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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, February 05, 2006


Syrians burn down Danish Embassy

Nordic uproar at Syrian protests

Denmark and Norway have condemned Syria for failing to stop attacks on their embassies in a row over the publication of contentious cartoons.

Syrians set fire to the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Damascus in protest at the publication of newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The two Nordic countries said it was unacceptable that Syrian authorities had allowed protests to take place.

The two countries have called for their citizens to leave Syria.
'Inexcusable failure'

The US also criticised Syria's approach, saying it was "inexcusable" for such damage to be inflicted on diplomatic missions.
The Syrian government, which can render a man as soon as a plane lands, can't prevent a riot?

I don't think so.

Refusing to meet with the Arab ambassadors was a serious mistake. The Syrians showed how seriously

I have been amazed at the way people, first, refuse to understand that depicting Muhammad in any form is a grave insult, second, this was done by a right wing newspaper to piss people off, and third, how shocked Europeans are at the way Muslims feel about a grave insult to their religion.

Now, the Europeans play the innocent party, and people suggest that Muslims should leave if they don't like being insulted in the West

American missionaries routinely go to China and deliver bibles, even though the government prohibits it, Yet, if the Chinese should jail one, all hell would break loose. Why doesn't the West respect Chinese customs?

But the fact that Muslims are in Europe is simple: they were invited. Scut work was too much for Europeans after the war, so they invited in Muslims to clean their streets, build their cars and do the other things Europeans didn't want to do.

Six countries in Europe had colonies with large Muslim populations: France, the UK, Holland, Germany, Italy and Spain.

They exploited their lands, murdered their people, and ruled them with an iron fist. French muslims died to liberate France from the Nazis, Indian and Pakistani muslims sent the Japanese packing from Burma. Libyan Muslims fought side by side with Mussolini's Army. Muslims helped fight the British in Tananyika for the Germans. Muslims in Indonesia made Holland one of the richest countries on earth.

But it's easy to forget this. It's all "those ungrateful Muslims". But they were heroes when they were stopping bullets in the Arakan and the hills of Italy.They died side by side with French paras in Dien Bien Phu and throughout the Algerian Revolution.

So let's stop pretending that this is a one-sided exchange. Massive immigration to Europe could hardly make up for the collective criminality the West has visited upon the Muslim world.

I mean, the CIA helped Suharto kill 1,000,000 Indonesians and waged war against him in Ambon. Forgottten history in the US, not Indonesia.

Europeans wanted the benefits of Muslim land and later labor, but thought they would morph into little brown Europeans. Despite being excluded from the benefits of the wider society, and often facing bitter discrimination. And now that they want to keep some of their identity, they're no longer wanted.

The fact is that Europeans needed them and they created multicultural societies in fact, something many are now uncomfortable with. They forget how their companies recruited these people to work for them, but didn't make room for them in their societies.

The cartoons were odious, and the way it was used to stir people up is scaring the shit out of Muslim governments.

Yes, free speech is important, but there is no free speech in Syria. All they see is the grave offense. Blastphemy is a death penalty offense in much of the Arab world and free speech is unknown in most countries.

People also need to consider that Islam is the vehicle for political discontent, which is why people are getting scared. Hamas didn't win because people wanted to live in theocracy, but because it was the only way to protest the corrupt Fatah government.

People are arguing that this is just an attempt to have Muslims bully the west. Ironic coming from places with state sponsored religion. Did Muslims riot when the headscarf ban was placed in France? Of course not.

People can continue to play stupid, and watch people die, or they might consider that we live in an interconnected world and what we do in the US or Europe will be seen around the world.

Europeans are in no position to give Muslims lectures on proper decorum. They left way too many bodies behind in Muslim countries for that to be taken seriously.

And while the Danes are justifibly proud of their tolerance and record on human rights, do they think vuglarly attacking another religion lives up to that tradition? Yes, there is free speech, but also human decency. Not one Danish cartoonist is running for his life in the middle east today. But decent people, doing NGO work, are.

They had every right to do what they wanted. It's a guaranteed right. But the reason you can't yell fire in a crowded theater is because people could die. The same applies here. If you mock or degrade Muhammad, Muslims will feel highly offended. Is it right to riot? Of course not, but when you hand a tool to Islamic radicals, they will, of course, use it.

The fact is that Europeans now live in multicultural societies and they better consider that. They chose to invite Muslims to live in their countries and now they need to respect their traditions like every other religion.

Jen here. I'd comment longer but a) I've already said 99% of what I have to say on the subject in related threads and b) I don't feel great today in general.

Gilly has it all wrong here, and I think that he (and the many Riotoing Mob Apologists in the comments) are confusing all kinds of issues.

Colonialism is an issue here? Oh, yeah, right, I forgot about that time when Norway invaded Syria. Oh, wait, they didn't. But doesn't anyone remember the group of Tibetians that burned down the Chinese consulate in DC, sacked their stores, and threatened to kidnap takout delivery guys, in retaliation for treatment of Tibetians in Tibet by China? Oh, yeah, I forgot, that didn't happen either. This isn't about the Crusades or anything like that.

Muslims are living in Europe now, so EUROPE has to respect THEIR religion? Erm, quite the other way around, methinks. The laws of the home country apply to all, regardless of religion, at least in anyplace I'd want to live (unlike most of the countries where these folks are fleeing from). As one poster sagely pointed out, answer these questions in a yes or no fashion, and make your conclusions accordingly: Can you open a mosque in Copenhagen? Can you open a Pentecostal church in Mecca? And let me add: What would the results be?

Should Europeans have to "respect" self-censorship, along with honor killings, burquas, beheadings for herasey, slavery and conquest of nonbelievers, and bans on pork products, lest they give offense? And, frankly, I (and I'm sure most Europeans) don't give a shit if these are part of "real pure Islam" (which please remind me, has the global headcount equivalent of Catholic Italy or Protestant Scandinavia in what part of the world?) or "local tribal cultures"--they seem to pop up as part of the mainstream, not isolated fringe incidents. When you have national laws preventing women from driving, leaving the country without a male relative, etc. it's gone a bit beyond "local practice" methinks.

Ditto for the countless offensive anti-Semitic cartoons that are published in government-sponsored newspapers throughout the Middle East. You can't claim something is "fringe behavior" when it's also "national policy."

Then there's the Disney Response, the "its an interconnected world, we all need each other, get used to it." Erm, I don't have to "get used" to the problem of homelessness in New York by letting a junkie sleep in my living room. Europe does not "owe" any group visas or jobs or walking on eggshells.

Europe spent centuries getting the balance between state and religion right (ie largely eliminating it from daily life), which is the exact opposite of the station that Islam occupies in the Middle East today. There seems to be a base incompatibility here. Why should Europe dismantle itself in order to accomodate those who would gladly send it back to the Dark Ages?

As I have said earlier, watch for a gradual choking-off of visas given to residents of nations that have participated in violent anti-Danish and anti-European riots, as well as nations that harbor fundamentalist mullahs at high levels as well. I would include Palestine--whose current government seems to be taking a stand of "please don't cut us off financially OR WE'LL KILL YOU"--in this group. The last time I checked, there were plenty of non-rioting, non-burqua insisting, non-honor-killing folks in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union (two huge labor pools that were only not acessible in the past due to the Iron Curtain), India, China, the Phillipines, etc. who are standing ready to fill any labor "need" in Western Europe.

I think a lot of liberals here--who would be singing a very different tune had the furor been over an anti-Christian cartoon (South Part, any episode, almost, anyone?)--are being "colorblinded" by this case. They see what they perceive as "oppressed" people (by their own governments, folks...) "rising up" against nasty imperialist whities (hey, anyone remember when Denmark invaded Iran? Oh, yeah, they didn't) who insult their core values (by giving them jobs, housing and welfare?). Don't fall into the trap. It is not "anti-Islam" to refuse to bend to the most extreme of its practitioners, nor is it an insult to point out its worst practices.

I hope that the Scandinavian Nations and the rest of the EU stands firm in this and doesn't let themselves get bullied by extremists anywhere. It's not anti-Muslim or anti-Islam to point out the facts in this case, ie global rioting and denouncements (including such gems as local protesters in the UK threatening "another 7/7" over this--nice!) over a CARTOON that is NOT considered a crime where it was published.


PS--oh yeah for whatever reason they guy who helps Gilly make major changes to the site has been pokey in getting up my Gmail account for this blog. It is: Jenonymous at Gmail dot com.

Jen, who is symapthetic to the Danes, forgets one thing, the Danes are making it clear that Muslims are unwelcome in their country if they do more than work and pay taxes. No one is apologizing for mob rule or burning embassies, which you can bet is inspired by local Arab politics.

It's easy to say "let's dump the Arabs", but the reality is that ANY ethnic group invited into monomcultural European countries would face the same problems.

In fact, most of the world's Muslims are not Arabs, but Indonesians and South Asians.

Do you think the Danes will accomodate Tagalog speakers with any more ease than Algerians or Moroccans? Of course not. The Belgians dislike dealing with the Christian Congolese in their midst, and the Germans weren't too happy with the Yugoslavs they recruited to build cars

No, Jen, it's not about oppressed people, but about bigotry. American Muslims are like anyone else in this country. You care if someone prays or wear a chador? Hell no. Europeans woke up one day and found that they suddenly had to accomodate people with different values. In America, we don't care.

But in Europe, they never wanted to admit the consequences of their actions.

Colonialism is important for a reason: it's how most Muslims got to Europe. They were far from univited guests. The Algerians who fought with the French were the first large migrants to Europe. Then the Turks and Bosnians to work in Germany, then Ugandan Indians fleeing Idi Amin.

These were not interlopers, but people asked to come to live in Europe or given the right to.

Jen, of course, you're wrong about this. Most Muslims gladly accept the rules of the societies they live in. When the French government banned the wearing of all religious items in schools, something inconcievable in the US, did French Muslims riot? Did they storm the education ministry?

Of course not. They accepted it as the outcome of life in a democratic society.

Using your arguments, you might as well just hand a massive victory to the radicals now. Because they will use this to bolster their view that Europeans want to destroy and humiliate them. The worst possible thing we could do is to start to kick Muslims out because Europeans dislike their reactions.

It just gives credence that the West is out to destroy Islam and resubjugate the Arabs.

While it's easy to depict Islam as backwards, the same could be said of many Christian sects from the Mormons on. The fact is that Islam is practiced differently around the world.

What you also need to admit is that this kind of thing could happen because Muslims have no stake in the society. Any riots in France? No? Because the Muslims there want to be included in French society. The fact is that the Scandianvians say nice things, but when it comes to basic accomodation, they suddenly balk. The last riots were over police brutality and unemployment, not Islam.

Let's talk about jobs for a second. When you walk into an office in London, would you be shocked to see a Black person or Indian? Of course not. What about Paris? And Jen, didn't you admit that in Berlin, you never saw a person of color dealing with the public in any way?

You certainly saw them in the streets.

So how many generations do you have to live in a country before you can get an office job? Muslims feel isolated because they are isolated. Even in the UK, there is a pool of disaffected Muslim young men who can't integrate into the wider society. And they actually get jobs there.

And if you think that will change when the people are Ukranian and Lithuanian, you're kidding yourself. The same resentments will come. I mean, what caused the revival of Scottish nationalism? Resentments. Walloons and Flemmings also have these resentments, as do Basques and the Spanish. Hell, the Russians cut off Ukraine's gas supply and raised the rates.

The fact is while the rioting is an overreation, this is less about religion and "backwards" Islam than the fact that Europeans do not want to face the consequences of their own actions and how their societies have changed. They treat Christian brown people the same way, ask the Moluccans, Timorese and Congolese how warmly they've been received in Holland and Belgium.

Ask the Russians how warmly they're received in the Baltic States.

Erm, I usually don't post directly in Gilly's comments, but the Russians aren't particularly welcome in the Baltics because the Russians pretty much practiced genocide in the real and cultural sense against the Baltics during and after WWII, right until the very day the last Soviet tank was kicked out...but carry on....

The fact is that for thousands of years, European societies have been closed. Now, they have to change that and they are resisting. Muslims, Russians, it makes no difference. The Germans didn't exactly hand out citizenship to Turks, did they?

Here's a quote from Litte Green Fascists of all places

Finally, one commenter over in lizard-land -- an American living in Belgium -- touches on something that has been covered repeatedly here: that Europe's problem may not be too much "multiculturalism" (whatever that is), but too little:
This gets to the true difference of the US and Europe. In the US, anyone can be an American. Just say "yes" and sign on the dotted line. It is a belief, a contract. If you say, heck yes, I'm a Yank, then you can become a yank. No one gives a damn. Plus, given our economy, odds are that yep, you can make a living and have a better life if you work hard. Look at the Koreans in California, the vast majorities are highly successful and there kids now dominate the UC school system. In the 60 and 70s, they came to California dirt poor.

I went home to Los Angeles in spring last year, hung out at a bar to watch a playoff game. Asians are dating Mexicans. Blacks are hanging out with white guys. No body gives a shit. Multi culturalism? Just go to a Lakers game.

Do you honestly think that a Frenchman or a Belgian will ever consider an Arab or black to be French? Gimmie a break.


Which is the real source of the problem, not cartoons.

posted by Steve @ 2:26:00 PM

2:26:00 PM

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