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- A James O’Brien masterclass in how to deal with people demanding Muslims apologise for #Charliehebdo
- Three U.S. Lies About Israel and Palestine by ROBERT FANTINA
- Who Should be Blamed for Muslim Terrorism? by ANDRE VLTCHEK
- Charlie Hebdo and the hypocrisy of pencils – Corey Oakley
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A James O’Brien masterclass in how to deal with people demanding Muslims apologise for #Charliehebdo
For decades United States’ spokespeople, from presidents to members of Congress, have, with a straight face, told the most far-fetched lies about Israel and Palestine. Such things as Israel having a moral army, despite its ongoing genocide of men, women and children, or proclaiming it the only democracy in the Middle East, regardless of the institutional racism so prevalent there, have been staples of U.S. proclamations and news conferences. But as is true of many of the fairy tales spun by U.S. public relations forces, these have hardly been believed outside of U.S. borders. And increasingly, they are being met with skepticism even there.
With so many bizarre fabrications to choose from, and time and space being somewhat limited, it might be useful to look at just three of them, two old and one fairly new, and see what additional holes can be poked in them. Continue reading
A hundred years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have a pair of Muslim men enter a cafe or a public transportation vehicle, and then blow themselves up, killing dozens. Or to massacre the staff of a satirical magazine in Paris! Things like that were simply not done.
When you read the memoirs of Edward Said, or talk to old men and women in East Jerusalem, it becomes clear that the great part of Palestinian society used to be absolutely secular and moderate. It cared about life, culture, and even fashion, more than about religious dogmas.
The same could be said about many other Muslim societies, including those of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Indonesia. Old photos speak for themselves. That is why it is so important to study old images again and again, carefully.
Islam is not only a religion; it is also an enormous culture, one of the greatest on Earth, which has enriched our humanity with some of the paramount scientific and architectural achievements, and with countless discoveries in the field of medicine. Muslims have written stunning poetry, and composed beautiful music. But above all, they developed some of the earliest social structures in the world, including enormous public hospitals and the first universities on earth, like The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco. Continue reading
To be fair, he wasn’t wholly responsible. If it wasn’t for all the lunacy that preceded him, I probably would have dismissed his cartoon as just anotherHerald Sun atrocity, more a piece of Murdoch-madness to be mocked rather than trigger for outrage. But context is everything. And after days of sanctimonious blather about freedom of speech and the Enlightenment values of Western civilisation, his was one pencil-warfare cartoon too many.
The cartoon in question depicts two men – masked and armed Arab terrorists (is there any other kind of Arab?) – with a hail of bomb-like objects raining down on their heads. Only the bombs aren’t bombs. They are pens, pencils and quills. Get it? In the face of a medieval ideology that only understands the language of the gun, the West – the heroic, Enlightenment-inspired West – responds by reaffirming its commitment to resist barbarism with the weapons of ideas and freedom of expression.
Karl Marx once observed that ancient Greek art, rooted in Greek mythology, still constituted for modern people “a source of aesthetic enjoyment and in certain respects prevails as the standard and model beyond attainment.” He asked: “Why should the social childhood of mankind, where it has obtained its most beautiful development, not exert an eternal charm as an age that will never return?”
(In other words, even though Marx’s beloved Homer and Aeschylus were products of a society long extinct, its slave-owning class structure abhorrent to the modern mind, Greek myths still retain profound meanings for us in the age of industrial capitalism. Sigmund Freud, who posited the Oedipus and Elektra complexes, would of course agree.) Continue reading
They lined up in the wintry chill, some still homeless after the floods, because hope lies in hoping. As one more predator swooped down on Jammu and Kashmir, democracy was declared after the first round of voting on November 25. The uber nationalists had spoken in the dictatorial tone they adopt to thrust their assembly-line idea of consensual politics.
Kashmir is a target to be achieved, no less than a Mission 44 to bag enough seats to ensure that the ruling rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre captures the state. Anybody likely to get in the way has to be silenced. The polls were announced a month ago. Around 35 people per day have been detained since. According to a report in the Indian Express, many of them were scanned from their pictures at protest rallies and categorised as “stone pelters” and “trouble mongers”. The bigger threats have already been confined: “Among prominent Kashmiri leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani are under undeclared house arrest. Shabir Shah is in prison. Yasin Malik has recently been moved from prison to hospital for the treatment of a kidney ailment.” Continue reading