Youths throw stones at HMD event


by Sunny
31st January, 2008 at 3:31 pm    

This is disgusting:

The Holocaust Memorial Day marking the genocides of the 20th century was marred on Sunday when a gang of youths stoned Jewish tourists on a guided tour of London’s East End. A group of 96 visitors looking at sites of Jewish interest were attacked by youths hiding behind a fence in a back street in Whitechapel.

Two were struck by the missiles, an American woman lecturer at London’s Metropolitan University and a Canadian lecturer. The woman had blood pouring from her head and needed hospital treatment.


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  1. Refresh — on 31st January, 2008 at 4:07 pm  

    The bigotted youths responsible must be captured and punished severely.

  2. Bartholomew — on 31st January, 2008 at 4:23 pm  

    This guy isn’t someone I care much for (see here why), but the story is significant nonetheless; from Jan 2006:

    A JACK the Ripper tour guide was beaten up and robbed as he talked to punters – on Friday the Thirteenth.

    Self-styled ‘Rippologist’ Dr John Pope-de-Locksley, 52, was attacked by 10 thugs in infamous Gunthorpe Street, Whitechapel, in the evening.

    He had just been talking about a grisly Ripper murder in Gunthorpe Street in 1888 when he was ambushed just before 8pm.

    He believes they mistook his Victorian top hat and black overcoat for the clothes of an Orthodox Jew and kicked and punched him to the ground….

    …”I’ve had trouble there before with youths. When I walk past them in my costume, they shout out ‘No Jews around here’ and tell me to stay away”…

  3. Random Guy — on 31st January, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    What a bunch of fucking twats. Pricks like these need to be caught and dealt with harshly.

  4. douglas clark — on 31st January, 2008 at 5:12 pm  

    I hope they catch them. This kind of thing needs to be stamped upon quickly.

  5. Refresh — on 31st January, 2008 at 5:13 pm  

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  6. Refresh — on 31st January, 2008 at 5:21 pm  

    Going by Bartholomew’s link, there may be more to this than meets the eye

  7. Refresh — on 31st January, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    Sunny, please delete my comment to Maz, its meaningless without him around.

  8. Avi Cohen — on 31st January, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    Very sad to see and quite shocking.

    This area normally has quite good relations so obviously would be good to see the local mosque condemn this.

  9. Kulvinder — on 31st January, 2008 at 6:25 pm  

    Utterly repugnant.

  10. Sunny — on 31st January, 2008 at 6:27 pm  

    Batholomew – but that guy doesn’t feature in the new story, so I’m not sure who you’re referring to.

    But yes, doesn’t make the story any less significant – clearly there are bigots out there who specifically harass Jews.

  11. marvin — on 31st January, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    Hatred of Jews is a learned behaviour. Where did they learn this disregard/hate for the Jewish community?

  12. Sunny — on 31st January, 2008 at 6:46 pm  

    Hatred of Jews is a learned behaviour.

    Is bigotry a learned behaviour? So where do the BNP learn it from?

  13. Bishop Hill — on 31st January, 2008 at 7:01 pm  

    It’s interesting that the historian involved implies that there is an attempt to create a “no-go” area.

  14. bananabrain — on 31st January, 2008 at 7:01 pm  

    oh, in the east end, i don’t know….. possibly the “respect” party? sheesh,

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  15. Jai — on 31st January, 2008 at 7:06 pm  

    Is bigotry a learned behaviour?

    I think that bigotry towards specific groups certainly can be, if the people concerned are exposed to this from other sources frequently enough.

    So where do the BNP learn it from?

    Like-minded individuals they mix with, social circles, family members, negative role models, various combinations of all of these.

    ***********

    It’s another chicken-vs-egg situation: Is it a matter of the person already being a jerk in general and some factor of their environment & influences causes them to focus that jerkiness on specific groups, or are they originally a decent person but they become a jerk towards certain groups directly because of various external factors encouraging & condoning such jerkiness.

    Nature, nurture etc. Probably varies considerably depending on the specific person.

  16. Don — on 31st January, 2008 at 7:08 pm  

    ‘Is bigotry a learned behaviour?’

    That’s an intriguing question. Instinctively my answer would be yes. When I was teaching inner-city mainstream secondary I almost daily had occasion to challenge bigoted comments and the most common response was ‘My dad said …’

    But I daresay there are other ways to arrive at bigotry. Most probably an unacknowledged realisation that one has failed as a worthwhile human being and ‘the other’ must be to blame.

  17. Quoth the Raven — on 31st January, 2008 at 7:41 pm  

    I think it’s hilarious myself and your self-righteous lefty reaction makes it even funnier. Holocaust Memorial Day is run as a guilt-fest for nasty racist whites, who are supposed to welcome mass immigration by saintly ethnics as part of their penance. And here are some of those saintly ethnics in action against the inventors of HMD. Minty. I’m not sure the victims would have been attacked for being Jewish, though: their possession of a white skin would have been more than enough for the bruddas to get vibrant on them. If they were attacked for having white skins, it’s obviously much less of a cause for concern.

  18. Bartholomew — on 31st January, 2008 at 7:53 pm  

    Sunny, I was just trying to show there has been a problem for a while in that area of London which apparently has been allowed to fester – the report I found was from January 2006.

  19. Cover Drive — on 31st January, 2008 at 8:35 pm  

    Quite appalling.

    Its sickening that people can show no remorse for the 6m+ innocent people who were systematically exterminated – that’s a 9/11 every day of the Holocaust – without putting aside their ideological differences for one day.

  20. Muhamad — on 31st January, 2008 at 9:35 pm  

    More than the ignorant youngsters throwing stones at people, what pisses me off is those British Nazi Party shit stirring morons.

    It’s in the nature of educationally deprived areas of Britain we’ll find kids who’ll behave like idiots.

    We must make it a national policy to take all British children on a school trip to (at least) Auschwitz.

    I think we, as a country, are ill-formed on our history.

  21. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2008 at 10:02 pm  

    Puts me in mind of the little turd who decided to throw eggs at a Hastings remembrance day parade.

    Amusingly, there was an, er, old school policeman present in the parade:

    “PC Buck, who was without his handcuffs, attempted to restrain him. With Coombs struggling violently the officer punched him in the face before arresting him.”

    :D

  22. pommygranate — on 31st January, 2008 at 11:40 pm  

    Muhamad

    This is not about ‘educational deprivation’. Since no-one else is saying what everyone is thinking, i’ll say it. This is about Muslim youths abusing Jews because they have been taught that Jews are pigs. It’s also concrete evidence that parts of Britain are becoming un-policed no-go areas.

  23. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 12:31 am  

    I think white supremacist bigotry is nearly always spread by word of mouth, through families, relatives, peers.

    After all, books aren’t available about neo-nazi ideology at the local church, you wont hear the local priest preaching it, and you wont get neo-nazi book shops.

    Not that many BNP or neo-nazis could confess to be avid book readers…

    In East London, extremism found in bookshops and mosques. I don’t think 1st or 2nd generation Bangladeshis were Jew haters were they?

    IMHO, this younger generation has learnt it largely from the media available to them, the internet, preachers of hate, and hate literature. So called new antisemitism I think is a big factor too.

    And peers who have become more ‘religious’ since 9/11, who may have travelled to do ‘charity work’ abroad in Pakistan of Afghanistan. Kids look up to the bigger kids.

  24. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 12:51 am  

    It’s 2008 and stupid, vile, disaffected ‘deshi kids are throwing rocks at jewish people on Holocaust Memorial day. What can I say? I hope their rock throwing arms drop off from leprosy.

  25. pommygranate — on 1st February, 2008 at 12:59 am  

    Marvin

    You’re right. It’s not an immigrant problem. The anti-semitism stems from 2nd and 3rd generational Muslims born here. I shudder to think what they are being taught in some mosques. Which is another reason why Ofted’s recent decision not to check what is being taught at religious school is unbelievable.

    Does this mean i can now set up a libertarian school and preach the gospel according to Ayn Rand and no-one will check me?

  26. Sunny — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:46 am  

    After all, books aren’t available about neo-nazi ideology at the local church, you wont hear the local priest preaching it, and you wont get neo-nazi book shops.

    Well, while you’re waving your willy to score some points, I might point out there’s plenty of websites that do the job of bookshops when it comes to Nazis etc. Would you like to see them banned?

  27. Boyo — on 1st February, 2008 at 10:06 am  

    I didn’t give much truck to “no go area” talk, but it seems that perhaps there may be. Now I remember, I recall Eastenders Gilbert & George complaining there were often “monstered” as we used to call it in my hacking days.

    People refer to the BNP with respect to this, but to play devil’s advocate, would it not be fair to say that many of the attitudes that lead to this kind of behaviour are more mainstream in the Muslim population than in the majority white?

    Go ahead, monster me.

  28. fugstar — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:04 am  

    haramkhoras

  29. Sofia — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:25 am  

    what exactly is islamic fundamentalist clothing?
    i’m not sure whether this fits into a bunch of youths being anti semitic/racist, or a bunch of thugs picking on people who are outsiders…or a bit of both…

  30. chairwoman — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:28 am  

    Sunny @ 26

    Yes, yes and yes!

  31. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:34 am  

    Boyo, that’s hardly ground breaking :)

    Numerous polls of Muslims on Jews in the UK do not paint a pretty picture

    Nearly two fifths (37 per cent) believe that the Jewish community in Britain is a legitimate target “as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East”.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article727952.ece

  32. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:35 am  

    Sofia, dressed the same as Sheik Bin Laden, one would presume? Generally guys dressed like that take their religion seriously.

  33. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:51 am  

    Last month I went with some friends to a bar down Brick Lane. When we came out some of my friends (young-ish Bangladeshi women) were at the receiving end of some rather obnoxious comments from some local yobs. When these women, who take no shit, responded in kind we had a situation on our hands. Suddenly we were being targetted by a large group of Bangladeshi yoots, haranguing us with “Get out of our area you coconuts”! Needless to say this writer became entangled in a punchup, sad but true. East London has become a no-go area for everyone. Outsiders are attacked whether they be jews, hindus, christians, south london yardies trying to muscle in on the drugs action, or other Asians.

    Incidents like the inevitably throws up of all sorts of brickbats most of which fail to pinpoint the real cause. Suddenly some young Bangladeshi yobs who struggle to read and write are the exponents of the New Antisemitism. Islam suddenly grows two arms, two legs, a head and anthropormorphises into an all-singing, all-dancing bogeyman who looks like Om Puri in ‘Temple of Doom’. The parents of these louts, who came to this country in the mid 20th century, never had a problem with East End jews. Things are different in the ghetto now.

  34. Jai — on 1st February, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    all-singing, all-dancing bogeyman who looks like Om Puri in ‘Temple of Doom’.

    *cough* Amrish Puri. Mogambo in Mr India and the heroine’s father in DDLJ. Not the father in East is East, who was indeed Om. *cough*

  35. fugstar — on 1st February, 2008 at 1:20 pm  

    It can’t be pleseant when your own little brothers grow up all wrong and you dont know how to deal with it. Yoot delinquency needs some work all over the country. Gangs take serious and tough work so instead of scoring cheap points on righteous indignation and someone elses blood and humiliation show you really care you ‘next progressive generation’ and highlight good ideas in youth work. Or dont you have the chops?

