Via Mick Hartley, I came upon this summary of the state of the Middle East, and in particular of the bloody shambles that was the attempt to unite Sunni Islam, aka: the Arabs. It’s the best background briefing I have recently read on that deeply depressing region of our otherwise moderately undepressing world. Although, that doesn’t say much for I am no sort of Middle East expert, nor even much of an observer of it. Too depressing. But I read all of this piece, by Ofir Haivry of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, at one sitting as soon as I encountered it, which is quite rare for me and my crumbling attention span.
I haven’t much to say about all this, but one thought does occur to me, which is that it seems rather wrong for Americans to blame other Americans for this bloody shambles. (Haivry himself does not blame America.) The next silliest thing to believing that your country is an unchallengeably magnificent superpower that never ever errs is to believe that your country’s mistakes and crimes are overwhelmingly more important and blameworthy than those of any other country, these two attitudes being far more similar than those who indulge in the latter one typically realise. The Middle East would surely now be a bloody shambles whatever the Americans had recently tried to do about it.
If there are imperialist villains to be blaming, how about Britain and France? But one suspects that, again, even if those notorious “lines in the sand” had never been drawn around a century ago, what would be happening on top of this sand would still now be a bloody shambles.
The only rays of light that Haivry discerns are in the form of the various little non-Islamic and anti-Islamist statelets that are starting to form, such as the newly emerging Kurdistan. The Kurds aren’t the only ones doing this, apparently. Good to hear.
And then of course there is the continuing success of Israel. A particular reason I am convinced by this article is that Israelis cannot afford to be wrong, and in particular they cannot afford to be sentimental, about what is going on around them.
Talking of sentimental, “Lawrence of Arabia” gets a well-deserved swipe of criticism.
Just heard from someone in Turkey… looks like there is a coup d’etat under way. Interesting.
LATEST: seems they have not grabbed Ergodan, so it remains to be seen if the coup will be successful.
This story suggests that there are some truly spineless people out there. A blogger and author, Ed Cline, has been ejected by his landlord because he isn’t particularly nice about Islam:
Readers will note that there is a new feature on this site, a PayPal button at the top or bottom of a new post, which anyone may use if he wishes to donate to my PayPal account to defray the costs incurred from my being evicted from my apartment of seven years because the landlady deemed me a mortal risk to her other tenants. Not because I was a physical menace to my neighbors, but because of what I wrote about Islam and Muslims. None of it flattering and none of it disinterested.
The situation, inaugurated when the FBI/NCIS paid me a visit on May 18th to inform me that my Rule of Reason site was on the radar of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations, but that I was in no imminent danger. Thousands of Americans have been “targeted” by ISIS activists, or by wannabe terrorists. Their landlords or bankers have not told them to get lost. It is hard to ken the mentality of a person who would pretend that evicting me – an unprecedented event in my life – would somehow magically ward off any murderous Islamic mischief from her other tenants. I was instantly relegated to the status of a post WWII displaced person. I am currently “living out of a suitcase.” It has been a very stressful and costly experience for me. Not even several stories about the sheer irrationality of her actions have swayed the person I have not so fondly nicknamed, “The Bitch of Buchenwald.” As Daniel Greenfield noted in his article, the landlady acted, for all intents and purposes, as an agent of ISIS. There are scores, even thousands of her ilk in our federal, state, and local governments. Obsessed with not rocking the Islamic boat, though that boat has rocked with increasing frequency with hundreds of lives lost just in the West.
It is not my purpose here to say whether the landlord in question had a right to act in the way described (the landlord has not been quoted, so there may be other matters here, and it is only fair to make that point). It may well be that landlords in some cases state, in a rental agreement, that persons whose conduct might cause problems for neighbours etc can be evicted, although a lot depends on whether such “problems” are clearly defined, or not. For all I know, some rental agreements and rules in various places such as gated communities can be very tough. (I’d appreciate comments on that.) There may be a lot of expensive litigation and it sounds as if Mr Cline doesn’t have a lot of money. (People can help him out via Paypal.) A broader point, however, is that a man who hasn’t, as far as I know, committed a criminal offence is being turfed out of a rented flat because he is deemed a risk because of what he has written about Islam.
So in today’s West, and certainly Obama’s America, many authorities are determined to do what they can to play down the factor of Islamic totalitarianism as a key driver of violence and mayhem. But if a middle-aged man writes about this, or expresses bracing views on such matters, he can be thrown out of a home.
