Friday, December 12, 2008

The Capsule Decentiya, once more

As a service to our readers, Democratiya Winter 2008, summarised.

Editor's page. Usually used by Alan NTM to write a love letter to himself, this time round it just summarises what's in the mag. Minor note:" The Editor wishes to thank Dave Cundliffe and Michael Johnson for their help in putting this issue together." Suspect that one of these two will be up for the job. Don't know anything about them; google searching reveals that Dave Cundliffe hasn't really made a mark on the political internet much, and Michael Johnson is obviously famous for breaking the 200m world record but hitherto hasn't had much impact on Decent politics.

Letters to the Editor: Once more, Martin "Are you sure he's not Bodie from the Professionals, he certainly kicks arse" Shaw gives another heckler (this time, Menachem Kellner of Haifa University) his head in his hands. Kudos to Democratiya for giving Shaw right of reply; kudos withdrawn, however, for printing Kellner's ill-thought-out and borderline libellous crap in the first place. Oh yes, and Marko Attila Hoare (a member of the Aaronovitch Watch extended family) picks up David Hirsh on the meaning of "Ustasha"; I suspect that there's something in there about it being the Serbs' fault (there usually is) but it was too long so I didn't read it all (Update Phil, in comments did. There's apparently a rare admission on the part of MAH that someone other than the Serbs committed war crimes in former Yugoslavia, which as Phil correctly says, "shouldn't go unnoticed").

Terry Glavin: Afghanistan: A choice of comrades. One of the Drink-Soaked Trots goes to Afghanistan, speaks to some pro-Western middle-class political activists and then goes "How dare The Left betray these wonderful people?". Lots of blah about various Canadian left-wing and/or antiwar groups who are, apparently, bastards.

Irfan Khawaja: The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After The Taliban. Irfan is a reader and commenter of AW, albeit not a very careful reader (he thinks that "just war theory" is "beloved" round here) and something of a Mr Angry. Here, he reviews a book by someone living up the sharp end in Kandahar who is hot as mustard for war with Pakistan. My advice is to start reading the review at section 4 - Khawaja is actually quite sensible in his analysis, and starting half-way through you miss the slightly patronising and annoying tone of the first half.

Lawrence J Haas Letter from Washington: Obama's Playing Field. Lawrence "Kiss My" Haas was last seen in Democratiya pooh-poohing Obama's chances. Here he is, back again, more or less the only Clinton administration official who hasn't been offered a job. Funny that. At mind-boggling length, he tells us all that Obama will face a number of challenges as President, not least the condition of the economy. Thanks Larry. He can't spell "populace" either.

Will Marshall: Barack Obama and the New Internationalism. " This is an expanded and updated version of an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on November 7". I suspect it was better in unexpanded form. Truth in advertising here; it's basically the same waffly "a new President faces new challenges" article which more or less every opinion writer in the world wrote between the 5th and 10th of November 2008. Talking up the prospects of Obama being an "internationalist" (which in context means "Decent"). I maintain my previously stated view on this one - it's probably true that Obama has somewhat hawkish instincts on American foreign policy, but he's also a chap who can recognise a fucking lemon when he sees one, so for the purposes of the Euston Manifesto crowd he might as well be George Galloway.

Thomas Hale: Barack Obama and the Deepening of Democracy Much, much blah here. Basically a proposal to reinvent every political institution in the USA, and most international institutions, rather transparently hung on the peg of Obama's being elected. We must "reclaim the idea of freedom for the left", apparently by taking the same set of stuff that's on every centre-left American's Christmas list and calling it "freedom". Not bad stuff really, but I mean, who cares? If you like this sort of progressive thinkery, you'll like this article. Me, I think meh.

Eric Lee: Obama, the unions and labour law reform: Ensuring the future of the new Democratic majority. More "back in nineteen dickety two!" Grandpa Simpson stuff from Democratiya's resident old fart. A reasonable six paragraph summary of the Employee Free Choice Act, preceded by about a million words about who did what in the New Deal.

