Friday, 8 July 2005

Business as usual

More random thoughts, with appropriate hat tips:
  • Business as usual. That was the phrase of stoic courage made famous in the London blitz, and typified in the photo to the right. 'Business as usual' is the quiet bravery of offering two fingers to aggressors who simply do not understand what makes human life sacred, and human effort valuable.
  • I look forward to a combined declaration from the exended G8 this afternoon. Call it the 'London Declaration,' as Adam Reed has:
    From this point on, terrorists and their "political" and "spiritual" leaders shall have no sanctuary anywhere on Earth. Not in Saudi Arabia, not in Iran, not anywhere. Justice on Earth, and the survival of human civilization, demand no less. And we humans must demand nothing less from our leaders.
  • We should be clear that we are at war. It is not a war against terrorism per se, it is a war declared on us by Islamic jihadists. It is a war of self-defence against a culture that reviles the wealth and freedom of the west because neither are possible in a culture that values neither. In many ways it is the last hurrah of fundamentalist losers who know their cultural values have brought nothing but poverty, dictatorship and death, and have nothing more to offer. It's easy to kill; harder to offer the values that sustain life.

  • America and the allies reacted in self-defense, and against jihad, while the EU is appeasing Islam.

  • The Islamic terrorists who commit these atrocities are not the poor or downtrodden of the Muslim world, they are its best and brightest. What sort of culture has its best and brightest commit multiple murder, while its poor and downtrodden flee (when they can) to find a better life.

  • Freedom's enemies have many faces, but one fundamental evil: hatred of the good for being the good. The lietmotif of nihilist hatred is a "radical rejection of the good, absolutely and in principle; rejection of what is good by any standard and by all standards, rejection of good as such. The emotional expression of nihilism is 'hatred of the good for being the good.' 1.

    "Good guys can't believe nihilism. They can't imagine that anyone could accept nihilism, let alone try to practice nihilism, let alone cultivate in himself a hatred of the good. The good guys' naivete on this point is their main strategic weakness: how do you fight enemies you can't even believe exist?" [Hat tip, Michael Miller.]


  1. I don't know about you, but I've got Noel Coward's 'London Pride' cranked up to 11. Your first point is right on: Simple human decency and courage that blooms in an open and tolerant society is on display in London, and that's worth fighting for and defending.

  2. I don't think that the reason these terrorists are after us is because they are jealous of our wealth.

    Afterall, their land virtually sits on top of the world's largest oil reserves (I think saudi arabia #1, iran #2, and iraq #3 - just from my recollection).

    There will be no economy without oil. Virtually nothing escape the use of oil (think of only one important product that doesn't depend on oil, it'll be a hard excercise!). The whole industrialisation depends on oil for machinery. Oil is definetely more valuable than gold! Modern economy depends on cheap oil.

    Military is one particular area where oil is very very crucial. From the production of modern weapons to the running of the fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, etc. Without oil (or less oil), we'll only be fighting using medieval weapons. And even the production of these medieval weapons will still be greatly benefited from using oil.

    So using this logic, those who can control the most oil reserves, controls the world.

    The war between the Europeans and Arabs have started a long time ago even before the crusade. That is before the 'enlightment' age, before Europe was this much wealthier than the Arab.

    Just my 2cents worth.

  3. Craig, the Noel Coward track is great. Thanks for the link.

    Sid, the oil wealth has allowed most of the Arab states to simply continue with the feudalism that the west rejected at the time of the Reformation. Islam itself needs a reformation. Urgently. Perhaps the latest outrages might some day encourage that.

    But as long as oil receipts continue to go only to the oil-rich shieks, and the dirt poor serfs are kept feudally poor, anything may happen, including fuckwads like that Stalinist George Galloway eventually realising that if he wants to see the rich get richer off the backs of the poor that fedual Arabia is the place to go. (Fact is Galloway is faiyly oil-rich himself courtesy of Saddam's generosity, pieces of shit that they both are.)

