Friday, July 22, 2005

Away again

I might not have computer access for the next few days, so this might be my last post for a while. While I'm away, check out Daniel, the Popinjays and Norm for news from the frontline of the new war.

Thought Cafe

New blog to the axis of Bob: Thought Cafe

Day after - some thoughts

image from

Reclaiming the Flag?

After 7/7, I felt that one positive thing that has come from the bombings - if we can speak about a positive side to such a horrific event - is that the Union Jack seems in some way to have been reclaimed from the far right white supremacist 'racial nationalists' with whom it has been so strongly associated in the past decades.

I felt like the flag had become an inclusive symbol of togetherness.

After yesterday, though, I feel things will change. That feeling of inclusive - dare I say multicultural - togetherness seems to have given way to a more hysterical, paranoid, hateful sentiment. (A sentiment I share a little - I noticed the descent from 'not afraid' after 7/7 to 'scary' yesterday.) Not sure yet if the shooting of an Asian man and the bomb threat at East London are a symptom of this hysteria.

Muslim London

I haven't yet decided what if anything it means that many of the locations targeted are populated by many Muslims. Edgeware Road and Shepherd's Bush are places with big Arab populations. Aldgate and Shoreditch are on the edges of the Benagali East End, Galloway land. Is this bitter irony? The bombers' stupidity or indifference? A symptom of the banal, quotidian multiculture that characterises this great city?


Some articles that have caught my eye: Salman Rushdie on 'honour' rapes in Pakistan and India, Roger Hewitt on youth work and multiculturalism, Helen Rumbelow with a suprising kind of Marxist analysis in The Times, and uber-liberal Polly Toynbee with a great defence of Enlightenment values against theocracy of all stripes. Toynbee rightly takes Blair to task for appeasing communalism and the left:
the far left, forever thrilled by the whiff of cordite, has bizarrely decided to fellow-travel with primitive Islamic extremism as the best available anti-Americanism around. (Never mind their new friends' views on women, gays and democracy.)
I should also mention this article, which I haven't fully processed, by Naima Bouteldja. My first response is that if Yusuf al-Qaradawi really is "widely regarded as a moderate and one of the most respected scholars in the Muslim world", then moderate Islam and the Muslim world are bad things. I am more inclined to agree with her on Tariq Ramadan, though, who I have more respect for, but don't know enough about. (I think her comparison of Ramadan to Malcolm X and Fanon is wrong though. I think he might be more usefully compared to a certain stream of pluralist thought that includes the Bund, John Dewey, Randolph Bourne and Israel Zangwill, but that's another story.)

Trackback: Blinq: Anxiety Calling
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East London and Stockwell

East London Mosque
Reports from earlier today (like this and this) gave the impression the Mosque - which is indeed a hotbed of radical Islamism - was the target of a police raid, when in fact, as it now turns out, it was the target of a bomb threat. The bomb threat - was it the work of white supremacist fascists or of malicious 'ordinary' Muslim-haters?


The repurcussions are going to be terrible if it turns out that the man shot at Stockwell was wholly innocent - a real gift for the bigots of all stripes who want to make the Thames run with blood...

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Blair's fault?

From Eric yesterday at DSTP4W:
After another seven days we have another attack, thankfully only disruptive in nature. It could have been much worse.

Hands up those who think that if:
  • Blair had resigned last week

  • and, an announcement that Britain would be withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan had been issued
today's attacks would not have occurred?

I'll give you a clue:
An al-Qa'eda plot to blow up a high-speed train packed with tourists and Easter pilgrims in Spain was foiled by chance yesterday.

The bomb, planted 35 miles south of Madrid on the line to Seville, was similar to the 10 devices that killed 191 people on commuter trains in the Spanish capital last month [3/11], the government said.
Here's Michael J Totten:
Let's assume for the sake of argument that appeasing some of Al Qaeda's demands (those precious few that are actually appeasable) will at least put a given country lower down the hit list if not actually all the way off it. Okay then. Why not go as far as possible? If it's worth doing something to mollify Al Qaeda, then it's worth doing another thing to mollify them even more. If the whole point is to keep your head down, then keep your head down. Lowering your chin but not your forehead is not going to cut it.
Myself, I think Blair is wrong to keep seperating Iraq and the attacks. He should say that if these attacks are because of what we're doing in Iraq, that confirms we're doing something right, as it is morally good to do things that irritate evil psychotic mass murderers.


I'm half-heartened, half-dissappointed that Harcamone's post below and particularly mine on Galloway have attacted attention from sort of the fascists who think that Blair is more evil than Al-Qaeda and from those who think you can only comment on Islam if you are Muslim. Apparently, Harcamone is "too caught up in the media's propaganda and cant see the real world". In the real world, I guess, there are no Muslim terrorists.

Daily Sally: The Terror in Terrorism

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Experiments in Sunday Socialism

This Sunday 24th July 6pm -- 1am

Oi Va Voi and friends present

Radio Gagarin: Experiments in Sunday Socialism

Notting Hill Arts Club, 21 Notting Hill Gate, London W12

6pm -- 1a.m. £5.

After another total roadblock, Radio Gagarin is back with the latest in a series of regular Gypsy Balkan Russian Klezmer mash-ups at the NHAC.

