Pickled Politics would like to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas.
I think we’d all agree that 2011 turned out to be not only surprisingly eventful but also very unpredictable. A great deal has happened around the world during the past year, and it makes one wonder what is in store for the human race in 2012.
Regardless of whether you regard Jesus as the messianic son of God, a prophet, a saint, or simply a great man, his powerful message of peace and compassion, the need to oppose injustice and prejudice, and the importance of helping the poor, the vulnerable and the persecuted clearly still has great resonance as an inspiring example for mankind.
Some suitable music to mark the occasion:
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan singing “The Face of Love”, accompanied by Eddie Vedder of the American rock group Pearl Jam and Nusrat’s nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The song is from the Oscar-nominated film Dead Man Walking.
The simple Urdu/Hindi lyrics mean “What is living without love ? Since you have come into this world, love each other”.
The death of any prominent individual – let alone one who held controversial views – always results in a certain amount of aggravation as the skeins of supporters flock to various forms of media to have one final fight about the irreplaceable stature or utter irrelevance of the recently deceased.
The Sunday Times have formally investigated the English Defence League’s backers and have confirmed that two key individuals in particular are involved. You can read the full article here. A few extracts:
A property tycoon and a City-based financier quizzed by police over his links to the gunman who slaughtered 69 people in Norway are exposed today as key figures behind the rise of the far-right English Defence League (EDL).
A Sunday Times investigation has revealed that Ann Marchini, a mother from Highgate, north London, and Alan Ayling, a former director of an investment fund, have sought to mould the thuggish anti-Muslim group into a credible political force. They are both linked to the murky world of the online “counter-jihad” movement from which Anders Behring Breivik drew ideological inspiration before committing his massacre in Norway in July. They have remained in the shadows until now by using aliases on the internet to mask their true identities.
…..Marchini, who is thought to be in her fifties, runs a buy-to-let property empire from her £1.6m mock-Tudor home in Highgate, a leafy suburb usually associated with liberals…..She is said to have helped organise a “pivotal” meeting between EDL figures and anti-jihad thinkers in July 2009 and recently attended a discussion where the EDL agreed to consider an electoral pact with the right-wing British Freedom party (BFP).
…..Ayling, 57, has been operating under the alias “Alan Lake”. He is an IT expert and was a director of Pacific Capital Investment Management until January this year. The fund was dissolved in August. Last month Ayling was interviewed by officers from Scotland Yard at the behest of Norwegian police who were investigating whether he was a possible “mentor” of Breivik. Paal-Fredrik Kraby, an Oslo police prosecutor, confirmed that “the man known as Alan Lake” had been questioned.
…..In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper nine days ago, Lake denied having any contact with Breivik. However, he admitted to having met a prolific anti-Islam blogger called “Fjordman”. “People ought to read him, he is good,” Lake said. Breivik named Fjordman 111 times in his manifesto.
This paragraph from Glenn Greenwald caught my eye:
One other point: whenever you dare to suggest a comparison between the United States of America and whatever country happens to be the New Hitlers of the moment, you get accused of moral relativism.
That has always struck me as so bizarre, because moral relativism actually refers to precisely what Orwell described: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.”
As Rudy Giuliani said when asked if waterboarding is “torture”: “It depends on who does it.” That is moral relativism.
This sounds about right. People who use the ‘moral relativism’ argument to shield the USA and UK from criticism really annoy the hell out of me. Now it turns out they also misinterpret what Orwell said. How… Orwellian?