Archive for Tariq Ali

Richard Dawkins: “Islam” is an “Unmitigated Evil”

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by loonwatch

Richard Dawkins, well known biologist and pop-atheist-guru (add goofball) recently brought up thequestion of whether or not atheists should support Christian missions in Africa. (hat tip: Rob)

He believes the answer is “still no,” (he doesn’t say why) but since Islam according to him is an “unmitigated evil” and atheism is not going to be making any inroads into Africa anytime soon it is a question worth “raising.”

His logic is based on a crudely partitioned breakdown of religious affiliation in Africa designed by aChristian site:

(Isn’t Dawkins supposed to question these sorts of things?)

Dawkins also believes ‘supporting missions’ may be justified on the basis that ‘the enemy of our enemy is our friend.’ That’s the extent of profundity provided by Dawkins! Such crass and cynical sentiments expose the bankruptcy of ideas and strategy in the leadership of the so-called New Atheists.

The statement is similar to “exposed as a fraud” Ayaan H. Ali’s call for Christian missionaries to evangelize Muslims. Such a call is really just a variation on the well worn Crusader-esque theme best expressed by the likes of Anne Coulter, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” (Or the recent statement by Christian Evangelical Bryan Fischer, “Muslims can either convert, or die”).

Don’t you love how some of these loony-out-for-a-buck-and-some-notoriety atheists are so quick to compromise their principles and sit at the table with the most hardcore Bible Thumpers out there? Does anyone think George Carlin would stand for that? Or Tariq Ali? Or As’ad Abu Khalil? Or Cenk Uygur? It just goes to show you that where you are born, your culture and history do have an impact on the decisions and positions you take, no matter how much you claim to be “objective” and motivated by “reason,” and the “scientific method.”

As for his comments that it is a “given” that Islam is “an unmitigated evil in the world today”…wow. First of all, what does that mean about the practitioners of Islam? Does it mean that they are all or mostly or significantly practitioners of “evil?” Because that is the import of Dawkins’ statement, I mean who else puts into reality what Islam is other then the followers of Islam?

Secondly, is anyone else taken aback by the quasi metaphysical language used here by Dawkins? “Unmitigated evil,” is the type of phrase one would expect in the sermon of a Puritan minister or perhaps as one commenter on Dawkins site asks,

Is the Professor now auditioning for a guest shot on Pamela Geller’s website for the barking mad and openly hostile? Very few things in this world are ‘unmitigated evils’: of all the things that might be unmitigated evils, I can absolutely guarantee that a major world religion practiced in a thousand different ways in a thousand different social and cultural contexts is not one of them. The chances of no good at all coming out of such a diverse multiplicity of contexts and forms of practice (that is, of any ‘evil’ not being mitigated) are almost zero. — CallumM

Thirdly, piggy-backing off of the “multiplicity” mentioned by the commenter, is Dawkins totally oblivious to the Arab Spring for instance? You know that thing sweeping the Middle East for the past 5 1/2 months, that many, including Dawkins’ friend Christopher Hitchens thought would fail or sizzle out?

Is it “unmitigated evil” when protesters in Tahrir Square mobilized in the hundreds of thousands, inspired by and chanting the Quranic verse, “God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves?” Was it “unmitigated evil” when they withstood the worst kinds of state violence and barbarity in prayer together, shoulder to shoulder? Was it “unmitigated evil” when Christians and Muslims united to protect each other?

Dawkins is out of touch with current events, and lets just say he won’t be playing in any Philosophy World Cups any time soon. The man’s field is Biology, he doesn’t know much about anthropology, sociology, history, comparative religions, or philosophy, that is why he and his buddy Sam Harris get their arse handed to them by real intellectuals such as Scott Atran and Robert Pape.

Maybe it is time for Dawkins to spend a little more time humbly learning about Islam and Muslims, engaging with critical intellectuals instead of rabid Islamophobes and probably dissecting a frog or two in the lab he’s been neglecting while pontificating on matters he has no grasp over.

Tariq Ali: Bernard-Henri Lévy Indicted!

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by loonwatch

An entertaining article by Tariq Ali. Bernard-Henri Levy certainly should be indicted in the mind of public opinion. I agree with most of the indictment though I would contend that Bernard-Henri Levy is not guilty of merely promoting “Zionism” which on its own may not be an indictable offense but of promoting “extremist Zionism” in which he apologizes for land grabs and racist state apparatuses within Israel. I wonder how the trial went?

Bernard-Henri Lévy Indicted!

(CounterPunch)

On January 28, activists belonging to the PIR (Parti des Indigènes de la République) are organizing a trial of Bernard-Henri Lévy in the old PCF/CGT stronghold of Saint Denis. Norman Finkelstein and myself are the only non-French who are giving evidence against BHL.  The trial will commence at 6.30pm at the Bourse du Travail de St-Denis. 9-11 rue Génin, Saint Denis. Metro  13 – Porte de Paris.

More of my views on Bernard-Henri Lévy may be found below, but first, the Indictment:

“Order for the  indictment of Bernard-Henri Lévy before the Assize Court, and for  his arrest:

We have determined that whereas investigation has established the following facts concerning the accused:

– His unrelenting promotion of imperialism and Zionism,

– His intellectual fakery, symptom of philosophical nullity amid the accumulation of capital and power,

– His leveling of false accusations and calumnies against Iran,

– His warmongering and advocacy of “humanitarian imperialism,”

– His aiding in the creation and promotion of SOS Racisme to smother autonomous immigration movements,

– His dissemination of false news likely to sow social and eligious discord between Christians and Muslims.

For these reasons, we rule that  there is sufficient evidence against Bernard-Henri Lévy that he  committed such acts, punishable under the Criminal Code, in regard to Articles 175, 176, 181, 183 and 184. We order the indictment of Bernard-Henri Lévy, to be lodged at the Court of Assizes of the department of Seine- Saint-Denis to be tried according to law.”

Executed in Chambers, December 18, 2010.”

I’ve always regarded BHL as a comic figure. On the two occasions — in Berlin and New York– that I’ve shared a platform to debate him he reminded me of a puffed up peacock in heat (hence, I thought, the permanently unbuttonedbhlshirt). In France, however, more than a few citizens find him more sinister than comic. He is the Republic’s most visible and most vain mediatic intellectual. A veritable Tintin no less. Ready for adventures whenever he’s needed to strike a pose. Kabul falls to NATO. Off goes Tintin and returns to inform us that in order to help the Afghans he has launched a new magazine in Kabul.  Its name?Nouvelle Kabul. Of course. How could it be anything else. This was in 2002, but every Afghan I’ve asked swears on the Koran that no such magazine exists, not even in Kabul’s fortified green zone. Was it pure fantasy? Possible. The dividing line between reality and non-reality is never clear when Tintin is involved. I got a strong whiff of this when I reviewed his appalling book on the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl that was largely fantastical. I wrote at the time:

“He has written a strange hybrid of a book about his adventures in Pakistan, a country whose language he doesn’t speak and whose people he seems to hate, despite the last-page invocation of a ‘gentle Islam’, firmly placed in the medieval period and counterposed to the ‘madmen of Peshawar’… Half fiction, a quarter speculation, one-eighth film script (with BHL as himself?) and one-eighth regurgitated newspaper articles, this book gives narcissism a bad name. Is there anything of value in it? I searched in vain, hoping that his ‘diplomatic connections’ might have helped out with some previously unknown facts. Nothing. Given the absence of real content, style becomes all; and it is pure pastiche. At times, ‘my dear Sartre’ is invoked for no apparent reason, except to make it clear that Lévy is the only true heir. At another point, he is reminded of his old tutor at the Ecole Normale:

‘Latent homosexuality. Or, if not, perhaps no sexuality at all, pleasure is a sin, the purpose of relations with a woman is to procreate. Omar [Pearl’s assassin] . . . has probably never slept with a woman . . . he is a 29-year-old virgin. Is this the key to the psychology of Omar? . . . Asexuality, and the will to purity that goes with it, as possible sources of the moral standards of the religion of fundamentalist crime? . . . But I remember, I cannot help but remember, a great French philosopher, Louis Althusser, still a virgin at 30 and who . . . No. Out of bounds, precisely. Because truly blasphemous. And too flattering to Omar.’”

There is nobody quite like him in the States or elsewhere in Europe. Hitchens, in healthier times, could have come close to this status had he been provided a regular column in the NYT and a book show on one of the networks. CH would have had many an advantage, since unlike BHL he can both write and read, though ill-health, sadly, has meant a confused imagination such as detecting a ‘moral core’ in Tony Blair and flattering Ben Ali, the toppled despot of Tunis.

His dominant media position makes BHL a powerful enemy of the Left, of the kids in the banlieues, of anyone who dares question Israel’s moral superiority to everyone else, but especially its victims. He supports most of US policies abroad. Unsurprisingly he arouses a great deal of anger, hatred and contempt.

On  January 28, activists belonging to the PIR (Parti des Indigènes de la République) are organizing a mock trial in the old PCF/CGT stronghold of Saint Denis. Norman Finkelstein and myself are the only non-French who are giving evidence against BHL. It should be good fun. Nobody is quite sure whether Tintin will be in Paris or entertaining the King in his huge villa in Morocco … he should beware the Maghreb now. The times they are a-changing.

Tariq Ali’s latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad’ was published by Verso last fall.