I can’t stand the man, but when you add up stories such as this, is there really any surprise that Donald Trump might be in the White House next January?
When surveyed about what aspects of their lives give them happiness most people cite such reasons as family and friends, a decently paid job, or interesting hobbies. Sorin Hershko may have some or all of those. I don’t know. But in addition to any other sources of satisfaction he also has this:
40 years on, child hostages look back on Entebbe raid.
But the most emotional part of the day at the Peres Center, for most of the former hostages, came from the chance to reunite with Sorin Hershko, the IDF soldier who became a quadriplegic from an injury sustained during the operation and who was on hand to witness the celebration and receive an honorary certificate from the Peres Center for his bravery and heroism.
“After 40 years to see the children, to see the kids…”
Hershko said, trailing off, a broad smile on his face.
“I still them call children, despite the fact that they are all grown up and have families and their own children.
For me it is very important to see them and I am very satisfied that they are all here and well.”
This is no flight of rhetoric. It is literally true. British aid money also goes to reward the killer of a British woman. These payments aren’t incidental: their purpose is to reward the killers for the killing.
Ian Austin, Labour MP for Dudley North (undeclared on the Brexit issue, in case you’re interested) has written an article for Labour List about some of what Britain’s foreign aid is actually spent on.
British aid feeds 25 million under-fives. It supports midwives, nurses and doctors so 4.3 million babies can be born safely.
Our aid spending helped tackle Ebola in Africa. It feeds the starving, helps refugees and provides jobs.
It builds stronger economies around the world. It helps the poorest countries tackle the most desperate poverty.
It does all that and so much more. And we should be very proud of it.
But it also funds terrorists. And that obscures and undermines all the good work it does.
That’s why this week Parliament debated whether Britain should have an international aid budget at all. You might not be aware of it, since it was prompted by a petition in the Daily Mail, which is hardly the in-house reading of choice around these parts.
Like other Labour MPs, I’ll be speaking up in support of our aid budget, but I’ll also be calling for our money to be used to promote peace, not reward terrorism.
Last week four people were murdered when terrorists opened fire in a Tel Aviv cafe.
People in Britain will be horrified by the deliberate, indiscriminate murder of civilians. There can be no justification. But they will be appalled that the two murderers could now be eligible for government salaries – paid for by international aid money from Britain.
Mary Gardner, a Scottish visitor to Israel, died five years ago when terrorists bombed a bus stop. Hassin Qawasme, who led the attack, has been paid almost £14,000 since his arrest.
Amjad and Hakim Awad, killed Ehud and Ruth Fogel and their three children aged 11, four and just three months in 2011. Since then it’s estimated that Amjad alone has been paid up to £16,000 from PA funds.
Emphasis added. A Guardian article by Edwin Black from November 2013 has more about these payments:
When a Palestinian is convicted of an act of terror against the Israeli government or innocent civilians, such as a bombing or a murder, that convicted terrorist automatically receives a generous salary from the Palestinian Authority.
I am horrified but not exactly shocked. This is the Leitmotif of our lives. It is the continuous grinding pressure that makes our lives a slow misery. And all because of the deranged rantings of a goat-botherer nigh on a Millennium and a half ago.
Our culture has put Neil and Buzz on the moon. Our culture has created computers, our culture has made it affordable for me, as a student, to see the Applachians. Our culture enables boys to wear skirts to school. I am 42 and the largest social change I have seen in my time is the increasing acceptance of homosexuality. I’m straight but I’ll happily have a pint on Canal Street* in Manchester so this could of been me. It quite possibly could have been you.
I have a short message to jihadis. If you want to live in the Dark Ages many countries are available. We have gay marriage (a boon to florists – especially if Sir Elton John is involved). Shoddy Absurdia executes people for “crimes” such as “sorcery”. That is the difference.
– Nick M
These comments were all taken from posts to the Orlando shooting megathread on https://www.reddit.com/r/news/:
– Dear Moderators:
You are not journalists. You are not editors. You are not arbiters of good taste or what constitutes “newsworthiness”. Stay in your lane.
Your actions today have failed the Reddit community.
– You know whats crazy? I live in Orlando and I had no idea this was going on. I depend on reddit for my news 100% since it can rapidly deliver news from many sources that I can validate or discard. I have literally been up all night on Reddit and due to the apparent thread lockings and deletions, this story took 9 hours to make it to me — I probably live within thirty minutes of this place.
– To me the funny thing about the censorship here is that the people who do it think somehow that they are helping the situation by deleting anything they don’t like or anything they think might offend somebody.
