» Some poetry reading going on. All in support of Burma. http://twitpic.com/d6ek8 2 hrs ago

» At an event at Index on Censorship offices remembering 21yrs since Burmese uprising. http://twitpic.com/d6by5 3 hrs ago

» No, Nadine Dorries, trade unions are not banning high heels - http://bit.ly/3wkyRJ (political correctness gone mad!) 7 hrs ago

» RT @paul__lewis: Police memos reveal IPCC haste to declare Ian Tomlinson death an accident http://bit.ly/xkGWe 23 hrs ago

» Has anyone else had their shortened links on tweetdeck changed around to point somewhere else? I seem to have caught a bloody virus. Fuck 1 day ago

More updates...


  • Family

    • Ala Abbas
    • Clairwil
    • Daily Rhino
    • Leon Green
    • Liberal Conspiracy
    • Sonia Afroz
  • Comrades

    • Andy Worthington
    • Angela Saini
    • Aqoul
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Blairwatch
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Butterflies & Wheels
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Cath Elliott
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Clive Davis
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr StrangeLove
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feministing
    • Harry’s Place
    • IKWRO
    • Indigo Jo
    • Liberal England
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Humanist Editor
    • New Statesman blogs
    • open Democracy
    • Operation Black Vote
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Septicisle
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The F Word
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
    • Women Uncovered
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Ariane Sherine
    • Desi Pundit
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Isheeta
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Real man’s fraternity
    • Route 79
    • Sajini W
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Smalltown Scribbles
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head
    • Ultrabrown



  • Technorati: graph / links

    War by any other means


    by Sunny on 7th August, 2009 at 8:49 am    

    When I was working on the Obama campaign last year I slowly realised the extent to which politics is a form of war. Sure it’s an old cliche but I think many, including on PP, miss the point behind it.

    Politics is a form of war because it’s not just about taking a position (ideology) but also about how to implement that vision. That’s why we worked the phone banks, registered people to vote and tried to get them out on election day. It is about strategy, tactics and constant reaction to current events. There is also a huge element of pragmatism because you have to work with the cards you’re dealt with not the ones you want. Some might say all this sounds macho, especially the war analogy, but I’m not sure. You’re always going to have a broad diversity of opinions on most issues, and different visions on how to deal with that problem. Those who manage to influence public opinion or get to positions of power end up winning the war and writing history. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will always be.

    Now the point I’m trying to make. Many readers come here to find consensus on issues or want me to have the ‘right line’ on issues. I’m afraid that is not going to happen. As Ta-Nehisi Coates once said on his US blog (also about race/identity) - sometimes there is no consensus. Sometimes there are just differences of opinions and intractable positions. I’m not here to offer you that consensus. I’m writing a running commentary on identity politics in Britain. Sometimes I get things wrong and sometimes I look back at think how I’ve managed to churn this stuff out day in and day out for 4 years.

    So, in this running conversation, you’re all invited to peek in or take part. You can agree, disagree or slag me off on your own blog. But I am not trying to represent anyone and I am writing about politics - which means I will have allies and enemies. Some people will get be targets, others will be defended if I feel I should step in. That is the nature of the beast. There is no getting around that. Sometimes there is no consensus to be found… only a fight to be had.

    I just tell myself to have a thick skin and I tell myself not to listen to people when they tell me what to write about and how, unless my instincts agree with it. I’m not here as a mirror for other people’s agendas, and I’d quickly give up blogging if I became one (some occasional friendly prodding is fine though).

    Anyway. I’m sure if the above sentences were correctly organised, they would make more sense. Make of that what you will.



      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Blog




    64 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Shamit — on 7th August, 2009 at 9:39 am  

      Sunny

      Nice piece.

      Hard to disagree on any one of the points you raise albeit political tactics change based on the coalition of constituents one wants to build.

      But far too often - - fighting the tactical battle fiercely gets in the way of achieving something tangible and long term for the constituents. Isn’t politics supposed to be about helping improve people’s lives — ideologues from both the left and the right tend to focus on a particular set of values or people that they seek to defend and alienate everyone who doesn’t fit the mould. And they usually don’t win much elections and therefore are in no position to deliver anything for their constituents.

      They are often warriors who have been left behind — especially in this country. Both the left and the right try to paint the picture of our country which most of us cannot even relate to - and that is why centrists have been winning power.

      There is nothing wrong to say someone may have a better idea and adopt it in your own way rather than bunkering down with an ideology or a solution that is so stale that no one but the most die hard believe in.

      Saying all that - I think it is a really nice piece.

    2. Rumbold — on 7th August, 2009 at 10:18 am  

      I am just impressed that you manage to write so much so often. Thank you for creating and running Pickled Politics.

    3. Ravi Naik — on 7th August, 2009 at 10:53 am  

      Those who manage to influence public opinion or get to positions of power end up winning the war and writing history.

      Yes, that’s the ultimate goal isn’t it? How do you manage to influence public opinion? It is clear that your “Blog Wars” post (and ongoing ugly feud with HP) managed to alienate your regulars. You say you are right and nobody gets you, but that’s an idealist talking. A pragmatist finds consensus in order to win wars. Consensus requires you to understand what is essential, and what is not - and you never bargain with the essential. It also means understanding the other point of view, and providing the larger picture. Obama won the war because he appeared to be the bigger man, and people liked that.

      Having said that, I do think you are a pretty decent guy and doing the right thing, and I appreciate the work you’ve done in PP and in the media on behalf of progressive values. And it’s not easy to be criticised on daily basis for writing what you believe in. Thick skin indeed.

    4. Leon — on 7th August, 2009 at 10:55 am  

      Sunny, telling people they don’t get it (especially those who have a great deal of experience in politics and political campaigning) and that you see no reason to listen to anybody is a little reminiscent of Emperor Nero…

    5. chairwoman — on 7th August, 2009 at 10:58 am  

      *Passes Sunny stringed musical instrument*

    6. chairwoman — on 7th August, 2009 at 11:24 am  

      Deleted by chairwoman

    7. Katy Newton — on 7th August, 2009 at 11:41 am  

      What Ravi said about consensus and pragmatism is so exactly what I think that I couldn’t put it any better. Consensus just means that you’ve identified the areas that you agree on. It isn’t the same as compromise, although if you’re negotiating an agreement with someone you’d probably start by finding consensus and then move to compromise on the bits you couldn’t agree on.

