Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And A Pleasant Allahu Akbar To You, Too, Mr. Layton.

Tarek Fatah is not always right. When he's wrong, the giveaway is he's being miserable about the thing. When he's right, you can almost always tell because he's having fun. Today, he's having some fun at the expense of NDP leader Jack Layton: "Might I ask, what has Omar Khadr got to do with Eid or Ramadan or with Muslims?" Tarek is dead right: "Far too many politicians are today bending over backward to solicit votes from the Muslim Canadian community and in doing so naively believing that we Muslims take our political cues from men in beards and women in burkas."

I highly recommend Tarek's Chasing A Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, and along the same lines I also happily recommend Bruce Bawer's provocative and saucy book Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom. Last week I had the pleasure of shambling around Ottawa with Bruce and friends and I was pleased to join Bruce in this panel discussion, at the National Archives, with Marc Lebuis of Point de Bascule and David Harris, former director of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service:

Link: Bruce B Q&A4

And speaking of books, here's Ehor Boyanowsky's tribute to the poet Ted Hughes, Savage Gods, Silver Ghosts: In the Wild with Ted Hughes. Here what I have to say about the book, on its dustjacket:

Ted Hughes' flyfishing sojourns on Canada's west coast are the stuff of legend. Rumours of his whereabouts would spread from river to river and camp to camp. Was he here? Is it true? Hughes was known to keep his quiet counsel among the most eccentric sect of anglers, the steelhead flyfishermen. He shared in their secrets, their campfires, their obsessions, and he moved through the mountains in their stories and their whispers. With this book, Ehor Boyanowsky has captured his beloved companion in the same way a proper fisherman takes a steelhead salmon. He raises Hughes from the shadows and into the light of day, for the world to behold, and then returns him to the river, and to his dreams.

27 Comments:

Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"...and women in burkas."

How many women in burkas has he met in Canada? I would have assumed he would know the difference between a burka and a hijab.

I don't recall ever seeing a woman in a burka here. I have seen women in niqab, maybe five at most.

11:10 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

I agree with aspects of Tarek's critque, which is rooted in his disgust with "ethnic enclave" politics, in which for muslims, mullahs and Imans, become the "go to" spokespeople for the communitty, even though no one deemed them as such. And there is a kind of orientalism in which muslims can only be assesed through the mosque and religion, forgetting the fact that they like everyone else, have multiple identities and are not some horde. This is the "multicuturalim" of samosas and the like, where brown people are condescended to and not really given an equal spot at the table. On that Im with Tarek and have always been.

That said, hmm, why would some in the communitty be concerned about a child soldier, tried in the kangaroo court, in which the proceedings are condemned by Amnesty and others, and every single court tells the government to bring Omar Khadr back. Maybe if his name wasnt Omar and he wasnt muslim, and we didnt have a government who have already shown callous indifference to muslim lives in Gaza, then things would be different. Many in the muslim communitty feel as if this issue is tinged with racism, and Layton should be applauded for taking this position and making it known to the broader communitty

11:41 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Mikey strikes again:

Last time I looked, it was Islamists and Jihadis, not Western govts or agencies, that who consistently maintain that "muslims can only be assesed through the mosque and religion, forgetting the fact that they like everyone else, have multiple identities and are not some horde." I guess they're the real "orientalists," particularly given that they don't "forget" the fact that Muslims have multiple identities but try to erase any portion of a "multiple identity" by force.

But hey, don't let the facts in front of your face disturb your ideologically blinkered position.

12:04 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

And it's my old pal, Viley. Sorry lil vil if you couldn't quite comprehend my point, although given your track record, there's little surprise here. Of course those who step up and present themselves as "authentic" spokespeople for the "community", often while crushing dissenting opinion or competing truths, essentially play a role in this charade. No doubt. And we should probably remember that the type of enclave style politicking Tarek talks about is not confined solely to muslims or arabs. It existed first in North America amongst ethnic whites, mostly Irish and Jews, and was referred to quite correctly as machine politics. It promotes, like I said, a hierarchical and dogmatic view about what a muslim is and stands in the way of greater social and political justice.

That said the Omar Khadr issue shouldnt only worry Muslims. It should be the cause of all Canadians concerned with racism, civl liberties and due process. The issue should belong to all of us

12:52 PM  
Blogger Dan Hilborn said...

Thank you, Terry!

1:53 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Nice to see you didn't even address my point (no surprise there either), which is that the "orientalism" you decry comes almost exclusively from the most backward and socially regressive elements of the Muslim community itself, and essentially holds the rest of the community hostage via threats and intimidation. Threats and intimidation that, by the way, are far far more serious than anything ever contemplated in the machine politics of the Irish, Jews, Italians or anybody else.

