Guest post: By pushing an almost totalitarian narrative of white guilt

Originally a comment by veil_of_ignorance on A new way to weasel.

Two things:

(1) It was indeed absurd and cynical how Western governments (and their MENA allies including the KSA) have exploited the CH massacre for empty lip service to free speech. However, this is a common phenomenon which is not limited to CH. We see it anytime when the political agenda allows it: from Raif over Pussy Riot to Liu Xiaobo. This does not mean that those people do not deserve to be honored or are some kind of neoliberal US-imperialist fifth column. Or to inverse the argument: the fact that Edward Snowden is now best friends with Putin – not due to the latter’s universal commitment to free speech but for obvious political reasons – doesn’t mean that Snowden should be accused of enabling Russian, neo-Stalinist nationalism and conservatism. [Read more…]

A central tenet

CNN ran a solemn backgrounder piece yesterday explaining Why Islam forbids images of Mohammed aka Why images of Mohammed offend Muslims. (It has more than one title, don’t ask me why.)

(CNN) Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: the worship of God alone.

No doubt it does, but so what? A central tenet of Islam may be relevant to Muslims (or it may not; it should be up to them), but it’s not relevant to anyone else. By the same token, a “central tenet” of Catholicism is not relevant to non-Catholics. It’s not even relevant to many Catholics, and it’s certainly not relevant to everyone else. Adherents of religion X don’t get to force the rest of the world to defer to the tenets of X, however central they may be.

So we get to go on being mystified, and disgusted and repelled, by violence over images of Mo, because we get to choose for ourselves which strictly religious taboos we will obey, if any. Other people don’t get to enforce their strictly religious taboos on the whole world.

A room half full of the self-righteously misinformed

From one of the worst piece on Charlie Hebdo and PEN to one of the best: Michael Moynihan at the Daily Beast.

On January 7, Jean-Baptiste Thoret was ambling toward the office, late for an editorial meeting—he’s a French film critic, after all—when 12 of his colleagues at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were being cut to ribbons by AK-47 fire. A fraternal team of semi-illiterate religious fanatics, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, both Paris-born, casually returned to their getaway car, congratulating themselves for having avenged their aggrieved prophet. As a digestif, an accomplice was across town, preparing to murder Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket.

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A new way to weasel

Well this is a novel way to crap on Charlie Hebdo – fully seeing what’s wrong with all the cries of “racist!” from people who have no French and no knowledge of French culture and no willingness to listen to people who do – and coldly deciding to crap on Charlie anyway, because bafflegab.

It’s Joshua Furst in The Forward.

When I heard that the writers Deborah Eisenberg, Teju Cole, Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Rachael Kushner and Taiye Salasi had publically withdrawn from their roles as table hosts for PEN America’s annual gala in protest over the organization’s decision to award Charlie Hebdo the Freedom of Expression Courage Award, my first reaction was to cringe at the spectacle of a group of writers — many of whom I greatly respect — coming out against a clearly beleaguered, clearly courageous publication simply because they disagreed with its politics. [Read more…]

The kefala system might be waived to allow Nepalis to go back home?

A lot of Nepalese people go abroad to work, to places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After the earthquake, many of them very naturally wanted to go home to help family and friends. But there’s a catch

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese construction worker have been unable to go home, unable to check on their families and homes after last month’s massive earthquake. That’s according to the International Trade Union Confederation or ITUC. These are migrants working in Gulf states, and their jobs are controlled by a contract system that requires them to remain in the country where they’re employed for two years. Under the system of sponsorship called kefala, you can’t enter the country or leave it without permission from your sponsor. Last week, the ITUC announced it had written to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ask them to suspend that system.

[Read more…]

We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter

IS says IS did it.

Islamic State (IS) has said that it was behind the attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in the US state of Texas.

It said that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack at a conference centre near Dallas.

My first thought was to wonder why they would demand credit for such a failure.

My second thought was how stupid am I. That’s exactly what I thought about the embassy bombings, too, and it turned out to be a staggeringly stupid thing to think. The fact that one adventure goes badly means nothing. It sure as hell doesn’t mean that the next one won’t go swimmingly. [Read more…]

RSF pour Raif

Karine Drouin on Facebook:

Rencontre, lors du concert anniversaire des 30 ans de RSF, avec ces “monuments” qui ont marqué notre histoire, WU’ER KAIXI, leader du mouvement de Tiananmen, SHIRIN EBADI, Prix Nobel de la Paix 2003 et le créateur du slogan “Je suis Charlie”, JOACHIM RONCIN, le Président de RSF, ALAIN LE GOUGUEC, et l’artiste engagée JEANNE CHERHAL. Tous ont apporté leur soutien à RAIF BADAWI

A meeting, during the 30th anniversary concert for Reporters Without Borders, with these “monuments” who have marked our history: Wu’er Kaixi, leader of the Tiananmen Square movement; Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2003; the creator of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan, Joachim Roncin; the president of RSF, Alain Le Gougec; and the activist artist Jeanne Cherhal. They all lent their support to Raif Badawi.

Wu’er Kaixi

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There’s a film about Taslima; it won an award. Well we can’t have that, can we.

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP from Basirhat, Idris Ali has termed exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen as a ‘loose charactered woman’ on Sunday.

“Taslima Nasreen is a loose charactered woman who plays the communal card. People who support her, eventually end up spreading communal tension,” said Ali. He also targeted author Salman Rushdie saying, “Rushdie was barred from entering West Bengal as this is a secular state and communal elements like him should be kept at bay.”

The communal card, for heaven’s sake. It’s Idris Ali and people like him who are doing that, not Taslima. [Read more…]

Keeping the women in line

House Republicans vote to punish the women of DC.

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives voted in favor of “H.J.Res. 43: Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014.” If enacted, the legislation would make using employer-based health insurance for in vitro fertilization or birth control pills a fireable offense in Washington, D.C.

So women can have that kind of insurance, I guess, but if they use it, they can be fired. Mind you, people can be fired for any reason or no reason anyway, but there was a law making an exception of this very thing, which the Republicans voted to overturn. [Read more…]

Jihadists and Caliph-chasers

Padraig Reidy drew up a little list of talking points for the Garland shootings, to save everyone some effort.

Geller’s organization is racist, people have every right to this that and the other, people don’t have the right to kill.

The last two are less obvious and less invoked.

8. The people who attempt to shoot others for drawing cartoons do not do so in order to combat Islamophobia. If anything, they do so to encourage Islamophobia. Jihadists and Caliph-chasers have a vested interest in division between Muslims and non-Muslims
9. Well-meaning though it may be, casting jihadist attacks as a symptom of “Muslim anger” is to buy into stereotypes of Muslims as irrational and violent, and ignore the complexity of Islamist and jihadist politics

Here’s my addition: Pamela Geller is not an ally of secular liberals.