      Sunny, I think that what you perceive as people telling you what to think or write is often just people telling you what they think of what you’ve said. I think that there’s a line between “not letting people tell you what to think” and “refusing to listen to what people have to say” that you don’t always appreciate. The result is that you can be quite rude and dismissive in your responses, and then people (including me, perhaps particularly me) are rude and dismissive back. I’m not saying you have to listen to what anyone has to say but please understand that disagreeing with someone isn’t the same as telling them what to think. It’s just telling them what you think.

    8. MaidMarian — on 7th August, 2009 at 1:23 pm  

      Great article - welcome back after you rather went off on one earlier this week!

      We need to get back to politics as the art of the possible.

    9. Shatterface — on 7th August, 2009 at 2:58 pm  

      I don’t think it’s necessary to tow the line: if you have two people with identical opinions you’ve got one person too many.

      However there is the narcissism of small details: the bitterest battles seam to be fought between people on the same side. It’s not that there’s disagreement, it’s the hostility those often trivial differences inspire.

      The Left is probably more guilty of that than the Right.

    10. halima — on 7th August, 2009 at 3:53 pm  

      Sunny

      Great piece actually. Actions speak louder than words, though, and the way in which you’ve maintained Pickled Politics as an inclusive blogspace says it all for me.

      Some bloggers are better with words than others but I don’t know whether they are better campaigners: some of the best campaigners I know are those that wear their heart on their sleeves and go out on a limb – alone if needed, and some of the best politicians I know are those that only play with words.

      You also score on words, too :)

      Your credibility as a writer is illustrated by the why in which you work with others. It’s not about whether you always push for consensus or not. I think that the search for consensus is in fact a bit disingenuous. It assumes that stability and consensus are natural and disagreement isn’t. Any social change that has occurred over time and history has been fought and won - not handed down in the form of consensus.

      That’s why I think it’s always salutatory to go off and stick your neck out - because you’re doing so on behalf of all the people who don’t have clever words and minds to express their sentiments.

    11. Sunny — on 7th August, 2009 at 3:56 pm  

      Thanks for the nice responses. I think you guys are being kind given I wrote this at about 5am.

      But far too often – - fighting the tactical battle fiercely gets in the way of achieving something tangible and long term for the constituents. Isn’t politics supposed to be about helping improve people’s lives

      Politics is definitely about improving lives. But that also means you have to take positions and create alliances with people with similar positions. Furthermore those goals have to be broken down into smaller steps. The trick, I think is to figure out what smaller steps are needed in order to win bigger political battles.

      And frequently, those smaller steps will require some trench warfare because you have to protect your allies, pick out holes in the arguments of your enemies and change the direction of the political discussion.

      They are often warriors who have been left behind — especially in this country. Both the left and the right try to paint the picture of our country which most of us cannot even relate to – and that is why centrists have been winning power.

      Well sure, but the centre is also created from somewhere. Right now divorce is an issue in the political centre. It wasn’t so years ago. The same thing for racial equality. A few decades ago ‘If you want a nigger for a neighbour vote Labour’ was the Tory political mainstream.

      So the question then is, how do you shift the political centre in the direction you want? That requires some political strategy.

      Ravi:
      You say you are right and nobody gets you, but that’s an idealist talking. A pragmatist finds consensus in order to win wars. Consensus requires you to understand what is essential, and what is not – and you never bargain with the essential. It also means understanding the other point of view, and providing the larger picture. Obama won the war because he appeared to be the bigger man, and people liked that.

      The Obama analogy once again is a good one. Obama has the self-discipline and willpower I don’t. He can rise above it sometimes I can’t. However - he still has an agenda - like on health care, on the Iraq war etc that is totally opposed by Republicans.

      So sometimes you have to fight smaller battles by yourself to build a coalition for a war and win. For example he fought and won the highly partisan stimulus battle. Republicans and centrists may not like it but if the bill succeeds then Obama wins the bigger war. He doesn’t need to carry everyone during every battle.

      Sunny, telling people they don’t get it (especially those who have a great deal of experience in politics and political campaigning) and that you see no reason to listen to anybody is a little reminiscent of Emperor Nero…

      I’m not trying to be a politician here. I’m trying to be a blogger - which is a very different thing. Even politicians have to weigh up different lobby groups and try and remain uninfluenced by them.

      Katy:
      I’m not saying you have to listen to what anyone has to say but please understand that disagreeing with someone isn’t the same as telling them what to think. It’s just telling them what you think.

      Yes I realise I can be quite rude and dismissive sometimes. I think blogging does that to you.

      On your broader point - perhaps. But I do frequently get people trying to tell me they much appreciated what I wrote back in the days blah blah. That sort of talk annoys me. I’ll blog about whatever the hell I want. And I’ll take whatever line I want - I don’t tell others to take a line. But I have my own line. You can agree or disagree with that line, but it’s annoying when people tell me that I’m wasting time or shouldn’t be talking about something. That comes across as a bit patronising.

    12. Sunny — on 7th August, 2009 at 4:03 pm  

      I think that the search for consensus is in fact a bit disingenuous. It assumes that stability and consensus are natural and disagreement isn’t. Any social change that has occurred over time and history has been fought and won – not handed down in the form of consensus.

      Exactly! Though I think Ravi has a point too about eventually having to carry public opinion with you…

    13. halima — on 7th August, 2009 at 4:09 pm  

      “Though I think Ravi has a point too about eventually having to carry public opinion with you…”

      True, true, but that’s the job of a politician, Picklars should lead the agenda for the politicians :)

    14. Sunny — on 7th August, 2009 at 4:24 pm  

      Yes, good point.

    15. Jai — on 7th August, 2009 at 4:32 pm  

      Sunny,

      Mate I don’t have much to add because, well, I could email you offline if I really wanted to say anything ;) , but also because I think Ravi’s already made the point perfectly. His remarks in #3 are particularly accurate.

      Don’t worry. Live and learn, and then keep going.

    16. Sunny — on 7th August, 2009 at 5:44 pm  

      *Passes Sunny stringed musical instrument*

      Heh. Chairwoman I hope this doesn’t come across as a ‘please offer Sunny some sympathy because he’s been blogging for four years and gets occasionally criticised for it’.

