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Open Thread of the Week

by afew Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 11:39:03 AM EST

23/02 - 01/03


Display:
Last week there was a brief discussion about twitter shaming begun by this story.

This eventually prompted a reply earlier today from eurogreen which asked a question that we may as well take all week answering;-

This is rather similar to Charlie Hebdo's situation.

Having a typical print run of 10 000 a week, of readers who know what to expect and how to interpret a cartoon, because they're all on the left and antiracist, they are in a similar position to the woman who makes snarky jokes to her little circle.

Does this mean that, in the modern interconnected world, everyone everywhere must self-censor in case someone somewhere doesn't get the joke?



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 12:34:19 PM EST
One of the things I come back to when I consider this is that one of the reasons most of us don't use words such as "n*gger" or  "n*gro" is that we know that it's offensive. We know that because black people say that they are offended if white people use it, however "street" we might think it is.

So we don't.

It's not that we're being over-sensitive to black people's sensitivities, or being absurdly politically correct; it's just called "being polite".

Equally some of the issues reported in the original article are around the unconscious assumptions of male privilege which can, at times, seem very threatening. They require challenging,  but I doubt that individual shaming-via-twitter should be the first resort.

Yet, when it comes to religious sensibilities, we are, with a certain justification, rather more cavalier. Europe well remembers the hypocrisies and horrors perpetrated by clerics, both recent and historical.  There is little love here for the pretentions and vanities that organised religions like to accumulate around themselves.

But other religions do not share our historical assumptions.

So, to be specific, I understood the ferocity with which Charlie Hebdo attacked Christianity. France is still proud of its revolutionary heritage, part of which demands that its constitutional secularism. Yet it is also  a majority catholic country and so it cherishes its guards who throw mud and remind the priests of their place. And the priests knew their place and left that which was Caesar's alone.

However, when it came to Islam, imo, CH mis-stepped. Immigrants are unsure of their place; they want to assimilate but know they will always be marked out as different. It's bad enough to have the "wrong" accent or even the wrong first language, but to have the "wrong" colour, the wrong "religion", leaves you feeling marked and always uncertain of your place and so you wrap yourself in the familiar for comfort.

CH, too confident that, as socialists, they were not racist, treated the religion of Islam as just another clerical threat and attacked it similarly. With glee and gusto. But that wasn't how it was received within the muslim community. They saw it as an exercise of elitist privilege. They said "we find this offensive" and were ignored. They said " this is blasphemy" and were mocked.

Now I have to ask : Why were their sensibilities lesser than those of black people?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 02:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly because Charlie attacked first and foremost the Islamists and assorted fundamentalists rather than ordinary Muslims?
by Bernard on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 03:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that was CH's intention, but I don't think the muslim community agree that was the result.

After all, if the mainstream muslim community say "this is offensive" and this is blasphemous and insulting to us", you might take it as a hint that your aim isn't as precise as you think.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 03:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could ask this Muslim woman, but she's not considering herself mainstream. Anyway, Charlie is in the business of being offensive, just like South Park is, and the vast majority of their contents is on subjects other than Islam (even though, many of their cartoons found on the web now are about Islam).

Their new issue's cover has been unveiled and, guess what? no Muslim there, except for a DAESH type, along with the Pope, Le Pen, Sarko and others...

by Bernard on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 03:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Non, « Charlie Hebdo » n'est pas obsédé par l'islam
Quatre grands thèmes émergent des « unes » de Charlie Hebdo : la politique ; les personnalités médiatiques du sport et du spectacle ; l'actualité économique et sociale ; et la religion. Sur les 523 « unes » parues au cours des dix dernières années, près des deux tiers (336) concernent la politique. L'actualité économique et sociale vient ensuite (85 « unes »), puis les personnalités médiatiques du sport et du spectacle (42). La religion n'est le thème que de 7 % des « unes » (38). Enfin, 22 unes traitent de plusieurs sujets à la fois : politique et médias (n°919), médias et religion (n°928), religion et politique (n°932), religion et questions sociales (n°917), etc.

In short: religion has been the subject of only 7% of CH covers (38 covers) for the past 10 years (Jan. 2005 to Jan. 2015).
Of which, 21 about Christianity (mostly Catholicism I would assume), 10 about "several religions" and a grand total of 7 about Islam. In ten years.

Usual disclaimer: facts vs. narrative, truth vs. truthiness etc...

by Bernard on Sun Mar 1st, 2015 at 05:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never suggested it was "obsessed" with Islam, although I know that this has been said elsewhere.

Wat I said was that, when it did mention Islam, it did so in a way that, rather than being a specific attack on specific hypocrisies, appeared to muslims as if it was a wide-ranging attack on them.

This, ironically for CH's left wing stance, came over as a privileged Establishment attack on a despised minority.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 01:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's actually bullshit, and entirely indicative of the problem that I posed at the beginning of the thread. On which I haven't seen any discussion.

Muslims have been told by other Muslims that CH attacks Muslims and Islam. So they tell other Muslims, etc. Without anyone either checking or caring if this is accurate. Exactly like the Twitter case.

On second thoughts, it's not exactly the same. Muslims have a principled objection to anyone making any reference to their Prophet which is not reverential. That's the essence of the problem, and the actual content of any cartoon is irrelevant. The question is : should all critical reference to Islam and the Prophet be banished from public discourse?

If so, it should be accompanied by any positive or approving reference to Islam. Level playing field.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 07:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On an issue related to my earlier point, some good news :

Ex-worker welcomes Facebook privacy ruling | Radio New Zealand News

In March 2012, Ms Hammond uploaded to her Facebook page a picture of a cake made by her for a private dinner party for a close friend of hers, Jantha Gooding. Both Ms Hammond and Ms Gooding had recently left NZCU Baywide.

In its decision, the Human Rights Review Tribunal said what would otherwise have been an unexceptional set of circumstances was transformed by two factors. First, the top of the cake had been iced with the words "NZCU F**K YOU". The privacy setting on Ms Hammond's Facebook page meant only those accepted by her as "friends" had access to the photograph.

Second, the Tribunal said NZCU Baywide gained access to the Facebook page by forcing a young employee to provide access to the page and then taking a screenshot of the cake.

That screenshot was then distributed to multiple employment agencies in the Hawke's Bay area by email which, along with contemporaneous phone calls from NZCU Baywide, warned against employing Ms Hammond.

"Privacy settings" notwithstanding, it was of course very silly of her to post a picture of that particular cake on the internet.

But it's heartening to see her former employer fined for their vindictive behaviour : $168,000 (111 000 euros)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 08:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Muslims have a principled objection to anyone making any reference to their Prophet which is not reverential. That's the essence of the problem, and the actual content of any cartoon is irrelevant.

this statement completes the circles to bring us back to my original question; As liberal left-leaning people, we naturally avoid words and statements which black people say offends them because, amongst other motivations, we're being polite.

Yet when it comes to muslims, despite the fact that they say repeatedly that representations of the prophet offend them, yet some think it's perfectly okay to ignore that and plough ahead.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 12:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn straight sista.

Or, like I said, ban any reference to Islam in public discourse, not just negative references.

And Voltaire can get stuffed, of course. Let's just turn the lights out.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 12:32:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A more rational response :

There are newspapers and magazines in France that print lies, distortions andhate. They would make my blood boil if I read them.

Should I clamour for them to be shut down? Censored? Should I plead with them to change their ways, to be nice?

Or how about I just don't buy them or read them? Actually, that works pretty well for me. Most days.

Nobody's forced to buy or read anything. If many Moslems are upset about CH mocking religion, that's because they have been goaded into being upset about it, by people who don't want them to be happy living in an open society where opinions may be freely expressed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 12:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don' confuse the issue.

Muslims say that representations of their prophet offends them. That's pictures, not words. Now we can have another debate entirely abut whether such representations are actually forbidden under Islam (quick answer : they're not) or just culturally offensive.

But the quick and dirty takeaway is : Don't make pictures of Mohammed, muslims find it offensive.

Can we talk about islam? Yes, of course. There are lots of books critical  of islam, some are best sellers in muslim countries, eg Irshad Manji's "The Trouble with Islam Today" is a best seller throughout the islamic world,  even if you'd probably not find it, or others, on the bookshelves of islamists.

But don't draw pictures of the prophet

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 01:11:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... at least not this kind of pictures.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 01:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which kind? Give us a complete list of what is allowed and not allowed, and we'll make a law, OK?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 01:54:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm tired of going round and round on this issue. Is anyone interested in the wider subject of self-censorship because of the internet/universal connectedness?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To which the answer is a resounding No, apparently.

Have fun discussing Charlie Hebdo again, without me this time.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:03:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm interested, in theory, but rather fear what the discussion would become.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:11:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that wuold only work if we exclude Mohammed from the discussion.
by IM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:46:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
?
I didn't know he had taken part.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:53:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
as object of the discussion
by IM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:02:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if you find another way of hurting people's feelings easier to discuss, suggest one. Discussing emotional injury always tends to be emotionally ... difficult, to put it mildly.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once again - you only seem to care about the feelings of religious people.

You appear to be perfectly fine with religious people hurting the feelings of non-deists, of children who aren't yet deists, and with non-deists hurting the feelings of other non-deists.

It's impossible to take any of your arguments seriously while you're being quite so obviously biased and selective about this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:47:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to say that the feelings of non-religious are hurt by anybody, you should argue it, and state by whom, and in what way the campaign against Muslims helps your aims. I am fed up with dark allusions. Which "religious people hurting the feelings of non-deists, of children who aren't yet deists, and with non-deists hurting the feelings of other non-deists" are you talking about? Spell it out, instead of making allusions.

Are you trying to abolish the right to practise a religion? You sometimes sound as if you do. If so, shouldn't you state your aim openly.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 07:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under what logic is engaging in satire a capital offence?

And why should people (or cultures) who hold to such logic be respected?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't care what CH or anyone else does with the terrorists who think that, but it is not the point: CH insists on insulting Muslims via insults on the prophet they hold dear. To be clear, these Muslims in their overwhelming majority condemn killing so-called or real satirists. You still don't want their voices heard. You even smear them with allusions to cultures that "hold such logic".

The "logic" of these particular terrorists is not particularly enticing for Muslims, with only few exceptions. The only argument of Al Qaeda's recruitment department is a non-Muslim culture that holds their Muslim minority responsible for the terrorists' crimes and punishes them for it, and deepens the persecution. So congrats, you deserve a medal from them.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:02:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to say that the feelings of non-religious are hurt by anybody, you should argue it, and state by whom

My feelings, and the feelings of many women I know are deeply offended when we see a woman wearing a niquab. And don't go telling me that it is only a way to dress oneself. Wearing a niquab is a political/religious statement that is perceived as insulting by women and men who consider gender equality as an eessential value.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 12:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what message you want to give with those shoes of yours, but it hurts my feelings. Unless you give me and everyone else to decide on them, youdon't have the right to decide on my clothes or those of the woman with the veil.

That was one in the series of... oh well. Seriously, why do you think you can order the woman in the veil around, but she not you?

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One, this is of staggering bad faith. The Niqab really is not just a way to dress oneself, it is a morality statement.

But even ignoring that: so then it is fine to insult Melenchton, but not to publish a drawing in a satirical magazine you are not forced to read. And that is not religious priviledge. Wow.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The message is very clear. You asked for examples where the non-religious are offended by somebody, and I provided an example.

And you are dishonest: I did not "order the woman in the veil around" I just said I and many others were offended by the display of a political statement on the submission of women to men.

Now, it's interesting: you say that the mere fact that I mention a situation where I and others are offended hurts you?


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:02:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to say that the feelings of non-religious are hurt by anybody, you should argue it, and state by whom, and in what way the campaign against Muslims helps your aims.

There have been cases where religious observance has been cited as reason for denying life-saving medical interventions to minors.

In most countries the courts tend to take a dim view of that claim. But the fact that the social services even have to take the case to court is a startling symptom of how entrenched religious privilege is. A secular parent who denied their child life-saving medical treatment for no reason at all would be contesting charges of criminal neglect, not merely unfitness to serve as a parent.

The example is extreme, but instructive in that it provides a clear-cut case of legally enshrined religious privilege. If you believe that this sort of legal privilege can continue to exist outside a widespread socially conditioned privilege, then I suppose you also believe that institutionalized racism in Mississippi ended with the abolition of the Jim Crow laws.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 02:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have there been such cases? Where? Parents taking strange decisions out of strong convictions are a problem, but I am not aware that religious convictions enjoy a privilege compared to other convictions. The limit between the right of parents to decide for their children and the right of the state to intervene in the interest of the child is difficult to draw. There is constant debate about it. As a foster mother I take a keen interest, but I don't know of many cases as you describe here, where religion plays a role. There was the circumcision thing (that of the endless thread on ET), where the law has been altered to make sure that circumcision of boys for religious reason is something the parents can decide. A bit thin for your claim of "religious privilege".
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Have there been such cases?"

Oh, absolutely.

"Where?"

Well, for instance, right here in London, in my local medical practice. A doctor and a nurse were forced to see a baby bleed to death because the Jehovah's witnesses parents refused the blood transplant that would have saved him.
The law prevented them from doing anything. Because religious privilege.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then the Brits should alter their laws, and quickly at that.

Here an emergency decision on replacing parental consent on transfusions takes a few minutes and is done by telephone, and that's how it should be.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:38:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But tragically, religious privilege is quite deeply entrenched in British law. Every country is different in that respect. In France, for example, which sometimes prides itself in having wiped it out, we have the special case of the German provinces, Alsace and Lorraine, where the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy, but not the Muslims, are paid by the state, which is probably Bismarck's fault. But the principal example is the outrageous privileges accorded to the Catholic church. I am on record, on this site, on numerous occasions going back several years, of advocating a level playing field in this respect. This would cover removing the outrageous obstacles put in the way of every Moslem congregation that wishes to establish a mosque. It would also cover putting under-used Catholic places of worship, of which there are literally thousands in France, at the disposal of Moslem congregations that might wish to use them.

I don't expect you to remember this, of course. It will presumably slide off your mind this time too, like water off a duck's back, because it doesn't fit with your carefully-constructed mental image of me as an angry Moslem-basher. I feel pity for you and your closed mind.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 03:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All these various subsidies to certain social clubs - only the ones that believe in sky fairies - seem to me insane.

