New Series Announcement: What We Forgot To Remember

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“Crucified Armenians in the area around Der-ez-Zor. Some women were rescued by the fact that – as in the picture – Arab Bedouins took them down from the crosses again.”

Warning: I’m about to talk about genocide. A lot.

Picture explanation: During the Armenian Genocide, the men were first separated from the women – husbands, fathers, sons and brothers were cut apart from wives, mothers, daughters and sisters. Then, the men were marched into the desert without food and water and were shot; the women were raped and tortured, then crucified in order to terrorize any Christians that remained.

Luckily, there were also nomadic Arab Bedouins who ranged throughout the region. These Arabs were strongly opposed to the Turks and their genocidally fanatical nationalist project, despite their shared Islamic faith. Even after being saved by the Arabs, many of these women likely would have died due to external and internal injuries coupled with prolonged starvation and exposure.

100 years ago today, in 1917, the Ottoman Turks, who had previously began to see their ethnic and religious minorities as an existential threat, were in the midst of a horrifically cynical and malevolent campaign of extermination. Targets of the campaign were the key ‘problem’ groups: the Assyrians, the Pontic/Anatolian Greeks, and of course, the Armenians.

100 years on, this campaign – which has often been referred to as the ‘world’s first genocide’ has received a disturbing lack of recognition. Turkey and Turkish politicians alternate between denial and glorification of the genocide, and many other countries simply do not officially recognize or teach it as historical fact.

Yet this problem of insufficient recognition does not end there. While most now know of the extermination campaign against the Armenians, the extermination of Assyrians and Greeks is barely acknowledged at all. What may surprise you yet further is the fact that the plight of those forgotten after being massacred 100 years ago in 1917 is not rare, but the norm.

The truth is that genocide is not some historical anomaly that only happened once or twice. It happens all the time. Throughout history, the systematic mass murder of human beings for color, creed, language or tribe has been terribly common, yet many of these barely receive any recognition at all. The restless dead lie in shallow mass graves all over the world, begging to be heard, pleading for their story to be told.

Every Sunday this month, I will be making a post about a historical genocide that is unrecognized or forgotten. The goal of this serialized project is to put forward a forgotten historical atrocity for thoughtful discussion and consideration, so that we can extract something meaningful from the horrors of the past, and perhaps also try to improve the future.

The first post will be later today. I hope you join in the discussion.

Film Analysis: Enemy (2013)

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Adam (history professor) about to teach us one of life’s most crucial lessons

Enemy is one of the most stunning films I’ve seen this year. Its genius is composite and gestaltic; it lies in the mind-blowing script of Gullón, the paradisal and dystopic direction of Villeneuve, and the compelling yet disturbing acting by Gyllenhaal.

While the film has received near universal acclaim, the plot and its incomprehensibility to many viewers has presented an interpretative problem that has spawned many analyses online. While not intending to sound solipsistic, Enemy truly spoke to me in a way few other films did, and as such, I understand it somewhat differently from the majority of these reviews. Here is my own analysis of the film.

Adam/Mary – History professor and his girlfriend. Anthony/Helen – actor and his wife.

Villeneuve tells us that the film is about dictatorship, and this is true. Beginning at the very start of the film we hear a lecture about dictatorships – a subject which history professor Adam (Gyllenhaal) happens to specialize in.

What dictatorships or totalitarian systems do – and hereafter I want to use the latter – is that they subjugate people. Totalitarian systems oppress people, but they also suppress awareness of this subjugation; they do this in a number of ways. Adam tells his students that in Ancient Rome, the government sponsored bread and circuses for the people in order to reduce dissent. Yet bread and circuses are at their core a type of entertainment. Modern governments do this in different ways, we are told – yet the focus on ‘entertainment’ will be relevant later on.

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Adam and Anthony meet in a hotel

From hereon, we’ll be jumping around a bit in our analysis, but I’ll break the news to you first: Adam and Anthony are one and the same. Bear with me for a little while longer. When Adam and Anthony meet in the hotel, Anthony explains the presence of a scar on his stomach, asking Adam if he has one too. Adam recoils in fear and horror, and flees the hotel. How do we understand this?

