Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category
Loved by all Progressive Humanity: hacked to Death by Islamists.
(CNN)Attacks on bloggers critical of Islam have taken on a disturbing regularity in Bangladesh, with yet another writer hacked to death Tuesday.
Ananta Bijoy Das, 32, was killed Tuesday morning as he left his home on his way to work at a bank, police in the northeastern Bangladeshi city of Sylhet said.
Four masked men attacked him, hacking him to death with cleavers and machetes, said Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Ahsan.
The men then ran away. Because of the time of the morning when the attack happened, there were few witnesses. But police say they are following up on interviewing the few people who saw the incident.
“It’s one after another after another,” said Imran Sarker, who heads the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh. “It’s the same scenario again and again. It’s very troubling.”
Das’ death was at least the third this year of someone who was killed for online posts critical of Islam. In each case, the attacks were carried out publicly on city streets.
In March, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death by two men with knives and meat cleavers just outside his house as he headed to work at a travel agency in the capital, Dhaka.
In February, a Bangladesh-born American blogger, Avijit Roy, was similarly killed with machetes and knives as he walked back from a book fair in Dhaka.
The three victims are hardly the only ones who have paid a steep price for their views.
In the last two years, several bloggers have died, either murdered or under mysterious circumstances.
Das was an atheist who contributed to Mukto Mona (“Free Thinkers”), the blog that Roy founded.
Mukto Mona contains sections titled “Science” and “Rationalism,” and most of the articles hold science up to religion as a litmus test, which it invariably fails.
While Das was critical of fundamentalism and the attacks on secular thinkers, he was mostly concerned with championing science, a fellow blogger said.
He was the editor of a local science magazine, Jukti (“Reason”), and wrote several books, including one work on Charles Darwin.
In 2006, the blog awarded Das its Rationalist Award for his “deep and courageous interest in spreading secular & humanist ideals and messages in a place which is not only remote, but doesn’t have even a handful of rationalists.”
“He was a voice of social resistance; he was an activist,” said Sarker. “And now, he too has been silenced.”
Taking to the streets
Soon after Das’ death, his Facebook wall was flooded with messages of shock and condolence. And hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Sylhet demanding that the government bring his killers to justice.
“We’ve heard from Ananta’s friends that some people threatened to kill him as he was critical of religion,” Das’ brother-in-law Somor Bijoy Shee Shekhor said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We are ashamed, brother Bijoy,” someone posted on Das’ Facebook page.
“Is a human life worth so little? Do we not have the right to live without fear?” wrote another.
The Most Inane Slogan Ever?
Postmodernism was fashionable about thirty years ago.
It was a cluster of artistic, literary, architectural styles and philosophical ideas. These overlapping trends were “characterised by the self-conscious use of earlier styles and conventions, a mixing of different artistic styles and media, and a general distrust of theories.”
Philosophically it was “critical of the foundational assumptions and universalizing tendency of Western philosophy. It emphasizes the importance of power relationships, personalization and discourse in the “construction” of truth and world views.”
Amongst the more directly political themes advanced by theorists associated with the term were;
- Relativism – the idea that not only are there no “foundational” truths, but that political practice should be directed against agencies that seek to work with any.
- An end to “meta-narratives” – to overarching accounts of history, such the Marxism (historical materialism), or the economy (neo-liberalism).
- Support for identity politics: ” The identity of the oppressed group gives rise to a political basis around which they can unite.” Now known as “inter-sectionality”, ” intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination. An example is black feminism, which argues that the experience of being a black woman cannot be understood in terms of being black, and of being a woman, considered independently, but must include the interactions, which frequently reinforce each other.”
- Other forms of localised fights against the dominant power relationships: regionalism, nationalist separatism, defending the rights of religious groups and other species.
Green politics is a political ideology that aims to create an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, non-violence, social justice, and grassroots democracy.
It cannot be reduced to postmodernism.
Indeed some of the strands associated with the Greens are described as ‘fundamentalists’ – deep ecology, primitivism.
