Suicide Anyone? How about them Brits

Steyn has a few choice words on English language problems, based on an important post from Melanie Phillips. It’s hard to get a sharper depiction of how political correctness acts as a form of cultural auto-immune deficiency: you can’t identify the enemy, and you shut down any spontaneous mobilization to defend the body (politic) from its attacks. Solomonia has some equally pertinent remarks on this ridiculous effort to appease the wrong kind of emotions.

Five guys named Mo
The Corner — National Review Online –
By Mark Steyn

If you’re a police commissioner or a government minister, what’s the first thing you should do if a chap with a name such as “Mohammed Asha” or “Muhammad Hanif” turns up in the news in connection with some wacky novelty such as a flaming Jeep Cherokee crashing through the airport concourse?

Britain’s new Prime Minister knew exactly what to do:

    Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word ‘Muslim’ in connection with the terrorism crisis… The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more ‘consensual’ tone than existed under Tony Blair.

So did the new Home Secretary [Jacqui Smith] :

    Any attempt to identify a murderous ideology with a great faith such as Islam is wrong, and needs to be denied.

In less than six years this has become a time-honored tradition. After the 2005 Tube bombings, the first reaction of Brian Paddick, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was to declare that “Islam and terrorism don’t go together.” After the 2006 Toronto plot to behead the Prime Minister, the Canadian Intelligence Service’s assistant director of operations, Luc Portelance, announced that “it is important to know that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community, or ethnocultural group in Canada.”

In the old days, these coppers would have been looking for the modus operandi, patterns of behavior. But now every little incident anywhere on the planet apparently testifies merely to the glorious mosaic of our multicultural societies. Or as the Associated Press puts it, “Diverse Group Allegedly In British Plot“:

    LONDON – They had diverse backgrounds, coming from countries around the globe, but all shared youth and worked in medicine…

Were they really that “diverse”? Hey, who ya gonna believe? The Scotland Yard diversity outreach coordinator or your lyin’ eyes?

Now I find the comment by Jacqui Smith to be the most breathtaking. The “great religion” is beyond any criticism… and any attempt to point out the obvious “must be denied.” How many ways is that a violation of everything that made England a great source of culture — courage, human values, critical intelligence, empiricism?

A former student of mine now working on a thesis at the Joint Military Intelligence College in Washington took out a book from the National Defense Intelligence College Library by Sania Hamady, Temperament and Character of the Arabs. In it he found a warning, neatly hand-written in pencil, admonishing fellow readers to beware of the book’s content. It states,

    Note to readers, (1992). This book heavily overgeneralizes [sic] about a culture marked by diversity. Contrasting books worth reading include works by [Margaret] Nydell, [possibly Hisham] Sharabi, and E[dward] Said.

Evidently another critic of Huntington, Patai and other “generalists”, this individual felt compelled to notify future students that this work does not conform to the accepted discourse, and they turn the page at their own peril.

With political correctness dominating discourse even in our Intelligence Research, we are in serious trouble. Sania Hamady is a Lebanese Christian Arab, and her discussion, however it might bruise our politically correct discourse, nonetheless raises important issues about Arab and Muslim character. Here’s what a “progressive” has to say about this book:

    The work referred to is “The Temperament and Character of the Arabs,” the only book by Sania Hamady, published in 1960 (in English, by Twayne Publishers). None of the experts on the Middle East whom I asked have ever heard of her, and almost the only mentions of her book (in Hebrew) on the Internet are on sites of the Israeli right. The Hamady book is peculiar, to put it mildly. Put less mildly, Hamady’s book is chockful of prejudices, devoid of any proof and is on the brink of racism.

    Bukay quotes selectively the literary sources cited by Hamady on the frequency of the lie in the Arab society, on the notion that the Arab society is a “society of shame” in contrast to the Christian “guilt society.” (This contrast, according to Dr. Ron Kuzar, from the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Haifa, was popular among conservative circles after World War II, and today is common mainly in racist circles). It is also clear to Hamady why the Arabs have no sense of guilt. “The Muslims deny original sin in any form,” writes the Lebanese-born Hamady, who is described in the book as “an adviser for social development in the Protestant Service Bureau.”In short, the Muslims are simply not Christians.

Now part of the problem is that Hamady has some unpleasant things to say about the Arabs, like:

    “the Arab is preoccupied with his past. The pleasant memories of its glory serve as a refuge from the painful reality of the present. (p. 217).

But it’s not that Hamady is unsympathetic — clearly there are things she doesn’t like, after all she’s both Christian and educated, and the style of “honor-shame culture” with its alpha-male agonistics, is not her cup of tea. On the contrary, she can be exceptionally respectful of Arab feelings.

