Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Place in the Shadows

Transformation: Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll

2011 Winter Quarterly Fundraiser, Day Five

Dymphna and I spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday at the birthday party of an old friend who lives not far from us. Most of the guests were people of a certain age whom we have known for many years.

In normal circumstances, when we crawl out of our Counterjihad den into the full light of day, there is no overlap between our doings here at Gates of Vienna and the people we meet in the real world. The shameful secret of what we do here in the dark in front of our demonically glowing computer screens is not something we have to share.

But yesterday we were celebrating among friends, some of who are fellow conservatives who know exactly what Dymphna and I do when we’re at home. Nevertheless, most of the rest of the guests were liberals of varying degrees in their political views; revealing our Islamophobia would not have been conducive to a pleasant and festive atmosphere.

However… One of our good friends is a regular reader of Gates of Vienna who agrees with us on matters political, so discussing political topics (including the jihad) with her is all but irresistible. She and I ended up standing in the kitchen talking about Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the political upheavals throughout the Middle East. Fortunately for us (and for the rest of the party), most people within earshot had no idea who Qaradawi was, so our discussion was able to remain in the virtual shadows.

And there are always so many other things to talk about — mutual friends, children, grandchildren, gardening, food, wine, the local historical society, etc. We veered off into other topics, and the afternoon remained unmarred by political contention, much to Dymphna’s (and our hosts’) relief.

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My job has trained me keep my head down and my opinions mute when socializing with people I don’t know very well. The big exceptions, however, are those delightful occasions when I attend anti-jihad events both here and abroad. That’s when I can let what’s left of my hair down and discuss the Great Jihad just as I do in this space.

There have, however, been times during a conversation in a crowded restaurant, or a taxi, or an elevator when I have said to myself, “Hmm — should we really be saying such things about Islam here at the top of our lungs?” We all tend to forget that we’re no longer having a discussion in a blog comment window.


Trips to Europe provide the best occasions for free and frank discussions. American gatherings tend to have a fair leavening of those who believe in the “moderate Muslim”, so some of my opinions are immoderate by comparison. In Europe, however, the moderate Muslim is generally regarded in the same light as the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny.

Tip jarConversations in the Old World tend to be much the same as the ones we have in this space, except that they are accompanied by numerous tankards of foaming brew. Instead of skulking in the virtual shadows, we can relax and speak freely in the dimness of a local watering hole.

Many of the people I have met in person under such felicitous circumstances are among those donors whose generosity has been expressed in this fundraiser, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

To the rest of you whom I have never met: thank you! You have chosen to give money to a stranger, and your faith in us is greatly appreciated.

Yesterday’s donors came from far and wide:


Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, N. Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia

Near Abroad:


Far Abroad:

Australia, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK

Many, many thanks to all of you.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

        — Leonard Cohen, from “The Partisan”

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Anonymous said...

"There have, however, been times during a conversation in a crowded restaurant, or a taxi, or an elevator when I have said to myself, “Hmm — should we really be saying such things about Islam here at the top of our lungs?” "

I know the feeling, although I'm surprised such a fear has begun to take hold in America. I have already had a few of those conversations, in a rather loud voice, in French restaurants with Muslim personnel around, and for the time being, nobody dared to intrude on me.

However, I'm fully aware that the things I've said couldn't be uttered in some parts of the country, for fear they might be overheard.

There are places and times when your life would plainly be at stake saying what I said. The trouble is, you never know when, nor where.

Staying away from the bad neighbourhoods is, unfortunately, not enough to be safe.

Papa Whiskey said...

Great song. How it starts bears noting:

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.

It follows that one ought to have both a gun and someplace to vanish to.