Sunday, March 18, 2007

More on what people like to get wrong about Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Christopher Hitchens does not mince words:

The Feb. 26 edition of Newsweek takes up where Garton Ash and Buruma leave off and says, in an article by Lorraine Ali, that, "It's ironic that this would-be 'infidel' often sounds as single-minded and reactionary as the zealots she's worked so hard to oppose." I would challenge the author to give her definition of irony and also to produce a single statement from Hirsi Ali that would come close to materializing that claim. Accompanying the article is a typically superficial Newsweek Q&A sidebar, which is almost unbelievably headed: "A Bombthrower's Life." The subject of this absurd headline is a woman who has been threatened with horrific violence, by Muslims varying from moderate to extreme, ever since she was a little girl. She has more recently had to see a Dutch friend butchered in the street, been told that she is next, and now has to live with bodyguards in Washington, D.C. She has never used or advocated violence. Yet to whom does Newsweek refer as the "Bombthrower"? It's always the same with these bogus equivalences: They start by pretending loftily to find no difference between aggressor and victim, and they end up by saying that it's the victim of violence who is "really" inciting it.

[..]

To flirt with this equivalence is to give in to the demagogues and to hear, underneath their yells of triumph, the dismal moan of the trahison des clercs and "the enlightenment driven away." Perhaps, though, if I said that my principles were a matter of unalterable divine revelation and that I was prepared to use random violence in order to get "respect" for them, I could hope for a more sympathetic audience from some of our intellectuals.

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And here is Tjark Kunstreich connecting dots. He attacks the prevailing mindset of European "intellectuals" for " failing to counter Islamic anti-Semitisim":

"And so there is a general concession that "the Arabs" have been humiliated - either at the hands of Israel, the USA or the former colonial powers – and this is why they have run riot. This is similar in tenor to the arguments used in relation to the first rumblings of National Socialism in Germany and the "Dictate of Versailles." Another argument is that Islamists are fighting poverty. There is as much unwillingness today to acknowledge the ideological cost of Hizbullah's social work, as there was in the past towards the social policies of the Nazis – quite apart from the fact that this sort of social politics now as then means alms for good behaviour. Another thing that smacks of the appeasement is the reaction towards the dismantling of human rights under the sign of anti-Semitism, racism and the persecution of political opponents. This is being underestimated and trivialised as a cultural issue. This goes not only for the countries in the Middle East, but also for the way immigration to Europe is being handled. Europe is no longer a safe haven for people fleeing Islamic rule. The appeasement of political Islam is already claiming its victims, think of Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And this is precisely the climate in which the executors of Islamist justice feel at home. At demonstrations where German peace activists walk side by side with people calling "Death to the Jews", the friends of peace do not even register it, let alone distance themselves.

Unfortunately, similar manifestations of obtuse insistence on "tolerating the intolerable" have been visible and audible among North American chattering circles, as well. It is not so rare to meet persons who snigger at and belittle Jews for being insulted when Muslims refer to them as "apes and pigs"*, or who dismiss a state-sponsored conference on Holocaust denial as a minor event of no significance whatever. Those pesky Jews. So thin-skinned when it comes to being slandered and reviled.

I agree with Kunstreich's conclusion that

"As diverse and sometimes divergent as the rhetoric of European governments and NGOs might be, when it comes to the crunch it is they, with their "critical dialogue" and culturally-obsessed interpretations, not to mention their playing down of an anti-Semitism bent on destruction, who have contributed to the continued boiling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

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* This really belongs to what a friend of mine calls the "galactically stupid" comments one risks running across when wandering about the Internet:

" Well, Jews are descended from apes just like everyone else despite the outcome of the Monkey Trial. Straight out of Darwin. The outcome of the Monkey Trial was the fundamentalist won (creationists won).."

I believe this example suffices to illlustrate my point.

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