Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A brief word on what I don't report or analyze...

First of all, it would be humanly impossible for any blogger to report the totality of the pathologies pullulating out of the Muslim world (a world increasingly encroaching upon our own).

Secondly, some blogs, by their very nature and mission, are more -- or less -- inclusive.  This applies even if they all share the same theme -- say, "the counter-jihad", for my blog and Logan's Warning, Jihad Watch, Gates of Vienna, 1389 Blog--Counterjihad, etc.

The Hesperado (the blog you're reading right now, in case you didn't notice) is meant to deal with the problem of Islam and related issues, but it's not meant to be exhaustive; nor do I care, most of the time, to resound with emergent news stories of the day -- such as, for example, the car crash heard around the world (only because it was a non-Muslim white guy driving) in Charlottesville the other day.  There have been many big news stories, some shocking, which my blog has utterly ignored (or only mentioned in passing later) -- even when some of these could be said to be related, directly or indirectly, to the problem of Islam (as is the Charlottesville crash).

I've sometimes thought I should at least write a relatively brief post when such events occur, just at least to acknowledge their existence; but then I realize it's not necessary, since my main point on this blog is to offer deeper analyses of the problem which tend to transcend the time and place of the news event.

That said, the absence of such news stories (e.g., about Charlottesville) on a blog like Jihad Watch is more noticeable, since Jihad Watch, much more than my blog, has the feel of a ticker-tape news source, reeling off multiple stories every day, usually current.  When Robert Spencer, owner of Jihad Watch, chooses to ignore Charlottesville, one must conclude he feels it is not related directly enough to the problem of Islam.  This however is a subjective call, of course; many would disagree -- including me: the phenomenon of an increasing presence of Antifa in America, and Antifa's obvious antagonism against "Islamophobia" -- joined (so they think) at the hip to the "fascism" and the racism and neo-Nazism they also oppose -- makes Charlottesville rather directly related to the problem of Islam.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to spend time delving into it; since there are literally thousands of other episodes & events over the years also significant and relevant (to the problem of Islam) which, nevertheless, I have seen fit to ignore here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Signs of Intelligent Life on Planet Jihad Watch? Le Part Deux


In part one, I laid out the groundwork of an introduction to this theme.  The "intelligent life" to which my title refers is the healthy unwillingness, on the part of most Jihad Watch commenters (the Civilians of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream), to buy the Used Car of Islamic Reform being sold to them by part of the Leadership of that same Counter-Jihad Mainstream -- the team-members of Robert Spencer, that éminence gris of that bastion of that Counter-Jihad Mainstream, Jihad Watch (the team members being Christine Douglass-Williams and Andrew Harrod).  I've seen no other Leadership figures shine an appropriately critical light on this book or on Spencer for so generously hosting it on his site.

That intelligence has limits, however. None of those Civilians even uttered a peep of protestation against Christine Douglass-Williams or against her mentor and boss, Robert Spencer, politely but firmly demanding of them why they are pushing this preposterous -- not to mention dangerous -- idea of Islamic Reform.  Intelligence without backbone.

One thing I noted in part one, though I may not have made it explicit enough, is that Christine Douglass-Williams seems to fall for the Good Cop/Better Cop maneuver -- whereby she demonstrates a healthy suspicion of Tariq Ramadan (the Good Cop Muslim), who may fool the broader Western Mainstream outside the Counter-Jihad Mainstream; but then without skipping a beat, she swallows the feigned censure of Tariq by another Muslim, Salim Mansur, who is pretending to be on our side (thus in this instance the Better Cop Muslim).  And this revealing dynamic is emblematic of all the supposedly Reformist Muslims Christine Douglass-Williams is showcasing in her book, The Challenge of Modernizing Islam: Reformers Speak Out And the Obstacles They Face.


Since Christine Douglass-Williams published her initial notice of her book (the subject of my part one), another Jihad Watch team member (though considerably less utilized by Spencer), Andrew Harrod, published a usefully detailed analytical review of it on Jihad Watch, its title again suggesting a Spencerian neutrality on the question: Islamic Reform: How Firm a Foundation? 

At 105 comments, Harrod's review garnered many more comments from the Civilians of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream than did the first notice published by Christine Douglass-Williams -- and these too reflected a majority view of healthy rejection of the whole premise; again reminding us of the apparent rift between the Civilians and the Leadership of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.

Harrod, like Douglass-Williams, frames the issue as one of remarkable difficulty, not of preposterous impossibility.  And, like Douglass-Williams, he does so whilst deferring to the putative Muslim reformers themselves. Thus he introduces his review by quoting one of them, the female Muslim Shireen Qudosi, and concludes with his description of "the daunting obstacles facing any Islamic doctrinal reform".  Similarly, Harrod notes that Robert Spencer's own forward to the book "reveals in Quran 5:3 a seemingly insurmountable hurdle for Douglass-Williams et al."  Squaring a circle isn't a "daunting obstacle" nor a "seemingly insurmountable hurdle"; it is a practical impossibility. But we won't get that kind of straight talk from Spencer or his team members, apparently.

Harrod goes on to quote Robert Spencer:

Spencer notes that “tension between high hopes and harsh realities runs through these interviews” in Douglass-Williams’ book. Indeed, “not every attentive and informed reader will come away from these pages convinced that every person here interviewed is being in every instance entirely forthright.”

This, as I've said, is typical Spencer fence-riding.  It's almost like he's trying to get as close as possible to dismissing these "reformers" without actually doing so.  What's the point of such an asymptotic particle physics of Counter-Jihad, one wonders?

Moving on.

Harrod then quotes Spencer as describing the interviews Douglass-Williams conducted with the showcased Reformer Muslims as “unique in their probing honesty.”  As I said in part 1, I'll just have to buy the book and read it to see.  That one question -- how well (or, rather, how poorly) were these Reformer Muslims vetted by the interrogatories posed by Douglass-Williams -- would be worth the price, since it is the very crux of the whole thing.  And somehow, I don't trust Spencer's word on how thoroughly these supposedly moderate Muslims were vetted. 

From there, Harrod's analytical review goes on to discuss a tissue of Muslim-Reformer memes, as palpated by various quotes from the book, woven in.  Thus:

Analogous to the recent thinking of the Muslim apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Douglass-Williams’ interviewees distinguish between Islam and Islamism. For Salim Mansur, Islam is a “personal faith, just as to Christians” while Zuhdi Jasser, a “Jeffersonian type of Muslim” who believes “society should be run by reason,” equates Islamism as “interchangeable with the term ‘political Islam.’” Islamists, elaborates Islam scholar Daniel Pipes in a book forward, are “advocates of applying Islamic law in its entirety and severity as a means to regain the medieval glory of Islam.”

(One wonders whether that preposterous phrase, describing Jasser as a “Jeffersonian type of Muslim”, is from the pen of Douglass-Williams.  If so, it would be telling of her capacity, or abysmal lack thereof, to vet these Muslims.)

