Archive for May, 2006


The odyssey of Flemming Rose

May 29, 2006

The editor of Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, and publisher of the famous Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, has penned an interesting and thought-provoking essay in RealClearPolitics.

He contributes a valuable insight into the difference between the impact of immigration on Europe and the United States. In the US, he points out, despite the current furore about their illegal status, immigrants from Central America pay their way through hard work and taxes — to the point where the very industriousness of the illegal entrants is now essential to the economic well-being of their host society. This situation does not prevail in Europe. Why?

While it can be argued that the fast-growing community of about 20 million Muslim immigrants in Europe is the equivalent of America’s new Hispanic immigrants, the difference in their productivity and prosperity is staggering. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study in 1999 showed that while immigrants in the United States are almost equal to native-born workers as taxpayers and contributors to American prosperity, in Denmark there is a glaring gap of 41 percent between the contributions of the native-born and of the immigrants. In the United States, a laid-off worker gets an average of 32 percent compensation for his former wages in welfare services; in Denmark the figure is 81 percent. A culture of welfare dependency is rife among immigrants, and taken for granted.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Pub Philosopher.)


A different tradition

May 27, 2006

Norm Geras, speaking at the official launch of The Euston Manifesto:

We need to insist that there is a different tradition which socialists and democrats and liberals can speak out for.


More later.


The hand that wrote the hand that signed the paper

May 22, 2006

Over the years I’ve occasionally wondered what happened to ‘Helen Demidenko’, the pseudonymous author whose The Hand that Signed the Paper won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1995, and garnered other important prizes. At the time she was twenty-three. There was a brief moment of acclamation, then a questioning silence. Then followed a huge furore: about whether the book was anti-Semitic, about freedom of expression, the whole nine yards. Robert Manne wrote a book about the book, called The Culture of Forgetting: Helen Demidenko and the Holocaust, excoriating the work, its author and its audience for participating in an exercise in anti-Semitic juvenilia.

As is well known, ‘Helen Demidenko’, an Australian writer of Ukrainian origin, did not exist. The author was Helen Darville, a young Australian of British extraction. Darville was trashed by the media, and following all the scandal and upset, she largely disappeared from view.

Now she has emerged from the shadows, as Helen Dale, possessed of a 1st Class law degree, a black belt in Shotokan karate, and a position as Associate to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Quadrant this month carries an article written by her, reproduced from the Autumn issue of The Skeptic, the journal of Australian Skeptics Inc.

Unhappily it is not available online. But it is a wonderful, spirited piece of writing. To me it confirms the judgement of those who bestowed so many awards on a writer then so young.

A sure sign that many of Australia’s critics and journalists don’t have a life was the appearance — in rapid succession — of four books about the cause celebre. All were longer than my novel. Robert Manne’s The Culture of Forgetting came in at nearly twice the length, riddled with errors and laced with bile. He sent me a letter begging an interview just before publication. My solicitor read it and shook his head sagely. ‘Don’t touch this one, Helen. He’s already made up his mind’.

Reluctantly, I co-operated with Andrew Riemer in his effort, The Demidenko Debate. My publisher was behind the book and Professor Riemer had consistently argued that my novel was good, despite the controversy. We met in my solicitor’s office in the city and I tried to answer his questions. At this point, I really noticed that I just didn’t fit into ‘literary culture’. He was passionate about literature in a way I just couldn’t fathom, speaking as though it had the capacity to change the world. It’s a novel, I kept thinking: what people read on the train.

Good on ya, Helen.


Heroes of our time

May 22, 2006

What do Hans Blix, Bob Geldorf, HM The Queen, Noam Chomsky, Bill Gates and George Galloway have in common?

They’re among the top 50 in the New Statesman’s Heroes of Our Time poll, that’s what.

Some of the choices are truly bizarre. Jamie Oliver? Tony Benn? And the poll has John Pilger trundling in his tired old barrow and parking it at number 4, just ahead of Maggie Thatcher. Not a juxtaposition either of them would have been comfortable with, I’d have thought.


“I will go on”

May 17, 2006

The manner of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s passing:


To return to the present day, may I say that it is difficult to live with so many threats on your life and such a level of police protection. It is difficult to work as a parliamentarian if you have nowhere to live. All that is difficult, but not impossible. It has become impossible since last night, when Minister Verdonk informed me that she would strip me of my Dutch citizenship.

I am therefore preparing to leave Holland. But the questions for our society remain. The future of Islam in our country; the subjugation of women in Islamic culture; the integration of the many Muslims in the West: it is self-deceit to imagine that these issues will disappear.

I will continue to ask uncomfortable questions, despite the obvious resistance that they elicit. I feel that I should help other people to live in freedom, as many people have helped me. I personally have gone through a long and sometimes painful process of personal growth in this country. It began with learning to tell the truth to myself, and then the truth about myself: I strive now to also tell the truth about society as I see it.

That transition from becoming a member of a clan to becoming a citizen in an open society is what public service has come to mean for me. Only clear thinking and strong action can lead to real change, and free many people within our society from the mental cage of submission. The idea that I can contribute to their freedom, whether in the Netherlands or in another country, gives me deep satisfaction.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as of today, I resign from Parliament. I regret that I will be leaving the Netherlands, the country which has given me so many opportunities and enriched my life, but I am glad that I will be able to continue my work. I will go on.

Good words, those. What a woman.

Update: Minister Verdonked. Hirsi Ali will remain Dutch. And Verdonk may have done it to her own party at the same time.


The hounding out of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

May 15, 2006

It’s not enough that she should be promised death by mutant Islamists. Not enough that co-artist and co-heretic Theo van Gogh should be slaughtered by one of them. Not enough she should be forced from her secure home by craven neighbours and idiot judges. Now, all of a sudden, she should be ejected from the Dutch Parliament and deported — presumably, to Somalia.

All for a trivial untruth, long ago admitted, to get refugee status in The Netherlands.

It seems Europe can’t get rid of its wannabe terrorists, its jihadis, its radical imams. But it can at least expel its free spirits.

What a continent.


More at Infidel Bloggers’ Alliance, Peaktalk, The Free West.

Update: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is to leave The Netherlands and move to the United States. In this she follows Salman Rushdie and how ever many else of the persecuted and victimised.

Peaktalk’s Pieter Dorsman comments:

There were three musketeers in The Netherlands not too long ago, brave and unconventional free thinking individuals. Two have been murdered, the last one has now been expelled.

All strength to her. But it’s a shame, nonetheless. Now she will be just another voice for freedom out of America, out of the ocean of freedom, rather than speaking truth to power in Europe, where she is truly needed.

Update 2: Hirsi Ali is to be stripped of her Dutch nationality and passport. What this does for her plans to migrate to the United States remains to be seen. It seems unlikely, given the EU Convention on Human Rights, to which The Netherlands is a signatory (and which may work to the good for once, even if accidentally), that she will be delivered back to the tender mercies of the Somalian warlords. But who can tell: the unbelievable has become believable, in these days.

The story just gets worse and worse. Three-quarters of the Dutch population are reportedly glad to see the back of her. It was ever thus: the prophet is not to be honoured in her own country.

Blog roundup:

Jihad Watch; Liberty and Justice; Melanie Phillps; Pub Philosopher; Samizdata;
Peaktalk; The Free West; Expatica; Drinking From Home.


Hate festers, steals bodies

May 13, 2006

Via J F Beck, some brilliant news.

I’ve been watching this story for about a year now, and had concluded the police had just shrugged their shoulders and walked away. I was never more pleased to be proved wrong.