By now most of you must have heard of, or read, the excellent group blog The Brussels Journal, Europes Voice of Conservatism. Its editor-in-chief is the Belgian/Flemish professional journalist Paul Beliën, who a decade ago, after having proven himself to be conservative, finally crossed the line by writing a column for The Wall Street Journal and was subsequently fired by the Flemish magazine he was working for. "That fascist from the WSJ" has since not been on the payroll anymore of whatever Belgian newspaper or media outlet, but these days it looks like he finally got his gram, since he's obviously the sole Belgian journalist with worldwide recognition.
Luc Van Braekel, another Fleming who is Belgium's top blogger with his popular blog lvb.net, is TBJ's webmaster. Mr. Van Braekel is an Internet entrepreneur and ICT consultant. Politically, he is not a conservative. As a convinced libertarian however, inspired by Ayn Rand, Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan, it's safe to count him squarely on the right side of the fence. He is a strong believer in the benefits of free markets, technological innovation, Western cultural values, and the power of the human mind.
Both gentlemen, especially Mr. Beliën, have, over the previous four months, run stories on TBJ and LVB related to the Danish cartoon issue. Both have now been threatened. Mr. Beliën on February 1, Mr. Van Braekel yesterday. The former received an email from IP address 126.96.36.199 belonging to the Cardiff County Council, see the mail on the left. Cardiff is a Welsh coastal town and as much as it might be interesting to see what happens to TBJ or Paul Beliën on February 21, it might be interesting to scrutinize the County Council's staff for personnel of Middle Eastern descent. Just a suggestion.
Mr. Van Braekel published a post a few days back under the title "Lachen met goden en profeten" ("Laughing with gods and prophets" - MFBB). It was a fairly balanced piece because it not only contained the twelve Danish cartoons but also, a.o., a picture of a naked Jesus on a surfplank in the Dead Sea. Mr. Van Braekel was nevertheless rewarded with the email to the right, from a certain Bouddan Mohammed hailing from 188.8.131.52 somewhere in Morocco.
The whole affair started with Jylland-Postens September 30, 2005 cartoon contest to find an answer to the question to what extent freedom of expression in Europe, and by extension The West, had already been curtailed because of extremist Islam. I think that, four months on, the answer is pretty obvious. A few exceptions notwithstanding, the printed media as well radio, TV and the governments have overwhelmingly adopted a "Lie Back and Don't Look The Monster In the Face" attitude. I won't bother you with Kofi Annans reaction (not that I consider that degenerated dork representative for The West), nor with Scott McClellans reaction, nor with the gazillion of dhimmitude-wriggling-in-the-mud reactions of the Norwegian government, the Polish PM, The Independent or al-Guardian. To me, the CNN reaction says it all:
"CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam."
Right. Well, if CNN chooses not to show the cartoons out of respect for Islam, then I choose to show the following pic out of respect for the victims of Islam.
Two out of three christian schoolgirls beheaded in October 2005 in the Poso district, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. A fourth was seriously injured, the head of the third girl was found in front of a newly built Christian church.
If the whole Muslim World is in flames because of twelve bad quality cartoons, The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference organize Islamic Conferences to denounce Jylland-Posten, Danish embassies are torched, christian priests are killed in Turkey and godforsaken islamonutjobs protest in LONDON with placards reading "Behead those who insult Islam", unpunished, then WHAT OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN OUR REACTION FOR MASSACRING THOSE THREE SCHOOLGIRLS???????
I will tell you what the reaction was. From the Beeb:
It is unclear what was behind the attack, but the girls attended a private Christian school and one of the heads was left outside a church leading to speculation that it might have had a religious motive.
Now imagine that it was three Muslim girls beheaded by Christian men.
Listen Americans! CNN might have chosen not to show those twelve fucking cartoons out of respect for Islam because Turner only has guts when he trashes Bush, and al-Guardian might have chosen to refer to the cartoons instead of publishing them because for their staff is shitting their pants, but YOU ought to be not afraid yet. By contrast, a reign of fear has quietly established itself in Europe. You think I'm exaggerating? Then what do you say of this:
LEIDEN, Netherlands -- As Prof. Afshin Ellian arrived at Leiden University law school one day recently, two bodyguards hustled him through the entrance and past the electronically locked doors leading to his office. For the rest of the day, the men stood sentry outside those doors, scanning the hallways for any sign of the people who want him dead.
Ellian is one of a soaring number of Dutch academics, lawmakers and other public figures who have been forced to accept 24-hour protection or go into hiding after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists. In a country with a tradition of robust public debate and an anything-goes culture, the fear of assassination has rattled society and forced people such as Ellian to reassess whether it's worth it to express opinions that could endanger their lives.
Yesterday (Thursday) Mullah Krekar, the alleged leader of the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam who has been living in Norway as a refugee since 1991, said that the publication of the Muhammad cartoons was a declaration of war. "The war has begun," he told Norwegian journalists. Mr Krekar said Muslims in Norway are preparing to fight. "It does not matter if the governments of Norway and Denmark apologize, the war is on."
Islamist organizations all over the world are issuing threats towards Europeans. The Islamist terrorist group Hizbollah announced that it is preparing suicide attacks in Denmark and Norway. A senior imam in Kuwait, Nazem al-Masbah, said that those who have published cartoons of Muhammad should be murdered.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician forced to go into hiding after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, responds to the Danish cartoon scandal, arguing that if Europe doesn't stand up to extremists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades in Holland will spread in Europe. Auf Wiedersehen, free speech.
Hirsi Ali: That’s exactly the reflex I was just talking about: offering the other cheek. Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren’t preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they’re just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don’t allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they’ll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.
The second conclusion to be drawn from the present cartoon case is that Europeans are apparently no longer free to do and say in their own countries what they want to do and say. The Danish cartoons were not published in a Muslim paper. They were printed in a privately-owned, regional newspaper in rural Denmark, addressing Danish subscribers, to illustrate an article about the freedom of expression in a multicultural society with a Muslim minority within its borders. The article and the cartoons were initiated by the complaint of a Danish author that he could not find an artist to illustrate a book about Muhammad. European media republishing the cartoons did so, not to insult Muslims but simply to inform their European readers and to allow them to make up their own minds about how “insulting” these drawings really are. The Brussels Journal, too, is not a website addressing the Muslim world, it is a European website, as its name indicates, about European (mostly EU) affairs. Saudis and other Muslims are welcome to read it, but not to tell us what to do or not to do. However, what did we receive in our mailbox during the past week from so-called adherents of "the religion of peace"? Death threats, pictures of burned bodies, and warnings to shut up about the cartoon case.
Americans, CONTINUE with your effort in the Middle East to enforce at least some semblance of democratic rule there, for it is the only strategic game the West has got. Don't be discouraged by flipouts like with the Paleostinians. The basic reflex of a politician is to stay in power. If you can foster the idea there that officials can get booted if they don't perform, then they just might perform, thus rendering the lives of their subjects somewhat better. In time, there's a very faint hope that growing prosperity may lead to a neutralization of the most inhumane aspects of the death cult called Islam.
In the meantime, you can't afford to err on the wrong side. Look what 200,000 Muslims out of a population of 5,000,000 Danish are able to do. DON'T LET IT COME THAT FAR IN AMERICA. Get yourself informed, write your Congressmen. SAVE WESTERN CIVILIZATION - STOP MUSLIM IMMIGRATION.