al-sayaghi/Reuters via The Guardian, 7 January 2015

Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hundreds of Muslims gather as they attend the Friday prayer in the congregration ground during the first day of the three-day long Muslim Congregation at Tongi
: photo by Abir Abdullah/EPA via The Guardian, 10 January 2015

Charlie is not in the house

Dear followers of #Islam #CharlieHebdo: image via SecureOur order @yobynnad1127, 9 January 2015

Horrendous oppression #Islam: While entering and leaving the mosque #Uyghurs are supposed to show their ‘mosque cards’: image via Voice of Uyghurs @VoiceUyghur, 6 January 2015

Horrendous oppression #Islam: While entering and leaving the mosque #Uyghurs are supposed to show their ‘mosque cards’: image via Voice of Uyghurs @VoiceUyghur, 6 January 2015

Love the story of Prophet Mohammad & the spider web. It inspired an incident in #ConfessionsOfAWarChildSahara #Islam: image via Chaker Khazaal @Chaker Khazaal, 6 January 2015

Capture of Damiate:  Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen, c. 1625, oil on canvas, 101 x 230 cm (Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem)


TC said...

Pharaoh Sanders live at Jazz Cafe London, 2011

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Needless to say, I have trepidations about entering into the fray here... A few thoughts I've had in the aftermath include the fact that when Christians go on rampages, and kill people, say domestically, etc. I don't notice that people blame Christianity. AND it also seems the Jews have quite deftly made any criticism of Israel or Jews in any situation as anti-semitic, which has scared off any just criticism for decades... But this horrific but isolated instance has riled the terrors of the "other" in a worldwide reaction... And the wide brush has been brought out once again to paint an entire religious population, viz: Bill Mahr. Who has simply lost his mind. Adam Gopnik on Charlie
Rose put it quite simply: The terrorist rampage here was not thousands of Parisian Muslims in outrage invading the offices of these really outrageous but speech-free cartoonists (representing the side of the human soul that relishes disrespecting others) demanding their death, but two really deranged individuals. The sad, really sad thing here, is that deranged individuals (the crazies are running the hospital) are becoming so powerful. Could Satan in fact be having a field day?

Hilton said...

Overwhelming. Islam has been maligned in Europe from the very start - and perhaps all of the recent horror will shake people up - but I'm not sure where Sanders' saxophone fits in!

Mose23 said...

Thank you for this post, Tom; a proper counterblast to all this backslapping.

My brother travelled through Xinjiang briefly a few years ago. He said the treatment of the Uyghurs was one of the most shocking things he'd ever seen.

This whole Je Suis Charlie thing has left me feeling uncomfortable. I always find these displays of vicarious courage unconvincing. The fact is that something like this is almost inevitable. The French state is avowedly anti-Islamic. The legislation on headscarves tells you everything you need to know about the limits of civil liberties.

Looks like Bibi joined the crowds for the Unity Rally; that's some company to keep.

TC said...

Thanks to real poets for speaking up. Speaks well for poets when that happens. Good for everybody.

The Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang and vicinity are treated much as dirt upon the shoes of racist Chinese.

And all this Charlie BibiCharlie RupertCharlie Charlie Charlie Charlie, oy!! Enough already with the Charlies.

"Uncomfortable", indeed. "Trepidations", galore. I too had and have misgivings.

I was brought up Catholic. We were meant to see the Crusaders as, I guess, saints. I mean, not mere hired racist killers, and all. And where would romance literature be without them. So there's that long shoot-the-chutes learning curve.

Hilton, you've asked, and thanks very much for asking, about why the great Ferrell "Pharaoh" Sanders was smuggled into this post. Purely circumstantial... almost. I'm guessing Pharaoh won't mind, but what can I say about his faith and beliefs without merely opining -- apart from mentioning the fact that he's a devout Muslim, great soulful artist still constantly exploring the borders of his art so as to connect with others, and maybe too that he comes out of the racist caldron of Arkansas remembered from civil rights days (that righteous anger has never gone out of the music), and that after many years of living across the Bay but never going to the City, I was kidnapped by a friend last Thursday night, and went across the bridge to dig Pharoah and his terrific group (the first Pharaoh photo here records the show), and heard Pharaoh sing, honk, gargle, pray and lift up a whole large appreciative house of longtime fans of many colors (tells you something when the greatest musicians in the world are in the house -- I spotted Bobby Hutcherson).

