11th September 2010
UPDATE: The book burning is off! US parson says he won’t EVER burn the Koran
In the on/off Koran burning story there is ONE reason above all why the Koran should not be burned
[I know you’re busy and life is short, so here it is, in my humble opinion.]
But first the reasons that are not so valid –
1. NOT BECAUSE IT IS INSULTING
The reason should not be fear of insulting or upsetting others; fear, even, that a few of the insulted and upset others will rampage and even kill innocent people just to show how insulted and upset they are. That is arguably a reason for burning the Koran! Life does not come with a “please do not insult” tag tied to every baby’s little toe. If the idea alone of burning the Koran is given as “enough to offend Muslims” and that offence is accepted as reason enough for raising the temperature, count me out. It’s an offensive world. Bibles too are burned by Muslims and yet few people in the west demonstrate or rampage about it. Many are offended that the Ground Zero Islamic Centre is being built very near the Islamist outrage of nine years ago. These American “offended” are expected to shut up and let liberal freedom fly! Liberal freedom is at times an over-burdened vehicle.
2. NOT BECAUSE ANY RELIGION CAN PLEAD A SPECIAL CASE
It should not be because a particular religion must be above criticism while atheism, agnosticism, secularism, Christianity, Judaism, philosophy, theology, democracy and politics are not – most definitely NOT above criticism. Even though these arms of the world’s decision-making influences have to deal with the fallout when one religious group uniquely uses the threat “don’t say I’m a killer, or I’ll kill you, you infidel” and is then treated so “unfairly” as a “pariah”, not for its response to others’ feelings but for its response to its own.
3. NOT BECAUSE OF NON-ISLAMIC TOLERANCE, EVEN OF THE INTOLERANT
It should not be because we are so tolerant that we tolerate, even elevate our own toleration of intolerance. Our encouragement of upside-down thinking, is unquestionably well-meant, after all. Isn’t it? Apologies for my question mark, but you know how tough it is when one’s brain is constantly on the edge of being thoroughly washed. Any begged questions arising may produce in turn dumb-stricken tight western lips. But that’s not becasue such western lips are, to mix metaphors, tongue-tied in their morally relative confusion. Oh no. Still, even that shameful silence should not be a reason for banning the koran-burning. (Read this on Muslim Mafia, but don’t get carried away via the links and forget to come back here!)
4. NOT BECAUSE MUSLIMS HAVE BURNED THE BIBLE
Some Muslims do burn the Bible, even when the Koran says it shouldn’t. Even though Muslims revere in their own way Jesus Christ (as a prophet) and his mother Mary. (See here – Why Muslims dare not burn the Bible in return and here – Muslims burn bibles routinely and often or here with links to many samples of Bible-burning by Muslims. And from June 18th 2007 – Christians in Gaza fear for their lives .)
5. NOT BECAUSE WE ARE ‘CIVILISED’ AND THUS COMPREHEND FREEDOM’S REPERCUSSIONS, AND ‘THEY’ DON’T
It is said that those who protest in Muslim lands over the American pastor’s Koran Burning Day just don’t understand democracy. The Muslim position, it is said, is that in Muslims lands the authorities would clamp down on those who would burn Holy Books” [except they don’t, see above references.] So, goes this Muslim position and conclusion, if America doesn’t stop Pastor Terry Jones’s actions, even his words [saying they disagree is not enough] they OBVIOUSLY AGREE WITH HIM. That is at best condescension to the thought-processes of Muslims, at worse capitulation.
JOINING THE DOTS
If you believe that the Middle Eastern world, which has absorbed western capitalism, music, the internet and much of our culture willingly, does NOT understand that free speech also means FREEDOM from intimidation for speaking freely, AND that our right to that freedom is held as firmly as the rights that a religion is trying to impose on ALL of us, then you’re as mad as the mad hatters think you are. No special pleading. In short, although I am NOT in favour of the burning of the Koran, it is not for the reasons of “respecting” a religion. I am not in favour off the Ground Zero Islamic Centre either. It is common sense that that would be a red rag to a bull. I am not against it for the reason of disrespecting any religion. The “respect” business is a red herring, and stinks to high heaven. A little common sense from the Muslim angle regarding the Islamic Centre at Ground Zero might well have meant that the Florida pastor would not have felt that he wanted to burn the Koran. There are, probably, a few dots that need to be joined here.
NO BOOKS SHOULD BE BURNED. EVER. EVEN THOSE OF WHICH WE DISAPPROVE
A novel idea? No censorship? That’s freedom for you, western style. (See the history of book-burning below.)
