ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for March 2009

Tibetans Attacked Again.

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The Chinese government continues to use all measures to suppress the Tibetans, that includes professionally hacking into their computers remotely, extracting private information then using it against the Tibetans.

The Independent has more:

“The Chinese government is under pressure to answer allegations that it is operating a huge cyber spy network that has hacked into classified files in computers in 103 countries and monitored secret correspondence sent by the office of the Dalai Lama.”

Meanwhile, the West is sucking up the dictators in Beijing:

“LONDON — China isn’t calling for a replacement of the dollar as the world’s main currency, the country’s ambassador to the U.K. said Sunday.

Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corp. ahead of this week’s Group of 20 industrial and developing nations’ summit in London, Ambassador Fu Ying said recent comments by Chinese central-bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan calling for a new global reserve currency were meant as a contribution to an old debate.”

Update: Jenny, one of my few readers, points us to an appalling article by Jack Elgin, which repeats many of the false and colonial arguments used to prop up British Imperialism (“When we found them, they were savages under feudal oppression, now they are liberated under our rule, much better off”) and some whatabouttery (“the rest of China is full of oppressed people, why are the Tibetans so special and deserving of freedom?”).

Of course, the question of who runs Tibet never comes up?

A single individual, an appointee from Beijing runs Tibet, not the Tibetans. And more importantly why is China in Tibet? To exploit precious raw materials.

So if like Jack Elgin, you have no problem with dictators (as long as they are far away) or the rape of the Tibetan countryside (the colonial destruction of environment is somehow acceptable, but not when it is close to home) then you might not see any problem with China’s oppressive rule in Tibet.

Just don’t get me started on China’s repression of Tibetans, with the full force of the State security apparatus, or the news blackout that it maintains concerning the seedier and more destructive side of China’s rule in Tibet.

Update 2:
Next, we have Michael Parenti, spouting stuff straight from Peoples Daily about how terrible the previous Tibetan rulers were, a rather old ploy.

But for the sake of the argument, let’s accept Parenti’s evidence and how a small minority ran Tibet, etc

How does that differ from today?

Not much, in fact it is even worse. The local Chinese Communist Party Secretary runs Tibet.

So from the rule of the few to the diktats of the one.

I wonder if Parenti’s book, Democracy for the Few, 2007. Now in its eight edition, a critical study of the U.S. political system.” should be expanded to cover Tibet?

Unless Parenti feels that Americans, but not Tibetans, are deserving of democracy? Which is a very colonial mindset.

Whatever the terrible deeds of Tibet’s past rulers, that does not excuse repressive Chinese rule and the occupation of Tibet.

That should be the starting place for debate on these issues, and not used as an excuse for denying Tibetans the same rights, freedoms and dignity that Westerners (Brits, Americans and Canadians) take for granted.

Written by modernityblog

30/03/2009 at 04:46

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Creme Of Anti-Israeli Boycotts?

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The saga goes on, Engage keeps us updated.

Readers might notice, that Chris of Cafe Creme’s argument, in a recent JC article, is that Creme’s boycott of Israeli products makes him look bad.

Not, that he was wrong, no, or that he hadn’t thought through the implications of his actions, just that it was bad PR for him and his business.

Well, I for one hope that pro-boycotters get all the bad PR they can take.

Later on, Chris of Cafe Creme posts his final rejoiner, which does not even attempt to address any of the points previously raised by commentors at Engage.

No, in fact rather than reflect on these complex issues Creme’s proprietor has become more entrenched, which speaks volumes for the irrationality of pro-boycotters, and in my experience, that’s par for the course.

I suppose that such an attitude is to be expected from pro-boycotters, as they often find it rather hard to justify their views when placed under any form of scrutiny.

Still, I do wish Engage well, but I feel they are a mite overly optimistic that mere arguments can win over those filled with irrational hatred towards Israelis. I am reminded of the quote attributed to Jonathan Swift:

“It is impossible to reason someone out of something that he did not reason himself into in the first place.”

So it is with many anti-Israeli boycotters.

Written by modernityblog

29/03/2009 at 19:28

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Taken In By Jenin.

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I confess that I was alarmed at the offensive in Jenin of 2002, at the time I thought that the media stories of a massacre were true, such was the forceful attention of the Press and TV.

Six years later on I have become more careful and less quick to judge, such is the feeding frenzy around this conflict, that accusations are often false, exaggerated and misleading. Evidence is sometimes slow to emerge and in the battle for the media agenda, real facts get lost.

The AJC’s clip highlights many of these issues and is well worth a viewing.

I was shocked to find out that there are 340+ conflicts are going on in the world, not one, as reading the Western media would frequently suggest. The video is a bit too American and in your face for my taste, but I think its point is ultimately right.

Absorb it and please, think about the Western media’s portrayal of events.

And if you get the chance, try the AJC Jewish IQ Quiz on Anti-Semitism, it is harder than it seems, I only scored 4, so obviously I need to read more books.