As for not getting your point, it seemed to be the usual mishmash or blaming us for not understanding the Muslim community as multifacted blah blah blah. In fact, our govt, (yes even the Harper govt, and certainly the Liberals before), has bent over backward to not do precisely what you accuse it of doing, the Omar Khadr case notwithstanding. And surely, even you should be able to see that the Khadr case is complicated, to say the least, by the anti-Western (and really, anti-human) actions of his immediate family.
Of course i'm not holding my breath waiting for you to see the light.

3:35 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Actually you've conviniently dodged not only my point, but also the crux of Tarek's critique. The idea that Muslims can be assesed only through religiousity or the mosque, which on particular days slavishly welcomes the mostly white male politicians, ends up serving both self declared spokespeople for the communitty as well as the powers that be. It cuts off, in an orientalist fashion, the very basic idea that people have multiple identities, which need not be reduced the any one thing. You yourself participate in this charade by evoking, out of nowhere, jihadists and islamists, terms which in your mouth are reduced to meaningless abstractions at best and fodder for discrimination at worst. Too bad. Pick up Amaryta Sens book on identity and violence for a corrective.

As for the rather absurd idea that its only in the muslim communitty that self appointed guardians of acceptable thought workl to crush dissenters, look no further than the thugs that you seem to support within the communitty who at the drop of the hat call Naomi Klein and Judi Rebick all sorts of names, or imply that they are self haters simply because the latter have the moral fortitude to oppose, in unequivocable language, the wholescale oppresion of a people Israel starves, occupies and kills. Deep deeper, Lil Vil

12:37 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"And surely, even you should be able to see that the Khadr case is complicated, to say the least, by the anti-Western (and really, anti-human) actions of his immediate family."

Nice apolegetics. Every single international human rights group on top of a number of court rulings have called for his release. Every other western nation whose citizens have been held in guatanamo have got them back, understanding full well that the sham military tribunals are an affront to due process and fairness under the law. The fact is that Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen and under any reasonable view should be perceived as a child soldier, who we ought to try to rehabilitate, not let rot. The fact that ytou cant see this, and that for you the his case (and rights) are compromised by the sins of his family, is rather revealing to say the least

12:50 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Mikey: Your respect for the due process of law would be admirable were it not so selective. As for Khadr, it's not that I can't "see" the arguments for his release, i even agree with most of them; it's just that i also see -- as you apparently do not -- that the situation is complicated considerably by the fact that his family and he are al-qaeda operatives. That doesn't "compromise his case." It's a fact that complicates it. Not really so hard to understand.

As for your comments orientalism, ethnic communities and so-forth, what's revealing is that you prefer to blame our politicians, who really bend over backwards not only for Muslims but for all ethnic groups in Canada, and then have the bloody chutzpah to castigate me for orientalism when i point out than jihadis and islamists are the true orientalists. YOu seem to think that excessive dollops of sanctimony, self-righteousness oh-so-selective selective morality trumps fact, history and common sense. As for Naomi Klein and Judy Rebick, they well deserve what they get when they get on their high horses and blame the West, US and Israel for all assorted woes and conveniently ignore all facts that don't adhere to their twisted world view. So please, spare us another dose of your selective sanctimony. It's stomach-turning.

2:38 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: As for the rather absurd idea that its only in the muslim communitty that self appointed guardians of acceptable thought workl to crush dissenters, look no further than the thugs that you seem to support within the communitty who at the drop of the hat call Naomi Klein and Judi Rebick.

Talk about absurd claims. If you actually read my response, you'll find that I never said anything like "it's only in the muslim community that self-appointed guardians of acceptable thought work to crush dissent." What I did say was that the Muslim community faces "threats and intimidation that, by the way, are far far more serious than anything ever contemplated in the machine politics of the Irish, Jews, Italians or anybody else."

Now here you are, equating the physical intimidation and threats to physical well-being that everyday moderate muslims (the vast majority) face at the hands of their islamist so-called co-religionists and equating said thuggery (ask Fateh and Irshad Manji how many death threats they've received) with, what, terrifying letters to the editor critiquing Rebick and Klein? What fucking planet do you live on?

2:45 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Not to engage in a process of not picking and I will not deny, or apolisie for, rather i condemn any threats of intimdation coming from anyone disguised as weapons used against those who offend. Its intoloreable and no doubt far too many reactionary muslims indulge in intimidation others, as Tarek surely knows. I should mention that the late Edward Said, needed Columbia University security as well as the NY police, to monitor and protect his office when he was alive because of routine death threats iminating from obviously violent "defenders" from Israel. And Judy Rebick this past week has been called a Capo and threatened, as has Max Blumenthal who published the torrent of hate mail and occasional death threats he has received on his web site. Fanatical and stupid all of it. Surely.

