Thursday, 30 August 2012

a valuable addition to a patriot's bookshelf

click for a review on Amazon

If great natural disasters soften up societies for great changes, then it’s perhaps no coincidence that the so-called Justinian plague stretched from England in the west to the Middle East a generation before Mohammed’s birth.

But what caused the plague?

Catastrophe is David Keys’ 1999 work trying to figure out the conundrum indicated by the introduction’s title: Fifteen Centuries Ago, Something Happened. But what?

Roman historian Procopius provides a lead: for 18 months the sun shone barely brighter than the moon, causing disastrous crop failures. Amid the resulting famines, dynasties fell like houses of cards and whole peoples upped sticks to migrate elsewhere – for example the Avars moved west from Mongolia with devastating consequences for the west after being ousted by their former vassals, the Turks. And crucially, drought conditions in east Africa caused rats to search further afield for food, leading them to take their cargoes of plague-carrying fleas onto trading ships.

Keys relates consequences of 535AD’s cataclysm in central and south America, the far east and Indonesia, exploding the assumption that history is a list of interesting things that happened in countries where European languages are spoken. We gain insights into the birth of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Korea, Japan, China and Indonesia as we know and recognise them.

Although Keys’ treatment on the rise of Islam in the shifting sands of the world order a generation after the incident occupies a relatively short part of his work, I recommend Catastrophe as a welcome addition to any patriot’s bookshelf because of his examinations of the ruinous consequences of mass migration for whole civilisations. We are experiencing a similar scale of migration right now, and earlier this year England’s water supply nearly ran dry. Read Catastrophe for lessons from the medieval world on how it gets worse from here.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


click for a review of Catastrophe on Amazon

Monday, 27 August 2012

Citizen Khan: to grow darker?

click to go to Adil Ray's website
BBC1’s new comedy Citizen Khan, written by and starring starring Adil Ray (right), was laugh-out-loud, and followed the tried-and-tested formula of a paterfamilias who thinks he’s in charge while his family get things done the right way behind his back. To strengthen the link to middle-class sitcomland, Kris Marshall from My Family starred as mosque manager Dave.

So why was it on more than an hour after the watershed?

My guess is because in the first episode when Khan, a "self-appointed community leader" in the "capital of British Pakistan", forgets to book the mosque for his daughter’s wedding, he is accused of racism by Dave because the "real" mosque manager – "the brown one" – is absent.

The accusation sounds uncontroversial, but it flies in the face of the BBC’s leftist assumption that only white people can be racist. Also, there’s been a reluctance among non-Muslim defenders of Islam to own up to Dave’s defence: that everybody is born Muslim. Perhaps because this is a comedy show, the corollary wasn’t mentioned: that any member of any other religion is an apostate, and the punishment for apostasy has been, in the past and present, death.

The BBC can’t have been happy commissioning this show; seeing Muslims as "ordinary people" contradicts the leftist view that "Islam has spread peace, culture and learning around the world over the last 1,400 years."

Bhavna Limbachia as Alia Khan: go to programme webpage
What troubled me was Bhavna Limbachia’s (admittedly brilliant) portrayal of daughter Alia Khan as a Westernised girl (left). While wanting Pakistanis to integrate, I’m conscious that the Pakistani parents of Shafilea Ahmed were recently convicted of her murder because of her rejection of their culture in favour of integration. A similar character portrayed in a comedy so soon after the conviction risks accusations of bad taste.

Is this why Limbachia portrays Alia as hiding her blonde highlights under a traditional headscarf? Will further episodes grow darker? I'll be interested to see how Citizen Khan develops.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Citizen Khan Series 2 - 300 words

Click to go to the Citizen Khan website

Click for Mr Khan comedy clips

Click to hear Adil Ray talk to presenter Noreen Khan on BBC Asian network

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Julian Assange and the silence of the Left

Julian Assange has released a photo he hopes is going to clear him of charges of sexual assaults coming from Sweden. Unfortunately for him, the whole case has gone far beyond whether he raped a woman, and it’s be to our detriment if we forget it.

go to Harriet Harman's constituency webpage
He deserves a fair trial, because a false rape allegation can be ruinous. In recognition of this, David Cameron and Nick Clegg planned to change the law so that, in line with other crimes, men accused of rape would retain their anonymity until or unless they were found guilty. In response, former Minister for Women and Equality Harriet Harman (right) immediately stated that the Coalition’s first act was to protect rapists.

click to go to Jemima Khan's UNICEF ambassador webpage
Like practically the whole Left, however, Harman has been silent in the face of allegations that Assange raped a woman by initiating sex while she was asleep and therefore unable to consent. Backers such as Jemima Khan and Michael Moore put up £240,000 bail, now at risk because in taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy Assange has left British soil.

The accuser is smiling in the photo, taken days after the alleged assault. This may mean nothing untoward happened. But as a drugs worker and (latterly) domestic violence liaison, I saw many women hanging smiling from the arm of their abusers, because the alternative would bring an all too predictable outcome.

The silence of the Left gives a deafening message: a woman’s allegation of rape won’t be taken seriously if the man she accuses is somebody they approve of. Leftist misappropriation of the feminist cause is laid bare, and shows that when women won the right to put a cross in a box every few years their drive for equality barely moved ahead inches.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


View the photograph at MailOnline

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Breivik 1, the rest of us 0

Anders Breivik has won a victory over all of us, and his accomplice was Western penal practice.

He already has a three-part cell: one room for sleeping, another with gym equipment and yet another where he can access an offline computer. I too have access to a gym, paid-for, and even when using the computer unconnected I’m paying electricity bills and rent for the house I where I use it. Breivik is getting his services provided for him free of charge by Norwegian taxpayers, and from oil revenues which would otherwise have benefited Norwegians who are not mass-murderers.

I’m don’t ascribe to keeping people in medieval conditions, wishing merely to note that the cult of human rights seems to confer these rights almost exclusively upon those who take the selfsame rights from others. Breivik ensured that the others are no longer here to lobby for restorative justice.

But that’s not how he’s won.

His doctors call him narcissistic", but other people are self-centred, sometimes to a fault, without resorting to bomb and sniper-rifle. The pertinent part of his personality is that he’s controlling. Opposing a diagnosis of insanity, he made it impossible for such a diagnosis to be made without causing unrest. His insistence that he wanted to be executed guaranteed that any lawful sentence would seem comparatively lenient. His final insult to relatives of the fallen was to indicate that his 21-year sentence was peanuts, ensuring them many troubled nights wondering how he got off so lightly.

His final victory may be yet to come. He will mix with other prisoners and one can only hope he has a bad time from them. But one day a prisoner may ask him for advice on how to continue his mission, and then we all may wish somebody had killed him.

tributes after the Oslo bombing: photo by Johsgrd

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Friday, 24 August 2012

50 Shades of Gray: step back from the burning

go to EL James' Fifty Shades of Gray page
Just when it seemed safe to talk about romantic fiction, there’s been a call for a book-burning of 50 Shades of Gray, prompting Mail journalist Melissa Kent to ask "Have I woken up in Nazi Germany?"

Clare Phillipson is a director of Wearside Women in Need and as such has responsibility for their women’s shelters. In that context one can understand why she has misgivings about 50 Shades, in which Gray "hurts Ana then later makes up to her with expensive gifts and thoughtful e-mails [which] normalises abuse, degrades women and encourages sexual violence".

She’s right: this can be one pattern of abusive behaviour – but sexuality comprises a nuanced mass of contradictions, wherein it seems that for every sex crime there’s a corresponding consensual behaviour.

