Monday, February 27, 2006
I turned to Ben yesterday as we were watching I Robot and said that one day, the only update on my blog would be the single quote: "Somehow, 'I told you so' just doesn't quite say it."
This will be my 11th consecutive column, directly or indirectly on the “Danish cartoons” issue. The cartoons themselves were a red herring from the start -- a fake issue, trumped up by fanatical Muslims seeking grievances to abet a confrontation, and thereby extract concessions from the West. It is a fire, still being stoked around the world by radical “Islamists”, using shameless lies and misrepresentations. (See my previous columns.)On a related note. Someone out there should be paying me big bucks, because I spot this shit days and weeks and weeks and months before it ever appears in major publications. (Yes, again, I was warning people that the Mall of America was a soft target for Islamic terrorists back in 1996. I was saying that I wanted to learn Arabic and Chinese back in high school.) Someone hire me!
The reason I have written so copiously on this subject -- not the cartoons themselves, but what I have called the “organized apoplexy” in response to them -- is because it is important. In my judgement, it is the most important thing that has happened since the Al Qaeda attack on the United States, in 2001. It is important in combination with other fast-developing events, including the victory of the openly terrorist Hamas in a Palestinian election; Iran’s public promise to “wipe Israel off the map”; collapsing public order in Pakistan, Nigeria, and elsewhere; the recent Muslim riots, and continuing low-level Intifada in France; and now the destruction of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, triggering vicious sectarian strife in Iraq. And quite literally, hundreds of lesser events of the same nature -- each revealing an Islamic world in combustion, and a West retreating into contrived apologies and other confused gestures of cowardice and panic.
One cannot keep up with all these events -- the wheels of history are turning too quickly. The world in which we will find ourselves, a few years hence, will not resemble the world we inhabited a few years ago. Yet this is among the few predictions that can be safely made. The events will fall out as unpredictably as those Danish cartoons. The names, dates, and places are not yet recorded; but the shape and scale of events is already blotting the sun on our horizon.
Even after the experience of the Great War, and the Depression, people on the eve of the Hitler war could not appreciate what was coming. It is only in retrospect that we understand what happened as the 1930s progressed -- when a spineless political class, eager at any price to preserve a peace that was no longer available, performed endless demeaning acts of appeasement to the Nazis; while the Nazis created additional grievances to extract more.
This is precisely what is happening now, as we are confronted by the Islamist fanatics, whose views and demands are already being parroted by fearful “mainstream” Muslim politicians. We will do anything to preserve a peace that ceased to exist on 9/11. Not one of our prominent politicians dares even to name the enemy.
And from a mixture of fear of, and sympathy for, large, recent, Muslim immigrant communities in the West, we confuse domestic and foreign issues. I do not doubt the great majority of Muslims, in Canada and around the world, are decent, “moderate” people, who want no part in a “clash of civilizations”. But it has become obvious they can do nothing to stop the triumph of “Islamism” internationally, or oppose the fanatics proselytizing in their own communities.
Germany was full of moderate Germans, as Hitler rose; Stalin drove his oars through a sea of moderate Russians. While we must not forget that the Muslims are the first victims of “Islamism”, and may suffer most from its triumph, we are beyond the point where we can do more for them than destroy the tyranny by which they are enthralled.
Indeed, many Muslims, by birth or faith, remain our best allies, warning us as many fine Germans did of what is coming our way. For example, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born politician in the Netherlands -- a magnificent young woman -- speaking recently in Berlin:
“Publication of the cartoons confirmed that there is widespread fear among authors, filmmakers, cartoonists, and journalists who wish to describe, analyze or criticize intolerant aspects of Islam all over Europe. It has also revealed the presence of a considerable minority in Europe who do not understand or will not accept the workings of liberal democracy. These people -- many of whom hold European citizenship -- have campaigned for censorship, for boycotts, for violence, and for new laws to ban 'Islamophobia'. … The issue is not about race, colour, or heritage. It is a conflict of ideas, which transcend borders and races.”
This was so, she added, when we were finally obliged to stand against the Nazis. It is true today, as we foolishly let the Islamist menace grow and grow.
