Friday, July 29, 2011

Exposed: The Creepiness of Alastair Crooke and the 'Conflicts Forum' Pantomime.

Michael Weiss and Hussein Ibish:

Conflicts Forum strongly advocates the narrative that the contemporary Arab world is the site of a macro-historical struggle between a “culture of resistance” and a “culture of accommodation,” meaning all moderate, secular and pro-Western forces in the region. Crooke’s attachment to Assad appears to be a function of the Syrian regime’s self-professed role as a supporter of “resistance” and its strong ties to Iran and Hezbollah.

Conflicts Forum’s documents do not reflect Western efforts to understand Islamist movements; rather, they speak in a clearly and unabashedly Islamist voice. Its advisory board includes Azzam Tamimi, a prominent Hamas sympathizer in the United Kingdom who has defended suicide bombings. It also includes Moazzam Begg, who, as London’s The Daily Telegraph recently reported, confessed in a signed statement to the FBI that he learned how to shoot guns and operate explosives at an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.

Crooke’s and Conflicts Forum’s activities are alarming from a Western point of view, but even more so from the perspective of those interested in the spread of democracy and liberal values in the Arab and Islamic worlds, above all Arabs and Muslims themselves. What such activities champion are in fact ultra-right wing, reactionary and fundamentally totalitarian ideologies hostile to human rights in general, and more specifically to the rights of individuals, women and minorities. Crooke is evidently a spy who gladly stepped into the cold.

This man, his odious views, and his nefarious organization have had a free pass for far too long. . .

More here and here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

You're Never Out Of Range Of The Mother Corp.

Off with the missus to the far side of Wickaninnish Island for the weekend and the CBC caught up with me regardless. Way out there with nothing but the North Pacific between us and Japan and we were still within cell phone range. Cross-Country Check-Up wanted to chat me up about my "worst summer job." With former PM Paul Martin, the National Post's Barbara Kay, Saskatchewanderer Andrew Konoff, and constitutional-law maven Ian Bainson. I'm almost last up because you always save the best story for the final moments, of course. About 1:35:30 in, here. Not that I'm vain or anything.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Like today for instance.

Van Morrison, proud son of Sandy Row, East Belfast. True Blue:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Advance Verdicts: Come From The Shadows.

Come from The Shadows: In bookstores October 2011.

“The Afghan people have friends around the world who have courageously joined us in our fight for our freedom and civil liberties, but few have been as devoted to our cause as Terry Glavin. His journalism gives our silenced voices the power to be heard in the West.”

- Fawzia Koofi, Afghan MP and author of Letters to My Daughters.

"The best journalism exists to refute self-serving and self-satisfied prejudices. With reporting from the ground and historical scholarship, Terry Glavin demolishes our illusions about Afghanistan, and produces a book that is at once an assault on received wisdom and a humane defence of the rights of subjugated peoples."

- Nick Cohen, author of What's Left?

"Terry Glavin is the West's most eloquent advocate of the cause of Afghan liberty. His voice is a powerful counterweight to the many others who relentlessly counsel abdication of that cause."

- Sohrab Ahmari, co-editor of Re-Orient, a forthcoming anthology of essays by young Mideast reformers.

"Glavin’s forensic demolition of pious myths about Afghanistan and fierce defence of liberal values is persuasive and exhilarating."

- Ophelia Benson, co-author of Why Truth Matters.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Far from the Taliban’s grim desert strongholds, the country we visit with Terry Glavin is a surprisingly welcoming place, hidden away in alleys and narrow streets that bustle with blacksmiths, gem hawkers and spice merchants. This is the unseen Afghanistan, reawakening from decades of savagery and bloodletting.

Glavin shows us how events have unfolded in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. Travelling with fluent interpreters and Afghan human rights activists, Glavin meets people from many walks of life—key political figures, teachers, journalists, farmers, students, burqa-shrouded women and soccer players—and in these pages they speak for themselves. And in the life story of Afghan-Canadian writer, translator and activist Abdul Rahim Parwani, he finds the story of Afghanistan’s agonies over the past 30 years.

Glavin draws parallels between the west's unawareness of Afghanistan and the shock that greeted the "Arab Spring" uprisings of recent months. He writes about the little-known events that led up to "Koran burning" riots in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and explores the Afghanistan that is hidden behind fanciful stereotypes of the kind at the centre of the scandal surrounding Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, a title marketed as a memoir that has turned out to be largely fiction. Glavin also notes that although Mortenson is a massively best-selling author and celebrity in the English speaking world, few Afghans have ever heard of him. The irony, he says, is that North Americans turn to Mortenson's book for uplifting stories about Afghanistan, when all along there are true stories in abundance of courageous Afghans working for rebuild their country from decades of war.

Celebrated as “a critical voice in the dialogue that sustains a civil society,” Glavin is active with the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee and is increasingly seen as an expert on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. He is also one of the best writers we have.

Come from the Shadows mounts a passionately, marvellously readable challenge to the usual depiction of the war in Afghanistan. What, Glavin asks, has made the West incapable of hearing the voices of Afghans at the forefront of the global struggle against slavery, misogyny and tyranny? His answers are often unexpected and always illuminating.