Reporting “worthy” of this man, Walter Duranty
Andrew Higgins’ “inspirational” muse must be the ignoble New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who deliberately concealed Stalin’s campaign of mass starvation and murder (or “dekulakization”) of 14.5 million in the Ukraine, from 1930-1937 (see Robert Conquest’s magisterial Harvest of Sorrow, pp. 299-307). This travesty was compounded when Duranty was awarded a 1932 Pulitzer prize for his despicably whitewashed, agitprop “reporting”.
Eight decades later, ostensibly reporting on the recent failed assassination attempt against Danish journalist and historian Lars Hedegaard for the New York Times (or more appositely, the New Duranty Times, since the “paper of record” has never denounced Duranty’s illegitimate receipt of the Pulitzer), Higgins demonizes Hedegaard as a purveyor of “ anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts,” while lionizing Copenhagen’s Islamic Society, in particular, its current leader, Imran Shah.
Higgins selectively quotes Shah’s statement, “we knew that this was something people would try to blame on us. We knew we had to be in the forefront and make clear that political and religious violence is totally unacceptable.”
However, as reported in an English language story at Jyllands-Posten on February 19, 2013, but not Higgins, it is only now, more than 7-years later, that Imran Shah and his predecessor, Ahmed Akkari, who formerly headed Copenhagen’s Islamic Society, have acknowledged their direct role in fomenting the murderous Muslim “cartoon riots”—which according to Jytte Klausen, resulted in 200 dead, and over 800 wounded—by disseminating particularly inflammatory images never included amongst the published Jyllands-Posten cartoons.
Upset over the publishing of the 12 Danish Cartoons and what they deemed as the Danish government’s inadequate response to their demands for actions against the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Ahmed Akkari and others took their case to the Middle East in late 2005. With them was a dossier they put together consisting of the 12 Danish Cartoons and other materials they claimed were representative of the attitudes of Danes towards Muslims, including a photograph of a man donning costume pig ears and pig snout, a cartoon depicting the Prophet as a pedophile, and, a cartoon depicting a dog mounting a Muslim man who is praying. The photograph turned out to have nothing to do with Danish attitudes towards Muslims. It is a photograph of a French man competing in a pig squealing contest. Many people who glanced through the dossier incorrectly assumed that all of these images had been published by Jyllands-Posten. Many more people made the same assumption once these inserted images began appearing in the media. Muslims throughout the Islamic world took great offense to the 12 Danish Cartoons depicting Mohammad, and, the non-Jyllands-Posten images. Demonstrations and riots continued all over the Islamic world for weeks…
As Jyllands-Posten also reported, Naser Khader, a secular Muslim, a free speech advocate, and, former member of the Danish Parliament with the Social Liberal Party, received a death threat from Ahmed Akkari, for Khader’s openly secular viewpoint. Khader, who is currently a Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, unlike the agitprop purveyor Andrew Higgins, was not willingly deceived by Akkari’s and Shah’s recent self-serving statements. He maintained,
I would like to believe them. But I don’t. They say one thing in Arabic and then another in Danish depending on who they are talking to.
Khader further emphasized the desire of Akkari and Shah to re-shape their images, and appeal to Denmark’s decision makers and general public.
They are now out in the cold. But they have not changed their minds about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. They will, for instance, still say ‘No’ to a Muhammad cartoon.
Reading Mr. Higgins’s New York Times story reminded me of Arthur Koestler’s description in “The God That Failed” of working for the Soviet Agitprop EKKI as a “delegate of the Revolutionary Proletarian Writers of Germany.” Koestler was a brilliant writer, but before qualifying for this particular writing assignment, he had gradually learned from his willing Communist indoctrination,
…to distrust my mechanistic pre-occupation with facts and to regard the world around me the world around me in the light of dialectic interpretation. It was a satisfactory and indeed blissful state; once you had assimilated the technique you were no longer disturbed by facts; they automatically took on the proper color and fell into their proper place.
Extraordinarily well-paid for rather minimal effort, Koestler described how it was
…a pleasant feeling to have a nest egg in the Socialist sixth of the earth. In exceptional cases the State Publishing Trust is even authorized to convert part of the sum into the author’s home currency and to send it to him in monthly installments. I know of two famous exiled German authors in France who for years drew monthly royalty checks of this kind, though one of them had never published a book in Russia. Both were passionate and lucid critics of democratic corruption; neither of them has ever written a word of criticism of the Soviet Union.
Similarly, you will not find a word of criticism of the irredentist Islamic societies Imran Shah frequents in Andrew Higgins’ hagiography of his paragon of Danish Muslim ecumenism. Instead, Higgins and those of his ilk are willing dupes of the Sharia-based Islamic totalitarianism embraced by such traditionalist Muslim ideologues. Koestler’s story, contrastingly, is a brutally honest, wrenching mea culpa which concludes with insights thus far unattainable by doctrinaire, willfully blind cultural relativist journalists like Higgins, whose own “oeuvre” epitomizes the journalism that has failed.
Arthur Koestler’s experiences, and reflections upon them, are critically relevant to the present age. Andrew Higgins and an entire generation of like-minded journalists, so enamored of Islamic totalitarianism, ignore Koestler’s insights on Communist totalitarianism at great peril to our most fundamental freedoms. Will he, and they, continue on in the ignominious path of the New York Times’ own “Pulitzer Prize-winning” shill for Communist totalitarianism, the utterly mendacious Walter Duranty?
What follows is Koestler’s own eyewitness account of the images he saw during the Ukrainian famine, and his indoctrinated mindset at that time:
I saw the ravages of the famine of 1932-33 in the Ukraine: hordes of families in rags begging at the railway stations, the women lifting up to the compartment window their starving brats which—with drumstick limbs, big cadaverous heads, puffed bellies—looked like embryos out of alcohol bottles; the old men with frost-bitten toes sticking out of torn slippers. I was told that these were the kulaks who had resisted the collectivization of the land and accepted the explanation; they were enemies of the people who preferred begging to work. The maid in the Hotel Regina in Kharkov fainted from hunger while doing my room: the manager explained that she was fresh from the countryside and through a technical glitch had not yet been issued her ration cards; I accepted the technical hitch.
I not only accepted the famine as inevitable, but also the ban on foreign travel, foreign newspapers and books, and the dissemination of a grotesquely distorted picture of life in the capitalist world…[P]ropaganda was indispensable for the survival of the Soviet Union surrounded by a hostile world. The necessary lie, the necessary slander; the necessary intimidation of the masses to preserve them from shortsighted errors; the necessary liquidation of oppositional groups and classes; the necessary sacrifice of a whole generation in the interest of the next—it may all sound monstrous and yet it was so easy to accept while rolling along the track of faith….[This] mental world…is difficult to explain to the outsider who has never entered the magic circle and played Wonderland croquet* with himself.
(* “Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.”)