Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Putin is an Alpha Dog or Where the Fuck is it?

Well, I like dogs, but Putin? No thanks. I don't want his doggy jaws anywhere near my English cream tea.

But Russian dog distractions aside, once again the slightly flamboyant Kenneth Lipp has referenced my terrific and wondrous blog in his analysis of the UN - that increasingly flaccid organ of Utter Nothing. Defamation of Religion...read it and weep oh freethinking and vigorously robust challengers of dogma, hypocrisy and downright bloody lies, for thine is the Kingdom..  Lets us for once target the source of oppression, the set in stone ancient religious texts, instead of those that question it. How about a Defamation of Basic Dignity and Human Rights as espoused by the Bible, the Torah and Koran? How about that for starters UN?

Friday, 26 November 2010

Culture is a Weapon takes over my Blog, We have a duel, I win because I have the biggest sword and then I flash him and he faints.

Kenneth Lipp has once again written a brilliant blog post, this time on the exact meaning of the word phobia. He goes on to deconstruct the term "Islamophobia" into the meaningless and trite "Get out of Jail Free" card it has come to mean for Islam. People who oppose the medieval and barbaric tenets of this religion are exercising their freedom of thought to disagree with an ideology they find abhorrant. Lipp references my brilliant blog, otherwise I wouldn't be plugging his. Ta da. Enjoy

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

In which I shamelessly promote my own blog by posting my friends blog because he promoted mine

This is a terrific blog post by Kenneth Lipp who mentions my own gorgeous blog (this one) and my gorgeous friend Mr Barrett Brown (remember that name) and his gorgeous ProjectPM. It's all gorgeous. Like a cheese stick.

Kenneth gives an example of how scientists can unwittingly make way for the promotion of bigotry

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Japanese Binocular Soccer

In honour of my 6 Japanese readers.

6 people in Japan viewed my Blog yesterday. Huzzah!

So, Islam. Well I've been having fights about it on various websites (okay one website, you know who you are and you read this blog because I see your traffic in my Stats) and to be honest I'm exhausted from defending myself. Thats the ironic thing. I'm not the oppressive, judgmental 7th century doctrine that wants to hang homosexuals, stone women and kill Jews. But I'm the one they attack. Because I oppose the 7th century doctrine that wants to hang homosexuals, stone women and kill Jews.

That is bonkers. It's even more bonkers when these people who attack me say, after all the arguing "well I don't agree with Islam either but you know, you should really just shut up about it because ..." and there the argument breaks down. I am never told why I must shut up about it. Is it to save their liberal sensibilities? Or is it because I'm not politically correct. Maybe even tactless. Is it because the Republicans also attack Islam and the Left simply can't bear to be seen to agree with anything their political enemies espouse? Are these people unable to get beyond Republican and Democrat? Is it really just about the enemy of my enemy, and for them it is the GOP? It is a brave woman who will stand up to the intellectual dereliction which surrounds our discourse on the subject of Islam. I am that brave woman. I know I'm right and I'll keep saying this for as long as it takes.

Islam is a political system of thought. Mohammed, an illiterate 7th century tribal peasant allegedly had the basics of Islamic doctrine (the Qu'ran) dictated to him by Allah, a supernatural entity who only speaks Arabic and conveniently told Mohammed that whatever he wanted to do was okay with him. You want to fuck 9 year old girls, Mo? Go ahead. You want to seize land, kill all  non-believers and make yourself  powerful by invoking My name? Go ahead. In fact you've hit upon such a brilliant ruse that you should just make Me say whatever is most self serving to your own desires. Call it the Uncreated Word of God. Make sure everyone knows that if they try to leave this religion, it is everybody else's duty who hasn't left the religion and is still cowering within the religion, to kill them. That should keep them obedient.

Thats basically it. Only its not it. Because that doctrine, that system of thought has been used over the centuries by successive Religious leaders to restrict, oppress and otherwise deny entirely, the most basic human rights which we in the West take blithely for granted. We all know its unwise to be a homosexual in Iran. It's very, very unwise to be female anywhere in the Muslim world. Its unwise to call a teddy bear Mohammed. Its unwise to publish cartoons which may depict the illiterate 7th century peasant as anything close to what he actually was, an illiterate 7th century peasant. And paedophile. (but shh don't say that because it's tasteless) In fact, its unwise to say anything, anything at all about Islam, Mohammed or Allah unless you want to be fatwa'd. In fact, the normal discourse we in the West use to debate, criticise, understand a political system, is denied us in this one case. Because Islam does not allow free speech. And we have submitted to that.

In this article regarding his book, "Flight of the Intellectuals", Paul Berman says:

 “We used to have a zillion writers on the topic of communism, writers who were all over the map, politically speaking, but who made communism a real topic. It was a perfectly normal thing for American intellectuals to weigh in on the debate over the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. But it’s not normal for people to weigh in on debates on Islam.”
Why the disparity? I ask. “People are mostly concerned that they’re not seen as Islamophobes. And if your principal concern is to show that you’re not Islamophobe, one way to guarantee that is to say not one word on the subject! Besides, people are frightened by a million things: They’re frightened by the topic, by the controversy that surrounds the topic, and obviously there’s a degree of physical intimidation that goes with this. There are, in fact, topics that no one in his right mind is going to take up for reasons of physical fear.

Perfectly understandable I say. People do not want to be seen as anything other than tolerant. However why are we now so tolerant that we are now tolerating the intolerant? We seek to appease this oppressive, totalitarian system of thought., to allow it space in our own hard fought-for democracies. Why? Why do we not use reason and argument to put our point across that we do not in fact tolerate the intolerant. We, as a society, do not hang men because they fall in love with other men. So lets stop pretending its perfectly okay when Muslims advocate it. We find it abhorrent. We find the stoning of women abhorrent. We find honour killings abhorrent. We find the burka abhorrent. We find the religiously sanctioned marriage of 9 and 10 year old girls absolutely abhorrent.

People who wish to defend the indefensible will say that the above examples are only practised by extremists. So called "Moderate" Muslims do not think this way. If, and its a big if, that is the case, where are all these moderate Muslims and why are they not organising and speaking out against these atrocities? Where is the grass roots Muslim opposition to these abhorrent crimes? Not in the Muslim community.

No, its in the Apostate community. One of the most vociferous and outspoken critics of Islam is my friend, I won't name him, he knows who he is. I will name him if he reads this and says its okay to name him. He is an Apostate. He knows how Islam works. He has been, by his own admission, damaged by his exposure to it. He is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and engaging people I know. I trust his judgement and insight. My point is that if he can speak up against this system of thought as an Apostate, and risk his life in the process, then I certainly can.

If we continue to appease Islam, by remaining silent, we effectively give it a free pass. Berman writes;

“I’m not one of those people who believe that everything is doomed, because I think that the very thing that makes the Islamist movement so dangerous—which is its modernity—also allows us to argue with it. So it’s possible to engage in discussions, and actually to win them.” But Berman regrets that we, as a society, “don’t engage in argument with Islamists, and it’s because of our understanding of the word ‘engage.’ The most common definition is to say that to engage with people is to lie down like a carpet in front of them. You don’t criticize them, you don’t argue with them, you concede, and you turn yourself into Mr. Nice. That’s what we do with Islam.
“On the other hand, actually to engage with someone is to argue with them, to take them seriously, and if you’re an intellectual, it means read their books. But there’s a problem with doing that for a lot of people in all the Western countries. It’s as if to argue with someone is the first step toward going to war. If you’re arguing, they worry that’s going to lead to violence… so we shouldn’t even argue. They don’t see argument as an alternative to violence.”

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

If You Don't Like it Put a Blanket Over YOUR Head

This is my post about breasts. So, breast feeding. Well, we've all done it. Okay we haven't all done it but we all know someone who has done it. I was in the tea shop the other day and a group of women came in with babies, one began breast feeding. It was discreet and nothing could be seen. I only knew she was breast feeding because her crying baby suddenly disappeared under a towel and shut up. And because I was discreetly staring.

However, talk about breast feeding in public and some people think that not only is it gross, its scandalous, immoral and probably satanic. Or something. However, it may be a little known fact that breast feeding is protected by law in the UK. There is not and there never has been a law that prohibits breast feeding in public, for example in a cafe. We are talking about breast feeding a baby, here, not the more unusual kind. The 1975 Sexual Discrimination Act (SDA) created legal protection for a woman breast feeding a child in public. In 2008 an amendment to the SDA brought in more specific cover under the wording of "maternity" meaning a challenge could be brought by the mother on the broader grounds of maternity rights. The current Equality bill seeks to further tighten this legislation that maternity protection includes breast feeding by making this a part of the statute.

Now Taiwan has passed a similar law, with anyone preventing mothers from breast feeding in public there, facing a substantial fine. In most parts of Africa and India, breast feeding in public is regarded as normal and is encouraged and supported. It is forbidden in Iran and Saudi Arabia, regarded as very rude in Hong Kong but seen as normal in China and Japan. The US allows breast feeding in public in all States although State laws differ. New York even has its own Breast feeding Mothers Bill of Rights.

This is all great, but do we have a cultural nipple phobia? Or rather is it a female nipple phobia? For instance, in most western countries men can march about topless on a hot day, but a woman doing it gets arrested.

R v Jacob, the Ontario Court of Appeal carefully studied the evidence, that Gwen Jacob:
".... on July 19, 1991 an extremely hot, humid summer day, ... walked along several Guelph streets with uncovered breasts. Along the way she was seen by and spoke to a number of people, including three police officers. (They) asked the (Ms Jacob) to cover her breasts. (She) responded by telling him that since males were permitted to be in public with their chests uncovered, she had a constitutional right to walk on the street topless as well. Further, she stated that it was more comfortable in the heat to walk topless. (Ms Jacob) noticed two topless males walking down the street and asked Constable Wicinski why she was not arresting them. Constable Wicinski replied that 'society doesn't view that as that act being wrong.'
"Another police officer ... located her sitting on the porch of a Guelph residence without her top on. She refused his request to put on her shirt as she said it was her right to expose her breasts. He said that there were five or six young males sitting on a nearby porch drinking beer and watching the appellant with binoculars."

Okay well thats funny and I would be looking too but only because we have such a taboo about the female breast. Or rather, nipple. Gwen could have walked down the street with most of her breast exposed as long as the all important nipple (that Aureole of Sin) was covered. Gwen Jacobs appealed her conviction and won in higher courts, a ruling that gives women in Ontario the right to go uncovered in public. However not many women in Ontario claim this right. (so who's coming with me to Ontario to test this law?)

Of course we're talking about the meaning of indecency vis a vis the public standard of tolerance. Indecency means many different things in different countries. I can wear pretty much whatever I like, here in England,  but I must cover my nipples. However I'd be literally locked up if I wasn't covered from head to foot if I lived in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Cultural mores would make it virtually impossible for me to step outside without the full covering, unless I wanted to spend all day fending off the harrassment of men, unused to seeing a woman wearing whatever she liked. As Ed Husain describes in this enlightening piece.

"Part of this local culture consisted of public institutions being segregated and women banned from driving on the grounds that it would give rise to “licentiousness”. I was repeatedly astounded at the stares Faye got from Saudi men and I from Saudi women.

Faye was not immodest in her dress. Out of respect for local custom, she wore the long black abaya and covered her hair in a black scarf. In all the years I had known my wife, never had I seen her appear so dull. Yet on two occasions she was accosted by passing Saudi youths from their cars. On another occasion a man pulled up beside our car and offered her his phone number.

In supermarkets I only had to be away from Faye for five minutes and Saudi men would hiss or whisper obscenities as they walked past. When Faye discussed her experiences with local women at the British Council they said: “Welcome to Saudi Arabia.

This is the extreme end of the Modesty Scale which women are assumed to abide by, simply because we are women. What is it about the female body that is so outrageous that in some cultures it must be covered from head to foot? Why are those Saudi men such jerks? I don't know, and the culturally assumed male privilege and arrogance that informs the above reaction is beyond my comprehension, but it often strikes me as entirely odd that womens bodies are still subject to so much taboo. Perhaps not odd, for womens  bodies are still the battleground of sexual autonomy. There is a cultural bias that says mens bodies belong to men, womens bodies belong to, well not women. Because if they did we would not be still having abortion wars in 2010 or be witness to antiquated Islamic laws that say an uncovered woman is considered to be transgressing some arbitrary moral code.

So, yes, you women of the USA and the UK, if you want to breast feed your baby in public, then please go right ahead. Nobody can stop you. Just spare a thought for our sisters in Saudi who cannot even go outside with their hair flowing free.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

I am Intellectually Opposed to Islam (and Catholicism etc) but this is about Islam.

So lets get one thing straight. I live in a world which upholds the rights of people to believe in whatever they like, as long as they invoke some supernatural higher power and as long as that power is male (if you invoke a female power, forget it, you'll either be burned at the stake  or have every cultural tradition trash your peaceful pagan beliefs and align you with Satan because God is a man, right, so what are you women doing with your herbs and your cats (who are obviously Satan in disguise) plus you are all sex mad and we hate unfettered female sexuality so either you marry one of us and and only have sex with MY penis and be quiet or we will burn you because we are men and we rule) 

Where was I? As long as there's enough of you doing the supernatural male power invoking,  you're okay, but if there's only one of you, you get locked up and given anti psychotic drugs; if there's a few of you, you're called a cult, and people (meaning the media) think you're a bit mental. But if you have loads of followers you get to call yourself a religion and in time, after a few religious wars, in which you tell everyone that your God has a bigger penis than that blokes God over there, you amass loot and land (which cynical people, not me of course, might say was the whole point anyway)  and you start making money, and you get to invent a sanctified position of Godly power on earth, and you call yourself the Pope or you call yourself a Mullah (but you're never female, like duh). And in time you get to form Governments, or even quasi States within countries which give you immunity from prosecution if some of your employees take their pastoral duties that little bit too far. And you get invited to England and you meet the fucking Queen, even though you are a Nazi, but I digress. 

You get millions of followers because you tell your followers to breed like rabbits and make more followers and in time you get to pass religious laws and you find that you have successfully concentrated your power in the *words* of an invisible superWanker (aka *god*) whose laws cannot be questioned, cannot be usurped, who's ethereal personage cannot be insulted, who hates it when you make fun of him, and who gets in a really bad mood if you start having doubts that maybe, just maybe, he was actually created by men to consolidate power, control women, get more land, wealth, make everyone worship their penises and big all the straight men up. So if you subscribe to a creed that orders the death of men who find other men sexually attractive and fall in love with them, then that's okay, people might tut tut but really its okay as long as that doctrine is a) old b) believed by a LOT of people c) disguises itself as a religion and d) does not allow criticism because when one does actually get to the nitty gritty of what Islam espouses, its adherents say "well, aha, actually no, WE don't believe that, but some other really bad Muslim's do, so you know, like don't criticise us because if you do, we'll just call you racist and shit."

I have to call a halt right now. Because all this tip-toeing around is making me feel sick. Apparently because of my skin colour I'm not *allowed* to criticise Islam. You see, many many years ago some white skinned people were not very nice to some other darker skinned people (forget that there were also darker skinned people being thoroughly awful to other darker skinned people, that doesn't count because well, it's more difficult to call them racist and really it's well known that its only white people who are racist and imperialist, that's culturally acceptable. Oh and fascist. Sorry forgot fascist. Yes, we're all fucking fascists. Or that it wasn't all the white people who were involved, just some of them, just having white skin is enough to be guilty by association. Or that at the same time, the only people who were actually treated as human beings, given a say in how society ran itself and governed itself were white men. Women were firmly out of that equation, but hey, forget that, my skin is white, I must be quiet.)  But anyway, all that double standard bollocks aside, I have, through being born white, inherited a tradition that says I must hang my head in shame and not say anything about other cultures, their religion, their traditions. Because really its just not cricket and I should just go and have a cup of tea. Forget cultural relativism (which is what the bollocks is called).

However I come from a long line of total cunts who just won't fucking shut up. So it doesn't matter who you are, what colour you are, where you're from, what particular Man-made superWanker (superWanker, not superTanker, in case anybody was confused) you believe in, if I don't agree with your beliefs and your culture then I'm just going to come right out and say it. You want to sew up the genitals of female children? You can bet you're fucking life I am going to speak up against that one.

And another thing, this whole bit about ooh "we mustn't criticise Islam because its, like you know, its a religion and we must respect that and we must show religious tolerance because... " Yes? "Well because, its a religion and somebody once said its just not nice to question someones beliefs." Really, that's the reason? "Yes, that's the reason. " Well, no, rhetorical device, no, that's a load of bull, actually. Why must I stop my critical thinking faculties at the door of the church /mosque /synagogue/ temple? 

The answer is I shouldn't. But it seems some people think I should. People who do not think about things very deeply conflate racism with religion and are so scared that they will be called racist that they abandon their critical thinking abilities, if they have any, take what is written in the Press as their *bible*, no pun intended and follow the herd. So if the BBC says there is such a concept as Islamophobia, weak minded people will immediately switch off their brains, sink into the comfort zone of being told what to think and stop analyising exactly what constitutes Islam, over and above its claim to be the *uncreated word of *God* (as if that wasn't enough meat to get our teeth into right there, the *uncreated word of *God*, really?) 

Mohammed was a self serving violent, sexual deviant who fucked 9 year old girls and said Allah said it was okay for him to do it. Do I even need to continue this discussion - this is the so called *religion of Islam* That's what is written. That's what he did, amongst other stomach churning stuff. Today, in 2010, 9 year old girls are routinely married off to 50 and 60 year old men as a direct result of this vile doctrine. Would anybody think this was okay, anybody sane that is, if this wasn't hiding behind religion, or are we being asked to ignore this horror because it is a religion? Really? Is that the reason? Its a religion, so stop criticising it because you might hurt some peoples feelings or you might get called racist because we live in a fucked up world that thinks fucking 9 year old girls is okay but speaking out against it isn't. Because somewhere in our ancient past we have assimilated through some insane cultural osmosis this idea that girls and women are the property of men, so actually its okay, like whatever dude, its their religion. Are you really going to come back at me and say I'M in the wrong for criticising Islam because some idiots believe the shit it espouses? Lets do a thought experiment. Say the BNP (British National Party) decided they were homophobic, would you call me BNPphobic if I opposed them? Oh WAIT! They are homophobic, but does anyone in their right mind say that opposing the BNP is a *phobia*. What if  the BNP decided it was okay to marry 9 year old girls? Yeah, thats some twisted shit... right?

If I lived in a Muslim country, lets say Afghanistan, I would be imprisoned in the house, Id be nothing but a breeding machine and I'd be denied an education. (Lets just let that sink in, I would not be allowed to learn to read and write or study because my silly female brain is deemed unfit for such lofty pursuits. Who says so? Oh yeah, *god*...aka men) I'd have no rights under the law. If I was raped it would be my fault and I'd be killed. (for those wishing to educate themselves on the further inequities of the *justice* system as it pertains to women, click Hudood Ordinance) I would not be allowed to divorce my husband if he was violent, and he would be violent because the Qu'ran cheerfully sanctions violence against women. He on the other hand could divorce me if he didn't so much as like my hair that day just by saying I divorce you, three times. I would be completely at his mercy, all my life. I would not get to see my children. I could not work. My life without the protection of a male in such a society would be over. I have met women who have been through this. This isn't some Hollywood horror story - its real life. Any men reading this, if you are a gay man in a Muslim country you would be hanged. (Or your father might try to have you buried alive, Yes, I've met a young gay Afghan asylum seeker who's father tried to do just that. His mother helped him escape and was then herself murdered in an *honour* killing) Or the young girl in Turkey, that so called *soft* Muslim country, who was buried alive by her family because she had disgraced them by talking to a boy who wasn't a relation. Soil was found in her lungs. Can anybody imagine the horror of that? Or imagine the family going about their day knowing their daughter, sister, cousin, was slowly dying a horrible death, and doing nothing about it. What sort of religion permits that? My good friend, Tauriq, as an apostate  would be killed. All of us as non-Muslims would be killed as infidels. Just because this system of thought calls itself a religion does not give it special status or immunity from criticism. It is our duty to speak out against this barbarism. I will not be quiet or be silenced by someone telling me that I am *phobic* about Islam. On the contrary it is Islam that is phobic about me! The absurdity of western apologists makes me cringe. We are intelligent people. Why should we be cowed into silence? Why should any of us feel it necessary to apologise for opposing this vile theology?

I oppose Islamic doctrine, in the same way that I oppose the Republicans who won't allow gay marriage and the Catholics who won't allow contraception or abortion. The point of this post is that every time a critic of Islam raises their head, they are shot down with cries of Racist! Imperialist! Fascist! These epithets are used to silence dissent, to stop otherwise intelligent people from criticising what is a vile and obnoxious system of thought, hiding under the guise of a religion. Religion and race are not the same thing. There are no doubt very noble Republicans who like gay people but that does not negate the fact that the Republican stance is vehemently anti-gay. And the point is, nobody would censure me for opposing Republican views that I did not agree with. In the same way I am sure there are nice Muslim people who like Jewish people and who tolerate women and gay men (although read Wafa Sultan's *A God who Hates* and you may change your mind) but that does not negate the fact that the Islamic creed is violently anti Semitic and misogynistic and homophobic. But I'm not allowed to criticise it ... ?

That's not to say the other religions are any better. However I've yet to see a Christian throw acid in the face of a schoolgirl, or burn down a girls school or decide that my friend Tauriq should be killed because of his apostasy. The point is we are all vocal when it comes to our criticism of Christianity or Scientology or Mormons or Catholics. Why should that criticism stop at Islam?

I do not share the world view of Islam. Why should I stop criticising it. Why is it that this religion is given this special treatment? Political Islam is a force we must recognise. Its central tenets go against every freedom we in the West take for granted.I do not share the world view of Republican Americans either but I bet nobody in their right mind would tell me I couldn't criticise them because I might hurt their feelings. Islam IS immoral. Its core values, if one can even call them values basically say that unless one is a Muslim MALE, (a heterosexual one btw) one has no rights under the law, one is to be ignored, hung, stoned or killed. Ones right to live an autonomous life, ones right to free expression is null and void unless one is male. Islam worships masculinity. There is no room for reason. Allah is the only judge and the Qu'ran is the uncreated word of God, it existed even before the world was created (by Allah). Everything is Allah's will so there is no morality in Islam. Only Allah's will. Read any book on Islam and one will discover this rigid code. Islam is a backward text dictated by a self serving illiterate little paedophile war mongering fascist and followed by millions of people because they happen to be unfortunate enough to be born to Muslim parents and they find out that if they renounce Islam they will be killed. Obedience through fear. Yes, that's a moral code I can get behind.  Those who plead for understanding of this fascist doctrine hide behind the *respect* we are supposed to give to religion. They invoke a higher authority - namely the male God that they wish everyone to worship. Islam is about power - keeping power in the hands of men. Terribly sorry if my naming the truth of Islam offends any of you. Actually I'm not sorry at all. Islam is an obnoxious, vile hateful religion. And I don't like it. In case I wasn't clear on that point.