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The Iconoclast

Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Posted on 10/10/2007 2:17 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Here is it is.

(...) Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?

Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

Reason: Militarily?

Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

Reason: Are we really heading toward anything so ominous?

Hirsi Ali: I think that’s where we’re heading. We’re heading there because the West has been in denial for a long time. It did not respond to the signals that were smaller and easier to take care of. Now we have some choices to make. This is a dilemma: Western civilization is a celebration of life—everybody’s life, even your enemy’s life. So how can you be true to that morality and at the same time defend yourself against a very powerful enemy that seeks to destroy you?

Reason: George Bush, not the most conciliatory person in the world, has said on plenty of occasions that we are not at war with Islam.

Hirsi Ali: If the most powerful man in the West talks like that, then, without intending to, he’s making radical Muslims think they’ve already won. There is no moderate Islam. There are Muslims who are passive, who don’t all follow the rules of Islam, but there’s really only one Islam, defined as submission to the will of God. There’s nothing moderate about it.

Reason: So when even a hard-line critic of Islam such as Daniel Pipes says, “Radical Islam is the problem, but moderate Islam is the solution,” he’s wrong?

Hirsi Ali: He’s wrong. Sorry about that.

(...)

But I don’t even think that the trouble is Islam. The trouble is the West, because in the West there’s this notion that we are invincible and that everyone will modernize anyway, and that what we are seeing now in Muslim countries is a craving for respect. Or it’s poverty, or it’s caused by colonization.

The Western mind-set—that if we respect them, they’re going to respect us, that if we indulge and appease and condone and so on, the problem will go away—is delusional. The problem is not going to go away. Confront it, or it’s only going to get bigger.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 1:59 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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The Independent: ...Mr Capecchi has often been asked about the impact of his childhood on his later achievements, and his answer has always been the quintessential response of a professional scientist.

"It is not clear whether those early childhood experiences contributed to whatever successes I have enjoyed or whether those achievements were attained in spite of those experiences," he told an audience in Japan in 1996, when he collected the Kyoto Prize in Basic Science. "When dealing with human life, we cannot do the appropriate controls. Could such experiences have contributed to psychological factors such as self-reliance, self-confidence or ingenuity?"

It's a good question. In Mr Capecchi's case, he had the advantage of a colourful family background. His grandmother, Lucy Dodd, bucked all convention by sailing from her home in Portland, Oregon, to Italy to pursue a career as a painter. It was there that she met the German archaeologist Walter Ramberg and had three children before the First World War ripped the family apart.

His mother, Lucy Ramberg, was a poet who fell in with an anti-fascist group of artists calling themselves The Bohemians. She had a torrid affair with Luciano Capecchi, an Italian airman, but never married him, preferring to live quietly in a chalet in the Italian Alps instead.

Mario was born in Verona in 1937 and managed nearly four years of normality. His mother was keenly aware that she risked arrest for her political beliefs and made arrangements for him to be raised by friends on a nearby farm in case anything should happen to her. She sold most of her possessions and built up a fund for her son to give him a chance at survival on his own.

When the Gestapo came for her in 1941, Mario went to the farm as planned. But after about a year something happened – nobody has survived to explain exactly what – and he was left to fend for himself. For three years he lived as a street urchin, getting by as best he could.

"I headed south," he once told an interviewer for a newsletter at the University of Utah, where he has been based since 1973. "Sometimes living in the streets, sometimes joining gangs of other homeless children, sometimes living in orphanages. Most of the time hungry."

He wound up in a hospital in Reggio Emilia along with a ward of abandoned children, who were given one cup of coffee and a crust of bread every day. He dreamed of escaping but was beset by fevers and had no clothes in which to walk out the door, even if he had been strong enough.

He stayed at the hospital for a year and might well have perished there, were it not for the miraculous survival of his mother. As soon as the Allies liberated Dachau in 1945 she set out to find her son. It took her a year to track him down, but she finally found him, on his ninth birthday.

She bought him a Tyrolean outfit, complete with feathered hat. "I still have the hat," said Mr Capecchi. And the two of them headed towards Naples, where they boarded a ship and set sail for America.

They moved in with Mr Capecchi's maternal uncle, who lived in a commune near Philadelphia inspired by the Quakers. His mother was deeply marked by her experience and, as Capecchi later recounted, was never the same. "She wasn't recognisable," he said. "She lived essentially in a world of imagination."

Mr Capecchi himself, though, thrived in the communal environment, where he could pick his friends from the children of 65 other families who lived there. The day after he arrived, he started attending a Quaker school, even though he had never received a day's formal education in his life and spoke no English.

His schooling turned out to be excellent and he was an adept pupil, inspired, above all, by his uncle who was a physicist at Princeton who helped develop the first electron microscope.

He did his undergraduate degree at Antioch College in Ohio, then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue graduate work in physics and maths. He knew then that he wanted to work on genetics, but had to find a way to make the switch since he had never taken a biology class in his life. MIT was just down the road from Harvard, where James Watson gladly took him under his wing. When Mr Capecchi asked him whether Harvard might accept him to work on molecular biology, Watson memorably replied: "You'd be fucking crazy to go anywhere else."

Mr Capecchi spent six years at Harvard, only to conclude that the pressure to come up with quick research results was too great. The University of Utah provided a more relaxed atmosphere, "where you could work on projects whose outcome may take 10 years". He has been there ever since.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 1:43 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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I'm fascinated by this business of Olympic pigs.

In brief: Chinese meat producers have a rather carefree attitude towards the injection/feeding of preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics, and so on, into their livestock. Aware that this might cause problems for Olympic athletes—might even generate some positive results on drug tests—the ChiComs have set aside some special pigs to be raised on organic feed and regularly exercised.

The news of "Olympic pigs" has stirred anger among Chinese citizens. Many have criticized this act as a superficial tactic to boost the regime's image, at the cost of the common people living in China. Some even remarked that pigs are now ranked higher than people.