    TH isnt a no go zone, its just a hard zone, it always has been but its getting worse as the murrabis die off and the place loses bits of its dignity. If the commercial areas were a no go zone then how comes they seem to still be economically viable? Thankyou john reid and nazir ali for such a lovely term. Thankyou goondahs for lending it legitimacy.

  36. Sofia — on 1st February, 2008 at 1:47 pm  

    didn’t know clothing was fundamentalist…
    and is a ridiculous way of describing it as such..so sikh ppl wearing turbans is sikh fundamentalist clothing…since when did bin laden hijack a whole clothing range…and since when does taking your religion seriously mean ure a bin laden type?

  37. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:00 pm  

    Sofia, taking Islam seriously can mean waging jihad against your perceived enemy. As many as 1/3 of British converts to Islam take the radical path. A large percentage, I would certainly bet most, young men who happen to dress exactly as Bin Laden will not be moderate Muslims.

    On a similar token, skin-heads with union jacks, and dr martin boots and an aggressive swagger are probably intolerant of minorities.

    Taking Taoist Buddishm seriously means you shave your head and meditate in solace for days on end.

    I know of no Sikh fundamentalist icon who has declared war on all non-sikhs. Why would a seriously religious sikh prove an isssue with non-sikhs?

  38. sonia — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:02 pm  

    interesting what you say in no. 34 sid. ‘outsiders’ – yep, i find it quite amusing when people are so proprietary over neighbourhoods, and also identities. i get so many dodgy looks/comments (where are you going Fatema! even though i have said I am not Fatema! Who is Fatema i wonder?) whenever im wandering around brick lane, i live quite close and spend quite a lot of time in whitechapel, its amusingly silly.

  39. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:12 pm  

    I know of no Sikh fundamentalist icon who has declared war on all non-sikhs. Why would a seriously religious sikh prove an isssue with non-sikhs?

    You’ve obviousley never been to Foleshill Road, Coventry.

  40. Random Guy — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

    Idiot @ 35: “Blood will be spattered…”

    This made me laugh. I know it was supposed to be border-line intimidatory and threatening, but the pathetic nature of your whole comment really brought it down.

    @39, Marvin: the bigger picture m8, you’re missing it.

  41. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:15 pm  

    The idiot is Muzumdar. Refraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain.

  42. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:16 pm  

    It can’t be pleseant when your own little brothers grow up all wrong and you dont know how to deal with it. Yoot delinquency needs some work all over the country. Gangs take serious and tough work so instead of scoring cheap points on righteous indignation and someone elses blood and humiliation show you really care you ‘next progressive generation’ and highlight good ideas in youth work. Or dont you have the chops?

    I’m sorry, I’m not my “brudder’s” keeper. If you feel so responsible, tell us what have you done for yoots lately>

  43. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:19 pm  

    Jai #36 – sorry mate, I don’t my Hindi films from my arsehole’s elbow.

  44. Ravi Naik — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

    This sort of bigotry shown in the HMD event is certainly learnt, and in this case, neo-nazis and muslim extremists go to the same source, with books such as the Protocols and countless others.

  45. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:30 pm  

    Which came first –
    # European anti-semitism
    # large-scale migration to the UK
    # Julius Evola
    # The Israeli Arab War
    # The publication of the “Protocols…”
    ?

  46. faz — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:33 pm  

    i’ve worked in the east end on and off for the past 5 or so years and whilst there is a very very small minority of young people who cause trouble on the whole its a great place to work. Some of the above comments are obviously from people who have never been to the east end but in many ways would like to have this dangerous view of it.
    I wonder why that is?

  47. Leon — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

    I agree with Faz, some of the descriptions above are wildly different to my experiences of the area…

  48. Sofia — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:46 pm  

    yeh do these yobs go to rich mix…

  49. Sofia — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

    or maybe the ideas store?

  50. Sunny — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    Muzumdar is still hanging around like a bad smell under diff names. I’ve deleted his comments and those directly referring to it.

  51. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 2:51 pm  

    http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/AlQaeda39s-white-army-of-terror.3667425.jp

    “The exact figure of those who have converted to Islam and turned to terror is not precisely known. Not everyone who converts becomes radicalised and it may be that just two-fifths go down that path, but it remains a significant and dangerous problem”

  52. Random Guy — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:14 pm  

    marvin, your comment above has nothing to do with the main topic of this thread. Keep to topic.

  53. sonia — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:18 pm  

    anyhow the whole concept of an ‘outsider’ has been kept up through bigoted thinking – over centuries – the way we as societies have constructed us and them narratives have so often used bad stories about ‘them’ whoever “them” may be.

    pride in one own’s group – for too long has been linked to denigrating others, this relationship needs to change.

    i’m afraid these things are much more deeply rooted in identity construction than we are willing to admit.

  54. sonia — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:21 pm  

    of course the east end is not “that” dangerous. nowhere is ever that dangerous, there are intimidating people everywhere if one allows oneself to be intimidated. it was quite amusing to hear that jacqui smith saying she wouldnt walk around hackney in the dark…

  55. fugstar — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:28 pm  

    did a south asian just say something alluding the eternal nonviolence of buddhists? Sri Lanka man. Arakenes pirate savaged chittagong/islamabad several times in history along with their portuguese mates.

    #42
    It’s not about being a keeper, its about being a bhaiya. I think the abdication of large chunks of the intermediary generation is responsible for a lot of the dysfunction in the ganj. Somewhere along the line between ostrasisation, immigration and escape, the mechanism for rehabilitating the lost has conked out somewhat. The elastic is the bhaiyas and apas. And no, thats crass.

    #51
    On newbie muslims going ape a la fight club. I think the proportion is more like <.1%. 2.5th. The report sounds like irresponsible rumour mongering.

  56. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:30 pm  

    Ok, sorry I was answering Sofia..

    I am interested now, especially Sid’s earlier comment. I know a lot of people reacted to the Bishop of Rochesters comments as untruthful, but I’ve heard several news stories and several blog comments that would suggest that actually some areas are verging on no-go (due to minority hostile elements).

  57. fugstar — on 1st February, 2008 at 3:33 pm  

    #53

    i dont think singing sweet tales of shah jalal or robby babu are going to work. i dont honestly know anyone who can be honest about identity.

    i think the concept that can do the most here is dignity. something we hear too little of. not sound bitey enough or ‘terrific’. leaders understand that. PAGAD understood it too. Brick lane bepshawallah arent terribly competant leaders.

  58. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 4:46 pm  

    #55
    I think you have misunderstood the meaning of progressive politics. It doesn’t mean you have to be an apologist for irresponsible, loutish, anti-social behavior. This refusal to recognise vice is nowadays the cornerstone of the tribalists amongst us. You know the ones: they think their virtuous role is to stand on the byline and offer critique while abdicating the responsibility for change to the ‘other’.

    Nice work if you can get it? Yes. Holier than thou? Most def.

  59. fugstar — on 1st February, 2008 at 4:50 pm  

    #55
    i think youll find im taking the piss. i have a Dr M stance of self proclaimed proregressives. your offended unholiness and secondhandedness is your issue i guess. adios on this.

  60. Sid — on 1st February, 2008 at 5:00 pm  

    I have a Dr Pepper stance on dickheads and their braindead apologists. khoda hafez.

  61. Leon — on 1st February, 2008 at 5:08 pm  

    Sofia #48, 49:

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at..?

  62. marvin — on 1st February, 2008 at 6:41 pm  

    #51
    On newbie muslims going ape a la fight club. I think the proportion is more like <.1%. 2.5th. The report sounds like irresponsible rumour mongering.

    Oh sorry I didn’t know you had possession of the facts. I am so relieved that you believe that less than 1% of converts to Islam take the path of radicalisation.

    Phew! Those Mi5 sources can take a running jump! And I’ll take a google search of “islam convert terrorist” with a pinch of salt!

    I’ll just ignore all the evidence. Thanks Fugstar :)

    Edwin Bakker, head of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations and an expert on the subject, spoke with RFE/RL correspondent Valentinas Mite about the threat of Islamist terrorism in Europe and about why some Europeans choose to convert to radical Islam.

    RFE/RL: What trends in Islam do converts usually choose?

    Bakker: I studied [the cases] of all those [Muslims] who have been arrested and have been convicted of terrorism in Europe and about 5 or 6 percent are converts. Actually, many groups have at least one or two converts among them. In general, there is a problem with converts in that they want to overcompensate for the fact that they are new to a community. They want to be “holier than the pope.” And this is a general phenomenon with radicals or with converts.

    RFE/RL: But radicals make up only a very small part of all Muslims. Why don’t more European converts choose mainstream Islam?

    Bakker: Because they are new to the religion, they are very susceptible to very radical interpretations. They don’t know the other interpretations. So if you are new to Islam, you are not familiar with the fact that Islam is a very complicated religion, that it has a lot of different approaches. And if you are in the hands of the Salafi — this very fundamental, traditional, puritan group — you have no checks and balances, and there is nobody who would tell you, “But that’s not true.” So you are falling into the hands of the most radical views or radical preachers. So being new to religion also does not give you the mind-set and the knowledge to resist very extreme views.

    http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/09/78C8A6EC-B797-4522-B713-F76D7458776B.html

  63. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 1st February, 2008 at 7:47 pm  

    pommy @ 22

    Cut the effing crap!
    All you can do is add “Muslim” before everything.

  64. Kismet Hardy — on 1st February, 2008 at 11:08 pm  

    I’ve been raised to hate Jews. I did some research, saw the Quran called the Jews people of the light, urged them to turn to Islam, yes, but nowhere does it say kill Jews. Leaned a valuable lesson, went on to have two half-Jewish children.

  65. marvin — on 2nd February, 2008 at 12:12 am  

    Weirdo… Kismet

  66. fugstar — on 2nd February, 2008 at 1:29 am  

    sid you are really from the school of ‘ed’ indeed. ‘stop apologising’ pfft. who’s apologising?

  67. Luke — on 2nd February, 2008 at 12:39 pm  

    Kismet

    Muhammed himself wiped out North Arabian Jewry under his scimitar.

    Is that not anti-Semitic enough for you?

    And by the way, the whole ‘I shagged a Jewish lady, therefore Islam is not anti-Semitic’ is pretty piss poor, even from you.

  68. Bert Preast — on 2nd February, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    Hmm, the bishop of Rochester now finds that the whole country’s a no-go zone. Or at least it is for him:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/7223788.stm

  69. marvin — on 2nd February, 2008 at 2:54 pm  

    Hmm, the bishop of Rochester now finds that the whole country’s a no-go zone. Or at least it is for him:

    It is for anyone who dares to criticise Muslims or Islam publicly. The harsher the criticism, the more death threats you get. If only the people making the threats understood irony…

  70. Cover Drive — on 2nd February, 2008 at 4:00 pm  

    The so-called ‘liberals’ who were very quick to condemn the Bishop of Rochester after his warning about ‘no-go’ areas are playing straight into the hands of Islamic extremists.

    While the liberals are more than happy to criticise church leaders, and are more likely to face no major threat to their personal security, they are strangely less outspoken about Muslim zealots. Exactly how far do you go in tolerating intolerance?

  71. halima — on 2nd February, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    I am a bit late to this… East End being no-go?

    Brick Lane/Whitchapel is where i grew up. Slightly exaggerated to say it’s no-go from one incident from anti-semitic youths… The Jack the Ripper tours and other heritage tours have gone on for eons in the area – I can recall them since I could walk, and on the whole the tours are a long-standing business in the area.