There aren't any fairies in the sky. If folks want to get together and imagine there are, whether a Star Trek fan convention or the idiot children of Abraham, let them. But don't ask me to pay for it.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 05:17:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that. Not a case of parental consent for a child, though. Abortion legislation fucked up because the Church wants it, and all hospitals too scared to see that it was not even a case of abortion.

That's exactly the sort of position of power that I attack too, though. My question was about feelings of the non-religious, which Jake said were injured by the religious, and if a campaign against Muslims helps...

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... a campaign against the non-religious helps even more?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:59:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I said religion enjoys a position of privilege, and that profaning sacred symbols and tearing down sacred taboos is useful in challenging that privilege. They are useful in challenging the privilege because they make it visible.

You're the one who wanted to make the exercise of religious privilege about hurt feelings. Which is about the least pernicious exercise of religious privilege making the rounds.

But of course it does exist. To take just two fairly banal examples, many religious people will offer their prayers in place of their sympathy, and many religious people will be offended - not merely surprised, actually offended - if you do not join them in saying grace at the dinner table.

(Yes, yes, #NotAllBelievers do that. In the same way #NotAllCops practice racial profiling, and #NotAllMen cat-call women.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 02:48:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"...many religious people will be offended ... "

nonsense. You are fantasising all the time. You are painting a picture of religion that has nothing to do with religion. I am a lot older than you and I have never in my life met anyone who sees religion as you claim "many" see it, nor have I met anyone who has even met someone who knows your stuff from hearsay. And this picture that you have made up is your rationale for storming churches and violently keep people from everything that is joyfulness and love and inflicting hopelessness and greyness on all of us. Thank you for reminding me that even in our hopeless era of a rightward shift that will kill most of us by starvation, homelessness, and denial of health care there is something worse: the left. The left that cannot keep the sectarian and totalitarian segment in check. Anything, virtually anything is better than seeing you and your ilk anywhere near power.

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:09:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Enough, everyone. Either work out where exactly your assumptions differ or just stop this discussion. Much more heat than light at this stage.

There are probably some interesting differences in assumptions about the universe here (beyond the existence of the supernatural) but arguing about the conclusions built on those assumptions is getting no one anywhere.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:16:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about the giving babies herpes by circumcision? One of many stories:
The deal scrapping the metzitzah b'peh (MBP, the direct mouth-to-bleeding penis sucking done by many haredi mohels after cutting off a baby's foreskin) informed consent requirement depends completely on haredim cooperating. There are apparently no penalties at all for haredi rabbis and others who fail to comply. MBP has killed hundreds if not thousands of children, and some of these deaths are actually documented in rabbinic sources.
I can't describe this as DeBlasio surrendering to pressure, as he basically promised them to scrap Bloomberg's proposed (already very weak) laws in order to get elected.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:06:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No fair dragging the Americans into a discussion of religious privilege. That's just shooting fish in a barrel.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:14:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's your own framing of the issue. The way  see it, you have completely ignored the wider issue brought up by Helen.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, no. Helen sent us off on a "Charlie Hebdo" tangent, to the detriment of the stated subject. We've done that one before, and I haven't seen anything new here.

The plaintive "why can't everyone be nice" theme has been played before. If it's supposed to mean "yes, we must all self-censor, all the time", then she ought to say so.

Or has Helen brought up a different wider point that I missed?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:56:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, she has.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:09:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. QED.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
Now I have to ask : Why were their sensibilities lesser than those of black people?

Is this it?

Well, it leads directly to another go-around on the CH issue, which is why I initially disregarded it. But I can point out one rather obvious reason, if you like.

(I reject the equivalence made between insultins ("n*gger", "queer" etc) and satirical cartoons involving a religious figure, so I consider the issue is badly framed. But I'll leave that aside, and address Helen's question narrowly.)

* Unlike skin colour or sexual orientation, for example, religion is a chosen, rather than innate, characteristic.
I am certainly capable of feeling personally affronted when ideals I believe in, or my political party, are attacked. By analogy, I can certainly empathise with Moslems who feel affronted by cartoons. However, in my calmer moments I can see that this attitude on my part is unwarranted, and it should be possible to participate in a debate of ideas or beliefs without feeling attacked, when no personal attack has taken place. This distancing is, in my opinion, absolutely indispensable if one is to engage in public debate. One needs a certain amount of humility in order to participate in a pluralist society.

  • It may be argued that Islam is an inherited, rather than a chosen, characteristic. This is officially the case in a large number of countries. If this were to be argued in a European context, it would certainly be problematic in itself.

  • Shall I go on?


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 12:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It may be argued that Islam is an inherited, rather than a chosen, characteristic."

de facto, yes. 85% or 90% or whatever muslims are muslims, because they inherited it. Like most religions.

by IM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 12:53:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So apparently it's fine to inflict a belief system on children without giving them any freedom of choice, but it's not fine to draw cartoons that may not be entirely polite about this fact.

Well - who knew this is what being progressive is supposed to look like?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 01:18:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Oatmeal puts it best:


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 01:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not fine, just a fact. religion is inherited, like the rest of culture.
by IM on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:01:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is parental influence, but it remains a choice (hint: if it did not I would stand up to loudly say grace before meals even in restaurants).

In cases where it does not, we are in the presence of child abuse.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sure, ba people leave theier religion and adopt a new one. But if 90% or  confess /practice/semiconfess their religion because it is the religion of their parents, aren't we talking de facto about inherited cultural traits?
by IM on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, we can say that - but it is a chosen inheritance (unless we are in the child abuse situation, like some children of Mormons who are absolutely cut from their family if they so much as take a step aside from the orthodoxy).

The belonging to the group remains a matter of choice, even if the motivation behind that choice is being like your parents. Few people decide to be gay in order to be like their parents.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is a chosen inheritance

Well, it's an inheritance that can be rejected, often at significant cost.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll quote from on old thread:

A swedish kind of death:

One question I thing the debate touches on, is one of tribal identities and choice. Is the identities as for example chess player, communist, lutheran, skin color, gender and sexuality perceived equal when it comes to choice? Obviously, when I put it this way the answer is no but I think a closer look is in order.

Hobbies - if you take up or quit chess, fotball or stamp collecting it is seen as a perfectly normal thing, priorities change.

Politics - you can change a number of times during your life, but not to often or it will be weird. Party can be changed more often then ideology.

Religion - you are generally born into a religion and unless you join another one you are implicitly still in that one (see Church of England Atheist). Joining another religion is supposed to either come from following your subgroup in a schism ("we are staying true, it is the others who are leaving") or from a deep spiritual experience. Joining another religion because they have great looking hats is absurd enough to be featured on Seinfeld.

Gender and sexuality - you are not really supposed to chage, and if you do it is only once and must be explained in terms of being true to who you really are.

Skin color - you are not supposed to change. (See Michael Jackson)

I think that the less choice you are perceived (by society at large) to have over a building bloc of your identity, the less of a fair target it is. I think this is part of what Katrin and vbo is trying to get across. (When it comes to law, I don't think choseness should be grounds for a distinction, I would rather see one based on power and the level of threath posed. But legislation is often not what I think it should be.)

Change vbo for Helen and it fits right in this thread.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 07:49:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Joining another religion is supposed to either come from following your subgroup in a schism or from a deep spiritual experience.

Apart from England, where it's supposed to come from getting your children into a better school.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 07:58:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a Church of England atheist, I seized the opportunity of a recent visit to London to attend mass in the mother church : Westminster Abbey. The Anglican church had always seemed vaguely soft-protestant to me. I don't believe I had ever attended mass before, outside of endpoint or joining ceremonies.

Well, to be honest, I wouldn't have done it spontaneously. I accompanied my partner, who complains that she never goes to mass any more since we met (not my fault, but never mind).

So there we are, at 8 on Sunday morning in the rather chilly abbey. The priest is a woman, which I find encouraging; I eagerly anticipate, if not a progressive sermon, at worst a middle-of-the-road one.

Nothing of the sort. Heavy-handed and sectarian, decrying followers of false religions, and then she urges us to pray for the souls in Purgatory!

What I wanted to do then was to stand up and bark "Purgatory! Bloody hell!" and stalk out, loudly declaiming "Purgatory is an interpolation from the Dark Ages, designed solely to enrich the clergy".

... I didn't, of course. It would have embarassed my partner. And I would have missed the ritualised cannibalism at the end, which I enjoyed (the wine was quite good).

So there you are. True blood will out. Hereditary Anglican atheist, sure. But Low Church.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't know purgatory existed in anglican theology.
by IM on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And "mass" is supposed to be "Holy Communion".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:29:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I kneel corrected.

Seriously, if I'd known it was going to be a Catholic service, I would have chosen the nearby Westminster Cathedral instead. I rather like its aesthetics : though still unfinished, a hundred years or so after its consecration, I find the neo-Byzantine style quite appealing.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:49:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither did I... not that I'm an expert, I never went to Sunday school... but... Bloody hell!

Seriously, if any Anglican minister talked about purgatory in NZ I'm pretty sure they would be shouted down by the congregation. That sort of stuff was the preserve of those Catholic weirdos. A moderately-persecuted minority, in the old days.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And often chosen at significant cost.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That too - though I'm not sure there's generally much cost in failing to repudiate the faith of your fathers.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:13:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A huge opportunity cost, surely.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:32:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah perhaps this can be an interesting line of discussion.

De facto, indeed. The question becomes : is this OK or not? Should Europe adapt in order to accept the postulate that Muslims can't help being Muslims, because they were born that way. Like blacks or homosexuals etc.

That would indeed require an adaptation of rhetoric, and it might then be said that Muslims as such, are not a legitimate target of satire (as are Greens, FN, UMP, Catholics etc) but must be respected in their innate identity, as must blacks, homosexuals etc.

I am a million miles from accepting the postulate, however.

In Morocco or in Lebanon, people are born with a religion. They can change it, in theory, through an administrative procedure. According to one's religion, different rules apply. One cannot marry someone of a different religion. One cannot have no religion.

Is this the sort of society we should be aiming for? "Separate but equal"? Should we modify our habits and institutions in order to accomodate Muslim requests for different treatment?

Or should we be working for a transition towards pluralist integration?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 01:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although one's religion is not always a matter of choice, I don't agree that only "inherited" parts of one's personality deserve respect, not chosen ones, or those in between (how people identify in terms of "race", colour, sexuality or gender is not entirely inheritance either). Why does that matter? Nothing what you said has brought any answer to either my or Helen's variant of the question.

Your closing sentence is surprising: you didn't come across as someone who values--respects--plurality. I thought you claim the right to insult people and to make them feel bad. Not my idea of plurality.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 03:23:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
Although one's religion is not always a matter of choice, I don't agree that only "inherited" parts of one's personality deserve respect, not chosen ones

Fair enough. Does that mean that you are also opposed to satire which targets Greens, FN, UMP, or Catholics?

Or only Muslims?

(You will note that I am no longer responding to any of your personal insults against me. It just uses up energy needlessly.)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:11:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not aware that I insulted you. As to your question: satire against parties hardly hits anyone's personality. You conceded that most Muslims see the cartoons that you defend as exactly that: an attack on the emotional core of their personality.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:10:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't see any insult. Reflect again on your last two posts to me. Goodbye.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, by way of illustration, just because eurogreen is leaving in a huff doesn't mean Katrin needs to curtail her speech.

That doesn't prevent us from lamenting the high heat-to-light ratio in this thread.

</snark>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only guess. You mentioned plurality. Apparently for you it is plurality if a persecuted minority can be mocked, and it is an attempt of censorship to criticise that behaviour? And now you are very much insulted because for me plurality has a different meaning.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if you would restrict your argument to the case of persecuted minorities, you would have an actual argument worth taking seriously.

But you've repeatedly played a bait-and-switch wherein the protection of a persecuted subordinate group suddenly switches places with defending the privilege of an oppressive dominant group.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 01:57:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You point out a great and common confusion. Right now, there are very loud voices in the US claiming that the legalization of gay marriage amounts to, is, persecution of Christians. With voices louder than Bibi, they foresee Christians imprisoned and put to death in the US. And millions believe it. This despite the fact that in most of the country it is nearly impossible to attain political office without being Xtian or Jewish. (Hawaii is the great exception. Last year, its congressional delegation consisted of 2 buddhists, a hindu, and a jew.)

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 02:17:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, and here in my church it is rightly seen as un-Christian NOT to have gay marriage. Are you against religion, including gay marriage? Or are you against marriage laws that exclude gays? I don't know what you are arguing with your example.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:47:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am simply saying that many people and groups are subjectively convinced that they are persecuted minorities when they are neither. And then seek to make hay out of that claimed status. Victimhood is a status that everyone seems to want to claim with or without merit. This is a disservice to those around the world who really are persecuted whether Christians in this caliphate or albinos in Tanzania.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what has your example to do with Muslims in Europe, particularly in France, who are victims of Islamophobian legislation, of humiliating cartoon campaigns, of violent attacks and murders, of arson of mosques, of scapegoating, of threats of expulsion? Are you aware that France has a wave of such attacks, and so have wide parts of Europe? European Muslims (North American ones too) are a persecuted minority and very much in danger. There is no protection for them, but plenty of irresponsible scum campaigning against them.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:51:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if your principled stance against profaning religious symbols is born of a desire to protect persecuted minorities...

... then why do I remember you defending the persecution of activists who profaned a temple of the de facto Russian state religion?

Is defending the powerless from those in power only worthwhile when the powerless happen to be religious?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am completely disinterested in what these women do elsewhere, but if they are in a church they can abide by the rules of that church.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:23:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is going to be a very long thread...
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:24:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I am sure you will extend this same expectation to a sit-in action against any other commercial establishment has publicly expressed homophobic views?

Or are you arguing that we should extend particular deference to large business concerns just because they come wrapped in a pre-industrial mythology?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you have understood me well enough, even if you don't want to admit it.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have understood that you are willing to argue that an organization with a turnover that compares favorably to that of a small oil driller should be exempt from a form of protest that you would (I hope) defend the propriety of were it to happen to, say, an Arctic drilling rig.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps my comment was misplaced; perhaps it was inappropriate. If so, I apologize.

I am acutely aware of the attacks on muslims - and even Sikhs, Lebanese Christians, and ethnic Tamil friends of mine (Methodists, as it happens) who apparently look to certain idiots as if they must be "ragheads" -  in the US. There have been unfortunate incidents 20 minutes from my house.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No need to apologise. And I am glad that for the first time on this thread I think, there is acknowledgement of the danger Muslims (and other minorities) are in.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:27:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you'll find Islamic countries have plenty of internal religiously sanctioned violence of their own to deal with.

You don't seem to be as bothered about that, for some reason.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, for some reason. The reason is that I am here, not there. I live in Germany, and I vote in Germany.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:30:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the victims of religious persecution in the Middle East are deeply impressed by that argument.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you hold me responsible for it? Or European Muslims? Are you saying that Muslim fellow-citizens are not entitled to rights because in the Middle East there is  religious persecution?
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm saying that I find it self-serving and morally suspect to ignore such serious rights abuses whenever it suits you to.

You certainly haven't done a good job of elevating your argument to a comprehensible moral principle.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is more then a bit bigoted to hold muslims all over the world responsible for persecutions in countries they never set a foot in.
by IM on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's no less bigoted to pretend that serious human rights abuses in one county are utterly irrelevant, while minor civil rights questions - hardly exclusive abuses, in fact - are infinitely more significant.

You know, organisations like Amnesty don't say - hey, let's ignore that public flogging of a blogger. It happened in Saudi Arabia, so why should we care?

Is that even a moral position? It doesn't seem moral to me - it seems utterly monstrous and unforgivably biased towards a religious justification for violence and horror.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's no less bigoted to pretend that serious human rights abuses in one county are utterly irrelevant,"

Two wrongs don't make a right.

"You know, organisations like Amnesty don't say -"

The position of amnesty is that human rights abuses everywhere should matter to everybody it is not: muslim have special obligations for the deeds of every muslim worldwide.

"What about Saudi-Arabia?" is just what aboutism of the cheap sort.

And yes, it is irrelevant. Can I infringe on the civil rights of a saudi arabian permanent resident or a citizen of saudi-arabian descent because of something happening in Saudi-Arabia?

No, of course not.

by IM on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More dark allusions. Give examples when you accuse me!
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here we have a prime example of conflating the efforts to create a safe space for a persecuted group with a general appeal to respect the mores and sensibilities of anybody, oppressed and oppressor alike:
I don't understand why you are in the habit of drawing (or defending drawings) that denigrate what human beings hold dear. And why you call not doing so self-censorship. Is it self-censorship not to say "hey nigger" when you see a black person?

Though this is an admittedly imperfect example, insofar as the switch is stated prior to the bait.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was my variant of Helen's question which started the thread. You have an issue with it. Thanks for letting me know.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have an issue with conflating the demand for protection of an oppressed group with the demand for protection of a privileged one.

For the same reason I have an issue with conflating gay pride and white pride.

If you want to restrict your argument to purely being a "safe space for Muslims, closet racists racialize Islam," then we can have a reasonable discussion about where going after Wahabbist freakshows ends and violating safe space begins. That's a conversation reasonable people can have.

But clutching your pearls at the thought that a dominant religion might be forced to relinquish its one-sided demands of reverence? No, that's not a conversation I'm willing to entertain.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:16:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I have an issue with conflating the demand for protection of an oppressed group with the demand for protection of a privileged one."

I am not doing that.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, good, so you agree that we can go after Christian churches in Europe with the same tactics and aggressiveness that we go after any other evil multinationals?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"satire against parties hardly hits anyone's personality"

I find very little to distinguish in nature the adherence to a religion and to a political party, so why would satire directed at a party be OK but not at a religion?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:44:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you imagine that perhaps the adherents of a religion might talk satire of that religion - which is an essential (if deluded) part of their identity -  a little more personally than members of a political party even if you can't tell the difference?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that's a reason to make satire a crime?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<whoosh> No? Might be a reason for care and restraint. Otherwise known as "self-censorship.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:25:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not if you're not a fan of religion in the first place.

Let's be honest here - the onus on tolerance is entirely one way.

We already did this in the UK decades ago with Life of Brian, Last Temptation, and Romans in Britain, all of which utterly outraged the feelings of various Christians, for all the usual reasons.

And all of which proved conclusively that it's never really about morals - it's about power.

Claiming that you have the moral right to shut down the satirical expression of someone else's low opinion of your religion on the basis of hurt feelings is simply a blunt-edged political power play - no more, and no less.

And like all political power plays, is deserves to be questioned and - if possible - stopped dead.

Because if that doesn't happen, you can easily end up with something like this news story.

And that's really not a good place to be. (Although to anyone who knows anything about the history of religious rhetoric, it's - sadly - not exactly surprising. Not even today, and certainly not just in Muslim contexts.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 11:10:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:30:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's unfortunate for your position that you appear to consider religiously sanctioned rape or violent death by flogging to be a strawman.

I don't.

Clearly that's where our ethics differ.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And surely your ethics would demand that you back up such a disgusting accusation, eh?

Not holding my breath, though.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And who is suggesting such a thing, eh?
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people who kill for it do.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:42:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CH is not attacking them. They are attacking Muslims.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You keep repeating this lie. You can't make it true.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:15:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not a lie. You leave the definition of Islamophobia and racism to the perpetrators and disregard what the victims say.  
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:20:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you are leaving the definition of religious privilege to the perpetrators, and disregarding what the victims say.

You need to stop doing that.

Muslims require protection in our societies. Religion in general does not.

Which part of this fact is difficult to understand?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:36:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can imagine that many lifelong adherent of a political party for whom it is an essential part of their identity, a much stronger one that their religion would take satire of their party much more personally than of their religion.
I am not proposing that they be allowed to demand that no satire be possible about their party, although I would respect their request to refrain from it during, say, a social dinner together - though I would respect them more for being comfortable with it.

In fact I reckon you can make a much stronger case for taking it personally when the target is your party than your religion. In the case of a party, you can feel that you have a say in what it stands for, whereas religion is about revealed truth dumped upon you.

By the way both are choices with a very strong correlation between the choices of the environment in which you were born, both have strong links to personal values, they really are very close in nature.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we tend to underestimate the personal emotional importance of ideology. It's like religion. Oh, wait...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:36:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
although I would respect their request to refrain from it during, say, a social dinner together - though I would respect them more for being comfortable with it.

I have had uncomfortable experiences with freemasons in that respect... Some things are too sacred to be mocked.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Charlie Hebdo had an uncomfortable experience with muslims, too.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With "Muslims". You mean being protected by Ahmed the policeman?
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:33:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Haha.

No, I mean the the ones whose extreme sensitivity to satire you keep defending.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslims whose sensitivities I keep defending have done absolutely nothing CH can complain about. Some sued--as is their right, even though they lost. Some protested--as is their right even though their voices weren't heard. Some drew cartoons in protest--as is their right, and they were arrested for it.

What you are doing here: blaming Muslims for what a few terrorists did, is exactly what the terrorists intended.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And are you saying that it is not right and proper that they lost in court and their protests went unheeded?

Would your answer be different if Muslims were not a persecuted minority?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Accusations against Muslims tend to crop up and I am emphasising that the majority of Muslims use perfectly legitimate methods of protest. And I said their voices were unheard, not "unheeded". There is no acknowledgement of the existence of protest, there is no discourse what this means. The majority population must now decide how they want to live with the Muslim minority. And, I can't repeat it often enough, this is (by rights) a discourse inside the citizenry. Do you want Muslims to meekly accept their role, and do you believe that they will? Is CH's model of a society really your ideal?
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:11:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was plenty of acknowledgement of the existence of the protest.

Just not of its legitimacy, because it had none.

There was plenty of discourse about its meaning and purpose, at least in the mainstream press I read at the time. And there was no shortage of space devoted in the papers to the utterances of more or less representative representatives of the "Muslim community," so-called.

At least in Denmark, they made their case about as well as you do, and with about as much success.

It did not help matters that the two most active groups in militating for the protests were a sectarian Sunni astroturf outfit and a Wahabbist freakshow. With friends like that...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you're doing is essentially defending blasphemy laws, which don't belong in the 21st century.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am consistently saying that I do not argue a ban on CH's filth, so how can you say I was advocating exactly that?!

I am arguing that reasonable people can refrain from making fun of Muslims, and they can find words of condemnation if unreasonable people publish such filth.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Must reasonable people refrain from making fun of those who kill over cartoons under cover of religion?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reasonable people must defend Muslims against smears such as yours. You are holding Muslims responsible for terrorism. It was men who murdered the cartoonists, man. More, precisely, Frenchmen, such as Eurogreen and Melanchton.
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reasonable people understand that the whole Mohammed cartoon thing is a reaction against, for instance, the death penalty fatwas against Salman Rushdie for writing a novel. And none of it is intended against muslims as muslims, and as a whole, but against a particular militant, iconoclastic faction of murderously selfrighteous nutcases.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the day when the French ban on veils went into force I watched the relevant twitter hashtag. Every minute new attacks. Women assaulted and their headscarves torn down. They were spat on. Even the journalist with headscarf in her office who had her window open: a man hit her and tore the headscarf away. This is terror.

You really have to decide which side you are on. Well, apparently you already have.

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is going to be like your "hundreds arrested". You'll need better evidence than watching a hashtag one day, to document "every minute new attacks" etc. This is just not true.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:46:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could dig up my own comments here on ET against the French headscarf ban, but why bother? That would be acknowledging your ridiculous insinuation that I am am anti-Muslim bigot.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 09:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've stated several times here my disagreement with that ban. But please, this is what is banned in public:

Not just a veil, and certainly not a headscarf.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But why do you have such a problem tolerating militant selfrighteous nutcases?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:17:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meybe because I am one myself? But at least I'm not murderous.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:19:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"the whole Mohammed cartoon thing is a reaction against, for instance, the death penalty fatwas against Salman Rushdie for writing a novel."

Very much "for instance". It was part of a campaign against immigration. Try this http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/der-streit-ueber-die-mohammed-karikaturen-charlie-hebdo-war.694.de.htm l?dram:article_id=308167

In campaigns like this Muslims=immigrants=responsible for everything that is wrong.

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:39:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My goodness. Charlie Hebdo campaigned against immigration, and I missed it?

... I think I'll leave that one for someone else. Any takers?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:01:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any takers?

No!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Charlie Hebdo is anti-immigration because German racists say so and the German public opinion is too parochial to realize that racists lie a lot?

Is that the same way Syriza is anti-EU because Stasi 2.0 said so and the German public opinion is too parochial to realize that Stasi 2.0 lies a lot?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 01:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes indeed, Frenchmen. And they explicitly evoked their devotion to the Republic and its Enlightenment values as they committed their murders.

And all over France, dozens of Frenchmen were arrested for shouting "Yes, those bastards deserved to die! Long live the Republic!"

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for equating me and eurogreen to the murderers. It is a very subtle argument.

Just to let you know something about me and Muslims: I live and work in a country that has been torn by violence between Muslim and Christian communities. Since 2013, hundreds of thousands of Muslims had to flee to neighbouring countries to avoid being killed by Christian militias (while Muslim armed groups killed a number of Christians). It is still going on in some places.

I have been (and still am) dedicating a big part of my time to bring these communities together, to restore peace and to repair the social fabric, with the help of the local civil society organisations and the community leaders, including religious leaders, among them Muslim leaders. Among the international community, I am one of the more vocal proponents of the return of the Muslim refugees to their communities of origin, and I am setting up programs to help them do so.

One small anecdote: last, year, when there were widespread killings all over the capital city (more than a thousand persons were killed over one month), I got a call from two of my national team members who were Muslims and were trapped with their children in a neighbourhood where Christian militias were going door to door to kill all the male Muslims they found, including the children. I took my car and went to help them escape from this situation and bring them to a safe place (my office compound) where they stayed for months. Until today, they say I risked my life to save theirs and their children's.

So, go on insulting me and telling me I am anti-Muslims.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:07:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to be perfectly okay to to equate Muslims (the people whose right not to be insulted I defend here) and "those who kill over cartoons under cover of religion" as Migeru did, but you protest against my pointing out that the murderers belong to the group "Frenchmen" like you and Eurogreen. How very odd. Even more odd, you don't protest against my pointing out that were men.

And why oh why is it okay to use "Muslims" for them, but not "Frenchmen", eh?

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're saying I equated Muslims and the murderers, which is a blatant lie.

By the way, you do not defend Muslims, you defend your position on a specific issue. And you do not hesitate to lie and insult to defend your position.
 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:37:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently you can't even be bothered to read what you are complaining about. Quite symptomatic for this topic.
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:49:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think you bothered to read and try to understand my post, either. You just reda the first sentence. Quite symptomatic of you.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"So you're saying..."

No, I am not, but that won't interest you.

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 10:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but that won't interest you.

Indeed, given your repeated, deliberate lies.

End of debate.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:24:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice example of projection.
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:59:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
free-masons are fair game; they rule the world , after all.
by IM on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I have know members of the communist party not very tolerant of satire about their party, which was a significant part of their identity. Fortunately, they were not in power...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:11:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Should Europe adapt..."

The Muslims we are discussing here ARE Europe.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is neither here nor there. If the ideas they advocate are bad, then Europe should not adopt those ideas. If the ideas they advocate are sound, then Europe should adopt those ideas regardless of who is advocating them.

The mere coincidence of both of us being European is not an argument for or against secularism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If someone advocates nuclear power you do not frame it as "Europe adapts". You accept these people as fellow-citizens who belong to their country as you do. This is not the case when Muslims advocate things. Then they are told that they should go "back" if they want to wear what they want or if they want religion classes in school, or if they want superior right for men over women.

Their demands can be sound or stupid or whatever, but they are the demands of Europeans.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 03:40:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we to understand that you believe that European countries should indeed adapt their laws, morals, and cultural practices in order to accomodate the type of distinctions I outline? It would be helpful if you would clarify your demands.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 04:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:03:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every European has the same right to make demands on laws, morals, and cultural practices. There is no question of outsiders making demands on Europeans, and Europe refusing to adapt. Your framing is othering Muslims. Come off it.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though it comes with the addition: when demands are in discord with, say, constitutionally defined rights, there is no reason whatsoever to give in to such demands, and there certainly does not exist an obligation for anyone to take such demands seriously.
by Bjinse on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our constitution has been altered at least 50 times since 1949. Are you suggesting that the advocates of these changes are un-European, probably disguised Muslims, and that we can get rid of them somewhere?
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:13:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly. But the onus is on the person or group wishing to change the status quo to formulate the changes they desire. I have been trying to engage a dialogue as to what changes might be desirable in order to facilitate the adaptation and insertion of Muslim Europeans. You seem to be dodging that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could start by refraining from humiliating them with obscene pictures of the founder of their religion. If you really try to "engage a dialogue" it is unwise to engage in hostilities at the same time.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Full circle...

Remember, you are responding to my question :
eurogreen:

Is this the sort of society we should be aiming for? "Separate but equal"? Should we modify our habits and institutions in order to accomodate Moslem requests for different treatment?

So the very first, highest priority change to French laws/customs/habits/institutions (strike out that which does not appeal) that you would like to see, in order to accord Muslim citizens the rights which, you postulate, are currently unjustly denied them, is to stop publishing caricatures of the Prophet.

Since we've already discussed that issue quite extensively, perhaps we could move to some other changes you think Moslems might like to see.

To make it easier, I'll make a starter list, of elements of Moslem cultural practice which are codified into law in various places. Most of them have also been demanded, explicitly or implicitly, by certain Moslems in France in recent years.

  • Should Moslem fathers be given explicit authority over their families?
  • Should Moslem women be forbidden to marry outside their religion (or, soft version: should the permission of their father be legally required?)
  • Should the right to vote be abolished for Moslem women, and should their husbands be accorded two votes?
  • Should all contracts engaged by Moslem women be legally subject to the approval of their husbands?
  • Should Moslem men be able to choose which medical personnel attend to their female dependants?
  • Should Moslem men be authorised to undertake all legal and administrative proceedings on behalf of their female dependents?

Obviously, it's very difficult for a non-Moslem to distinguish between core Moslem values and backward cultural practices, all the more so when there are widely differing opinions on the subject within the Moslem population in France. Logically, there has to be some mutual give and take in order to find a model that works. But restricting ourselves to the issue of caricatures isn't going to help us understand how we can progress together.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:10:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is despicable. The lowest of the lowest. You keep identifying Muslims with the reactionary regimes that colonialism created for the benefit of the west.

I have already told you the demands: stop othering Muslims. Stop making them second class citizens, who have to assimilate. They are citizens who have all the right to shape state and society like anyone else.

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you'll find that most of the codified religious practices of various countries which I have evoked derive from Ottoman empire laws and practices.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:27:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as, presumably, this?



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:33:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it's obscene. Can't you see the cock and balls? And the mouth. It's like a vagina. Sort of.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are much worse. I won't link to them, though. What for? For your enjoyment?
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course there are much worse. But arguably this one is the most biting of them all because there is nothing ostensibly distasteful in it, and so it is intended to bring it home to those who would object that objecting may be perceived as ridiculous by bystanders. And that's the point of satire. But others already said it better earlier:
Sunni Islam's leading body al-Azhar said the new edition does "not serve the peaceful coexistence between peoples and hinders the integration of Muslims into European and Western societies".

Egypt's Islamic authority Dar al-Ifta said the latest issue is an "unjustified provocation" hurting the feelings of Muslims and bound to "result in a new wave of hatred in French and Western society".

...

"My initial thought is that the cover is a near perfect response to the tragedy. They are not backing down from the depiction of Mohammed, exercising their free speech rights. At the same time, the message is conciliatory, humble, and will hopefully reduce the anger directed to the Muslim communities of France," Hussein Rashid, a professor of Islamic thought at Hofstra University in New York told the CNN.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:31:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if you find nothing ostensibly distasteful in putting words into someone's mouth... I am no longer able to even be surprised.
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:42:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If by putting words into someone's mouth you mean the cartoon, every political cartoon puts words into the caricaturised figures in it. Now you're saying that makes all of political cartoons ostensibly distasteful? Give me a break.

Other than that, where have I put words in your mouth exactly?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:51:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Imams put words in Mohammed's mouth every Friday.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 01:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you think of this one, by the way?
A leading Spanish artist faces up to a year in prison after being prosecuted for "offending religious feelings" in relation to a short film he made more than 30 years ago that claimed to show "how to cook Jesus Christ".
In 1978, Krahe and a colleague created a humorous short film called "Cómo cocinar un crucifijo" (or, How to cook a crucifix), in which the Christian symbol was taken apart, buttered, covered with herbs and placed in the oven. A voice recommended leaving it there for three days, after which it would be done to a turncome out on its own.
(El País)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What exactly do you mean by "this one"? The film itself? I find it neither funny nor shocking. A bit boring. The prosecution? I am opposed to it, of course. It is done because the Catholic Church is in a position of huge power in Spain, and in bed (or rather: identical) with the political right, which must be fought by any progressive.

It is not comparable with cartoons humiating a persecuted minority which is facing discrimination by racist legislation (burqa ban, minaret ban, etc) by a racist "security" apparatus, and by more or less organised hordes of neo-nazis and others who attack Muslims and are rarely prosecuted.

It is not comparable either with Jake's plans of making services in churches impossible and leaving no room for religion.

I really don't know why power structures lose all importance here on ET as soon as religion is in the play.  

by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not comparable either with Jake's plans of making services in churches impossible and leaving no room for religion.

That is, uh, not something I have advocated, here or elsewhere.

If you are unable to tell the difference between the Cathedral of St. Peter and the local parish monastery, then you're the one who is losing sight of power relationships because they wrap themselves in the fake respectability of piety.

Here's a hint: Disrupting the service in St. Peters with a display of priests buggering choirboys is legitimate political activism. Doing the same thing in a random parish church is harassment.

(Unless the local priest or leading members of the congregation have abused their position to speak out against investigating priestly buggering of choirboys, in which case fuck them and fuck their feelings.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 01:00:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Legally speaking, there is no difference.
by IM on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 01:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Legally speaking, there is also no difference between Edward Snowden and Kim Philby.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 01:15:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually there is, but ok.  
by IM on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 01:20:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Brooks: I am not Charlie Hebdo (NY Times, January 8 2015)
Moreover, provocateurs and ridiculers expose the stupidity of the fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are people who take everything literally. They are incapable of multiple viewpoints. They are incapable of seeing that while their religion may be worthy of the deepest reverence, it is also true that most religions are kind of weird. Satirists expose those who are incapable of laughing at themselves and teach the rest of us that we probably should.

...

In most societies, there's the adults' table and there's the kids' table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults' table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids' table. They're not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.

Healthy societies, in other words, don't suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect. Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct.

I should think we can all get behind that, and close this thread: Yes, Mohammed cartoons are puerile and offensive, just like a lot of other thing. But get over it. It's just a cartoon. And Charlie Hedbo eats at the kids' table.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hardly at the "kids'table" if everyone is forced to stand in defence of the persecution of minorities. I wouldn't have a problem if CH really was the unimportant outlet for puerile obscenities for a merket of elderlies without any maturity. It is not. It is forced on all of us, which makes it an instrument of power, more precisely of oppressive power.
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:04:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
It is forced on all of us

To exactly the extent that everything published anywhere in the world is forced on all of us. Most of us here are pretty selective as to the published information we choose to expose us to, for excellent reasons.

Provocateurs are actively engaged in picking out published elements that they think might offend somebody, and bringing them to their notice, in order to provoke an angry reaction. That's what ruined the life of the Twitter woman who is mentioned in the origin of this thread, and I stand by the analogy with CH.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:37:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hardly at the "kids'table" if everyone is forced to stand in defence of the persecution of minorities.

Oh OK. The worst terrorist attack in France in decades is commemorated officially, and you find that this is abhorrent because it doesn't respect the feelings of those who might be more in sympathy with the terrorists than with the victims.

It seems you know which side you're on.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:46:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
seriously, I think you've really missed the point. I completely understand that most Moslems are offended by anything which appears to mock or denigrate their religion or their Prophet. Any satirical drawing of the Prophet automatically falls into this category. Do you seriously think that there are satirical drawings of the Prophet that would not be offensive to Moslems? Show me some examples.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:05:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"don't confuse the issue"...

So I must censor both my reading and my writing, because of someone else's censorious religion. This is not a legal obligation, only a moral one, because I'm a nice guy (allegedly).

My point is that a caricature of Mahomet in a small satirical weekly is not in anyone's face. You really have to go out of your way to be offended by it. It's not like, for example, a Gay Pride parade, which is very offensive to many who think that it's God's will that such things should not be.

Once you start making a list of things you should avoid for fear of offending someone, it can quickly get quite long. And if you say "oh but religion is different"... I am very much in favour of religious freedom. Those who would ban satire of religion are, self-evidently, not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 01:54:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand why you are in the habit of drawing (or defending drawings) that denigrate what human beings hold dear. And why you call not doing so self-censorship. Is it self-censorship not to say "hey nigger" when you see a black person? Is it self-censorship not to call your neighbour's mother a whore? Why do you feel that refraining from hurting Muslims' feelings would be self-censorship?

You make it a dichotomy of either supporting this or else banning by law this filth that humiliates Muslims so much. Words of condemnation would be enough, like the condemnation you find for "newspapers and magazines in France that print lies, distortions andhate. They would make my blood boil if I read them."

by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:23:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hang on a minute, you want words of condemnation from me?

But I like drawings which satirize religions!
And I'm not offended by other people saying they don't like them. They are perfectly free to not like them. But not to interfere with my freedom to like them.

(And I'm eagerly waiting for your examples of caricatures involving Islam which would not be offensive to Moslems!)

I condemn the hateful writings in right-wing papers. But I agree with their right to print them (within the law).

I like living in a relatively free society, where it is considered OK to express your opinions freely. Your mileage may vary, but we already knew that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A propos of nothing: the next issue's (next Wednesday) cover (source)

Part of the two thirds (336 out of 523) politics related covers that constitute most of CH themes...

by Bernard on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 03:42:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So no answer to my questions. Well... I am drawing my own conclusions. And I don't like your idea of what freedom is either. Muslim school children who state that though the insults against their religion does not justify murder, they refuse to take part in the compulsory honour-Charlie-Hebdo-events are arrested. The author of a CH parody: arrested. Freedom of speech is only for those who insult minorities, but not for Muslims. My mileage does indeed vary, and I would be ashamed of myself if that wasn't the case.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 05:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
So no answer to my questions.

... perhaps because they are irrelevant to the subject?

Katrin:

Is it self-censorship not to say "hey nigger" when you see a black person? Is it self-censorship not to call your neighbour's mother a whore?

Irrelevant. Calling someone a nigger or calling your neighbour's mother a whore are examples of seeking to insult  a particular person. This is not in any way similar to an anti-religious cartoon, or to appreciating an anti-religious cartoon (which is my crime, apparently). So I ignored these non-examples.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 06:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only difference is in the number of persons whom you insult. Where is the difference between a person or persons who love and revere their mothers, and persons who love and revere the founder of their religion?
by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 07:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That the particular mother of the insult is not being promoted as justification or rallying symbol for crazy policies.

Pissing on someone's mother's grave is uncouth and uncalled for. Unless that person is Thatcher's son. Same principle applies to religions and their founders.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 08:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You think Mohammed is Thatcher's son? Weird. Then it doesn't surprise me that you find it legitimate to take all Muslims hostage for people with "crazy politics", which is an apolitical term, by the way.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 09:13:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it legitimate to tear down symbols of nativist, revanchist and clericalist politics. Most such symbols happen to be held in sentimental regard by people who do not self-identify as belonging to those groups. That is, after all, the point of wrapping yourself in the flag and carrying a cross: To trigger in-group identifiers with people who should know better.

Now, in practice there is a difference between anti-clericalism aimed against the dominant religion and anti-clericalism aimed against a subjugated religion. For the same reason there is a difference between gay pride and white pride. But your argument merrily skips back and forth across that difference, as if you simply do not make the distinction between "we should tolerate the symbols of an oppressed minority, even if those symbols would in many other contexts be highly problematic" and "we should respect the symbols of all religions."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:09:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not even talking about any symbols, religious or otherwise. I am talking about persons' rights and dignity. So the question is: are you prepared to respect your fellow-citizens' feelings and live in peace with them?

If you find respect for religious symbols wrong, you would have to explain why, by the way.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Respecting each others' feelings is not required to live together in peace.

I find respect for religious symbols wrong because the principal social function of religious symbolism is as cheap in-group/out-group identifiers. And since I find a society ghettoized along religious lines to be an undesirable outcome, I find it undesirable to bestow high social status on religious in-group/out-group identifiers.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:10:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Respecting each others' feelings is not required to live together in peace.

Did you say that? Really?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you only respect the rational parts of someone's personality, or not even that? I can't believe that.

Religious symbols have a group related significance, but they have a personal (individual) significance too. Do you reject that side of them too? Is that true for all smbols a person may hold dear? I am trying to find out how much is left of the persons that you say you want to live in peace with together.  

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - I'm quite used to being called out for being a 'lefty' in various forums, and having all kinds of insults targeted at me.

Do I care? Not really. Free speech often means that opinions are critical, insulting, or nonsensical.

Apparently you believe religious beliefs are so very, very special people who have them should never have to face this in the way everyone else has to face this - and worse.

Unfortunately, it's really not as if religious people have a monopoly on victimhood and persecution in this culture, and everyone else has a happy, shiny, utterly privileged time.

Shall we just ignore that inconvenient truth for the sake of your rhetoric here?

Or - how about we don't?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 01:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You appear agitated. Have I hurt some feelings of yours? Sometimes you give that impression.

As a matter of fact I have not argued that religious feelings ought to be treated differently from other feelings of a person. I have repeatedly used feelings that have no connection with religion for comparison. I have repeatedly used the expression "what people hold dear".

"Apparently you believe religious beliefs are so very, very special people who have them should never have to face this in the way everyone else has to face this - and worse."

I don't know why this is apparent for you. Can you point out where you think I said anything resembling the belief that you describe here? And what makes you think that I was claiming that "religious people have a monopoly on victimhood and persecution in this culture, and everyone else has a happy, shiny, utterly privileged time"?

Both your posts come across as rather aggressive in my view. Do you say I am wrong in seeing them as that? If not, can you explain that aggressiveness? As far as I know I have not done you any wrong that would explain your tone.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 02:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I hold this dear" is not a defence against free speech. We have had people leave in a huff because they were offended that the Pope's opinions were being criticised. We can feel sorry that they were offended and we can feel sorry that they left, but that is not a justification for curtailing speech.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 03:37:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Free" speech doesn't exist. There are legal limits to speech, everywhere. I agree very much with banning hate speech, and I don't think that view is very exotic. And then there are unwritten rules limiting speech that is not civil, and most people adhere to these rules most of the time. And lastly there are certain rules in certain subsets of society, including on ET. Here discussing the topic of limits on speech seems to be taboo. You can enforce such a rule, of course, but it would be silly to do so under the heading of promoting free speech.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here discussing the topic of limits on speech seems to be taboo.
I don't see how since it gets discussed over and over again.
You can enforce such a rule, of course
Concern trolling.
but it would be silly to do so under the heading of promoting free speech
It would be silly, but it isn't done.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then who do you mean when you talk about someone "curtailing speech"?
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
We can feel sorry that they were offended and we can feel sorry that they left, but that is not a justification for curtailing speech.

You seem to have understood the opposite of what Migeru meant. The fact that someone may be offended is not grounds for censorship, self- or otherwise.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:05:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean us not being able to say that the Pope is wrong in his pronouncements because we might offend Catholics. That is spurious grounds for curtailing a debate on ideas.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok. I can't say anything about anyone demanding something on a thread I haven't read. My point is something else, and it has nothing to do with censorship: I want to know the reasons reasons why people want to insult Muslims via their religion. Or why they justify and support such behaviour.  Deliberately insulting people is not something that people are proud of, normally. Especially people who identify roughly as leftists: usually they do not attack vulnerable minorities.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I had to hazard a guess I'd say some people consider certain public pronouncements by prominent members of certain groups to be objectionable. Sometimes, instead of engaging those prominent members in a public debate about their statements, the objecting people choose to satirise.

There is written evidence of this for thousands of years so there's no reason to believe it didn't happen before people bothered to record satire in writing. And there's even less reason to expect it to stop now or in the future.

Now particularise the above to Mohammed cartoons.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you won't get your answers through using blunt frames to hit people over the head with. It's an illusion to think this debate can be held as if universally identical values are discussed; it is the lid of Pandora's Box.

It would help this or any future debate if you (and anyone else partaking) to come to understand what freedom of speech actually (thus also legally) means for all participants involved. That is how people can come to understand (and, on the off chance, even accept) their differences - which is what you ultimately seem to want. Ceaseless bitching about people's own personal interpretations of what free speech should be or what it should be limited to solves little to absolutely nothing. Then again, if people prefer the latter because it's just so nice to hear the keyboard rattle and get all worked up over on-line spats without any additional coffee, then have at it - though I'll be doing other things.

by Bjinse on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:59:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you make me a coffee too?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Not for children is the turkish trank, weaks the nerves, makes you lame and sick, don't be a muselman who is enslaved to that"

out of the mouth of children.

and on topic. twice

by IM on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:16:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know why you keep bringing questions of the law into this discussion, that's why so far I have not answered any of your posts. For me it is quite obvious that the different relevant laws of the different countries involved are not applied evenly, but I am more interested in the underlying attitudes anyway. If a discussion of attitudes does not interest you, why do you keep butting in with dark allusions to different laws and constitutions of different countries? Has anyone suggested to alter any fucking law? Not me: I am just declaring to every Muslim who might be listening that I do not approve of the hype that some call satire. First of all, satire attacks the powerful, not a persecuted minority, who is not even allowed to wear clothes of their own choice, whose mosques are vandalised, whose members are attacked. I extend my solidarity to the minority who is spat on and not to the privileged whites throwing filth at them. I can't help it, if they publish insulting pictures, racist dirt, Islamophobian propaganda, and I say loudly that I dissent, and that I wish more people did.

In short, I am taking sides with fellow-citizens whom several people here do not even accept as their fellow-citizens or their equals. The culture of the land is determined by its population, not by the white part of it! Why do you drone about the law when people drone about Muslims refusing to be lifted to civilisation in the form of laicité?

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:26:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
further debate with you is pointless, particularly when insisting again that your personal opinions should be applied as universal standards. Your opinion, no mater how righteous it may feel to you, about a particular interpretation of what constitutes insult or satire to you is wholly irrelevant. What matters are the principles on which free speech is constructed in different nations. This thread started about a casus in France - but I observe not one attempt to understand France's persuasion on satire, both culturally and legally, as opposed to getting stuck in a quagmire of opinions. As you continue to opine largely on the grounds of personal morality, I wish you a fine debate - but one where I will not continue to participate in.
by Bjinse on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 07:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not "France's persuasion on satire". It is France's white elite's persuasion on satire, and there are protests against it, which you choose to ignore.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 08:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not taboo: just some people are going to get amazingly doctrinaire about it. Actually, it strikes me as one of those issues where the various sides are operating in radically different worlds with very different underlying assumptions (like nuclear energy, as we've found).
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:32:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a conflation of a right to free speech and discussion of when it is wise or useful to exercise that right too.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much worse. This is what we have: People from different nations partaking in a discussion on their interpretation of (their nation's) free speech, whilst disregarding or respecting the how or why their national, legalized set of free speech differs with the one from the other, and doing all this whilst posting on a blog, on the internet.

Epic fail.

by Bjinse on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:47:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I hold this dear" is not a defence against free speech. We have had people leave in a huff because they were offended that the Pope's opinions were being criticised. We can feel sorry that they were offended and we can feel sorry that they left, but that is not a justification for curtailing speech.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 03:38:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you only respect the rational parts of someone's personality, or not even that? I can't believe that.

I respect people for many different reasons. And I am willing to tolerate people I do not respect, so long as they don't behave intolerably.

Attempting to monopolize all aspects of life which cannot be quantified to the precision of three significant figures, and shoe-horn it into their favorite theology, is one of those things that noticeably reduce my tolerance of someone.

Religious symbols have a group related significance, but they have a personal (individual) significance too.

Of course they do. All group identifiers work like that, right down to trivialities like which sports teams you cheer for. Religious symbols really are not special in this, and there is no sensible reason to hold them in special regard.

Group identifiers are, necessarily, a matter of public interest, because social groups overlap within broader society. That overlap means that the mores and rhetoric of one social group affects, and invites comment from, its detractors. This is a perfectly ordinary element of the political process.

Part of growing up into a functioning adult is therefore developing the ability to separate pushback against a tribal identity of which you are a partisan from attacks on your individual person.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Attempting to monopolize all aspects of life which cannot be quantified to the precision of three significant figures, and shoe-horn it into their favorite theology,"

Frankly, I have no idea what you are talking about.

"I respect people for many different reasons. And I am willing to tolerate people I do not respect, so long as they don't behave intolerably."

I respect people even if they behave intolerably. Are you perhaps mixing up a person and a person's behaviour? Or respect and admiration?

"Part of growing up into a functioning adult is therefore developing the ability to separate pushback against a tribal identity of which you are a partisan from attacks on your individual person"

That takes us back to step one: I don't believe that you would insult blacks as a group and demand that single black persons don't take that as an insult that means them personally. In the case of Muslims (and probably adherents of other religions too) you behave differently. I do not understand why, or rather: I do not believe that you are entirely honest when you make it a thing of "tribal identity". I do know that I find your idea of an ideal society (an anti-"tribal identity" society) oppressive, though. If you ever need allies, don't count on me. What worse, I find your ideas in the current racist political climate dangerous. Count me as your opponent then.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:39:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I would not insult a black group identity, for the same reason I would support affirmative action programs if I lived in a country where tuition fees for higher education were a thing:

Because here we are talking about measures which are directly aimed at affording restitution for generations of institutionalized iniquity.

You can make that argument about Islam in Europe (or parts of Europe, depending on what you count as Europe). It's not nearly as compelling, because there really is a difference in the the degree of institutionalized abuse meriting restitution. But you can make that case.

What I find flat out disgusting is that you slide straight from an argument for treating the group identity of an abused group with additional care, into a general advocacy for religious privilege. Religious people, as a whole, are the privileged oppressors, not the oppressed seeking restitution. In Europe and elsewhere.

Pretending that your defense of your own privilege is actually a principled anti-racist stance is a well-worn trope, but not a very convincing one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please point to where you think I had advocated religious, my own or any other privilege. Substantiate your accusation.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:50:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
Calling someone a nigger or calling your neighbour's mother a whore are examples of seeking to insult  a particular person.

Yes, through aspersions to the group who is lending identity to the individual.

I happen to side with both of you on this, and probably disagree with both on other issues perhaps.

In the sense that I think satire a very valuable corrector of smug certainties certain people have adopted as gospel, a category that includes many, many people from all walks of life.

Now comes the hard part... We in europe have chosen laicete, imo justly, as group identity because we value laughter above hypocrisy. We have also chosen to allow millions of immigrants to come live here and practice their freedom of religion, perhaps never considering that chucking a huge swath of poor immigrants down in the unsupervisable peripheries of latge cities to fend for themselves might lead to cultural clashes hard to control. Not hard to predict, just very hard to control.

France is famously welcoming and generous to legal immigrants, many of whom live happily and harmoniously next to neighbours ranging from other faiths to atheists, as Moslems have been able to do for centuries in many lands.

The problem is the illegal immigrants funnelling through Italy and spreading out all over the rest of Europe, some to good ends doing work Europeans would rather not do, like pick tomatoes in the 40C sun for E20 a day off the books.

Some -not most- make it out of wageslave poverty and thinking back on the helloholes many of them escaped from, it is indeed an upgrade from their former lives.

But pretty soon they see how the game is rigged against even poor Europeans, and judge for themselves how their fate is even worse, as they adjust to seeing Europe through the eyes of someone who lives -as best he can- here, rather than some naive dreamer who thought the streets were paved with gold here, (and they are compared with places they're escaping from where the streets are paved with blood.

The problem is in the numbers. If Muslims were in small enough groups to assimilate more easily, and if Europe weren't already on its knees from the bankster bullies, then we could do a good job of blendong them in and eventually after a couple of generations they would learn to appreciate more of our sens of humour, learn to play with irony and satire for themselves and come to realise it serves as a valuable tool against hypocrisy and safety valve for the oppressed, (like Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who feel repressed by the antics of our homegrown religions and other institutions who need to be kept reminded they have feet of clay like the rest of us.

Islam is not a particular problem per se, but strictly - or even semi-strictly- observed and practiced, it is not the happy cultural marriage it has been in the past sometimes with us Europeans. In fact it's coming at a bad time economically, and scuffling natives are all too easy to sway into fascistic parties like Front Nationale, Salvini's Lega, and Golden Dawn, as the so-called Left (sick joke) parties haven't been effective in protecting and supporting their rights and interests.

So they are pissed, and being mostly bears of little brain are readily conflating moderate Islam with the knife-wielding version of modern renegades who have hijacked Islam and are using it to get donations and repay  the West for having drawn those countries' new boundaries against their will way back then.

They repudiate those lines and seek to restore a caliphate, delivering a delicious bugaboo to our media to scare us into hating on anyone but the real agents responsible for this clusterfuck.

Muslims have something we don't... an easily awakened solidarity with billions of others planet-wide of similar spiritual persuasion all feel our western societies are circling Beelzebub's drain morally speaking and have little respect for our 'values' as they see theirs as vastly superior on every level. with the scale of resource rape we Westerners have inflicted on them this last century one can easily conjecture how feeling that way is pretty normal for homo sapiens historically, anyroad the bond of the underdog is what unites them as well as language.

Our moments of solidarity - the crowds in Paris for example, pass quickly and then we mostly all get back to 'screw-thy-neighbour' values we all believe in so damn much, you know the ones like how mafia heroin smuggling profits can now be included international GDP, porn in all hotel room and movies like 'The sniper' being box office smash hits.

It's hard to be a Muslim and not grow up feeling like your religion is a sore spot, something to disavow, but you can't, because Islam is not a religion as we know it, it's much more than that, it's a way of life, an agreement felt and shared by billions of people, growing fast in numbers.

People feel scared of the moral vacuum capitalism creates and cling to religion as a kind of talisman to help them hold steady in terribly troubling times. It's a belief-system with tragic consequences as its founder was no dewy-eyed pacifist, and his followers see no need to be either. Except for a few of the most peaceful ones, most of them when asked to condemn the CH attacks dodge the question because they don't want to say what's in their hearts, that through their eyes if CH had wanted to avoid this they could have quite easily.

I think the problem could be solved through the mosques, Not by building more of them, but by checking very carefully what goes on in them, from the point of view of radical mullahs who get their jollies whipping up the young and the clueless into a froth of martyristic ecstasy.

Islam is not going away, not now, not soon, maybe not ever. We have to come to terms with it, with its allergy to irony, its paranoia, its judgementalism, its treatment of women. It's not going to be easy by any means, but it won't get easier if we don't try to use a little more cultural empathy for their plight. They know they are unpopular with those not persuaded, but I don't feel most of them even think the subject worthy of discussion really, we should _submit like they do five times a day, then we would get it, why its the best best brand of god-bothering around and why it's Allah's will for us all to become moslems willy nilly, fast or slow, the nice way or the not-so-nice.

Kismet.

I haver met really chilled moslems who get irony and don't get het up by stuff like CH, but they are pretty rare, and I would like for them to propagate a version of their religion that would be self-confident enough to know CH meant no serious harm to anyone, how it was just a wind-up, get over it.

You get all kinds, and that's why it's totally unfair to single out Moslems as the problem. Islam is a problem, imo, just as Christianity was before we took away the keys to the state car until they mellowed out enough to have some say in running a society, God knows we suffered enough through the centuries to not want a repeat of that narrowmindedness to work through all over again.  Deja vu, a nightmare we felt we had finally grown out of.

I don't use the word 'nigger' and especially wouldn't in the company of a black brother, because he may be still hurting from sins my ancestors committed on his long ago. The sins of the fathers indeed...

Likewise I think we can hold our tongues and quell our quills when we have millions of people we have invited -well many of them anyway- living right next door who feel ancestral reasons to hate us and the drones we ride in on, and are hypersensitive to anything that can trigger that.

It's called tact, and is the mark of a gentleman.

Lord knows there are plenty of attractive targets for satire in our world without pouring petrol on embers of fires often we lit.

It's basic respect, and we can't very well ask it from them if we don't give it better ourselves first.

And at this point we can't turn back short of kicking them all out and building a wall too high to climb around all of Europe, and that ain't going to happen.

The only things we can do at this point are : a. Stop meddling in their politics and deciding their fate in their own lands, b. engage their youth, embrace them into the best of what we offer before they become jihad-fodder and give them a real stake in our society, and that sure as shit ain't going to happen while the giant screwpress of austerity is inexorably squeezing whole societies into debt slavery. People will become much more generous to our new Europeans and tolerant of their whacky ways if there's some prosperity in the air.

Sorry for comment length...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 07:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a lot of substance there. Also a couple of misconceptions. You are wrong if you identify a "Moslem problem" in France being linked to recent immigration. The great majority of those who are hurt by caricatures of the Prophet (also the majority of the jihadists) are sons or grandsons of immigrants. They cling fast to values some of which are, in fact, incompatible with those of secularised France.

Obviously, there are also plenty who are perfectly well-integrated, while remaining Moslems; they have assimilated the fact that the Islam of their parents or grand-parents, which was expected by those forebears to govern every aspect of their lives, is not a suitable guidebook for living in modern France. They embrace pluralism, freedom of opinion and individual self-determination. They undergo the same secularisation process that our Christian forebears did; this is often accompanied by a fair amount of hypocrisy, as was the rule for our forebears.

And then there are those who cling to to Islam as their whole identity - all Islam and nothing but Islam. Most often they are "born again" like Christian evangelists, often ashamed of the pragmatism of their parents. Sometimes they are "secularised" Moslems who, for reasons of faith and of political identification, move the cursor back towards more strict and restrictive observance (I have experienced this with my in-laws, and I find it distressing).

I can't get around the fact that this is regressive, both for the individuals involved and for society as a whole. I am perfectly aware that an adversarial approach will harden and worsen the problem. However, I am unwilling to see French society regress in order to accomodate demands which are not, in themselves, legitimate. A return to religious privilege is off the table.

One cultural attribute which I identify with Islam, and which, in my experience, is often an obstacle to harmonious co-existence, is pride. The sad fact is that immigrants, outsiders and disadvantaged minorities are faced with all sorts of humiliations. Those who progress are those who learn to grin and bear it. Those who react angrily will be perceived as having misplaced pride, and will not earn respect.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 05:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You equal "Muslim" and "immigrant" and demand that Muslims assimilate into a society that is shaped by first class citizens, those who have a say because they are not othered. I am appalled that you take that for granted. Muslim citizens are your and my EQUALS, and they have as much the right to shape law and customs of their countries as anyone else.

"But pretty soon they see how the game is rigged against even poor Europeans, and judge for themselves how their fate is even worse, ..."

"They" are Europeans!

"And at this point we can't turn back short of kicking them all out and building a wall too high to climb around all of Europe, and that ain't going to happen."

Your Muslim fellow-citizens have as much right to kick you out as you, them. I am amazed to see such stuff here. It explains a lot, though.

"Lord knows there are plenty of attractive targets for satire in our world without pouring petrol on embers of fires often we lit."

Satire kicks those in power, not the powerless.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 09:30:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Satire kicks those in power, not the powerless. "

I don't know how this meme has suddenly taken hold.

Here I look at the Dictionary.com definition of satire (mostly because it was the first dictionary on the google list. The same would happen if you looked at Wikepedia, and then, well, I won't go through every dictionary):

Satire  
[sat-ahyuh r]    

noun  

  1. The use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

  2. A literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.

  3. A literary genre comprising such compositions.

None of the three definitions mention that people have to be in power (which was in any case irrelevant in the context since radical islamists do have an unfortunate power over many muslims).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:49:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The strong making fun of the weak doesn't seem very polite though, does it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:54:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"polite satire" is an obvious oxymoron, for a start.

But the idea that attacking an idea or an institution is, ipso facto, an attack on the individuals who adhere to it, is a common fallacy. You have to actually analyse what is being satirised and in what aim.

Voltaire wrote pretty radical and violent satire against the Roman Catholic Church. Poor downtrodden Catholic peasants would probably have been angry and upset, if they ever heard of him. But guess what : he was right, and he helped ensure that the descendants of those peasants no longer suffer from the moral and economic oppression and predation of that church.

I'm not offering any analogies. Just a historical example to reflect on.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 08:14:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did Voltaire attack the Church or the peasants?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 08:56:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Church, and the clergy of course.

(Why? Is someone accusing someone of attacking Muslims, as opposed to reactionary Muslim clergy or terrorists?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if you pretend for a moment that there's a pile of racists hiding behind anti-Islamic rhetoric because they're not allowed shout "Darkies Out!" any more then you might be able to imagine how attacking Islam can easily end up inflicting collateral damage on  brown people - if only by lending succour to the racists.

And even if it shouldn't I can imagine it making people who are subject to racism and discrimination react as if it does.

Obviously, this doesn't apply in France, where there is no such thing as race, but out here in the less civilised parts of the world it looks rather like more of a problem.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh OK. I thought for a moment you were talking about Charlie Hebdo, and the people who actually read and like it (see original subject of this thread).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:19:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fundamental misunderstanding driving most of the rancour in this thread is that some are incapable of conceiving or believing that there might be anything other than a pile of racists behind anti-Islamic rhetoric.

In practice, it's pretty easy to distinguish between racists/reactionaries hiding behind anti-islamism, and the progressives who are against religion because well... they're against religion, for all sorts of good reasons.

I trust you to distinguish the two easily enough in English. What about the author of Jesus and Mo, for example?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oh um does anyone remember Salman Rushdie?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 09:31:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly superstition.

In the Auto da Fe episode of Candide, absolutely everyone is made fun of.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:16:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's we're talking about making fun of the obligation to submit to the iconoclasm of a different religion.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 10:14:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Satire that calls for buying war bonds is  not Satire. ... The satirist is an aggrieved idealist: he wants the world to be good, it is bad, and now he is storming againt the bad."  The God of Satire

Somehow the purpose or aim of speech seems to be forgotten in this debate. What is the purpose or aim of Charlie Hebdo's campaign? What is the purpose or aim of the pro CH campaign? Whose interests are served? Whose side are you on in a situation of oppression?

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 07:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that, dear, is the essence of your misapprehension of this question. In the face of all the evidence, you insist that CH is a filthy racist paper.

The only explanation I can find is that, in your world view, religion trumps all other arguments.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 08:22:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"... perhaps because they are irrelevant to the subject?"

For you, perhaps. Which I find baffling. You are so determined to hurt Muslims' feelings that you disregard what your anti-Muslim campaign does to the society you live in.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"(And I'm eagerly waiting for your examples of caricatures involving Islam which would not be offensive to Moslems!)"

It would be nice, if at least you read the posts more carefully that you reply to. I pointed out that there is a difference between simply making pictures of Mohammed and making denigrating pictures of him. Many Muslims do not like any pictures of Mohammed, but the controversy is about the denigrating ones, they are the pictures Muslims universally protest against.

by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 05:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still waiting for pictures of the Prophet that CH would be allowed to draw.
(hint : it's a satirical magazine)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 06:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you please stop conflating the opinion that something is a bad idea with the opinion that it should be legally banned? Every time the Mohammed cartoons came up, you did this, although every time I have been involved, I protested it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:10:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're free to insult, though we can choose not to. The tenet of free speech, which I will ceaselessly stand up for, is inherent with the existence of offence.

You're equally free to virulently disagree with eurogreen (or me), and you're even free to condemn him (or me). But you cannot decide for him or me what we should disagree on or what we should condemn.

If you wish to be able to do this anyway, you're either not on the right continent - or you're not holding sufficient power to dominate your will over those of others. Either way, you've reached the end of the line.

by Bjinse on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 04:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am amazed that for you it is "dominate one's will over those of others" when a person rejects policies of humiliating and alieniating a minority. Taking into account that the "freedom" that you value here is one-sided--the victims of your insults are not allowed to return any insults--I think you are projecting.

By the way, it is not true that this is the wrong continent to condemn (and even ban by law) for instance racist speech, as Helen has pointed out. But even if it was: the society of my dreams, that I am prepared to fight for, is not based on the  humiliation and exclusion of any minority, but on love and justice. It is a vital point for me, and apparently you and Eurogreen are my political opponents.

by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 05:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
the victims of your insults are not allowed to return any insults

Has anyone suggested that it is not allowed to draw funny cartoons about atheists, or about Charlie Hebdo cartoonists? You think the playing field is not level? You think the legal system is rigged in favour of CH? (hint : you're wrong)

I certainly am in favour of banning racist speech. Have you ever bothered to examine and understand any of the cartoons you decry?

In the society of your dreams, satire is banned, apparently. In my ideal world, everyone loves everyone, but we're allowed to laugh at each other. I love you, but I find you pretty funny.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 06:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"Has anyone suggested that it is not allowed to draw funny cartoons about atheists, or about Charlie Hebdo cartoonists?"

I don't find CH's gleeful celebration of the mass murder of Muslim Brothers by a military regime particularly funny, nor do I find the parody funny, but yes: it is not allowed to draw above cartoon about Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. The author, a 16 year old Muslim, was arrested. One of many. Freedom is only for those who have your opinion  Don't you pay attention to what happens to the dissenters?

But even if the "freedom" was not one-sided, I do not understand why you find a society ideal where everyone tries to hurt their neighbours as hard as they can. Where people trample on each other's feelings. Total war on anyone. I don't want to ban satire (but satire that clamours for war famously is not satire anyway), by the way. Are you misunderstanding (or misrepresenting) me on purpose?

by Katrin on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 07:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I find the right-hand picture a lot funnier than the other one (I disagree that the left-hand one is a gleeful celebration, however. It's bitter irony, too bitter for me.)

Yes, in the days immediately following the massacres, the police and justice system were very agitated, and had to "do something", so, they made do with what they could find. The kid's satire is legitimate and he should never have been bothered by the police or the justice system -- and wouldn't have been, in a normal period.

The kid suffered no harm; nor, as far as I know, did any of those arrested for inciting terrorism. No human rights outrages there. The French school system handled the whole "minute of silence" thing poorly, poor things : try explaining the concept of "laïcité" to kids who have never heard of it, even though it is a fundamental concept underlying the whole school system. No wonder the kids don't understand the whole school system. Oddly enough, I am more optimistic than I have ever been about that particular system making positive reforms; the minister of education, Najat Belkacem, is the right person in the right place.

Fundamentally, no, the freedom is not one-sided. However, at a time when a couple of thousand French Moslems are in Iraq or Syria fighting for the Prophet agains the Occident, I find the moment is ill-chosen to make such symbolic concessions as refraining from satirizing religion. Such a concession would be seen as a victory, gained by force, by people I don't think you are in sympathy with.

So I'm quite pleased that French satirists have not stopped referring to Islam (for example, a puppet Prophet sometimes comments current affairs on the Guignols de l'Info TV show)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:57:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The kid suffered no harm; nor, as far as I know, did any of those arrested for inciting terrorism.

Aside from, you know, being arrested for no good bloody reason.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 07:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know the details, but the arrests in France that occurred in the wake after the terror attacks, at minimum had the appearance of political hypocrisy and 'setting an example' by the strong state, for onlookers in the Netherlands.

If it's indeed cases justified by 'making do what we could find', it implies the state acted on vindictive emotion, not ratio. That is actually pretty terrifying, when you think about it.

by Bjinse on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 08:02:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the state apparatus was pretty terrified. My hypothesis is that they didn't know whether the attacks would be the start of a spontaneous insurrection, and feared that it was possible. They haven't forgotten the riots of 2005; and given the fairly easy availability of Kalashnikovs and whatnot, they decided to take seriously every excited person who was prepared to say publicly that they were on the side of the terrorists.

This, in the context that there are something like a thousand young French Muslims in the war zone in the middle east. So I don't see any hypocrisy, just a state security apparatus exhibiting state security apparatus behaviour.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 08:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The kid suffered no harm; nor, as far as I know, did any of those arrested for inciting terrorism.

No, wait, you think being arrested like that isn't intrinsically harmful? Really? So long as they didn't beat him up it's ok? Really?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 08:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, actually I think it sucks. I never said it was OK. There was an arrest made, at a sensitive time, on suspicion of incitement to terrorism. No charge was laid. As far as I know, he didn't get his hands broken, he didn't get whipped in public, or summarily executed. There are degrees of harm, although I'm sure he didn't enjoy the experience.

As I have said in this thread, the state security apparatus was scared and excitable.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 09:26:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"AN" arrest made?! It was hundreds of arrests!

http://www.precariouseurope.com/lives/forced-to-be-charlie

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 09:53:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an excellent article, but it speaks of "200 incidents" in which schoolchildren showed their unease or disagreement with the "Je Suis Charlie" meme, not "hundreds of arrests" as you say.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:05:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right. I didn't re-read the article carefully enough. It doesn't give figures how many arrests, how many students forced to leave lessons and so on. It still gives a depressing picture of the pressure to express one opinion only, and that it takes a lot of courage to dissent.

Here in Germany I listened to a short radio programme before that compulsory event, by the way. French employers here had imposed this duty on their employees too, and had announced the names of workers not participating would be noted down. There were no other reports following this up, no statements of trade unions, nothing. I see that as a sign for the totality of the oppression, not for an uncontroversial nature of the event.

by Katrin on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The kid suffered no harm; nor, as far as I know, did any of those arrested for inciting terrorism. No human rights outrages there."

Only brown kids rounded up and arrested. No human rights outrages there. Nothing to see, move along. Don't be too sure that the kids don't understand the whole school system, it is you who doesn't.

"However, at a time when a couple of thousand French Moslems are in Iraq or Syria fighting for the Prophet agains the Occident, I find the moment is ill-chosen to make such symbolic concessions as refraining from satirizing religion."

Hostage taking, in other words. You want to deprive your Muslim fellow-citizens of their rights to punish them for the deeds of "a couple of thousand French Moslems".  

"Such a concession would be seen as a victory, gained by force, by people I don't think you are in sympathy with."

I don't see it as a concession, in the contrary. It would be a demonstration of strength: pitching democracy against an oppressive group that wants to achieve a division between European Muslims and their fellow-citizens, in fact exactly the divide that you advocate.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 09:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
You want to deprive your Muslim fellow-citizens of their rights

I wish you wouldn't do that. I don't want to deprive anyone of their rights.

You assert a "right" to religious privilege. France doesn't do religious privilege.  Those who insist that Islam must, in all countries and all circumstances, benefit from religious privilege, are totalitarians.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 09:56:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assure you that I have no intention to misrepresent you. You advocate lesser rights for Muslims though. You say freedom wasn't one-sided (which I don't agree to) and anyway, in the time of war in Syria and Iraq France needn't be choosy, so it is quite okay to have one-sided freedom. You hold "them" responsible for "a couple of thousands..." who are fighting in Syria and Iraq (where France and Europe started wars, btw.) No political discourse as long as you are not satisfied with "Muslim behaviour".

You fantasise about Muslims demanding privilege while in fact you are exercising your--white--privilege.

