Friday, August 12, 2005

Yvonne Ridley: traitor or just a silly bint?

Hard to tell in the present circumstances. Either way, using an explicitly non-political meeting to commemorate the victims of the London bombings to instead spout a load of over-the-top bullshit about Blair, Israel and the US - including calling for a boycott of Israeli goods because "Every time you make your purchases you are putting bullets in the backs of Palestinian children", comparing Tony Blair to Pol Pot and then seemingly trying to incite violence by vomiting up crap like "Tony Blair, if you really want war with Islam, bring it on!" has got to put her in the top league of fucking idiots.

Christ - just imagine what would happen if her and Galloway had kids together...

You see, it's people like Ridley who discredit all opposition to the latest half-arsed anti-terror measures. People like Ridley who stir up trouble between Muslims and the rest of us. If some radical Imam shot his mouth off with this rabid, foaming at the mouth rubbish, he can be dismissed fairly easily as simply being an extremist. But when a white woman - or a Scot with a 'tache - start off on this kind of rhetoric, it lends far more "justification" to the cause.

So, control orders all round?

Update: Having just slagged off Gorgeous George, it's only fair to acknowledge that at his most recent opportunity to spout off he resisted the urge to go utterly mental. You may disagree with his take, but unlike Ridley he kept his rhetoric in check. His last point in particular is hard to disagree with (although I will concede that his first could be interpreted in a number of different ways, not all of them commendable, and that this was likely deliberate...):

"It is a crime, a sin in any language, in any religion, to punish innocent people for the cause of the guilty people.

"The guilty men are not travelling on buses or on the London Underground. If you bomb people, some of them will want to bomb you back, it is obvious.

"We will not be silenced. The country has to change course and it will not change course so long as Blair remains at number 10 Downing Street."


Blogger Alex said...

Well, she did work for Richard Desmond, so you can't expect miracles...

8/12/2005 09:52:00 am  
Blogger Phil said...

'Yvonne Ridley is an idiot' is not news. But I thought the kicker in this story was further on:

Islamic scholar Abu Muntasir ... called on Muslims to look for the good in Britain, to be charitable and neighbourly and to take leadership roles in charitable organisations.

But Asghar Shah of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee protested at the "injustice" of the shooting by an Israeli soldier of a five-year-old Palestinian girl for throwing a rock.

He received thunderous applause when he said: "It makes me angry."

He complained at the amount of money Israel received from the US and said that Muslims must become involved politically and democractically to counteract this.

He urged Muslims "not to sit peacefully in mosques". He said: "Tomorrow another child could die. Do something practical to keep that child alive."

Shah's words, which end the article, are obviously framed as a Bad Thing, if not quite as Bad as Ridley's comments. And:

Zionist Central Council president Lucille Cohen said: "It was very problematic for a Jewish communal organisation to be represented."

If I were Jewish I'd be telling Lucille Cohen to keep her definition of the Jewish community to herself. It's vital for Jews and Muslims to talk - but when they do talk, criticisms of Israel are inevitably going to be high up the agenda on the Muslim side, and Jews (not all of whom are Zionists) need to hear those criticisms.

Having said all of that, I think you're basically right about Ridley. Really, really not helping.

8/12/2005 10:12:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

But... but... but... criticising Israel's anti-semitic!!!!111!!oneoneone!!11!

The sooner that argument can be dropped and honest discussion can kick off, the better. Whether that'll happen with the evacuation of those settlements next week I have no idea, but I've got a sneaking feeling it's just going to polarise the debate even further. Which previously I didn't think was possible...

Oh, sorry, I forgot: There's no solution to the Israel/Palestine thing because the Arabs want to drive the Israelis into the sea and the Israelis claim it as the Promised Land. So they should just go on killing each other for all eternity. Hurrah!

8/12/2005 10:28:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhhh, I love this blog...

[tiresome fan worship over]

Yes, indeed. I would be really grateful if there were a non-imbecilic mass forum for anti-foreign policy protest.

Last time I got involved with any type of collective protest was a gathering on the day the war started, which ended up centering around some very small skinny anarchists trying to block all the roads into Oxford. Large, burly policemen were picking up literal bundles of anarchists under their arms and courteously removing them from the paths of oncoming cars. While deeply amusing to watch, it did seem to lose the point of the protest, rather. Especially as the organisers managed to curtail the speech of their One Genuine Iraqi Refugee in order to go on the direct action bit, which they clearly found much more exciting.

Um, sorry for ranting. Has anyone come across any groups which oppose the current insanity without resorting to shouts of 'Evil! Evil!'? At the moment I sit at home and write letters to my MP. And he never writes back, the cretin.

8/12/2005 06:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone come across any groups which oppose the current insanity without resorting to shouts of 'Evil! Evil!'?

Have you considered the possibility that the abscence of any such group actually implies something?

I mean, can you find anyone proposing a reasoned plan that starts from the current position, doesn't involve the use of a time machine, and is both drastically different from and clearly better than current government policy?

8/13/2005 01:42:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear Europhobic philosopher,

Why do you condemn Yvonne Ridley and ignore anti-Muslim propaganda coming from Downing Street and “mainstream” political commentators?

If you truly believe in freedom of speech, you should let people supporting each side of the argument express their view without restraint, even when this is done in a forceful way

By the way, interesting article in the Washington Post yesterday:
“…We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity…”

So this is what we’ve come to uh? 2 ½ years after the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, a far away Middle-Eastern country that posed no threat to the West whether “imminent” (remember Tony Blair’s sci-fi army of Iraqi drones eager to nuke Westminster?) or otherwise.

With all its faults (the Baathist regime was certainly not more authoritarian than say Wahhabi-Saudi absolute monarchy, Islamo-fascist Shiite Iran, or Nazi-Kemalist Turkey), the Republic of Iraq under Saddam Hussein was probably the most progressive/secular country in the Arab world: 20% of members of government and high ranking civil servants were women (most of them wore no veil unlike their oppressed sisters in neighbouring countries); the number 2 man in government was Tariq Hanna Azeez, a devout Roman Catholic; most of Saddam’s senior advisers were French and/or UK educated Middle-Eastern Christian; and Iraq was the third largest importer of Johnnie Walker whiskey!

Today, as Rumsfeld’s protégés finalize the drafting of the country’s “constitution”, it has become clear that the new Iraq is fast morphing into a totalitarian Islamic Shiite Bantustan under the tutelage of its Iranian and Hebrew masters.

The Neocon’s “forward leaning foreign policy” turned out to be scam on a gigantic scale: The US government has spent $ 400 billions in taxpayers money and more than 1,900 American kids have lost their life for a useless military adventure…

There's an old saying in Latin...qui bono, who benefits?
Iran and Israel are clearly the only winners: for 2 ½ years, they’ve watched from the sidelines as American soldiers massacred tens of thousands of innocent Sunni Arabs in Fallujah, Tickrit and Baghdad: today, Teheran and Tel Aviv are ready to reap the fruits of the “global war on terror”- a failed policy in need for a change of name… “Colonial proxy war for the advancement of Zion” would be a more fitting appellation.

8/15/2005 09:51:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soru, deeply late reply (due to webless hiatus) and you probably don't care now. But just in case you do:

I think that the key, for me, is attempting to find a Bush/Blair foreign policy counter-argument that doesn't revolve around a difference in axioms.

Two points. One, I think it's perfectly possible to make a reasoned objection to the attitude that led to this cheery fiasco without resorting to cries of 'Evil, Evil!'.

For example, in the lead-up to this war, the primary argument that seemed to be being made by centrist neo-cons (viz. Thomas Friedman and that Karl Rove think-tank) was that this was an exemplary war to bolster national security. (More domino theory.) It was perfectly possible to counter that argument without resorting to an assertion that war (or, more abstractly, killing people) is bad. Jonathan Friedland, of all people, produced a Grauniad article shortly before the war began, suggesting that the two possible postwar scenarios were that 1. the US left Iraq immediately, thus leaving a chaotic vacuum within which terror could breed. This would result in more terror and a consequently reduced level of national security for the US; 2. the US stayed in Iraq, thus exposing its service personnel to more terror. This would result in more terror against US personnel and a reduced level of national security for the US. Brilliantly, with the benefit of hindsight, they seem to have managed both. This argument could have been - and was - made with the axioms the pro-B/BFP people accept. If you try to argue with people from different axioms to theirs, you simply alienate them. How could they possibly understand why I should care about why a few people are being locked up when it might stop other people being blown limb from limb?

{One of the reasons for my fawning fanmail comment was that I'd become so accustomed to making these sorts of arguments that I'd almost forgotten why I actually opposed the damn war in the first place...}

Point two, following on: if you add to the alienation process a tendency to shout highly emotive things such as "Baby killer!" at them, you exacerbate the alienation process. This goes for both sides.

Finally, I can see why you made the time machine comment. But that in itself disturbs me. The current opposition to Bush/Blair foreign policy does sound rather as though it's fighting a battle that was over long ago. This is one of the things that I find distressing - that the opposition fails to make the case that this is an argument about precedent and accountability. I find it phenomenally distressing that no one made a fuss over the acceptance of the Afghan dossier, for example, which seems to have served as a stereotype plate for the whole method of this government. It's a giant epistemological crisis.

Incidentally, I think the damn war should never have happened, but now that it did, the troops should bloody well stay there until things are sorted out. Stop asking other people to assume our risks for us, etc.. You seemed to be co-opting me into the "if only we could go back and change things" group - hence the length of this post.

So, end point, as made, I think, in the post I was commenting on: the good aim is devalued by the bad arguments. Is there any mass forum making the good arguments for the good aim?

And, if that was what you meant by "does the absence of any such group actually imply something", you're as cynical as I am about collective intelligence. And that's depressing.

'Pologies for length (and whisky).

8/27/2005 04:04:00 am  

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