Hold it, dude freedom of religion? Sullivan, the
big Catholic, surely must know about the widespread persecution
of Christians, particularly Catholics, since the Hindu nationalists
came to power in 1996. That year, the United Christian Forum
for Human Rights documented over 120 attacks on Christians
wave of murders,
and other outrages has increased exponentially ever since
Interior Minister L. K. Advani, a Hindu hardliner, took his
journey" from a Hindu temple in Gujarat province
to Ayodhya, alleged to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity
Rama. Like Mussolini's march on Rome, Advani's journey was
the signal for the beginning of a new era in the politics
of the subcontinent, marking the rise of militant Hindu-fascism
as the dominant political force. The Hindu fundamentalist
Party (BJP) quickly grew from a fringe group, with 2 seats
in Parliament, to the biggest party on the Indian scene. Advani's
march on Ayodhya culminated
in the demolition of a mosque there, and coincided with the
launching of a program dedicated to "saffronizing"
might think that the term "Hindu-fascism" is as
much an overstatement as its antipode, "Islamo-fascism,"
which we have heard so much about lately from Sullivan, Christopher
Hitchens, and the pro-war crowd. Yet what else are we to make
of the BJP's official slogan, "One Nation, One People,
One Culture" eerily similar to that
of the German Nazis? In this context, should we be surprised
by the news that a Hindu priest recently sacrificed an 8-year-old
boy to the god Shiva,
known as "the Destroyer," by
chopping off his head?
WAR ON CHRISTIANITY
US State Department's 1999 human rights report slammed New
Delhi for encouraging "increasing societal violence
against Christians.'' The report also singled out the BJP
and allied Hindu-fascist groups for instigating mob attacks
on priests, missionaries, and Christian pilgrims.
And things aren't getting
any better: the recent declaration by Bajrang Dal, a Hindu group
associated with the BJP, announced that "Christians [are]
now bigger enemies than Muslims." Dharmendra
Sharma, the Bajrang Dal's fuehrer, "declared that
his organization was ready to fight wherever church institutions
were active," according to the Times of India. "We are prepared
to use violence," said Mr. Sharma. "There is no
Indian government itself acknowledges
the problem, although not it's severity indeed,
the BJP and its allies in the governing coalition downplay
the increasingly numerous attacks, although that is getting
harder to do. According to Vijayesha Lal, who monitors human
rights abuses against Christians in India:
some areas, it's
out in the open sometimes it's very subtle. Persecution
in India is at different levels. Sometimes, it's direct persecution,
mob violence, breaking of churches, burning of Bibles, physical
violence, even murders. On the other hand there is persecution
by the official machinery. Using laws, regulations that
are against Christians."
and rhetorical hate directed at Christians, and against
Catholics in particular,
is on the upswing in India: oddly, this doesn't seem to bother
Sullivan, who only needs to know that India, like Israel,
"must be unequivocally supported." If this was a
wave of gay-bashing, the openly gay Sullivan who manages
to find a gay rights angle in practically everything, even the present
war might find it harder to overlook. The Indians
are doing everything but nailing priests to crosses, and yet
the supposedly Catholic Sullivan has the gall to praise them
for "allowing" religious freedom. Not since the
days of Walter
Duranty, the infamous pro-Communist New
York Times journalist who reported that Stalin's gulag
was a workers' paradise, has such intellectual dishonesty
flaunted itself so boldly.
the real question is: why the blatant hypocrisy? The answer
is contained in the rest of Sullivan's screed:
play footsie with either country now, to do anything but provide
extremely clear public support, would deeply undermine the
integrity of our own struggle against this destabilizing evil.
I see no evidence that the administration has done anything
but back both countries but for a while there, I had real worries that the same kind of moral equivalence that we falsely
ascribe to Israel and the PLOHamasHizbollah was one we were
beginning to apply to India and Pakistani-sponsored terrorist
groups. I'm with India on this one, and am glad they pushed
this principle to the brink of warfare to get their message
and frauds are always betrayed by their style, which invariably
gives them away, and Sullivan demonstrates that principle
here in spades. "PLOHamasHizbollah" that
he runs all these separate words together should give the
perceptive reader a clue that important lines are being deliberately
blurred. Particularly invidious is Sullivan's equation of
Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf with the PLO and Palestinian
groups like Hamas and Hizbollah.
Arafat, Musharraf is a head of state, one who has cooperated
fully with Washington in the hope that this would be, in his
phrase, a war that is "short and sweet." This was
done, and is still being done, at considerable
risk of destabilizing Musharraf's own precarious position.
