Nick Cohen: The Needle is Stuck 9

Poor old Nick Cohen still rambles away, continually repeating himself, like a poor deranged bag lady outside a supermarket, only more drunk and less well groomed. Why on earth does the Guardian/Observer continue to pay him to churn out this stuff?

“The difference between Islamism and the rest is that liberals are happy to denounce white extremists, while covering up militant Islam with the wet blanket of political correctness”

His claim in this case is that it is only righteous supporters of the Iraq war who are against the horrible murder of Salmaan Taseer and of Shahbaz Bhatti.

Religious violence in Pakistan is a dreadful problem, but so is all other violence in Pakistan. The fundamental problem is the gap between a wealthy and highly corrupt elite and a vast impoverished population. The resulting tenisons are exacerbated by years of outside meddling, be it from the CIA and US military or from well funded Saudi radical clerics. On all of which Cohen has nothing useful to mumble at all.

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9 thoughts on “Nick Cohen: The Needle is Stuck

  • CheebaCow

    There are a couple of technical issues with the new site I thought I should notify someone about. Should I just use the contact form on Tim's Bloggerheads site or is there another way that would be preferable?

    Not living in the UK, the name Nick Cohen doesn't mean much to me so I checked out his wikipedia page which linked back to an old CM post (the circle of life!) and found this great quote:
    "I think the fight against neo-puritanism is very important. The mineral water at lunch crew are a fundamental threat to civilisation. I have always maintained stoutly that it is possible to drink a great deal without any impairment of the mental faculties. I fear Cohen’s book may be disproving that."

  • Suhaylsaadi

    Yes, I agree, Craig. I'm afraid that without a fundamental restructuring of wealth and basic amenities – health, literacy, real education, etc. – and a vast reduction in the economic and societal power of the military, nothing will change, save for the worse, in Pakistan. One cannot disconnect liberalism from these dynamics, though many in the drawing-rroms of Pakistan and the diaspora consistenly attempt to do so. The assassinations of Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were dreadful acts which hit very close to 'home'. The military/security is in cahoots with the Islamists – indeed, over the past 35 years, the ideology has reverse-infiltrated the state and the national consciousness. It would require a massive grassroots revolution to chnage all of this. At the very least, the government needs to acquire a backbone and immediately repeal the entire edifice of Islamist legislation passed during the 1980s – beginning with the hideous Blasphemy Law! But the civilian political cadre is hugely compromised by feudalism, etc., and is systemically subservient to 'Milbus' ('Military-Business').

  • Dr Paul

    Whilst I condemn the killings of Taseer and Bhatti, I would like to know a bit more about their politics. I fear that if they combined their commendable secularist viewpoint with neo-liberal economic policies that lead to the impoverishment of the general public and super-profits for the few, then the religious zealots can present secularist reforms as part of the neo-liberal project, and present both as an attack upon the poor. It's therefore easy for the Islamist zealots to present secularist reforms as an attack on Islam, the religion of the masses of Pakistan, an attack on one of the few certainties in their lives.

    I feel that secularist politics must be combined with economic policies that benefit the mass of the population, genuine modernisation that does not benefit only the middle and upper classes, and political reforms that strip corruption, nepotism and cronyism from Pakistani society. Otherwise, the Islamist zealots will be able to present secularism as just a middle or upper-class racket.

    • Duncan_McFarlan

      That's a good point. From what i've read it seemed as though something similar happened in Iran. Khatami in Iran was also for genuine democracy, but for deregulation of the economy, phasing out subsidies to the poor etc – and that was part of the reason the theocrats managed to stop him.

  • Ian

    Nick Cohen just can't help himself. Whatever the subject is, he somehow manages to shoehorn in references to the liberals who are apparently lining up to support terrorism. Not that he ever offers any proof or examples. But it obviously makes him feel more righteous, in his neocon fantasies. He is rather sad, still fighting the battles of years ago, insisting he alone was right. I do heartily agree – it is a mystery why The Observer retain him. His columns are often sloppily written rehashes, using factoids gleaned from the press. Nice work if you can get it, you don't have to move from the armchair, and you can knock it out in an hour or so, for a more ample renumeration than many of the people who have to do some work – like proper journalists.

    • Duncan_McFarlan

      i remember reading somewhere that Nick Davies, the Guardian journalists who wrote "Flat World News" said the then editor of the Observer used to go ski-ing with Blair and Alastair Campbell and came back from one such holiday to tell the rest of the paper's staff that they had to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Blair on Iraq. Not sure if it's still the same editor though.

      You're right that lots of columnists do seem to get off with making no real effort to research the subject they're talking about too.

  • Suhaylsaadi

    Btw, if anyone is interested in the struggle in Pakistan, check out this website of Beena Sarwar, who is a progressive journalist in Pakistan. They also have a Facebook page: Citizens for Democracy. They need all the support they can get!

  • Michael.K

    One, if I remember correctly, Wikileaks cables refers to an exasperated outburst by the current president of Pakistan. Whilst on a visit to Washington he angrily implied that the United States was behind the growth of terrorism inside Pakistan, because who else had so much to gain by destabilizing Pakistan, and creating an atmosphere of tension and chaos, where an American intervention to sieze Pakistan's nuclear warheads might move to the top fo agenda. This could of course be just another example of traditional Pakistani paranoia, on the other hand the president might be on to something.

  • Duncan_McFarlan

    While i've disagreed with Nick on just about everything to do with Muslims or foreign policy since before the Iraq war and his book 'What's Left' contains not much that makes any sense, he deserves some credit for writing what (i think) was the first column in any British newspaper on you being fired as ambassador to Uzbekistan and the whole background to it (torture, murder by Karimov, people having their nails pulled out and being boiled alive). He was also pretty good on Blair up until the Iraq issue came up – and i still agree with him now and then on the rare occasions he isn't writing about Muslims or Iraq or how great Israel's government supposedly is.

    Most of his columns these days are based on the faulty premises that because Saddam/ terrorist groups/ extreme Muslim fundamentalists are bad, anyone taking any action in opposition to them must be good – and that the action must be justified because of who it targets.

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