That’s the key – consent. But there’s also an element of snobbery in the protests: while films like Caligula and A Clockwork Orange are considered classics by plum-voiced critics despite containing rape scenes, 50 Shades, it seems, has offended by appealing across the social spectrum. Like, for example, Mills & Boon’s Spice series which, with its equivalent lines on other labels, has been putting the aforementioned into womens’ lives for decades.

Phillipson is right to indicate that the Nazis didn’t acquire copyright on book-burning. The Bible tells of Jehoiakim burning Jeremiah’s scroll, with the burning of the library at Alexandria representing industrial proportions.

Nevertheless, modern minds turn to Nazism whenever book-burning is mentioned. If Phillipson proceeds with her immolation of ideas on 5 November, she will not only strengthen the hands of censors everywhere. She will put words like "femminazis" on everybody’s lips, and the people who will lose most from this will be sheltering from scum in Wearside’s women’s shelters. Having had her attention, I hope she will now step back from the abyss.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

misogyny and rape: in Western DNA?

Certain men’s views on rape have been prominent recently, with Julian Assange’s votaries trying to smear the woman who has complained about being raped by him, George Galloway going beyond Ken Clarke’s "serious rape" gaffe by indicating that having sex with an unconscious woman who cannot consent is not an assault and, across the water, Tod Akin talking about "legitimate rape". It’s no wonder that Louise Mensch MP has entered the debate with fury.

Unfortunately for women and for society in general, misogyny has been embedded in Western social and cultural DNA from the start. When Plato put his romantic fantasies about Sparta to work as a basis for his Republic, he decided that in his ideal state – which Bertrand Russell saw echoes of in the USSR and Karl Popper in Nazi Germany – property would be held in common. Unfortunately, women counted as property.

Plato’s ideas fired the Enlightenment philosophes; so when Admiral Bougainville returned from Tahiti with tales of a polygamous, communal social order, Denis Diderot was inspired to write his SupplĂ©ment au voyage de Bougainville, containing improbable dialogues that misappropriated the traveller’s tales to describe a society where, again, women were held in common as property and a visitor could pay a young girl no greater complement than to get her pregnant.

Marx, however, wrote that education should be focussed towards emancipation; but this might have surprised his mistress and mother of his son, who was also his servant and received board and lodgings in lieu of money.

As Mensch says, "all too often, the media pretends that feminism’s work is done". When a woman’s right to ownership of her body and her dignity is absolute and does not depend on the identity and political views of her violator, women's rights will have moved forward like never before.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click to read Still Getting it Wrong on Rape by Louise Mensch

Go to Louise Mensch's Parliamentary webpage

Sunday, 12 August 2012

diversity denies Zamzam Mohamed Farah a safe sanctuary

Diversity appears simple: people from different backgrounds living in proximity will swap the best parts of each other’s cultures. And I suppose this is possible, when everybody involved has equally good intentions.

But diversity has become twisted from an end in itself into a means to import votes. The lack of incentives to integrate has resulted in whole communities not exactly immigrating but moving their cultures here wholesale.

Amid the chaos caused within the host culture, the misery for people trying to escape those cultures can be overlooked.

Take the Somali athlete Zamzam Mohamed Farah: having been threatened by death for "exposing herself" (below) should she return home, she has claimed asylum in Great Britain. But, should some Somalis intend to make an example of her, where is there for her to escape to in Great Britain, or indeed Europe?

Many within the vast Somali communities in the UK and on the continent want nothing more than to integrate, as is shown, for example, by young Somali girls’ involvement in anti-Female Genital Mutilation projects funded by Integrate Bristol. In an astonishing lack of diversity-mindedness, their community turned against them in defence of the old abusive ways.

If Somalis wish to kill this poor woman, they can count on help wherever there are large Somali communities. Where is there to hide without constant police protection?

Remember equality? It’s the concept that we all stand together as equals under the one legitimate law of the land. It was forged, often painfully, over many centuries from the late Middle Ages onward, and in its inclusivity is effectively the opposite of diversity. If we ever want to return to the time when Great Britain could offer shelter to people who, like Zamzam Mohamed Farah, wish sanctuary from an abusive culture, then equality must again trump diversity.

