Monday, March 02, 2009

Exit Strategies, Echoes of Molotov-Ribbentrop, Edward Said, A Radio Program . . .

My Comrade Nick Cohen, who confesses to a kind of family loyalty in regards to Eric Hobsbawm (Nick's grandpappy was Hobsbawm's Communist Party mentor), reflects on the cold shoulder MI5 has recently shown the decorated Marxist historian and takes the opportunity to provide visitors to his web log with a lengthy and terrific excerpt from his book, What's Left? In passing, Cohen reminds us: "Stalin wasn’t the only tyrant communists supported. During the Hitler-Stalin pact they had to argue that British imperialism rather than German fascism was the real enemy. The echoes of our own day when so many on the liberal-left go along with Islamo-fascists are chilling and fascinating."

In favour: I must say, I do love it when Rosie gets mad: Israeli Apartheid Week is a "detestable, despicable annual campus hate-fest. . .a pile-on of hyperbolic anti-Semitism that de facto equates Zionism with racism, not even pretending to draw distinctions any more. . . I apologize for even mentioning the shrill and intellectually distorted confab. . . Jew-bashing cloaked in righteousness." (Related: "Broadly speaking, in other words, the locus of anti-Semitism has moved almost entirely from the right side of the political spectrum to the left." - Jonathan Kay)

In similarly high spirits, Peter Tatchell, picking up on the theme Cohen touches on, has written a long-form, richly annotated polemic on the disgraceful anemia abroad in "anti-imperialist"circles on the question of Iranian fascism: "Principled, consistent left-wingers do not base their politics on the unprincipled, inconsistent geo-political manoeuvres of western powers. We stand with the oppressed against their oppressors, regardless of what the west (or anyone else) demands or threatens. . . Iran is an Islamo-fascist state – a clerical form of fascism based on a confluence of Islamic fundamentalism and police state methods. It differs, of course, from traditional European-style fascism, being rooted in religious dogma and autocracy. This makes it no less barbaric. Iran under the ayatollahs has a history of repression that is even bloodier than Franco’s clerical fascist regime in Spain. Sadly, it merits far less outrage by the left."

Exit Strategy - Cheap 'Gotcha' Journalism Version: For the life of me, I see absolutely nothing newsworthy in anything Prime Minister Harper said - Is there any serious person anywhere who thinks that America or NATO alone can defeat the 'insurgency' in Afghanistan? - but this hasn't stopped the screaming headlines. I'll let Mark Collins explain it to you.

Speaking of Afghanistan, you can catch me tomorrow on this American radio broadcast, where I will be joining Ron Hoffmann, Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan, and Nipa Banerjee, the former head of CIDA's Afghan operations, to try and make sense of the Canadian debates and controversies about the Afghanistan question for an American audience.

Exit Strategy - Expansive, Engrossing and Seriously Literate version: My own mentor and dear friend Stan Persky, over at Dooney's Cafe, considers at some length Edward Said's On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain. You'll probably want to put up your feet and take some time with this. It's a gorgeous piece of work. He manages to bring into the conversation a constellation of big-forehead people, including Thomas Hobbes, Saul Bellow, Mordechai Richler, Doris Lessing, Czeslaw Milosz. . . you'll see.

Here's a handy list, come the revolution. No soup for you!


Blogger ahmed said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:09 PM  
Blogger ahmed said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Ahmed: No soup for you!

8:29 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

allah, allah, ahmed is 40
- lorne elliott

1:06 PM  

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