      That is not the aim of this post. I don’t think pumping out opinion is that hard, and frankly if I didn’t get criticised for it then that means people would be taking me less seriously.

      I think what I was trying to say was that sometimes my audiences are more idealistic than I am.

      But perhaps it’s the other way around. Who knows. It’s too early to tell.

    17. Yahya Birt — on 7th August, 2009 at 6:09 pm  

      A tasty dish of quotes from comedians, politicians, tyrants, philosophers on politics and some on politics and war:

      “Politics is the art of the possible.”
      Otto Von Bismarck

      “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”
      John Kenneth Galbraith

      “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”
      Groucho Marx

      “Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”
      Ambrose Bierce

      “Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.”
      Albert Einstein

      “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”
      Napoleon Bonaparte

      “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
      H. L. Mencken

      “Neither science, nor the politics in power, nor the mass media, nor business, nor the law nor even the military are in a position to define or control risks rationally.”
      Ulrich Beck

      “Politics have no relation to morals.”
      Niccolo Machiavelli

      “Politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said nor what you intended.”
      Saddam Hussein

      “In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.”
      Alexis de Tocqueville

      “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
      Thomas Jefferson

      “Everything is politics.”
      Thomas Mann

      “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
      Pericles

      “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
      George Orwell

      “Without alienation, there can be no politics.”
      Arthur Miller

      “No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.”
      Hannah Arendt

      “Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.”
      Marshall McLuhan

      “To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
      Hubert H. Humphrey

      “Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.”
      Mao Tse-Tung

      “War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.”
      Carl von Clausewitz

      “Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times.” Winston Churchill

      “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.”
      Maria Montessori

    18. Amrit — on 7th August, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

      *applause*

      Oddly moving. I’ll just echo what Katy said. Any prodding of you that I do will always be friendly.

      Ultimately, we all want you to be the blogosphere-rockin’ commentator that you (usually) are. Might I just say that sleeping at normal times of night may help you in this great political fight? I am currently locked in a staying-up-too-late cycle and it kills the brain and shortens the temper. Though you may have found that already…

    19. Nyrone — on 7th August, 2009 at 9:38 pm  

      Right on Sunny…

      Thick skin is exactly what you need, and in the last few years, especially recently, you’ve shown you’ve got it.

      We all need to find ways to trust our instincts a little bit more in this era of information chaos and overload.

    20. soru — on 7th August, 2009 at 9:40 pm  

      The war analogy is excellent. It makes clear the point that things are not particularly likely to be personally fair, and that you have to adapt your doctrine and tactics to the weaponry available.

      Arguments of the form ‘if I had a million fresh troops, air supremacy, and a pony, then …’ are not particularly productive lines of argument to use in a staff meeting. It doesn’t even matter how true they may be: they are counter-factual, so irrelevant.

      Similarly, arguments of the form ‘if I owned half a dozen newspapers, two TV stations, the Catholic Church and a selection of 17 year old models, then…’ are equally irrelevant.

      Trying to make an argument as if that were true will lead you nowhere except to abject defeat. If you want to change the world, you have to engage with it is is, not as you would like to to be.

      That means fighting smart, adapting to feedback about what works and what doesn’t, withdrawing where your position is weak or unsustainable, hitting them on the flank where they are overextended or vulnerable.

      Or you whine about how it is unfair you are losing.

    21. douglas clark — on 7th August, 2009 at 10:52 pm  

      Sunny,

      I’m not trying to be a politician here. I’m trying to be a blogger – which is a very different thing. Even politicians have to weigh up different lobby groups and try and remain uninfluenced by them.

      You are neither of these things, my friend.

      One of my kids saw you on the TV.

      “Oh, that’s who my dad thinks is really cool”, or words to that effect. ’cause you are a media sensation, rather than a blogger or a politician.

      Well, you are really cool, most of the time….

      ______________________________

      I’d like to ask you whether you still want me around, or not.

      ‘Cause here’s what I think.

      You started this site argueing that the MCB represented no-one. That was a pretty obvious thing to say, but, frankly, to your credit, you were the only one saying it.

      You went on to argue, correct me if I am wrong, that the I/P situation was a complete utter fuck up.

      You could build on that.

      Really, you could.

      ——————

      I found myself here. And I have been influenced by what you or Rumbold have had to say.

      Nuff said.

    22. Arif — on 7th August, 2009 at 11:39 pm  

      I think the analogy with war has another aspect which is relevant for me.

      In many wars, there is no side which seems obviously more just than the others. Even where one has a more just cause, it doesn’t help predict their values when in power.

      And so I am tempted to stand aside from the violence of war and focus on more constructive alternatives.

      Similarly, I guess, I am tempted to stand aside from politics when the way it is pursued seems to make for a worse rather than a better society. For example where it spreads hatred, seeks to confuse or ridicules those who refuse to join their game.

      For me the means and ends are connected - in politics, in war, in personal decisions. There are real dilemmas when valuable principles come into conflict with one another - I don’t deny this. And I respect the fact that people will make different decisions on which principles to privilege at different times. But I fear that the totalising logic of war - or a psychology of “power at all costs” makes it too easy to sacrifice important values that in other situations we would consider sacred.

    23. douglas clark — on 7th August, 2009 at 11:59 pm  

      Arif,

      What is interesting, I think, is what you said here:

      here are real dilemmas when valuable principles come into conflict with one another – I don’t deny this. And I respect the fact that people will make different decisions on which principles to privilege at different times. But I fear that the totalising logic of war – or a psychology of “power at all costs” makes it too easy to sacrifice important values that in other situations we would consider sacred.

      Amen.

    24. damon — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:57 am  

      In this ‘war’ is it also the case that you play dirty when you have to? So when your opponent has a fair point (at some level), you may chose to ignore it, counter it with some statement of ideology, or even attack the person?

      The term ‘political correctness’ was brought into being by the right to describe what they thought were unreasonable tactics by the left, that pushed the left’s causes and attacked the right.

      But it is denied that there is even such a thing as PC.
      Daily Mail watch will say it’s all a figment of Richard Littlejohn’s imagination.

