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Showing posts from December, 2011

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Listened yesterday to a discussion on Woman’s Hour examining the role women have played in the ‘Arab spring’ and the ongoing struggle for women's rights in the Middle East. However no mention, aside from a brief reference to sharia law, of the role of Islam, obviously considered too hot a topic. This kind of creeping censorship needs close watching, it has now become almost impossible to have a discussion in the broadcast media on the regressive role played by Islam in every society in which it is entrenched. Now Islam is far from being the only rampantly misogynistic religion, it does however manage to outdo both Christianity and Judaism in this respect, quite an achievement!
Meanwhile across the Islamic world women continue to experience grotesque levels of violence, discrimination and open hatred whilst their erstwhile liberal comrades in the west are silenced by the fear of being labled ‘Islamaphobic’ or of being a ‘cultural imperialist.’


On yesterday’s Today programme Shami C…

THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD: TURKEY AND THE EU

‘Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalls ambassador after Paris's decision to prosecute people who deny killing of Armenians was genocide………he [Erdogan]said this was just the start and "gradually" but "decisively" other retaliation measures would be taken against France. He warned of heavy diplomatic "wounds" that would be "difficult to heal".’*

It is difficult to know what is the most sinister and the most absurd element of this asininity. Is it the attempt to create an element of thought crime into French Jurisprudence, a mirror image of the thought crime current in Turkey, i.e. of declaiming the Armenian Holocaust? Alternatively is it the grotesque overreaction of Mr Erdogan. This reaction provides a further illustration, if one were needed, of the complete unsuitability of Turkey for EU membership; perhaps this was the intention of the French MP’s, in which case, from their point of view, Mr Erdogan played a blinder.

As to Holocaust denial, alread…

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS 13th APRIL 1949 – 15th DECEMBER 2011

The death of any public figure impacts on the lives of millions of individuals, particularly a public intellectual of the stature of Christopher Hitchens, so I do not think it too presumptuous or overly solipsistic for me to reflect on the impact that he had on my own life. Though long expected, his death came as a sudden unpleasant reality; he is gone, though his presence remains like the ghostly rustling of the wind in the trees.

I grew up in the shadow of giants, working class heroes like Jack Jones and Jimmy Reid, intellectuals like Michael Foot and Alan Taylor, with George Orwell always a constant presence in the background. I worried how my own generation would match up; well Christopher certainly stepped up to the mark.

My own political journey over the last fifteen years or so has been sometimes little more than an ongoing engagement with The Hitch. Sometimes I disagreed, or winced at his tone, whilst he often made me feel uncomfortable as he excoriated the feebleness of my o…

MURDOCH AND THE PIRANHA BROTHERS

Watching the Leveson enquiry interrogate former News of The World reporters reminded me of an old Monty Python sketch, The Piranha Brothers which included the following exchange:-

Interviewer: I've been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor.
Stig: No. Never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to buy his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me.
Interviewer: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to the floor.
Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that.

Thus Neville Thurbeck, currently on police bail, "the NoW journalists were extremely talented, able, diligent and honest individuals." When confronted by the threats he made to the girls in the Max Mosley case:-

Thurbeck: “Others have interpreted this as blackmail; nobody at the NoW accused me of blackmail. I saw it as giving the girls a choice.”


CHUZTPAH AND THE PAKISTAN ILLUSION

There was a rather hysterical piece recently in the Guardian* under the extraordinary title ‘Pakistan Has Had Enough,’ this following the inevitable confrontation between Pakistani troops and troops representing the NATO Alliance; the idea that the Pakistan government had finally reached the end of its tether representing the most extraordinary example, elephantine in proportions, of Chutzpah. This very same government, in all manifestations has been consistently double crossing western governments ever since 9/11, as recently shown on a BBC documentary. ** Its as if a friend, who steals from you, lies about you behind your back and consistently works against your best interests, caught in the act declares oh this is too much, enough already and threatens to end the ‘friendship.’ This in itself would insulting enough but add to this that you are also bankrolling your friend to the tune of thousands of pounds.# Is not the ‘friendship’ an illusion and a dangerous one at that.

The subse…

Россия без Путина*

The protesters on the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg and other Russian cities seem to have seriously discomforted the Putin establishment. There they were steadily shepherding the Russia people towards dictatorship and suddenly significant numbers come out on the streets making a nuisance of themselves, the nerve! The people turn out not to be slumbering quite as soundly as the ex KGB man believed.

Putin’s reaction is well worth watching, we are already seeing the default response of repression, if the slow slide to authoritarian is to be halted now may well be the best moment before Putin settles himself once more onto the Presidential throne to complete the work he has begun. The protesters on the street in the meantime deserve all our solidarity and moral support.

*Russia without Putin slogan of the street protesters.