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  1. Dave Hill: Both Labour and the Tories fail to recognise that being a good citizen and defining oneself as British aren’t the same thing.

    This ado about Union Jack and English Language tempts me to compare UK, former Empire, with India, former colony. Talking about multiculturism, any need for a “language spoken by everyone in the society”, as advocated by David Cameron, is rarely an issue in India. Being an “Indian” in the “Indian society” does not mean that people have to speak Hindi. Interesting to see how UK is so excited about a “monocolour Britishness”. Vestiges of the Empire?

    Comment by Tasneem Khalil — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:56 am

  2. Sunny - I read the articles on CiF that you recommended. Cif is not something I normally do these days, because it invariably ends up with my head under a blanket. I was glad to have read the articles, until I read the comments on Seth Freedman’s piece.

    Guess what? Head under blanket AGAIN!

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 9:49 am

  3. ‘This ado about Union Jack and English Language tempts me to compare UK, former Empire, with India, former colony’

    And how many ethno-religious civil wars are ongoing in India right now?

    Comment by soru — 1st February, 2007 @ 10:52 am


  4. Talking about multiculturism, any need for a “language spoken by everyone in the society”, as advocated by David Cameron, is rarely an issue in India.

    Please tell us when the punchline comes, so we can start laughing. Let me guess - you are Vikrant in another guise, right?

    Comment by Chris Stiles — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:24 am

  5. Chairwoman, you can come out from under that blanket.

    Khaled Abdelwahhab’s is a heartening story.

    If it helps break down the false history we have all contributed to then we have to applaud it. Lets hope we hear more of this and others.

    Comment by Refresh — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  6. Actually I read about Khaled Abdelwahhab in the Jewish Chronicle either last Friday or the week previous.

    Yes please, more stories like this. Also for those who like recipes with their good news, Claudia Rodin on her return to Egypt after many years, when former Egyptian Muslim neighbours greeted her and her family with tears of joy.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:44 am

  7. BTW Refresh, I thought we were handling things pretty nicely on the other thread before Sunny got cold feet.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  8. Read the Seth Freedman piece on CiF.

    It was interesting, but there’s a lot I disagree with in there. Some of the commenters on the thread, probably the same ones that had CW with her head under a blanket, pointed out a lots of flaws and moral ambiguities in Freedman’s piece. The fact is that without understanding the full extent of the suffering and the trauma of the Palestinians and the savagery meted out by the Israelis, you cannot understand the desperation that would drive someone to give their lives for a cause, and result in the kind of mentality that would make them proud to do so. That does not mean you justify their actions. I mean, to make an instructive analogy, if you heard about a case of domestic homicide in which a woman murdered a husband who had abused and beaten her for years remorselessly, you would, unless you were unbelivably callous, factor those years of abuse into the equation — without endorsing murder. Anyway, no one can say I’m derailing this thread, as the SF piece was given as a suggested topic for discussion by Sunny. So there.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  9. I mean, to make an instructive analogy, if you heard about a case of domestic homicide in which a woman murdered a husband who had abused and beaten her for years remorselessly, you would, unless you were unbelivably callous, factor those years of abuse into the equation — without endorsing murder.

    How would we feel if the battered woman went into a restaurant and just shot men at random?

    There’s a difference between self-defence and senseless vengeance.

    Comment by Michael P — 1st February, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  10. Again Michael, you would have to factor in the years of abuse she’d endured, and the extent to which that had damaged her mental state. But that wouldn’t mean that justified her actions, just that you tried to understand what had caused them. In my first example, I should have made clear that the action hadn’t been committed in self-defense. Suicide bombings are indeed senseless vengeance and not self-defense, and probably in many instances counterproductive for the Palestinian liberation movement. But we also have a moral responsibilty to understand the pain and trauma that leads people to choose to commit those actions.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  11. Anas - You don’t get it. It’s the refusal to move on from here that is so frustrating. If everybody continues to go round in circles, nothing will happen. Or more realistically, more of the same will happen.

    Have you noticed how I am always willing to reach a concensus, and you are not. Your idea of a concensus in this instance is all or nothing.

    You’ve made a real effort recently not to derail, not to be argumentative, and I not only appreciate it, but know exactly how difficult it is to hold back. You may feel frustrated, but you must also feel the benfit of the restraint you have shown.

    This is how grown-ups behave. Fatah don’t want to concede anything any more than Hamas do, but they look back on 60 bitter years, and know that half of something is better than all of nothing. Most Israeli political parties have learnt the same. Likud and Hamas have not learned how to act like adults. They will both throw the toys out the pram until there’s nothing left to do but kill each other.

    All parties need encouragement from their external supporters to sit down and play. By not conceding that anything has to be conceded you become part of the problem. It’s OK for you, sitting in Glasgow, to tell them living in Palestine not to give an inch, but when you do that you put yourself in the position of British WW1 generals, sitting in London, or well behind the lines sending the men over the top.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  12. But we also have a moral responsibilty to understand the pain and trauma that leads people to choose to commit those actions.

    This kind of ‘murder as therapy’ view of things is troubling for me. If the Palestinians who engage in ,and support, suicide bombings against civilians are evidence of a ‘mass pathology’ within Palestinian society, I think it is too simplistic to hand moral responsibility for this over to Israel.

    But I sense this is an argument that interrupts many threads over here, so I’ll leave it at that. I’m new here, sorry.

    Comment by Michael P — 1st February, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

  13. hardly about ‘handing over moral responsibility’ is it?

    of course every agent has responsibility for its actions - trying to understand the reasoning behind said action hardly detracts from attributing agency to the agent - does it?

    that would imply that the study of e.g. psychology has no merit.

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

  14. ‘But we also have a moral responsibilty to understand the pain and trauma that leads people to choose to commit those actions. ‘

    No we don’t, we have a moral responsibility to encourage people to not engage in self-destructive behavior.

    If, in your example, the woman had been seeing a therapist, who helped her to reconstruct memories of the abuse, listened to her stories, but only as long as they were interesting in that way, and encouraged her to play out fantasies of violent revenge, then that therapist would be rightly struck off and possibly prosecuted as an accessory to murder.

    Comment by soru — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

  15. chairwoman’s got a very good point in no. 11.

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

  16. Oh, go on then…

    hardly about ‘handing over moral responsibility’ is it?

    of course every agent has responsibility for its actions - trying to understand the reasoning behind said action hardly detracts from attributing agency to the agent - does it?

    that would imply that the study of e.g. psychology has no merit.

    No, but characterising a whole people as suffering from a collective psychological disorder and explicitly linking this condition to, in the words of Anas, ‘the savagery meted out by the Israelis’ is not only pseudo-psychology, it effectively says, ‘Israel has brought this upon itself.’ And that’s a view. Just have the courage to say this, rather than being Jesuitical about it.

    Comment by Michael P — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:31 pm

  17. Chairwoman, Yes I agree. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised that Sunny was polite enough to ask.

    Can’t come to terms with the notion that PP is a site for progressive politics, but if nothing else we could turn it into the Eastbourne of blogs. Genteel.

    Comment by Refresh — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  18. in the words of Anas, ‘the savagery meted out by the Israelis’ is not only pseudo-psychology, it effectively says, ‘Israel has brought this upon itself.

    Dont take Anas too seriously. He gets constipated when you ask what horrors the oppressed were suffering in Zionist occupied Derby, Hounslow, Dewsbury, Leeds, Birmingham, Ilford and other places where poor misunderstood fluffy bunny rabbits, uh, I mean, English born and bred suicide bombers and beheaders originated from.

    They need a light slap on the wrist, that’s all.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:37 pm

  19. characterising a whole people as suffering from a collective psychological disorder

    Ermm, this is the quote I wanted to highlight in my last post. It’s the premise of a lot of what goes on as explanation for things.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  20. Johnny Tourettes promoting hot tubs: Big Brother is washing you

    Danielle Lloyd promoting anti-smoking campaign: Stub out the WAG

    Jade Goody promoting false teeth accessories: Goody Goody gum props

    Leo Sawyer promoting peep shows: They sawyer coming

    Shilpa Shetty promoting anti-hangover treatment: Stop Feeling Shetty

    Jack promoting extreme cliff diving without safety harness sports: Jumping Jack twat

    Comment by Kismet Hardy — 1st February, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  21. Chairwoman,

    I know what you are saying in #11. But the culpability of the donkeys that led in 1916 or 2007 is infinitely greater than someone writing to a web site.

    I absolutely hate suicide bombers, mainly because it is something I could never contemplate myself and it is, usually, random deaths that it causes. That said, it is important if we are to neutralise the threat, we need to understand it. Which is what I thought Anas was getting at.

    Soru’s comment at #14 is valid as far as it goes - that we have a moral responsibility to encourage people to not engage in self-destructive behavior - but we would be tying one hand behind our backs if we did not understand the pressures and motivations. By doing so, we are in a better position to counteract it.

    I suspect the handlers of suicide bombers have a gross and warped understanding of human nature. But understanding for all that.

    Which they exploit in an evil and cynical way. There was some work done on obedience to authority in US Universities that certainly suggests that there are no depths that individuals would plummet to when they are ‘authorised’ by a man in a white coat. The analogy is pretty plain, I think, both to bomber pilots and to suicide bombers.

    You are, of course, right, to see compromise as the only way forward in almost any conflict. But it is equally valid to point out that there are many who have an investment in not crossing that bridge. Mainly career politicians and their hangers on, of whatever stripe.

    Comment by douglas clark — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  22. “In that case - how do we encourage a more inclusive and prevalent form of citizenship?”

    So - one might start by thinking about one means by citizenship. Is the implication of the question above that one wouldn’t be a good citizen if one weren’t or didn’t feel British?

    So I see/understand what Sunny normally goes on about - people who have British citizenship but ( for whatever reason_) might not ‘identify’ themselves as British. ( we’ll ignore for the time being the question about identity and why it is assumed that it must automatically be connected to group or groups. not say just ‘interests’ in general)

    So fair enough, one might think that perhaps for those nationals of the UK - there isn’t any reason for them NOT to ‘identify’ as British (i.e. because of some other ‘ethnic’/religious connection) - and that they could realize that those ‘differences’ are no reason for them not to feel part of the wider whole - {which in this instance people might define as ‘British’.} So - for me - this is the acceptable aspect of the issue. Getting people to not feel left out. Yes - I am in favour of that - definitely.

    Again - precisely because I am in favour of that - if we don’t want people to feel left out - well what about the people who live in countries who aren’t actually technically Nationals/’Citizens’ of that place? So - what- forget about them? Cos the automatic assumption is that they wouldn’t be ‘good citizens’ because they don’t have passports? Seems to me that’s what it is implying. Given all the normal talk about globalization I would have thought people realized that countries nowadays actually have people living in them who aren’t citizens. The focus on ‘immigration’ seems to indicate that some thinkers have a very ’static’ idea of transnational living - i.e. oh you might have come from one place - if you go somewhere else - you ‘immigrate’. and that’s it - you know - you stay there. Well sorry - that might be the case for most people - but there is a sizeable no. of people who have lived in different countries, continue to move around in adulthood etc. Are all these debates about being ‘good citizens’ therefore not relevant to us? If i live somewhere - like I live in London now - i’m pretty interested in my local environment. I am a stakeholder. Maybe not one ‘officially’ but fuck it - I am. As are lots of other people. One of the really useful things that came out of the environmental movement ( and is still coming out) is a growing awareness of your local environment for what it is - ignoring boundaries e.g. local govt. boundaries, city boundaries, state boundaries. your environment is what is around you. being interested in it what’s happening around you is for example what Groundwork takes as ‘citizenship’ - actually. yup the little environmental charity i work for has got a ‘citizenship’ theme - and it isn’t about who has a passport who hasn’t, the name we choose to give to a place or not ( say Britain) and all this kind of boundary making. it’s about taking an interest in what’s around you - it’s about inclusion - for whoever happens to be wherever. If people are not going to redefine citizenship from nationality - then i’m sorry but the growing no. of people who live in countries who aren’t nationals are automatically excluded.

    so - fine - focus on the ‘official citizens’ if that’s what people want to do. but in a global age - don’t fool yourselves that it is somehow ‘Progressive’ or even ‘Inclusive’. All it’s doing is sending out a message that we think we’re in some age where there are so few non-citizens in a country that they ‘dont matter’ and aren’t worth taking into account.

    of course i daresay that are places where there are so few people from other countries you could imagine that had really not crossed their minds. But in London - Hah! that makes me laugh. When some people think London - world city - maybe they’re thinking ‘immigrants’ in the sense of people who came from somewhere else and are now British. (* this is what i mean about the fixed view of ‘immigration’ - as a permament one-way thing) Not taking into account at all the people who are living in London - on visas - and who aren’t necessarily here permanently. London’s full of these kinds of people in case no one’s noticed. They may become #British# one day - but what - ignore them till they’ve gone to a Citizenship Ceremony?

    And it is facile to imagine that people’s lives are still carried out on that fixed model of ‘migration’ from A to B and that’s it. Like oh from India and now the UK. Rather than some more fluid sort of transnational living. Yes people can argue well sorry despite our fluffy talk about globalizations - the latter form of transnational living is hardly catered for in terms of ‘citizenship’ and ‘rights’ etc. but - yeah - that’s precisely the problem. It’s not taken into account at all in these sorts of debates. Particularly with regards the whole identity thing - if you grew up in 3 or 4 different countries - what are you meant to do about this identity thing? swop all the time?

    Just brushed under the carpet. And yes, I see that for people who are so focused on ‘immigrant communities’ they are not bothered about this aspect of inclusion - but fine - I wish they’d admit that, and realize that ‘Progessive’ only extends So Far.

