Saturday, March 11, 2006
Time for a Two-Fisted Fisking
Photo by J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times
Article by John M. Broder
Where to begin with this New York Times piece about Wafa Sultan, inarguably one of the bravest women to stand up in Arabic to a hate-spewing cleric in his own lair. On television. According to the Middle Eastern Media Research Institute, there have been more than one million hits on their website to watch Dr. Wafa Sultan dish her J'accuse out to an imam, embarrassing him nearly into silence, and defending the rights of women, Jews and Christians with well-aimed, articulate verbal weaponry, the likes we rarely see coming from the Arabic-speaking world.
Let's look at this article, beginning with the headline:
For Muslim Who Says Violence
Destroys Islam, Violent Threats
This is an inexcusable error. She is not a muslim, she is a non-religious humanist, a secularist, as she made abundantly clear in the Al Jazeera video, posted on Memritv.org 2/21/06.
Quote: "I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it."
By identifying her as a Muslim, the headline makes it possible for a fatwa to be carried out against her. I realize that this is nitpicking, since she is a self-declared apostate, but NO Muslim, who believes as a Muslim believes, would actually say the things Wafa Sultan has said publicly. She should have been identified as a secularist in the headline.
The point of this article is that Wafa Sultan is now very much in danger of losing her life as a result of making blasphemous statements against Islam. But what does the NY Times do to help her cause, which is the cause of women's rights, the cause of free speech and the right to one's own cherished beliefs? Why, it is to tell the whole world where she lives, who her husband is and what he does for a living, and where her children go to public school! In addition, the
intrepid Times reporter lets us know what sorts of clothes you might be able to find Mrs. Sultan wearing at any given moment.
From the article:
Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words...
I suppose this description is for those of us as shallow as typical Times reporters, fashion and celebrity being one of the few things they actually care deeply about.
In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. (Emphasis mine) But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.
So what does Mr. Broder say in response to the actual threats issued against her? Read on...
...and the Sultans and their two children (they have since had a third) settled in with friends in Cerritos, Calif., a prosperous bedroom community on the edge of Los Angeles County.
After a succession of jobs and struggles with language, Dr. Sultan has completed her American medical licensing, with the exception of a hospital residency program, which she hopes to do within a year. David operates an automotive-smog-check station. They bought a home in the Los Angeles area and put their children through local public schools. All are now American citizens.
Well now, Mr. Broder, you have been very helpful! Shukran jazeelan! Are you hopeful that the dignitaries of the Religion of Peace™ manage to find her alive and well in her LA area home? They will be able to identify her from her television appearance, I am sure, but she will probably be the lady in the
prim sweater and skirt, just in case they don't recognise her.
I suppose I am nitpicking, after all. The Times doesn't actually hand out an address, but it seems to go out of its way to identify unnecessary things! There is much good in this article. It gives us a better picture of who Wafa Sultan is. Was the Times wrong in giving out so much info about this woman and her family? Consider the times we are forced to live in:
First of all, we are in an asymmetrical war. There is no particular frontline behind which we can safely hide. We face an enemy who has no uniform. We face an enemy who is anonymously singular, and very nearby, smiling at us from the driveway next door, or vocally loud and menacing from afar, miniaturized safely on our television screens. This is a war of attrition. This is a war of propaganda and psychological assault. Those who would stand against this enemy must often cry out against him alone, or, in the words of Oriana Fallaci, "as crying Cassandras the West refuses to listen to." It may be years before we can actually fight against such battle-seasoned warriors effectively. Our enemies have ingested war from their mothers' breasts. They have been raised up for violence, and see it as a wonderful thing. They have enslaved every citizen of every culture they have successfully waged war against, and most importantly, they have long memories. They are still fighting the lost battles from hundreds of years ago. They are still seeking revenge for actions taken against people who are long dead by people who no longer are alive. And meanwhile, who is our enemy fighting? He is fighting cultures with superior intelligence and technology, armies with superior weaponry, with superior tactics....but timorous people with short memories and a low threshold for loss and discomfort. I am not talking about our typical, well-trained soldier. I am talking about the thankless citizens he defends with his very life, I am talking about the demagogues in parliaments and governments who would like Western Civilisation to be over and done with. I am talking about those malpractitioners of higher education, who brainwash our children into believing lies instead of the truth, I speak about those preachers and rabbis who, instead of boldly proclaiming with confidence the true words of God, seek to appease His enemy, Satan.
The NY Times may have illuminated for us who this brave woman is, but it would have been better to know nothing about her, than know about her what her enemies know. When writing this, I wonder, did the reporter think about revealing too much, did he even care?
What can you expect from a newspaper whose reporters think nothing of spilling state secrets, who deliberately skew the news in favor of bloodthirsty savage barbarians, and never miss an opportunity to revile the very soil on which their building stands?
If Mrs. Sultan dies as a result of the things she said, will the NY Times give an eloquent eulogy or relegate her death to a single graf in the obit section? I guess we must wait and see.
In the meantime:
Does anyone even remember STEVEN VINCENT?!
I will never forget him, whom I never met.
Here is the letter I received from him just a few days before he was abducted and murdered in cold blood:
Tue, 26 Jul 2005 16:28:23 +0000
Hi Jauhara --
I wanted to drop you a line and thank you for recent kind words about ITRZ. I also read with some amusement your comments on the site and your dispute with Frank. You go girl!
I hope you find my latest post to your liking. Let me know what you think.
Thanks again for reading and writing and giving me a nice boost. It can get a little lonely here in Basra, so I appreciate your comments.
Yours from the banks of the Shatt-al-Arab,
Maybe I should write a letter of encouragement to Wafa before she meets a similar demise. If you want to do likewise, don't bother contacting the Times for her address, you may contact her here.
UPDATE: Israpundit has posted letters to Wafa Sultan!