      So for example, you (one) can not give an inch of ground to people who would hold the new society back.
      People in Boston Linconshire complaining that eastern Europeans (who make up 10% of the town’s population) had had a major effect on the traditional hiring paterns of locals in the agricultural sector, would have to be faced down by being warned that they were one step away from being branded as racists.

      In the overall ‘war’ this might actually be the way to go, because sometimes progress only comes from how Mao Tse-Tung said it: through the barrel of a gun.

      It’s worked quite sucessfully in our major cities, with first racism, and now things like homophobia, just not being tolerated in our schools, and bit by bit, our institutions. Even the army nowadays.

      And anything those people not onside might come up with, no matter how good it might be, has to be opposed. (Am I getting this right?)

      This would explain how on another forum (full of Billy Bragg fans) I hit an almost complete wall when I tried to bring up some articles by this (black American) guy John McWhorter:
      http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/mcwhorter.htm

      No way. That conversation was just not going to happen.
      He was a ”race baiter” and I must be ”race obsessed” to mention him so often.

      Is this an example of how the war (against the conservatives) should be fought?
      I was even advised by one of the people on there (a rally nice guy of south Asian origin from Seattle) that the thing to do on such a site like that was not to be criticising anti-racists, but to be looking for examples of racism within the system and the wider society.
      So for example, the Jena six case was a good one.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jena_Six

      Someone elso also mentioned nooses being hung by racists, this time in the Columbia University in New York City. One was hung from the door of a female professor of African American studies.
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/BlackHistory/story?id=3711479&page=1

      That’s what you (one) should be highlighting I was told.
      When I mentioned that these were exactly the cases that this John McWhorter guy was talking about, I was told that these links or comments I was making weren’t welcomed.

      What I couldn’t understand about these lefties (who I’d presumed would be reasonable and open minded people) was why they were using these closing down tactics.

      I thought that the comments made about nooses hung in Jena and the New York university by this guy were perfectly reasonable points of view.
      And if you didn’t agree with him that was fair enough. But using comments like ”Troll” and ”racist” against someone who had highlighted and done links to these articles was really really poor.
      And in fact brought the left/liberal war against ”the right” into disrepute.

      These are the offending type of comments this ‘Billy Bragg fan’ website really hated.

      (It’s three minutes on NPR radio - have a listen).
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15337125

    25. Refresh — on 8th August, 2009 at 2:14 am  

      Sunny

      A good piece, but you of all people did not need to write it. The fact that PP is still here and going strong empaphasises the sentiments you express far more than this post.

      As for politics being a form of war, the first thing to set aside is the notion that politics is about improving lives. In its rawest form, its nothing of the sort. It has taken that appearance relatively recently, and is again going backwards.

      Its about the haves refusing the have-nots access to their space.

      All the other progressive talk is built on the premise that we’ve reached some sort of acceptable and equitable existence. We have not, which we begin to discover as the recession bites. Only this time there is no recognisable political structure for people to get involved with, which makes it a particularly dangerous time.

    26. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 4:19 am  

      Refresh,

      You might be right about this:

      As for politics being a form of war, the first thing to set aside is the notion that politics is about improving lives. In its rawest form, its nothing of the sort. It has taken that appearance relatively recently, and is again going backwards.

      Its about the haves refusing the have-nots access to their space.

      Having written to politicians on behalf of issues that Pickled Politics holds dear, you’ll get no arguement from me.

      The complete arrogance of our political class is our joint failure to call them to account.

      They do, indeed, reside in a ‘Westminster Bubble’.

      (Could I just say, thanks for returning us the edit facility?)

    27. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 4:46 am  

      And, Refresh, just to say, I am a common man. I think.

      I say what I say here because I think I, sometimes, reflect how awful our ‘political masters’ have become.

      It is like being ruled by Roman Senators. The arrogance, the apologia for wrongdoing, cf Nadine Dorries, is to hold us in complete contempt.

      You, me, anyone is entitled to expect a lot better of our politicians.

      Calling their arrogance to account, it seems to me, is an entirely futile affair….

    28. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 5:04 am  

      For they are egotistical, self centred, bastards.

    29. Sunny — on 8th August, 2009 at 5:41 am  

      douglas relax - I don’t want you to go anywhere ;)

      Arif and Amrit, good points, and you too douglas.

      yahya - loved those quotes. Brilliant. I have to frame them somewhere.

      soru - yes, very much so.

    30. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 5:57 am  

      “Only this time there is no recognizable political structure for people to get involved with, which makes it a particularly dangerous time”

      Interesting. What structures existed in earlier recessions that don’t exist now? Or do you mean the scale of the global recession is such that new institutions are needed to overhaul the current system?

      To my mind it seems the structures are in place but people’s minds are different. We are far more accepting of injustices than we were before - even though we are more aware of how inter-connected our lives our with other people across the world. That’s the interesting question for me - why we’ve retracted our ability to be critical? One way of looking at it might be that we’re absorbed in our bubble of buying a home and fixing it - DIY gone mad, and in a milder version of Singaporean culture where criticism isn’t tolerated but there are enough shopping malls to keep citizens happy enough.

      Btw, back to the recession, I noticed in the Indonesian election speech the PM referred to no going back to the humiliating IMF regulations in the Asian Crisis, instead they are developing a different form of regulation that allows them stretch to recover in ways the previous IMF-led recovery system didn’t allow. If we go back and read what was written about the Asian financial crisis we’ll find the papers and pundits in academia and journals all praising the IMF and western countries for attempting to help out the failing Asian economies. Yet years later we hear the voices of Asian countries crying that this were a despicable way of managing their economies.

      Incidentally - I saw that Robert McNamara, the chief architect of the American War in Vietnam, died recently, and in his later years he admitted to the Vietnam War being a massive, massive mistake. He’s not the first of coarse, but this was from the mouth of ex-defense secretary under Johnson and Kennedy.

      I just hope we get a sense of perspective back and not have to wait every 20 years to see that our actions are wrong now.

      Politics? War by other means.

      If so, here’s one of my realist quotes from war folks:

      All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

      Sun Tzu, the Art of War

      Yayha

      Loved the quotes, too.

    31. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:34 am  

      halima,

      I love you, really I do. But this is not your finest moment:

      To my mind it seems the structures are in place but people’s minds are different. We are far more accepting of injustices than we were before – even though we are more aware of how inter-connected our lives our with other people across the world. That’s the interesting question for me – why we’ve retracted our ability to be critical? One way of looking at it might be that we’re absorbed in our bubble of buying a home and fixing it – DIY gone mad, and in a milder version of Singaporean culture where criticism isn’t tolerated but there are enough shopping malls to keep citizens happy enough.

