Symposium Update

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

Yesterday’s symposium posed the question, “After Hizbullah, What?” Chester has answered on his own blog. Here’s a part of what he said:

Hezbollah is militarily defeated some weeks hence, but before then, some other event occurs that serves to keep the region in a period of flux. This period of flux will continue until one of two outcomes is sustained: the US and its allies find themselves involved in an overt war with Iran, or Iran becomes a declared nuclear power. The events that contribute to the period of flux could be friendly actions, such as new initiatives in Iraq or diplomatic initiatives in the Levant; or Iranian actions, such as a new intifada-like campaign in Iraq, or the attempted closing of the Straits of Hormuz, or the testing of a ballistic missile.

Read the rest at The Adventures of Chester. You can argue with him in his comments!

Maybe More Protein Than Wisdom, But Lots o’ Fun

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom has posted a wonderful tale of mystery and intrigue, a CITIZEN JOURNALIST reports from battleground, USA, 7:

I don’t know what to make of this, but I was out picking up lunch from a small middle eastern restaurant near the university when three men, their faces partially obscured by green and yellow bandanas, launched an orchestrated strike on me using heavy falafel balls and what I think must have been shanklish.

I wasn’t seriously injured—one of the falafel balls grazed my shoulder, while the shanklish overshot me and landed on a table to my flank, causing a bit of shawarma to lodge in a toddler’s ear and some tabbouleh juice to blind his mother momentarily—but unfortunately, in the ensuing chaos the three attackers were able to flee the scene on a pair of old, dirt-crusted Vespas.

But the really strange part of all this was that I hadn’t even begun to wipe the fried chick pea detritus off my Fubu madras before a nattily dressed gentleman claiming to be from the State Department slipped me his card and told me that, should I wish to respond to the attack, I’d have roughly ten days to do so.

After that, he said, I would either have to go back to being a Zionist oppressor hated by the vast majority of the world, or else “come up with some of that really funny Jew stuff like Larry David does.”


My first thought on reading about his adventurous lunch was, “Gosh, I wish we had a place that sold falafel nearby.” All you can get around here is Billy Bob’s Pulled Pork Bar-Bee-Que. And they’re not open on Mondays anyway. Or during hunting season. Or sometimes for no reason I can ascertain. Billy Bob is an artiste when it comes to pulled pork; mere humans don’t question the vagaries of operating hours.

My second thought was, “Gosh, I wonder what a proportionate response to this attack would be…?”

Disproportionate responseMy third thought was, “Proportionate? Are you nuts? This was an unprovoked attack with a cannon ball-like missile. It demands the DISPROPORTIONATE RESPONSE from hell.”

Having revved myself up with this train of thought, I decided to add my comment to his growing list of responses. However, as is often the case with my comments, I went on a bit long. When you do that, it means you need your own blog… which is how this one started: from taking up too much bandwidth at The Belmont Club [I’d link to the Club, but Wretchard needs my link like he needs… like he needs a smaller house. Besides, anyone who is reading this has already been to see him at least once today].

So instead of leaving a response at Mr. Goldstein’s place, I came home to drop it here. I think you’ll agree it is too long to be within the limits of courtesy, comment-wise. However, scenarios of revenge do get me going. So here’s my original comment, deleted there and dragged home for your perusal.

Just keep in mind that the weapon of choice was falafel balls, and some commenters were already going into phallic mode with that:

A proportionate response would be a galvanized tub full of Billy Bob’s pulled pork bar-b-q airlifted and dumped on the Vespa riders. Preferably the Texas pulled pork since it tends to be stickier than North Carolina’s more gentlemanly version.

Yeah, I know pork isn’t kosher. Wear rubber gloves or something. At the very least, don’t lick your fingers.

And, there is something equally phallic about “pulled pork”, is there not? It’s at least as manly as great balls of falafel. So you have the perfect storm: haram food, ridicule of their manhood — if pulling pork doesn’t do it what will? — and an air strike.

Maybe line up some peacekeepers ahead of time to help the masked terrorists clean their Vespas. Given the nature of Texas sauce, be sure to procure (so to speak) at least one blue hat that knows something about carburetors.

I now invite our readers to describe their own scenarios of revenge. Just keep it PG-13, please. We have a ladies’ agreement with The Headmistress on that. You see, we have children from her homeschool coming over to learn politics and history and current events and such. Be a good example to them.

It’s okay to be brilliant, though. I mean, Mr. Goldstein is pretty brilliant here, and you’ll have to admit the phallic imagery is subtle.

By all means, make your response as disproportionate as possible.

UPDATE: A reminder for all of y’all nit-pickin’ Texas commenters and emailers out there:

Satire doesn’t have to be accurate, just amusing. Yes, I know Texas “don’t pull pork”; y’all tend to be beef people, anyways. However, my dilemma was that pulled pork usually has thin North Carolina sauce, which, while very good, is not viscous enough to really gum up the works of the fleeing Vespas.

When faced with a choice of humor over reality, I always choose the former. Fortunately, there are enough non-Texans out there who wouldn’t notice my sleight of hand…or wouldn’t have if you guys hadn’t had to tromp onstage in your boots and stop the story in the name of accuracy…

A pox on reality. Do you *really* think Mr. Goldstein was attacked with great balls of falafel? Of course not. For my purposes, this particular batch of pulled pork with its viscous Texas-style sauce continues to slop around in its tin tub aboard the helicopter — which is chasing the Vespas.

Oh, wait a minute! it’s not a helicopter carrying the tub, it’s flying pigs. Yes, that’s what it is: Texas pulled pork barbeque in a galvanized tin tub being lifted aloft by Mighty Flying Pigs. I can see it even now, as they inexorably catch up with the Vespas, the latter desperately putt-putting down the dirt road while bits of rust fly off, making the Vespas lighter with each mile. Suddenly…SPLOPPP!!![followed by sounds of muffled Arabic cursing in the background]…blue-helmeted guys with large towels — *Turkish* terrycloth towels, mind you — and Vespa repair manuals saunter in, stage left…


Tel Aviv Reds

The above photo is not from Berkeley or Brussels.

It’s from Tel Aviv, where an alliance of useful idiots and Arabs protested Israel’s war in Lebanon.

From YNet:

Thousands of left-wing activists, including many Arab citizens, marched Saturday evening from the Rabin Square to the Cinematheque plaza in Tel Aviv in protest of the fighting in Lebanon. The protestors held up signs with slogans against the war and called for an immediate ceasefire.

According to the demonstrators, a prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah must be struck, as well as a similar deal with Hamas. Marchers also urged IDF soldiers not to take part in the Lebanon operation, chanting: “Listen up, soldier – it’s your duty to refuse.” Other slogans recited by the participants were: “The occupation is a disaster, leave Lebanon now,” “Olmert and Bush have struck a deal – to carry on with the occupation,” and “Children in Beirut and Haifa want to go on living.”

Words fail me. Dymphna and I were talking about “suicide Jews” this morning, but we meant the ones in America who embrace the anti-Zionist Left.

It looks like there are plenty of them in Israel, too.

Hat tip: Neo Warmonger.

A Symposium: After Hizbullah, What?

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

If I were paranoid, I’d say, “The fix is in.”

Look at the news stories today. First, from The Baltimore Sun:

International pressure mounted on the Bush administration yesterday to call for an immediate cease-fire in the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to the region in search of a long-term solution to the 12-day-old conflict.

With civilian casualties in Lebanon mounting, the United States’ Arab allies added their voices to the calls for a truce. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, met with President Bush in the Oval Office and delivered a letter from King Abdullah II asking him to intervene.

And then there’s this one, from CBS News:

Oil prices dropped Monday after the Saudi oil minister said OPEC wanted to avoid an economically disruptive increase in oil prices and as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to the Mideast to try to find a diplomatic solution to the violence in Lebanon and Israel.

Occam’s razor on rare occasions supports the paranoid explanation for events, and this is one of them. In terms of American policy towards Saudi Arabia, the paranoid theory multiplies the fewest needless entities.

The Despot of the Desert, with a mere flick of a finger, can make Americans pay $10 for a gallon of gas. So, when he yanks the chain of the Bush Administration, Condi goes to Israel to yank Ehud Olmert’s chain, stopping off in Lebanon on the way to pick up the terms of the deal she is required to “craft” with Israel in order to “jump-start the peace process.” Or some similar wording from the State Department Middle East Style Book.

It’s an effective protection racket the Saudis have going. Hizbullah and Iran get too big for their britches: fine, let Israel kneecap them. But don’t whack ’em! No, they come in handy from time to time, so Israel must “show restraint.”

And so the message goes out: Nice little economy you’ve got there. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to it. And then the obedient diplomatic helicopters start landing in the capitals of the Middle East.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

All right, that’s the paranoid explanation. I hope it’s wrong.

And, for the sake of argument in this symposium I’m going to assume it’s wrong.

I’m a neophyte in matters of military strategy, weaponry, and intelligence, so I try to stay informed by reading the Belmont Club, Chester, the Counterterrorism Blog, and Kingdom of Chaos, among other blogs. Those guys know much more than I’ll ever learn; I recommend daily visits to them if you want to keep up to speed on the current crisis.

Assuming that Israel’s chain does not get yanked; here is a general outline of events as they are likely to unfold, drawn from the above sources:

  • Israel will continue to do battlefield prep by air in southern Lebanon, while operating across the border against dug-in Hizbullah assets.
  • The IAF will continue to target the supply lines from Syria to Hizbullah, and the IDF will eventually mount a major incursion to completely cut off the route through the Bekaa Valley to the border with Israel.
  • The major Hizbullah infrastructure in the Bekaa Valley will have to be destroyed in a ground assault. Depending on the military necessities, this may involve some air operations against targets in Syria.
  • Israel will plant forces north of the Litani river, either by airborne drop or via an amphibious landing (the latter a very intriguing suggestion put forth in several blogs).
  • With Hizbullah completely cut off by land, sea, and air, a massive ground operation, taking at least several weeks, will pound the terrorists, their weapons, and their installations into dust.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that something like the above will in fact happen.

What happens next? What will the Middle East look like after Hizbullah?

Sheikh Hassan NasrallahWhat happens to Syria? What does Syria have besides Hizbullah? It’s got some of Saddam’s old WMDs, a lot of sand, and presumably some olive trees and date palms. But on a “Principal Products” map of the Middle East, Syria’s main product icon would be a little picture of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Take that away, and what does Syria do to hold its head up in the honor-sensitive Arab world?

What happens to Iran? How do they respond to having their best boy whipped? How will they bring their influence to bear in the Maghreb after Hizbullah is gone? Will they drop Boy Assad as an ally once he has outlived his Hizbullah-related usefulness? How will it affect their nuclear efforts?

I’m too ignorant to venture any answers to these questions myself. I invite readers to respond, either here or on their own blogs, and thereby help make up for my lack of expertise.

Deus Vult, Dude

Crusader has re-posted the satire with which he began his blog. I’d meant to link to it at the time, but life interfered…or rather, intimations of mortality interfered.

They have abated for the moment, long enough to set you up for an amusing diversion. Very entertaining. Quite un-p.c. , thank you very much.

It’s Monday – you need a laugh. Don’t worry: this is office-safe humor, especially if none of your left-wing office mates can see the headline:

Pope calls for crusade

CrusaderNews24 July-Iran-Tehran was swept with riots by Irish Christian fundamentalist immigrants again today in the wake of an editorial in the influential Iranian newspaper “Insha Allah” alleging that Saint Patrick drank mead and may have been an alcoholic. So far damage estimates are in the millions of rials.


The Pope mobilized the Swiss Guard and again called for a Holy Crusade against Islam, with large crowds outside St Peter’s angrily thundering “Deus vult! Deus vult!” (“God wills it”) in response to a mass condemning Muslims to hellfire and perdition. He was echoed by Pat Robertson in the United States…

I like the part about Benedict mobilizing the Swiss Guard…on the other hand, if things continue as they are in Italy, he may need to do so, just before he calls the IDF for help.

More Fjordman…

…at today’s Brussels Journal: “The Twin Myths of Eurabia“.

A quote:

When the Arab Muslims, a collection of backward, nomadic warrior tribes who did not even have a fully developed script, conquered Egypt, Syria and Iran, they took control over some of the world’s largest centres of accumulated knowledge. To say that “Muslims” or “Islamic culture” created the civilizations of the Middle East can be compared to an illiterate person storming into the planet’s largest library, killing all the librarians and then claiming to have written all the books there. The cultural superiority of the Middle East in relation to Europe did not begin with Islam’s entry into the area. In fact, it ended with it… Islam’s much-vaunted “Golden Age” was in reality just the twilight of the conquered pre-Islamic cultures, an echo of times passed.

And another:

The EU elites see themselves as Julius Caesar or Octavian, but end up being Brutus, stabbing their own peoples in the back. They want to recreate the Roman Empire on both sides of the Mediterranean, bound together by some vague references to a “shared Greek heritage.” Instead, they are creating a civilizational breakdown across much of Western Europe as the barbarians are overrunning the continent. The EU wants to recreate the Roman Empire and ends up creating the second fall of Rome.

Read the whole thing.

There’s That Word Again

From today’s News From Norway:

The deteriorating situation in Lebanon has received a lot of news coverage in Norway in the past few weeks. Only days after hostilities in the region broke out, our prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, pledged to send 200 million Nkr (35 million US$) to the Lebanese and Palestinian governments, in an effort to relieve the suffering of the local population. The Norwegian government also strongly condemned the actions of the Israeli military, which they feel are disproportionate and in breach of international law.