Pharaoh's theme on the evening was freedom. He was contributing a spiritual gift to the people, many of whom he knows -- he lived a long time in Oakland -- and the sense was something between church, celebration, open-ended wonder. So it seems this is one Muslim convert whose conversion to Islam can't have been such a bad thing.

About the Charlies... A nation legendary for its cowardice when confronted by real enemies manages, nonetheless, after getting a nasty dose of contemporary actualité (what goes around comes around), to feign great theatrical shock (I've recalled the third-balcony experience of the lapidary rhetorical declamation in Racine's tragedy Andromache at the Opéra), and to puff and chuff mightily on and on about its own brave and glorious civilization... when confronted, at the end of all this high drama, by one tiny, sleepy-eyed female absentee Most Wanted Person, motherless as an infant, in foster care by age eight, fired from a shit job in a Paris supermarket for wearing a niqab, and alleged to have been guilty of making cell calls and receiving crossbow training.

(But wait, didn't Jennifer Lawrence have that, before she became Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games? and didn't the abovementioned beleaguered starlet-turned-booty-queen also evidently have extensive handheld-device habits, famously employed to brilliantly photograph her own naked body in embarrassing ways that evidently fascinated a trillion moron Charlies out here in the "liberated West"...and is Jennifer Lawrence now on the Most Wanted list of anybody but a trillion middle-school wanker smartphone Charlies?)

Threats to civilization no doubt the both of 'em. Depending naturally on your definition of civilization.

(Michael Haneke film Caché recommended by the way, in case you haven't seen it -- apt.)

manik sharma said...


It is perhaps time, we take David Fincher's Fight Club a lot more seriously, and indulge in random yet regular violence, to get it out of our systems so to speak. Whatever it takes - props, costumes, scripts, locations. Unfortunately, a lot less of the Charlies will show up because they have a lot many systems to get it out of, a lot many ways to realize Sartre's Age of Reason or at least pretend to. While for others, who are terrorising, after having been dumped on by the Charlies, sewage of them systems, there is just the one. Cache is perhaps after all apt - I would though, have loved Dennis Hopper's rancorous, and hysterical anti-hero (let's not call him a villain) be in Haneke's film, exclaiming his existentialist desires by shouting - "fuck you, you fucking fuck". But Haneke isn't of the sort, and I guess, neither is France.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

By the way, Gopnik didn't say the whole thing attributed above, but only the bit about masses of Muslims NOT being an invasion force against the cartoonists... only two lunkheads... hardhearts and brutes. And by the way their doing it (and all others doing similar heinous acts) "in the name of..." is absolute dog. They all act out of cowardly hate.

TC said...


Your measured, temperate and wise words put me in mind of a thing that happened about two weeks after 9/11. An NBA basketball player, French-born, black, who happened also to be a strictly practising Muslim, and was at the time unable to play due to an injury, had flown back to Paris to consult his imam, who had advised him to employ himself usefully in helping younger Muslim students in this country to get through the wave of virulent anti-Islam sentiment then in the air. He had then contacted the Palestinian Students Society at the university here, offering to come and give a talk. I met and spoke with him then. He was doing a series of such campus visits. A man of great dignity, no little world experience, tremendous modesty. He was making this tour at his own expense. He told the students to be calm, accept what was happening, keep peace and love in their hearts, anticipate hatred, don't respond in kind. There was no need for him to say he hadn't come to advocate violence, holy war or any of that kind of business so dear to the hearts of American patriots.

TC said...