What they are really doing is creating more repressed anger and outrage. If you think that deleting comments about Islam will decrease animosity towards Islam then you’re sadly mistaken my friends. You’re simply creating more hatred by many who feel that any criticism of one particular group with one particular ideology is forbidden while it is open season on the rest of us. Let us remember a simple fact. Islam is an ideology like belief in Donald Trump or believe in magic pixie is forbidden while it is open season on the rest of us. Let us remember a simple fact. Islam is an ideology like belief in Donald Trump or believe in ghosts. It is not a race, or people, or color,. If you attack Islam you were simply attacking an ideology. Nothing more nothing less.
Please stop deleting comments– you are increasing anger not decreasing it
– Wtf? 50 people are killed and I have to look around for 5 minutes? Wtf reddit, don’t make me go back to getting my news from the fucking TV, alright? Just get your shit together.
– Its not even on the front page. This is going to be a monumental shooting event and its NOT EVEN ON THE FRONT PAGE.
– As soon as my boyfriend told me, the first place I came for information was Reddit. Not CNN, not CBS, not NBC. Reddit. Not a goddamn thing about it on the front page. Unacceptable.
– reddit is normally my first port of call for this sort of thing
It needs to stop being your first source. Reddit is about information control. You’re not getting the full picture
– I’ve been on reddit for 7 years (this is not my first acct) and I’ve seen its gradual shift from the pure, raw immediate news that put CNN to shame, to a useless, slow-moving organization that is more concerned with affiliate clicks, admin control and promoting ideology.
reddit used to be a serious option for people seeking help in the wake of some catastrophe. now it suppresses useful information
– You know it’s sad when r/the_donald is covering this more than the fucking main news subreddit. The amount of blatant censorship on here is ridiculous.
– I’m sorry, but this whole thing has been ridiculous. This situation has been unfolding for hours, it’s the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and the only evidence of it on the front page is stuff from /r/the_donald?
Mods you really dropped the ball here. In a (poorly executed) attempt to be unbiased, you ended up letting a completely biased source take over the flow of information. What the hell were you thinking?
– More than anything else, the actions of the mods this morning have fostered anger and resentment and suspicion. They have made the discussion about this site’s cowardice and emboldened those who accuse it of pandering to the PC left. The mods here have failed and permanently damaged the site’s credibility.
Shooter was Muslim. Stop hiding posts you fucking idiot mods. Who cares what nationality the shooter is, this is a tragic event you fucking cunts.
– There was a time I relied on r/news for up to date /recent news. I had to learn about this shooting through a fucking iheart radio notification. …seriously mods, get your shit together.
– Is it true that you’re banning users for mentioning that the shooter was a radical islamist?
People are right to be upset at those defending islam. It’s the only unreformed abrahamic religion–forever stuck in the 10th century. Fuck islamists and anyone who defends them.
This is absolutely abhorrent censorship. 50 dead and you’ve prevented discussion because something about it goes against your identitarian political agenda. I guess more people will finally realize what a shithole this place truly is. You fucked up.
– How is this not front page? I found out about this from facebook… so much for getting my news from reddit!
– They deleted EVERY other thread about the shooting. I woke up this morning and got the information from Drudge, not one r/news post made it to my front page. Unfuckingbeleivelable.
– Why isnt this on the front page? I cant find anything to do with the shooting in Florida besides from /r/the_donald
Most of the above Reddit posts had disappeared in the quarter of an hour it took me to write this Samizdata post. This was the leading new post:
– The actions of the moderators today have failed reddit. They have failed the LGBT community and humanity as well! Clearly, their need to protect their narrative is greater than their need to protect REAL human lives. A REAL tragedy just took place, and people can’t get off their high horse for two seconds to discuss something far greater than their stupid pride. We need to let it be understood that we as human beings will not tolerate such action, and will stand up against terrorism.
Related post: Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms. I have added the tag “deleted by the Guardian” to this post because it deals with a similar phenomenon to the PC deletions of reader comments for which that newspaper is well known, but wish to state that in this case the Guardian‘s coverage included the lead hypothesis that this mass murder was an Islamist terror attack from early on.
Added later: I note that the name of the “deleted” tag has now been broadened to cover the PC media generally. It is indeed done by the PC media generally and it has been going on a long time. Ten years less a month ago I wrote this post for Biased BBC: But… you talk like war crimes are a bad thing:
yet when bombers murdered your own countrymen in London a year ago you were so anxious to avoid being judgemental that you had someone go through what your reporters had written in the heat and pity of the moment, carefully replacing the word “terrorist” with the word “bomber.”
Further update: The Daily Caller reports, Reddit Bans Users, Deletes Comments That Say Orlando Terrorist Was Muslim. The article contains several screenshots, including one of the front page of Reddit with /r/The_Donald filtered out. It showed “not a single mention of the worst US terror attack since 9/11, worst shooting ever”.
You know the world is in a strange place when the authoritarian Islamist thug and all around violator-of-goats who runs Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sues Uwe Boll for making unkind remarks about him.
Uwe Boll: the voice of reason. What a time to be alive 😀
Here is a BBC story from a couple of weeks ago: Thousands of children taught in ‘illegal schools’. Similar pieces appeared in the Times, the Guardian, and other newspapers. When this story came out I listened on the radio to an interview on the subject with some Ofsted guy, either the Sir Michael Wilshaw quoted by the BBC or one of his minions. Whoever it was, he came across as so evasive on one particular point that by comparison even the BBC interviewer was plain-spoken. From the way Ofsted Guy spoke of these illegal schools as places where only “religion” was taught you’d think clicking on the BBC Bitesize GCSE Religious Studies page makes a red light flash in GCHQ, and from the way he spoke of “radicalisation” you’d think that all roots resulted in the same flower. Oh, and from the way he spoke of these schools being “illegal” you would think that they had been convicted in a court of being illegal. The BBC interviewer pressed him and eventually got him to admit that the alleged illegality was merely his opinion, not having been tested in court, and that “some” of these schools were Islamic.
That’s progress of a sort. The Guardian article linked to above does not mention Islam at all but has a quote from a disgruntled former pupil at a Charedi school. We should all be very grateful to the Charedim and the Belzers. When one simply must have someone other than the Muslims to point to, they are there. They ought to start an agency and charge for their services: “Jews in Hats: the safe option for all your denunciation needs.”
The Times says the unauthorized schools are “predominantly Islamic”.
So far this post has almost written itself. The usual pathetic fear of naming Islam from the establishment, the usual pushback from angry commenters, the usual opportunity for bloggers like me to use up old out-of-code packets of sarcasm from the bottom of the freezer. But now things get a little odd and diffuse and unsatisfactory.
I would like to offer a few scattered thoughts regarding three points. (1) Not for the first time, the efforts of the media to conceal that some minority are disproportionately involved in some disfavoured activity has resulted in the public overestimating the involvement of that minority; (2) this whole effort on the part of the so-called Office for Standards in Education has all the characteristics of a power-grab and a smear; and (3) there is no evidence that these little informal schools, including the Muslim ones, do any worse than the state schools at either education or terrorism-prevention. There is some reason to suppose they might do better in some circumstances despite worse facilities. Many children turn to these schools having suffered bullying at normal schools. The low number of people involved means that everyone, teachers and pupils, knows everyone else; no one can “slip through the cracks”. Another benefit is that the presence of an affordable alternative helps keep more traditional types of schools on their toes.
Taking point (1) first, scroll down to the end of the BBC story with which I started this post. It says, “Update: This report contains new information from Ofsted, which had previously said most of the schools involved were Islamic or Jewish.” The following line seems to have been inserted into the main text since it was first published: “Roughly a third of them [the unregistered schools] were Islamic and a sixth either Christian or Jewish.” So fully half of them are not religious! I’m guessing hippies. Daft but not scary.
Point (2). If this whole fuss were any more of a smear you could use it to test for cervical cancer. Let us look at the BBC article in particular.
He said his inspectors found schools operating in warehouses and old factory buildings, and the establishments were “often charging parents for the privilege”
Oh, the horror. They weren’t in pretty buildings and they charged a fee. Did Sir Michael Wilshaw ever stop to think what the fact that people, often rather poor people, would rather pay to have their children taught in an old warehouse than not pay to have them taught in a purpose-built school implies?
He said the children were in “very serious danger” and not just from the “filthy” premises, with open drains running through some of them.
I call bullshit. There is dirt a-plenty in modern Britain but there really aren’t that many buildings with open drains running through them any more. I looked on Zoopla and “Open sewer in middle of room” was not offered as a search term. Depend on it, “some” means “one”, and that was probably an ambiguous case.
“If the people in these institutions are not carefully vetted and they are not, then the wrong sort of people could be looking after these children,” he said.
It is undeniable that they could be. It is also undeniable that not a week goes by without a newspaper account of some carefully vetted right sort of person teaching in an official school being revealed to be a kiddy fiddler. I don’t claim that vetting is useless, but its efficacy is greatly overstated. Frequently the effect of CRB forms and other box-ticking exercises is to reduce vigilance. People think the paperwork is correct so all must be well.
“And they could be associating with people who have extremist views.”
Which takes us to point (3). Again, it is undeniable that these children, meaning Muslim children, in unregistered schools could be associating with extremists, meaning Muslim extremists. You know, like Muslim children in state schools definitely do. You want to see Islamisation in schools? This is Islamisation in schools:
Investigations by Ofsted and the Education Funding Authority in 21 schools found evidence of an “organised campaign to target certain schools” by Islamists.
Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School, Park View Academy – all run by the Park View Educational Trust – Oldknow Academy and Saltley School were placed in special measures after inspectors found systemic failings including the schools having failed to take adequate steps to safeguard pupils against extremism. Another school investigated, Alston Primary, was already in special measures. A sixth school was labelled inadequate for its poor educational standards and twelve schools were found needing of improvements. Three schools were commended.
Ofsted expressed concerns about an exclusively Muslim culture in non-faith schools and children not being taught to “develop tolerant attitudes towards other faiths”. The inspections found that head teachers have been “marginalised or forced out of their jobs”. Ofsted found that the curriculum was being narrowed to reflect the “personal views of a few governors”. Teachers reported unfair treatment because of their gender or religious beliefs. Ofsted found a breakdown of trust between governors and staff and that family members had been appointed to unadvertised senior leadership posts
Parkview Education Trust were found to be in breach of the Education Funding Agreement by failing to promote social cohesion, failing to promote the social, moral, spiritual, and cultural development of pupils, failing to promote balanced political treatment of issues, and failure to comply fully with safeguarding issues concerning criminal records checks.
Emphasis added. Note that this (“Operation Trojan Horse”) happened in state schools, and they weren’t even the dreaded “faith schools”. Also note that the much vaunted criminal records checks went by the wayside.
Birmingham is not the only place where all that vetting and inspecting that state schools get proved ineffective. Here is a story from London: School of Jihadis: Why have six former pupils of the ‘Eton of comprehensives’ been linked to terror? The July 7 bombers were also products of British comprehensive schools. One of them even mentored at one. Of course vast numbers of pupils go to state schools and do not emerge as mass murderers. But when a high official raises fears that “illegal” schools might incubate terrorists, it is legitimate to reply that we know that “legal” schools have incubated terrorists, rather a lot of them.
A determined and cunning would-be child abuser or would-be terrorist recruiter would not direct his attentions at some wretched hedge school with half a dozen pupils. He would go for richer pickings.
I know, I’m busy today, but I absolutely love this Daily Mail headline:
Senior Saudi cleric bans taking photographs of cats in a bid to stop people trying ‘to be like Westerners’
Thank you Instapundit.
In the great conflict between Islam and human decency, it is easy to forget that often the bad guys feel overwhelmed and overrun by the opposition too.
The West is, as I write, being flooded with potential terrorists. All it takes is for a tiny few of these Muslims and/or their progeny to take seriously what their horrible holy writings say and we face a potential fight to the death. Calling Islam a “religion of peace” is, for the time being anyway, not working very well. It only seems to embolden the terrorists. But would the rulers of the West describing Islam more accurately be any sort of improvement? Maybe. But, that would be to tell terrorists that they are right about Islam. (Which they are.) That would be to tell Muslims that they are obliged by their religion to be as nasty to the rest of us as they can contrive to be. (Which they are.) That would be to tell Muslims that if they don’t want to behave like that or think like that, they should stop being Muslims. (Which they should.) Problems, problems.
But meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, the great abomination that is cat photos is overwhelming everything that Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh considers to be right and proper. It must be stopped! People pointing out what a bucket of evil nonsense the Koran is, that he can handle. That he is used to. But cats! People taking pictures of cats! The horror!
Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh is never going to win this one.
LATER: Actually, I don’t think anything was said about cat photos on the internet. Simply taking photos of cats (and various other animals) was itself forbidden. I have taken the liberty of correcting this posting, originally entitled “Islam versus cat photos on the internet” accordingly. Apologies for the mistake. Apologies in particular to commenter “the other rob”, whose comment about the internet is made a bit of a nonsense of.
Just taking photos of cats will be even harder to stamp out.