    Interesting.. Brick Lane in the 1980s was a regular site every Sunday for the British National Party to bash Bangladeshis at the Shoreditch end of Brick Lane – I wonder if anyone drew any conclusions about it being a no-go area…

  72. halima — on 2nd February, 2008 at 6:56 pm  

    Sunny – you are right, it is disgusting.

  73. Sid — on 2nd February, 2008 at 7:25 pm  

    halima, you’re right.

    There are no pubs around Brick Lane/Whitechapel where the Bishop of Rochester would be made to feel unwelcome for looking like he does (Pakistani). But there are plenty in places like Barkingside or Loughton for instance, where he might find himself being physically roughed up by ‘indigenous, cultural Anglicans’. When territorialism in these areas is discussed, nobody sees it as socially devisive, still less a threat to ‘British values’. It is more likely to viewed fondly as an headstrong, but ultimately positive, nationalist impulse. Why does the Bishop find some no-go areas unremarkable?

  74. halima — on 2nd February, 2008 at 7:52 pm  

    Sid

    Agreed.

    I think there are lots of places in inner cities that are territorial, but interesting as you say, is why some are picked out as remarkable (= negative) and others are unremarkable (= normal). Territoriasm is what inner city youths do best – it’s part of their self-identity as much as music and fashion. We have a tendency to flag up non-white areas as no-go, and much of this boils down to the visibility of particular groups. I think on the whole British society is still uncomfortable with neighbourhoods that are mainly non-white and predominantly drawing from one ethnic/cultural group. Why this is so, I don’t know, but it’s true enough.

  75. Cover Drive — on 2nd February, 2008 at 7:55 pm  

    I’ve been around Brick Lane myself. It’s not exactly the most salubrious area of London. Economically deprived areas are usually high in crime. I think over the years Brick Lane has shown a greater tendency to accept new waves of immigrants than reject them. I’m no BNP sympathiser but I find people who wish to issue death threats against someone who they disagree with even more repulsive.

  76. Sid — on 2nd February, 2008 at 8:18 pm  

    fugstar #66 – i didn’t say you’re an apologist of the HMD rock throwers. sorry to across all adverserial like. peace.

  77. halima — on 2nd February, 2008 at 8:24 pm  

    Guess everyone on this thread would agree with you that death threats of all nature are abhorrant…

    Brick Lane, on the other hand, has lots of narratives. What amuses me, is that the trendy set in London, which I am sometimes trying to ‘fit in’ with, mostly unsuccessfully, find Brick Lane incredibly inviting and flock to it. One person’s no-go is another person’s place of choice. Beats me why, but great to see diversity work in this way.

  78. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2008 at 12:11 am  

    It is really wrong to throw stones and hurt people for taking an interest in the Holocaust.

    Quick question:

    “The Holocaust Memorial Day marking the genocides of the 20th century”

    Was the memorial discussing ALL genocides, or just the Nazi Holocaust one (also, were the Rom and others who were not Jewish but still killed alluded to?)

    NOTE:: I am NOT making a statement of any kind with my question; I am sincerely curious.

  79. Katy Newton — on 3rd February, 2008 at 12:28 am  

    It is dedicated to all of the victims of the Holocaust whether Jewish or not. More here.

  80. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 3rd February, 2008 at 1:04 am  

    Luke @ 67

    Mohammed was a Semite.
    One would have to be pigignorant not to know that.

  81. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2008 at 4:40 am  

    “It is dedicated to all of the victims of the Holocaust whether Jewish or not.”

    Thanks, Katy.

    So the memorial is not talking about “all genocides in the 20th c.” There have been more genocides than just the Holocaust… :)

  82. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2008 at 4:42 am  

    Oh, wait– “Holocaust Memorial Day” not talking about all genocides of the 20th c

  83. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2008 at 6:03 am  

    Ok, so HMD is for remembering the Holocaust, which is perfectly and absolutely fine, IMO, but it cannot claim that it is “marking the genocides of the 20th century.” As I mentioned, there have been several genocides, and the Holocaust is not the singular genocide of the 20th century (though in terms of scale, it certainly is big).

  84. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2008 at 6:05 am  

    Muhamad [peace be upon you]:

    Love your handle.

    I am thinking about changing mine to Allat.

    Or Ishtar.

  85. Katy Newton — on 3rd February, 2008 at 10:44 am  

    it cannot claim that it is “marking the genocides of the 20th century

    It was Sunny who said that, not an organiser of HMD, but in fact Sunny isn’t wrong because although HMD was set up to commemorate the Nazi Holocaust it is also used as a day to commemorate genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

  86. Sid — on 3rd February, 2008 at 12:27 pm  

    Here are some famous Christian saints and their views on Jews:

    St. Gregory: “Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophet, enemies of God, haters of God, advisories of grace, enemies of their father’s faith, advocates of the devil, a brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, a congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners and haters of everything that is good.”

    St. Jerome: “They (the Jews) are serpents, haters of all men. Their image is Judas. Their psalms and prayers are but the braying of donkeys.

    St. John Chrysostom: “A synagogue is not only a whorehouse, it is also a den of thieve and a haunt of unclean wild animals. When animals are unfit for work (as the Jews clearly are) they are marked for slaughter. By making themselves unfit, they have become ready for slaughter.

    St. Augustine: “Judaism is a corruption. Indeed, Judas is the image of the Jewish people. Their understanding of the scriptures is carnal, but above all, they bear the guilt for the death of the savior. They killed the Christ.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas: “It would be lawful to hold Jews because of their crimes in perpetual servitude. Therefore, the princes may regard Jews as belonging to the state.”

    Martin Luther: “Know oh adored Christ that aside from the devil you have no enemy more venomous, more desperate, more bitter than the Jews. They are the children of the devil, as our Lord Jesus Christ said. What then shall we Christians do with this damned and rejected race? First, their synagogues must be set on fire. What ever does not burn must be covered with dirt. Second, their homes shall be destroyed. Third, they shall be deprived of their prayer books and Talmud in which such idolatry and blasphemy are taught. Fourth, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach. In truth, the Jews, being foreigners, should posses nothing. What they do possess in our land should be ours. In short, the Jews must be driven out of Germany.”

  87. Ravi Naik — on 3rd February, 2008 at 4:24 pm  

    Here are some famous Christian saints and their views on Jews

    And your point being?

  88. Luke — on 3rd February, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    His point, as ever, is to deflect attention away from Islam.

    It’s quite pathetic really. It’s like me saying:

    Don’t worry about the genocide and mass rape that took place in Bangladesh, look at what the Chinese are doing instead.

    sid, you are a joke.

  89. Katy Newton — on 3rd February, 2008 at 5:45 pm  

    It’s no more pathetic than you winding Sid up by saying that Mohammed wiped out the Jews in North Arabia. That’s no more to do with Sid than the Inquisition is to do with today’s Catholics. It is entirely possible to be 100% loyal to and proud of Islam without being in favour of putting every Jew in the world to the sword.

    Prejudice is not a competition. Anti-Jewish feeling is no more confined to one particular religious or ethnic group than any form of racism or prejudice. As long as there are stupid people, there will be people who hate other people for no sensible reason.

  90. marvin — on 3rd February, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

    Anti-Jewish feeling is no more confined to one particular religious or ethnic group than any form of racism or prejudice

    Errr….. 37% of Muslims in a survey thought Jews were “legitimate targets as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East”

    http://www.ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/137

    Would anyone disagree that out of all the religious or ethnic groups or communities in the UK, that Muslim community harbours the biggest anti-Jewish sentiment?

    Sid is absolutely right, historically there has been systematic persecution of Jews by Christians. They had their reasons too. Christendom battled with the forces of religious fundamentalism hundreds of years ago, and won.

    Obviously this is a gross simplification, but perhaps the Muslim world is reaching this stage now. Good luck to the independent thinkers.

  91. sonia — on 3rd February, 2008 at 8:27 pm  

    “Prejudice is not a competition”

    that’s for sure! i think we can safely say that..
    as far as i can see, most religions seem to be prejudiced against something or someone. perhaps that wouldn’t surprise anyone seeing as social groups in general -( and for me, religions fall into ‘social groups’) are prejudiced against something or someone.

  92. oliver — on 3rd February, 2008 at 9:28 pm  

    Someone told me ten years ago in Brick Lane, when I was unfortunate enough to live in the area, that the whole ‘Banglatown’ sobriquet had been resisted by some of the, ahem, ‘local community leaders’ because the landlords were still predominantly Jewish. Also, the Lane was only a temporary stopgap anyway – like, how many Hugenots do you meet down the Vibe Bar these days? – before the ranch in Gants Hill,or sunny Sylhet, beckoned. The promise of those days seems to have dissipated.

  93. douglas clark — on 3rd February, 2008 at 10:20 pm  

    Katy,

    Prejudice is not a competition.

    That would, hopefully, be a quote that was worth sticking in the banner. If this site is to be clear in it’s message, it ought to be explicit about that. I happen to think that that is what this site is about, but there you go.

  94. Sid — on 3rd February, 2008 at 10:27 pm  

    That’s precisely my point, Katy.

  95. douglas clark — on 3rd February, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

    Sid,

    I largely agree with you that Christians calling Muslims anti semites is the pot calling the kettle black. Though, to be fair, your references in post 87 are mainly history. I.e. old news, and the old story.

    However, I’d agree that Christians might be just as guilty of anti semitism as Muslims. Short of actually killing them, right now, right here, right enough.

    Frankly, the only folk that give them a free break are atheists and agnostics.

    Which might be something you’d like to consider.

  96. Sid — on 3rd February, 2008 at 10:49 pm  

    douglas, Islamists who buy into the jew-hatred thing (as a reaction the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and beyond) have, at their fingertips an ocean of pre-fabricated antisemitic pornography, texts, imagery, ideology etc to get their rocks off on, from a few hundred years of European antisemitism. There’s a post in there somewhere.

  97. douglas clark — on 3rd February, 2008 at 11:07 pm  

    Sid,

    Whilst you are undoubtedly right about the availability in Western society of an enormous pile of drek about Jews – the Protocols comes to mind – the willingness of Islamists to believe it says a lot about their willingness to pick up on a lie that is half way around the world when truth is not out of the dressing room. Aesop seems to have had a fable about this, tortoises and hares, apparently.

    There is, indeed, a post in there, somewhere.

    What?

    Are we now saying that Islamists are the naive children of Western lies? That they lack critical judgement?

    Or that their prejudices are reinforced from whatever ridiculous source they can find? If the latter, then there is much education to be done, is there not? And much stupidity to be overcome.

  98. Devil's Kitchen — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:45 am  

    Sunny,

    This is disgusting…

    Never a truer word spoken.

    DK

  99. Ravi Naik — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:00 am  

    Frankly, the only folk that give them a free break are atheists and agnostics.

    No, no… prejudice is not a competition, remember? You forget nazism – an ideology with no deities, which focused mainly on racial supremacy.

  100. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:37 am  

    Sonia:

    “as far as i can see, most religions seem to be prejudiced against something or someone.”

    But Sonia, nowdays it’s only the Islamists!

    And most of the time, only one or two prejudices are highlighted over, and over, and over again while all sorts of prejudices are taking place right now.