"Progress" (ie Brian Brivati) Progressive Multilateralism: The truly global society. Oh fucking hell, they've got another manifesto out. And it is long, and it is windy. A billion pounds to eliminate female genital multilation, apparently. Is that too much or not enough? I don't have a clue and I suspect nor do they. The failure of Kyoto shows that we need ... a global agreement on climate change, thanks guys. And on ... ahhh, here's the meat, presumably: "When do states forfeit the right to be sovereign?" .... nope, more wind. The answer to the question is apparently "we need international public opinion to rally behind a progressive view of what we can achieve as a global community". A concert of democracies (a notorious bad idea that won't go away). Apparently they think that sanctions haven't been imposed on Zimbabwe, and can't spell "schlorosis". A "civilian security force", for the UK (this would differ from the Army in that it would have a different name). The good news is that Brivati has now finally, after something like three years of being told by Conor Foley that there is no such thing as a "declaration of genocide" which triggers all sorts of invasions and such like, got the message. So he wants to invent one.

Seriously, non-rhetorically, can anyone explain to me why these people bother? Is there any historical example of any of these fucking Manifestoes having any impact on the world at all, since the Communist one? One of my first published works was described by the Daily Telegraph as "hitting the financial markets with all the bone-shuddering impact of a feather coming to rest on a blancmange". But even "Remuneration and Risk" (Bank of England Financial Stability Review, 1996) had more of a point to it than any manifesto I've ever read. Anyway, on with Decentiya.

Maajid Nawaz: The Roots of Violent Islamist Extremism and Efforts to Counter it. The Quilliam Foundation does its funding pitch. The general message of "you should all listen to me because of my past as a violent halfwit" has been roundly mocked in these pages on many occasions, but here it is again. Contains a not bad summary of the history of Islam since 1928, if you had never heard of the thing, but most of our readers have.

Maryam Namazie and a cast of thousands including Nick Cohen One law for all: the campaign against Sharia law in Britain. Does what it says on the tin. I've actually got quite a bit of time for Maryam Namazie - this is basically the WCPI anti-religionist line.

Elisabeth Porter: Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges. Bit of a book report (NB: this is the first book review so far, in what's meant to be a journal of book reviews. Mission creep much, Alan?). Looks like a quite interesting book.

Peter Tatchell: Edward Carpenter: A life of liberty and love. Book report. (Update. Numerous commenters have chimed in with favourable assessments of both this book and Edward Carpenter the person. Although I maintain my view that Tatchell's review is wholly uninformative and not very interesting, he and Democratiya ought to be given credit where due for bringing the subject to my awareness).

Fred Siegel: On Bernard-Henri Lévy on 'the Right-Wing Left'. Democratiya's biggest bore and idiot takes on France's. Apparently, "France's statist economy makes it almost impossible to create jobs for the unemployed beurs, who have plenty of time to fester on welfare". Perhaps Siegel doesn't realise that "beur" is a nasty racial epithet, but given that the context is a sentence referring to the French nonwhite poor as "festering on welfare", the benefit of the doubt does not seem appropriate. What is it with the Decents and talking crap about Virginia Woolf, by the way? Another Decentiya piece, by the way which "appeared in a shorter version" somewhere else; it is fast becoming the house journal for people who have a bee in their bonnet about having their stuff copyedited.

Gabriel Noah Brahm: The concept of the "Post Left": A defense. Execrable. Would have been an embarrassment to the Harry's Place "Your View" section. Much rending of strawmen (those leftisses! Always standing up for terrorists! People like ... Oliver Stone! And ... Judith Butler in a laughably out-of-context quote!). Also; an incomprehensible blogspat with Norman Geras over the "post-Left" concept, and much jockriding of Mart, Hitch and the gang. Money quote " The post-left can't write for shit. The fighting liberals can. And the quality of their prose is an indication of the quality of their thought, in each case". Given that the context is Democratiya, perhaps unfortunate.

