One of these Middle Eastern nations is not like the other ones

David Suissa has created a series of ads to remind people of all the marvelous contributions Israel has made to the world during its short time as a country (and, impressively, a country perpetually under siege).

I think it’s time to create some ads for the Muslim and Arab world too (click on thumbnails to enlarge):

Hat tip:  Seraphic Secret

Sweden joins the ranks of nations committing suicide *UPDATE*

Charles Johnson of LGF periodically gets into spats with the people at Gates of Vienna because of their (possible?) ties to organizations that have the whiff of neo-Nazism about them.  As for me, I don’t know where the truth lies in those arguments.

I do know that Europe in the 20th (and, apparently, in the 21st) century has always been distressingly binary, not around the center (as America is, or used to be), but around the poles.  For example, we now look back on the British ruling class of the 1930s with incredible disdain, because so many supported Nazism.  What we forget is that they supported it because they feared Communism more.  They didn’t see a third way out of those two -isms.  Instead, they just picked what, at the time, seemed the least horrible.

I see the same thing occurring in Europe now, where many people, across myriad European countries, are appalled by and afraid of their governments’ (1) embrace of unhindered immigration; (2) hostility to their own national cultures; (3) pan-Europeanism (which destroys the long-time bonds holding people together within a nation); and (4) obesiance before radical Islam.  Faced with this top-down destruction of their own countries and cultures, people in the various European countries are seeking an alternative around which to rally — and neo-Nazism, with its focus on white, European culture is there, ready made.

The problem with this European habit of rallying around the extreme is that it muddies the waters.  People who have an accurate understanding of the situation, and are capable of analyzing correctly what’s going on, seem to soil themselves by embracing the most extreme solution, instead of simply pushing back against their own governments’ and elites’ stupidity.  Of course, given how deeply entrenched and broad-reaching the stupidity is, maybe the only possible push-back is to head as far away from the government position as possible straight into neo-Nazi land, so as to get a running start.  This is why all the alternatives in Europe begin to seem very frightening.

This is a very long intro to an important post that Fjordman wrote at Gates of Vienna regarding the rising tide of rape in Sweden.  Fjordman is not advocating a neo-Nazi solution.  He is, however, giving a solid analysis of the perfect storm:  a government that hates itself, aided and supported by women who hate men, all of whom are steeped in Marxist ideology, and all of whom give their full support to the concept that immigrants (read:  Muslim immigrants) can do no wrong.  To me, the following paragraph just about perfectly sums up the insanity that has taken over the once rock-solid Swedes:

The effect of radical Feminism is to treat all men as criminals, except those who really are criminals, who should receive soft treatment. All men are rapists, except those who actually are. They are victims of “society.” Despite the fact that Muslim immigration has triggered an unprecedented wave of anti-female violence, women still vote disproportionately for pro-immigration parties, and yell “racism” at men who suggest it’s not a good idea.

Fjordman is the boots on the ground — he’s giving a first-hand view of the same problems that Bruce Bawer and Mark Steyn discuss to such good effect in their books about Islam in Europe.

One really cannot blame the Islamists for doing what they’re doing in Europe.  Like the redoubtable George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, they’re not really doing anything wrong.  Instead, as Plunkett always said, “I seen my opportunity and I took it.”  The Islamists are using to good effect the fact that the nations of Europe are holding a knife to their own throats.  Indeed, the Islamists would be fools not to seize such a juicy opening.

More years ago than I care to count, when I was in high school and took my Achievement exam (that was the one with the written essay, wasn’t it?), I remember distinctly being asked to comment on Walt Kelly’s famouse “We have met the enemy and He is us” phrase.  Back then, unaware of the fact that Kelly created that phrase as a slap at capitalism (because it went on an earth day poster decrying the destruction of the forests), I muddled on about how we can be our own worst enemies, etc.  I wish I could revisit that essay now.  Kelly is right in a way he never knew:  the enemy is us because we are handing to our enemy, ready-made, the instrument of our destruction.  It is we — not the nuclear, not the hijacked plane, not the IED — we who are our enemy’s secret weapon.

Hat tip:  Danny Lemieux

UPDATE:  By the way, the increasingly loathsome Patrick Buchanan is another animal altogether.  Rather than observing today’s social ills, he is embarking on a course of historical revisionism aimed at whitewashing the Nazis.  This guy is, plain and simple, a neo-Nazi trying to revitialize a dangerous, grotesque and violent political ideology because he thinks it was a good thing in the past and got a bum rap.  Tell that to the 6 million.

