Sunday, April 22, 2007

Women...Where Is Your Outrage? The truth about Islam pt. 1

The truth about Islam pt. 1

This is the first in a series of essays I hope to write leading up to the release of the fourth Babylon Mystery Orchestra CD, "Axis Of Evil," to be released early next year.

Rarely do I let things affect me this much. Ok, that is probably a lie, I do it all the time, but it does take a lot to motivate me to take the time to research one of these and write it. That all happened very fast for this one, causing me to move some others aside, because I wanted to get this one out. I believe this is important.
This was sparked by seeing an interview with a woman named Ghazal Omid, the author of a book called "Living In Hell." The interview, and her book, is about the treatment of women living in Iran. She went on to tell about some recent protests in Iran, not the government sponsored (ie. planned and paid for) protests chanting "death to America and President Bush" that the media love to show, but instead an apparently un-newsworthy protest against their own government. This was a gathering in support of teachers who had not been paid. As should be expected, some of these women were arrested, which led to still more protests. These were not small protests either. Apparently 8000 women took to the streets to protest the arrests of these women. I know what you are thinking, it sounds hopeful doesn't it? Protests in Iran against their government. Well it gets ugly from here.
Asu Zaladida was one of these protesters. This 22 year old woman was subsequently arrested and taken to jail where, in keeping with a time honored Iranian tradition, she was brutally raped. Multiple times. Lets speak a little more plainly here....She was repeatedly anally raped with a baseball bat. After her family found, and then parted with enough money to convince the authorities to release her, she was then taken to the hospital. Her injuries got the best of her and she died. Taking treachery to the next level, the government would not allow the family to have her body for burial. Her family was warned not to speak against the government or they too would be arrested. Considering the arrest of Miss Zaladida led to her death, it would not be unreasonable to call this a death threat for the entire family.
As Ghazal Omid told this story, it was the next words she said that actually meant the most to me; "This is how women in Iran stand up to their abusers, and you guys don't hear about them because apparently they're not important." Is this true? Are these women just not important? She continued: "We need five minutes of your time per day to show you whats going on inside Iran." Apparently we can't spare that much time in America for these truly courageius women. After all we have Anna Nicole Smith, Sanjaya Malakar, Don Imus and his ghetto basketball commentary and Rosie O'Donnell to consider. Where can we find the time?
What happened to Asu Zaladida is NOT an isolated incident. You want another example? Take the case of Roya Tolouee, a 40 year old woman beaten and raped when she refused to sign "confessions." They finally coerced her by threatening to burn her two children to death right in front of her. Strange how she believed they would actually do it. Let her tell her story:
"Four armed men and three armed women barged into my house at night and took me away," she said. "My kids were terrified and crying. I was questioned all night by different interrogators and then thrown alone into a cell. When I wouldn't do what they wanted, they slapped me. But after the sixth night, the routine changed. I was left alone in a small dark room with two men. One was the assistant prosecutor and called himself Amiri. The other had a filthy mouth and said terrible things. They started slapping me again. For the rest of the night they did to me what no woman should ever experience. Amiri said, 'I'm going to hang you, but before I hang you, I will make an example of you so that no woman will dare to open her mouth here again'." He then sexually assaulted her. When she asked Amiri how he could act like that, he told her that only Islam and clerical rule were important to him. The attack left her badly bruised and bleeding internally, but she still refused to sign the papers they put before her. To further anger her attackers, she demanded to see a lawyer and cited international treaties on human rights. The following night they did not sexually assault her because she was still bleeding from the first assault. According to Islamic law, this rendered her "unclean" and therefore unfit to rape. So they told her they would kill her children by setting them on fire before her eyes.
Mainstream Islam takes a dim view of women's rights. When Islam reaches a level of authority that enables it to control and subjugate a population under Islamic law, oppression of women becomes the norm and these atrocities are NOT the exceptions. They even use their own belief system to enhance the enthusiasm for those who perpetrate these atrocities. Many years ago I remember reading a biography of the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez (yes, I really do read those kind of books all the time), and I was interested to learn that the Spaniards under his command would often "baptize" the native women before they took them sexually. This was all part of being a "good" catholic, since having sex with a "heathen" female, consent notwithstanding, would go against the acceptable church policies of the time. It appears our Islamic friends take that a step further. Sexual abuse as an interrogation technique is common. Young women are often raped BEFORE execution so they cannot reach heaven as virgins!!! This, as you can imagine, provides a considerable incentive to obey the Islamic state. This is the truth about Islam.