I said this in August.
I said this in June.
I said this in May.
I said this in January of 2004. (I predicted that "the next big terrorist attack will happen in europe.")
I said this in November of 2003.
I said this in September of 2003.
I said this in July of 2003.
I said this in June of 2003.
I linked to this essay in August of 2002. If you don't click on any of the other links, give this one a review. It's essential.
I said this in April of 2002.
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This is what I'm talking about when I say change your culture or the rest of the world will do it for you. Thinking that an Iraqi civil war wouldn't spread is foolishness.
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Two thumbs up for the long-term historical view.
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Take a good hard look around. Read this. Read it again. Take another look around. If you're interested in stock recommendations, email me. I've done well so far. I have no interest in keeping my finds a secret from my friends and family. At the very least, shun debt. The world is not a stable place right now.
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I told you so. Hello? The Palestinian people elected Hamas. It's not like they don't know who Hamas is or what they have done or will do. It's not like they don't know that Hamas is still post-election comitted to wiping Israel off the map. It's not like Hamas didn't demand that Israel remove the star of david from their flag immediately after winning a democratic election. It's not like Hamas didn't proudly announce that they'll never recognize that Israel has a right to exist.
Why give people who vote that way any help? They depend upon the outside world for their very survival and they behave this way. Imagine how they would behave toward anyone who depended on them. Imagine how they would behave with any real power.
I extend that warning to the EU. Get nervous about Russia or the Islamic fundamentalists in your midst? Want help from the US? I will personally do everything in my power to ensure that europe is hung out to dry. Deal with this problem by yourselves you utter bastards. Any sane people remaining in europe had better start liquidating assets and making immigration plans today.
(Hmmm, I suppose there's some question over whether the EU actually represents europe after that whole constitution thing... Well maybe if they grow a spine.)
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Mark Steyn speaking truth.
In five years' time, how many Jews will be living in France? Two years ago, a 23-year-old Paris disc jockey called Sebastien Selam was heading off to work from his parents' apartment when he was jumped in the parking garage by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam's throat was slit twice, to the point of near-decapitation; his face was ripped off with a fork; and his eyes were gouged out. Adel climbed the stairs of the apartment house dripping blood and yelling, "I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven."
Is that an gripping story? You'd think so. Particularly when, in the same city, on the same night, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim. You've got the making of a mini-trend there, and the media love trends.
Yet no major French newspaper carried the story.
This month, there was another murder. Ilan Halimi, also 23, also Jewish, was found by a railway track outside Paris with burns and knife wounds all over his body. He died en route to the hospital, having been held prisoner, hooded and naked, and brutally tortured for almost three weeks by a gang that had demanded half a million dollars from his family. Can you take a wild guess at the particular identity of the gang? During the ransom phone calls, his uncle reported that they were made to listen to Ilan's screams as he was being burned while his torturers read out verses from the Quran.
This time around, the French media did carry the story, yet every public official insisted there was no anti-Jewish element. Just one of those things. Coulda happened to anyone. And, if the gang did seem inordinately fixated on, ah, Jews, it was just because, as one police detective put it, ''Jews equal money.'' In London, the Observer couldn't even bring itself to pursue that particular angle. Its report of the murder managed to avoid any mention of the unfortunate Halimi's, um, Jewishness. Another British paper, the Independent, did dwell on the particular, er, identity groups involved in the incident but only in the context of a protest march by Parisian Jews marred by ''radical young Jewish men'' who'd attacked an ''Arab-run grocery.''
At one level, those spokesmonsieurs are right: It could happen to anyone. Even in the most civilized societies, there are depraved monsters who do terrible things. When they do, they rip apart entire families, like the Halimis and Selams. But what inflicts the real lasting damage on society as a whole is the silence and evasions of the state and the media and the broader culture.