I feel like an unfortunate pedestrian must have felt during the Great Boston Molasses Disaster: engulfed, knocked down, and asphyxiated by a treacly flood of politically correct verbiage.

It’s not just the aid-and-comfort-to-the-enemy aspect of all this, the fact that the donated money will eventually end up replenishing Hizbullah’s and Hamas’ lethal weaponry.

It’s the sheer obstinate stupidity of the political leaders of the West, who will sell the future of their countries and their civilization for a very transient mess of electoral pottage.

Enough! Can’t we somehow retire the word “disproportionate” from the language?

From Citizen to Subject — The Rule of Experts and the Rise of Transnational Anti-Democrats

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama pronounced that we had arrived at “The End of History”, and that capitalism and liberal democracy would now be the only global system left. But when I look at Europe today, I see democracies under threat because of an elaborate Eurabian bureaucracy and Islamic fanaticism. I see countries unwilling or unable to defend themselves against massive immigration/colonization.

Has democracy become too soft to function? Have we arrived at “the End of Democracy” rather than “the End of History?” What are the strengths and weaknesses of democracy? Are there other challenges to it in the 21st century than there were in the 20th century, and if so, what are they? What are the necessary conditions for a democratic society to work? These are massive questions. I cannot do more than scratch the surface of them here, but I’d still like to make an attempt.

One possible challenge to democracy is the resurrection of its traditional enemies, such as Fascism or Communism. Communist activists rallied in June 2006 in Berlin to pledge allegiance to the establishment of a strong, national Communist party in Germany. Proclaiming their contempt for “neo-liberal Capitalism” and the major German political parties, they declared their commitment to a “Socialist society,” nearly two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

ostalgieMaybe Communism never quite died. A new DDR Museum in Berlin caps a trend of “Ostalgie,” nostalgia for the former East Germany that went mainstream in 2003 with the sentimental international hit film “Goodbye Lenin.” Critics claim it is trivializing the brutality and the oppressive nature of the old regime. German Historical Museum spokesman Rudolf Trabold dismissed the project. “There’s really no need for this museum,” he fumed. “The focus is too narrow. It’s on the level of ‘Goodbye Lenin’ — it’s filled with consumer goods from the DDR but there is no context. It’s sort of like saying, ‘Oh, wasn’t it all nice?’”

These “neo-Communists” obviously haven’t listened to the wise words of F.A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom:

“Observer after observer, in spite of the contrary expectation with which he approached his subject, has been impressed with the extraordinary similarity in many respects of the conditions under “fascism” and “communism.” “Even communists must have been somewhat shaken by such testimonies as that of Mr. Max Eastman, Lenin’s old friend, who found himself compelled to admit that “instead of being better, Stalinism is worse than fascism, more ruthless, barbarous, unjust, immoral, anti-democratic, unredeemed by any hope or scruple,” and that it is “better described as superfascist” ; and when we find the same author recognising that “Stalinism is socialism, in the sense of being an inevitable although unforeseen political accompaniment of the nationalisation and collectivisation which he had relied upon as part of his plan for erecting a classless society,” his conclusion clearly achieves wider significance.”

“Neither good intentions nor efficiency of organisation can preserve decency in a system in which personal freedom and individual responsibility are destroyed.”

However, the challenge to liberal democracy can also come from new and more insidious threats. John Fonte of the Hudson Institute notes that “transnationalism” and “Multiculturalism” are presented as unstoppable forces of history, but in reality they are “ideological tools, championed by activist élites.” He suggests that the end of the Cold War has intensified an intracivilizational Western conflict between liberal democracy and transnational progressivism, between democrats and post-democrats. According to him, the EU “embodies transnational progressivism. Its governmental structure is post-democratic. It is unelected and, for the most part, unaccountable.”

Transnational progressivism is undemocratic and authoritarian to its core. It presupposes the rule of enlightened “experts” and élite groups over the ignorant masses, who are stupid and should not be permitted to make important decisions without supervision. Its goal is to establish a benign oligarchy, where power will reside within smaller groups which will conduct their affairs out of the public view. This line of thinking is nothing less than a frontal attack on all basic principles of freedom and democracy, disguised under a benevolent façade. It needs to be exposed as such. Transnational organizations such as the European Union are a throwback to the pre-democratic age.

One of the most serious challenges to democracy in the 21st century is the unprecedented pressure from migration, and the fact that certain groups can decide to permanently change the entire demographic make-up of a country without public debate and without public consent, by simply refraining from upholding its borders. It has been called “the greatest demographic experiment ever forced onto a people politically.”

UK immigration

In the UK, before Labour came to power, the number of people leaving Britain roughly balanced the number arriving. Then Tony Blair’s government “embarked on a policy that will totally change the nature of many of the communities in which we live without consulting any of us.” “Labour has never formally announced that it is committed to increasing immigration indefinitely. There was nothing about increasing immigration in Labour’s manifesto of 1997, or of 2001, or of 2005.” Still, although Mr Blair’s government has presided over a virtual explosion of immigration, Blair had the gall to accuse the rivalling Tories of exploiting the issue. He attacked the way the Tories had linked immigration with racism in campaign posters. “It is an attempt deliberately to exploit people’s fears, to suggest that for reasons of political correctness, those in power don’t dare deal with the issue,” he said.

Even in the USA, the most astonishing aspect of the immigration debate is that the élites “think they can override the clear and huge resistance of the American people.” As columnist Tony Blankley wrote, the Senate was prepared to “legislate into the teeth of the will of the American public.” Eight out of ten Americans wanted the borders closed to millions of illegal immigrants, yet nothing substantial has been done. There has to be a reason for this.

There is also in the USA a dangerous drive for granting full rights, even voting rights, to illegal immigrants. In the Nordic countries — Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Denmark — foreign citizens, though not illegals, are allowed to vote in local elections. As Roger Scruton points out, Western civilization depends on an idea of citizenship that is not global at all, but rooted in territorial jurisdiction and national loyalty. A nation that refuses to differentiate between citizens and non-citizens cannot survive.

It is more than a little ironic that people calling for restrictions of immigration are denounced as “anti-democratic forces” when it is the other way around. The most fundamental democratic right of all must be to decide who should be allowed to move into your home. Freedom of speech and immigration control should not be outsourced to faceless bureaucrats in Brussels or the UN. The people should decide who should be allowed to settle in their country.

UN bureaucrats from Islamic countries are influencing how we should manage our immigration policies, even our freedom of speech. This comes on top of the maze of non-governmental organizations and self-appointed human rights groups at home and abroad, always interfering in anything we do to maintain our own borders. Put together, this means that Westerners are no longer allowed to decide who should settle in their countries. This is decided by national bureaucrats in collaboration with Leftist open-border activists and the transnational, Multicultural industry.

