Tag Archives: terrorism

Stand your ground Dzhokar Tsarnaev

23 Jul

by Evan Zenobia

Among the many controversies that erupted over the last few weeks, two really stand out to me because, together, they really say a lot about the state of American justice.

The first is about the acquittal of child-killer George Zimmerman. A Florida jury stacked with gated-community white women found that Zimmerman, who went after the 17 year-old Trayvon Martin with a loaded gun against police instructions was cleared of all charges. And even though a 911 call recording shows that Martin screamed in distress for 30 seconds before Zimmerman pulled the trigger, the media is still busy painting him as a tragic hero, cheering for his acquittal, slandering Martin, and insisting that he was merely a noble and principled neighbourhood watcher who, at worst made a mistake and at best was a victim in his virtuous cause.

The second controversy surrounds the appearance of suspected Boston bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s sexy headshot on the cover of Rolling Stone. All sorts of public personalities lashed out in indignant outrage, calling the cover insensitive and offensive and whining that the magazine inappropriately glorified.

Despite the outcry, the Rolling Stone story, as Scott’s Written Words illustrates concisely, amounts to little more than outright character assassination. Rolling Stone isn’t alone in this attitude. Many icons on the American left such as Bill Maher and Lawrence O’Donnell have joined in assuming Tsarnaev’s guilt.

And here’s what’s wrong with this picture.

We KNOW that Zimmerman killed Martin. We know he decided to stalk Martin, and we know he shot him. Of course, they didn’t shut down an entire city to hunt Zimmerman down and put him in a coma. But the right-wing media won’t stop lionizing him, going so far as to float out a story about some post-trial heroics on his part.

But in Tsarnaev’s case, the evidence is much more threadbare. He is an accused terrorist. He has pleaded not guilty. Now, there’s this whole principle called innocent until proven guilty, and it’s only served as a cornerstone of Western civilization. Yet the media doesn’t care. They’ve decided he’s guilty. Judge, jury and executioner, and they’re not even pretending he has the right, nevermind the chance, to make his case.

Good job America. Good fucking job. Killing Black kids is fine, and immigrants get character assassination in lieu of basic legal rights. Way to go.

But hey, maybe Tsarnaev could just use the stand your ground defense.


Most terrorists are Muslim? A response to the ignorance at Sun News

21 Apr

By Evan Zenobia

A terrorist threat lurks in our midst. Driven by religious fundamentalism, puritanical rage and a hatred for our freedom, justice and other Western values, they have left a deep scar upon the United States. They have razed their buildings to the ground, consuming their people in fire and taken the lives of thousands. They recruit American citizens, often the young and impressionable, to their despicable and murderous causes and dream of destroying so much of what generations have fought for and built. So extremist are they that they target the non-fanatic members of their own faith and people. And yet, even though they all carry a single ethnic profile, the government appears afraid to use this as a means to capture this deadly menace to our freedom.

            What is this menace? Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda? Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Party of God? Maybe Sikh fundamentalists from Punjab? Of course, it MUST be Chechen immigrants-turned Islamist marathon bombers, right? No, I’m talking about a much older threat. In fact, I speak of America’s oldest and most enduring terrorist movement: the Ku Klux Klan.

            In this brief outline of the history of American terrorism, I intend to demonstrate that 1) the Ku Klux Klan and its parallels are just as guilty of everything that we hate Al Qaeda and its parallels for, 2) Klan atrocities outweigh those conducted by Muslims on American soil and 3) it is illogical, unfair and unjust, given the historical record, to target Muslims with ethnic profiling to fight the war on terror.

            The KKK was founded in the aftermath of the civil war by veterans of the Confederate army under the command of “Grand Wizard” Nathan Bedford Forrest, the mass murderer of the Battle of Fort Pillow. The terrorists marauded through the South, lynching and flogging to death countless Blacks along with many white political opponents. Despite the efforts of the federal government, the white supremacists of the South were successful in their goal of catapulting segregationist politicians to power. Imagine, successful terrorism in the United States!

            So, long before Bin Laden or the Taliban, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants had already claimed the lives of thousands of innocent American citizens on United States soil!

            But this was all before the twentieth century, right? Ancient history, and we could hardly compare lynching and flogging to bombs and fire.

            But the Klan never disappeared. Every bit (if not more) religiously fanatic and anti-Semitic as Al Qaeda, the army of American white pride expanded their terrorist campaign to target infidel Catholics and Jews. As the movement swarmed across the country and even into Canada, terror reigned and crosses burned as more groups fell victim to Klan violence and atrocities, from immigrants, Aboriginals, Asians and Latin Americans to the Cajuns and left-wing activists hated for their anti-racist militancy.

            Worse yet, the Klan further mutated and began to conquer political power, directly taking control of state and municipal governments across the country while sponsoring others or supporting them by attacking and intimidating opponents. Poisoning democracy, Klan infiltration in politics empowered them disenfranchise and repress minorities. Pro-prohibition and viciously anti-egalitarian, America’s terrorists had realized the Muslim extremist’s dream of destroying American freedom and democracy. Yet Muslims, extremist or ordinary, were not responsible.

            But the puritanical façade soon degenerated and the Klan largely fell from political power, even if their racist allies remained in office. Terrorism continued and remained consistent as dynamite and fire soon replaced the noose as the primary means of keeping undesirables out of Anglo-Saxon neighborhoods. It appears that America’s army of white pride had concluded that it was more courageous to torch saloons and blow up Black children in churches than to gang up in white gowns, on a single Black man to murder him. Or perhaps it was just a more efficient means of killing.

            As the Civil Rights Movement flourished and anti-racist activism threatened white pride, Klan hatred, and terrorism, intensified. David Duke and the Citizens Councils of America attempted to present the world with a professional, clean-shirted image of white supremacy and hatred, turning in their robes for suits and ties and claiming to be peaceful advocates of “white rights”, much as Hezbollah operates today. Meanwhile, the Klan busied itself with blowing up churches, firebombing homes, assassinating peaceful activists and murdering children.

            And the terrorism doesn’t end! Since the end of the Civil Rights Movement, the KKK has continued to terrorize the country. They murder the elderly and children alike. Their hatred has spawned countless offshoots all of the same ideals and evils. From the Minutemen movement to the neo-Nazis, from the Militias to the Skinheads, and from gun nuts to the Tea Party, the terror reigns. They have turned their hatred upon the Latin American community, homosexuals and immigrants in general, including Arabs, South Asians and Muslims. Neither Blacks nor Jews have escaped their hatred or violence either; consider the murder of Jewish talk show host Alan Berg by former Klansman David Lane’s organization “The Order,” or the dozens of death threats leveled at Barack Obama. And let’s not forget what may have been the Klan’s most successful achievement: when Timothy McVeigh, Klan supporter, blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, taking 168 lives and injuring 450.

            So tell me, who is responsible for a century and a half of terrorism? Who has taken thousands of lives on American soil? Who has sown terror and hatred across this land? Who brainwashes the youth into serving in their twisted holy war? Is it olive-skinned Arabs? Bearded Persian Muslims? Boston-based Chchecens?

            No. The vast majority of terrorist barbarism in the United States has been and is the work of white Christians. How many shootings, perpetrated by honkies, have terrorized the United States, and even Montreal, in the past year? But we don’t ethnically profile against WASPs do we? They don’t get strip searched at airports. They don’t hear their faith and ethnicities degraded in the mainstream media. Their religion is not called a terrorist religion, nor is it blamed for all violence in the world. They do not get tormented at the border or suffer police harassment and suspicion. They don’t have to live with society hating them because others who happen to profess the same faith have done monstrous things. Hell, the Klan is protected by police during its rallies and parades, a perversion of justice that would (rightfully so) be unthinkable if Al Qaeda was substituted in a white pride organization’s place!

            So, the next time you hear someone on the news defending or promoting profiling against Muslims, or when wannabe President John McCain proposes trying American citizens as enemy combatants and stripping away their rights, think about how reasonable and fair that is given the historical record. Just because some who profess to be Muslims have terrorized the United States, it does not mean that all Muslims are equally guilty.

                Or should I just assume that you’re a member of the Ku Klux Klan?

Conservatives are hypocrites, Part I: A critique of political religion from a Libertarian position!

19 Feb

By Qalina Tileli and Evan Zenobia

Individual rights and liberties are the battle cry of Western conservatives and libertarians. In their war on social programs and equality, they accuse all government measures that don’t serve the rich of threatening individual rights, property and freedom. Yet they are also closet theocrats, yearning for the reign of Christian values over our laws and society. This is utter hypocrisy. And we’re going to use their own tools to show it. That’s right. We’re attacking their nonsense with their other nonsense.

I would like to share with you all a few brief thoughts on religion and liberty, and I hope that my writings, while doubtlessly consuming far too much of very valuable time better spent with loved ones or at least laughing at cats, will nevertheless be readable and somewhat interesting. Essentially, I intend to argue that religion, organized as a political force, is counter-positioned to individual liberty. I will begin with a brief theoretical explanation and reinforce my argument with historical examples.

In the very first place, religion calls for a form of obedience. There is almost always a form of ritual worship or adoration of at least one supreme, supernatural being, or at the very least, as in animist cults or more meditation-oriented systems like Buddhism or Chinese philosophies, a ritual adherence to strict rules and customs that regulate behaviour as a means of connection to the divine or supernatural. Without this obedience, the promise of salvation is more distant.

In and of itself, this obedience only constricts the liberty of the individual up to her consent. The individual chooses her faith and chooses to restrict her choice of dress, diet, or whatever else the religion demands. The individual may ignore certain rules, all of them, or convert. And while it is obvious that the way of life in a convent or a monastery is one of strict, prudish routine, and that it could be hardly considered as free as a supermarket, tavern or boardwalk, every member makes the free choice to live that way.

However, adherence to a religion presupposes the supremacy of that faith over all others. The faithful are promised that their way of life, divinely-sanctioned, shall be rewarded with salvation. Therefore, the conviction of the supremacy of the faithful’s position, of the correction of their obedience, naturally leads to the conclusion that everyone should follow the same faith; if the faith is perfect, ordained by a supreme power beyond human comprehension, then why should anyone opt for another? It is defiance to not submit to the perfect faith. Besides, is it not in the interest of the unfaithful that they be brought to the light, to be saved from eternal damnation?

And, at that point, religion, inherently supremacist in the belief of its own perfection, becomes a social project and a collectivist vision. While it remains the choice of the individual to follow the faith to the point he feels correct, the faithful, convinced that theirs is the only righteous path, undertake the mission to turn everyone onto that path. And why not? Those who choose not follow are wrong, and missionary work is in the interest of the common good.

Once religion has become a social project, and once it is assumed that everyone should follow the one true path because it is perfect, it follows that the law should also follow the one true path. After all, why should the laws of men, imperfect as men are, defy the divinely ordained and sanctioned laws of God? Why should laws permit sin? Why should society fall into ignorance and the peril of damnation when the perfect way of life can be written into law? When one assumes her faith to perfect, it becomes difficult to argue against this.

Of course, God’s law often does protect individual liberty and property rights. Commandments banning murder, theft and lying come to mind. However, religion carries a wide and diverse array of rules that limit free choice. Again, when an individual chooses this way of life, there is no threat to the liberty of the people. But legally-enforced religion does.

History is rife with examples of religious law codes and their repression of individual rights. Welcomed and demanded by the faithful and their shepherds the state has brought legally enforced bans on gambling, alcohol, foods, clothing, music, “blasphemy,” art, pre- and extra-marital sex, birth control, homosexuality, divorce, cohabitation and masturbation. From this short list, it is glaringly apparent that religion as a political force threatens, among other individual rights, free speech, free trade and bodily integrity.

It is worth noting that where religion reigns with legal authority, pleasure is almost taboo. Meanwhile, Opus Dei and extremist Shi’ites are revered for the devotion their self-flogging demonstrates. But, of course, masturbation is crime against God and the law. That’s political religion in a nutshell: feel free to cut yourself open, but if you play with yourself we’ll send you to jail and then hell!

On a more serious note, consider prohibition. In the United States, puritanical Protestants were powerful enough to push through a constitutional amendment banning the sale of alcohol in the name of the common good. It is now common knowledge that prohibition was a disaster that did nothing more than enrich the mafia while doing nothing to actually curb the negative effects of alcoholism. And it goes without saying that it violated the right of individuals to consume and purchase what they wished. Most Muslim countries still ban the consumption and sale of alcohol today at the behest of the devout and in the name of the common good and adherence to the perfect religion.

Consider as well the ban in the Republic of Ireland on divorce, repealed only after a narrow referendum victory in the 1990s, which the revered Mother Theresa herself ferociously opposed. This same country also maintained a ban on contraception until 1980.

The religious fear of sex does not end with the Emerald Isle. Virtually every society, perhaps excluding Pagan Rome, Greece and the Native peoples of the Americas, enacted strict legal bans against homosexuality and supposed promiscuity, inspired by the Biblical tales of God’s wrath against the Sodomites. In some US states, laws against cohabitation remain on the books. Islam takes first prize in violent hostility to individual sexual choice, with a Koranic death penalty for adultery.

Even dress is not off-limits when God’s law is involved. While it can be argued that bans on nudity may be legitimate to protect children (although, is the naked human body really so offensive and hideous as to traumatize the young?) religious law codes often seek to regulate hairstyles, cosmetics, the display of skin, and the femininity or masculinity of given articles. Again, Islam takes first prize here, with many Muslim countries enforcing the (ironically non-Koranic) veiling of women. Still, as recent as the Napoleonic Wars, the women of ultra-Catholic Spain were veiled as per the Biblical demand that women cover their hair or be shaved. In yet more recent times in Christian societies have come bans on cross-dressing, exposing women’s chests and regulations of skirt lengths.

Free speech, too, is ceaselessly under the attack of organized religion, which shields itself behind charges of “blasphemy.” As such, the state, egged on by the devout, has banned books, music, and all forms of art. Scientists, journalists and intellectuals have been blacklisted, arrested or executed as heretics or blasphemers. Recall the house arrest of Galileo, the repression of teaching evolution in the United States, the iron grip of the Church on Quebec’s intellectual development and its crusade against the Institut Canadien. Today, the Russian Orthodox Church shamelessly collaborates with Putin’s tyranny, complicit in the jailing of Pussy Riot musicians.

Even in cases where all this taboos are not legally enforced, the political power of religion still shapes society and represses individual liberty through stigmatization. It is dishonest to say that only the state can limit individual freedom and choice.

It is impossible to defend any of these regulations and constraints from an individualist perspective. They are only defensible on two intertwined principles: first, that they are mandated by a perfect religion, whose perfection is proven by the second principle that they advance the collective interest of society.

Religion therefore subordinates individual will, choice and freedom to the interest of the collective, in the name of addressing sin which is interpreted as a social ill. Because religion inevitable shifts from individual connection with the divine to a social project, reason becomes collective. As such, the problems that exist in society, such as addiction, perversion, blasphemy are not considered the personal failures of individuals to meet their responsibilities, but rather manifestations of sin that flourish because of collective impiety. There is absolutely no consideration of individual liberty in the reasoning of political religion. Religion in general and political religion in particular, is fundamentally collectivist.

Religion can be thought of as the earliest form of identity politics. It identifies the faithful with titles such as “Chosen People,” or the “Ummah.” This subordinates an individual believer’s identity to one of membership in the collective. It is also expected that the individual will sacrifice in the interest of the collective.

But these collective identities also divide the world into two groups, pitting the faithful against all others in an “us and them” mentality. Again, to assume one’s faith’s perfection is to assume the inferiority of all others, and it therefore follows that all those who believe and live differently are either stubborn fools or evil enemies of God. Therefore, it becomes legitimate to reduce their individual liberty to choose their own way of worship. After all, repression makes the prospect of conversion to a privileged faith more attractive, thus rendering the marginalization of infidels holy and part of the social project aimed at improving the collective. At its most extreme, this collective reasoning mutates into violence. Whether it’s Hezbollah, Zionist fundamentalists or Protestant fanatics in Northern Ireland, the collectivism of religion shoves the individual out of the way as it bulldozes rights and freedoms in the name of holy struggle on behalf of the faithful.

But, one might argue, isn’t political religion a conservative movement? Haven’t religious movements been loyal allies of the right? Indeed, Evangelicals were instrumental in Ronald Reagan’s victory and many conservatives and libertarians, including Ron Paul, come from devout religious backgrounds. However, many of these religious types are purely social conservatives. They have much less interest in reigning in government spending and reducing the power of the state than they do in preserving “family values,” which usually amounts to demands for prayer in public schools, teaching creation and abstinence, turfing out gays and banning porn and gambling, most of which is fairly antithetical to individual rights.

And of course, political religion has a very poor track record with other political movements. Consider the enthusiastic support of significant portions of the clergy and devout of the Catholic Church in Nazism and other European fascist movements.

It is clear, then, that political religion is a fundamental threat to individual liberties. Libertarians and others who claim to fight for individual liberty must not succumb to the temptation of enforcing God’s will. If we may assume God exists, and that God is good, let us conclude that God should want us to be happy as good parents wish for their children. As such, let us be happy, let us be free to please ourselves with God’s gifts. Let us be free, and reject all those who claim to speak for God and seek to impose their rules upon us.

Sun News says the KKK has the right to march

12 Oct

By Evan Zenobia

OTTAWA – A terrorist organization marching in the streets of Montréal? Violent religious extremists in uniform parading through Toronto? According to Sun News, these are virtues that Canada is missing out on.

In an October 9th Arena feature, Sun News star pundit Michael Coren, who previously defended the jailing of Russian anti-Putin dissident, invited Sun News regular Ryan Doyle to attack Canada’s crippling lack of free speech compared to the United States.

Said Doyle: “I believe in free speech. I believe that what they do in the United States is far superior to what we have.”

While it’s standard Sun News practice to blab about just how crappy Canada is compared to the US, the station showed its colours (white) when it endorsed the right of a terrorist organization to march. Doyle went on to state.

I think the Ku Klux Klan walking through the streets, I detest their message, but they should have the right to display it.”

The KKK is not a free speech issue, of course. The KKK is a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda, or Islamic Jihad. It is dedicated to physical violence and destruction to achieve their political goals. The KKK has murdered thousands if not tens of thousands, injured, wounded or crippled many others and destroyed untold amounts of property. The KKK has claimed more lives on North American soil than any Muslim group.

Everyone had the right to free speech, but you give up that right when you start lynching people or blowing up children.

Could you imagine letting Al Qaeda march, in full Mujahideen gear, down city streets in the name of freedom of speech? Of course not! And almost everyone, Sun News included, would scoff at the idea of permits for terrorist marches.

While authorities do usually permit the KKK and similar groups to march in the United States, we’re not missing out on those spectacles in Canada.

So why the hell does Sun News hold up the most atrocious and vile terrorists as a free speech issue? Is it because the twelve Klansmen who live in Canada are all loyal Sun viewers and subscribers? Or do Doyle and Coren just think they really look good in white dresses and pointy hoods?

And let’s just take a moment to address Sun News’s logic: Québec students are too violent, and Russian protestors should be jailed for breaking the law, but racist terrorists are unfairly kept from rallying.

That’s good conservative values and consistency right there.

Whatever Sun News thinks, Eclipse News is not shy about saying this: DEATH TO THE KLAN!

The Maple Rag

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics, it doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you." ~Pericles

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