    Arab states already have a non-feudal model close to home of how they might structure things rather better than they are now. The Emirs of the United Arab Emirates identified the feudalism inherent in Arabian oil wealth early on, and encouraged a trade-based model of wealth for the country that has achieved greater success for the people of the UAE than perhaos for any other Arabian country.

  4. If it weren't for oil, these bastards would be less than a pimple on a gnat's ass to the rest of the world.

    On the attacks:

    And who is to blame:

  5. What has my ire up is that all the usual fuckwits are craling out hollering that it isn't "evil" peole bombing London, and we have to understand what is making them angry. No, we don't. We know what the problem is(lam).

  6. mark,

    how bout the 26,000 more civilians died from US+UK attack on Afghanistan and Iraq? Isn't it evil too? How bout the depleted uranium deposited by the allies around Iraq that is killing civilians every single day? Shouldn't you call US+UK leaders evil then?

    Wouldn't you be pissed off too if 26,000 of your country fellow killed by an invading army? Regardless of whether the invader told you they're freeing you from an evil dictactor.

    Imagine if US+UK attack China because they want to free chinese people from their oppressors, because human right isn't uphold by the Chinese government. Guess what? You'll get lots of chinese jihadists poping up everywhere!

    Ofcourse the bombers were evil, killing unarmed civilians is always evil, but it is easier to see things out of proportion when the victims are closer and more familiar to us.

    I hate those Islam extremists, but at the same time I can not see the western leaders as good guys either. They have their own agendas allright.

  7. I'm not going to get into a debate about moral equivalence with you, sid x. This isn't about Iraq or Afghanistan. 9/11 predated those. Save it for someone who might actually buy what you're selling.

  8. Much as I despise the bastards who did this, I despair when I hear comments that imply that the whole of Islam is responsible for this sort of thing. It seems to me that that is what PC was implying in his post (I apologise if I have misunderstood). 1.4 billion Muslims out there, in dozens of countries - you can't generalise 'em all like that (something which my British friends certainly understand - the postings I've seen from them have been pretty much free of any criticism of Islam in general - as one said "It's harder to condemn people and call for killing people just because they are Muslims when you have to tag sentences like "All of the Muslims except that bloke Ranji at the local shop who always gives me credit when I'm short on change and always has a smile and good words for me." on the end.").

    As for the "they hate us for our freedom" motif. You're smarter than that. If they hate freedom so much, why aren't they attacking Sweden, say? (Yes, I know that's a Bin-Laden quote, but I said it before he did, dammit).

    This isn't about some nihilistic hatred of "the good". It's about Bin-Laden and his cronies wanting to bolster his power, and establish fundamentalist Islamic states. And therefore wanting to end American (and British) influence in the Middle East. With maybe others following on with him because they think they're being oppressed and that this is a way to end that "oppression". [Obviously I'm not saying I support the violent establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state, but let's at least be clear what the issues are, here].

    Heh, that's fairly bolshie for a first comment. If you've read this far, Peter, I generally enjoy reading what you have to say, even though I'm at a fairly different end of the spectrum from you on a lot of issues...Cheers.

  9. Simon - As far as "1.4 billion Muslims out there, in dozens of countries - you can't generalise 'em all like that"

    If any of those 1.4 billion Muslims would get off his ass and condemn terrorism, "generalisations" would cease. And if you can find a link to a website with even one more than lukewarm Muslim condemnation ofthese attacks, I'd love to see it!

  10. Umm, Mark, you could try the Muslim Council homepage for starters. This is on the front page at the top today:

    "The day after London was bloodied by terrorists finds us determined to help secure this justice for the innocent victims of yesterday’s carnage. The terrorists may have thought they could divide us and make us panic. It is our hope that we will all prove them conclusively wrong”, said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain. The Muslim Council urges Muslims in Britain to go about their daily routines and not be intimated or cowered by fear. This would be the wrong response to the tragic events of yesterday morning.

    Irrespective of who may be behind the bombings in the capital, The Muslim Council condemns all acts of terror vehemently."
    Link is here.

