Monday, March 09, 2009

Thank You, Barbara-Rose Collins

“Do you negotiate with someone who thinks you're a monkey?”
--Detroit City Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins

When I first watched videotapes of Ms. Collins’s tirade against “European rulers” (or as we descendants of those rascals are known in Detroit, “suburbanites”), and how they traditionally robbed people of color, I felt, to put it mildly, that she was making a poor showing for herself. Cobo firestorm ignites racism charges, promise of court fight

When she sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” it only added to the moral chaos of the scene, a scene that was already part of the bigger context of the City Council's childish, obstructionist racial war against white Michigan. For Ms. Collins to sing that hymn in that setting, after saying the things she'd said, could not have made one bit less sense, or been any more out of context, if she’d belted out “The Marsellaise” instead, or started yelling “Allahu Akhbar!” or maybe even, “Remember the Maine!”

I thought the whole scene was incoherent.

But buried in that nonsense was one jewel of sense, one principle that is crystal-clear in its logic, though it took a couple days for me to get it.

I'm talking about when Ms. Collins asked, “how can you negotiate with someone who thinks you’re a monkey?” “Would you,” as Ms. Collins so wisely poses the problem, “negotiate with someone who thinks you're beneath human being. . .? I would be a fool to negotiate."

The answer to her rhetorical question is that, obviously, you wouldn’t negotiate with someone who thinks you’re a monkey, with someone who thinks you're beneath human being. Given those premises, only a fool would negotiate.

Now Ms. Collins was talking about something else, namely a wisecrack a few years back by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson that came across to her as him calling council members “monkeys.” That’s not actually what he said, but given the historical context of how blacks have been insulted in America, she wasn’t so unreasonable to take it that way. (“Controversy over Detroit Zoo closure heats up”).

But regardless of what Ms. Collins thinks L. Brooks Patterson thinks of her, there is a much more concrete situation in which one side in a dispute really does believe, as a matter of religious conviction, that its hated enemies are literally the offspring of apes and pigs.

"[O]n the occasion of the Shi'ite 'Ashoura holiday," Nasrallah Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said he "regretted that the holiday fell 'on the 50th anniversary of the bitter and distressing historical catastrophe of the establishment of the state of the grandsons of apes and pigs – the Zionist Jews – on the land of Palestine and Jerusalem.' He closed his speech with these words: '... We reaffirm the slogan of the struggle against the Great Satan and call, like last year: "Death to America. To the murderers of the prophets, the grandsons of apes and pigs," we say: ... "Death to Israel...'"

Bat Ye'Or writes as follows:

Jihad ideology separates humanity into two hostile blocs: the community of Muslims (Dar ul-Islam), and the infidel non-Muslims (Dar ul-Harb). Allah commands the Muslims to conquer the entire world in order to rule it according to Koranic law. Hence Muslims must wage a perpetual war against those infidels who refuse to submit. This is the motivation for jihad. It is based on the inequality between the community of Allah and the infidels, as was re-emphasized in the Cairo Declaration. The first is a superior group, which must rule the world; the second must submit. The current relevance of this ideology is apparent, and disturbing.

For example, Al-Muhajiroun, an Islamist newspaper in London, published an article on January 27, 2001, which declared:

Upon the establishment of the Islamic State, the whole world will potentially be Dar ul Harb since the foreign policy of the Islamic state is aimed at conquering the world... Once the Islamic State is established anyone in Dar ul Harb will have no sanctity for his life or wealth hence, a Muslim in such circumstances can then go into Dar ul Harb and take the wealth from the people unless there is a treaty with that state. If there is no treaty, individual Muslims can even go to Dar ul Harb and take women to keep as slaves.

Such an attitude assumes that the infidels have no rights and are totally dehumanized. It breeds hatred and contempt and has led to historical negationism, and the destruction of non-Muslim cultures. . . .

With someone with a worldview like that, as Ms. Collins said, "I would be a fool to negotiate."

Then why is the Obama administration encouraging coming to terms with the Taliban, Hamas, Syria, and Iran? The thing is, we're all apes to them.

I'm with Councilwoman Collins on this.

I say all us monkeys better stick together.

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