      Really?

      I’d have thought that we are more aware of injustice, particularily, injustice to women than we have ever been.

      This is where the Pickled Politics agenda and I have an issue. I think that the burqa is a political statement by men. That is what I think.

      No ifs or buts, I think Muslim men are as guilty as hell for that. These Muslim men would be the same folk that marry their cousins, with the dreadful consequences.

      Luckily, that leaves intelligent and beautiful Asian women available to be romanced by non Muslims.

      Now, that is a good thing. Caramengo and I agree on the genetic pot idea…

      So, no, it is what Sunny said, above the line, sometimes there is no compromise possible…

    32. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:12 am  

      “Luckily, that leaves intelligent and beautiful Asian women available to be romanced by non Muslims.”

      Can’t women be beautiful and intelligent in veil? Or, let me ask the dreaded question:

      is beauty in women just about whether they are pretty or clever?

      Is that how we value people? If you’re clever or attractive or rich, people will listen to you.

    33. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:19 am  

      “I’d have thought that we are more aware of injustice, particularly, injustice to women than we have ever been.”

      Douglas, I can honestly say, I feel (sorry this is the American way of expressing sentiment, to talk about feelings…) that spaces for challenging, criticizing, accepting alternative viewpoints are dwindling…. Compared to when I was a teenager and I saw people on mass campaigns for nuclear disarmament, or more broadly, women’s rights as structural issues… Now whenever we have a discussion on women’s rights – err. It tends to boil down to the Burqa. The Burqa affects a minority of women in the world – this minority is also claiming it’s not always a symbol of oppression in all places. On the other hand, who is talking about equal pay in the world? Fine, in some places it’s illegal to discriminate against sex, but I can tell you right now, the battle for gender equality in pay, terms and conditions is far from over. This issue affects all women in the world – and not that minority within a minority called Muslim women who cover up.

      If you want me to take you seriously on issues that affect the majority of Muslim women in the world, please talk to me about access to food, water, natural assets and protection from environmental disasters. Please talk to me about unequal access to labour markets and what can be done to improve pathways into work. Talk to me about how to strengthen laws against domestic abuse. Talk to me about putting in place better social security and social protection measures in market economies. it’s well known that without a minimal level of protection, women and children fall prey to the vagaries of the market.

      It is well known that education above all is the best means to empower people – and this is where I would take the fight.

      These are not issues exclusively affecting Muslim women – they affect all poor women across the globe.

      I am talking about food shortages in the world, and while we know that our behaviour and greed affects basic supply of food elsewhere, we continue to be consume at the rate that we do… I am talking about a pending water crisis in the world..etc etc etc.

      Not the Burqa.

    34. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:27 am  

      halima @ 32 and 31,

      I have never seen you, but I know you are a beautiful person.

      My point here is twofold:

      Firstly, more men are willing to stand up for women that once was the case. Me, for instance. Or Rumbold…

      It is not the case that women are denied a space to argue their point of view. I can, I think honestly, say that women hereabouts are treated with respect and dignity. At least, since munir was asked to leave…

      Secondly, would you buy a pig in a poke?

      Can’t women be beautiful and intelligent in veil? Or, let me ask the dreaded question; is beauty in women just about whether they are pretty or clever?

      Yes.

      I’d find it a lot fairer if Muslim men covered their faces too. Then we would have a genuine lottery…

    35. Rumbold — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:45 am  

      Thank you for your kind words Douglas. You are a good ‘un too.

      Halima:

      I think you have a point when you talks about the narrowing of space for alternative viewpoints. Not that Douglas is doing it (a very open-minded man), and one who cares about all sorts of issues. However, I have noticed the sidelining of other issues when it comes to the burkha. I do think that the burkha is an important issue, but it doesn’t mean that those who wear it are necessarily trapped. But, like Douglas says, it would be nice to see more Muslim men holding themselves to the same standards.

    36. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:45 am  

      Halima:

      And, you miss the point. Most women, even the best looking women, think they are inadequate.

      Neither they, nor you, are.

      Hiding behind a veil just confirms your perceived inadequacy and restricts your options quite considerably.

      At least, that’s what I think…

    37. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:52 am  

      “And, you miss the point. Most women, even the best looking women, think they are inadequate.”

      The best of us, men and women should have glitches where we think we are inadequate.

      I am inadequate in some respects, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s Plato isn’t it, who said only angels are perfect and the rest of us are mere humans and imperfect.

    38. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 9:55 am  

      “But, like Douglas says, it would be nice to see more Muslim men holding themselves to the same standards.”

      In what way?

      Adhering Muslim men are supposed to wear loose fitting clothes - and those that preach hard on their wives and other sisters to do so, often do wear loose fitting clothes. The sincere ones.

      Rumbold

      One of the hardest tricks in the book is to be open-minded.

      In my list of strengths and weaknesses, I often put down being open-minded as a challenge. It’s not as easy as it looks and often those of us who believe we’re the most open-minded are often the least self-aware.

      That’s why self-awareness is taught at the best business schools for all our best leaders and costs a fortune. I can’t afford it but am trying my best anyhows.

      “Secondly, would you buy a pig in a poke?”

      Sorry Douglas, I don’t get the reference, a tad idiosyncratic for me, but if i understand correctly - I don’t think I view women in the same vein as pigs.

    39. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 10:04 am  

      Douglas

      “I have never seen you, but I know you are a beautiful person”

      Kind. My point was, though, that beauty is over-rated.. in the same way, people look at babies and say, ah, so he’s so beautiful - I mean, are non-beautiful babies not worthy of adoration? Beauty as they say is skin deep.

      If someone came up to me and said, I was beautiful, I’d privately think, well there are qualities more fitting to hear as a compliment, am i compassionate, caring, kind. Kind being the most important. Maybe I am missing your point, I hate the beauty myth - and it seems to me that this whole business of the Burqa falls foul of the nastiest beauty myth casualty..

    40. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 10:16 am  

      Rumbold,

      Correct me if I am wrong.