But the ghost of dead postmodernism lingers over Britain’s Green Party – as it does over the Leninist Left.
As a section of the left backs Lutfur Rahmen – dropping a concern for truth and the ‘meta-narrative’ of class struggle for the local Boss of Tower Hamlets and the ‘community’, not to mention the ‘rights’ of Islamists, the Green party is also undergoing its own ‘post-modernist turn.
- Relativism: Green party leader Natalie Bennett says it should not be a crime to belong to al-Qaeda or Isis.
- Green party candidate is alleged to have claimed the UK is responsible for the formation of Middle-Eastern terror group ISIS during a hustings for North East Hertfordshire.Graham White, who was filling in for the constituency’s candidate Mario May, is said to have shocked the Buntingford crowd with his comments that Britain helped create the extremist group who have committed a swathe of atrocities across Syria and Iraq.Mr White, who is representing Stevenage, said: “We are responsible for IS [Islamic State]. IS were created by the CIA.
- Sexual politics: the Green Party is “open” to the idea of three-person marriages, Natalie Bennett has said. Ms Bennett said she was “open to further conversation and consultation” about the prospect of the state recognising polyamorous relationships.
- Animal rights. Green Party objective: To eliminate the wholesale exploitation of other species, foster understanding of our inter-relationship in the web of life and protect and promote natural habitat.” “The Green Party will endeavour internationally to initiate and develop an Animal Rights Division within the United Nations Organisation.” The Green Party does not define any relationship with animals that involves eating them as “non-exploitation”, nor indeed describe what relationships with non-human species could be that are exploitative. How non-speaking creature can demand their rights is equally not explained.
This list is not at all exhaustive.
But it show that what tends to come out of Green politics is a kind of ‘post-modernist’ strategy. This is a bit by bit accumulation of ideas, as relativism (the idea that people should ‘just do what they want to do – who are you to tell me what to do!) co-exists with very clear messages about what you should do (animal rights), and messages from the Authority of a wide range of groups (speaking ‘Asa’).
Their ideas are a jumble but the drift is clear.
The Green Party values the diversity of ways in which people relate to each other and the natural environment. It seeks a balance between a number of different processes which contribute to human well-being, rather than stressing one at the expense of all others. It refuses to treat any single value, whether freedom, wealth or equality, as a supreme criterion of political success. In an ecological society a wide range of lifestyle choices will be promoted as individuals and communities seek to establish the most appropriate means of implementing sustainability. (Philosophical Basis of the Green Party.)
We reject the view that wealth can be measured solely in monetary units, a view which allows its adherents to think it consists primarily of the results of human labour. This error has caused successive governments to pursue objectives which appear to increase the nation’s wealth while in fact they reduce it. Symbols of wealth, like money, reinforce the error and dominate political decision making. Economic growth is a poor guide to human welfare.
We seek a society in which people are empowered and involved in making the decisions which affect them. We advocate participatory and democratic politics. Leadership should always be accountable, consensus-driven and moral. We reject the hierarchical structure of leaders and followers.
Property laws should permit neither states nor individuals to treat their property in whatever way they choose. Instead they should aim to ensure that all people, where they wish it, have their needs met through access to the land and its resources, while maintaining its quality for future generations. Property laws should therefore impose duties on owners as well as granting rights.
We do not believe that there is only one way to change society, or that we have all the answers. We seek to be part of a wider green movement that works for these principles through a variety of means. We generally support those who use reasonable and non-violent forms of direct action to further just aims.
Imposing ‘duties’ on property owners, however much wealth is “symbolic” does not seem an easy thing to do by “consensus”.
Why is wealth not a ‘life-style choice’ amongst others?
It is hardly worth going further.
The Green Party’s policies that result are an attempt to look at the world as it is and the world as it might be.
As a wish-list, drawn up by (largely) well-meaning people they appeal to the kind of fragmented interest groups typical of ‘post-modern’ politics. In the 1980s and 1990s this was often called the “post-materialist” constituency. Their French electorate is more recently described as “bobos” – bourgeois bohemians.
