Notes and Comment Blog

Zeid tells Saudi to stop it

Jan 15th, 2015 10:23 am | By

A ray of hope? The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – who is Jordanian – has told Saudi Arabia to stop flogging Raif Badawi. Ok has asked, urged, called on, whatever – he’s not in a position to tell. But still.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Saudi Arabia on Thursday to stop the serial flogging of an atheist and civil rights blogger sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes over an extended period.

Raif Badawi, who set up a website called “Free Saudi Liberals”, received 50 lashes after Friday prayers last week and global rights groups say he is expected to be submitted to a second round on Friday.

“Flogging is in my view at very least a form of cruel and inhuman punishment,” High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement from his Geneva office. As such, it was banned under international rights law, he added.

“I appeal to the King of Saudi Arabia to exercise his power to halt the public flogging by pardoning Mr Badawi, and to urgently review this type of extraordinary harsh penalty,” said Zeid, a former Jordanian diplomat.


Funny, I listened to an interview with Zeid by the BBC last night and the interviewer asked about Raif (without naming him) and I thought Zeid gave a completely useless answer – generalities about capital punishment elsewhere. I was frustrated and furious – I was not expecting this! On the contrary, I thought it was a sign of the opposite – he wasn’t going to do a damn thing about it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: Dear offended religious people

Jan 15th, 2015 10:01 am | By

Guest post by Saba Farbodkia. Originally a post at British Muslims for Secular Democracy on Facebook, published here by permission.

Dear offended religious people,

Please stop the hypocrisy. The right to offend is not exclusively yours.

If you know the holy scriptures of the religions that you uphold so dearly, you already know how offensive parts of them are to people.

Yet, some of you still continue to publish them. Some of you buy those publications and read them. Some of you recite them to your children. Some of you force your children to uphold them as sacred and act upon them as far as they can. And all of you regard those scriptures beyond questioning and criticism, otherwise why would you feel offended when one did so?

If you know the holy figures of the religions that you uphold so dearly, you probably know of a few things they have done that are offensive to people.

Yet, some of you consider them as the paragons of how one should live their earthly life, and all of you regard desecration of those figures an offense to the sacredness of your religion.

Your religions have not only deeply offended women, homosexuals, and non-believers, but have also been a source of physical pain and agony for them by the actions of those followers who have been literally following their instructions, throughout centuries and millennia.

And yet, the right of these people to offend you back by questioning, criticizing, and mocking the religious concepts that you uphold so dearly has been breached for most of the history, only granted to them for a couple of decades or centuries in some parts of the world, now, and not granted to them in so many other parts, yet.

Despite such historical privilege, you still whine when somebody starts to use their right to mock your religion or desecrate its figures. Worse than that, when a tragedy happens because some of your fellow offended religious people have gone nuts and killed a group of blasphemers, some of you distort a conversation that should be about the right to blasphemy, to a conversation about your offended feelings at the blasphemy that the blasphemers were killed for. KILLED FOR…

Take a moment and think about it.

If a group of atheist homosexual women, deeply agonized and in pain bullied by expression of your religious beliefs for decades, had gone nuts and had exploded a few mosques and churches and other religious centers for “incitement of hatred and prejudice” against them, and had killed a dozen of hate preaching Imams, how would feel if all the world would turn to you when you were moaning your loss, by changing the conversation to be about how offended their feelings would get the sermons were given at those centers? How would you feel if those religious centers were not even actually preaching such hate?

Do you see how hypocritical it is?

So this is what I am gonna do: Next time you mention something about empathy, and how it requires that people don’t offend each other, I ask you for empathy first. I ask you to stop offending people by giving up your support for religions that have such offensive concepts in their scriptures, or the actions of their holy figures as recorded by history. I ask you to show your empathy for your fellow human beings by leaving your religion. Until you haven’t shown enough empathy not to offend others, please don’t ask others to show that to you.

Please stop the hypocrisy. The right to offend is not exclusively yours. The empathy not to be offensive is not exclusively other people’s responsibility, either.

This is only intended for those religious people who feel offended at blasphemy, and took the CH events to express their feelings.
I understand there are many religious people like myself, who can take a witty joke about their religion with a smile, and face a serious criticism of it by a deep thought.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Dieudonné feels like “Charlie Coulibaly”

Jan 15th, 2015 9:26 am | By

AFP at the Guardian reports on the arrest of Dieudonné.

Notorious French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has been arrested for being an “apologist for terrorism” after suggesting on Facebook that he sympathised with one of the Paris gunmen, a judicial source has said.

Prosecutors had opened the case against him on Monday after he wrote “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” – mixing the slogan “Je suis Charlie”, used in tribute to the journalists killed at magazine Charlie Hebdo, with a reference to gunman Amédy Coulibaly. Dieudonné was arrested on Wednesday.

Coulibaly killed four people at a Jewish supermarket on Friday and a police officer the day before.

In the US that wouldn’t get him arrested, although it probably would get him investigated and spied on by “Homeland” security – and I’m Millian enough to think he shouldn’t be arrested for that. But I think he’s a colossal asshole for saying it. Coulibaly was a murdering piece of shit, who carefully singled out Jews for murder. Dieudonné is disgusting.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

How to deal

Jan 15th, 2015 9:13 am | By

Pliny the in between offers a helpful algorithm for the offended:

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Cosby’s attorney has denied

Jan 14th, 2015 5:52 pm | By

So. Someone whose case does not fall under the statute of limitations is pursuing criminal charges against Cosby.

A model who claims Bill Cosby drugged and sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion met with Los Angeles police on Wednesday to pursue criminal charges against the comedian over the 2008 incident.

An attorney for Chloe Goins said after the meeting that his client is the first woman accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct whose case may fall within the statute of limitations.

More than 15 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, including several who say the comedian drugged and raped them in incidents dating back at least four decades.

Quick, somebody make a joke about women not drinking around Bill Cosby hahahahahahahaha.

[Goins’s lawyer Spencer] Kuvin declined to discuss what Goins told detectives but restated her allegations that Cosby drugged her at a 2008 event at the Playboy Mansion. Goins does not know what happened while she was blacked out but Kuvin says she awoke to find herself naked and Cosby over her.

“Ms. Goins and I are here for two reasons: for justice and accountability,” Kuvin said.

And to be the punchline of Bill Cosby jokes.

Cosby’s attorney has denied some of the accusations against the comedian, saying they have been discredited or come from discredited accusers. Cosby joked about the allegations against him at a recent show in Canada and is scheduled to perform two shows in Denver on Saturday night despite planned protests.

“We hope that the people that are paying to attend Mr. Cosby’s shows understand that these victimized women have broken their silence now and they will not remain quiet any longer,” Kuvin said. “Mr. Cosby should, and will be held accountable for what he’s done.”

He said women reporting abuse “should be encouraged and not joked about.”

Not joked about, not called liars or crazy, not pressured to shut up, not offered a bribe to shut up.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The very newspaper that did the most to fight racism

Jan 14th, 2015 5:17 pm | By

Lliana Bird also objects to the whole “Charlie Hebdo is racist!” thing.

[O]ne thing I’ve found difficult to ignore is the growing voices of those who knew little of the cartoonists and journalists saying terrible things about them, which are quite frankly unsettling.

“Racist”, “Islamophobic” and “hypocritical” have been the most common accusations. Many seemingly educated friends and social media buddies seemed to be merely glancing at a few cherry-picked Charlie Hebdo covers without making any effort in understanding their true meaning or impetus (or often even of the French translation of the accompanying captions).

And that’s not enough, especially when the subject is people who were just murdered by two fanatical bigots for reasons that are beneath contempt.

Charlie Hedbo were leftists, some may even anarchists and punks. They printed numerous cartoons which were anti racism/xenophobia; that mocked and satirised the far right as bigots and racists. As long time reader and Frenchman, Olivier Tonneau pointed out in his excellent article, The National Front and the Le Pen family were in fact their primary targets above all others. Next came bosses, politicians and the corrupt. Finally they opposed organised religion. ALL organised religion. They didn’t hate or abuse or target any one group or religion. They did however mock ALL systems and organisations and individuals of power – from political to religious to everything in between. They were satirists, and all people, systems and organisations should be open to criticism and mockery (so long as it sticks within the laws of the land). They were democratic in their ridicule and satirisation. No one was exempt. To do otherwise would have been the hypocritical. Equal rights also means equal treatment.

I don’t agree with those last two sentences, because (among other reasons) equal rights don’t always mean equal treatment in areas other than satirical journalism. People can have equal rights but still also be stigmatized or scorned in various ways, and I do think that makes a difference to how (or if) they should be satirized. (A shorter way of saying that is to talk about punching up versus down, but I’m sick of that formula, and anyway I don’t like formulas.)

As Oliver Tonneau so beautifully writes: “Two young French Muslims of Arab descent have not assaulted the numerous extreme-right wing newspapers that exist in France (Minute, Valeurs Actuelles) who ceaselessly amalgamate Arabs, Muslims and fundamentalists, but the very newspaper that did the most to fight racism… I hope this helps you understand that if you belong to the radical left, then you lost precious friends and allies last week.”

Terrible, isn’t it?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Nothing, it seems, is enough

Jan 14th, 2015 4:40 pm | By

Salty Current has further thoughts on the failure of many to make the effort to understand Charlie Hebdo before declaring it racist.

I’ll repeat briefly the major point I’ve been making for the past several days: that I hate the approach that many people with basically good motives seem to be taking, which consists of a hostile-prosecutorial attitude that begins by assuming the worst, even on the basis of the most skeletal evidence and biased reports, and proceeds through various stages of half-listening to and then minimizing or dismissing evidence that contradicts or at least challenges the original impression.

Not the history of the publication and its political commitments or those of its staff, not the statements of the people who created and published the images, not their courage in defending blasphemy and going after the Right and numerous sacred cows, not the local context in which the images were created or viewed, not the history of French satire, not CH’s public reputation which would shape people’s interpretations, not films in which the artists describe their intent in producing particular images and the efforts to preclude their misuse,* not indications of the critic’s own ignorance – nothing, it seems, is enough for the self-appointed judges to pull back on their determination to smear Charlie Hebdo. The goalposts are moved again and again: from actively and openly racist to neglectfully employing racist tropes without concern for who might be hurt to insufficient efforts to make it impossible for others to misrepresent the images or use them in a harmful way. This last is simply an impossible standard, especially for a satirical magazine with a small circulation which works within local traditions and comments on current events.

It’s all that good. Read it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

What the killers said

Jan 14th, 2015 3:59 pm | By

On page 10 of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo – under the subhead Allah Akbar! –

The killers shouted twice before executing the team – “God is the greatest!” Bah, no, fuckhead, if he existed, you really think he would have let your bottomless stupidity murder the brilliant intelligence of Wolinski, Cabu, Honoré, Charb, Tignous, Bernard Maris, Elsa Cayat and Mustapha Ourrad?

It actually says “he wouldn’t have” rather than “he would have” but I figure that’s an idiom I’m not aware of.

“Allah Akbar” was Charb’s cri de guerre, his salutations in emails and texts – “Allah Akbar, do you think you can manage to get your article in tomorrow?” One day at the magazine, for a laugh, we said “Char, quit saying that, the day they arrive to whack you, we won’t know whether it’s a joke or not.” And it arrived. We knew it, we at Charlie did – that humor is something very serious.

Bien entendu they did.

H/t Brian E.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

“Je suis en kiosque”

Jan 14th, 2015 11:26 am | By

On Twitter

FranceBleuLoireOcéan @bleuloireocean · 15 hours ago
5h20 ce mercredi : plus aucun #CharlieHebdo au kiosque de la gare de #Nantes. Les 106 exemplaires sont partis en 5′

5:20 a.m. this Wednesday: not a single #CharlieHebdo left at the newsagent’s at Nantes station. The 106 copies were gone in 5 minutes.

Embedded image permalink

I like that photo because you can see how CH is still all over all the papers. I especially like the cover of Libération.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

3 million Charlie Hebdo not nearly enough

Jan 14th, 2015 11:17 am | By

I knew it wouldn’t be enough. I knew 3 million wouldn’t be enough just for France, let alone everywhere else.

The print run has been raised to 5 million, but that won’t be enough either.

I want a copy, but apparently it’s not even distributed here outside New York.

The Guardian reports:

The planned print run of the first Charlie Hebdo magazine since last week’s deadly terrorist attack has been increased to 5m as many newsagents in France sold out of stocks within minutes of it going on sale.

“The publisher has decided this morning to bring the print run to 5m,” Véronique Faujour, president of the distributor MLP, told AFP. The figure is 2m more than had been expected.

Large queues formed outside French magazine kiosks as the first edition since the attack on the magazine’s office killed 12 went on sale.

Some outlets reported that hundreds of copies of the magazine were sold in the first few minutes of going on sale by customers eager to show support for free speech following the attack.

Also, frankly, in my case and I would guess in theirs, to have the damn issue.

The Guardian’s Anne Penketh said her local newsagent in Paris was so inundated with customers wanting copies of Charlie Hebdo that he hid them and sold copies only to regulars.

She said: “While I was there, a couple of people stopped by and asked for a copy, but [the newsagent] said he didn’t have any. He then stooped down and put my copy inside Le Figaro so nobody would see. He says he’s never seen anything like it.”

5 million won’t be enough either. Keep printing.

“It was incredible. I had a queue of 60-70 people waiting for me when I opened,” said a woman working at a newspaper kiosk in Paris. “I’ve never seen anything like it. All my 450 copies were sold out in 15 minutes.”

Jamie Johnson, 21, a language student from Exeter University working in Paris, reported a queue of 400 people snaking around a block in usually quiet streets in the 5th arrondissement by 8am.

Johnson said that a woman behind him in the queue shouted: “I am buying a piece of history.”

Well exactly. A piece of history, a “oui” to freedom of expression, a “fuck you” to the murderers and their fans, a farewell to the murdered, a cheer for secularism and the right to apostasize, all that and more.

In a small shop in Gloucestershire –

Caroline Powell, 47, came in to order a copy, but was too late. “It is to honour the people that were massacred,” she said. “I will come in again on Friday. I think it is about freedom of speech. I think we should be able to buy what we want. Charlton Kings isn’t just a sleepy village.”

To honour the people who were massacred: exactly so.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Murugan’s book

Jan 14th, 2015 10:54 am | By

Via Twitter –

Nakul Shenoy ‏@nakulshenoy Jan 13
Eh?! RT @girishmallya: Bought my copy of one part Woman to support freedom of expression … #IAmPerumalMurugan

View this content on amazon's website

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Well worth the £1500

Jan 14th, 2015 10:47 am | By

There’s a new party standing in the next UK general election in May.

An anti-feminism party called Justice for Men and Boys (And the Women Who Love Them) is standing for parliament in May’s general election.

The party, which hands out “Lying Feminist of the Month” awards to female journalists, will be fielding three candidates in the Nottingham area, including one candidate who will attempt to unseat shadow women and equalities minister Gloria De Piero.

The party was founded by retired businessman Mike Buchanan, who told BuzzFeed News it’s his party’s ultimate aim to “make feminism a dirty word”.

That’s already happened.

Buchanan used to work as a business consultant for the Conservative party, but quit in 2009 when David Cameron backed all-women parliamentary candidate shortlists. He has since dedicated his life to anti-feminism, writing three books, Feminism: The Ugly Truth, The Glass Ceiling Delusion, and David Cameron – The Heir to Harman?

“Feminism is a hatred, and it should be a badge of shame,” he said. “To call yourself a feminist should be no more acceptable than calling yourself a bigot or a sexist or a fascist. It is a deeply vile, corrupting ideology and the idea it’s a benign movement about gender equality is dangerous nonsense.”

Mike Buchanan is a citizen of Backward World, where everything means the opposite of what it means in Real World.

“We hear a lot about misogyny, which is actually very rare, but a hatred of men is very commonplace,” said Buchanan. “As far as the state is concerned, males are pretty much subhuman and they’ll do anything they can to destroy men’s lives.”

Oh? Really? So men are officially forbidden (by the state) to have jobs? Boys are barred from all forms of education? Everything is in the hands of women, and men are enslaved and confined? I don’t recognize that picture.

In the general election, Buchanan is pessimistic about winning enough votes to retain any of the three £500 deposits he’s put down, but thinks it’s worth the expense in order to raise awareness of what he called “the only anti-feminism party in the English-speaking world”.

It’s a bargain.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Jan 14th, 2015 10:01 am | By

A beautiful new Jesus and Mo today.


I just love that last panel – it expresses what I’m always struggling to express in words – the notional quality of the putative “love” for the putative prophet.

I also love the presence of the Charlie cover.