The reader will note Harrod bringing up the “Islam/Islamism” distinction (and naturally, all these Muslim Reformers traffic in it).  In his next paragraph, he goes on to write (I have transmuted the italicized word ‘is’ into caps since I italicized the entire quote):

Douglass-Williams herself concedes that “normative Islam IS Islamism” and notes the standard objection to any Islam/Islamism dichotomy. “It is often argued that there is no distinction between the words ‘Islamism’ and ‘Islam,’ because Islam is inherently political” as a comprehensive, even totalitarian, belief system encompassing both piety and politics. As Pipes stated to her, an “aggressive Jihadi sentiment, an Islamic supremacist ambition” forms the “hallmark of Muslim life over 1,400 years,” while the Egyptian-American Tawfik Hamid notes that “reformists were killed throughout history.”

So if  Douglass-Williams concedesthis most crucial point, why doesn't she politely rake these supposed Reformers over the coals for indulging in it?  And what does Harrod do at this juncture of his analysis, in unfolding this critical node?  He underscores that point -- that Islam is Islamism -- by adducing the words and experiences of the various Muslim Reformers (and underlined by a judicious quote from both Robert Spencer and that egregiously soft member of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream Leadership, Daniel Pipes).  This is either rather ingenious of Harrod, or simply reflects his own softness on a par approximately with that of Douglass-Williams.  For what this does is imply that there are Muslims -- represented by those showcased in this book promoted by the Counter-Jihad Mainstream -- who are on our side in our increasing dismay, as we learn more and more about Islam.

I would say Harrod's move here is ingenious, since he just got through telling us that these same Reformer Muslims tend to apply the “Islam/Islamism” distinction. So the effect he engenders by unfolding this latent paradox is to imply that these Reformer Muslims have an appetite for freedom of conscience and thought -- i.e., that they have an Inner Westerner inside of them trying to come out -- and that they are thus engaged in a valiant struggle.  Indeed, their valiant struggle is also ours, and we must join them so that we, together, can solve the problem of Islam by reforming Islam (that's the dismaying conversion Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris have undergone). Thus, ingeniously, the words and experiences of these Muslim Reformers, which tend to imply that Islam is Islamism, garner our sympathy and acceptance of their alliance with us against that same Islam; while, at the same time, we forgive them for continuing to cultivate a psychological-cultural attachment to the Islam -- the same Islam we are struggling against -- that remains the meaning of life for them.

This tends to muddy the waters where, rather, the issue should be firmly and assertively clarified, by shining an unforgiving light on these Reformer Muslims and not letting them squirm out of it with anything remotely hinting of sophistry.  And we say this only because we have come to know how appallingly evil and dangerous Islam is (or have  Douglass-Williams, Andrew Harrod, Robert Spencer, et al., still, after all these years, not come to know this...?).

And one assumes -- without yet having read the book -- that Harrod's confusion on this most exigent point reflects the methodology of Douglass-Williams.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Real-Problemerism pierces through to the two Mainstreams

Some of my readers, particularly those who haven't read much else I've written, would immediately say "Huh?" to my title.

Real-Problemerism pierces through to the two Mainstreams

I admit that "Real-Problemerism" is a cumbersome coinage; but I only use it because I can't find a good alternative, other than conspiracy theory.  I hesitate to use the latter because it has a tendency to lurch off the rails into unwanted territory.  At any rate, the "real problem" to which my coinage alludes is the belief that behind the problem of Islam lies a deeper, "real" problem -- some Dastardly Cabal of Evil Leftists (and/or a host of other supposed synonyms, including "Globalists" and "cultural Marxists" and "Gramscians" and.... etc.).

(The "two Mainstreams" to which I refer are the broad Western mainstream and the considerably smaller Counter-Jihad Mainstream.)

So this episode of it that pierced through to the two Mainstreams was reported the other day on Jihad Watch:

READ the memo on globalism and Islamic infiltration that led McMaster to fire its author from NSC 

Typically, Robert Spencer seems to be playing a game where he sorta kinda is supporting what he's reporting (that the memo tells the truth) and yet he's neutral about it.

The memo by Rich Higgins, a staffer of Trump's National Security Council, is a fascinating read.  As I kept penetrating into it by my reading, I experienced myself feeling increasingly dismayed by the Real Problemer tonality of it.  I also found it eerily rational sounding in a Breivikian sort of way. 

Typically, most of the Jihad Watchers were reflexively approving.  One reader, however, had a nicely scathing dressing-down of the whole "memo":


billybob says August 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm

The article was a fascinating read. Though I have previously encountered echos of this dystopian vision many times before, this was the first time I have sat down and read an entire essay on it from end to end.

As I read, it was easy to map onto it many things that I have observed over the past few years. If someone said to me “It looks as if…”, or “It’s like…” and pick any of the observations from the above article, it would be a valid observation. But to put this all together as it is presented is a full-blown, mad gone totally bonkers conspiracy theory. It posits that certain adversaries are working in concert to implement some Cultural Marxist agenda. Who exactly are these “Adversaries”? Going back through the article we can determine exactly who the Enemy is…

the hard left
The establishment those that benefit
this cabal those from within
the “deep state”
The Opposition ([not] limited to Marxists)
Globalists and islamists
Global Corporatists & Bankers
Democratic Leadership
the Republican Establishment
the left aligned with islamist organizations
The economic drivers behind the Marxist and Islamist ideologues
Urban Real Estate
International Banking
certain business cartels in league with cultural Marxists/corporatists/islamists

We are told that “some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including “deep state” actors, globalists, bankers, islamists, and establishment Republicans”.

What I would like to know is how do all these diverse groups coordinate their actions? Where do they all meet and how often? How is the organization structured and financed? Who is in control of this nefarious subversive group? How does one apply for membership? Are there dividends paid out to members? …and finally, how did they bring down the World Trade Centre?

See what I mean? When you pick it apart, it is, thankfully, just another wild conspiracy theory from the Truthers, the kind of thing that you might find on InfoWars. No wonder this cuck was fired!


Naturally, when one Jihad Watcher (whose name I've never seen before -- "WorkingClassPost") objected without really offering any counter-argument -- one of the "Rabbit Pack", one "gravenimage", cheerled him on with an "Agreed", also without offering a shred of a reason why she disagrees with billybob. 

More broadly, if we widen our unduly narrow focus impressed upon us by the likes of Rich Higgins and so many of the Real Problemers in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, this "real problem" as framed so antiseptically by Higgins rather dissolves when reading just one of thousands of works analyzing the West in the past two to three hundred years.  For example,

"Anatole France and Modernist Catholicism", by Herbert L. Stewart, in The American Journal of Theology, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Jan., 1920), pp. 30-45.

Available in pdf format (though the reader may have to go through a hoop or two of registration, but not any appreciable pains).

This work, among thousands of others (for another example, the observations of Heinrich Heine of his surrounding Western culture in the 19th century), would disabuse any but the most resolutely illiterate of the Real Problemer implication that it is not a vast, amorphous socio-cultural phenomenon afoot here, but rather only some Machiavellian manipulation of the West by a shadowy cabal.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Hope against hope...?

