Saturday, April 15, 2017

United Blew It, but End the Passenger’s Pity Party

It was a premeditated temper tantrum gone viral.

April 14, 2017
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Screengrabs from a video posted on Twitter by airline passenger Jayse D Anspach.
You’ve been snookered, folks. By that poor elderly doctor who was involuntarily dragged from his seat, had his face smashed in, and was beaten unconscious by the evil airport security at the behest of United Airlines.
Because there’s no evidence any of that was true. It was in fact a premeditated temper tantrum gone viral, featuring one 69-year-old Vietnamese-American David Dao, a medical doctor who’d lost his license, planning a lawsuit from the moment United first politely asked him to give up his seat. He demanded to be dragged and, when police obliged, struck his lip on an armrest. From the many videos taken by numerous passengers, from numerous angles, there’s no evidence of a beating, a “serious” concussion, or bodily damage beyond that lip.
Although some like the Huffington Post want us to ignore his sordid past as inconsequential or “blaming the victim,” it’s important that Dao in 1995 was charged with 98 felony drug counts for illegally prescribing and trafficking painkillers, sometimes in exchange for homosexual sex. (He’s married. To a woman.) That normally would get you identified as unreliable. He surrendered his medical license and even now is allowed to practice internal medicine only in an outpatient facility one day a week.
To be sure, United deserves blame and played into Dao’s hands—not entirely a metaphor since the good doctor has also made hundreds of thousands of dollars on the professional poker circuit. It appears that by law they were supposed to have upped the payment to $1,350 to make room for four United employees who needed to get to Louisville right away. Why did they stop at $800 (plus a hotel voucher)? Further, this all should have occurred before boarding, but there passengersapparently were only offered $400.
“It’s clearly the man’s fault that security had to drag him off, said one of the passengers who uploaded his video of the incident. He was resisting.” “I don’t blame the security guards at all,” he told Fox News. That was “the only way they could get him off the plane.”
But once he was asked to give up his seat, along with three other passengers who willingly obliged, Dao’s mental gears began to whirl. One video depicts him telling someone by telephone “I make lawsuit against United Airlines for discrimination.” Yet another video shows him insisting that he be dragged. All the while he held up the departure, as indeed he would again as everyone had to leave while the blood was cleaned up.

Over time his injuries have grown dramatically. He checked himself into a hospital where first he, then one of the lawyers from the two law firms he’s retained, claimed he suffered from “everything.” Curious diagnosis, that. Though none of the videos show it, he also claims to have lost two front teeth, a broken nose, and a “serious” concussion. Obviously, this all appeared off camera, after he left the plane. One of his lawyers repeated that curious diagnosis. (He’s retained not one but two Chicago-area law firms. Natch.)
Except that … he came back on the plane, melodramatically uttering over and over again, “They’ll kill me.” He clearly showed bleeding from the lip, but there was no other evident damage.

This is obvious nonsense, so how did he get so far with it?
In part, welcome to the world of the Black Mirror. That’s a highly-regarded Netflix series about a dystopian near-future in which social media dictates “the truth.” The name refers to a blank cell phone or tablet screen.
The Sturm und Drang began with a short clip uploaded first to Facebook and then other media. It began just as Dao was pulled from his seat. You didn’t see himbeing apologetically requested to leave first by United employees and then by security. Nor the phone call nor his daring to be dragged. With social media, he who uploads or tweets first dictates the story.
Now add the opposite of the laugh track, the scream track. Several passengers yelling “Omigawd!” and chiding the security guards. Laugh tracks tell us “This is funny; laugh!” Scream tracks tell us “This is horrible! Be outraged!”
With social media dictating what’s news, the event became clickbait (“Must See Pictures of United Passenger!”) and the mainstream-media “analysts” jumped in. It was easy to choose sides given the Sarah Bernhardt performance and the perceived American loathing of airlines. Part of this is the result of 9/11 restrictions, but part is due to consolidations that have given many airlines monopolies on routes and let them do such things as charge us for pretzels and squeeze us into tiny spaces that only a chiropractor could love. (Curiously, while only 35 percent of Americans rate U.S. airlines positively, only 32 percent rate them negatively, according to Gallup. So there seems to be a whole lot of ambivalence.)
The London Independent went so far as to say Dao’s life was “ruined,” while one of his team of attorneys asserted Dao “said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced when leaving Vietnam.” By tomorrow it will be worse than having been gassed at Auschwitz.
But part of the phenomenon long precedes YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and social media dictating the news. It’s the American cult of victimization.

Thirteen years ago I penned a column called “Victims Are Our New Heroes,” noting that at one time that meant putting yourself at risk by going beyond normal civic or military duties. Yet Magic Johnson went from “sports hero” (another misnomer) to All-American Hero by virtue of contracting AIDS. That simple.
Dao’s quick thinking and theatrics show he knows how to play the system as well as he knows how to play cards, combining social media and the cult of victimization into what presumably will be a very hefty payout for a very dishonest man.
Michael Fumento is an attorney, author, and journalist known for debunking modern mythology.

Friday, April 14, 2017


A female genital mutilation horror in the Midwest.