The Commissar continues to pledge exclusive new music from your hosts Oi Va Voi, a five year plan from hillbilly gypsy punks The Luminescent Orchestrii live and direct from NYC, dialectical Bosnian alchemy from the golden voiced Hodzic Trio, visual determinism from the gorgeous Armenian Akhtamar Dance Ensemble, the dictatorship of the proletariat from award-winning physical theatre ensemble Moral Support, lumpen porno puppet film wizardry from Elephant Gas, Marxist-Leninist alienation from art/animation/video installations for the Proletariat from state artists Adrian Philpott & Cathy Gale; frozen vodka & rakiya galore and resident DKs (Dancefloor Komissars) Lemez Lovas, Max Reinhardt & Starets sweating it out in the Gypsy Diskoteka til' the road of excess has led us to the place of wisdom. Early evening come to feed your soul with summer home-cookin in the Kitschen and take a rest from your fight for Revolutionary Determinism for a few moments in the Kinodrom with new and classic shorts from Eastern Europe.

Co-Produced by Adrian Philpott/ Oi Va Voi / Taskovski Films / YaD Arts / Ziggurat.

Dates for your Autumn diary:

13th September: New York's finest Bang on a Can All Stars in collaboration with the Czech legend Iva Bittova at the LSO St Lukes

2nd October: Spiel at the ICA.


Thursday, July 21, 2005


(Updating through the day)

London incidents: at least one injured

Sirens going past my office every ten minutes...

Mick Hartley says: "A chilling echo of two weeks ago: three tube incidents and a bus explosion. Deliberate? A we-can-do-this-anytime message?" [See also Iraq Casualties Again]

4 pm: Sirens still going. Meanwhile, Technorati hasn't caught up: "The most-discussed news story right now is: - James Doohan, 'Star Trek's' Scotty, dead - Jul 20, 2005

Eric at DSTOP4W says: "let's not get all clever and start saying these people were amateurs who should cause us no worries. After all HAMAS, world leaders in suicide bombing, make duds too."

Keep getting the latest from

Trackback: Swerve Left: More bombs go off in London, Netlex Blogs 2.0: Further terrorist attacks in London
Last on 7/7: London versus the terrorists

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The American Revolution

Mode for Caleb: History Carnival XII

Some highlights:

History News Network: Symposium on Barry Gewen's "Forget the Founding Fathers"
The Rhine River: Seeing like the Third Estate - on the municipal libertarian tradition in Europe
Blog Them Out of the Stone Age: The civil war as a people's war
Common-place on my hero, Tom Paine, as an inventor
Siris: Hamilton - diverse views among the Founding Fathers

Book links: John Adams, Hitchens' Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, 1776, A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic
Previous: Let's Bomb Texas 1 and 2, Americanism (Flag Day post), The Greatest American

Community of believers

Harcamone at Just Opinions:
The Muslims believe that Islam isn't only a religion, it's a community -- as "Christendom" once was. Isn't that right? That's why they say an attack on "Muslims" is an attack on all Muslims. That's why Muslims in, say, Holland, feel compelled to avenge Muslims in Bosnia.

But there is another side to that logic. If we are attacked by "Muslims," then we are entitled to retaliate at "Muslims" in the same way that if a person attacks you with his right hand, you can shoot him in his left hand, or his head, or his leg. It's the same body.

And by the way, it's not us who made up that idea of a BODY, it's them. That idea is one of the fundamental concepts of Islam. Islam is a faith-based community with a higher claim on most of its members' emotions and loyalties than citizenship in a particular nation.

If "they" don't repudiate what's going on (not just a few of them, but millions of them), if they're scared to take a public position against it, if their kids hang around on British street corners seething with rage, if they fear "backlash" more than they feel the need to stand in solidarity with their fellow citizens, if they can't resolve their theological contradictions and absurdities ... well, I say it's spinach.

"The Islamic World." "The Muslim World." Why do we accept this entity as legitimate, when we -- i.e., The West -- in our development, long ago left behind the idea of "Christendom?" Just say Christendom to yourself a few times, and boy, doesn't it sound weird? People our age remember that word from old Chivalry tales we read as boys -- the fairest and bravest knight in all of Christendom. But our children never heard of that word. You would have a hard time explaining it to them, because it is such an alien idea today. And rightly so.

"Christendom" is exactly equivalent to "The Muslim World." But while everyone agrees that "Christendom" is a reactionary concept, "The Muslim World" is not described by our press, leaders, educators or cultural commentators as a reactionary or politically incorrect concept. But it is reactionary and politically incorrect. And it's primitive, too. So why are we constrained from describing it as such?

When we say "The Muslim World" without gagging, or without irony, we are accepting an arrangement that doesn't only privilege one group of people, but consigns everyone else in that "world" to inferior status -- spiritually and politically. This lesser status isn't ad hoc, or improvised, or the product of some people's bad attitude. It's instutionalized. It's official. It's doctrinal.

Liberals choke and gag when they hear about the Ten Commandments being publically displayed in a courthouse in an obscure town that hardly anybody, other than its residents, will ever visit. But they cannot bring themselves to question the legitimacy of an ENTIRE WORLD that calls itself "The Muslim World." Not only solidly Muslim countries, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are part of "The Muslim World." Pluralistic societies like Indonesia and the Phillipines are also part of it. Some Islamic authorities even think Spain is part of "The Muslim World." "The Muslim World" is a spiritual reality that trumps political realities. And Western liberals -- the descendents of Voltaire and Tom Paine -- just swallow that shit whole. It's unbelievable.

