Before this site turns into just a Harry’s Place fan-site, (you know, like Harry’s Plaice) - and not counting Craig’s multi faceted material - I’m about to raise some more H/P related topics, which have little direct relation to the BBC's bias apart from its full-on promotion of the benign nature of Islam.
Firstly, further to my last, I see there’s a whole thread about Victoria Brittain’s bonkers homage to Abu Qatada in the Graun, which led me, via ‘Judy’ in the comments, to an earlier piece dated December 3rd 2008 devoted to that same lady entitled “Victoria Brittain is a Disgrace”.
She had a crush on Abu Qatada even then. This led me to think deeply (that’s how I sometimes think) about the left’s allegiance with Islam.
How, I pondered, could we have come from society’s mass rejection, fifty or so years ago, of the pious and dogmatic appurtenances of religion, (all religions) - the kind of thing that caused intolerable hardship for, say, unmarried mothers, illegitimate children, homosexuals and people who managed to get themselves stigmatised for all sorts of non-conformist practices and personal circumstances - to the state we’re in today?
From the illiberal God-fearing, authoritarian society of the post-war 50s in which sexual repression, original sin, corporal punishment - beating with the taws - was routinely practiced in schools; all these things that we threw off with a communal sigh of relief around the first time Kenneth Tynan said fuck on the telly and the mini skirt and, as Philip Larkin wrote “Sexual intercourse began in 1963 (which was rather late for me) -- Between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP.” :
How, I pondered, (I was still at it) could the people who pioneered the new freedoms, or the generation that benefited from such pioneering, suddenly embrace the exact opposite of all this, embodied in Islam, in the name of tolerance and freedom?
Sarah AB must have been thinking along similar lines, as she has entitled her article “Victoria Brittain’s Logic Fail”
Anyway I couldn’t help watching the Oxford Union debate, which is featured on another H/P thread. It took place on the day after Lee Rigby was murdered, but has belatedly been uploaded to YouTube.
Because the Woolwich atrocity was so sensational and so fresh in everyone’s mind at the time of this debate, logic says the timing, if nothing else, should have affected the outcome. In other words the murder of Lee Rigby should have provided a conclusive trump card for the opposing motion; but in the event the motion “Islam Is a Peaceful Religion” was passed 286/168.
This tells us something about the Oxford Union and the naïveté /idealistic gullibility of youth, even, nay, particularly, the precocious, highly educated, articulate, top-notch variety of youth of the OU. These are not just any old youth, these are the O & C Oxbridge youth. No-quibble money-back guarantee and dine-in for a tenner and all that, but they are still unsophisticated enough to be taken in by the showmanship and manipulative trickery of Mehdi Hasan.
Of course Mehdi’s disingenuous tactics and melodramatic performance were not the only things that won them the motion.
Anne-Marie Waters needed no help from Mehdi in furthering the failure of the opposing motion. She was remarkably uncharismatic, and a problematic strand of her gravity-defying side-fringe which needed to be rearranged non-stop didn’t help her delivery. The content was weak; it more or less comprised a list of the things that have been brushed aside many times by those who insist all violence is “unIslamic”, and a distortion of the ROP.
Daniel Johnston spoke with authority, but his performance was defensive, and somehow forgettable, whereas, though the content was weak, tricksy, full of straw men, largely irrelevant and a classic example of projection, Mehdi did the actions, the gestures and the passion. His intro was straightforward ‘stand-up’. He all but told us about the funny thing that happened on the way to the theatre, ladies and gentlemen.
No. “Let me begin” he said sarcastically, “by aplogising to Anne-Marie for.....[list of atrocities as cited by Anne-Marie]”
I think the inference was that she was tarring him, personally, with “the terrorist brush”. How very dare she! Yes, says Mehdi, waving his arms, even “the conservative prime minister” agreed that Woolwich was nothing to do with the real Islam.
Still waving his arms, and bouncing up and down a bit, he told the audience that algorithms were a Muslim invention, and without algorithms there would be no lap-tops. (Aahh.Victoria Brittain’s theory that book-learnin’ inventiveness and cultural cred equals righteousness - by that token Israelis must have achieved celestial beatitude already.)
“a mixture of cherry-picked quotes, facts and selective ... a farrago (Farrago) of distortions, misinterpretations, misquotations....” (not to mention mispronunciations) and that, ladies and gentlemen, was directed at the other side! Oh physician .. do kindly heal thyself....
As for Mehdi’s own recent, much admired acknowledgement that antisemitism is rife in the Muslim world. Well, he admits did say that, but now insists he never said it was anything to do with the ROP. It was imported from the Christian-Judeo world. So there. All that stuff in the Koran about the Jews was from... the Jews.
“Had Muslims been in charge in the 1940s, six million extra Jews would still be alive” he continued, on a roll. “I’m not going to take a lesson on antisemitism ...from a continent that murdered six million Jews” He surely meant succeeded in killing six million Jews, a feat that “the Muslims” could not surpass, despite the best efforts of Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini .
“Terrorists think, mistakenly, that Islam is not a peaceful religion. They agree with the opposition!” he says, triumphantly.
So. Islamist violence-mongers commit violent Jihad in the name of Islam, but according to Mehdi and real Muslims they’re mistaken because “true” Islam is not a violent religion. Wrong-headed Islamists and wrong-headed ‘Islamophobes’ agree. They are colleagues by mutual misconception.
The peaceful Muslims are the true Muslims and the true Muslims are the peaceful Muslims.
Slight problem along the lines of the proof of the pudding being in the eating.
I.e. However many times and however much Mehdi insists Islam is peaceful, our lying eyes see utter chaos and turmoil in the Muslim World.
So. Despite the fresh horror of Woolwich, 7/7, 9/11, Bali and other indicators of the unpeacefulness of Islam cited by Anne-Marie as well as those she failed to mention, and notwithstanding “hell-up” from Lebanon to Luton, Mehdi’s entertaining gig managed to convince Oxbridge’s creme de la creme that peaceful Muslims represent “True” Islam. There is no doubt that Mehdi would argue the case unto his dying breath, even if he happened to be the last man of that opinion still standing.
Still pondering on how the left arrived at its present paradoxical position, I moseyed over to Socialist Unity to see what they had to say about Anne Marie Waters in relation to her then possible candidacy for Labour / Brighton Pavillion. It didn’t help. There seemed to be a general consensus that criticising Islam is bigoted, right wing and racist. End of, as they say.