Gerry Dorrian 300 words

Saturday, 11 August 2012

London Olympics: heroes abound

The British haul of gold medals at the Olympics, 26 so far, is amazing, but given the Olympics' international nature foreign athletes have also proven themselves heroes.

Meseret Defar: click to read more
Take the women’s 5000m, in which the planet’s three fastest women collected the goods: Ethiopia’s Mereset Defar on gold with her teammate Tirunesh Dibaba getting bronze, and between them Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot getting a silver. A tearful Defar brought out an icon of the Virgin and child and displayed it to the audience as the source of her strength: as a display of faith, I believe it will come to stand beside Eric Liddell’s refusal to run on a Sunday.

read about Oscar Pistorius' journey at the Telegraph website
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius is a particular hero of mine, not only for his dogged determination to run at the Olympics with his prosthetic legs but because of his motto: "you are not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have".

There’s been much comment that for the first time Saudi Arabia has sent female athletes, runner Sarah Attar and judoka Wojdan Shaherkani. Mayor of London Boris Johnson took the optimistic view that "Saudi women will never look back". While I’d like to agree, I’m drawn towards Meghan Lewis when she indicates that two women at the Olympics do not a women’s-rights revolution make, and adds that allowing women to drive might be a better sign of progress.

Sarah Attar: click to read more
Worryingly, a twitter campaign featuring the hashtag "#prostitutesattheOlympics" originated in Saudi Arabia, because the women had confounded cynics who assumed they’d show up in full veils, but although every part of their bodies except their faces were covered they still suffered abuse. Attar (right) lives in California, but Shaherkani has to return to Saudi Arabia. For her guts, I consider her every bit as much a hero as Pistorius and Defar.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 2 August 2012

is Habeas Corpus the ghost at the Olympics?

find out more about the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury
The Habeas Corpus Act was introduced by the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (right) in 1679, but the concept that people should not be subject to illegal and indefinite imprisonment is ancient.

In 1628’s Petition of Right, Parliament informs Charles I that "your people have been…imprisoned, confined, and sundry other ways molested and disquieted" and references "The Great Charter of the Liberties of England". The Magna Carta, which King John was forced to sign by his barons at Runnymede in 1215, states that "no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned…except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land".

Both the Habeas Corpus Act and the Petition of Right were brought in to outlaw recurring abuses, so it’s possible that the freedom from unlawful imprisonment protected by the Magna Carta had been codified previously, possibly even by Saxon king and jurist Alfred the Great.

read about Lord Vinson at
It’s good that Abu Qatada’s writ of Habeas Corpus has been denied, but a disturbing question remains: was it refused because Habeas Corpus is effectively non-existent? In January 2011, Lord Vinson (left) asked the Lords "to what extent the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order conform with the principle of habeas corpus", and appears not to have received a satisfying answer, prompting him to reply that he was "not optimistic".

click for articles about Tommy Robinson
English Defence League co-founder and British Freedom co-Vice Chairman Tommy Robinson (right) spoke at the European Parliament at Brussels recently, and among other things listed the spurious imprisonments he’s had, including one while Luton’s finest investigated whether he might have passed a racist comment while in a kebab shop. Is there a reason why the Bedfordshire Constabulary are unafraid?

Now would be a good time for the Government to let bad news fade unnoticed. Is Habeas Corpus destined to be the ghost of the Olympics?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click to read about Kevin Carroll's campaign to be elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for the Bedfordshire Police Authority

Click to read Lord Vinson's question about Habeas Corpus on Click to read Sir Scott Baker's Review of the United Kingdom's Extradition Arrangements (referenced in above discussion

The Magna Carta 1215

The Petition of Right 1628

The Habeas Corpus Act 1679

Click herre to see Tommy Robinson of the EDL speak at the European Parliament or watch below: