August 03, 2010

It's Islam, Stupid! -- Redux

Commenter Fabio Barbieri replies to my entry It's Islam, Stupid!:
On the same day as you published this (Sunday 25 July) I saw a long (half-hour) BBC interview with Eileen Gittins, the founder of the print-to-order company Blurb. (Print-to-order companies are internet-based businesses that allow anyone to publish a book and make as many or as few copies as they can sell or pay for. The best-known is Lulu.) The interviewer was Zeinab Bedawi, a Muslim of the same kind as Aygül Özkan, dressed in subdued chic, gracefully made up and coiffured, and with not the shadow of a veil in sight. From the beginning, Ms.Bedawi was visibly hostile, and her questioning was clearly aimed at showing, either that there was something unethical – as in the case of old-fashioned vanity publishers – about print-to-order, or that it would lower the level of communication. For the first ten minutes or so of the interview, I felt that this was the caste arrogance of the professional journo coming out – we cannot allow all that blogger rabble to pollute the sanctuary of mass communication with their muddy boots and vile manners. But then, at first from behind a tangle of words and claims, and then more and more clearly, another agenda showed itself. Suppose someone published something that was offensive. Well, answered Ms.Gittins, we have mechanisms in place – we don’t vet everything ourselves, but we encourage the public to make complaints. Ah, said Ms.Bedawi, but what about things offensive to particular groups? Like, say, the Danish cartoons? She started really hammering at this point, which is when I switched the TV off – though I must say that Ms.Gittins was being admirably stout and refusing to privilege a group’s claims over freedom of expression.

This made me think. It seems evident to me that what Ms.Bedawi instinctively opposed was the thought of thousands, maybe millions of people, each publishing freely - what is already happening with the internet, but in the more permanent and respected medium of paper. Where the surface of caste prejudice and the inner reality of religious threat meet, was in hating the idea of mass action - mob action - in the print media. Now Muslims, especially Sunni Muslims, certainly do not dislike mob action as such: it is their main way to be felt - yelling crowds of bearded youths pouring from mosques on hot Friday afternoons. On the other hand, the appeal clearly made by Bedawi to non-Muslims in general is clearly coded in a language of snobbery, intended to reach the elites and those who regard themselves as elite. It says: "Don't allow this banausic mob of Sunday scribblers to take control of the media from you - you who are educated, professional and enlightened. See what risks you run when you allow Uncle Tom Cobbley and all to say what they think about things they know nothing of - such as Islam?" In other words, there is an inherent attempt to co-opt the non-Muslim societal leaderships into the job of Muslim repression, by flattering their intellectual and social presumptions. You can hear it in the constant but never justified claim that anyone who criticizes or opposes Islam does so because he is ignorant: this is frequently repeated by establishment supporters of Islam - and you can see that the assumption involved helps them accept the claim, by flattering their own self-image. Hey, you don't understand Islam - because we do! Who else but us, the educated, the enlightened? So a religion that lives on the unleashing of its own mobs - and in which sometimes the mobs even devour some of the elites, and always threaten them - also advances by flattering the natural snobbish and repressive instincts of the elites of opposite groups; and not just by threatening them. That is not necessary when you can just arouse their own contempt - laced by unspoken fear - for the mobs in their own world. Of course, fears remaining a useful unadmitted motivation, but there is no need to ever mention it: to the contrary, you may act for all the world like the most quivering of cowed dhimmis and still see in the mirror the face of a paragon, a hero of enlightened vision and principle.
Astute observations like that always spur my interest, so I did a quick Google search on Zeinab Bedawi (or Badawi). Here is an exerpt from her Wikipedia entry. She ...
... was born in Sudan and has lived in Britain since the age of one. Badawi was educated at Hornsey High School for Girls in North London, followed by the University of Oxford (St Hilda's College) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) with a post-graduate degree on the Middle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies, awarded with a distinction. At Oxford she was a member of the Oxford University Broadcasting Society.

Journalism career

Badawi was a researcher and broadcast journalist for Yorkshire TV from 1982 to 1986. After a spell at BBC Manchester she joined Channel 4 News in 1988, and co-presented the programme from 1989 until leaving for the BBC in 1998.

At the BBC Badawi worked at Westminster on live political programmes for five years, and also worked on BBC radio, regularly presenting The World Tonight on Radio 4 and BBC World Service's Newshour. In 2005, Badawi became the new presenter of The World on BBC Four, the UK's first daily news bulletin devoted principally to international news. In May 2007 the programme was rebranded as World News Today.

In November 2009, Badawi was named "international TV personality of the year" in the annual AIBs, the international media excellence awards organised by the Association for International Broadcasting.

From 2010, in addition to her presenting role on BBC World News, Badawi has presented on the BBC News Channel.

Public positions

Badawi has been an adviser to the Foreign Policy Centre and a Council Member of the Overseas Development Institute. She is a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery (since 2004) and the British Council.

