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]

Carry On Independent!

One of my favourite scenes from the funniest ever Carry On film, Carry On Up The Khyber, comes right at the end when the villanous Khazi of Khalabar (Kenneth Williams) discourteously attacks the Residence while Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond (Sid James, of course) and his good lady wife (Joan Sims) are having a formal dinner.

In a gloriously demented show of stiff-upper-lippery the assembled diners refuse to admit that anything is happening. The musicians play on even while the ceiling falls in and the walls crumble. Change our ways because some dashed foreigners are set to slaughter us? By Gad, Sir, next you’ll be asking us to pass the port to the right!

Robert Fisk and the other staff of the Independent probably do not often think of themselves as Sons of the Empire. But I was rather struck by the headline an unknown sub-editor gave Fisk’s front-page Independent article yesterday. The article commemorated the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 – when the crumbling walls and the slaughter were, alas, real rather than part of a movie. The headline said: “We should not have allowed 19 murderers to change our world.”*

* = full story archives here.

14 comments to Carry On Independent!

  • snide

    I used to think Fisk and Al-Independent were beyond parody, but Natalie my dear, you have proved me wrong. Well done!

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Does anybody else get an image of doddering old Mr. Grace waving and saying, “Carry on, you’ve all done very well!”

  • Here is a little poem, a pastiche of Marc Anthony’s speech in Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR, which Robert Fisk and his friends should read:


    Friends, Russians, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury the children, not to praise them.
    The evil that suicide bombers do lives after them;
    While the good in the innocent young is trapped in their bones;
    So let it be with these dead children. The noble mullahs
    Have told you the dead were killed not by the killers,
    But by the just grievances which drove the killers.
    If it were so, it surely was a great grievance,
    And grievously have the children of Beslan paid for it.
    Here I come, not yet threatened by the priests and their fatwas
    For a mullah is an honourable man;
    So are they all, all honourable men —
    Come I to speak in the children’s funeral.

    These were children like those I know, innocent and good,
    Murdered by men who shouted “God is great” as they shot
    And stabbed and blew up children.
    But the mullah says his faith is a religion of peace;
    And the mullah is an honourable man.
    The children went to school;
    Did this seem evil?
    When the children were shot in the back as they fled, they cried…
    Evil should be made of sterner stuff.
    Yet the mullah says that the killers’ faith is a religion of peace;
    And the mullah is an honourable man.

    I speak not to disprove what the mullahs have said,
    But here I am to speak what I do know.
    You all have loved people like these children, or these children themselves;
    What cause keeps you then, from mourning for them?
    O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the bodybag there with that dead child,
    And I must pause till it comes back to me.

    But yesterday the word of that child might
    Have stood against the world; now lies he there in his bodybag.
    O grieving parents, if I were disposed to stir
    Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
    I should do the mullahs wrong, and the oil princes wrong,
    Who, you all know, are honourable men:
    I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
    To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
    Than I will wrong such honourable men.

    But here’s a transcript of a mullah’s sermon to the faithful:
    Let but the common people hear this speech —
    Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read–
    Lest people would accuse me of lying.

    Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;
    It is not well you should know how the mullahs hate you.
    You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
    And, being men, bearing the memories of those dead children,
    It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
    ‘Tis good you know not what the mullahs think;
    For, if you should, O, what would come of it!
    I fear I wrong the honourable men
    Whose sermons guided the men who shot and blew up the children.

    I will not read the speech; you may find the transcripts
    At http://www.memri.org.

    Do you remember the children?
    How they screamed and bled and fled?
    And before that, men and women who fell to their death
    Or were crushed underneath toppling towers
    Or were burned alive.

    Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
    To a sudden flood of mutiny.
    They who called for these deeds are honourable:
    What private grievances they have, I know not,
    That made them encourage it: they are wise and honourable,
    And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
    I come not, friends, to steal your hearts:
    I am no orator, as the mullah is;
    But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
    who loves good people.
    For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, nor power
    To stir men’s blood;
    I tell you that which you already know;
    I show you the children’s wounds, poor dumb mouths,
    And ask them to speak for me.
    But if I were the mullah,
    And the mullah myself, then there would be a preacher
    Who would ruffle up your spirits and put a voice
    In every wound of the children to move
    The peoples of the world to rise against terror’s tyranny.

    In Beslan was a school full of children – will there be another?

    (c)A.R.Yngve 2004. This work of fiction is a pastiche of Marc Anthony’s speech in the play JULIUS CAESAR, by William Shakespeare. Its intent is satirical.

  • Guy Herbert

    This is one occasion when I find myself in complete agreement with an Independent headline.

  • Verity

    My all time favourite Carry On line was from (I think) Carry on, Cleo, when Kenneth Williams dressed in a toga and playing Julius Caesar runs down marble corridors crying dramatically, “Infamy! Infameeee! They’ve all got it in fer me!”

  • Ann_Observer

    “That Atta chap and his fellows-in-buggery … what rotters!”

  • I can do nothing but hope that a special circle in Hell is reserved for those play the dhimmi to the mullahs. Each one of them is worse than a thousand terrorists, for they are the apologists and enablers.

  • A_t

    …so has anyone actually read the article then? I can only read the intro paragraph, & don’t want to give them £1 for the privilege of reading the rest. Do the rest of you have a secret back door??

  • Ben

    I watch with amusement the blogosphere cut and paste game.

    The technique (followed religiously by the gormless of the left and right) goes like this:

    1. Pick article by a person you don’t like.
    2. Pick a few sentences or phrase out of context, then cut.
    3. Paste.
    4. Make “clever” (and yet predictable and unchallenging) comment that fits into overall political perspective of blog, and plays to the gallery.
    5. Repeat 2-4 until finished.

    An exercise more transparent, tedious and empty it is quite difficult to devise. Its an exercise in intellectual emptiness, shallowness, and childishness.

    It’s so blatantly psuedo intellectual, futile and easy, it should really be spoofed by comedians.

  • snide

    Hey Ben, this article does not actually quote Fisk at all, doofus.

    Looks to me like you had a comment that you probably put on many blogs who are hostile to the idiotic Fisk and used it here too. In other words, you did the cut and paste game 😛

  • An exercise more transparent, tedious and empty it is quite difficult to devise. Its an exercise in intellectual emptiness, shallowness, and childishness. It’s so blatantly psuedo intellectual, futile and easy

    Interesting. So deconstructing what a person write (Fisking Fisk) is ’empty’ why exactly? Presumably you want Fisk to be able to say what he likes unchallenged? Would that be opaque, exciting and full? What would a non-pseudo intellectual attack on Fisk look like then? We await enlightenment with bated breath.

  • Ben, I deliberately distinguished between the headline and the article. I said I was struck by the headline and said nothing about the article except to note its existence. (It would have looked pretty odd if I had not.) If the headline had been actually unrepresentative of the article beneath it I would have said so explicitly, but in fact the former summarises the latter fairly well. I think the article is boilerplate Fisk. I’ve done my share of fisking and I’m allowed a little break. If you really want to read a detailed response to the article, here is a good one by Michael Totten….
    …Ah, I see you have already read Mr Totten’s piece, and commented. In words strangely similar to your comment here.

    Good guess, “Snide”.

  • Andreasinine

    editor’s note:Comment deleted. Bugger off. Changing your name will not stop us deleting your comments beacuse we have already told you that you are an unwelcome blogroach.