We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

British Council is EUNIC, but no longer unique

The British Council announced that ten offices in Europe would shut so that funds could be diverted to the Middle East and Asia. Part of this diversion is admirable: an attempt to undermine the attraction of the Salafist ideology for impressionable youths. Scepticism rises over the small sums allocated in comparison to the rich charities that fund madressehs in all Muslim countries.

Martin Davidson, director general designate of the British Council, said it was “time to tackle the new challenges the world faces.”

These included “building trust with the Islamic states and China,” Davidson told the Press Association.

The council would scrap “traditional arts activities” in Europe, such as orchestral tours and artistic commissions, in favour of projects “designed to prevent Muslim youths from being indoctrinated by extremists sympathetic to al-Qaeda,” the Times said.

This project is coordinated by a new leader of the British Council, who also stated that they would be working with their European partners to promote common values. The British Council belongs to EUNIC, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, and this new organisation was launched on the 21st February 2007 (pdf file). Is it any coincidence that, as soon as the British Council is submerged within a pan-European body, its focus is aimed at the Middle East and China? Even the small details begin to back up Mark Steyn.

25 comments to British Council is EUNIC, but no longer unique

  • Nick M

    OK, I’ll pose a question:

    What possesses anybody in anything like their right mind to choose the burkha over the bikini?

    I throw the question open to the commentariat because I’m totally at a loss to answer it.

    And no, Salafist Islam can’t be the whole answer unless a large number of folk are much more sexist then I am.

    I love tasteful porn (Domai springs to mind) and I would never consider putting my wife in a sack. I can’t always go swimming with her because the council has imposed semi-Sharia on the local pool with women only sessions. It’s not a big deal for me because I can’t stick swimming in pools much smaller than the Gulf of Mexico.

    So, what is essentially so wrong with these people that the sight of a nipple (something that I spent my entire teenage years trying to achieve) is so bad?

    By strict Islamic doctrine everyone must conceal their awra. Amongst other things that means that everyone has to cover their knees. I would love to believe that I have driven women wild with desire with the sight of of my knees. Unfortunately, the commonest thing they said was, ” You weren’t very good at right-back”.

    We are never going to win a war on terror until we confront this utter bullshit (or get better knees).

  • ResidentAlien

    What possesses anybody in anything like their right mind to choose the burkha over the bikini?

    The woman will “choose” the burkha out of fear of the consequences of choosing the bikini. The man will choose the burkha for “his” women because he doesn’t want other men looking at his women. It’s all very basic and hypocritical. Underneath the burkha the women will dress very differently – to please their men. I remember walking round a market in Tunisia and being amazed at the range and skimpiness of the lingerie on sale.

  • The only memory I have of the British Council in the Middle East was the Palestinians torching it in Gaza. Can’t they find a region where they have at least some hope of achieving something?

  • nicholas gray

    I’m glad Samizdata has an eye on Europe, so can anyone tell me what’s happening to switzerland? Are they winning the battle against the eurocrats? Is switzerland safe from the risk of tax harmonisation?
    How long before Brussels tries to dictate matters to the Middle East? Could this be the first step in a campaign to make EU broader?
    Whilst we australians are safe for the moment from The EU Monster (no doubt a giant spider with a web of unbreakable laws- SHELOB LIVES IN BRUSSELS!), we sometimes feel as though the Americans think of us as a southern part of their government. Recently a Yank Admiral visited, and suggested that our navy should be configured to fit into an American fleet. I don’t know if he was being patronising, or just trying to cut costs in his navy by outsourcing to ours, but it rankled. Maybe soon the USA will become the United States of America AND Australia (USA+A)! So we don’t feel as independent as you might imagine we do.

  • Nick:…unless a large number of folk are much more sexist then I am. Yes, they are. You would be too, if you were brought up this way.

    Nice knees, BTW:-O

  • Mike Davies

    Domai isn’t actually all that erotic, the makers of the site prefer to think of their work as art, not porn, and hence the models aren’t sexual at all, just stood there naked. Not exactly dance of the seven veils.
    “[Why]choose the burkha over the bikini”. Because the forbidden fruit is more tempting? Perhaps it’s a way for a society of emphasising sexual difference, and hence, ultimately, enjoyment of sex (To be charitable). I mean, if you’re on a topless beach, your eye is drawn to the woman in the swimsuit and the sarong, rather than the topless women.

