Saturday 25 May 2024

"Islamism & the 'Far Right’: a False Equivalence” | Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the brave woman who jointly produced the film “Submission" with Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gough. The film was all about women and Islam. This is something Hirsi Ali knew all about, being born Muslim in Somalia, having had FGM -- “female genital mutilation” -- done on her at a young age, being married off to a much older man on the orders of her father, but managing to escape her father and husband, to make her way to Holland. 

But she didn’t quite escape. Her film partner Theo Van Gough was murdered by an Islamist fanatic, upset that the film told the truth. He stabbed a knife into Theo’s heart, appending a note to the knife: “Ayaan, you are next”. 

The Dutch authorities refused to protect her, so she fled to the United Kingdom, where she met her now husband, the famous historian Niall Ferguson

In the end she felt vulnerable in the England as well so she and Niall moved to the U.S., where the Islamist problem, is, for the moment, a little less severe than in Europe and the U.K.:

Sometimes when I get tired of the terrible news from the United States I like to take a look across the Atlantic. Sometimes it’s better! Sometimes it makes me grateful to be in America.

Every year the nation [U.K.] gets more Muslim, and every year the nation gets more terrified of talking about Islam...

And instead of talking about Islam, people bang on about “the Far Right”:

Instead of pledging to fight back against Islamist intimidation of MPs or talking about how Galloway’s Gaza-centric campaign reflected the balkanization wrought by excessive immigration, Sunak instead feebly triangulated between Islamism on the one hand and the supposed rise of the Far Right ...

I know that many (perhaps most) of my old mates, and even my Occasional Readers may say that wanting to talking about Islam and Islamism is alarmist, that it’s Islamophobic, or xenophobic, or Muslim-baiting, or bigoted. 

What can I say to that, other than “no, it’s not”. 

I’ve seen the U.K. with my own eyes. Lived in London in the 1970s; our son was five years at school in Kent in the 90s; I’ve visited many times since. I’ve driven it Land’s End to John o’Groats many times. 

There are vast swathes of major cities that are unrecognisable. 

And not for the better. 

Unless you think that having all the pubs in an area closed down is for the better. Or all the front lawns turned over to concrete is for the better. Or five times a day calls to prayer on the loudspeakers is for the better. Or having to walk around men (it’s always men) kowtowing down right on the street to pray, is for the better. Or women not being able to walk in these areas without a man, or without hijab is for the better

Or having only one type of food is for the better: Kebabs and Curries. I mean, yum and yummy, but that’s all?

I mean, after all, I thought one of the big benefits of multiculturalism was supposed to be a widening of food choices, not a narrowing! And no bacon. And no sangers! No pork scratchings! Not to mention no beer! And no wine. And Sharia patrols to make sure women are covered. And women being forced into FGM, which is what Ayaan fled from. 

We’re not talking Chinatown-type things here. We’re talking wholesale takeover of some cities in the U.K., by  linguistically, culturally, clothedly and religiously very different people with no intention of trying to fit in with the host country, but bent on changing it to its own ways. (For example, forcing workmates to follow their Ramadan fasting period). 

If you think all that is better, adding to the rich mosaic of life, then you’ve lost me. I most assuredly do not think these are an improvement on the traditional life of the U.K.  And most of my mates and O.R.s wouldn’t  either if they actually went there, and saw for themselves and were honest. I liked Islamabad and Kabul and Istanbul. But in their place. They don’t have to be in Birmingham or Rotherham, or Tower Hamlets. 

For me, for many folks who are leaving the U.K. because of it, it’s a crying shame. And it was brought on England by itself. It was brought on by policy (the Blair government). 

This did not need to happen. Or it might have happened at a rate where there could have been more integration. But no, our betters knew better. And it’s not better, it’s worse. 

"Islamism & the 'Far Right’: a False Equivalence” | Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Note: I am absolutely NOT saying Britain should try to get back to being a White Britain. No, no, no. Not at all. I’ve spent most of my life here in Asia, after all, where we whities are very much a minority. And I’d have no issue if the migration was East Asian, India Hindus, Nigerian Christian. The issue is with the ideology of Islam which is supremacist, misogynistic, homophobic, and aggressively against adopting the values of the host country. Rather to make the host country Islamic. That’s not me saying that, but Islamic leaders and influencers who say it in stop. That’s what we’re concerned about. 

A. Don’t keep bowing down to Muslim practices. Cambridge University held an ancient annual knees-up this year, happened to done during Ramadan, so they decided to do it “in respect to Ramadan” and go alcohol-free. Imagine the normal boozy fun fest, this time according to participants very subdued. No. Don’t do it. Gains no respect and only makes the studes feel they really, really need a drink.

In some workplaces non-Muslims are being pressured to fast during Ramadan because their Muslim colleagues are. Again, hard no. Push back. You do yours, we do ours.

B. Push back against disrespectful Muslim practices. Like public praying in front of cathedrals. Imagine the shoe in the other foot, Christians singing carols in front of a. Osque. Disrespectful? Of course. So the other way around is too. Move them on, when the gather for their heads down bums up. 

C. Deport any Muslims non-citizens who preach aggressive Islam, Jihad, killing of we infidels. Or criminals. Like in the many Muslim gangs.

D. Don’t put up with enforced “blasphemy”. When a teacher shows his class pictures of Muhammad, and is bided into hiding by angry Muslims, say no. Instead, like the desegregation battles of the sixties in an America, have law enforcement accompany the teacher to school. You do not get to institute blasphemy laws on our country. 

E. Shut down the Sharia courts. There should be one law for all. Will Muslims be angry? Of course. But why should they be permitted a whole parallel legal system? Where’s the logic for that, other than a wish to be “tolerant” decades ago when people were under the delusion that being nice to Muslims would get them being nice back. No… there is no golden rule in Islam. 

Friday 24 May 2024

Biden’s Demoralizing Speech to Morehouse Grads | Jason Riley

President Obama's commencement address at Morehouse College in 2013 couldn't have been more different from the one President Biden gave on Sunday. Not just in terms of style or delivery—no one expects Mr. Biden to match Mr. Obama's oratory skills—but, more important, in its tone and emphasis.

When Mr. Biden took the stage on Sunday, he didn't see an audience of black men with limitless opportunities awaiting them. Instead, he saw an audience of black victims who should question their prospects. "You started college just as George Floyd was murdered and there was a reckoning on race," Mr. Biden said. "It's natural to wonder if democracy you hear about actually works for you. What is democracy if black men are being killed in the street?"

Biden's Demoralizing Speech to Morehouse Grads

My comment: Joe Biden sent me a clip on X of the speech with the bit about Black men being killed randomly by cops (it's not true) and the country not loving them (! Remarkable. And also not true). I was startled at what a downer the speech was. Went back to it, and he's deleted it! So even he — i.e. his staff — realised it was a bummer. 

Jason Riley is himself a Black man and Morehouse grad. Author of "Liberals: please stop helping us" a critique of (presumably) well-meant civil rights policies of the sixties under LBJ. Policies that have had the (presumably) unintended consequences of surging single-motherhood, absent fathers, breakdown of the Black family and all the associated crime. 

“Revenge of the Normies” | Martin Gurri

Click above for the video
I’d come across the article by Martin Gurri a week ago, as Scenes From a Global Struggle, in Discourse magazine. It was then picked up by The Free Press as The Revenge of the Normies, and then on Sky New Oz, with James Morrow above. 

I’m a part of the elite. I can’t help it. It’s just where I’d be placed by a pollster asked me any background. But I’m a traitor to my class. I stand more for the working class, all the way from before Covid, but especially then, when I saw how the “laptop class” ruled and the poor business owners and wage slaves suffered. I’ve written a lot about that on this blog. 

It’s not me that’s changed, though. It’s the rest of the Left. That has abandoned the working class and now mocks it. A recent Oxford Union Debate with Nancy Pelosi shows just how much the elite, of which she’s a normative part, still think of them all as “Deplorables”. 

This guy, Martin Gurri, an ex CIA analyst, I’ve never heard of before, makes good points in his essay and in the talk with James Morrow. The “Normies”, that’s us Deplorables. 

They, the elite, believe they must always be in power. It’s “our democracy”. Biden reminds him of Jimmy Carter (he who also said the 2016 election was “Illegitimate”, btw).

This article also ties in with the one I’m posting tomorrow by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Shanghai: view of Pudong, 12 October 2013

Looking towards Pudong, East Shanghai 

I took this photo from the eighth floor of the Peace hotel in Shanghai when I was there with old classmate, Padge for the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament. We sat court side for a Federer match. It was a rare crystal clear day in Shanghai.

The eight floor of the Peace hotel is down by the Bund. It’s a beautiful Art Deco hotel restored to its original glory. And the restaurant on the 8th is a very good Chinese restaurant. One of the best I’ve been to in China. And I lived in China for years, lived in Shanghai 1989 to 1990. Had a Golden Year of my life there. 

When I was in Shanghai in 1989, Pudong, above, did not exist. It was bare fields. The mayor, Zhu Rongji told us “we’re going to build a modern financial centre over there” and we’re, like, “sure”. I learned yet again, when the Chinese say they’re going to do something, it’s usually best to believe them. That’s the way to make money. I’d had the same experience back in 1976, when they said they were going to turn the paddy fields into a major city. Today it’s a city of 13 million, twice the size of Hong Kong. 

The proper way to mark death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi at the United Nations, 20 September 2023
Click above for the full video (36’)
I’ve been catching up on the UN speech of the recently deceased Iranian PM, Ebrahim Raisi. Him who died in that helicopter crash in northwestern Iran. 

At the beginning he talks of family and I rather liked that bit. The importance of family, of mother and father, how we must promote it. Horrah, say I. 

And a lot of the rest of his speech certainly sounds peaceful and peaceable. Iran as the great peacemaker in the region. “Neighbourliness and Integration”. 

Everyone else is responsible for terrorism, just not Iran. Which only wants peace, we must remember. Peace in the region of Iran and West Asia. 

At the end there are the obligatory backhanders to the US, which of course is the Great Satan, responsible for all the harm in the world. There is no terrorism in the region save for the US. No mention of the half million killed in the Syria war. Or of the war in Yemen, with the Houthis that Iran funds. 

And also note this: that it was less than three weeks later that Hamas -- accompanied by local Gazan citizens -- invaded Israel, killed over 1,200 Israelis, raped numerous women and stole 240 hostages, in the bloodiest act agains the Jews since the Holocaust. This was all done under the watchful eye of President Mr Nice Guy, Raisi. He was the one who coordinated all the various terror troups in the region, Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthi, who get their money and their marching orders from Iran, which is to say from Ebrahim Raisi. So all that warm and wonderful talk, as if we needed reminder, was just so much duplicity and deception. 

Then at the end, the real kicker: “You are the past and we are the future”. “I repeat once again, they [ie, US and Europe] represent the past and we represent the future”. 

That kind of reminded me of the time Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe at the United Nations, banged it on the table and said “We will bury you”, meaning the capitalist west. Let’s hope, or at least I hope, that Raisi is as wrong about the future as was Khrushchev because a future under a world of Islamic Theocracy will hardly be worth living, unless as a member of the priesthood, as a sheikh and that’s only available to men. No wonder the women of Iran were especially thrilled at his death  the other day. 

Which brings me to the reactions of the western governments. Which have been uniformly pretty horrid. We had he United Nations Security Council standing for a minute of silence. The US Senate did the same, which I find totally inexplicable. The EU was its usual cowardly self, sending a maudlin message of condolences to the families of the dead, and what about to the Iranian people, I’m thinking.

Well, one old turtle got it right:

Ex Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell:

I too would like to extend my condolences to the people of Iran for their long suffering under the brutal, theocratic rule of the Islamic Republic,” he said. “I suspect agreat many Iranians would rather Western admirers stop lionizing a man known as the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ for executing political prisoners. They might prefer that foreign leaders not further legitimize the regime that actively represses all of them.”

And we used not to be so fawning at the deaths of murderous tyrants:

President Bill Clinton on the death of Pol Pot:

April 16, 1998
The death of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot has again brought to international attention one of the most tragic chapters of inhumanity in the twentieth century. Between 1975 and 1979, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge followers transformed Cambodia into the killing fields, causing the death of an estimated 2 million of their countrymen in a brutal attempt to transform Cambodian society. More...

Could we not have a bit more of that reality and dignity? Instead of saccharine statements about a dictator who spent his life murdering idealistic Iranian youth, trying to bring down the “Great Satan” and to take over the west? 

Thursday 23 May 2024

Sabrina and George, Schoeni Gallery, Hong Kong, March 2012

HAMAS do NOT want a “two-state solution”

Honestly, how often do we need to say this? To repeat what Hamas themselves say? Which is also what the Palestinian Government on the West Bank say? How often do they, the Palestinians, need to say it? 
We, the Palestinians, want none of your "two-state solution". We only want the whole of what we call “Palestine” which is what we’ve got plus all of that illegitimate Zionist state you call “Israel”. 
Very well, you may reply, so what are we to do about that? How do we move forward? 

Well first acknowledge the truth. Even if it's uncomfortable and gives you no obvious bromide to trot out as a "solution". And that truth is that the Palestinians do not want and will not accept a two-state solution. End of.

Then what? 

Then this.We should say to The Palestinians: you do NOT get Israel. Get used to that. And you get no recognition. We rescind the previous steps we made towards that. We demand you recognise Israel. We demand you acknowledge Israel. We demand you commit to live in peace beside Israel. Then we can talk about statehood. Until then nothing. Niente. Nada. 

We should treat Hamas as we did apartheid South Africa. For Hamas and the PA are even worse than the apartheid regime. We should isolate them. Cease all aid. Disband UNRWA. 

Likelihood of that happening: approximately zero. 
Likelihood of the two-state solution happening: approximately zero. 

Yet we've banged our head against that latter goal, made endless concessions to genocidal terrorist bodies — PLO, Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Islamic Jihad— and appeased them at every turn, for nearly 80 years. And for what? For Hamas to have exactly the same demands as they had 80 years ago. Full marks for consistency. But, Enough already!

The latest sleazy appeasement is Norway, Ireland and Spain all announcing they will recognise the "Palestinian State". Which Palestinian State, pray tell? The murderous one in Gaza? Or the murderous one on the West Bank? Which parts of of A, B and C of the West Bank? And what about the Jews who live there? Given the Palestinian demand for “their” lands to be Judenrein?

The Spanish PM said he was doing this for "peace, justice and logic". Which beggars my mind. The first requirement for a state is clear borders. The second a sound government. The third that it will live in peace with its neighbours. “Palestine” meets none of these criteria. Where’s the logic? Where’s the peace? Where’s the justice for Jews, who will be “ethnically cleansed” or murdered? 

As for the Republic of Ireland, as one commenter noted it wasn't enough for them to support the Nazis in WW2.They had to go full-on OG terrorist supporter. I thank Spaghetti Monster that my forebears are from Northern Ireland and not that joke of a country to the south… heh! (We drove clockwise around the whole island of Ireland in 2018, and visited my grand-dad’s farm in Ballymena, NI. We enjoyed it well enough, and of course the locals are friendly! But I’m glad grandad left for Sydney in 1897. Where he did very well, btw).

Snip, below from the Middle East Monitor. Hamas makes it crystal-clear, one more time, their views on the "Two-state solution". [my emphases]:

The head of Hamas’s diaspora office, Khaled Meshaal, has reiterated the movement’s rejection of the two-state solution, saying the Palestinian people demand liberation from the Israeli occupation, independence and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Speaking to Ammar Podcast on Tuesday, Meshaal said: “The West says that October 7 has opened up prospects for a political vision, so they have returned to talk about their old commodity, which is the two-state solution.”

“The 1967 borders represent 21 per cent of Palestine, which is practically one fifth of its land, so this cannot be accepted,” he added.

“Our Palestinian project, which has a quasi-Palestinian national consensus, is that our right in Palestine from the sea to the river, and from Ras Al-Naqoura to Umm Al-Rashrash or the Gulf of Aqaba, cannot be waived. This is our Palestinian right and our presence in this land, modern and ancient,” he added. More …

Testing the tent before Cape to Cairo road trip, 2011

I could donate it to the pro-Hamas student encampments …
Oh, wait! They get their tens new, from Iran and Soros reps in the U.S….

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Hong Kong nightlife: not coming back any time soon

The White Stag Wanchai during Sevens, April 2018. Just before the 
Hong Kong “pro-democracy” protests, and Covid
There’s a post in today’s South China Morning Post: "Face it, Hong Kong’s bars won’t recover unless enough expats return”. 

And the thing is: expats are not returning. Nearly four years since the pandemic, and they’re made other plans. 

I blame the government for this. The Covid lockdowns in Hong Kong were way too severe and lasted way too long. We only stayed because we didn’t have jobs we had to go to: we’re retired and comfortable. But we know heaps of people just from out street, let alone from the whole of Hong Kong, who either went back to home base or relocated to somewhere easier on all the curbs. 

Let’s recall that the severe lockdowns were not necessary. That’s not hindsight. Many of us said so at the time. 

The government has tried to lure some of the expats back. They started a program last year. So far to little effect; yet they’re needed, as April Zhang notes the article:

    • The expatriates and international travellers who went away have mostly been replaced by mainlanders – but hanging out in bars is a predominantly Western social practice.

More notes, from here

The simple fact is that the people who drove the nightlife have left in large numbers. The idiocy of the HK government (and a few of their cheerleaders in the F&B sector ) was to think that their departure was only temporary and it would flip back quickly whenever the Covid situation normalised. But the thing is most of those departures were permanent.

The relevant folks are basically:

  • Expats, both gweilos and ABC/CBC/BBCs [Australian, Canadian or British Born Chinese]
  • Affluent and highly educated HK Chinese - this demographic was way over-represented in the departures during 2019 and Covid years
  • Affluent HK South Asians

The reality is that, during 2019 - 2022, almost everyone in the above categories had better options. Most had foreign citizenship and the few who did not had pathways out through BNO or skilled migration. This is one area in which the HK Gov severely miscalculated. Again, they thought it would be temporary.

But nightlife is a lot like business confidence. Once you lose it, it’s very difficult to get it back.

Add to this the fact that many of the people (in the above categories) who drove the nightlife in the 2000s and 2010s went from being in their 20s and 30s to being in their 40s and 50s. When a person of that age makes the move home, most will be going for good.

It will take YEARS for HK nightlife to become even a semblance of its former self and even then, it won’t be the same. And it can’t - because the HK nightlife of the 2000s and early 2010s - which was effectively an extension of colonial era HK life - was an accident of history that can’t and won’t be repeated.

I’m afraid the party has permanently moved. There is no adequate successor city, unfortunately, and so it’s dispersed to various places: Tokyo, Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore all have bits and pieces of what used to be our nightlife.

None of this affects me in particular: in my eighth decade I’m not much of a clubbing dude any more.  But it’s always nice to know it’s there and that you live in a swingin’ city. That used to be the case, and is not so much any more. And that’s sad. 

From Internment to the Stars -- George Takei and our Father

Margaret and John, Mum & Dad, Verbier, Switzerland, 1973
 Dad acting the goat, as Sargent Sardoni, his army drill sarge
George Takei

George Takei, was born in LA to Japanese-American parents. He is most famous for playing Sulu in the long-running series Star Trek. “To the Stars!” 

But he doesn’t talk about that as much as he talks about how horrid the US was to intern him with his parents during WW2, from 1942 to 1945. Young George, 5 years old to 8 y.o.  Placed in the Rohwer Arkansas internment camp where he went to school while his parents went out with the other detainees to till the fields. 

George says it was all horridly racist. I wonder. Racist? After all, the government also interned Germans, Austrians and Italians, while the US was at war with their countries. That’s a pretty caucasian lot. 

I first heard about George Takei and his fixation on the the internment camp on the Adam Carolla podcast. A pod I love, with Adam being “Mr Common Sense”. He’s had Takei on as a guest on his pod a couple of times, likes him, I think, but is also super frustrated because, says Adam,  “all George ever does is bang on about the fuxxg internment camps, ffs!”. 

Were that camps all as wicked and as horrid as George says? 

Were they wicked? I’m not so sure. Imagine 100,000 people from the country that you’re now at war with. If just 1% are potential betrayers -- spies for example -- and that’s already 1,000 people. But, you might object, why punish all the people from that country? Well, because you don’t have time. You’re at war. A really, big, uuuge, World War.  Best to play it safe and put them all out of the way, on a farm. I can understand that, even if George can’t or won’t.

Horrid? I doubt it. Today it looks pretty idyllic. Maybe then it was tougher, but then what they were living was a bucolic life far from the war. Kids going to school; parents farming. And I’m sure all the parents remember the experience, and I’m betting they don’t all remember it as horrid at all. These were not like Japanese POW camps. These were internment camps for the citizens of a country that the Utied States happened to be at war with. And at the end of the war they were all released. 

I have a sailing friend here in Hong Kong who was interned with his parents, by the Japanese, at the Stanley prison facility here in Hong Kong, on the south side of Hong Kong island -- now a very upmarket tourist spot. They were treated pretty well, according to him, and he has strong memories, none really horrid. (It’s “John the Judge” and he’s still alive at last count, in his late 80s).


John Ackland Forsythe

Anyway, what all this did was remind me that our father, in Australia, served for a short time at an Australian  Internment Camp in Hay, NSW, then known as a Prisoner of War camp. 

He got there in August 1945, close to the end of the war, as his enlistment wound down. He’d already served four years (8/3/41 -- 20/9/45) fighting the Japanese in the New Guinea Campaign.

He was in Hay as a interpreter of Japanese, as they had some Japanese prisoners of war, as well as some Japanese internees. They also had some internees from Germany, Italy and Austria. I found out that there’s now a museum there, the Dunera Museum, where I learned that the German internees were mostly Jewish and had been sent over by the UK! (Still sending its convicts to Oz after all these years). 

As kids, if we asked our father about the war, it was always about his time fighting in PNG. Did you kill any Japanese Dad? Did they shoot at you? Were you scared? Did you get wounded? How was it to interrogate the Japanese prisoners? (He was an interpreter of Japanese, with Army Intelligence). I never asked him much at all about the six weeks he spent at the Hay pow camp. I wish now I had. The regrets. (Lesson: ask the questions now).  

I found out the actual dates he was there at Hay via the open records on the Australian National Archives site. A very good, super user-friendly site. There I found 28 pages of records of our father, John Ackland Forsythe, Army number NX151703. He had served in the Army, then known as the Australian Imperial Forces. He was sent to the front fighting the Japanese in Papua New Guinea where he served, by the records at Milne Bay, Lae, Port Moresby and on the Kokoda Trail. All in Army Military Intelligence. The captured Japanese, he said, provided lots of good, actionable intelligence. The Japanese army didn’t have the “name-rank-and-serial-number-only” ethos, and when captured they were quite willing to divulge whatever they knew.

I also found out that he’d earned five Medals (!) which I’d never known about. He’d not collected them, according to these army records, until the late 90s, when he was in his mid 80s. 

By the way, do we know how close the Japanese were to invading Australia? They were already in Lae, one of the places our father served, on the north side of the Island. They were on their way across the Kokoda Trail to capture Pt Moresby, the capital, on the south side of the island (another place Dad had served), just opposite Australia, from where they would have had a straight line to our land mass.  

PNG and the four places Dad served in WW2

It was on the Kokoda Trail that our father saw action, was shot at, and captured two Japanese army flags, and interrogated Japanese prisoners they’d captured, and a big bag of Japanese war-time money. One of those flags, and the bag of cash, are now in the Australian War Memorial. 

It was interesting to look at the old records, from the 1940s, written in nice fountain pen copperplate, but with military abbreviations, so not always clear. And some weird ones, like “STRENGTH” training, always in caps and which Dad seems to have done several times. 

And to see that everything he told us as kids was all confirmed. Not that I ever doubted. But it was fun nonetheless to see it there in writing: that he was in Military Intelligence -- been trained up in Japanese, and would go on to interrogate Japanese Pow’s --  that he’d been to training to a Military Intelligence school, that he’d fought in all those places, and that he’d been awarded Gold Card treatment meaning free medical for him and Mum, for their lives, because he’d been shot at (that was the main criterion...).

And that on his enlistment application he’d written as Occupation: “Teacher of Languages”. Which I  never knew. After the war, and his stint as Military Intelligence interpreting Japanese Pow’s intelligence, he joined the Department of Foreign (then External) Affairs and spent his career as an Australian Diplomat (“an oxymoron, surely”, as one of my droll pommie mates said).

And to see that there were things he hadn’t told us, perhaps because of he was a modest man: that he’d earned those medals. And that he’d been promoted quickly. Joined in early 41 as a private, promoted to Sergeant in later 41, then to Lieutenant a month later and then to Captain a year later. Also, he never made much of this, but he was medivacced out of the war zone twice to Townsville in Queensland, with serious Malaria. Which was to affect him for years after. 

And I wondered about this: that it’s easy for me, or anyone, to find those details online, from nearly a century ago. But what about us, who haven’t been to war, or the armed forces? There’s nothing about us, unless we’ve done enough to be Google-able. But still that’s nothing like an official record, on actual paper, with an actual pen and an actual person’s initials signing off that it’s all true. 

All that from listening to a podcast.  Rivirina Weekender, September 24-25 2011:

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Is it ok to celebrate the death of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi? (Me: YES)

I remember when Margaret Thatcher died and many on the Left gloated, were jubilant. They sang “Ding Dong the witch is dead”. I thought it all a bit off, tbf.

I do celebrate the death of Iranian president -- in that helicopter crash --  Ebrahim Raisi.

Does that make me a hypocrite? 

First off, I’m just joining in with the many Iranians who are setting of fireworks to celebrate his death. That’s the sane young people, the young Persians, who are not at all in love with a Shia Theocracy. 

Then there’s a difference between Maggie and Raisi. 

The clue is in their nicknames. Maggie was the “Iron Lady”. Strong in her belief of how Britain had to change to bring it into the 20th Century. She went after the unions, especially the Miners’ Union and broke them. That sure made her unloved amongst many. 

Raisi’s nickname? "The Butcher of Tehran”. Why that? Because he was personally responsible for the deaths of 30,000+ young people, people mainly of the Left, who had supported the return of the Ayatollah Khomenei from France to Iran, to establish the Islamic Republic in 1979. 

So there’s that. Maggie’s union-busting is not quite the same as wholesale slaughter of idealistic youth, hanged by putting a rope around their necks and raising them slowly on cranes so that they choked to death slowly. The women were first raped -- to be sure they are not virgins, because, you know, Islam is so genteel and kindly that it doesn’t allow the killing of virgins. 

Yes, Maggie is different from Raisi. One a principled woman; the other a mass-murderous psychopath today bent on eviscerating all Jews. It’s not hypocritical to be against dopey chants of “ding-dong the witch is dead” and yet to celebrate the death of the Butcher of Tehran. 

Raisi has been instrumental in all that Iran has done to make itself the Terror OG of the region, tying together all its surrogates, Hezbollah, Hamas and Houthi. With the ultimate aim of turning the region into a Shia Theocracy. 

Along the way, he’s butchered many more opponents of the regime. Which caught the eye of the leadership and successive promotions, up to president. He was also Supreme Leader in waiting. The Supreme Leader in Iran -- aka The Ayatollah -- is the one who makes the real decisions. He’s the one who decides when the mass murder of Jews will happen. He’s the one who decides when the Bomb they’re close to finalising, will be dropped on Tel Aviv. And how and when the surviving Jews will be sent to their Final Solution. 

How often have people fantasised about killing Adolf Hitler when he was a baby? Or a teenager in Vienna? Or as a young adult in Munich? That’s all fine, apparently. To do the mental experiment and to imagine how many lives could have been saved, by preemptively killing the creator of the Third Reich and the Final Solution. 

That’s why I do celebrate the death of Ebrahim Ravi. He already had a bloody history. His future would have been slaughter-on-slaughter. His death stopped that. 

Yet we must know that is death will change nothing. There will be another president in waiting. And another Supreme Leader in waiting. Still, it’s one more out of the succession and the further down the list you go, the less capable a mass murderer you are, one must presume. 

It’s the same reason I’m perfectly fine with Israel assassinating the five Iranian nuclear scientists. An Occasional Reader asked me: “surely you can’t believe it’s ok for Israel to murder Iranian nuclear scientists? Without trial? In front of family? Surely not?”. 

Oh yes, I can, I reply. I think it’s perfectly fine. 

Those scientists are NOT developing nuclear weapons for defence. They are developing a nuclear bomb -- which by some accounts they are very close to finalising -- purely to kill Jews in Israel. Their government -- their president Raisa himself! -- have said so repeatedly. Their aim is to bomb, to nuclear bomb, to nuke Israel into oblivion, so that “the rubble is dancing”. Yes, they do hate Jews that much. With a deep, visceral, unfixable (I fear) hatred. 

Killing nuclear scientists at the very least delays that. It’s the equivalent of killing the baby Hitler. If you’re on for that thought experiment, you’ve got to be on for killing would-be genocidal holocaust do-over merchants. Enablers of mass murderers, this time with Nuclear ovens.

ADDED: what did western governments do in response to Raisi’s death? They sent -- by X  --condolences to Iran and the “families of the president and others killed in the crash”. Sickening. 

Jew-hatred explained

Click above for the video
Jew-hatred explained to Joe Rogan by Gad Saad, a Lebanese Jew, now Canadian college professor of evolutionary psychology. 

Gad’s  “Six degrees of Jew”: you can find a way to blame the Jews for anything within six steps or less. 

Note the figures for religions before the onslaught of the Islamic imperial troops, in the centuries after Muhammad founded Islam in the 7th Century:
  • Egypt used to be 100% Coptic Christian. Now 90% Muslim
  • Lebanon was 60% Christian. Now 70% Muslim 
  • Iran was 100% Zoroastrian and Christian. Now 99% Muslim 
  • Syria was 100% Assyrian and Syriac Christian. Now 87% Muslim 
  • Jordan was Christian and Arabian-god Paganism. Now 98% Muslim 
Islam takes no prisoners. And when their troops arrived in these countries, with Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Pagans, they offered them the Islamic choice: (1) Convert to Islam (2) Pay the Jizya tax (3) Be killed. 

There’s a reason there were Crusades, to try to win back some land that had been invaded and occupied by Islamic troops. But in the end the Crusades failed. And in the end, Islam is still pursuing its takeover of the rest of the west. To convert the Dar-al-Harb (land of war) to Dar-al-Islam (land of Islam). 

Club Siena, Discovery Bay, Hong Kong

Looking west at dusk

Monday 20 May 2024

PSA: The most confusing emojis of 2024

Huge swings to Trump among Black, Hispanic and Young voters

abc poll of 4,000 voters 
Percentage point swing to Trump, 2024 vs 2020:

Black: 23%

Hispanic: 17%

Young (<25 y.o.): 29%

I don’t know the history of similar polls, but these seem monstrous swings to me.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Sunset on Xena, on the way back to Hong Kong from the Philippines


Jing on the port rail, as we make our way back to Hong Kong over the South China sea, after the race to San Fernando in the Philippines, 13 April 2009. (A race we won!)

Deaths in Gaza War


Daily war deaths in Gaza from Gaza Ministry of Health
and reported in Tablet magazine

As above, but updated (by me) to May 2024
The top chart is from a Tablet article some months ago, and the bottom chart is my own one; both are based on figures announced by the Gaza Ministry of Health. Which is run by Hamas. 

1. Data Consistency: Both charts are consistent with each other and reveal a “spurious accuracy”. In no war known to man are the casualties so evenly spread day in and day out. That in itself casts doubt on the Hamas figures. 

2. Consistently Dodgy Data: Hamas figures are dodgy. Right at the beginning of the war there was an explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital on 17th October, which Hamas immediately blamed on Israel and said had killed 500 people. The world reported those figures, immediately and without question. They immediately blamed Israel. 

A short time later it became clear that the “bombing” was not a bombing at all, but an errant rocket fired by their own side, by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. Nevertheless, the west paid little attention to the correction. And continued to report daily figures as if they were true. 

Note too that, in the bottom chart above, there’s no drop off in reported numbers killed after April, despite the fact that, until recent attacks in Rafah, there’s been a de facto ceasefire for over a month. Again, dodgy).

3. The United Nations: Hamas lap-dog. The UN was nevertheless to embarrassed enough by the obvious errata in the data, that they issued a correction on 6 May. The new figures cut in half the number of “innocent” women and children killed in the conflict.  Bearing in mind that women are often active in terrorism and that “children” includes people up to age 19, many of whom have been active since early teenage. In short, Hamas, via the Gaza Ministry of Health has falsely doubled the number of “innocent victims”. 

The willing suspension of scrutiny of casualty figures by the west, based on obviously dubious Hamas figures, has been amazing to me. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been amazed, given what we’ve seen of rampant anti-semitism across the west. 

More: the west seems consumed by the idea that in a War, an army can somehow enter enemy territory, chasing a terror group that uses civilians as human shields, including children, and somehow they will manage to kill those terrorists without killing a single civilian. Not good enough for them that the IDF of Israel has the lowest ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in any wartime in history. According to all qualified and authoritative analysts. Which is to say, not Hamas. 

Saturday 18 May 2024

“Harrison Butker Right about Men and Women”| Rich Lowry

[This is about Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker and the backlash over his graduation speech at Benedictine College, a traditionalist Catholic school, where he talked about women and  “homemaking”]

I hope I don't get into trouble for this. 

Immediate family aside, I've had three long relations with women, two in marriage. All of them had strong and important careers. All are grandmothers now.

I haven't asked them*, but I venture to guess that each would say that what they feel most fulfilled by, over their long careers, over their rich, varied and successful lives, what they are happiest about, is the wonderful children they brought up.

And that's all Harrison Butker was saying in his commencement address. Bunker being a famous NFL football star, giving a commencement speech at a Catholic college. 

He did NOT say that women should not aspire to a career. That’s a given. But he also said they should not feel ashamed to enjoy motherhood, even staying at home to bring up kids.

The well-meant movement to "liberate" women from housework has had a lot of downsides. Especially in the Black community where Big Society programs of Lyndon Johnson led to huge increases in single motherhood and fatherless children. (e.g. Liberals: “Please stop helping us” by Jason Riley).

The Left are now attacking Butker for the mere suggestion that women might want to stay at home to raise a family. That the only way a woman can fulfil herself is to spend a life toiling away at a career, even if this means no family (as it increasingly does). They are calling him a misogynist; a bigot; and, of course, a racist. They are quoting Taylor Swift now on tour, who has said she has to interest in marriage or motherhood. And that’s what to aspire to: career uber alles.

I think it’s all pretty sad. Even liberals like Bill Maher are calling out the crazies. Saying, for goodness sake, it’s just a view, and lots of people have it. Ease up.

This is yet again the danger of good intentions. Ideologically driven. The road to hell is lined with good intentions. 

*I’ve since asked one, and she confirmed my guess. Yes, the most fulfilling has been family.
Even though career was important. And important too, to the family.


To judge by the internet reaction, Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison Butker is guilty of a dreaded double doink — a missed field-goal attempt that embarrassingly hits both uprights — with his commencement address the other day.

The NFL has distanced itself from Butker's unadorned socially conservative speech at Benedictine College, a Catholic school in Kansas. He's accused, meanwhile, of potentially driving women away from the NFL and, even worse, perhaps offending Taylor Swift by quoting one of her lyrics.

The first thing to say about this is that Butker is a traditionalist Catholic giving a speech to traditionalist Catholic students graduating from a traditionalist Catholic school. Should we be surprised he sounded like a traditionalist Catholic?