It's one of those occasions where you feel that old Jonathan Swift would come in handy—to suggest, perhaps, that the entire Olympics be handed over to these dope-free, super-fit pigs, the athletes themselves being chopped up and used to fortify the pig feed...

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Posted on 10/10/2007 1:30 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) three individuals based in Saudi Arabia who have served as significant sources of financial and other support to individuals and entities in Southeast Asia previously named as SDGTs and listed pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1267. --from this news release

Good, and also Bad, can come of this.

Good, if the United States and the entire Western world makes clear that these individuals are being sought, will be seized, will be extradited to the United States, will be tried, and will be punished if convicted. If nothing else, it should make rich Arabs, who have been getting away with murder, tormenting the domestic slaves they bring with them to the West, running down locals, entering into "temporary marriages" with those silly non-Muslim girls, or in many cases simply debauching as many as they can, and counting it a kind of civilizational attack ("their women" wouldn't behave thus, so let's do as much as we can to the "women" of the Infidels), not to mention the industries whereby every paper, right up to the doctorate, is written for this or that rich Arab who just can't be bothered, even the subject has an Islamic or Arabic theme.

Good if we start making clear that access to Western education (that is, to the degrees and the presumed prestige that attendance at a Western school, no matter how crappy, can confer at home, and justify the stay at Papa's expense), and to Western medicine (where would the rich Arabs be without the Mass General, and Sloan-Kettering, and The Children's Hospital, and Dana Farber, and all of Harley Street -- how would you feel if you were suddenly cut off from access to Western hospitals and Western-level medical care?) is not a given, and that there will be consequences.

Bad, if the American government focusses only on this or that individual. For god's sake, the Saudis, the Al-Saud and tens of thousands of rich Saudis, and millions of the Saudi Believers, are hellbent on sending money abroad -- one hundred billion dollars is the estimate -- to pay for mosques and madrasas for Muslims in the West, to propaganda on behalf of Islam, and that includes all the horrific anti-Infidel stuff that that Freedom House report a year or two ago, prepared by Nina Shea (who has left Freedom House, by the way, because of the malign influence on its Board of a new, Muslim arrival who is managing to suppress or divert attention from what should be pressing matters), so disturbingly discussed. And then there is all that Saudi money, or hints of Saudi contracts, that are dangled before the Great and Good of Washington, in both parties, and too many former diplomats, intelligence agents, high government officials right up to the Cabinet level and, indeed, the level of that Oval Office we hear so much about, and journalists and professors, have all been happy to accept Arab, and especially that limitless Saudi largesse, and it does work its magic in the corridors of power, and has helped prevent, among many other things, any sensible measures to dampen demand for oil.

If anthropogenic climate change is indeed irreversible, if it is indeed too late for many of the low-lying cities of this planet -- Lower Manhattan, Shanghai, and so on, and if the rate of change will cause 90% of the world's species to disappear within the next century, and to cause all sorts of other upheavals, climatological, economic, social, and political, as we frantically try to deal with the problem, try to ameliorate things, you should thank, above everyone else, those Western hirelings, those traitors who worked so assiduously to prevent the American government from coming to its senses on energy policy -- and also, of course, in coming to its senses about Islam.

The Saudi lobby: it is the members of that lobby, serving for pay those dagger-and-dishdasha primitives, with their double-decker goatees and their sneers of cold command, of the absurd Al-Saud, who have done so much to keep us from taxing gasoline and oil, as we might have done, beginning in 1973, and headed off the environmental trouble that is inevitably to come.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 1:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Rachel Johnson, sister of loveable blond mop-head and wit, Boris Johnson, argues that Doris's crack has feet of clay*:

This morning’s Guardian hailed the fresh brilliance of the new Unilever Turbine Hall project at Tate Modern by Doris Salcedo. 

It shows: “a laudable unwillingness to compromise, wanting to make a work about absolute indifference, and to address desolation and destitution…Shibboleth begins with a hairline crack in the concrete floor by the entrance. As insignificant as a flaw in a teacup, as telling as the build-up scenes of a disaster movie, the crack soon widens and deepens, a jagged crevasse making its jagged way the length of the Turbine Hall, 167 metres away, jabbing a fork of lightning and deepening as it goes. You can never quite see the bottom of it.” 
          
The double page picture spread in this morning’s Guardian centrefold does give a good impression of just how massive this new work of art is, and how astonishing the feat of engineering.

But is Shibboleth really as, er, groundbreaking as it appears? [Nice one - M.J.]

I haven’t seen the “piece” or the “installation” or whatever it is called, but I have been to the De Young Museum in the Golden Gate park in San Francisco, where there is a very similar conceit by our own Andy Goldsworthy called Faultline, inspired by the unique character of California’s tectonic topography. Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

I'm glad to see Doris's crack has made the centrefold. Meanwhile, Paul, in the comments to Esmerelda's post, says:

Did you hear that three visitors to the Tate Modern today have injured themselves on Doris's Crack?  They should play a slightly amended  Mind The Gap warning in the Turbine Hall:  Mind the Crap.

*I know what you're thinking - a crack can't have feet of clay. Ah, but you see this is my "unmade metaphor" - a new work of art that challenges proper metaphors with its raw, unfinished artlessness. Will someone pay me a lot of money for it?

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Posted on 10/10/2007 1:02 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Esmerelda decorates the bathroom, episode 2. 
Oliver Pritchett works mainly in putty and polyfilla but is a former member of the Grouting School of British artists which genre I have also dabbled with. He was declared to be off the wall.  I, however, have been left on the shelf.

Using B&Q's combined tile adhesive and grout fix the tiles to the shelf and leave for 24 hours.

Using the grouting tool, aka a funny shaped bit of plastic, spread grout into the gap evenly, pat down and scrape clean.

