Updates from July, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mcincrisis 11:00 on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Brilliant dissection of Christopher Cald… 

    Brilliant dissection of Christopher Caldwell’s book, ‘Reflections on the Revolution in Europe’ by Matt Carr on the Institute of Race Relations website: http://www.irr.org.uk/2009/july/ha000011.html.
    Carr shows that while Caldwell’s book mirrors much of the Islamophobic hysteria of previous commentators in the ilk of Melanie Phillips and Bat Ye’Or, Caldwell’s “authorial persona is that of a puzzled and concerned observer of the European predicament, driven only by a willingness to consider all angles of a serious debate that others are ignoring. He is cultured and knowledgeable.” He has therefore been interviewed and reviewed on ‘serious’ radio shows and newspapers, making it incumbent upon us to dissect and understand this highly pernicious work. Start with Matt Carr.

  • mcincrisis 11:48 on July 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNP, fascism, migration, murder   

    The British National Party’s leader, Ni… 

    The British National Party’s leader, Nick Griffin, has advocated sinking boats of migrants coming to Europe: https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/sinktheboats

  • mcincrisis 13:28 on July 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hijab, , , Marwa Sherwini, political correctness   

    Liberals, the Hijab and the Denial of Full Equality 

    The funeral of Marwa Sherbini

    The funeral of Marwa Sherbini

    by Alana Lentin

    The funeral of Marwa Sherbini was held in Alexandria on Monday July 6, 2009. 32 year old Marwa, who was three months pregnant, was stabbed eighteen times in thirty seconds by Axel W, a 28 year old German man in a court in Dresden in front of her husband and 3-year old son among countless others. While stabbing Marwa, Axel W shouted “you have no right to live.” Her husband was also injured when he was shot in the leg by a German security officer while he was trying to protect his wife.

    “Ms Sherbini had sued her killer after he called her a “terrorist” because of her headscarf… Axel W and Ms Sherbini and family were in court for his appeal against a fine of 750 euros ($1,050) for insulting her in 2008, apparently because she was wearing the Muslim headscarf or Hijab.” (BBC News)

    As reported here, Axel W also called Marwa Sherbini “islamist” and “bitch” when she asked him to make room for her son to play on swings at a local park.

    As the BBC reports, “the case has attracted much attention in Egypt and the Muslim world.” No doubt, for Egypt and the Muslim world the stand Ms Sherbini took against Axel W for insulting her for wearing the headscarf was seen as a courageous one in the face of western hostility to the Islamic hijab, hostility that has only been exacerbated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent outbursts on the burkha. (More …)

    • Susan Kubitz 06:26 on July 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I am catching up on the week’s news – could only listen to snatches on the radio (mdrinfo and BBC World Service) all week.

      The story of Marwa El-Sherbini is heart-breaking. If I could, I would be keeping vigil with all those other people in Dresden today in grief at what has happened.

      On the German radio I heard the attacker described as of Russian origin. This may explain some of the paralysis there seems to have been in government circles. There is a saying that “the oppressed will always oppress”. The attacker is not only sub judice, which restricts copmment, but seemingly belongs to another minority in Germany. His mental state may well have been influenced by his own position in society.

      All I can do is pray for this society and for everyone of us to live together in it recognising each other as human and respecting each other on that basis as we all are shaken together in a kaleidoscope of cultures.

      That sounds pretty impotent, I know. One thing I am trying actively to do is be a good and fair employer. Here in the East of Germany I sense that the multiculturality I learnt in Boirmingham, UK, to hold dear is most of all under siege because unemployment has been for so many people the result of the (for me) glorious changes in 1989 and 1990. And then, because so much accommodation is standing empty in the East, newcomers of German origin from East Europe are housed here in preference to the places in the West where they would find family and kin who arrived earlier. I know little of the attacker but can well imagine that unemployment was his lot and that he would have been begrudged a job (and perhaps even his place in the city) by the people who had been here longer. An extreme sociologically determined result is probably the paranoid reaction when that little boy in Dresden also wanted to go on the swings.

      This site may not be one where people see prayer as any sort of solution but somehow I have to find a way to turn today’s sadness into something useful! It was good to find the articles by Alana and Kristin – someone else trying to tease it all out thoughtfully and still sounding as though they care that we should have peacefully co-existing minorities in our inevitably – and to my mind gloriously – multicultural socities in “the West”.

    • Kristin 18:27 on July 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I mean to post a more comprehensive response, but for the moment just wanted to comment that one element sorely lacking in these broader debates is a solid feminist critique. Your invocation of Tatchell and Hirsi Ali made it easier for me to recognize this need. On the one hand, we have their nefarious nonsense; but on the other hand, critiques thereof have so often failed to incorporate (to put it mildly) any sophisticated feminist attitude: think of Joseph Massad, but also of the silly “Western” feminisms of some of the anti-FGM crusaders (and didn’t we hash through all that in the 1980s with the suttee debates? Further evidence of the sorry state of academic feminism, doomed to trudge the same paths again and again).

      I don’t think the hackneyed “bitch” epithet is at all incidental to this act of violence, in a context in which so much of the liberal charitable interventions or postures of outrage are focused on issues of gender and sexuality. FGM, “gay” rights, the hijab, but also the “scientifically” calibrated forms of sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib. It is as if gender/sexuality is the site of rupture into which the western imaginary, with all its fears and desires, can flow. In other words, what we are seeing is simply a warmed-over orientalism, retro-fitted for liberal purposes…without having detached from its roots in simple violence and domination, as evidenced by this German incident among others.

      All this is to say, you are shrewd, Alana, to draw the connection between these symptoms. I’d add that what this connection seems to demand is a serious feminist approach. Or, rather, an approach that incorporates feminism more organically within the anti-racist, anti-imperialist critique. Otherwise we’re left wrecked between Joseph “Scylla” Massad and Martha “Charybdis” Nussbaum.

      • mcincrisis 18:36 on July 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely agree, and if and when you have time, we would be delighted to host your thoughts on this in a longer article.


  • mcincrisis 11:17 on July 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eagleton, Fundamentalism, Religion, Socialism, Zizek   

    enjoyed Terry Eagleton’s talk on Social… 

    enjoyed Terry Eagleton’s talk on Socialism and Culture at Marxism ’09 in which he said that there is no opposition between being critical of religion and defending everyone’s right to practice religion in the context of contemporary Islamophobia. Slavoj Zizek’s talk also usefully demonstrated how liberalism creates fundamentalism.

  • mcincrisis 17:52 on July 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Equalities and Diversity Summer School 

    Alana Lentin at the CLPS Summer School

    Alana Lentin at the CLPS Summer School

    The following is the transcript of a presentation given at the Edge Hill University Centre for Local Policy Studies Summer School on July 1 2009.

    What exemplifies the ‘crisis’?
    The last few days have provided us several neatly packaged examples of the type of thing that passes as emblematic of the by-now almost undisputed ‘fact’ that multiculturalism in Europe is in crisis.

    In the UK, Gordon Brown has announced what was quickly dubbed as a ‘British homes for British workers’ scheme. Under this, what have been described as ‘local’ British people waiting for local social housing will be given preference over ‘outsiders’ . (More …)

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