Sunday, September 05, 2010

Hitchens on the flotilla

Found on the ever diligent Hitchens Watch, a blog with a humongous crush on Christopher Hitchens trying to pass itself as a severe critic of Hitchens. The post cannot be directly linked to but here is the clip on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5GWpyFDTmk&feature=player_embedded


I am currently reading Hitchens' memoir "Hitch 22" (I read sporadically, whenever I visit my local "Chapters". I'm waiting for the price to go down or for the cheaper paperback, financial conditions being a bit tight at the Contentious Centrist's household). In the years since 9/11 I have watched Hitchens follow his principles and convictions in ways that pitted him against many other erstwhile friends on the rabid Left. I was gratified to learn that he sobered up from his many years of infatuation with Edward Said and have been waiting for him to take the next logical step and rethink his positions about Israel. In his memoir he finally reveals his opinion about Said and his legacy in no uncertain terms.

Naturally, I disagree with him about Israel not being a normal country. Israel is the best functioning democracy imaginable under circumstances of extreme existential threats. It's not normal in the same way that the US or France or UK are normal countries. And it's not abnormal in the same way that Saudi Arabia, or Syria, or Iran are abnormal. But on the continuum between the "normalcy" of a Western, law and order democracy, and the abnormality of third world theocracies and dictatorships in which law is to be feared rather than respected, Israel is just a notch away from the former end.

I'll write more about this later on. For the time being, you can relish Hitchens' critique of the Turkish prime minister's obscene antics.

Here is Erdogan's rant Hitchens alludes to in the clip:

"ANKARA, Turkey -- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday threatened that some 100,000 illegal immigrants from Armenia might be extradited from his country. "There are around 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Of them, 70,000 are Turkish citizens and the rest are illegal immigrants who have been on Turkish territory for over 10 years. If the situation continues to develop like this, we will have to review our attitude towards them," Erdogan said in an interview with the Turkish service of BBC. The statement came after a US committee and Sweden recently approved resolutions to brand the 1915 killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide."

You might want to pay attention to the cringing, craven, cowardly response from Sweden.

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