Meanwhile here in America, we are blessed with the ever illuminating political wisdom of Rosie O'Donnell who has recently taken to accusing the Bush administration of orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. She also believes that the kidnapping of the British Sailors and Marines by Iran was a conspiracy, and a plot to start a war with Iran by Britain and the United States. She has made herself one of the biggest detriments to womens rights in the Islamic world by making such a spectacle of herself. The jhihadist puritans of Islam can point to this loudmouthed lesbian woman speaking against her own country in a time of war and say "this is what we are fighting against." You would think she would want to speak up for these women, but her own anti-christian and anti-American crusade is more important to her than the plight of women seeking not just freedom, but the simple dignity of being treated better than a dog. To Ms. Odonnell the question has been answered. These women are NOT important.
The New York Times, in an article published on May 28, 2006, accused Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of being "a proponent of women's rights." The ever liberal newspaper is interested in portraying him as a reformer, and Iran as a negotiating partner that we can trust. Speaking of a "negotiating partner," we also have senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, who on a recent lovefest appearance on David Letterman's program, insisted that the United States should seek what he called "aggressive negotiations" with the Islamic regimes in Iran and Syria. Just exactly how do you aggressively negotiate? The President has chosen a policy of isolating these governments because decades of negotiations have failed. If these Islamic fundamentalist regimes will treat their own women as less than dogs, just what kind of negotiating partners can they be? Appeasement is in the air, but when has it ever worked? In the 1930's "aggressive negotiations" were attempted with Nazi Germany even as the world was well aware of the atrocities already being committed against their Jewish citizens. Did these aggressive negotiations prevent a war? Did they improve the conditions of the Jewish people in Germany? No! It bought the Nazi regime more time, making both the war, and the ultimate treatment of the Jews, worse by far. In fact, negotiations have never prevented a war. They only delay the inevitable, to the advantage of the aggressors. This has the effect of making the wars that follow worse. Remember that when we get into a shooting war with Iran....and we will. By negotiating with Iran, or likewise with its sister regime in Syria, we would be not only displaying weakness in their eyes, but also tolerating these atrocities committed against women. But I forget, liberals do preach tolerance don't they? So long as it suits their short term political needs.
Nancy Pelosi may be the worst of all. She takes it upon herself to show support for the plight of women in Islamic countries by going to Syria and offering, essentially, an alternate foreign policy. One that validates and endorses this treatment of women. Yes it does validate and endorse it because nowhere has she called for any human rights reform. You can add to that her "leadership" in attempting to get the United States to militarily withdraw from Iraq. Just what do you think will happen to the rights and wellbeing of the women there if we leave? Do you think women will be able to retain what rights they have gained after a longstanding 5 year history of them? There was a story on Nightline the other night where the president of Afghanistan pointed out that, legally, women do have rights, but that in reality, they may not be allowed to exercise them. It takes a culture awhile to adjust to change. The American civil rights movement should have taught us that. How much harder must it be in countries without a traditional belief in individual liberty and with violent militias working against them. When the American military leaves Iraq, so will any and all gains for women. Like it or not, President Bush has done more for women's rights in the Islamic world than any president in recent history. You won't find a statement like that in the media!
Ghazal Omid had this to say: "We need five minutes of your time per day to show you what's going on inside Iran, because we don't have podiums. If we don't, this government will not go anywhere. If you really want to get rid of this Iranian regime, help us to help you." The trouble is that Miss Omid does not understand how America works. The media is the podium, and the people who control it will do anything to oppose this administration and its policies. The media likes to portray America as unpopular in the Islamic world. Women represent over half the population in those countries. They don't have freedon to speak out without fear of reprisals. We are their only hope. Don't kid yourselves, we are wanted there, and when women are no longer afraid to speak out, they will tell us just that. If we just have the resolve to stay.
