This is a post I’ve thought about a little while, but was slightly delayed in the writing for mundane logistical reasons. Nearly a week after the 7th July bombings, my Sharpener brother Phil wrote a very thoughtful post here, ‘The value of defiance’. There were many sensible things Phil said in this post – he was clear on what terrorism is (and perhaps more importantly, is not) and there was a strong argument made against those in power using the ‘against terrorism’ argument to stifle political debate and try to smear reasonable opposition by associating it with (if you will) the baddies. But the main thrust of Phil’s argument, eloquently expressed although it was, left me appalled.
This all started at Steve’s place (if you’re not reading already, you should be), with a great parody of apologism:
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. On 11 July 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army, led by Ratko Mladic, disarmed UN peacekeepers and systematically murdered 8,000 Muslim captives. The atrocity shocked the world and Mladic and his boss Radovan Karadzic are still being hunted for war crimes.
Before we condemn the perpetrators, though, we need to understand the underlying causes of this massacre. For 500 years, the Serbs lived under Muslim rule. The Bosnian Muslims are the descendants either of the Turkish conquerors or of South Slavs who converted to Islam. Their ancestors lorded it over the Serbs, oppressing and enslaving them. When Yugoslavia fell apart, many Serbs feared that Bosnia would again become a Muslim dominated state. Others simply wanted to settle some old scores. Southern Serbia was not liberated from Ottoman rule until the 1900s. It is still just within living memory that Serbs were ruled by Muslims. Many Serbs would have grown up with stories about members of their families being brutally treated by their overlords. While we should not condone the massacre at Srebrenica, we should try to understand the historic resentment of colonial rule that drove the perpetrators to such atrocities.
This post was inspired (if you will) by the post and comments thread started by Andrew on Once More the other day, on the limits of the law in regulating speech and thought. There’s a lot of interest in this right now because the Government is presently attempting to pass its Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. There are arguments for and against the Bill, of course, although my guess is most of us on the Sharpener would probably rather the Bill didn’t become law, if given the choice. (Jim plays Devil’s Advocate here.)
Now, this post is only slightly related to the Bill. It’s as much about that much-talked-of thing, Political Correctness. Before you run for the hills, I have no great revelations to impart about green sheep or demanding men wear skirts. Not really my thing. I just want to run through some thoughts about Political Correctness, and our attitudes towards religion, and what they might say about the way we live now. These thoughts are almost certainly wrong and misguided, and (one hopes) maybe even a little Politically Incorrect; but I hope you wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind me sharing them with you…
I know youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve all been waiting on tenterhooks with baited breath for this, my first post on The Sharpener Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how could you not, eh? I hope it meets or even surpasses your expectations, and you tell your friends to read it. It is, as with most things now, a reflection on the implications of ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s General Election. (Be warned, it’s a very long reflection.)
As you might guess from my oh-so-subtle nom de blog, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a conservative. For that reason, this piece is a bit of navel-gazing because we Tories have now a brief opportunity to do that, and an urgent need to do so. In what follows, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make some observations on how it all went for my lot, and then where we go next, before closing with my own reckless suggestions on what that should mean. Read More