    {The thing that people seemed to miss out about the irony about the Sun’s spread - this is directly linked in - is that it must be okay to make fun of Asylum Seekers because - why they’re not British are they! So we don’t have that in common.}

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  23. This is one of the reasons why Brown’s attempt to ‘nationalize’ certain progressive values (which, when you actually look at them, are so vague as to be banal- responsibility, fairness, liberty- I mean, that could mean just about anything) is a rather dishonest exercise in flag-waving for the sake of it. Defend progressive values by all means, but insist at the same time that enjoyment should be without reference to nationality.

    Comment by Michael P — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

  24. I’m not going to discuss CW’s points in post 11 re: the situation, as that probably would derail the thread. Suffice it to say I feel that there are things which Israel has no right, moral or legal, to ask the Palestinians to compromise on.

    I think the good folks here are misreading me. Let’s get back to that battered wife analogy. If the wife had murdered her husband in his sleep, and not in self-defense, then obviously seeking to understand why she had done would not automatically mean we were trying to justify her. Since, regardless of the abuse she had gone through, her action was illegal and since most of us don’t support the death penalty, immoral. The point of the example was to point out that in most other contexts we would take the trauma and despair of a person or a whole group of people collectively who had suffered attrociously into consideration when trying to understand why they did what they did. Without having to face constant accusations that we’re really justifying their actions.

    In the case of Palestinian suicide bombers, we can, most of us, I think agree that their actions are wrong. Any adult of sound mind has a choice whether they blow themselves up or not.

    What I think is up for debate are the causes of suicide bombing. I think when you look at the wholescale murderous repression of the Palestinian population by the Israelis which has been going on for around 40 years now, the denial of the most basic human rights, the theft of resources, the forced impoverishment, the taking of land, the murder and imprisonment of prominent figures…basically what comes of living under the occupation of a brutal suppressor who wants to remove you from your land. I’m pretty confident that if you try and imagine yourself in that situation, you’ll begin to appreciate that how great the levels of sheer desperation and hopelessness are such amongst the Palestinians so that it becomes pretty obvious why so many are being driven towards using themselves as bombs, why such a brutal nihilistic death cult has developed amongst a people who have lost most of their hope…Or like most pro-Israelis you could just sit around talking about the violent savage character of the Palestinians, and talk about how we can’t do business with these barabarians.

    The thing is most of these stories are characterized by the removal of all context and background, which is probably because how uncomfortable it would be for us in the West. Because it would just demonstrate who the biggest and most savage terrorists really are.

    Seriously, I cannot believe that on a supposedly progressive, Asian website, that hardly anyone can make the connection between the Palestinian situation and other liberation struggles of native peoples under colonialist suppression.

    ‘Israel has brought this upon itself.’

    I think to an extent that is true.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

  25. So despite the fact that the label British cannot be applied to me - in my opinion - it hardly means I cannot be or am not the sort of person who is interested in participating in the society I live in. I like this place - I don’t think I need to feel British to be interested in what’s happening here in the U.K. My identity - as it happens - isn’t tied to communities - and I can empathize with people and communties even if I am perceived by them to be an outsider. Perhaps that is the advantage of always being a ‘foreigner’ wherever you are - but still.

    So in that sense - yes identity can clearly be a strong aspect of group membership - certainly one that we have seen groups themselves emphasize and seek to impose on said group. Usually in a blackmail sort of way - e.g. oh you’re not really one of us unless you have a ’strong muslim identity’ whatever that is. We see it for what it is when we go to work for organizations and they talk about identifying with the ‘organizational culture’. Yeah - sure - but up to a point right? Imagine how silly it is if HR types went around saying do you feel like a ‘GlaxoSmithKline-y’? Because if you don’t - we know you won’t be such a good employee’. So you’d better start identifying yourself as a ‘GlaxoSmithKline-y’ otherwise we’ll know you’re not TRuly a member of our group…

    So back to my point - yes- identity- in that sense - can be a strong factor. Yet it is hardly the only one. Realistically individuals can still have their own identity as thinking individuals - distinct from the group - without necessarily being ’subversive’ members of the group. Of course strong groups tend to be a bit disbelieving of all this. They read up the literature on groupthink and think ah.

    Dave Hill’s article was the only one that seemed to have an inkling of this.

    I find it worrying that ‘progressive thinkers’ don’t really seem to get this aspect of ’strong groups’.

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  26. of course strong groups tend to label thinking like mine as ‘anarchic’ and therefore not in the interest of the ‘group’. Bottom line - if you’re thinking of the interest of the group as distinct from reality of individuals - you’re stuffed.

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

  27. Hi Referesh, just wanted to say in the other thread before it closed I did mean ‘Play’ as in a strategy. I confused myself reading what i wrote :D

    Comment by Sahil — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  28. Yeah, those poor oppressed suicide bombers and throat slitters and beheaders that suffer under the Zionist occupation of Birmingham, Leeds, Hounslow, Derby, Dewsbury, Ilford, St Albans.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  29. Whoa Sonia, you’re veering off the point. ‘Citizenship’ doesn’t necessarily have to imply that you have to be a British passport holder. It could imply values or it could be a set of behaviours, such as taking care and being interested in your local environment.

    Ultimately, the debate about Britishness and citizenship is an attempt to figure out how the people in this changing country, in a globalised world, can still form together some sort of a glue and feel connected to each other. That they feel they have some sort of a stakehold in the society they live in.

    Because transitional immigrations are passing through, by their nature, they don’t have an incentive to become locally invested. They can’t even vote. So its more difficult to bring them in although I’m not saying we should count them out. I’m interested in that glue… and how to set about forming it.

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  30. 23. yep Michael P - you said it.

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  31. I cannot believe that on a supposedly progressive, Asian website

    Oooh you cheeky little monkey! ‘Suppposedly’ progressive eh? Get a life Anas you mincing drama queen.

    (Are you Shabaz from Big Brother? He was a Pakistani guy from Glasgow) :-)

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  32. yeah i mean why not just call them moral ethical human values?

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  33. Ooops sorry for all the typos in my post. But I guess everyone’s used to that in my posts now, so fuck it.

    Err, Jagdeep, I know you get immense pleasure from mentioning the two English suicide bombers that went over to Israel. The thing, hardly typical were they?

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  34. So its more difficult to bring them in although I’m not saying we should count them out. I’m interested in that glue… and how to set about forming it

    What do you think the glue is Sunny? I personally found that having children and thinking about what kind of future society they will grow up in made me think more deeply about the future welfare of this society. It comes naturally. When you are attached and invested in a city or country, your civic nature comes to the fore. Especially when you have children.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  35. Don’t push me Anas, your terms are, in my opinion, slanderous, perjorative and one sided. As usual you fail to see that there is any reason for Israel to feel threatened.