The dishonor of an “honor culture”

The British press was rocked for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago by the story of an Iraqi girl whose father murdered her quite brutally because she’d fallen in love with a British soldier. (There was no hint, by the way, that she’d done anything about the love; it was an infatuation from afar.) An interview with that father gives one a good insight into the culture arrayed against us in the epic clash of civilizations in which we’re now embroiled:

Two weeks ago, The Observer revealed how 17-year-old student Rand Abdel-Qader was beaten to death by her father after becoming infatuated with a British soldier in Basra. In this remarkable interview, Abdel-Qader Ali explains why he is unrepentant – and how police backed his actions.

For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. ‘If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,’ he said with no trace of remorse.

Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city’s Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death.

Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. ‘They are men and know what honour is,’ he said.

[snip]

It was her first youthful infatuation and it would be her last. She died on 16 March after her father discovered she had been seen in public talking to Paul, considered to be the enemy, the invader and a Christian. Though her horrified mother, Leila Hussein, called Rand’s two brothers, Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, to restrain Abdel-Qader as he choked her with his foot on her throat, they joined in. Her shrouded corpse was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

‘Death was the least she deserved,’ said Abdel-Qader. ‘I don’t regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion,’ he said.

You can read the rest — which is as sickening as the bit above — here. First and foremost, the article is a reminder that Islam, as practiced by Arabs at least, is possibly the most self-centered religion in the world. It’s not really about serving God, nor is it about living a moral life where your own behavior must measure up to God’s standards. Instead, it’s all about “me, me, me!” “You embarrassed me, therefore you offended God.” “You aren’t living life the way I think you should, therefore I get to kill you to satisfy my God.” Although Islam apologists try to treat it as part of the modern trinity of non-pagan religions, it is, in fact, a religion deeply rooted in human sacrifice — and the sacrifice isn’t for the greater glory of God (which was, at least, the excuse for the ritual sacrifices in days of old), but simply to satisfy the killers’ egos and insecurities.

Second, although it shouldn’t be any less foremost, is the miserable, craven, ill-informed, stupid, dangerous behavior of those on the Left, who claim so loudly to be the staunchest defenders in the West of women’s rights (and gay rights, and workers’ rights, and immigrant rights). These nincompoops certainly pay lip service to these “rights”, and they’re always willing to assert them against those cultures that accord the greatest respect to women and gays and workers and immigrants. At the same time, though, they’re so blinded by their obsequious desire to placate any group that isn’t America, that they are yielding ground at warp speed to people who firmly believe in an unimpeded right to slaughter women and gays, and to enslave workers (especially those immigrants unlucky enough to end up in such bastions of Muslim paganism as Saudi Arabia or Yemen).

Incidentally, Barack Obama is the ne plus ultra of this foul Leftist trend. Although he is frantically denying it now (once more making a bald-faced liar of himself), and although the NYT’s is desperately trying to work as the enabler for this man’s Leftist pathology, he really thinks he can and should just sit down and have a chat with these fanatics, at which point they’ll smile and retreat permanently.

What an idiot — which would be fine if he confined his stupidities to a small circle of friends and business associates. It’s frightening, though, to think that Obama wants to visit this level of cultural unawareness and blatant stupidity on the American people and the world.

The correct response, of course, to this kind of barbarity is Lord William Bentinck’s response to sati (or suttee), the old Indian practice that required a widow to immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.  When told that the British could do nothing to prevent sati because it was an ancient Indian practice and that outlawing it might destroy Britain’s interests in India, he nevertheless went ahead, in 1829, and made the practice illegal.  It still took decades for the practice to die out, but his legislation struck it the first death blow.

Sunday reading

We received in yesterday’s mail a warning (a very nice warning) that my 5th grader is struggling with geometry. As a former geometry struggler myself, I’m all sympathy. We did not get mad at her. What is infuriating, though, is her absolutely unwillingness to learn geometry. After 1.5 years in public schools, she believes that all she has to do is correct the questions she got wrong on the offending tests and, voila, she will have mastered geometry sufficiently to proceed to the next phase of her learning career. Such is the importance of tests in American education. Even the kids have figured out that, it’s not what you know, it’s how you test. She’s working with my husband now, so I had a few minutes to scan the internet, and came up with four interesting things that I’d like to share with you.

I

Mike Devx forwarded to me a link to a Long War Journal article entitled Iraqis begin to ‘despise’ the Mahdi Army. It’s not the kind of article you’ll see in the New York Times, something that probably makes it even more worth the read (“the news that is unpalatable to my ideologically opposed newspaper is my palatable news”). The article discusses the significant changes in Rusafa, a Baghdad neighborhood previously known for its Mahdi Army presence, danger and hostility to Americans. The article describes the inroads that the American and Iraqi armies have made in clearing out that neighborhood. More significantly, it discusses the citizen militias that aim, not to impose some sectarian rule on the community, but to make it a safe place:

But Thornburg attributes most of the improvement in his area in southern Rusafa to the Sons of Iraq, the local neighborhood watchmen who are paid by the US. The Sons of Iraq program was started here seven months ago by local leaders and the 82nd Airborne, the unit last responsible for the southwestern half of Rusafa, which is essentially downtown Baghdad. Local Sons of Iraq leaders claim they were “the first Shia Awakening” against militias and al Qaeda.