    That is not lukewarm. It is vehement.

    If you actually looked around, or spoke to some Muslims, or read what mainstream Muslim groups have to say - not fundamentalist assholes like the jihadist and al-Qaeda etc. - you would find that the vast majority of those 1.4 billion Muslims Simon was talking about do condemn terror. But judging from the tone of your comments, I get the feeling that your mind is already made up and closed on this issue and I could post a hundred links here as evidence and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference.

    Well said, sir. I agree on all counts. And I share you despair.

  11. Berlinbear - Cool - One group came out condemning terrorism. BFD. If you don't think I have a handle on the Muslim response, read Irshad manji's book, "The Trouble With Islam". Maybe you'll take the word of a Muslim when she states what I, and any other sane individual knows, namely that the Muslim community has a history and predisposition to keeping mum about the subject of terrorism. One statement by one group does not coounter 1400 years of religious dogma and intolerance towards diversity. I find it laughable that anyone would actually state that the majority of Muslimstake a strong stand against terrorism.
    Finally, before you judge me close-minded and intolerant, I suggest you take a spin through back to last October and read some of my material.
    I have no tolerance for terrorism, and little regard for those who do not condemn it in the strongest possible terms. How dare you insiinuate that such a stance makes me closed-minded. You sir, do not know me.

  12. Mark, fair points - but why should all Muslims have to apologise for/condemn these actions when they aren't responsible for them? e.g. by comparison I'm Catholic of Irish descent, but I've never apologised to anyone for the IRA; I've never apologised to women because all rapists are men - because I'm not responsible for the IRA or for rapists. And equally the average Muslim in New Zealand or Malaysia or Britain isn't responsible for this atrocity.

  13. Why don't you ask Irshad Manji why she thinks her fellow Muslims should be more vocal in condemning these attacks. If you think my opinion is shit, is hers as well? After all she is speaking about her fellow Muslims. Doesn't she have the right? I am only taking up the challenge she proposes to non-Muslims in her book.

  14. Mark,
    OK, first of all, you're right, I don't know you. But you pretty much proved me right with your comments. You have indeed made up your mind on this issue, as was clear from your first comments and is now even more clear. So I don't feel too bad about having made an educated guess on what your reaction would be, especially since I turned out to be bang on.

    Secondly, at the end of your comment you write:
    "I have no tolerance for terrorism, and little regard for those who do not condemn it in the strongest possible terms. How dare you insinuate that such a stance makes me closed-minded."

    But if you go and read my comment, you'll find I did no such thing. What I in fact insinuated was that you had your mind made up and closed on the issue of whether Islam in general was the problem and whether or not any Muslims condemn terrorism. I most certainly did *not* say or mean to suggest that your no tolerance stance makes you closed-minded. It does not. What makes you closed-minded is the fact that you have decided that all Muslims and the religion of Islam are collectively responsible for the abhorrent actions of a lunatic fringe, and the fact that it appears that you are ready to disregard or play down any evidence you may see to the contrary because your mind is made up. That's your prerogative, of course. You are free to believe and say anything you want. But you then have to accept that from time to time someone like me will not listen to it or read it without pointing out the fallacy behind it.

    As for your response to my link to the Muslim Council condemning the terrorist acts, if we go back to your second comment, you wrote:
    "If any of those 1.4 billion Muslims would get off his ass and condemn terrorism, "generalisations" would cease. And if you can find a link to a website with even one more than lukewarm Muslim condemnation ofthese attacks, I'd love to see it!"
    So now I've provided you with evidence that far more than "any one of those 1.4 billions Muslims" have condemned terrorism, and yet, contrary to your assertions, your generalisations have not ceased. You asked for a link, and you got it (from the *very first* Muslim website I checked) but somehow it doesn't count.

    BTW, it may interest you to know that the Muslim Council of Great Britain is the overarching Muslim organisation for all of the UK and purports to speak for all Muslims in Britain. That statement by the head of the Muslim Council is essentially the equivalent of a statement from the Archibishop of Canterbury on behalf of the general synod of the Anglican Church in England. And yet you completely dismiss it with "BFD".

