October 19, 2004


Reaction to The Guardian's "write letters to Clark County, Ohio, using the fluids from your bleeding, infected British gums" campaign has been mixed, to say the least. (Earlier reports on The Guardian's campaign, and our vigorous counter-campaign, may be found here, here, here and

Meanwhile, possibly inspired by our British friends, Malaysian anti-Semite Mahathir Mohammad is sending letters to the US himself:

Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohammad has appealed to American Muslims not to vote for George Bush on November 2.

In an open letter sent to the community, believed to number seven million, the former prime minister said during the past four years of the Bush presidency, the Muslims and their countries had suffered oppression and humiliation as never before in the history of Islam.

"There is an obvious connection between the sufferings of the Muslims and the policies and thinking of Bush. We cannot expect much change to the policies of the United States of America towards Islam and the Muslims under Democrats as under Republicans. But we have a duty to ensure that Bush will not be able to determine our fate for four more years," he said.

Read on. It’s pure ... Guardian.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 19, 2004 04:32 AM

“oppression and humiliation”

Just ask Mahathir Mohammed about his treatment of Anwar Ibrahim.

“ONCE MALAYSIA'S premier-in-waiting, 57-year-old Anwar Ibrahim was his country's most charismatic leader before personally experiencing the kind of despotism for which most contemporary Muslim leaders are notorious: First he was baselessly accused of corruption, then he was indicted for committing sodomy, and finally he was jailed. His jailer, the pathologically anti-Semitic Mahathir Mohamad, insisted that his arch-rival's downfall was in no way related to the rallies Anwar led and the democratic reform he demanded.

Mahathir convinced no one, but Anwar did time - five whole years - and could only watch helplessly from his cell in the Sungei Bulon Jail as Mahathir retired politically unscathed, and passed the leadership down to another - Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In a statement, Abdullah expressed "sadness" over the Beslan massacre. It remains unclear whether that was a euphemism for "I don't care enough about this to make me rally people," or for "I am not charismatic enough to do this the way Anwar could."

What is not unclear is that Abdullah is now actively resisting Anwar's return to their party - lest he be ousted by the man who is so obviously better than him, and favored by the public.

While in jail, Anwar found solace in reading Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, where Sicilia's King Leontes jails Queen Hermione for having allegedly conducted an affair with the king of Bohemia. By the time the king realizes her innocence, Hermione's baby has been abandoned at the king's order, and she herself has died.

Anwar, however, has lived, and now, after having been helped by imprisonment's solitude to see "more in my favorite tragedies than I ever did before" (as he put it three years ago in a note to Asiaweek), he is out to restore his reputation and clout.

If successful, he may yet hand the Muslim world what it needs most, and what its current leaders are so determined to prevent: a democratic dissident-turned-leader.

Eventually, whether this process starts now or later, in Malaysia or elsewhere, such leaders will sprout across the Muslim world, the way they did in East Europe. And once such transition is afoot, Muslims will flock to rallies where they will decry a crime such as the Beslan massacre, not only as a menace to their own peace, but as an affront to Allah and His creation.”

Posted by: Sid at October 21, 2004 at 05:01 AM