Thursday, March 5, 2009

Piers Akerman, the Taliban, the truth and brave liberal secularists

The fat owl of the remove, aka Piers Akerman, is at it again. Brooding on the slaughter of Pakistani cops protecting Sri Lanka cricketers in his column, Just not cricket but terrorists don't care, he comes up with this:

Projecting sporting values on terrorists is as silly as suggesting the allies of the terrorists, the Taliban, were exercising their right to artistic freedom when they used anti-aircraft guns to destroy ancient statues of Buddha dating from the 3rd and 11th centuries at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

Yet, there were those in the West who felt that this vandalism, this savage obliteration of two massive pieces of art that had stood for some 1600 years, was regrettable but not necessarily an evil act because the Taliban were entitled to erase evidence of earlier civilisations.

Curious, because in the usual fat owl rhetorical way, there's not a name or a shred of evidence to justify these extraordinary assertions. So I went googling. Funnily enough I couldn't find a single shred of evidence to support the fat owl.

I was reminded that dynamite was used as artillery fire didn't do the job. Never mind. A technical error by the fat owl.

I was reminded that frantic efforts were made to overturn the decree made by the mad Mullah to carry out the demolition, by Islamic and non-Islamic negotiators. I was reminded that even the Russians imposed additional sanctions against the Taliban for doing the deed, while at the United Nations speaker after speaker condemned the actions. 

Even the Pakistani delegation, which offered a feeble excuse for the Taliban by saying they were driven to extreme measures because of international hostility to the regime, still managed to join the appeal to protect Afghanistan's cultural heritage.

I was reminded that internally this act did a lot to shake the faith of the more moderate elements in the Taliban, confronted by concrete evidence of the fanatical attitudes of hardline mad mullahs. People inside the country as well as outside were angry, though some directed their anger at Taliban treatment of the people ahead of their anger at their treatment of carved rocks.

I was reminded that the hardline ratbag Taliban ideology was in fact foreign to Afghanistan. Spawned in the nineteen eighties, wrote one pundit, to fight the Soviet invasion, the Taliban was a product of CIA weaponry, Saudi funds, Pakistani training and Indian fundamentalist deobandism.

I was reminded of the time when Christians of a fundamentalist persuasion used to tear through the churches of heretic rivals, tearing down and smashing statues, in keeping with the biblical injunction "you shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."

I was reminded that not so long ago, Europeans bombed the shit out of each other, destroying countless treasures, buildings, and art works. Not to mention the odd few million people.

But I couldn't find a single reference to anyone standing up and chortling that the Taliban were entitled to erase evidence of earlier civilizations (or even current religions, like, y'know, Buddhism). I'm sure there's a loon out there somewhere, but it'd take a loon to quote a loon like that seriously. As if it was a meaningful statement, a damning indictment of Western liberal thinking.

It's a funny world, isn't it, given the way the fat owl loves to bash liberal secularists, in much the same way as the Taliban hate art, feminists, poofters and other minorities that get up their collectively insane noses. 

Funny, isn't it, the way it's the liberal secularists who usually rabbit on about heritage and culture and protecting the past. Whenever they do it locally, they're denigrated as people wanting to live in the past. Heritage greenies. Ratbags. Black armband historians. Standing in the way of development and concrete and tar and little boxes made out of ticky tacky. Harrumph. 

It's the fundies who don't mind the odd bombing or the looting of museums in Iraq. "Stuff happens", says this kind of loon. Fuck the past. Fuck art. Ban it. Hack the genitals off statues, put on fig leafs, paint over nipples, whinge about someone paying a million bucks for a work of art. Piss Christ they yell, not realizing the freedom to do mad things is the very thing the Taliban deny. They want to be talibans in their own backyard, then get upset about the real Taliban doing Taliban things, then point out how we shouldn't do weird arty things because it makes them sound talibanish. 

Bring on the Danish cartoonists I say (just up their skills a little), come on in Salman Rushdie (but don't be such a bitch about slumdog shows), and hello First Dog On the Moon, the only reason to read Crikey.

You know, at one point, I wondered whether I should use the occasional swear word in this blog. Upset the readership, consternate a visiting Christian, alienate the odd feminist, shock a visiting Islamic. 

Then I thought fuck that, what's freedom if you can't celebrate it with a fuck or two.

The fat owl has got more cheek than an elephant's backside, more front than Anthony Horderns. Anything he says about anything is suspect. He's no more a guide to terrorism than the Taliban is a guide to civilization as we know it.

That's the trouble isn't it? How did Tennyson put it:

Fundies to the right of them,
Fundies to the left of them,
Fundies in front of them
Volley'd & thunder'd;
Storm'd at with porkies and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred
brave liberal secularists

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the liberal secularists,
Noble six hundred!

PS I don't remember any rational thinking liberal secularist projecting cricketing or colonial values on terrorists. I could imagine fools - who think Greyfriars School or the 5th form at St Dominics are somehow reality based - being deluded about the nature of terrorism. "I say old chappie do you really think that IED is sporting. Not really cricket the way you're hiding it old thing. Come on now, play up and play the game. Fair's fair, pip pip, wot wot old chap."

From where I sit, it's only liberal secularists who have a proper sensible fear of fundies on all sides, be they music banning, women hating Taliban, or scapula wearing women hating pop art banning Opus Dei.

You are such a fraudulent pious hypocrite fat owl, it's why we love you dearly. Now settle down, stop frothing and foaming at the mouth. It's unseemly. And for god's sake, stop asking rhetorical questions like "Was there a Jew among the Sri Lankan cricketers?" What the fuck? Doctor, a hot cup of tea and a bex for this man, it's a medical emergency. He's hot and flushed and sounding very silly ...

Finally, a good news story: Ex-Taliban diplomat hooked on his iPhone. If only the fat owl understood anything. Here's an ex-Taliban who can't do without his iPhone. Now if we can just teach them all the benefits of rock and roll, punk, rap, hip hop and alt country, along with raves, movies, tits on television, mp3's, pirated avis, e, sniffer dogs and other rich secular pleasures, they might stop being so mad. 

Second thoughts, imagine using your iPhone on the internet in Afghanistan to check out the fat owl's online rants back here in Oz. Back we go to the dark ages again ... (and no the photo below is not showing a former Taliban leader mourning the death of Penthouse or slobbering over pornography. He's just using it to access his Facebook and twitter away. Go read the story and help Fairfax Digital Life by giving them a hit, even if it's really an AP story).

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