    I will just say this. The intransigence of both sides has brought things to this stage. I am all for negotiation, but there are some things that even I consider non-negotiable. One of those is the the Western Wall. Islam has pre-empted most of our holy sites, and frankly, they’re not getting that one.

    I will point out that when the wall was in Jordanian hands, Jews were not allowed to visit it, but Muslims have not been stopped from visitng and praying at the mosque on Temple Mount.

    The higher moral ground is a fickle mistress.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  36. Jagdeep, I know you get immense pleasure from mentioning the two English suicide bombers that went over to Israel. The thing, hardly typical were they?

    Extremely typical of their kind Anas, very typical of the kind of murderous ideology that rears suicide bombers and sends them abroad and into action here in Britain too, from many different towns and cities across the land. Also, I don’t get ‘immense pleasure’ from talking about these things. Maybe you are projecting your own excitements, but I feel nothing but horror and distress at talking and thinking of these things.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  37. Huh? CW, I can’t win. I was trying not to involve you in the discussion.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  38. Anas - I know, but then you said something I couldn’t let go. My fault, I should have shut up :-)

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  39. Jagdeep, Sonia, I think this is a really fast growing area of research in economics and sociology. I think its part of the ‘Social Capital’ theory, I’ll get a link to a paper with a good overview.

    Comment by Sahil — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  40. I sympathise with your angst and passion, and have grown quite fond of you btw.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  41. #40 was directed to Anas

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  42. Ah just got a link to the world bank site:

    http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/EXTTSOCIALCAPITAL/0,,menuPK:401021~pagePK:149018~piPK:149093~theSitePK:401015,00.html

    Comment by Sahil — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  43. yeah i mean why not just call them moral ethical human values?

    Because, as a politician, patriotism is a convenient bolt-hole from which to operate when you have difficulty conveying your central point.

    Comment by Michael P — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  44. >> What I think is up for debate are the causes of suicide bombing. I think when you look at the wholescale murderous repression…

    Anas, the four little bastards who blew themselves up in London were not victims of any repression, and yet they did it anyways. These people who commit suicide to kill others do it because there are organisations behind it - Al Qaeda and Hamas - that prepare them mentally to do the dirty deeds for them. They instill hate and a state which allows them to feel totally alienated from their families, communities and society… who are bound to suffer from their actions.

    Israel has done a lot of injustices for the Palestians, no doubt. But there is also no doubt in my mind that Hamas/Al Qaeda have done little or nothing to improve the lives of the average palestian, much to the opposite. But then again Anas, you don’t care about the suffering of muslims when the oppressors are muslims themselves, uh?

    Comment by Ravi Naik — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  45. ” ‘Citizenship’ doesn’t necessarily have to imply that you have to be a British passport holder.”

    I passed my citizenship test with flying colours. Still don’t have a british passport though :-(

    Comment by Kismet Hardy — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

  46. Here’s a casestudy of social capital, ethnicity, religion in the UK (quite recent) and how they interact to create communties that a trustworthy e.g. less crime, more chatty neighbours, or you can also get just the opposite, with the same inital conditions.

    www.bristol.ac.uk/sociology/leverhulme/conference/conferencepapers/dwyer.pdf

    Comment by Sahil — 1st February, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

  47. I don’t think Sonia is veering off the point at all.

    She is in fact almost spot on.

    Comment by Duc De Nemours — 1st February, 2007 @ 3:08 pm

  48. Guys, forget Israel / Plaestine, haven’t you heard the latest? Shilpa Shetty may have been called a ‘Paki’ on the show, according to reports in the Sun today (not in that video clip by the way but a separate song). Kismet Hardy should have had babies by now!! Or maybe he already has!
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,11049-2007050346,00.html

    Forget everything else, Shilpa Shetty is back with us!!! (did she ever leave?). Ahem, I’ll stop there.

    Duc De Nemours - I mean that Sonia is unnecessarily focusing on transitory immigrants or people without passports. I understand that is her concern but I’m not necessarily locking out people who don’t have a British passport.

    Neither am I too interested in Britishness in the way Gordon Brown says it. I wrote an article on this a few months ago:

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2006/05/why_i_support_a_common_british.html

    But my question is unanswered - how do we get this ‘glue’?
    Jagdeep, yeah maybe kids are a good way to induce it, but I hardly think that should apply to everyone… :)

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  49. “Shilpa Shetty may have been called a ‘Paki’ on the show, according to reports in the Sun today”

    NEVER DOUBT ME AGAIN!

    Comment by Kismet Hardy — 1st February, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

  50. Sunny, I mean that having a family has implications beyond just yourself, you start to see generations ahead, beyond to what society will be like 20 years hence, in a way you never used to and this civic sensibility is part of your life cycle. When you’re young, you don’t have a need or are not bothered about things like that, when you have children, it changes.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

  51. Yeah, but it’s in th eSun Kismet, remember that pinch of salt that all their stories have to be taken with.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

  52. Sonia: you could frame that debate as nation-state versus welfare-state versus market-state.

    What is the deal between a state and it’s citizens?

    To strive for nationally-defined freedom, justice or greatness? To be able to make claims about the world like ‘Greece is now free’, ‘Turkey is now united’?

    To guarantee the freedom from want of all citizens? To be able to make claims about the world like ‘noone here suffers from hunger’ or ‘everyone here has the right to free health care’?

    Or to simply provide the minimal necessary requirements to let everyone participate in a free market economy? To make claims about the world like ‘anyone can make it, if they work hard’?

    Define what the goal of the state is, and you are most of the way to knowing the other end of the deal will have to be.

    Comment by soru — 1st February, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  53. “Khaled Abdelwahhab has become the first Arab to be recognised as being “Righteous Among the Nations,” an honor bestowed on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution.”

    Actually HP broke the original story
    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/12/14/arabs_and_the_holocaust.php

    There is also a book written by Paul Satloff who has got Abdelwahabb a place amongst the righteous among the nations entitled Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands.

    Comment by ZinZin — 1st February, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

  54. Sunny,
    Would you believe it, you made me chuckle!

    That Dave Hill article is interesting.
    I think it highlights a problem with abstract middle class liberalism though — it’s lack of mass marketability. It fails to inspire.

    For example, I like the NGN idea, which is why I signed up to it. But if I could suggest one improvement, it would be a sense of collective pride, a new immigrant-driven patriotism.

    I’m sure I’m not the only second-gen or third-gen immigrant to have ambitions for my parent’s/grandparent’s adopted country.

    When it comes to advancing racial, even sexual, harmony, the likes of Sid, Sunny, and Leon don’t stand a chance comapred with the likes of flag-waving Amir Khan, Monty Panesar, and Freddie Mercury.

    No offence intended

    Comment by El Cid — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  55. thanks duc and for your links sahil. Michael P - yep too right. patriotism enters into it quite a bit.

    veering off the point indeed. What- everything I said? How funny :-) ( brushed under the carpet?)

    well precisely - sunny - citizenship doesn’t have to be defined in that way - I brought up the Groundwork example to indicate that.

    However it has to be made clear if it is being used other than in the normal context -of the nation-state. Even more so if tied to a term like ‘British’ - rather than English, Scottish or Welsh or Irish. If people want to talk about citizenship in a more abstract context - the onus is on them to remove it from the confines of the nation-state - if that’s indeed what they are talking about.

    Citizenship - if it is going to make sense as a term used in these sorts of debates - is going to have to be detached from longevity of stay in a place and from specific ( formal, bureaucratic)clauses. Citizenship in that case would make sense to me as say - a mindset - rather.

    But - given the intertwining within the discussion - of citizenship and British identity - what I said is hardly surprising is it? Assuming we accept - yes - forget the passport bit - let’s take the abstract notion of citizenship - there still seems to be some connection being made with identity - and a British identity. So that’s it - the core connection - and hence entirely relevant to what you were talking about.

    As you yourself asked - in the absence of British identity, how are we going to encourage a more inclusive and prevalent form of citizenship? So you are making some sort of link between British identity and citizenship.

    Perhaps what is then pertinent is to point out that what is needed is to think about the identity question.

    Perhaps this is central - I pointed out in my earlier post that I was going to brush over the somewhat automatic assumption ( and in my opinion ridiculous) that identity is conceptualized as being purely group-based.

    ( we’ll ignore for the time being the question about identity and why it is assumed that it must automatically be connected to group or groups. not say just ‘interests’ in general) ( what i said above..)

    So it then comes back to the term ‘British’ and ‘Britishness’. Identity - British - Citizenship. Connections?

    so back to original question - if you don’t have a british identity can you be a good citizen? ( now we can agree citizen in the sense we’ve spoken about - not necessarily passport holding)

    You wondered what glue would be holding people together. seems to me it suggests that you think a british identity will hold people together. Yes No?

    I know we’ve had discussions about this before and you talked about appropriating ‘British’ - to include people who were previously not included. And I thought that was fair enough.

    But this is my core point - appropriate all you like - if that makes sense for you and others.

    BUt - What about those of us for whom the term doesn’t have relevance? And not because we’re worried that we’re not white or english or something or whatever. Just - cos - say we don’t have any particular need to fit in with ‘community’ type labels and such like. Are you suggesting we have to force ourselves into a country/community based identity? The crux of the matter for me is this.

    Call me a rootless cosmpolitan if you like - but are you suggesting rootless cosmopolitans are people who can’t behave like good citizens?

    the linkages that seem to be made automatically between identity and then community and then citizenship aren’t automatic ones for me.

    And the reason I brought up other people from all over the world - living in London - some may have a country /community based identity - or may not as the case may be. What about all of them? Do they all suddenly have to subscribe to a British identity to be considered good citizens?

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

  56. When it comes to advancing racial, even sexual, harmony, the likes of Sid, Sunny, and Leon don’t stand a chance comapred with the likes of flag-waving Amir Khan, Monty Panesar, and Freddie Mercury.

    Monty, Amir and Freddie are great role models for people and I’m not going to take away from that. But our job, as NGN people, is to still create the intellectual and policy framework, and slowly pull the rest of the middle-ground opinion towards us.

    By the way, I’ve been informed of an excellent development as a result of NGN that will be unveiled on CIF next week. Hehe.

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  57. don’t stand a chance comapred with the likes of flag-waving Amir Khan, Monty Panesar, and Freddie Mercury

    Freddie Mercury?? ROFLOL!

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

  58. that’s why i said, you’re leaving out some people with the talk of British identity. It might not matter to you - but my point was - it wasn’t inclusive.

    and actually - before i rush off - if you knew much about the much vaunted Third Sector in London - i.e. charities/social enterprises and regeneration world and you’d realize there are a hell of a lot of people working in these sectors who aren’t British at all. Young people from all over the world - who are living in London - working towards solving the problems of London. you know - examples of the much talked about ‘global civil society’. {Yeah everyone talks about the international investment banker types - and sure they exist too. But they ain’t the only ones}

    So seems like to me - linking ‘British identity’ and ‘civic-mindedness’ isn’t going to apply in ALL CASES i.e. if we’re looking for glue let’s not restrict ourselves to cause effect straight line thinking.

    that was pretty much my point. and if it is veering off the point then again - perhaps none of this is on anyone’s radar. maybe that’s because the focus tends to be on ‘immigrant communities’ or ethnic minorities? and if you’re well-educated jet setty type people don’t consider you a ‘problem’ category that needs ‘integrating’!

    right im off a drink - this is thirsty work this! :-)

    Comment by sonia — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

  59. ‘Call me a rootless cosmpolitan if you like - but are you suggesting rootless cosmopolitans are people who can’t behave like good citizens? ‘

    The answer to that question needs to be paired with the parallel question ‘will a state work if it contains only such people?’

    Who will go on the anti-racist march, sit on the boards of the local school, tally the local election results, and so on?

    Could a state, as an organisation, get by without people who feel a specific loyalty, affinity, identification with it?

    As someone pointed out, companies do. Could/should that model be extended to all the workings of the state, so there are no civic volunteers, only state employees?

    Comment by soru — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  60. This is for the lighter note bit. Not orignally my idea, but made me laugh when I saw it somewhere: you know how we heard that loads of shops withdrew the Goody-endorsed perfume called “Shh…” - well why not help save the environment etc by getting the unwanted stock of unwanted perfumes out of the warehouses (and out of the landfills) and back on the shelves, simply renamed:

    “Shh…ilpa”

    It would be really easy to do wouldn’t it?

    (Apologies if this idea has already been mentioned amongst the zillions of comments posted here since the CBB thing became interesting.)

    Comment by Jag — 1st February, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  61. Sonia is making very relevant and cogent points, as usual (although sometimes going a step or two further than I am comfortable with). I’m not sure how useful the idea of pinning ‘citizenship’ down really is.

    I don’t know what makes a ‘good citizen’ and I don’t think I care which boxes they tick, but I have a pretty clear idea of what constitutes a good neighbour. And that is a damn sight more important to me.

    When I lived in Indonesia it was never expected that I subscribe to Pancasila, but I’d have been a friendless, ineffective and isolated fool if I hadn’t learned the language, made myself aware of the social protocols and adjusted to differing concepts of privacy, punctuality and personal relationships. I was a transient, there for a few years and never a ‘citizen’ in any conceivable sense. But I tried to be a good neighbour and friend; had a really nice leaving do, smashing pressies and still get christmas cards. Of course, I had the advantages of being young, well-educated and working largely with young, well-educated researchers, journos and civil servants. ( Never really bonded with the last group, there was this thing about growing the little-finger nail really long that just set my teeth on edge.)

    So keep the noise down on work-nights, pass the time of day when we bump into each other, return the hedge trimmer in the condition it was lent, and don’t plot to kill me. Other than that, if someone is just passing through, I don’t see why elaborate demands should be made of them. especially when the policy seems to be ‘Let’s make some demands, what should they be?’

    If someone has chosen to make this country their home (and their children’s native land) then they have the right to engage in social and political activities, and a muslim citizen has exactly the same right to urge sharia law (for example) as I have to urge the dissestablishment and marginalisation of all religions. But if you choose to take the role of active and engaged citizen, then at least one rule must apply; urge, argue, persuade but you don’t get to demand.

    Comment by Don — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

  62. Jag - I gather it smells of cat’s pee. Please do not wish that on the glamorous, and obviously fragrant Shilpa.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  63. Thanks CW. I have a lot of time for you too.

    Jagdeep and Ravi:

    Could it be that different people take part in suicide bombing for different reasons? I guess I’m trying to say that the British bombers’ backgrounds differ enormously from practically all of the Palestinian suicide bombers, therefore I don’t know how useful it is to lump them all together. Also, Jagdeep, I’ve never claimed that the young British bombers were being repressed by international Zionism (FYI I don’t believe in a massive Zionist conspiracy), just that the solidarity they felt with the Palestinians was so strong it led them to commit horrible and IMHO unIslamic actions.

    But then again Anas, you don’t care about the suffering of muslims when the oppressors are muslims themselves, uh?

    ??? I’ve posted lots on PP about my dislike of the Saudi regime.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

  64. Don,

    Excellent points, especially:

    “If someone has chosen to make this country their home (and their children’s native land) then they have the right to engage in social and political activities, and a muslim citizen has exactly the same right to urge sharia law (for example) as I have to urge the dissestablishment and marginalisation of all religions. But if you choose to take the role of active and engaged citizen, then at least one rule must apply; urge, argue, persuade but you don’t get to demand.”

    Other than the above paragraph I cannot understand what all the reams of comment and tons of research is meant to achieve.

    Let common sense prevail.

    Comment by Refresh — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

  65. I’m disappointed only Kismet Hardy, who clearly wants Shilpa Shetty’s babies, is carrying on the slogan competition.

    Anas - My problem with suicide bombing is multiple. I completely sympathise with the conditions the Palestinians are put into, but my problem is that Hamas etc are now suicide bomber creators… its not in their interests to end the conflict because then their powerbase erodes. In that sense I feel that many on the Iraeli govt side are also happy to see the conflict carry on because they hold all the cards.

    I just don’t agree with the idea that if someone rapes your wife, you go out there and rape women indiscriminately. That’s what this comes down to.

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  66. So Anas, I will spell it out, because I am trying, as I always do, to make you realise the inadequacy and half baked nature of your analysis. So, what’s the problem with these stupid dickwads from towns and cities across Britain that they undertake and actually carry out suicide bombings across the world and in our country? Your analysis is wretched to describe what is going on here.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  67. I just don’t agree with the idea that if someone rapes your wife, you go out there and rape women indiscriminately. That’s what this comes down to.

    And what have I posted that I suggests that I do agree with that?

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  68. Jagdeep,

    C’mon, you know you want it:

    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://i23.ebayimg.com/04/i/04/75/12/16_2.JPG&imgrefurl=http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-QUEEN-FREDDIE-MERCURY-WITH-UNION-JACK-PIN-BADGE_W0QQitemZ130003579287QQihZ003QQcategoryZ60604QQcmdZViewItem&h=162&w=200&sz=10&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=YcEelQnHQ4s2OM:&tbnh=84&tbnw=104&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfreddie%2Bmercury%2Bjack%2Bunion%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

    Comment by El Cid — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  69. Ah yes Freddie, the greatest Parsi since Zoroaster himself :-)

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  70. So, what’s the problem with these stupid dickwads from towns and cities across Britain that they undertake and actually carry out suicide bombings across the world and in our country?

    A lot of anger at what’s being done to fellow Muslims I guess, at least that’s what they say in their last videos.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 6:58 pm

  71. Anas,
    Is that their only problem? Is it indeed their main problem? I have withdrawn the profanity that was coming next.

    Comment by El Cid — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

  72. Anas, you are a real piece of work.

    I just watched an ITN news report of a British Indian reporter (called Rohit Something) in Alum Rock getting abused and fronted up to shouted at and intimidated by the locals because he asked some questions about the men who have been arrested in Birmingham. This is the same part of the country that Dispatches reported on 2 weeks ago that had preachers vomiting their hate ridden jihadi filth to captive audiences of ‘youths’. It’s making me despair. At the end of the day you don’t matter — you’re just a boy at a computer in Scotland. There are real people out there plotting evil stuff and they think they are righteous and there are people stoking the kind of twisted and warped mentality that sees arresting terrorist suspects as an example of collective punishment. God Help Us All.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:09 pm

  73. Don, you make some good points but all these situations have an impact on policy level.

    As Soru asks quite pertinently, this is about the role of the state and how it perceives its citizens.

    I also think that the situation we’re in is quite tricky. Britain is one of the most open soeicties in the world and London the most cosmopolitan. Now most of the people in London are immigrants and keep their head down and work. What happens though when the immigrants want equal rights and the right to say what they want… or develop values that are quite different to the majority.

    For example, young British Muslims are becoming inscreasingly religious while Britain is becoming more secular. So we already see some clashes in the form of free speech, incitement to hatred etc. But more than that, we see it in the way that young British Asians (and I include Sikhs and Hindus too in this) don’t feel part of this country. Now that has an impact on how they interact and how they engage. If they don’t act like proper citizens then they become disenfranchised and get mis-represented and sometimes get radicalised. All this has to be taken into account, no?

    When you’re living in Indonesia, you lived as an expat… in a way that meant you did your neighbourly duties but the unwritten agreement was that you didn’t have a part to play in how Indonesian society progressed. But there is a slightly different dynamic at play here.

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:09 pm

  74. ‘Horrible and … unislamic… their actions are wrong. Any adult of sound mind has a choice whether they blow themselves up or not…Suicide bombings are indeed senseless vengeance and not self-defense…’

    Either Anas is not an apologist for suicide bombings or he’s really crap at it. I suspect the former.

    Personally, if a Palestinian straps explosives onto himself and throws himself under a tank or armoured bulldozer, I could respect that. A cafe or bus, not.

    I disagree with many of his points, but I’d nominate him for ‘Most Misinterpreted’.

    Comment by Don — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  75. At the end of the day you don’t matter — you’re just a boy at a computer in Scotland.

    Even so, I manage to wind you up no end, without even trying :)

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  76. I’m as chilled as an eskimo in snow Anas, I don’t type in anger, that’s all cool and true advice and observance.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  77. “Seriously, I cannot believe that on a supposedly progressive, Asian website, that hardly anyone can make the connection between the Palestinian situation and other liberation struggles of native peoples under colonialist suppression.”

    Anas as you are a Chomsky fan why not take heed of his opposition to the Vietnam war. He was against the war but he did not support the stalinist VC to do so would have contradicted his libertarian principles.

    Backing Hezbullah, excusing suicide bombings and endless whining about the suffering of British Muslims?
    Come on Anas who are your real heros as Chomsky appears to have had little influence on you.

    Comment by ZinZin — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  78. Didn’t you hear about Chomsky going to meet Nasrallah, ZZ?

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

  79. Anas is lost and confused somewhere between the Ummah and Chomsky. For some reason he doesnt like to hang out on the forums of MPACUK too much. Maybe deep down he realises what a bunch of clowns they are. Hence he spends all his time chilling with us and occasionally declaims, pumped full of righteous pride, ‘Call yourself a progressive Asian website? Grrrrrr!’

    We love ya Anas ;-)

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  80. Sunny,

    That was partly my point. As Sonia pointed out, not everyone who arrives in this country seeks to make it their home. Many are ‘expats’ in the sense that they are putting in a few years for financial or experiential or survival reasons. Fine, just be a good neighbour and I am more than happy to be flexible.

    Those who do seek to make it their home are in a different position and there I agree with you. To feel a part of society requires a sense that your voice is heard. I am in a privileged position ( not silver-spoon privileged, working class credentials at the ready) in that I can say any damn thing I choose and no-one will question my right to do so. That other citizens are challenged on grounds of point of origin when they do this is unacceptable, no matter how wrong-headed, unreasonable or plain loopy these views may be.

    I didn’t intend to over-simplify and I fully agree with your paras #3 and #4.

    Comment by Don — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

  81. From a talk by Norman Finkelstein:

    I don’t think the Hizbullah question is particularly complicated. We have, with all due respect, we have oldsters in the room. And I think a lot of the oldsters, in particular if they’re of Jewish descent, they were 100% behind the Red Army’s victory over the Fascist occupation. And they were thrilled when the Red Army smashed the Nazi war machine. And I’m sure a lot of the oldsters in this room were thrilled at the communist and socialist resistances in many of the countries of Western Europe to the Nazi occupation. Now, Stalin’s record on human rights was NOT exactly what you would call stellar [audience laughter]… And neither was the record of the Communist Parties… but we all recognize the right of any people to resist a foreign occupation of their land. And the Hezbollah resisted the brutal Israeli occupation of Lebanon and dealt them a swift blow and defeat. I, for one, am very glad about that [audience applause]… I think a foreign occupier should be thrown out of countries [audience applause]… And I personally would be the very worst hypocrite in the world were I to condemn the Hezbollah for it’s defeat of the Israeli occupation, whereas ’till this day I still celebrated the Red Army’s defeat of the Nazi occupation of Europe. I refuse to be a hypocrite. They had a right to expell the foreign occupiers, so does Hezbollah. It was a splendid victory [audience applause]…

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

  82. I come here for the company to be honest. Look how many friends I’ve made, Zinzin, Chairwoman, and (I hope) Jagdeep too.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  83. Anas, I’m sure that everyone else is as touched that you enjoy their company as I am.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

  84. Anas
    I doubt that Chomsky wants to drive the zionists into the sea. A Hezbollah supporter like yourself on the other hand…

    Comment by ZinZin — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  85. Anas - Not a fan generally of Norm, but as I come from a family that was shocked by the perfidy of ‘Uncle Joe’, there are some points there that strike a chord.

    But I don’t think that Israel has ever intended to occupy Lebanon. I don’t think that Israel has any territorial designs on Lebanon at all. It would be a spectacularly unpopular move. Don’t forget Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon because that is what the people demanded of their government. Soldiers refused to go there and the man in the street said ‘Withdraw, we don’t want their country, and we don’t want to send our soldiers there anymore’.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  86. But I don’t think that Israel has ever intended to occupy Lebanon.

    I’m not so sure about that CW, they were there for years before the accumulating losses chucked them out.

    NOW! Can we please come up with some more slogans around CBB??

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  87. But I don’t think that Israel has ever intended to occupy Lebanon.

    False

    Don’t forget Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon because that is what the people demanded of their government.

    Yeah, and Hezbollah kicked their asses.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  88. I don’t want to drive anyone into the sea, ZZ.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  89. BTW, I finally got round to writing up my little report on Lenni Brenner’s talk on Zionism and anti-Semitism.

    Comment by Anas — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

  90. BTW, I finally got round to writing up my little report on Lenni Brenner’s talk on Zionism and anti-Semitism.

    Do you get out much, Anas?

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  91. Sunny - They didn’t do anything with the land they were sitting on, they just sat on it. No settlements, no farms, just soldiers.

    Anas - They wore them down, yes. Kicked their asses, no. I’ve already read your report, and left you a note.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  92. Hizbollah Taxis - we’ll drive you to the sea.

    Pizza HuT - we give you Mo

    al qaeda furniture - self-disassembe required

    Comment by soru — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  93. Jagdeep - Obviously, he went to the talk! :-)

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  94. I can’t think of any good Big Brother slogans Sunny sorry. I reckon all those catty actresses in Bollywood must be seething with jealousy though. Shilpa is going to become very rich indeed and her profile here will probably catapult her to A list status back in Bollywood because they suddenly have a name that will attract interest in the lucrative overseas market beyond the Indian diaspora.

    Would be great to see Shilpa in some British films or TV roles too — but my wife thinks she will get major modelling contracts for cosmetic companies, perhaps even a fashion brand, perfume and jewellry range. She’s instantly become a household name in Britain. Everyone knows Shilpa.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

  95. I think Mrs Jagdeep’s on the money there.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

  96. Sari’s are big business. Go to Southall and some of the boutiques there sell saris for thousands of pounds. But that’s not where the big money is. Mrs Jagdeep says Shilpa could bring out a range of clothes for a high street fashion brand that mixes her Indian chic for the masses. She pulled off the jeans and Indian shirt look very elegantly. I reckon she’d be a massive success.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

  97. Or Ealing Road, great evening shoes too. Yes I agree with Mrs J. Lots of white and black women wear similar things, though we don’t look quite like Shilpa!

    Perhaps they could open a boutique in Top Shop, and call it Top Shilp.

    I’m sorry, I can’t stop making bad jokes today. I’d better switch off and watch Law and Order.

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

  98. Chairwoman without bad jokes this place would be unbearable.

    Comment by Jagdeep — 1st February, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

  99. What about an “‘ello ‘ello” set in British India? Think of the fun we could have with a mixed panel of writers! Or maybe one in British-ruled Palestine? OK, maybe not.

    Comment by El Cid — 1st February, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

  100. Blimey:
    http://education.independent.co.uk/schools/article2201860.ece

    Comment by El Cid — 1st February, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  101. That is a great article El Cid! Wow there is hope :)

    Comment by Sahil — 1st February, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

  102. They didn’t do anything with the land they were sitting on, they just sat on it. No settlements, no farms, just soldiers.