Lyn Julius: On Weinstock on dhimmitude and the Jews. Sorry guys; I have an iron rule that I stop reading when I come across the words "Bat Ye'Or" in a favourable and nonironic context.

Ina Tysoe: Inside the Israel Lobby. Presumably the author of this review thinks it's funny (Douglas Adams used to complain about the practice of including the best jokes from the book in the review in such a manner as to make it appear that the reviewer thought of them; it's very much at work here). Based on a fundamentally fucked premise - that Mearsheimer and Walt's "Israel Lobby" is a lobby controlled by the government of Israel, which is not what M&W say.

Vivien Pertusot: On Hubert Védrine. Book report.

Mark Hannam: Human Rights: Natural or Political?. Technical review of a philosophy book - doesn't look all that bad as an example of the genre.

Various sorts and Sidney Hook: The arts coverage and some archive material. Not The Minister is doing the Alastair Cook Masterpiece Theatre bit with poor old Sid here, introducing his 1950 New York Times article (which is presumably still in copyright, and I wonder if NTM sorted that out) with a couple of paragraphs of his own, pointing out where the old boy got it wrong.

Interview with Alan Bostom: . If you read only one thing in this month's Democratiya, this should be it. OK, I'm going to struggle through the Bat Ye'Or reference here because I want to know exactly what Alan Johnson thinks he is fucking playing at, giving airtime to this nutter (thanks to Tom Griffin, in comments, for giving the heads up that this is the same guy who was designated "a bit too much of an Islamophobe headbanger" by Little Green Footballs). I am presuming that Oor Alan met him through Phyllis "Tales of Horror in the Harem" Chesler (he wasn't at that dinner, but his mate Ibn Warraq was). It's a truly stunning (in the bad sense) piece; Bostom rants at length about the intrinsic corruption of Islam, endorses that Osama bin Laden view that the only true Muslims are jihadis, produces apologetics for the British Empire. While Alan Johnson chucks up penetrating questions like "And how about the denial of intellectuals in the West?" Unbelievable, and certainly something to be filed away for the next time any of these buggers decide to accuse anyone else of fellow-travelling with conspiracists.

And so, we are done. Cheers until next time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that there's something in there about it being the Serbs' fault (there usually is)

Oh FFS. There's something in there about Croatia being guilty of war crimes, in the form of ethnic cleansing, in the course of Operation Storm in 1995. Considering Marko's reputation as a checkered-flag-waving Serbophobe and whitewasher of all things Croat, I don't think this should go unnoticed.

12/12/2008 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schlerosis - is that when you don't realise that your apple juice had fermented until too late?

I thought that sounded even worse than usual, even before you got to the Bostom i/v. It's not easy, this Watching, is it?

12/12/2008 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Ta Phil - I'll update

12/12/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Fuck, I actually misspelled the quote; the actual word they use is "Schlorosis"

12/12/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ta likewise.

"Schlorosis"? That's even better - all it needs is an umlaut.

12/12/2008 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

edward carpenter is totally the inventor of the idea AND practice of "sandalled vegetarian bearded gay men who like arts and crafts and the young handsome working class men who make them" -- viz a sub-class of proto-guardianistas that orwell for one poured tremendous disgusted contempt over

(he pretty much started gay politics in the UK -- i forget however if he used the excellent term "uranians" in the course of this)

12/12/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(in case not clear i am pro-carpenter and pleased he has re-entered the general discussion)

12/12/2008 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"There's something in there about Croatia being guilty of war crimes, in the form of ethnic cleansing, in the course of Operation Storm"

Not quite, MAHs response actually reads: "The Serbian authorities evacuated the entire ethnic-Serb civilian population from the areas from which they retreated, and it is quite true that the Croatian Army encouraged the exodus through killing Serb civilians and, above all, destroying Serb homes and property, with the aim of deterring ethnic Serbs from ever returning to their homes."

