Kuvablogi: Wittenberg

Tein pikku reissun Wittenbergiin katselemaan uskonpuhdistuksen 500:nnen juhlavuoden meininkiä. Vaiherikas menomatkani opetti minulle ainakin, että ei kannata lähteä yksin ulkomaille.

Vanha kaupungintalo

Kaupunkikuva oli siisti ja huoliteltu. Wittenbergin tori ja vanha kaupungintalo. Marktplatz und das Alte Rathaus.

Linnankirkko

Kuuluisa linnankirkko, jonka oveen Luther naulitsi 95 teesiä. Kyllä, näin myös sen oven! Schlosskirche.

Muotokuvat

Ikoninen Martti Lutherin muotokuva Lutherin kotimuseossa. Myös vaimo Katharinan kuva on alkuperäinen 1500-luvulta.

Lutherin kotimuseo

Ensin se oli luostari, uskonpuhdistuksen jälkeen Lutherin koti, ja Lutherin kuoleman jälkeen rakennus kuului yliopistolle. Nyt se on maailman suurin reformaatioaiheinen museo. Suosittelen, siellä riitti katseltavaa! Lutherhaus.

Mainokset

Liiman poistaminen muovista

Viimesyksyisellä Espanjan-matkallamme seurueemme oli huolissaan loisista. Keksimme muka hienon ratkaisun eli tilkitsimme matkalaukun vetoketjun teipillä. Valitettavasti kyseessä oli ruma ruskea pakkausteippi, joka jättikin sitten jälkeensä ruman ruskean liiman. (Lutikoita ei toki tullut ei-toivottuina matkamuistoina.) Kaiken kukkuraksi matkalaukku oli lainassa isältäni, eikä sitä tuossa kunnossa voisi palauttaa!

Miten teipin liiman saa irti pehmeää muovia olevasta matkalaukun saumasta? Erittäin hankala materiaaliyhdistelmä. Ratkaisun tarjoaa kuvaavasti nimetty How to Clean Stuff.net -sivusto.

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Liimainen matkalaukun sauma.

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Kostuta liima ”hankausalkoholilla”. Kotoani sattui löytymään isopropyylialkoholia, jota sitten käytin pumpulilla levittäen, vaikken tiennyt, mitä sivuston mainostama ”rubbing alcohol” tarkoitti. Wikipedia kertoo, että sillä voidaan tarkoittaa juurikin isopropyylialkoholia. Isopropyylialkoholia eli isopropanolia saa ainakin apteekista. (Varo aineen myrkyllisiä höyryjä.)

Vaihtoehtona alkoholin käytölle mainitaan saippuavesi. Se ei kuitenkaan sovi tällaiselle mulle-kaikki-heti-nyt-ihmiselle, koska liiman pitäisi antaa liota useita tunteja. Alkoholia käytettäessä voidaan edetä välittömästi seuraavaan työvaiheeseen.

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Irrota kostutettu, pehmitetty liima pois kuivalla, pehmeällä pyyhkeellä. Käytin vanhasta tyynyliinasta tekemääni räsyä.

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Se toimi! Kiitos, internet!


Robert Spencer: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)

Published in 2005, The Politically Incorrect guide to Islam is still amazingly current in 2017. If one were to judge the book by its cover, one would presume it to be sensationalist and provocative. The contents are, however, more civilised than the tabloid-like cover. The author, Robert Spencer, has done a good job referencing relevant source material. The book is probably not very balanced, but the author does make some concessions to Islam’s side of the story, even when he would get away with presenting Islam in a more negative light. It’s important to point out that writings more amenable to Islam are surely also biased (reversely), but this bias isn’t routinely called out because it conforms to political correctness.

Islamic terrorism was a grave concern to many in 2005 already. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam made many important points and taught me several new things. Where to start?

Deus vult

Not only alt-right slogan: Deus vult can be found in many places, including this book’s dedication page.

What is Islam?

In the Finnish education system, different religions are studied in both junior and senior secondary school. They are all shown in a politically correct, positive light to promote tolerance. This is where my first knowledge of Islam comes from.

