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Hating Hirsi Ali

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In May, I wrote how Al Age reproduced Emma Brocke's article from the Guardian, demonising Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Hirsi Ali can, she has said, make statements that a white person simply could not: on the ''dangers'' posed to the West by not just radical but regular Islam; on the ''backward'' nature of the religion; on how ''terrible'' the Koran is; and, in the most startling argument of her new book, Nomad, how Muslims would do well to learn from Christianity.

The accusation that most irritates her - that the events of her life have left her ''traumatised'' and an easy pawn for right-wing politicians - is, she says, a sexist presumption. And yet the suspicion remains: that those convictions one arrives at and fights hardest for, via fraught personal experience, are emotional, not rational.

Her critique of Islam as a ''moral framework not compatible with the modern Westernised way of living'' is rooted in a critique of her family…
When she writes that ''violence is an integral part'' of Islamic social discipline, or that ''Muhammad's example is terrible, don't follow it'', it is deliberately, almost narcissistically, provocative, the result, one imagines, of a siege mentality and the defensive self-assurance that goes with it. To Hirsi Ali, the act of speaking out...seems to be almost a pathology.......

Hirsi Ali proposes an ''enlightenment project'' in which ''critical thinking'' is introduced to her former faith through various mediums, one of which is the Christian church. ''That's probably going to be the most controversial,'' she says, smiling. I'll say. Even if it didn't ignore the baggage of 1000 years of history - the Crusades, anyone? Colonialism? - what is an atheist doing promoting Christianity? ....
THE film Hirsi Ali made with Theo Van Gogh, broadcaster and provocateur, was intended to symbolise what they saw as misogyny within Islam...As Ian Buruma reported in his excellent book Murder In Amsterdam, when a Dutch news program aired Submission to Muslim women in a shelter for victims of domestic violence, they were by and large appalled...her style, and her choice of cohort, offended them. ....

Brocke's disrespectful, sarcastic and condescending tone permeates the interview.

She implies that Hirsi Ali can't think rationally because she has been a victim of abuse, and launches personal attacks instead of rebutting her claims. Yet Hirsi Ali displays no symptoms of trauma, presenting rational arguments against Islam throughout, more weighty because they are formed through knowledge and experience.
Brocke savages Hirsi Ali as being "deliberately, almost narcissistically provocative” whose “act of speaking out” seems “almost a pathology”.

Why do elitists attack Hirsi Ali? Is it because most are dhimmis who genuflect to Islam and are discomfitted when their cosy assumptions about multiculturalism are challenged?

Another diatribe in Al Age anticipates Hirsi Ali’s speaking engagement in Melbourne on 29th July:

Hirsi Ali's convert-like zeal is both disturbing and delusional, writes Hilary McPhee.
Hirsi Ali has brains and beauty and is a gift to those of us who like our prejudices confirmed. … she reinforces our idea of the Muslim world as monolithic, mediaeval and dangerous. Islam is all bad, religion is the problem, Allah is the villain. The West is better in every respect. These days she proclaims the American way with stars in her eyes.

Hirsi Ali's early life was difficult and spent on the move between Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Had she grown up elsewhere — in parts of the Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey or Teheran perhaps — she might have been able to give us a more complex and sympathetic picture of the Muslim world, but I suspect not… it was her dysfunctional family that formed her.

Infidel told the story of her family and her flight to Holland to escape an arranged marriage… How she …scripted the film Submission, of Koranic verses projected onto a naked woman's body, a provocation for which the producer, Theo van Gogh, was murdered and she received death threats…In 2006, she accepted a job with the ultra-conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, which had provided much of the rationale for military intervention in Iraq and for rebuilding the image of Israel in the world through a conservative alliance with America.
She travels the US and those parts of the world that welcome her message, lecturing on the evils of Islam and explaining her remedies, scornful of more than 1.5 billion Muslims. After Allah, Muslim women receive most of the blame — childlike, unable to manage money, trapped in their marriages, pouring their frustration into damaging their daughters.
We are never reminded that more than 50 countries from Indonesia to Iran through Africa and the Middle East have Muslim majorities and vastly different cultures and histories.
A perspective on the role played by poverty, illiteracy and rural conservatism is missing.
The books aren't much good. Infidel, ghostwritten in Dutch and published in English translation in 2007, came at the right time and sold hugely. Nomad is an awkward retelling of her story…. Her targets are predictable. Multiculturalism is utopian, producing victims and welfare dependence. Feminists are naive to suggest that many women in the West are also manipulated, complicit, objectified. Germaine Greer cops it for cultural relativism; Tariq Ramadan for being Tariq Ramadan.
Hirsi Ali has joined the ranks of celebrity atheists. Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens speak of her beauty and tiny wrists…
There is something disturbing and slightly delusional here, the zeal of the convert protecting herself from facing the consequences of her own actions and theories, perhaps. The cult that surrounds Hirsi Ali could engulf her. She's a one-woman band against her own culture, a hero to herself as well to the men who worship her. I can't help but fear for her. (source)

Strange how McPhee claims to have been 'living and working in the Middle East', yet has not noticed the widespread oppression of women there.