There is no scar on Adam’s stomach, because that scar happened when Adam/Anthony (hereafter “AA” to refer to both) was in a car crash which resulted in Mary’s death. Mary was the girlfriend of AA, or at least his mistress, while he was already with Helen. The scene where AA gets his scar, and Mary is killed in a car crash, is marked by a spiderweb on the windshield of the car. Spiders live inside webs.

Return to spiders. The spiders in this film are not some loose analogy for dictatorships or other systems of the political kind. But they do represent a totalitarian system. They are avatars of memory, and the totalitarian control that traumatic memories of the past have over people’s minds.

At the very start of the film – and remember that it isn’t in chronological order, so this is actually the ending scene – AA is in a club [entertainment] and a beautiful attractive waitress crushes a spider. AA is crushing the pain of his own memories, by seeking entertainment. This liberates him from the totalitarian control they exert over him. What memories, you ask?

The answer is given earlier on, when Adam has a dream of walking down a hallway, passing by a woman who is at once also a spider. He wakes up, and sees a woman whose hair matches the spider pattern. This is another factual memory – it is one of the other girls that Anthony cheated on his wife with. Anthony has a serious problem with commitment and infidelity, and is repeatedly unfaithful – not just to his partner.

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The spider – forever the avatar of the oppressive memories of the past – swaggers over Adam/Anthony’s hometown of Toronto

What about the giant spider walking over the entire city? This is explained by the poster for the film, which shows that exact spider in the city right over Anthony (we know it’s him by the jacket) but also inside his head. This is key. The spider (the gargantuan weight of his traumatic memories) is above him, but it is also inside him; its influences on his life are pervasive and absolute like some totalitarian dictator – but this is also an integral part of his very being. His experiences are in his head to stay.

At the very end in the movie, Adam has taken the place of Anthony. He goes into the bedroom to see Helen, and is greeted by a giant spider. Why? Because his memories are coming back to haunt him. So what exactly does this mean?

The entire film is a story of Anthony being confronted by his past. Adam is a representative of this, and the fact that he is a teacher of HISTORY attests to the fact. Adam represents a past Anthony that was unfaithful to Helen. But Adam was so meek and quiet – he even allowed Anthony to fuck his wife. How can we say that he was a representation of Anthony’s unfaithfulness?

The answer is simple; Adam is an unmanly coward, and unfaithfulness is a form of cowardice, or a lack of living up to one’s responsibilities as a man. This is attested to when Anthony is in the car with Mary who he has just tried to fuck – just before they crash, he says to her ‘You think I’m not a man?’ She DOES think he’s not a man – because he is unfaithful, something she has just discovered, precipitating their dramatic exit from the hotel. Thus Adam’s weakness/ unmanliness facilitates Anthony’s unfaithfulness – Adam does not stop Anthony from fucking his girlfriend, because he represents Anthony’s own past weakness (and thus, his weak masculinity).

That scene where Anthony is having sex with Mary, who then freaks out when she sees the wedding ring [marks?] on his finger? This was real. Mary did not realize that Anthony was married. The freakout did indeed happen. The crash did indeed happen. And Mary died, and Anthony was injured as a result – giving us the scar from earlier.

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The windshield after AA’s car crash forms a delicate spiderweb – all is connected

Why is Anthony an actor? Because he is acting out the horrors of the past in his head. The nightmares are all his. The spider at the end looks as if it is about to consume Adam, after he assumes the role of Anthony and walks into the bedroom. It is his memories of sinfulness, and the weight of his guilt, which seems about to consume him.

Adam IS Anthony, so Adam allowing Anthony to fuck his girlfriend represents AA’s weak, sensitive, humanistic side failing to exert control over his brash, Dionysian side. This failure resulted in the death of Mary and nearly also the destruction of his marriage. This haunts him to this very day.