Islam was founded some 1,400 years ago by Muhammad, considered a prophet in the religion. What’s new to me is the detailed biography of the prophet himself. ”Prophet of War,” as the first chapter’s provocative title says. Interestingly, Muhammad fought in tribal wars before his religious revelations in A.D. 610. Later, he turned against his own tribe (the Quraysh) for not accepting his new religion. The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, gives justification for waging religious war. Spencer writes that the Qur’an verses that justified the early Muslims’ attacks against the Quraysh led to the general Islamic principle that defending the religion overrides different moral standards. Later, the Qur’an permitted the Muslims to breach a treaty with the Quraysh in Islam’s interest, for example.

Muhammad went on to share his faith to other tribes. This sharing was eventually violent in nature. With the rejection of Islam by Jewish tribes, Muhammad eventually commanded, ”Kill any Jew that falls into your power.” He had a Jewish civilian assassinated for mocking Muslims. And there’s much more. None of this was told in school.

Muhammad’s aspirations to spread Islam and collect war booty are supported by the Qur’an every step of the way. The Qur’an promises great things to every faithful Muslim. The ones that fall in jihad are taken to Paradise to be served by beautiful ”voluptuous women”—and even ”young male servants handsome as pearls well-guarded,” to please men of different proclivities. Tendentious Islamic teachings bring about a most interesting perspective: that Islam isn’t a mere religion, but a self-empowering ideology built to subordinate the entire world under its power. Islam, ”submission.”

Islam’s nature as more than a religion is obviously not a novel thought. Some commentators speak about ”political Islam” in contrast to religion-only Islam, but there isn’t really any ”non-political Islam” to begin with. As Spencer illustrates in his Politically Incorrect Guide, the religion orders shari’a system to be established in all societies. There’s no separation of religion and state, on the contrary.

The Crusades as defensive wars

Apologists of Islam constantly refer to the Crusades to demonstrate that Islam isn’t any worse than Christianity. They may even claim that the entire conflict between Islam and Christianity started from the Crusades. Spencer argues that this is all just a PC myth.

Spencer recounts the historical background of the Crusades up to the detail and attempts to make a case against Islam-victimizing historical interpretations.

Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in 1095 appealing to the fact that without defensive action ”the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked” by Muslim forces. Read the book for a detailed account of centuries of persecution by Muslim tyrants in Jerusalem and elsewhere.

Some of the more ignorant Islam-friendly political commentators have dismissed news about modern-day persecutions of Christians in the Middle East by claiming that Muslims were there first. This obviously contradicts clear historical facts. As Spencer explains, before the Crusades, Muslims had already conquered over two thirds (!) of the Christian world (including parts of Europe). We think about the Middle East and Northern Africa as Islamic areas, but they were originally Christian. And while Christianity was in its early days spread by word of mouth by persecuted believers, later Islam would be spread by sword, and the believers were themselves the persecutors.

The Christians’ three options under Islamic rule

This is what an unbeliever can traditionally choose from under Islamic rule:

  1. Convert to Islam.
  2. Pay the jizya, a tax for non-Muslims.
  3. Die.

The Christians or Jews deciding to keep their faith and pay the tax would be treated as second-class citizens. They would be forbidden from telling Muslims about their faith. They would also be forbidden from constructing churches. They might even be forbidden from wearing certain kinds of clothing reserved for Muslims. The collecting of the jizya tax used to be a humiliation in itself: the unbeliever may be hit on the head or neck, and up to the 20th century, he would be held by the beard and struck on cheeks.

The aforementioned three choices are today presented to Christians in ISIS-controlled areas, according to a news article. In mainstream Islamic countries, several aforementioned restrictions for unbelievers are in place, such as the prohibition to proselytise. In Saudi Arabia, religions other than Islam are completely forbidden. Recently in Indonesia, a Christian politician was imprisoned because he said that Muslims are allowed to vote for him.

Historically, the poor treatment of non-Muslims in Muslim-conquered lands combined with the jizya contributed to the majority of people converting to Islam.

Were the Crusades worth it?

