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REVIEW: “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” by PAMELA GELLER

Mo-Cartoon-for-TOS

For a monster, Pamela Geller is surprisingly likeable. For a rabid Far Right hatemonger she’s surprisingly liberal: although she is politically on the Right she’s a supporter of gay marriage, pro-choice, etc. For a Nazi/fascist/white supremacist, she’s a bit too proudly Jewish. For an anti-Muslim bigot she seems to have spent rather a lot of time helping Muslims, especially young Muslim females escaping from violence.

And for an ignorant Islamophobe, she seems to know quite a bit about Islam.

READ! IN THE NAME OF YOUR LORD

All right-thinking souls know that the Twin Towers were brought down by George W. Bush to effect a tyrannical takeover of the United States for a couple of years, before putting himself up for re-election. Back in 2001 however, Pamela Geller somehow got the idea that Islamists had something to do with it. She responded to 9/11 with an attack of her own, an intellectual assault on the ideology of jihad, learning everything she could and doing her best to educate others too.

Perhaps she should have just listened to affable celebrity Reza Aslan. After a particularly big terror attack – I forget whether it was the one where we all responded by holding up inflatable pencils, or the one where we sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” or the one where… – Reza appeared on CNN to patiently yet indignantly deny any connection between these violent acts and the teachings of his faith, which, he stated, “is just a religion, and like every religion it depends on what you bring to it.” Whatever questions I may have had about Islam, that certainly answers all of them. But Reza and his nice smile weren’t around in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks, so, while all proper-minded Americans were wondering how long before the TV and the football got back to normal, Pamela Geller started slogging through ibn Ishaq’s “Life Of Muhammad” and Ali Dashti’s “Twenty-Three Years,” she began penetrating the Quran.

The Quran is a book and, like every book, it’s trying to tell you something.

SEE NO *****! HEAR NO *****! SPEAK NO *****!

“Fatwa: Hunted In America” documents Geller’s subsequent transformation from a newspaper publisher and socialite into a woman who needs 24/7 armed guards; a survivor of several assassination attempts; a pariah who’s been smeared and defamed by everyone from the Southern Poverty Law Centre to Donald Trump, from ISIS to the UK Government. They know her name in the desert: the sort of men who stone homosexuals and adulterers have issued death-sentences for Pamela Geller.

This book recounts her non-stop campaigns and controversies, the numerous lawsuits she’s filed and the steps her enemies have taken to try to silence her. She’s an ardent Republican who thinks Obama was the devil: few people reading this are going to agree with everything she’s done or said, but even fewer could deny that at every step she has fought bravely and righteously.

THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS

Seriously though, Donald Trump condemned Pamela Geller for being “unnecessarily inflammatory towards Muslims.” That was after she organised a display of some cartoons. Again with the cartoons…

Following the massacre at the “Charlie Hebdo” offices in early 2015, devout Muslims across the world demanded that more be done to ensure their religious sensibilities would not be offended so sacrilegiously ever again. In Garland, Texas, this manifested as a “Stand With The Prophet In Honour And Respect” conference at the Curtis Culwell Centre. Geller, responding, organised a “Draw Muhammad” contest at the same venue.

Two men drove a thousand miles from Arizona to be at the “Draw Muhammad” event. They parked up, got out of their car with their guns and started shooting. But Pamela had learnt from others’ mistakes: she’d taken her security seriously and had brought a SWAT team along. Result: two dead jihadis, no other fatalities. It became apparent in the ensuing investigation that the would-be killers were in the early stages of planning an attack on some other target, possibly the Super Bowl. We’ll never know how many deaths and injuries they would have caused had Pamela Geller not flushed them out early.

Result: Geller was pilloried across the media for causing violence, for provoking terror, for getting people killed, for putting lives at risk. She was slammed as offensive, uncivilised, insulting, “unnecessarily inflammatory.” Anjem Choudary, Fox News, Garland’s mayor, all united in criticism of Pamela Geller. The FBI knew what was going to happen and did nothing. Even the surviving members of “Charlie Hebdo” sneered at her!

Geller compares this to a rape-victim being blamed because of the mini-skirt she was wearing, but anyone engaged in such squalid victim-blaming would generally concede that rape is wrong too. So the analogy doesn’t quite work: for the Pamela Gellers of this world, 100% of the attention, 100% of the blame and the condemnation, is on you. It’s just easier that way. This is why the “Charlie Hebdo” crew had to be posthumously transformed from lifelong anti-racist activists into racists; from soixante-huitard Leftists to sexist-homophobic-xenophobic haters. By keeping the focus entirely on the dead cartoonists, by twisting them into Right-wing Islamophobes, no-one had to be inconvenienced with questions like: and the ones with the guns and the Blasphemy Laws, anything sexist/homophobic/xenophobic about them? Where do their political convictions sit on the Left-Right spectrum? And where do those convictions come from and who shares them?