It amazes me to no end that the feminists in America refuse to speak out about the mistreatment of women in Muslim countries. Where is the outrage? Is the alliance with feminism to the liberal democratic party so important that they would remain silent just to help them win some more seats in goverment? Are muslim women being sacrificed on the altar of American liberalism? I would say these women, who would dare to resist their own government in the face of certain humiliation and death, represent the best of everything we claim to stand for. In this instance, the president has been taking exactly the right approach in not negotiating with these governments. Women's groups, however, not only won't stand with him, they joyously celebrate their opposition to his administration's policies with their continued adherence to an outdated alliance with the liberal democratic party! Their silence on these Islamic atrocities is deafening. In a word: outrageous!
There is a massive movement by the American media to be tolerant of Islam. Just be sure what it is you are tolerating. Islam is not and has never been a religion of peace or freedom. This is doubly true if you are a woman. There are those who would have you believe that it is extremist radical Islam and not mainstream Islam that is the problem. If that is so, where are the voices of the so called moderates speaking out against this behavior? Either they are silent on this subject or the media is keeping them silent by not reporting them. Meanwhile Islamic women, many of them brave enough to stand against their own government, continue to be tortured and abused as apart of Islam's continuing policy of subjugating them and rendering them docile and obedient. This is the truth about Islam.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Heavy Metal's Golden Goose....Cooked! By the Ku Klux Klan

By the Ku Klux Klan

Its now official, the proverbial goose that laid the golden eggs for heavy metal's glory years is now dead. Murdered by the narrowminded bigotry of those who claim to love the genre the most. The pursuit of "metal purity" that began in earnest in the wake of grunge's successful overthrow of the "Hollywood Hair Metal Club," is now complete. As with all puritanical cleansings that came along, heavy metal's pious arbiters of purity have killed the genre in the name of "true metal."
I have been staking this opinion for quite some time, but several recent revelations have confirmed the demise of this once vibrant and powerful genre of music. Recently I was reading an interview with Iron Maiden in Classic Rock or Metal Hammer magazine (sometimes they seem almost interchangeable), where Maiden doesn't see themselves as a metal band. At first this might seem strange that the defining band of "The New Wave of British Heavy Metal" would be shying away from calling themselves a metal band, but in the current climate of heavy metal it makes perfect sense. Many of the artists whose careers have been associated with the words "Heavy Metal" are not wanting to be associated with the genre anymore. This is not because of what heavy metal was....but because of what heavy metal has become. This genre that once represented empowerment, freedom and, dare I, has largely become a community of self-serving sycophants who are addicted to the culture of metal...not the music. Therein lies the problem. By seeing metal as more of a cultural movement rather than a strictly musical one, they have choked the genre with all sorts of definitions and restrictions as to what constitutes "true metal." The majority of the metal media, in order to stay on good terms with this highly vocal crowd, have largely acquiesced to the demands of this "Ku Klux Klan" of heavy metal puritans. This has enabled a relatively small group of people (I will be demonstrating just how small later in this essay) to decide not only who is metal but also, and perhaps more importantly, they take it upon themselves to annoint the bands that will carry the genre's flag as the true front line of Heavy Metal. The currently annointed ones being Mastodon and Lamb Of God.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that heavy metal is a genre populated with individual thinkers, for the "Ku Klux Klan" of heavy metal has run all of those off, even as they are likewise running off the very artists who have contributed to heavy metal's great past....all in the name of "true metal." The extreme metal crowd has pushed their narrow vision of metal, transforming it into a drum dominant, gutteral vocal embarrassment. We are all the worse for it.
