The Government- I Can Offer You Security. I Only Require That You Kneel.


The woke crusade against Western civilisation

Classicists are recasting the ancient world as the cradle of racism.

Arwen~ “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” -George Orwell, 1984

.FRANK FUREDI24th August 2021

The woke crusade against Western civilisation


Cambridge University’s archaeology museum is to display signs explaining the apparent ‘whiteness’ and lack of ‘diversity’ among its ancient sculpture plaster casts – all as part of an anti-racism campaign.

This sounds like satire, but it’s not. Cambridge University’s Classics faculty really has chosen to focus on ‘the role of classical sculpture in the history of racism’. In effect, this ancient seat of learning is undertaking an act of cultural vandalism. It is seeking to recast Greek and Roman civilisation as the cradle of modern racism.

The museum says the sculptures give a ‘misleading impression’ of the whiteness and ‘absence of diversity’ in the ancient world. Aside from the philistinism of this approach, the important question to ask is why it is being adopted now.

It seems that all it took for the Classics faculty to decide ancient sculptures were a bit racist was an open letter to the faculty chair, written in 2020, from students, alumni and staff. This letter called for a ‘public acknowledgement of the problems of racism within Classics and… for active anti-racist work within our discipline’. And, just like that, this august institution gave in – it effectively said that the ancient world is something of which we should be ashamed.

The Classics faculty has since declared it will ‘turn the problem into an opportunity’. This will entail drawing attention to ‘the diversity of those figured in the casts’, and to the ways that the sculptures’ ‘colour has been lost and can be restored’.

In addition to all this, the Classics faculty has now published an action plan showing how it will deal with racism in Classics more broadly. This includes providing training for Classics tutors on how to discuss sensitive topics, and a review of all the language used in course titles and materials.

For some, the decision of Cambridge’s Classics faculty to portray Classics as racist is just another example of the dominance of identity politics in universities. But there is much more at stake here.

There is a woke war being waged against Classics in particular. Partly this is because, being an elitist and very white area of study, Classics is an easy target. But it’s mainly because Greece and Rome are seen as the founding moments of Western civilisation – a civilisation today’s woke warriors decry.

This is also why Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey – two foundational works of both Greek literature and Western civilisation – are in identitarians’ sights. Earlier this year, one Massachusetts high-school teacher boasted on social media: ‘Very proud to say we got The Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!’ When an English teacher shows off about cancelling Homer’s Odyssey on the grounds of racism and sexism, and expects her followers to applaud, it shows the depth of the problem. It seems that what is happening at Cambridge is potentially happening across the education world.

This woke crusade against Classics partly resembles that of contemporary Islamists – who, in recent years, have set out to destroy ancient temples, statues and works of art in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. In Cambridge, the sculptures are not being physically destroyed, of course. But they are being morally tainted. And they are being symbolically vandalised.

This cultural vandalism comes at an enormous cost. The important and enduring themes and ideals of Western civilisation, from freedom to democracy, emerged in Ancient Greece and Rome. An attack on Classics is an attack on precisely these ideals.

Cambridge’s Classicists are meant to be the guardians of this precious cultural inheritance. It’s about time they started standing up for it.

Frank Furedi’s latest book Democracy Under Siege: Don’t let Them Lock It Down is published by Zer0 Books.

How We Lost Afghanistan

Bruce Antonio Laue 

August 19, 2021How We Lost Afghanistan
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In October 2001, a few hours after the American military landed in Afghanistan to avenge the terrorist attacks that had emanated from that country one month prior, a young British officer softly walked from his barstool in London’s Victory Services Club to approach an old gentleman sitting by a window. He was known as “the Brigadier” and had served in the Middle East during the Second World War. The young officer bent down and whispered, “The Americans have entered Afghanistan.” The Brigadier clenched his pipe between his teeth, let out a sigh, and said, “Bless their dear hearts, they have no idea what they’re getting into.” Truer words were never spoken.

Twenty years later that truth is known to all. Disparate world cultures are not an American strong suit; they are largely untaught in schools and aside from the odd genius on the game show Jeopardy! are not even mentioned. Separated by two vast oceans, generations of Americans grew up totally unconcerned by faraway places with strange-sounding names. But when you intend to travel to those faraway places you should at least attempt to study the cultures you will be encountering. Apparently, West Point, Quantico, and the Foreign Service no longer espouse this line of logic. And thus began America’s expedition North of the Hindu Kush.

The news media and the political class are currently consumed by the sense of shock at how rapidly the government we installed and the army we trained collapsed in the face of the enemy’s offensive. Yet that was only the result of two decades of errors that comprise the “root causes,” as they say. It’s the causes that are important so that we might, hopefully but doubtfully, learn from our mistakes.“Afghans are a proud people, and with few exceptions they were not treated as equal partners in the anti-Taliban enterprise.”

The first error began shortly after the Taliban—the de facto government of Afghanistan, which had given refuge to Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11th terror attacks—were defeated on the battlefield. Afghanistan had been a monarchy from 1747 until 1974 when King Mohammed Zahir Shah was deposed by a cousin. A republic was formed. Few in Afghanistan knew what a republic was, and when they learned, they didn’t warm to the concept. Afghanistan is a tribal country formed by blood alliances, arranged marriages, personal oaths of fealty formed after perhaps decades of clan strife. When the Russians were defeated after their ill-advised attempt to install a communist regime, the Taliban emerged, and many Afghans thought the “Golden Era” of the monarchy would return. It was not to be; the Taliban instead offered a theocracy, on the Iranian model. When the Americans arrived, they made clear that monarchy was not an option. A republic with politicians posing as representatives of the people would be the model for national governance. Afghans don’t understand or trust strangers speaking for them in a legislative assembly. There are no family or clan connections involved and therefore no reason to think that concerns will be discussed. But Americans believe that their form of government is best and we have pursued that belief in every country that we have occupied and governed, irrespective of the fact that it may be contrary to local culture and customs. Thus the monarchy, the thread that had woven the social fabric for 300 years, was banished from consideration and we were immediately off to a very bad start.

The sheer size of the NATO response to 9/11 was also problematic. As the people of Afghanistan watched, every European flag appeared in their country. It seemed that all Christendom had descended upon them instructing them what to do and how to live. Afghans are a proud people, and with few exceptions they were not treated as equal partners in the anti-Taliban enterprise. This caused simmering resentment, which manifested itself in apathy or open opposition.

Military matters were paramount and other affairs were left in abeyance. Schools for girls opened, sporting events were held, and music could be heard in the streets, but the society’s deeper issues went unaddressed. For example, there was little interest in establishing a competent civil service.

The problem of systemic corruption was never rectified. Government ministers, contractors, and high-ranking military officers were very well paid and paid often, but the common soldier was not. Upon liberating a town or village from the Taliban, Afghan soldiers would demand payment from the residents for their liberation. To the local populations this was just the replacement of one band of brigands for another. Other soldiers, knowing their officers were stealing their pay, simply deserted.

Added to this was the almost constant change in allied commanders, and each commander had his own staff and his own military philosophy. The demands and personalities of various politicians didn’t help. When Gen. Stanley McChrystal was replaced because of his comments in a magazine article, the Taliban questioned the seriousness of American war leaders. In their view you do not remove a combat commander for a magazine interview.

The result of these and other failures was a Taliban army at the end of the conflict dealing with Afghan forces like a hot scimitar cutting through hummus.

And so it ends, at an airport surrounded on three sides by the enemy who also control the main access road. A more unfavorable military position is hard to conceive. When the infidels complete their evacuation, the true nature of the newly strengthened Taliban will become evident. The Americans will be gone, briefly mentioned over campfires like the soldiers of Sikandar (Alexander the Great), their souls consigned to the midnight skies.

An ancient people in an ancient land will return to their ancient ways. Informed that NATO can electronically monitor their military conduct in future years, Afghans answer with a shrug. Technological achievements are not impressive in every part of the world and hubris can be a fatal flaw.

When asked by Mussolini which gas was the most lethal, a scientist replied, “Incense, Duce.”

In Pakistan we cultivated the Taliban, then turned on them. Now we can only hope they forgive us

Martel notes “This is article is a salutary reminder for the West that Pakistan is as much our enemy as the Taliban is. Pakistan is not to be trusted at any turn.”

Mohammed Hanif

Many of us are gloating at the US retreat, but there is dread in our hearts. We can’t forget how the Taliban brought their fight to our mosques and schools

Pakistani protesters in Karachi in September 2001.
Pakistani protesters in Karachi, September 2001 Photograph: STR/Pakistan/Reuters

Tue 24 Aug 2021 07.00 BST

Not too long ago, Pakistan and Afghanistan were called Af-Pak: two countries joined at the hip, doomed to live and die together. You didn’t get to choose your neighbours, we were told. Geography, we were taught, was our destiny.

There was a lot of talk about geostrategic significance – which was the Pakistan military’s way of saying there were great advantages to be derived from our unfortunate neighbours.