The Guardian prints an "analysis" of the London attack that puts the blame for it on Bush and Blair, and says quite explicitly that British Moslems are the greater victims of it. The author is the "news editor of the Islamic Network." I don't know what that is, but I do suggest that The Guardian, or any other left-leaning paper, is not likely to publish an analysis of current events by the "news editor of the Christian Network," and even if they did I can't imagine it being taken seriously by most of the paper's readers.

What Leftists deplore and revile if it comes from Christians, they somehow accept if it comes from Muslims.

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Engage: fighting left anti-semitism

ENGAGE has new plans.

Terrorists and 'terrorists'

Myopic Thoughts: Reuters v Ha'aretz

Iraq the Model: Terrorists or insurgents?

New blog: WarTrash

Daniel's Counter Blog: Jihadwatch
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Another antisemite

Richard Ingrams, mainstay of the curmudgeonly Radio 4 tendency in British politics, has a regular column in the Observer. Here's a recent snippet:
I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.

Too few people in this modern world are prepared to declare an interest when it comes to this kind of thing. It would be enormously helpful, for example, if those clerics and journalists who have been defending Canon Jeffrey John, the so-called gay bishop, were to tell us whether they themselves are gay. Some do, but more don't.

The issue arises partly because, in both cases, these people are often accusing the other side of being prejudiced and biased - we are either homophobes or anti-Semites.

The other day, for example, the Canadian journalist Barbara Amiel wrote a long denunciation of the BBC in the Daily Telegraph, accusing the Corporation of being anti-Israel in its Middle East coverage.

Many readers of the Daily Telegraph may have been impressed by her arguments, assuming her to be just another journalist or even, as she was recently described in another newspaper, an 'international-affairs commentator'.

They might have been less impressed if the paper had told them that Barbara Amiel is not only Jewish but that her husband's company, in which she has an interest, owns not only the Daily Telegraph but the Jerusalem Post .

In other words, when it comes to accusing people of bias on the Middle East, she is not ideally qualified for the role. "
As Clive Davis says, Ingrams has crossed the line.

UPDATE: More at ENGAGE: Ingrams’ gems - Mike Brennan
Other anti-semites: George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Gilad Atzmon

I wasn't going to blog about Karl Rove...

... until I read this article by Christopher Hitchens

(Found via Clive Davis)

Tags: Karl Rove, Valerie Plame, Politics, Joe Wilson, White House, Treason.

Galloway - apologist for terrorists and anti-semites?

Michael Gove "That's anti-Semitic" in The Times:
LISTENING to Any Questions the other day, I was intrigued to hear one of the panellists refer to a fascinating website run by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organisation that translates news reports and speeches from the Arab world. MEMRI has provided a valuable insight into developments in Arab politics and religion, including illuminating translations of sermons, whose reliability no one has seriously contested.

But on Friday night’s show George Galloway kept interrupting his fellow-panellist to point out that people working for MEMRI were Israelis. A section of the audience laughed and applauded, as though this exposed MEMRI’s work as unworthy of further attention.

There is a word for the belief that you should judge something more harshly when you discover that it is produced by Jewish people. It’s simple anti-Semitism. I’m sure George will want to denounce it the next time he hears it."
Clive Davis doesn't think this is anti-semitic
Eric Lee exposes Respect schizophrenia (via Engage)

Previous: Questions for the new Stalinists, The Egotist, Varieties of left demagoguery, Idiocy, Thy Name Is George Galloway, Galloway's hoodie
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005


South China Post: Deptford Resisting the Convoys Wharf development
Residents in southeast London have mounted a campaign against plans by Cheung Kong (Holdings) to redevelop a 16-hectare site at Convoys Wharf in Deptford into a mixed high-rise residential and commercial complex.

The move threatens to stall the Hong Kong developer's ambitions to expand its British portfolio.

Cheung Kong and its ports-to-telecoms arm, Hutchison Whampoa, bought the site in May from Rupert Murdoch's News International, the publishing arm of News Corp, for $1.46 billion.

The site was formerly a newsprint and forest products port but has not been used since 2000.

Community activists have been fighting to preserve the site as a commercial waterway by pushing for the development of a cruise liner terminal. They did not rule out taking legal action to challenge Cheung Kong's redevelopment proposal, casting uncertainty over the project.

Bill Ellson, chairman of Creekside Forum, a 300-member community group representing housing associations, businesses and churches, said: "Convoys Wharf is the last remaining site in inner London that has the necessary depth for ocean-going vessels to moor. Once lost to residential development, it will be lost forever.

"Another problem for the redevelopment proposal is there will be too much high-density housing for local services to cope with."

Under News International's master plan, designed by Richard Rogers Partnership, the Convoys Wharf site would be transformed into a luxury residential riverside development of three 26- to 40-storey high-rise towers with 3,500 apartments. It would include 73,000 square metres of office space, about 7,000 square metres of retail space and 23,320 square metres of community facilities.

About half of the Convoys Wharf site is protected by a "safeguarding order" for freight wharfage. Mr Ellson said the proposed mixed development would be in breach of London mayor Ken Livingstone's London Plan, which states that river-related use has to be given priority for any wharf redevelopment.

Planning authority London Borough of Lewisham believed the redevelopment would bring major benefits to Deptford as a whole. The authority had already given approval for the master plan. It will issue a grant of planning permission if Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott does not call in the application for ministerial decision. No timetable has been set.