  101. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:38 am  

    PS. No memorial or large scale recognition of the slaughter of the Natives wherever the Europeans colonized, but THAT’S OK!

  102. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:40 am  

    Can we set aside a day to talk about and remember the brown folks that have been exterminated, grazie agli Europei? Or that’s different/doesn’t count/etc?

  103. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:41 am  

    Not trying to compete with prejudices/genocides, etc. Just pointing out other times that large numbers of people got killed.

  104. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:48 am  

    Sorry if I am veering off topic.

  105. Katy Newton — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:57 am  

    Sid: I know, baby.

  106. Cover Drive — on 4th February, 2008 at 9:41 am  

    Christians have been anti-Semitic over the years, which is basically based on the fact the Jews crucified Jesus. What Christians have ignored is the fact that it is clearly written in the Bible that the Jews are the ‘chosen people’. However, the idea that Muslims get their anti-Semitism from Christians is indeed naive. The Crusades were originally in response to a call from the Eastern Byzantine Empire for help against Muslim expansion. You’ll find there are hardly any Christians left in the Holy Land today; those that remain are persecuted either by Muslims or Jews.

    Are we now saying that Islamists are the naive children of Western lies? That they lack critical judgement?

    The liberal Western mind still does not fully understand the threat of radical Islam. After fanning the flames of jihad for decades, Western powers are now engaged in a desperate attempt to extinguish them with little success.

  107. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 10:57 am  

    Frankly, the only folk that give them a free break are atheists and agnostics.

    No. In fact, make that “hell no”. Prejudice towards Jews is specifically an issue amongst groups connected with the so-called “Abrahamic” faiths. There is no history of widespread, endemic antisemitism amongst Hindus and Sikhs, for example.

    I’ve encountered this misconception amongst white (and occasionally black) people a number of times; it seems as though it’s sometimes very difficult for people to grasp the fact that there are huge numbers of individuals from other parts of the world where there has never been any persecution or demonisation of the Jewish minority. The confusion is a double-edged sword, because (depending on the other party’s own attitude) they can sometimes assume that you either share their own prejudice towards Jews or (if they’re not antisemitic themselves) that you are possibly bigotted yourself and would sympathise with such bigotry displayed by others.

    *******************

    Ravi,

    You forget nazism – an ideology with no deities, which focused mainly on racial supremacy.

    I think that’s a bit of a grey issue, mate; some of the “high command” basically had a make-it-up-as-you-go-along religious viewpoint drawn on various aspects of northern European pagan mythology (with parts ripped off from other sources) combined with twisted aspects of Germany’s own local Christian tradition.

  108. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:17 am  

    jai, what you say is only true perhaps because in the indian subcontinent, we have been too busy with other prejudices – our hundred-million and one prejudices against our own lot. On a caste level (prejudice against your ‘own’ religion, i mean come on!) , or a language level, ( those bloody bengalis) or religion, or class. we’re prejudiced towards anyone if they’re not in the very small group we can feel confident we can ‘marry within’ -the families of the suitable boys and girls. given we’re so obsessive on so many axes of discrimination, it all comes to light really when the question of marriage comes up. i bet you if a good sikh boy in india had brought home a jewish girl, momma wouldn’t like it and might say something nasty, she might not say anything nasty but just be hugely surprised good sikh boy would even entertain the idea of marrying ‘out’ – of course she would probably say something much more vehement if the good sikh boy brought home a Muslim girl say. Frankly, regardless of ethno-linguistic group and religion, the Indian subcontinent is such an example of multi-layered prejudice i find it amusing you choose to bring it up as an example.

    again, prejudice is not a competition, so give it up Jai.

  109. bananabrain — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:17 am  

    @cover drive:

    historical christian anti-semitism notwithstanding, there is one major problem in the sentence “the jews crucified jesus” and that is that there are four methods of capital punishment under jewish law:

    beheading
    strangulation
    burning
    stoning

    firstly, crucifixion is not a halakhic penalty – it is a roman one. no jewish court would have had this penalty available. secondly, no jewish court had capital sanction available to it in the mid C1st under roman military occupation.

    you say that “the idea that muslims get their anti-semitism from Christians is …naive”. unfortunately, this is true, albeit it is no longer current. true anti-semitism was initially imported into the islamic world in the late C19th by members of the christian clergy (a greek orthodox priest was behind the damascus blood libel of 1840, for example) largely in response to economic competition between orthodox armenian and greek christians and jews under the ottoman empire’s “millet” system. in the 20s and 30s fascist ideology was introduced into the middle east by nationalist pan-arabist ideologues like rashid rida and the founders of the ba’ath party, with its accompanying hatred of jews – the traditional islamic view had been one more of good natured contempt; it is not until the late C19th that you start to get this virulent, demonic characterisation that is now unfortunately the norm, as texts such as the “protocols” are recycled by the syrians, iranians and hizbollah, who are the leaders in this field.

    finally, you say there are “hardly any christians in the holy land today” – this is far from the truth, as is the idea that jews rather than muslims are persecuting them.

    @desi italiana:

    HMD was originally a highly stupid idea, conceived by new labour as a way of sucking up to the jewish community (if you ask me) – and acceptable across the left due to their preference for dead, victimised, oppressed european jews over live, assertive and articulate jews, especially heavily armed ones with mirrored sunglasses, suntans and american accents. of course it was immediately politicised by those fools at the MCB with the result that converting it into a general “genocide day” would now be widely perceived as a defeat and a surrender to the “we’re more persecuted than you, nyah nyah nyah” school of cultural relativisim. of course, it should have been a general genocide day to start with – the UK did more than many other countries to prevent the shoah, but it is hard to see why HMD warrants a particular place in the UK’s public calendar.

    @ravi:

    nazism had its deities, namely the fuhrer, the reich and the “volk”, just as communism has the same, namely, the leader, the proletariat and the state.

    @kismet:

    the Qur’an *does* appear in places to call for the killing of jews – but afaik, this relates to a specific bunch of jews, who weren’t very nice people as far as i can work it out. where islamists go wrong is in interpreting *all* references in the Qur’an as referring to *all* jews everywhere and forever. it’s quite complicated, whereas these people are simpleminded to a terrifying degree.

    @anyone who gets confused about the word “semite”

    “anti-semitism” means jew-hatred exclusively. if you’re confused, use the latter term. “semitic” is a LINGUISTIC term, unconnected to culture but widely misused to denote middle eastern racial stock. it has no correct usage outside the field of comparative linguistics.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  110. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:21 am  

    That’s all fine and dandy Sonia but it still doesn’t negate the fact that there is no history of endemic, institutionalised, religion-based bigotry specifically and disproportionately towards Jews in the Indian subcontinent.

    So, in response to the previous assertion specifically in relation to antisemitism, my original point still stands.

  111. bananabrain — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:24 am  

    i bet you if a good sikh boy in india had brought home a jewish girl, momma wouldn’t like it and might say something nasty, she might not say anything nasty but just be hugely surprised good sikh boy would even entertain the idea of marrying ‘out’ – of course she would probably say something much more vehement if the good sikh boy brought home a Muslim girl say.

    and this is nothing to what would be said by the jewish girl’s family, too!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  112. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:41 am  

    anyhow the unfortunate fact remains that despite most Muslims not (thankfully) taking the Quran etc. literally or too many of actually knowing much about what’s in it, our Islamic traditions and history leave plenty of room for corroborating any prejudices people might have – towards ‘unbelievers’ – towards ‘People of the Book’ who have since strayed, and so on and so forth. If people want to look for these, they can find them easily, and the Quran is clearly a more authoritative document than the Protocols for example. if you want to spread some hate amongst some fellow believeres, if they have been taught to revere the Quran, they are more likely to take seriously something that is in it, than the Protocols of Sion, or some other publication somewhere.

    at the end of the day, religious texts are very dangerous from that point of view – they are vaunted as ‘wonderful’ and yet look at some of the material you find inside of it. and that can be used to justify all kinds of heinous attitudes, certainly the Quran is – yes you arent meant to pick and choose, but who doesn’t.

    i’m surprised no one here has been posting about Ziauddin Sardar’s Blogging the Quran project – very interesting.

  113. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:43 am  

    111 bananabrain :-)

    ah well i suppose where else would all the material for bollywood come from, if shaadi weren’t so complicated a business in that wonderful part of the world..

  114. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    It was Sunny who said that, not an organiser of HMD, but in fact Sunny isn’t wrong because although HMD was set up to commemorate the Nazi Holocaust it is also used as a day to commemorate genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

    I’ll be honest with you, Katy; as mentioned by me (and a couple of other commenters, some of whom don’t participate here anymore) on related debates here a while back, I think it’s perfectly okay for HMD to specifically focus on the victims of the Nazis, at least in Europe, given that this was a specifically European atrocity. Perhaps it should be renamed “Nazi Holocaust Memorial Day” or “WW2 Holocaust Memorial Day”.

    Another separate memorial day (or series of memorial days) can be set up by groups wishing to commemorate other atrocities (either local or global). This would be the most constructive way forward, rather than anyone trying to hijack an existing event which primarily (although not exclusively) involves Jewish people.

  115. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:46 am  

    “ive met lots of white people (black) who have this assumption”

    maybe this is where prejudices start? assigning colours to ideas?

  116. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:46 am  

    should be “& “..

  117. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:48 am  

    or actually, Sid was the one who came up with a brilliant phrase – what was it -the “Jai school of ethno-religious something or other.

    always trying to pin people’s comments down to ethnicity/religion – now lemme see..what’s that Jai?

  118. Cover Drive — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:53 am  

    bananabrain:

    You’ll find there are hardly any Christians left in the Holy Land today; those that remain are persecuted either by Muslims or Jews.

    I meant more of the former persecuting the Christians. However, about the latter, here is a snippet from a review of William Dalrymple’s book “From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East”:

    Israel has historically benefited from the financial and political support of the Christians. The American taxpayers have and continue to contribute billions of dollars a year for its survival. Yet the rulers of Israel and the Orthodox zealots, the heredim, seem determined to discard all remnants of Christianity from Israel and to retain only a bare minimum number of churches, museums and monuments to attract tourist dollars. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been quoted as saying that if this trend continues, Israel will turn into a Christian theme park. The Israelis seem to use all in their power to rid themselves of the remaining Christian Palestinians and Armenians in the Old City. The Christian Palestinians suffer the most. On the one hand, the Israelis consider them Arabs and not trustworthy, while the Arabs mistrust them for being Christians, therefore pro-Jewish.

  119. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:56 am  

    maybe this is where prejudices start? assigning colours to ideas?

    Nope Sonia, just speaking anecdotally. And please note that “lots” does not mean “all” or “most”.

    always trying to pin people’s comments down to ethnicity/religion – now lemme see..what’s that Jai?

    Always trying to distort what people say and use it as an excuse to undermine the other party’s point, especially if your own remarks have nothing to do with the main topic…..now lemme see…..what’s that Sonia ?

    Oh yes, the fact that an erroneous statement was made inferring that antisemitism is a widespread phenomenon and not confined to any particular group (or groups).

    Low tactic, Sonia. Attempting character assassination yet again just because you were proven wrong. What shall we call that — the “Sonia school of whataboutery” ?