This political support is inherently unstable – as the rapid shrinking of the French Green (Europe Écologie Les Verts EELV) vote has indicated. This has gone from 16,28% (European elections 2009), 5,46 % (General Election, 2012), 8.95 (Europeans elections 2014) to 2,03% in this year’s regional elections (départmentals). They are on the point of breaking into separate parties, one aligned to the ruling Parti Socialiste, the other to the Front de gauche.
It would be tempting to go into the experience of the British Greens in local government, notably Brighton, where there politics have singularly failed.
But since this will be instantly dismissed as the result of Coalition policies t finish, this is an example of the British Green’s approach.
Citizen’s Income is both universal, and very post-modern: it would be given to all (within a nation state), and post-mdoern – detatched from any relationship to ‘production’ class struggle and history.
The Green party’s flagship economic policy, the £72 a week “citizen’s income”, would hit the poorest hardest unless it was made more complicated by including a means-tested element, the leading advocate of the policy has conceded.
The Citizen’s Income Trust (CIT), which has given advice to the Green party and been repeatedly cited by the Greens, has modelled its scheme and discovered it would mean 35.15% of households would be losers, with many of the biggest losers among the poorest households.
Femen Protest Disrupt French Far-Right May Day Rally.
Femen crashes Marine Le Pen’s May Day Front National speech. (Deutsche Welle)
Three Femen activists have disrupted Marine Le Pen’s planned May Day speech in Paris, with slogans like “Heil Le Pen” and “Stop Fascism” painted on their bare chests. Le Pen’s father played an uninvited cameo role too.
A Marine Le Pen speech designed as an attack on her political rivals in France was hijacked both by feminist activists and by Le Pen’s 86-year-old father on Friday.
Three Femen members, topless with slogans criticizing Le Pen’s Front National (FN) party on their chests and backs, gained access to the balcony from which the FN leader was speaking. They unfurled two large banners reading “Heil Le Pen” and stood side-by-side carrying out a Nazi salute.
Reports indicate that the Femen activists were initially removed by the staff of the Hotel where they had begun their protest and then violently assaulted by the Front National’s ‘Service d’ordre’ (Libération)
Selon l’avocat des Femen, interrogé par France TV Info, les activistes vont porter plainte contre X pour «violences, violation de domicile et arrestation arbitraire». De son côté, le FN a promis une plainte contre les Femen pour «violences volontaires» et «atteintes à a liberté de manifeste».
According to the lawyer of Femen, speaking to France TV Info, the activists will begin legal proceedings against ‘X’ for “violence, violation of their home (that is, having paid for the Hotel room), and arbitrary arrest. For their part the Front National has also made a legal complaint against the Femen protesters for ‘deliberate violence’ and ‘ damage to the freedom to demonstrate’.
Journalists were also caught up in the mêlée.
Some have accused the Front National of manhandling and punching them.
On Sunday 26 April I saw a Facebook posting which carried the pithy comment “anyone still Charlie”? The posting shared a story from “OurAfricaBlog” about an allegedly outrageous cartoon which, the blog claimed, appeared in the French satirical magazine whose leading staff members were brutally murdered by religious fascists earlier this year.
The cartoon dealt with the horrific drowning of migrants in the Mediterranean the previous week. It featured roughly-drawn black figures falling to the bottom of the ocean under the headline “Regroupement Familial En Mediterranee”. The blog translated this as “Family reunion in the Mediterranean”, described the cartoon as “Charlie Hebdo ridiculing the African migrants who drowned whilst on the way to Europe” and finished their commentary on the item as “speechless”.
This Facebook status was from an SWP member. After a bit of research it became obvious that this link was being shared widely on social media and that most people were responding with the full range of outrage, moralism and, most of all, demands that those who had shown solidarity with the French publication apologise, recant and accept the claim that CH is a racist publication.
There are two problems with this story. And they are the same problems that dogged all attempts to smear Charlie Hebdo immediately after the murders at their offices.
Problem number one: the story isn’t true.
Charlie Hebdo didn’t publish the cartoon. It was drawn by a cartoonist called Ali Dilem and published in an Algerian paper called Liberté. There is a link, in that Ali Dilem had recently been appointed to work for CH. (Note by Andrew Coates: here is the cartoon, it is indeed by a more than well-known Algerian cartoonist).
Problem number two: the cartoon is an attack on a racist immigration policy introduced by the French government.
“Regroupement Familial” is a policy for non-EU residents in France being joined by other family members from abroad. This requires an 18 month initial stay (12 for Algerians) before they can come and be given formal status.
The point being made by the cartoonist is that this policy has contributed to the Mediterranean disaster and there is likely to be more such tragedies if the policy is not overturned. This, the satirist’s argument goes, is what “regroupement familial” really means. Whether people agree that satire and cartoons can properly deal with an issue of this gravity and misery, the purpose of this particular example was very plainly anti-racist and for more open borders.
Another aspect of this latest attempt to whip up a scandal was the lack of any attempt to examine the context, to investigate what the magazine’s attitude to the Mediterranean tragedy was.
It wouldn’t have taken much effort. Last week’s edition of Charlie Hebdo carried a full front page cartoon of a crowded boat called Titanic sinking with a female figurehead singing Celine Dion’s song from the movie of the same name. The figurehead looks very much to me like Marine Le Pen. The headline is “Une Titanic Par Semaine” (A Titanic Every Week). The message is that the racist attitudes toward refugees promoted by the likes of Le Pen will lead to more deaths at sea.
The determination of much of the British left to smear Charlie Hebdo, months after the murderous attack on their office can seem incomprehensible at times. The persistence and desperation has all the appearance of an especially odd obsession. We should resist that conclusion though. It is nothing of the sort.
The attack by religious fascists on journalists and cartoonists who dared publish material they find offensive really was an affront to humanity and to liberty.
Political questions don’t get any easier than “how should we respond to this”? Socialists, democrats, anyone with a shred of humanitarianism owed these victims a basic duty of solidarity. That didn’t have to mean enthusiasm for everything (or indeed anything) they published or necessarily declaring that “we are all Charlie”. But it did mean understanding that were clear sides here, there was a barricade, and there was only one side we could possibly be on.
Instead a far-too-large portion of the British left at best ducked the issue and at worst took the wrong side. Attempts to change the argument and portray Charlie Hebdo as racist before the victims were even buried were shameful and indefensible but they were also widespread. These attempts failed and discredited all those who took part in them.
But the persistence of the attack on the magazine is not an odd obsession and nor is it incomprehensible. Rather it is the inevitable product of a political and moral collapse on sections of the left. Until CH can be proven to be what its enemies say it is, until the smears can be made to stick, those that failed to show it any solidarity cannot recover the ground they lost after the attacks. They don’t deserve to.
A socialist politics that equivocates on issues like free speech and fascism is worthless and can play no role in the liberation of the working class.
The same story is covered here(Homo economicus’ Weblog) : No Charlie Hebdo Did Not Publish That Mediterranean Drowning Cartoon.
Meanwhile Emmanuel Todd, whose most recent political incarnation (there are too many to count) was to support François Hollande, on the basis of a “hollandisme révolutionnaire” has decided the take up arms against Charlie Hebdo.
His main charge is the demonstrations in support of Charlie were a sign of “false consciousness”. That Charlie has attacked the weakest people in society (les gens les plus faibles de la société), and, apparently, many of the marchers came from the “least republican regions of France”.
While he admits that anti-Semitism is a problem in the French banlieues, Todd considered that the actions of a few mentally ill individuals should not mean that the whole Muslim population should be shunned – as the Jews were in the 1930s.
That is indeed true.
But there is no reason to sneer at Charlie.
The reasons are simple: Charlie is anti-racist, anti-discrimination and against the very people who would tread underfoot any oppressed minority whatsoever.
This morning on France-Inter the gay feminist secularist Caroline Fourest defended, against Todd (and one assumes, the notorious “dégonflé(e)s” authors who protested against PEN’s decision to honour the beloved martyers of Charlie), the ‘right to blaspheme’.
(Hear this on the radio station: Caroline Fourest : “Défions-nous de ceux qui utilisent l’islam pour diviser et asservir”)
She pointed out simply that (1) Charlie attacked the most powerful people in France, from the President to the Front National. (2) Islamists, from Boko Haram and Daesh onwards, were not the “weakest”, but oppressors of the powerless and frail.
As the marchers: it was a magnificent display of social solidarity – something a ‘republican’ like Todd should welcome.
On the wider issue of Charlie’s right to poke fun at religion Fourest has just published this: Eloge du blasphème.
Charlie Hebdo Seminar in Queens University Belfast Cancelled Amid Fears for “Reputation” and “Security”.
Can we Laugh About Everything? Not if Universities Have their Way.
This story broke yesterday but just how rotten the reasons given by the ‘University’ are are only just sinking in.
The event had been scheduled for Queen’s University, Belfast, in June.
Vice chancellor Patrick Johnston said he cancelled because of the security risk and concerns for QUB’s reputation.
But two academics who had been booked to speak said it was ironic that an event about free speech should be called off in this way.
Self censorship was one of the themes of the conference.
Professor Max Silverman from Leeds University told BBC NI’s Good Morning Ulster: “It is deeply ironic that what was going on in Paris this year to do largely with freedom of speech is actually being replicated by the university itself.
“There is a bitter irony in that the ability to discuss these topics has been taken away from us by this university decision.
“If you cannot discuss these sensitive issues in a university then I don’t know where you can discuss them. I do fear for what we value most in our democracies.”
Prof Silverman said the cancelled conference was now getting much more publicity but “for all the wrong reasons”.
‘Baffled and dismayed’
“Queen’s University has a wonderful reputation. It is a very prestigious institution. I don’t think this is going to enhance that reputation at all,” he said.
Dr Brian Klug from Oxford said he was both “baffled and dismayed” by the decision to cancel.
“Organising this was an admirable initiative and I cannot understand why the university has pulled the rug out from under their feet,” he said.
“We really don’t know what the vice chancellor was worried about. We haven’t been told what that security risk consists of. I think we are all owed an explanation.”
Dr Klug said that not only was it not the role of the university to stop freedom of speech, but it was “the responsibility of academia to respond to complex international conflicts in a constructive analytical way”.
The symposium: Understanding Charlie: New perspectives on contemporary citizenship after Charlie Hebdo, had been due to be hosted by QUB’s Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities.
Twelve people died when two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, fired on the journalists on 7 January at the satirical magazine’s offices in Paris.
Five others were killed over the two following days by one of their associates.
Padraig Reidy in Little Atoms provides essential background.
The Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, Patrick Johnston, was today criticised after the cancellation of an academic symposium on the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo murders.
The symposium: Understanding Charlie: New perspectives on contemporary citizenship after Charlie Hebdo, was due to be hosted in June by QUB’s Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities. But delegates, including Oxford University philosopher Brian Klug were informed via email on Monday (20 April) that the event would not go ahead.
The email informed speakers: “The Vice Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast has made the decision just this morning that he does not wish our symposium to go ahead. He is concerned about the security risk for delegates and about the reputation of the university.”
Doctor Klug said this morning he is “baffled” and “dismayed” by the decision.
“I don’t understand either of his concerns. The second – the reputation of the university – strikes me as ironic, as his action does not exactly reflect well on Queens,” he told Little Atoms via email.
More on Little Atoms.
Nick Cohen has commented on this story,
The Vice Chancellor at Queen’s – one Paul Johnston – cancelled the discussion yesterday because he was “concerned about the security risk for delegates and about the reputation of the university.”
What to make of his cowardice?
The most obvious point is that senior academics now see suppression of debate as a means of protecting “the reputation of the university”. Freedom of thought and open argument, once the best reasons for having universities, are now threats which must be neutered.
