When I started writing first about the Amnesty / Gita Sahgal / Moazzam Begg controversy I said that many of those taking up Gita Sahgal’s cause were people who actually had an agenda against Amnesty International. As yet she hasn’t even distanced herself from these fruitloops.
Evidence of this is further highlighted in today’s Sunday Times with a statement by Salman Rushdie. This is of course the same newspaper that blatantly misrepresented what Amnesty’s Asia director Sam Zarifi had to say to try and present it as another split.
Salman Rushdie was naturally a big supporter of
the Iraq war externally driven regime change in Iraq and ideologically in the same camp as Cohen, Hitchens et al. The man who once said: “The only just cause for a war with Iraq is to liberate its population” – how’s that piece of advice working out for you?
Anyway, Rushdie’s blatant attempt to undermine Amnesty Int is so over-the-top that his mate Norm Geras distance himself from Rushdie’s agenda by saying: “Rushdie wrong about Amnesty“. Oh dear.
Meanwhile, a letter in today’s Observer lays out the contradictions that go to the heart of Nick Cohen’s facile approach to human rights:
Nick Cohen writes of his latest bogeyman, Amnesty International, that while they were “once the most principled defenders of human rights”, they have now “collaborated” with (ie defended) Moazzam Begg. He wonders what will happen when they realise that “the Islamists they embrace aren’t nice metrosexuals who support women’s rights”, and then hopes they will remember that “promoting human rights is a hard and often thankless task that has to be done regardless of the consequences”.
I’m baffled as to how this incoherent sneering is supposed to translate into a criticism of AI. If the organisation is to stick to its principles, as Cohen urges, then it has to oppose any transgression. Cohen manages to trumpet the fundamental value of universal and unconditional human rights, then point out the difficulties of consistently upholding these rights by using AI and Begg’s case as an example, then chastise AI for doing so (or is it not doing so?).
Update: Earwigca makes an excellent point:
I wonder if Rushdie was â€œsuffering from a kind of moral bankruptcyâ€ when he signed the petition in support of Polanski? You know, the man who raped a 14 year old then did a runner for decades.
Update 2: What next? The Chinese criticising Amnesty for being too nice to Muslims?
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