Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Quiet

Salman Rushdie, once famously targeted for assassination by the Ayatollah Khomeini, has given an interview to the Belfast Telegraph.

... It horrifies Rushdie that so many people in his natural political home - the left - don't get it. They seem to imagine that when people call for a novelist to be beheaded for blasphemy, they are really calling for a return to the 1967 borders, or an independent Kashmir, or an end to the occupation of Iraq. ...

... III: The quiet American, and the art of slitting our own throats

Rushdie has looked down the barrel of Islamism, smelt its cordite, and survived. So he is perpetually being asked - how do we lift the collective fatwa on our transport systems, our nightclubs, our cities? How do we scrape meaning from his misery? "When people ask me how the West should adapt to Muslim sensitivities, I always say - the question is the wrong way round. The West should go on being itself. There is nothing wrong with the things that for hundreds of years have been acceptable - satire, irreverence, ridicule, even quite rude commentary - why the hell not?

"But you see it every day, this surrender," he says. He runs through a list of the theatres and galleries that have censored themselves in the face of religious fundamentalist protests. He mentions that the entire British media - from the BBC down - placed itself in purdah during the Mohammed cartoons episode. "What I fear most is that, when we look back in 25 years' time at this moment, what we will have seen is the surrender of the West, without a shot being fired. They'll say that in the name of tolerance and acceptance, we tied our own hands and slit our own throats.

10/14/2006 1:29 AM

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At Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:40:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

You've seen Sam Harris' piece in the LA Times, "Head-in-the-Sand Liberals"?

At Sunday, October 15, 2006 4:30:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Wow! Very well stated by a pro-war liberal author.

SAM HARRIS is the author of "The End of Faith".

… A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.

This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy.

Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have better-than-average educations and economic opportunities. …

… Unfortunately, liberals hate the current administration with such fury that they regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are. ...

At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 8:17:00 AM, Blogger mal said...

I am afraid that we will look back at this time and ask ourselves wherewas our moral courage. We accepted being known as the "Ugly American" and I believe we have overall improved our manners and sensitivities to other nations and cultures

It needs to work both ways. Sensitivity does not mean we surrender ourselves and who we are just to satisfy a nihilistic culture's hubris.

At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 2:45:00 PM, Blogger anchovy said...

A point of irony: "nihilistic...hubris" is probably how other folks feel about the U.S.

Egalitarianism has rightly been elevated to something of a national ethos. All well and good, but somewhere along the way (and I let you guys fill in the "why") it has evolved into the notion that it I wrong to make moral distinctions, that is wrong to *gasp* judge someone. In our schools we are practically indoctrinated with the notion that we are all equal—in every respect—that we’re racist, intolerant or backward for making distinctions. (Mind you, we are all aware of inappropriate distinctions.) I am utterly astonished at the profound naiveté of folks like Rosie O’Donnell who make statements like radical Christians are as evil as radical Muslims.

(And thanks for the encouraging comments some time ago. I took a few weeks off from blogging.)


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