As for the idea that moderate muslims are threrated all the time, violently what planet do you live on. I just went to an Eid celebration last night in Vancouver hosted by a longtiem Queer Muslim group Salaam who put on a dance at a night club to celebrate the festivities. They organise and do things all the tiem and they have for many years now and have chapters throughout the country. Are the mainstream? No. But they exist and thrive, a testamount in some ways to Canadian society, but also the multiplicity of voices in the Canadian muslim communitty which you seem grossly ignorant of

3:19 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Your gay muslim friends notwithstanding, are you seriously comparing the level and intensity of threats against ordinary muslims (whom I called the vast majority, a point you conveniently ignore when you continuously and falsely accuse me of stereotyping the muslim community as jihadi and islamist) by islamists to the invective heaped on anti-Zionist jews? That's truly insane. How many anti-Zionist Jews require protection? I'd rather hear Irshad Manji's opinion on that, and would be glad to see her and July Rebick compare their respective fears of attack. You bring Said in for no good reason, but doing so weakens your already weak argument, because for every Muslim/Arab requring police protection from homicidal Jews a la Said, there are hundreds of schools and Jewish community centres requiring such protection from Islamist nutcases. Forgot about those, did you? And some of those crazy Islamists actually act on their threats. The Jewish elementary school on the street I grew up on in Montreal was firebombed by one a few years ago for being "pro-israel." But hey, Said needed police protection... yeah, that's comparable.
If you really believe the crap you're spouting, this conversation is over, as I have no need or desire to debate with the delusional.

4:26 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:28 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Mikeal:

I won't have you slandering and insulting people simply because they find your moral exhibitionism off-putting.

Won't have it.

8:21 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:07 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"Moral exhibitionism" you say. Perhaps you'd like to elaborate

12:47 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"Mikey: Your respect for the due process of law would be admirable were it not so selective. As for Khadr, it's not that I can't "see" the arguments for his release, i even agree with most of them; it's just that i also see -- as you apparently do not -- that the situation is complicated considerably by the fact that his family and he are al-qaeda operatives. That doesn't "compromise his case." It's a fact that complicates it. Not really so hard to understand."

Okay so his families status "complicates" the case. I get you. Now lets get down the main point at hand. Do you agree with the human rights groups, national lawyers association, federal court rulings, civil libertarians and others that the Canadian government should make every possible attempt to bring this Canadian citizen and child soldier back, out of a process which off offends our own legal system, or do you side with the Harper government on this one. I've yet to get a sense of what your answer to this is yet.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Perhaps you'd like to ask yourself why I would bother engaging you in some endless, pointless debate about this or any subject.

No.

1:12 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Fair enough but the least you could do, then, would be not to delete my posts, particularly if Im being attacked with abotu the same hosility as the person Im engaging. Just saying

1:36 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Mikey: To answer your question, i (rather reluctantly) think the Harper govt should try to get him back -- only because he officially qualifies as a child soldier and officially is a CAnadian citizen. That being said, the complications i referred to earlier could have severe ramifications. For instance, if he's sentenced "as a child" he'll be out real quick, and i have no doubt that he will fall under the influence of his charming family once again, assuming he was ever not under their influence. Which could mean more innocent people could die because of this decision. Furthermore, i don't think racism has a thing to do with it, and you're far to ready to throw around the racism word, which in my experience is the last resort of the leftie scoundrel (along with "facist").

And while we're at it:
1-You wrote, specifically about me: "the thugs that you seem to support within the communitty who at the drop of the hat call Naomi Klein and Judi Rebick all sorts of names, or imply that they are self haters..." WELL, I don't support thugs or thuggish behavior by anybody, I don't call anti-zionist Jews self hating (stupid yes, self-hating, no, i'm not a psychologist) and you won't be able to find a single remark i've ever made that indicates that i do. You completely made that up.

2-Nor did I ever say anything remotely like "moderate muslims are threrated all the time." IN this case, i don't think you made anything up, but you clearly misunderstand. I'm saying that the threats they face should they, say, speak out against Islamism or excessive violence by Jihadis puts them in a kind of danger that other ethnic "dissidents" or whatever you would call them don't have to face, certainly not to the same degree. I believe what they have to face is the same mixture of pressure/threat that Yale University succumbed to recently when it decided to publish a book about the Danish cartoons without the cartoons themselves. The kind of threats Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji have to face. Or the kind that the publishers of Satanic Verses faced (Japanese translator murdered, Rushdie fatwaed, you know the story). Now tell me when a publisher faced that kind of pressure from a critical Jewish, Irish or Italian book. Mordechai Richler took square aim at Montreal's Jewish community in all his books, and later at francophone Quebec history, yet was drinking at the Sir Winston pub in downtown Montreal until the end of his days, unmolested. If any of your gay Muslim friends become politically active and speak and write publicly against the oppressive nature of the fundamentalists who want to control their religion and about their sexual preferences, do you think they'll be left to it.

