Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This Just In--President Obama NOT a Muslim, Even Though He's Prepared to Throw Free Speech Under the Bus as a Sop to Angry Muslims

Dear President Bumps In the Road (a perfect Native American name for him, no?): If, as you opined at the UN, "the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," then it will, in fact, belong to Islam.

Sorry to have to break it to you, but that's the way it is.

Here's Salman Rushdie, in his just released memoir, Joseph Anton, describing the pointlessness of groveling to the "offended." When British police realized, post-Khomeini fatwa, that the kerfuffle was not, as they had initially assumed, going to die down within a few days, Rushdie was told he had to do "his bit" by signing a statement of apology. If he didn't, it was made clear to him, authorities would no longer be willing to protect him:
 It was an impossible task: to write something that could be received as an olive branch without giving way on what was important. The statement he [i.e. Rushdie, who throughout the memoir refers to himself, somwhat annoyingly, in the third person] came up with was one he mostly loathed. "As author of The Satanic Verses I recognize that Muslims in manyu parts of the world anre genuinely distressed by the publication of my novel. I profoundly regret the distress that publication has occasioned to the sincere followers of Islam. Living as we do in a world of many faiths this experience has served to remind us that we must all be concious of the sensibilites of others." His private, self-justifying voice argued that he was apologizing for the distress--and after all he had never wanted to cause distress--but he was not apologizing for the book itself. And yes, we should be conscious of others' sensibilities, but that did not mean we should surrended to them. That was his combative, unstated subtext. But he knew that for the text to be effective it had to be read as a straightforward apology. The thought made him feel physically ill. 
It was a useless gesture. It was rejected, then half-accepted, then rejected again, both by British Muslims and by the Iranian leadership. The strong position would have been to refuse to negotiate with intolerance. He had taken the weak position and was therefore treated as a weakling.
Obama, too, has taken the weak position, and will therefore be treated as the weakling he is (even if he did, as he constantly reminds us, kill Osama; might that be the real reason he green-lighted the killing--so he could rest--and harp on--that one laurel?).

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