“The SOI have exceeded expectations. They’ve turned one of the most violent areas of Baghdad into one of the most quiet,” said Thornburg. “Specifically, they are looking for Mahdi Army. They know who comes into their area, they man checkpoints 24 hours a day, they do vehicle searches, they question people and they patrol. The locals trust them and they are happy with them. They’ve earned a lot of wasta [respect] from the citizens, and the results speak for themselves. It’s a real success story.”

The SOI’s success arises, not just because it’s paid by the US, but because its members hold the Mahdi in genuine dislike, and truly want to uproot this corrupt, thug-like organization from their streets and homes:

Above all, Hassan and his neighborhood watchmen do not like the Mahdi Army.

“Originally, the Jaish al Mahdi [Mahdi Army] in our area used to deceive people by using the name of the religion to do their purposes,” said Dhia, Hassan’s executive officer. “They were all corrupted. They have history in crime, robberies, murders, rapes, and all kinds of bad things. They even reached the level of kidnapping people and demanding ransoms just because they have money. It didn’t matter if he is Shia or Sunni; just because he has money. They gave a bad reputation for Islam.”

American officials assert that the final factor that has improved security is the citizenry’s fatigue with violence and the militias.

This kind of thing was predicted on the Right, and castigated as crazy American thinking on the PC Left — thinking that didn’t respect the unique, animalistic behavior of Iraqis, none of whom (according to the Left) could be expected actually to crave tranquility.  We would do well, in confronting problems created by the Palestinians and other mad mullahs, to start dealing with those who desire peace, rather than cravenly acquiescing on PC grounds to those who insist on slaughter.

II

Speaking of Palestinians, if you’d like an antidote to the crude Leftist history of Israel — which sees Jews as Nazi-like figures who began plotting at the end of the 19th Century to commit genocide against the Arabs, a plot brought to fruition with the creation of Israel — you must read Efraim Karsh’s 1948, Israel and the Palestinians — the True Story.  It’s a real history, based on contemporaneous documents, rather than a false history based on ideological belief and victim sensitivities.

For example, historical records establish that, even on the most extreme side of the Zionist spectrum, Jews anticipated living with a fully integrated Arab population — a population, moreover, that would have the full rights accorded all citizens.  Please contrast this with your average Imam speech likening Jews to apes and monkeys and calling for their total destruction.  Contrast it, too, with children’s television in Gaza, which seeks to brainwash innocent young minds into thinking that their highest role in life is to strap a bomb to themselves to kill multitudes of Jews.  Palestinians may call for a two state solution right now, but they clearly envision two states comprised solely of Muslim Arabs.

These same historical records (including British documents) show that, in the lead-up to Israel’s creation, most local Arabs were amenable to Israel’s full-integration plan.  The Jewish renaissance in what was then Palestine completely revived an economically torporous and backwards area, with huge financial and health benefits to the local Arab population.  The contemporaneous historical record establishes the truth of what my parents always told me (and they lived through those times):  it was distant Arab plutocrats, disturbed that their tyranny over their fellahin might come to an end who fomented the endless genocidal war against the Jews in Israel.

In other words, it was always about power.  Not Jewish power, a la the faked Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but Arab/Muslim political power over the illiterate, starving masses who kept them comfortably ensconced in their desert palaces and Paris flats.

III

Here’s a moving story about one Marine, his old Singer and many, many beautiful stars.  (H/t:  the Anchoress.)

IV

And let me end with my favorite, Mark Steyn.  Many words have been written about Obama’s “speech” (“I could no more disavow this nutty old uncle than I could throw grandma under a train”); the publics’ surprisingly intractable aversion to this same nutty uncle; and Obama’s inevitable narcissistic renunciation of said uncle.  All words written are good, but I happen to like Steyn’s the best.  There’s music to his writing:

It was never a great speech. It was a simulacrum of a great speech written to flatter gullible pundits into hailing it as the real deal. It should be “required reading in classrooms,” said Bob Herbert in the New York Times; it was “extraordinary” and “rhetorical magic,” said Joe Klein in Time – which gets closer to the truth: As with most “magic,” it was merely a trick of redirection.

Obama appeared to have made Jeremiah Wright vanish into thin air, but it turned out he was just under the heavily draped table waiting to pop up again. The speech was designed to take a very specific problem – the fact that Barack Obama, the Great Uniter, had sat in the pews of a neo-segregationist huckster for 20 years – and generalize it into some grand meditation on race in America. Sen. Obama looked America in the face and said: Who ya gonna believe? My “rhetorical magic” or your lyin’ eyes?

