I was floored by this piece on slaw.ca this morning by Amnesty International Canada’s Alex Neve criticizing Canada’s alleged unwillingness to condemn Israeli human rights abuses during this summer’s Gaza war. You can make of it what you like, but what struck me was how it so perfectly demonstrates Amnesty International’s intellectual bankruptcy and moral obliviousness. It also demonstrates, no doubt unintentionally, the almost obsessive fixation that many human rights activists have with Israel.
This morning we learned that an Egyptian court – a kangaroo court, if ever there was one – after what can only be characterized as a farce of a trial, had convicted Mohammed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian Al-Jazeera reporter, on “terrorism-related” charges and sentenced him to 7 years in prison. That the conviction was preordained is undeniable. This can probably be taken for granted anywhere in the Arab world, but even by the low standards of the region, this trial was a joke. Apparently, Egypt defines “terrorism” as saying unflattering, if accurate, things about its shit-hole government (that the current shit-hole government isn’t much worse (or better) than its predecessor shit-hole government, is really neither here nor there). Still, Mr. Fahmy’s conviction in itself, isn’t all that interesting – after all, did anyone really expect a fair trial?
What’s more interesting has been the response of some of Mr. Fahmy’s family and supporters, who have been harshly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Fahmy’s brother’s, Sherif, tweeted Stephen Harper:
I hold you responsible for leaving my brother to rotten in Egyptian prison. Was a call or a public statement that difficult?
Or Tony Burman, columnist for the Toronto Star who said:
The absence of the highest level of intervention, on behalf of the Canadian government has been lamentable. But, there is a chance for reversal…It’s now time for Canada’s prime minister to indicate to Egypt that enough is enough.
More in this vein can be seen here.
I stumbled across a couple of articles in today’s papers which inadvertently highlighted the double standard that the world community, and in particular, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (the BDS movement, which sounds an awful lot like an intestinal ailment) has towards Israel.
On the one hand, there was Vivian Bercovici’s piece in the Star highlighting the distortions of reality employed by proponents of the BDS Movementi n their campaign to delegitimize Israel. As Ms. Bercovici chronicles, proponents of the BDS movement routinely accuse Israel of being guilty of apartheid, genocide and, generally, crimes against humanity as a result of its treatment of the Palestinians.
OK, but then we have Tairah Firdous and Brett House’s piece in the National Post, chronicling the mistreatment of Kashmiri civilians at the hands of the Indian Army. According to them:
India’s grip on Kashmir is literally overkill: Some 70,000 Kashmiri civilians have died at the hands of India’s security forces since 1989. Their excesses go broadly unpunished. India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives the forces extraordinary powers to arrest people without obtaining a warrant, and to shoot first and ask questions later, all under immunity from prosecution. All of which goes largely unnoticed in the West.
First, we had the story of Faith McGregor, the woman who insists on compelling a barber to cut her hair, in violation of his (seemingly) sincere religious beliefs. Then, we had the story of Arun Smith, the “7th year human rights student” (and, already, my nominee for ass clown of the year for 2013) who “promotes” human rights by violently suppressing the speech of others. Now, we have Ashu Solo, a self-described atheist, who has filed a human rights complaint against the city of Saskatoon, because a city counsellor said grace before a volunteer appreciation banquet. If the name sounds familiar, he had previously filed a complaint seeking to bar Saskatoon from running “Merry Christmas” signs on its buses. Continue reading “Why do self-described “human rights” activists act like assholes?”
From todays Post:
“Only hours after students installed a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University to prove that campus free speech was alive and well, it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence,” against the gay community.
“What we wanted to promote was competition of ideas, rather than ‘if I disagree with you I’ve got to censor you,’” said Ian CoKehyeng, founder of Carleton Students for Liberty, the creators of the wall.
Installed on Monday in the Unicentre Galleria, one of campus’ most high-traffic areas, the wall was really more of a 1.2 x 1.8 meter wooden plank wrapped in paper and equipped with felt markers.
In truth, the wall’s only overt references to sexual orientation were pro-gay, such as “QUEERS ARE AWESOME,” “Gay is OK” and “I [Heart] Queers.”
By Tuesday morning the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of “forceful resistance,” by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith.”
An Austrian grocery store (the “common sense” grocery store, if you believe it) has experimented with a new product – pre-peeled, packaged, bananas.
Now this is an inherently dumb idea (buying a “pre-peeled” banana is kind of like buying a “pre-opened” condom – you don’t want anything to do with either) and probably violates a half-dozen EU environmental and packaging regulations (Greenpeace is up in arms, but what else is new?). But what gets me it what this says about how the store perceives its consumers? Do they really believe that their customers are too stupid and/or lazy to peel bananas by themselves? Are their customers basically monkeys, albeit without the ability to peel a freakin’ banana?
Then again, it’s Europe, so it’s quite possible that some of their customers are sinfully lazy/stupid. Or else they may believe that they have a human right to have bananas peeled for them – much like the infamous EU human right to a vacation and the “right to be tourists” (seriously, you can’t make this stuff up) – so maybe the store’s on to something. If we don’t make bananas more accessible, how can we ensure banana equality?
In light of the fiasco that is the Parti Quebecois‘ proposal
to turn Quebec into arguably the least tolerant jurisdiction in North America to impose controversial restrictions on language and religious displays, I thought this older piece might be appropriate. It arose from this story about a Muslim woman who was told to remove her Niqab if she wanted to attend a French language/civics class, because, among other things, the teacher couldn’t see her lips to ensure she was learning French properly. In response, she filed a human rights complaint with the Quebec human rights tribunal. Enjoy!
I’m never sure who to cheer for in these cases.