3:35 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"If any of your gay Muslim friends become politically active and speak and write publicly against the oppressive nature of the fundamentalists who want to control their religion and about their sexual preferences, do you think they'll be left to it."

Radical Islam is wholly deserving is wholly deserving of the contempt thatViley shows it, and yet I remain unconvinced by his assurances of respect for Islam. Indeed, most of his offerings are couched in classic "clash of civilizations" rhetoric, using terms that have become so hackneyed in our global culture as to lose meaning.

To sustain this simplistic view of the world, that Viley and others propagate,it is imperative that the east, indebted, underdeveloped, and illiterate as it may be, is seen as the real threat to the rich, developed, and thriving west. It is also essential that the west be referred to in terms of its enlightenment and by specific citations from the work of its intellectuals (Bernard Lewis, Paul Berman, Sam Harris), whereas the east is seen primarily through its religion, quotes from fundamentalist ideologues (Sayyid Qutb), and examples of backward social mores culled from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia (and not from the other 54 Muslim nations.) Lastly, it is necessary to minimize or gloss over the west's past crimes, while maximizing the east's, all the better to achieve the desired contrast.

As for the quote has Viley simply not heard of Reza Aslan, Mahmoud Mamdani, Anina Wadud and countless others? Astounding

5:07 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

ok that's it. I've definitely had my fill. What a cheek to assume my positions without any grounds and then critique those positions. Here's what I mean:
1-"I remain unconvinced by his assurances of respect for Islam."
Based on what? and who cares?
2-most of his offerings are couched in classic "clash of civilizations" rhetoric"
No, they aren't. It's in your head.
3-Using terms that have become so hackneyed in our global culture as to lose meaning.
No, they haven't. You seem to think that saying they've lost meaning actually means they have. Prove it. You can't.
4-"To sustain this simplistic view of the world, that Viley and others propagate."
a. I don't propagate this view.
b. It may be many things, but it's not simplistic, even if i don't propagate it.
5-"it is imperative that the east, indebted, underdeveloped, and illiterate as it may be, is seen as the real threat to the rich, developed, and thriving west."
What a cheek. I've never said, written or thought any such thing. I absolutely don't see these issues through a North/South lens. You apparently do.
6-"It is also essential that the west be referred to in terms of its enlightenment and by specific citations from the work of its intellectuals (Bernard Lewis, Paul Berman, Sam Harris), whereas the east is seen primarily through its religion, quotes from fundamentalist ideologues (Sayyid Qutb), and examples of backward social mores culled from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia (and not from the other 54 Muslim nations.)
I've never quoted or even read any of the ideologues you mention, and I've never made any generalizations whatsoever about the East. It appears you have me confused with your imaginary bogeyman.
You're confirmed as an asshole and I won't deal with you any more. Your entire post puts words and thoughts in my mouth that I've never uttered or written or even thought.
7-"the east is seen primarily through its religion, quotes from fundamentalist ideologues (Sayyid Qutb), and examples of backward social mores culled from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia (and not from the other 54 Muslim nations.)" -- YOu should be a fiction writer. I've never said, read, heard or written any such thing. How on earth would you know what prism or lens i see the east through. I never write about that. It's that imaginary bogeyman again.
8-"Lastly, it is necessary to minimize or gloss over the west's past crimes, while maximizing the east's, all the better to achieve the desired contrast."
More of the same. Where did you dream this up. Is it a bad hair day? Did you break up with your girlfriend? We aren't discussing the West's past crimes, nor have I "maximized the east's". What are you fucking talking about?
CONTINUED

6:06 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

9-"As for the quote has Viley simply not heard of Reza Aslan, Mahmoud Mamdani, Anina Wadud and countless others? Astounding"
No, what's astounding is that you would dredge up these writers to make your point. They dont. Aslan is your garden-variety leftist of Islamic origin who may be mildly critical of islamists but spares most of his ammo for the West, colonialism etc. and Israel. No reason the Islamists should go after him. Yet.
Mamdani is a straight out apologist for the Sudanese regime who equates criticizing Darfur with the war on terror. If i were an Islamist I certainly wouldn't bother him for now.
And then there's Wadud: Very bad example. When she wanted to lead a prayer meeting in new york and be a female imam, three mosques refused to host the service and the museum that had agreed to host it pulled out after a bomb threat. After a Cape Town speech, Muslims in Virginia tried to have her removed from her position at Virginia Commonwealth U. I have to admit i'm surprised she hasn't faced worse and hope she continues unmolested. I like some of what she had to say.

