Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Prayer for a Butchered Poet

        I remember my amazement at my enormity of my ignorance of Islam when I started to read on the subject after 9/11. Not only did I know nothing but as the new ideas about the world I live in started to get molded in my head I realized the absolute silliness of my previous world-view, the bizarre cacoon of nonsense that I believe was the true reflection of the Maker’s design of the universe.  The feeling of utter dismay at one’s own the pathetic grasp of issues and one’s  own set of beliefs in the light of new discoveries, I am told is a sign of intellectual agility. I am happy to report that I have marvelled at my own ignorance ever since I can remember.

          The first book I picked up after the architectural decapitation of Manhattan was Dilip Hiro’s Holy Wars: the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.  Very useful book in its own right but at the time it had the added wow effect of a guide in a new grasp of things.  Among the things which sort of left an indelible mark on me was an anecdote from the Salman Rushdie debates in the Muslim world. It appears that the al-Azhar scholars initially denounced Khomeini’s fatwa on the author of Satanic Verses as un-Islamic. He shut them up with a single reference to an incident in the Sirah, the biography of the Prophet that most Muslims consider sacred.  Khomeini silenced his critics with a simple proposition: if Muhammad himself sent his followers to kill the poet who mocked the Messenger of God who are you to tell me I am not the follower of his teachings. There were no further protests from the scholars in Cairo.

           Here is an abridged version of the killing of Kaab bin al-Ashraf as recounted in the Muslim holy book. 

   After being sent on their way by the Prophet with the words ‘Go in God’s name: O God help them!’, the assassins joined Kaab in his house:  …’then Abu Naila said, ‘would you like to walk with us to Shi’b al-‘Ajuz, so that we can talk for the rest of the night ?’. ‘If you like’, [Kaab]  answered, so they went off walking together; and after a time Abu Naila ran his hand through his hair. Then he smelt his hand and said, ‘I have never smelt a scent finer than this’. They walked on farther and he did the same so that Kaab suspected no evil (!). Then after a space, he did the third time, and cried: ‘Smite the enemy of God !’.  So they smote him, and their swords clashed over him with no effect. ..Maslama said ‘I remembered my dagger when I saw that our swords were useless, and I seized it.  Meanwhile the enemy of God had made such a noise that every fort around us was showing a light. I thrust it into the lower part of his body, then I bore down on it until I reached his genitals, and the enemy of God fell to the ground…..We…brought him to the apostle at the end of the night. We saluted him as he stood praying, and he came to us, and we told him that we killed the enemy of God. He spat upon our comrade’s wounds and he and we returned to our families. Our attack upon God’s enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in Medina who did not fear for his life.

            Terry Glavin (Ottawa Citizen, Moral Illiterates weigh in on Woolwich, May 24, 2013) is evidently not in the habit of marvelling at his own ignorance. It looks more like he prefers to bask in his moral superiority over people whose world-view is even more abysmally ignorant than his own.  He sizes Woolwich butchers the type ‘of a lunatic who thinks he is a Muslim’, and opines that the view that terrorism is a payback for the West’s perceived misdeeds in places like Iraq and Afghanistan is not the view of the mosques but ‘rubbish coming from the mouths of moral illiterates’.

           Glavin’s view, insofar as it even qualifies as opinion and not familiar posing, has all the marks of popular idiocies supplied by the chattering classes who have little grasp of world history and cultures.  As a rule, they replace an intelligent, balanced view of the society which nurtured them with a mushy feel-good happy-go-lucky Babylon that would be the best of possible worlds but for a few  misguided fools and reactionary miscreants.  This is the halothane view of multiculturalism as featured in Little Mosque on the Prarie where all conflicts stem from misunderstandings, and all misunderstandings are ours of them.  Plots are simple and solutions to them obvious.  In this world view there is no open hostility to democracy and advocacy of sharia, no no-go ghettos in London, Luton or the West Midlands, or Malmo, where this ‘future’ blueprint for world-wide Khalifah is being prototyped today. There is no denial of legal equality of women with men. In this Weltanschauung there are at the worst ‘some imams in some dinghy mosques’ but no Saudi-trained clerics in hundreds of Saudi built, hyper-modern opulent mosques in America and Europe arguing only about the tactics in defeating the great Satan. In this world view there may be ‘dingbat backstreet ayatollahs’ but no real ayatollahs busy building nuclear weapons.   There are moral defectives spouting ‘co-called West fighting the so-called Muslim World’ trying the make an issue of ‘deranged losers’ in Boston and ‘cretins with Sarf London accents’ in Woolwich.   But assuredly there is no disembowelled Jewish poet in the biography of their prophet which gives their homicidial manias sanction and the assurance that they are fighting the enemies of God.

             Glavin, is evidently not living in the invader's territory where you can be beaten up for smoking during Ramadan or maimed simply because you are a gay in a pub. The social realities of London's Tower Hamlets are strangely at odds with his fantasy of the Muslim ‘mainstream’. Perhaps he does not even realize that projecting a mainstream into the Muslim social reality of ummah, is as silly as believing that Lenin’s policy of democratic centralism was a pledge to democracy.  The parallel is very apropos given the scorn of both the bolsheviks and  Islamist theocrats have for the views of common people. Mainstream can only function in a political culture that respects and cherishes human commonality and values its corrective function. Sure, Islam in the past had enlightened rulers. But there was never in the ‘so-called Muslim world’ anything even remotely aniticipating democracy of the ‘so-called West’.  This is what fundamentally separates us.  (If you want a shining example of the difference in mentality consider the Sunni legal maxim that sixty years of tyranny are better than one day of anarchy, across Jefferson’s view that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.)

      Of course it makes no sense to lay siege to random mosques seeking condemnation and pledges of civic  loyalty from “whichever hapless imam happens to answer to doorbell”.  But notice the poverty of options in the supposition.  It is as if British intelligence did not know who the preachers of hatred in the Muslim communities are. But they do know. So does Terry Glavin. The babble about Muslim mainstream is just a spiel he and the other lefty media twits deploy to divert attention from a growing social problem which does not fit their narrative and they think will go away if you only stick your head into sand a little deeper.
       No-one wants to harass ‘harmlessly devout’ Muslims who came to the West to better themselves, and to give their children the chance to live in a saner society. No-one except unmedicated psychos.  It is not Muslims who accept the basic structure of  Western society (and are prepared to tolerate its faults) that the common folk is leery about.  Everyone who listens to ordinary Brits in pubs knows that.  Evidently it would not be the elitist narcissists with their heavily censored view of Islamic realities. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Art of Defending a Psycho Killer


Of course I don’t know that Dellen Millard is a psycho killer. He has not been tried and convicted of anything. Yet.  Under normal circumstances, it would be unfair to an accused in a case of a revolting  murder to proffer labels to describe him.  But under normal circumstances the unravelling of the investigation into Bosma killing it is not.  The case looks nothing short of bizarre, given that the accused stays silent while his lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, talks awful lot.  Just yesterday, he is reported as saying that he might seek a change of venue when the trial starts in the Superior Court in light of the case publicity which he deems prejudicial to his client.

    There has been TMK  nothing that has appeared in the mainstream media that was in any way intended to harm Millard. What has come out may have been damaging to his defense and of course the press has an obligation to report on such curious coincidences as the suspicious death of Dellen’s father (suicide, reportedly by a shot to his eye) , and the disappearance of a young woman whose last recorded cell-phone call was to the former child aviator prodigy. The latter case gets even more tangled with the latest revelation that her vanishing coincides in time with Millard’s purchase of an incinerator to dispose of dead farm animals. It is also a fact that he owns no livestock.  The emerging picture is beginning to look pretty damning to Dellen Millard.  But that’s no-one’s fault. 

      By contrast, it is Deepak Paradkar who seems well schooled in overstatement and diversions.  In his first appearance as Millard’s counsel before Bosma’s body was found, he declared his client ‘100% not guilty’ of the charges of abduction and theft and added gratuitously that his client was ‘completely in shock’ by the allegations.  Then the charred remains of Bosma were found on Millard’s property.  ‘He is extremely concerned by the escalation of the charges’, Paradkar offered as a way of denying his client knew the ride ended in a homicide.  There is something distinctly unreal about the lawyer’s perception of the situation his client finds himself in.  He described his involvement with Millard  as ‘the highest calling [to defend cases such as this]’ but he seems to be  at a loss to answer the simplest and most natural question put to him after the court appearance on May 15: ‘How did he get himself in this situation then ?  Answer went like this:  ’Gentlemen like him…. and [with] his background , ….don’t know how he would end up ….with other individuals who may or may not be involved in this…’ (Watch the linked clip at ~3:20. Precious !) .

    Obviously, Paradkar either does not understand the gravity the setting or is determined to stonewall the process to hell like the late lamentable Johnnie Cochran.  Neither speaks well of him as a professional.  First, if Millard does not make a full disclosure to him, he should drop the case.  And there is some question as to whether this is what is happening.  If he as a lawyer decides to speak publicly of his client’s innocence he should know the answer to the question: ‘How did an intelligent, unassuming gentleman from a good family who is something of a philosopher get acquainted with the company of degenerate killers ?’  Millard has to tell him that or he can’t defend the charges.  He cannot hedge absurdly on  the point of Millard’s knowing the identity of Tim Bosma’s killer.

     Paradkar’s other mistake is to believe that his talking helps to dispel the misgivings people have  about his client’s silence.  Someone who is innocent of the crime he is charged with but nonetheless has some undeniable connection to it would talk to the police. It is as unnatural not to talk in a situation like this as it is for someone intent on blowing his brains out to do it through an eye-socket.   To say that Millard remains silent for fear that he may ‘inadvertently’ reveal something that could be used against him will not sit well no matter what.  It would have sufficed to state that his client has the right to remain silent and leave it at that.  This of course is nothing compared with the poor judgment Paradkar showed by insinuating there is a ‘framing aspect’ in the case against his client.  Gross ! He should be censured by the bar.  No, the only person creating trouble for Dellen Millard’s defense, over and above of what he has apparently done himself, has been his attorney.

The picture in the inset is a profile from Steam gaming site believed to be Millard.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Of Mouse Traps and Public Men

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Conrad Black doesn’t get the big issue in the Wright-Duffy scandal and sees it as a media witch hunt. But I am.  Funny thing that: I used to take some heavy hits for defending Black with my lefty friends at the time of his troubles saying in effect that the case against him was a civil and not a criminal matter, and that the dossier against had a political odour –  in the Chicago of latter days one gets judged (evidently even in criminal matters) on whether one’s ‘values’  are those of the Second City. It is that which decides whether you can open a fried-chicken fast food joint, or whether you spend a few years in the joint.  My big point in Black’s defense was that one cannot apply standards of public conduct to Black merely because he has a public profile. He held no public office (in the US) and had no-one to answer to in financial dealings than to his investors and business partners if these did not involve defrauding public at large.  What he was convicted of might have looked bad but it was not a job for a prosecutor. Surprisingly, given the passions that Conrad Black stirs among complete strangers, I was able to make some headway with people who were able to grasp the issue of the requisites in public versus private conduct. 

Now, it seems Conrad Black himself has some difficulty deciding what is public business and what is not. In today’s National Post (18/5/2013), he calls for the end of harassment of Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy. He writes in operatic strokes of pen that it is an instance of unusual loyalty and generosity to a friend, but is not so unusual that it should be mistaken as a dishonest act between honest men.  Really ?  Is that what that was ?  Or is it just a sigh of Conrad Black realizing there is a Wright missing among his friends ?

 The problem is,  honesty or dishonesty, loyalty, generosity and friendship do not enter into the debate here.  Nigel Wright is a Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office;  Mike Duffy is a Canadian Senator.  Both are public figures who answer to the public for financial dealings they make in (and out of) their respective office.  If Mr Duffy admits to charging Canadian public for his senatorial expenses improperly and intimates he has repaid the excess claims, it is certainly big news item if it turns out he settled his debt with money that was not his and which he was obligated to declare as a senator.  If Mr Wright sends a cheque to a sitting member of the Senate it raises essentially unanswerable questions of the quid pro quo in the exchange – and again much as I would like to grant that it was an unselfish act of loyalty and friendship – I am not stupid to be put to sleep by self-interested babble even as artful as Conrad Black's.  The fact of the matter is that Mr Wright put himself in a position of conflict of interest and the only honourable recourse open to him is to resign to protect the integrity of the PMO.  Only then the charity to his friends will carry with it no risk of being mistaken for something else. 

So I am disappointed by Conrad Black’s take on this sordid little affair.  Going after the two gentlemen is not a way for ‘great nations’ to destroy ‘their public men with mouse traps ’ as he would have it.  It is simply insisting that public men keep their public nose clean.  I don't think anyone, least of all a journalist, should take an issue with that.