More than four decades ago, our leaders insisted we had to help the Afghan mujahideen fight the Soviets because that would help us ward off communism in our own country. Having lived most of my life in Pakistan, I have probably come across half a dozen communists – and even they never agreed with each other.

That first jihad made generations of Afghans homeless but it also made some people in Pakistan very rich. The Soviet-Afghan war also sustained our brutal military dictatorship, brought us abundant supplies of cheap and high-quality heroin, and introduced something called “Kalashnikov culture”, which made it easier to settle political and personal disputes by killing each other.

Pakistan won that war. Our generals and seasoned defence experts still can’t stop boasting that not only did we defeat the Soviet Union but we also brought about the end of communism. The United States and the rest of the free world surely owed us. But they upped and left. This was when we learned what the rest of the world already knew: America had no shame.

But when the victorious mujahideen finally took power in Kabul, a few years after the Soviets left, they turned out to be the wrong sort for Pakistan. After all the years we spent training and hosting them, they still didn’t really like us much. So another war had to be started to get rid of our mujahideen.

Taliban fighters, taught in our madrasas and sometimes armed by us, marched to Kabul and took care of those bad mujahideen. Finally there was peace. We envied the Taliban’s rustic justice and yearned for our own caliphate. But after a few years, we realised once again that they didn’t really like us and our way of life, even though we were one of the only three countries in the world to recognise their Islamic Emirate. When a Pakistani football team went to play a match in Afghanistan – wearing what footballers wear, shorts and shirts – the Taliban shaved their heads and sent them back.

We were still wondering what to do with these tricky Taliban when the World Trade Center fell – and the world let us know that we had accidentally got into bed with the bad guys. Apparently our Taliban were harbouring world-class terrorists like Osama bin Laden. Are you with us or with them, we were asked: choose wisely or you’ll be bombed back to the stone age. And who knows, if you side with us, you might get some money.

Don’t get us wrong, we still loved the Taliban – and we believed in our hearts that they were better Muslims than us. But we loved our country more, and our new military dictatorship had some cashflow issues. We turned on the Taliban. We pretended that we were only being responsible members of the world community by doing so. We hoped the Taliban would understand. We handed over the Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan to the US; we gave the Americans our airbases to bomb the Taliban, who we then packed off to Guantánamo Bay.

We collected the bounty money but we also tried to shield some of the Taliban. We nourished them with one hand and stabbed them with the other. And while doing all this, we kept whispering in their ear that it was all for their own good. It was a clever strategy, we were told by our strategists.

Consider the story of Mullah Baradar, one of the founders and leaders of the Taliban. We supported him when he was part of the Taliban government, and then we left him alone for a bit while he and some of his Taliban friends lived for a while in Quetta, just on our side of the border. Unfortunately, in 2010 we had to arrest him again. But then we released him eight years later. Now it turns out he’s the new king – or perhaps just the kingmaker – in Kabul. But we live in hope that he’ll remember our hospitality.

Hamid Gul, a former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency and one of the many self-appointed ideologues of Afghan jihad, once said that we defeated the Soviet Union with the help of America, and one day the world will say that we defeated America with the help of America.

Now many Pakistanis are gloating, while others are warning about the future. We are doing a victory dance, but there is dread in our hearts. We do talk about stuff like women and children and free media and the international consensus, but we are hoping that the Taliban will remember the good times we had together. We hope they will not remember their suffering too much.

We hope they’ll remember our suffering too. Last time we betrayed the Taliban, their Pakistani cousins brought the Taliban-style fight to our streets, mosques and schools. For many years, we told ourselves that there were good Taliban (mainly in Afghanistan) and bad Taliban (mainly in Pakistan). While trying to uphold that distinction, more than 70,000 Pakistanis were killed – including 132 in an army-run school, murdered in a few hours. The American military lost more than 2,300 lives in 20 years.

We already have a third generation of Afghans growing up in refugee camps, and now a new generation of Taliban taking over Kabul. We have always hoped that the Afghan Taliban will somehow rein in the Pakistani Taliban and turn them into civil society workers. For now, they have set them free from Afghan jails.

We were told not to celebrate the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. But some of us couldn’t help ourselves. Our prime minister, Imran Khan, who gets on very well with many of our old friends, took a moment during an announcement about a new educational curriculum to declare that Afghans had finally broken the shackles of mental slavery. Images of American military dogs being bundled into aeroplanes as Afghans cling to taxiing US aircraft prove again what most of us learned three decades ago: that America has no shame.

Yet although we have won in Afghanistan, many of us fear that a new, even more deadly war might be starting any time now.

  • Mohammed Hanif is a Karachi-based author. His latest novel is Red Birds

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