A colourful Twitter beef that caught the eye this summer in the wake of the George Floyd murder at the hands of racist police officers, pitted the esteemed University of Cambridge Professor, Priyamvada Gopal against the right-wing Etonian author Douglas Murray. Gopal has positioned herself as the British liberal establishment’s leading connoisseur for all currents that oppose imperialism and require decolonisation. She published her tomb, Insurgent Empire to rave reviews. While Murray’s bestselling books on immigration and the culture wars has earned him millions of followers. His book, The Strange Death of Europe is one of the leading go-to books for right-wingers on contemporary immigration.
The pithy indictments they fired at each other on Twitter were standard schoolyard barbs. Murray sanctimoniously sneered at Gopal spending time on Twitter as compensation for her lack of academic repertoire, while Gopal predictably retorted that Murray finds it difficult a woman of colour lectures at Cambridge. Their adversarial tweets were not only aimed at each other but also clearly played to their on-line base. Gopal’s to the “woke” generation, Murray’s to the Trumpian/Brexit anti-woke masses. The ‘woke’ term emanated in the United States to help give expression to those who were historically marginalised and enslaved.
However, both authors have one essential thing in common. Continue reading
Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe identifies three waves of migration to western Europe in the post-war period. Initially, migration to Britain and France came from their former colonies, to assist in the reconstruction in the 1950s and 1960s. Other western European countries also invited people from elsewhere to assist with reconstruction. Secondly, a wave of east European citizens arrived in the late 1990s and 2000s due to the expansive reach of the European Union. Murray’s book was written in the wake of the third and most recent migration wave in the past decade which was exacerbated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement on the last day of August 2015 welcoming refugees from the war in Syria.
In contrast to Merkel’s decision to allow Syrian refugees into Germany, Murray notes that countries who were fuelling the war in Syria were not as hospitable as European nations. As he writes,
“Throughout the Syrian portion of the refugee crises alone, next to nobody blamed the countries actually involved in that civil war – including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russia – for the human cost of the conflict. There was no wide European call for Iran to take in the refugees from the conflict, anymore than there was any pressure to insist Qatar take its fair share proportion of refugees.”[i]
Let’s take Murray at his word and put aside that there were reports of British support for the so-called Syrian rebels as early as 2012. If one reads between the lines of this excerpt and unpacks what he refers to as the “Syrian portion”, then we come face to face to the other portion of the migration crises. Namely, the one spurred by the NATO led campaign to remove Colonel Ghadhaffi from power in Libya. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ which began with the relatively peaceful overthrow the governments of Tunisia and Egypt in early 2011 was followed by an uprising in Benghazi, in eastern Libya which quickly turned into an insurgency. Western media concocted scenarios on how Ghadhaffi was on the verge of carrying out massacre after massacre if the West didn’t intervene. Continue reading
As the legacy of Malcolm X became more mainstream, many people from different political backgrounds jumped out of their seats to claim he represented their political trend and their political trend alone. Among the most vocal to claim his legacy are political Islamists. The only way we can assess if Malcolm X became an Islamist or his political trajectory was heading towards that direction is to unpack what he said or did not say after his split with Elijah Muhammad’s ‘Nation of Islam’ (NOI). It goes without saying that for as long as he was a member of the NOI he was the leading advocate of its distinctive cultural, social, economic and political theology and/or ideology.
First of all what do we mean by Islamism and/or radical political Islam? According to the scholar Oliver Roy in a study for the United Nations, Islamism “is the brand of modern political Islamic fundamentalism which claims to recreate a true Islamic society, not simply by imposing sharia, or Islamic law, but by first establishing an Islamic state through political action.” Earlier in the study he had unpacked and defined ‘fundamentalism’ as “a call for the return of all Muslims to the true tenets of Islam (or what is perceived as such): this trend is usually called “salafism” (“the path of the ancestors”).” Individuals who uphold this ideology are referred to as Islamists of one variety or another.
Split with NOI
Malcolm X’s split with the NOI began with a suspension for ninety days following his now famous comment, “chickens coming home to roost” with regard to the assassination of President Kennedy on the 2nd December 1963. The NOI hierarchy had previously sent out instructions Continue reading
During the first week of General Khalifa Hiftar’s so-called “Operation Dignity” in Libya ostensibly launched with the modus operandi to military rid the country of armed Islamist militias and to establish stability, it wasn’t too difficult to find some in the British media highlighting the General’s supposed proximity to American intelligence and specifically to the CIA.
‘Operation Dignity’ was launched on Friday 16th May, by the following Monday the Financial Times (FT) was informing its readers that after the General’s defection from the Libyan army a couple of decades ago, he moved to a Washington D.C suburb where “he is said to have cultivated contacts with Western agencies seeking to undermine” Colonel Muammar Ghadhaffi, the former leader of Libya.
On Tuesday 20th May, the FT once again reminded its readers that Hiftar “is believed to have links to the U.S.” On the same day the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black referred to him as a “US-linked figure”, while Continue reading
Stop the War Coalition (StW), Britain’s main anti-war movement held an anniversary commemoration on the 9th February 2013. It’s been more or less 10 years since over a million people marched in the UK’s capital to demonstrate against the UnitedStates-UnitedKingdom build up to the war and invasion on Iraq.
One must commend and congratulate the organisers for possessing the foresight to hold this event. They began promoting it in late October/early November 2012. Their foresight was rewarded with a fantastic attendance of many hundreds and I presume this turnout inspired everyone who attended. The number of attendees solidly confirmed that there continues to be a strong impulse in the UK against mindless adventurism, imperialist war and international brigandry.
However, the main problem with the event was the Continue reading