April 14, 2017

Image result for Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala

Livonia, Michigan is known as Little Palestine. The Detroit suburb is famous for its anti-Israel meetings. You could go hear Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah without taking a long drive. 
It’s also known for its shady doctors.
Dr. Murtaza Hussain was busted for letting unlicensed employees diagnose patients and write prescriptions. Dr. Waseem Alam and Dr. Hatem Ataya pleaded guilty in the nation’s largest Medicare fraud case totaling $712 million in false billings centering on Shahid Tahir, Muhammad Tariq and Manavar Javed’s Livonia medical firms. But what was going on at one Livonia clinic was far worse than the theft of millions. Anyone passing by at the right time could hear the screams of little girls.
We think of horrors like female genital mutilation as a terrible thing that happens over “there.” But as the implacable tide of Muslim immigration swept across Europe, “there” became the United Kingdom.
England recorded 5,700 cases of FGM in less than a year. France has jailed 100 people for FGM. An estimated 50,000 women in Germany have undergone FGM with a 30 percent boost due to the rise of Islamic migration in the last several years. In Sweden, it’s 38,000. And now, as American towns and cities are reshaped by Muslim migration, “there” is now right here. The terrible practice is in America.
Sweden was the first Western country to outlaw FGM. But despite the prevalence of FGM in Sweden, there have only been a handful of convictions. The United States banned FGM in 1997. A Federal report in 2012 warned that 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk for FGM. 
Now after twenty years of the law’s existence, a Muslim doctor has become the first to be charged.
Operating out of a Livonia clinic, Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala abused unknown numbers of little girls. The end came when law enforcement traced calls to her from a Minnesota number.  Then they followed the trail to a hotel in Farmington Hills; a Michigan city at the center of an Islamic Center controversy. 
It was Friday evening; the holy day of the Islamic week when Muslims are told to “leave off business” and “hasten to the remembrance of Allah.” That is what the two women leading two little girls to be mutilated thought that they were doing. Muslims believe that on Friday, angels stand outside the doors of mosques to record who shows up for prayer. But it was the hotel surveillance cameras that watched and recorded as the two little girls arrived, unaware of the horror that was about to happen to them. 
The 7-year-old girl had been told that she was going to Detroit for a “special” girls’ trip. Instead her special trip turned into a nightmare. After the Muslim doctor allegedly mutilated her, she warned the child not to talk about what was done to her. 
Then it was back to Minnesota. 
The other little girl drew a picture of the room. And she drew an X on the examining room table to show where her blood had spilled. With pain radiating all the way down her body, the Muslim doctor who had abused her told her that she was fine. 
And her parents told her not to tell.
It was early February. The temperature on that terrible day in Livonia fell as low as 12 degrees. By the next day, she was back in Minnesota, likely the “Little Mogadishu” in Minneapolis, where temperatures had cratered to 9 degrees.  The abused little girl could hardly walk. And in her pain and anguish, she left behind one of her gloves. The glove had her name on it. When the house of horrors in Livonia was finally raided, that solitary child’s glove was still there like a gruesome trophy.  
The investigation turned back home to Michigan. Authorities found plenty of girls who had been abused by Jumana. And now she’s under arrest. 
But the culture of silence still continues.
The criminal complaint is as circuitous as the entire culture of FGM. It relies heavily on euphemisms. The perpetrators and the girls at risk are referred to only as "members of a particular religious and cultural community". What is this community? It must thereafter remain nameless.
Jumana is a “member of the community”. The family that delivered their little girls to Jumana is "part of the community in Minnesota". What community? As the little girls from that nameless community in Minnesota were told, don’t talk about it. Don’t mention the community.
The full name of the perpetrator, Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala, is rarely used. Fakhruddin is far less ambiguous than the rest of her name. It comes from the Arabic and means “Pride in religion.” 
That nameless religion practiced by the nameless community.
It isn’t the Swedes or Norwegians of Minnesota who mutilate their daughters. In Minnesota, it’s largely a Somali problem. Back home in Somalia, 98% of little girls have been mutilated. And the Somali Muslims who have migrated here in great numbers do their best to keep up the gruesome practice in America. The Hennepin County Medical Center, a hospital located in a place named after a Franciscan priest, has a special report on dealing with FGM that emphasizes cultural sensitivity. 
It defines the “big hurdle” as, "Muslim (Somali) Culture: Value Acquiescence to Allah as supreme authority" and "American Culture: Value the supremacy of the individual".
That’s certainly one way of defining it.
Just as Sweden was the first European country to ban FGM to little avail, Minnesota became the first state to ban FGM, also to little avail. As the Somali Muslims keep pouring in, 44,293 women and girls in the state face the threat of being mutilated. Some of the Somali settlers send their daughters back home to be abused. Others take a shorter trip to Michigan. 
Which “community” is it that encompasses an Indian Muslim like Jumana and the likely Somali victims while operating in Little Palestine? It isn’t an ethnic community or even a religious one. It’s Islam.
But the official word is that FGM is a practice that occurs in “certain Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities”. It is certainly unique to list a practice in reverse order of probability. 
Stories on FGM occasionally quote some local cleric insisting that the practice has no foundation in Islam. That would come as news to the Hadith which quotes Mohammed as saying, "Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women."
This is the honor of Islam for which women are murdered and mutilated. And to preserve the honor of Islam, we are told to remain silent about it. It’s not only the abusers and the abused girls who maintain the culture of silence. It’s the authorities and the media that carefully step around the obvious.  Just as with Islamic terrorism, a refusal to name the problem makes it impossible to solve. 
Jumana Fakhruddin Nagarwala made her court appearance wearing “a light-colored, matching dress and khimar, or veil that covered her head, neck and shoulders.”
The term is meaningless to the average American. As it’s meant to be. 
The Khimar is a heavier Muslim head covering. The Koranic version that mentions it also casually references castrated male slaves. The drives behind the Khimar and FGM are not far apart. Both stigmatize women and enforce Islamic traditions of repression with brutal violence. 
Islam’s honor originates from the repression of the “Other”. That includes non-Muslims and Muslim women. The girls brutalized on Jumana’s exam table were abused as part of an ancient tradition. Jumana took pride in her abuses because, as her name signifies, she takes pride in her religion.
If we truly want to end such abuses, we must take as much pride in our principles and values as monsters like Jumana do in her theirs. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Upside-down Down Under

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is forced to cancel an Australian visit because of violent threats.
April 12, 2017
Photograph: Antonio Zazueta Olmos/Antonio Olmos
Here’s a riddle for our politically twisted times: when is a black woman a white supremacist? Answer: when she speaks out against female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism.
This is the tortured logic of the feminist Left in Australia, which helped stop a lecture tour by the human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Anonymous protestors warned venues and insurers not to have dealings with the Somali-born, anti-radical-Islam activist if they wanted to avoid “trouble.” The “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia, Inc.” accused Hirsi Ali of being part of the “Islamophobia industry . . . that exists to dehumanize Muslim women.” Another group, “Persons of Interest,” took to Facebook to describe her ideas: “This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide.”
Hirsi Ali canceled her trip in early April, only days before she was due to speak in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Australia, as in the UK, the costs of security have to be borne by event organizers, not the government, as is the case in the U.S. Perhaps there were disagreements between the speaker and her sponsors about security. In any case, Hirsi Ali travels with armed guards, but it was still too dangerous for her to speak in public. Yes, in Australia.
Anyone familiar with Hirsi Ali’s personal and ideological history is doubtless picking their jaws up off the floor at the Orwellian nature of these goings-on. She “dehumanizes” Muslim women? But it was Hirsi Ali who was dehumanized when as a girl she was subjected to a clitoridectomy, a barbaric and horribly painful ritual still visited upon girls in many Islamic countries to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. She speaks “the language of patriarchy and misogyny?” But as a vocal opponent of the forced marriage of young girls to older men, which she describes as “arranged rape,” Ali vehemently attacks the patriarchy in its most oppressive manifestation. The Muslim feminists who seek to silence her are the ones linking arms with misogynists.
How has Western feminism come to a point where up is down, and a restrictive, intolerant patriarchy must be defended? Hirsi Ali blames it on the naïveté of liberals, besotted by political correctness in the face of religious extremism. “In liberal societies, those on the left [are] in the grip of identity politics,” she said after announcing the cancellation. “This fascination is not caused by the Islamists, but the Islamists exploit it.” Radicals know the social-justice drill—minority identity is good, regardless of any of the actual precepts of that identity, and its critics are by definition white supremacists. Within this mental universe, accusations of “Islamophobia” are a cudgel for silencing moderates and advancing the cause of radicals.
It’s worth recalling that the feminist Left’s silence on the Islamic treatment of women precedes the advent of microaggressions and race and gender obsessions. In fact, it goes back as far as the early days of second-wave feminism. Sent to Iran to cover the revolution in 1978, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, an intellectual godfather of contemporary leftism, was enchanted by what he viewed as the religious revolutionaries’ anti-globalist authenticity and “political spirituality.” When Ayatollah Khomenei took power after the fall of the Shah, he reintroduced polygamy, reduced the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13, and restored the punishment of flogging for those who violated compulsory veiling laws. Neither Foucault nor his comrades in the anti-colonial, feminist-influenced Left were troubled by this dramatic retreat from women’s most basic rights.
Over the years, some feminist organizations have protested female genital mutilation, but for the most part the sisterhood has focused its ire on a mythical Western patriarchy rather than the real thing making headlines in Muslim countries and immigrant enclaves at home. Now that feminists have adopted an updated form of anti-colonialism called “intersectionality,” there’s virtually no chance that the principle of basic rights will prevail over special pleading for medieval cultural norms. Intersectionality refers to overlapping and self-reinforcing marginalized identity-group identity; hence a black woman suffers two levels of oppression, while a black gay woman struggles with three. Intersectionality leads directly to the conclusion that Muslim women must be protected from a racist and sexist West. Any hint that Muslim culture could be a source of oppression against its women is tantamount to a colonialist war on native identity.
That this latest example of feminist Orwellianism comes from generally moderate Australia is not entirely surprising. The country’s Muslim population is small; as of the last census in 2011, Muslims made up only 2.2 percent of the population. But over the past several years, the country has endured a number of stabbings, thwarted attacks, and a shooting by a radicalized 15-year old. The most infamous Islamist attack, in which three people died, took place in a 2014 siege of the Sydney Lindt chocolate cafe by a lone-wolf gunman, who brandished a black flag emblazoned with the Muslim statement of faith.
Stirring up tension has been the Trumpian figure of Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and a founder of One Nation, Australia’s populist party. As her party’s name hints, Hanson has been hostile to immigration. In recent years, she has taken an aggressive rhetorical posture toward Islam, calling it “an evil faith.” One Nation suffered a decisive defeat in Western Australia in March, but populist victories abroad have put many Australians, both Labourites and Liberals (conservatives, in our parlance), on edge.
In a feedback loop similar to that existing in other Western countries, including the United States, One Nation’s populism is in part a reaction to political correctness but winds up prompting more of it. Conservatives are a rare breed at Australian universities, whether as professors or speakers. Meanwhile, accusations of racism, sexism, hate speech, and Islamophobia are becoming almost as commonplace in Australia as marsupials. One of the biggest political contretemps these days involves Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which includes prohibitions on any speech that might “offend, insult, and humiliate” on the basis of race. Alert to potential dangers to free speech, Liberals want to tone down the language of the provision, while Labourites argue that it serves as a vital protection against hate speech.
Labour might want to look more closely at the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In a country where the woman who speaks out against forced marriage and jihadism is an extremist and the people who threaten her are praised as virtuous representatives of diversity, who exactly requires protection?
Kay S. Hymowitz is a City Journal contributing editor, the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of The New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring a City Back.

