Democracy & Human Rights

Democracy & Human Rights (7)

For those unfamiliar with the pejorative term of Muzzy it refers to Muslims, along with other familiar names such as Sand Niggers, Towel Heads, and Camel Humpers, they are all ‘made in the USA’ I think. I often hear it from that quarter. As for the word Kebab, it is a metaphor describing the dominant ethnicity of the Muslims. They hate Muzzies, in recent times that have extended to attacking their halal food after consuming it for years because they have concerns for animal welfare now. Note their protests did not include the Kosher meat, and we all know why. Similarly, we all remember the racist kids taunting in school that you smell of curry, only to see their parents turning up regularly to the Indian restaurant in the evening to order a takeaway.  

I am pleased that Muslims have not responded in kind by coining similar scornful terms. We could easily substitute Camel Humpers with Dog Humpers (bestiality), and ironically that is a reality for some section of the population. One can easily find the distasteful websites and videos online with a single click, and rest assure the vast majority involved are non-Muzzy, and all the sites hosted in the Western hemisphere. Such sites would not exist if there were not a demand for them.

When Barrack Obama was elected as the US President setting a milestone in US political history, the dominant view considered it progress. One step in the right direction, a significant sign that the US was on the path to making amends with its ugly past, the terrible treatment of the blacks. For many, the event echoed the words of Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  That journey seems to have halted and taken a U-turn with the appointment of Donald Trump.

Why has the US regressed from electing the first black leader to appointing a racist semi-literate Xenophobe like Donald Trump?  Is it a political enigma or a knee-jerk response from an insecure White America who are on course to become a demographic minority? It appears that the crude rhetorics of Trump appealed to a good section of the American population, in particular, the far right, going even further right the White Supremacist movements like the KKK gave Trump an open endorsement. Other far-right groups around the world have also given support to Trump.

Here at Radical Views, Easter mainly means extra long weekends and and an excuse to load up on the chocolate, but we certainly appreciate that for many people, it has a strong religious significance. Who better than Reverand Frank Gelli, then, for authoring our Easter Sunday post with a twist. Frank appreciates the celebration that many people are participating in at this time of year while keeping an eagle eye on the electioneering that has been a precursor to this bank holiday and we share with you today his words of wisdom. As always remember to Like, Tweet and share this article  - Yamin Zakaria and the Team @ Radical Views


JESUS OR JUDAS?

Cameron or Milliband? Clegg or Farage? Bennett or Sturgeon? In the comedy of the British elections these are much trumpeted, bogus alternatives. But the underlying eschatological, life-or-death contest that really matters the media won’t mention: Jesus or Judas?

Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, is the infamous one among the Twelve Apostles. He betrayed Jesus Christ to the Jewish leaders with a kiss, for thirty pieces of silver. Dante throws him into the nethermost circle of Hell, where a huge, bat-like Satan sunk in ice gnaws eternally at the miscreant's body. Still, the traitor’s deep motives are not easy to discern…

Here at Radical Views, we like to draw attention to serious, socio-political issues, but we are all for a little bit of satire from time to time. Properly executed satire is not the chaos caused by Charlie Hebdo, where swathes of good people in a weakened position are cruelly attacked by individuals with disproportionate power and influence. Rather, it is a nonaggressive way of critiquing those in power as a means of highlighting problems that they are responsible for. Online comedians Cassetteboy hit the nail on the head, and while we are laughing at the actual video, we love how the article looks beyond the jokes. It examines the issues that the video highlights, and how they might be solved, if only the government would take a step back and re-evaluate its anti-Muslim stance. If you enjoy this article, then as always, remember to Like, Tweet and share – Yamin Zakaria and the Team @ Radical Views.


 

Politicians traditionally have been unpopular individuals who make unpopular decisions from positions of excessive power. Of course there have been exceptions such as David Lloyd George the Manchurian son of a schoolteacher, who had a strong hand in implementing Britain’s welfare system. Current British Prime Minister David Cameron’s ancestry, on the other hand, has been traced right back to Lady Elizabeth Fitzclarence, illegitimate daughter of King William IV and his mistress Dorothea Jordan, and comedy duo Cassetteboy pays homage to this in their Emperor’s New Clothes rap, created for Russell Brand’s up-and-coming filmwith the same name.

First they decapitated the movement, putting the country's elected president and dozens of his colleagues in prison. Then they silenced its voice by closing its radio and television stations. Next they stormed into mosques and massacred hundreds of grassroots supporters as they protested in the street. Now they plan to eliminate the movement by declaring it illegal and making it a crime to belong.

The enormity of the accelerating military coup in Egypt is breathtaking. The world watches in horror as soldiers gas and shoot demonstrators who were no more violent and disruptive than those who protested against the Mubarak regime in Cairo's Tahrir Square in February 2011. It is little more than a year since Hosni Mubarak was found guilty of not putting a stop to the killing of protesters by the Egyptian security forces at that time. Is Egypt's current strongman, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, any less guilty after the greater atrocities of the last few days?

Editor's Comments In the light of the recent events in Egypt, the author in this article raises a pertinent issue of who is entitled to occupy the seat of power, because democracy primarily focuses on the procedural aspect of appointing a leader. It’s more about the votes and less about the qualities of the candidates being given the votes. Thus he asks, should the position of leadership be open to anyone as long as popular consent is obtained or should this be subjected to certain qualifications? If I recall Greek Philosophers also argued that political leadership is like a profession, one must poses certain qualities to govern. Human history has been shaped by certain men, who possessed the capabilities to become leaders; indeed there will always be leaders and followers. However, merits of leadership are not enough, as it must also be fused with justice when the leadership is put into practice. This is discussed with particular reference to the work of the Scottish Philosopher and academic, Thomas Carlyle, his book Heroes and Hero worship.

As a jolly Army coup knocks out Islamic democracy in Egypt, the priest wonders: is there an alternative to elections and parliaments? A system, a type of government better than democratic rule?

Thomas Carlyle, ‘the sage of Chelsea’, had no doubts. There is. It is the rule of the hero. The ablest men. Those driven by the divine afflatus. Superior minds and intellects. Born leaders: ‘Universal history, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of Great Men who have worked here. They were the leaders of men, these great ones. The models and patterns, and in a wider sense creators, of whatever the general mass of men contrived to do or attain.’

Editor's comments - This author of this article makes the basic point that the independence of judiciary is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure the rule of law is maintained, and that individual citizens are protected from the disproportionate power of the state. It was the European Court of Human Rights that has kept the Judges here in check. Regardless of one’s viewpoint towards Europe, this institution has helped to contribute towards maintaining the checks and balances in the democracies within Europe. In contrast, we witness the Judiciary being manipulated easily in many Muslim countries to suit the interest of certain ruling body. The recent shambolic trials of the members of Jamati Islam in Bangladesh are a pertinent example of this. Whilst we frequently point out the failure of the West to uphold the rule of law (Guantanamo Bay) post 9/11, concurrently we also need take note where this has been upheld.

Omar Othman is a resident of this country – guilty of no crime and up to now facing no charges – whose home country wants to put him on trial in a case where the key evidence against him will in all likelihood have been procured by torture. The only reason he probably won't be tortured is because the state concerned has reluctantly promised not to follow its usual routine.

If this person's name were Giles or Gary and the country Syria or Sudan, we'd have outraged Daily Mail editorials and a civil libertarian home secretary. But Othman is Abu Qatada, and the state is Jordan. In politics universal values (the rule of law, the protection of human rights, the prohibition on torture) are fine – so long as they don't get in the way of our diplomatic interests, the career ambitions of our leading politicians or the propensity of our allies to do evil.