Anyway, with this little speculation with me substituting for your imaginary bogeyman, you've shown your true colors (not that they weren't obvious already). I was really pissed off when I first read this particular post because of the amazingly arrogant and inept assumptions, but i'm not any more. Anyone sane and fair who reads your comments, and my responses, will inevitably arrive at the right conclusion.

One last word: All that nonsense that you put into my mouth without any grounds, and your responses to it, is probably what terry meant by "moral exhibitionism." Couldn't be more clear. Next time just take your pants off instead. It would be funnier and far less time-consuming and verbose.

6:06 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

" If any of your gay Muslim friends become politically active and speak and write publicly against the oppressive nature of the fundamentalists who want to control their religion and about their sexual preferences, do you think they'll be left to it."

Again Viley shows his breathtaking ignorance. They not only speak up politically, hold forums, have a website and are a large part of the Noor congregation in Toronto, which acts as a venue for more progressivley orientated Islam. In fact one of Salaam's member, El Farouk Khaki, a friend of mine, who has run for federal office, and is a high profile immigration lawyer, was this years grand marshall for the Toronto pride parade. This conversation showed that orientalist, defenders of Israeli violence, tend to opportunistically attack Islamism, not out of sincerity, as there is much to attack, but rather to fuel their toxic political agenda. Viley is case in point

1:09 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"No, what's astounding is that you would dredge up these writers to make your point. They dont. Aslan is your garden-variety leftist of Islamic origin who may be mildly critical of islamists but spares most of his ammo for the West, colonialism etc. and Israel. No reason the Islamists should go after him. Yet."

Absurd. Actually Reza is far more of a liberal than a leftist, in terms of politics, and he spends most of his time writing about iran, most recently this has involved stinging critiques of the ruling clergy and support for the movement in the streets. Along wirth Hamid Dabashi he has been invaluable for anyione wanting to get an informed and historically literate understanding of what happening in Iran. Viley is bothered by the fact that Dabashi and Aslan, to a lesser extent, have multiple critiques, which include holding the West and Israel to universal standards of morality. Viley again, by his clueless description of Aslan, shows he has no idea what he is talking about

1:16 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

You seem far more concerned with determining my "morality" and making wild assumptions about what i think than with actually discussing issues and facts. I note that for all your latest moral posing, you haven't addressed in any way shape or form 8 of the 9 issues I had with your absurdly fallacious post, all of which made you look like a presumptuous twat.
Two more examples of presumptuous twattishness in the latest post:
1-"Viley is bothered by the fact that Dabashi and Aslan, to a lesser extent, have multiple critiques, which include holding the West and Israel to universal standards of morality."
First of all, you dont' know what the fuck i'm bothered by or not bothered by. Second, Dabashi wasn't even mentioned in your original post, so how can I be bothered by him/her/whoever? Yeah, I'm real bothered.... Idiot.
2-"This conversation showed that orientalist, defenders of Israeli violence, tend to opportunistically attack Islamism, not out of sincerity, as there is much to attack, but rather to fuel their toxic political agenda. Viley is case in point."
a. PLease tell me what my "toxic" or otherwise "political agenda" is? I didn't know I had one. You obviously know the workings of my mind better than I do, so please, inform me.
b. How on earth do you know whether my attack on Islam is "sincere" or "opportunistic"? Maybe you've watched too many episodes of Medium. My attacks on Islamism -- not Islam, see next point -- are sincere, in that i truly believe what I'm saying. Is there a special level of sincerity that only idealistic blinkered clots like you are able to discern?
c. In addition to which, I've never attacked Islam in my entire life. I respect it as one of the three great monotheistic religions with a 1,400 year history. Islamism is a different story. You seem to confuse the two, not me.

I argue facts. You argue motivations. Facts are provable. Motivations clearly are not, as your posts continually illustrate. It's hard enough to discern one's own motivations, let alone someone else's. If i wanted to engage a mind reader, I'd watch medium or the dead zone, not follow political blogs. I suggest you turn your TV on at 9 pm on Friday and watch Alison Dubois do a much better job at what you are trying so unsuccessfully to do. If you prefer local, the Dead Zone is on at 1:05 a.m. Sunday on channel 15.

2:50 PM  

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