Orientalism repackaged

The Shafia trial is by any extent, a far more complex process in which the social and larger contexts seemed to outweigh the actual criminal allegations which were never definitively proven, albeit the construction of circumstantial evidence, in sum, was compelling and impressive; but not conclusive. To some extent, the Shafia clan acted as tampon for Western attitudes towards Islam, and more broadly for Semitism in general which by extension, their case to some degree served as a proxy for Judaism and anti-semitism, the unfortunate Shafias serving as cannon fodder for new bouts of Western Orientalism which never really dissipated; the zombies are resurrected, the horns are pulled from the closet and the Oriental despot as trope becomes reenacted in an ingenious act of transference and the good guys wear halos and white robes: the Oriental despot as trope where the rigidity of law dominates the letter of spirit and compassion.

---This exploration of the slight differences of the Abraham story between the Old Testament and the Qur’an — namely which son he takes to sacrifice — is one of the more successful uses of the Qur’an in Habibi. Thompson returns to this story of sacrifice multiple times in the narrative to increasing success, even when it simply used as a visual cue. By the end we get Thompson resolving the story by noting that in both versions what matters is that God spared the son, and from them the lineages of both faiths became deeply intertwined.--- Read More:http://hoodedutilitarian.com/2011/10/can-the-subaltern-draw-the-spectre-of-orientalism-in-craig-thompsons-habibi/

The Shafias seemed to incarnate the dual nature that the West imposes on Semites in general: the stiff necked and intransigent jew and he fanatical Arab, where though we might have political favorites they remain theologically darkies, Calibans who can build a fire and provide a few women and barbituates for the boys. All the older anti-semitic depictions of Jews as lecherous perverts, thieves, and useless feeders have been transposed to the Arab who is our new source of anxiety for the lynch mob. At the most extreme, the Shafia’s as they contend did not commit the unpardonable act; someone else did and the patriarch and his complicit wife and son were elaborately set up:

“We are not criminals, we are not murderers, we didn’t commit the murder and this is unjust,” Mr. Shafia said in Dari, his words relayed through a translator. “Your honourable justice, this is not just,” his wife said through tears. “I am not a murderer, and I am a mother – a mother.” Their son spoke in English: “Sir, I did not drown my sisters anywhere,” he said.

Mr. Shafia, Ms. Yahya and Hamed Shafia were convicted of murdering sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, aged 19, 17 and 13, whose bodies were found in a submerged car at a Rideau Canal lock, just east of Kingston, in June, 2009.‬…

Duccio. ---Hegel was not anti-Jewish; on the contrary, he supported granting equal rights to Jews at a time when that was still a controversial issue. However, his systematic contrast between Judaism and Islam on one hand and Christianity on the other de-emphasized the Jewish element in western Christian history and could be mobilized to externalize the Jew as an incompatible alien. That was exactly the agenda of the anti-Semites.--- Read More:http://www.okcir.com/Articles%20VII%202/Davidson%20Kalmar-FM.pdf image:http://www.chinaoilpaintinggallery.com/d-duccio-di-buoninsegna-c-58_70_598/christ-accused-by-the-pharisees-p-17473

The fourth person in the vehicle was Mr. Shafia’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 53, who had entered Canada illegally, posing as his cousin, but who in fact was part of a polygamous marriage and who by every indication had desperately wanted to escape from it. The trial attracted enormous attention, the chief reason being that in the history of Canada, and probably every other Western country, it was unique.‬

There have been other murder charges involving so-called “honour killings” – homicides of women slain out of a perverse desire to “purify” families of disgrace created by supposedly immoral conduct. But not on this scale, and not involving parents who were willing to wipe out half their family for the sake of their honour, and then lie about it.‬ Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/verdict-reached-in-shafia-murder-trial/article2318731/

The Shafia trial as the ideal pretext for the continuation of war against Islam through other channels. As Israel engages in war through the proxy of land confiscation, so the West does through the media and propaganda through inflated concerns over national security as a metaphor for coloring the local gene pool.

---Artist Pierre Subleyras (1699–1749) Title: Christ at the House of Simon the Pharisee Date c. 1737---http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pierre_Subleyras_-_Christ_at_the_House_of_Simon_the_Pharisee_-_WGA21959.jpg

Western media does of course play on the fabrication of Judeo-Christian heritage which is fantasy without real basis, a construction that transfers the necessary element of invidious comparison to the Arab, as parasite, outsiders doomed to remain marginal. Maybe if Kahanism over reaches and say twenty million are gassed, they’ll be let on the bus. What the trial does is mirror the murderous hostility to western
civilization played like a Zapruder film,  all the demonic aspects of the traditional construction of the Semite. Islamism is now the abject Semite of which the Jews through a certain perseverance, patience and tenacity have more or less manage

wiggle free from by hook and by crook.
Anti-Arab-islam is the new anti- Semitism.

---Read More:http://www.imj.org.il/exhibitions/presentation/exhibit.asp?id=785

Harold Bloom has written that after the advent of Christianity “Yahweh … retreated to the remnants of Jewry, until he returned as the Allah of Islam.” Bloom accurately captures here a belief that was essential to both the medieval and the modern Christian view of Islam. In the
Middle Ages, Islam as allegedly a Judaizing trend was already held guilty of the sins committed by the Jews. In the modern period, as we shall see, it was rather that the sins of the Jews were explained retroactively as the sins of the Muslims. Then, after long centuries, this dual construction of Jew and Muslim, later Jew and Arab, came unraveled. Jew and Muslim can today be loved and/or hated separately,
as though they’ve always been the nemesis of one another. What happened?