If you peruse any of the metal media (internet or print) you could be led to believe that heavy metal was born in the 80's. It seems a common belief that Metallica created it out of thin air with their first record, and perfected by the time they released "Master Of Puppets." A veritable heavy metal "creationist" theory because, as you know, there are no "evolutionists" in this Ku Klux Klan. There is a complete denial that heavy metal existed in the seventies in spite of the fact that the fossil record shows that prehistoric dinosaurs called Black Sabbath, KISS, Judas Priest and Deep Purple all existed and even thrived, in that decade. The words "Heavy Metal" were actually coined just to describe the music of these bands. Mark Gromen of BW&BK, in reviewing the new Dimmu Borgir record, took the opportunity to belittle KISS by saying of them: "the mainstream media and music fans outside the genre typically regard (them) as 'a metal band.'" We can't have that now can we! This is of course a ridiculous rewriting of history but it appears to be the attitude of too many of the most vocal of fans, and they are enabled by the metal media. Metal creationism is a natural byproduct of metal bigotry.
The biggest fallacy of this crowd, however, is an overwhelming belief that Slayer's "Reign In Blood" is the greatest metal record ever. There is an entire "metal religion" devoted to this idea and without a doubt this is the single most influential record in destroying the genre. Before "Reign In Blood" heavy metal is unquestionably a guitar dominated form of music. After "Reign In Blood" it has been transformed into a drum dominant one. The cult that has sprung up in its aftermath has given us the concept of "extreme metal." Everything faster than everything else. Speed is the single most important defining characteristic to the Ku Klux Klan of metal. It is also this crowd that has unleashed the indistinguishable, and usually incoherent, croak and growl vocal style. This has had the effect of rendering all the vocals, and therefore all the lyrics, inconsequential and irrelevant. Thanks a lot.
All this has been perpetrated in the name of "brutality." Pick up any metal magazine or go to any website and try to count how many times the word "brutal" is used. Its like sand on a beach. They can't help themselves. Savvy music fans know that the word "brutal" is synonomous with "clueless metal musicians full of themselves" and never buy these records. Also, wrapped up in this festival of "brutality" is the underlying belief that all this speed is indicative of a technical prowess and complexity that marks them as superior musicians. They view music as a "craft" rather than an "art," so displaying their percieved skills is more important than actually having a purpose. The music exists for the craft, and like professional wrestlers, who delude themselves into believing they are "competitors" and "atheletes," this new breed of metal musician is more than willing to tell us how good they are. This would and should be a minor amusement but since the commercial death of hair metal in the early nineties, this cult has successfully waged a campaign to define heavy metal according to their rules. They have pruned all the other branches off the heavy metal tree. This has not only led to a funny looking tree, and rest assured metal is quite funny looking these days, it has also killed the tree. Only the lemmings of heavy metal's "religious right" (those for whom metal is their religion) persist in their delusions and barely keep this sonic embarassment afloat.
Sakis Tolis, of the band Rotting Christ, recently made this statement to Decible magazine: "This is a well organized trick in order to control society, so when I see someone thats very much Christian, I feel sorry for him because he is not free." Strange, because if you replace the words "society" and "christian" with the word "metal" you have accurately described the current state of the world of heavy metal. It has become a religion and a culture for too many people, and like the real Ku Klux Klan, they view their culture through a very narrow lens.
Which now brings me to the consequences of this foolish line of thinking. What has this Ku Klux Klan of brutal heavy metallers done to this once proud and powerful genre? It would appear that they have finally succeeded in rendering it totally irrelevant. As a case in point, take my favorite example....MASTODON. As you may remember I wrote an editorial at the time of Blood Mountain's release bemoaning all the "affectionate" reviews that were heaped the CD. This is the band chosen by the "powers that be" of heavy metal to be the next big thing. The next Iron Maiden. According to all the fawning metal media this is top of the line modern metal performing at its peak. Universal praise always looks suspicious and "annointing" a band as the next big thing has a habit of backfiring...and so it has. According to their manager Nick John, in speaking with Decibel Magazine, Blood Mountain has sold.......are you ready for this?......a grand total of......75,000 copies in the United States. No I did not leave off any zeros. 75,000 copies! With all the power, money, and influence of a major label, and all the good reviews that money could, and did, buy, that is all it sold. In the independent metal world this might be seen as a small setback and satisfactory sales but in the world of the major labels this was a failure more disasterous than the Union assaults on the Confederate lines at the battle of Fredericksburg (ok, get a history book).
Also of interest, in the same article, was the sales figure for Lamb Of God's most recent CD "Sacrement," likewise on a major label. It has sold only 200,000 copies. A better showing than Mastodon, but bands that deliver gold records (500,000 units sold) are dropped regularly as being unprofitable for major labels. Both Mastodon and Lamb Of God had their records firmly notched at the top of most of the metal media's year end polls for best record. Yet they have been resoundingly rejected by the record buying public. This is what heavy metal has come to...failure. the major labels, in a sense, shouldn't be blamed for not knowing any better than to sign these bands. After all, these are the bands that the metal underground and its media satellites have annointed as the best in true metal. But they can't sell it and for a good reason. The albums are nothing but infomercials for the musicians playing on them. Utterly void of content or purpose. I will concede that these records prove that the musicians involved can play their instruments extremely well. But why? The musicianship is the LEAST important reason to buy a record!
Here is something that must be said. Those people of heavy metal's religious right have been trying to convince themselves for quite some time that metal music is some sort of panacea of musicianship. Those of the heavy metal religious right will tell you that not selling a lot of records is a good thing. It keeps metal pure. They actually believe that this form of music is the modern day equivalent of classical music. "If Beethoven were alive today he would play metal." Anyone who believes that is an imbecile! The creationists of the metal Ku Klux Klan, who deny metal's origins and history, don't want to admit what the record buying public has never forgotten. HEAVY METAL IS ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC! It is NOT classical music. No amount of self percieved importance will ever change that. More importantly, that which kills Rock and Roll...kills metal! This music is meant to be a populist form of entertainment and it cannot survive as an elitist musician's disease infected genre. In the April edition of Decibel Magazine, the editor Albert Mudrian, claims he has been getting calls from National Public Radio inquiring of him about the current state of metal. His implication is that this bastion of Jazz and classical music, and international news has started to look upon metal as more musically favorable. Not just "music for dummies" anymore. See, it didn't take them but one issue to go from reporting the Mastodon disaster to seeking yet another annointing, this time from the "important" people of NPR. I guess if NPR approves of musician's disease metal, then their belief is that we will be compelled to acknowledge the greatness of the bands they tell us to like. I repeat, that which kills Rock and Roll kills metal. Snobbery is so not metal. Please make this stop. Why can't we insist that these bands work for their audience and not for themselves and their position in the "metal culture." Maybe then the shows of these bands will be attended by people other than fellow musicians. Audience Deficiency Syndrome is fatal 100% of the time.
Rock music, and its heavy metal descendant, was never meant to be exclusionary. It is not a fraternity, religion or a culture. It is music. Music is supposed to communicate with people, not impress them. Especially since the sales figures of Mastodon and Lamb of God indicate that not that many people were impressed anyway. As the English would say...."They've lost the plot." The low record sales of Mastodon and Lamb of God are not reflective of "successful elitism" or a "puritanical" adherence to the metal faith. It just means nobody likes it. That is the sad state of metal, and will continue to be, so long as metal's Ku Klux Klan are able to hold an influence over the way this music is percieved.
The solution is simple. A return to the roots, and the great and glorious history of the genre. This was once a dominant force in the music industry, it can be again. Lose the intolerance and maybe bands like Iron Maiden and Motorhead won't bristle at the thought of being labeled a metal band. Welcome back AC/DC and KISS. They have had more positive influence over this genre than Mastodon ever will. Do as the magazine Metal Hammer does and embrace all the various genres of metal. They put My Chemical Romance on their cover in spite of the complaints they get from the metal KKK. They sell more magazines and somebody finds out about Dimmu Borgir, who never would have otherwise, and buys their CD's. A rising tide lifts all boats. Or do you not believe that some people in the past might have used Motley Crue as a stepping stone to Megadeth and Anthrax. A low tide grounds all the boats. We are seeing that in metal now.
Gee, I just realized that all this talk about inclusiveness and tolerance makes me sound like a musical li......lib.......liberal. I feel dirty just saying the word. I think I'll take a bath, put on some good American metal like Ted Nugent or Manowar, and read a copy of the Weekly Standard. I gotta get my "neocon" back on.
Death to False Metal!

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