RIP Harrys Place

Despite Harry dropping his pledge to give us all a break cease blogging, the decline and fall of Little Green Soccerballs continues.

Aaronovitch watch nails why (referring to Nick Cohen)

It seems to me that while Nick may be up for a fight, the people he’s accusing of spilling his pint aren’t. Rather than engage in a great intellectual struggle with Nick, Dave and the decents, mainstream left opinion (inasmuch as the Guardian op ed pages represent it) seems to be routing around it. On the one hand you have Seumas Milne’s usual repertory company, sticking it to the septics and sticking up for the Allah-besotted. On the other you have all these genteel Tories, preaching realism from a comfortable distance above the fray. The parameters here seem to relate to the majority consensus in Britain over the London bombings, namely that the Iraq conflict made them more likely to happen. Within that there's plenty of room for a chat about the who and the what and the why. Outside it...well, where's your audience?

Something similar seems to be going on over in Blogistan. The pro-war left went into a spasm of self-righteousness after July 7, de-linking here and there; condemning this, insisting on that, stagily revealing collaborators, sternly sorting sheep from goats. The result seems to be that they’ve now shrunk into a circular network, constantly cross linking, boosting their favourite columnists, uninterested in events that don’t immediately fit in with their preconceptions and increasingly adrift from the general bloggy conversation. The United Against Terror project seems to have gone splat and Harry’s Place is reduced to trolling for attention. Even their old antagonists at the movement antiwar sites don’t seem to bother too much with what they have to say. The only outward channel they have leads them directly to the hard right in the USA. And so a tendency hardens into a sect, which in turn boils down into something that’s starting to resemble a cult.

When this happens, you have to shout louder for attention. You have to say that you’re involved, for instance, in the greatest intellectual struggle of your time. You have to promise apocalyptic smash ups. Those who disagree with you have been driven mad by the course of history. It’s all a bit sad.

A real fighter for freedom passes away

Rosa Parks is dead

Parks was working as a seamstress for the Montgomery Fair department store, and as she waited for the Cleveland Avenue bus to take her home, she let a full bus go by. The Jim Crow laws reserved the first four rows of a city bus for whites and the last 10 for blacks. The seats in the middle could be used by blacks if no whites sought them. But if a white person wanted a seat, the whole row was emptied.

Also, bus drivers in Montgomery made blacks, who were nearly 70 percent of the riders, enter the front door, pay their fare, disembark and re-enter by the back door. Many blacks were left standing, fareless, when the bus driver pulled away before they could reboard.

James F. Blake, the driver of the bus Parks boarded in 1955, had put her off a bus in 1943 when she refused to enter through the back door because the back was jammed. After that, she refused to board any bus he drove, but when the bus pulled up to the Court Square stop, Parks forgot to check who the driver was. She got on and took a seat in the middle section, next to a black man at the window and across the aisle from two women. At the next stop, some white people got on, filling up the seats reserved for them, and one white man was left standing.

"Let me have those front seats," the driver said, indicating the front seats of the middle section. No one moved. He repeated himself: "Y'all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats."

The black rider by the window rose, and Parks moved to let him pass by. The two women across the aisle also stood up. Parks slid over to the window. "I could not see how standing up was going to 'make it light' for me," she wrote in her autobiography, "My Story" (1992). "The more we gave in and complied, the worse they treated us.

"I thought back to the time when I used to sit up all night and didn't sleep, and my grandfather would have his gun right by the fireplace, or if he had his one-horse wagon going anywhere, he always had his gun in the back of the wagon," she wrote. "People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

The bus driver said he would have her arrested, and she replied, "You may do that." He called the police and waited. Some riders got off, but not everyone, and Parks recalled that it was very quiet. When the police arrived, she asked one, "Why do you all push us around?" She said he replied, "I don't know, but the law is the law, and you're under arrest."