… First the construction of the Semite is robbed by late nineteenth century anti- Semites of its prophetic dimension and reduced to the demonic. At the same time liberal Jews and their friends struggle to achieve the opposite: to discard the demonic and to stress the prophetic in Judaism and Jewish history and at first often also in the broader Semitic, Jewish and Arab character. After World War II, however, liberal Jews, especially in America, distance themselves from the Semitic connection, in order to better stress how similar they are to Christians. The term “Judeo-Christian tradition” comes to refer to that alleged commonality and is interpreted as the foundation of American democracy and human rights. Directly related to the growing alliance between the United States and Israel, and more recently the “war on terror” in the Middle East, this de-demonization of the Judaic, however, leaves a residue. The demonic aspects of the Semitic image are projected onto the other Semite: the Arab and by extension the Muslim….

---What Thompson makes repeatedly explicit throughout Habibi is implicit in the classic Orientalist painting “The Slave Market” by Jean-Leon Gerome pictured earlier. In that painting, as with many more from the same era, the savagery of Orientals is imagined by European artists and portrayed for European audiences. What is reflected in these paintings is the White Man’s Burden: the felt need among those in the West to save Arab women from Arab men. By imitating the style of French Orientalist paintings as a vessel for his story, Thompson also transfers the message those paintings are loaded with. It is the same White Man’s Burden that drives readers to register Dodola as a damsel in distress (a position she inhabits for the majority of the book). She needs saving from the savage Arab men that over-populate the book.--- Read More:http://hoodedutilitarian.com/2011/10/can-the-subaltern-draw-the-spectre-of-orientalism-in-craig-thompsons-habibi/

…Jews seem to free themselves of the burden of Semitism and anti-Semitism. The Arabs and Muslims remain as the only Semites, demonized in much the same ways that the Jews had been before.Read More:http://www.okcir.com/Articles%20VII%202/Davidson%20Kalmar-FM.pdf

Harold Bloom: “The Koran, unlike its parent Scriptures, seems to have no context… Strangely as the other Scriptures are ordered, they seem models of coherence when first contrasted to the Koran. The Koran has one hundred and fourteen chapters or sections (called suras) which have no continuity with one another, and mostly possess no internal continuity either. Their length varies enormously, their order has no chronology, and indeed the only principle of organization appears to be that, except for the first sura, we descend downwards from the longest to the shortest. No other book seems so oddly and arbitrarily arranged as this one, which may be appropriate because the voice that speaks the Koran is God’s alone, and who would dare to shape his utterances?

“Sometimes I reflect that the baffling arrangement (or lack of it) of the Koran actually enhances Muhammad’s eloquence; the eradication of context, narrative, and formal unity forces the reader to concentrate upon the immediate, overwhelming authority of the voice, which, however molded by the Messenger’s lips, has a massive, persuasive authority to it, recalling but expanding upon the direct speeches of God in the Bible.” Read More:https://www.irshadmanji.com/PDFS/ReformistTranslation.pdf


HB: Well, even more simply now though: I was on Charlie Rose some weeks ago, and Charlie, I suppose playing straight man—a hard role for Charlie to play—said: To what do you attribute the fact that you’ve just spoken of, Harold, that there are a billion and a half Moslems in the world and a billion and a half Christians and only fourteen million Jews, how do you explain the enormous appeal of these religions? I said: Well on the one hand, in both Islam and Christianity, you’re getting a great deal in exchange for very little. All you have to do in Christianity is say, “I accept that Jesus of Nazareth was also Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the anointed one or Messiah,” and as a result you have life eternal. And all you have to do in Islam, as they say, which is what it means, is submit just to the statement that Mohammed, who is certainly not divine and doesn’t pretend to be divine is nevertheless the seal of the prophets, the final kind of a prophet and all you have to do is submit to the will of Allah, and in return you get Paradise.

And of course there’s also the fact, as I said on Charlie Rose, that Christianity triumphed not just because of that but because Constantine the Great looked over what was available to him, including Mithraism and so on, and said, “The right way to hold the Empire together, the right state religion is Christianity.” So he swung the sword of Constantine, and out went all the heretical versions of Christianity also, including the Gnostics and we got the Church, the Roman Catholic Church indeed. And then Mohammed, as the Koran makes clear, and all the texts after it—Mohammed is definitely a man of war and kept defeating the Arabian Jews and he defeated the various Arabian pagans, and after his death his Califs went on and on and on magnificently (ah yes, beautiful wife) magnificently went on conquering. So both Islam and Christianity triumphed by the sword, and of course then started engaging with one another—in the Crusades, in Spain, in North Africa, and at the moment, whether we like it or not, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and God knows where next. Read More:http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/bloom_hartman/bloom/bloom.html

This entry was posted in Cinema/Visual/Audio, Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Orientalism repackaged

  1. mason says:

    yeah but edom is one hell of an artist!

    Thanks Dave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>