Posted in: Culture Wars & Censorship
Published on Dec 26, 2010 by Phyllis Chesler
A Showdown with Evil
Dr. Jamie Glazov and his Canadian publisher, Mantua Books, have just published a new kind of "samizdat" which is the Russian word for self-publications written by dissidents and passed from hand to hand. "Self-publishing" (by hand, on typewriters, on printing presses) was a 20th century way of dealing with Soviet government censorship. The Russian authors and readers who were found with such writing in their possession were routinely subjected to harsh imprisonment.
Westerners, (and this includes Israel), do not live in a Soviet Gulag and are not subject to political censorship, but we do face a new kind of Orwellian censorship and self-censorship. Independent and anti-totalitarian thinkers and activists are demonized, "disappeared," legally sued, threatened with death—and in the name of anti-racism and human rights. Historian, journalist and Frontpage editor Glazov has been tracking this astounding turn of events—both the censorship and its denial—for a very long time, perhaps even in utero. After all, his parents were Soviet dissidents and he dedicates the book to his mother.
Glazov's book is a careful compilation of selected interviews which he conducted with 30 dissidents, including one with himself and (full disclosure) one with me as well, between 2004-2010. These interviews appeared in David Horowitz's Frontpage magazine. The book is titled: Showdown With Evil: Our Struggle Against Tyranny and Terror. Glazov understands that the new Evil Empire is the global alliance between Islamist totalitarianism and western liberal progressivism or leftism. The interviewees' work is post the Intifada of 2000 and post 9/11.
This collection showcases some of the radically dissident work being done by those who are defamed and marginalized by the mainstream media as "conservatives," "Islamophobes," "racists," and "traitors." Glazov stands with them. Included here are Steven Emerson, Victor Davis Hanson, David Horowitz, Andrew Klavan, Rep. Sue Myrick, Robert Spencer, and Charles Winecoff.
Glazov has consistently and persistently supported human rights, women's rights and gay rights. He has a very moving interview with Charles Winecoff in this book. Winecoff "came out" as a conservative in the gay rights movement and had the same kind of "Darkness at Noon" experience that others, including myself have had.
Technically, Glazov did not "self-publish." Publisher Howard Rotberg founded Mantua Books and is Glazov's publisher. On the other hand, Mantua is a small, relatively new press, one which was forged in fire, and Rotberg is as determined as Glazov is to publish the truth-which-dare-not-speak-its-name in most mainstream western publications.
Rotberg, a Jewish lawyer, self-published his first novel, The Second Catastrophe: A Novel About a Book and Its Author, in 2003. He was not only defamed in a Canadian bookstore when two Arabs disrupted his lecture by calling him a "f**ing Jew" but was then labeled a racist-Zionist. His work was banned from the bookstore chain. Since then, Mantua has published six books, including David Solway's Hear, O Israel and now this work by Glazov.
The interviewer, Glazov, and his interviewees all understand that their difficulties here are nowhere near as perilous as are those of their counterparts in the Islamic and communist world where the media is controlled by the state and in which anyone who publishes anything—however minor—against the party line (or which exposes the corruption of government officials), is jailed, tortured, or murdered.
For example, in 2006, Moscow journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered because of her opposition to Putin's policies in Chechyna; her murderer remains unknown. Attorney Sergei L. Magnitsky exposed official Russian corruption against an American firm. He was jailed in 2008, and then refused medical treatment while in custody; this purposeful neglect killed him. Finally, professor and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo was arrested, sentenced to eleven years in prison and, in 2010, not allowed to travel to Sweden to receive the Noble Peace Prize. His crime? "Inciting subversion of state power" by crafting and signing a human rights charter in 2008.
And, in the Islamic world: In 2006, Kareem Amer, an Egyptian blogger and former law student, was expelled from al-Azhar University for criticizing some of the university's instructors, writing in his blog that the "professors and sheikhs at al-Azhar who ... stand against anyone who thinks freely" would "end up in the dustbin of history". The prosecutor admitted that he was on a "jihad" against Amer. In 2007, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison on charges of atheism ("There is no God except Man," he wrote). His words were seen as defaming the President of Egypt, disrupting public security, and inciting hatred against Islam.
In September 2010, Hossein Derakshan, known as Iran's "blogfather" because he helped to start Iran's blogging revolution, was sentenced to 19 ½ years in prison, supposedly for spying on behalf of Israel. He left Iran for Canada in 2000 and visited Israel as a Canadian citizen in 2006. Although at first he was harshly critical of President Ahmadinejad, eventually he changed his mind and began blogging in favor of him, even comparing him to a modern-day Che Guevara. But the regime still decided to make an example of him when he returned to Iran in 2008.
In June, 2010, Bangladeshi authorities arrested the publisher Mahmudur Rahman and closed his newspaper because he dared to publish reports about government corruption and abuses of power. He has been beaten in custody, and 34 charges have been lodged against him. His fate remains unknown.
This does not occur in the West and in Israel. However, Glazov and his contributors have each sounded the alarm about a different and dangerously new kind of censorship. While there is no state censorship—there are no communist-style government-run publishing houses in the West—there is, nevertheless, "politically correct" censorship in public broadcasting which is partially government-funded and which wields enormous influence among the professoriate and the intelligentsia.
Thus, private publishing houses as well as university presses have become increasingly and rigidly left in orientation; the Party Line is an anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Palestinian line. No other views need apply. America and Israel are, allegedly, the world's greatest imperialists, colonialists, racists, and aggressor nations. The long and tragic history of Islamic colonialism, racism, and jihad is not a welcome view.
More: Like the professoriate, publishers have become especially cautious, some might say cowardly or sadly, realistic. They do not want an Islamist bomb thrown through their windows, they do not want to absorb the cost of security for an author against whom a fatwa has been issued, nor do they want to pay to defend themselves against a battery of Islamist and leftist lawyers charging them with "racism" and "Islamophobia."
The lawsuits and the fatwas are real. They have exerted a profound and chilling effect on Free Speech in the West. Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Magdi Allam, Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, all come instantly to mind. All have required round-the-clock protection or have been sued for "racist" or "hate" speech by those who themselves specialize in telling Big Lies about America, Jews, and Israel. Theo Von Gogh was murdered, butchered, by a Moroccan-Dutch Islamist for daring to co-produce a film titled "Submission" about the normalization of barbaric violence towards Muslim women in Islam's name.
Today, both in "Eurabia" (the term is Bat Ye'or's) and in North America, any thinker, writer, academic, or intellectual who dares challenge the Party Line will be marginalized, scorned, demonized, not published; if published, not reviewed; if reviewed, reviewed negatively; and, in any event, not assigned by professors, and never quoted in the left, liberal, and mainstream media as an expert. In addition, friendships will end, political networks will crumble. The post-9/11 and "matzav" world viewers will not be hired as professors; their works will only be read by other post 9/11 world viewers.
Thus, in the wake of this steady tsunami, conservative internet sites, publishing imprints, and small, new publishers, such as Mantua Books, have arisen. I want to introduce you to the steadfast and principled Glazov by quoting from him at length from the excellent interview with him which was conducted by David Swindle, the editor of Newsrealblog. Here is Glazov in his own words:
"Radical Islam is now the greatest threat the West faces. We are, as Norman Podhoretz has noted, in World War IV. We face totalitarian and religious zealots who seek to establish an Islamic caliphate worldwide. They hate freedom and liberty, and so they hate and need to destroy the United States and Israel the most, since these two nations are the bulwarks and representatives of freedom in the world."
They also hate women: "…it is obvious that woman-hatred is intertwined with Islamic terror. The more fanatical and violent the Islamic terrorist and his milieu, the more misogyny you will find there…to fight for women's rights under Islam is also to stick a dagger into the heart of Islamic jihad."
Where Islamic gender apartheid is allowed to flourish, cancerous, violent extremism is destined to follow.
Glazov does not mince words about what is wrong with Islam in the 21st century. But there is a difference, he insists, between being blunt and being bigoted.
"This is not about demonizing Muslims or attacking Muslims," he writes. "We are the allies of Muslims. I consider myself pro-Muslim. Muslims are the victims of Islam and its totalitarian structures. I spend a large part of my life fighting for the rights of Muslim women who suffer under Islamic gender apartheid. Does this make me anti-Muslim or pro-Muslim? I fight on behalf of Muslims who want to live in freedom and who don't want to suffer the harsh punishments of Sharia Law. I fight for a world where young Muslim boys and girls are not brainwashed and forced to blow themselves up. Does this make me anti-Muslim or pro-Muslim?"
These are crucial questions and I expect that Glazov will keep asking them.
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