Sunday, July 01, 2007

Where Chimes the Bell of Freedom

Christopher Hitchens "from the United States" (Hitchens is now an American citizen) debates the Baroness Williams on British TV on the question of whether Salman Rusdie's knighthood was an affront to Muslims worldwide.

The video is principally interesting as a glimpse into attitudes in Blighty. Of course the killer line is Hitchen's, when he points out to Baroness Williams that all the literary lions of the Islamic world had signed a petition in support of an Iranian author who had been condemned by fatwa, turning to her and saying, (I paraphrase) "So if you think that Muslims are offended by free expression then you are lumping them all with the most illiterate, backward and homicidal elments of the Muslim world. With people who didn't read the book -- who in fact couldn't read a book -- that identification of Muslims with stupidity and not Rusdie's knighthood is the insult to Islam." I think the remark captures the patronizing liberal attitude toward the Third World perfectly. On some subconscious level it is necessary for the people of the Third World -- as were the "masses" in history -- to be understood as something less than the human in order to make their manipulation from the Commanding Heights more palatable; and yes, "noble".


Blogger RattlerGator said...

I think the remark captures the patronizing liberal attitude toward the Third World perfectly.

Precisely, Wretchard.

7/01/2007 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

“On February 14, 1989, my friend Salman Rushdie was hit by a simultaneous death sentence and life sentence, for the crime of writing a work of fiction.”

“As it happens, there are some statements allegedly made by the Prophet Muhammad, which are difficult to reconcile with Muslim teaching. Koranic scholars had attempted to square this circle by suggesting that, in these instances, the Prophet was accidentally taking dictation from Satan instead of God. This ruse – which would not have disgraced the most sinuous school of medieval Christian apologetics – provided an excellent opportunity for a novelist to explore the relationship between holy writ and literature. But the literal mind does not understand the ironic mind, and sees it always a source of danger. Moreover, Rushdie had been brought up as a Muslim and had an understanding of the Koran, which meant in effect that he was an apostate. And “apostasy”, according to the Koran, is punishable by death. There is no right to change religion, and all religious states have always insisted on harsh penalties for those who try it.”
Christopher Hitchens – God Is not Great

7/01/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I am absolutely thrilled that Queen Liz hasn't backed down on her honoring gesture. I had hoped the Pope would be equally up to a face-down, but he flinched.

Muslims having their little tantrums in the face of stern Palace disapproval just look ... silly.

7/01/2007 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

I'm sure she asked herself, "What would the REAL Queen Elizabeth (I) have done?"


7/02/2007 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

What's amazing is that this discussion could ever take place at all. The idiots who applauded Williams should immediately be outfitted in the proper uniform and assigned permanently as doormen at the Glasgow airport.

Islam offends humanity. Let's have some discussion on British TV about that.

7/02/2007 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm sure she asked herself, "What would the REAL Queen Elizabeth (I) have done?"

Or what would the Duck of Windsor have done, and then do the opposite.

7/02/2007 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger wellington said...


"Duck, I says."

7/02/2007 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

"Well, that bullet whizzin' by panicked Corky, an' he done the wrong thing! Pulled his gun in such a damn hurry he shot off his own toe. Meantime, Bob aims good and squeezes off another... but he's still so damned drunk he misses an' hits this thousand dollar mirror behind the bar.
Well, now the Duck of Death is as good as dead 'cause this time Corky does it right an' aims real good, no hurry... Bam! That Walker Colt blew up in his hand... which was a failing common to that model. Now if Corky would have really had two guns instead of just a big dick he could have defended himself to the end. "

7/02/2007 11:54:00 AM  

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