Lebanon


The ignorance of youth

Apart from its undoubted ability to produce carnage, war also has the ability to provoke people into speaking an awful lot of rubbish. So it is with the war in Lebanon.

We have heard much since this war started about how the United States (and its loyal British lapdog) has been blocking moves at the United Nations to bring about a ceasefire in Lebanon. Such is the hysterical hatred for Bush and Blair that they have even been accused of bringing the UN to its knees.

This charge might carry more weight if the UN were not a busted flush already. Even if we ignore the UN peadophile ring which was operating among peacekeepers in the Congo and the corruption which reaches as far as the hopeless Kofi Annan, we are still faced with examples of sheer uselessness. In Darfur in western Sudan 2 million people have been forced from their homes to live in unsanitary refugee camps by a government sponsored militia. The US and Britain, among others, have pushed for UN action to halt this, as many have said should happen in Lebanon. It hasn’t happened though because Russia, a veto wielding member of the Security Council does a lot of business with the Sudanese government and is not keen to see it slapped down. If this were George Bush we would never hear the end of it, but because it is largely useless to the left in the west, the plight of the Darfuris is forgotten about.

Besides, there is no reason to believe that a UN resolution would make a blind bit of difference. In September 2004, the UN passed Resolution 1559 demanding that the Lebanese government disarm Hizbollah. In January 2006, this still hadn’t happened and the UN was forced to issue a warning to the government in Beirut and all this after repeated Hizbollah rocket attacks on Israel. It would be quickly pointed out that Israel itself is in breach of UN resolutions, but surely this just goes to show how pointless it is?

There has also been something of an outcry over the fact that US weapons flights bound for Israel have been passing via the UK. However, you will search in vain for much of an outcry over the fact that Iran has been supplying Hizbollah with the rockets they used to start this war.

The links between the supporters of a group who’s avowed aim is to wipe out the Israeli state and British left wingers has been dealt with in a previous blog, but when you read about the random murder of Israeli Arab children by Hizbollah, you have to wonder how even they can bear to look themselves in the mirror let alone carry placards claiming ‘We are all Hizbollah’. Still, they spent years as apologists for Stalin and Mao so the left and mass murder have a long standing relationship.

Another of the charges is that Israel’s response has been ‘disproportionate’, but this is a plainly silly and vacuous argument. After all, what would be a proportional response? For every one Israeli killed by Hizbollah, the IDF executes one Lebanese? At what number of dead does a response become ‘disproportionate’? There has been a very long queue of people lining up to criticize Israeli actions but a much shorter queue of people with alternative courses. Should the Israeli’s have continued to just sit there and put up with the rockets which Hizbollah has been firing across the border since 2000?

It is easy to see where this charge comes from, the civilian loss of life in Lebanon has been terrible and deaths like that Quana have shocked the world. But this is how Hizbollah works, indeed, it is how any guerilla or insurgent force works. From Ireland in the early 1920’s to Vietnam in the 1960’s, the enemy, militarily weaker than its opponent, provokes it by a series of small incidents into ever greater crackdowns which have the effect of generating support and potential recruits in the nation effected and political sympathy in the wider world. So it is in Lebanon. A Hizbollah fighter stands on top of a tower block and fires a rocket into Israel. Israel fires back at him and kills everyone inside the tower block.

So perhaps there should be a negotiated peace? That would surely be the best solution for everyone? Perhaps not. In its manifesto, Hizbollah claims that “We see in Israel the vanguard of the United States in our Islamic world. It is the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve” and “We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies” or even “our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated”. In this light it comes as little surprise that Hizbollah legislator Hussein Haj Hassan responded to peace efforts saying “The international envoys have conveyed Israeli conditions. These conditions are rejected”. When Israel is faced with an enemy backed by the growing power of Iran and which claims that “We recognize no treaty with it (Israel), no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated”, who exactly are the Israelis suppose to negotiate with?

This brings us back to the question of the UN. Those who place so much faith in the ability of this rotten fiasco to rein in Israel and protect it from further Hizbollah attacks may like to note Hizbollah’s reaction to the last UN force which was dispatched to guard the border; “With special vehemence we reject UNIFIL as they were sent by world arrogance to occupy areas evacuated by Israel and serve for the latter as a buffer zone. They should be treated much like the Zionists.”

Hizbollah will keep firing rockets into Israel and it will fight a UN force if one is sent there to keep the peace. Israel will be faced with the choice of accepting these rocket attacks or doing something about which is the route they have been forced down by the intransigence of Hizbollah and the weakness of the Lebanese government. But it is a war that Israel cannot win so expect plenty more rubbish to be spouted about it yet.

The great rock n’ roll swindle

Homes fit for Working Class Heroes

“We recognize that a pact including such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and directing additional resources for basic needs – education, health, clean water, food, and care for orphans – would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost equal to just one percent more of the US budget”

These were the words of Bono in the lead up to the Live 8 concerts in summer 2005. A cry for money to be sent to Africa to help alleviate the crushing poverty that wrecks the lives of so many on that continent.

But not, it seems, if Bono is going to be asked to stump up for it. Yesterday the news broke that Bonos band U2 have carried out a neat soft shoe shuffle and transferred part of their publishing business to Holland where they will pay less tax. For a man who prides himself on his sincerity, that seems a little odd. But pop music, a genre which defines itself to some extent on its raw, uninhibited emotion, is no stranger to such rank hypocrisy.

Back in 1971 former Beatle John Lennon sang the song ‘Imagine’ in which he asked us to “Imagine no possessions”. Lennon, famed for his ‘sincerity’, is sitting at a white grand piano in the drawing room of his mansion as he sings this. Imagine no possessions? You first John.

He wasn’t alone. In 1973 Pink Floyd released the album ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ which went on to sell a staggering 25 million copies. The album included ‘Money’, a song satirizing the rich and selfish written by bass player Roger Waters, which included the line “I’m alright Jack keep your hands off of my stack”. The money that comes in from royalties on a song like ‘Money’ everytime it is played on radio or TV anywhere in the world, and every time a copy of the album or single is sold, must be enormous. But, back in the Britain of the 1970’s, taxes likewise were enormous with a top rate at the now unimaginable 98 pence in the pound. As a result, Roger Waters moved to France where taxes were lower and band mate Nick Mason says “It was greed that drove Pink Floyd into exile. We thought we could make a pile of cash if we lived outside the country, saved taxes and invested the money”. ‘Keep your hands off my stack’ indeed.

Pink Floyd went on to release the album ‘The Wall’ in 1979. This time the hit single was ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ which included the famous line “We dont need no education”. When the Floyd played at Live 8 it was impossible not to notice the contradiction between the band singing that sang that famous line and the pictures of African children bearing placards reading ‘Education is our right’. Who is right? Multi millionaire musician Roger Waters? Or the children of sub Saharan Africa?

The song also contains the ridiculous line “We don’t need no thought control”. Well ask yourself this, because it doesn’t appear to have crossed Waters’ mind; who’s thoughts are easier to control? Someone who has good grammar, can communicate, understand idealistic concepts and has a working knowledge of science and history? Or one of the uneducated Morlocks our Comprehensive ‘schools’ are currently cranking out?

The hypocrisy of these rock gods is alive and well in a younger generation. Jennifer Lopez makes millions as a singer, actress and now perfume maker yet will still insist that “Im still Jenny from the block”. Coldplay singer Chris Martin said last year that “Shareholders are the great evil of this modern world”. For a man whose music is so insipid it might come as no surprise that his politics are equally fatuous, but one might have expected a firmer grasp on economics from an alumni of one of Britain’s top public schools, Sherbourne, and University College in London. The expensively educated husband of movie start Gwyneth Paltrow, doesn’t seem to realize that the investment put into companies like his record label EMI by shareholders enables those companies to pay for the A&R men and women who discover bands like Coldplay.

Why is it that these super rich stars are so hell bent on trying to convince us that they are, in fact, barely educated and without a penny to their names? In the song ‘Working Class Hero’, John Lennon sings that ‘They’ “Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV” (but not, it seems, with Beatles records) and “But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see” (that we should all live in a mansion in Surrey) and finishes up by claiming that “If you want to be a hero well just follow me”. The inference is clear; Lennon is a working class hero and we should all be following his example.

But Lennon wasn’t a working class hero and he was being dishonest again. The cover of the Oasis single ‘Live Forever’ has a picture of a very nice suburban semi. It turns out this picture of the middle class idyll was taken in Liverpool. Furthermore, it is the house which John Lennon grew up in. Not quite the Dickensian slum which ‘Working Class Hero’ would have you believe.

The answer as to why they play down to the gallery like this could well just be a bid to appeal to what they think their audience wants to hear. If this is the case it is a pretty condescending view of the record buying public. Perhaps the reason can be found in the vanity of these ‘artists’? In the song ‘Common People’, Pulp famously sang about a girl who slums it with the Proles safe in the knowledge that she can go home to her wealthy parents. It is quite easy to imagine a similar thought process animating Roger Waters when he warns his audience of the evils of a good education, or John Lennon when he tells us that possessions are of no importance, before the pair of them board their helicopters and whiz back to their mansions.

In the Godfather, Michael Corleone says that “Discontent for money is just a trick of the rich to keep the poor without it”. Perhaps there is an element of this in the hypocritical posing about that rock stars do? Tell people that education is a crock, that material things are an actual negative and they will not want to pursue them. All at once, your hold on the Mansions, limos and private jets looks just that little more secure.

The New Left

An idiot, but useful?

As I was walking through Walthamstow last week I heard a familiar voice over a bull horn. It was the sound of the Socialist Worker Party ranting about the evil of Israel, the immorality of the war in Iraq and a plea not to attack Iran. Why should all this bother a British socialist party?

On the surface, and the reason they would no doubt give, would be their feeling of brotherhood with their fellow man. Indeed, I’m sure we all feel bad as an Israeli jet smashes another Beirut tower block to smithereens or another group of Iraqis are found executed in a ditch. They would also, no doubt, rope in a few arguments about oil, imperialism and global capitalism, the lefts equivalents of Jews, gypsies and Freemasons for explaining the evils of the world.

But it is hard not to believe that there is a more sinister calculation at work here. Walthamstow, like many parts of east London, has a large and growing Muslim community. Furthermore, it is not clear how many of them belong to the peaceful creed of Islam that we are told about after every September 11th, Bali, Beslan, Madrid, 7/7, Mumbai… East 17 is home to Anjem Choudary, a man who earned the reputation as a “fanatic” for claiming that he wouldn’t pass prior knowledge of another tube bombing onto the Police because “I don’t think Muslims can co-operate with police” Just a year ago Abdul Muhid was arrested for giving a speech on Walthamstow Market in which he called for British soldiers in Iraq to be killed and homosexuals to be thrown from cliff tops. At the end of last year the banned Islamist group Al Muhajiroun had a meeting in Walthamstow cancelled at the last minute when Police deemed it to be a security threat. The meeting had been publicised by leaflets proclaiming “Islamic State for Britain. There can be no negotiations.” In July 2006, CNN reported on a meeting in Walthamstow where young Muslims watched videos supporting terrorist acts with one claiming that “The people who are to blame for the 7th of July, are number one, the British government. No doubt about that. The British public are responsible and are to blame for what happened on the 7th of July because they voted for that government”. It is into this environment that the idiotic lefties bring posters branding George W. Bush “Worlds #1 Terrorist”.

It is an odd marriage in many ways. For example, one of the core beliefs of the left always used to be a fairly radical brand of feminism and women’s rights. One might wonder then how they feel about the status of Islamic women as second class citizens. In 2000 Human Rights Watch reported on human rights in the middle east and north Africa and found that “in all these countries as in others in the region, women continued to suffer from severe forms of institutional and societal discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, particularly in the form of unequal personal status laws and the lack of legal redress in cases of domestic violence. Despite some positive initiatives, tens of millions of women throughout the region continued to be denied full equality, a fact that was reflected in high rates of illiteracy and maternal mortality and low rates of political participation and was justified in terms of religion, culture, and tradition”. Azam Kamguianhas has written that “Few would argue that the status of women in the Middle East can be understood without reference to Islam. Although the legal-religious systems of no two Middle Eastern countries are identical, women are second-class citizens in all of them. But neither can the position of women in the region be understood without an appreciation of the economic and political contexts in which they live, and of the influence of Political Islam”. This is no longer the preserve of backward countries in the Middle East, the main east London Mosque has separate doors for men and women. Once again, for every claim that Islam is actually enlightened on issues of gender politics, there is a hadith such as this; An-Nisa 4: 34 “As to those women On whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill -conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share beds, (and Last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): For God is Most High, Great (above you all)” or a Koranic verse such as this; “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because men spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those among you who fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.” Sura 4:34

What of the struggle for gay rights, once so cherished by the left? Dr. Muhammad M. Abu Laylah, professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University, is on record as saying that “this act is an ugly sin which Allah forbids in all religions, even in the most primitive ones. It is against the ordinances of Allah and against the law of nature. I wonder how in this age of advanced knowledge, science, technology, we allow such things to take place in our human society, how someone allows or gives a legal sanction to such a widespread act that poses a threat to the whole human race and destroys our fabric of society like cancer”. Back in August 2005, Sheik Khalid Yasin went on Australian television to declare that “If you prefer the name of somebody on your clothes other than the name of the Muslims, if you prefer the clothing of the Kaffers (sic) other than the clothing of the Muslims, most of the names that’s on most of those clothing is faggots, homosexuals and lesbians. God is very straightforward about this – not we Muslims, not subjective, the Sharia is very clear about it, the punishment for homosexuality, bestiality or anything like that is death. We don’t make any excuses about that, it’s not our law – it’s the Koran”.

So how does the left wing react to this? In an effort to appease their new found fundamentalist friends, the Socialist Review castigated the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association for calling Islam a “barmy doctrine”. But when the Koran clearly states that “If two men among you commit indecency, punish them both.” (Koran 4:16), is the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association really being that out of line?

Then we come to animal rights. Many on the political left who had the tremendous bravery to stand up to the stuffy old fox hunters find that their courage deserts them when faced with Islamic practices of animal slaughter. In actual fact the Koran contains many instructions to Muslims to treat animals well and has the usual blood curdling penalties for those who don’t. But few people who live in east London will have failed to notice the fast food places which have the word ‘Halal’ in the window. Halal butchery involves “slitting the throats of fully conscious animals so they bleed to death, which can take up to three minutes”. The moderate Muslim Council of Britain says that “It’s a sudden and quick haemorrhage. A quick loss of blood pressure and the brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain” but a spokesperson for the Farm Animal Welfare Council said that “This is a major incision into the animal and to say that it doesn’t suffer is quite ridiculous”. When one thinks of the fuss the left wing kicked up about the 13,000 foxes killed by hunters each year, it seems odd that they have remained silent over the 600,000 farm animals killed in this unnecessarily cruel way.

It would be interesting to hear the left wing anti Israelis share their views on women’s lib, gay rights and animal welfare with wider Walthamstow, but such is their craven, cynical cowardice that they keep quiet for fear of alienating their new found Islamist friends. They are hoping to harness the electoral power of Islam, as Big Brother star George Galloway has done in his Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. This isn’t without historical precedent. Back in 1933, German Chancellor Franz Von Papen thought he could shore up his dwindling popularity by bringing the National Socialists on side and getting some of Hitler’s support for himself. The disastrous results should be known even to those ignorant fools on the left.

But perhaps there is more to this unlikely marriage of left wing politics and Islamo-fascism than a cynical political calculation. Of course, on the issues above, feminism, gay rights and animal rights, there would appear to be a wide divergence but the two groups do share one very important thing; an opposition to the modern world. An open world of trade and integration, of falling borders and the free movement of people and ideas is anathema to the left. When we look back to the countries of the old communist block, they cast off Communism as quickly as they could when they saw the wealth and opportunity that can be had with Capitalism. For the mullahs too there is the awareness that the freedom to live your life as you see fit which we enjoy in liberal democracies will soon leave their mosques empty. In the face of this, the modern world, the left wing and Islamic puritans are bound together in a rancid alliance of aggression and denial.