Friday, November 28, 2008

When Was The Last Time Tariq Ali Said Anything Remotely Sensible?

Perhaps senility is sufficient to explain Tariq Ali, but it isn't adequate to explain why he can spout utter gibberish from one end of Canada to the other, and throughout his book tour, almost without exception, the news media just slobbers on his slippers. I love this bit of Ali's wisdom: "The last Canadian prime minister who tried to strike out an independent position for Canada was Pierre Trudeau. Since that time, things have got worse."

Here's a brilliant exception, from Tahir Alsam Gora, in the Hamilton Spectator. In it, the brave Tarek Fatah (a former comrade of Ali's) explains why he didn't bother showing up at Ali's appearance in Toronto: "I preferred to stay away, as Tariq Ali has betrayed the principles of progressive politics by making common cause with Islamists. He considers Hezbollah heroic and the murderous Taliban as a Pushtun movement."

The depth of Ali's betrayal of anything remotely approaching progressive politics is his analysis yesterday of the Mumbai terror attacks, in Counterpunch, which Principia Dialectica correctly headlines thus: "When A Socialist Defends Barbarism."

There should be nothing surprising about this sort of thing by now. Counterpunch is a profoundly reactionary journal which is happy to provide a platform to the Taliban-supporting Canadian economist and drooling antisemitic lunatic Eric Wahlberg. For a review of the depths of depravity to which Counterpunch has sunk, here is a must-read.

Ali's Counterpunch analysis is actually not an analysis, but a transparent exercise in evasion. It's all somebody else's fault. It's about the beastly behaviour of the Indian government in Kashmir, the "anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them," and so on. As if this could somehow explain why the "Deccan Mujahadeen" chose to target the Jews at Mumbai's Chabad house, where we now learn that the young rabbi
Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka are among the dead.

Something is strangely missing, in other words, from Ali's account. Perhaps if Counterpunch had given him more space, or if he'd had more time in his busy schedule, Ali might have explained how the disaffection of some minority within India's vast Muslim population should result in a bloothirsty attack on Mumbai's small and cheerful community of Lubavitchers. Why? Was it their sinister candle-lightings, their poverty-eradication program, their kosher meals for young Israeli backpackers?

Ben Cohen is watching developments. As is Eamonn McDonagh.


Blogger Francis Sedgemore said...

After reading this I find myself imagining how Ali will spin the Mumbai atrocity story if the speculation about Londonistan connections turn out to be true. I think we can expect a Guardian op-ed followed by at least 2000 comments. I feel sick to the stomach.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Kurt Langmann said...

Not to defend Tariq but in a sense I hope he's right: that Pakistan is not behind this atrocity and is sincere about extending the olive branches to India, de-fanging the ISI and routing out the fanatics. That, like the July 7 terrorist attacks on London by British citizens, this is a homegrown cancer. Heaven help Pakistan (and the rest of us) if it's proven that the Pakistan government had anything to do with this carnage. All the diplomats in the world won't be able to stop it from going ballistic.

10:20 AM  

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