Spencer admits that looking at the Crusades’ objectives, they failed miserably. Yet he points out that the Crusades managed to slow down the Muslim forces’ attempts to conquer Europe, and this may have been decisive for Europe remaining Christian.

Would Muslim conquest of Europe have been so bad? Another PC myth states that diverse religions have peacefully coexisted under Islamic rule. Spencer claims that history testifies how Islamic rule has decayed other religions, such as Zoroastrianism and Nestorian Christianity. The decay of Christianity in Europe would have been a great loss for humanity. Spencer believes that Christianity was essential to the birth of not just modern-day Western values such as human rights but also modern-day science, whose development has made people’s lives better worldwide. Spencer writes about the philosophy of science in much the same way as Tapio Puolimatka, the Finnish professor who has written books and given lectures on the very subject of how Christianity’s understanding of God enables empirical natural science.

Spencer believes that today’s (post-)Christian society also deserves to be preserved against the spread of Islam. He points out that Islam doesn’t acknowledge universal human rights as declared by the United Nations. Some Islamic countries have formulated their own human rights declarations instead of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From the reality of life in several Islamic countries, we can all understand why that is.

They want an Islamic state

The Politically Incorrect Guide to IslamOne major thing that was new to me has to do with ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). This organisation (or state) appeared into my consciousness out of the blue a couple of years ago. Suddenly, it occupied areas in the Middle East and spread terror also in Europe. The Politically Incorrect Guide doesn’t address ISIS, of course, as it was written a decade earlier. But it does contain some interesting information as to the group’s ideology.

As you may know, ISIS has established a state, not acknowledged by the international community, ruled by caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They believe that Islam commands them to build this caliphate. I’ve read that they also believe in some sort of apocalypse in our days and a final battle to be fought between the forces of Allah and the forces of evil.

Now, to what the Politically Incorrect Guide has to say. Even before ISIS, several Islamist groups and religious commentators were calling for a caliphate to be founded. You see, Turkey used to be the successor of the old Sunni Islamic empire, until President Kemal Atatürk abolished the caliphate in the 1920s and made Turkey secular. (As we know, Turkey has recently been moving towards Islamism, again.) Ever since, jihadists have been calling for the reëstablishment of the caliphate and the renaissance of the umma (worldwide Islamic community). They believe that the secularisation of Turkey was a Western conspiracy. Restoring the caliphate was also Osama bin Laden’s goal.

Spencer writes that terrorism expert Daniel Pipes estimates 10–15 % of Muslims worldwide to support the jihadist agenda. Even far higher estimates are referred to in the book.

Left-wing double standards

When debunking PC myths about Islam, Robert Spencer recurrently points at the moral double standard of the PC establishment.

Bill Clinton suggested that the sack of Jerusalem in 1099 was the ultimate cause of the September 11 attacks. Yet the Muslims’ sack of Constantinople in 1453 does not burn in anyone’s memory. No president has pointed to it as the root cause of any modern-day terrorist acts. Indeed, it is less well known today than another sack of Constantinople: the one perpetrated by misguided Crusaders in 1204.

This is one illustration of the strange, unacknowledged moral double standard that PC types use when evaluating behavior by Westerners and non-Westerners: Any number of massacres and atrocities can be forgiven non-Western, non-white, non-Christian people, but misdeeds by Christian (or even post-Christian) Westerners remain seared in the world’s collective memory. […] It’s a tacit admission of a fact that the PC establishment stoutly denies in every other case: Christianity does teach a higher moral standard than Islam, and more is expected not only for observant Christians, but of those who have imbibed these high principles by living in the societies molded by them.

Today, this double standard culminates in claims that only whites are capable of racism and that discrimination of whites cannot be racism, if they can be discriminated against in the first place.

The point

Am I calling for a war between Christianity and Islam? Certainly not. What I am calling for is a general recognition that we are already in a war between two vastly different ideas of how to govern states and order societies, and that in this struggle the West has nothing to apologize for and a great deal to defend.

While The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam is somewhat biased, I think it underlines certain facts that are relevant to the modern Westerner but are constantly left unsaid or even denied by the mainstream media and political commentators. ”Islam has nothing to do with Islam” is a caricature of the liberal/progressive statements made in the aftermath of more and more frequent terrorist attacks and religiously motivated acts of violence. A Westerner easily forgets what a central role religion has in the world-view and values of other peoples in the world.