How many people had to hide their fury when they had to stand honouring the cartoonists who had insulted them via their religion? How is that not one-sided freedom of expression? People are forced to express an opinion that is not theirs!

by Katrin on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your frame that the tenet of free speech (which is not the same as freedom) rules out a harmonious society is so obviously false that I won't bother about statistics.

Equally, the idea one can built a society of 'love and justice' whilst anyone can personally and whimsically decree what constitutes 'racism' or 'humiliation' - which is what you're doing - is thoroughly misguided and fatally flawed.

You're free of course to attempt to change your own Constitution if you feel it's lacking in love and justice. But you're certainly not in the position of power to decree how the French (or the Dutch) Constitution should look like.

by Bjinse on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 07:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
O come on. We start with human dignity.
by IM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 07:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Dutch Constitution starts with equality.

Free speech comes in different colours, tastes and legalized forms - all largely dependent on cultural and historical values . Insisting that your particular taste of free speech (or Constitution) is better than anyone else's, is neither here nor there.

by Bjinse on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 08:25:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not bad either.

". Insisting that your particular taste of free speech (or Constitution) is better than anyone else's, is neither here nor there."

I haven't done so, but your comment can be interpreted that way.

by IM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:14:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - I find the idea that someone should be offended by satire offensive - just as I find the aura of oppression, sexual abuse, sexual hypocrisy, greed, violence, intolerance, and all the other secret blessings conferred by imaginary deities whenever a critical mass of people get religion to be offensive.

Why should my sense of being offended be less important than that of other people?

Who gets to choose these things? On what basis?

If religions didn't infect at least some people with an excuse for violent and criminal lunacy, if they didn't, as matter of historical reality, correlate with all kinds of horrible things, and if they were, in fact, vastly and unarguably positive, does anyone think maybe we'd see this differently?

To satirise religion is to pour scorn on the horrors it leads to. To defend religion against these - actually quite trivial - attacks is to defend, condone, and appease those horrors.

At the very least it's a failure of reality-based historical learning to accept that there seems to be something of a correlation between popular religion and bad politics.

So no, religious beliefs do not get a pass from me on public satire.

They'll get a pass when they stop being used as a cheap excuse for crazy shit and are unambiguously associated with public and private behaviour that defines the impressive moral high ground they already claim to hold.

You know - just like finance, and aristocracy, and corporatism, and all of that, don't get a pass for similar reasons.

And currently religions clearly aren't associated with those things, in much the same way that mountains don't float in the sky and economists aren't generally generous and altruistic.

When that happens, I'll be happy to support religions being as public as they like. If it happens, I'll probably join in.

But until it happens, I'm really not very likely to change my mind about this.

And no, that does not mean I'm a racist in favour of lynch-mobbing believers, or putting them in concentration camps, or calling them names in prayer meetings, or any other nonsense along those lines. Suggesting anything like that with no basis other than disagreement is exactly the kind of crazy shit I'm talking about.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 04:56:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"But don't draw pictures of the prophet"

So I couldn't draw a comic where Jesus, Mohammed and Shiva team up to fight evil?

That goes much to far.

by IM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 10:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Muslims say that representations of their prophet offends them. That's pictures, not words. Now we can have another debate entirely abut whether such representations are actually forbidden under Islam (quick answer : they're not) or just culturally offensive.

But the quick and dirty takeaway is : Don't make pictures of Mohammed, muslims find it offensive.
"

Stating that a drawing (not even an insulting drawing, by the way) of someone who is not you, is not even closely related to you (and has actually been dead for well over a millennium) is an insult against you does not make it so. That is very different from calling someone a nigger in languages where the word is derogatory.

Asserting the privilege that if a group deems something insulting it should not be done (not merely to them but not at all) has no end to it and is actually totalitarian.
Many men find it insulting that a particular woman would not sleep with them (and sometimes vice-versa, for sure). Somehow that fact does not translate, in our societies, in a moral obligation of any kind because "why do you insist on insulting people?"

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Muslims say that representations of their prophet offends them. That's pictures, not words. Now we can have another debate entirely abut whether such representations are actually forbidden under Islam (quick answer : they're not) or just culturally offensive.
It's not even that simple:
Sunni exegetes or tafsir, from the 9th century onward, increasingly saw in them categorical prohibitions against producing and using any representation of living beings. There are variations between religious madhhab (schools) and marked differences between different branches of Islam. Aniconism is common among fundamentalist Sunni sects such as Salafis and Wahhabis (which are also often iconoclastic), and less prevalent among liberal movements within Islam. Shia and mystical orders also have less stringent views on aniconism. On the individual level, whether or not specific Muslims believe in aniconism may depend on how much credence is given to hadith, and how liberal or strict they are in personal practice.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 06:00:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and it seems that your response to the wider question, "must we self-censor for fear of our words being used against us", is an unequivocal yes?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 12:47:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Muslims have been told by other Muslims that CH attacks Muslims and Islam. So they tell other Muslims, etc. Without anyone either checking or caring if this is accurate.

I flag three issues here:

  1. You condescendingly assume that most Muslims who feel offended can't make up their own mind but do so upon the influence of others. This did actually apply in the case of The Satanic Verses, which 99.9% of the protesters didn't read even in excerpts. But that hardly applies to cartoons.

  2. Offence is in the eye of the beholder. If most Muslims feel attacked, then it is offensive that way, whatever the professed intentions of the authors or the interpretation of others like you.

  3. Later in the discussion, you do actually argue that "Any satirical drawing of the Prophet" would offend "most Moslems". So who is/are the actual target of CH's Mohhamed cartoons now?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 11:06:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I missed this response the other day, and it merits an answer.

  • I do not "condescendingly assume". Remember, CH, until very recently, was a very small-circulation paper. Some may have seen it displayed in news stands, but it was rarely prominently displayed, and generally hidden away among other small-circulation papers. And even then, 95% of CH covers don't feature Islam. So I can confidently say that the great majority of French Moslems were ill-informed about the nature of CH. Of course, many will have seen cartoons of Mahomet (or of Moslem terrorists?) reproduced on the internet, by people whose intention is to rub their noses in the perceived offense against all Moslems, in order to manipulate them into being angry. Hence, you get the common, well-documented objection by Moslem schoolkids with respect to "Je suis Charlie" -- "c'est un journal qui parle mal des Musulmans", which is factually incorrect. So I make no apology in comparing the campaign against CH to the Twitter phenomenon.

  • Indeed, I acknowledge that any satirical drawing of the Prophet would offend most Moslems. My point, which I have made many times and will patiently make again, is that in a pluralist society, we don't all agree with all opinions expressed publicly by everybody else. This is the difference, of course, with a totalitarian society. Notwithstanding the offense given, I assert the right of a satirical paper to highlight certain negative political and cultural aspects associated with Islam. The intention, clearly, is a militant one; it is to provide food for thought for Moslems themselves, in order that they may come to assert their individuality by breaking away from the cultural memes which are satirized. And to work towards a tipping point in which the majority of Moslems will not feel obliged to express offense at the existence of caricatures of the Prophet. Which, I think, most of us would agree to be a good thing.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 04:37:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are civilising the natives.
by Katrin on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 06:18:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French natives, yes. You would prefer that the French republic adapt itself to their ways, without questioning whether they are backward or not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 07:40:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rire et Religion

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 at 11:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslim community has had much the same problem as the Cuban exiles: Way too many of the people who claim to speak for them (and who organize their political action) are nutjobs with strong ties to nasty tin-pot dictators.

In the same way the French secularists have the problem that in the English-speaking world their positions are most vociferously supported by Pegida-style nativist thugs.

I have a feeling this is changing, though. In Denmark, the turning point seems to have been the inauguration of an ecumenical mosque in Copenhagen. That has created a Serious platform for the large non- and even anti-sectarian community. Which seems to have pretty much displaced the sleazy wannabe-Wahabbist astroturfers that used to be the press' go-to source for authoritative opinions on Islam.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 04:18:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about Denmark, but there has also been an issue with media organisations actually preferring to speak to nutjobs in order to generate a clickbait set of quotes.

This has been especially bad at the BBC.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:12:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The same half dozen interrelated representatives of a small number of self-appointed nutso think tanks keep getting trotted here as "balance" against the referendum on allowing same-sex marriage.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 05:07:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I don't feel the immediate need to re-litigate the whole Charlie subject, we've already done it, and it's still too raw.

In fact, my comment was specifically on the subject of published content being taken out of context and trumpeted for large-scale opprobrium by know-nothing me-tooists, and the implications this may have in the future on the way we express ourselves. I'm quite sure that nobody here (including those who made comments about how stupid she was and how she brought it on herself), if they read the original NYT article about her, will truly consider that the Twitter woman deserved what happened to her. Nor will anyone here, whatever they think about how Charlie dealt with Islam, tell us that they deserved to die.

The question of how religious people receive non-reverential references to their religion is only one particular case of a larger problem (the fact that this special case is one of the biggest problems facing France currently is another question, and I would prefer that it be discussed separately).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 23rd, 2015 at 04:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did we possibly reach peak political correctness, given new confrontations?

The conceit of Western liberalism - Asia Times

"I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19-year-old white woman - smart, well-meaning, passionate - literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word 'disabled'. Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

"I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20-year-old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn't a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20-year-olds from rural South Carolina aren't born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

"I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33-year-old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22-year-old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to 'man up' and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don't know how metaphorical language works or else we're bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself."

by das monde on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 07:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, the use and misuse of language to bully people and establish dominance has probably been going on since the dawn of time.

Political correctness is a term generally used by conservatives to sneer at those who try to establish boundaries of language to avoid causing cause offense. Inter-sectionality is an important tool in understanding privilege.

But no language frees us from misuse and bullies will always exploit that weakness. What is needed is sufficient numbers of people to understand this;-



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 02:07:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Abuse of political correctness leads easily to concern trolling. When people can get away with it in real life it's bad enough, but the lack of consequences for one's actions on the internet makes it a major and horrible social phenomenon.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:32:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew - The Aftermath Begins
I don't have any commentary to offer right now. On this blog, we hugely debated many issues surrounding the publication of the caricatures of Mahomet, back in 2006. We went at it hammer and tongs, and succeeded only in ending up angry and in disagreement.

Which apparently we have done again.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 4th, 2015 at 05:08:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:14:29 AM EST
Use the "URL to the Video Stream" on the right hand column here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20150224-0900-COMMITTEE-ECON

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:18:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. Dijsselbloem nails his colours to the mast. Apparently, the Eurozone is a political union, and if any member wants to have its own economic policy, it has to leave.

Which explains why he was so upset at being shouted at by Varoufakis. He's the boss, you see. In his own mind.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 05:09:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 07:23:05 AM EST
Ah, yes :D

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 08:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OT random musing... does Greece have a big organised crime problem? You hear so much about neighbours Bulgaria and Italy, but never(?) about Greece.

I get that the ciggies/gasoline contraband business is biggish and probably qualifies in some respects, but still not enough to be much known about. Was anyone here aware it was such a big problem in Greece?

Seems like legislating against shipping and registration/tax evasion would be going for the bigger fish than what seems more like minnows.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:55:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
does Greece have a big organised crime problem?

Not any more.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 06:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elections have consequences.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 07:59:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to the second volume of Mark Twain's "new" autobiography, I discovered William James' description of his reaction to the 1906 earthquake he experienced when he was at Stanford. I had never thought of expressing it this way, but I immediately realised that this was exactly how I felt during the Morgan Hill one (also at Stanford). Here is the passage
The emotion consisted wholly of glee and admiration; glee at the vividness with which such an abstract idea or verbal term as "earthquake" could put on when translated into sensible reality and verified concretely; and admiration at the way in which the frail little wooden house could hold itself together in spite of such a shaking. I felt no trace of fear; it was pure delight and welcome.
This also describes, as far as I could tell, the reaction of the other students around me at the time.

I've never read any William James, but I'm now wondering if I should. Anyone have suggestions?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 03:30:42 PM EST
I experienced two earthquakes in Hawaii, one R6.5, the other 7.2. I confirm the sensation reported here, down to the nails squeaking in the two-floor wooden cabin as it bent and swayed.

They happen way too fast to feel fear, it's extremely exhilarating to feel the liquidity of the supposed terra ferma, your awareness is so focussed on grokking the enormity of what's occurring there's no room for fear, just a massive adrenal rush of still being alive, yet at the mercy of forces so ridiculously beyond one's control.

A 4.5 one in CA was much scarier because it was a 'dropkick' type, as opposed to the 'ripple' type experienced in Hawaii. The former a brittle down-then-sideways, the latter as if the planet was doing the hula on an epic scale!

The CA one, while being less powerful, was much more alarming especially as the aftershocks kept coming for quite a while.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:23:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience

Serious earthquakes have a quite strange psychological effect. Right away one recognizes powerlessness. Then comes the joy of survival. Then, because everything in complete flux returns to stillness, a deep peace.

(Seas and lakes are often incredibly calm after a quake, as is the weather for a day or two. Seeing San Francisco Bay completely still was as powerful in the opposite direction as the earthquakes.)

Then comes the realization that what one believed was reality is no longer certain. The solid ground beneath your feet is no longer so solid. For most people, there is an underlying depression when confronted with this reality that is no longer so real... if everything you believed in can now shake.

After big ones, most people in don't call it Frisco would get really drunk, as if to hide from the great change in perception. Me too, though i never lost the feeling, the consciousness, that everything i perceived about reality had changed.

But i've been in big enough ones, where the fear was also palpable, as you were frozen against the vast tectonic forces.

PS. I built a thick dining table with strong fat oak legs for parties and dining... but also to have a place to duck under when the big ones hit. Having the table fly into your stomach and knocking you over made it harder to just crawl under it.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 05:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PPS. William James on taking a strong dose of nitrous oxide, thinking he had discovered the secret of the universe... wrote the following, which he discovered on coming down...

Higamous Hogamous
Woman is Monagamous
Hogamous Higamous
Man is Polygamous


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 05:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One can tell that James had little emotional or monetary investment in the house in which he experienced the quake. I was awakened by the Magnitude 7 quake in Northridge, the epicenter for which was about five miles down and four miles northwest of my house in Reseda, Ca, and our worry was falling objects, the possibility of fire and gas explosions, the 40 gallon aquarium now broken on the floor, etc. My first concern was where I could step safely in the dark and the location of my glasses. We had over 40 linear feet of bookcases 5' high or taller, all tipped over, dumping out books and most of them cracked and damaged. Come daylight my first priority was assuring that I got adequate supplies of staples and repair supplies. My company suspended operations for a couple of days for those of us out of the immediate vicinity so we could take care of our families and homes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 08:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shop window

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:00:24 PM EST
short of typing all that into google translate, what does it say?


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Due to the instability of the Swiss franc, prices on all non-discounted goods are subject to daily revision. Please ensure that you are conversant with the applicable price."

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 06:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent
Switzerland's decision to lift the cap on the franc's value against the euro has had unexpected consequences - in the form of intercepted pizza deliveries.

Swiss people looking for a bargain have been dialling up restaurants across the border in Germany, but now the authorities have had enough, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Uli Burchardt, the mayor of Constance, which borders Switzerland to the northeast, told the publication that German vans have been stopped by Swiss customs officials after it was discovered they had been delivering up to 60 pizzas at a time.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 04:30:07 PM EST
Not clear what they are stopped for. How much duty is payable on a pizza?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 05:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Working without a permit, presumably.

Possibly violating the cabotage rules on carriage of road freight by foreign nationals.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 06:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how much the duty amounts to, but there's a catch
"Considering that the demand for pizza is biggest in the evening hours, when the customs office is closed, this amounts to an export ban."
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 02:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really excellent program just finished on Arte:

Puissante et incontrôlée : la troïka

(this is the French version, obviously)
German version :
Macht ohne Kontrolle, Die Troika

Ministers, economists, troikaïolis, Krugman, it's got the lot. Quite detailed about the looting under the troika's direction.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 06:11:18 PM EST
I await an English language version.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 08:39:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because I love the photo: Fossil reveals hippos related to whales



Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 07:00:24 AM EST
Spies R Us: The head of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, was targeted by intelligence agencies as a potential security threat

Wonder if they ever found him:

Specific security assessments were requested on the following SA nationals: the Director of Green Peace, Mr Kim Naidoo . . .

Ultimately it is knowledge of their hopeless incompetence that allows me to sleep at night. (I worked for the US federal government for a number of years.)

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 08:51:05 AM EST
'Because I was angry': Myths around youth unemployment and stability, debunked

What leads young people to join terrorists, militias and rebel movements?

The crisis of youth is often depicted as a crisis of unemployment. An "economics of terrorism" narrative suggests that idle young people, lacking licit opportunities to make a living, are a ready pool of recruits for armed movements. Poverty, as a driver of conflict, combined with the booming population of young people in poor states, animates anxieties about the youth bulge, for which the guiding metaphor is the "ticking bomb."

It is a narrative echoed in the editorial pages of The New York Times, in The Economist and by U.S. President Barack Obama in his 2014 address to the United Nations. Train young people to be mechanics and tailors and they won't become rebels and suicide bombers. Or so goes the argument.

But our evidence contradicts the assumptions driving "bread and butter" stabilization efforts. In Afghanistan, Mercy Corps' surveys of youth in Taliban-friendly Helmand province found increases in employment and income did not lead to significant changes in youth support for armed opposition groups. And in Somalia, our surveys found no relationship between job status and support for -- or willingness to participate in -- political violence.

Instead, we found the principal drivers of political violence are rooted not in poverty, but in experiences of injustice: discrimination, disenfranchisement, corruption and abuse by government security forces. For many youth, narratives of grievance are animated by the shortcomings of the state itself, which is weak, venal or violent. Or all three.

"I did not join the Taliban because I was poor," said one former Islamist insurgent. "I joined because I was angry."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 12:42:00 PM EST
Melanchthon:
the principal drivers of political violence are rooted not in poverty, but in experiences of injustice: discrimination, disenfranchisement, corruption and abuse by government security forces.

As if the two don't go together.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 at 02:16:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not always. Many jihadists come from middle-class, even wealthy families, like the 9/11 hijackers or "Jihadi John". And, as far as I know, the young Europeans who leave to join the Islamic State do not live in poverty. Indeed, a lot of people living in abject poverty (and there are a lot of them in the country where I live) do not turn into extremists. They might turn into opportunistic looters, and a few of them into robbers, but not extremists.

Now, there is a high risk that the young Muslims who had to flee to neighbouring countries could join extremist groups, because they have been abused, dispossessed of their properties and belongings, and have seen friends and family members killed. And, now, living in squalid conditions, they feel disenfranchised, too.  

Indeed, poverty makes recruitment easier for those jihadists groups that are able to pay the young thanks to their middle-east donors. But poverty is a facilitating factor, not the cause.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 01:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point was not to exclude other possibilities, but to say that people who habitually live in poverty habitually experience discrimination, disenfranchisement, etc.

It may be that those who are brought up with expectations of entitlement in their particular society, but are faced with discrimination on grounds of ethnicity or religion, are all the more sensitive to the injury to their narcissism.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 02:10:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like Gary Brecht's point that in order to turn perceived alienation into a commitment to Jihad you need the leisure to brood that only a certain affluence can afford you.

Also his conclusion is basically mushy for him:

What is really remarkable, really worthy of celebration, is that there are so few of them. No human group of this size has ever had to handle culture-jumps as wrenching as the ones that kids from this kind of background handle now, all over the world, every day. The people we should be celebrating are the tens of millions of them who are bumping along in their weird, unprecedented 21st century lives, making it up as they go along, riding the wave.
by generic on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 04:28:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LabourList - Sunny Hundal - What yesterday's nightmare says about voting Green at the election

Judge us on our policies - the Greens always say. So that's what we should do. When the Green party leader Natalie Bennett was asked yesterday how much they thought it would cost to build 500,000 houses, she didn't have an answer. She then went on to reveal she didn't even know how they would pay to build those houses. This was day one of their election campaign.

One mind blank is forgivable but when three Green leaders were later asked how they would pay for their other key policies like ending austerity, scrapping tuition fees and cutting fares by 10%, they didn't have an answer either.
[....]
Green party supporters don't make it easier by misleading their own followers by claiming (as George Monbiot and Mark Steel have done) that Labour and Tories are exactly the same. In fact, the Coalition has committed to austerity 7.5 times larger than Labour's plans. It is genuinely deluded to claim Labour and Tory austerity is the same.

Nobody votes because they agree 100% with a party's policies, nor often do we have to "like" the people who's leading or the local candidate for us to tick the box. No, what it is that we like the sound of what they want to achieve, we "like the cut of their jib".

More, we find that we cannot support a party when they say little or nothing which reassures us they care, that their heart is in the right place, that their priorities look anything like ours.

So, when Sunny Singh Hundal talks here of Labour being nothing like the Tories because their austerity policies are not nearly as harsh, my response is that I don't want to vote for anyone who talks of wanting austerity AT ALL. It's a stupid policy that doesn't make any economic sense. Yet Sunny thinks that not being as stupid as the tories is any form of encouragement.

Yes, Ms Bennett had a terrible awful day yesterday. All politicians have them, but it's not about making a mistake, it's how you learn and recover.
The Greens are going in the right direction and Labour are grimly following the Tories over the precipice, just more slowly.

The problem is that what everyone wants to know i that, if you make a spending pledge, they (reasonably) immediately want to know where the money is coming from. But they want a pat answer, "we'll cut this amount of money from that, and transfer it to this". But if you then say, "we want both", the immediate assumption is that you will raise taxes on wages or on industry.

But...you don't have to do either. Robin Hood taxes, chasing tax avoidance, clamping down on evasion and off-shoring. The myriad ways by which the rich evade their social responsibilities, which Labour have ignored and the Tories steadily increased. Land taxes.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 03:11:38 PM EST
European Tribune - Comments - Open Thread of the Week  European Tribune - Comments - Open Thread of the Week
Tsipras chiude il calcio greco: troppe violenze, sospesi tutti i campionati - Il Fatto Quotidiano
Sospeso per violenza tutto il calcio greco. Lo ha deciso oggi il governo dopo gli scontri tra tifosi andati in scena domenica nei derby Panathinaikos-Olympiacos e Larissa-Olympiakos Volou e dopo che ieri, nell'assemblea della Super League (la Lega di Serie A greca) dirigenti e presidenti se le sono date di santa ragione. Oggi il ministro dello sport Stavros Kontonis si è incontrato in mattinata con il premier Alexis Tsipras, da cui ha ricevuto il via libera. Poi nel pomeriggio con i rappresentanti della federcalcio ellenica e delle due leghe Super League (prima divisione) e Football League (seconda) e ha comunicato loro la decisione: le partite del prossimo fine settimana calcistico rinviate a data da destinarsi, quindi sospensione, fino a che i rappresentati dei club non troveranno un accordo per arginare la violenza e sottoscriveranno le nuove normative di sicurezza, tra cui l'obbligo di telecamere dentro e fuori gli stadi.
  Tsipras closes the greek football: too much violence, suspended all leagues - The Daily
Suspended for violence all football greek. This was decided today the government after clashes between supporters went on stage Sunday in the derby Panathinaikos-Olympiacos and Larissa-Olympiakos Volou and after yesterday, in the assembly of the Super League (Lega Serie A Greek) executives and presidents if the dates are thrashing. Today the sports minister Stavros Kontonis met this morning with Premier Alexis Tsipras , from which he received the green light. Then in the afternoon with representatives of the Hellenic Football Federation and the two leagues Super League (first division) and Football League (second) and announced their decision: the matches next weekend football postponed until a later date, then suspended until the representatives of the club will not find a agreement to stem the violence, uphold the new security regulations , including the obligation to cameras inside and outside stadiums.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 04:50:28 PM EST
Update, he has just partially walked back from this position.

Tsipras, marcia indietro (parziale): si ferma solo la Serie A per un week end - Il Fatto Quotidiano  Tsipras, reverse (partial): only stops the Serie A for a weekend - The Daily
A meno di ventiquattro ore di distanza dall'annuncio arriva una parziale marcia indietro del governo greco allo stop a tempo indeterminato di tutti i campionati di calcio in seguito ai violenti scontri verificatisi durante i derby tra Panathinaikos e Olympiacos e Larissa-Olympiakos Volou. Si ferma la Serie A e solo per una giornata. E la situazione verrà rivalutata la prossima settimana assieme alla Federcalcio greca e ai rappresentanti delle leghe. Il passo indietro, arrivato nel tardo pomeriggio, è stato comunicato dal ministro dello Sport Stavros Kontonis dopo un secondo colloquio con il premier Alexis Tsipras. La sospensione riguarderà solo la Super League, mentre le altre partite si svolgeranno regolarmente. Anche se, proprio mentre Kontonis tornava sui suoi passi, nella partita di serie B tra Lamia e Anagennisi Karditsas si verificavano nuovi scontri che potrebbero portare allo stop anche della seconda divisione ellenica.In less than twenty four hours after the announcement comes a partial backtrack government greek the stop indefinitely all leagues following the violent clashes during the derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos tang8 and Larissa -Olympiakos Volou . He stops the Series A and only for a day. And the situation will come? re-evaluated next week along with Greek Football Association and representatives of the leagues. The step back, arrived in the late afternoon? was informed by the Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis after a second interview with Premier Alexis Tsipras . The suspension will concern? only the Super League , while other games are played regularly. Although, just as Kontonis returned on his steps, in the B division match between Lamia and Anagennisi Karditsas new clashes occurred that could lead to even stop the second division Hellenic .


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 05:09:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Entirely beside the point, but this overuse of bold font I've really only seen Italians use. The Grillo pieces you link also have this.
by generic on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 06:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some Spanish media also do this thing where they bold all names in a piece as if it were some sort of celebrity gossip. I find it quite annoying.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 07:44:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not nearly as bad as the chronic link abuse. Economy? Tell me about the economy Guardian!
by generic on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 07:48:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once I congratulated Greek colleagues with Olympiakos success (winning the basketball Euroleague). They said "No, no, we are Panathinaikos fans".
by das monde on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 07:39:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 05:04:31 PM EST
Worlds collide, monikers can not hold
Intentional sillyness has no more place in the world
The surveilliance tide is loosed, and everywhere
The priviledge of anonymity is drowned.
The best of unconvincing choices, and perhaps the worst
Is to use your real name.

(Yeah, I'm doing a Bjinse.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 03:29:20 AM EST
Well, look at this a new user, under a real name.

Ask not if it is od, but bask in the glory of my next diary.

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 03:35:28 AM EST
Spam protection removed from your new account, a diary will therefore be possible!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 03:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.
by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 03:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, turns out I can't. And the User Guide does not tell my why.
by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 03:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 05:35:12 PM EST
Jewish Republicans only.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 05:57:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a back issue of a German railfan magazine I read, there was an article speculating on a past-future of German railways with the assumption that there been no fall of the Berlin Wall and no collapse of the Soviet Union. The basic premise is that Gorbachev's perestroika succeeded.

For East Germany, the author "predicted" that East Germany would have joined perestroika after the death of Honecker, and then they could have gone the same route of economic boom and technological advance as China. For West Germany, the author points out that Kohl looked like losing the election before the Wall fell, thus without it, the SPD would have won in 1991 – which would have meant a Chancellor Lafontaine (who would have stopped the rail privatisation drive).

Given the current climate, daring, right? I could see the heads of the majority of readers explode. And indeed, in the next issue, there is a sputtering letter to the editor which exposes that its outraged author didn't manage to read the entire article (going on about a supposed problem for trains to West Berlin which the article actually discussed in detail).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 1st, 2015 at 06:09:45 PM EST
This reminds me to write about a phenomenon that exploded recently.

In Germany, railfan photography became a mass sport. Seriously: there are heritage trains (especially freight trains) operated just for photographers, and the run of a heritage train may draw hundreds of photographers at the best spots. There are predictable excesses: people fight over obstructing each others' shots, there is trespassing in front of the trains and on adjacent private property, and those who paid for the ride hate the rest as free-riders.

So some organizers sensed the opening of a new market niche: instead of making a public announcement, they make direct calls to a few dozen known railfans who are ready to pay bigger bucks, who then can enjoy their hobby without the hassle and the freeriders.

This triggered quite hot fights between advocates and opponents on internet forums, in articles and in letters to the editor, which is a naked class war: the proponents describe the opponents as yahoos while the opponents speak of wealthy old men trying to monopolise the trains. Some set up web alerts for these "hidden" train runs...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 1st, 2015 at 06:34:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambush the train like cowboy outlaws... I like it.

NZ TV ad from the 1970s:


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 06:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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