The J and M Patreon is here.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Fist bump

Jan 14th, 2015 9:30 am | By

They are the same. Ce sont pareils.

Iman @1GodlessWoman · Jan 12
They are indeed but one in the same #ParisShooting #RaifBadawi #saudi #NotInMyName

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

N’oubliez pas Raif

Jan 14th, 2015 9:26 am | By

It was Raif Badawi’s birthday yesterday.

World chants #JeSuisCharlie for #FreedomOfSpeech while Saudi blogger #RaifBadawi takes 1K lashes for discussing faith

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

And what did leading American media companies do?

Jan 13th, 2015 5:56 pm | By

Clemens Wergen at Die Welt has some home truths for the American media on this matter of refusing to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, even the new cover cartoon.

Today the French newspaper Libération published the new cover of Charlie Hebdo which will be on the newsstands on Wednesday. Yes, it is Muhammad again. He is shedding a big tear and holding a poster like so many people did in these days that reads “I am Charlie”. The title of the cover says “All is forgiven”. I can only imagine what amount of self conquest the surviving members of the Charlie Hebdo team had to muster to come up with a cover of such melancholic sweetness after they have lost 8 people, their most important editors and cartoonists among them. Anyone would have understood if they had had put all their rage and mourning into a biting and unforgiving cover. Except that they didn’t. They came up with a cover that speaks of the enlightened humanism Charlie Hebdo embodies, despite its at times scathing style.

Exactly. It’s a shatteringly moving cartoon because of that, and the failure to publish it spits in the faces of the people at CH.

And what did leading American media companies like NBC, CNN, the New York Times and others do? They again refused to show the cover. A disgrace to the surviving editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo  just as well as its dead members. It is a disgusting and morally appalling refusal to let Charlie Hebdo speak in its own distinctive voice.

It is not that I don’t understand where you, my American colleagues, come from. You are not  fans of the iconoclastic, anti-clerical tradition of Europe where fighting against the church during many centuries meant fighting against power or fighting against the legitimizing force allied to the absolute power of kings and emperors.

I am! Over here! And I’m not the only one. Don’t go thinking we’re all pious about the very idea of religion, because we’re not.

But way too damn many of us are. Still.

You didn’t need to, because your many and diverse faiths never were accomplices to the abuse of power in the way the old faiths of Europe were.

Never? That’s too strong. Slavery for instance got a lot of support from religion.

On the day after the attack the New York Times ran a story with two small covers of Charlie Hebdo as illustration. In order not to offend its Muslim readers, they didn’t print any of the Muhammad cartoons. “Under Times standards, we do not normally publish images or other material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities”, the Times said in a statement.

Good grief – what a pathetic “standard” for a newspaper to hold. And it’s a stupid and mindless description of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, too, in fact it’s yet another example of finger-pointing victim-blaming. Their chief purpose was not “to offend religious sensibilities” – it was to undermine the taboo on treating religion like any other subject, and to mock it and have fun with it and sell the paper by doing that. They knew religious sensibilities would be offended, but that’s not the same as deliberately intending to do so.

“After careful consideration, Times editors decided that describing the cartoons in question would give readers sufficient information to understand today’s story.”  This “sufficient information” consisted among other things of two small covers of Charlie Hebdo that illustrated the Time’s story on the attack, one critical of socialist French President Francois Hollande and one critical of Marie Le Pen’s right wing Front National. That was absurd because the attackers, which were most probably sent by al-Qaida in Yemen, didn’t shoot Charlie Hebdo’s editors and cartoonists because their socialist or right wing feelings had been hurt. They went on a killing spree because Charlie Hebdo had ridiculed their prophet. And the Times and others basically conceded that they had a right to feel offended.

Maybe they were just afraid, Wergen concedes. Understandable if somewhat silly.

But would you please spare us in the future all this journalist bullshit about speaking truth to power? It is easy speaking truth to power if you criticize and ridicule you own democratic government which won’t kill you or put you in jail for speaking your mind or publishing unfriendly or over-the-top cartoons. But when you are ready to be intimidated by the new Fascist thugs in the world even in those little things and in such a crucial moment you’d better stop all that self-aggrandizing talk about the bravery of the free press. It is striking that the much maligned “new media” had much less inhibition to inform its readers about the issue at hand than traditional news outlets had.

That’s us. He means us. We’re new media. Good job, us.

Myself and a good number of my European colleagues stood with you and all Americans when you suffered the catastrophic attack of 9/11. Now, my dear American colleagues, I feel that many of you have betrayed your European colleagues in what can only be descibed as the 9/11 of European journalism which was perpetrated under the same misguided understanding of Islam that has attacked the American homeland 13 years ago. Where has your moral compass gone?

Ouch, that stings. But I can’t deny it. Hang your heads, New York Times, NPR, NBC. Stand up Wall Street Journal, USA Today, BuzzFeed.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A strong iconoclastic streak

Jan 13th, 2015 3:49 pm | By

Sameer Rahim at Prospect points out that it’s not straightforwardly true that – as so many media outlets glibly assert – “Islam forbids depictions of the Prophet.”

Although it’s true there is a strong iconoclastic streak in the religion, there is also a significant alternative tradition of representing the Prophet in Islamic history books and devotional manuals—a tradition not especially well known in the West because Muslim clergy have often condemned or tried to suppress it.

Nothing in the Koran forbids image-making but it does worry about idol-worshipping. A century after the Prophet died in 632, around the time his first biography was being circulated, religious authorities tried to avoid replicating what they saw as the misguided Christian adoration of Jesus and avoided painting him, especially in places of worship.

That’s quite ironic if true, because the attitude to Mohammed of way too many Muslims – and not just the “extremist” ones – is worship. That’s exactly what it is. That’s also what makes it so toxic. Sacranie trying to argue that dissing the prophet is comparable to dissing someone’s relative (which is obvious nonsense since the relative example is limited to one set of relatives while Mo is not limited in that way) is idol-worship and dangerous with it.

Modern western images of Muhammad are by no means always critical of Islam—as some who obsess over the 2006 Danish cartoons published byJyllands-Posten or the South Park episode from 2010 in which the Prophet appeared might think. (That episode was never aired by Comedy Central.) Along with Moses and Charlemagne, he is one of 18 lawgivers carved on the US supreme court building. Bizarrely, a German meat extract company produced some lovely postcards of the Prophet’s life in 1928 as part of a series of great figures in history.

I’ve long thought it would be a great idea to have an exhibition devoted to images of Muhammad—both Islamic and non-Islamic, devotional and polemical—to give some much-needed context to a debate that often seems to produce more heat than light. Under the current grim circumstances, though, I can’t imagine that happening.

Nah; too much fun to kill people instead.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The silencing of Perumal Murugan

Jan 13th, 2015 2:49 pm | By

Another tragedy – the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan has decided to withdraw all his books and never write again after being bullied by Hindutva groups.

A week after the police advised Tamil writer Perumal Murugan to leave his home in Namakkal following protests by caste- and Hindutva organisations against his book Madhorubagan, the author has announced that he will withdraw his entire body of work from publication and will never write again.

The announcement came after four hours of negotiations with the groups that had objected to the book.

“Negotiations” forsooth! What is there to negotiate?!

Last month, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh burnt copies of his novel  in Tiruchengode in Tamil Nadu on Friday, The Hindu reported, saying that parts of the book insulted the Kailasanathar temple, Shiva and female worshippers.  They claimed to be offended by the sexual permissiveness described in the book, which is set around 100 years ago at the time of an annual festival in Tiruchengode.

After repeated threats on the phone, the writer decided to flee his hometown a few days ago.

On Monday night, Murugan posted a note on his Facebook wall announcing his decision to stop writing altogether. He offered to compensate his publishers and readers if they incurred any loss and asked people to leave him alone.

Here’s a translation of that note by Aniruddhan Vasudevan – it’s heartbreaking:

Author Perumal Murugan has died. He is no god, so he is not going to resurrect himself. Nor does he believe in reincarnation. From now on, Perumal Murugan will survive merely as a teacher, as he has been.

He thanks all magazines, media, readers, friends,writers, organisations, political parties, leaders, students and anyone else who supported Perumal Murugan and upheld the freedom of expression.

The issue is not going to end with Madhorubagan. Different groups and individuals might pick up any of his books and make it a problem. Therefore, these are the final decisions that Perumal Murugan has taken:

1. Other than those books that Perumal Murugan has compiled and published on his own, he withdraws all the novels, short stories, essays and poetry he has written so far. He says with certainty that none of these books will be on sale again.

2. He requests his publishers – Kalachavadu, Natrinai, Adaiyalam, Malaigal, Kayalkavin not to sell his books. He will compensate them for their loss.

3. All those who have bought his books so far are free to burn them. If anyone feels they have incurred a waste or loss in buying his books, he will offer them a compensation.

4. He requests that he be not invited to any events from now on.

5. Since he is withdrawing all his books, he requests caste, religious, political and other groups not to engage in protests or create problems.

Please leave him alone. Thanks to everyone.

Pe. Murugan

On January 7 he wrote an eloquent defense and explanation of his work, and now he’s been driven to this.

People can be so sickening.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church

Jan 13th, 2015 1:02 pm | By

If you haven’t seen enough rebarbative assholitude enough lately, there’s always Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. The lovely man did an interview with a lovely site called The New Emangelization – see what they did there?

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke:  I think there has been a great confusion with regard to the specific vocation of men in marriage and of men in general in the Church during the past 50 years or so. It’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.

Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men; the importance of the father, whether in the union of marriage or not; the importance of a father to children; the importance of fatherhood for priests; the critical impact of a manly character; the emphasis on the particular gifts that God gives to men for the good of the whole society.

The goodness and importance of men became very obscured, and for all practical purposes, were not emphasized at all.

Yup – men are the forgotten sex now. Why, look at the Catholic church itself! The pope is a woman, almost all the cardinals are women, most of the bishops are women, more than half of all priests are women –

Hahahaha totally kidding. The real numbers are zero, zero, zero, and zero. No Girls Allowed.

But outside the church though – yeah, there, women have stolen everything. Look at movies – it’s so hard to find a movie where a man even gets to talk, with all the women crowding them out. And in government? Corporations? Tech? Women women women, as far as the eye can see.

A child’s relationship with their father is key to a child’s self‑identification, which takes places when we are growing up. We need that very close and affirming relationship with the mother, but at the same time, it is the relationship with the father, which is of its nature more distant but not less loving, which disciplines our lives. It teaches a child to lead a selfless life, ready to embrace whatever sacrifices are necessary to be true to God and to one another.

The good cardinal seems to be confusing his religion with his memories of sitcoms from the 1950s.

I recall in the mid-1970’s, young men telling me that they were, in a certain way, frightened by marriage because of the radicalizing and self-focused attitudes of women that were emerging at that time. These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women. These divisions between women and men have gotten worse since then.

Because marriage just can’t work unless it’s between a superior and an inferior. Equality is a non-starter.

Sadly, the Church has not effectively reacted to these destructive cultural forces; instead the Church has become too influenced by radical feminism and has largely ignored the serious needs of men.

I’ve noticed that! The church is so influenced by radical feminism – its attitude to abortion, its attitude to allowing women to be priests and bishops and cardinals and popes, its generosity toward nuns – it all adds up.

The Church becomes very feminized. Women are wonderful, of course. They respond very naturally to the invitation to be active in the Church. Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.

Men are often reluctant to become active in the Church. The feminized environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.

That’s a pleasant way of seeing things – that if there are more women around, men will be so grossed out that they’ll leave. Thanks, Card.

Aspects of the Church’s life that emphasized the man‑like character of devotion and sacrifice have been deemphasized. Devotions that required time and effort were simply abandoned. Everything became so easy and when things are easy, men don’t think it is worth the effort.

Ah and women are lazy, too.

That’s enough Cardinal for me for the moment.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Je suis une femme

Jan 13th, 2015 12:30 pm | By

Tina Nguyen at Medialite reports on the photographic obliteration of women who had the temerity to be visible in the Paris march on Sunday. These brazen hussies were merely the chancellor of Germany and the mayor of Paris and the EU foreign policy chief, so what the hell did they think they were doing out there with the grown-ups?

Yesterday’s historic march across Paris included over 40 world leaders expressing solidarity for France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but if you read this Haredi newspaper, you’d believe that none of them were women.

The image that ran on the front page of the Israeli newspaper The Announcer edited two female world leaders out of the image, originally provided by wire service GPO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

A third, in a blue scarf is Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris.

You have to go to the original, which has the real photo and the faked one and a third pointing out all the traces of the photoshopping.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)