Muslim immigrants want to first infiltrate established political parties, to ensure VIP treatment of Muslims and to keep the floodgates open to new Muslims arriving, and later to establish parties of their own. So far, this strategy has shown some success. They have also been rather successful at spreading terror in the West and instilling “fear into the hearts of the enemies of Allah,” just as the Koran commands. As Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina and other former Muslims have warned against, there is more evidence of an Islamization of democracy in the West than of any spread of democracy in the Islamic world.

I have warned against the development of a pragmatic alliance between Western Leftists and Muslims. Third World immigrants in general, and Muslims in particular, vote overwhelmingly for Leftist parties. This means that by simply opening the gates for massive immigration, Socialists can be certain of a net gain in future elections. This is a critical flaw in our societies, one that could destroy the entire democratic system unless fixed.

Madid train bombingIt cannot be dismissed as Leftist parties being merely “naive.” After a narrow election victory, Italian Socialists in 2006 almost immediately embarked upon expanding immigration and granting citizenship to tens of thousands of Muslims already in the country. At this point, there had been bombings in Spain and the UK, serious Muslim riots in France, murders of Islam critics in Holland and international mayhem caused by a few cartoons in Denmark. Italian Socialists knew fully well that similar problems were bound to result from Muslim immigration to Italy, yet they still went ahead with it. This is treason, pure and simple. Treason disguised as tolerance.

Is democracy compatible with Multiculturalism? Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt thinks Multiculturalism can only work under authoritarian regimes, naming Singapore as an example. A people must have some shared bonds and a shared outlook on life. Multiculturalism will pit various groups against each other, creating a pattern of democratic Balkanization once the minority groups become large enough.

Indeed, there is a possibility of such a tribalization of democracy even without Multiculturalism, with women pitted against men, and young people against old people in ageing countries with strains on the working population. Maybe the only long-term solution to this is to reduce the size of the state and limit the reach of state interference. The bigger the size and power of the state, the more friction will be caused by competing for the spoils, and vice versa. The state should primarily be limited to protecting individuals from each other, taking care of national defence and upholding law and order.

We need to return to the principle of negative rights enshrined in the US Constitution – the freedom from tyranny and oppression – and away from the principle of positive rights – the “right” to a job provided by the state, for instance. The latter creates a lethal mentality of entitlement.

In the excellent magazine City Journal, Heather MacDonald examines some of the dilemmas posed by illegal immigration, first of all the lack of respect for the law. “Illegal-alien demonstrators put forward a novel theory of entitlement: because we are here, we have a right to be here. Protesters in Santa Ana, California, shouted: “We are here and we’re not going anywhere,” reports the Los Angeles Times.” She balks at the widespread contempt for American law contained in such defiant assertions. “Today’s international élites seek to dissolve “discriminatory” distinctions between citizens and non-citizens and to discredit border laws aiming to control the flow of migrants.” “Immigration liberalizers wield the threat of mass deportations as the only alternative to amnesty. The attrition strategy—relying on illegal aliens to leave voluntarily as their access to American benefits diminishes—would work just as effectively, without coercion.”

MacDonald also points out that illegal immigration has prompted a powerful grassroots democratic reaction, and thinks that the solution to this problem is to “prefer local decision makers over remote élites.” Indeed, this is the very foundation of democracy.

Thomas Sowell Thomas Sowell has hailed the legacy of thinker Eric Hoffer, and notes that “Hoffer’s strongest words were against the intellectuals.” “Eric Hoffer never bought the claims of intellectuals to be for the common man. “A ruling intelligentsia,” he said, “whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed and wasted at will.” “Implicit in much that they say and do is “the assumption that education readies a person for the task of reforming and reshaping humanity — that is equips him to act as an engineer of souls and manufacturer of desirable human attributes.” “Hoffer called it ‘soul raping’ — an apt term for what goes on in too many schools today, where half-educated teachers treat the classroom as a place for them to shape children’s attitudes and beliefs in a politically correct direction.”

F.A. Hayek described in the 1940s the practical problems with top-down planning:

There need be little difficulty in planning the economic life of a family, comparatively little in a small community. But as the scale increases, the amount of agreement on the order of ends decreases and the necessity to rely on force and compulsion grows. In a small community common views on the relative importance of the main tasks, agreed standards of value, will exist on a great many subjects. Bu their number will become less and less the wider we throw the net: and as there is less community of views, the necessity to rely on force and coercion increases… To imagine that the economic life of a vast area comprising many different people can be directed or planned by democratic procedure betrays a complete lack of awareness of the problems such planning would raise. Planning on an international scale, even more than is true on a national scale, cannot be anything but a naked rule of force, an imposition by a small group on all the rest of that sort of standard and employment which the planners think suitable for the rest.

He also stated that we shall not build civilization on the large scale, and that “on the whole there was more beauty and decency to be found in the life of the small peoples, and that among the large ones there was more happiness and content in proportion as they had avoided the deadly blight of centralisation. Least of all shall we preserve democracy or foster its growth if all the power and most of the decisions rest with an organisation far too big for the common man to survey or comprehend. Nowhere has democracy ever worked well without a great measure of local self-government, providing a school of political training for the people at large as much as for their future leaders. It is only where responsibility can be learnt and practised in affairs with which most people are familiar, where it is awareness of one’s neighbour rather than some theoretical knowledge of the needs of other people which guides action, that the ordinary man can take a real part in public affairs because they concern the world he knows. Where the scope of the political measures become so large that the necessary knowledge is almost exclusively possessed by the bureaucracy, the creative impulses of the private person must flag.”

What should we label such undemocratic, top-down planning? The Rule of Experts, or the Tyranny of Experts? Or what about the Rise of Transnational Anti-Democrats and Stealth Fascism? I have warned against “Stealth Socialism,” Marxism masquerading as something else. Perhaps we should also look out for “Stealth Fascism,” the authoritarian rule of a small group of individuals, hailing the glories of an invented past as the path to a powerful future. All possible only if we give up our freedoms in favor of their enlightened rule, of course.

The idea behind this Rule of Experts is that the world is too complex for “common people” to understand, and that enlightened despots or, in their own eyes, educated experts, should run things. There are several catches to this theory. First of all is the contempt for ordinary citizens we find among many self-appointed intellectuals and “experts.” This impulse is, in fact, probably one of the most important challenges to the democratic system. The irony is that these “élite” groups honestly think that anybody opposed to their policies are “anti-democratic forces” and warn against their “populism,” what others call the will of the people.

I know from personal experience that the ones championing Multiculturalism and mass-immigration have been élite groups and those sections of the general public with University education. Those without significant higher education, however, have been consistently skeptical of this project. And they were right. The logic behind “hate speech” laws is that the educated people should hold the uneducated “mob” and their destructive stupidity in check. But what if some of the most destructive stupidity resides in the most highly educated groups? Who are going to keep them from getting out of control, if they cannot be criticized or stopped?

Those spending years at abstract studies can sometimes become too removed from the harsh realities of everyday life to understand their more down-to-earth compatriots and appreciate their problems. What’s more dangerous is that they may not even care. Unfortunately, some “educated” persons like to come up with elaborate schemes for restructuring the entire society, and tend to view ordinary people as little more than ants, guinea pigs to be used and abused on the road to Utopia.

Another problem with the Rule of Experts idea is practical. Hayek warned already 60 years ago against the dangers of planning on an international basis. Yes, the world is a big, complex and fast-changing place, now during globalization more than ever. However, this is, in fact, a powerful argument against leaving experts to run our affairs. The changes are simply too complex for any one individual to comprehend. Modern men suffer from information overload, we simply have access to so much information that we cannot process everything and decide what’s important and what’s not. The downside to planning is the Law of Unforeseen Consequences. Society cannot function if run by an unrepresentative élite far removed from the issues at hand.

The European Union as it is today is probably one of the most powerful arguments against international planning there has ever been. The system is set up so that the élites shouldn’t have to be bothered with anything as prosaic as, say, the will of the people. However, does it also expose some flaws in the democratic system?

How could a few, selected people decide in back rooms to launch a huge project of the transformation of an entire continent, without being stopped or even have this Project acknowledged in public? Is democracy just a sham, an act where the general public is allowed to make minor decisions while powerful people move behind the scenes to make the most important decisions? Or is it the very set-up of such massive, transnational organizations such as the EU that moves power away from the people and into back rooms and the corridors of power? Is the creation of Eurabia an indication of democracy’s flaws, or an argument in favor of revitalizing it?

What happened to the ideal of investigative journalism, being of the side of the people and exposing abuse of power? There are people in the media who are criticizing the EU. Ironically, many of them are Socialists who think there is “too much capitalism” in the inner market. Leftists will, however, never criticize the worst aspects of it, the promotion of Multiculturalism, Muslim immigration and demonization of Israel and the United States, since these things fit their own, ideological agenda. European media are brimming with anti-Israeli and anti-American articles, yet hardly any of the mainstream journalists are writing about Eurabia or even mentioning the term. What happened to the free press? Was it merely an illusion, or did it get lost somewhere?

In Scandinavia at least, it is a well-documented fact, not a conspiracy theory, that journalists on average are much more left-leaning, politically, than the general populace. Fjordman has claimed that this may, in fact, have determined the outcome of the general elections in Norway in 2005, a very tight race eventually won by a narrow margin by the Leftist coalition. The fact that Leftist parties also got more than 80% of the votes of Muslims in the country may have contributed, too. Norway’s media coverage of the national elections revealed a desire for a ‘red-green’ government, said Professor Frank Aarebrot. “Most newspapers are what I would call politically correct. Much of the tone in the major Norwegian media is there.” Nearly 70 percent of journalists vote Labor (Ap), Socialist Left (SV) or Red Electoral Alliance (RV) according to a poll, and this is reflected in the press, Aarebrot said.

We thus have a situation where the media represents one of the major obstacles for the democratic system to work, instead of being one of its safety valves.

To sum it up, here are some suggested preconditions for a functioning, democratic system:

1.   There has to be a demos, a people with the sense of being a people with shared interests. Multiculturalism and massive immigration without assimilation could severely damage this demos.
2.   There has to be a genuine debate about the issues that matter. This is now severely curtailed in many Western countries for a combination of reasons. Leftist activists are promoting formal and informal censorship of critical issues, and the media isn’t functioning as a counterweight to the political élites because, in many cases, the journalists are a part of these élites and share their political goals.
3.   There has to be a mental connection between those implementing policies and the people they are supposed to serve. And the general public must have a genuine possibility of removing those officials who are not following the popular will. With the growth of supranational institutions, there are now many people in the élite groups who feel little connection with the people or the nation states they are technically supposed to serve. Their people are just stepping stones to their international careers. They are anyway both physically and mentally so removed from ordinary people that they may not understand their concerns even if they cared about them, which they frequently don’t.
4.   No major presence of Muslims. Islam is toxic to a democratic society, for several reasons. One is the fear of physical attacks against anybody criticizing the Islamic agenda, thus destroying any possibility of a free, public discourse. Another is the resentment caused by Muslims asking for separate laws and “special treatment,” as well as the violence and harassment of non-Muslims which is always part and parcel of Jihad.
5.   The country must be able to control its own borders, and immigration must follow popular will. A nation that does not discriminate between citizens and non-citizens is destined to die.

The scary thing is, when I look at this list, in Western Europe in particular hardly any of these necessary preconditions for a democracy are currently present. We are no longer citizens, we have become subjects, without genuine influence over the future of our countries and mere spectators to destinies others have chosen for us. We are citizens if we have genuine influence over what our tax money is spent on. We are subjects if we just pay taxes and somebody else decides what to do with this money, without consulting us on major issues.

What to do about this situation? Some possible remedies have been suggested by Anthony Browne: “Free speech could be protected with an equivalent of the first amendment in the US Constitution. The state should not try to censor or criminalise any speech unless it is a direct incitement to violence.” “The oligarchy of political correctors can be curbed by the introduction of direct democracy, such as the citizen’s initiatives so popular in the US. Within any legislative area, a binding referendum should be called on any proposal if supported by a certain percentage of the population, so long as the proposal doesn’t infringe the basic liberties of individuals, and is fiscally neutral (otherwise people always support tax-cutting measures).”

“Such citizen’s initiatives directly return power to the people, protecting them from being steam-rollered by an élite in hock to political correctness, for example on issues such as the right to defend yourself against intruders in the home, or curbing mass immigration.” “Citizens’ initiatives are likely to prove very popular and create a far more motivated, less passive and less easily patronised citizenry. Once practiced for a few years, it would be very difficult for a future politically correct government to unravel it, for fear of voter retribution.”

Browne is right: Political Correctness and ideological censorship need to be confronted head-on by getting rid of hate speech laws.

NO! to the EUSSRWe need to re-establish national control with our borders and genuine, democratic control over immigration. If we have to withdraw from some of the international agreements favored by transnational progressivism, so be it. The situation as it is today simply isn’t sustainable. For Europeans in particular, it means scrapping the entire European Union in its present form, which is specifically designed to take power away from the people. Maybe it can be replaced by a free trade zone, but this must not include goals of completely abandoning national border controls.

Above all, we need to completely stop, and preferably reverse, Muslim immigration, as a significant Islamic presence is toxic to any democratic society.

It is difficult to see what to do about the media, except for simply refusing to buy and fund the most “politically correct” ones. People know they need to protect themselves against diseases. Maybe we need to protect ourselves against mental diseases, too.

We need a slogan: “Political Correctness is mental AIDS. Wear an intellectual condom. Use the blogosphere.”

As Old as the Garden of Eden

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam

Street sexual harassment in India is a phenomenon India’s women are intimately familiar with, though foreign women —- since they spend most of their time in enclaves and very little time on the street — escape being grabbed, patted, pinched, or stroked.

Laura Neuhas is a visitor to Bangalore who decided to add her voice to a group which started last year to publicize the ubiquity of this practice, to counter the attacks, and, when possible, to bring whatever perpetrators they can find to justice:

“People run up and grab my butt, my breast and brush against me purposely,” Neuhaus says. “It happens so fast.”

“I will be walking with my boyfriends and it makes no difference. After that I go through post-traumatic stress. You are so angry and humiliated,” she says. “There is no one to talk to.”

When she says “people,” she means men, of course. The group she has joined, Blank Noise, calls this practice of public humiliation “Eve teasing,” which The Middle East Times calls “a euphemism in India for the sexual harassment or molestation of women.”

Eve-teasing. That’s a good name for a behavior that is probably hard-wired genetically, and controlled only by the strictures of established mores in any given culture. Evidently the controls on such behaviors are eroding in the face of the growing societal pressures on men and women in India.

In India, this problem is exacerbated by a number of conditions, the first being the general contempt with which women are regarded:

At riskIn India’s male-dominated society, 16 cases of various types of violence against women are reported every hour, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. More than 18,000 rape cases are reported against women every year.

Some 8,800 women are killed in India every year in dowry disputes, the bureau reported.

India is currently mulling laws to combat sexual harassment.

[These figures seem pathetically small, given the population of India: 1,096,221,674. If our Indian readers have more reliable statistics, Gates of Vienna will be glad to post them.].

Not only are women regularly harassed in public, killed in private, and subject to a higher suicide rate than men, there are limited ways to fight back:

Jasmeen Patheja, the 26-year-old founder of Blank Noise, says that she started the outfit in the high-tech city to encourage a public debate on eve teasing.

“This group encourages women to open up and question the harassment on the streets,” Patheja says. “In India your family or your peer group dismisses the topic of Eve teasing. A vast number of women choose not to question it.

“We are in an environment where every girl has to protect herself in a public space. Women are made to feel that they are asking for it.”

The group holds silent demonstrations on the streets of Bangalore, holding posters and banners reading “Y R U LOOKING AT ME.”

So far, retributive violence is not being suggested, except in the comments section of the blog at the Blank Noise Project ( One can only guess what would be the response in say, Texas, if women were regularly subjected to this kind of harassment).

In addition to the omnipresent misogyny in India, and the stress put on women via dowries in marriage, there is a crucial problem that India must address if this corrosive issue is going to be resolved. Behavior is driven by many factors, and in this case, one can guess that part of the pressure behind the harassment is the growing scarcity of women to begin with. The demographics in India break down as follows:

Sex ratio —

  at birth:   1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years:   1.06 male(s)/female
  15-64 years:   1.07 male(s)/female
  65 years and over:   1.03 male(s)/female
  total population:   1.07 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Notice that the ratio of men increases as children age. Evidently the mortality rate for girls increases with age. Compare the above to US demographics:

Sex ratio—

  at birth:   1.05 males/female
  under 15 years:   1.05 males/female
  15-64 years:   1 male/female
  65 years and over:   0.72 male/female
  total population:   0.97 male/female (2005)

In other words, it’s safer to be female in the US than it is in India.

The Times of India reported recently of a sting operation that snagged a number of female doctors who were practicing female foeticide in private clinics in India. It’s amazing to realize that female doctors would willingly collude in worsening the conditions for girl children in their country, but it’s been a long time since we’ve expected the medical profession to be in the vanguard upholding the cultural safeguards in our own country. Why should we expect Indian doctors to be any different? At any rate, the news report does not make clear what India’s legal code has to say about gender-specific abortions. Certainly abortion itself is legal, so parsing it along gender lines might be difficult to prosecute.

Which brings us back to the beginning of the story. Men in India target women on the street for a very physical kind of sexual harassment. Women are beginning to fight back, however tentatively. Meanwhile, many men are doomed to life without a helpmeet… unless, that is, they can rent one for awhile:

…prompted by a shortage of eligible single women, some poverty-stricken husbands in western India have gone to the extent of renting out their wives to other men on a monthly rate.

The local newspaper the Times of India reports that one man allowed his farm laborer wife, and mother of two, to stay with her boss for 8,000 rupees (175 dollars) a month. Many poor families and middlemen have also cashed in on the shortage of women by selling off their daughters to men in Gujarat, one of India’s wealthiest states.

The brokers dealing in the trade reportedly make up to 200,000 ($4,436) rupees a month from finding and selling wives to single men.

The paper doesn’t bother reporting the rates of female foeticide, infanticide, or dowry deaths. Just a typical MSM story: “prompted by a shortage of… women…” without bothering to tell you how the shortage occurred.

India is well known for the brilliance of its mathematicians. Goes to show you that intelligence has nothing to do with this, since individual decisions to kill girl babies continue to tunnel through the foundations on which a secure society rests, rotting it out from underneath.

China, another country known for the intelligence and industry of its populace, is equally well known for its female infanticide and the burgeoning population of single males with no hope of marriage or family. In fact, its demographics are even more depressing:

Sex ratio:

  at birth:   1.12 male(s)/female
  under 15 years:   1.13 male(s)/female
  15-64 years:   1.06 male(s)/female
  65 years and over:   0.91 male(s)/female
  total population:   1.06 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

There doesn’t seem to be a solution on the horizon for either country. At least not one a humane person wants to contemplate. However, it would be well to contemplate the outcome for the world when the two countries in the world with the largest populations have millions of extra males to deal with. A recent study shows the effects of marriage and parenting on male testosterone levels:

PugilistsA man’s testosterone levels drop significantly when he holds an infant. Even holding a baby doll can decrease levels of the male virility hormone.

Married men, whether fathers or not, have markedly lower testosterone levels than single males, according to one of the first studies of how the hormone changes when men marry and become fathers. Results of the study, done by a team of Harvard University anthropologists, increase our knowledge of human biology and may have implications for so-called “male menopause.”

Researchers have long suspected that levels of the hormone largely responsible for fighting, competing, and mating decrease when men settle down and start a family. Other studies have shown that testosterone begins to decline shortly after marriage, but surges upward when unions end in divorce.

So what will India and China and any other large misogynist country or culture do with all those excess men?

Can you say “cannon fodder”?