Wipe excess away with a bit of rag. Leave to dry for 24 hours. Wash hands. Make pot of tea. Try to pick dryed grout off fingernails. Wait for Charles Saatchi to phone with an offer you can't refuse.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 10:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcMDaq-Nkdo

It's the Ambrose Orchestra, with Sam Browne doing the vocal, brought to us not on the old Victrola, but live from the Mayfair Hotel.  

For that "Nobel twist," you must wait a year or two for more. I'll remind you then of this posting, on October 10, 2007. And for another hint at a future prizewinner, think of three syllables consisting of my first, and Darwin's second. And for another category, take out your notebooks and be careful about possible misspellings.

There. That's three.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 10:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Higgledy-Piggledy,
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Lectured the ladies on
"Their" Oversouls.
 
Hindustan verities
Captured their sympathies,
Deemed more nutritious than
Parker House rolls.
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Posted on 10/10/2007 10:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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“and the significance of that land reclamation, literal and figurative…”
 
That phrase in the piece on Oakar contains some unidentified freight – that is, memories of “Palestine: Land of Promise” by the once-celebrated agronomist Walter Clay Lowdermilk, of Liberty, North Carolina, a book about the heroic achievements in land reclamation by the Jews in Palestine, which at the time that Lowdermilk, who went to Palestine to see for himself, included city-pale  recent refugees from Germany, doctorates in physics and art history in hand, who set to work draining swamps and crushing rocks. Lowdermilk not only saw this for himself (there are photographs of some of those land-reclamation achievements included in the book) on a visit, but once back in America wrote up his notes about that trip to Mandatory Palestine, and this American agronomist’s communication to the world is well worth reading today, for too many have forgotten, or never knew, that the Jews did in reclaiming their ancient commonwealth that had fallen – all the visitors agree – into ruin and desolation. Lowdermilk’s drily scientific account does not manage to conceal his admiration and amazement at what those farmers had already done, and what they were doing as he wrote, and would be doing in the future. The fantastic story has been forgotten; it needs to be remembered, not least by those Israelis who seem uninterested, or possibly embarrassed, by the achievements of the Zionist pioneers. No need to feel such embarrassment, no need to be so diffident about recognizing what those who re-established the Jewish commonwealth, for the last time (there will be no second chance, as everyone must realize), and we who are not Israelis or Jews have no need to feel such diffidence, such silly embarrassment.
 
The agronomist’s name – Walter Clay Lowdermilk -- naturally lends itself to the clerihew, or to that variant of the clerihew known as the higgledy-piggledy (see “Jiggery Pokery” a “compendium of double dactyls” edited by Anthony Hecht and John Hollander), consisting of two stanzas, each in turn consisting of four lines, the first three of double dactyls  (with the first always “Higgledy-Piggledy”), and a fourth, or final line of four syllables, vaguely alcaic (but not archaic) with A strong dactylic hint, or at times, rising to the occasion by being doubly and abruptly trochaic.
 
To wit:
 
Higgledy-Piggledy,
Walter Clay Lowdermilk
Visited Palestine
Loved what he saw.
 
Wrote up his aperçus,
Telling what Jews could do,
Land-reclamation-wise,
Stunned and in awe. 
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Posted on 10/10/2007 10:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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"Our purpose remains unchanged: to condemn the outrages committed by the Islamo-Fascists against women, gays, Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims.." --David Horowitz

Many of us may not fit into any of those categories, but are convinced that the further spread of Islam, or of Muslim influence around the world, or even the slow chipping away at the Western alliance, with a possible takeover, through demographic conquest, of the historic heart of the West and of Western culture, is a mortal threat.

The text above did not add -- perhaps it was deemed at this point impolitic -- that to the "outrages committed by etc....." a further alarm about "the clear inculcation by a Total System to prohibit freedom of artistic expression, prohibiting most music and painting, and all sculpture, and further encourages a habit of mental submission and discourages, even punishes, the kind of free and skeptical inquiry without which the enterprise of science, and the furtherance of human thought in many spheres outside of science, cannot take place."

On the other hand, I see that the addendum I have just offered is unlikely to be read by the campus young, who tend to accept their flyers on the fly. And isn't Keep It Simple a principle to keep in mind? Yes, I suppose it is.

So at a later date, once a ray of reality about Islam has been allowed to enter those darkened classrooms and common rooms those more elaborate points can be made. Not everything at once. In un secondo momento.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 10:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Since leaving Congress in shame in 1993 and her subsequent guilty plea on charges related to her role in the House checking scandal (where she had more than 200 overdrafts), Mary Rose Oakar has kept a low public profile. But now Oakar has waded back into the waters of controversy by encouraging higher education officials to suppress student free speech related to the upcoming Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. --Patrick Poole

Mary Rose Oakar is clearly -- take a look at her first name -- the descendant of Lebanese Christians. She apparently has no idea of the current, or indeed past, condition of Christians in Lebanon, and no doubt has no clear grasp of why it was that her Lebanese ancestors left Lebanon, as so many did, for the United States, for Brazil, even for the capitals of West Africa, ever since the local Muslims started to express their unhappiness with the attempts directed from Constantinople, then under considerable pressure from the European powers, to improve the legal status of non-Muslims. She might start with the massacre of the Maronites in Damascus in 1860, and go from there.

Or she, Mary Rose Oakar, islamochristian, might simply google, on-line, the works of Habib Malik, the son of Lebanon's greatest statesman, the late Charles Malik, and see what he has to say about Islam, and Christianity. Or she might take a look at the statement by Moubarac, Bishop of Beirut back in 1947, on his support of the Jews of Israel and their desire to reclaim, for the Jews, a state -- and the significance of that land reclamation, literal and figurative, for the future of the Christians who, after all, had always lived in Lebanon, before the Arabs arrived, imposing Islam where they could, and imposing arabization, through the widespread use of Arabic, even among the Christians, some of whom -- like Mary Rose Oaker herself -- seem to have unthinkingly accepted the idea that that use of a language made them "Arabs."

One can imagine what Oakar's great-grandparents would make of her running interference, both for the "Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee" that carefully exploits the good reputation of Christians, that is people of Lebanese descent, who may or may not bear Arab names but are wrongly described as "Arabs" and whose own relatives arrived here fleeing from the pressures of Islam, and yet are now being exploited here, by Muslims, used to promote a Muslim agenda under the careful rubric, entirely specious, of "Arab-American." What does a Maronite, or a Greek Orthodox Arabic-using Christian from Lebanon, have in common with Muslim Arabs? He may have something in common with the Copts, the Assyrians, the Armenians, even, as Bishop Moubarac certainly understood, with the Jews of the Middle East. But with the Muslims who have been putting pressure on, persecuting, and at times murdering Christians in the Middle East, or their representatives and descendants who happen to have arrived, many decades after the early wave of Lebanese Christians arrived. And those Muslims have arrived bearing in their mental luggage, undeclared, a Total Belief System that threatens those descendants of Lebanese Christians as much as it does everyone else.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 9:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Yesterday in London, Ibn Warraq participated in a debate entitled, We Should Not Be Reluctant to Assert the Superiority of Western Values along with Douglas Murray and David Aaronovitch and also featuring Tariq Ramadan, Charles Glass and William Dalrymple.

Here it is in mp3.

Here is a link to the Spectator website in case there is trouble downloading.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 9:01 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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"Although we have a history of moderation the population is not immune from events in Middle East and Iraq."-- from this news article

The "events" he wishes to allude to are what Muslims, in their breathless list of the world's outrages against Muslims, include "Iraq" and "Palestine" and no doubt, if he thought of it, "Kashmir" and "southern Thailand" and the "hijab ban in French schools" and the "war on Islam" being conducted by big bad America, which so far has spent nearly one trillion dollars trying to do everything it can to keep Iraq in one piece, and "reconstruct" the whole place to boot, and another hundred billion on aid to such places as Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and, of course, the "Palestinian" territories that since time immemorial have belonged to that "Palestinian people" we hear so much about.

That sentence cries out for a gloss. Here goes:

"Although we have a history of moderation" means the population considers itself "Muslim" but has no clear idea of what exactly that entails. Most of it is illiterate, and until recent years, the Islam consisted in the main of the rituals of worship, the Five Pillars.

The "population is not immune to events in the Middle East and Iraq" means that some of those easy-going, largely illiterate local Muslims have been subject to the Muslim message disseminated by videocassette, audiocassette, satellite television (Al Jazeera et al.), and of course by the Internet. Muslim missionaries, financed in the end by the Arab money from oil-rich lands, especially from Saudi Arabia, the center of the malevolence, arrive here to spread around money, influence, and Islam -- not an "extremist" Islam, but rather, the full texts of the Islam that has always existed.

In the mosques and madrasas they pay for, and through the imams they choose for those mosques, and those teachers they employ at those madrasas, they make sure that the Muslim men and the boys receive the full message of Islam, the message that stresses the central divide for all of humanity: that between Believer and Infidel. And they do not gloss over, but stress as well, the duty of all Muslims to participate in Jihad, the "struggle" to tear down, in the lands where the Infidels still dominate, all obstacles to the spread and ultimate dominance of Islam. And then there is that other struggle, within the Lands of Islam, Dar al-Islam, to make sure that Infidels are kept in their place, kept down and kept out.

That is what that sentence really means. And all those Infidel tourists who come, with their easygoing ways, their womenfolk too easily mixing with the men, and of course there is the way they dress, or fail to do so sufficiently, and the way they behave, and the way they...everything. For they are Infidels, yet they do not act as if they are inferior to us, do not look down, do not act cowed. All the more reason to go after them, to put a bomb -- not for the last time - in their midst.

What? Those Infidels bring money, the only real money (the Saudis and other Arabs pay for those mosques and madrasas and propaganda fide, but will not contribute anything to the poorer Muslims outside of that) that the Maldives receives? So what? What does that matter? Does money mean much, when Allah commands otherwise?

Just look at the texts. What does the Qur'an say? What do the most authentic Hadith say? What does the entire life of Muhammad, that Model of Conduct, uswa hasana, that Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, say? What do the texts support? Do they support what we now hear from others, in what was referred to as "the Middle East and Iraq" -- those others being the best of people, the true carriers of Islam, the Arabs, whose names we wish to take, whose seventh-century behavior we wish to emulate, whose very essence we wish to inhale, to become, if we can, here in the balmy Maldives, veritable Arabs ourselves.

Or do those texts support the "moderates" and those "reformers" who keep telling us to stop saying subjecting Islam to such critical scrutiny, to stop being so bleak about it, lest that get in the way of their enormous, fantastic, truly impressive project of "reform" ("Islam can be anything Muslims want it to be" insists one non-Muslim admirer of the "reform" project)?

Well, let's see.

In the 1350 year history of Islam, can you name a single successful "reformer" of anything in Islam who made it less, rather than more, menacing? Name one. And if you can't do that, then name a single so-called would-be "reformer" now who has managed to effectively offer a single change in the doctrine of Islam, one that has a modicum of textual support, and the hint of a whisp of a chance of being adopted by other Muslims, and by "other Muslims" I don't mean the hundred other would-be "Muslim reformers" who keep getting those generous government and foundation grants to keep up their all-important (and "truly exciting") reform work.

Go ahead.

Offer just one example.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 8:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Bill Warner, the director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI) and spokesman for politicalislam.com. CSPI’s goal is to teach the doctrine of political Islam through its books and it has produced an eleven book series on political Islam. Mr. Warner did not write the CSPI series, but he acts as the agent for a group of scholars who are the authors. The Center’s latest book is The Submission of Women and Slaves, Islamic Duality.

FP: Bill Warner, it’s a privilege to have you back at Frontpage Magazine. We are going to do a two-part series with you on the most recent book. In this first part we will discuss Islam and its doctrine on the submission of women and in the next part we will discuss the matter of slavery.

Welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Warner: Thank you, it is a pleasure.

