The politically correct Lucy van Oldenbarneveld meets Tarek Fatah....
Yesterday, I went to see Tarek Fatah speak at the Writers Festival in Ottawa about his new book, "The Jew is Not My Enemy".
He was terrific, to say the least. Funny, serious, and resolute in his defense of western values and the enlightenment. Scathing about radical Islam and pissed off that far too many people on the left don't see the threat.
However, after his opening 15 minute talk, he then sat down for a discussion with Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, a CBC reporter.
She was horrible.
First Question: What's wrong with women wearing a burka and other coverings?
Tarek answered that this was unacceptable for women to walk around in tents and that the thought process behind it was repugnant. Lucy's second question was well, only a about one hundred women wear them, so why all the fuss. Fatah replied that you wouldn't accept 100 people being kept as slaves -and that even one person being kept as a slave would be one too many.
Lucy wouldn't give up. The next question was still on the same topic....perhaps we should recognize the courage these women have to wear the burka and show their independence.
By this time, Fatah was livid.
Van Oldenbarneveld decided to go on another tack - and the question was on Islamophobia in Canada. Fatah answered with a long list of Muslims who
have been elected to public office, and who have high positions in government, etc.
He wondered....where is all the Islamophobia??
She countered with a question about whether Muslims feel threatened because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and threats against Iran.
Fatah answered that Muslims are killing Muslims in Pakistan, and that hundreds of thousands have died in Darfur. That's real Islamophobia.
Not to be deterred, Lucy shot right back with a question about Islamophobia in Europe, and after Fatah answered that question, she came right back with a question about Islamophobia in Germany.
I think she asked five questions about Islamophobia.
Remember, Fatah's book was on Muslim anti-semitism! But, not one question on that at all. Perhaps she hadn't read the book.
Her last question of the day - well, back to the burning issue of the burka and once again whether we can admire the independence of women who want to and who choose to wear the burka.
Throughout it all, Tarek Fatah was excellent. He was adamant that we have nothing to apologize for in the west. He also said that many in the left seem to have abandoned their 'liberal' principles, and that many conservatives have now taken up
these principles. As somebody who is left of centre, the abandonment of enlightenment positions by people like Jack Layton is profoundly disappointing.
I hadn't realized that Fatah was a longstanding member of the NDP, but he left when he saw a member of Hezbollah take a senior position in the party.
During the question period, once women got up and was clearly very anti-Israel. Well, you could just see Lucy brighten right up! She allowed her to ask 3 questions...and, by the last anti-Israel question (what's wrong with calling Israel an apartheid state?), Fatah just blasted her.
But wait, there's more! Lucy and one questioner insisted that honour killings were just crimes of passion, and that all communities - Jewish and Christian - suffer through such crimes. Fatah was patient - he explained that the typical honour killing consisted of a family sitting down and planning out a murder - at the dinner table - and that this was hardly a crime of passion.
So, there you have it. Rather than actually question Fatah on his book on Muslim anti-semitism, Lucy van Oldenbarneveld turned the afternoon into a seminar on political correctness - and making Fatah's point that we in the west are weak-kneed about defending our values.
One last thing. Buy Tarek Fatah's book. In fact, buy two and give one away.