What We Stand For

In yesterday’s post I wrote about a vile anti-Semitic cartoon that was published in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet and discussed in Vårt Land. At the time I had no translation of the Norse in Vårt Land, but Gates of Vienna is very fortunate that Zonka, who is Danish, can also translate Norse. Here is his version of the Vårt Land piece, with his editorial comments shown in italicized square brackets:

Bold Assault [Rudely transgressing boundaries of decent behavior]

Ehud Olmert as a NaziThe reactions were severe after Monday’s edition of Dagbladet published a cartoon of Israel’s prime minister as a Nazi commander.

“I have never seen anything like this in Norwegian newspapers. This is a bold assault,” says To Øyvind Westbye, leader of Bergen KrFU [Kristelig Folkepartis Ungdom — Christian People’s Party Youth Organization] to Bergens Tidende.

Shooting a Jew

The cartoon in Dagbladet portraying Israel’s PM Ehud Olmert as a Nazi commander in Auschwitz is taken from the movie Schindler’s List, where the commander walks out to the balcony and shoots a random Jew.

“I have seen such cartoons in extreme Arabic newspapers, but Norwegian newspapers have restrained themselves from bringing such comparisons,” says Westbye.

“Not over the line”

The editor of Norge Idag [Norway Today], Finn Jarle Sæle, tells Bergens Tidende that he sees the cartoon as anti-Semitic.

Cartoonist Finn Graff doesn’t think that he crossed the line:

“It’s a little rude, but this is what I stand for”, says Graff to Bergens Tidende.

Aaarrrggghhh!“A little bit rude”???

I suppose the Holocaust was an “unfortunate faux pas”? World War Two was maybe a “minor dust-up”? The Black Plague was “a slight fever”?

So this is what he stands for. Well, why should we stand for it?

I’m not talking about censorship. I’m talking about vilifying, ostracizing, snubbing, insulting, denigrating, ridiculing, and holding up to public opprobrium people who hold such disgusting views.

Make your opinion known. Boycott the papers in which the works of such people appear. Light a fire under the feet of their editors to make their jobs less secure. Help take away the comfortable sinecures they have enjoyed for so long in the hitherto impregnable redoubt of the Mainstream Media.

If people like this don’t represent us, then their voices should be drowned out by the opposition.

After all, what do we stand for?

Zonka has sent some more material for Gates of Vienna, which we’ll be posting eventually.

Everybody make sure to tell Zonka that he is one righteous Viking dude.

Prairie Dogs

A prairie dog colonyIsrael’s offensive against Hizbullah in Lebanon has applied a dose of smoke to the anti-Semitic prairie dog colony, and little rodent heads are starting to poke up out of their holes.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks he has seen one peeking out in Germany — now what ever gave him the idea to look for Jew-haters there?

According to Deutsche Welle:

Two months after sending US President Bush a letter, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written Angela Merkel a letter requesting aid in solving the Palestinian problem and dealing with Zionism.


“It’s all related to Germany and how we have to find a solution to the Palestinian problems and Zionism and so on. It’s rather weird,” said the official who saw the letter on Thursday.


The German official who read the letter said it was an “extremely touchy” subject, and added that the government did not yet know if or how it would respond. “There are a lot of propaganda phrases about Israel and the Jews in it.”

It’s hard to tell exactly how much anti-Semitism there is in Germany, since the country tries to discourage its public expression with strict laws against Holocaust denial. The protesters who staged the recent pro-Hizbullah demonstrations in Berlin were mainly composed of Lebanese, Palestinians and Turks. But there is widespread opposition in Germany to Israel’s current offensive, so there’s no telling how soon the silhouette of the German prairie dog will appear against the sky.

In other European countries the old pastime is becoming part of the mainstream. Just about everyone has seen the photo of the Spanish prime minister in a kaffiyah, but he’s not the only Spaniard suffering from Pali-envy: traditional anti-Semitism is staging a comeback in Spain. According to YNet, anti-Semitism is the latest leftist trend:

The Palestinian Jose Luis Rodriguez ZapateroAlthough many experts had foretold of the imminent disappearing of European Jews, nobody expected such a virulent explosion of anti-Semitism in Spain, not even under a Leftist government.

The first signal came on Monday, 5 December, when during a dinner with the Benarroch family, Zapatero and wife began claiming what Vidal Quadras, member of the European Parliament, described on the radio as “a tirade of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism”.


By the moment the Benarroch couple had left the table to express their regrets, Zapatero was explaining his lack of surprise about the Holocaust: according to the people present, Zapatero claimed to understand the Nazis.


The recent clashes with Hizbullah… have promoted the longest and hardest diatribes against Israel, forcing Zapatero to lose a cover for what it was long known in Spanish politics: His hate towards Israel, Jews and Zionism.

In the third day of such rants, before a gathering of the Socialist Youth Movement and a day before a demonstration against Israel, Zapatero showed at last his true colours: At the closing of the meeting he let the teenagers take pictures of him wearing a Palestinian kaffiyah.

After Los Reyes Católicos drove the Moors from Spain in 1492, they expelled the Jews, too. The Moors are back, but is it time to get rid of the Jews again? Some Spanish Jews think so:

The commotion caused in the Spanish Jewish community seems to be huge, especially taking in count that after some months of anxiety after his election, some Jews were feeling somewhat safe in Spain. Not anymore.

Some people were trying to alert the international community about what was boiling in Spain, but neither the OSCE nor the EUMC ever listened, preferring contacts with anti-Israeli NGOs based on the idea that anti-Semitism has to do with Arabs. Now the Spanish Jews are to pay the price for the international community’s inaction, once more.

And Spain is not the only country in Europe where Jew-hatred is outing itself. Last week a Norwegian newspaper saw fit to publish an obnoxious political cartoon. Here’s a summary of the story in Brussels Journal (the image is a scan of the Dagbladet page from Vårt Land):

Ehud Olmert as a Nazi commander…the cartoonist Finn Graff published an anti-Israeli cartoon in the popular Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. The cartoon shows Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a Nazi commander in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. The scene comes from the movie Schindler’s List, in which the commander shoots down a random Jew from his balcony. For the sake of clarity: Finn Graff is the same cartoonist who declared only half a year ago that he would not draw a cartoon about Muhammad out of fear and “respect.” Apparently he has no problems with his fear, nor does he need to show any respect when he can insult Jews or Israel, or Christians for that matter.

Fjordman has reported on the extent of anti-Semitism in Sweden. France has its own problems with anti-Semitism, with North African “youths” in the vanguard. French Jews have been emigrating to Israel in record numbers. Expect more and more prominent voices on the Left in these countries to join the chorus as the campaigns against Hamas and Hizbullah continue.

It seems that Mr. Ahmadinejad might want to address a plenum of the European Union to solicit their advice — no need to stop with just Germany.

Danish commenters here at Gates of Vienna assure us that Denmark is an exception, that anti-Semitism there is rare and enjoys no social approval.