    Sure, but it’s not like they don’t have a history of building settlements on land they know they don’t own. They can get away with palestinian land, I think building on clearly defined Lebanese territory would be a step too far.

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

  103. They didn’t want Lebanon. It’s all about a certain land, not any old land. When Israel gives up any of the disputed land, they will do it pragmatically, for peace. But Israelies believe that that land should, by rights, belong to them. Please don’t protest about whether it does or not, I’m just trying to explain the mindset to you, because I want you to understand why Lebanon has never been in the equation at all

    Comment by Chairwoman — 1st February, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  104. Damn you Anas.
    Look what you started.

    Comment by ZinZin — 1st February, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

  105. I understand the mindset CW, don’t get me wrong. But that doesn’t mean I agree that those actions then justify keeping the Palestinians in a mass-hostage situation.

    Comment by Sunny — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

  106. El Cid

    Great article. Sounds as well that the situation developed kind of organically without policy makers behind it. Wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t many parents who would feel the same way as some of those.

    Comment by William — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:43 pm

  107. “Watching news coverage of the nine arrests today, of the people who wanted to kidnap and behead the British Muslim soldier, I was thankful at least that John Reid did not start making wild claims in front of TV cameras as he did last time with ‘terror in the skies’.”

    Be more thankful it didn’t happen. That would’ve really caused some bad shit. Seriously. And it may cause soem shit yet - I’m unconvinced the soldier is under police protection for his own protection, and doubtless leave has been stopped in his unit.

    Comment by Bert Preast — 1st February, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

  108. Zin Zin, If we are going where I think we’re going then I think we’ve already demonstrated a pretty lively debate on another thread without it deteriorating into condescenion and worse.

    Given this will keep coming up, no surprise, we might as well get on with it.

    I guess our starting point is listing all the groups we hate. (Of course mine would be to state the outcome we want, and then work out what gets in the way).

    Comment by Refresh — 2nd February, 2007 @ 12:02 am

  109. Don’t worry, I’m keeping out of it

    Comment by El Cid — 2nd February, 2007 @ 12:04 am

  110. El Cid, why should anyone worry?

    Speak your mind. I know everyone else will.

    Comment by Refresh — 2nd February, 2007 @ 2:09 am

  111. Hello! Hello? Anyone home?

    “Speak your mind. I know everyone else will.”

    Obviously no one will!

    Comment by Refresh — 2nd February, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  112. Don’s said it very well in point 80. That’s a great way of putting what is important - and what I think is positive - about {what I understand about} what Sunny is saying in general.

    Not to oversimplify again - but often there is a core idea that people agree with - and then different ways of expressing them ( in such a complex area) will lead to highlighting differences of approach/context/how far different folks want to take same idea (which is essentially what i was going on about)

    Comment by sonia — 2nd February, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  113. The Sun: now with 15% less racism

    The Mail: scientifically proven to guard against your children being stolen by gypsies

    The Express: why settle for the lesser evil?

    Comment by soru — 2nd February, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  114. douglas clark - 21 - well said.

    don - good points. and i agree with what you’re saying about “I’m not sure how useful the idea of pinning ‘citizenship’ down really is.” actually that’s probably my point really - citizenship is currently pinned down to a very specific bureaucratic thing -i.e. the passport thing and pleading allegiance etc. to the Crown blah blah (if you’re going through the ‘naturalization’ ceremony say) - all of which are pretty specific things. i guess i mean that it would be nice to get away from such specificity - to a more abstract notion of citizenship. not that im suggesting that citizenship can’t also refer to that aspect of as well - but perhaps a plurality..

    it’s getting away really from this mentality that sunny’s referred to - “unwritten agreement” if oh if you’re an expat you’re not playing a part etc. in society. that’s again - precisely what is changing - and i thought it would be great if we could recognize the shift. the bottom line is some people are interested in what’s happening around them, expat, citizen, immigrant or whatever, and some people aren’t - even if they are supposed to be playing a part. I think we could make some progress with the whole ‘political apathy’ thing if we realize who’s actually interested and who’s not. Back to the global civil society thing.

    An interesting sidenote on all this is that there’s a whole ‘forgotten electorate’( in my opinion) here in the UK. People who don’t possess British citizenship
    (in the technical sense) but if legal residents are allowed to vote. all these international students who’re well up for being engaged and political who might be thinking they can’t influence the actual voting procedure.. ! Just think. And there I was as an undergrad listening to false info from our international students advisor about ‘how we couldn’t vote’. Tchah.

    Comment by sonia — 2nd February, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  115. :-)

    “For example, I like the NGN idea, which is why I signed up to it. But if I could suggest one improvement, it would be a sense of collective pride, a new immigrant-driven patriotism.”

    heh. if it had that ‘improvement’ as you frame it - i wouldn’t have been up for signing it. ‘pride’ and ‘new patriotism’ are the two things that sound a warning to me. a collective something or other - yes that’s fine - but the patriotism thing - far too many negative connotations, far too much of a ‘we have to be this way type of strong group’ - too much emphasis on ‘conformity’ ‘group’ rather than individuals - all the things that ring my anarcho-bells ding dong. If anything I thought the whole point of NGN was getting away from that.

    ( different perspectives of course)

    Comment by sonia — 2nd February, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  116. Another side to the point you are making, Sonia, is that some people who are engaged in political, economic, social activism, or just interested enough to develop their own opinions, are thinking about issues of human rights, economic justice, social equality, environmental protection, the role of science and technology, impacts of human activity on earth systems, the diversity of human communities under globalisation and so on.

    Issues which the State becomes just part of a bigger jigsaw of actors, and one which isn’t usually the easiest to engage with or the most responsive to the concerns being raised. State agencies might be very relevant and effective in many circumstances, we might miss them if they disappeared, but they don’t have much to offer to people who are more conscious about starvation abroad than recycling targets in the UK.

    Since we all have limitied time, resource and energy, we can choose to focus on some issues as “citizens” or people who care, or whatever term we should use that is less exclusive. And so while the State wants to consult us on community plans and the local development framework, or the latest piece of proposed legislation, most active citizens would feel that is a distraction from the more urgent issues where the State is more of a hindrance than a help.

    Involvement in organisations like Liberty, Greenpeace, Oxfam and Amnesty International can allow us to engage in collective action which is more direct, and pay for people to make the effort of responsing to the State on the issues with more research and skill than we might be caable of as individuals in any case. Whether those joining with or opposing me hold UK passports, something else or none is of no relevance.

    Comment by Arif — 2nd February, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  117. i think i ought to recommend this article from the israeli press today, the sentiments of which i agree with wholeheartedly:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/819499.html

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

    Comment by bananabrain — 2nd February, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  118. Me too

    Comment by Chairwoman — 2nd February, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

  119. Amen to that bananabrain, hope there are some politicans who on both sides who have any vision and balls.

    Comment by Sahil — 2nd February, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

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