Update:
One of my few readers was kind enough to supply a link to an article which illuminates the problem:

“The so-called pro-Palestinian “junta” on the campuses has nothing to offer other than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel. If these folks really cared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good government and for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Their hatred for Israel and what it stands for has blinded them to a point where they no longer care about the real interests of the Palestinians, namely the need to end the anarchy and lawlessness, and to dismantle all the armed gangs that are responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians over the past few years.

The majority of these activists openly admit that they have never visited Israel or the Palestinian territories. They don’t know -and don’t want to know - that Jews and Arabs here are still doing business together and studying together and meeting with each other on a daily basis because they are destined to live together in this part of the world. They don’t want to hear that despite all the problems life continues and that ordinary Arab and Jewish parents who wake up in the morning just want to send their children to school and go to work before returning home safely and happily.

Written by modernityblog

25/03/2009 at 02:41

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Art And Racism.

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Whilst reading iKibbitz I noticed this piece on Seven blonde Europeans.

Howard Jacobson comments on the play:

“Quite simply, in this wantonly inflammatory piece, the Jews drop in on somewhere they have no right to be, despise, conquer, and at last revel in the spilling of Palestinian blood. There is a one-line equivocal mention of a suicide bomber, and ditto of rockets, both compromised by the “Tell her” device, otherwise no Arab lifts a finger against a Jew. “Tell her about Jerusalem,” but no one tells her, for example, that the Jewish population of East Jersusalem was expelled at about the time our survivors turn up, that it was cleansed from the city and its sacred places desecrated or destroyed. Only in the crazed brains of Israelis can the motives for any of their subsequent actions be found.

Thus lie follows lie, omission follows omission, until, in the tenth and final minute, we have a stage populated by monsters who kill babies by design – “Tell her we killed the babies by mistake,” one says, meaning don’t tell her what we really did – who laugh when they see a dead Palestinian policeman (“Tell her they’re animals… Tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out”), who consider themselves the “chosen people”, and who admit to feeling happy when they see Palestinian “children covered in blood

Anti-Semitic? No, no. Just criticism of Israel.

Only imagine this as Seven Muslim Children and we know that the Royal Court would never have had the courage or the foolhardiness to stage it. I say that with no malice towards Muslims. I do not approve of censorship but I admire their unwillingness to be traduced. It would seem that we Jews, however, for all our ingrained brutality – we English Jews at least – are considered a soft touch. You can say what you like about us, safe in the knowledge that while we slaughter babies and laugh at murdered policemen (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now”) we will squeak no louder than a mouse when we are abused.”

Also see Radio 4 and Seven Jewish Children.

Written by modernityblog

24/03/2009 at 00:07

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Maps, Guns and Butter?

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No, not a follow up post to my previous one about gun nuts, but rather questioning how otherwise smart people can be taken in by Hamas?

If you think about it, since taking power Hamas have achieved zero for the Palestinians. Hamas have not build any schools or Universities, not built a single road or even clear the rubble from the streets of Gaza. Rather than offer Palestinians any hope, any butter, instead Hamas have spent their time accumulating arms and perfecting weapons.

So Hamas do have one minor point of acclaim, whilst in power they have managed to increase the range of their rockets, as the map below shows:

Hamas rocket range

Hamas prefer guns to butter, the question is, do their Western supporters and sympathisers?

Written by modernityblog

23/03/2009 at 01:13

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Gun Nuts And The BNP

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Lancaster Unity exposes how loopholes in gun laws allow BNPers to acquire deadly weapons:

“To circumvent the legislation, the guns are equipped with longer barrels and wire stocks at the back which together extend their length to 2ft. Only “short” firearms are banned. Another loophole is for the barrel of the .357 to be kept short and the six-shot cylinder adapted to take “front-loading” bullets. Although the guns take longer to reload, they are in most other respects identical to Hamilton’s.

Both types of gun derive from a .357 made by Taurus which is almost identical to a Smith & Wesson. They are readily obtainable in the UK at prices starting at about £500.

Confusion among police forces about how to interpret the law has turned the issuing of firearms licences into a “lottery”, campaigners claim.

Those who have kept up their interest in guns since the ban include Stephen Fyfe, who is standing for the British National party at a by-election for North East Lincolnshire council this Thursday. Fyfe, 34, owns six guns including a seven-shot pump-action shotgun and a long-barrelled .44 handgun. He said that bearing arms was a “right”, adding: “Guns are one of the reasons I am standing for election. I take deep offence at being assumed to be a psycho just because of what someone else has done.” “

Written by modernityblog

22/03/2009 at 18:24

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Sri Lankan

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Radio France Internationale reports:

“The UN’s children’s fund Unicef issued a strong warning on Tuesday that the number of children being killed and injured in the fighting in Sri Lanka is being compounded by a lack of access for aid agencies to areas hit by the fighting.”

Written by modernityblog

21/03/2009 at 01:54

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