Monday, March 05, 2007

Cold War rhetoric

Christopher Hitchens defends Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the snipers. He, like Ulrike Ackermann, sees in the rhetoric of her denigrators (as opposed to critics, who discuss arguments) a return to the old apologias of communism and the treatment of its critics.

He is especially hard on the Newsweek review of Infidel and its accompanying Q&A on her current life in the US; it is entitled "A Bombthrower's Life".

The subject of this absurd headline is a woman who has been threatened with horrific violence, by Muslims varying from moderate to extreme, ever since she was a little girl. She has more recently had to see a Dutch friend butchered in the street, been told that she is next, and now has to live with bodyguards in Washington, D.C. She has never used or advocated violence. Yet to whom does Newsweek refer as the "Bombthrower"? It's always the same with these bogus equivalences: They start by pretending loftily to find no difference between aggressor and victim, and they end up by saying that it's the victim of violence who is "really" inciting it.
He rounds on Garton Ash and Buruma, two people he remembers from a different life.
Garton Ash and Buruma would once have made short work of any apologist who accused the critics of the U.S.S.R. or the People's Republic of China of "heating up the Cold War" if they made any points about human rights. Why, then, do they grant an exception to Islam, which is simultaneously the ideology of insurgent violence and of certain inflexible dictatorships? Is it because Islam is a "faith"? Or is it because it is the faith—in Europe at least—of some ethnic minorities?
The Newsweek headline conflates beautifully with Baruma's view that Hirsi Ali is an "Enlightenment fundamentalist" and all resemble in this smear by moral equivalence the Leftists of the Cold War who would label as "consumer terrorism" the market economies of the west and call freedom slavery and its defenders fascists.

No comments: