Thursday, February 12, 2009

Onward to oblivion (2)...

Not really intended as a follow-up to my original onward to oblivion post but a couple of bits of news today did remind me of it all: one was the banning of Geert Wilder from the UK and the other was the news in Barcelona that Sherry Jones is here to publicise her book.

I'm confused; not a rare event: one the one hand we have UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband telling a BBC programme: "The home secretary [Jacqui snout-in-trough Smith] made a decision on an individual case as she is required to do." speaking of the UK government's descision to refuse entry to Dutch Freedom Party MP (Geert Wilder) because a film he made re Islam [Fitna...see it HERE ...or in myriad other sites!] had "caused outrage across the Muslim world", well, we all know is as easy as falling of a log. Miliband said it was:
"extreme anti-Muslim hate and we have very clear laws in this country".
How then, and on the other hand, was the film shown in the House of Lords (as planned) and, according to the BBC correspondent in attendance Iain Watson,
"about 30 people had been at the screening and had given a round of applause, while calling for a debate on the issues raised."
Eh??!!! Anyway, the second bit of news I spoke of is that American writer Sherry Jones is here in Barcelona [Link - Spanish] ...under special police guard. Of course, the report says, 'with regard to the controversy that publication of her book unleashed she was very sure: "I have never felt directly threatened, but have heard opinions in favor and against,"'. OK. I think I am right in saying that the book, The Jewel of Medina, has yet to be published in the UK. Last August, you may recall, Random House cancelled the planned publication; they had received no threats apparently, just a little words of warning that publishing the book might cause offence to some "members of the community". You may also recall the publisher that took up the gauntlet, Gibson Square Books, was firebombed. This was followed by a postponement of the release of the book and the news soon faded due to the current economic troubles. It's odd because it seems many countries don't have a problem publishing, in fact at Islam Online they were happy to review it!

"I also hope that readers will take it for what it is: an attempt by a Western writer with little knowledge of Arabic, Arabia, Islam, and Muslims using her own Western, 21st century values, ideals and emotions to portray an unrecognizable version of the well-known and well-documented story of `A’ishah."
Who cares that they don't think much of the story; they have read and reviewed it with an open mind and no thought of violence or outrage. What is the problem when world famous publishers and other less important groups like the UK government (arf arf) take descisions so as not to upset a few fanatics...shouldn't they just arrest, or at least control, the fanatics?

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Paul said...

20 year ago this week that Satanic Verses hit the headlines. Interested to read in JSP's column that Penguin were so scared of reprisals that they burned every copy that was printed - book burning in the liberal west? Shurely shom mishtake.

As for Sherry Jones what was her motive with this book? You take a subject you know nothing about, knowing that any criticism from outside of the religion is going to attact flak and yet you still write it? I'm - the days of Shakespeare and Goya changing their works to appease their sponsors seem to be returning but with Islamic fundamentalism in the role of sponsors rather than publishers.

Paul said...

Thanks for the film link Span - I watched it and have to say I wouldn't regard it as Muslim hate, I don't even see it as propaganda but a collection of images that we are all familiar with. I think everybody should be allowed to see this film, firstly so that they can make their own minds up and secondly as a warning call to all those who believe that Islam in its truest form is some sort of cuddly bear.

Span Ows said...

Coincidence re Satanic verses! Re SJ there are plenty of decent reviews re a love story blah, blah, blah (not my cup of tea) my point putting up the IO review was the very fact that they had happily reviewed it! seems at odds with the publishers that have veered away from releasing it.

The film is a bit..."nothingy", I watched it fairly early last year when the first round of "outrage" was still fairly recent; what you say is perfectly true. It's the guys opinion and I'm sure there are plenty of worse things out there, many by Muslims. This issue is so stupid and the ban on him entering was gross and ridiculous and Lord Ahmed should be ashamed as should HMG.