Simplified, it looks something like this:

  • AA are/is one person
  • The spiders are his memories and the weight of his guilt
  • They constitute a totalitarian system which holds him down and oppresses him, and dictates to him his actions; they force him to continuously remember the past
  • Adam, a history professor (the past) represents the past AA – he is weak and generally a shitty person. He allows himself to cheat on his own wife, because he is weak/unmanly/a coward.
  • Adam’s weakness leads to the death of Mary, his girlfriend and mistress. It gives him a scar, which stays with him.
  • AA suppresses this memory by entertainment, such as by attending clubs where the spider (his past) is crushed. But it keeps coming back to haunt him.
  • The spider is a totalitarian system above him (in terms of his control) but inside him (as it is constituted by his memories).
  • The film ends with AA having gone through all of the memories of this traumatic past. A gargantuan spider shows us how AA is confronted by his memories, and thus his own guilt and shame, when he goes into his wife’s bedroom.
  • As viewers, we are not told whether AA’s suppression of his past, his memories, and his guilt is successful or not. We do not know whether he stays with Helen, or what her transformation into his guilty conscience might entail (perhaps accusing him of another affair).
  • That is Enemy, and it is undoubtedly Villeneuve’s most impressive masterpiece to date.

The Bizarre Hatred within the Radical Left

The shocking election of Donald Trump as US President has been said by many to confirm our worst nightmares about the state of America – a country in which bigotry and hatred is said to lie just under the surface.

And indeed it has – just not quite in the way we thought.

Since the election results were announced, confirming Trump as the victor in what turned out to be almost a landslide outcome as he cinched 306 electoral college votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232, the reaction of the American left has been fairly vitriolic.
pic-1While we’re all familiar by now with the rhetoric of anti-white slurs and unfounded accusations of sexism and homophobia amongst others, this recent wave of mass discontent amongst leftists has brought into question how ‘feminist’ they really are.

While Trump supporters have been the target of baseless accusations and calls for violence for some time, the recent inclusion of rape in this list is an unexpected innovation even more vile.

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One Clinton supporter (a woman) stated that she wanted “every female Trump supporter and every relative of them” to be raped, adding that she anticipated the day where she would be able to “rub my pain and every other woman’s pain in your fucking face”.

Another Hillary voter enlisted a number of sick and twisted punishments to be enacted against Republicans, of which rape was one. He says, “Wives and daughters or should I say your c*nts as you republicans like to call them should be brutally raped first.”
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The inclusion of “your c*nts as you republicans like to call them” suggests that the user was affronted by the indubitably unacceptable and hideous manner in which some notable Republicans – including President Elect Donald Trump – have spoken about women in the past. The irony of him then wishing rape upon tens of millions of innocent American women would perhaps be amusing, were it not so sickening.

The calls for rape by Democrats and Clinton supporters in the wake of the electoral result were not even confined to cyberspace. During the demonstrations and riots which have been taking place over the past few days, one protestor found the time to stand outside the Trump Tower with a sign calling for people to “rape Melania”.
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While the election of Barack Obama in 2008 admittedly also saw some protests and distasteful racial rhetoric against the new president, demonstrations in which protestors called for the incoming First Lady to be raped are an entirely new addition to the political scene.

Many aspects of this election cycle have been deemed ‘unconventional’, and traditional dynamics of the left and the right seem to have been turned on their head. Not only has President Elect Trump been the first Republican ever his position to hoist the LGBT flag, but some radical leftists, many of them staunch feminists, have in fact actively called for mass rape against women on the other side of the political spectrum.

Whether advocating for mass rape is to become a new pillar of the American left, or is to be taken merely as a symptom of the mass mental breakdown of disaffected Hillary supporters, is something that will hopefully become clear in the near future.

Is the media creating a false narrative on Leave voters?

The outcome of last week’s referendum on British membership in the European Union stunned the world; not only that, it has had immediate and dramatic consequences on Britain and the British economy. Despite this, the Twitter account Britain Elects, which records every electoral result in Britain (from council by-elections to generals) referenced a statistic from ComRes showing that of those who responded, only 43% said that they were unhappy with the outcome, while 48% were reportedly happy with it.

You would be forgiven for thinking otherwise, however. Because almost every media outlet on both sides of the Atlantic has been running stories of profound voter regret at the referendum outcome.

An astute Reddit user, /u/dingoperson2, found an incredibly large number of articles being run which interviewed Leave voters regretting their decision, despite the lack of articles published on Leave voters happy with the outcome. Notably missing, too, were articles with voters regretting their decision on the Remain side.

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“Some regret it, others feel lied to” – which leaves precisely zero satisfied or happy.

it is inevitable in any scenario of decision making that there will be some left behind who are unhappy with the decision they chose to take, the outcome, or both. It should be no surprise when this happens. But the narrative being run here by media outlets both major and minor is very different. It reflects a sort of sneering ridicule that the educated and upper classes have for the uneducated and working classes; it is the same sort of disgusting behavior we saw rife amongst the Remain campaigners, who consistently smeared the other side as being ignorant or unaware of the facts in the referendum.

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Liberal progressive Bob Geldof saying “fuck you” to a boat of British fisherman campaigning for Leave (The Sun).

Being a student at Cambridge, I personally have seen no end to the Leave-bashing going on on Facebook. There has been no end to the posts attacking and demonizing those who exercised their democratic right to vote Leave. Despite the fact that the young demographic had the lowest turnout rate – only 36% – the vast majority of the verbal aggression has been directed at the elderly, who voted mostly for Leave, and the ‘ignorant’ working classes. This seems strangely ironic – I thought that Leftism was about defending those groups in society who do less well, like the elderly or the working classes?

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88 likes for saying “fuk u” to the elderly.

What’s really worrying though, is that we’ve seen simple Leave-bashing descend into an concentrated attempt by almost every media outlet to portray Leave campaigners as regretful bamboozling ignoramuses. When we have narratives in society casting ‘us’ as the enlightened few and ‘them’ as the ignorant masses, discord and infighting can only follow. At this, a time when the country needs national unity more than ever, the media should act fairly to broadcast the voices of not only the Leave voters who regret their decision, but those that are content with it too.

Here is a list (nonexhaustive) of articles on Leave voters ‘regretting’ their decision:

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/24/12024634/brexit-supporters-regret-vote

http://www.people.com/article/brexit-voters-regret-uk-leave-eu

These Brexit Voters Think They Have Made a Horrible Mistake

http://theweek.com/speedreads/632139/some-brexit-supporters-now-say-already-regret-voting-leave-eu

People are already regretting voting to leave the EU – here’s what they told us

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/24/im-full-of-regret

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/leave-voters-changed-minds-voting-8275841

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/brexit-backers-change-vote-remain-eu-referendum_uk_576d37f9e4b0d25711498bb5

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/06/24/british_voters_regretting_their_decisions_a_roundup.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3658563/Meet-Bregretters-Public-backed-Leave-vote-say-want-STAY-EU-one-admits-didn-t-think-vote-count.html

“I’m a bit shocked.” Some Britons are already regretting their vote for Brexit

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-brexit-updates-regret-voting-to-leave-the-eu-there-s-1466794604-htmlstory.html

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/i-really-regret-my-vote-now-the-brexit-voters-who-wish-theyd-voted-to-remain-a3280361.html

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/brexit-regrets-for-leave-voter-who-changed-her-mind-712185923655

https://www.good.is/articles/brexit-voter-regret-year-of-the-mulligan-eu-referendum

http://www.bustle.com/articles/168901-brexit-leave-voters-who-are-now-regretting-their-decision-show-how-much-our-votes-really-matter

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13619508/1/some-british-voters-now-express-regret-over-brexit.html

http://europe.newsweek.com/brexit-leave-voters-wish-vote-remain-regret-eu-referendum-474306?rm=eu

http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/twitter-users-see-the-funny-side-of-brexit-vote-after-uk-votes-to-leave-europe-in-shock-result/news-story/3311779daa1ea62d50b1a66d61581992

http://www.inusanews.com/article/40003961509/eu-brexit-british-citizens-regret-voting-leave?h=4

https://www.longroom.com/discussion/117252/brexit-regret-meet-the-britons-who-voted-to-leave-the-eu-and-immediately-wished-they-hadnt

http://canada.shafaqna.com/EN/CA/269576

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/brexit-regret/vi-AAhAsTj

https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/this-dude-who-thought-his-brexit-vote-wouldnt-matter-is-a-va

http://nvs24.com/news/world/Some-Brexit-supporters-now-say-they-already-regret-voting-to-leave-EU-6697973.html

http://on.aol.com/video/brexit-regrets-for-leave-voter-who-changed-her-mind-576d72dc1c68990f0acbc25f

 

 

White nationalism motivated Dylann Roof – but Islam not to blame for Omar Mateen

Do any of you remember Dylann Roof? Here’s a mugshot.

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Dylann Roof is currently awaiting trial for charges relating to the 2015 Charleston church shooting, in which he entered into a predominantly African-American church and proceeded to brutally gun down nine people.

Dylann Roof was a terrorist. He was a sick and evil man, and I don’t call him sick to absolve him of responsibility for his crimes. His was a cold and calculated act of mass murder intended to terrorize black Americans and show the world the power of his evil white supremacist ideology.

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Victims of Dylann Roof’s vile racist ideology (CNN)

When the media dissected the Dylann Roof case, they were sure to point out the obvious and salient link between his crime of killing 9 black people and his white supremacist and white nationalist ideologies. Every news outlet from the Washington Post to Salon talked about the crucial importance of racism as a motivating factor for the terroristic actions that Roof chose to take against his own fellow Americans. They did not absolve white supremacy or white nationalism of any guilt by pointing to evidence of any mental illness of Roof – and rightly so, because there are millions of mentally ill people in the US and across the world who don’t go out and shoot up black churches because of it. The man was a racist, a white nationalist, and a terrorist, and I’m one of many other Americans praying that he gets the death sentence I know he deserves.

Given that, I find it a little strange given the coverage after the events of last Saturday, where a Muslim American born to Afghan immigrants perpetrated the single worst mass shooting in our nation’s entire history, with gays as the intended target.

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Like Dylann Roof, Omar Mateen had an ideology directly linked to the actions he took and the targets he chose. His ideology, however, was a religious one. Mateen was a Sunni Muslim, a faith in which the penalty for homosexual acts is death as mandated in Sharia Law. This is currently enforced in 11 Muslim majority countries, and in others which do not enforce the death penalty, like Bangladesh, local Muslim groups often carry out killings themselves, such as when Xulhaz Mannan, the former editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine, was brutally hacked to death. Bangladesh, by the way, is by no means tolerant; homosexual acts are illegal in Bangladesh and punishable by up to life in prison.

Islam’s stance on gay rights is well known. The most important Sunni and Shi’a countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of which possess massive numbers of clergymen who devote their entire lives to religious matters, institute and advocate for the death penalty for homosexuality. An Iranian cleric speaking in an Orlando mosque near where the recent shooting just took place said so just this year, stating “Death is the sentence… there’s nothing to be embarrassed about”.

For any reasonable person, the direct link between the Islamic faith and its mandates and the actions that Omar Mateen took last Saturday should be eminently obvious.

Why is it, then, that nobody is blaming radical Islam?

After Dylann Roof’s terroristic rampage in which 9 innocent souls were brutally murdered in a place of worship, Obama condemned the ‘blight’ of racism – and rightly so. But after 49 were brutally shot down in a space designed to accommodate their identity, with over 100 killed or injured, making this the worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 and the worst mass shooting in all of US history, Obama said nothing about Islamic terrorism. He did not even mention the words ‘Islamic terrorism’. Many news outlets are doing the same; the HuffPost was castigated by Breitbart after blaming everything but Islam, up to and including Ted Cruz, gun control, and and Pope Francis.

The double standard here is as clear as day. It is sickening and it is utterly unethical. Dylann Roof was a racist and a terrorist. I as a white person condemn Dylann Roof and the racist ideology that motivated him to murder innocents in Charleston. I am glad that our president blamed racism for the killing, and hope that his actions will have discredited his ideology so that it will fall into the graveyard of history books.

But the hypocrisy of the president and of western media outlets in refusing to condemn the link between Omar Mateen’s crimes and the religious ideology that motivated him to murder innocents in Orlando is beyond belief. There are no words to describe this incidence of insidious dishonesty and double standards. By not condemning the cause of these killings, we fail to move towards a solution. And we pave the ground for the deaths of more innocents as a consequence.

Reddit sees egregrious censorship after Orlando massacre

The popular news site Reddit – the self-proclaimed front page of the internet – played host to a series of bizarre and arbitrary wipeouts in the wake of the Orlando shooting, now confirmed as the worst in the nation’s history. Reddit is usually among the first places one can find breaking news stories as they unfold – not so this Sunday, as /r/news, the ‘subreddit’ or messageboard for posting news related stories, went dark.

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The moderators of /r/news initially attempted to prevent the story from being posted and deleted it multiple times, resulting in the surprise of many users when a repost was finally allowed to remain on the front page. However, they then engaged in a mass removal of comments of all kinds – and not just those critical of Islam or Muslims. Setting aside the entirely legitimate criticism of Islamic ideology in circumstances such as these, the censorship even included deleting the posts of users posting information desperately seeking blood donations. The user below can be seen frantically posting the same information a number of times, begging for people to sign up and donate blood.

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A good amount of the censoring seems to have come at the hand of a user known as suspiciousspecialist, who told a user to ‘kill himself’ after deleting multiple comments asking for people to step forward and donate blood to prevent deaths.

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Among the deleted comments was this one, which is of a man seeking confirmation as to the safety of his friend, who may have been at the club in question.

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The censorship is similar to that practiced by the moderators at /r/news and /r/worldnews after the Cologne Sex Attacks on New Year’s, during which again, the comment sections of both subreddits became veritable graveyards. Many redditors have shown their overt displeasure at such censorship, and this is currently the top post on /r/jokes

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Many of the deleted comments were extremely popular, with hundreds or even over a thousand upvotes. In some cases, almost all (over 90%) of comments made were deleted, as can be seen here.

The censoring of breaking news stories relating to Islamism and Islamic terrorism is something the internet is very used to. The fact that Reddit moderators attempted to blackout this story should be no surprise as after all, it is identical to their behavior following the events of Cologne. The fact that this behavior remains routine amongst the moderation team implies that many more less-well publicized incidents with Muslim perpetrators are indeed successfully censored.

While Reddit does have a stated goal to function as a free speech platform, it is no surprise that this policy ends when it comes to Islam and Muslims; it is in line with practices pushed by other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Ironically, the only subreddit which was successfully able to post news stories relating to the Orlando massacre was /r/the_donald, which is the main subreddit supporting Donald Trump in his run for the presidency. The moderation team of /r/news did eventually come out with a statement on the incident of mass censorship.

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The post is currently sitting at an unspecified number of downvotes, but knowing the Reddit community’s distaste for censorship, and given the popularity of posts critical of the moderation team, it is likely in the negative thousands. What’s noteworthy about this statement is that it deliberately conflates criticism of Islam and Islamism with hate speech, stating “there is still a lot of hate speech prevalent”, implying that the mass deletion of comments will continue. The social media crackdown on criticism of Islam appears to be as strong as ever.

Political correctness and Islamic extremism

In the United States today, and indeed in the western world as a whole, we are in a state of perpetual war. This is no exaggeration. Since 9/11, the US has officially been involved in at least 5 wars – two explicitly against state actors (Iraq and Afghanistan) and three against non-state actors (with fronts open in Libya, Syria, and Pakistan). It is not just the United States, too. Due to Islamic terrorism, which currently takes the form of a war declared against states by non-state or pseudo-state entities, multiple western countries such as France and Belgium, having suffered attacks from said entities, have declared prolonged states of emergency, with many others poised to do so as the terror alert remains universally high across western Europe. It is to the extent that the UK foreign office has declared that the risk of a terror attack at home in Britain is just as high as that in Algeria, Syria, or Saudi Arabia.