It’s not that these different values are wrong from an ”objective” perspective, it’s that the collision between Western liberalism and Islamic culture produces severe conflicts. A liberal, modernised interpretation of Islam might nicely integrate into European societies, but as Robert Spencer points out, so far there’s no sign of such a reformation within Islam. Liberal attempts to conceal the conflict between Islam and Western values, while well intended, actually constitutes a disservice to reform-minded Muslims:

Some countries in Europe are currently going through major demographic shifts. Now is the time to acknowledge the facts and become familiar with those sides of Islam they don’t yet tell about in schools. I recommend reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades); if you worry about the book’s unbalanced tone, read a book with the same subject matter but liberal undertone, in parallel.


Men’s rights movement – a gateway drug for white supremacism?

A journalist who has branded herself as the fact-checking journalist of Finland shared a noteworthy article on Twitter. The article, based on anecdotal evidence and liberal/progressive ideological axiomata, serves as a case in point for why such a big proportion of people today distrust journalists and the media.

Really dissecting the article would require considerable amount of work as the contents overall arouse so much doubt that I wouldn’t trust any of the background narrative. For example, is the man mentioned in the lead actually a white supremacist, or is this a deliberate misrepresentation by the author to promote his own world-view like the rest of his writing? Originally written with social media in mind, my recent observation could well apply to professional news media as well:

Noteworthy as the MRA*-bashing article might be, checking every little detail thereof would be a waste of time as the article’s conclusions are monumentally failing regardless of the background details’ factual accuracy.

*) men’s rights activist

Firstly, as noted, the article relies on anecdotal ”evidence” to make its case. This and that person used to be an MRA, and now he’s alt-right! Let’s not look into what most MRAs statistically end up doing, as that would deprive us of a clickbait of a headline! Not even correlation is truly demonstrated, let alone causation. The article goes on with even more anecdotes, this time to create the illusion that it’s listing all the (im)moral principles of all the MRAs and alt-rightists. These two groups are, for obvious motives, presented as closely together as possible.

After his anecdotes, the author proceeds with typical liberal/progressive rhetoric reducing his journalism to political pamphletry, surely aimed at the publication’s narrow-minded target group. You know what this rhetoric entails: the typical dichotomy between the privileged and the oppressed. Wasn’t journalism supposed to question everything and present multiple differing points of view?

Closer to the truth. While the journalist epically failed to substantiate this alleged link between the MRM and white supremacism, something can be said about the matter. I’m certainly no more familiar with the MRM and the alt-right than the article’s author (meaning, superficially familiar at most), however the overall picture of today’s ideological divisions in the first world is pretty revealing. You see, I do believe the MRM and white supremacism have a connection, after all. There’s just no putting sins of one group on the shoulders of the other.

It only takes common sense to understand that alt-rightists are more likely to align themselves with the men’s rights movement than with feminism. Why might that be? Was the MRM a gateway drug? (If only I could rely on your common sense and consider this a rhetorical question…) A far-rightist will find more to exploit in the MRM than in feminism. S/He may not agree with everything the MRM stands for, but there’s enough common ground to work with.

To draw the conclusion that MRM leads to white supremacism would be dishonest, even outrageous. A person’s beliefs, ideas, and values will obviously serve as a causative factor leading to both these alignments independently. There’s no doubt that other MRAs are found in whole other positions in the political spectrum. They are going to have more sincere motivations for their activism, such as honestly egalitarian values and the aim to make the society better for everyone.

Women of the Red Army - Russian revolution - October revolution - soviet power - communism - bolshevik party

This Flickr picture of the Red Army was tagged ”journalism” and ”feminism,” for some reason.

There are numerous correlations similar to that of the MRM and the far-right. Liberal/progressive commentators have the habit of characterising proponents of tighter immigration policy as racist. Obviously, a racist will be more likely to promote tighter than looser immigration. This doesn’t mean that most people with reservations towards immigration are racists. To present a different kind of example, there likely is a strong correlation between feminism and violent, even lethal, far-right/anarchist terrorism. Even veganism is probably associated with left-wing violence, as it once was with Nazism. Islam also has a correlation with terrorism, and it actually might be a gateway drug; the MRA-bashing journalist will be investigating this when pigs fly.


Valkopesua tai mustamaalausta

Twitterissä kohistiin tänään kahdesta uutisartikkelista. Helsingin Sanomain juttu ministeri Jari Lindströmin erityisavustajasta vihjaili rasismista, YLEn juttu kemiläisestä kaupunginvaltuutetusta puolestaan kriittisten kommenttien mukaan valkopesi tuota rasistia.

Monilta kommentaattoreilta löytyy paljon mediakriittisyyttä jälkimmäistä juttua kohtaan samalla kun he omaksuvat ensimmäisestä jutusta juuri toimittajan epäsuorasti vihjaaman näkökulman sellaisenaan. Tässä on kyse siitä tunnetusta ilmiöstä, että ihminen valjastaa kaiken uuden kohtaamansa informaation vahvistamaan aiempia käsityksiään.

Perussuomalaisen työministeri Lindströmin erityisavustaja oli pyrkinyt vaikuttamaan kuuden järjestön tukihakemusten käsittelyyn ministeriössä, jotta hakemukset hylättäisiin. Kyseessä on poliittinen ohjaus, jossa poliittisesti nimitetty ministeri vaikuttaa tukipäätöksiin. Tämä on täysin laillista, koska kyseessä ovat harkinnanvaraiset tuet, eli laki ei velvoita myöntämään niitä. Pohjimmaisena ongelmana oli ilmeisesti se, että erityisavustaja ei olisi saanut ohjata ministeriön virkamiehiä, vaan tämä olisi ministerin itse pitänyt tehdä, vaikkakaan tätä pointtia artikkeli ei kovin selkeästi ilmaise.

Artikkeli alleviivaa sitä asiaa, että kuudesta järjestöstä, joille yritettiin ohjata kielteinen tukipäätös, kaksi oli somalijärjestöjä. Miksi tämä on olennaista? Koska toimittaja yrittää maalailla kuvaa, että tukihakemusten dissaamisessa oli kyse etnisestä syrjinnästä.

Onko sitten teoreettisesti mahdollista, että somalijärjestöiltä voitaisiin evätä tuet jonkin muun syyn kuin syrjinnän takia? Artikkeli ei lähde yhtään spekuloimaan muita mahdollisia motiiveja. Ministeriön virkamiehiltä artikkelissa on sumeilemattoman paheksuvia lainauksia, joissa korostetaan virkamiesten omaa etiikkaa, tasa-arvoa ja ihmisoikeuksia! Uskomattoman suuria sanoja tässä asiayhteydessä. Perussuomalaiset plus somalien hakemuksen hylkääminen on yhtä kuin ihmisoikeuksien vastustaminen, tällaisen yhtälön toimittaja tahtoo piirtää.

Valitettavaa tietenkin on, ettei Lindströmiltä ja erityisavustajalta saatu artikkeliin kunnon kommenttia tapahtuneesta ja poliittisen ohjailun perusteista. Kun kieltäydytään kertomasta, on toimittajalla melkein oikeuskin spekuloida villisti. Itselleni tulee pari poliittisen ohjailun perustetta mieleen. (Olisi tietysti paljon informatiivisempaa, jos artikkelissa mainittaisiin nimeltä kaikki kuusi järjestöä joiden tukihakemukset haluttiin evätä.) Ensiksikin Perussuomalainen-lehti (ja verkkojulkaisu Suomen uutiset) julkaisi viime joulukuussa jutun somaliliiton tukiaisista. Varmasti tämä aihe oli Lindströmin porukalle puolueen omasta äänenkannattajasta tuttu, kun kohuttu poliittinen ohjailu tapahtui tammikuussa. (Helmikuussa muuten RAY/Veikkaus hylkäsi somaliliiton satojen tuhansien eurojen tukihakemukset. Miksei Hesari tutki, oliko tässä epäpoliittisessa päätöksessä kyse ihmisoikeuksia polkevasta syrjinnästä?) Toinen aspekti on tietenkin se, että perussuomalaisten ohjelmaan kuuluu tunnetusti monikulttuurisuusideologian vastustaminen, joten mikäli työministeriön hakemukset koskivat monikulttuurisuuden edistämistä, niiden hylkääminen olisi tietenkin ollut perussuomalaisten vaalilupausten täyttämistä eli hyvä asia äänestäjien ”kuluttajansuojan” kannalta. (Monikulttuurisuuden vastustaminen ei ole sama kuin tasa-arvon vastustaminen.)

