Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Return from the Frozen North

I just got back from Washington D.C., where it was my privilege to attend the inaugural event — a side-event at CPAC — of the Freedom Defense Initiative. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer did a superb job organizing the venue and the speakers. I’ll have more to say about the event later on.

I went up there to the Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy because one of our own, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, was a speaker at the FDI event, and also appeared on Capitol Hill later on. As regular readers know, a “hate speech” charge is pending against Elisabeth for her outspoken anti-jihad activism in Austria. Elisabeth made the journey to Washington to speak about her case and relate it to all the other ominous incidents involving the suppression of free speech on both sides of the Atlantic.

I’ll be writing more about the FDI event later, but tonight I have to spend my time catching up on the email (hi everybody!) and putting together a news feed.

Before I return to the hard slog, I’ll relate a brief but disturbing incident that happened while I was in downtown D.C. yesterday.
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Normally when I refer to being in the “Frozen North”, I mean Canada (usually Toronto). But yesterday Our Nation’s Capital was as snowy as any place I’ve ever seen before. There were immense piles of dense and impacted dirty snow all over the city, blocking sidewalks and parking areas and making pedestrian travel a hazardous business.

Elisabeth and I were crossing the street at 18th and I Streets NW, and came upon a man lying face-down in the crunchy slush that covered the curb. There was a small crowd gathered around him, and one man was tentatively offering the old guy a hand up.

The poor fellow was having none of it, though. He muttered something to the effect that he was all right, even as his face was literally pressed into the snow. So I went around to the other side of him, put my hands around his arm, and said, “Come on, you have to get up.”

But he was a dead weight, like lifting a 180-lb. sack of potatoes. Even with the other guy helping me pull at him, we could only get him partway up. His knees were like loose rubber. With my face down close to him, the smell of liquor was overpowering.

A third man came over to help, and I said “1 — 2 — 3 — heave!” and we pulled the wino to his feet. I asked him if he could walk, but it was obvious that he couldn’t. He told us he was all right, and said we should just let him sit back down in the slush. But I said “No, you have to go somewhere warmer and drier than this.”

So one of the other guys helped me walk him across the sidewalk to a dry section next to a store entrance. There was a potted shrub there near the door, and we sat him down on the pot and leaned him backwards until his back rested against the foliage. When it seemed he was stable in that position, we let go of him, and everyone went about their business.

Elisabeth and I went into a store nearby, and when we came out a few minutes later, I looked back across the street, and the old wino was still sitting there where we left him.

I thought about him again later that night, when it got a lot colder and the wind was blowing. Where had he gone for the night? How the heck do the D.C. winos make it through a winter like this one?

There’s no moral to this story, no punch line, no satisfying denouement. It’s just something that happened, a brief incident on a February afternoon in Washington. Things like that probably happen all the time at 18th and I.

When I was young, I attended graduate classes at George Washington University. I remember the winos back then used to lie on the gratings over the heat tunnels at the edge of GWU near the E Street Expressway. One particularly cold night I went over and offered a dollar to one of the guys who was lying there. But he looked frightened, and he wouldn’t take it.

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Why does all the interesting news break while I’m away? The Fort Jackson poisonings and the fall of the Dutch cabinet — and I missed ’em! It’s a good thing that Dymphna and H. Numan and VH and Vlad know how to conduct business in my absence…

I’ll get some sort of news feed up before the cock doth craw and the day doth daw and the channerin’ worm doth chide. Email may take a while longer, so bear with me.


Anonymous said...

I did not know you were so active. Let me ask you a practical question. Lets us say you were on the board of directors of a major American university. And let us just say that the Muslim club on campus has been actively engaged in radical denouncement of Israel for many years. (And in the entire surrounding communities radical Islam has been taking root--in even from former Iranians--not just Arabs).
This lets say a major Jewish organization has even come out and told Jewish students not to go to that university anymore. What would you do?
Let me just say that someone suggested taking them to court for incitement but and I am thinking that might be a good idea but I assume it is not so practical. Because the rhetoric against Israel seems to be pare for the course. No one gets excited about it in America.

Baron Bodissey said...

kantfries --

First of all, no one in his right mind would appoint me to an administrative position in any organization, for anything. I have zero skills in that regard, and could only do harm.

This goes double for academia. I tend to be a radical, and would propose that Islam be treated not as a religion, but as a dangerous political ideology that encourages violence and subjugation, and that therefore does not merit the privilege of any officially recognized (not to mention subsidized) presence on campus.

You can imagine how far I would get in academic administration by expressing ideas like that.

Avraham said...

Well thank you for your input. I think that at least what you are doing with this blog might help in the long run to raise awareness as to the real problems with Islam

Dymphna said...

@ no one--

I think we probably don't raise awareness much unless someone has already been mugged by reality. What we do offer is ways to cope with and perhaps undermine the current "wisdom".

One donor, who lives in a very liberal town, says he's been doing missionary work -- i.e., speaking up about Islam. To no effect, of course.

He said:

even now I will find myself shocked(SHOCKED!!!) having negative thoughts about an entire* group* of people (I've always been a devout believer in individual responsibility and salvation).

To find myself HATING AN ENTIRE RELIGION! still gives me pause

It's a painful process, coming to this realization. Or being dragged to it by one's own inner wisdom which is always demanding that we face the truth. In the case of understanding the end result of Islamization, a person recognizes that what he now knows isolates him from the others. Often "the others" are family and friends who definitely don't want to hear it.

Gates of Vienna offers some sense of refuge in the wilderness, as do other counterjihad blogs and websites.

Despite the demands for control of 'the vast right wing conspiracy' via various monitors, none of this can really be stopped. It may be reduced to samizdata, but it will continue.

Galileo was right.

Avraham said...

The truth is lonely.
However you have any suggestions I would like to hear them. Do you know if anyone has turned the tables and brought Muslims to court for incitement?