    Pride is one of the main elements on which Arab individualism rests… It is important to pay tribute to it and to avoid offending it. The Arab is very touchy and his self-esteem is easily bruised. It is hard for him to be objective about himself or to accept calmly someone else’s criticism of him… Facts should not be persented to him nakedly; they should be masked so as to avoid any molestation of his inner self, which should be protected.

Now you may want to call that racist, but that’s only because you don’t think that kind of behavior acceptable, so to accuse a culture of that level of immaturity is a generalized condemnation. What I find fascinating is that the current PC discourse about the Arabs — that Hamady, Patai, de Atkins are racists and Saïd et al. are “humanists” — is actually an implementation of Hamady’s advice: Don’t upset them, don’t criticize them, don’t bruise their extremely sensitive pride. Isn’t that precisely what the British establishment is doing right now?

And isn’t it time we stopped being condescending racists, treating them as children even as we loudly proclaim our respect for them?

The conflict right now divides along two mutually exclusive lines. The hawks say, “let’s get tough, only force will work.” The doves say, “let’s be nice, only talk will work.” How about some verbal confrontations? How about every Western newspaper publishing the Danish Cartoons (with the three fake ones identified as psy-ops incitement) so that Muslims the world over are embarrased by the revolting behavior of their co-religionists, rather than we and decent Muslims are subject to the temper tantrum of the touchiest and most violent of the lot? How about the Pope saying “you’ve got to be kidding!” when the Muslims violently insist he apologize for calling them violent? How about the Brits saying, “We take this level of self-criticism as part and parcel of a decent and tolerant society. If you can’t stand the heat, a) get out of the kitchen, and b) don’t expect us to take your criticism of us seriously until you can take the heat?

Maybe then we won’t look like Dhimmi in the eyes of people who come from an honor-shame culture which has us blinking constantly before their angry glare.

15 Responses to Suicide Anyone? How about them Brits

  1. Michael B says:

    Yes. When Phillips chose her title, “The Strategy of Consensual Dissimulation,” she chose it well. On one scale only someone like Iowahawk can do justice to this type and kind of well propagated disinformation or consensual dissimulation. But on another scale it has to be noted that the Gordon Browns and Jacqui Smiths of the world reflect a middling talent, to be over-kind, in high places and the message they are sending is not so acutely or finely attuned – rather to the contrary.

    The most blatant forms of terror together with unambiguous preachments and incitements in support thereof are met with equally blatant forms of denial and misdirection and tactics of occlusion. And this in an age where finely attuned delectations preached by a self-admiring elite are always and ever careful to guide us through the genealogy of other morals, lest we succomb to our own pieties, simplicities and ethnocentric embarrassments.

    Profligate ironies abound and perdure, too many of them primary and tragic ironies, at least potentially so, yet no one succombs to embarrassment or shame, the appearances needs must be saved.

  2. Andreas says:

    If I understand the limitations of discourse with Arabs correctly, there are a number of issues that are simply off the table. Such cultural artifacts as honor killings, female discrimination, tribal warfare, suicide projects, treating non-Muslims as legitimate targets and the ubiquity of hateful sentiments in Arab newspapers, mosques and television are simply to be accepted as legitimate expressions of higher Arab culture. To criticize these would shame Arabs and cause them some discomfort. Of course, the attacks on Western targets must also be off the table since violent expressions of Islamic ideology are simply evidence of the hijacking that Islam has experienced.

    I hope Arabs have a sense of irony so they can appreciate the decadence and stupidity of what passes for western intellectual thought. I wonder what it will take for the west to fully engage what is happening. Evidently a few successful and failed bomb attempts have merely caused us to spend billions on security and raised questions about how we can change so that they will allow us to live peacefully.

    UBL has already told us how we can live in peace, but I don’t sense were quite ready to put women in Burkas and grow scraggly beards.

  3. Eliyahu says:

    David Bukay published several helpful books or booklets on this and related subjects in English. They are available from the Ariel Center for Political Research, in Sha`arey Tiqvah, Israel [POBox 830, Sha`arey Tiqvah 44810 Israel; http://acpr.org.il . One relevant title by Bukay is “Arab-Islamic Political Culture”.

    There is also a short book by Gil Carl Alroy that sums up much of what Sanya Hamady had to say.

  4. Richard Landes says:

    add “recognize israel” to the list. if only the west had said, cut out this charade back then, there’s a good chance this jihadi poison would not have metastasized. (i really believe that).

    as for their sense of irony. they don’t need that. they’re laughing their heads off at our stupidity which a) gives them a fighting chance where they had none, and b) makes recruiting all the easier among people who want to know which way the wind is blowing.
    you can see it in their faces in the pallywood footage. they put a “wounded” guy in the ambulance, and then walk away laughing and clapping.