If it were somehow possible for our curious stunted mutation of the evolutionary ape line -- it turned out "natural selection" was always going to be a rigged game (strong forge ahead, weak can't keep up) -- to actually get that regrettably all too successful (in the short run) aggressive gene out of its chemical system, I'm afraid our keepers would find out, and... well, to put this another way, in this incredibly protracted mercantile festive season, there continue, relentless, unabated, titantic televised clashes of the pointy-end-ball variety, conducted at both the "professional" (paid openly) and "collegiate" (ostensibly "amateur") levels, massively advertised broadcast spectacles of brutal violence beyond the wildest dreams of Tancred (kind baptizer of the otherwise comely heathen woman upon whom he's just visited that bloody mortal wound) or even for that matter Charlemagne, and this is considered the highest level of entertainment, and what you see, if you can bear to look, is humans reconstituted as warriors capable of killing or maiming with a single massive "hit" of the variety that is delivered more or less commonly in every one of these "games" -- and more important still, it is pretty clear that these finely tuned mechano-war-organisms actually enjoy, relish, take delight in, the experience of shocking physical contact, especially when delivered "offensively". The vicarious participation in the experience is what makes the robotic couch Charlies respond with the rote obedience of a conditioned lab animal. It's simply the thrill of the violence, nothing more, nothing less. The stress-release. The getting it out of the system. While hurting somebody. The stress buildup in this kind of suicidal virtual reality multitasking mayhem fight club world we have made has to be released somehow. I am frankly terrified to attempt to go on living in it a few more days, months or...

Since very nearly being killed by one, and now grinding out my days in perpetual pained aftermath of that, I am particularly terrified by cars. Terror. I've said I was kidnapped (in a good way) to go off on the freeway to see Pharaoh. The drive was harrowing. Think: six lines of hurtling densely packed speeding traffic, every driver making small impulsive attempts to take advantage of the smallest opening to switch lanes, every other driver fighting back, the whole business so bloody tense and awful that it is hard for me to understand how people do this every day. Our daughter has been working over in the City. She simply won't do the drive. Lacks that aggressive gene. Stands up a half hour each way on the train instead. Not everybody can make the grade at fight club. If they have fight club in Europe, breeding ground of elective terror, I suppose these days the losers just go off to join IS, no worries.

billoo said...

Tom, thanks for posting this. Can't say that I completely agree with the idea that this is an "isolated incident". I think if we could discuss this with cool heads (not going to happen, I know, I know) then we might begin to ask what's happened post-Khomeni (and the Saudi backlash), the Taleban, Isis, Boko Haram etc., etc. Nah..I live in a city were eighty people were killed in a "mosque" (they're not even allowed to call it a mosque), in a country where over a hundred kids were gunned down...

Of course, the conversation no-one wants to have is just how more significant state violence/terror has been all these years.

Think the free speech "debate"/monologue is largely a red herring.

Khair...keep well.



erin said...

i can't imagine the black-slapping in response to this. but i suppose my imagination is not being called upon here.

everyone has said so much and here, so rightly, i'll contribute by bringing the response (quoted from wikki) of the Ammish after the Lancaster school shooting in Pennsylvania in 2006:

On the day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, "We must not think evil of this man." Another Amish father noted, "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God." Jack Meyer, a member of the Brethren community living near the Amish in Lancaster County, explained: "I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts."

A Roberts family spokesman said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them. Amish community members visited and comforted Roberts' widow, parents, and parents-in-law. One Amish man held Roberts' sobbing father in his arms, reportedly for as long as an hour, to comfort him. The Amish have also set up a charitable fund for the family of the shooter. About 30 members of the Amish community attended Roberts' funeral, and Marie Roberts, the widow of the killer, was one of the few outsiders invited to the funeral of one of the victims.

Marie Roberts wrote an open letter to her Amish neighbors thanking them for their forgiveness, grace, and mercy. She wrote, "Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. Gifts you've given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you."


directly related to the latest violence is this article which should be read by everyone, a response which actually makes sense:

TC said...

Thanks for the thoughtful words, Billoo.

Couldn't agree more that state terrorism is the deep motherlode of evil that will continue to produce (spin off) more and more of this sort of grievous trouble; and that we will be hearing very little intelligent debate on that subject (after all, we live in a state that routinely practises torture as an instrument of war), while learning perhaps more than is useful about the latest "terror suspects" -- like the teenager originally targeted in the frenzied French manboygirlhunt, who turned out to have been in school hundreds of km away at the time of the Paris incidents, but turned himself in anyway, no doubt wisely, as, when the blood is up in these offended onetime colonial imperialist powers, it's unlikely any Muslim will be secure from "suspicion".

The Albert Hourani passage cited at top here is pertinent -- the suggestion that what Western imperialist powers didn't know, or want to know, about the actual lives, cultures and people they were toying with, when disposing the Middle East to their own perceived advantage -- that these convenient lesser subjects might actually remember, survive, and bear offspring -- could well come back to haunt.

One Steven Emerson of Fox yesterday stated that due to its significant Muslim population the city of Birmingham in the English Midlands is no longer accessible to white people who value their personal welfare, or bilge to that effect.

Perhaps he gets his news straight from, who would it be, Marine Le Pen's dotty sister from Uranus?

But of course an actual free and serious debate on the issues of state terror and democracy could hardly be expected in this country, either, as long as Gitmo remains in operation.

To be honest, I think that, quite apart from the propaganda ceaselessly produced by governments and the dedicated capitalists who sustain them, ordinary people in many parts of this country distrust and fear Muslims for a very simple reason, they've never actually associated in any of the basic ways that make human empathy possible. The people who "think" that all Muslims are wicked and dangerous are able to "think" this because they have no experience to refer back too. Unfamiliarity breeds contempt, not tother way round as the saying has it. Xenophobia has always been a distinguishing trait of the citizens of this great nation.

billoo said...

Little to add to that, Tom. Yeah, I laughed out loud when the 'terror expert' on Fox said that (I'd hate to think what he'd make of some parts of Londonistan! :-)). The best bit about that was that he later said he was making some sort of donation to a hospital!

I think you're spot on about lack of familiarity. On this side of the pond all the middle Englanders get to see or meet are either lackeys (uncle Toms) or fundos. Most of it seems to be staged (now, if you want to see cartoon characters..).

So, the Hourani quote made a lot of sense (along the lines of Said's staging of 'the orient'). To see someone simply as a human being-warts and all- requires, as the great natural philosopher once said, "hearts and minds" :-)

And on the State I think Foucault was right: Nazism was *state* racism. Same applies, I think, to the fundos: if it wasn't for the Sauids and the ISI they would just be a rag-tag bunch of loonies.

The great irony of the supposedly anarchist CH is that it is now relying on state funding to publish one million copies.

TC said...


I think that by saying "back-slapping" what Wooden Boy meant was everyone effusively congratulating one another on their own brave expression of collective solidarity with the hired-gun cartoonists and collective loathing of all Arabs, which would be about par for the course.

I lived briefly in North Africa around the time Algeria was painfully dissociating itself from the suffocating imposition of French colonial rule, and, despite my callow and typically narrow Americanoid worldview, it was impossible not to see that oppression had created wounds that would take a long time to heal. A bit later I dwelt briefly also in Paris and in the south of France, and learned that in cities like Paris and Marseille, the situation for Arabs was not dissimilar from that of blacks in America. And then in those years also residing for a long period in England, I found that the substantial population of Pakistanis were treated in much the same disrespectful fashion, as what I guess would be called "second-class" citizens.

Curiously enough, however, when also in those same years, traveling in North Africa I found myself greeted with a welcoming and hospitable attitude everywhere I went. As there is nothing about me that would have made me worthy of this surprising hospitality and generosity, I was surprised by this -- I had little money, but great curiosity, and when people opened up their homes to me, I accepted without ever fully understanding that it had nothing to do with me personally, everything to do with their culture and the ways of it.

Surely much has changed since those years, and it's a different world, but it's hard to believe that those cultural ways, centuries in the making, have evaporated entirely.

So, in short, I'm hardly suggesting that the countries and cultures and people who make up Islam are in any way superior or inferior to the Amish, just different.

And if tomorrow a miraculous upheaval of the firmament caused this land to have an Amish president (!!) and not Hildebeest or Randy Paul or Mitt of the Sacred Underpants, I could die a happier grouch.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Ultimately, what drives me nuts is the fact that George Bush Jr., Cheney, and the Neo-Cons who started these dominoes falling... are walking free, whistling, painting portraits of their feet, having their unutterable says still... Rumsfeld... Where's Dante when we need him?!