Nick Cohen with an excellent piece on how the Shahbag demonstrations formed the space for a battle between secular Bangladeshis and Jamaat-e-Islami supporters in a park in Whitechapel. And the ongoing story of how the establishment and Britain’s liberal Left continues to enable fascist streams in political Islam, in particular, Jamaat-e-Islam.
Do I hear you say that Bangladesh is far away and the genocide was long ago?
Not so far away. Not so long ago. And the agonies of Bangladeshi liberals are nothing in comparison to the contradictions of their British counterparts.
The conflict between the Shahbag and Jamaat has already reachedLondon. On 9 February, local supporters of the uprising demonstrated in Altab Ali Park, a rare patch of green space off the Whitechapel Road in London’s East End. They were met by Jamaatis. “They attacked our men with stones,” one of the protest’s organisers told me. “There were old people and women and children there, but they still attacked us.”
we at the spittoon have for some time been a target for the not-very-impressive “spinwatch” site, which appears to be the hobby-horse of strathclyde university’s answer to bob pitt, dr david miller. dr miller, we hardly need remind you, appears to think that spittoon authors are without exception rabid “neo-cons”, by which he appears to mean some sort of catch-all imperialism of liberal democracy imposed by force of arms on the bucolic, picaresque and entirely pacifist natives of the middle-east and south asia. as if this wasn’t bad (or inaccurate) enough, we are also supposed to be apostles of islamophobia; apparently it isn’t clear enough to someone who is supposed to be an academic that what we oppose is the virulent political ideology known as islamism – as well as other forms of religious and political extremism; jewish, christian, atheist, muslim, ethnicity-based – we are equal-opportunity anti-extremists, or we certainly try to be.
Also posted in Activism, Anti Muslim bigotry, Blogosphere, Dodgy Policy Wonks, Education, European Fascism, Far Right Extremism, Homophobia, Identity Politics, Islamism, Moral relativism, Nutters, Racism, The Far Left, The Regressive Left
obviously, a great deal has been written about the riots to date and a great deal of predictable outpouring has also taken place. what i wanted to offer to this debate is, however, along more behavioural lines.
i have for some time been aware of the powerful analytical frameworks for bio-psycho-social systems developed by the american psychologist dr clare graves and systematised for practical application by don beck and chris cowan in the excellent book “spiral dynamics” (i’m not affiliated with anyone concerned, incidentally). at the risk of sounding like somewhat of a “fanboy”, as i believe it is called on teh interwebs, i am convinced it constitutes an important piece of intellectual real estate for the understanding of complex socio-political systems, particularly in behavioural terms.
Also posted in Activism, Blogosphere, Civil Rights, Communalism, Crime, Democracy, Education, Ethics, Exegesis, Human Rights, Identity Politics, Media, Misc, Moral relativism, Multiculturalism, Political Correctnes gone mad!, Politics, The Far Left, The Regressive Left, UK Politics
Jonathan Friedland on the Goldstone Report furore which ultimately is a obsession which occludes other issues which are as worthy of the world’s attention as Israel/Palestine. If this a notion that is worth repeating it is most certainly worth repeating on the Guardian.
Many respectable folks have spent decades insisting that the “core issue” in the Middle East, if not the world, is the Israel-Palestine conflict – that it is the “running sore” whose eventual healing will heal the wider region and beyond.
That was always gold-plated nonsense, but now the Arab spring has come along to prove it. Now the world can see that the peoples of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain have troubles aplenty that have nothing to do with Israel. There could be peace between Israelis and Palestinians tomorrow, but it wouldn’t relieve those in Damascus or Manama or Sana’a from the yoke of tyranny. For them, Israel is not “the heart of the matter”, as the cliche always insisted it was. The heart of the matter are the regimes who have oppressed them day in, day out, for 40 years or more.
This is a cross-post from Stand For Peace
Next Wednesday, Muhammed ibn Adam Al Kawthari will be at the University of York, hosted by the Islamic Society as part of their ‘Islam Awareness Week’. Al Kawthari is a vile man with abhorrent views.
A Civitas report notes of al-Kawthari:
“He places severe restrictions on male doctors treating female patients; he rules that women may not swim (even for medical reasons) where a male lifeguard is present, or where there are non-Muslim women; using tampons is ‘disliked’ (makruh-a classification in shari’a law); a woman may not travel beyond 48 miles without her husband or a close relative accompanying her; a female is encouraged to remain within the confines of her house as much as possible; polygamy is permissible. If anyone were to ridicule polygamy, he would become an unbeliever; it is a grave sin for a woman to refuse sex to her husband; it is forbidden to have close, intimate relations with or have love for non-Muslims; Muslims are not to sit, eat, live or mingle with them; the legal punishment for adultery is stoning.”
Outside of Egypt, support for the overthrow of the Mubarak regime was universal across every political affiliation and stripe. For once Muslims and Islamists, the left and the right cheered on the activists in Maidan Tahrir in downtown Cairo. But last year, we saw no support coming from the far-left and total ambivalence from Muslims and Islamists for the pro-democratic Green Movement as it was being brutally suppressed by the Islamic Regime of Iran.
But then Iran is an Islamic regime which bases its foriegn policy on anti-western doctrine and anti-semitism. These are all factors that the ‘far-left/Islamic-right’ nexus can get behind.
To prove the point: Have you ever heard of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims to protest the way the Iranian regime imprisons, rapes and kills thousands of working class Muslims - which was then subsequently defended by the liberal-left on the west’s “misguided” foreign policy? No, it’s very unlikely that you will.
Also posted in Democracy, Islamism