Mr Ellson said the group was corresponding with the Government Office for London, which will advise the deputy prime minister on whether the matter should be called in. He said that should Mr Prescott fail to call it in, or should the Lewisham Council give permission for the project to go ahead, the group would seek a judicial review in the High Court.

"No safeguarded wharf has been lost without a public inquiry, albeit the drastic reduction at Convoys is being portrayed as reconfiguration," Mr Ellson said.

"This euphemistic approach would not impress a High Court judge, but the precedent of public inquiries over the loss of two or three smaller wharves would."

The group would hold a demonstration on Tuesday against the redevelopment, Mr Ellson said.

However, a source at Richard Rogers Partnership pointed out that a water-based waste recycling plant, a boat-repair yard and a riverboat service were included in its design and these would satisfy the safeguarding order.

Officials from Cheung Kong and the Lewisham Council were not available for comment.

Founded by Henry VIII in 1513 to build ships for the Royal Navy, Convoys Wharf was a major dockyard for centuries. The proposed redevelopment site, one of the biggest in greater London, is part of the government's plan to revitalise the docklands.

"Residential redevelopments for docklands in London have relatively better business potential than anywhere else," said Fiona Sadek, associate director with Colliers International in Britain.

"However, there are always pressure groups against redevelopment schemes, especially those by the Thames. It would be better to work with them, rather than alienate them."

She said the redevelopment could take longer if it became embroiled in a legal row.
More stories:
Londonist: Deptford Clergy Get All Territorial
Transpontine: Save the Hood ("No, not a reference to Respect's hilarious "stop the Hoodie Ban" demo at Elephant and Castle, but a plea to save one of South East London's finest community pubs.")
News Shopper: Residents fight the development
News of Delaware County: Deptford bus driver

Trackback: Transpontine: Convoys Wharf
Previous: Convoys Wharf Update (South London and global capitalism)
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London versus the terrorists


Casino Avenue has photographs of the memorial garden at King's Cross. I went there last week, on my way out of London. I found it incredibly moving. The builders and office workers signing the book of remembrance. The messages from local churchs, from Muslim groups, from countries across the world, from the Knesset. The photos of the missing - some of them declared dead since I was there.

Red Ken

From Londonist:

Ken [Livingstone] is right in the middle of things again after his defence of Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is due speak at a conference in Manchester next month and his explanantion that "Western foreign policy in the Middle East" is partially to blame for the attacks.

And it seems the public agree with Ken: A poll, commissioned by the Guardian, found 33 percent of UK adults "think Blair bears 'a lot' of responsibility for the London bombings", while 31 percent says he bears a 'a little’ responsibility.

Jogo says:
Very nice sentiments by Ken Livingstone. But this is the same man who says Likud and Hamas are identical -- in my opinion, that is a morally depraved and empty comparison.
See also Daniels Counter Blog: The Suicide Bombs within Britain's Liberal Elite and BobFromBrockley: Livingstone and the Left.


Ateeque Sharafi - the final victim of 7/7 [via Harry's Place: London Story]

Hassan the bus driver
Siris: Three Algerines in 18th-Century London
Roger Hewitt: 'It is in the communities that these battles are won or lost' ( a very good article)
Transpontine: After the silence, On the buses

Other Links:
Ian McEwan: 'We're Witnessing a Civil War in Islam'

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Gordon Ramsey cockney rhyming slang

From my list of referrers, the google search of the week: Google Search: Gordon Ramsey cockney rhyming slang

If any readers can tell me if Gordon Ramsey means anything in cockney rhyming slang, I'd be grateful (post to comments).

Previous: Neve Gordon, Cockney translation, Rhyming slang,
Last google search of the day: chocolate laxatives zizek.

Spurious tag:

Unite Against Terror

Unite Against Terror: A global movement of citizens against terrorism

Footnote: blogrunner: Prime Minister Blair's Speech
Footnote 2: Alan Johnson asks Why?

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Hitchens Half Sozzled

ModernityBlog: Half Sozzled

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I am leaving my machine for a few days. Not sure if I'll be able to blog while I'm away. So I'm afraid I will have to leave a few things hanging, such as whether or not I can justify the placing of American conservatives and Islamofascist terrorists in the same sentence here...

While I'm away, read Harry's Place, normblog, Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For WAR, One Man & His Blog, Londonist, Metroblogging London and Casino Avenue for unfolding commentary and news on the London bombs.

A great woman

It was with great sadness that I learnt yesterday of the death at the weekend of Hannah Baneth. Hannah was a great Deptford character, but also much more than that.

Hannah was born in Weimar-era Hamburg, where her father was a doctor. On both sides, her family line was one of scholars and rabbis, originally from Prague. In the early years of the Nazi regime, they emigrated to Palestine, where they already had some kin. Hannah spent time on a kibbutz, looking after the cows, probably her happiest time. In 1948, she edited a samizdat newspaper in besieged Jerusalem.

Her father was the elder brother of David Hartwig Baneth (1893-1973), one of the founders of Hebrew University. Her world was the world of German-Jewish intellectuals associated with the Hebrew University, people like Gershom Scholem and Rabbi Leo Baeck. She was Martin Buber’s secretary for a while. Apparently, he asked her to translate one of his books, but she felt it didn’t make enough sense.

She came to London, where the weather suited her better, some time after the war, to study music at the Royal College of Music. She worked as a typist – always as a temp. She lived in rented accommodation, and became involved in the private tenants movement, alongside the late, great Michael Young.

One of the finest chapters of her life was her participation in the solidarity movement for Biafra in the 1960s. During the Biafra war, 1967-1970, some million Nigerians, mainly Ibo, died – mostly of starvation brought about by Nigeria’s blockade of Biafra. The great powers, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, abandoned Biafra to its fate, failing to intervene. (For more, see here.) A handful of noble spirits stood up for action, including Auberon Waugh, Bruce Kent, Hugh Fraser and Peter Cadogan. Hannah was heavily involved with this campaign, and linked her status as a Jewish refugee to her commitment to attending to the suffering of the Biafrans.

She was housed by the GLC in Pepys neighbourhood in Deptford in the 1970s or 1980s. In Deptford, she was active in the council tenants movement, both in local tenants associations and campaigns, and later nationally in Defend Council Housing. She was a thorn in the side of the powers that be in Lewisham, doggedly attending meeting after meeting, always asking the hard question.

In her later years, she was very conscious of and troubled by the rise of anti-semitism in Britain. It was her wish that she be buried in the land of Israel.

Added links: Cllr Andrew Brown: Hannah Baneth, Transpontine: Hannah Baneth

Zionised Britain?

Following the story I've been reporting on (see here), Gene notes that Atzmon's "talk" to Marxism 2005 is posted here.

Previous: Neither Washington nor London, but... er... anywhere!, The Undemocratic Left

Not Afraid?

Image from wongaBlog
See also You will fail!

Have you bought your Fuck You Osama T-shirt?

Meanwhile, American Air Force personnel in Britain have been ordered to stay out of London because of safety fears... Guido says : "Fair enough, after all, we pulled our troops out of [America] in 1776 for their own protection." (Over Here, Over There, Over Cautious)

And in America itself, according to WorldNetDaily: "Al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union – including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads."

From David Aaronovitch: "If we don't provoke them, maybe they will leave us alone." Er, no.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

London - in defence of the multicultural

Keith Thompson writes:
"Just when you thought multiculturalism had already reached the outer limits of the ridiculous, along comes the L.A. Times to celebrate all the marvelous ways in which the "differences" that characterize the individuals still missing in London mirror the "differences" of London's population: "List of Missing Is as Diverse as London Itself." One reads this article with the faint hope that the writer is attempting satire, but no: We are to use this solemn occasion to further divide democracy into demographic subgroups that reflect the limitless narcissism of multiculturalist activists. At the risk of sounding completely irrelevant, here's a passing suggestion. Suppose we agree to think about the London missing in terms of what they had in common: Good and decent people were going about their lives when brutally assaulted by irredeemable cowards and sadistic criminals. If this is a time to celebrate how we're "different," Let this be the distinction we bear in mind"

I have in this blog been critical of multiculturalism - the liberal ideology of celebrating identities (see here, here and here).

However, there is an important difference between multiculturalism and what we could call the multicultural, the presence of different sorts of people in the same place.

Islamofascism - like American conservatism, but with a murderous vehemence - hates the multicultural.

London is a city that, like New York, exemplifies the pleasures and the problems of the multiculural.

This is surely one reason why London was a target, for the Islamofascists and for fascists like David Copeland.

This is why I think Keith Thompson is wrong.

Daniels Counter Blog: The walls between each culture in multi-culturalism that create radicalism
HorowitzWatch: Keith Thompson's new friends
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The British academic rabble and the boycott of Israel

WorldNetDaily: The British academic rabble and the boycott of Israel

The war on totalitarianism

The struggle for freedom
Gateway Pundit: Azerbaijan Democracy Gears Are in Motion

Fighter for Freedom
George Orwell

Yourish on the T-word
Plaut on the T-word Re-writing Jerusalem's history
ADDED: Harry's Place: BBC "terrorist" update

The new fascists of Britain
WorldNetDaily: Anti-Semitism spikes in Britain

Throwing off the Islamofascist yoke
Free Muslims Coalition
The Huffington Post: Muslims face a test

Questions for the new Stalinists
Johan Hari asks George Galloway...

Neither Washington nor London, but... er... anywhere!

Alliance for Workers' Liberty has published a couple of juicy attacks on the SWP lately:

Neither Washington nor London, but... er... anywhere!

The SWP and the "IS tradition"

MORE ADDED HERE: Left anti-semitism | Workers' Liberty (link via Engage)

Previous: Coming home to roost, Aaronovitch versus Atzmon: ethnnic cleansing and bashing fascists, The Undemocratic Left, Blogs, Shoots & Leaves, Genocidal chic and the burning of books, People of the left, Wespec' - Will George venture South?

Where There Were No Doors: Live 8

Where There Were No Doors: Live 8

Friday, July 08, 2005

My London

A couple of good posts by Casino Avenue:

On London:
"Britain ain't London, and London ain't Britain - was wildly different.

Because people just got on with life, and either did what they had to do, went home, or went to the pub. On Wednesday, I went to the World War II commemoration in St James's Park, and I'll post the pictures up at another time. What struck me there was the stoicism and determination of those who lived through the war, right up to the chap who picked up an old rifle and immediately started telling his companion - and the young soldier on duty at the exhibit - just how his shooter should be handled. A little bit of that was on show on Thursday.


Others will take advantage too. The terrorists struck because they're scared of us in London. Scared of a city where we all mingle together, an old trading town where a good deal beats the colour of someone's skin or the identity of someone's God. The unthinking unity in our city - one we don't boast about, because it's part of all of our lives, is something that terrifies those who'd seek to rule us by racial or religious dogma.

