Archive for the 'cultural relativism' Category

Feb 01 2012

Murder, Lies and the Bigotry of Low Expectations

My latest broadside in The Propagandist, The Bigotry of Low Expectations of Muslim Immigrants by an Imam. A note on honour killings, expectations of Canadian citizenship and some very weird comments by a Canadian Imam who the mainstream media loves to quote. The way this guy talks about his fellow co-religionists, you’d almost be tempted to accuse him of… well, Islamophobia.

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May 06 2010

Majority of Canadian Youth Are Spoiled Useless Cowards

Decades of teaching moral and cultural relativism have taken their toll on our once proud national psyche. Indeed, the brave young Canadian soldiers who are fighting the good fight for freedom are not at all representative of their generation. From the Chronicle Herald:

A clear majority of younger Canadians say they would not have volunteered in 1939 to help liberate Europe and defeat Nazism, according to the poll.

I can hear the arguments by these gutless pimply-faced simps in my head: “It’s their culture to enslave their neighbors, put ethnic minorities into death camps and machine-gun lines of starving civilians. We can’t judge them. After all, democracy isn’t perfect. Just look at our Prime Minister! He’s the real monster.”

Listen up, kids. Freedom is not free and tyranny is not peace.

This is now very un-Canadian behavior

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Feb 08 2010

Amnesty International and Strange Bedfellows

A whistleblower finally came forward (and was promptly sacked) for reporting on Amnesty International’s odd relationship with Cageprisoners, an organization that advocates on behalf of the “innocent victims” of the war on terror at Guantanamo — many of whom return to the battlefield to wage jihad as soon as they are released.

It may sound odd to use the word whistleblower to describe someone who merely comments on a public relationship. Though I think it fits in that here we have an insider who breaks with their organization’s formal talking points in comments to the Times of London story entitled “Amnesty International is ‘damaged’ by Taliban link” and is immediately punished for it.

H/T to Terry Glavin, Harry’s Place and Stroppyblog.

Amnesty International and Cageprisoners
Statement by Gita Sahgal

7 February 2010

This morning the Sunday Times published an article about Amnesty International’s association with groups that support the Taliban and promote Islamic Right ideas. In that article, I was quoted as raising concerns about Amnesty’s very high profile associations with Guantanamo-detainee Moazzam Begg. I felt that Amnesty International was risking its reputation by associating itself with Begg, who heads an organization, Cageprisoners, that actively promotes Islamic Right ideas and individuals.

Within a few hours of the article being published, Amnesty had suspended me from my job.

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when a great organisation must ask: if it lies to itself, can it demand the truth of others? For in defending the torture standard, one of the strongest and most embedded in international human rights law, Amnesty International has sanitized the history and politics of the ex-Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg and completely failed to recognize the nature of his organisation Cageprisoners.

The tragedy here is that the necessary defence of the torture standard has been inexcusably allied to the political legitimization of individuals and organisations belonging to the Islamic Right.

I have always opposed the illegal detention and torture of Muslim men at Guantanamo Bay and during the so-called War on Terror. I have been horrified and appalled by the treatment of people like Moazzam Begg and I have personally told him so. I have vocally opposed attempts by governments to justify ‘torture lite’.

The issue is not about Moazzam Begg’s freedom of opinion, nor about his right to propound his views: he already exercises these rights fully as he should. The issue is a fundamental one about the importance of the human rights movement maintaining an objective distance from groups and ideas that are committed to systematic discrimination and fundamentally undermine the universality of human rights. I have raised this issue because of my firm belief in human rights for all.

I sent two memos to my management asking a series of questions about what considerations were given to the nature of the relationship with Moazzam Begg and his organisation, Cageprisoners. I have received no answer to my questions. There has been a history of warnings within Amnesty that it is inadvisable to partner with Begg. Amnesty has created the impression that Begg is not only a victim of human rights violations but a defender of human rights. Many of my highly respected colleagues, each well-regarded in their area of expertise has said so. Each has been set aside.

As a result of my speaking to the Sunday Times, Amnesty International has announced that it has launched an internal inquiry. This is the moment to press for public answers, and to demonstrate that there is already a public demand including from Amnesty International members, to restore the integrity of the organisation and remind it of its fundamental principles.

I have been a human rights campaigner for over three decades, defending the rights of women and ethnic minorities, defending religious freedom and the rights of victims of torture, and campaigning against illegal detention and state repression. I have raised the issue of the association of Amnesty International with groups such as Begg’s consistently within the organisation. I have now been suspended for trying to do my job and staying faithful to Amnesty’s mission to protect and defend human rights universally and impartially.

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Jan 13 2010

A Proper Application Of Power

American forces are moving into Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake, providing emergency aid and support to maintain public order. For the moment, the image in some parts of the world of Western forces as war criminals and occupiers fades a bit as disciplined leathernecks move ashore to help people in desperate need. As the shell-shocked Haitians hear of “a swift, coordinated and aggressive” operation by the US military, they will welcome the troops not with rockets and insurgent tactics, but with tears of joy and gratitude.

