Mark Steyne has an Aqsa to grind

Saturday, 21 February 2009
For reasons best known to himself, The National Post’s Chris Selley chose to pick a fight with the few people who want to ensure that Aqsa Parvez’s short life is memorialized by something more than the plot number of an unmarked grave. Pamela Geller and Kathy Shaidle can take care of themselves, and have done, but the reality is that if it weren’t for the frothing loony ranting wackjob haters of the blogosphere a 16-year old girl murdered for not wanting to be imprisoned by her family’s culture would be entirely forgotten.

So what’s more offensive? The moral outrage of Pamela Geller at the westernization of “honor killing”? Or the mainstream coverage by a politically correct media? Here’s what the lunchtime poll at Toronto’s CITY-TV thought was the big issue arising from Aqsa Parvez’s murder:

Do you think society discriminates against women who wear a hijab?

Gotcha. It’s our fault.

Here’s the weirdly contorted lengths Canada’s Number One news anchor, CTV’s Lloyd Robertson, went to to avoid telling his viewers Aqsa Parvez had been strangled?

Her neck was compressed, to the point she couldn’t breathe.

Here’s the Montreal Gazette’s editorialists insisting that Mr Parvez and every pur laine papa in la belle province are merely different points on the same continuum:

Muhammed Parvez might have been fighting a losing battle trying to make Aqsa wear a hijab, but that hardly sets him apart. Few are the fathers, of any faith or none, who have not clashed with their adolescent daughters over something…

So which response to this issue is, in Chris Selley’s words, “a few chick peas short of a falafel”? The Misses Geller and Shaidle? Or the sensible, reasonable, moderate, measured approach of the PC eunuchs at Canada’s most-watched TV stations and major metropolitan newspapers?

Not for me. As I’ve said re the so-called “global consensus” of the UN, if you mix half-a-pint of … ice cream with half-a-pint of dog feces the result will taste more like the latter than the former. Likewise, if you split the difference between me and Commissar Barbara Hall, or Ezra and Jennifer Lynch, QC, you’re still quite a long ways down the road to tyranny. “Moderation” – of the CTV/Gazette school – is a euphemism for drift, for letting the culture be tugged gently, imperceptibly, remorselessly into darkness:

I like the way Deborah Gyapong puts it:

You know why I want to defend Kathy Shaidle? Because she helps keep me honest about whether my civility really is a choice and not a blind or fearful conformity to the pressures of political correctness. She helps me to think about where I might be influenced by group think and the progressive air we breathe in Ottawa. She reminds me of where the line is between kindness and weakness.
Just so. Self-suppression is the most cost-effective form of tyranny. Or as Andrew Klavan says:

The whole way liberals work is to redefine manners and morals in such a fashion that conservative common sense automatically becomes hateful. If you note that women and men are different, you’re misogynistic. If you denounce the destruction of marriage in black communities, you’re racist or moralistic. If you call for the defense of America against the world-wide Islamist menace, you’re a bigoted warmonger. If we take this garbage seriously even for an instant, we spend our whole lives playing catch-up, saying sorry, going on defense.

Just so. Mr Selley specifically objects to Kathy Shaidle calling Arabs “violent retards”. Well, to revive an old device that availed me nought at the British Columbia show trial, “of course” not all Arabs are violent retards, but Arab culture is certainly both violent and retarded. It’s politically retarded, intellectually retarded, scientifically retarded, judicially retarded, economically retarded, retarded on almost every objective measurement, from women’s rights to free speech. The famous statistic from the United Nations’ Arab Human Development Index (2003) – that more books are translated into Spanish in an average year than have been translated into Arabic in the last millennium – is itself a good working definition of “retarded”, of a culture that recoils from inquiry and curiosity about the other.

And, as I know from many conversations in London and Paris and (more covertly) in Amman and Cairo, those individual Arabs who are not “violent retards” well understand that – even if the PC eunuchs don’t. When Robert Kilroy-Silk made some observations about the Arab penchant for amputations, repression of women and a generally celebratory attitude to 9/11 – none of which is factually in dispute – the BBC fired him.

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