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Ed Driscoll

What it is about the Middle East that causes self-styled “Progressives” to suddenly mumble, “Nevermind,” ala Emily Litella?

First up, you’d think that Prince, who debuted on the national scene in the late 1970s as an androgynous, pushing the boundaries kind of guy, would want his fans in the Middle East to have the same freedom to experiment. So much for that idea:

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian’s Film&Music, Prince said: “It’s fun being in Islamic countries, to know there’s only one religion. There’s order. You wear a burqa. There’s no choice. People are happy with that.” When asked about the fate of those unhappy with having no choice, he replied: “There are people who are unhappy with everything. There’s a dark side to everything.”

Prince embraced religion in 2001, when he became a Jehovah’s Witness. “I was anti-authoritarian but at the same time I was a loving tyrant,” he told the Guardian. “You can’t be both. I had to learn what authority was. That’s what the Bible teaches. The Bible is a study guide for social interaction.

“If I go to a place where I don’t feel stressed and there’s no car alarms and airplanes overhead, then you understand what noise pollution is. Noise is a society that has no God, that has no glue. [And thus the 53-year old musician sounds like every 53-year old parent within earshot of a sports arena that's booked Prince for a concert -- Ed] We can’t do what we want to do all the time. If you don’t have boundaries, what then?”

He’s got his. Those of you in the Middle East, you’re on your own. Rand Simberg notes how immediately appalling Prince’s language would sound if it were applied to the American South rather than the Islamic Middle East.

Next up, there’s Amnesty International, which in the mid-1980s, ran commercials full of Hollywood celebrities and rock stars offering toasts to “freedom.” I’m pretty sure I watched this one on MTV more than a few times back then, including during Live Aid, if I’m not mistaken. Look fast for the late Ron Silver halfway through the ad, 20 years before becoming a PJM contributor:

Freedom? Dude, put the collar back down on your polo shirt, take off the Wayfarers, and get your mind out of the 1980s:

If you need a refresher, Hamas conducted a raid (probably illegal, as terrorists never wear uniforms) and snuck across the border, attacked an Israeli outpost, and kidnapped Gilad Shalit.Wikipedia uses the word “capture.” Um, yeah. Like Bruno Hauptman “captured” the Lindbergh Baby.

He has been held illegally for five years.

Those who “captured” him are making threats and demands, like legal armies always do.

Shalit’s captors issued another demand to the Israelis, demanding that Israel release an additional 1,000 Palestinian prisoners (in addition to all female and young prisoners, as previously demanded) and end Israel’s incursions into Gaza.[38] Two days later, the captors issued a 24-hour ultimatum for meeting their demands, threatening unspecified consequences if Israel refused.[39] Hours after the ultimatum was issued, Israel officially rejected the demands, stating that: “there will be no negotiations to release prisoners”

So, of course Amnesty International must protest this and demand his release, right?

Wrong.

If a better example of the utter moral collapse of the human rights community exists, it would be hard to find. The statement is one of passionless brevity — just a few sentences long — and expresses no opinion on the standing of Hamas, or on its 2006 raid into Israel, or on the legitimacy of its goals and methods. Remarkably, it doesn’t even demand the release of Gilad Shalit. The most that this allegedly courageous and principled human rights community could bring itself to say to the terrorists of Hamas is that they should improve the conditions of Shalit’s imprisonment.

As Ace concludes, “If donating directly to Al Qaeda and Hamas feels too risky and too dirty to you, try us! We have Bono.”

Back in 2003, Steven Den Beste noted that Amnesty International “is demonstrating that when the cards are down, its soul is for sale.”

I’d say that for both AI and Prince, those transactions have now been concluded.

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