July 12th, 2005

fat pony like thunder

making people nervous

There have been plenty of reports recently about the harrassment of Muslims, which is one of the reasons why I loved this story.

Also, this column makes lots of very good points (and the author has written some excellent books on Islam), but she does express an astonishingly huge lack of understanding about Ireland when she says this:
We rarely, if ever, called the IRA bombings "Catholic" terrorism because we knew enough to realise that this was not essentially a religious campaign. Indeed, like the Irish republican movement, many fundamentalist movements worldwide are simply new forms of nationalism in a highly unorthodox religious guise.

What religious guise? Seriously, what news was she reading and watching for the last 35 years? The IRA had absolutely and utterly fuck all to do with Catholicism itself; it had everything to do with Catholicism as an ethnicity, and it never pretended otherwise. It's always frustrated me when non-Irish writers refered to the situation in the north as being some sort of "religious war" - Catholics against Protestants fighting over transubstantiation or papal infallibility. Could she possibly be suggesting that the IRA was ostensibly some sort of Catholic fundamentalist group? Is anyone that fucking stupid?

ETA: I know that she's saying that neither Al Quaeda and the IRA are really religious groups. That's the point of the article, after all. My point is that, with phrases like "not essentially [italics mine] a religious campaign", and "like the Irish republican movement, many fundamentalist movements worldwide are simply new forms of nationalism in a highly unorthodox religious guise", she implies that the 'Ra presented themselves as a religious group, that there was a religious guise at all, which is nonsense.
irish politics, bertie

i wonder whereabouts in belfast she's been living for those twelve years?

There have been lots of terrorist comparisons recently - mostly between Al Quaeda and the 'Ra. Now, I grew up believing that Martin McGuinness was basically the antichrist (an opinion that has been but slightly tempered as the years went by). I still slam the door in the faces of Sinn Fein candidates when they call at election times as soon as I see the badge, usually when they're in mid-sentence. I am disgusted by the hypocrisy of a party that claims to be a left-wing one and yet feeds off pure anti-British bigotry to the extent that it honours a Nazi-collaborator purely because he was "against the Brits". And yet this piece in the Grauniad by Lionel Shriver really rubbed me up the wrong way. I agree with her outrage that SF MPs can claim the benefits of their office while not taking their seats. And I agree that people forget pretty quickly what McGuinness et al were (ALLEGEDLY!) responsible for (not my mother, I might add - she refused to talk to him at a DC function a few years ago. You go, principled Moots!). But some of the piece reads as if what happened there happened in some sort of vacuum, a world in which Bloody Sunday didn't happen, in which Catholics weren't gerrymandered out of their votes. Especially this bit:
Having their cake and decrying it too, Sinn Fein has helped to eviscerate the RUC while continuing to whinge about the awful meanies in the police.

There was never any justification for killing or hurting RUC officers - I think that goes without saying. But to write as if there wasn't a pretty serious reason why a huge chunk of the population of Northern Ireland had little trust in the RUC is just plain stupid. And, yeah, bigoted.