  5. fp says:

    i was in the same class with bukay at the university of haifa when i was taking my master in polisci there. that was in the early 70′s. he was mentored by prof. gaby ben dor, one of the best mid-east experts in israel, with whom i also took some courses.

    as to the suicidal behavior of the west, my best guess is that it neither can it be stopped, reversed, or even attenuated. compromise with the arab culture is bad enough in itself, but sbmission in the face of attacks is the worse that you can possibly do.

  6. fp says:

    we have created circumstances in which we will have to put women in burqas and grow beards, whether we like it or not.

  7. Fat Man says:

    Brown is about half-right. The terrorists should not be called things, such as: Muslim or Jihadi, which only legitimate them before their target audience. David Killcullen, the Australian Lt. Col. who has been seconded to Gen. Petraues’ staff, is his theorist and co-author of the new counter insurgency manual.

    Over at Small Wars Journal Blog, Jim Guirard wrote “David Kilcullen’s Call for a ‘New Lexicon’” to suggest better terminology for the Terrorists’ War Against Western Civilization. Here a few examples of his suggested terminology, but RTWT:

    irhab (eer-HAB) — Arabic for terrorism, thus enabling us to call the al Qaeda-style killers irhabis, irhabists and irhabiyoun rather than the so-called “jihadis” and “jihadists” and “mujahideen” and “shahids” (martyrs) they badly want to be called. (Author’s lament: Here we are, almost six years into a life-and-death War on Terrorism, and most of us do not even know this basic Arabic for terrorism.)

    Hirabah (hee-RAH-bah) — Unholy War and forbidden “war against society” or what we would today call crimes against humanity. …

    mufsiduun (moof-see-DOON) — Islam’s word for evildoers, sinners and corrupters whose criminality and sinfulness, unless ended and sincerely repented, will incur Allah’s ultimate condemnation on Judgment Day; Islam’s optimum antonym for “mujahiddin.”

    munafiquun (moon-ah-fee-KOON) — hypocrites to Islam who pretend to be faithful to the Qur’an but who willfully violate many of its basic rules, mandates and prohibitions. …

    khawarij (kha-WAH-reej) — outside-the-religion and outside-the-community individuals and activities; derived from the ancient al Qaeda-like militant Khawar or Kharajite sect, eventually suppressed and expelled as apostates and enemies of authentic, Qur’anic Islam.

  8. Michael B says:

    Have to appreciate Kilcullen’s suggestions, though one also has to appreciate the fact the world’s press, much less Muslim orgs such as CAIR, will ever adopt such language and more incisive terms.

  9. Michael B says:

    will never adopt …

  10. Eliyahu says:

    Fat man, your little glossary is quite educational. And I understand your psywar approach to communicating with Muslims, to use Muslim terms of disapprobation. On the other hand, some would argue that jihad is part of real, true blue Islam. Hence, the jihadis, the followers of the Ikhwan, of Bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri, etc., are real Muslims — and the “moderates” are fakes and munafiquwn. Can you fake out everybody? Can you fake out everybody at the same time?

  11. Richard Landes says:

    very interesting link, fat man. interesting approach which i like. it takes them to task in their own value system, which it turns out, does have values we can appreciate.

  12. [...] dupes of demopaths plays a key role. Not only do “progressives” consistently attempt to silence any effort to expose the hate-mongering world of Islamism with cries of Islamophobia, but they aggressively attack anyone who objects. In this, the police seem to play an astonishingly [...]

  13. EliasX says:

    Regarding Hamady’s book, one would do well to read footnote 34 on page 238:

    Jihad is a historical doctrine that called for the dissemination of Islam by the sword, if pursuasion failed…. Theoretically the Muslim state was at permanent war wit the non-Muslims and their world. (Whether Muhammad himself recognized that his position implied steady and unprovoked war against the unbelieving world until it was subdued to Islam may be in doubt. Nevertheless, the legal theorists did construct it so.)…. The doctrine is used as a strong incitement, but since Islam ceased to conquer it became obsolete.”

    She recognized the Islamic doctrine (and institution) of Jihad for what it is: predatory, aggressive and violent. She also understood that it ceased to be a policy option for Islamic states because of equal or superior countervailing power (unstated, but obviously European and Russian power and ascendency).

    However, her 1960 perspective could not take into account the revival of Jihad and Islamist supremacist doctrines, largely under the auspices of the Saudi state since then.

    The important point is that Jihad can only be countered by countervailing power, until the zero-sum struggle plays itself out, or Muslims abandon the doctrine, which is a core component of their faith. Despite Muhammad’s proclamations on the streets of Mecca during his early days, Islam has rarely, if ever, competed on the basis of “good deeds” (or, as claimed in his early days in Medina, without compulsion).

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