A lot of folks are, to put it at its mildest, indifferent to Jews. In 2003, a survey by the European Commission found that 59 percent of Europeans regard Israel as the "greatest menace to world peace." Only 59 percent? What the hell's wrong with the rest of 'em? Well, don't worry: In Germany, it was 65 percent; Austria, 69 percent; the Netherlands, 74 percent. Since then, Iran has sportingly offered to solve the problem of the Israeli threat to world peace by wiping the Zionist Entity off the face of the map. But what a tragedy that those peace-loving Iranians have been provoked into launching nuclear armageddon by those pushy Jews. As Paul Oestreicher, Anglican chaplain of the University of Sussex, wrote in the Guardian the other day, "I cannot listen calmly when an Iranian president talks of wiping out Israel. Jewish fears go deep. They are not irrational. But I cannot listen calmly either when a great many citizens of Israel think and speak of Palestinians in the way a great many Germans thought and spoke about Jews when I was one of them and had to flee."
It's not surprising when you're as heavily invested as the European establishment is in an absurd equivalence between a nuclear madman who thinks he's the warm-up act for the Twelfth Imam and the fellows building the Israeli security fence that you lose all sense of proportion when it comes to your own backyard, too. "Radical young Jewish men" are no threat to "Arab-run groceries." But radical young Muslim men are changing the realities of daily life for Jews and gays and women in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and beyond. If you don't care for the Yids, big deal; look out for yourself. The Jews are playing their traditional role of the canaries in history's coal mine.
Something very remarkable is happening around the globe and, if you want the short version, a Muslim demonstrator in Toronto the other day put it very well:
''We won't stop the protests until the world obeys Islamic law.''
Stated that baldly it sounds ridiculous. But, simply as a matter of fact, every year more and more of the world lives under Islamic law: Pakistan adopted Islamic law in 1977, Iran in 1979, Sudan in 1984. Four decades ago, Nigeria lived under English common law; now, half of it's in the grip of sharia, and the other half's feeling the squeeze, as the death toll from the cartoon jihad indicates. But just as telling is how swiftly the developed world has internalized an essentially Islamic perspective. In their pitiful coverage of the low-level intifada that's been going on in France for five years, the European press has been barely any less loopy than the Middle Eastern media.
What, in the end, are all these supposedly unconnected matters from Danish cartoons to the murder of a Dutch filmmaker to gender-segregated swimming sessions in French municipal pools about? Answer: sovereignty. Islam claims universal jurisdiction and always has. The only difference is that they're now acting upon it. The signature act of the new age was the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran: Even hostile states generally respect the convention that diplomatic missions are the sovereign territory of their respective countries. Tehran then advanced to claiming jurisdiction over the citizens of sovereign states and killing them -- as it did to Salman Rushdie's translators and publishers. Now in the cartoon jihad and other episodes, the restraints of Islamic law are being extended piecemeal to the advanced world, by intimidation and violence but also by the usual cooing promotion of a spurious multicultural "respect" by Bill Clinton, the United Church of Canada, European foreign ministers, etc.
The I'd-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing-in-perfect-harmonee crowd have always spoken favorably of one-worldism. From the op-ed pages of Jutland newspapers to les banlieues of Paris, the Pan-Islamists are getting on with it.
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Another smarty pants thinks we're at or past a tipping point with regard to the American public's opinion on Arabs and Islam. duh. The very fact that this has advanced so slowly means that when the American public decides that it has no more patience for this... I dunno.
I'm sure we have weapons in the arsenal that will wipe out the people and leave the infrastructure intact. (Neutron bombs maybe.) I doubt we're going to waste many more american lives by trying to be gentle with the defeat of the Islamic ideology. (By that I mean the notion that god wants Islam to conquer everything, and that any land that was once occupied by muslims is holy muslim land legitimately defended/re-acquired by jihad. The whole House of Islam versus the House of War dichotomy that the entire planet is divided into.) Remember what happened last time we faced an ideologically implacable enemy and decided we weren't going to expend any more lives fighting them? Yeah. All we'll need is another Pearl Harbor.
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What'd I tell ya? Philosophically and theologically it's the neatest and safest argument to make. It's just extremely problematic in the real world. I disagree that birth control pills, depo, and IUDs are a form or serial murder. Thank god I took ethics and biomedical ethics from a kickass prof at a catholic school.
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