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

Archive for January 23rd, 2010

Reverend Stephen Sizer Uses British Police Against A Blogger.

with 22 comments

For a number of reasons I hadn’t intended to blog for a few days, but the news that Reverend Stephen Sizer has used the British police to intimidate a blogger caused me great alarm and I felt I must comment.

I am not unduly worried for myself, as I am rather immune to threats or legal action, but this heavy handed police action was against one of my favourite blogs, Seismic Shock.

He was silenced and intimidated by Reverend Sizer, read more at Engage.

Seismic Shock in his blog covers many theological issues and particularly keeps an eye on the Far Right crossover with some marginal Christians and how barely concealed racism often comes in the form of “Anti-Zionism”, and is used against Israelis and Jews.

Reverend Sizer is a prize example. Understandably he’s touchy when people criticise him for sucking up to the theocratic dictatorship in Tehran.

Certainly, Reverend Sizer wouldn’t care for bloggers who remind him that associating with Far Right and Holocaust Deniers is not a good idea.

I suspect that Reverend Sizer, much like the dictators in Tehran or Beijing, can’t take criticism because it exposes the darker side of his soul. It exposes his contempt for Israelis and Jews, it shows his ignorance and lack of sensitivity on the Middle East.

Whatever you think of the arguments put by Seismic Shock (and I find them convincing), whatever you think it is extraordinary that Reverend Sizer should actually use the police to intimidate someone, a blogger, that’s unheard of.

We all know of situations where major corporations have sought protection in the Courts against bloggers, but to send the police around to coerce a blogger, physically, is extraordinary.

To me it shows that Reverend Sizer is small minded, insecure and petty. He can’t deal with the arguments. Reverend Sizer can’t handle the criticism and so he tries to intimidate people, with the police.

Above all, it shows that Reverend Sizer has contempt for the notions of freedom of speech and debate.

All bloggers, and also those of a sincere religious persuasion or not, should stand up against Reverend Sizer’s bullying and strong-arm tactics, not only because it sets a dangerous precedent for bloggers, but also because it is profoundly wrong.

So Reverend Sizer, if you read this, you won’t intimidate me for “I too am Seismic Shock”**. Attack him and you attack all bloggers. I stand by him, sue me if you like.

Reverend Sizer, remember bloggers won’t be intimidated by you, the Courts, aggressive corporate lawyers or all the world’s dictators.

** Anyone familiar with the film, Spartacus, will understand the reference.

Written by modernityblog

23/01/2010 at 22:14

Guest Post by Karl Pfeifer

with 3 comments

Regular readers of Searchlight and anti-fascists will know Karl Pfeifer.

Karl is a member of the board of control of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW), Vienna correspondent of the Budapest weekly, Hetek.

I am extremely pleased to be able to publish one of his articles as a guest post:

Szaniszló: “Hungarians God’s chosen people” By Karl Pfeifer

It is a real pity that Hungarian is such a difficult language. [1] Watching the Budapest extreme-right Echo TV in 2010 and listening to the monologue of Ferenc Szaniszló, I thought Colonel Blimp was reborn in the Carpathian basin.

The only difference was, he didn’t speak English but Hungarian and he had no moustache. But it was the same form of Jingoism, added to that, nonsense dressed up as scientific fact plus coded antisemitism.

Ferenc Szaniszló was sent during the Brezhnev time to study journalism in Moscow and became a correspondent of the government daily “Magyar Hirlap” in the Soviet Union. And like so many Hungarian journalists, who were loyal scribblers during communism, he later became a turncoat and joined the right-wing choir.

In his monologue, he informs the public that the Hungarians are God’s chosen people.

“We Sumerians, Scythes, Etruscans, Celts, Huns, or Hungarians have suffered because of our being chosen. […] Those who are envious, our occupiers […] in reality are looking for the elixir, how they could become Hungarians, how they could participate in our secrets, in the advantages of our being chosen.”

In the context of his rant, it is clear what he is implying, that Jews have occupied Hungary or are about to occupy it. A legend that many Hungarians seem to believe. Szaniszló then goes on to rave about the special conditions of the Carpathian basin and of Hungary, where all the enemies suffer defeat.

In reality, Hungary was defeated during the First World War and repeated its mistake when it joined Hitler during the Second Word War. Hungary was for decades occupied by the Red Army.

Szaniszló tells an incredible story, that there is a special radiation against the enemies of the Hungarian people in the Carpathian basin and that the Soviet occupiers in Hungary got special payment for that.

To me it looks like part of an attempt to brainwash the Hungarian people.

Of course, after the coming election in April 2010 the terrible awakening will happen.

The right-wing believe that all they have to do is to blame the Jews to be the cause of all the trouble, by inciting people against an abstract object “The Jew”, and in doing so hoodwink the Hungarians. The mythical target of “The Jew” conceals the otherwise obvious fact that a racist interpretation of Hungary’s problems bears little relationship to reality.

It should not come as any surprise as to how low the level of such right-wing journalism in Hungary has sunk, but that Szaniszló succeeds in proving that he is of the lowest intellectual and political calibre.

1. For those who understand Hungarian I recommend watching Szaniszló.

Written by modernityblog

23/01/2010 at 03:33

British Nightclub Waiters?

with 15 comments

The Guardian has a perplexing story:

“Two British nightclub waiters have been arrested after arson attacks on a historic Jewish synagogue on the Greek island of Crete which have drawn condemnation from around the world.

The men, aged 23 and 33, are in custody alongside a 24-year-old Greek man after the restored medieval Etz Hayyim Synagogue in the port city of Hania, one of the most noted Jewish temples in Greece, was twice set alight this month.

The fires, which destroyed 2,500 rare books and manuscripts, sparked alarm among the 8,000 Jews in Greece. The US state department said the attacks were “clearly intended to intimidate and terrorise Greece’s Jewish community”.

The arsons were the latest of several incidents of antisemitic vandalism across Greece, including attacks on synagogues and cemeteries in Larissa, Volos, Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Athens.

During the first fire, on 5 January, a bottle with flammable liquid was found, according to witnesses. That fire was extinguished. But another, on 16 January, destroyed books and computers as well as causing considerable damage to art work and to the interior of the building, which is Crete’s only synagogue.

The 33-year-old Briton, who has not been named, is accused of being the perpetrator of that second attack but denies the charges. The Greek man and 23-year-old Briton are accused of keeping watch. Two US citizens are being sought in connection with the first attack, with the three detained also accused of involvement, said local police.”

Written by modernityblog

23/01/2010 at 00:37