Sunday, December 30, 2007
Christopher Hitchens: Secularist Fundamentalist
By Michael Devolin
I used to enjoy Christopher Hitchens and his articles critical of Islam. I assumed at the time he could discern the difference between the barbarities of Islam-barbarities no different in this 21st century than they were in the 7th century-and the benignant tenets of Judaism and how these same tenets have proven to be as beneficial to mankind today as they were before, during, and after the Hellenic age. To equate the long ago defiant independence movement of the Maccabee Jews and their adherence to the nationalist aspirations of Judaism with the expansionist and anti-Jewish ideologies of both Christianity and Islam is to blame the Jews for the genocide of Adolph Hitler's Holocaust and the bloodlust and violence of Osama bin Laden's jihadist terrorism. What Hitchens fails to mention in Bah Hanukkah is that the Maccabean revolt was not the only nationalist movement the history of that era records for us. There were also the provinces of Bactria, Parthia, and Cappadocia who asserted their independence. There were more than the Jews of Israel (not "Palestine") with whom the idea of being conquered and subsequently ruled by foreign invaders who demanded taxes and taught philosophy and religion at the point of the sword did not sit well. I guess this historical fact, the brutality of the Greek army, was lost on Hitchens, or maybe he intentionally avoided mentioning it. Primo Levi wrote, "An extreme case of the distortion of a committed guilty act is found in its suppression."
According to Christopher Hitchens, history has forgiven rulers such as Alexander the Great of rampaging about the world imposing by force upon conquered peoples the adoption of Hellenist philosophy and religious sentiment and, as happened in the land of Israel at the time, not only the prohibition of Judaism but also the worship of the G-D of Israel as defined in Judaism. Miserable secularist that he is, Hitchens fails to mention also that the Greeks demanded the Jews worship their gods, a decree antithetical to the tenets of Judaism. His praise of Hellenism's "secularism and philosophy" is not only a contradiction of the fact that Hellenism was all about the polytheistic worship of a pantheon of Greek gods, but also, laughably, this imposture conflicts with his personal and many published aggrandizements of secularism. The angry stupidity of Christopher Hitchens proves the veracity of the proverb, "Zeal without reflection is dangerous."
Our poor historian then excoriates the Maccabean dynasty for becoming "exorbitantly corrupt, vicious, and divided." Just like the Islamic fundamentalists whom Hitchens so often accuses of malice, he now imitates their propagandists by obfuscating the harsh and dissentious realities endured by the Jewish people in Israel (not "Palestine") during the Greek and Roman occupations. He fails to mention that these same Greek and Roman "saviours" and their respective god-cultures were responsible for the politically and religiously motivated murder of Jews by hundreds and thousands. From this point on I will refer to Hitchens' mendacious zeal as "secularist fundamentalism". I think the show fits.
Maybe, like his easily distracted countryman David Irving, Hitchens is attempting to rewrite history. Perhaps he doesn't take Jewish history seriously enough to recount it in real context and with the respect it deserves. Perhaps he could learn much from those Jews who today dutifully remember to each other those few glorious days in ancient Israel (not "Palestine") when the brave Maccabees made it known to Antiochus in no uncertain terms that his murdering thousands of observant Jews would never interrupt their obedience to the numinous intransigence of the laws of their Torah. The Maccabees are not the thugs in the story of Hanukkah, regardless Mr. Hitchens' sciolistic interpretation of their story.
Lastly, I haven't read anywhere that observant Jews disbelieve the world is "made up of atoms." On the contrary, if I remember correctly, there have been a few Orthodox Jewish physicists awarded the Nobel Prize for their work in this field of science. As for Hitchens' "intellectual renegade who prefers Athens to Jerusalem," I'm reminded of a summation of Plato and Aristotle written by Blaise Pascal, a very religious Roman Catholic and a physicist: "when they diverted themselves with writing their Laws and Politics, they did it as an amusement. That part of their life was the least philosophic and the least serious; the most philosophic was to live simply and quietly. If they wrote on politics, it was laying down rules for a lunatic asylum; and if they presented the appearance of speaking of a great matter, it was because they knew that the madmen, to whom they spoke, thought they were kings and emperors. They entered into their principles in order to make their madness as little harmful as possible." Now if only the irreligious Christopher Hitchens would consider the harm and the hurt caused by his insensitive and abrasive language. No-0ne is forcing him to light a candle, although it sounds to me like Mr. Hitchens is by far the loudest at "bitching about the darkness."
Written by Michael Devolin© Copyright 2002-2007 by Magic City Morning Star
From Magic City Morning Star
Islam Is Not an Island
By Michael Devolin
Immediately I read in the National Post about a young Muslim girl being strangled by her Muslim father, I anticipated the usual laboured efforts of Islam's apologists and Canada's many obtuse multiculturalists to exculpate the religion of Islam and instead blame it all on bad old human nature. Although Ms. Parvez's was strangled because she refused to wear the Muslim hijab, although the alleged perpetrators of this crime were both Muslim, although this dress code is a part of Pakistan's Muslim culture, Shahina Siddiqui, of the Islamic Social Services Association, promises a horrified Canada that this homicide is "the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to colour or creed."
It should be obvious to all ordinary Canadians that Shahina Siddiqui is deliberately obfuscating the historical fact that Islam's religious violence has nothing to do with colour and everything to do with Islam's impetuous creed. This is the same religion whose Sudanese followers demanded hundreds of lashes and even the sentence of death for a British non-Muslim teacher who happened to name a teddy bear "Mohammed." For the life of me, I cannot fathom why naming a teddy bear, a lifeless toy, Mohammed is offensive, but naming so many of Islam's sons Mohammed, some of whom actually behave as though their terrorist acts speak with as much authority as the Prophet himself, is not. Personally, I'd be more discomposed by the irreparable damage these frenzied religious have already done to Islam's reputation than the innocuous and motherly behaviour of a dedicated and loving British teacher toward Muslim children. It should be (and probably is) obvious to all ordinary Canadians that a Muslim father strangling his Muslim daughter for refusing to wear the Muslim hijab in public is most certainly the result of the Muslim culture taught him in the Muslim country from where he emigrated.
Jasmine Zine, a sociology professor at Wilfred Laurier University, has determined that "Muslim girls in Canada are struggling to reconcile Muslim traditions with more secular Western behaviour." Apparently Prof. Zine summates that, compared to Muslims, the behaviour of Western Jews and Christians is "more secular" simply by virtue of their appearance. Obviously, Jews and Christians need to behead a few innocent aid workers in Iraq, or maybe explode themselves in the midst of a few hundred Russian school children in Beslan to be acknowledged as "religious" instead of the wishy-washy "secular". Prof. Zine's estimation is simply another example of Western academia's many blundered attempts to portray the very violent behaviour of so many religious Muslims as no different from the good behaviour of so many religious Jews and Christians. In the case of Ms. Parvez, Prof. Zine makes great effort to equate the regressively brutal cultures of Islam with the tolerant and progressive cultures of Christianity and Judaism. As for "competing cultural demands," it appears to me that the only competing culture is Islam's, and the only demands being made are Islam's.
Prof. Zine laments that Muslim girls "dress in one manner at home and another at school." This has been-in an entirely different context, mind you-the practice of Islam's terrorists too. This was the point I made at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in regards to those Muslims employed by McMaster University who emigrated from Muslim countries where the veridical efficacy of the religion of Islam has produced cultures of violence and anti-Jewish/anti-Western hatred. I do not believe for a moment that such hatreds are extirpated immediately these Muslim immigrants depart their respective Islamic country of origin for the Western world's democracies. As Mark Steyn wrote, "Islam is a religion and an explicitly political one-unlike the birthplace of your grandfather, it's not something you leave behind in the old country. Indeed, for many of its adherents in the West, it becomes their principle expression-a pan-Islamic identity that transcends borders."
Barbara Kay titled a recent article, 'How Canada let Aqsa down.' I totally disagree. Islam let Aqsa Parvez down. And Islam gets away with this let down simply because Western journalists and Western academia have not the courage to point out the fact that whenever these brutal cultural anomalies are exposed in Western societies, the religion of Islam is, in every case, a part of the ugly picture. Our mistake is that we continually and injudiciously blame our human nature as a means of exculpating the religion of Islam.
John Donne wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself." Well, hey, the same applies to the religion of Islam. Islam is not an island separate from those zealots who act out its malefic ideology. It was not domestic violence that robbed Aqsa Parvez of her life; it was the religion of Islam. It is the religion of Islam that threatens Canada and Canadians, not the terrorists who act out its tenets. Until Islam is properly and honestly identified by the Canadian justice system as the insalubrious ideology spurring animals like Mohammed Parvez to murder his own daughter, we cannot expect a cessation or abating of such familial brutality within our borders. Moreover, if the religion of Islam ever arrogates to its litigious zealots a majority vote in Canada's future elections, whether provincial or federal, we can expect far worse.
"Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm." -Malaysian proverb© Copyright 2002-2007 by Magic City Morning Star