If they’re right, the Danish prairie dog may be the only one in Europe to stay resolutely in its burrow.

Hat tip for YNet article: Carl in Jerusalem.

Hat tip for cartoon: Tom Pechinski.

Are We Lumberjacks?

Are we lumberjacks?Last night, while looking through the referrals on our sitemeter, Dymphna and I discovered a blog we’d never seen before. It’s called “Are We Lumberjacks?”, and we were so taken with it that we immediately added it to our blogroll.

Lumberjack a is very witty fellow, and we just kept scrolling through his posts, chuckling and guffawing. A couple of snippets — from today’s post:

The Dissident Frogman reports that a member of the French parliament is calling for military action against Israel.

…it irresistibly brings to mind the famous taunt “you and what army?”

And here’s another one, concerning the infamous Cindy Sheehan Celebrity Fast:

I joined the hunger strike by accident yesterday. I’m pretty sure curried chicken is allowed so long as you don’t use too much garam masala or salt. Tonight I’ll see if I can’t make my own pork loin smoothie.

A lot of his gags are visual or depend on the context of the images, so we really recommend a visit to Are We Lumberjacks?

As a side effect, he hijacks the punctuation in every sentence that mentions him.

Trinidad’s Sheikh of Jihad is Out on Bail Again

The notorious insurrectionary sheikh, Yasin Abu Bakr, is out on bail again in Trinidad. According to Tuesday’s edition of Caribbean Net News:

Sheikh Yasin Abu BakrTrinidad’s Muslimeen leader, 64-year-old Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, after spending almost eight months in jail on charges of sedition, has been granted bail in the sum of TT$400,000.

Bail was granted by Port of Spain high court judge, Justice Herbert Volney after lawyers for Bakr argued their client had a critical health condition and therefore could run the risk of dying if he was made to continue to endure prison conditions.

He had been kept at the state’s maximum security prison in Arouca, east Trinidad. Justice Volney agreed that the Muslimeen leader should be released on medical grounds.

Supporters who greeted their leader said they were thankful to Allah for his release. Imam Bakr faces five counts of sedition and incitement arising out of an EID holiday presentation he made in November last year at his St James Mucurapo Mosque.

This week’s release is a reprise of last year’s events. The photo above was taken in March 2005, when the sheikh was released on bail after the government failed to convict him on a charge of conspiracy to murder.

His earlier brush with incarceration has apparently not convinced him to mend his ways:

It is alleged that at his Mucurapo Mosque during an Eid-ul-Fitr sermon on November 4 last year, Bakr threatened to use violence against the Muslim community in Trinidad, saying there will be a war if rich Muslims did not pay zakaat (a religious tax), which is required by all Muslims and said to be one of the five pillars of Islam – a tax collected to help the poor.

Notice that this was an intramural conflict among Muslims in Trinidad, and seems to involve an element of class warfare. Or maybe just a shakedown operation gone wrong…?

Sheikh Abu Bakr has a history of political violence in Trinidad:

Trinidad and TobagoBakr was also the leader of a failed coup attempt in 1990 in Trinidad. He, together 113 others of his organization, stormed the country’s Parliament and held the then Prime Minister, Arthur N.R. Robinson and other government ministers hostage at gun point for several days. Robinson was also shot and wounded. At least one government minister died during the insurrection.

So now Abu Bakr is enjoying the pleasures of liberty again. I hope Trinidad’s domestic counter-terrorism units are keeping a close eye on him.

Hat tip: Uncle Pavian.

Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Dhimmitude casts its long evening shadows over the Church of England. It has been doing so for quite some time now. Soon there will be only darkness and the ruins.

St. GeorgeThe latest attempt to lay their necks on the cutting stone, comes from the movement to dethrone St. George. If the clergy has its way, St. George will be banished to mythology’s rooms, where, with St. Christopher, he will come to rest.

More in keeping with historical reality — though hardly a rallying cry for manly self-defense — is St. Alban, a Christian martyr from early 4th century Hertfordshire. St. Alban is famous for having his head cut off and for being dead before Mohammed was even dreamed of. Thus is he being touted as a replacement for the beloved image of St. George, the dragon slayer, the emblem of the Crusaders, and a bright red embarrasment for dhimmis in the UK.

The clerisy have trotted forth all their good reasons as to why St. George must go and St. Alban must take his place:

…the Church of England is considering rejecting England’s patron saint St George on the grounds that his image is too warlike and may offend Muslims.

Clergy have started a campaign to replace George with St Alban, a Christian martyr in Roman Britain.

The scheme, to be considered by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, has met a cautious but sympathetic response from senior bishops.


The proposal has been put forward by the Rev Philip Chester, vicar of St Matthew’s, Westminster, who has called the use of St George as patron saint ‘dotty’.

His call for a change is based on the lack of firm historical evidence that George — said to be a Roman general from the 4th century AD who was put to death by Emperor Diocletian for professing Christianity — ever existed.

He said: ‘We are sure St Alban is a real figure. What’s more, he lived in this country.’

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams indicated support for an upgrade for Alban, although he is said to be cautious about relegation for George.

He told the Sunday Times: ‘I think St Alban is irreplaceable in the history of English Christianity. Perhaps we ought to raise his profile because it’s the beginning of the church in this country with martyrdom, wisdom and courage.’

Well, at least we know how the Archbishop got to his present place of umm, eminence. It certainly wasn’t for emulating Saint George.

The new fellow, Alban, has a yellow cross, laid diagonally on the flag’s blue field. Does “yellow” have the same connotation across the pond that it does in the US? One can only hope not. As for the concern that George’s “image is too warlike and may offend Muslims…”? My heavens, we can’t have that. Perhaps the red cross on its field of white could be saved for burials, say for the victims of terrorists dissidents in the next train bombing.

St.George on the playing fieldMeanwhile, back in present-day reality, these pronouncements about St. George’s flag are being widely and loudly ignored by some. As the increasingly marginalized Church prepares to abandon its centuries’ old warriors’ flag, the new faith communities — professional sports — have picked up the pennant and are running the field with it. This, despite official refusal have St. George’s cross fly from public buildings on what was formerly his feast day (April 23rd). But never mind. The establishment’s disdain for St. George the dragon slayer is irrelevant. He lives on in popular culture, despite the frowning elitists’ attempts to ban him from public view:

But it [the Church’s stand] clashes with the increasing popularity of the saint and his flag in England. The World Cup brought out millions of St George crosses as the symbol became increasingly mainstream and less frequently dismissed as a badge favoured only by far-Right political activists.

So you see, it’s like this: for some, there is still a sacred space, upon a green sward —

…And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

— King Henry V, Act 3, Scene I           

Hat tip: Enchiridion Militis

UPDATE: a fitting quote from Roncesvalles’ blog

At orphaned altars, demons dwell.
(Ernst Jünger)