    Finally. to be trite, perhaps women in burkhas feel liberated from worrying about cellulite etc…

  • Nick M

    Alisa,

    If you’ve seen the knees of a non-mehrem male then I’m going to have to stone you to death.
    And Allah knows best. It’s for your own good you know.

    ResidentAlien,

    When I visited NYC I had a look in Tiffanys. Well, it is quite expensive so I didn’t even get the sterling silver telephone dialer. Anyway, at the side there is the entrance to their upstairs suites for the (even) more minted shopper. There was practically a queue of black Mercs containing Middle-Eastern potentates all with their trio of black bags heading upstairs. Somehow I think the Islamic idea of modesty and my own are incommensurable.

    I don’t believe the burkha or similar is always forced on it’s wearers. I think it’s just symptomatic of a totally fucked-up moral take on the world. Similar to FGM, which is almost exclusively done by women. I have never quite figured if Islam is merely diametrically oppossed to everything I believe or just utterly orthogonal.

    Calling them “black bags” isn’t dehumanizing them. That’s already been done.

    My wife thinks burkhas are almost exclusively occupied by trios of small boys standing on each other’s shoulders trying to get into 18-rated movies.

  • Maybe soon the USA will become the United States of America AND Australia (USA+A)! So we don’t feel as independent as you might imagine we do.

    And can you direct me to a site listing the vast reams regulations pertaining to Australia that were enacted by the US Congress so far this year? Get a grip, the comparison is not even vaguely close.

  • According to this piece on EU Referendum, in 1998 there were 28 areas of “common interest” that were being dealt with by EU working groups, including the following:

    Asia
    Central Europe
    Consular Matters
    Eastern Europe and Central Asia
    Euro-Med (Mashreq/Maghreb)
    Middle East/Gulf
    Middle East Peace Process

  • Nick, I think you should start a blog, and your wife should be a regular contributor:-)

  • Paul Marks

    The Swiss will be independent if they have the courage to be independent – this means the courage to stand up to their politicians. The E.U. is not going to send in tanks – it works by “pressure” (really by giving politicians and administators the excuse to do what they want to do anyway).

    Most politicians (in most countries – including Switzerland) are not interested in defending independence – they are interested in being invited to important conferences and other such.

    “But politicians are interested in power, and the E.U. means that national politicians have less power”.

    Not really, most polticians will always be more interested in “influence” (even if it is mythical) in a big thing, than they are making real policy judgements in a small area. Politics really is “show business for ugly people”.

    In Switzerland the people have direct votes on more things than people in most other countries do – but this does not totally safeguard them.

    For example, the elite can simply run a vote they lose again, after a few years (as, for example, they did over the take over of railways a century ago). And the drip-drip effect of propaganda (from the schools, colleges, and mainstream media) has a similar effect in Switzerland as it does in most places.

    As for government spending (and the taxes that go with it) Switzerland has already been moving in a statist direction. Compare the percentage of G.D.P. taken up by government tax and spend in 1960 with what it is now (although the comming into ruling councils of the Social Democratic party since 1959 may have had some importance here – they have never been more than a minority of the government, but the tail can wag the dog). Also people in low tax Cantons are hit (and have been for a long time) to subsidize high tax Cantons.

    Most politicians in Switzerland would love to see the country submit to the E.U. (using “E.U. pressure”as an excuse for what they want to do anyway), so the people must be eternally vigilant to prevent the elite betraying the nation. The lack (as far as I know) of any anti statist television and radio stations in Switzerland also makes things difficult (as it does in Britain).

    As for the British Council – abolish it.

    Ditto the “Arts Council” and all the rest of this nonsense.

    They do not have a good effect on the arts (as the British Council is now admitting by getting out of the support of the arts) and the idea that they can counter the forces of Islam (Wahabi or other types) is absurd.

  • RAB

    I’ll bet that the swimming sharia was imposed by a white council official that thought they were doing the right thing Nick.
    A few years ago I was in a swimming pool in Sri Lanka and it was the Buddhist new year weekend. We were the only Europeans staying there. A large party of Muslims had come up from Columbo to celebrate and to escape the oppresive heat ( they had no problem with joining in the fun and games).We were in Kandy.
    So there I am skinny white man chatting happily to this lady who had studied at London University and her sisters who were all covered head to toe in a robe and wearing headscarves whilst we all spashing about in the water. They had absolutely no problem with me, nor did their husbands. I’m not sure what strain of Islam they followed , but the rest of the Islamic world could do with copying their attitude.
    Dammit ResidentAlien you have stimulated my over active imagination! I always wondered what went on behind closed doors!!

    Yo, Fatima! get the skimpies on. And dont forget st stockings and suspenders. It’s trapeze night.
    Now where did I put those handcuffs…

  • RAB, Nick’s knees aside, and although I don’t know what their scriptures say on the subject, I don’t think that in reality Muslims have a problem with men exposing their bodies. It’s women’s bodies that are the problem. And this would be perfectly consistent with the idea that men own women, but not vice versa. There are some similar restrictions in orthodox Judaism, although the consequences of breaching them are not nearly as severe as the ones we read about in the Muslim countries.

  • RAB

    Oh I completely agree Alisa.
    The women as the property of a man is fundamental to Islam. It used to be similar in the West until the early 20th century. But we grew up.
    My point was that nobody had a problem with me being in the pool with the women at all.
    In Nick’s example, he would be arrested or ejected from the building for merely being there during an all female session. Probably because of the “Wet T shirt” possibilities. Doesn’t matter how much you wear…
    When it gets wet…
    That Taliban Joke on your website…
    We used to tell it Welshman and Romans where I came from. :-)

  • Pa Annoyed

    RAB,

    The relationship Muslim men have with their women is not really ownership so much as guardianship, equivalent to the relation between a parent and child here in the West. The child is to be loved and protected, but at the same time they are considered in many ways legally irresponsible, they are supposed to obey their parents, and if they don’t they can be spanked and sent to bed until they behave. If you can imagine how you would have felt as a teenager when your parents kept on treating you as a little kid…

    On the other hand, they also instituted slavery, in which the woman really was the property of the man, and of course it was not adultery for a man to bed his slave-girls. Part of the original reason for the veil was so that respectable Muslim women didn’t get mistaken for slaves and raped, which gives you a sort of idea of the society they lived in. However, the different rules associated with slavery make it quite clear that they saw marriage as very different to ownership.

    Alisa,
    Islamic scriptures do have issues with the way men dress too, but the rules are a lot less proscriptive. I suspect the bit about the knees was from the days when men wore long robes rather than trousers, and is tantamount to a rule saying “No miniskirts, lads!”

    The rules are complicated, but if anyone is interested in finding out what they actually are, the book The Reliance of the Traveller is very good value, and an absolutely invaluable resource for English speakers in understanding all the bits Muslims don’t want you to know about Islam. It’s also written by Muslims, for Muslims (rather than being a bowdlerised version for Westerners), and is officially authorised by all the top Islamic clerics, so there can be no arguments about its authenticity. The bits on the official Rules of Jihad are especially interesting.

  • RAB: yes, I am almost positive that I also heard it with Israelis and Arabs where I came from, although judging by last summer it may not apply well any more, I am afraid:-)

    Pa: of course. Calling it ownership is purposefully simplistic. As a matter of fact, our relationship with our children is as close as one comes to ownership of other human beings, at least in the West.

  • RAB

    Well I’m nothing if not purposefully simplistic ! :-)

    Imagine how you would have felt as a teenager when your parents kept on treating you as a little kid!

    My mother is 83.
    I am 54.
    I dont understand your point.
    Nothing has changed since I was an infant even!! :-)

  • Nick M

    Alisa,

    If you’ve seen the knees of a non-mehrem male then I’m going to have to stone you to death.
    And Allah knows best. It’s for your own good you know.

    ResidentAlien,

    When I visited NYC I had a look in Tiffanys. Well, it is quite expensive so I didn’t even get the sterling silver telephone dialer. Anyway, at the side there is the entrance to their upstairs suites for the (even) more minted shopper. There was practically a queue of black Mercs containing Middle-Eastern potentates all with their trio of black bags heading upstairs. Somehow I think the Islamic idea of modesty and my own are incommensurable.

    I don’t believe the burkha or similar is always forced on it’s wearers. I think it’s just symptomatic of a totally fucked-up moral take on the world. Similar to FGM, which is almost exclusively done by women. I have never quite figured if Islam is merely diametrically oppossed to everything I believe or just utterly orthogonal.

    Calling them “black bags” isn’t dehumanizing them. That’s already been done.

    My wife thinks burkhas are almost exclusively occupied by trios of small boys standing on each other’s shoulders trying to get into 18-rated movies.

  • Nick M

    Sorry for the double post. The ‘net fairy’s have been playing havoc in my Safecom today. Almost time to shift to the Thinkpad.

  • RAB

    Nick, either the next things I see are pink elephants
    or you have been pressing the wrong buttons!

  • Nick M

    RAB,

    this computer is utterly buggered. The hardware is still 100% but it needs a clean re-install of XP. I only managed to get anywhere today by re-flashing my modem.

    I dream of…. Water-cooled dual-core grandeur. I dream of a machine that will break the sound barrier and leave rooster tails on the water. I’ve got to think of a name for such a machine. If I do the wife’s bank A/C is dead meat and it’ll happen. I usually name my PCs after Greek Muses (I’m currently typing at Thalia) and Lizzy Works at my ex- Urania II but I need a new nomenclature. “Valkyrie” is favoured (it make me think of the devine Uma) but that hardly starts a nomenclature system because there isn’t a hope in hell of me calling the follow-up “Frigga”. Computers are of course always girls.

    Suggestions on an email to nick@xmuse.co.uk for my next PC are greatly appreciated. Hint: “Valkyrie” has little to do with an interest in Norse mythology and much more to do with the XB-70. The name has got to be extendible (I have a weakness for pantheons), classy, and feminine.

    I was tossing around the idea of Athina-Nike (the goddess of victory) but that is just so taken…

  • nicholas

    Perry de Havilland-
    I agree that Europe is the biggest and baddest monster on the block at the moment, and that we don’t yet have such interference in our own affairs.
    However, both of our main parties feel obliged to bow down to our defence treaty with the US, called ANZUS, and both out-do each other in affirming our commitment to it.
    Therefore, if Europe keeps growing, this will encourage other unions to grow, or to form. Won’t America feel obliged to strengthen its’ ties with non-EU countries? Maybe they’ll want more bases in Western Australia. Or maybe Australia will be pressured to conform to ASEAN standards, or to join a stronger pact with a rising China.
    Or we may be tempted to go the other way- to become the regional bully, and form a Pacific Union, the Oceania of the South! Quite a few island-nations, like the Solomans, are precarious, and we often hear some islanders wanting a guest-worker arrangement with Australia.
    We’re not as badly of as you in Britain, but I fear we’re on a similar path. (Another example of Britain leading the way again!)

  • nicholas

    Perry de Havilland-
    I agree that Europe is the biggest and baddest monster on the block at the moment, and that we don’t yet have such interference in our own affairs.
    However, both of our main parties feel obliged to bow down to our defence treaty with the US, called ANZUS, and both out-do each other in affirming our commitment to it.
    Therefore, if Europe keeps growing, this will encourage other unions to grow, or to form. Won’t America feel obliged to strengthen its’ ties with non-EU countries? Maybe they’ll want more bases in Western Australia. Or maybe Australia will be pressured to conform to ASEAN standards, or to join a stronger pact with a rising China.
    Or we may be tempted to go the other way- to become the regional bully, and form a Pacific Union, the Oceania of the South! Quite a few island-nations, like the Solomans, are precarious, and we often hear some islanders wanting a guest-worker arrangement with Australia.
    We’re not as badly of as you in Britain, but I fear we’re on a similar path. (Another example of Britain leading the way again!)

  • nicholas

    Perry de Havilland-
    I agree that Europe is the biggest and baddest monster on the block at the moment, and that we don’t yet have such interference in our own affairs.
    However, both of our main parties feel obliged to bow down to our defence treaty with the US, called ANZUS, and both out-do each other in affirming our commitment to it.
    Therefore, if Europe keeps growing, this will encourage other unions to grow, or to form. Won’t America feel obliged to strengthen its’ ties with non-EU countries? Maybe they’ll want more bases in Western Australia. Or maybe Australia will be pressured to conform to ASEAN standards, or to join a stronger pact with a rising China.
    Or we may be tempted to go the other way- to become the regional bully, and form a Pacific Union, the Oceania of the South! Quite a few island-nations, like the Solomans, are precarious, and we often hear some islanders wanting a guest-worker arrangement with Australia.
    We’re not as badly of as you in Britain, but I fear we’re on a similar path. (Another example of Britain leading the way again!)

  • RAB: never mind, suffice it to say that I am in no disagreement with you. Besides, I’m afraid that we have veered way off topic with this. Damn those knees…