(Update I below)
Muammar Gaddafi’s regime collapsed yesterday, as the capital Tripoli was liberated by freedom-fighters. As people all over the world rejoiced–including Libyans and Muslims across the globe–this is what faux-progressive Muslim Irshad Manji had to say; she tweeted:
Regardless of what happens in #Libya, may the victims of Pan Am 103 be at rest.” #Qaddafi #Tripoli
Ahmed Rehab tweeted in response:
WTF tweet of the day: @IrshadManji: “Regardless of what happens in #Libya, may the victims of Pan Am 103 be at rest.” #Qaddafi #Tripoli
Rehab described Manji’s tweet in the best possible manner: a WTF tweet. WTF, indeed.
(“Pan Am 103″ is referencing a terrorist attack in the 1980′s, in which about 270 people were killed. Libyans were implicated in this attack. As one reader pointed out, it was actually Gaddafi himself, but Irshad Manji won’t let that fact bother her too much–it was those damn Libyans!)
In any case, a twitter war ensued thereafter, with one person responding to Manji saying:
and how about the 20 thousand Libyans who died in battle fighting Qadafi?
To which Manji replied:
Of course. While we’re busy praising them (rightly), let’s not overlook others. It’s not either/or. It’s and/both.
Umm, yeah. Except that she specifically chose to highlight a terrorist attack that took place decades ago , without mentioning the thousands of Libyans who were killed recently. Is it not likely that Manji cares much more about good white folk that die but cares much less about brown Muslims who are killed in record numbers?
The fact that Irshad Manji’s first thought when it comes to Libya is “1980′s Pan-Am 103 terrorist attack” is proof that–far from being the “Muslim representative” she parades around as–she is an outsider posing as an insider, who can only see the Muslim word through the lens of Orientalism. To her, Libya is reduced to whatever America’s experience and simplistic stereotype of it is. So, to her, Libya is 1980′s Pan-Am terrorist attack. The more than two decades of Libyan history that followed after that are largely irrelevant to her understanding of the region.
Ahmed Rehab commented on Manji’s Facebook page:
I found it strange that of all the things that could be said at such a historic moment in the plight of a people dying for their freedom, this is what you could think of. I mean, what is it about Libyan citizens fighting for freedom against a 42 year oppressive rule, giving life and limb, and finally celebrating being on the cusp of finding it, that conjures up a 1980′s terrorist attack in your mind? Very Bizarre for me.
Very bizarre indeed. WTF more like it.
Ahmed Rehab threw another grenade, saying:
@Irshad, the phenomenon of the people of Libya fighting for freedom and celebrating their victory yesterday has nothing to do with a terrorist act by Qaddafi in the 80′s. But since you’re in the business of randomly mentioning things and associating events together because they’re “human too” then why not throw in that tweet mention of the 1000+ dead in the last Gaza war at the hands of an occupation you seem to support and say something like “I wish they too could have seen a free day”? Seems like just as much a logical association if not more than the one you threw out. Come on, why not? What’s happening in your heart that you would need to view this as an either/or scenario, rather than an and/both sentiment?
But of course Irshad Manji doesn’t sympathize with the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. That would put her in the bad books with the right-wingers and neo-conservatives whose approval she so desperately needs. So much for the “and/both” claim.
Rehab said further:
There’s nothing wrong with evoking the victims of Hiroshima, but it would be bizarre if one tweeted “regardless of who wins the olympic gymnastics Gold between the US and Romania, I hope the victims of Hiroshima rest in peace” and then when someone rightly wonders WTF, the response is “what is it in your heart that you cannot BOTH celebrate the US gold AND have it in your heart to remember Hiroshima”. It’s the bizarre forced associaton that makes your tweet incoherent. I know you are intelligent enough to grasp this simple point. So, there’s something else going on with you. And I will tell you what it is: expediency. I don’t personally believe that you are concerned with the freedom of Libyans, or with the victims of terrorism for that matter (if you were you’d have – even if once by sheer accident – decried Israeli state terrorism against unarmed Palestinian families). I think instead you are a professional panderer givning a segment of Western society what you think they want to hear from a Muslim to be patted on the back and hansomely rewarded as a “good, civilized, educated” Muslim. And you never waste an opportunity to deliver the goods. In fact, you’ve made a career of mastering that art. You will forgive my honesty.
That’s pretty much spot-on.