Once again, Baron Bodissey, who along with his wife Dymphna helms the anti-Islam blog Gates of Vienna, has written a provocatively salutary essay.  This comes a couple of weeks after another fine essay about which I wrote in two parts (A sunbreak of sense "in the counter-jihad" and A sunbreak of sense "in the counter-jihad" part 2).  If Baron keeps this up, I may have to revise my critiques of his counter-jihad analysis (see, for example, The poisoned fruit of Gnostic alienation, Muslim Taxonomy, Conspiracy-Mongering, and The Wrong Instinct: The case of the Gates of Vienna blog).

The main point of Baron's essay is that the problem of Mohammedans hell-bent to conquer (i.e., destroy) our Western civilization is the #1 problem -- even more pressing than the danger of the Dastardly Cabal of Globalist Elites.  Once again, as with the aforementioned previous essay of his, I was surprised by his deference to the primary problem (Islam), effectively elbowing the "Real Problem" off the front burner.  This, needless to say, did not sit well with many of his readers.

And it didn't help that he framed it in terms of a micro scenario emblematic of a macro phenomenon -- to wit, that any civilization worth its salt must cultivate the virtue of its men defending its women, even if many of its women have become Social Justice Warrior Feminists.

...if you act according to them (or rather, fail to act) by not defending the women of your culture, and if millions of other men make the same decision, then your culture will be conquered by Islam. If you are under 40, it will probably happen within your lifetime.

I don't agree with Baron's timeline here; he makes the same mistake most in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream make, pressing the Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling now.  He, and they, underestimate how formidably sophisticated their own West is, and apparently overestimate how capable the Mohammedans are.  Once we adjust both parameters more reasonably (but still keep in mind the alarmingly systemic and metastasizing problem), it would more likely take Mohammedans a good 100 years to reduce our civilization to rampant disorder -- zones of killing fields, civil unrest, devastating damage to infrastructure, breakdown in civil order, etc. -- tantamount to destruction.

Then in the comments section, Baron goes after the expected demurrers:


You say: “But Cultural Marxists and Feminists must learn the consequences of their subversion.”
Why? Why must they be required to realize that or anything else before you decide to defend our damaged and pitiful civilization from complete destruction?
There will be no more Cultural Marxists after Islam gets through with us. But there will be no more us, either. It will be a thousand years or more before there is any chance of a new beginning, and by then the remnant societies of the West will resemble Yemen.

End quote.

Now, the next comment Baron wrote fleshes out his position a bit further:


Mind you, I can understand what drives so many young men to bitter misogyny these days. I’ve seen how the Mean Girls and narcissists and inflamed SJWs behave in relationships with men of their own generation. I’m very glad not to be a twenty-something man in the year 2017 looking for someone suitable to marry and settle down with and have children by. It’s a nearly impossible task.The foundations of our culture definitely need some serious, fundamental repairs. But not before we take care of the problem of the Ummah. We must deal with that first, or we will be assimilated.
And then there will no longer be anything outside the Ummah.

End quote.

The bolded part pretty definitively distinguishes Baron from (apparently) most of his readers -- because they conceive of the Dastardly Elites as being both too powerful and too evil for us to wait around to do something about (though again, they apparently haven't thought through how "we" could possibly do anything about them, given how supposedly powerful and evil they are).  Perhaps more to the point is that these Dastardly Elites are in fact preventing the West from adequately dealing with the problem of Muslims -- so logically, the former would have to be dealt with before the latter.  Much like if, for example, your house is burning down, but a certain group is preventing you from getting to a phone to call 911.  Before you can call 911 to deal with the primary problem (your house burning down), you have to figure out a way to evade or nullify the group who is preventing you from dealing with the primary problem.  

Thus, a couple of the commenters to Baron's essay wrote:

Wrong enemy. Muslims are INVITED into our lands by Marxists like Barack and Frau Merkel of Karl Marx University. they’re then given goodies and rewards for getting to the nation giving out the most goodies. Marxism has always been the alien within not folks looking for a better life.


The issue is not one of willingness to fight, to take injuries and deal them out in defense of your tribe. The question is one willing to be financially destroyed and go to prison for acting out his “white patriarchy” on some invited guests of the local Marxist establishment in the process of defending his tribe? I’ll pass. If I’m ever to unleash the Kraken, it will be on the treasonous bastards who’ve invited in the enemy.

These two demurrers don't quite hit the Real Problemer nail on the head, though they circle around it (perhaps they are too busy venting their contempt for the Elites).  The point of the Real Problemer argument is that it's the Elites who are preventing Us Ordinary People from defending our civilization from Muslims.  Baron seems to counter (in past remarks -- though he doesn't here) this by saying that the problem of the problem is larger than merely Elites; it embraces perhaps most of Us Ordinary People as well (my above-linked "Sunbreak" essays deal with this).  If it were merely a Dastardly Elite Cabal composed of, say, 1% of the total Western population , arrayed against 99% of We Ordinary People, then We Ordinary People have no excuse for not overthrowing that 1%.  Here, alas, it gets complicated, as the Real Problemers begin going into contortions to save their argument.  Either the Dastardly Cabal is no longer a mere 1% -- but they never get specific about how large it is -- or it is, but then in order to explain how it can wield such extraordinary sway, it is implied that it has such dastardly superpowers, it can hold 99% of the people at bay and in virtual servitude.  The former attempt at a solution founders on a simple-minded Manichean division of The People into the Good Guys and the Evil Leftists, ignoring that Western society is a much more complex stratification of gradations between these two stark poles.  The "Civil War" these types of Real Problemers feverishly envision, then, is mostly a fantasy, at least in its demographics.  That doesn't mean that a Civil War in various parts of the West won't tragically break out (since most sociopolitical tragedies in history seem to have been the result of a devolution of misunderstandings and misperceptions); only that it didn't have to, and countless lives were lost for nothing.

The Baron again:

I have concluded that we don’t have time to drain the Cultural Marxist swamp before we tackle Islam. The Islamization of our countries is simply moving too quickly. 

This seems to contradict BB's more grimly jaded attitude about We The People, who don't seem to be waking up to the problem of Islam in sufficient numbers.  The bolded quote can avoid that problem if he merely means it as a statement of fact -- that Islam simply has to be tackled first if we are to survive; but not expressing any hope that it will be We The People who will eventually wake up and do the job.

Then, however, Baron has an unfortunate spasm of unrealistic optimism:

But if we somehow manage to confront the Mohammedan horde and overcome it, that will reinvigorate our culture and give us a fighting chance against the progressives/globalists.

Not only is it unrealistic optimism in general; it also goes against his many statements expressing grim disappointment with We The People.

Success seems less likely with each passing year, but I still have hope. Unfortunately, I won’t be around to see how it all turns out in the end.

Hope against hope?  That might be all we have...

Monday, August 07, 2017

Squaring the circle of the "Reformist Muslim"

I still plan on a second part to my recent essay, Signs of Intelligent Life on Planet Jihad Watch? -- based upon a second, more detailed (and therefore more useful) review published on Jihad Watch of the new book by Christine Douglass-Williams on the putatively viable prospects of Islamic "reform".

Until then, a brief note on the crux of the whole matter of these Muslim pseudo-Reformers.  What better example than Robert Spencer who, by getting the crux subtly wrong, will help us to highlight a more accurate apprehension of it.

On the occasion of a recent news story about a school in Canada (Ryerson University) cancelling an upcoming speech by one of these pseudo-Reformers, one Tarek Fatah (who, by the by, is one of many such Muslims featured in the above-mentioned book by Christine Douglass-Williams), Spencer pens the following editorial remark:

Tarek Fatah is a paradoxical figure; indeed, he personifies the paradoxes of most moderate Muslims. He speaks out strongly against Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Sharia encroachment in the West, but is extraordinarily concerned at the same to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings.

First, we notice that Spencer here shows no signs of discriminating between the two types of pseudo-"Moderate" Muslims -- what I have called, in many essays over the years, the Good Cop Muslims and the Better Cop Muslims.   Evidently, he can't tell that Fatah is not the standard-issue, garden-variety Muslim whose sales pitch about a "peaceful Islam" which "is against terrorism" is only geared to placate the broader Western Mainstream -- but is rather one of the smaller (but up and coming) minority of Muslim reformers who have fine-tuned their message to sound more daringly critical of Islam.  This deficiency in analysis of the nature of the problem is part of Spencer's problem.

Secondly, we may note that once we factor in that taxonomy (of the pseudo-"Moderate" Muslims), there no longer remains a paradox (as Spencer would say, it -- voilà -- evanesces!).  More specifically, the paradox vanishes as the optical illusion it is when we realize that this "Better Cop" Muslim's target audience is not other Muslims, not the West at large -- but rather, the slowly growing Counter-Jihad.  I.e., we must reasonably assume that Tarek Fatah is lying about one half of Spencer's paradox:

He speaks out strongly against Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Sharia encroachment in the West...

And, of course, we also reasonably assume Tarek Fatah is not lying about the second half of the Spencerian paradox:

...but is extraordinarily concerned at the same to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings.

This would be the Better Cop form of the Islamic style of deceit known as kitman -- telling only half the truth.

As I've noted in my various essays on the Better Cop Muslims, their acrobatic, gymnastic, tap-dancing finesse at trying to sound like they "feel our pain" about the problem of Islam -- whilst at the same time they artfully (and sometimes ingeniously) defend Islam and most Muslims -- takes on various forms, some more subtle and sophistry-cated than others.  And it often goes so far in seeming to be critical of Islam that it actually fools many in the Counter-Jihad.  Some (like Sam Harris with his buddy Maajid Nawaz, or Frank Gaffney with his friend Zuhdi Jasser) just swallow the camelshit like it's watermelon on a hot summer day; others affect a guarded skepticism that however does not go far enough:  "Either Jasser is deceiving us or he's a very confused fellow; I'm not sure what to think..." (I've seen and heard statements like this in various Counter-Jihad Mainstream venues more times than I care to count).

And by the way, such injuries these Better Cop Muslims suffer while they pursue their reformist careers -- as for example when Tarek Fatah is disinvited from a university speech (or when, more slyly, Maajid Nawaz complains about how he is branded as a "racist" for his pseudo-earnest reformism) -- are, we must reasonably assume, calculated to earn them Counter-Jihad Street Cred.

As I (and the fine blogger Logan's Warning) have noted, their target audience -- the Counter-Jihad Mainstream -- continues to exhibit dismaying vulnerability to their wiles.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Qualitative vs. Quantitative
It's not really "versus".  It's a distinction between these two dimensions pertaining to data.

I was expecting to expatiate on this via a podcast, but I'm still weighing whether I want to pay money just to do podcasts.  In the meantime, I'll compose an essay (this one) on this.

Nutshell punch line:  The quantitative list of horrors perpetrated by Muslims is not merely a quantitative enumeration of incidents; it also has a qualitative dimension.  We could have a dry list of "Islamic terror attacks" and if we only list the sheer number of those killed, it would have less impact than if we deepened our information with further details

What is that qualitative dimension?

Well, I'm glad you asked, Pepe.

First off, on the most basic level, the qualitative dimension is aroused by the sheer volume of the quantity.  If our list of Muslim atrocities only had, say, 17 items for the past 100 years, it wouldn't pack much punch, comprende?  Luckily (black humor here), we have thousands (for it is only reasonable to count also all the foiled attempts by Muslims to perpetrate terror). And not only do we have a shitload, but the quantity is increasing, perhaps exponentially (since these are not inanimate events of climate or geology, nor are they the kind of anthropological stats that over a long arc of time balance out to an overall steady state of stability, despite temporary spikes and dips; such as, for example, the incidence of bank robberies or carjackings).

Secondly, the qualitative dimension of the quantitative list of Muslim atrocities includes the factor of ghoulishness -- beheadings, burning alive, horrendous tortures, multiple stabbings, genital mutilations, etc., ad Islamonauseam.

For example, that in the attacks on Paris in 2015, the Muslim attackers not only wantonly slaughtered the men and women in the audience of the Bataclan theater, they also took time out to torture them, including sexual mutilation.  That's not just a mass murder, it's a ghoulish mass murder.

One supposes torture ipso facto is ghoulish; but not necessarily.  Some tortures are less ghoulish than others.  For example, when the U.S. government waterboarded terrorists, that was less ghoulish than when Muslims in various Islamic countries drill into the prisoner's eardrum, or insert red-hot iron needles into eyeballs or up anuses; and so forth.

A third qualitative factor would be the ferocious fanaticism of Mohammedans.  For example, just to pluck two examples from a fez of thousands one could cite in this regard, in the two terror attacks in Kenya in 2016, when not only did the Muslims go around shooting people dead and torturing them, they also put guns to their heads asking them Islamic questions (if they answered incorrectly, they would get a bullet in their head),  In addition, the mass-murderers took prayer breaks to pray one of their five Islamic prayers in the middle of their terror attack, before resuming their torturing and killing.

I could cite hundreds of such examples from the Islamic jihad that has been steadily unfolding in the past 50 years (let alone just the past 15).

Another feature or facet of the qualitative is the systemic nature of the problem -- the mainstream Islamic motivation, the religious-cultural matrix that nourishes and guides it, the industrious global networking, and the grand goal, commanded by their God, of conquering the entire earth.  This cluster of facets requires immersion in the data to appreciate (i.e., a long time of study), a capacity for dot-connection, and an open-minded freedom from PC MC.


With all the qualitiative factors together -- the sheer volume of atrocities, the ghoulishness, the ferocious fanaticism, and the systemic nature binding and galvanizing the whole vortex -- amplifying our quantitative lists of Mohammedan atrocities, Islam becomes recognizable as a uniquely appalling and dangerous ideology, with no other religion or ideology even coming close in our time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Signs of Intelligent Life on Planet Jihad Watch?

Recently at Jihad Watch, a relatively new addition to Robert Spencer's team, a Canadian counter-jihad analyst named Christine Douglass-Williams, published a lengthy notice about her new book touting -- yea heralding -- the viability of Islamic reform.  Its title -- The Challenge of Modernizing Islam: Reformers Speak Out And the Obstacles They Face -- subtly sets up the possibility that Douglass-Williams, like her mentor and boss, Robert Spencer, may be engaging in a ploy to flirt with the theme of reform, while never actually advocating it and, while probing the issue and the enormous difficulties the supposedly reformist Muslims face from fellow Muslims who are more "Islamist", thereby in fact indicating that it is so difficult, it becomes, practically speaking, impossible.  A kind of roundabout, backhanded way of refuting reform while appearing to respect it.

That would be quite clever, even cunning; but it seems unlikely, unless Douglass-Williams is operating in a remarkably Macchiavellian (not to mention deceitful) manner with this theme. I say this because of many quite nougaty-soft statements she has made about Muslims during her tenure at Jihad Watch. I've written here a few times about her, but haven't kept a log itemizing all of her many instances of nougat.

So I put on my Internaut suit, got in my webspace pod, and submerged myself in the comments thread of that above-mentioned Jihad Watch article. As I was bobbing up and down like a moonwalker underwater, swiveling my helmeted head left and right to take in the counter-jihad coral formations, I was pleased to see that the majority of commenters there were not buying the Used Car of Islamic Reform sitting pretty as a bubble-gum-pink Cadillac in the Jihad Watch car lot.  

That's the good news.  However, I can't help but wonder why those Jihad Watchers aren't making more of a stink about this.  They don't have to be rude, but they could show some backbone and tell Spencer's teammate how wrongheaded her approach is.  And if they're capable of putting two and two together, they could wonder aloud at why Spencer is putting people on his team like this.  Sorry, I had a spell for a moment there; I forgot that Jihad Watch comments is largely the reserve of the RSSS (Robert Spencer Sycophants Society).

The long introduction to the book in this Jihad Watch article deserves more scrutiny, for it is a curious thicket of clarity and promise, on the one hand, and incoherence and/or obfuscation, on the other.  The whole piece, and one assumes the whole book it is highlighting, is a sales pitch for Islamic Reform.

Part of the sales pitch includes a blurb from the famous voice of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

With elegance and determination, Christine Douglass-Williams documents a variety of Muslim reformers... courageous men and women [who] should be as well-known as human rights dissidents Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, and Havel were during the Cold War. 

This incidentally, becomes a third piece of evidence marking the dismaying regression of Hirsi Ali from the seemingly stronger stance she used to have; the other two being her uncritical friendship with Maajid Nawaz, and her pointed allusion to Geert Wilders as a potentially worse problem than "Islamism" for the future of Europe. So it may be no wonder that Hirsi Ali so warmly approves of this apparent encomium to this nascent, supposedly growing movement of what we more sober analysts must call ultra-stealth jihad, Islamic Reform.

After the blurbs, Douglass-Williams informs the reader that she will be inserting in her Foreword from the book itself (oddly, that Foreword here and there refers to her in the third person).  She begins that Foreword delving into the hazards for the poor, brave Muslim Reformer, which mainly involves the little snag that in Islam (the same Islam they are trying to reform), they are guilty of treason and so must be killed.

These attempts [at reform] are fraught with peril. As Christine Douglass-Williams notes in this book, “Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, a Sudanese Muslim theologian who argued that the Meccan passages,” which are generally more peaceful, “should take precedence over the Medinan,” which call for warfare against non-Muslims, “instead of the reverse, was executed in 1985 by the Sudanese government for heresy and apostasy.” Some of those profiled in this book know these perils firsthand: “Sheik Subhy Mansour recounted: ‘If these Muslim Brotherhood people had the chance, they would have killed me according to their punishment for apostasy plus they claim I’ll go to hell.’ Tawfik Hamid noted: ‘The reformists were killed throughout history, including those who rejected the Sunnah.’”

This raises the question: why would these poor, brave reformers even want to reform such a thoroughly rotten, pernicious system as Islam?  Would we be lauding a group of German Nazis who want to "reform" Nazism?   And what if these Nazi Reformers insisted that Hitler was a great man, that he has been "misunderstood", that he never waged offensive war on people, and that he never ordered mass murders and tortures?  The analogy here, of course, is the fact that all these "reformers" Douglass-Williams is showcasing adore the evil, deranged Muhammad.  This is a circle which no Muslim "reformer" can square.  So why even ask them to?  And if such German nazi "reformers" wound up being oppressed and killed by the Nazi authorities, would that make their dream of reforming Nazism any less ridiculous or any more plausible?

Next, Douglass-Williams' Foreword moves on to the problem of the False Reformer, the Muslims pretending to be reformers.  As an example of this, she holds up perhaps the gold standard of that category, Tariq Ramadan.  Douglass-Williams appropriately notices this category, and concludes that any vetting of a purported Muslim reformer must ask them tough questions.  She claims she put several Muslim reformers to the test.  That's all fine and dandy, but it all depends on exactly what questions she developed, and whether she backed them up with follow-up questions, for the inevitable likelihood that her interlocutors would try to do tap-dance sophistry in response to the initial questions.  To ascertain all this, I would have to purchase the book and read it.  Perhaps I shall, and report on this in the future.  For now, we may note the steelier alternative: Simply don't bother to try to vett Muslims: by the principle of rational prejudice, simply assume they are all lying, even when -- or rather, most likely when -- they say all the right things to our anxious concerns.

But we see that Douglass-Williams is nowhere near such an epiphany.  In summing up the deception tactics of Tariq Ramadan and how he fools too many in the West, for example, she invokes one of her interview subjects, the Muslim "reformer" Salim Mansur, who commented that “non-Muslims went to the wrong Muslim for an understanding of the faith.”

Begging the question, is there a "right Muslim"?  And what would that right Muslim be, for our purposes, we in the West concerned about human rights, public safety, and the survival of Western civilization in the face of the very same pernicious and toxic Islam which these vetted "reformers" believe is the meaning of life?

It looks like Christine Douglass-Williams has gone out of her way to be fooled by various "Better Cop" Muslims, has swallowed their cleverer moonshine, and now is busy trying to persuade the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (with the help of her mentor and sponsor, Robert Spencer) of their viability.  Like all Counter-Jihadists who show themselves vulnerable to the Better Cop Muslims, they pride themselves on remaining intelligently unfooled by the Good Cop Muslims, which allows them to have their cake and eat it to -- they can maintain their Counter-Jihad Cred while indulging their anxiety (rooted in their ethical narcissism) to avoid "painting all Muslims with a broad brush".  Spencer, in his wily way, is keeping this project at arm's length, allowing it to be delegated to a satellite like Douglass-Williams, thus indirectly supporting it but keeping himself away from any direct support.  In Douglass-Williams' outreach to such Better Cop Muslims, we see now the Counter-Jihad Mainstream bastion, Jihad Watch, going down the same fallacious road we've seen with Sam Harris parterning up with Maajid Nawaz and Frank Gaffney with Zuhdi Jasser.


Another indication of how the RSSS disagrees with Spencer's slant may be massively gleaned by this comment by long-time Jihad Watch commenter, "Wellington", in his lengthy and devastating dismissal of another commenter who recently in a Jihad Watch comments field was trying to sell essentially the same Used Car of Islamic Reform which Robert Spencer's Christine Douglass-Williams was trying to hawk on Jihad Watch during the same week.  And of course we see other Jihad Watchers (including another Jihad Watch veteran "gravenimage") agreeing with and commending Wellington, but not one taking the side of the Used Car Salesman.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A sunbreak of sense "in the counter-jihad", part 2

In part 1, I commended Baron Bodissey of the Gates of Vienna blog for writing an analytical meditation on the Problem of the Problem that went against the grain of the CJM mainstream.  This secondary problem is the problem of the entire mainstream West stubbornly resisting a comprehensive wake-up call about the primary problem, Islam.  Bodissey's essay went against the grain by avoiding any one or platter combination of the usual scapegoats (those Dastardly Elites, those Damned Leftists-cum-Marxists, those Sinister Globalists, the Mainstream Media, Corrupt Politicians, etc.), who are supposed to be the "real problem" behind and beneath the problem of Islam. What these "Real Problemers" are doing, in effect, is reversing the roles of the primary and secondary problem.

Bodissey's avoidance appropriately left the readers hanging in suspense, with a conclusion of sober dismay imbued with agnosticism.  Agnostic about what, exactly?  About why it is that the entire mainstream West (which includes the majority of Ordinary People) remains stubbornly myopic to the problem of Islam.

I predicted that the unusually high volume of comments there (over 160 at last count) would all reflect the "Real Problemer" syndrome.  Well, many did, of course, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  There were other instances of similar silliness -- several commenters, for example, with a straight counter-jihad face defending the proposition that Geert Wilders should not have been elected (one of Bodissey's excellent points was the dismaying trend of The People throughout the West electing, and re-electing, PC MC politicians). These demurrers evidently don't believe the problem of Islam is threatening our Western civilization.

However, not one of the commenters seemed to have registered Bodissey's crux (or "core"): that the Problem of the Problem is much deeper and broader than some Dastardly Cabal of Elites holding our West in thrall as they steer us toward a future Caliphate. Whatever its nature is, we cannot fully explain; but any explanation will have to integrate the dismaying fact that most Ordinary People throughout the West and its satellites, on all sides of the political and social spectrum, remain PC MC about Islam.  At that point, unless the counter-jihadist can show proof that his Dastardly Elites of Choice have a Master Ray-Gun of Brainwashing beaming out rays from their secret Bond-Villain mountain-cave lair causing the vast majority of Ordinary People throughout the West to think and feel this way, he must scrap his Elitistics altogether and go back to the drawing board.

He may also, if he can find a few minutes from his busy schedule of feverishly ranting & railing against said Elites, consult a few of my essays over the years in which I've explored this bedeviling problem, this problem of the problem. And of course, this secondary problem is so broad and deep throughout the West, it cannot but have seeped into the counter-jihad as well -- thus, the problem of the problem of the problem, with its major form or symptom being what I call the "Counter-Jihad Mainstream".

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A sunbreak of sense "in the counter-jihad"

I've had my problems with the Gates of Vienna blog over the years.  While I appreciate their diverse Eurocentric reportage & analysis of the problem of Islam (as I wrote back in 2011, "In defense of the Gates of Vienna blog"), I've noted with increasing dismay the tendency there, both among its readership and among most of their guest writers (if not also the man and wife who run the whole show, "Baron Bodissey" and "Dymphna"), to indulge what I call the "Real Problem" framework.

What I mean by such "Real Problemers" may best be gleaned from my article of the same name. In a nutshell, it is the tendency to allow one's vexation & frustration about the problem of Islam to lead one to divert attention away from Islam onto some supposedly deeper phenomenon, the "real problem" behind it all (and wouldn't you know it, that "real problem" invariably tends to indict one's own West in one way or another).  More on point, one can consult my essay, "The Gates of Vienna Circle".  For an array of other essays of mine touching on the subject, see this Google page.

My morning coffee cup yesterday was therefore rather taken aback when I chanced on a recent essay by Baron Bodissey:  "The Core Problem".  Weary and jaded from years of being disappointed by glaring flaws in counter-jihad analysis in this, that and the other essayist "in the counter jihad", I kept expecting to be bitterly unsurprised by his logic to flow naturally into the "Real Problem".  But it didn't. Bodissey sensibly pursued his meditation to a conclusion left hanging in suspense, rather than find comfort in some scapegoat of a Dastardly Cabal of one sort or another.  And as part of the sense & sensibility thereof, he pointedly by-stepped that common trap in the road, "Leftism".  Even that old bugbear of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, the "Elites", were left uninvoked.

At the time I read it, yesterday morning, it was fresh off the presses, and had garnered only eleven comments.  I had hoped it would attract a little more attention, but I knew from experience that Gates of Vienna's norm is to have very few comments, usually no more than 20, and often like 4 or 5.  So it was a double surprise to click it open again this afternoon, some 24 hours later, and see a whopping 98 comments (update as of July 20: a whopping 124 comments).  Evidently, Bodissey had struck a nerve.  If I were a betting man, though, I'd bet all my savings on the prediction that all of those comments (save the few Bodissey himself may write) will be missing his point and will instead feverishly indulge various permutations of the "Real Problem".

I don't think Baron Bodissey's question admits of a simplex explanation; hence my stabs at answering it over the years here at Hesperado have been far-ranging, complex, and layered, widening the focus out in time by centuries, and expanding beyond such hackneyed terms as "Left" and "Right" (or "Elites" and "the Media").  Even if a reader were to read all of my essays I've written trying to analyze this massive phenomenon (a partial list of which I've collected here), he would not really come away with any "answer" per se.  Because no one has really addressed this problem before to my knowledge, and because the current terminology seems hackneyed and limited, I've opted to call the phenomenon "PC MC" (Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism), and in various essays to probe how deeply and broadly this runs in the West.

A few things about it can be said tentatively to be principles, if not axiomatic:

1) PC MC is a Western phenomenon; it did not come from Neptune, nor is it the province of one faction (Elites, the Left, the Jews, the Globalists, whatever) within the West whom we can scapegoat while ignoring the rest of the West.

2) PC MC, however, has not always been the mainstream fashion of thought ("worldview" may be too much of compliment) of the West, as it obviously has become in our time. The further back in our history one looks, the less of a hold it seems to have had on people's thoughts and feelings.

