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TODAY I START BY COMMEMORATING ANDRE DROUIN, END BY CARING ABOUT TIM BURTON
Today I commemorate Andre Drouin, a courageous man who cared, a man with passion and conviction and a sense of humor, a man who acted to alert people to Islamic rules with an ingenious action: writing and getting Herouxville, a small town, to pass a Code of Life. Women are not to be stoned to death, and much more along those lines.
The Herouxville Code of Life became famous (often infamous) worldwide. Reporters from around the world swarmed around Andre's home. He paid for his daring inventiveness: death threats, and the longtime need for police protection. That was ten years ago.
Andre died a few days ago.
I am glad he did what he did, and that I had the chance to interview him.
Here is the interview with this marvelous man:
And here is more about Andre:
He sent out a last email not long before his death: the end of the adventure. A few days later I wrote back: Bon voyage - those are the words coming to mind. May the adventure continue.
And then, in one of those strange synchronicities, his photo, from years ago, came up when I went on FaceBook - the photo from the interview I did with him.
Once again, thank you, Andre. Bon voyage. May the adventure continue.
THE DEATH OF HISTORY
Another "death" is happening. The ongoing diminishing, at the university level, of what was traditionally taught as history. According to Niall Ferguson, that has dropped by over half since 1970. Instead there is far more study of gender, race, cultural history - plus there's what someone has called "microtopics" (like who went to which restaurant in New York in the 1870's).
I'm all for the study of gender, race, etc.
But what happens when there's no core: the flow of history, the rise and fall of nations, economic developments, technological developments, ideological developments.
The past becomes a vague blur.
And of course there is that recurrent question: WHY is this happening? WHY the lack of interest in history?
THE DEATH OF ATTENTION - or why I can't read People magazine anymore
I was at the dentist's, waiting to have my teeth cleaned, and did something I haven't done for years. I picked up People magazine. Years ago, I would occasionally read it. This time, within a couple of minutes, I put it down. It was unreadable. It no longer had one article after another. Instead there were inserts here and there about other people. Page after page was cluttered, scattered, crowded.
For me, it was utterly boring, intolerably mind-garbling.
Studies show that attention span keeps lowering. In this case, there was no way for me to pay attention. There was nothing to pay attention to.
The magazine not only seemed geared to people who had no attention span, it actively discouraged attention.
Back to that nagging question: WHY is this happening? Yes, there's Twitter. But is this more than just some accidental occurrence?
TIM BURTON IS A "NOBODY" - and MAY GO TO JAIL FOR HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR
I started with Andre Drouin. I will end with Tim Burton. Tim Burton - like Andre Drouin - isn't Tommy Robinson or Geert Wilders. Tim doesn't head a movement or a political party. He has long been a member of LibertyGB, a small British political party. But basically he's a "nobody", an anybody - just everyday folk - like most of us.
He is more daring - or maybe just less attentive to danger - than most people. Some people might call Tim Burton silly, even downright foolish. After all, he was not entirely respectful toward Tell Mama, a group well-funded to hunt out instances of Islamophobia. He dared to apply for a job there, listing his extensive knowledge of the Quran as a qualification.
For more on the story:
Why am I going on about this?
Andre faced death threats.
Tim has just been found guilty of "RELIGIOUSLY AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT". In 2 weeks he will be sentenced. The judge sees Tim's action as a very serious offense. The sentence may be up to 2 years in prison. Prison in England, if you are known to be unenthusiastic about Islam, can be dangerous, even deadly. Tommy Robinson, for lying on his brother's mortgage application, spent 6 months in prison, pleading for solitary confinement to make it more likely he would stay alive. He ended up spending 5 months in solitary confinement.
Why am I mentioning Tim Burton, aside from the fact that I care both about him and about the utter injustice of what has happened?
Two reasons. First, I think of Tim's action in comparison to Andre's. Andre's action happened 10 years ago, in Canada, where the Islamic population was much lower than in England, and where freedom of speech was not quite as threatened. It is currently under ever more serious threat. I don't know if any town in Canada would, today, dare to publish the Herouxville Code of Life.
The second reason is the question: what do we do?
A year ago I helped with a fundraiser for Tommy Robinson when he was very likely to be convicted again, spend more time in prison. The outcome: enough funds for top legal representation. The outcome: case dismissed, with costs.
What about Tim? Does one try another fundraiser? But he isn't well-known like Tommy. How many people would give? And what about all those other people threatened by lawfare like Tim?
A DIFFERENCE: ANDRE'S ACTION VS TIM'S
Andre sought to alert the world to the content of Islam. He had traveled extensively, including to Saudi Arabia. But what could he do, a recently retired business person living in a small town? He came up with the Code of Life. He also knew how to make sure lots of people heard of it.
Tim was at least as aware of the content of Islam as Andre, and also the reality of Islam in Great Britain. He himself had narrowly escaped being convicted earlier when he had incautiously called someone proven guilty of fraud a mendacious taqiyya artist. Apparently it would have been fine to call the individual a mendacious scumbag - but one could not mention religion, plus taqiyya is an official doctrine only among some Islamics. (I didn't know that - but yes, that's the case.)
But though Tim's awareness was at least as high as Andre's, his action was basically a prank.
Does this matter? What if Tim is killed in prison? Don't all of us do things at times that put us at unnecessary risk?
Next time: GANDHI, THE BRITISH, and ISLAMICS
Last time, without much knowledge of Gandhi, I cited him as an instance where the dominant GAVE rights, versus where rights were seized. I got a very strong response from a reader, did research, contacted several other Hindu and Sikh readers, got lots more information. It's too much for today.
I have one core point: it is so vital to keep learning, to have the freedom to learn, which means also having the mental capacity to learn..
As always, all the best to all who care and dare,
PS. The Tim Burton case is a clear instance of Islamo-hegemony - with Islamo-hegemony so instilled in those who sat in judgment on him that they are blind to their bias.
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posted April 9, 2017
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Commemorating courageous Andre Drouin,
of the Herouxville Code of Life.
And caring about Tim Burton,
"aggravated religious harassment".
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