FP: So tell us in general where Islam stands on women and why.

Warner: Islam’s stand on women is the same as its stand on every issue—duality and submission. Dualism demands that everything is seen, not as a unified whole, but as divided. The primary political duality is the division between kafirs (unbelievers) and believers. The primary internal duality is the division between males and females.

The principle of submission means that one must rule over the other. No surprise, the women must submit to the men.

CSPI measured the submission of the female to the male by analyzing the Islamic doctrine. All of Islam’s doctrine is found in the Koran, the Hadith (Traditions) and the Sira (the life of Mohammed), the Trilogy. We collected every verse, every paragraph and every sentence that mentioned women and their power relationships. These were all categorized into the women being superior, inferior, equal or merely mentioned.

In 4% of the cases, women were superior, in 91% of the cases they were inferior and in 5% they were equal. But there is a big catch. The only way that women are equal is after death on Judgment day, when men and women will be judged on how well they followed the Koran and the Sunna. And guess what? The only way to follow the Koran and the Sunna is to obey men. Equality means obeying men.

A Woman is superior by being a mother, who must obey her husband. So the perfect woman on Judgment day will be a mother, who obeyed all the men in her life. So really, the women are subordinate to men in 100% of all of the Koran, Hadith and the Sira...

Read the rest here.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 8:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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One year ago, on October 10, 2006 an Islamic website alerted Muslims to yet another of the seemingly endless litany of “insults to Islam.” The message claimed a cube-shaped building under construction in New York City, on Fifth Avenue between 58th  and 59th  Streets in midtown Manhattan, bore a deliberate resemblance to the sacred Meccan “Kabaa”, and as such was meant to provoke Muslims.  After taking liberties to contrive a resemblance between Apple’s (as in Macintosh computers) “Mecca,” and the actual Meccan Kabaa (see here), the Islamic website maintained the New York structure intended to be open 24 hours a day (alas, like the Kabaa), and moreover, contained bars selling alcoholic beverages—both blatant “insults to Islam.” The message further urged Muslims to disseminate this “alarming” information, in the hope that “Muslims will be able to stop the project.” As Robert Spencer observed aptly, at the time, “The only problem is that the project is finished, and the actual building doesn't look like the Kabaa at all, unless all cube-shaped structures are forbidden to infidels.”

Fast forward almost exactly one year, and a strangely delayed outpouring of “Kabaa outrage” was expressed on October 6, 2007—in Kashmir! As reported by the Iranian (Islamic Republic) News Agency, hundreds of Muslim college students in the Northern Kashmir city of Baramulla took to the streets in demonstrations, “to decry a bar built in the shape of the holy Kaaba in New York.” Proclaiming anti-American and pro-Islamic slogans, the students insisted that the putative construction of a wine-shop or a bar like the Kaaba was tantamount to the desecration of the holy sites of Islam. “Muslims all over the world should protest at this,” they stated. They also demanded that the “bar” be closed down immediately, accompanied by a “US apology” to the Muslim world for creating the Kaaba replica.

Ignoring the final constructed appearance of Apple’s New York City cube, and the fact that alcohol was never served there,  what is the Kabaa, and why might any perceived insult to this Meccan structure arouse the ire, once again, of pious votaries of Islam?

The Kabaa is a black-gray, cube-like building located in the center of the mosque at Mecca which contains the black stone (the Hajaru ’l-Aswad). The bizarre and fantastic Muslim narrative—a melding of traditions from the core Islamic texts (including the Koran), and the inventiveness of Muslim writers—maintains that the Kabaa was originally constructed in heaven some 2000 years before the world’s creation (indeed, this heavenly model of it persists eternally, named the Baitu’l-Ma‘mūr). Adam purportedly erected the earthly Kabaa directly below the location its perfect model occupies in heaven. Although 10,000 angels were assigned to guard the Kabaa, as the Orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt observed, more often than not, they appear to have been remiss in their duty. Destroyed during the great flood, Abraham, assisted by his son Ishmael (who was then in Mecca with his mother Hagar) is said to have been instructed by Allah to rebuild the Kabaa. During this reconstruction, Ishmael, seeking a stone to mark the corner of the rebuilt structure, was given the famous black stone by the angel Gabriel. Following Ishmael’s death, the Kabaa passed into the possession of successive Arabian tribes, becoming a Pantheon for idols, even including figures of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus sculpted upon one of its six pillars nearest the entrance. At the outset of Muhammad’s prophetic career, the initial direction for prayer was Jerusalem, implying he was disinclined to the Kabaa as an ancient “superstitious” idol temple. Had the Jews not rejected Muhammad’s claim to teach the true monotheism of Abraham, abrogating that of Moses, Jerusalem, not the Meccan Kabaa would have been the object of Muslim reverence. When Muhammad finally vanquished the idolatrous Quraysh of Mecca, occupying the city by force of arms (in 630), the idols in the Kabaa were destroyed (excepting an icon of Jesus and Mary), and the “divine” rites of Islam enacted.

Might contemporary “Kabaa rage,”—directed, curiously, at a New York structure—be related to the Muslim world’s obsession with Jewish conspiracies against Islam, which date back to Islam’s foundational texts, and history? Koran 5:64, for example (“They [the Jews] hasten about the earth, to do corruption there”) reads like an ancient antecedent to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and was cited in this context during a January 2007 speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Furthermore, after Muhammad’s conquest of the Jewish farming oasis at Khaybar, the hadith and sira (early pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad) refer to an event  which updates with impeccable logic the Koranic curse upon the Jews (2:61 /3:112) for having wrongfully slain Allah’s earlier prophets—a Khaybar Jewess is accused of serving the Muslim prophet poisoned mutton (or goat), leading ultimately to his protracted and painful death. And Ibn Sa‘d’s sira (Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir) focuses on the Jewish conspiracy behind this alleged poisoning of Islam’s prophet. An additional profoundly anti-Jewish motif occurring after the events recorded in the hadith and sira,  put forth in early Muslim historiography (for example, by Tabari), is the story of Abd Allah b. Saba. An alleged renegade Yemenite Jew, and founder of the heterodox Shi’ite sect, he is held responsible—identified as a Jew—for promoting the Shi’ite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam’s “political innocence,” culminating in the assassination of the third Rightly Guided Caliph Uthman, and the bitter, lasting legacy of Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian strife.

