Index on What?

The comments by Juan Golblado on the ‘Paying Too Much Attention’ Comment have prompted me to hurry up and do what I’ve been meaning to do, which is to say a word or two about this bizarre article at Index on Censorship. It is, as Mr Golblado says, a striking case of the fox being invited into the henhouse. Unless of course the Index on Censorship is supposed to be an organization that sings the virtues of censorship, but I kind of thought it wasn’t supposed to be that kind of organization.

Van Gogh’s juvenile shock-horror art finally led him to build an exploitative working relationship with Somalia-born Dutch MP Ayann Hirsi Ali, whose terrible personal experience of abuse has driven her to a traumatizing loss of her Muslim faith.

Why is the relationship exploitative? And how does Jayasekera know? And note the way he makes her abuse sound like an aberration, a terrible but singular experience, as opposed to being the experience of many women under Islam. Then note the idea that what is traumatizing is the loss of her Muslim ‘faith’. Seems to me that keeping it would have been more traumatic in the circumstances – it would have meant accepting the rightness, the godliness, of what was done to her.

Together they made a furiously provocative film that featured actresses portraying battered Muslim women, naked under transparent Islamic-style shawls, their bodies marked with texts from the Koran that supposedly justify their repression. Van Gogh then roared his Muslim critics into silence with obscenities. An abuse of his right to free speech, it added injury to insult by effectively censorsing their moderate views as well.

‘Supposedly.’ Because there are no such texts in the Koran? And then what does that stuff about roaring his critics into silence mean? His critics had no way to roar back? Why? How? He doesn’t say, just asserts something that sounds pretty unlikely. And in essnce says van Gogh asked for what he got. And this is on the Index on Censorship site? Not good. Not encouraging.

Another interesting item from a reader: in the Letters today, expressing admiration for Azar Majedi (who wrote the article protesting van Gogh’s murder you’ll find on our front page) and adding this quotation from I don’t know what but it looks like a newspaper account:

‘the Rotterdam police were destroying a mural by Chris Ripke that he’d created to express his disgust at the murder of Theo van Gogh by Islamist crazies. Ripke’s painting showed an angel and the words “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. Unfortunately, his workshop is next to a mosque, and the imam complained that the mural was “racist”, so the cops arrived, destroyed it, arrested the television journalists filming it and wiped their tape’

Peachy. The imam complained. If the mural is described accurately, it doesn’t sound racist. Maybe the imam should be agreeing instead of complaining. Sigh.

24 Responses to “Index on What?”