Archive for April, 2006

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The shame of being her neighbour

April 30, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Netherlands MP living under threat of death from Dutch Islamists, has been ordered by a Dutch court to leave her secure apartment in The Hague and find refuge elsewhere.

ali

A suit was brought by her neighbours, who felt that her presence in their apartment block threatened their own safety and disrupted their lives.

They said of the ruling:

We are relieved. We just didn’t feel safe any longer in our own homes. Of course, we consider it to be terrible for Hirsi Ali to have to leave her house. The case was not directed at her personally. The point was that the State should not open us to so much danger.

Cowards, moral cretins and judicial blockheads.

More at Peaktalk, The Free West.

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More on The Euston Manifesto

April 24, 2006

I signed The Euston Manifesto because I agreed with it. But I agreed with it because I am Old [-fashioned] Left. I agreed with it because I support its implicit call to reject the moral idiocy of the New Left, with its obfuscations and equivocations, its temporising on the new fascism represented by Islamic fundamentalists, its descent into reflexive and instinctual anti-Americanism, its refusal to treat honestly with the ghosts of its scores and scores of millions dead.

In his great essay Why I Write, George Orwell spoke about the ‘power of facing’: he realised, early in his life, that he had a power of facing unpleasant facts. It’s an unusual construction, and an unusual capacity. It connotes an ability to stare straight at something, and see what it really is. That sounds simple, but in an ideological age like ours is, it’s actually very difficult.

Today’s Left has lost this facility, if it ever possessed it. It sees unpleasant facts, yes (if pushed), but it stares straight past them: it doesn’t face them. It refuses to deal with them, to confront them, whilst at the same time positioning itself so as to deny that it actually ignores them. Its eternal moral alibi is ‘Yes, but…’. So we need The Euston Manifesto to re-confirm the Left’s moral base.

And — yet. Despite my admiration for the Manifesto and the intentions of its authors, I have some doubts. They seek to re-state the original purposes of the Left, its grand dream, derived from three hundred years of liberal tradition, and to re-constitute a New new Left, based on those undying principles.

But suppose there is no longer a need, or room for the Left — any Left, even theirs? Perhaps the age of the grand dream is over. Perhaps capitalism, all unwitting, has done most of the work for them.

Mr Freen over at Evil Pundit‘s has attacked the Manifesto from the Right (most criticisms I’ve seen have come from an aggrieved or aggravated Left). He makes the point, undeniably true, that the Manifesto is still socialist. It is utopian, and implicit in its program is the expectation that governments could, and should, try to make the world a better place, under-write its freedoms, not least in their corner of it, by executive fiat. If I understand him right, Mr Freen is arguing for a deeper freedom: he is saying, in effect: Government — get out of my face. Leave us alone; we can work things out for ourselves. All your dreams have turned out to be wet ones.

Maybe that’s true, and maybe the Manifesto is behind the true curve of the times, an exercise in nostalgia, an ache for an age that’s past. An elegy.

Despite that, or maybe because of it, I’m glad I signed it.

Update: Wise and useful words here from Norm Geras, one of the Manifesto’s founders, explaining the (deliberate) tension between the socialist and non-socialist elements of the Manifesto. Yet Socialism in an Age of Waiting, to whom he is responding, makes some powerful points, too. Many signatories, it seems, harbour reservations to one extent or another, as I do. But that in no way detracts from the force or necessity of the enterprise.

Further update: The controversy continues apace. Daniel Finklestein in The Times (yes, what a robotoid Mudochite he must be) remarks: a group of left-wing pundits and intellectuals wants to save the Left from itself — but why bother? It’s as hard to agree with that as it is to disagree. Still, this is the debate, and this is the time. This needed to happen.

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Destroyed by Islamists, so it seems

April 23, 2006

The ancient Armenian cemetary of Jugha, in Azerbaijan.

For the offence of jahiliyya — the pre- or non-Islamic state of ignorance.

More here.

Imagine what they would do to the Isle of Iona, if they got the chance.

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Witness to atrocity

April 20, 2006

Lisa Goldman of On the Face was in Tel Aviv when it happened.

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Apocalyptic imaginings

April 19, 2006

I refuse to believe this, from The Brussels Journal.

I refuse to believe it.

More not to believe: Bruce Bawer and Bat Ye’or. I don’t know what to make of this stuff, and that’s the truth. Some of it reads like The Protocols of the Elders of Islam.

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Fire over England

April 18, 2006

In Britain, a child has been prosecuted for racism.

Could anyone really agree with this — that a 10 year old boy should be prosecuted by the state for a playground taunt?

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said it took all reports of crime seriously and remained totally opposed to racism in any form.

Thanks for that, PC Plod. I’m sure the good people of Greater Manchester would feel more reassured if the police were totally opposed to crime in any form. PC really does mean PC in the sceptered isles, it seems.

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African blog news

April 18, 2006

Long time favourite African blogger, The Zimbabwean Pundit, has moved to take over a new Zimbabwean megablog, Enough is Enough.

I’ll be checking in often.