Tuesday, August 29, 2006

reality and its liberal bias

We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut.

I am quite positive Colbert didn't have Tavleen Singh in mind when he said that, but he might as well have.

In her Sunday Express column, dated August 27, 2006, Tavleen Singh denounced India's outrage at the detention of 12 Indians in Amsterdam, as symptomatic of 'our denial about the transformation of ordinary, supposedly moderate Indian Muslims' and found it odd that 'instead of being upset that Indian garment exporters should have disobeyed flight attendants, the media spoke almost in one voice to condemn "racial profiling"'.

She further said that the media went out of its way to show they were ordinary businessmen. (How could they be? They were *gasp* Muslims.)
"Nek, namazi" were the words used. Alas, so is Osama bin Laden. He fights us infidels only because he believes that Allah has sent him to Earth to either turn us into believers or finish us off.

She is horrified that these
Muslims are even allowed to breed.
European countries have allowed Muslim immigration in such large numbers that, according to some estimates, in a few years every fifth or sixth person in Western Europe will be Muslim. It is hard to find a European city that does not have several mosques.

Most mindnumbingly, she rationalises that since terrorists have tried to use iPods and mobile phones as detonators in the past, arresting anyone found using a phone or an iPod is quite reasonable. (And if the were Muslim, well, they had it coming anyway.)
And, what were they going to use? Liquid explosives and mobile phones and iPods as detonators. Is it surprising that airline marshals on the Northwest flight to Mumbai should have panicked when they saw a group of Muslims refusing to turn off their mobile phones?

There you have it: the latest weapon of mass destruction.
The iDetonator

I hereby unequivocally declare that Roswitha should be arrested for her 20GB iDetonator, and that Kausha must be hanged to death, preferably without trial, for having a 30GB video iDetonator. The Dunce may be let off with a fine: he only has an iDetonator Shuffle, which is ineffective as it blows up unexpected targets. (Delhi for Amsterdam, Melbourne for Kyoto etc. The Shuffle takes some getting used to, you know.)

While most people would find it hard to stomach Tavleen Singh's views, there are indeed many takers for milder versions of the "Islam = Terrorism" logic. Talking about regional economics, political tensions and oppression usually elicits smirks.

'Islamic Terrorism', simply 'Islam' for short, is the new catchphrase.

Tavleen Singh and party are right on one count: terrorism is a pressing subject of our times.

Which brings me to Robert Pape, one of the foremost experts on contemporary terrorism.

In an article published in the Truthout *, Pape has some telling facts. I quote:
  • There had never been a documented suicide attack in Iraq until after the American invasion in 2003.

  • Before Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, there was no Hezbollah suicide terrorist campaign against Israel; indeed, Hezbollah came into existence only after this event.

  • Before the Sri Lankan military began moving into the Tamil homelands of the island in 1987, the Tamil Tigers did not use suicide attacks.

  • Before the huge increase in Jewish settlers on the West Bank in the 1980's, Palestinian groups did not use suicide terrorism.
Read the entire article here.

In another article, published in The Guardian
+, he discusses the Hezbollah resistance against the Israeli occupation. He says that of the 41 suicide bombers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists; 27 were from leftist political groups such as the Lebanese Communist Party and the Arab Socialist Union; three were Christians, including a female secondary school teacher with a college degree. Significantly, all were born in Lebanon. (Data for 3 bombers not found.)

He says that what the bombers shared was not a religious or political ideology but simply a commitment to resisting a foreign occupation.

He concludes:
Religion is rarely the root cause, although it is often used as a tool by terrorist organisations in recruiting and in other efforts in service of the broader strategic objective. Most often, it is a response to foreign occupation.

Read the entire article here.

In this interview with Kerry O'Brien, Pape says:
There are 1.6 million Muslims in Britain. The Home Office found that 13 per cent of those Muslims believed that suicide attacks against the West were justified. They further found that the central reason for why those 13 per cent believed those suicide attacks were justified was anger over British military policies on the Arabian Peninsula. The link between anger over American, British and Western military forces stationed on the Arabian Peninsula and Al Qaeda's ability to recruit suicide terrorists to kill us couldn't be tighter.

While people such as Tavleen Singh continue to hate the entire Muslim community, and come up with baseless arguments to support their essential bigotry, Robert Pape has uncovered vital information that is critical to understanding how prejudiced the blanket accusations against 'Islamic Terrorism' are.

But Tavleen Singh would be highly suspicious of this new evidence. I wouldn't blame her. After all, reality does have a liberal bias.

* The Robert Pape article, Blowing up an Assumption, was originally published in the New York Times. The article requires free subscription.

What we still don't understand about the Hizbollah, was later republished in The Hindu.

Related links:
  1. Exploding Myths, an article by Oliver King, where he discusses Pape's seminal work, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.

  2. Adam Wolfson's discussion here.

  3. A PDF version of Pape's essay published in the American Political Science Review, The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. (via Daniel Drezner)

  4. A suicide bomber killed at least 17 people on Monday, the 28th of August, in Afghanistan. Although Pape supports the invasion of Afghanistan, he would no doubt see the perceived foreign invasion as the primary reason.

  5. In a more complex form of rebellion, women are turning to the Qur'an in Syria, forming secret groups such as the Qubaisiate.
    “People mistake tradition for religion,” Ms. Kaldi said. “Men are always saying, ‘Women can’t do that because of religion,’ when in fact it is only tradition. It’s important for us to study so that we will know the difference.”
    Although it's about time women asserted their independence in the more oppressive Islamic societies, I wonder if turning to religion is the answer. It could so easily turn out to a hollow victory like the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

  6. Another article by Pape in The Palenstine Chronicle.

  7. A report in The Australian about why Robert Pape is persona non grata in Australia.
  8. The Chicago academic and author argues that Australia is on the radar of terror groups primarily because of its actions and behaviour, not because of what it represents. It is a theory unpopular with the Government, which says Australia is a terror target because it is a secular Western democracy, not because of its foreign policy.

  9. Closer home, an editorial in The Hindu which compares Manmohan Singh's recent comments with Vajpayee's infamous comments in the aftermath of the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat.

Categories: terrorism, ideology, politics, world, india, USA, west.asia, war


roswitha said...

Oh, fantastic. Not only do we get a really bad action-movie (my face-wash and your toothpaste will KILL THE HUMAN RACE together, and only white men can save us!) but now we have moral criticism for it. Tavleen is like the Bond girl of the politics of stupid, like Shobhaa De is the Bond girl for the socio-economic cult of stupid.

roswitha said...

Also, you are an Islamofascist.

angry fix said...

Via email, Ros confirmed to me what she means by Islamofascist.
"An Islamofascist is someone who doesn't blame Islam for widespread terror and war, and doesn't think all Muslims are terrorists."

I am afraid I have no defence to offer.

Kausha said...

Sup took the words out of my mouth. even i was going for a Tavleen singh. you should read tavleen singh on sex and upwardly mobile teens and mobile phones and pasta dinners. It will numb you.

WishfulThinker said...

Hey, just wanted to say that I dropped in here via Raindrop and I'm glad I did!! You keep writing and I'll keep coming back! Ps: Those are some of my favourite lines from Eliot. And as for Madame Singh, screw her. Or don't actually.

angry fix said...

Thank you.

Esp for adding the proviso 'Or don't actually.'