YLE julkaisi henkilökuvan kemiläisestä kaupunginvaltuutetusta, joka kamppailee vasemmistoliiton ja sosiaalidemokraattien hegemoniaa vastaan. Tunnettu sosiaalidemokraattinen kommentaattori kummastelee ”Uuninpankkopoika”-blogissaan, ettei YLE kertonut jutussaan tämän perussuomalaisen kaupunginvaltuutetun nettikirjoittelusta, joka sisältää kuulemma ”valkoista ylivaltaa” ja ”värillistä ihmiskunnan roskasakkia”. Uuninpankkopoika viittaa ”Kunnollisvaalit 2012” -blogiin, jossa joku nimeämätön taho metsästi ”fasisteja” kuntavaalien ehdokaslistoilta vuonna 2012.

Ei siinä, kieltämättä laajassa henkilökuvassa olisi aiheellista käsitellä riittävällä laajuudella myös nettikirjoittelua, jos se herättää kysymyksiä. Ylipäänsä missä tahansa yksilöä käsittelevässä artikkelissa, jopa nekrologissa, olisi mielestäni sivuttava myös kritiikkiä. Toisaalta onhan human interest kaikille tuttu journalismin genre. Ei voida ajatella, että jollekulle ihmiselle pitää varata erityisen huono erityiskohtelu hänen Facebook-heittojensa takia.

Huvittavaa Twitterin kommenteissa oli se, kuinka eräillä tuntui olevan mielessään hyvinkin tarkka kuva siitä, millainen YLEn artikkelin olisi pitänyt olla. Sitä se punavihreään kuplaan joutuminen teettää. Mutta vakavasti ottaen, suosittelen kurkkaamaan ”Kunnollisvaalit 2012” -blogin koostetta tämän kaupunginvaltuutetun pahimmista nettijulkaisuista, ettei tarvitse olla välikäsien varassa. Puheet ”valkoisesta ylivallasta” rajoittuvat yhteen kuvaan, jollaista kenenkään järkevän ihmisen, varsinkaan perussuomalaisen poliitikon, ei tietenkään ikinä pidä julkaista netissä. Leimaaminen valkoisen ylivallan kannattajaksi on kuitenkin aika pitkälle vietyä. Entä sitten se värillinen roskasakki? Viittaa selkeästi johonkin rikosuutiseen, joka on taktisesti jätetty pois blogin ruutukaappauksesta.

harritauriainen4

Onko kuvitus provokaatio, vitsi vai kaupunginvaltuutetun rehellinen mielipide?

Valtuutetun kirjoitukset ovat kieltämättä roisia ja sivistyneeseen keskusteluun sopimatonta kieltä ja blogin esittelemät kuvavalinnat törkeitä ja rasistisia. Viisi asiatonta kuvaa vuosien varrelta (toisaalta lasketaanko veikkausmainos vuosikymmenten takaa asiattomaksi?) eivät ehkä kuitenkaan kerro koko totuutta ihmisestä. YLE silotteli käsittelemänsä henkilön nettihistoriaa ja ohitti sen hyvin lyhyellä maininnalla, kysyi toki henkilöltä itseltään lyhyesti kommenttia rasismisyytöksiin. Artikkeli esitteli valtuutetun perinteiseen human interest -tyyliin, muttei toisaalta yrittänyt tuputtaa lukijalle mitään yhtä oikeaa käsitystä käsittelemästään henkilöstä, toisin kuin kriitikot olisivat halunneet sen tekevän.


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