      I am old enough to remember the first and second phase of major immigration into this country.

      I have never had a problem with that. Contrary to what some folks say, most folk, whether first or second generation immigrants seem to me to be to be a bit too loyal to the state they live in.

      Criticism of the state we live in, whether from a libertarian point of view, or from any other perspective, seems to me to be what binds us together.

      We expect too much, if we expect anything at all, of immigrants. I think it was Sonia that passed the new immigration test. I’ll be honest here, I’d be delighted to fail:

      http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2009/08/07/lets-play-the-citizenship-test-game/

      That is no criteria for citizenship.

      Sonia should have been declared a citizen by acclaim :-)

      Just one final point.

      You said:

      but it doesn’t mean that those who wear it are necessarily trapped.

      My suspicion is that they are, whether in a Stockholm Syndrome sort of a way, or not. It is, after all, a fairly recent innovation, is it not?

      And, thanks for your friendship. It means a lot to me.

    41. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 10:34 am  

      Halima,

      I didn’t say you were good looking, although you obviously are…

      The point is that Muslim men do not cover their faces, despite covering other parts of their anatomy. That, I think, is sexist.

      Religiously devout Muslim women are expected to show no sexuality whatsoever. All I am saying is that what’s sauce for the goose, should be sauce for the gander. Let devout Muslim men adopt the same code of conduct.

      What’s the problem?

      By the way, I have never seen a baby that I didn’t think was beautiful. Perhaps that is something innate, like they will go on to move and shake this planet, or summat….

    42. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 10:49 am  

      Halima,

      Missed the middle part of your post @ 39.

      So, it bears worth repeating:

      Kind being the most important.

      Agreed!

    43. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 11:10 am  

      Well at least we agree that all babies can make our hearts stop :)

      “Religiously devout Muslim women are expected to show no sexuality whatsoever. All I am saying is that what’s sauce for the goose, should be sauce for the gander. Let devout Muslim men adopt the same code of conduct.

      What’s the problem”

      This page is turning into a discussion about Muslims which perhaps wasn’t the intention…

      But just staying with the subject of men and women - I think the reason why Muslim men have different dress codes is because men don’t attract the same attention to their faces and women do. Is that crude? So men are required to cover their sexual parts as women are - but for women, apparently hair and the face are infinitely sexier. Our biologies are different. Men and women react differently to different things - and some of its biology and some of its socially conditioned. I don’t agree with it and hate the way a woman’s value in all societies is related to her physical beauty.

      Should we take the topic to its proper place ? I am sure the last one on the Burqa was long…. It think it might be boring a few folks here who want to talk about the art of war…

    44. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 11:27 am  

      Halima,

      You’ve hung around here long enough to know that there isn’t a thread that hasn’t been diverted…

      I am no expert on male sexuality, but most women seem to see George Clooney as drop dead gorgeous, mainly on account of his face.

      Is that right?

      Which is why devout Muslim men should cover their faces too. Lest they be compared, unfavourably, with the aforementioned Mr Clooney.

      As a particularily ugly bloke, I would welcome this as an equalisation of the sexes :-)

      Who knows? I might get lucky.

    45. anobody — on 8th August, 2009 at 11:33 am  

      douglas clarke,

      My bigoted friend, nice of you to return, and ease yourself back into pickled politics life. Some great corkers you have for us today. Maybe you went out drinking again last night, and you’re still heaving?

      No ifs or buts, I think Muslim men are as guilty as hell for that. These Muslim men would be the same folk that marry their cousins, with the dreadful consequences.

      Luckily, that leaves intelligent and beautiful Asian women available to be romanced by non Muslims.

      Now, that is a good thing. Caramengo and I agree on the genetic pot idea…

      It is very sad to see that these Muslim brothers/sisters do not see the consequences of their actions, leading to offspring developing - in many cases - genetic deficiencies. However, you need to get out of your bigoted mind that it is not an Islamic practise, it is a cultural one practised by South Asian Muslims particularly in Pakistan.

      Secondly, your genetic pot idea. It would be interesting to know what that is. I hope you don’t think all Muslims share some kind of genetic symmetry? That there’s some kind of Muslim gene? I wouldn’t put it past you though.

      [I have the feeling you would rather like to knock one up an Asian woman - but that's a side issue]

      My suspicion is that they [women who wear burqa] are, whether in a Stockholm Syndrome sort of a way, or not. It is, after all, a fairly recent innovation, is it not?

      More tripe. How many burqa women wearing do you know? How many burqa wearing women do you know who have been forced to wear the burqa? None. I believe your opinion of Muslims come directly from reading newspapers and on-line articles, and you old man have been blinded by the anti-Muslim agenda.

      My mother has been wearing it for as long as I remember, and believe you me my father had no say in it; it was her choice. My sister doesn’t wear it, and my father/mother have never ever suggested she wear it. My sister-in-law recently took on the burqa, to the surprise of my brother.

      You like to dismiss burqa wearing women, as submissive to their partners/fathers/brothers, and accuse them of suffering from sort of psychological illness. How narrow minded of you to write off so many women like that, who feel emancipated by it. How dare you?

    46. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 11:33 am  

      Douglas

      George Clooney. That’s a hard one.

      I think he’s got more than looks. He’s just about the only man i can think of where a women might say, Clooney is handsome, and her husband will agree and not bat an eye lid. It’s gotta be more than just his face :) Yeah… maybe, maybe I would get distracted if he was hanging around the office making tea ..

    47. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

      anobody,

      Just so’s you know, there is not an ‘e’ on my second name.

      OK. My post to which you refer was a train crash. It was wrong in both substance and content.

      So, I apologise for it.

      Which may not be enough for you, as you have determined who I am, and what I think. Good on you, for I may make mistakes, but I do not have your certainty about life, the Universe and everything.

      So there you go, handsome man.

      _______________________________

      Just for explanation, how do you convieniently separate cultural practices from religious practices?

      It seems to me that, where a practice is barbaric, then you determine it as cultural, and where it is humane, you see it as religious.

      Have I got that wrong somewhere?

      However, you need to get out of your bigoted mind that it is not an Islamic practise, it is a cultural one practised by South Asian Muslims particularly in Pakistan.

      That would be the Islamic Republic of Pakistan would it?

      It is beyond credibility that any regieme would allow this to continue. But, as you say, it is cultural, not religious.

      Moving onwards:

      [I have the feeling you would rather like to knock one up an Asian woman - but that's a side issue]

      I’d probably like to ‘knock up’ as you so delightfully put it, any woman whatsoever. Assuming she wanted to be ‘knocked up’ by me. What, exactly, is wrong with that? This puts me in the heterosexual world which you claim as your own.

      Then we get down to the substance of your diatribe:

      Secondly, your genetic pot idea. It would be interesting to know what that is. I hope you don’t think all Muslims share some kind of genetic symmetry? That there’s some kind of Muslim gene? I wouldn’t put it past you though.

      You should put it past me, but, then again, it would destroy your inclusiveness, wouldn’t it?

      To be clear, I think that in the game of rock, scissors, string, that rock (affection), beats scissors (religious belief) beats string (cultural belief) over the long term.

      I have yet to be shown to be wrong on that. So, it cuts across all identities, including yours. It is no surprise, to me at least, that partnerships are established outwith your cultural norms. I am, unsurprisingly perhaps, completely in favour of that.

      If, and I say if, the wearing of the burqa, is chosen, then I have no issue at all with it. It might be, to my mind stupid, but I have genuinely no problem with it. However, I suspect it is either political or fundamentalist.

      You, sir, are the narrow minded little bigot.

    48. Rumbold — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:15 pm  

      Halima:

      I think that most people on this site are open-minded. We all have our blind spots of course, based on views, experiences etc. You strike me as someone who is open-minded.

      “Adhering Muslim men are supposed to wear loose fitting clothes – and those that preach hard on their wives and other sisters to do so, often do wear loose fitting clothes. The sincere ones.”

      They should cover whatever part of their body they expect others to cover.

      Douglas:

      The citizenship test is fairly silly, as it rewards rote learning. It is also pretty easy to pass, as you just have learn the material. As you say, Sonia (and others on this site) desrved to become citizens without passing a test.

      I do think that some women wear the burkha precisely because it does provide a degree of privacy. If I was a woman, and was oogled by men every day, I would be tempted too (though not in the hot summer month).

    49. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:20 pm  

      Rumbold,

      If I was a woman, and was oogled by men every day, I would be tempted too…

      Chance would be a fine thing!

    50. Rumbold — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:25 pm  

      Hahahaha. I’m happy the way I am. I hope you are too.

    51. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

      Rumbold.

      I actually like Halima. She is a genuinely honest person.

      But that is a breach of ethnocentric identities, now, isn’t it?

    52. Rumbold — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:31 pm  

      I don’t think anyone will condemn you for it. Well, almost no one…

    53. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:32 pm  

      Yeah,

      I am stuck with my heterosexuality. Boring, but true…

    54. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

      Rumbold, Douglas, being the clever blogs that you both are this morning :) , can you explain what ‘breach of ethnocentric identities’ is? It might be because my brain is dead and I’ve been out most of the night at a gig but i don’t get it.

    55. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 12:53 pm  

      Halima,

      Good on you:

      I’ve been out most of the night at a drum n bass gig but i don’t get it

      Clever clogs maybe…

      Anobody would place himself as the arbiter of what relationships are right.

      I suspect he and I disagree on that.

      Me?

      I’m just an old hippie that despite having failed a couple of times, still believes in LURVE.

      To be clear, if you were to feel affection for someone of a different religion then anobody would be on your case in a flash.

      That is what he does.

      Hope that clarifies….

    56. halima — on 8th August, 2009 at 1:28 pm  

      Douglas

      OK now i get it..

      I am too scared to get into a blog war so will stay out of the war of words on the Burqa.

    57. anobody — on 8th August, 2009 at 3:02 pm  

      douglas clark,

      Just so’s you know, there is not an ‘e’ on my second name.

      Apologies for adding the ‘e’ at the end of your name.

      OK. My post to which you refer was a train crash. It was wrong in both substance and content.

      So, I apologise for it.

      douglas clark, now you have apologised, we can work towards reconciliation. You have reflected and for that I am grateful. Humility is a great character, often lacking amongst the best of us.

      However, as a man of intelligence, you cannot deny that as a Muslim I would still hold suspicions about your intentions. Your reaction in that thread was from a belly of deeply held mistrust and negativity towards Muslims…it doesn’t go away over night.

      It seems to me that, where a practice is barbaric, then you determine it as cultural, and where it is humane, you see it as religious.

      Not true.

      For the sake of simplicity, we will say if it is in the Quran, if it is in the Hadith, it is Islamic. If you are interested the Quran is the primary source, followed by authentic Hadith.

      Nowhere in the Quran does it openly advocate marrying your cousin. The Quran is silent on the matter. I personally wouldn’t do it, but I wouldn’t call it ‘barbaric’ as you have implied…what happened to being open minded and affectionate? what happened to cultural relativism? Maybe because you hear about some Muslims practising it, so you think it is Islamic, and therefore because of your deeply held prejudices against Muslims you think it is barbaric? Just maybe.

      Infact 26 states in the USA allow first cousin marriage. If you’re really interested here you go: http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=facts knock yourself out.

      ____

      You should put it past me, but, then again, it would destroy your inclusiveness, wouldn’t it?

      Excuse me for my ignorance, but I didn’t quite get that bit. Can you just make it clear if you think there is a Muslim gene, which is shared amongst all Muslims? You have said you think it would be good for Muslims and Non-Muslims to romance, and made a reference to a genetic pot?

      I genuinely hope you do not believe that Muslims and Non-Muslims romancing would widen the gene pool or something along that line. That would be tragic. An epic fail.

    58. douglas clark — on 8th August, 2009 at 3:58 pm  

      anobody,

      Heh!

      However, as a man of intelligence, you cannot deny that as a Muslim I would still hold suspicions about your intentions.

      Look, the subject of this particular thread is that sometimes compromise is not possible, or indeed desireable.

      The Quran is silent on the matter. I personally wouldn’t do it, but I wouldn’t call it ‘barbaric’ as you have implied…what happened to being open minded and affectionate? what happened to cultural relativism? Maybe because you hear about some Muslims practising it, so you think it is Islamic, and therefore because of your deeply held prejudices against Muslims you think it is barbaric? Just maybe.

      Despite what you might otherwise think, perhaps this is germane:

      http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_2_when_islam.html

      Go on, read it. It is quite interesting.

      Would you really be loving someone if you knew your offspring were going to be handicapped? Would that be right, or appropriate? I’d assume, correct me if I am wrong, that if the Quran is silent on a subject, you are entitled to make up your own mind? Would that be correct? So, why do you take a defensive attitude to something that is clearly wrong? I repeat:

      Maybe because you hear about some Muslims practising it, so you think it is Islamic, and therefore because of your deeply held prejudices against Muslims you think it is barbaric? Just maybe.

      I have no deeply, or shallowly come to that, held prejudices against Muslims. Generally speaking, Muslims and I rub along together OK. What I have a deep seated contempt for, and it applies to all religious authorities, is the self appointed gatekeepers. Of which, I think you are one. So, consider yourself in exalted company, for this could have been directed at the Pope just as much as you.

      And, I can’t stand the new manifestation of Richard Dawkins’ either.

      Clearly, there is no Muslim gene. That would be, as you say, an epic fail. But I’d be interested to know what you think about marriage across religious and cultural boundaries. Pro or anti?

    59. leon — on 8th August, 2009 at 4:23 pm  

      Beauty as they say is skin deep.

      You have a very limited concept of what beauty is.

    60. Don — on 8th August, 2009 at 5:06 pm  

      Douglas,

      Dawkins has been manifesting? Blimey, that is worrying. Last I heard all he’d done lately was the Doctor Who cameo, a programme on Darwin and (speaking of beauty being more than skin deep) a part in the amazing megafauna autopsies on C4. (They were jaw-droppingly good.)

      On cousin marriages, as we discussed last year(?), they are perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the law and the church. It is only fairly recently that anyone would think it unusual. The risk of birth defect is tiny in individual cases. It is only when it has become widespread within a group that problems arise. For an individual to fall in love with a cousin and marry should really present no problem, it is only when it is seen as the most favoured conjoining that issues arise.

    61. anobody — on 8th August, 2009 at 6:08 pm  

      douglas clarke,

      I have read that Dalrymple article. I believe damon, had linked it on another post. Definitely some grim stuff, but what is the point of the article? Forced marriage is bad, and is completely un-Islamic. Yes, silence is acceptance, however if there is no silence and then a marriage subsequently goes ahead, it is forced.

      Here’s one for you from Ahmad:

      Buraydah narrates that once, a woman came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, my father married me to my cousin in order to raise his social standing, but I do not want to be married to him.”

      The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave her the option of annulment. At this point, she said: “I have already reconciled myself to my father’s decision, but I wanted it to be known that women have a say in the matter.”

      [Sunan al-Nasā'ī (3269), Sunan Ibn Mājah (1874), and Musnad Ahmad]

      Be in no doubt that this is wrong and un-Islamic.

      Would you really be loving someone if you knew your offspring were going to be handicapped? Would that be right, or appropriate?

      I can’t see why I couldn’t love someone, even if I knew 100% that my child was going to be handicapped? Would I have children? That is another question. I’m sure there are millions of couples around the world who get married knowing their partner has a disease or illness that can be passed on through to their offspring. How very shallow to stop loving someone because there was a chance their deficiencies could be passed down.

      I’d assume, correct me if I am wrong, that if the Quran is silent on a subject, you are entitled to make up your own mind? Would that be correct?

      As I said in 57, in simple first there is Quran then there is Hadith. If there is silence on a matter in the Quran, we can query the Hadith, or seek the opinion of the Ulema. Unfortunately, there are those who take on deviant practises, and seek loopholes through religion, to justify their terrible crimes - like terrorism against civilians.

      Allah knows best.

      So, why do you take a defensive attitude to something that is clearly wrong?

      Maybe because you’re trying to make out it is something Islamic, thus implying there is something fundamentally wrong with Islamic teachings. Like I have said before, using the example of the the man living in the secular west who sets up his child pornography site. Do you think it is the teachings of secularism that promote him to act in this way? No. He has clearly deviated.

      What I have a deep seated contempt for, and it applies to all religious authorities, is the self appointed gatekeepers. Of which, I think you are one.

      I am not Islam, I try my best to live within the folds of Islam and at peace with all. I live a life of sin and there are many things which I can do much better. If there are vicious lies which are spread about my way of life, without any justification, and are then used to demonise people who I share these values with I will do my best to defend that way of life, in an honourable way. (Note I have not defended forced marriage, I am defending against your implication that forced marriage/marriage between cousins is an Islamic practise).

      But I’d be interested to know what you think about marriage across religious and cultural boundaries. Pro or anti?

      If you think it can work then go for it. Who am I to say? However, if people holding polar values get married, unless one is willing to sacrifice - so take themselves out of the folds of their way of life - and can come to some middle ground I don’t see it working.

      Imagine a Combat 18 bloke marrying a coloured person. Unless the BNP bloke lowered his stance, or the coloured person accepted inferiority to the Combat 18 bloke, I don’t think the marriage is going to make it passed the first year. Do you?

    62. sonia — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:26 pm  

      “When I was working on the Obama campaign last year I slowly realised the extent to which politics is a form of war. ”

      Sunny - where have you been! My dear boy, of course that is what politics is.

    63. sonia — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:27 pm  

      but anyway, well done you for what you have achieved :-) and for having your own set of opinions and values, whatever they may be. as you say they’re YOUR ideas, and you are entitled to argue accordingly!

      this business of leadership and looking to others for positions is weak wussy follower thinking anyway

    64. sonia — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:32 pm  

      43 Halima. what douglas clark said.!!

      seriously have you never seen aUNTIes go crazy when sharukh khan turns up on stage. My god, they make teenage girl groupies look sane :-)

      yes we need to have a separate discussion thread on the modesty requirements for muslim men vs. muslim women. I might have to write one! i remember making the point somewhere that if Muslim men want to say they are the lusty ones who can’t be trusted to keep their libidos in check and that’s why we have to cover up, well then fine. But they can’t then be trusted out of sight of their wives/minders and certainly not to be trusted in positions of authority/leadership since they are so easily swayed by beauty!

      one or the other, not both please!

      hah. yes definitely let me go pen this piece, then we can discuss away heartily :-)



    Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2009. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
    With the help of PHP and Wordpress.