3) PC MC ought to be measured primarily by how ready, or how unwilling, one is to condemn Islam.  While a whole galaxy of other sociopolitical & cultural issues, some indirectly related to the problem of Islam, others not related much at all to it, may be relevant, at some point in the logic of the analysis it is also important to see the oddity of their irrelevance -- to wit, to see how various types of people on all sides of the sociopolitical spectrum, many of whom may pride themselves on being oh so politically incorrect about other issues, will suddenly fall more or less in lockstep in their agreement to bend over backwards to respect Islam (and/or to respect Muslims -- the problem joined at the hip to Islam).

4) PC MC is not evil.  It is an aberrant outgrowth or mutation out of the relatively healthy nutritive matrix of our Graeco-Roman Judaeo-Christian civilization.  This makes the puzzle more paradoxical, but it helps us to resist the temptation to demonize and oversimplify the problem (not to mention to salvage a West worth saving at all).

See Part 2.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Note to self (re: the Koran)

In the helpful website "YAQUB" (aka, "Yet Another Qur'an Browser"), there are 10 translations of the Koran into English, 6 by Muslims, 4 by non-Muslim Western scholars.

The latter four include A.J. Arberry, who did his translation in the 1950s.  (If this Muslim in this short video is correct about his praise of Arberry as "the first non-Muslim" to give the Koran a fair shake, we have good reason to be suspicious of Arberry's intellectual freedom from PC MC.)

Next, Edward Henry Palmer, a 19th century British linguist and Arabist trained at Cambridge.

In addition to Palmer, we have John Medows Rodwell, another 19th century British Cambrdige fellow, and scholar of Islam.

Finally, the fourth on the list is George Sale, an 18th century British scholar of Eastern and ancient languages.

I recently noted that of all the 10 translations of Koran verse 2:191, the one by Sale is the only one that captures the point brought out by the tafsir (exegesis) of that verse by Ibn Kathir, a Muslim scholar of the 14th century whom Wikipedia informs us is "a highly influential Sunni scholar of the Shaf'i'i school" (the Shafi'i school being one of the four mainstream schools of Sunni Islam, the Islam of over 85% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims).

Sale's rendering is thus:

And kill them wherever ye find them, and turn them out of that whereof they have dispossessed you, for temptation [to idolatry] is more grievous than slaughter: Yet fight not against them in the holy temple, until they attack you therein; but if they attack you, slay them [there]. This shall be the reward of the infidels. 

Note that Sale renders the Arabic word "Al-Fitna" as  temptation [to idolatry].  This is the most apt rendering of that word; a decidedly religious cast to that category of crime.  Yet the other nine translators effectively obfuscate this with their consensus of various renderings that accent a political, as opposed to a religious, tonality to the word:

Pickthall:  "persecution is worse than slaughter"

Yusuf Ali: "tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter"

Shakir: "persecution is severer than slaughter"

Sher Ali: "persecution is worst [sic] than slaying"

Khalifa: "Oppression is worse than murder"

Arberry: "persecution is more grievous than slaying"

Palmer: "sedition is worse than slaughter"

Rodwell: "civil discord is worse than carnage".

[meanwhile, Hilali-Khan, two 20th century Muslim guys who together translated the Koran, choose to leave the word untranslated:  "And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing."]

As I noted above, George Sale is the only translator of that list who captures the point brought out by the tafsir (exegesis) of that verse by Ibn Kathir, a 14th-century Muslim scholar.  This is not to say that the renderings of the other translators are wrong; for it is not incorrect to say that fitnah is tantamount to "tumult", "civil discord" and "oppression" etc. -- in sum, to "disorder in the land". But the crucial point to understand is the Islamic perspective that sees the thought crime of "idolatry" and related forms of blasphemy as the most glaring expression and source of such "discord" and "tumult".

As Kathir is working out his exegesis (relying not only on the Koranic text, but also on the hadiths of Mohammed), going from verse to verse as he approaches verse 191, he seems to make a big deal out of how the principle at work there is that Muslims should not fight & kill except when attacked first.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  That's the usual response from a Muslim apologist (and often of their Useful Idiots in the West) whenever someone in a discussion or debate points out the injunctions to violence in the Koran.

Now, in doing so, Ibn Kathir is merely spelling out what the Koran says up to the point of verse 191 (supplemented by various hadiths).  He even goes so far as to disagree with certain scholars who argue that "the first Ayah about fighting that was revealed in Al-Madinah [whereby Mohammed] used to fight only those who fought him and avoid non-combatants" was abrogated by the later, infamous "Verse of the Sword" (9:5):   "then kill them wherever you find them".  By contrast, Ibn Kathir goes on to argue that 9:5 does not confute other verses in that same chapter, to the effect that it "applies only to fighting the enemies who are engaged in fighting Islam and its people."  He concludes: "So the Ayah means, `Fight those who fight you',"

Following that, Ibn Kathir spends a short page further amplifying this, by also noting an injunction to "not transgress limits" during warfare (by "mutilating the dead, theft (from the captured goods), killing women, children and old people who do not participate in warfare, killing priests and residents of houses of worship, burning down trees and killing animals without real benefit)." 

Then, still doing exegesis of the Koran, he immediately segues into the unmistakably explicit affirmation that "Shirk is worse than murder."  For those readers who still don't know, nearly 16 years after 911, what shirk means, the common definition sounds rather stilted and archaic: "to associate partners with Allah".  Massaging this a bit, we can say that shirk means "polytheism".

However, even "polytheism" doesn't quite capture it. A closer study of Islam yields a subtler, broader definition -- basically, that shirk is any reliance for informing our meaning of life, our worldview, and our sociopolitical existence with any source other than, and not including, Allah and His Prophet. Thus, for example, when modern Western nations invoke as a source of their laws merely human intelligence, vaguely amplified by tradition and "natural law", they are committing shirk.  And recall what Ibn Kathir affirmed, which he drew from the Koran and the hadiths of Mohammed:  "Shirk is worse than murder."  And on this same page, Ibn Kathir makes the clear equivalence of shirk and fitnah, by concluding:

(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) "Shirk (polytheism) is worse than killing.'' 

(Note: that parenthetical "polytheism" is likely the interpolation of the translator or editor of Ibn Kathir's tafsir.)

The significance of this equation of shirk and fitnah is then amplified further by the thematic thread that runs through chapter 9 of the Koran -- the most warmongering chapter -- namely, that Jews and Christians are mushrikoon, practitioners of shirk, and that their shirk consists of their thought crimes, their beliefs (in Christianity's case, the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus; in the Jewish case, the supposed divinity of Ezra).

And remember:  "Shirk is worse than murder."


This elevation in Islam of the thought crimes of shirk and fitnah to a status more pernicious even than physical killing, coupled with the obligation to fight and kill against the "disorder" they constitute, cuts to the very heart of the raison d'être of Islamic terrorism, and of its broader, deeper framework of jihad.

Friday, July 14, 2017

What kind of people are "in the counter-jihad"? The case of Nidra Poller.
Three photos of the knuckle-dragging, right-wing Neanderthal racist bigot Islamophobe, Nidra Poller

The way that people (let's limit it to the hundreds of millions of Western people) who are "in the mainstream" seem to imply it, counter-jihad people must be knuckle-dragging right-wing Neanderthal racist bigot Islamophobes.