Pamela Geller really is Right-wing, she’s sometimes shrill and obnoxiously American and of course she gets things wrong, you can go through her writings and beliefs and find much to criticise. And the texts that are held up as justification for her slaughter: anything to criticise in them?

“I condemn all forms of violence! No-one should be targeted for drawing pictures, but…”

“Sure: and the ideology calling for the violence, do you condemn that?”

“…I oppose all forms of extremism.”

“FATWA” shows just how dangerous a little knowledge plus a big mouth can be, but the sense you get reading it is that Geller doesn’t regret anything. She could have safely settled on the 9/11 attacks being part of a somewhat over-elaborate cunning plan by New World Order lizards to build an oil-pipeline in Afghanistan which they subsequently decided not to build, or it could have been Third World insurgents punishing us for the wicked things we’ve done, or another dastardly plot by hook-nosed Christ-killing Zionists to subvert a fair nation; or else she could have maintained her beliefs but fled, there was always the Witness Relocation option, forgotten away like Molly Norris. Nah: Geller is a tough New York knight who suspects she’s going to win and that Fourth Wave feminists – once the present miserable generation is done cannibalising itself – will regard her as an icon, or at worst as some ballsy mad aunt who might make you cringe a bit but who you wouldn’t exactly want to see lynched by backwards ultra-reactionary theocrats.

#JeSuisYourNameHere

For Theresa May, abject historical incompetence isn’t a new thing: as Home Secretary in 2013, she banned Pamela Geller from entering the UK on the grounds that Geller’s planned appearance was “not conducive to the public good.” It was claimed that her statements and actions could “foster hatred” and might cause “inter-community violence.” We let in men like Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri who was banned from preaching in Pakistan, too extreme an Islamist for Pakistan, he had no problem getting into England; but we banned the mouthy Jewess who told a bit too much truth to power.

The UK owes Pamela Geller an apology. And the whole world owes her a fair hearing: “FATWA” is an inspiring, depressing, terrifying, instructive book, worth anyone’s time.

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“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

@ PIER HILL 29/11/17

https://www.facebook.com/events/366194163832361/

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS? A NON-REPORT ON COUNTY DURHAM’S DE FACTO DECRIMINALISATION OF CANNABIS

An old article from the now defunct “South East Essex News” website:

http://nebula.wsimg.com/ee3d9b133614f86f9d6ffb5cf27da77f?AccessKeyId=1F2C0FF61CCE3E938CDC&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

NEWS FROM THE NORTH EAST: COUNTY DURHAM DECRIMINALISED CANNABIS AND NOTHING BAD SEEMS TO HAVE HAPPENED

Summer 2015, most major newspapers reported that the County Durham police will no longer prosecute crimes relating to low-level possession or sale of cannabis. The county’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, instituted this new policy and effectively decriminalised cannabis.

A year and a half later, how’s that working out?

No-one seems to know or care.

SOUTH EAST ESSEX NEWS approached the County Durham constabulary and asked: has the relaxation of cannabis laws been good or bad for County Durham?

How much money was previously spent enforcing Prohibition, and has refusing to enforce it freed up police resources, in this age of Austerity, in specific, quantifiable ways? Have any consequences been noted in areas such as public health, mental health, the use of harder drugs, police morale, community relations? Has there been any rise or decline in other recorded crimes?

Speaking to SOUTH EAST ESSEX NEWS by phone, the Head of Policy & Communications at County Durham Police seemed happy with this experiment in decriminalisation, and optimistic that it will continue. He admitted however that he could not answer any of our questions: he did not have the relevant statistics.

This was confirmed in a subsequent email from PCC Hogg, who told us: “Much of the information that you request is not available.”

The Police & Crime Commissioner’s words were echoed by County Durham Council. Regarding their county’s year-and-a-half-long policy, a spokesperson told us: “We have received no analysis, and have not completed an analysis ourselves.”

Nor could any individual councillor offer much. Of one hundred and twenty-five county councillors, a number replied to our enquiries but none had any facts or figures.

Two councillors expressed opposition to the policy. One said he “feels” that cannabis was a factor in the suicide of a relative, although he admitted there were no indications that the suicide-rate has risen in County Durham over the last year. Another claimed that “druggies” progress from cannabis to harder substances, and that cannabis use is a “trigger” for other offences. He was also unable to demonstrate any way in which these problems have worsened in County Durham following the shift in the police’s priorities.

Similarly, the relevant agencies were unable to say whether incidences and severity of mental illnesses are rising or falling or stable across County Durham.

PCC Ron Hogg can at least brag that no-one seems able to point to any failings of his policy. But the next time the County Durham Constabulary initiate a radical and very useful experiment, perhaps someone could take notes.

 

INTERVIEW WITH ANEES AHMAD 3/12/16

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Glasgow but have been living in London for the last two years. I’m probably a bit unusual among the poetry community in that I didn’t fancy myself as much of a creative type until I was around 20 – I was never the type to be writing angsty lyrics in the back of my school jotters. As a result there is almost no written record of my angsty teenage years, which suits me quite well.

I grew up listening to hip-hop and got into writing and performing with my friends Johnny and Paul around 4 years ago. We called ourselves Futurology and managed to progress from pretty terrible to pretty decent within a fairly short time. We’re still active – through the wonders of technology I’m still able to work on new material with them despite living several hundred miles away. This seems like a good point to plug our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FuturologyMusic/.

I developed an interest in spoken word poetry shortly after moving to London. It appealed to me because of the obvious similarities with hip-hop, as well as the fact that it’s much easier to write and that there’s a very active community here, offering plenty of opportunities to perform. I started organising my own event, Extra Second London, back in August 2016 and it’s been running every month since.

Tell us about your poetry-night “Extra Second London.”

As mentioned above, I started attending poetry events on a pretty regular basis after moving to London. One issue I had with these events though was that there was little to no room for discussion – I would often see a poet perform a really thought-provoking piece that might have changed my perspective on something, but there was no real opportunity to discuss this as they would be followed on stage by another poet who may be talking about something completely different. I found that a lot of people agreed with this view, which led me to believe there would be interest in an event that allowed discussion alongside the poetry.

Around the same time, my bandmates Johnny and Paul had started running a poetry night in Glasgow called Extra Second that had really taken off. This was held once a month, with each month’s event based around a different theme that poets were invited to explore. I decided to combine this format with my idea for introducing a discussion element and thus Extra Second London was born.

Like the event in Glasgow, Extra Second London explores a different theme every month. As well as showcasing three different featured poets every month, we also have an open mic, during which anyone who turns up on the night can perform. The performances are followed by around 30 minutes of open audience discussion, where anyone and everyone are welcome to have their say.

We’ve held four events so far, discussing The Future of British Politics, Education, The Role of the Artist in Society and Gender Roles. The next event will be held on the 24th January on the topic of Social Class. In future months we’re looking at holding discussions on topics such as Drugs and Social Media, among others.

More information can be found on our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/extrasecondlondon/.

You can also find footage from previous events on our Youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjVcnsCI-fe5byPZYNYkbFA.

What are some of the best things that have happened at Extra Second London?

Our first event (on The Future of British Politics) was opened by Jason Pilley, who gave an incredible 15 minute monologue that left the audience speechless. He made a case for working within the political system to effect change. I could keep going with this description but it’s probably best that you just watch it.

Our second event, which was on the topic of Education, was my personal favourite. It brought out great discussion – it’s a topic that literally everyone has had experience with and as a result, there were some really interesting perspectives shared. Our featured poets were all teachers, which meant they all brought a great amount of enthusiasm and passion to their performances. An honourable mention also goes to Burt Williamson for his piece on University applications but in my opinion, Poetcurious stole the show with his performance on the night:

You’re apparently looking into expanding your operations and establishing an “Extra Second Essex” night. Tell us a bit about what you’ve got planned!

It’s still early days but that is something I’m definitely interested in developing. There are plenty of great poets in Essex but they generally end up having to travel in to London to attend poetry events as there is a real lack of events in their own local areas. So there is definitely a potential audience for an Extra Second night. I’ve had preliminary discussions with a few venues and potential local performers already, so watch this space!

You’re part of a hip-hop group called Futurology so tell us the future, Anees: for you, for Extra Second Poetry, for the world, what happens next?

Personally, I’m trying to get myself more involved in music again after a bit of an unintentional hiatus – although I love writing poetry that doesn’t rhyme and attending spoken word events, hip-hop is still my real passion. I’m looking to work with other musicians and hopefully start playing some solo gigs in 2017.

Extra Second in Glasgow is going from strength to strength. As well as their monthly poetry events, they’ve organised two discussion nights on the theme of Universal Basic Income this year, with speakers from across the political spectrum including former Deputy Head of the SNP, Jim Sillars. These have been fascinating events which have opened up a lot of dialogue and there is a third instalment coming up in December. They will also be holding similar discussions events on the topic of Climate Change next year.

Extra Second is also expanding to Aberdeen! Molly McLachlan, a regular attendee of the Glasgow event, has recently moved there and is hosting the first Extra Second Aberdeen this month. To be honest I know absolutely nothing about the poetry scene up there but am sure it’ll be a fantastic event that will really take off in the months to come.

The London event will be ticking along as is for the foreseeable future. I do have an interest in putting on discussion nights similar to the Universal Basic Income ones that were held in Glasgow so you may hear something on that within the next year or so…

As for the world? Well, given that every political prediction I’ve made in the last few years has proven to be spectacularly wrong, I think I’ll hold back on making any more of those for now.

BILLY BLAKE IN TESCO

https://www.scribd.com/document/342242564/Billy-Blake-In-Tesco

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