Not surprisingly then, conspiratorial accusations against Jews  in late 13th century Baghdad included plans to attack Mecca itself and convert the Kabaa to a heathen temple! The brief rise and calamitous fall of Sa‘d ad-Daula—which mirrored the experience of his Jewish co-religionists—took place during this Mongol epoch. Sa‘d ad-Daula was a Jewish physician, who successfully reformed the Mongol revenue and taxation system for Iraq. In recognition of these services, he was appointed by the Mongol emperor Arghun (who reigned from 1284-1291) to the position of administrative Vizier (in 1289) over Arghun’s Empire. Despite being a successful and responsible administrator (which even the Muslim sources confirm), the appointment of a Jew as the Vizier of a heathen ruler over a predominantly Muslim region, aroused the wrath, predictably, of the Muslim masses. According to modern historian Walter Fischel, this reaction was expressed, through and exacerbated by “…all kinds of [Muslim] diatribes, satirical poems, and libels”. Ibn al-Fuwati (d. 1323), a contemporary Muslim historian from Baghdad, recorded this particularly revealing example which emphasized traditional anti-Jewish motifs from the Qur’an:

In the year 689/1291 a document was prepared which contained libels against Sa‘d ad-Daula, together with verses from the Qur’an and the history of the prophets, that stated the Jews to be a people whom Allah hath debased…

Another contemporary 13th century Muslim source, notes Fischel, the chronicler and poet Wassaf, “…empties the vials of hatred on the Jew Sa‘d ad-Daula and brings the most implausible accusations against him.” These accusations included the claims that Sa‘d had advised Arghun to cut down trees in Baghdad (dating from the days of the conquered Muslim Abbasid dynasty), and build a fleet to attack Mecca and convert the cuboidal Kabaa  to a heathen temple. Wassaf’s account also quotes satirical verses to demonstrate the extent of public dissatisfaction with what he terms “Jewish Domination.”

Drummer and lyricist for The Clash Joe Strummer composed a 1982 lyric protesting Ayatollah’s Khomeini’s ban on rock music. Updating Strummer’s words (“Sharif don't like it [he thinks it's not kosher]”), in reference to the Kabaa rage manufactured by today’s Islamic “Sharifs” (i.e., protectors of the Muslim super-tribe, and tribal assets),  Sharifs don't like it.” Given the living legacy of conspiratorial anti-Jewish animus in Islam’s foundational texts, and early history, these Sharifs of 2006/2007 may think Apple’s New York City “Kabaa” is all too “kosher!”

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Posted on 10/10/2007 8:12 AM by Andrew Bostom
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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The title of Useful Idiot of the Week goes to crusty old Marxist Terry Eagleton, currently involved in a tussle with Martin Amis, or Amis fils as everyone seems to call him. From The Guardian (where else?):

Suicide bombers must be stopped forcibly in their tracks to protect the innocent. But there is something rather stomach-churning at the sight of those such as Amis and his political allies, champions of a civilisation that for centuries has wreaked untold carnage throughout the world, shrieking for illegal measures when they find themselves for the first time on the sticky end of the same treatment.

Where there's no sense there's no feeling. Renowned literary theorist he may be, but Eagleton has a tin ear. How do you stop a suicide bomber in his tracks? Wrestle him to the ground? And see how he weighs the West - "untold carnage for centuries throughout the world" - against Islam's "sticky end". (How can a "treatment" have a sticky end? Why don't writers try to visualise their metaphors before using them?).

May the best man win, even if it has to be Martin Amis.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 8:00 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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Oliver Pritchett on Doris Salcedo's crack:

As an artist, I feel a strong bond with the Colombian Doris Salcedo who has installed a huge crack across the floor of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, in London. The materials I use mostly in my work are Polyfilla and putty. While Doris creates fissures, I devote myself to filling them in. It is my dearest wish that I may be chosen as the artist to follow her into the Turbine Hall.

I've never tackled anything quite that big before, but I have some fairly substantial efforts on my walls at home. My masterpiece is entitled "Settlement" and it is designed to symbolise the way society tries to ignore the serious problems it is facing, such as the subsidence in relationships and the imminent total collapse of the whole edifice of our civilisation.

It's as if I have deliberately not smoothed over the work properly, so that it stands out slightly, like a diagonal scar and it gives the unsettling impression of having been painted over in a slightly different shade of magnolia. The poster of Monet's Water Lilies is artfully placed so that it forms only a brief interruption to this ghost of a jagged line down the wall, expressing despair that the artist can never provide the complete answer.

I first made my name as a member of the Grouting School of British artists which was based loosely around the Nuneaton B?&?Q in the 1980s. We were trying to explore notions of healing through grouting, discovering that, however noble our intentions, smearing is bound to occur and blobs of mortar are sure to harden all around us. It was the process of discovering that, in the complex pattern of our relationships, there is always going to be a loose tile.

The Grouting School was derided for being "off the wall", but I believe it threw up some interesting work. I always regret that the group just fell apart and the movement collapsed. It was a messy business.

In the course of my work as fill-in artist, I have also experimented with the use of sound in my installations. In this work I have used the medium of folded cardboard – more specifically a piece torn from a box of tissues. When this is placed in the gap between two frames of the bedroom window it produces a fascinating muffled rattle when the wind is from the north-east. I call the installation "A Wake-up Call for Mankind".

How can an artist be called Doris? Doris is the name for a cleaning-lady, one who takes pride in her work, and will leave no bed unmade. Dorises and other cleaning ladies have complained through the ages that artists are mucky pups - well, their minds are on higher things - but these days the mucky-puppery is the art.

