Wednesday 6 August 2008

The right to offend, secular space and onesided book lists: some links

Butterflies and Wheels links to some excellent articles which may be of interest to regular readers of this blog. A propos of this post (and many others on the right to offend religious sensibilities), read these two worrying pieces about the campaign by some Islamic regimes to have 'defamation of religion' outlawed by the UN. 

And following on from this post, about the threat to Southall Black Sisters and similar organisations from local authorities implementing the government's 'community cohesion' policy, here's Pragna Patel on what the case tells us about the need to defend secular spaces from patriarchal fundamentalism.

Finally, with reference to these posts on the Guardian-like tendency of the London Review of Books to alternate between thoughtful political coverage and obsessive anti-American, anti-Israeli polemic, read Rosie Bell on those Verso ads that regularly fill the LRB's back page. Bell reproduces a typical recent list, stuffed full of titles about the Middle East and international affairs by the likes of Tariq Ali and Norman Finkelstein, blaming the woes of the world on Zionism and American 'imperialism' - but, strangely, silent about the role of Islam or Islamism.

Bell comments:

Given that over the past year all but two issues of The London Review of Books carried an article about Israel, Verso is no doubt correct in estimating that this is what the LRB readers want - a little about the USA, a lot of Zionism/Israel and nothing overtly critical of Islam or Islamism. The LRB has had few articles on the subject and has not covered Defending the West by Ibn Warraq (a critical examination of Said's Orientalism) or in fact anything at all by Warraq, if my search of their site is correct.

For the LRB an article about the USA almost every issue - yes, fair enough. But Israel? And Verso - a little USA, a lot of Israel. It does seem a little obsessive and one-sided.


Brigada Flores Magon said...

Plus the most pretentious Lonely Hearts column in the known universe. Currently drinking my way through the money saved by cancelling my subscription and enjoying the process more than reading the turgidly predictable.

Martin said...

Thanks for the comment - and the blogroll mention. I like the new blog - look forward to seeing more of it.