February 13, 2009

A Pundit with an Agenda

The Times used to be, long ago, a great newspaper when it was still the mouthpiece of the British establishment, or rather when the British establishment had a different face. Today, Times Online publishes the comment of one Sunny Hundal, headed Burning Satanic Verses lit the flame for better race relations, and yes, he means it exactly like that. To summarize: Frightening the living daylight out of Salman Rushdie and the stupid, white- and colonial guilt-ridden Brits in the same process was a good thing because it paved the way to the total submission we now see in Britain and what Hundal calls "remarkable civility". The entire comment is so incredibly full of politically correct leftist-liberal bullshit that it could as well be published at The Onion as a travesty and nobody would notice.

It has become such a frequent occasion that some profiteer from the fact that the Brits once, long ago, shouldered The White Man's Burden spits on that very tradition, that I have given up following it. However, Hundal didn't limit his bias to the country that gave him his passport and that irritated me:
Despite the rows and arguments, the British experience has been much better than that in Europe. France sticks to its official colour-blind approach but it has failed to make minorities feel that they have a stake in mainstream society. Germany has yet to shake off its history of associating nationality with bloodline and makes it difficult for even third or fourth-generation Turks to be full citizens. The Netherlands has careered from extremely liberal attitudes to much more xenophobic ones. Britain, in marked contrast, has conducted itself in remarkable civility.
Does this Times columnist really not know that France did not fail "to make minorities feel that they have a stake in mainstream society" but that the problem lies just with one of several minorities that prefers to burn cars instead of taking up its stake in mainstream society? That the Netherlands have not "careered from extremely liberal attitudes to much more xenophobic ones", but are trying to make up for their past mistakes, namely confronting a minority, that considers any liberal attitude as weakness, with such a despised and, at the same time, easily exploitable concept?

And Germany? Does it really have "yet to shake off its history of associating nationality with bloodline" that "makes it difficult for even third or fourth-generation Turks to be full citizens"? The cliché of the "racist" German is always gladly taken up, but that doesn't make it any more real. Germans are probably less racist than those European people with a colonial past -- or most third-worlders, for that. Germans are traditionally antisemites. That is a huge difference, which is hardly ever acknowledged. Germany, the only major European country without much of a stake in colonialism, is deeply provincial, always has been and after reunification even more so. Any cosmopolitanism is a totally alien concept to us, as is thinking in international terms. When the first Turks arrived in larger numbers in the early Seventies, nobody bothered to waste much thought on them because they were supposed to go back to their native country sooner or later anyway. They didn't, but at first it seemed as if Turks, coming from a secular country, didn't do so badly in the field of assimilation, no bearded men, no burqa-wearing women, they kept themselves to themselves, but their children, so it seemed, were going to do well.

And then, somewhere along the way and the Germans being tired of being branded forever as the world's premier racists, the suicidal family reunion schemes were started and instead of sending those who hadn't grown any roots in Germany, back, spouses from the deepest Anatolian sticks were imported while at the same time the alarming signs of a re-Islamisation of the Turkish minority were ignored. Again, at the same time, our little country took in Asians, Russians and other immigrants from non-Muslim countries without major problems, with the result that a Sikh in a British newspaper may ride now the old nag of German "racism" to death and nobody laughs.

Angry, I commented at the Times website:
This is an insult to your readers. How can one write a sensemaking, literate and informative comment covering such a complex topic having just 300 characters at one's disposal? But then, "You have no idea about what you are talking" only needs 40 odd characters and says it all.
I think I was wrong. Some hours and a bit of online search later, I have to concede that Sunny Hundal knows very well about what he is talking. He is a man with an agenda.