:: Saturday, 1 November 2003 ::
Quality work over at Cose Turche
This link goes to a post about Islamophobia and how it is a charge used to silence criticism (skippies scroll down for English translation).
This link goes on with it, but extracts from a French feminist site.
Gotta say, I reckon this is all right. Correct. Specially that stuff about language and its twisted use.
I bin pondering this stuff a lot, cos wogs are nothing if not flowery in their use of language. That has been the deal for ever. From Virgil to Alighieri to Calvino.
But there has to be a point when you say what you mean and you mean what you say. And most importantly, the use of language is correct. And that point should be your law: constitution, legislation, regulation.
Get it right. Cos once it is right - boring, clear, precise - arguments can be had about whether it is good or bad. But you never need bother with arguments about what it actually means.
Now your Arabs are the floweriest of all in use of language. And why not? They got a tremendous tradition of poetry - from the Epic of Gilgamesh, to A Thousand and One Nights to the 'mother of all battles'.
Trouble is, that floweriness gets into the law.
So there is a need to argue about what it all means well before you can ever grapple with whether or not it is good or bad.
You gotta read the Oz constitution (brace yourselves - it is boring) and then the Iraqi constitution.
The people and their will is the dull but perfect basis for the Oz constitution.
It is not possible to tell what the basis of the Iraqi constitution is - it just seems to be a pronouncement of rights with constant qualification to laws, but no indication of the philosophy that will drive those laws.
You could drive a bus through it. And I understand Saddam did - and right up over the top of some Iraqis too.
You see, you gotta keep your law clean and clear. The language of it can be grand and stirring. But first and foremost it has to be clean and clear. Grand and stirring does not mean senseless gobbledygook about dignity and God.
Grand and stirring means what is says. "We shall never surrender". Straight up. "Peace in our time". What the fuck does that mean? Another time no peace?
You can keep your flowery stuff for the yartz.
Now, to get back to the posts, to say - criticism means phobia or veil means equality is flowery bullshit.
criticism means that you are critical - that is what it means. Get past that and we can get down to brass tacks - does the criticism make sense and is it valid.
But if you are stuck back arguing about whether or not you are actually criticising - or whether you are being phobic - then you never get to the bit about the actual criticism. The actual solving of the problem, if there is one.
Use is badly and you will never sort out any problems because you'll always be arguing about the meaning.
Like you don't say Stolen Generations when you cannot establish even 1 generation was stolen. You say 'forcibly removed folks'. It is correct. And it does not diminish their situation one iota.
You don't say genocide, when you cannot establish a generation has been killed. You say 'cultural connections lost over time through forcible removal (see above) and failure of the participants to bother to search out and embrace that culture.
And you don't say sorry or reconciliation when wogs have nothing to do with anything to do with Aboriginals.
That misuse of language has held up Aboriginal advancement is Oz, I reckon, for a good 10 years. Bad bad.
Now we got a bigger picture to deal with:
You don't say martyr to describe a person who kills himself in a way that kills others. You say killer.
You don't say militant to describe a person who is a killer and terroriser pure and simple. You say terrorist.
You don't say resistance to describe violent actions against a liberating force. You say violent jackasses who have nothing in common with the Partisans in Italy or the Polish and French and Hungarian Resistances in France during WWII fighting against their oppressors the Germans.
You don't say facile rubbish like 'one man's terrorist is another freedom fighter' to avoid actually calling the terrorists terrorists. You say between these two bunches of folks I pick these guys because they are less violent than those guys and less likely to kill me.
You don't call someone a moderate just because he is standing next to a man who advocates killing, but he is not actually advocating it himself. You call him a appeaser for terrorism.
You don't say that Osama Bin Laden is admirable on some level because he gave up his riches to fight his jihad rubbish as a violent terrorist. You say he is mad bad man who has to be fought.
You don't say a veil is a symbol of culture and religion. You say it is physical imposition that is applied just to women so it must be a symbol of man's culture alone. You say the veil is a symbol of oppression of women, and when women chose to wear it it is a symbol of some women imagining themselves to be more chaste and more worthy than others who do not wear the veil.
You do not say I am afraid of where this country is heading after Sept 11 with civil liberties at risk. You say I am afraid fucked in the head terrorists might kill me in this country or when I am travelling so we had better do something to prevent that.
You don't call criticism censorship.
You don't say wedge politics when you mean that party x has one position and party y has a choice whether to take another position of whether to agree. You say party y has a choice and so do people.
You don't say arselicker when you mean shared point of view and shared conclusions.
And you do not ask 'why do they hate us?' when your folks are attacked in Bali or anywhere else. You don't ask 'what can I do to stop them hating me?'. You ask who did this? And then you go get 'em and you tell you don't give a shit what they think about anything cos they are just killers.
Call it like you see it.
For the really big picture stuff. That stuff is for clarity.
That stuff is for stepping up and speaking clearly.
And before the email box gets plugged with stuff about Howard's weasel words about bulk billing or core promises or whatever. The same applies.
The flowery misleading flattering stuff - your shoes will be ready Tuesday stuff - that is fine. That is life's rich tapestry.
:: WB 5:02 pm [link+] ::