And to suggest that Hirsi Ali is somehow responsible for the death threats by being "provocative" reveals McPhee’s disdain for the concept of freedom of expression.

But McPhee has form. In 2009, in Who to blame: John Howard or gypsies?
Andrew Bolt writes:

The Australian discovers that some demonisation is actually applauded, when those demons vote Liberal:
Hilary McPhee warns against demonising after disasters:
“DISASTERS bring out the best and the worst. Apocalyptic, random, part of the terrible lottery of living among the trees in Australia, on known faultlines in Italy, or in a place where there’s no escape (ie Gaza), disasters become folklore, turning us in on ourselves, feeding our need to demonise. Already stories are circulating here about looting stranieri, code for gypsies and refugees from north Africa and Afghanistan.
A little demonising from Hilary McPhee in The Age six days after the 2002 Bali bombings:
THE Prime Minister’s ability to project a total absence of self-doubt is enviable. Is it for real, or is it the art of the good politician? Was there not a moment, on being woken by the phone call at 6.40 on Sunday morning with the first news of the outrage, when he permitted himself the thought that occurred to large numbers of his fellow Australians: that the bombings in Bali might have been in some way connected to words uttered and actions taken by the Australian Government?

Hilary even wrote a defence of Islamic anti-Semitism:

When I first started going in and out of Jordan three years ago, my well-honed multicultural sensibility was shocked by what I could only hear as virulent anti-Semitism. Israeli and Jew and Zionist were terms of abuse used by all but the most cosmopolitan. But as mainstream Arab media and YouTube ran footage night after night of Palestinian olive trees being uprooted by bulldozers protected by young Israeli soldiers, elderly Palestinians being attacked with sticks in their own fields and the proliferation of checkpoints and settlements, what I had first heard as anti-Semitism began to sound more like rage and fear and hopelessness.
Nearly two-thirds of Jordan's population is Palestinian, most displaced from Jerusalem and the West Bank or from southern Israel and herded into Gaza during many years of illegal occupation. Since 2003 they have been joined by more than half a million Iraqis. Jordan throughout its short history has provided a safe haven for dispossessed people, some still hoping to go home. The people trapped in Gaza or those enduring daily deprivation and humiliation in the West Bank are their own people and they agonise with them.
By their own admission, many Israelis do not look on Palestinians as human beings. The latest war on Gaza had more than 90 per cent popular support. Israeli surveys abound that identify increasing fear and loathing of Arabs in Israeli schools and suburbs and illegal settlements. In a society that likes to proclaim itself the only democracy in the Middle East, apartheid is impeccably documented.
Now more than four times longer than the Berlin Wall and twice its height in places, the Wall of Separation, the so-called ‘Separation fence', made of solid concrete and barbed wire and electronically monitored, snakes through nearly half of the West Bank. Despite the United Nations declaring its construction illegal when building began in June 2002, nearly twelve million square metres of agricultural land have been confiscated in its construction and more than a hundred thousand olive trees destroyed.
… We tend to harbour a fairly undifferentiated image of the Arab world: of ideologically inspired terrorism, AK47s, veiled women unable to speak for themselves, damaged children, angry victims of war and displacement, all hell-bent on revenge. And a visceral loathing of Islam, with its own echoes of anti-Semitism, seems at risk of taking root here. My pleasure in the Prime Minister's Apology to Indigenous Australians was spoilt shortly afterwards by his inexplicable omission of the suffering of Palestinians and the failure of the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions when he led the parliamentary celebration of Israel's sixtieth anniversary. Only the courageous and well-informed MP Sussan Ley challenged this, but Australia's one-sided gesture was widely reported throughout the Middle East.

This article illustrates that Goebbel’s principles of propaganda work well.

Propaganda has certainly worked its magic on Hilary, who now sees anti-Semitism as justified. She has imbibed the Islamic propaganda dehumanizing Israel and the Jews to the extent that any action against them is not only justified, but noble. She can even make the outrageous statement “By their own admission, many Israelis do not look on Palestinians as human beings”, as an apparent justification for blaming Israelis for taking defensive action after thousands of Hamas rocket attacks against their population.

Following Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda, if enough people denounce Hirsi Ali, this will act as effective deterrent against any who try to expose Islam. No one wants to be subject to this level of vitriol, and all but the very courageous will be silenced into Submission – which oddly enough, is the title of Theo Van Gogh’s “provocative” film!


1. Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob, published in Public Opinion and Propaganda; A Book of Readings edited for The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

2. The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, for a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

Last Updated on Friday, 23 July 2010 09:56  

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