  120. Sid — on 4th February, 2008 at 12:00 pm  


    historical christian anti-semitism notwithstanding, there is one major problem in the sentence “the jews crucified jesus” and that is that there are four methods of capital punishment under jewish law:

    beheading
    strangulation
    burning
    stoning

    strangulation? [gulp]

  121. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 12:13 pm  

    that’s fine Jai i don’t mind, i can take it – whataboutery – i love that phrase.

  122. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 12:19 pm  

    strangulation sounds preferable to crucifixion if you ask me, and everyone knows the Romans were upto it the most. (how disgusting)

    apparently the Quran mentions it too..(according to the wiki article anyway)

  123. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 12:48 pm  

    It’s not a compliment, Sonia, but hey, if you want to make it your own, go for it. Perhaps “the Sonia school of character assassination & dishonest debating tactics” would be more apt.

    Nice attempt to derail the thread by displaying fake indignation and hurling fabricated allegations, anyway ;)

  124. Sid — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:01 pm  

    Massive overreaction Jai, don’t you think? Sonia hurled fabricated allegations at you?

    You’ve been trapped in the ivory towers of the School of Upholding Ethno-Religious Stereotypes for too long mate. Come out and play.

  125. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:17 pm  

    There certainly has been an overreaction here Sid, but not by me. And yes, false allegations and insinuations were indeed aimed at me, which I see that you are now opportunistically also duplicating, as per your second paragraph. Repeating something which has no basis in truth does not make it factually correct.

    I’m more than happy to join you and your rarified social circle in the playground, as long as you resign your own tenure at the School of False Allegations & Character Assassinations, whose hallowed halls I notice your friend Sonia is also now stalking.

    Unfortunately, none of this has anything to do with this thread’s main topic or the brief point I originally made, so I guess Sonia is succeeding in her disruptive intentions. Don’t fall into that trap.

  126. Sid — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:25 pm  

    …blinding me with whataboutery…

    …can’t…see…keyboard…ugh…

  127. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:35 pm  

    Well, spending too much time on the internet does apparently ruin your eyesight, Sid.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

  128. Ravi Naik — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:51 pm  

    I think that’s a bit of a grey issue, mate; some of the “high command” basically had a make-it-up-as-you-go-along religious viewpoint drawn on various aspects of northern European pagan mythology (with parts ripped off from other sources) combined with twisted aspects of Germany’s own local Christian tradition.

    I agree that some in the high-command were religious and there was some religious freedom in Germany – but the ideology itself – nazism – does not have the belief of a supernatural being. After all, it was heavily influenced by Nietzche, and was focused on the concept of racial supremacy and Uebermensch (superman). I would consider it an atheist ideology just like communism, even though the leader is ideologised.

    This is was just my response to Douglas when he stated that ‘atheists’ were kinder to one group of people than religious groups.

  129. Ravi Naik — on 4th February, 2008 at 1:52 pm  

    ideologised -> idolised.

  130. bananabrain — on 4th February, 2008 at 2:35 pm  

    @ravi:

    that’s as may be, but hitler certainly referred to G!D in his correspondence. on the other hand, stalin and pol pot – both atheists – were not noted for their kindness to out-groups.

    @cover drive:

    so your concern is that christian financial support for israel is misdirected? goodness, there’s a fazer and no mistake. i have to say that if your evidence for israeli persecution of christians is a book review, i think you can probably do better! look, the haredim don’t like *anyone* except people who agree with them – they also try and ban non-orthodox jewish movements, secular people having fun on friday night and so on. have you actually visited israel? you’d see if you did that the idea that there is some sort of whole-hearted persecution of christians is frankly a bit ridiculous. there are plenty of israeli arabs in the knesset, in business and even in the national football team. the people driving christians out are in fact muslims – and it may be taking place in “the holy land”, but not in the israeli-run bits of it. look at bethlehem – christians being driven out wholesale, but it’s run by the PA. in nazareth, run by the israelis, they’re not. you do the maths. i’m not saying it’s all wine and roses, by any means.

    @sid:

    yes, strangulation. by a hard cloth wrapped in a soft cloth, with the condemned person suitably anaesthetised, under the provisions laid out in the halakhah. however, the checks and balances in the system made it virtually impossible to have someone executed – another reason we can see that in the case of jesus:

    a) the court procedure was invalid (which judging by the gospel account, certainly it didn’t follow procedure) in which case the penalty was itself illegal
    b) the gospel account is tendentious and doesn’t accurately report what happened
    c) the romans carried out the penalty itself – certainly it couldn’t have been a halakhically valid sentence; the body wasn’t buried by nightfall, which would have been required.

    either way something’s a bit fishy here, but it’s not up to me.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  131. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    I think it’s interesting to ponder about the memorialization (is this a word?) of history. I mean, I am all down for remembering the Shoah (but without cynically manipulated messages which justify every single effing thing that Israel does and the scary patriotism that goes along with it… at least, that is how the Shoah is “commemorated” in Italy on right wing channels and/or forces. And interestingly, it is this kind of representation [Holocaust=never, never criticize Israel] that actually undermines the actual meaning of anti-Semiticism) but for Bhagwan’s sake, atrocities happen every single day, and we barely have a sustained campaign towards that. Sure, some of us write about the atrocities in Gujarat, in Darfur, etc, but honestly, the amount of documentaries, commemorations, etc is heavily imbalanced in favor of the Holocaust than any other event.

    And, I think that when you package a certain historical event and place an enormous amount of time without drawing parallels to present day events, it risks in actually desensitizing everyone: it gives the impression that this is the pinnacle of genocide and every other one needs to either supercede that to be as “bad.”

    Lastly, I think it’s a bit racist/ Euro-centric that we pay more attention things like the Holocaust– which again, let me repeat, I think we should “remember” etc- – but not to given an equal amount of attention, exposure, etc to other people who have gone through this is really biased and speaks volumes about who we feel bad for.

  132. Don — on 4th February, 2008 at 6:42 pm  

    Desi,

    The shoa happened within living memory under European skies; the footage of Jews being rounded up in cities that could easily be Manchester or Glasgow, by people who could easily be our own neighbours (or ourselves), strikes a chord of particular horror. The combination of an evil which sixty years on is still beyond comprehension and such a familiar setting may indeed resonate more in Europe than perhaps it does in, say, China or Japan.

    Not the moral issues involved, but the emotional impact. This happened here, and in many, many cases children had to look at their fathers and grandfathers in a different light. Still do, I guess. Euro-centric, perhaps. But ‘racist’ is a bit harsh.

  133. Ravi Naik — on 4th February, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    “Lastly, I think it’s a bit racist/ Euro-centric that we pay more attention things like the Holocaust”

    Of course it is euro-centric – it did happen in “civilised” Europe!

  134. douglas clark — on 4th February, 2008 at 7:17 pm  

    Jai @ 107,

    Point taken. I apologise. I can only say I was outraged, or something like that. I was being narrow-minded and thinking from an Abrahamic perspective. Which is ridiculous, what with me being against any Abrahamic perspective.

  135. Jai — on 4th February, 2008 at 7:56 pm  

    No problem Douglas, don’t worry. Given the long-term history of antisemitism in Europe (and of course especially bearing in mind what happened in WW2), and the huge shadow it has therefore cast on the Western consciousness, your initial response was perfectly understandable. My own point was just that there are large parts of the world where history took a very different course in this particular matter, with a different impact on the perspective of those of us whose ancestral roots lie there.

    By the way, I hope your son is feeling a little better. I did write a post to you about that on the other thread a few days ago, in case you missed it.

  136. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    Don,

    No, the fact that the Holocaust is the most commemorated genocide IS a bit racist if you don’t talk about what Europeans did elsewhere. I understand that the Shoah happened in Europe and also that it’s in “living memory”, but hello, the atrocities carried out by Europeans, people from Europe, elsewhere don’t count? Come on. Double standards, IMO. It says a lot about where our sympathies lie. Or maybe, we’d all be a bit touched if we saw videos of Native Americans being rounded up. Too bad visual technology didn’t exist back then.

    Ravi:

    “Of course it is euro-centric – it did happen in “civilised” Europe!”

    See above. If we’re talking about what Europeans did, then let’s be a little generous with sympathy, blah blah.

  137. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:36 pm  

    Don’t get me wrong– I firmly believe that the Holocaust should be discussed.

    I also stridently believe that other peoples have suffered as well, have been exterminated, etc and that this should be discussed as well. Maybe they were not of European background, but if we’re going to be so nearsighted as to say that a genocide which happened in Europe, by Europeans to other Europeans of a different religion/ethnicity [ROM], political leaning/sexual orientation touches Europeans and Anglo North Americans more, than it’s only fair to say that the actions of North Americans and Europeans in the Americas, Australia, etc should be brought into our perspective.

  138. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:39 pm  

    Don, I completely disagree with your argument as to why the Shoah would touch Europeans more than say, colonialist and settlers rounding up a bunch of Native Americans and shooting them. Or maybe can’t see no evil and therefore no evil exists.

    Poor natives. I am going to launch a lobby which will systematically strive to bring their genocide carried out by the Europeans to light. Maybe Europeans will pay reparations similar to how the Germans pay Jewish survivors (and rightfully so).

  139. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:42 pm  

    Or how about the Italians in Libya? Oh, and the French in Algeria?

    But since it wasn’t in your backyard and it couldn’t have possibly been people that look like you, could have been your neighbors, or relatives, why get emotional about it.

  140. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:47 pm  

    Also, Italians in Ethiopia.

    Not a lot of body of literature that discusses the sideshow genocides that happened around the same time as the Holocaust. Italy itself barely has started to dig deeper into their past colonial actions.

  141. Kulvinder — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:47 pm  

    No, the fact that the Holocaust is the most commemorated genocide IS a bit racist

    I’m glad the word racist has been debased to the extent its used when you don’t think racist genocide is commemorated to the same ‘level’ as the other genocides.

  142. Kulvinder — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:50 pm  

    Your argument now seems to have bizarrely moved from commemoration to reperation?!

  143. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:52 pm  

    “If the obelisk is not shipped to Ethiopia within 90 days from the publication of this letter, I and my fellow scholars will incite and mobilize all Ethiopians in the Diaspora and in Ethiopia proper to demonstrate in Ethiopia, the Americas and Europe in front of every Italian embassy campaigning for its return, thus creating international scandal. We will also file a charge against the Italian Government at the International Tribunal in the Hague for all the genocide and Holocaust Fascist Italy unleashed on the people of Ethiopia between 1935 and 1941 as the ally of Nazi Germany. We will also seek and find some of those Fascist murderers who have been hiding in Italy for the last 60 years, regardless of their age, in the same manner as Israel sought and located some of those German Nazis who had unleashed the Holocaust on the Jewish people. We don’t see why Italy should not pay reparation to Ethiopia, if her accomplices in crime, the Germans, paid Israel.”

    http://www.addistribune.com/Archives/2001/08/10-08-01/Open.htm

    [The obelisk, from what I remember, was supposed to be returned to Ethiopia and it’s on its way to be reinstalled in Ethiopia. Not sure what the current status is.)

    And please don’t deride this open letter as “ridiculous,” too emotional, etc. Imagine if people did that to European Jews who survived the Holocaust, witnessed it, etc.

  144. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:53 pm  

    Kulvinder:

    “Your argument now seems to have bizarrely moved from commemoration to reperation?!”

    No, I am trying to make a point.

  145. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:55 pm  

    “I’m glad the word racist has been debased to the extent its used when you don’t think racist genocide is commemorated to the same ‘level’ as the other genocides.”