We have also seen the rise of another, more confined war (or set of wars) across the West. It is fought in campuses across the country, as well as on social media, where vast echo chambers have been set up to accommodate the views of either side. There is no definitive name for this war, but its fighters on either side do have names; on the left, they are the ‘regressive left’ or the SJWs (so-called social justice warriors) that seeks to limit free speech and traditional concepts of equality and meritocracy (equality of opportunity) in favor of identity politics, ‘social justice’, and ‘new’ equality (equality of outcome). The culture they seek to spread is widely identified as ‘PC culture’. On the right, we have seen the rise of the counterrevolutionaries, who are lambasted as racists, sexists, bigots, or worse – those who want to curtail the excessive practices of the regressive left in enforcing their ideology in public. This latter group includes the much lambasted ‘Alt-right’ which does indeed contain prominent individuals with racist views.

Nowhere else has this been better demonstrated than the two camps set up around the two maverick candidates that took the run for the presidency in their respective party’s nominee races – Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Looking at them, they could not be more different – Bernie is a compassionate socialist who has bought into the SJW movement, and Donald Trump, the billionaire business magnate, whose hubris seems only surpassed by his lack of a political self-preservation instinct.

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Trump and Sanders – diametrically opposed champions of the regressive left and the alt-right (BBC)

Bernie Sanders has been the candidate of choice for the SJW movement – he appeals to the hip and young cool kids of college campuses who want to appear compassionate and aware of injustice in society – in other words, virtue signalling. Bernie himself has engaged in this virtue signalling, attempting frequently to appeal to minorities; this has often been politically disastrous, like when he assumed that a town hall questioner was Muslim based solely on the color of his skin, or when he said that white people don’t know the reality of poverty. Unfortunately for Bernie, the man in the former case turned out to be a Hindu, and the second statement was utterly debunked as false racialist spiel by Politifact.

Donald Trump is not without criticism – despite cinching the Republican nomination, he might just be one of the most unpopular candidates in living memory. His notable plans include his desire to build a wall on the US southern border and to lower or wholly block immigration from majority-Muslim countries until we can “find out what’s going on”. He has an utter disregard for political correctness and people’s feelings – sometimes callously so, and resorts too easily to petty insults and namecalling. He behaves like an unintelligent braggart on national television, and has far more points worthy of criticism to be able to mention in a single paragraph.

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Sorry, Don. I might not be your biggest fan.

But there is one crucial area where Donald Trump, and those who support him, are utterly right. The issue of free speech and its limits in US and elsewhere has been a massive cultural issue in recent years. We may indeed be witnessing the concept of free speech as we know it redefined to exclude anything which could be perceived as offensive – and thus hate speech. Prominent British intellectual Douglas Murray has written on this issue in detail, as have many others. This is highly problematic, and not just because of issues around subjectivity and arbitration on what can be considered ‘offensive’, but also because of its implications for wider society. One example would be the unpalatability, in the United States, of openly discussing issues among specific minority communities. Open discussion on black crime and the specific problems being faced in inner-city environments such as Chicago is not tolerated, and the voices of black conservatives are drowned out in the crossfire.

A similar example would be the reluctance in the UK to talk about issues posed specifically by the Pakistani community, and the reluctance to confront rape gang cases perpetuated by that community, such as the Rotherham Scandal (which has been linked explicitly to the promulgation of PC culture and fears of being labeled racist). We saw the same thing happen after the Cologne Sex Attacks of New Year’s Eve, where a systematic media blackout on the crimes, as well as total obfuscation of details surrounding the ethnicity of the suspects from the police was documented. The danger here is very real. People are not speaking up about issues because they fear social censure – or worse. If you’re a student at university, you could end up losing all of your friends and becoming an outcast if you speak openly about such unpalatable issues as Islamic terrorism while denying the validity of the ‘religion of peace’ narrative. If you’re a journalist or an employee at a company, you could risk losing your job or your chance at career advancement for openly discussing anything that could cast aspersions of racism on to your character.

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A line-up of suspects related to a sex-trafficking gang in Rochdale. Discussing the possibility of links to culture and the crime could cost you your job.

It is this fear that prevents people from speaking out, but the danger isn’t just to the individuals who speak out – it’s to society as a whole. Because when we silence or shut down someone who tries to discuss black crime or homophobia and gay-hatred in Islam in an opened and reasoned way because they reject an accepted narrative, what we’re really doing is allowing those things to fester and get worse. When nobody is willing to discuss the issues of the single parenthood epidemic in the black community in America and its very real implications on phenomena such as black crime and black empowerment, black people are the ones that lose out. Larry Elder previously detailed his frustration with the refusal from white liberals to talk about these issues to little avail. However, black crime mostly affects black people, and its influence diminishes vastly outside of inner-city ghettoized neighborhoods.

Islamic terrorism is different. In the last 16 years alone, it has brought multiple Western countries to their knees, with prolonged states of emergency, widespread atmospheres of fear, and armed guards outside every synagogue. It has killed thousands in the West, and has been responsible for the deaths of millions in the wider Middle East. Practices legitimized by the sources of Islamic law – the Qur’an and Ahadith – such as sexual slavery and marital rape, female genital mutilation, and others are resurgent – and views promoted by the texts, such as a hostility to homosexuality and a nonacceptance of certain forms of free speech seen as religiously offensive, are gaining traction in the UK. Over half of British Muslims say that homosexuality should be illegal, and members of a ‘Sharia patrol’ were last year arrested in London for a hate-crime involving grievous bodily harm against a gay couple.

There simply is no need to attempt to detail every instance of violence or wrongdoing in the West linked explicitly to Islam and its values and commandments. We see it every day (albeit often minimalized) in the mainstream media. So why can’t we blame Islam? Why do we see statements like the tweet below, which obfuscates the issue and blames religion as a whole, rather than Islam, for what Muslims do in its name.

Neuroscientist and atheist philosopher Sam Harris, who writes on religion and terrorism, is quoted as saying that Islam is “the motherlode of bad ideas”. For that, he was called “gross and racist” by Hollywood star Ben Affleck – an action the leftists at the Guardian consider ‘praiseworthy’. The left is simply unwilling to talk about Islamic terrorism or fundamentalism and its links to the religion as a whole, and anyone who seeks to break this wall of censorship risks total castigation.

Late last night, Orlando played host to the worst shooting in American history. The targets were gays – people who, through circumstance outside of their control, are attracted primarily to the same sex. Orlando also played host to an Islamic cleric this year who candidly spoke about how Islam mandates the death penalty for said people based on religious law.

Milo Yiannopolous, an openly gay man and open supporter of Donald Trump and the Alt-right movement, wrote today about how the left has “chosen Islam over gays“. Nothing could be closer to the truth. Whether it be virtue signalling or misguided compassion towards what they perceive to be an ‘oppressed’ minority group, the left’s defense of Islam has resulted in the tabooification of open discussion on the facts about the Islamic faith and its precepts. It should be very clear to everyone in the West by now that the Islamic religion is, as religions go, a rather violent religion, that can be a motivating force in unpleasant and violent actions on the part of its adherents.

The utter insanity of the left in refusing to discuss, acknowledge, or confront this issue, and the refusal to condemn Islam in whole or in part for what it mandates or allows, is lethal. By preventing people from being informed and aware on the nature of the problem, we are unable to tackle it. We cannot fight hateful religious ideology when we are unable to point it out as hateful. The left has prevented us from calling a spade a spade, and the casualties of this behavior continue to pile up – as in Cologne, as in San Bernardino, as on 9/11 and 7/7 and every other numerical abbreviation of terrorist attacks compiled to date.

Sadly, despite the fact that the deaths keep coming, the left has not changed their strategy. Donald Trump may not be the most qualified man to run for president. But I would feel a lot more confident in defeating Islamic extremism if we had a president able to actually discuss it. Political correctness clearly hasn’t worked on Islam – they’re still killing us. It’s time to try something different.