Furthermore, Musharraf came to power with covert US support,
in order to
prevent Pakistan from sliding into chaos and creating
the conditions for the triumph of a Taliban-like regime. So
Sullivan is not merely lying, here, but standing the truth
on its head.
from the rhetorical sleight-of-hand Sullivan tries to pull
off here, what's interesting is that his pairing of India
with Israel is no mere rhetorical flourish. Jane's
Defense Weekly has reported some details of the Indo-Israeli
axis, including cooperation on a wide range of projects:
the erection of electronic fencing around the disputed Kashmir
region, the provision of nuclear-armed submarines with advanced
missiles. Israel's recent
sale of an Israeli Phalcon airborne warning and control
system (AWACS) to India is an important addition to the arsenal
of Hindu-fascism, and not only militarily.
AWACS deal formalizes an increasingly intimate Indo-Israeli
military and economic
alliance, one that has lately grown to include
Taiwan. As I pointed out in my
New Year's column, India and Israel have a lot in common:
not only a mutual hatred of Islam, but also an expressed
willingness to use nuclear
KIND OF DUMMY
stilted tone of Sullivan's pro-India pronouncement, which
bears all the earmarks of the worst sort of political writing,
is so much unlike his other writing that it stands out as
oddly inexplicable. Sullivan, a big fan of George Orwell,
is surely aware of Orwell's classic essay on "Politics and the English
Language," in which the author of 1984 describes
the degeneration of political writing in his day:
our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad
writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be
found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his
private opinions and not a 'party line.'
of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style.
The political dialects … are all alike in that one almost
never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech.
When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically
repeating the familiar phrases bestial atrocities,
iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world,
stand shoulder to shoulder one often has a curious
feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some
kind of dummy."
the imposition of a "party line" destroys what makes
a writer convincing: it puts blinders on someone whose job
it is to see and describe what he is seeing. But what "party"
are we talking about here? Surely not the Democrats or Republicans,
nor any third party with a place on the ballot, but one, rather,
that wields a powerful and often decisive influence in both
major parties: the Israel lobby, or, as Pat Buchanan unforgettably
dubbed it, Israel's "amen corner" in the US. Sullivan
makes sure he always shouts "Amen!" the loudest.
In his view, Israel can do no wrong.
along with the Christian fundamentalists whom he despises,
that nation's government has no more loyal advocate than Sullivan:
he even beats out Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in his willingness
to suspend all critical thinking when it comes to Israel.
That is why his writings on the subject are so dully unconvincing,
and so unlike his usually thoughtful style. It's also why
he is perfectly willing to overlook the ongoing persecution
of his Catholic and Christian brothers at India's hands
and even to praise them for their alleged religious tolerance!
ME THE EMAILS
example of Andrew Sullivan will, I hope, shut up the crazed
anti-Semites who continually send emails berating me for not
specifically denouncing a "Jewish conspiracy." According
to their perfervid epiphanies typed, it seems, in nearly
all CAPITAL LETTERS and cluttered! with! exclamation! points!
Jews control the media, and indeed are the media. As a British gay Catholic
with an upper-crusty accent, Sullivan is about as far from
being an Elder of Zion as you can get, and yet his is an influential
voice which, added to the others, amounts to a sort of chorus.
When Israel's government announces a new policy initiative,
they all shout "Amen, brother!" without a thought
as to what effect it will have on their own country.
to precisely which
country the cosmopolitan Sullivan owes his real loyalties
he's an expatriate Brit who's now taken up residence
in America I wouldn't venture a guess. But from his
comments not only in this instance but consistently down through
the years, I would say that the first letter quite possibly
begins with an 'I' and I don't
nice, of course, when one's extraterritorial loyalties coincide,
and so no one is exactly surprised that one
Tunku Varadarajan, of the Wall
Street Journal, should aver that, while Pakistan's alliance
with the US is "mercurial," India, on the other
hand, is a "truer kind of ally, one whose support for
any war on Islamic terror is not opportunistic, but instinctive
and philosophical." This, of course, is the same "philosophy"
that drives howling mobs of Hindus to wreck Christian churches,
burn mosques, and purge the land of anyone or anything that
has not been sufficiently "saffronized." As India's
rulers hold a nuclear sword of Damocles over Pakistan, their
missiles within range of where thousands of US troops are
stationed, fellow travelers of Hindu-fascism are to be found
in the highest circles of elite opinion an Amen Corner
whose motives and methods are dishonest, and downright sinister.
irony is that the activities of this Indo-Israeli alliance
and their US fifth column conflict with announced US war aims,
forcing Pakistan to withdraw
troops from the Afghan border in order to meet the threat
from India's massive troop mobilization. It's funny, but these
same people Sullivan and Varadarajan are always
so quick to point out how critics of US policy are "undermining
the war effort," yet in this case they are the ones subverting a decisive American victory. But, then
again, if Osama slips through the US-Pakistani net the war
will not only continue indefinitely but will immediately escalate
which is just what the Amen Corner wants. For that
would pit the US and Israel, allied with India, in a war against
the entire Middle East, a conflagration in which we can only
lose and only
our ostensible "allies" have anything to gain.
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