The small-minded and the stupid will see this as some kind of Islamic attack on us - those who choose to believe this are as despicable and are as scared of the diversity of London as the cunts who bombed us are. I still can't help worrying some stupid act of revenge will take place soon - I've read some right old crap on messageboards from people whose sympathies are, deep down, probably closer to the terrorists' than they'd dare to admit. The racists, the religious bigots, the fanatics, the warmongers, and the apologists should not be allowed to speak for any of us, or divide us.

Oh, and the last person to set off a bomb and kill people in London was Nazi David Copeland - someone who'd no doubt have common cause with the shitbags behind Thursday's bombs, and those who think taking out anger on Muslims is somehow acceptable.

I'm sure there'll be a chance for us all to show our anger at what's happened, and to mourn those lost on Thursday. Let's make sure it's not hi-jacked by those who are scared of us, whichever cracked ideology they spout. American tourists will squeal and go home for the next five years, all the mobile networks will be counting that juicy cash from those 20 extra text messages you sent today. But London goes on - and, together, we'll never be defeated."
On crocodile tears:
"Three people whose condolences can be shoved where the sun doesn't shine.

The terrorist: "I condemn the bomb attacks in London this morning. I have sent a message of sympathy and solidarity to Mr. Blair and the London Mayor Ken Livingstone. On behalf of Sinn Féin I offer my sincere condolences to the victims and the families of those killed and injured and to the people of London." Gerry Adams. The IRA's last London bomb was 9 years ago - on a bus.

The warmonger: "I spent some time recently with the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and had an opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to the people of London, people who lost lives. And the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill - those who have got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks. The war on terror goes on." George Bush.

The egotist: "No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them. We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings." George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.

Perhaps a lengthy period of silence from all three men would be most appropriate
thing at this time, instead of these hollow words."

Transpontine: London belongs to me (a historian's view on the blitz spirit)
From Daniel: A dissident view on London's finest and a requiem for a victim
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Leadership under attack

The full text of Ken Livingstone's wonderful speech is here. These are the best bits:
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. ...

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee that the city of London is the greatest in the world because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by the cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the Mayor of that city.

[T]o those who came to London today to take life. ... you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

I have always been ambivalent about Ken, although I have voted for him for Mayor, as both a Labour Party and anti-Labour Party candidate. I think he has made some terrible political decisions in the past, and his statements on foreign policy are often dodgy. I have been critical of him on this site for flirting with anti-semites (see here and here).

But I believe he genuinely loves humans - not just humanity in general - which sets him apart from other leftist demagogues, like George Galloway for example. And above all he loves the people of his city, London.


Gene says:

In my frustration at "leftists" who profess to understand the mass murderers of Israeli civilians, I have pointed out that poor and working-class Israelis who depend on buses are more likely to be targeted than those who can afford cars. The Ken Livingstones of the world, who never seemed to notice that fact in their defense of the Palestinian "national struggle," will perhaps have a different perspective now.

Perhaps also Livingstone will begin to grasp why so many of us were enraged last year by his warm welcome and strident defense of the odious Sheikh al-Qaradawi, who has justified suicide murders of Israelis on the grounds that there are no innocent Israeli civilians-- including, presumably, weeks-old babies.

There is, at least, room for hope.


We don't forget, Ken - by Stephen Pollard
Daniel's Counter Blog: The Suicide Bombs within Britain's Liberal Elite

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Who the fuck is Omarion?

R&B singer needs your prayers

Blame the Jews for the attacks on London

The Jews Knew, part Deux

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Thomas Sowell

Jogo writes:
I notice you plan to read Thomas Sowell's book Black Rednecks and White Liberals. So do I. I think his thesis is fascinating, and I KNOW -- using my experience, my particular kind of semiotics and "reading," and my deepest sociological intuitions -- that it's mostly true. Perhaps completely true.

This little article by Sowell from frontpagemag sums up the book in a very few words. You can easily see why neither of the book's subjects -- Black Redneck or White Liberals -- will read it. You'll also probably get a pretty good idea of ....

* why this book is unlikely to receive a fair review in liberal media.

* why my excellent Powell's Review-a-Day list hasn't send out a review of this book. It is possible that their allies in the project -- CS Monitor, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, New Republic, Salon and TLS -- have ignored it.

* why I was not surprised to do an archive-search of the NY Times book reviews and NOT find this book.

* why Sowell's book will not be on reading lists in ethnic studies or sociology classes in ANY remotely liberal college.

Well, Bob, you have a big job ahead of you -- i.e., forcing the clenched teeth of the Left apart another centimeter.

Myself, I agree with what Sowell says in the Frontpage piece. But I think it tells only half the story. Those who deny culture's role in the current sorry state of black America are delusional. But those who say it is ALL down to culture are also delusional. For more, see this post.

Jogo replies:
* Thomas Sowell was born and raised in a culture you have never set foot in. He drank it in with his mother's milk, and perceived it in all the stages of perception -- from the most innocent child to the sophisticated adult thinker. How can you set the raw materials of your analysis in the balance, weighing both his and yours, and come out equal to him?

* From I what I can tell, I don't think even someone like Paul Gilroy has anywhere near the internalized experience of Sowell's subject as Sowell has. Kind a babe in the woods, compared to Sowell. AND to Condoleeza Rice.

* Since Sowell, according to you, "leaves out half the story" (not a quarter or a third of it), you more than imply he's delusional. A person has to ask, in a nice way, who the fuck are YOU? Would you say that to his face?

* And if he "leaves out half the story," maybe it's because he is operating not only on free intellect, but on dogma and faith -- the very things I have consistently tried to point out that you are operating on.

And I'm not saying than an over-arching "faith" or "belief" -- or even dogma -- is necessarily a bad thing. You just need to admit that that's what it is. For example -- absolute opposition to the Death Penalty is a religious position, or the functional equivalent of one. Do you agree?
My reply:

I have some sympathy with the kind of standpoint epistemology you are putting forward - the idea that he KNOWS because he has lived it and I don't. But this is also essentially how Sowell's enemies - afrocentrists and the like - also think. He has a knowledge of what he is writing about I couldn't possibly have - but that doesn't mean his analysis is right.

On the idea of faith and dogma: I agree with you. Certain things I take as articles of faith, as a kind of religious position, rather than something I would argue for intellectually. Things like: that the messy multiplication of difference that makes up a modern city like London or Paris is a good thing, that humans are valuable in their individuality and not just as part of the collective of humanity, that eqaulity and justice are meaningless without freedom but that freedom is of little value to the starving.

More roosting chickens

From Jogo, this article from Maria Margaronis in The Nation.
It's not yet clear whether we'll hate Blair less or blame him more for putting us at greater risk by following Bush to Iraq...
It hasn't come out of the blue--there is no blue for it to come from anymore. It feels more like the other shoe dropping, which brings a kind of relief: Though this was terrible and there may be more to come, everyone knows it could have been much worse. After the lies that took us into war and their long-drawn-out exposure, it won't be easy for Blair to use the attacks to whip up another crusade--though they will probably speed the government's identity-card legislation.
Jogo says:
This person isn't all THAT different from David T's old flat-mate at Harry's Place. Notice all the dark little Sick-Left curly-cues sticking out of the report like trip-wires. These people can't change. That's why there can't be a decent left.

Commenting on my post yesterday, Jogo says:
So .... you began receiving chicken-roosting email later in the day. Interesting that you mention it, and call it by that name. On 9.11.01, I, too, received chicken-roosting email within a few hours after the planes hit the WTC towers.

I will tell you the simple truth -- it was those emails that nudged me over the edge. Those vicious emails caused me to burn the last shred of Left-membership I still felt I possessed. It was as if a veil had come off my eyes and I could see with utter clarity the true face of the Retrograde/Rural 60s Left, the Pot-head Left, the ANSWER Left, the Znet Left, the Taos Left, the Bolinas Left, the Dilletante/Unserious Left, the Academic Left, the Folk Music Left, the Clownish Left, the Addicted-to-Bad-News Left, the Unsavory Left, the Poetry Left and the various other Lefts I am connected to by bonds and affinities of culture, tastes, ancestors, family, friendships, acquaintances and friends-of-friends.

Some I said goodbye to that day. Others, I could not bear say a final goodbye to, and still can't. I went my own way. Then, a few days later, I think on the 14th, Christopher Hitchens' envoie-column appeared in The Nation. He gave me much courage, and I shall always be grateful to him for that. The following week in The Nation I read the denunciation and excommunication of Hitchens by Edward Herman and Chomsky. And then I knew with absolute certainty that I did not belong in the fellowship of The Nation, a magazine that I subscribed to, and that my father had subscribed to for many decades, and that had been part of my intellectual and cultural world since I was old enough to understand political thoughts.

Today I would be embarassed to call myself a Leftist, and horrified to be thought of as one. I don't know what I am. I don't actually have a political name.

The Hitch: WE CANNOT SURRENDER, The Anticipated Attack - Don't blame Iraq for the bombings, Murder by Any Other Name - The rest of the world may be tiring of jihad, but The Nation isn't
Keith Thompson: Leaving the left, Thompson at Large, Sane Nation
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The day after

Daniel lives near the where some of the bombs went off, and emerged safely, but only just. (See also his reflections here .)

Open Democracy writes:
Thursday is a normal working day at openDemocracy's office in Clerkenwell, London, the day we send our weekly email digest of material published on the site.

But this Thursday, 7 July 2005, central London was hit by a series of coordinated bombings which claimed the lives of at least 33 people and injured hundreds more. The disruption to the city's transport network will be repaired, but the human losses and the scars will remain.

All of us at openDemocracy are safe. We warmly thank all those who today have sent us their concern and solidarity. We are moved by the humanity of these messages.

Today, London has rejoined that chain of cities and regions - from New York to Mombasa, Madrid to Istanbul, Casablanca to Bali - whose everyday citizens have suffered indiscriminate, violent assault. In face of it, we affirm our commitment to continue our work in the interests of a fairer, more just and peaceful world.

Tomorrow, we will send our regular weekly email. Today, our editor Isabel Hilton writes in defence of "the democratic values that terror seeks to destroy".

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Islamism - a doctrine of revenge

Islamism means something different by peace than we do. Islamism is not a doctrine of peace, but a doctrine of revenge.

BBC NEWS | UK | Statement claiming London attacks:
"In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God's peace be upon him.

Nation of Islam and Arab nation: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London."
Also at Sky News : London Terror Attacks Kill At Least 37

Links - still being added to:

Daniels Counter Blog of A Jewish Something Kind: Jihadwatch

Clear thinking:
Harry's Place: A letter to a friend
The bombings in London | Workers' Liberty

The Counterterrorism Blog: Internet Claim for London Terror Attack Likely Hoax
Terrorism Unveiled: Terrorist Attack in London
Winds of Change: London Falling
Daniels Counter Blog: Contemporary ideas made in Palestine... with free export licence: Suicide Bombs

India Uncut: Our values and our way of life
ModernityBlog: From Iraq via London

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Coming home to roost

Among the many e-mails and phone calls from friends around the world, I have already received my first 'chickens coming home to roost' e-mail...

[Nb: Links below being regularly updated]

The politics:
normblog: Contemptible
Tribute to London
GAUCHE: scum
Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For WAR: The good, the bad, and the ugly
democracy guy: Idiocy, Thy Name Is George Galloway
Another contemptible response (from Project Nothing! It’s happened in Britain

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London under attack, freedom and democracy under attack

Will this stop British liberals from putting scare quotes around the words terror and terrorism? Probably not.

Added links:
One Man & His Blog: London Archives
Senior Israeli Official: British Police told Israel of Terror Warnings Before Blasts (from Norm)

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Zionism and universities

I received this letter as an opponent of the attempted UK academic boycott of Israeli universities, including Hebrew University (weblinks added by me):
I am writing to thank you on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for taking a stand on academic freedom.

The Hebrew University was one of the Israeli three Universities singled out by the AUT for boycott. As a result of our campaigning the motion did not get passed. Nonetheless we cannot afford to be complacent, and as this term draws to a close I wanted to round it off with an invitation to visit the University and see for yourself the diversity, the equality and the tolerance which the Hebrew University embodies.

During this year the Hebrew University is celebrating the “annus mirabilis” of one of our Founders, Albert Einstein. Twenty years before a State existed, before the language became a living one again, he, together with Sigmund Freud and Martin Buber and many British academics, had the foresight and vision to establish a centre of higher learning as a precursor to a civilised state. His legacy continues not just in the archive of all his papers that the University holds and the income that is derived from it, but more particularly it can be found in the many areas of distinction, including Peace Studies, Christian, Islamic Centre and the Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation, which has been designated a ‘centre of excellence’ by the European Union.

The University has always been open to all, non denominational and has practiced complete academic freedom with its Arab counterparts working side by side in full cooperation. A joint agreement for co-operative work was recently signed with El Quds University of the Palestinian Authority. With 3,500 projects, conducted at 90 centres, ranging from the health sciences and agriculture to education and law, the Hebrew University carries out the largest share (40%) of all basic research in Israel.

We hope that you might find the opportunity to visit, or at least to explore your specialist research area with like-minded colleagues through correspondence and joint research.

My role is to broaden awareness of the University in Britain and to facilitate any potential co-operation. If you have any questions, or would like to arrange a visit, we look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime may we wish you a great summer break and many thanks again.

Wendy Pollecoff
Executive Director
Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace (FFIPP-UK) has since responded (again, weblinks are mine):
Dear Wendy Pollecoff

We received your letter of thanks following FFIPP-UK’s questioning of the political expediency of boycotting targeted Israeli Universities with mixed feelings. We were very glad to learn of the co-operative work of Hebrew University with Al-Quds, and hope that the percentage of your funding that finds its way into that impoverished institution can begin to turn around its extreme underfunding in relation to your own prestigious foundation. We are also very aware of the authority of the early patrons of Hebrew University whom you wish to celebrate, Freud, Buber and Einstein, all of whom voiced their specific apprehensions about political Zionism and the dangers it posed for Palestinians in the region. We would welcome any invitation to join ‘like-minded colleagues’ in your university in honouring the life and work of Albert Einstein, beginning with our reflections on the relevance today of the letter he signed back in 1948, condemning Begin and his ‘terrorism’ against Palestinians as ‘one of the most disturbing political phenomena of our times'.

Tragically, it is this same feeling of outrage and despair at the continuing violation of Palestinian rights in Israel’s occupied territories that has fuelled those calling for boycott against Israeli institutions in Britain and beyond today. We share their indignation. Looking at Israel-Palestine as a whole, the violations of academic freedom that are most visible are the ones suffered daily by Palestinian institutions of higher education, struggling to survive under military occupation and a checkpoint regime which makes normal functioning impossible. FFIPP-UK questions those who call for an academic boycott because we wish to see Israelis and Palestinians working together to end the occupation and bring peace to the region, supporting those courageous activists in Israel who condemn the continuing brutalization and humiliation of Palestinians in the occupied territories. We would be interested in more information from you on what academic staff at the Hebrew University have done to make public their condemnation of the violations of Palestinian academic freedom under occupation.

Yours sincerely
Professor Lynne Segal, University of London
Professor Irene Bruegel, Southbank University.
Myself, I don't like the idea, once again, that Israeli academics should have to prove themselves by condemning their government, when we do not ask any other academics to prove themselves in such a way.

Other links: The University of Haifa Response to the AUT Decision, Middle East Peace Dialogue Network, ENGAGE,, Begin-Sadat Centre, Olive Tree Project
Previous: Aaronovitch versus Atzmon: ethnnic cleansing and bashing fascists, Hating Israel, Atzmon and the SWP continued, Howard Dean versus the anti-semitic liberals, Gilad Atzmon, Tony Greenstein, the SWP and the Holocaust, Chomsky and Israel, Defeating the boycott
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