She was bailed out that night, and her boss at the NAACP asked if she would be the test case for a lawsuit. She discussed it with her husband and mother and then agreed. Meanwhile, the leaders of the Women's Political Council mimeographed 35,000 handbills calling for a bus boycott. Black ministers got behind the effort. All 18 black-owned cab companies agreed to stop at all bus stops and charge 10 cents per ride, while others carpooled or walked.


As Parks went into her trial, a young girl called out, "Oh, she's so sweet. They've messed with the wrong one now." The crowd took up the latter half of the cry.

The Zawahiri Letter

Left-I makes two excellent points (as ever)

On the day when a new poll reveals that 59 percent of Americans think U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, the U.S. government suddenly decides to release the text of an alleged letter, allegedly captured last summer, which purports to be advice given by Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And conveniently, the advice is all about how Zarqawi should attempt to establish Islamic authority over as much of Iraq as possible after the Americans are expelled, thereby providing a fresh justification for why the U.S. shouldn't withdraw.

Is this letter genuine? There isn't any way for the average person to know. It could have been written by Zawahiri, it could have been written by the CIA, or it could have been written by any person pretending to be Zawahiri and trying to substitute their own strategy for whatever strategy Zawahiri is (or isn't) advocating. Take a look at the recent "threat to New York City subways" hoax and you'll see how easy the American authorities can be fooled, assuming that it isn't they who are doing the fooling. I say all this despite the fact that the advice itself seems perfectly sensible (and something any Marxist could completely identify with) -- maintaining and increasing "popular support from the Muslim masses." Nevertheless, the key thing about this letter isn't whether or not it's genuine, it's to understand why the U.S. government chose to release it at this time.

Here's the strangest part of the story: "The American intelligence official would not say...whether it was believed to have been received by Mr. Zarqawi." So let's try to understand this. Zawahiri tries to send a very important communication about strategy to Zarqawi. The U.S. government intercepts it. Zarqawi may not have received it, i.e., he may not have received this advice from Zawahiri. And, in the face of that, the U.S. government decides to post the letter on the Internet, thereby assuring that Zarqawi now does have the benefit of Zawahiri's advice


" Remember when the U.S. government wouldn't allow tapes from bin Laden or Zawahiri to be broadcast on TV, using the excuse that there might be "hidden messages" in the broadcast that they couldn't allow to be transmitted? Now they release a 6,000-word letter from Zawahiri which could contain dozens of hidden messages for all they know. Curious, eh?


Synagogue Vandalised, why do they not care?

Normally a story that a UK Synagogue had been vandalised by religious extremists would make front page news in certain blogs.

Harry's place would be wondering if George Galloway was guilty, or was it his supporters? The bitter and twisted f*ckheads for war would be screaming for an end to the trendy liberalism that excuses this sort of thing while Norm! would be trying to tie the Guardian's comment pages into the atrocity.

Yet what do we find? nothing, not a peep out of the "decent left" have they gone soft on religious violence? do they not care any more.

Or is it to do with who carried out the attack...

AN orthodox Jewish synagogue in Stamford Hill has been attacked and vandalised - not by anti-semetic thugs, but by fellow Jews who regard its leaders' outspoken condemnation of Israel as a betrayal.

Rising tensions over the forced evictions by Israeli troops last month of Jewish settlers from occupied Palestinian territory as part of the Middle East peace process has sparked a backlash among Stamford Hill's orthodox Jewish community.

Windows at the synagogue in Alkham Road were smashed after bottles were hurled at them last Thursday evening and the front of the building was covered with red spray paint.

The synagogue belongs to Neturei Karta, an ultra-orthodox sect opposed to the Zionist political movement that established the state of Israel as a national homeland for Jews.

The sect claims that the concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to the teachings of the torah (Jewish law) and has led to the bloodshed in the Middle East.

Hackney Gazette

Surely this cannot be true? surely the "decent" "left" take any attack as seriously as any other...

We await their response.

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