BURN BLAIR’S BOOK AND HANG HIM
A commenter at the Daily Mail the other day reminded me of how dangerous this world can be when intolerance, professing to be tolerance, but in fact only dressed up as liberalism takes root. Even amongst those who use liberal free speech liberally to vent their bile. This idiot, blaymag (whose name has been deciphered by a Facebook friend as meaning ‘soccer hooligan’) says (my bolding):
Lets stop giving this little piece of dirt any airtime and burn all his books. He should be hanging from a rope or serving life for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He should be locked up on a deserted island along with Bush and forgotten forever. He should also be expunged from history the same way that he destroyed this country’s hitory.[sic]
– blaymag, Newcastle, 8/9/2010 13:28
WHEN TYRANNY & OPPRESSION TAKE HOLD
This prize fool wanted to burn Tony Blair’s book AND hang him. This was written in a British newspaper, if that is an accurate description for the Daily Mail. The comments moderator saw no reason to moderate it out or even to write a story around it. We Brits never used to talk about burning books and/or hanging politicians. Today the “hanging Blair” cry is not exactly unheard of. In fact it is commonplace when his name is mentioned. Apparently it’s par for the course in free-speech loving Britain, and we are thus led to believe, acceptable talk.
In my humble opinion this live and let die approach is actually symptomatic of the tyranny and oppression of the press and their massed ranks – against Tony Blair, in particular, and against politics in general, against non-Tory MPs at the Tory press and vice versa at the Labour press.
To check if I am right on this analysis, trying sending in a comment saying that an MP’s family should be hanged. Then (if they take umbrage at that, since an MP’s family are not guilty of anything judged politically “evil”) try this one: “David Cameron should be hanged”. Let me know what happens, please.
This week Tony Blair felt compelled to cancel a book-signing in London following the first rowdies venting their middle east type demo in Dublin last Saturday. He wasn’t ORDERED to cancel the Waterstone’s event, of course, but for reasons of security he did not meet or speak with those who were willing to queue up for hours for the pleasure, inconveniencing and no doubt costing many of them financially. Then he cancelled a private party on the same day and for the same reason – security and possible intimidation of his friends when the rowdies descended on their gathering at The Tate.
DOES THIS MATTER?
How essential is HIS free speech? How much freedom have he and his friends got in this country today, when this is forced upon him and them? How much right does HE have to freedom of association? NONE, or at least very little, it seems to me.
As for free speech itself? Is it a good idea? In principle yes, but clearly it is more free for some than it is for others in this once great democracy. Free speech is not a given in all non-western countries. And in such lands there is a VERY clear idea of right and wrong. No thinking required.
For us in the west, of course, we MUST retain the right to free speech, even as others try to deny it to us in case we tread on their tender tootsies. How we square that with real liberty and the kowtowing that we are required to do towards those who do NOT believe in free speech is a matter for lengthy debate.
Melanie Philips is as good a place as any to start. A year or two ago I’d have surprised myself by that suggestion. Now, having half-read ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, interrupted by my partial read of ‘A Journey’, I know better.
Melanie Phillips’ The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power is now available online. And her earlier book Londonistan
If the American pastor’s book-burning is still on we do not yet know for sure. But I DO know this – whatever we do we must not let the book burners/hangers and floggers disappear underground. We must know who and where our enemy is.
On April 6, 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Association (Deutsche Studentenschaft) proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit”, which was to climax in a literary purge or “cleansing” (“Säuberung”) by fire. Local chapters were to supply the press with releases and commissioned articles, sponsor well-known Nazi figures to speak at public gatherings, and negotiate for radio broadcast time. On April 8 the students association also drafted the Twelve Theses which deliberately evoked Martin Luther and the historic burning of “Un-German” books at the Wartburg festival on the 300th anniversary of the posting of Luther’s Theses. The theses called for a “pure” national language and culture. Placards publicized the theses, which attacked “Jewish intellectualism”, asserted the need to “purify” German language and literature, and demanded that universities be centers of German nationalism. The students described the “action” as a response to a worldwide Jewish “smear campaign” against Germany and an affirmation of traditional German values.
In a symbolic act of ominous significance, on May 10, 1933 the students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of “un-German” books, presaging an era of state censorship and control of culture. On the night of May 10, in most university towns, nationalist students marched in torchlight parades “against the un-German spirit.” The scripted rituals called for high Nazi officials, professors, rectors, and student leaders to address the participants and spectators. At the meeting places, students threw the pillaged and unwanted books into the bonfires with great joyous ceremony, band-playing, songs, “fire oaths,” and incantations. In Berlin, some 40,000 people gathered in the Opernplatz to hear Joseph Goebbels deliver a fiery address: “No to decadence and moral corruption!” Goebbels enjoined the crowd. “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich Mann, Ernst Gläser, Erich Kästner.”
The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on the German path…The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death – this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed – a deed which should document the following for the world to know – Here the intellectual foundation of the November Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of a new spirit will triumphantly rise.— Joseph Goebbels , Speech to the students in Berlin
Not all book burnings took place on May 10, as the German Student Association had planned. Some were postponed a few days because of rain. Others, based on local chapter preference, took place on June 21, the summer solstice, a traditional date of celebration. Nonetheless, in 34 university towns across Germany the “Action against the Un-German Spirit” was a success, enlisting widespread newspaper coverage. And in some places, notably Berlin, radio broadcasts brought the speeches, songs, and ceremonial incantations “live” to countless German listeners.
Among the authors whose books student leaders burned that night numbered well-known socialists such as Bertolt Brecht and August Bebel; the founder of the concept of communism, Karl Marx; critical “bourgeois” writers like the Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler, and “corrupting foreign influences,” among them American author Ernest Hemingway, British writer H. G. Wells; and of course, notable Jewish authors such as Franz Werfel, Max Brod, and Stefan Zweig. Especially notable among those works burned were the writings of beloved nineteenth-century German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who wrote in his 1820-1821 play Almansor the famous admonition, “Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen”: “Where they burn books, they will also burn people.”
Kristallnacht (German pronunciation: [kʁɪsˈtalˌnaxt]; literally “Crystal Night”) or The Night of Broken Glass was an anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany (including Austria and Sudetenland) from the 9th until the 10th of November 1938. It is also known as Novemberpogrome, Reichskristallnacht, Reichspogromnacht or Pogromnacht in German.
The Kristallnacht was triggered by the assassination in Paris of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a German-born Polish Jew. In a coordinated attack on Jewish people and their property, 91 Jews were killed and 25,000 to 30,000 were arrested and placed in concentration camps. 267 synagogues were destroyed, and thousands of homes and businesses were ransacked. This was done by the Hitler Youth, the Gestapo and the SS. The Kristallnacht also served as a pretext and a means for the wholesale confiscation of firearms from German Jews.
While the assassination of Rath served as a pretext for the attacks, the Kristallnacht was part of a broader racial policy of Nazi Germany including antisemitism and persecution of the Jews. Kristallnacht was followed by further economic and political persecutions. It is viewed by many historians as the beginning of the Final Solution, leading towards the genocide of the Holocaust.
Video, Tony Blair says the Koran burning is plain WRONG. On Pastor Jones – “He may be able to be stopped here in Britain … this does not represent countries like us. But it is important that leaders come out and say this is wrong.”
Imho, it depends on the reasons one is so certain it is wrong. I realise that Tony Blair has strong feelings on religion and the reasons for and repercussions of religion. I heartily support the aims of Mr Blair’s Faith Foundation but I DO think that it is not as straightforward as calling for respect from the concerned.
So, there you go. It’s not a first. I have told you before that I don’t always agree with Mr Blair on everything.
Two comments at the YouTube site –
“Why can’t we have a book burning day for Tony Blair’s Autobiography.”
“If the pastor wanted to burn Tony ‘jump on any possible bandwagon’ Blair I wonder if there would have been such an outcry.”
EVIDENCE, IN CASE YOU NEED ANY MORE, OF THE INTOLERANCE OF THE INTOLERANT
1. Free Republic, 25 May 2005, Saudi Arabia Desecrates Hundreds of Bibles Annually, Washington DC – The Saudi government burns and desecrates hundreds of bibles its security forces confiscate after raids on Christian expatriates worshiping privately or at border crossings. As a matter of official policy, the government either incinerates or dumps bibles, crosses and other Christian paraphernalia.
2. Justify This!, 10 Dec 2006, Muslim Students Urinate, Spit On Then Burn Bible, TWO Muslim students have been expelled from an Islamic school in Melbourne for urinating and spitting on a Bible and setting it on fire.
3. Associated Content, 18 Jun 2007, Christians in Gaza Fear for Their Lives as Muslims Burn Bibles and Destroy Crosses, Father Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza’s Latin church, told the AP that Muslims have ransacked, burned and looted a school and convent that are part of the Gaza Strip’s small Romany Catholic community. He told the AP that crosses were broken, damage was done to a statue of Jesus, and at the Rosary Sister School and nearby convent, prayer books were burned.
4. Spero News, 19 Dec 2008, Muslims burn Bible in Pakistan, Pervez Masih tells AsiaNews that on that day, he and others were whitewashing and decorating the little church for Christmas. They stopped at noon for lunch, leaving the church open. When they returned, they found the bible and other sacred texts reduced to ashes, and a handwritten letter telling them to convert to Islam if they wanted to “live in peace” and avoid hell. In Pakistan, there is significant controversy over the law on blasphemy, condemning even to death those who offend the sacred book of Islam, the Qur’an. But nothing is done against blasphemous acts toward the books of other religions.
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Tags: Blair's book tops Amercian list, blaymag, christianity, freedom of speech, Islam, Jesus, Melanie Phillips, Middle East, muslim, Nazi book burning, quran, Religion and Spirituality, Terry Jones, Tony Blair, United States