That’s an easy choice for the swooning bobbysoxers of the media. With less impressionable types, such as voters, Sen. Obama is having a tougher time. The Philly speech is emblematic of his most pressing problem: the gap – indeed, full-sized canyon – that’s opening up between the rhetorical magic and the reality. That’s the difference between a simulacrum and a genuinely great speech. The gaseous platitudes of hope and change and unity no longer seem to fit the choices of Obama’s adult life. Oddly enough, the shrewdest appraisal of the senator’s speechifying “magic” came from Jeremiah Wright himself. “He’s a politician,” said the reverend. “He says what he has to say as a politician. … He does what politicians do.”

Happy reading this Sunday!

The seeds of hatred

The accepted wisdom is that the intense hatred the Palestinians feel for Jews is a direct result of Jewish annexation of the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 War. Of course, as with most propaganda, this is false. Aside from conveniently ignoring the 1956 and 1948 Wars, not to mention the Koran itself, this view ignores the fact that it was a Nazi/Arab alliance that helped fuel the virulence of modern Arab antisemitism. Indeed, it was this alliance, as much as the oil in Arab lands, that caused the British, who had been fairly philosemitic since Cromwell’s days because of their commitment to the Old Testament, to swing around and become extremely hostile to the movement for a Jewish state. (As to the long-dead philosemitism, I highly recommend Barbara Tuchman’s Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour .)

Mike Devx was kind enough to send me to a great video illustrating the tight ties the Nazis forged with the Arabs as part of their assault on British interests in the Middle East (for British interests, read “oil” and if you’re really interested in how the need to control oil was a driving force in WWII, read Daniel Yergin’s exellent The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.)

British police like the Archbishop’s idea

You recall the uproar a few weeks ago when the Archbishop of Canterbury said that it’s unfair for Muslims to have to follow British law and that it would be a good thing to incorporate elements of Sharia law into British law.  It turns out that he’s not the only one thinking these thoughts.  The British are now planning on teaching their police forces Sharia law, which they vaguely describe as a way to improve community relations:

Police will be trained on the importance of sharia law and the Koran to Muslim communities, under new plans to fight extremism.

The lessons in Islamic faith and culture will become part of the formal training of constables working in towns and cities across the country.

Chief constables say that, by understanding the community they are policing, officers will build better relationships.

These could prove crucial in rooting out extremism and preventing a terrorist attack, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The plan’s opponents understand precisely what is going on:

But critics have described the plan as “politically correct thinking”.

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said: “Police officers are not there to implement sharia law. They are there to implement British law.

“This idea is misguided. We will only get community cohesion when everybody signs up to being British and following British law.”

You can read the rest here.

Poor England

I would like to be upset with what the British judge did, but I think he’s right:

The country’s top judge has dealt a significant blow to a key plank of the Government’s anti-terrorism legislation after he overturned the convictions of five Muslim men jailed last year for downloading and sharing extremist terror-related material.

The Lord Chief Justice ruled that unless there was clear evidence of “terrorist intent” it was not illegal to read or study such literature.

The ruling from Lord Phillips is the latest blow inflicted by the judiciary on controversial terror laws, leading to claims that some of the legislation was hastily drafted and is therefore not legally watertight.

The prosecution of the five young Muslim men was regarded as a test case, and is likely to lead to other convictions being overturned.

These include that of 23-year-old Samina Malik – the so-called “lyrical terrorist”. She was the first woman to be convicted under the Terrorism Act and was given a nine-month suspended sentence in December after being found guilty of possessing terrorist manuals.
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Irfan Raja, Awaab Iqbal, Aitzaz Zafar, Usman Malik and Akbar Butt were all convicted last year after becoming “intoxicated” with jihadi websites and literature.

I can that the behavior in which the young men engaged would give the police grounds to closely scrutinize these men, and others like them, or even justify (strongly) search warrants.  I have a problem, though, with arresting people for reading the wrong things, and that’s true no matter how vile or even dangerous their reading material is.   Having disgusting thoughts is a person’s own business.  Much as one would like to enlighten the person, in a free society, a person’s thoughts should be his own — although I should have the freedom to make information available to you that might change your mind.  Of course, once you take a step to bad acts, no matter how small that step . . . well, that’s another story altogether.

This story struck me for one other, unrelated reason.  It was a reminder yet again that, outside of London, the North of England has become something akin to Pakistan West.  When I was on my Junior Year Abroad in England, I attended a school in the North of England and liked it so very much because it was so much more English than the South of England, which had a more international flavor (both because it had more tourists from all over flooding in and because it got overflow from London). To me, nothing epitomizes more the changes in England in the 26 years since I lived there than the fact that most English parts of England have been, in certain large chunks, recolonized by people whose values are the antithesis of long-standing English values.