    Have you read my comment, Kulvinder, or did you just search and read the part about “racist” and genocide but sidestep everything else?

    You don’t think there is anything wrong about talking about one genocide but not the others that Europeans executed?

  146. Kulvinder — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:56 pm  

    I’m afraid you made it poorly. Can you rephrase?

  147. Kulvinder — on 4th February, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    You don’t think there is anything wrong about talking about one genocide but not the others that Europeans executed?

    Did anyone suggest that?

    Obviously the focus of europeans can be eurocentric. That isn’t the same as racism.

  148. Don — on 4th February, 2008 at 9:06 pm  

    ‘…but hello, the atrocities carried out by Europeans, people from Europe, elsewhere don’t count?’

    I thought I had made it clear that I was referring to emotional impact, not the moral issue.

    ‘Too bad visual technology didn’t exist back then.’

    True. But it didn’t, and visual recording does have an emotional impact.

    ‘…why get emotional about it.’

    You have misread my position, which was descriptive.

  149. Ravi Naik — on 4th February, 2008 at 9:52 pm  

    You don’t think there is anything wrong about talking about one genocide but not the others that Europeans executed?

    You will find that in all regions of the world, people learn wars and massacres from History books, and they become trivia bits. I am glad at least, that the Holocaust is remembered every year for what it was. With the rise of nationalistic parties in Europe, it is imperative that we do not forget at least one incident that happened in the heart of the so called civilisation.

    To me, the Holocaust is not about the atrocities of one group and the victims of another group – but the evil of mankind that can stem from any place, and what happens when good men and women stay still and don’t do anything. If History repeats itself, then I hope we continue to carry these lessons to the next generation.

  150. douglas clark — on 4th February, 2008 at 10:31 pm  

    Jai @ 135,

    Thanks. I read what everyone had to say, and as far as I can tell: bloody adolescents etc -difficult- he does seem to be OK. Touch wood. I am keeping in touch, and he is now going to the funeral, whereas he felt too guilty before.

    To be honest, I sort of knew that I had friends on here. They know who they are. And I know I am sometimes a bit crass. But the genuine support you have all given me over this transcends any arguements I might have had with anyone.

    You are probably the best bunch of Pickled Politicians in the whole damned world.

  151. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:09 pm  

    big hug douglas!*squeeze*

  152. sonia — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:16 pm  

    really jai you don’t get any sarcasm do you, (how very UnEnglish of you!pourquoi?) of course i know you weren’t complimenting me, !!??!!

    and also i think if there is indignation on anyone’s part, that would have to be yours Jai dear. “below the belt! how dare you Sonia!” *chortles*
    and feel free to think what i said to you was off-thread, i find that hilarious of course, but given the draconian nature of PP’s comments policy i wouldn’t be suprised to find myself deleted.

  153. Katy Newton — on 4th February, 2008 at 11:27 pm  

    Douglas, I missed the thing with your son but I am very glad he is ok now.

  154. marvin — on 5th February, 2008 at 12:01 am  

    Ravi #149 good comment

  155. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    Douglas:

    “To be honest, I sort of knew that I had friends on here. They know who they are.”

    MWAH, my jaanam. Big, big MWAH.

    Hey, totally random, but my friend and I are just talking about how life is hard for single heterosexual women out here in SF. My friend goes abroad to meet men out of the country because it’s difficult to snag a man.

    Come over here, you London boys, we need you.

    Ok, back to genocides, Kulvinder asking me to repeat five of my comments, and whatnot.

  156. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:38 am  

    Ravi,

    “To me, the Holocaust is not about the atrocities of one group and the victims of another group – but the evil of mankind that can stem from any place, and what happens when good men and women stay still and don’t do anything. If History repeats itself, then I hope we continue to carry these lessons to the next generation.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with you; however, no one seems to be addressing what I am saying: why can atrocities, mass killings, and genocide carried out by EUROPEANS not be discussed and focused on just as equally?

    Everyone keeps bringing up what we already know: the Holocast happened in Europe, ergo why it is discussed so much in Europe; it’s a reminder of the evil that can take place; it reminds you how close it is, etc. I am asking people to extend the same thing to what happens to others. I don’t understand why everyone is going around in circles and explaining the same thing over and over again but not touching on what I am saying? (Except for Don- thanks for taking the effort to respond).

    I know I used the word “racism,” but you are right, it is not quite exactly that. There must be another word I’m looking for but it eludes me…anyway, when it comes to me, I’ll post it.

  157. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:41 am  

    What happened to your son, Douglas?

    And you have an adolescent son? I somehow imagined you to be much, much younger.

  158. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:46 am  

    Please tell me why we cannot sympathize, teach our children and each other, and remind ourselves to never let evil personify about what Europeans did to natives, indigenous peoples, and nonwhites to the same degree that we do for the Holocaust. We should start doing this.

    And don’t beat around the bush and give foggy answers! It has been established in like 7 comments the reasons as to why European genocides outside of European have less of a special place in our hearts vs. the Holocaust.

  159. Sunny — on 5th February, 2008 at 3:52 am  

    It has been established in like 7 comments the reasons as to why European genocides outside of European have less of a special place in our hearts vs. the Holocaust.

    Is this discussion still going on? Surely the imperitive lies on countries like India to do their own commemoration rather than Europe? Frankly I don’t expect Britain to start re-evaluating its colonial past but then I’ve moved on and don’t expect that to happen again (in the same guise anyway).

  160. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:15 am  

    “Frankly I don’t expect Britain to start re-evaluating its colonial past but then I’ve moved on and don’t expect that to happen again (in the same guise anyway).”

    Sunny, couldn’t you arguably say the same thing about the Holocaust? And would this not be wrong?

  161. chairwoman — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:57 am  

    Why the Holocaust is ‘different’.

    All over the world terrible things happen. Huge numbers of people are murdered every day. Inevitably this is because their ‘leaders’, who are frequently people who have appointed themselves as such, have decided to go to war with another group’s ‘leaders’.

    Disgusting as this is, it is, unfortunately, the norm.

    When my relatives were dragged from their homes in Przylucha in 1943, and transported to Treblinka – which, BTW, was constructed purely as a place of execution (it was out the trains, into the ‘showers’, and on to the furnaces in quick succession), they didn’t even pretend that Arbeit Mach Frei there – they weren’t being killed because their leaders were at war with the Nazis, put purely because they were Jews.

    That is why the Shoah is different from other group murders, and that is why it has to be remembered, certainly in Europe and euro-centric countries, because it was European people who chose to commit the crime.

    Even though I was born shortly after the Holocaust and was brought up with it, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I looked the town of Przylucha up on the Yad Vashem website and found the names of my Grandparents’ brothers and sisters and their families. I also found the name of my mother’s cousin Perl Rabinovitch, whose name was the same as my mother’s. I can’t begin to describe how that made me feel, but it certainly changed my understanding of HMD.

    So anyone who feels that HMD isn’t inclusive enough, please, please, please have your own memorial days, I don’t disagree that there are plenty of dead innocents out there who should be commemorated, but leave HMD as it stands, a memorial for people who died for no other reason that one group of people decided that another group should be exterminated because of their race.

  162. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2008 at 8:33 am  

    Desi,

    Nothing happened, directly, to my boy. He wasn’t even there when it happened. But his chum was murdered on the street, by a knife wielding fourteen year old. The punk hit an artery in the boys leg. You don’t survive that. The lad that was killed was seventeen. He’d been hanging around with my son earlier that day. So, number two son is going through all the ‘what if’ scenarios, what if he’d gone with him, what if he’d said chill and stay, you know the sort of things. He does seem to be coping with it better now.

    Which does not excuse or explain the need for a fourteen year old to do something like that.

    Oh, Desi, I am probably older than your dad! Sixty this year ffs (how did that happen, exactly?). It is quite funny to create images of the folk we meet on t’internet. I have you down as a fiesty, Lara Croft sort of person. I think I prefer your idea of me to the reality of me.

    Still, you are all good people. Which has, more or less, always been my point on here.

  163. Ravi Naik — on 5th February, 2008 at 8:45 am  

    I agree wholeheartedly with you; however, no one seems to be addressing what I am saying: why can atrocities, mass killings, and genocide carried out by EUROPEANS not be discussed and focused on just as equally?.

    Well, Jewish people in Israel and elsewhere are the ones who organise Holocaust memorials, and ensure that this chapter of History is not forgotten. It is really up to others to organise and do something similar.

    Is there a reason why we should focus on European atrocities and not atrocities committed by all Nations in the world at one point or the other?

  164. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 8:52 am  

    Chairwoman:

    “So anyone who feels that HMD isn’t inclusive enough, please, please, please have your own memorial days, I don’t disagree that there are plenty of dead innocents out there who should be commemorated, but leave HMD as it stands, a memorial for people who died for no other reason that one group of people decided that another group should be exterminated because of their race.”

    I have absolutely now qualms with what you said above, and I agree with that HMD should be for the Holocaust (as its name implies– HOLOCAUST Memorial Day) as opposed for a free-for-all-genocides.

    I am asking why we do not implement in our educational curriculum, resources to documentaries, and more exposure to what other peoples have gone through. I feel like many commentators here are totally sidestepping the issue that I’m raising, and keep insisting on the specialness of the Holocaust. I have to point out that I have met more than a few Native American scholars and academics and after several meetings, you’ll realize there are more similar things across the lines that one would expect (many are also kind of pissed at the exact point I am raising here– that it’s all fine to talk about the Holocaust, but somehow, other genocides hardly get the light of day. Except for the Armenian one recently)

    Sunny above says that:

    ““Frankly I don’t expect Britain to start re-evaluating its colonial past but then I’ve moved on and don’t expect that to happen again (in the same guise anyway).””

    To not expect that Europeans would not remember what was happening right around the same time as the Holocaust to other peoples, ie Libya, Ethiopia, and if we go back in history, to natives and other indigenous peoples– PLEASE don’t say that it’s too far in history; the effects of colonial settler societies may not be felt to the whites, but for the natives, it has had consequences of many generations to great extents that we collectively do not know because alas, their narratives are never heard. I think Sunny’s comment above (for whom I’ve got nothing but lurve) betrays a certain double standard we have for one group of people as opposed to others.

  165. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 8:55 am  

    “Is there a reason why we should focus on European atrocities and not atrocities committed by all Nations in the world at one point or the other?”

    Ravi, granted that there are too too many comments to weed there, but I have to say that you’re picking what you want to here. We’re freaking talking about Europe, and if you’ve read the comments, they refer to Europe specifically, so I am sticking with Europe.

  166. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:02 am  

    Douglas:

    “But his chum was murdered on the street, by a knife wielding fourteen year old. The punk hit an artery in the boys leg.”

    Jesus. I am sorry about that. Your son must be all shaken up, the poor thing.

    “Oh, Desi, I am probably older than your dad! Sixty this year ffs (how did that happen, exactly?).”

    Wow, 60? Good thing you were born after the jewel was given back to its rightful owners! :) [PS In case anyone wonders why I am bringing up the British Empire, it's because my grandparents lived through it/fought it and are still alive today, so it's something that has lived on in my family, so to speak].

    “I have you down as a fiesty, Lara Croft sort of person.”

    Who’s Lara Croft? I hope she is not like our Michelle Malkin over here, to whom Sunny compared me to once (before I knew who she was).