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Posted on 10/10/2007 4:19 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007
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This is from The Scotsman. I agree with the comments so far(4), that it is outrageous that the proprietor has no right to refuse admission to her own property.
A FRENCH court yesterday fined a guesthouse owner who refused to give a room to a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf unless she removed it in common areas.
Found guilty of religious discrimination, Yvette Truchelut, 54, was handed a suspended four-month prison sentence and fined 1,000 euros (£700). She will have to pay a total of 7,400 to the plaintiff and rights groups (there we have it!)  that brought the action.
Horia Demiati, who is of Moroccan origin, chose to leave the guesthouse in eastern France rather than comply with the owner's demand.
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Posted on 10/10/2007 2:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 09 October 2007
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Did you know, To Whom It May Concern, that the phrase "lithe and lascivious throats" is not in fact by Swinburne himself, as I had always assumed, right up until the other day when, while on the train, I read through Carolyn Wells's "A Parody Anthology." I was on that train because I was going to a funeral, and then to a cemetery where, among such unusual neighbors as Tommy Dorsey and Lou Gehrig and the man who illustrated L. Frank Baum's best-known work, Sergei Rachmaninoff is also buried. That lambdacistic phrase -- better because briefer was Byron's not-unrelated "love's lava" --  turns out to come not from Swinburne, but from a parody by Seaman on Swinburne.

Remember now to hold back. Remember to bite your tongue (if feeling French, however, you are free to reverse the command, especially if you happen to be a student at, or of, Langues O.).  Bref, remember the new rules of the game. La règle du jeu. I'm not intending to make it easy.

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Posted on 10/09/2007 8:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 09 October 2007
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When you read or hear the word "subaltern", what do you think of? I think of this:

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won
The warm-handled racket is back in its press
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less

As you see, the subaltern has internalised his own subordination, and, through false consciousness of a  bourgeois "love song", and through the faux-symmetrical discourse of a tennis game, acquiesced in the hegemony of the "strongly adorable"  double-barrelled and doubly oppressive girl of his "choice". Furnished and burnished with all the accoutrements of her class, this shock-headed capitalist lackey steers our subaltern along roads "not adopted", until he can no longer speak.

I can't do this anymore. Over to Posthegemony, and the strongly adorable Gayatri Spivak:

Like the multitude, the subaltern is beyond representation, an insurgent betrayal of constituted power. Moreover, as Alberto Moreiras puts it, “subaltern negation” is posthegemonic in that it constitutes a “refusal to submit to hegemonic interpellation, an exodus from hegemony.” (The Exhaustion of Difference 126). But the subaltern is a limit concept, “the absolute limit of the place where history is narrativized into logic," in Gayatri Spivak’s words ("Subaltern Studies" 16), whereas for Negri the multitude is both central and beyond limit. The subaltern is defined negatively: for Ranajit Guha, it is the “demographic difference” or what is left when the elite are subtracted from the total population (“On Some Aspects of the Colonial Historiography of Colonial India” 44). The multitude, by contrast, is defined positively: it is “the ontological name of full against void, of production against parasitical survivals” (Negri, “Towards an Ontological Definition of the Multitude”). The subaltern is more abject than subject; indeed, Moreiras describes subalternity as “the non-subject of the political” (“Children of Light I” 12). But despite these differences, subaltern excess is an index of the presence of the multitude, indicating the failures of representation and so the asymmetry between constituent and constituted power. So subaltern insurgency can be a gateway to the multitude, whose positive sense of commonality may start in subaltern negation, in what John Holloway calls “a scream of refusal” (Change the World without Taking Power 1).

New balls, please.

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Posted on 10/09/2007 6:18 PM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 09 October 2007
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I'd quite like to be confused with The Spectator's Dot Wordsworth, who cares about the elusive English gerundive. I wouldn't mind being confused with Mary Killen, also of The Spectator, who cares about paperclip and stapler etiquette. But of all the women, in all the world I could be confused with, does Laura Bush spring to mind? Have any readers ever thought, when reading my posts about mythemes and mathemes and dozy bints and googlethwartery, "What's she doing posting on a blog? Why isn't she getting George's supper ready? And look at that hair - all over the place."


Mary Jackson

It's very strange to be confused with someone you never think about. I know what Laura Bush looks like, and that she's married to George Bush, and that's about it.  Anyway, you never see us together, so perhaps my cover has been blown. And who better to blow a woman's cover, than Lawrence Auster:

Well, I guess I understand Jackson's lack of understanding after all.

If Jackson would simply acknowledge the reasonableness of the concerns that people have expressed about Ali (she doesn't have to agree with their concerns, just acknowledge that they exist and are reasonable), then she would "understand." But that would require her to give up her Laura Bush-like presumption that strong criticism of a female public figure must be driven by anti-female prejudice or a disbelief in female equality.

¿Que?

Well, as I'm Laura Bush, I may as well try to put my husband straight about Islam. Untangling his thoughts appeals. Untangling his metaphors is something else entirely.

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Posted on 10/09/2007 5:14 PM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 09 October 2007
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From MaltaStar.com
A number of foreigners are illegally using an apartment in St Paul’s Bay as a makeshift mosque, but neither police nor Mepa can do much to relieve the other residents in the same road from the noise and commotion that this development has introduced.
Suddenly, new tenants moved into the ground floor apartment of their block. They cleared the place from all furniture, replacing them with carpets. Now, the place is used as a mosque, with over 30 foreigners visiting the place regularly, sometimes as early as 0400hrs. Praying, sometimes involving loud singing, goes on until late at night, especially on Fridays, the residents explained. “Before entering their place of worship, the foreigners take off their shoes and leave them outside the apartment, in the block’s landing.” 
In August, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa) issued an enforcement notice calling on the tenant of a small ground floor flat to stop using the same residence as a “place of worship”. Since then, nothing changed, the residents noted. The authority’s website states that the case will be referred for direct action, meaning that the authority’s officials will move in to either stop the illegality or seal the place.   
Yet, sources at the legal office of this authority explained that this case may not be easy to settle. “A few years ago, Mepa faced a similar situation in Sliema. Once the worshippers moved into an apartment and some individuals declared to be the residents of the place, they could not be stopped from accepting guests for prayer meetings inside their 'home'. Every individual has a right to invite guests to his or her home for a prayer meeting,”
The residents came up against a brick wall even when trying to seek the police assistance. “Basically, we met police officials and they explained they cannot stop anyone from praying inside a private home. All they can do is intervene when there is too much noise or any other disturbance. But even then, all the action police will take is to come over and ask the worshippers to stop the inconvenience. Unfortunately, a few days ago we tried to call police to come over and stop the loud chanting coming from the apartment. We could not even get through to them.”
The residents have even sent numerous letters to newspapers and top local officials. “All we want is to continue living in peace as we did before. We are now faced with strangers getting in and out of the apartment block at all times.” The residents explained that the worshippers have also tampered with apartment block’s door bell so that whenever one presses it, the door to the apartment block opens automatically. This is making them feel even more vulnerable, as anyone can enter the place without any control.  
“Moreover, it is surely not very welcoming to enter one’s home and find a large number of shoes in the block’s landing. The authorities’ helplessness shows that this can happen anywhere.”
Meanwhile the residents of Corby in Northampton have a similar problem with a Mosque in three residential houses.
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Posted on 10/09/2007 4:19 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 09 October 2007
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The original shibboleth is that in the Old Testament:

"And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;

Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand."

                                                               -- Judges 12:5

Pope summed up that passage in a tetrametric iambic couplet;  the scansion demanded that two thousand of those Biblical dead be summarily un-executed:

"Where forty thousand met their death/Incapable of shibboleth."

In World War II the Americans in the Pacific devised similar  linguistic texts to allow American soldiers to distinguish dangerous  Japanese from inoffensive Chinese.

Doris Salcedo, the "artist"  who has managed to imitate, at no doubt great cost to the Tate , what the earth provides at no extra cost , what indeed comes naturally to Mother Nature, whenever one of  those tectonic plates feels the need to make itself more comfortable,  here provides an example of her "Art." I don't think we need to see any more of her art. As for her understanding of the world, it is that West she deplores that has given the world much of, perhaps most of, what is most to be valued in its art, its literature, its music, its attention to individual freedom including freedom of thought (see Henry Osborn Taylor, "Freedom of the Mind in History"), freedom of speech, freedom of just about everything that matters.

Yes, there's a crack all right that divides humanity. But it is the crack that is dictated by Islam, that divides the world uncompromisingly between Believers and Infidels. That is not something that the Salcedo lady could conceivably understand. In her understanding, it's the West that sins against all the Rest, and since Islam is regarded wrongly as part of that Rest by the doris-salcedos of this world, the glove of guilt does not fit on either the Sunni hand or the Shi'a hand, so the world  must acquit. No, she's got it totally, ungratefully, irredeemably wrong.

It's been years since most of us worried about "step on a crack/break your mother's back" and carefully avoided them on city streets, such as those  between 3rd and Lex, in the East 60s. But right now I feel not like avoiding that stupendous stupidity  at the Tate but in paying the place a little visit.

Some of you may recall how we dealt with the problem of Tracey Emin's unmade bed and used condoms and unmentionables lying about. We simply moved right in and vandalized, by picking up those condoms and  those repellent and un-naughty knickers, and changed the sheets and --piling the Ossa of  insult upon the Pelion of  injury -- making her bed, the famous bed, the "My Bed" bed, with hospital corners. We struck around midnight, detemined  knights hospitaliers, hospital-corniers, quikcly tying up the guards, rendering useless the alarm system, and then moved even more quickly, not so as to French it in good boarding-school style,  but to  make it as tidy as a bed at the Mass General or Addenbrooke's, thereby emending her eminish three-dimensional emineming,  and fixed her wagon, but good.

Now the Tate art-crack, a subset of the cracked art-racket , will be a lot more expensive to fix. What construction magnate, in the interersts of real art (as opposed to those other magnates, saatchies and eli-broads, who by collecting the likes of tracey emin do great damage to art, and insult real artists living and dead), will do the handsome thing? What magnate will lend us some concrete-mixers and pourers, and a crew of stout English yeomen, hempen homespuns all, who as directed by me will arrive on the scene to see artistic, and all kinds of other, justice done, by filling in that idiotic crack.

Or failing that generous offer, we can handle the situation not concretely, but more abstractly. After all, a work of art is mostly "in the mind" we are told. Fine. Let's keep the goddam crack, and the stupidly portentous title, but let's apply it, in the freedom of our own minds,  to something quite different from what Doris Salcedo tells us she has in mind and wants us to as well. No dice. No can do. Instead, we shall simply step over the crack in the pavement, and redirect the title she gave her hidoues work  not to the subject she had in mind, but to something far more fitting.  Not the much-maligned West, with the art, literature, music, mental freedom, and alas silliness that come from the West. No, rather that crack should symbolize the Total System that divides humanity into two, into Believers and Infidels, and inculcates in the former the duty to wage permanent war, though not necessarily open warfare, on the latter. Assorted linda-salcedos,won't grasp it, nor those Tate bigshots enthusing over Tracey Emin's dry shit, but the rest of us will understand.

I suddenly feel like jumping on a plane for Washington, and rushing by taxi from Reagan to the National Gallery, and then to hasten right to the first gallery of Italian primitives, where the Madonna and Bambino of Margaritone d'Arezzo hangs just across from Duccio di Buoninsegna's St. Peter and St. Andrew, with their nets, and the fish in those nets, and their little boat., and the Fisher of Men calling them to shore. I don't call that wild desire a wonder now. In fact, I don't find it at all surprising. Do you?    

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Posted on 10/09/2007 4:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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