Jeff Guinn takes readers on a tragic trip with Jim Jones in ‘The Road to Jonestown’

April 3, 2017
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While doing boots-on-the-ground research for his new book, “The Road to Jonestown,” Jeff Guinn found that there’s no longer an actual road leading to the notorious South American settlement.
The passage of time has almost completely wiped away any trace of Jonestown — the same way that time has dimmed our memories of the Nov. 18, 1978, tragedy that happened there.
Guinn’s book will vividly refresh readers’ memories about the Rev. Jim Jones, his Peoples Temple church and his devoted followers, more than 900 of whom took their lives at the command of their leader.
The story might even haunt many readers. It’s quite unnerving.
Guinn — a Fort Worth-based author whose “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson” was a bestseller in 2013 — spent three years researching and writing the new book.
He even trekked deep into the Guyanese jungle to see what little remains of Jonestown.
It was a white-knuckle experience just to get to Port Kaituma in northwestern Guyana, six miles from where the Jonestown settlers carved out 800 acres of mission farmland, he says.
“I had not realized that Port Kaituma airstrip was a tiny, narrow thing gouged into the jungle with all kinds of potholes,” Guinn says. “Or that you land in it at a terrifyingly steep angle.”
Then came the six-mile drive on what, in America, would never be referred to as a road. It wasn’t really a six-mile drive either — after just two miles, the jungle had completely overtaken the trail.
“That’s when our guides tell us we’ll have to walk,” Guinn remembers. “Well, OK, we can do that. Then they’re handing us something that looks very much like machetes. That’s how you get in!
“So you have triple-canopy trees, thick barbed brush on the ground, pounding rain overhead, the smell of dank rotting vegetation, howling monkeys and bright plumage of birds all around and rustling in the brush — and it’s probably just as well that you can’t see what’s lurking out there.
“When we get to Jonestown, everything is gone. Pretty much all that remains are metal skeletons of trucks and tractors that have been impaled by massive trees. These trees are so thick that when the original Jonestown settlers used chain saws to cut them down, the blades of the chain saws would shatter.
“Seeing all of this is when you finally get a sense of what Jones and the settlers had to overcome to cut an 800-acre working farm out there. What they accomplished was truly remarkable.”
It was also at that moment when Guinn most loathed the charismatic and mercurial Jones for crushing the dreams and snatching away the lives of so many devoted followers.
Even sadder, the book reveals that Jones ordered the mass suicide, forcing everyone to drink cyanide-laced grape drink, merely so he could make a pointless statement of rebellion to the world.
Jones lived in fear that his compound would one day be invaded by enemies, real or imagined, from America. He believed group suicide was the only way to triumph in a no-win scenario.
Just as Guinn’s journey to Jonestown was long and arduous, more than three-quarters of the book is devoted to the early years of Jim Jones and Peoples Temple.
Guinn paints a fascinating and even-handed portrait of Jones. The man wasn’t all bad when he started his ministry in Indianapolis in the early 1960s. Yes, he was a scheming snake-oil salesman from the start, but he also was a dedicated civil rights activist and a persuasive agent for social change.
“I’m staggered when I look at what he accomplished in Indianapolis,” Guinn says. “If his story ended there, before the allegations of misdoings in his church, before the mass suicide-murders, he would be remembered, and rightly so, as one of the early, most-effective leaders of the civil rights movement.”
But after Jones moved his flock to California in the mid-1960s and then established his agricultural mission in South America, he became an increasingly erratic leader — claiming to be “God on earth” while succumbing to drug and sex addictions. All the while, the majority of his people kept believing in him.
Guinn interviewed many Jonestown survivors and relatives while researching the book. He also was invited to the Jonestown Labor Day reunion in San Diego in 2014. (The event was a potluck setup, so he came bearing Rice Krispies Treats.) As a result, his account is as “inside” as any outsider could write.
Guinn was often surprised by what he encountered at the reunion.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he says. “I found myself sitting in a lawn chair between Juanell Smart, who had lost her children, her mother and her uncle in Jonestown, and Tim Carter, who lost his wife and 18-month-old son that day. Every day of their lives, they struggle with what happened.
“But the event was also filled with people hugging and laughing and reminiscing about the sense of unity they’d had and the happy times they’d had. That’s when Nell Smart turned to me and said, ‘You have to understand. A lot of the time, being in Peoples Temple was fun!’”
This is also an aspect of Peoples Temple that Guinn hopes to convey in the book.
“It’s too easy to dismiss what happened in Jonestown with a couple of ‘Don’t drink the Kool-Aid’ jokes,” he says. “But it wasn’t a freak show.
“I think anyone who reads it will get a more complete view and a better understanding of how good intentions can go grievously wrong.”

Read more here:

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Incoming Roar

By Mark Steyn
April 11, 2017

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Saint Petersburg Metro -  April 3, 2017. © AFP

Last week was a fairly typical one in 21st century headlines:

~On Monday, 14 victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack on the St Petersburg Metro;

~On Friday, four victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack by a homicidal truck driver on Queen Street in Stockholm;

~On Palm Sunday, at least 45 victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack on two Coptic churches in Egypt.

In other news, the United States bombed Syria after a chemical-weapons attack, and UK, Canadian and other newspapers reported on the treatment a Berlin schoolboy received after revealing to his Muslim classmates that he's Jewish. Meanwhile, Giulio Meotti wrote for the Gatestone Institute on the closure of 500 churches in London, and the opening of 423 mosques.

The US bombing raid got the most headlines - because, after eight years of Obama, it was unusual. It's also the simplest, cleanest act: Identify a military target and fire missiles at it. What do you do about the others? In column inches (or whatever unit of measure now applies), the attention they commanded followed the cynical formula of old-time editors: One dead American equals ten dead Europeans equals one hundred dead Russians equals one thousand dead Africans.

And so it proved. Nevertheless, the Palm Sunday bombings were the most significant event of the week. They demonstrate that hardcore Islam is serious about expunging the remnants of Christianity from the region in which it was born. This is not a small thing.

It was a clever attack. The first suicide bomber hit St George's Church in Tanta. The second struck northwest, at St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, seat of the Coptic papacy. Pope Tawadros II had just left the cathedral after hearing about the Tanta attack. Nevertheless, ISIS and its affiliates came within minutes of killing the Coptic pontiff - at worship on Palm Sunday.

As I said, not a small thing. But it doesn't seem to make a lot of news. Other Christian leaders, friom Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury on down, seem to have more to say about potential, hypothetical upticks in "Islamophobia" than about the sustained attempt to eradicate the oldest adherents of their own faith. Western politicians don't seem to have much to say about it, either, perhaps out of shame: On America's watch, public expression of Christianity was obliterated in Iraq, and the last Christian church in Afghanistan razed to the ground. Almost exactly two years ago, when 148 students were slaughtered at a school in Kenya, President Obama could not bring himself to identify them as Christian, even though their killers had gone to great pains to separate their captives according to their faith, releasing the Muslims and killing the Christians. As I remarked somewhat mordantly, apparently black lives don't matter when they're Christian.

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Mourners carry the coffin of one of the victims of the blast at the Coptic Christian Saint Mark's church in Alexandria the previous day during a funeral procession at the Monastery of Marmina in the city of Borg El-Arab, east of Alexandria on April 10, 2017. Egypt prepared to impose a state of emergency after jihadist bombings killed dozens at two churches in the deadliest attacks in recent memory on the country's Coptic Christian minority. (AFP)

The Islamic supremacists' assault on Christianity is not confined to the Holy Land and the more benighted parts of the developing world. Monday's subway bloodbath in St Petersburg was also celebrated by Isis as making "a metro to Hell for worshipers of the Cross". It's doubtful that most of the victims, who included many students, would have seen themselves as such. But that's the point: you might not think of yourself as a "worshiper of the Cross", but that's how the guys who want to kill you see you.

And so it went in Stockholm also. As in Egypt, it was a symbolic target: the flagship Åhléns department store. I bought some socks there last summer. Good times. The owners announced after the bloodbath that they'd be selling off at bargain-basement prices all the merchandise damaged when the truck came crashing through the window. For prices you can't beat, look for the tire tracks on our cashmere sweaters! For one incredible sale only, our prices have fallen lower than our run-over customers! Eventually, someone explained to the store that this was not in the best of taste, and the sale was canceled before this savvy marketing opportunity could spread elsewhere on the Continent. (Galeries Lafayette in Rouen: We've cut our prices like the neck of a Catholic priest!)

But the secular, consumerist utopia attracts the ire of the Islamic imperialists, too. The killer in Stockholm was, like his comrade in St Petersburg, an ethnic Uzbek. But what he was principally was a Muslim, and one who divided the world into two groups, believers and non-believers. Among the dead was Chris Richardson, an Englishman who worked in Sweden for the music-streaming service Spotify. The people who create such billion-dollar boutique diversions assure us that they are the future, and that the likes of the Stockholm jihadist are momentary aberrations, freakish eruptions in the otherwise smooth progress to a world in which the seductive siren of the unending song can be piped directly into your cerebral cortex 24 hours a day. The killers of Stockholm, Petersburg and Alexandria are betting otherwise.

In a too pat symbolism, the Westminster Bridge attack claimed among its victims the window cleaner of Churchill's country home, Chartwell. More tellingly freighted, the toll of the dead in Stockholm numbered Maïlys Dereymaeker, the young mother of an 18-month-old baby: She'd worked as a psychologist at several Belgian migrant centers helping "refugees" whose asylum bids had been turned down. Her killer could have used her assistance: Rakhmat Akilov had had his application for Swedish asylum rejected last year, but the authorities couldn't be bothered to rouse themselves to deport him. She was, in a certain sense, on his side. But he killed her anyway, because that's not how he saw it.
The Jewish schoolboy in Berlin isn't really news, is he? That's just daily life in many European cities in the 21st century:
The 14-year-old, who cannot be named under child protection laws, was beaten, kicked and threatened with a replica gun after he revealed to fellow pupils that he was Jewish. 
He endured a campaign of intimidation by Muslim pupils who told him "Muslims hate Jews. All Jews are murderers."
Why put the boy in such a school? Ah, well. The mother believed the Official Propaganda:
Emma said she and her husband had originally been attracted to the school, Friedenauer Gemeinschaftsschule, which has a large proportion of Arab and Turkish children, by the fact it was so multicultural.
Yes, it's so multicultural, they all hate the Jews.

When there are no Jews left, who will they hate? In London, the churches close. But that's not really news, either, not this deep into Matthew Arnold's long, withdrawing roar:
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar...
Almost right. The churches close and the mosques open, and it happens so gradually you don't notice that the melancholy, long, withdrawing, roar is now in fact the triumphant incoming roar of what comes after. CNBC paraphrased London Mayor Sadiq Khan's reaction to the Westminster attacks this way:
Terrorists Can't Stand London's Thriving Multiculturalism
On the contrary, they understand very well that it's not "thriving", that "multiculturalism" is merely an interim phase, and that what comes after will be more unicultural.

The Coptic cathedral attacked in Egypt stands in Alexandria, a city I've visited from time to time. Woody Allen said years ago that he spent much of his time in his own preferred metropolis looking for "Cole Porter's New York". Because I'd read his quartet of novels as an impressionable lad, I wander around Egypt's great port city looking for Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria. But it no longer exists. As I write in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn:
[Durrell's] cast of characters would be entirely bewildering to contemporary Alexandrians: an English writer (of course), a Greek good-time girl, a homosexual Jew, a wealthy Copt. In the old days, Alexandria bustled with Britons, Italians, and lots and lots of Greeks. All gone. So are the Jews, homo- and hetero-, from a community 50,000 strong down to some four dozen greybeards keeping their heads down. I got an e-mail a year or so back from the great-grandson of Joseph Cattaui, a Jew and Egypt's finance minister back in the Twenties: These days, the family lives in France — because it's not just that in Egypt a Jew can no longer be finance minister, but that in Egypt a Jew can no longer be. Now, in the absence of any other demographic groups to cleanse, it's the Copts' turn to head for the exits — as in Tripoli and Benghazi it's the blacks'. In the once-cosmopolitan cities of the Arab world, the minority communities are confined to the old graveyards, like the rubbish-strewn Jewish cemetery of broken headstones, squawking chickens, and hanging laundry I wandered through in Tangiers a while back. Islam is king on a field of corpses.
In western cities, the field of corpses is already quite high - with Belgian psychologists who devoted their lives to helping "refugees", and French priests who gave Catholic property to their Muslim neighbors to worship on, and daughters of EU bigwigs who ask that in their murdered child's memory donations be given to migrant-assistance charities. Until they abandon their illusions, they are on the same "metro to Hell" as Alexandria and the other post-diversity cities of the Muslim world.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Get Up, Stand Up

All who cherish free expression, especially on campuses, must combat the growing zeal for censorship.
April 9, 2017
Image result for heather mac donald claremont mckenna
Where are the faculty? American college students are increasingly resorting to brute force, and sometimes criminal violence, to shut down ideas they don’t like. Yet when such travesties occur, the faculty are, with few exceptions, missing in action, though they have themselves been given the extraordinary privilege of tenure to protect their own liberty of thought and speech. It is time for them to take their heads out of the sand.
I was the target of such silencing tactics two days in a row last week, the more serious incident at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and a less virulent one at UCLA.
The Rose Institute for State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna had invited me to meet with students and to give a talk about my book, The War on Cops, on April 6. Several calls went out on Facebook to “shut down” this “notorious white supremacist fascist Heather Mac Donald.” A Facebook post from “we, students of color at the Claremont Colleges” announced grandiosely that “as a community, we CANNOT and WILL NOT allow fascism to have a platform. We stand against all forms of oppression and we refuse to have Mac Donald speak.” A Facebook event titled “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascists” encouraged students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’” (My supposed fascism consists in trying to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding minority residents of high-crime areas who support the police and are desperate for more law-enforcement protection.)
The event organizers notified me a day before the speech that a protest was planned and that they were considering changing the venue from CMC’s Athenaeum to one with fewer glass windows and easier egress. When I arrived on campus, I was shuttled to what was in effect a safe house: a guest suite for campus visitors, with blinds drawn. I could hear the growing crowds chanting and drumming, but I could not see the auditorium that the protesters were surrounding. One female voice rose above the chants with particularly shrill hysteria. From the balcony, I saw a petite blonde female walk by, her face covered by a Palestinian head scarf and carrying an amplifier on her back for her bullhorn. A lookout was stationed about 40 yards away and students were seated on the stairway under my balcony, plotting strategy.
Since I never saw the events outside the Athenaeum, which remained the chosen venue, an excellent report from the student newspaper, the Student Life, provides details of the scene:
The protesters, most of whom wore all black, congregated outside Honnold/Mudd Library at 4 p.m. to stage the action.
“We are here to shut down the fucking fascist,” announced an organizer to a crowd of around 100 students. The protesters subsequently marched to the Ath around 4:30 while chanting. An organizer shouted “How do you spell racist?” into a megaphone; the marchers responded “C-M-C.”
When they arrived, the protesters were greeted by around two dozen Campus Safety officers and Claremont police officers, stationed at various locations around the building. Protestors ignored the officers (who did not obstruct them) and the makeshift white fences sectioning off areas of Flamson Plaza, enveloping each of the Ath’s entrances with multiple rows of students linking arms. White students were encouraged to stand in front to form a barrier between students of color and the police.
The protesters continued their chants, including “hey hey, ho ho, Heather Mac has got to go,” “shut it down,” and—most frequent and sustained—“black lives matter.” Some of the officers appeared visibly uncomfortable during chant of “from Oakland to Greece, fuck the police.”
Keck Science professor Anthony Fucaloro pushed against and grappled with the crowd of protesters in an unsuccessful attempt to reach the door Garrett Ryan CM ‘17 brought a large speaker to the Hub’s patio, blasting Sousa’s patriotic march “The Stars and Stripes Forever” to provoke the protesters. A woman who ran up to him managed to steal his audio cable after a brief scuffle, cutting off the music and garnering cheers from the protesters when she returned to the crowd.
“It was not well-received,” Ryan told TSL.
Steven Glick PC ’17, the co-editor-in-chief of the conservative Claremont Independent publication, attempted to livestream the protest, but he was swarmed by protesters who blocked his phone.
Several administrators attended the protest and stood to the side. They told TSL that they saw their role as ensuring student safety, but they also sympathized with the protesters’ views.
“Black Lives Matter is really at my heart,” said Pomona Associate Dean Jan Collins-Eaglin.
Of all the chants, “How do you spell racist?” “C-M-C,” was the most absurd. “Racist” CMC is so desperate for “diverse” students that it has historically admitted black and Hispanic students with an average 200-point lower SAT score than white and Asian students. Such racial preferences satisfy CMC’s desire for racial virtue but set the alleged beneficiaries up for academic struggles, if not failure.
Shortly before 6 PM, I was fetched by an administrator and a few police officers to take an out-of-the-way elevator into the Athenaeum. The massive hall, where I was supposed to meet with students for dinner before my talk, was empty—the mob, by then numbering close to 300, had succeeded in preventing anyone from entering. The large plate-glass windows were covered with translucent blinds, so that from the inside one could only see a mass of indistinct bodies pounding on the windows. The administration had decided that I would live-stream my speech in the vacant room in order to preserve some semblance of the original plan. The podium was moved away from a window so that, as night fell and the lights inside came on, I would not be visible to the agitators outside.
I prefaced my speech by observing that I had heard chants for the last two hours that “black lives matter.” I therefore hoped that the protesters were equally fervent in expressing their outrage when five-year-old Aaron Shannon, Jr., was killed on Halloween 2010 in South-Central Los Angeles, while proudly showing off his Spiderman costume. A 26-year-old member of Watts’s Kitchen Crips sent a single bullet through Aaron’s head, and also shot Aaron’s uncle and grandfather. I said that I hoped the protesters also objected when nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee was lured into an alley in Chicago with the promise of candy in November 2015 and assassinated by gang enemies of Tyshawn’s father. The gangbangers’ original plan had been to cut off Tyshawn’s fingers and send them to his mother. While Black Lives Matter protesters have in fact ignored all such mayhem, the people who have concerned themselves are the police, I said. And though it was doubtful that any of the protesters outside had ever lost a loved one to a drive-by shooting, if such a tragedy ever did happen, the first thing he or she would do is call the police.
I completed my speech to the accompaniment of chants and banging on the windows. I was able to take two questions from students via live-streaming. But by then, the administrators and police officers in the room, who had spent my talk nervously staring at the windows, decided that things were growing too unruly outside to continue. I was given the cue that the presentation was over. Walkie-talkies were used to coordinate my exit from the Athenaeum’s kitchen to the exact moment that a black, unmarked Claremont Police Department van rolled up. We passed startled students sitting on the stoop outside the kitchen. Before I entered the van, one student came up and thanked me for coming to Claremont. We sped off to the police station.
The previous night, I actually succeeded in delivering a talk on policing to the audience who had come to hear it; such heretofore ordinary circumstances are now noteworthy. My hosts, the UCLA College Republicans, had titled my presentation “Blue Lives Matter,” which campus activists viewed as an unspeakable provocation. After I finished speaking and welcomed questions, pandemonium broke out. Protesters stormed the front of the classroom, demanding control of the mike and chanting loudly: “America was never great” and “Black Lives Matter, They Matter Here,” among other insights. After nearly 10 minutes of shouting, one of the organizers managed to persuade some students to line up for questions. The College Fix paper captured the subsequent interaction:
A black female asked whether “black victims killed by cops” mattered.
“Yes,” Mac Donald replied. “And do black children that are killed by other blacks matter to you?”
At that the room erupted in gasps and angry moans and furious snaps, and the young lady who asked the original question began to yell at Mac Donald, pointing her finger and repeating the original question. . . .
“Of course I care [that black victims are killed by cops], and do you know what,” Mac Donald said. “There is no government agency more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.”
Again, gasps and moans filled the auditorium.
“Bullshit! Bullshit!” a young woman off camera could be heard screaming. Mac Donald continued: “The crime drop of the last 20 years that came to a screeching halt in August 2014 has saved tens of thousands of minority lives. Because cops went to those neighborhoods and they got the dealers off the street and they got the gang-bangers off the street.”
Mac Donald took more questions and at times was able to articulate her points during the Q&A, but was also often interrupted by angry audience members shouting out things such as:
“I don’t trust your numbers.”
“Why do white lives always need to be put above everybody else? Can we talk about black lives for one second?”
“The same system that sent police to murder black lives . . . ”
“You have no right to speak!”
“What about white terrorism?!”
To the inevitable claim that poverty causes gun violence, I responded that if students really believed in that causation, they should be concerned that mass low-skilled immigration was driving down wages for the American poor. That provoked a new chant: “Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here.”
At 8 PM, the organizers decided to end the event, and I was hustled out of the room with a police escort.
To my knowledge, the UCLA administration has not addressed the disruption of my presentation and interaction with students. The Claremont McKenna administration did, however, respond. Two days before my speech, the director of the Rose Institute, Andrew Busch, sent out an email decrying the use of the epithet “racist” “as a bludgeon with which to shut up critics or keep friends in line.” Busch optimistically put matters in the conditional: “If we ever accept that approach we will have taken a giant step toward surrendering freedom of thought and expression”—as if intmidation via the R-word is not already routine on and off campuses. Busch graciously tried to provide a neutral summary of my views and noted that I, too, aim to protect black lives.
A few minutes after I was escorted out of the Athenaeum, a campus-wide missive from Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Faculty Peter Uvin expressed disappointment that people could not attend the lecture, but lauded the fact that the lecture was live-streamed. Uvin, a government professor specializing in development and human rights, went on to establish his bona fides with the social-justice crowd. “I fully understand that people have strong opinions and different—often painful—experiences with the issues Heather Mac Donald discusses. I also understand that words can hurt. And in a world of unequal power, it is more often than not those who have a history of exclusion who are being hurt by words. I support everyone’s right to make this world a better one.” This may not have been the best moment to reaffirm the idea that undergirds such silencing protests: that speech can damage allegedly excluded or marginalized minorities.
The next day, CMC president Hiram Chodosh, a former international law professor, weighed in. He explained the failure to intervene against the protesters: “Based on the judgment of the Claremont Police Department, we jointly concluded that any forced interventions or arrests would have created unsafe conditions for students, faculty, staff, and guests. I take full responsibility for the decision to err on the side of these overriding safety considerations.” Chodosh said that students who violated school policies by blocking access to buildings would be held accountable.
poorly written editorial in the student newspaper attributed to me positions I have never taken and quoted me wildly out of context. Such misunderstanding goes with the territory. But the editorialists’ explanation for why my talk had to be shut down revealed the “racism is everywhere” brain-washing that students at even a once relatively conservative campus like Claremont now receive: “If we allow her to speak at the Ath or attend her talk, we are amplifying her voice and enhancing her credibility. Last month, we proposed that writing and publishing an article, even if it’s ‘free of opinion,’ is not passive. This is a throughline for many of our editorials this year: many actions that seem neutral in theory are actually entrenched in unconscious bias.”
Last week’s events should be the final wakeup call to the professoriate, coming on the heels of the more dangerous attacks on Charles Murray at Middlebury College and the riots in Berkeley, California, against Milo Yiannapoulos. When speakers need police escort on and off college campuses, an alarm bell should be going off that something has gone seriously awry. Of course, an ever-growing part of the faculty is the reason that police protection is needed in the first place. Professors in all but the hardest of hard sciences increasingly indoctrinate students in the belief that to be a non-Asian minority or a female in America today is to be the target of nonstop oppression, even, uproariously, if you are among the privileged few to attend a fantastically well-endowed, resource-rich American college. Those professors also maintain that to challenge that claim of ubiquitous bigotry is to engage in “hate speech,” and that such speech is tantamount to a physical assault on minorities and females. As such, it can rightly be suppressed and punished. To those faculty, I am indeed a fascist, and a white supremacist, with the attendant loss of communication rights.
Hyperbole is part and parcel of political speech. But I would hope that there are some remaining faculty with enough of a lingering connection to reality who would realize that I and other conservatives are not a literal threat to minority students. To try to prevent me or other dissenting intellectuals from connecting with students is simply an effort to maintain the Left’s monopoly of thought. The fact that this suppression goes under the title of “anti-fascism” is particularly rich. I am reluctant to wield the epithet “fascist” as promiscuously as my declared opponents do. But it must be observed that if campus conservatives tried to use physical force to block Senator Elizabeth Warren, say, from giving a speech, the New York Times would likely put the obstruction on the front page and the phrase “fascist” would be flying around like a swarm of hornets, followed immediately by the epithet “misogynist.” And when students and their fellow anarchists start breaking glass, destroying businesses, and assaulting perceived opponents, as they did during the Milo riots and at Middlebury College, it is hard not to hear echoes of 1930s fascism. 
It is not enough for professors to sign statements in support of free speech (and surprisingly few have actually done so). When word goes out of a plan to “shut down” non-conforming political views, that plan must be taken deadly seriously. Claremont McKenna took obvious pains to protect my talk, but they were not enough. I will not second-guess president Chodosh’s decision not to arrest the mob blocking access to the Athenaeum. Administrators and campus police are loathe to do anything that might necessitate the use of force against student darlings, as the deplorable passivity of the UC Berkeley campus (and Berkeley city) police during the anti-Milo riots on February 1 revealed. But if arrests are all but foreclosed, enough police manpower must be summoned to maintain open access through sheer command presence. Before a planned blockade, the faculty must reaffirm in their classes the campus’s belief in free expression. And the faculty must show up to the threatened event itself to give meaning to the ideal of free speech; they must shame the students trying to prevent their fellow students from hearing ideas that challenge campus orthodoxies. Fortunately, the campus thugs are too dim-witted to understand that by trying to shut down nonconforming speech, they are only giving it a greater cachet, as President Chodosh ruefully noted in his post-blockade email.
Retroactive punishment for violating school rules is necessary, as Charles Murray has persuasively written. President Chodosh should follow through on his promise to hold the censors accountable; if he does, it will be a first, since punishment violates the consumerist ethos of American higher education.
We are cultivating students who lack all understanding of the principles of the American Founding. The mark of any civilization is its commitment to reason and discourse. The great accomplishment of the European enlightenment was to require all forms of authority to justify themselves through rational argument, rather than through coercion or an unadorned appeal to tradition. The resort to brute force in the face of disagreement is particularly disturbing in a university, which should provide a model of civil discourse.
But the students currently stewing in delusional resentments and self-pity will eventually graduate, and some will seize levers of power more far-reaching than those they currently wield over toadying campus bureaucrats and spineless faculty. Unless the campus zest for censorship is combatted now, what we have always regarded as a precious inheritance could be eroded beyond recognition, and a soft totalitarianism could become the new American norm.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.