Here come the Jihad Watch readers
Greetings, zombies! Terry Glavin writes so elegantly and compellingly, it is seems almost a shame to disagree with him. Unfortunately, expressing something beautifully does not make it so.
“Middle East myths drop like dominos,” by Terry Glavin in the National Post, February 28 (thanks to Gilles):
[...] Along with the now lifeless Edward Said there are also the undead. Consider Robert Spencer, whose biography reads a little like Edward Said’s, in its way. Like Said was, Spencer is a scholar, a widely published author, and an American of Middle Eastern Christian extraction with legions of fans. Like Said, Spencer is widely regarded in his circles, as was Edward Said in his own, as an authority on the imaginary frontiers that cleave the world between “west” and “east.” The Czar Gaddafi insists that the Libyan protests are the result of Al Qaida putting hallucinogens in everybody’s Nescafe. Not to be outdone:
They may be pro-democracy insofar as they want the will of the people to be heard, but given their worldview, their frame of reference, and their core assumptions about the world, if that popular will is heard, it will likely result in huge victories for the Muslim Brotherhood and similar pro-Sharia groups.
- Robert Spencer, on Libya’s revolutionary democrats, 2011.
In light of everything we are witnessing from Casablanca to Isfahan, the miserable and allegedly “progressive” viewpoint taken by Edward Said’s followers is matched by and coupled with Spencer’s lurid “conservative” cynicism in a symbiotic death grip, each parasitic upon the other, both offering nothing but the ravings of demented Americans. Everything is being swept away – it is 1989, it is 1917, it is 1848, as you like. As it is with Edward Said’s followers, Spencer’s fan base now betrays itself as an assortment of specimens from the Upper Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era. They are yesterday’s men. They are zombies.
It is not just to the price of oil that the rebellions are proving so terribly inconvenient. All the evidence, from Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt and Iran, shows that democracy, freedom, work, wages and a “normal” life are exactly what the people are demanding. The people are not clamouring for the immolation of the Jews anymore than they are hollering for the appointment of Norman Finkelstein as the defence minister.
They aren’t? Really? Demonstrators interviewed in Egypt during the uprising against Mubarak said that they hated him because “he is supporting Israel. Israel is our enemy…If people are free in Egypt…they gonna destroy Israel.” Video here. Also, attackers in Tahrir Square shouted “Jew! Jew!” during their brutal sexual assault of “60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan. These open-minded secular democratic protesters also drew Stars of David on photos of Mubarak, thereby demonstrating their considered rejection of Islamic antisemitism.
In Egypt, the April 6 Movement that started it all is root and branch a movement of trade unionists, secularists, and young intellectuals, all committed democrats. The Muslim Brotherhood was completely marginalized by it. The Ikhwan failed utterly in its attempts to hijack the uprising and now the aging Brethren sit in their solitary chairs with the rest of the Egyptian establishment, studying ways to mollify the revolt.
And yet Sheikh Qaradawi, godfather of the “marginalized” Brotherhood, recently made a triumphant appearance in Tahrir Square to a massive crowd, while secular liberal Wael Ghonim was barred from the stage. So which group is really marginalized?
In Libya, the February 17 movement has been consistent in its intentions for a secular democracy. The Libyans who have been pleading for our help have heard only cynical incoherence and self-gratifying expressions of outrage, but even so, even the Libyan imams have pleaded for the February 17 demands and continue to assert their faithfulness to the same secular cause.
In Tunisia last week, 15,000 demonstrators gathered to condemn the Islamists who mobbed a synagogue and murdered a Polish Catholic priest in an obscene attempt to hijack the Tunisian uprising. The pro-democracy banners in Tunis read: “Nous sommes tous Musalmans, nous sommes tous Chretiens, nous sommes tous Juifs.” On it goes like this, in Morocco, across Iran, and in little Bahrain….
And yet also in Tunisia, demonstrators swarmed outside a synagogue, chanting a genocidal Islamic battle cry, and jihadists recently murdered a Catholic priest. Evidently not quite tous are Chretiens or Juifs.
Look, I would love to be proven wrong here, and Terry Glavin proved correct. I’d love to see genuine secular democracy blossom all over the Middle East. But Glavin cannot, unfortunately, point to any organized secular democratic movements of any significance in any of the countries in question, while in all of them, Islamic supremacist pro-Sharia groups are sizable, organized, and energetic.
I can’t see how this will end well, but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised, and retire back to my undead coffin in peace.
Kaffir Kanuck weighs in on this here.
I have been too busy with page proofs for my forthcoming article in the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty to blog about yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Hearings. I suppose my one overall reaction was that if the Democrats, who called this hearing, hoped to blunt the momentum of the legal challenges by showing that the lawsuits had no merit, they failed in their objective. If anything, press coverage generally reflected the view that both sides made strong arguments, and that only the Supreme Court could settle the matter. Indeed, my impression is that the hearings served to advance the credibility of the challenges. The room was packed (they moved it to a larger room where Supreme Court nomination hearings are held) and I am told that the press table was full, which is unusual.
Substance aside, all the panelist were very satisfied with the civility of discussion among the five of us and with the Senators. I had expected a far more adversarial atmosphere, but with a few exceptions it was highly respectful. I was particularly struck by the cordiality and collegiality shown to all the witnesses by Senator Durbin. Not only did he genially greet each one of us beforehand and thank us individually afterwards, he paid close attention to everything each of us said, and what each fellow Senator said, for more than two hours of the hearing. I am sure he must have been zoning out more than a few times, but he really seemed genuinely to be trying to listen to everyone. I am not suggesting he was any more open to persuasion than anyone else, but that he was genuinely attentive throughout. And his final question to me, which could have been asked in a critical way, could not have been more courteous and considerate.
Anyway, you can see for yourself by watching the whole C*SPAN broadcast here (they don’t have an embedding code). If you wish to see only my opening statement, you can click on this:
For about 20 minuites before the hearing quite a few photographers were taking lots of pictures of everything the witnesses were doing. Here are a few I saw on-line: