Friday, August 22, 2014

The (tiny) knife

....agree that jihadists are the villains, but remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea that Americans are the heroes.....My imagination is in thrall to the tiny difficult it would be, to sever a man's head with a little knife like that, and how painful....can't help feeling that the knife was chosen for that provide a contrast with the air strikes of the military industrial complex.....message: "I may not have many weapons at my own disposal, but look what I'm prepared to do with whatever comes to hand".....
Deborah Orr is a fantastic journalist and a clear-eyed leftist. She is no Arundhati unquestioning ideology or blind America hatred for her. Yet when push comes to shove she betrays her own instincts, ignores the truth that stares her in the face, and....she is also wrong on  the facts. The Caliphate does have access to a whole armory of advanced weapons either left behind by the vanquished Iraqi army or purchased with funding from Qatar and Saudia.
One thing people will be puzzling over while perusing the last email the Caliphate wrote to John Foley (father of James): who is this woman...."our sister"....Dr Afiya Siddiqi? What are the circumstances behind her imprisonment by the Americans? Why is she such an inspirational figure for the Caliphate??
Deborah is clear on this point: the ambivalence that Europeans feel about condemning the Caliphate is tied to the fear that it would make heroes out of Americans. She is worried as to how the ISIS is poisoning minds which leads to islamo-phobia amongst common (white) people and blind prejudice against muslims and arabs.
The famous Jewish-American dissident Norman Finkelstein calls the attitude of Jewish liberals (who support the right of Israel to exist as a nation state) as shooting...but crying. Well, the attitude of the West-Left towards islamists is equally instructive. It is akin to a grandma who brings her ward to school and instructs the teacher on tantrum management: if the child makes trouble, then scold the boy next to him and he will calm down. It is as if  the chosen wards of the western left have no agency of their own...the soft bigotry of low expectations.

We have been a consistent fan of Prof Obama and how handles his job...he is the ultimate cool dude. He has been consistent on this point that he wants America to do less outside the borders and more inside. This is how it should be.

When has the last time the international community managed to speak in one voice, in support of the world's policeman? Perhaps following 9/11 when we were supposedly all americans (that solidarity disappeared real fast). The outrage over James Foley is just a momentary thing, it is like a water-drop on a lotus leaf (one word in Sanskrit: nalini-dala-gata-jalamati-taralam). We hear ad infinitum about Iraq, why not a bit about how Americans saved Bosnia. Deborah has nothing to say about a genocide in Europe four decades after we were assured "never again."

Now that the Caliphate has made a personal challenge, the President has a well thought-out response: We will get you and we will never forget. If he had just blustered that would not convinces us. Obama is no peacenik, he just wants to focus on (home) economics rather than war (abroad). But now that the choice is clear, we expect difficult times ahead for Al-Bakri (we would love to see his head on a stick, no non-violence for him).

The parents of slain journalist James Foley have released the final email sent by Islamic State (Isis) militants a week before he was beheaded and a video of the killing was uploaded onto the internet. They said they regarded the email as a hopeful sign they could negotiate with the Islamic militants.

Speaking on NBC's Today, John and Diane Foley from Rochester, New Hampshire, said they had last heard from the captors via several emails in December.

John Foley said he was excited to see the latest email, even though it threatened execution, because he hoped they would be willing to negotiate. "I underestimated that point," John Foley said of the threat. "I did not realize how brutal they were."
Foley, 40, was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012. In the last email, Foley's Islamic State captors demanded USD 132.5 million from his parents and political concessions from Washington. Authorities say neither obliged.

The militants revealed Foley's death in a video released on Tuesday. The extremists said they killed him in retaliation of US air-strikes targeting Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.

The Foleys said they had set up a special email address and sent multiple messages to try to engage the captors. "We were just anxiously waiting," Diane Foley said.
Global Post, a news site the American photojournalist worked for before his death, said it had chosen to publish the letter "in full in the interest of transparency and to fully tell Jim's story".

                                           Full text of the e-mail:

A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens:

We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!

As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE EATEN!

You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,
We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.
You have no motivation to deal with the Muslims except with the language of force, a language you were given in “Arabic translation” when you attempted to occupy the land of Iraq!
Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time resorting to Arial attacks and “proxy armies”, all the while cowardly shying away from a face-to-face confrontation!

You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!

You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!

The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!

He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!

Plenty of people are happy enough to agree that jihadists are the villains, but remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea that Americans are the heroes. Even some of the people who agree absolutely that Foley's death was far, far beyond excuse would argue that part of the problem with westerners is that we only listen when other westerners are telling the stories. Foley himself felt compelled to tell the story of the suffering of Syrians, because he understood that western media outlets need western translators.

Certainly, most of us don't want to sit staring at our screens watching un-contextualised clips of atrocities. Instead, we want our news to be mediated, by people who broadly share our values, not the values of the people who are the objects of our pity or of our disgust. But even this story, which seems straightforward, is harder to judge than it might appear.

You don't have to have seen the film to have picked up more detail about it than you might want to know. 

My own squeamish imagination is in thrall to the tiny knife, a picture of which the media in its wisdom has decided can be published freely. I'm not so sure that it's wise to bandy pictures of that (assumed) murder weapon around. Actually, I see so much meaning in that knife that I wonder if I might have strayed beyond reason on this matter.

First, it makes a mockery of the idea that you can protect yourself from the brutality of the attack on Foley by declining to look at the film. It invites you to think about how difficult it would be, to sever a man's head with a little knife like that, and how painful. You can't help feeling that the knife was chosen for that reason. Actually, it's reported, even the film leaves the actual butchery to the imagination, showing only its results. 

However, I think that small knife was selected for reasons more fiendish even than that unwelcome invitation to imagine it being used. I think it was selected to provide a contrast with the air strikes of the military industrial complex, the air strikes that the murderer claimed were Foley's real killers. I think it was a message and a warning: "I may not have many weapons at my own disposal, but look what I'm prepared to do with whatever comes to hand."

Terrorists always argue that they are forced to be brutal because brutality is their only weapon. Their only weapon, in this case, apart from a knife of familiar and domestic size, is a camera and every media outlet in the world. And that's a massive weapon.

That tiny knife puts me in mind, very much, of the rockets of Hamas – puny weapons used symbolically, rebuke and provocation both. "It only killed one person," as Hamas would say. "Look at all the people you have killed in your disproportionate response." 

Maybe Islamic State are deluded enough to believe that their execution of Foley will stop US air strikes. Maybe they think they will get the kind of gigantic ransoms for their remaining prisoners that they asked for in Foley's case. Maybe they're not even thinking, but merely desperate, as some optimistic-seeming observers suggest.

But maybe they have already got what they want – to be the most notorious group on the planet simply because their propaganda has the power to unsettle the minds of humanity. Their own minds may be small and nasty. But they have still infected the minds of the world, and maybe our hearts as well. On those terms, heaven help us, they've already won


Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui said that former President Pervez Musharraf handed over her sister and children to USA in voracity of dollars while her sister had no links with the banned organization.

Addressing the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) session on Friday she said that the incumbent government was not working for the repatriation of Dr Aafia.
She appealed to the lawyer fraternity and masses to run a campaign for the release of Dr Aafia as they did against former dictator Pervez Musharraf. She further said that the PPP led government should have demanded the US government that if Dr Aafia was a culprit then her case should be pursued in Pakistan.
Addressing the session, President LHCBA, Mian Abdul Qadus said that that former dictator had handed over the Pakistani citizens including Dr Aafia Siddiqui out of greed for money. He demanded the trial of former dictator under Article 6 of the constitution while all the responsible people who were involved in handing over of Dr Aafia Siddiqui should be dealt with iron hands.

Pasban Lahore organised a march here on Friday to press for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui by the US. The march was held from Shuhada Mosque to Assembly hall where Altaf Shakoor president Pasban, Pakistan addressed the participants. He urged students, labourers, lawyers and journalists to intensify their efforts to free Dr Aafia.
He said that people should not be mislead by the false stories against Aafia being churned out by anti-Muslim Jewish lobby. He demanded of the government to support the daughter of the nation and fulfill its duties.


Link (1): Last-EMail-ISIS-Sent-To-The-Foleys-Full-Text

Link (2): james-foley-murder-isis-infected-our-minds

Link (3): musharraf-handed-over-dr-aafia-in-lust-for-dollars-dr-fauzia



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