Tuesday, August 01, 2006

philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful

A follow-up to my previous post on Germaine Greer and Monica Ali

1. Salman Rushdie strikes back at Greer:
'You sanctimonious philistine' - Rushdie v Greer, the sequel
Good stuff Salman!

2. Natasha Walker in the Graun makes some sensible points:

The bad thing about this controversy is not only that one side is barking up the wrong tree, but also that the media have followed the barking of certain voices to the exclusion of other voices in this community. I'm not saying that the troublemakers are purely created by the media. Obviously, and regrettably, Abdus Salique, who threatened to burn the book at a protest, is real enough, as are others who want to suppress the film. But these are not the only voices worth listening to as representatives of the community. Journalists and commentators have to think again about why we choose whom we do to represent a community.

Pola Uddin, the only Bengali woman in the House of Lords, was indignant when I asked her why we weren't hearing more women's voices in this debate: "Our voices aren't sought! The media are not interested in in us."
3. One thing I want to add, in case my posts on this are being read gleefully by those who like to hate Muslims, is that the protesters are very, very different people from those who burnt Satanic Verses. The anti-Monica Ali bigots are secular Bangladeshis, people who often protest against political Islam and Jamaati activity, the good guys in the war on terror.

They are driven by a different version of identitarianism: nationalism, or perhaps more strictly "infra-nationalism". They are Sylheti nationalists, and Sylheti nationalism is all about resentment against Dhaka people. In other words, this is not the clash of civilisations, but the narcissism of minor differences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The reason we Sylhetis dislike Dhakaiyas is that the Dhaka dominated government is trying to destroy our culture and language through a fascist attempt at imposing 'standard' Shuddho (read Dhakaiya) Bangla on the rest of the country. In addition, Sylhet is the region most Western expats hail from and in turn the region is relatively prosperous thanks to remmittances. However, many Sylhetis feel their regions are passed over in terms of govt investment.