Big difference between 'ethnic cleansing' and some (not so gentle) encouragement. I doubt that Marko would ever admit to Croats committing ethnic cleansing. He knows that it is the labels that count the most - that's what (decent) folk remember.


12/12/2008 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus, what a sad little loser.

12/12/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on a fundamentally fucked premise - that Mearsheimer and Walt's "Israel Lobby" is a lobby controlled by the government of Israel, which is not what M&W say.

not only that, and i know that spotting editorial flaws in Decentiya is like spotting buses on Oxford Street, but still - in the footnotes to that review the author betrays the fact that when she refers to M&W's book she actually means the shortened article, since in her footnotes she cites the LRB as her source. You would get berated for that if you submitted it in an undergraduate essay.

Not only that, but is this really the best Alan NTM can do in terms of attracting contributors? the reivewer is a freelance journo from California with no real background in politics. She claims that M&W's 'book' (ie their article) is 'funny' based on absolutely zero evidence, and the 'review' is nothing more than taking two hard-to-explain anecdotes from the book she's reviewing and paraphrasing them. And a lot of statements that the book is good. Somehow I imagine the New Yorker aren't going to be commissioning anything from her based on this.

Also I'm not sure how a preference for an anecdotal, 'amusing' memoir over a work of political scholarship really fits into the 'enlightenment ideals' of TGISOOT.

The Decent response to M&W is depressing. Opposition to M&W is based on a ficitonal version of their central thesis. It's one of the many places where the Decent aspiration to being highbrow falls on its face.

12/12/2008 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay for the Edward Carpenter piece. I'm a fan too - some years ago I tried to get SHeffield University Students' Union to name its new building after him . . . on the basis that, as good friend of Clarence Darrow, he'd have had no truck with this pomo nonsense.

But they politely informed me that it was the 1990s, and naming buildings after people had been abandoned _that month_, so please could I leave.

Beards, sandals, communes, vegetarianism: Carpenter had it all.

By the way, I too have a soft spot for Maryam N, and for the WCPI, but what do the Decents think about the implications of a 'One Law For All' campaign for the London Beth Din?

Chris Williams

12/12/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I too have a soft spot for Maryam N, and for the WCPI, but what do the Decents think about the implications of a 'One Law For All' campaign for the London Beth Din?

They want to chuck all the religious courts over the side, I believe.

12/12/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Ah, thanks Chris, I was trying to remember the term 'Beth Din' when I got to the Sharia law thing. Sharia law doesn't have to be the nasty hand-chopping and mass executions in football stadia thing it was under the Taliban. This piece seems to get it: The issue is not actually whether Saudi law applies in Texas (or other states as the article notes), but whether people can, in the course of making contracts, require that Sharia law be applied as the rule for arbitration. Dhimmitude in Texas? Forsooth!

Hardindr, that's a good point too. I'd like to agree with them as well. I think all religions are stupid/evil, but I also think governments are stupid/evil; and, if rights exist, people should have the right to choose their own stupidity. (I am a tad concerned about the misogynistic side of Islam/religion in general.)

12/12/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the Center for Enquiry are Decent per se: I'm always thought of them as more of a US version of the National Secular Society - itself not especially Decent.

Chris Williams

12/12/2008 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This campaign against Sharia is either going to be nastily inconsistent or nastily ugly:

"In Jewish Law, Jewish parties are forbidden to take their civil disputes to a secular court and are required to have those disputes adjudicated by a Beth Din. The London Beth Din sits as an arbitral tribunal in respect of civil disputes and the parties to any such dispute are required to sign an Arbitration Agreement prior to a hearing taking place. The effect of this is that the award given by the Beth Din has the full force of an Arbitration Award and may be enforced (with prior permission of the Beth Din) by the civil courts."


Do a find and replace which with 'Muslim' and 'Sharia' for 'Jewish' and 'Beth Din' and I think that chains would be tugged.

Chris Williams

12/12/2008 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have we asked the question of where the money for the Decentiya staffer's (presumably pro-rata) £21-23,000 is coming from? Have they had a grant? Is Edge Hill subsidising it directly? If so, is it fair to ask if they ought to be giving money to a journal which ventilates the opinions of Andrew Bostom?

12/12/2008 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big difference between 'ethnic cleansing' and some (not so gentle) encouragement.

Which he also describes as war crimes, twice. It looks as if you're the one who's insisting on precisely the right phrasing.

12/12/2008 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'JM' is Rory Yeomans, whom went up against Marko in a blog debate a couple of years back, and got totally humiliated:

12/12/2008 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Having now read the fucker, I am inclined to agree with Phil; MAH is absurdly partisan, often really quite slippery and a world-historical "charmless nerk" ([c] Ronnie Barker) but he clearly isn't covering up or doing apologetics for Croat war crimes on this particular occasion.

The anti-sharia campaign is bound to be as inconsistent as hell, of course, because as everyone knows, the Little State You Love To Hate does, in fact, run sharia courts of arbitration for the use of its substantial Muslim minority.

I have reconsidered my rather curt dismissal of Tatchell's book report on the Edward Carpenter book in the light of comments here and adjusted the post accordingly.

12/12/2008 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Anonymous, you have 24 hours to substantiate that claim or I'm going to remove it.

12/12/2008 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JM is most certainly *not* Rory Yeomans. Though it is worth noting that, in the EE post referred to, it was claimed that RY was posting under the name Dan Albihari. As for 'Rory Albihari' in these posts, your guess...

Anyway, to return. This exchange is indeed a demonstration of the effectiveness of MAH's technique - he's only to happy to admit to 'war crimes' since of course the perpetrators were sent to the Hague. The magnitude of the crime must, we generally believe, be proportionate to the punishment. In these cases, rarely more than a slap on the wrist. Job done. 'Ethnic cleansing' and 'genocide' are however actions that are uniquely identified as having been carried out by one side. The discourse then ensured that was the case, and the drip-drip now is to make certain it stays that way.

After all the thousands of articles written about what happened, a great many onlookers (present company excepted) would probably get these questions mostly wrong:

Neil is not my favourite commentator, but as noted in the replies there must be something terribly wrong in the discourse if many (most?) onlookers come away with completely the the wrong ideas about the basic facts. Hence the relatively small number of posting from the HP 'rottie' regulars.

Quite surreal really. Perhaps Marko has become a 'surreal historian'? Like many decents he holds up Kosovo and repeats: "Ceci n'est pas une precident".

-JM (NT RY!)

PS. For what it's worth, my background re: the Balkans seems to have some similarity to Splinty's (from the little bio that gets mentioned).

PPS. Academic, but not historian. I do get to hear of MAH's antics though. V. entertaining.

12/13/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're no 'academic', Rory/JM...

12/13/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Academia may be a pretty cutthroat world, but there are certain ethical boundaries that no real academic would cross - even where the Balkans are concerned. And no real academic would anonymously post hate messages about a colleague on the internet. We are all too aware of the sort of damage that this sort of thing can do to each other's careers and reputations. Even if we don't like someone, we wouldn't do this.

At the very least, it should be clear that 'JM' (or indeed anyone who behaves in this manner) hasn't, to put it mildly, quite managed to achieve Marko's level of seniority and fame/notoriety. Something that may explain the bitter tone of his hatemail...

12/13/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hate messages", eh? Please identify anything 'hateful' in any existing post signed "JM". I don't doubt for a moment that others may post anonymously as "JM" to prove this non-existent point.

-JM (not that it really matters)

12/13/2008 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'JM' wrote in the thread below:

'I understand from those on the academic 'Balkan history circuit' that Marko is increasingly perceived as something of a single-issue crank. Indeed, when I heard these reports the image that came to mind was the Spitting Image puppet of Michael Heseltine during the Westland Affair: helicopter on head, and banging on endlessly...

