It's poor quality, but no matter - there are so few videos of the man out there. And the charisma's intact:
From April 1952. He had less than nine months to live.
Unable to change the world, many on the Left are now determined at least to change what we can say about it. Nick Cohen on political correctness, safe spaces and free speech:
Mary Whitehouse and the American moral majority wanted to stop broadcasters from “pumping filth into our homes”. Today’s student leaders are their successors. The president of the Cambridge Union simpers that a university is a “home” where students should feel comfortable and safe. It has never occurred to him that universities are not, or should not be, anything like a home. Higher education is meant to take students away from the prejudices and certainties of their childhood home, and challenge the ideas they learned from their parents. If students cannot handle the challenge without crying that they feel unsafe, they should not be at university in the first place. If universities refuse to challenge them, I wonder about their usefulness too.
We have gone from the principle that only speech that incites crime can be banned to the principle that speech that incites gross offence can be banned to the principle that speech that provokes discomfort can be banned. This is not so much a slippery slope as a precipitous drop.
After the latest Saudi air-strikes, is Yemen going to be where the simmering Sunni-Shia conflict finally catches fire?
Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a senior Houthi rebel, warned that the Saudi operation amounted to an aggression against Yemen and could set off a "wide war" in the region, according to Reuters news agency.
Saudi Arabia is supplying 100 warplanes and 150,000 soldiers for the operation, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television reported on Thursday.
Jordanian officials say that its air force jets are taking part in the operation.
In addition the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that the operation had the support of Sudan, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan which were willing if necessary to take part.
Earlier Mr Hadi appealed to members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) to intervene.
SPA said GCC members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates agreed to answer President Hadi's call for help.
Meanwhile the insults get more extreme:
As Saudi Arabia carried out airstrikes in Yemen Wednesday against Houthi forces, an official from the Shiite rebel group said they would exact revenge on “the Zionist Saudi regime,” the Israeli Ynet news site reported.
"The Zionist Saudi regime". That's fighting talk.
Jonathan Spyer (writing about the Kurds):
Ultimately, the mess in the former Syria and Iraq derives from a very western form of wishful thinking that is common to various sides of the debate in the west. This is the refusal to accept that political Islam, of both Shia and Sunni varieties, has an unparalleled power of political mobilization among Arab populations in the Middle East at the present time, and that political Islam is a genuinely anti-western force, with genuinely murderous intentions.
Michael Totten (writing about Yemen):
Yemen may well turn into the Iraq or Syria—take your pick—of the Arabian Peninsula. All the US can really do at this point is watch in horror as the Middle East continues to chew its own leg off and malefactors with global ambitions thrive in the chaos.
I can't escape the feeling that this is really a man putting on a squeaky voice, in some unlikely Hamas comedy sketch. Anne Elk in a niqab. "This theory, which is mine..." The interviewer, after all, presents a fairly devastating summary of women's status in Islam. And the response comes some considerable way short of making any sense.
Still, the logic is wonderful:
Today there are scientific studies that demonstrate that when a man concentrates on solving a problem, he uses the left hemisphere of the brain. The woman, in the same situation, uses both parts of her brain. Why? This proves that the testimony of a man equals that of two women, so that if one forgets, the other can remind her.
They've been out in force in Kabul:
As originally reported, the story was of a mentally-disturbed young woman who was savagely beaten to death by a mob after she burned a copy of the Koran.
She was savagely beaten by a mob alright - beaten, run over with a car and burned before her body was thrown into the Kabul River - but everything else about that turns out to be wrong. Far from being mentally ill, she was an Islamic scholar and a recent graduate. She got into an argument with some men selling cheap religious trinkets, we now learn, telling the women customers not to waste their money on such trash. The men, in return, made up the stuff about burning a Koran, and the mob did the rest - while the police stood by and did nothing.
The whole appalling episode has struck a chord:
Men and women of all ages carried banners and some painted their faces red as a symbol of the bloodied face of Farkhunda, the 27-year-old religious scholar killed last week by the mob....
Organisers of Tuesday's march - the second protest over the brutal slaying in as many days - estimated that up to 3,000 people took part.
Marchers chanted "Justice for Farkhunda!" and "Death to the killers!"
Amrullah Saleh, a political leader and former director of the intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, said the demonstrators sought to make Farkhanda an icon of the struggle against "injustice, mob court, street violence, violence against women, lawlessness, extremism" and, especially the injustice suffered by women.
"She is an example of probably what has happened silently to many," Saleh told the Associated Press news agency. "She drew a line with her blood between those who want justice, rule of law, and those who are extreme in their views and who breed in lawlessness."
Police reportedly stood by without intervening as the attack happened.
The Interior Ministry said 28 people have been arrested and 13 police officers suspended as part of investigations.
The spokesman for the Kabul police, Hashmat Stanikzai, has been sacked over comments he made on social media supporting Farkhunda's killers.
A remarkable display of courage and hope in the face of religious obscurantism and brutality.
Would we be talking about this if the Taliban were still in charge? If the space for this kind of protest hadn't been encouraged by the US invasion, and the subsequent allied occupation?
Update: on the other hand there's this fatuous opinion piece, linked to from the Al-Jazeera article quoted above, by "Afghan political analyst and historian" Helena Malikyar. The whole unfortunate episode is, she solemnly informs us, a result of the "psychological and moral damage that this nation has suffered as a result of prolonged conflict":
Her attackers were not common criminals, nor a bunch of fanatic religious villagers. Most of them seem to be urbanite, well-groomed men in their twenties. They were born and raised in war. Their fathers had most probably lived most of their lives in war. The culture of violence, instilled over 3 decades, continues to be passed on to the young generation. Since the US-led international intervention of 2001, strongmen have thrived tremendously, having become financially rich and politically powerful. Using force and brutality, therefore, pays off.
And no, it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the victim was a woman.
Life before the US invasion?
While there were far less schools and universities in the country compared to the number of educational institutions that have been build in the past decade with international aid, the quality of teachers and curricula were much higher. Discipline was strict and ethical conduct was emphasized. Humility and compassion were virtues; bullying and oppression censured. Acquiring knowledge, not power, was considered a noble endeavour. Above all, the pre-war Afghan leadership always maintained moral authority and used it to implement the rule of law and reforms.
I wonder if Ms Malikyar has ever considered writing for the Guardian.
More on the US and Iran, from Hamin Ghaddar:
In Lebanon, where I live, during the 10 years that followed the Cedar Revolution of 2005, which drove the Syrian army outside Lebanon, Hezbollah—an organization sponsored and directed by America’s new Iranian partner—has repeatedly used force to block every effort toward democracy or reform. Assassinations, bombings, and military invasions were some of the tools that the Party of God employed to intimidate the pro-Western March 14 political camp into surrendering the state.
Hezbollah today controls almost all state institutions and has made sure that they are never functional. My country does not have a president. The Parliament extended its own term, and services are deteriorating every day. Hezbollah wants to fight Iran’s war in Syria and needs the state institutions to get its legitimacy and freedom of movement across the border. Meanwhile, no one is allowed to object, because killing opponents has become a simple and easy task for the Party of God. No Hezbollah official has ever been held accountable for the party’s murders.
A deal between Iran and the United States will only strengthen Hezbollah and other Iranian militias in the region, and money will flow and ease the financial trouble. Killing will become much easier. Meanwhile, state institutions will further deteriorate and Lebanon, once a great example for democracy and liberty in the region, will disintegrate. We will become yet another governorate in Iran’s empire.
Other parts of the region are no better. Yemen and Iraq are also crumbling under Iran’s sectarian rule, which flourishes when state institutions are weak. Without the state, there are no citizens, only sects, followers, and violent militants. More Sunnis will join organizations like ISIS to fight more Shiites. But it seems that chasing a deal with Iran is more significant than making genuine efforts to maintain or help potential democracies in the region.
Abandoning Arab liberals and civil society to sectarian warfare seems to now be a valid compromise to make to Iran in return for the deal. Is this what the United States wants the region to become? A battleground for mad extremists? Is the nuclear deal worth that much blood? Are we that insignificant?
The values we thought we shared with the United States are no longer important to the Americans. I fear that we will be unable to uphold those values alone.
And, from Eli Lake:
To understand how the hurried evacuation of U.S. special operations forces from Yemen is connected to Iran's regional strategy, look no further than Atheel al-Nujaifi, the Sunni governor of Iraq's Nineveh Province.
On Sunday, Nujaifi sent a letter to U.S. leaders warning that his country was at a tipping point with regard to Iranian influence. As U.S. forces wait on the sidelines in an Iranian-led campaign to liberate Tikrit, Nujaifi said he worried that his country was being lost to Iran.
In other words, what has just happened in Yemen -- where an Iranian-armed and advised militia has overthrown a pro-American government -- could happen soon in Iraq....
U.S. allies in the Middle East -- from Israel to Saudi Arabia -- are certainly worried about Iran's nuclear program. But as they watch events unfold in Iraq and Yemen, they must also wonder whether an agreement from such an aggressive country will be worth the paper it's written on.
The current Iranian regime is not our ally in the Middle East. It is ultimately part of the problem, not the solution. The more the Iranians are seen to be dominating the region, the more it is going to inflame Sunni radicalism and fuel the rise of groups like the Islamic State. While the U.S. and Iran may have convergent interests in the defeat of Daesh, our interests generally diverge. The Iranian response to the open hand offered by the U.S. has not been encouraging.
Iranian power in the Middle East is thus a double problem. It is foremost problematic because it is deeply hostile to us and our friends. But it is also dangerous because, the more it is felt, the more it sets off reactions that are also harmful to our interests — Sunni radicalism and, if we aren't careful, the prospect of nuclear proliferation as well.
The Obama administration's new best friend, with the bits they probably didn't discuss with John Kerry:
A top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said this weekend he believed Tehran had the ability to control events in Jordan, as it does in Iraq and Lebanon.
Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds force — the foreign wing of the Revolutionary Guards — was addressing a youth conference in Tehran. His remarks were the first time a senior Iranian official has openly discussed Iranian ambitions in Jordan....
One of the Guards’ chief strategists who operates primarily beyond Iran’s borders, Soleimani was voted No. 2 in an online Man of the Year poll conducted by an Iranian news website. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif won the poll.
The Iranian Student News Agency quoted Soleimani as saying that Iran has a presence in Lebanon and Iraq and that both countries are yielding to Iranian interests. He added that Iran has the ability to control Jordan in the same way. Soleimani said the revolutions in the Arab world are slowly taking on a Muslim tone, similar to Iran’s Islamic revolution, and that Tehran should provide aid and guidance to these revolutions.
Iran is known to have an influence in Iraq and Lebanon and to be operating in Yemen, and has recently tried to bring Hamas into its fold.
Happy days ahead, then.
And here we have Imad Hamato, Professor of Quranic Studies, University of Palestine in Gaza, and the host of a weekly PA TV program on Islam:
This [Israel] is a state of blood, a terror state... Our real Jihad is to take revenge against those who have hurt our women and elderly, who have hurt innocents, have defiled the holy places and have stolen the assets and wealth of the [Arab] nation... Humanity will never live in comfort as long as the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land. Humanity will never live in peace or fortune or tranquility as long as they are corrupting the land. An old man told me: If a fish in the sea fights with another fish, I am sure the Jews are behind it....
He would be well advised to watch his words. See what happened in Yemen when the crowd in a mosque start chanting "Death to Israel...Curse upon the Jews...."