Second, it is now not only difficult or impossible to satirise Islam because of fear of violence, it is becoming difficult or impossible in British universities to discuss the actual violence. Not only can you not show Charlie Hebdo cartoons, you cannot talk about the motives of the men who murdered the cartoonists. Third, although he cannot prove this, Walsh suspects that there was no real security risk, just the possibility that someone’s feelings would be hurt when he and others unequivocally condemned the murderers of cartoonists and Jews. The possibility that someone will or may hear an argument he or she does not like is now enough to justify censorship.
Finally, Queen’s has made the vice-chancellors and academics protesting against the Conservatives’ plans to ban Islamists look like perfect fools and utter hypocrites. If universities censor learned debates on Islamism, how can they possibly deny the state the right to censor Islamists?
The beloved martyr Charb’s book Lettre aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racistes has been extensively commented on in the English speaking media.
There is a very fine article today in the Independent today:
This is worth underlining,
Stéphane Charbonnier was a cartoonist and writer. He was a supporter of the French Communist Party. And while, under his editorship, Charlie Hebdo aggressively poked fun at Catholicism and Judaism as well as radical Islam, his book – published in France last week – is a passionate rejection of the allegations that, under his editorship, Charlie Hebdo was “racist” or “Islamophobic”.
In the book, Charb, as he was always known, defends his publication of cartoons mocking radical Islam and caricaturing (but never mocking) the Prophet Mohamed. He argues – from a left-wing, anti-racist, militantly secular viewpoint – that the word “Islamophobia” is a trap, set by an unholy alliance of Muslim radicals and the unthinking, liberal Western media. The real issue, he says, is racism and Charlie Hebdo was never racist…
The Indy’s article is essential reading.
And in French there’s more: EXCLUSIF. Le testament de Charb
Aude Lancelin. Tué il y a trois mois, le directeur de “Charlie Hebdo” venait d’achever un livre où il répondait aux accusations d’islamophobie pesant sur son journal. “L’Obs” en publie aujourd’hui les extraits.
1o0 Lashes of the Whip if you don’t just Die Laughing.
Ken Livingstone backing Naz Shah in Bradford.
“Shah caught the public imagination by writing about her difficult personal life. She grew up poor and at times destitute after her father left her pregnant mother and two children for the neighbours’ 16-year-old daughter. Shah was then sent to Pakistan by her mother, who feared for her safety; there, she was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of 15. Her mother, meanwhile, suffered abuse at the hands of another man, who she ended up poisoning to death.
Shah’s journey into politics is a far cry from the PPE-at-Oxford template of the traditional upper-middle-class career politician. With this powerful story and the Labour Party political machine behind her, she is Galloway’s only credible opponent in the election.
“Galloway still has a following in Bradford West, and, as he is fond of pointing out, it’s an international one: “They’re watching this contest from Manhattan to Gaza, from Mirpur to Baghdad. They’re watching the result of this election all over the world.”
“Galloway still has a following in Bradford West, and, as he is fond of pointing out, it’s an international one: “They’re watching this contest from Manhattan to Gaza, from Mirpur to Baghdad. They’re watching the result of this election all over the world.”
But on April 13, former Respect councillor Mohammad Shabbir released a statement announcing that he had joined the Labour Group within Bradford council. He stated that “Respect (George Galloway) is a party of one and sadly it will remain so.”
“At the end of the first hustings, an apparent Respect supporter who had heckled from the side-lines throughout asked Naz Shah a question as she was leaving for the night:
“Who will be dancing in the streets if your party wins – the Israelis or the Palestinians?”
“Human beings will,” she replied.
“Your leader’s a bacon-eating Zionist!” came the reply.
Shah responded: “Half of England eats bacon. I can’t decide my policies by that.”
Charb: Took Advantage of Own Death to Make Money, Says New Statesman Writer.