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I have not read tht book, but I think I shall track it down.

    You'll have to forgive me for passing on the invitation to check out your archives, however. I do not have either the time or the inclination to read the musings of someone who is prepared to write off 1.4 billion people based on the actions of a tiny minority of despicable nutcases. Similarly, if I were to write that all Christians are evil because some deluded freaks think it's ok to bomb abortion centres to protect the rights of the unborn child, I wouldn't expect you to read my archives either.

  15. Actually, Berlin Bear, the shame of this whole exchange is that I have not written off 1.4 billion people. I have called on those 1.4 billion to condemn terrorism, and not just the recent terrorist attack in London. I am hardly alone in my perception that a definite code of silence exists among the Muslim community. My call for such condemnation has been labeled by a you as closed-mindedness and "writing off" the entire Muslim community.
    As for not having the time or the inclination to try to understand where I, a fellow blogger, is coming from, who is closed-minded now?
    Your remarks have not prevented me from perusing your site to try and ascertain what makes you tick. And remember, you made the accusations of me on behalf of the Muslim community, while I made nonesuch of you initially.
    Last, at least I have the courage of my convictions to make my identity known. That's more than I can say for you and many other apologists for those who slaughter innocent people at will.

    Mark D. Firestone

  16. Mark,
    The comment which lead me to believe that you had written off all Muslims, or were somehow holding them all acountable was this from your original comment:
    "We know what the problem is(lam)."
    That looks to me very much like you're lumping them all in together. And judging from what other commenters have said, notably Simon, I am clearly not the only one who got that impression. If I was wrong in interpreting your comment in that way, then I apologise and thank you for clarifying what you actually meant.

    Once more, however, you have misrepresented my labelling of you as closed-minded. It was not your call for more widespread condemnation of terrorism by Muslims that I called closed-minded. I refer you to my previous comment for a clear explanation of what lead me to make that charge.

    If my choosing not to read your blog based on my assessment of your comments on PC's blog makes me closed-minded in your books, then I am prepared to accept that and deal with it. I prefer to think of it as prioritising my blog-reading time, but you may make of it what you will.

    As for making "accusations of you on behalf of the Muslim community", whatever that means, I feel I must clarify that I am not a Muslim, and I most certainly do not make any claim to speak on behalf of any Muslim, let alone the entire Muslim community. My accusation towards you of closed-mindedness, if you must regard it as such, was made on my own behalf. I speak for noone other than myself.

    Then you wrote:
    "Last, at least I have the courage of my convictions to make my identity known."
    Some bloggers choose to make their identities known, some do not. Everyone, presumably, has their reasons for deciding one way or the other. You may not know my real name (but then I don't know if Mark is your real name either, do I?), but you know where to find me and how to contact me by email. I respond to emails and to comment and I own to the things I write online under my nom-de-web. It is not as though I'm posting things anonymously. If my use of a nom-de-web bothers you and/or gives you a reason to disregard what I say, so be it. But I'm afraid I will not be changing my policy just because it bothers you.

    And then finally you wrote:
    "That's more than I can say for you and many other apologists for those who slaughter innocent people at will."
    Up until then this had been quite a rational, if a little heated, exchange of views. But with that *utter nonsense* you have completely undermined yourself. If you've read my comments in full, it will be perfectly clear to you that I am no "apologist for those who slaughter innocent people at will". Nor is anyone else who has contributed to the comments thread. Sure, such people do exist, but I am not one of them and you know that very well. So I would politely suggest that you save up that particular piece of abuse until you come across someone who actually *is* acting as an apologist for terrorists.

  17. Yikes! Was that a tail between legs moment, or what!

  18. well put simon and berlinbear!

    Take it further, terrorism is an act, not an organisation. We should condemn ALL kinds of terrorism activities from ANY organisation/country.

    And for goodness sake, look at the number of civilian casualty to judge the level of terror!


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