It would be churlish however to ignore what is a special event: Greater Surbiton is 1 year old! (Marko himself is 13 and 3/4)'

No doubt, 'JM', you feel that spreading malicious gossip about a colleague on the internet, behind the cover of anonymity, in an effort to damage their reputation, and adding a bit of personal abuse for good measure, is what real academics do all the time, and nothing to do with personal hate.

If you were one, you'd know that it isn't.

12/13/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


(a) That's hardly 'hateful', it's not even 'malicious gossip' - see (b).

(b) Marko's single issue crankery - evident for all to see - has been commented on numerous times by others. And in rather more strident terms.

(c) Academia and the people in it are rather more robust than you imagine. It sounds like you've never been through an RAE or a (god forbid) five-day research council 'sand-pit'.

(d) Er, that's it.


12/13/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who are you, JM? Go on, give us a name and an affiliation.

12/13/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for an official pronouncement, I think.

1) JM has the right to remain anonymous if he likes, and even continue to say nasty things about Marko Attila Hoare while remaining anonymous, if he likes, although obviously any claims to being an "academic" or to having any inside track on MAH's status and reputation are going to be pretty heavily discounted (in my case, all the way to zero) as a result. (Personally, my view is blog ipso loquitur - MAH could be the Regius Professor of Balkanology at Fuckbridge University and it wouldn't make his blog any better).

2) Whether or not anyone or other is Rory Yeomans, I confess to caring not about, but I don't like the tone of "anonymous" and I'm not very sympathetic to "yahh, you got bashed up on a different blog two years ago".

3) We've mentioned this for some fucking time - give us a bloody name will you. "Hawkforce" managed it in the end. The rules are that you have to give either a name or consistent pseudonym or content. Named posters can snipe and bullshit all they want, conversely, "anonymous" people can post as long as they like if they make substantive points. It's the combination of the two that's not allowed, and thus "Anonymous"'s posts are going to be shot down in the next three hours unless he/she rectifies the situation.

12/13/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and just on an empirical note, "Anonymous"'s claims about the behaviour and character of senior academics when posting anonymously about colleagues and rivals on blogs, is untrue as a general proposition to my certain knowledge.

JM, although my ruling above is the referee's judgement, you could certainly win yourself a few friends by calming down on the Marko-abuse a bit please.

12/13/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger frunobulax said...


JM aka frunobulax

12/13/2008 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great ! I'm 'Anonymous'

Glad we know who everyone is now.

12/13/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

We are all Anonymous!

12/13/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! This is much more of a family atmosphere now. So we can just accept that frunobulax doesn't like MAH, Michael does and that we don't need to hash over this every time we have a post on the subject.

12/13/2008 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

If you read only one thing in this month's Democratiya, this should be it.

It's a big "If", that. But yes, the Bostom thing is truly an absolute eye-opener.

12/14/2008 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger frunobulax said...

Back to where we were: If anyone can find any mention from MAH that Croatia committed 'ethnic cleansing', then please send answers on the back of a postcard.

12/14/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And until that happens, some anonymous commenter on a blog about David Aaronovitch will remain unconvinced that his opinion about Marko Hoare needs to change.

I think that's a price I'm willing to pay.

12/14/2008 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger steven said...

Martin Shaw was Doyle, shurely?

12/14/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sorry thing about Marko Attila Hoare is not so much his writings on the Balkans, but the fact that a fair chunk of the Marxist left in Britain took them as gospel.

12/14/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm feeling generous, so I'll admit that this offering from Marko is by no means the most offensive thing he's written about Operation Storm. He's quite capable of doing nuance when he feels like it, which makes it all the more annoying when he starts yelling "Na-zi, Na-zi" at anyone else trying nuance.

I was much more interested in Marko declaring his retrospective support for the Falklands war, and surprised nobody's picked up on it. (Thought of doing it myself, but my interests are much broader than Marko.) I say, give the guy another year and he'll be supporting the Vietnam war. And wouldn't he still have been in primary school during the Falklands? What's the point of that then?

12/14/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Splintered Sunrise's last post. Former leftists lurching into neo-connery must at some point re-evaluate their old positions, or else they will live in a state of permanent political double book-keeping.

If the USA, as they think, is the repository of progress around the world, then they will have to support in retrospect the Vietnam War. I'm waiting for Hitchens to re-evaluate positively Pinochet's coup in Chile, and for Alan (NTM) Johnson to give retrospective backing to Deniken, Wrangel and Kolchak on the basis that if they'd been successful, the Soviet Union would have been strangled at birth, and therefore Stalinist totalitarianism would have been avoided.

12/14/2008 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Actually I think the normal way of discussing the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath is to ignore the Whites and their impact on events almost entirely. In much the same way one can ignore the impact of Israel or of the US on the development of Islamism and its followers because it's a totalitarian ideology: that is all ye know and all ye need to know.

12/14/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been there, done that:

"The Finnish Whites under the aristocratic Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim crushed the Reds and the revolutionary workers, thanks to which the Finnish working class today is among the most prosperous in the world"

12/14/2008 07:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeesh. The German working class is pretty damn prosperous by international standards, and if those dratted Spartakists hadn't been swept off the streets, well, who knows how badly things would have turned out...

12/14/2008 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another way to put it might be that the ability to scare the owners shitless can sometimes pay dividends. Note, for example, the arrival of the 8-ish hour day in 1919, and the welfare-y state in 1945.

Chris Williams

12/15/2008 01:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frunobrulax, perhaps you could prove your anti-ethnic cleansing credentials by giving us a link to somewhere where you condemn Serb ethnic cleansing ?

Perhaps Splintered Sunrise could as well ?

12/15/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooo, a will-you-condemn-a-thon!

12/15/2008 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The man who said "Let's have an arse-kicking party" at the One-Legged Convention is with us today.

12/15/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't stomach the whole of the Bostom piece but this bit in struck me in particular -

There are incontrovertible and overwhelming hard data – pathological and epidemiological - which demonstrate a major causative role for smoking in both the predominant form of lung cancer (i.e., adenocarcinoma), and premature coronary heart disease. I believe smoking is to these diseases as the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism is to this scourge of Jew-hatred, past and present. It is as destructive to our social and moral health to deny this reality, as it is to human public health disease prevention efforts to deny the causative link between cigarette smoking and adenocarcinoma of the lung, or premature coronary heart disease.

Now if I was being charitable I would suggest that maybe the reason NTM allows such stuff to go unchallenged and his questions are so soft is that he recognises that the sheer grotesqueness of Bostom's arguments speaks for itself and it is enough to give him sufficient rope to hang himself. But I really don't think that is the case. Shameful.

How's the decent racism piece coming along?

12/15/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger frunobulax said...

"prove your anti-ethnic cleansing credentials"

Now, now. You mustn't take the mickey just because I'm new round here.

12/16/2008 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summary: 'Decent lefty accused of not mentioning Croat ethnic cleansing by two non-Decent lefties who don't mention Serb ethnic cleansing.'

12/16/2008 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

"...but who also write about the question substantially less than the Decent chap and who take sides on the matter somewhat less aggressively".

12/17/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I don't know, ejh, Splinty comments on the Balkans fairly often, and the other fellow says he's part of the Balkan academic circuit. I'm sure they'd have gotten round to mentioning Serb ethnic cleansing if they felt at all strongly about it.

Perhaps they hate people like Marko who keep bringing the subject up, because they'd much prefer it to be mentioned as little as possible ?

12/17/2008 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Projection alert!

Chris Williams

PS the arse-kicking gag 'Anonymous' above was me 'n all.

12/17/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Perhaps they hate people like Marko who keep bringing the subject up, because they'd much prefer it to be mentioned as little as possible?

Probably. Indeed it's quite clear to me that they're in favour of Serb ethnic cleansing, despite never actually having said so.

I'm glad we've got that straight.

Any more for any more?

12/17/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger frunobulax said...

"the other fellow says he's part of the Balkan academic circuit"

Wrong - the 'other fellow' (an academic, not that it matters) said that he is *not* a historian, but gets to hear of Marko's antics through various university contacts.

Marko, of course, sees himself as part-originator and full-time maintainer of the standard narrative re: the Balkans. Surprisingly perhaps for a 'professional historian' [1], his take on events has delivered a perspective that, voluminous footnotes notwithstanding [2], could be a TV script for a 1950s Cowboys versus Injuns show. Thus on Planet Marko, you can be the numero uno anti-ethnic cleanser and still 'big-it-up' to celebrate the anniversary of Operation Storm. Yee ha! Confused? You should be.

Marko's present efforts could perhaps be described as "narrative cleansing". Every now and then the beautifully laundered 'whites' pile receives a fleck of dark, and the colour seems to be fading in the 'blacks'. Crikey, it could all end up grey and confusing! After Slavenka Drakulic's CIF article "Shadows in the sunshine" [3] mussed up the whites, Marko's back in a flash with "Fascism and hatred of women" [4], where we learn that:

"Violent misogyny has its own inglorious tradition in Serbia. The roots of Serbia’s twentieth-century disasters can be traced back to a psychopathological misogynistic crime: the murder of King Aleksandar Obrenovic and Queen Draga in 1903."

Now we know. Marko should be offering these insights on T-shirts! Michael, as a Markoista, would you buy one?


[1] Marko's most withering, and often used, put-down is "amateur historian".

[2] He's a master of the 'fact-U-like' approach to compiling a bibliography.



12/17/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Thus on Planet Marko, you can be the numero uno anti-ethnic cleanser and still 'big-it-up' to celebrate the anniversary of Operation Storm

On the face of it, this doesn't look remotely fair, frunobulax. AW(i'WoD') certainly doesn't endorse the accusation that MAH has ever celebrated the anniversary of Operation Storm, and since this is a comments thread attached to a post in which we specifically link to him condemning it, it looks weird.

(In general, we are no more at home to "ah yes, but did you really condemn it? Did you condemn it enough compared to how much you condemn themotheruns?" will-you-condemn-a-thons than any other type, bithway.)

12/17/2008 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger frunobulax said...

"All Croatian children should celebrate this War of Independence, but they should also learn about its moral ambiguities - the crimes against Serb civilians and the parallel attempt, which thankfully was defeated, to expand into Bosnia. They should learn about Croatian resistance to the Nazis in the form of the Partisan movement, of which they should rightfully feel proud, but also about the Croatian Ustasha genocide of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies - and, of course, about Partisan atrocities. Above all, they should be taught that theirs is a multiethnic nation that encompasses Serbs, Bosniaks and others, who do not cease thereby to be Serbs or Bosniaks. One should be able to be an ethnic Serb and at the same time belong to the Croatian nation as fully as an ethnic Croat, without abandoning one’s Serb identity, just as one should be able to be an ethnic Arab or Palestinian and belong to the Israeli nation as fully as an ethnic Jew, without abandoning one’s ethnic Arab or Palestinian identiy.

When this happens, a national anniversary becomes something that everyone, regardless of ethnic background, can celebrate without reservation."

As ever, it's nicely put. We can all sign up to this one, depending on how much whimsy we can stomach in one go.

12/17/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the bit about celebrating the anniversary of Operation Storm?

the 'other fellow' (an academic, not that it matters)

It's starting to matter to me, vaguely - not least because you don't write like any academic I've ever met. Mail me some time (I won't give my details here, but they're childishly easy to find out).

12/18/2008 12:33:00 AM  

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