Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Together facing the new totalitarianism

Mr. Rushdie and 11 other international intellectuals have published the following manifesto in the french weekly magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

This manifesto is a very welcome addition to the debate. Many of these 12 intellectuals are of Muslim origin. Many are living a life in hiding.

Read the manifesto and a small description of the intellectuals in Jyllandsposten (fitting I think).

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.



At 1/3/06 04:55, Blogger JMJ said...


"Obscurantism" is the word I was looking for when crying foul against the "excessive volume" commenters in the BJ comments section.

However, what I really like is that it can be used in an expanded capacity beyond just "an excessive volume of information".

Did you notice that the last word in the manifesto is:


I just went through this exact thing earlier tonight in a mussie blog that was doing exactly this. I finally had to reduce the discussion to just one question to regain the focus of the original point of contention.

And no, it was not the verse question.

Slowly but surely we are improving the accuracy of our artillery onto our targets. But with an internet application. :)

At 1/3/06 11:28, Blogger von Schlichtningen said...


Yes I noticed. It is a forceful article with some interesting and good terms.

- religious totalitarianism
- hate preachers
- liberticidal and unegalitarian world
(I have never seen liberticidal before)
- reactionary ideology
- our century should be one of Enlightenment
and my favorite
- « cultural relativism »
together with
- obscurantism

I think this manifesto will impress many people.

At 1/3/06 11:59, Blogger JMJ said...

Yes, you have pointed out some more words or phrases that will need to be studied more on my part. Interesting stuff!

Nothing like "stirring the cartoon pot" a little more to keep the key ingredients of the soup from settling to the bottom.

Did you see Paul B.'s recent article on BJ called "Missing the Point". I will predict there will be over 100 comments on this article before it gets lost "below the fold".

I wish I did not have to go to work today. I would love to follow this thread as well as think more carefully about Paul's view. Although my first instinct, if I understand his concept correctly, is I am pro-secular. Yet I do like to consider myself to be a very spiritual person.

I just think the separation of church and state, both in governance and in society as whole, needs a firewell between them. Otherwise, one goes from one slippery slope to another slippery slope, just with different names (Islam to Christianity).

At 1/3/06 15:16, Blogger freedom said...

Awww just saw this article on Michelle Malkin's blog... I'll put it on mine too :)

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