    Speaking of Sunny, he seems to be ignoring me, after that whole Musharraf debacle (my behavior was kind of naughty, so I understand.)

    “I think I prefer your idea of me to the reality of me.”

    Oh geez…I only wonder what kind of picture I have painted of myself through my comments. But must remember that each commentator behind the computer screen is complex, 3-D people who are real.

  167. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:07 am  

    “Which is ridiculous, what with me being against any Abrahamic perspective.”

    It is all about Khalsa Power, yaar.

  168. Ravi Naik — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:21 am  

    “Ravi, granted that there are too too many comments to weed there, but I have to say that you’re picking what you want to here. We’re freaking talking about Europe, and if you’ve read the comments, they refer to Europe specifically, so I am sticking with Europe.”

    You are the one who started talking specifically about Europe – and since you are complaining that other genocides are not given as much coverage as the Holocaust, it is a valid question, in my view, to ask why atrocities committed by non-Europeans should not be covered as well. Otherwise, it sounds… a bit racist and… euro-centric, no?

  169. Cover Drive — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:23 am  

    Desi

    You’re beginning to sound like a broken record now. If you want you want to organise a memorial day for the Gujarat riot victims then that’s fine by me but I don’t see it taking off.

    Man has always fought each other everywhere in this world and will continue to do so. The chances are we’ll eventually kill each other off in a nuclear holocaust but at least until then let’s get on with our lives and have a bit of fun.

  170. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:41 am  

    Desi,

    You don’t do computer games? Lara Croft is the heroine in ‘Tomb Raider’ She can kick ass. Which is, more or less, the idea I have of you.

    Which is, kind of obviously, coming from how you appear on here.

    You are right to say that everyone is a real person behind their computer screen. As far as I know, I, for instance, am real.

    I have tried, and sometimes failed, to engage people here, on the basis that they are ‘real’ too. It seems to me to be quite important that ‘real’ people leave ‘real’ comments.

    You, obviously, pass that test.

    Some do not.

  171. chairwoman — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:57 am  

    Desi – You make a good point about the Native Americans, and yes, I think the US should have a day to commemorate the destruction of their people and culture. It’s a subject I have been interested in for about 35 years, and it is indeed a sad and disgusting history. I’m sure that you know that ‘Scalping’ was not a Native American custom, but an atrocity started by the white man who paid bounty for every scalp produced.

    And yes, Europeans behaved appallingly all over the world. Frankly, I don’t know if there are enough days in the year for individual commemorations.

    But by the twentieth century we were supposed to know better. For G-d’s sake, the Nazis butchered by day, and went home to listen to Beethoven in the evenings while playing happy families with their children. It’s the grand planning and the cold-bloodedness of it that puts it in a class of its own. ‘Ach Gerhart, you’re looking tired this evening.’ ‘Yes Leibschen, there was a malfunction with the gas cylinders and it took longer to dispose of the Jews than we’d anticipated.’ ‘Never mind, here are your slippers, sit down and listen to some soothing music, and I’ll get you a reviving schanpps. I’m sure it will all run efficiently tomorrow’.

    Cue Beethoven’s 9th and the ‘Ode to Joy.

  172. Jai — on 5th February, 2008 at 10:30 am  

    Douglas,

    Thanks. I read what everyone had to say, and as far as I can tell: bloody adolescents etc -difficult- he does seem to be OK. Touch wood. I am keeping in touch, and he is now going to the funeral, whereas he felt too guilty before.

    The funeral will be a very tough experience for him — it may hit him afterwards in the “delayed reaction” sense, if not necessarily during the actual event — so it goes without saying that you and your family will have to be very strong for him on this front too.

    Like I said before, these things are a huge “reality shock” for the young; it’s the nastiness of some aspects of the real world crashing in on what is frequently a sheltered worldview. The experience was bad enough when I and many other friends went through our own loss, and we were of university age at the time, so I can only imagine how much more traumatic your son and his teenage friends are curently finding all this.

    You and your family do have my deepest sympathy, especially your son.

  173. Ravi Naik — on 5th February, 2008 at 10:44 am  

    But by the twentieth century we were supposed to know better. For G-d’s sake, the Nazis butchered by day, and went home to listen to Beethoven in the evenings while playing happy families with their children. It’s the grand planning and the cold-bloodedness of it that puts it in a class of its own

    As far as I understand, never in our History were so many people murdered in such a short period of time. The nazis worked to improve its killing efficiency in concentration camps in such cold-blooded manner. That it happened in an industrialised nation in the 20th century is indeed scary – that people today still continue with that legacy of hate, is all the more reason to keep the Holocaust relevant for centuries to come, and not just another figure or date to remember.

    The reality is that it is not in our nature to empathise with people, places and eras long gone.

  174. Ravi Naik — on 5th February, 2008 at 10:47 am  

    You don’t do computer games? Lara Croft is the heroine in ‘Tomb Raider’ She can kick ass.

    Who is the 60-year old again? :D

  175. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2008 at 10:59 am  

    Ravi,

    You cheer me up, so you do.

    Much respect.

  176. Random Guy — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:21 am  

    Ravi @ #173:

    Do you think the commemoration of the Holocaust does anything to temper or stop violence of a similar nature in other parts of the world?

    I disagree with it not being in our nature to empathise with people and eras long gone. I think we are too good at it. I think humankind has always been too good at it. What we are not good at, is to empathise with people, places and eras in the current time. We like pushing things into the past.

  177. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:23 am  

    Jai,

    I respect what you have to say. Thanks.

  178. Jai — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:23 am  

    Chairwoman,

    Wonderful to have you back here on a more frequent basis. You and Katy have both been greatly missed.

    With regards to your posts #161 & 171…..Well, I guess anything I say risks sounding like cliched platitudes. What an absolutely horrific experience for your family to go through. The fact that, despite being aware of the legacy of all that, you and Katy are still obviously very decent people and have not fallen into the trap of hatred and desiring vengeance against modern-day Germans — many of whose parents and grandparents were directly involved in those terrible events, or at least silently stood by and didn’t do enough to intervene — is a credit to your integrity and your strength of will. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be from a family whose ancestors went through all that, within living memory.

    No, that’s not quite accurate; actually I can personally relate to that to some extent (due to multiple aspects of my family’s ancestry — we’re quite a mixed bunch in some ways), although it involves events relating during the subcontinent’s medieval period, and the slaughter, whilst brutal enough in its own right, was not to the sheer industrial scale of what was inflicted on Jews by the Nazis.

    (Incidentally, more recently, some of my own relatives from my grandparents’ generation were also closely involved in the Quit India movement, to the extent that they actually personally knew Nehru and Gandhi and even spent some time in prison with them.)

    So what can we all do, in terms of a constructive way forward ? We make sure that we learn the right lessons from these experiences, we do our best to ensure that we never have to be on the receiving end of such tyranny and injustice again, and of course we must also ensure that we never behave that way ourselves towards others, and ideally we try to make sure that no-one else ever has to suffer that way either (the last point in particular is much easier said than done, of course). And we make sure that only the historical culpable parties are the target of our ire, not their modern-day descendents (unless they actually agree with and support the nefarious actions concerned) or anyone tangentially affiliated with them. We must not fall into the trap of ascribing collective guilt, even if our forefathers were on the receiving end of exactly that kind of mentality.

    I also think the fact that there have been such great efforts by the German people to document and acknowledge the crimes of that era has done a huge amount to built bridges and heal their national psyche. As you and a couple of others here have alluded to, the fact that such barbarism occurred within what we regard as the modern era and was perpetrated by what was viewed by many as the most cultured and civilised nation in Europe is still staggering. It really makes you wonder what the hell went wrong inside their minds.

    Yes I know that I’m very much preaching to the converted ;) But I know you appreciate that, speaking generally, these things do still need to be said anyway. And I completely support your points in your own 2 posts, especially the statement that HMD should be “left alone” to focus purely on Nazism & WW2 and that other groups should set up their own independent memorial days if they wish.

  179. Jai — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:27 am  

    It is all about Khalsa Power, yaar.

    I’m sure that many people currently reading this blog would appreciate an explanation of what this little remark is supposed to mean, Desi.

  180. Jai — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:35 am  

    Ravi,

    You are the one who started talking specifically about Europe – and since you are complaining that other genocides are not given as much coverage as the Holocaust, it is a valid question, in my view, to ask why atrocities committed by non-Europeans should not be covered as well. Otherwise, it sounds… a bit racist and… euro-centric, no?

    That’s a very good point and I’ve been thinking along exactly the same lines. Rather than purely focusing on Europeans and having a “blame whitey” attitude, I think the following responses to some previous statements on this thread are also appropriate:

    PS. No memorial or large scale recognition of the slaughter of the Natives wherever the Europeans colonized, but THAT’S OK!

    Valid point and one I support wholeheartedly, but in that case perhaps we should also have a memorial or large scale recognition of the slaughter of the “natives” whenever there was an invasion by non-Europeans in other parts of the world.

    Can we set aside a day to talk about and remember the brown folks that have been exterminated, grazie agli Europei? Or that’s different/doesn’t count/etc?

    As long as we can also set aside a separate day to talk about and remember the non-white folks that have also been on the receiving end of extreme aggression and conquest by other non-white folks.

  181. Sid — on 5th February, 2008 at 12:19 pm  

    Bangladeshis have a commemorative/memorial day for the observance of the genocide of 1971. Its on March 25, when the Pakistani army kicked off the atrocities. This is also accompanied by our own set of Genocide deniers. It is very likely that the people who are prone to throw rocks in the East End at jewish people marking HMD (both physically and metaphorically) would be the same people who would deny the genocide of 1971.

  182. chairwoman — on 5th February, 2008 at 12:33 pm  

    Sid – the Chairman and I were on our honeymoon, in Cornwall, at the beginning of April 1971. We saw the first film of the massacre on the television in our hotel. I can still see it in my head, dead people, blood, and old, bleeding, men crawling on their hands and knees in the middle of it.

    We were pretty subdued the next day, and the day after returned early to London. We couldn’t believe that only 26 years after WWII people were still engaging in wholesale murder.

  183. Refresh — on 5th February, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

    Killing one person is murder, killing thousands is power, killing millions is a movement.

  184. Arif — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:35 pm  

    Does anyone really think that commemorating genocides committed against my own or anyone else’s community is likely to make me more conscious about human rights here and now? Just looking around me, I don’t think it does much, but maybe I am wrong.

    But I guess the regular controversies over commemorations just opens up how people feel threatened by each other and some behave badly when they feel threatened. And their bad behaviour makes other people feel threatened, and the danger is that some of them will behave badly.

    And we all seem to know this dynamic at some level, and so there is a generalised fear of others, which comes out as oversensitivity in the eyes people who fear different others.

  185. sonia — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:38 pm  

    arif i think you’re right unfortunately. as we can see, people are busy commemorating genocide on the one hand that has happened against them, but look at those same people and their human rights transgressions and unfortunately..what can we see? everyone’s busy oppressing next man down.

  186. Sid — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:47 pm  

    Maybe you’re seeing it from the wromg angle. People commemorate Genocide as a mark of respect for the memory of victims who were killed horrifically and needlessly. No one commemorates it to make people “more conscious about human rights here and now”. There are other, more effective and direct methods of supporting human rights causes.

  187. bananabrain — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:58 pm  

    sonia – not that i’m excusing the behaviour, but one of the reasons that the abused may become abusers is because they’re determined not to be on the receiving end this time round – they want to get in their revenge first.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  188. Ravi Naik — on 5th February, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

    Does anyone really think that commemorating genocides committed against my own or anyone else’s community is likely to make me more conscious about human rights here and now? Just looking around me, I don’t think it does much, but maybe I am wrong.

    Yes, I do think it does make you more conscious about human right violations.

    In fact, it was in the aftermath of the 2nd World War, that the international human rights law took off. The fact that there are places in the world where human right violations happen, does not mean that such memorials are worthless. In fact, consider most of the world in general and Europe in particular 60 years ago and now, and you will see a striking difference.

  189. Avi Cohen — on 5th February, 2008 at 5:42 pm  

    Commemorating genocide is important to make people stop and think.

    Even though genocide still goes on it is something that people now at least are willing to work towards ending.

    The fact is that it is important that people are held accountable for their actions, all people.

    Take Holocaust Memorial Day and you’ll find that people do have a negative view of the Nazi’s which they may not have if there wasn’t a HMD.

  190. sonia — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:07 pm  

    187 – bananabrain – absolutely!

  191. Avi Cohen — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:12 pm  

    BB – “not that i’m excusing the behaviour, but one of the reasons that the abused may become abusers is because they’re determined not to be on the receiving end this time round – they want to get in their revenge first.”

    I always find it worrying when you start by saying you don’t excuse such and such behaviour then go onto defend it.

    Surely if something is wrong – it is wrong no matter which side does it.

    Could the other side then not say that they are getting in revenge for you not wanting to be first!

    It is surely just a vicious circle and the results are exactly what we see.

    Surely people should say something is wrong and not make excuse for such behaviour.

    In this case then are the kids who threw stones not getting in their revenge first as well?!

    Throwing the stones is wrong and the actions of both sides in the Middle Eats is wrong. We should stand up and be counted and say so.

    An abuser is an abuser even if they have been abused first.

  192. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:23 pm  

    Jai 179:

    You know I was kidding, right?

  193. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:27 pm  

    Jai:

    “Valid point and one I support wholeheartedly, but in that case perhaps we should also have a memorial or large scale recognition of the slaughter of the “natives” whenever there was an invasion by non-Europeans in other parts of the world.

    As long as we can also set aside a separate day to talk about and remember the non-white folks that have also been on the receiving end of extreme aggression and conquest by other non-white folks.”

    Totally agree here. But I was talking about Europe since we are talking about Europe. To make myself clear, I’m not taking the “blame whitey” route. Obviously, mass killings have happened by non white perpetrators (Sikhs and Gujarati Muslims).

  194. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:30 pm  

    Douglas:

    “Lara Croft is the heroine in ‘Tomb Raider’ She can kick ass.”

    Oh…thank God it’s not someone like Anne Coulter :)

  195. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:30 pm  

    Douglas,

    That is nice, thanks for the compliment!

  196. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:35 pm  

    Ravi:

    “You are the one who started talking specifically about Europe – and since you are complaining that other genocides are not given as much coverage as the Holocaust, it is a valid question, in my view, to ask why atrocities committed by non-Europeans should not be covered as well.”

    No offense yaar, but it’s really trying to sometimes respond to you– often you are looking for things to swoop down and attack without even really thinking about it. Is this not a UK site? Are we not talking about commemoration in the UK? Hence, I brought up other atrocities that should be discussed, IMO. And Don said that the Holocaust hits people home harder and its more discussed because it’s something that happened in Europe, and someone else mentioned that it was done by Europeans, and it shows how evil can be done, blah blah blah and my response was that if we’re going to talk about atrocities by Europeans, then why not discuss what Europeans did to others?

    Why do I have to spend time writing a comment explaining to you what is already found above?

  197. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:38 pm  

    Cover Drive:

    “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record now.”

    Because commentators keep fucking asking me to repeat what I’ve already said!! See comments #146 and #196. I understand that it’s impossible to read the entire thread and we usually jump in midway and then comment, and I’ve done this more than once, but sheesh.

  198. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:42 pm  

    Arif:

    “Does anyone really think that commemorating genocides committed against my own or anyone else’s community is likely to make me more conscious about human rights here and now? Just looking around me, I don’t think it does much, but maybe I am wrong.”

    This is a good point, and I do think that “commemorating” isn’t enough, and probably doesn’t do jack shit. What it does, though, is at least hang in the back of people’s head. It might not stop genocide the next time around, but at the same time, I DO think that erasing the massacres of others from collective imaginings is worse. Barely anyone here [in the US] thinks of what happened to the Natives as “genocide” (unless you are politically active). Here in the US, we definitely DO NOT discuss the extermination of entire peoples in North America as much as we discuss the Holocaust.

  199. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:44 pm  

    And Native American activists do not have tons of financial resources and social capital to make documentaries, build memorials, force public school history textbooks to paint a more accurate picture (most of the politically active lobbies/orgs here focus on casinos; others on reservations’ conditions, etc) which are things you need to have in order to bring things to a more public awareness.

  200. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 8:01 pm  

    The closest thing we have to a national commemoration of Native Americans is Thanksgiving, and it’s all lovely dovey, too: The settlers and Native Americans got on sooooo well! It marks the time of sharing and etc from the part of the Native Americans. Of course, the bad stuff is cut out from the fuzzy wuzzy celebration.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1121-03.htm

  201. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:24 pm  

    Ravi:

    “You are the one who started talking specifically about Europe – and since you are complaining that other genocides are not given as much coverage as the Holocaust, it is a valid question, in my view, to ask why atrocities committed by non-Europeans should not be covered as well. Otherwise, it sounds… a bit RACIST and… euro-centric, no?”

    See my comment #156: “I know I used the word “racism,” but you are right, it is not quite exactly that. There must be another word I’m looking for but it eludes me…anyway, when it comes to me, I’ll post” it.”

    And yes, I do think it’s Euro-centric (as I explained my reasoning probably 100 comments back but which you seem to have missed) to talk about a genocide by Europeans carried out on other Europeans, but not talk about the Europeans carrying out genocide against non Europeans. And no, this is not about “blaming whitey” which you and Jai said, it is about discussing things that have been done in a people’s own history [in this case, Europeans] and being fair about it. European Jews are no more special than North Africans and Native Americans getting killed, their deaths deserve to remembered as well. And if commemoration is simply a perfunctory exercise w/r/t to bringing up the genocide of non Euros by Euros, then I ask why it should be important we should remember the Shoah.

    Not responding to things that I have already responded to like 50 comments ago, for fear of sounding like a broken record, as Cover Drive mentioned. Thank you.

  202. Ravi Naik — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:46 pm  

    European Jews are no more special than North Africans and Native Americans getting killed, their deaths deserve to remembered as well. And if commemoration is simply a perfunctory exercise w/r/t to bringing up the genocide of non Euros by Euros, then I ask why it should be important we should remember the Shoah.

    I think you should stop being patronising, and assume that disagreeing with your position means I do not understand what you are writing. I just think you are framing your argument the wrong way.

    To start with, it is the Jewish people – not the Europeans – who organise the Holocaust memorials, and ensure that it is not forgotten. If not for them, it would probably be another date and event. So your rant against European’s lack of attention to other attrocities makes little sense to me.

    And you do not have to repeat everything again. :)

  203. Jai — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:42 am  

    Totally agree here. But I was talking about Europe since we are talking about Europe. To make myself clear, I’m not taking the “blame whitey” route. Obviously, mass killings have happened by non white perpetrators (Sikhs and Gujarati Muslims).

    If one is going to use the subcontinent as an example, and (in post #201) state the importance of any particular group being aware of their own history and “being fair about it” — which is a completely correct point, in the interests of maintaining intellectual and moral honesty — then it is also worth remembering that, historically, Sikhs and Muslims (Gujarati or otherwise) have not been the only victims of mass atrocities by non-white perpetrators in that region of the world. This doesn’t just apply to the horrific events of Partition, although that’s a pertinent example. If one is going to emphasise the necessity for an acknowledgement of some of the nastier aspects of European history — especially during the colonial period — then bear in mind that aggression and brutality in the name of imperialism was not a purely European vice.

    It is critical to be completely honest and even-handed about this, and not have any double-standards.

    In any case I was not just talking about the subcontinent in my previous post, but was referring to the fact that massacres of the “locals” and atrocities committed in the name of territorial expansion have also occurred throughout large swathes of the rest of the world inhabited by non-white peoples, and that perhaps this should also be properly acknowledged and commemorated by everyone concerned. Assuming that the rationale for criticising Europeans in this matter equally applies to everyone else too, and also assuming that this will not be used as an excuse to maintain a grudge against the perceived descendants of the aggressors and used as a metaphorical stick with which to beat them.

  204. Jai — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:48 am  

    I do, however, agree that the issue of Thanksgiving in the US is a dubious concept, and have often wondered how nasty this particular commemoration would be from the perspective of modern-day Native Americans, considering what actually happened to them.

    There should indeed be a more open, widespread and formal acknowledgement of the realities of colonial expansion on the American continent and the impact this had on groups already living there; but this does not mean it would be appropriate or sensitive for anyone to (for example) criticise commemorations focusing solely on MLK or the black Civil Rights movement (and not simultaneously dealing with the trauma suffered by Native Americans, or indeed other civil/human rights movements around the world), any more than it would be appropriate or sensitive for anyone to criticise Jewish groups and Europeans as a whole for having a day focusing predominantly on the atrocities in WW2.

    It’s not an either/or situation. You can have separate memorials without interfering with (or criticising) those that already exist.

  205. Jai — on 6th February, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

    Jai 179:

    You know I was kidding, right?

    Nice attempt at a deflection, Desi, but it still didn’t answer my question.

    In any case, we can all hope that you will maintain your sense of humour if anyone here makes a similarly flippant off-topic “joke” about “Ummah Power” in response to any posts by a commenter who happens to be Muslim.

  206. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:17 pm  

    Jai, give it a freaking rest. Why do you get so wired up over comments on a blog? Don’t you exhaust yourself by getting indignant over every single thing, even if something is a joke?

    And yes, I’d laugh if someone said “Ummah Power” if I knew they were joking, which is clear from my own comment.

  207. Jai — on 7th February, 2008 at 10:56 am  

    No further counterarguments relating to the on-topic points Ravi and I have made in our last couple of posts, Desi ? Fair enough.

    Why do you get so wired up over comments on a blog?

    Not wired up at all, I just asked a simple question requesting you to clarify the meaning of your somewhat confusing remark.

    Don’t you exhaust yourself by getting indignant over every single thing, even if something is a joke?

    Unlike your own extensive history of calm, measured, objective commenting on this blog, of course.

    And yes, I’d laugh if someone said “Ummah Power” if I knew they were joking, which is clear from my own comment.

    Yes…..I’m sure you would ;)

  208. Ravi Naik — on 7th February, 2008 at 11:10 am  

    No further counterarguments relating to the on-topic points Ravi

    Jai, I am sure you – as well as I – appreciate Desi’s comments, and I think everyone here is satisfied that we can agree to disagree without prolonging and repeating the same arguments ad nauseam.

  209. Jai — on 7th February, 2008 at 11:34 am  

    Agreed completely, Ravi. I think everyone’s stance on this issue has been made abundantly clear.

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