The troops on the ground will have heavy responsibilities. Indeed, in coming days, they should be called on to act in ways they had never expected — perhaps, in ways that the locals won’t want, but which they do need.

Still the World’s Sole Superpower
America’s ability to respond to these kinds of emergencies all over the world is a reminder of the world’s sole remaining superpower’s unique capability to act for good or evil — particularly when compared with other geopolitical contenders.

Some are convinced of China’s rise as a world power (and there are those who would suggest it has already overtaken America as a superpower). Yet no one is expecting the Chinese navy to drop in and take a leading role in the relief effort in what is essentially America’s pond. You’ll recall that in the wake of the 2004 tsunami that devastated southeast Asia, any kind of overt Chinese military response was extremely limited. It’s unclear whether they lacked the logistical ability to provide far-ranging support, or whether full-scale Chinese intervention might have raised the hackles of neighbors already nervous about a longer-term “China threat”. Meanwhile, the US navy was only too eager to deploy in typical gung-ho style.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
A robust application of military power in these kinds of situations is not to be feared or fought. The American effort is welcomed with open arms. Indeed, people around the world would be shocked if the USA didn’t take an active role in Haiti now. Their efforts are to be lauded.

That said, it must also be acknowledged that it took a natural disaster of unprecedented scope to drag America back into Haiti, when disasters of another sort in Haiti ought to have been higher up the US agenda years ago. The USA should get credit for leading the current effort in Haiti, but the past decade has seen this small island nation endure a living hell of abject poverty, corruption, gangsterism and political instability. When one thinks of the resources spent and wasted in Iraq due to mismanagement and corruption, it’s incredible to think what might have been possible in Haiti given a more focused attention and diversion of resources to the USA’s own sphere of influence.

Indeed, America can act in Haiti in more far-ranging ways compared with other countries that will avoid “interference in a country’s internal affairs” at all costs. America didn’t break Haiti, as it broke Iraq. But there will still be pressure for a long-term American presence to help the country become notable for something other than being the poorest place in the Western hemisphere. Economic aid should come with conditions to hit possibly the worst aspect of Haitian indigenous culture: child slavery.

It may seem incredible, but it’s true: “Haiti was the first country in the Americas to abolish slavery, when it won its independence in 1804 after a struggle led by Toussaint Louverture. But thousands live a life of near-slave labour because of poverty and social breakdown.”

A Real Fight for Freedom
Child slavery in Haiti is not a new phenomenon, though the relatively recent adoption of child slaves to serve not the rich, but the less poor, has certainly put horrific spin on this perverse practice. Haitians reportedly defend the practice as a part of their indigenous culture. But child slavery is one of those things that neither cultural relativism nor poverty can properly excuse. It is a crime and a violation of human rights.

Now that Americans and other countries will be boosting their resources and boots on the ground, we have an opportunity to remove a terrible exception to the freedom that the rest of this region takes for granted.

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Dec 29 2009

This Protest March Brought to You by Mr. Fuck Canada Day

The upcoming Vancouver version of the Gaza Freedom March (which for some reason is not marching for freedom for Palestinians from Hamas thugs) appears to be organized and promoted with the help of UBC SPHR President Omar Amroosh Chaaban, formerly Omar Shaban, Vice-President of the Canadian Arab Federation.

As you’ll recall, Chaaban was called out by Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, for writing “Fuck Canada Day” on his Facebook profile. “This hateful attitude towards Canada is a direct result of how some politicians and police have refused to stand up to Islamists, either out of fear or for electoral expediency,” Fatah said at the time.

To refresh your memory, Omar says he resigned (rather than being asked to resign) shortly after the incident on July 1. CAF lost its taxpayer funding, in part for similar sorts of unwise comments, such as when Canadian Arab Federation president Khaled Mouammar called Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney a “professional whore”. But Mr. Chaaban (or Shaban) should certainly be lauded for his contribution to a chain of events that resulted in an end to taxpayer funding for an organization that seems to be inconsistent with “Canada’s best liberal values of tolerance and mutual respect”.

You’d think that a Palestinian group assumed to be looking for deeper support in the wider community would want a leader who is a little less of a potential liability on the public relations front. But then again, that depends on the kind of PR they really want to have. After all, we know what passes for rational discussion of Israel and Palestine on Canadian campuses.

As for the real march which now seems to have been halted on the Egyptian border (by pro-Zionist Egyptians, no doubt), that farce is brought to you by George Galloway, perhaps known chiefly outside the British Isles for this sort of disgusting conduct.

As for the goals of the protest march itself, there’s a fairly straightforward way of achieving the end of the blockade of Gaza that will go far beyond sending some crates of food and medical supplies once every three years. The Palestinians in Gaza must reject (and if necessary, overthrow) the thuggish Hamas regime. Rockets, terror and bombings against Israeli targets will not end their misery. Palestinians can win their freedom if they are willing to stand up to their oppressors.

UPDATE: Nazis for Gaza Freedom March in Toronto Thanks to Your Tax Dollars. Oh, God, this is good…

And more photos of sieg-heiling freedom marchers at Lumpy, Grumpy and Frumpy.

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