Thursday, May 01, 2008

Maclean's, Ted Rogers, please don't cave in to this

Ezra Levant thinks Mohammed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress is Canada's Al Sharpton, in other words some kind of racial/leftist ideological hustler who creates or blows up scandals, and then seeks to get the figure of blame to pay him off, literally and/or symbolically, to make the scandal go away. At Wednesday's CIC press conference Elmasry's p.r. sidekicks, the law students widely know in the blogosphere as "Elmo's kids" or "Elmasry's sockpuppets" sat quietly while some lawyer tried again to blackmail Maclean's, to use the term that Jay Currie advocates. By again demanding that Maclean's give up its property rights and publish an article by an author approved by the complainants, by demanding a "right of rebuttal" that has never existed in Canada, Elmasry and his homespun organization tried to regain the much vaunted victim position on the stage of Canada's leftist political culture.

In treating Maclean's as if it were a public good to be distributed by some big man or big momma, the Canadian Islamic Congress only revealed that they have yet to learn - or perhaps they know but don't appreciate - what it means to live in a free society with property rights. What is unsettling about this event is that Elmasry did not show up. The man whose name is on all three complaints against Maclean's filed with various provincial and federal "human rights" commissions did not make himself accountable to the assembled media. Rather, the law students who only signed on to the now dismissed Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint took the stage, their youthful faces bait for those tempted to see Maclean's and Mark Steyn as victimizers of struggling young Canadian Muslims, at a time when many people are criticizing the religion and ideology of Islam.

Why exactly did Elmasry leave his kids alone with some lawyer to face the wrath of some fierce opponents, a Kathy Schaidle, or Right Girl, for example? What exactly is the symbolism in play in this theatre, where various parties compete to appear most threatened: what is more terrorizing, asks Schaidle, Mark Steyn's essays or the attempt to shut them up? Her answer is clear.

Again, let me remind that it is Elmasry's name that appears on the complaints to the federal and British Columbia Human Rights tribunals, the complaints whose status was supposedly in question, and being opened for negotiation, at this press conference.

Now the common assumption in the blogosphere is that Elmasry didn't show because he and his people know it is bad p.r. to put before the Canadian media a guy famous for his proclamation that all adult Israelis are legitimate targets for Palestinian terrorists. But is this sufficient to explain the symbolism of his absence, whatever the "real" reason may have been?

I'd suggest that Elmasry would appear, to many a journalist, a tough old bugger, someone who should not feel readily threatened by the tussle of public debate in a free society. He conferences with Marxists and the Liberal Part of Canada; he's seen with secular academics and imams. He's been around and survived some knocks. But this press conference really needed to re-iterate the claim that Maclean's and Mark Steyn make Muslim Canadians feel threatened. It was a scene in a victimary theatre, and young people, in the full bloom of their sexual, if not intellectual, productivity have a much higher sacred charge - and thus make more powerful victim figures - than do old farts. That Elmasry was not on hand to behave as a responsible adult, making himself answerable to the outrage he has in good part sparked in Canada in respect to the "human rights" commissions and their desire to police what we once thought was our inalienable right to freedom of expression, is, I think, suggestive of a worldview antithetical to a free society.

The growing alliance worldwide between postmodern victimary politics and Islam entails a politics positively in need of victims, or martyrs, to make sense of itself and its claims against the established or normal order; it has such a need that it will willingly create its own victims (putatively of the Western or capitalist Other) to that end. We have thus elsewhere called this kind of politics a death cult

Perhaps I am going off on a wild tangent, but this got me thinking of the parent's duty, as implied by those Palestinian tv programs that encourage the young to die as martyrs for the Jihadi cause (see, e.g., here, here and here ). I mean when was the last time you heard of elderly suicide bombers? If the future of their people were their first concern, wouldn't it be more rational for the Palestinians to send older guys, about Elmasry's age, rather than their children and youth to blow themselves up? Well, that's to ask the question, and imply a rationality, from a world view quite different from that which motivates Islamist Palestinians and their supporters today.

I know I'm getting sidetracked: Elmasry's law students are young adults and playing a role as leftist and minority group political activists not unknown in the West...

...but just to let you know an interesting factoid: I googled "elderly suicide bombers" and discovered only three uses of that phrase on the internet. And two, or maybe all three of them, are satirical: see here and here.

The saddest news from the CIC's press conference was the revelation that the NDP is falling yet more in line with Elmasry's variety of antisemitic and victimary politics: a letter of support from Jack Layton to the CIC was part of the press package.


Powell lucas said...

Elmasry simply saw how a few ambulance chasing lawyers were getting rich of this HRC scam and decided he wanted to cut himself in for a piece of the action.
Actually, he has done all of us who believe in free speech a big favour. He has managed to focus the spotlight on the slimey underbelly of these commissions and reveal the slugs that dwell therein. If he has accomplished nothing else, Elmasry may be the one to bring these kangaroo courts down once and for all.

Dag said...

Old foggies blowing up themselves? Geez, do you know how hard it is to bend over to ties ones shoes in the morning? Forget it. And finding a nurse to hand over the detonator box and show which button to hit, it's impossible these days. The damned things have so many gizmos on them even girls with college degrees can't figure them out.

Yup, I recall the last time I tried blowing up myself. I couldn't find my bifoculs and ended up grabbing the dog's bowl by mistake. Some damned fool put change in it, thinking I was a beggar. Hmph. Old suicide bombers are just not taken seriously like when I was a boy. What's the world coming to? Well, I'll tell you, it's coming to an end, and none too soon, by crackey.