A relatively minor (but conscientious) expenditure of time would disabuse any but the most obtusely dogmatic politically correct multi-culturalist of that crotchet.  Such an expenditure might well run across, for example, Nidra Poller:  A Jewish woman born in the U.S. in 1935 (Jessup, Pennsylvania), who in 1972 decided to pull up roots with her children and move to Paris, France.  Already a novelist, journalist and French translator by then, she also became in her new home a Francophile in earnest (an experience no doubt deepened by the years spent there -- indeed decades -- to this day, at age 82).  Let's let her describe a window into her personality and worldview, quoting this excerpt from an extended journal of her life titled Betrayed by Europe: An Expatriate's Lament, published beginning in 2004:

When I look back at my reasons for leaving the United States for France in 1972, some seem to me as outmoded—and, in retrospect, as endearing—as Beatles haircuts and Vietnam-war protests. Others stubbornly persist. In any event, my career as a serious American novelist having been short-circuited, I opted for the improbable exploit of becoming a writer in French and a professional translator, and I succeeded. I am long settled in Paris; the three youngsters I brought there, tucked under my free-flying wing, are mature adults with fast-growing children of their own. We have excelled in flexibility, risen to every challenge, transformed somewhat slapdash beginnings into a harmonious whole.

. . .

I used to run back to the U.S. for visits of ten days, just to see my family. Then I would return to my true love, Paris, and to my real life. That delicious sweet buttery butter, the perfect bread, our local open-air market. I loved the proportions: the distance on foot necessary to buy food for a day or two, eating all you could carry and nothing more, holding the whole country in the palm of your hand, all of it reachable by clean, modern, relatively inexpensive public transportation. I loved speaking French, couldn’t wait to get back to it, loved my favorite boutiques, my fashionable clothes, my daily elegance.

There must be something adulterous about my relation to countries. I had a native land familiar as family, no language problems, my rightful place. I needed another country, a lover who would carry me off to adventure. I came back to my European origins, flourished in a European framework, delighted in making the exotic familiar. 

I never thought of myself as an expatriate; I’d let my American identity slip away while retaining the free-floating grace of being a foreigner. Instead, I’d been a “European,” picking up after a brief interruption not exactly where my family had left off—not Budapest, not Przemysl, those were places we would not go back to—but Europe and all it could boast of. Beautiful cities that are really lived in, monuments at every street corner, savoir faire, craftsmanship, savoir vivre, boutiques, refinement, manners, health care, free education, history, French windows and parquet floors.

And so forth.  But we haven't gotten to why she titled these reflections a "lament":

And now, my sincere affection betrayed, I am unforgiving.

What happened?

Islam happened.  And as usual when Islam happens in our time, it is not a single event or shock (though that can be a symptomatic signal spurring the individual who may "become counter-jihad"" to begin his or her odyssey of awakening, or rather, deepening what began as a rude awakening); it is a protracted chain of events, seemingly disconnected (to those who "lack the mental pencil", as Hugh Fitzgerald put it, of connecting the dots), often not recognized as an overall, meaningful pattern until later in the stream of the process.  Poller's journal goes into this at great length, unfolding the complex, subtle, horrifying problem in layers.  I quote now only one of the more pointed passages:

Jews are being persecuted every day in France. Some are insulted, pelted with stones, spat upon; some are beaten or threatened with knives or guns. Synagogues are torched, schools burned to the ground. A little over a month ago, at least one Jew was savagely murdered, his throat slit, his face gouged with a carving knife. Did it create an uproar? No. The incident was stifled, and by common consent—not just by the authorities, but by the Jews.

Some Jews are simply frightened; they are reluctant to take the subway, walk in certain neighborhoods, go out after dark. Others, clearly identifiable as Jews, are courageous and defiant. Many, perhaps the majority, show no outward signs of Jewishness and do not seek to know the truth about the rampant and increasingly violent anti-Semitism all around them. If you are Jewish but do not defend Israel or act too religious or look too different, you are not yet a target—so why insist on monitoring the danger when daily life is so delicious?

And the lies so tantalizing. A thick, hand-knit comforter of prevarication spreads itself over the French population. Every morning, instead of waking people up, the press tucks them in. France has become a nation of sleepwalkers. You sense it with particular sharpness after a visit to the U.S. How is anyone to face the truth about anything when the truth is hidden by 19th-century-style posturing, pretentious humanitarian hoodwinking, and low-down village tomfoolery?

Poller wrote these distressing words in 2004; it has only gotten alarmingly worse in the ensuing 13 years since then -- as she herself knows all too well, being one of the few journalists to do her job reporting with due diligence (something our mainstream media tends to avoid) the gruesome torture and murder in Paris of a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi by a gang of 22 Muslims in 2006, and then more recently probing the disturbing questions about the ghoulish torture and murder by a Muslim man of an elderly Jewish lady, Sarah Halimi (a coincidence? or is that name so common among Jews?), while in between there was the Merah massacre in southern France in 2012, which Poller describes thusly:

. . . Muhammad Merah, who assassinated three paratroopers of fellow North African origin—Abel Chennouf, Imad Iban Ziaten, and Muhammad Legouade—and then on March 19, executed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Aryeh and Gavriel, and 7-year-old Miriam Monsonego at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. A surviving soldier, Loic Liber, is a tetraplegic while student Bryan Aaron Bajoui is recuperating from critical chest wounds and the shock of witnessing the murders.

Because Merah killed both Jews and apparent Muslims (in fact one of his Maghrebi victims was Christian), the crime could not be termed as purely anti-Semitic. The fact that he was a run-of-the-mill punk rather than a wildly deranged one-of-a-kind killer raised no alarms in the public mind: Ominously, a striking increase in attacks against Jews following Merah's jihadist operation showed that a very broad swath of the French Muslim population is both radicalized and activated.[7]

Not to mention at least four other monstrous episodes that have wrenched and clawed at the precious fabric of French society in recent years:  the Charlie Hebdo massacre in early 2015; the horrifyingly worse Paris massacre and related attacks on the same day later that same year; the beheading of a priest and terrorizing of his flock at his small, sleepy church in Normandy by two Muslims in 2016; and that same summer, the devastating slaughter of over 80 men, women and children celebrating Bastille Day in the lovely seaside city of Nice, France, by a Muslim plowing through them while driving a truck (and also shooting out his driver window). Over 200 additional men, women and children were injured by his vehicular jihad, some seriously mangled. How many of my readers will pause to consider what it takes for a human being to do such an insanely psychotic act, what hellish degree of religious fanaticism has to infuse such a Satanic orgy of mass murder.  And almost as bad (or is it worse, I can't tell anymore) is the mass neurosis of denial running through the West about all this.

At least we have a growing, albeit still minuscule, nucleus of knuckle-dragging right-wing Neanderthal racist bigot Islamophobes to be the conscience of the West; in this epochal regard still a flickering flame that, alas, may not last nor fan out into the public conscious in time, before Mohammedans succeed to extinguish it before this 21st century ends.