So here we have a woman, an immigrant to Britain, who owes everything she is to the culture in which she was raised. She was showered with honours and important positions where she had considerable influence on the opinion making process within the culture that raised and made her. And as I don't know the circumstances, I am not even saying that this remarkable career was, all or partly, a matter of affirmative action, white guilt, Western self-loathing or whatever. Let's assume she was, and is, truly deserving of all that. And yes, there is no veil in sight and let's, too, reflect for a precious moment what would have happened to her had she remained in Sudan.

And when all is said and done, where do her loyalties lie? It's Islam, stupid!

I don't know why Zeinab Bedawi made me think of this.


Anonymous said...

What really is disgusting is when women survivors of attempted honor killings come to the West to have prosthetic ears and noses installed, and facial reconstructions done, etc., and then they STILL stand up for Islam and say how good and right it is. They blame everything bad on tribal customs. What a crappy religion is it that can't break down and amend bad tribal customs after a thousand years. That's why Christians should try to convert Muslims since Islam isn't doing them any good.

The_Editrix said...

So right! One can argue that Islam isn't a religion to begin with but a totalitarian political ideology. "Allah" is not the God of the Bible.

Anonymous said...

The commenter whom your post was based on said that the BBC announcer was knocking PoD publishing (e.g. Lulu) probably due to her Muslim faith. There are probably lots of such books, but the only one I can think of offhand is Moon-o-theism. It's commonly mentioned on blogs. In fact, infidels might start referring to Islam more as Moon-o-theism than by the word Islam:

Anonymous said...

I want to underline that the point of my note was not so much to attack the graceless Bedawi (if it had not been her, it would have been someone else) so much as to describe the realization I had about the mechanism of validation by vanity and self-righteousness by which Western elites become joined at the hip with Muslim mobs. This is an important fact, which you yourself saw, with justified rage, in the bizarre behaviour of the execrable Frank Henkel.

I would go further and say that the result of the prevalence of soixante-huitards in the current social leadership has led to a situation where democracy - by which I mean the mechanism which leaves ultimate political power in the hands of the adult people - is resented, placed under surveillance, and under constant attack. That is the common, radically mutual interest that joins Islam and the current Western elites; and that is why the Western elites genuinely do not feel under threat by Islam. They regard Islam as an ally in the placing under control of all "unprogressive" elements. And control is the essential thing.

After all, that generation was quite clear about its goals right from the start: "We shall make a new world". This was a straightforward claim for political power - how else was a "new world" to be "made"? Or as an Italian singer put it: "We shall make a revolution, but not a single cannon shall be fired". Convenient, too, since firing cannon - going to war - has two major flaws: it requires sacrifices and courage, and it is uncertain in its results. Plenty of revolutions have been crushed. No, this self-declared founding aristocracy of a new world, intending to make a civilization that would be different from anything their fathers had ever imagined (except when they had imagined it), went about it the safe way, by colonizing institutions and corporations.

An essential help in this was the pre-existent evil that is the institutional structure of parties. I do not have enough words to say how much I hate parties and party mentalities. I think it may be shown that it was intended from the beginning to occupy the space of democratic politics, denying access to it to anyone who was not an apparatchik (and by the way, God be praised for the fractiousness and breakability of Italian parties, which has saved us from the dreadful destiny of two- or three-party rule). These were peculiarly suited to being colonized by soixante-huitards, and colonized they were - along with trades unions, charities, institutional bodies and the judiciary.

That explains why the elites are so committed to contrasting goals such as feminism, gay rights, and the promotion of Islam. They are not really goals, they are means. In one way or another, they are intended to limit the space of public debate, of free deliberation, of citizen intervention. What Islam and gay rights activists have in common is their commitment to the politics of offence, to demanding that anyone whose views they find offensive should be silenced by force, and ultimately that any law whioh offends them should be suppressed. This places power in the hands of minorities and away from the mass of the people. Elections will increasingly become an empty ritual - unless somewhere a political leader emerges who can not only break the stranglehold of the culture of offence, but also have the nerve to impeach and send to jail those judges and civil servants who have used their position to rewrite the laws and oppress opponents.

Anonymous said...

Bruce: I would say that it is more a matter of instinctive distrust of the free motion of others. Historically, Muslim governments tended to co-opt the leadership of dhimmi groups; to this day, for instance, the Ecumenical Patriarch is not just an appointee but an employee of the Turkish state. One may see a similar position, for instance, in comparatively high-ranking Copts such as Boutros Boutros-Ghali. People like that will never ascend to the top of Egyptian society, or of any other Muslim country, but they are there to give the whole dhimmi leadership a stake in the power structure, and to neutralize them when at any time dhimmi groups are being persecuted, oppressed or expelled. The lesson has been learned and internalized very well: to this day, the Christian leadership of the Arab Middle East is incapable of recognizing any enemy but Israel, and Christians like Saib Erekart are actually among the most active and aggressive members of the Arab leadership, ignoring as if beneath their notice the ethnic cleansing of Christians that is going on all the time under their feet.

Of course, in Dar-El-Harb the power relationships are different, but the policy - indeed, the instinct - is the same: identify and co-opt areas of societal leadership that think more of their own position in society than of the collective interest. And manipulate them. Of course, the dhimmi leadership is in turn convinced that they can manipulate the Muslims. And the question is, who will win?

Universal Realist said...

But you must also may want to take in consideration Zeinab Bedawi’s employer which I take it that is the BBC. See they may want to have a Muslim friendly Presenter/Interviewer and they are encouraging her to be so. Not saying she isn’t willing to do so but the BBC may want it so to look Muslim and immigrant friendly. Why? Perhaps so they don’t get death threats or maybe they are hedging their bets on the future population demographics.

On another thought, I think it’s amazing that Liberals who tend to defend women’s rights, artist, artistic expression, music, Atheism, gays, individuality, teenager’s freedoms, sex, drugs and rock and roll would not see Islam as a threat to their freedoms. Liberals have no problem declaring Christianity as an oppressive religion and want it remove from all government and public events. Yet when it comes to Islam they roll over.

Don’t they realize Islam particularly fundamentalist Islam are against women’s rights, artist, artistic expression, music, gays, individuality, teenager’s freedoms, pork, alcohol, sex, drugs and rock and roll?

Liberals would not like an Islamic government, particularly artist, atheist, gays, women and teenagers.

I remember when the show South Park was threaten if they showed an image of Muhammad and either the network or the show decided to censor the show. I really thought this would wake up the young people to the danger of this kind of ideology but no. If a group of Christians threaten South Park for show Jesus it would be ignored and young people would be criticizing Christian.

How many times do we hear about a westerner especially female in an Islamic country ending up getting arrested by the religious/moral police for kissing, not dressed appropriately, or just sitting with a male co-worker in public. But western Liberals just don’t believe it can happen in the western countries. Yet we already seen Muslim cab drivers refuse people if they are carrying a bottle of alcohol or refusing to allow blind people with guide dogs because Islam states dogs are unclean.

Then again a heterosexual male wouldn’t have it to bad. Men could be men again, Kings of their castles. Now if that doesn’t get feminist to fight against Islam I don’t know what will. LOL!!

For me not being allow too have bacon is enough to keep me from becoming Muslim. LOL! Actually I’m serious about that.

But seriously, westerners believe it won’t happen in their country and any liberal or freethinking person would not want it to happen.

The_Editrix said...

Fabio, I understand your point. I had never heard of her before and I doubt my American readers have, so I thought it would be a good idea to show yet another phoney face of "modern", "moderate" Islam. My adding of those details about Bedawi took some clout off the excellent points you made. I saw that as soon as the entry was online.

Chris, I think Fabio gives the answer to the question why liberals, artists, atheists, homosexuals, favour Islam over a traditional Christian society. They are not really into freedom, but into control. That's why people are usually not into just one "progressive", politically correct cause, but usually into all of them. A leftist will be as well feminist, into "equal rights" for homosexuals, vegetarian- or veganism, teetotalism (which, funny enough, doesn't extent to drugs), "animal rights", the cult of man-made climate change, agnosticism or atheism, "progressive" pedagogy and art, gun control, anti-racism and a rabid egalitarianism, and and and... In fact, it is all about control. They are abhorred at the thought that anybody anywhere on this earth might have fun. Wholesome fun, above all. They'd ban heterosexual sex, if they could. They want people sick of body and soul, helpless and frightened.

And that is exactly what Islam wants as well. They are mutually compatible and each faction think they can control the other.

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, I quite liked Palin when she first entered the political stage and found the quips at her lack of education petty, snide and mean. In the meantime she turned out to be a conservative bluff package and, worse, got much too big for her boots. I guess that is what will happen with most women in high offices. Their disposition of being footling will mostly get the better of them. Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel (the latter more than the former) are notable exceptions. (That refers to their personal style and demeanor, not to their politics, of which I disapprove.)

Universal Realist said...

The_Editrix said…
Chris, I think Fabio gives the answer to the question why liberals, artists, atheists, homosexuals, favour Islam over a traditional Christian society. They are not really into freedom, but into control.

Ah of course! Ironically I had a debate several months ago with someone saying that conservatives (particularly far right) want to control our lives. Which I said, “And liberals (particularly the far left) doesn’t? I went on to list all the things from what I can eat to what I can say as different ways liberals want to control my life. Of course the answer to me was that it’s for my own good.

As for Palin she has become damage goods thanks to the media and I very much doubt she will be able pull enough Independent voters to win a Presidential election. Actually when she ran with McCain in the 08 election she kind of became a third party candidate in a two party race. But that’s just my opinion.