These are some extracts (adapted) from the book she is referring to:
“Racism and not of Islamophobia“The term ‘Islamophobia’ is badly chosen to designate the hatred that some cretins have of Muslims. It is not only badly chosen but it is also also dangerous.”Charb wrote:”Communitarian activists try to impose on the judicial and political authorities the notion of ‘Islamophobia’. This has no other purpose than to push the victims of racism to assert that they are Muslims (…) If tomorrow all French Muslims converted to Catholicism or abandoned their religion, this would not change the main racist discourse: that foreigners or those who are French but of foreign origin are and will be always be held responsible for every kind of fault. “
“The Qu’ran or the Bible does not read like Ikea assembly instructions”
If he criticised the term “Islamophobia” Charb recognised that there is indeed a fear of Islam. But if this worry is “absurd”, it “is not a crime,” he said.
“The problem is not the Koran or the Bible, which are sleep-inducing, incoherent and poorly written novels. The problem comes from a believer who reads the Qur’an or the Bible as if they were the instructions of an Ikea shelf-kit.”
The author also believed that racist speech was unclenched under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy and his ‘debate’ on national identity:
“When the highest authority in the State said (in effect) to every moron and fool, “say what you want, you lot’, what do you think these morons and fool will do? They began to say out loud what they had been content to yell at the end of every, well-oiled, family meal. “
Francois-Cerrah has a very different book on the “soporific” romance of the Qur’an.
“The Qur’an was pivotal for me. I first tried to approach it in anger, as part of an attempt to prove my Muslim friend wrong. Later I began reading it with a more open mind. The opening of Al-Fatiha, with its address to the whole of mankind, psychologically stopped me in my tracks. It spoke of previous scriptures in a way which I both recognised, but also differed. It clarified many of the doubts I had about Christianity. It made me an adult as I suddenly realised that my destiny and my actions had consequences for which I alone would now be held responsible. In a world governed by relativism, it outlined objective moral truths and the foundation of morality. As someone who’d always had a keen interest in philosophy, the Qur’an felt like the culmination of all of this philosophical cogitation. It combined Kant, Hume, Sartre and Aristotle. It somehow managed to address and answer the deep philosophical questions posed over centuries of human existence and answer its most fundamental one, ‘why are we here?'”
We knew that she is one of the brigade of vultures who said of flocked around the attack on Charlie.
As she wrote in the New Statesman on January the 9th.
….they mocked the sacred symbols of many groups, but those of Muslims on a particularly frequent basis and in a distinctly racialised tone.
Not that this should ever warrant a violent response, but the eulogising of the magazine for some sort of mastery of European satirical tradition is a white wash of its chequered history as well as a capitulation to a simplistic narrative of “you’re either with the racist satirists or you’re with the terrorists”.
In weasel words she continued,
We must ensure slogans of solidarity become more than just narrow and questionable support for the targeted publication and instead provide resistance to all those voices which seek to divide France, to entrench camps and harden the already worrying divides.
Poor old Francois-Cerrah…..
Just couldn’t resist another dig at the corpses of our martyrs.
More on Charb’s much more interesting book:
A book written by the late editor of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, Stephane Charbonnier – known as Charb – is set to be published posthumously.
The book, which upholds the right to ridicule religion, was finished two days before Charb was killed by Islamic militants in January, publishers say.
It argues that the fight against racism is being replaced by a misguided struggle against “Islamophobia”.
Charb and 11 others were killed during a Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting.
The attack on the Paris offices of the newspaper was carried out by two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who were later shot dead by police.
Charb had received numerous death threats following Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad in 2006. The magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2012.
Charb’s book – which goes on sale on Thursday – is entitled An Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia who Play into Racists’ Hands.
It is both a defence of Charlie Hebdo’s editorial stance and an attack on the paper’s detractors.
“The suggestion that you can laugh at everything, except certain aspects of Islam, because Muslims are much more prickly that the rest of the population – what is that, if not discrimination?”
He condemns this position as “white, left-wing bourgeois intellectual paternalism”.
There is also this, just out, on the book which was being written before the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper-Casher supermarket: