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]

Deleted by the Guardian… spotting the pattern

I found this interesting:

Harun Khan said many young British-born Muslims felt pushed to the fringes of society and that the latest government crackdown could nudge them further into the grasp of radical clerics, instead of drawing them back into mainstream society.

If they want to be in mainstream society in the UK, then their young males need to go down the pub and their young females need to stop wearing a head scarf. But this was my reply:

So if I understand what Harun Khan is saying, it is that monitoring members of the Muslim community for fear of Islamic extremism will cause radicalisation, so the thing to do is to leave it to the imams and community leaders to ensure everything is hunky dory. So a bit like Rotherham then?

And the Guardian’s reply was:

This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.

Now as I respect private property, unlike the some I could mention, I accept that as the comment was posted on the Guardian’s site, it is up to them what they allow to be published… so no nonsensical bleating about ‘censorship’ please… their house, their rules. I certainly never apologise for deleting comments I think are inappropriate on Samizdata, and neither should the Guardian.

But I do find it interesting that what I think was a pretty innocuous remark gets axed the moment it touches on this particular topic. I sense that a thread is being pulled on the whole morally relativistic carpet that has been draped over the large grunting shitting snuffling pig in the middle of the room, and there is mounting alarm in ‘certain circles’ as they see this carpet coming unravelled. So to me the issue is not “Oh noez! My comment has been cruelly deleted!” but rather “it is interesting to see this particular pattern show where the intolerable sensitivities are”. If that is the weak point, that is where to keep thrusting the dagger.

But then as I said last time I got a comment deleted, that was the sort of mainstream media world view that pushed me into setting up Samizdata in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11.

And so I introduce a new comment category today: Deleted by the Guardian

Samizdata quote of the day

A well-armed peshmerga and renewed investment in proven intelligence techniques will be critical to combating extremists inside and outside of Iraq. America can stand tall with the Kurds, cripple Iran’s paramilitary capability, and destroy the Islamic State, but must act decisively and creatively – today.

- Robert Caruso

Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms

Do an internet search today of any British newspaper for the word “Rotherham” and you will find accounts of how, to quote the Daily Mail’s headline, a “[d]amning report reveals 1,400 girls were abused by sex gangs because social workers and police feared racism claims – so did nothing”.

Nothing new here. There have been similar instances of organised and long-term child abuse by groups of Muslims going unpunished due to fear of claims of racism in Rochdale, Oxford, Derby, Telford and Keighley.

What is changing is the level of fury expressed not just about the rape and enslavement of the victims, nor just about the dereliction of duty on the part of social workers and police, but also about the efforts of the media to downplay that the perpetrators were Muslim. I picked the three links above because all three stories allowed comments. It is remarkable how similar the comments in the left-wing Guardian are to those in the right-wing Mail. Sarcastic, sad, jeering, hesitant or spitting righteous anger; the tone varied but outrage over that particular type of dishonesty was expressed again and again. The usual media procedure is to substitute “Asian” for “Muslim”, or for “Pakistani”, which would give the game away to anyone with a basic knowledge of the Indian subcontinent. I should say that given the relatively low numbers of orientals in Britain it is normal in British casual speech to say “Asian” when one really means “South Asian”, but British Sikhs and Hindus greatly resent the literal racism of the use of the term “Asian” in the context of this series of distinctly Muslim crimes. In some of their stories the BBC has gone further, from blurring relevant details to excising them. These BBC stories simply speak of events “in Rotherham” – even though the independent inquiry that started this firestorm of comment specifically says that fear of being denounced as racist (religious and racial prejudice are deliberately lumped together) was what kept the social workers silent. Instead Rotherham social workers devoted their child protection efforts to taking away their foster-children from a respectable couple on the grounds that they were members of UKIP.

Probably no one who who has ever had a hand in censoring mention of Islam from news reports will ever read this. But on the off-chance that someone relevant does, or in the faint hope that the general idea if not my particular words might reach such a person by indirect means, I would like to ask you, Ms or Mr Media Person, a question. Apart from the question of honest reporting, how do you think the strategy of silence and euphemism is working? Is the British public more or less likely to distinguish between the criminals of Rotherham and the next random “Asian” they see because the press has for so long refused to distinguish? Has it been successfully concealed that a common factor in these abuse rings has been that some Muslim men see non-Muslim girls as “white trash” and unworthy of respect? Not that the politically correct would care about this, but have the brave efforts of some Muslims to confront these warped attitudes been helped or hindered by the evasion?

Understanding ‘New Turkey’

There is an interesting article on Al Monitor called What exactly is ‘New Turkey’? that seems to explain Erdogan rather well. The money quote:

“A transfer to a majoritarian dictatorial regime from minority hegemony.”

It is an interesting read.

Samizdata knee-jerk reaction of the day

I read this and suddenly found myself having a knee-jerk reaction.

He said the “bigger problem” was that many young Muslims were “disillusioned” but felt they could not express their views. Mr Khan said people needed a “safe space” where they could “speak freely without being labelled as extremists”.

My immediate reaction was “how about in a mosque in your middle eastern country of choice? That sounds like a pretty safe place to speak about how Britain is deeply suspicious of people who primary identity of defined by being a Muslims these days.”

If you feel disaffected by how the largely irreligious secular host society sees you because of your religion… bugger off to somewhere your notions do not seem utterly alien to most people. Do what your high initiative parents or grandparents did when they emigrated seeking a better life: seek a batter live elsewhere. I hear there is an outfit in Raqaa looking for “disillusioned young Muslims” if you have a sense of adventure and want to put the whole 72 virgins thing to the test.

Strangely I find surprisingly few people uneasy about the mostly-Muslim Kurds, and surprisingly few Kurds moaning about how Britain has treated them, for reasons that should be fairly obvious.

The murder of journalist James Foley: a spectacular ‘own goal’

This is my take on the intended semiotics of the video showing the beheading of journalist James Foley, by a jihadi with a British accent:

If you continue to mess with us, we will kill your people. See what I just did? And do you hear my voice? We have people who can strike at you in your homeland.

This is my take on the perceived semiotics in the west:

I do not get the Middle East. Shi’ite, Sunnis, Wahhabis, Kurds, Yazidis, who the hell are all these people any way? I don’t understand why they kill each other. But this guy was just a journalist. Who the fuck cuts the heads of journalists? Yes we are war weary but suddenly all I want is to see those jihadi mother-fuckers dead! Those Kurdish guys, the Pesh-something-or-other, they seem like the only non-arseholes in the region and they hate the jihadis, so give them a fuck load of weapons, and give them air support and bomb the FUCK out of those crazy Islamic State lunatics!

The Islamic State just made it a trivial domestic political task for anyone who wants to support their enemies against them.

Hamas fires rockets at Israel and then tries to get the IDF to kill some journalists in Gaza to win sympathy. The ‘Islamic State’ murders a journalist themselves by cutting his head off.

I guess the ‘Islamic State’ cannot afford the same a PR advice that Hamas gets :-D

Discussion point: Belgian vs Burka

‘Drunk’ Belgium diplomat specialising in protocol is arrested for tearing full-face veil off a Qatari princess

A senior Belgium [sic] diplomat specialising in protocol [!] has been arrested for tearing off the full-face veil of a Qatari princess after she asked him for directions.

In the latest example of the difficulties involved in imposing a so-called ‘burka ban’, Jean-Marie Pire did not know the identity of the massively wealthy VIP before attacking her.

She approached him with two other women in broad daylight in central Brussels last week, asking for directions to the famous Grand Place.

The kind of full face veils favoured by some Muslim women are banned in Belgium, just as they are in neighbouring countries including France.

‘I said I don’t talk to anyone if I can’t see their face,’ said Mr Pire. ‘With this reply, I wanted to make it clear that the veil is banned in Belgium.

‘Because the person asking me a question didn’t seem to hear me, I lifted her veil. I know I shouldn’t have done that, but what she did wasn’t legal either!’

The woman, who has not been named, said she suffered cuts and bruises after her earrings were violently dislodged, along with her veil.

I assume that any woman wearing the full Islamic garb is either a slave or a fanatic, but it was the diplomat “specialising in protocol” in the tradition of Kira Yoshinaka who first used force. She just asked him for directions. Admittedly, she was breaking the Belgian law against full face veils, but it is an unjust law of which she may not even have been aware. And somehow I don’t think all the British people cheering his vigilante enforcement of that law would be quite so keen on a random Belgian taking it upon themselves to impound some unfortunate British tourist’s car if he were to break, through ignorance or indifference, the Belgian law requiring a red warning triangle and a reflective waistcoat to be carried in a vehicle at all times.

Another top quality report from the Middle East

This excellent report from what used to be Iraq and Syria highlights the very strange bedfellows that conflict in the Middle East can produce:

It is great to see reportage like this as watching CNN or the BBC is often like watching a weird Disney version of reality. Highly recommended.

Samizdata quote of the day

The Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq decries the abduction of women for a life of rape and servitude under the black banner of the Islamic State, doomed to supply jihad al-nikah, or “sex for the pursuit of struggle,” but the organized feminists, so eager to complain of abuse, such as having to pay for their own birth control, are strangely silent.

- from a Washington Times editorial.

This would make a hell of a movie!

My reaction upon reading this story was “wow, this would make a hell of a movie!”

When Mohammed Abu Ali went to bed on August 8, he was living in Makhmour, a Kurdish-populated town near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan. When he woke up the next day, he was in Makhmour, an abandoned town under the control of the Islamic State

Time to stay calm and think very carefully before saying anything!

Excellent series on the Islamic State

I recommend the five part video series on the Islamic State over on VICE News. Very factual with a minimum of ‘interpretation’. VICE News is often a haven of fluorescent idiocy and tedious Guardian-speak, but in this case it has been a while since I have seen such good old fashioned journalism relating to the Middle East.

UPDATE: they have posted the series in one full length video, so I have adjusted the link accordingly. Highly recommended.

On the continued disasters in the Middle East

“It is striking, however, that you have more than 170,000 people dead in Syria. You have the vacuum that has been created by the relentless assault by Assad on his own population, an assault that has bred these extremist groups, the most well-known of which, ISIS—or ISIL—is now literally expanding its territory inside Syria and inside Iraq. You have Russia massing battalions — Russia, that actually annexed and is occupying part of a UN member state—and I fear that it will do even more to prevent the incremental success of the Ukrainian government to take back its own territory, other than Crimea. More than 1,000 people have been killed in Ukraine on both sides, not counting the [Malaysia Airlines] plane, and yet we do see this enormous international reaction against Israel, and Israel’s right to defend itself, and the way Israel has to defend itself. This reaction is uncalled for and unfair. You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism, especially with what’s going on in Europe today. There are more demonstrations against Israel by an exponential amount than there are against Russia seizing part of Ukraine and shooting down a civilian airliner. So there’s something else at work here than what you see on TV… And what you see on TV is so effectively stage-managed by Hamas, and always has been. What you see is largely what Hamas invites and permits Western journalists to report on from Gaza. It’s the old PR problem that Israel has. Yes, there are substantive, deep levels of antagonism or anti-Semitism towards Israel, because it’s a powerful state, a really effective military. And Hamas paints itself as the defender of the rights of the Palestinians to have their own state. So the PR battle is one that is historically tilted against Israel. …”

These comments are from a very senior US politician with close connections to a recent occupant of the White House. There are pretty close to my own thinking on all this. Which, assuming the quotes are accurate, is quite perplexing. I do, however, wonder how sincere the author of these words is about all this. Can you guess who I am talking about?