Read on…

Friday 17 May 2024

The students’ world views on Israel and Gaza

 Let's sum it up:

🤡 Israel is an apartheid state (where 2 million Arabs have full rights)

🤡 The Palestinian genocide has been going on for 76 years (during which their population grew by 400%)

🤡 Israel never wanted peace with the Palestinians (that's why it always offered them peace)

🤡 the Palestinians are willing to accept Israel's right to exist (that's why they always rejected any two state solution) 

🤡 Israel's occupation of Gaza is terrible (especially after Israel left Gaza in 2005)

🤡 Allah loves queers

🤡 Jesus was Palestinian 

🤡 Bin Laden's Letter to America TOTALLY opened my eyes 

🤡 Hamas are freedom fighters 

🤡 Google Cloud is enabling an A.I. driven genocide 

🤡 Hamas didn't rape anyone. Okay, they raped a few women, but it wasn't systematic. Okay, it was systematic, but they were settlers so they deserved it 

🤡 We have nothing against Jews. We just think Zionism is bad (that's why we target synagogues, Holocaust memorials, random Jews in the streets, etc)

🤡 Israelis are white and should go back to Europe. Okay I get it, they're mostly not white, fine, they should go back to wherever they came from. Not our problem that they were massacred everywhere. They deserved it

🤡 October 7th never happened. Okay, it did happen, but only military targets were attacked. Okay, also civilian targets, but by mistake. Okay, it was on purpose, but they are all IDF so that's okay

🤡 35,000 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israel in Gaza. 50,000 of them were women and 1,000,000 were children. The UN certified these numbers 

🤡 There are 1.7 million displaced Palestinians in Rafah that have no place to go. Okay, they all moved to Deir al Balah now. It's still wrong to enter Rafah!

🤡 Here's my diploma from Columbia University. It cost my parents $80,000 a year. I'm ripping it to shreds as protest for the genocide!

It's okay, Biden will cancel my student loan debt

"Welcome to MacDonald's. How may I help you?"

What did I miss?

H/t: Hamas Atrocities 

"Is America dictator-proof?” | The Economist

The Economist tackles a question Ive been thinking about, and concluding that even if a second President Trump did want to become a dictator it would be difficult. First because of the Constitution. And second, because of the huge array of forces that would oppose him. Not just half the country who voted Democrat would be violently (literally) against him, but also the courts, at least half Democrat and the armed forces, which are fiercely loyal to the Constitution. 

I’d add: I don’t believe that Trump has any intention of even trying to become a dictator, no matter the pearl-clutching of the Dems. I heard him say, when asked “would you try to be a dictator”, answer: “Just for a day”, and the crowd laughing. Also, he had the chance in his first term; Covid gave the perfect chance to be authoritarian. He was not. On Jan 6th he urged his followers “to peacefully and patriotically protest”. He did not call for a violent insurrection; and on the same day, he handed over the keys. But, you know, Orange Man Bad, and he big dictator-would-be. 

The Economist has a look at the question of dictatorship in America. And in their usual way have their two-bob each way, and conclude something along my lines above. That it’d be difficult. They end with a question, like whaddaweknow?  So, three-bob each way.

Still and interesting read, which for the sake of history I copy below in full. The original, May 16, 2024, is here. With thanks to The Economist

How has it come to this? After victory in the cold war, the American model seemed unassailable. A generation on, Americans themselves are losing confidence in it. Feckless war-making, a financial crisis and institutional rot have let loose a ferocity in America’s politics that has given presidential contests seemingly existential stakes. Americans have heard their leaders denounce the integrity of their democracy. They have seen fellow citizens try to block the transfer of power from one administration to the next. They have good reason to wonder how much protection their system guarantees them against the authoritarian impulse rising around the world.

“Why the Gaza protests are worrying” - The Spectator World

As a protester from the Vietnam War era I can attest that, at least in Australia where we did our protesting, in a time of conscription, we didn't hate on anyone, or stop anyone from attending classes, or scream abuse at those who didn't agree with us, or were a different ethnicity or another religion. 

And we knew a lot more about the war we were protesting; a lot more than the know-nothing students today know of the Gaza war. Or of Hamas, for that matter. (The “progressive dimwits”)

At my school, Canberra Grammar, in 1967, we held a debate on the Vietnam war, the whole school invited. I still remember the two students who took the opposite sides: both were my classmates. And looking back, I'm a little amazed that the school should do such a thing; remember that was near sixty years ago!

Ross Reid took the pro-America, pro-war side. Steve Padgham took the pro Viet-Cong, anti-war side. Even at that time most of my classmates were anti the war. As was I, in a kind of squishy way. I mean, I didn’t look into it deeply; I’m not sure why. But I guess I generally bought the idea that Ho-Ho Ho Chi-minh was just a nice guy who only wanted to unify his country under a benevolent .... something..., and I went along with that. (Ho turned out to be not that nice of a guy, but that’s another story...). 

I remember thinking Ross was brave to (1) have his own view different from the rest of us and (2) to stand up in front of the whole school, a 17-year old, arguing his (unpopular) case. But there was no cancel culture and Ross never was or never felt threatened. 

Not the case with today's students. Who (1) do not tolerate dissent from the pro-Hamas anti-Israel view and (2) are openly anti-Semitic. I prefer these day to call them “Jew haters”, for that's what they are. As made clear by the article below. And as made clear by the plethora of videos looking at the encampments and talking (when allowed) to the students. Like here .... And Suella Braverman at Cambridge (Mute Morons).

I do hope that one day they feel ashamed of their Jew hatred. They should feel ashamed. And don't give me any of that "we're only criticising Zionism" nonsense! They're not. They specifically hate Jews. 

A good article by the editors of The Spectator. 

As the weather has warmed, it's time for that time-honored tradition — protest season. Because everyone knows the plight of the disenfranchised is best solved at 70°F. Setting up winter camp in a college quad seems unpleasant — the revolution will take place at a time, place and temperature that's convenient for America's poetry graduate assistants.

Campus protests are nothing new in America. They've been a feature of university life since at least the Vietnam War and beyond. And sure, it's fun to get wrapped up in a romantic cause you only just learned about and of which you have only a surface-level knowledge. It might give your life meaning at a time when you're trying to figure out what the point of all of this is. Like you're part of something greater than yourself. Plus, it used to be a great way to meet girls. (Nowadays, these girls are all enbies. Ask your teenager.)

 “Why the Gaza protests are worryingThe Spectator May 15, 2024

Discovery Dogs and photobombing dogs

Hannah (back) is our Byron’s girlfriend. 
In our park at Discovery Bay, Hong Kong this morning.
And later on our walk Byron invited himself into a group of people we don’t know. Is that a photo bomb? They were happy to have him there. Near the White Chapel in Discovery Bay Park Siena. 
The “White Chapel”

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Einat Wilf speaks at UN Briefing on UNRWA

Click above for the video
Einat Wilf
 is a peace activist, many years working with Labour members of Israeli government. She knows whereof she speaks. And makes the strong case that the UNRWA* is the main stumbling block on the path to peace in the Middle East. Because it is run and owned, essentially, by Hamas. Its existence requires the existence of Palestinian refugees, therefore it does nothing to reduce their numbers. That’s just in the nature of incentives. 

I’ve been banging on about how awful UNRWA is, for at least a decade. The evidence of its harm is right there in front of us. We have the receipts, as we say these days. And yet nothing is done. Because of the powerful pro-Islam lobby in the United Nations. And the reluctance of western governments to be seen as uncaring and uncharitable. It’s easier just to go along with the corrupt UNRWA. At least then you can pretend to be virtuous. 

Donald Trump removed US funding for UNRWA during his presidency. That was a good move. But was excoriated on the Left. And by most countries. He would “lose US power to act as a broker” they claimed. Yet that power increased: he gave us the Abraham Accords, the most significant move towards peace in the middle east in 70 years. 

Of course the minute Joe Biden was in power, he resumed aid to this most corrupt of organisations, the UNRWA.

The above video is very revealing, from someone who’s been inside the beast. 
* UNRWA = the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The only refugee agency in the world that is focussed on one lot of people alone, the Palestinians. It’s been going since 1949, and in that time -- 75 years !! -- the number of Palestinian refugees that it’s overseen has only risen, from under a million to now more than 5 million. As has its employees, now number some 30,000. By rights this should be classified as a major failure and should be disbanded. But it’s not; it’s seen as indispensable and any moves to disband or even restrict it are denounced. 

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, by contrast, looks after refugees from all over the world, has a smaller workforce than UNRWA and has housed and resettled millions of refugees. 

75% of Europeans think there’s too much immigration. So, why aren’t they listened to?


Look at the above chart. For some reason, it excludes the UK but I know the figure there is also around 75%. With such high figures, why doesn’t the democratic system do something about it? 

Couple of thoughts: 

1. The actual implementation of any measures to control immigration is in the hands of Civil Servants. I know the Civil service, as I was in it, for Australia for about 20 years. They are all pretty much leftie and don’t like to think that they ought control immigration at all. They do indeed feel virtuous, and if they ever get to know about polls showing figures of 70% percent against too much illegal immigration they just think it’s a bunch of oiks who need to be made understand. By bringing in ever larger numbers of migrants. 

2. In Europe the situation is compounded by the supranational bureaucracy of the EU, in Brussels. They are literally out of touch and untouchable. And very much in favour of more immigration, because it’s “compassionate” and “tolerant” and so on; and to do the opposite is -- horror -- racism.

Meantime, the issue is -- to me, at least -- not so much one of numbers (which it is) but more an issue of the culture of the immigrants. When they are from Mulsim countries, with very different values in terms of how they treat women, gays, non-Muslims and other religions, and they strongly resist integration, while demanding obeisance to their own practices -- like everyone at a workplace, Muslim and non-Muslim alike at a workplace respecting the fast at Ramadan -- then we’ve got a real problem. It’s a problem today at the level of simply giving in. Either we keep giving in, and end up with an Islamic country, run on Sharia law, or we resist and that’s going to lead to confrontation. 

This was the reason I started this blog 15 years ago. I made various predictions then about the Islamisation of Europe. I was wrong on those predictions: it’s happened much faster that I thought, both on the mainland of Europe, in places like Germany, France and Sweden, and in the UK, where whole cities have been Islamised. 

Today is “Nakba Day”

My quick history lesson at the site of the SCMP article. We are supposed to mourn, with Palestinians, the loss of their land, the "Nakba". Their "Holocaust"

I don't. The "catastrophe" — and yes, it was and remains a catastrophe — was entirely self-created. It was, from day one 1947, wrong. And remains wrong. 

History could have been so much kinder if only one side had shown some Grace. I've seen Arab voices saying this. What was needed and what remains needed is Grace. Sadly those voices are rare and muted. 

By the way, today is also holiday in Hong Kong. For us, Buddha's Birthday.

1. Two states, side by side, were proposed by the new United Nations in 1946. The Jews accepted; the Arabs rejected.
2. Israel was created as a state by a majority vote in the United Nations in November 1947. (The Yes vote included Australia, which only makes the recent betrayal of Israel at the UN by our Foreign Minister all the more painful).
3. Surrounding Arab countries invaded the new Israel in early 1948.
4. Before attacking, the Arab governments told the Arabs living in the new Israel (which had welcomed them to stay) to leave, so the Arab armies could freely slaughter the Jews.
5. But… The Arab armies lost the war. And some of land that had been set aside for the new Arab state. And lost the right to return for the residents they'd told to leave — by the way, a common and regular outcome of war. (Eg, as evident in the new boundaries drawn at the very recent end of WWII).
6. This is the "Nakba". The Palestinian "Holocaust". A self-created catastrophe. For which they blame Israel. As they have continued to do ever since. It is, however, entirely on their head. As the world should never stop pointing out. (But doesn't). 

The lesson: You don't get to start a war, then demand a do-over when you lose. 

Which Hamas is trying for now. What else is a "permanent ceasefire" and withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza, but the demand that Israel surrender.  Hamas want a do-over. And in this they are being supported by nitwits at western colleges. And nitwits in the Biden Administration. Blinken, Sullivan, Austin and the rest of that tawdry gang.