Forget George Galloway

I’ve seen George Galloway argue with heavyweight Christopher Hitchens for two hours on whether it is right to invade Iraq, I’ve seen him wax lyrical over the injustices sanctioned by the Israeli government, I’ve seen him talk at length on the miscarriages of justice felt by Muslims in this country, I’ve even seen Galloway talk about why Jade Goody was not being racist as such in the Big Brother house, but rather, reacting to a series of overlooked class prejudices bestowed upon her by Shilpa Shetty.

Each time I’ve ever seen Galloway speak, despite not being his biggest fan, I’ve always been quietly impressed, and moved in some respects to the anger and fire that he has in his voice.

Which is why I am very surprised that during his light touch interview recently with, effectively his employer while being at PressTV, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the interview amounted to niceties and nothingness.

Although, quite why I should be surprised is beyond me. Galloway, after all, is obviously keen on Ahmadinejad – who he calls “his excellency” – and the President’s commitment to the poor of Iran.

In the video (below) Galloway’s last question directed to the Iranian President concerns the stoning of Sakine Mohammadi Ashtani, the woman in Iran due to be put to death by stoning for supposedly committing adultery.

Galloway asks:

Final question Mr President, every so often an issue comes along, which is seized upon by the enemies of Iran, and magnified, and it becomes a heavy problem. One such is the punishment, scheduled originally against a woman convicted of adultery. The so called stoning case. I see that president Lula from Brazil has asked Iran if he can take this woman into exile there, to solve this problem. Can Iran agree to this?

Ahmadinejad answers by saying little more that the courts are separate, he hopes to see the matter resolved soon, and on the point of whether President Lula of Brazil – who along with President Erdogen of Turkey recently – should offer asylum to Ashtiani, Ahmadinejad says he would prefer to export technology, not such people to Brazil.

The interview finishes there, no more is said, and Galloway in his closing comments back in the studio has the cheek to say “The president gave me the indication that this matter would be resolved.”

This is not something that could happen in the future; it is something that is happening now. Galloway shouldn’t just let Ahmadinejad get off by saying the courts are separate, but then what more should I expect from Galloway – whose sick perversion of politics and commitment to appealing to his enemies enemy as a friend has seen him “glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and [him] glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah – who was reported to have said the numbers of Jews who died in the Holocaust had been exaggerated, and has shown courtesy to Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy.

In fact, Galloway made no mention of Ahmadinejad’s view that the figures of those who died in the Holocaust had been exaggerated. Galloway didn’t even touch on the subject of homosexuals, and how not only do they exist in Iran (see below), but they are frequently hanged in public for being so.

On the subject of Ashtiani, Galloway made no mention of how Iranian courts exploit Article 105 of the Islamic Penal Code which states “The Shari’a Judge can act upon his own knowledge in the cases of [defending] the God’s Rights and People’s Rights and carry out the punishment constituted by the God and it is necessary that he documents his knowledge.”

The sheer openness of this article means that judgements can be made entirely on interpretation rather than documented evidence, which is the case for Sakineh where forensic evidence of her adultery is missing.

Galloway made no mention of the fact that even within Islamic law itself, adultery cannot be proven satisfactorily before the perpetrator has confessed under free conditions on three separate occasions, or if four males, whom the court are happy to trust, actually witness the act of penetration – rendering the charge of adultery almost impossible unless these things have been satisfied.

Galloway made no mention of Mohammed Mostafaei, the lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtani, who is on the run from Iranian authorities after receiving a course of intimidation from them, who also pray on his wife and his brother in law who have been arrested.

Galloway did not mention the human rights abuses, particularly of women; in fact Galloway missed an opportunity so golden, I fail to see why we should listen to a single further word he has to say.

Mr Galloway knows how to make a clear, tangible argument, and is normally not afraid of doing so. But if he thinks he has satisfied his critics by asking Ahmadinejad a few soft questions, and not challenging him or his legitimacy as both President and bringer of justice, then he is wrong.

Mr Galloway is a coward and no element of the left wing in this or any other country should have anything else to do with him. He represents a perversion of politics based upon befriending those who his enemies distrust, and no sensible political theory or action can rest upon this.

24 Responses to Forget George Galloway

  1. harpymarx says:

    A summary of my thoughts can be found on my blog as wrote a post about this particular subject on women’s rights and imperialism http://harpymarx.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/imperialisms-phoney-feminism/

    Hope you are well? :)

  2. Interesting how he spins this meeting in his column. He stresses his concern for Madame Ashtiani (as if he gives a damn).

    He may be a fine orator and a fiendish disputante but at the end of the day he is an ass who is happy to kiss the ass of any despot – just to long as they are anti-west. Then again there’s nothing new in that approach. How many people take that “my enemy’s enemy” line

    • There is nothing new in that approach you’re right, but there is something absurd about it. The virus has even caught principled Marxists such as Richard Seymour; in an exchange earlier today he told me he’ll excuse George Galloway in this instance because we have to expect disagreement on the left. I await his reply to my question of where we draw the line – when left wingers are palling up to right wingers and not, when the opportunity arises, question them on their wicked domestic principles, do we tolerate this because lefties don’t see eye to eye on everything?

      I agree, Galloway’s politics seem to be based on, not good ol’ left wing principles, but ‘kiss[ing] the ass of any despot – just to long as they are anti-west’. And it will only get worse; he fancies himself as the next Michael Moore – which as far as I can tell means cutting video reel to fit an ideological perspective, and not liking it up him (see the film Manufacturing Dissent – made by filmmakers who tried – and failed – to get an interview with Moore, and discovered his darker side).

  3. David Ellis says:

    If Galloway can secure the release of this woman it will be fantastic. I applaud his efforts to do so and welcome the pro-imperialist critics of his actions as their efforts to discredit Galloway are increasing the likelihood that he will be able to negotiate her release. For sure no pro-imperialist ever had any chance of helping Ashtiani only hastening her death and I suspect that is what they want as it is not to save lives that they wish to attack Iran but to take them in their hundreds of thousands.

    • I’d be interested in who you really refer to when you say “anti-imperialists” but on the whole your comment is bollocks – if Galloway was to help in achieving the release of Ashtiani that’d be great, but not only does he seem reassured Ahmadinejad will secure her release (despite the fact that the first thing the Iranian President said was that the courts are separate – as if to say, look at how democratic we are), he should also refrain from celebrating a president who he has had to campaign to in order to ensure the relase of a woman due to be stoned to death for reasons which are dubious at best.

      Frankly, it should not take campaign after campaign after campaign to ensure a woman isn’t stoned to death in a country that has supposedly banned the use of stoning as a means of capital punishment. It is bonkers to the nth degree to give support to a president who allows this under his watch – and Galloway does this, because Galloway is bonkers to the nth degree.

  4. David Ellis says:

    Galloway has not given support to anybody. He has used his good offices as a world renowned anti-imperialist to attempt to secure the release of Ashtiani and he should be congratulated for that not vilified. In fact it is the campaigns led by people who do not hide their desire to bomb or invade or blockade Iran that should be vilified as adding to the likelihood of this execution going ahead. Galloway has appealed for clemency without making any threats and being renowned in Iran as a defender of Iran’s right to self-determination. The people are far more likely to chime with that demand and the government more likely to yield to Galloway’s request than the rantings and saber rattling of the impotent Hilary Clinton.

    • he has expressed support for Ahmadinejad’s programmes supporting the poor in Iran and speaks counterintuitively about Ahmadinejad’s victory in Iran, while criticising the movement against him – what more do you want?

      Further “He has used his good offices as a world renowned anti-imperialist to attempt to secure the release of Ashtiani” – what? Does he know this?

  5. David Ellis says:

    I’m starting to get the impression that if Galloway secured the release of this woman some would be terribly pissed off. The best of luck to Galloway’s mission I say.

    `he has expressed support for Ahmadinejad’s programmes supporting the poor’

    You are against programmes that support the poor?

    • well quite, I’d be over the moon if he did secure the release of her, but tomorrow if Berlusconi secured her release, I’d be grateful to him for doing so, but it would not change my opinion of the man and his politics. My last point remains on Ahmadinejad.

      Of course I’m not against programmes for the poor, it should be reminded that Iran is a very capitalistic nation and any so-called programmes for the poor – of which, by the way, I see no evidence of, yet I do see evidence of striking workers, particularly with the Iran-Khodro company – will be run into the ground. But further, to say I support Ahmadinejad for these programmes sounds a lot like saying I support Mussolini because I can get to work on time.

      This “moderate side” that Galloway aims to be trying to show the world – yet more evidence of Galloway’s support for Ahmadinejad – is very very hidden I must say.

      • David Ellis says:

        The point is imperialist scum like Berlusconi, unless he did it to advantage italian imperialism against another imperialism, cannot secure her release only somebody like Galloway with his long and principled record of anti-iimperialism in the region has any chance of rousing mass pressure from within Iran on the regime to secure her release. The imperialists calling for clemency sit impotent on the side lines or are reduced like our friend Citizen Kane below to hoping above hope that Galloway fails and the woman is killed. Galloway in the meantime is on TV raising the issue with the president.

      • David Ellis says:

        The point is imperialist scum like Berlusconi, unless he did it to advantage italian imperialism against another imperialism, cannot secure her release only somebody like Galloway with his long and principled record of anti-iimperialism in the region has any chance of rousing mass pressure from within Iran on the regime to secure her release. The imperialists calling for clemency sit impotent on the side lines or are reduced like our friend Citizen Kane below to hoping above hope that Galloway fails and the woman is killed. Galloway in the meantime is on TV raising the issue with the president.

      • you’ve missed my point – it wouldn’t matter who saved her be that Lula of Brazil, Erdogen of Turkey, Joan of Arc or Hitler I would doth my cap to whoever did it, but whether I liked them as people or politicians would be another matter.

        As for the anti-imperialist hero I believe you’re being unnecessarily symbolic here – I think my first two serious examples above have come closest to securing the grounds where Ashtiani’s extradition be possible, and Lula has regularly been characterised as imperialist or colluding with imperialists in South America – I think you’re just thinking on the back foot here, or possibly not thinking at all.

        I’d be interested to see what Galloway is actually doing for the campaign, has he joined with any Iranian feminist groups against stoning, of which there are a great many, and some strong ones in Afghanistan too. Avaaz is somewhere else with an eye on the matters as well as the floods in Pakistan. Has he made contacts with others in the area with diplomatic ties with Iran to secure extradition, has he made efforts to talk to anyone from the Iranian judiciary?

      • Citizen Sane says:

        The imperialists calling for clemency sit impotent on the side lines or are reduced like our friend Citizen Kane (sic) below to hoping above hope that Galloway fails and the woman is killed.

        Sorry, you’ve lost me. Where and how did I say any such thing? If Galloway’s quest is to save Ashtiani from a repugnant and medieval form of vicious barbarism that civilised societies dispensed with hundreds if not thousands of years ago then I wish him every success. And if she is spared by “His Excellency” and the cabal of puppet masters that pull his little strings and Galloway is directly responsible for that then I will applaud him. However, there is no act, no fact, no statistic and no argument that would ever sway me from the opinion that George Galloway is an enormous bell-end.

      • Citizen Sane says:

        Thanks. I’ve got previous here. I’ve always enjoyed venting spleen about Galloway. There’s plenty in the archives of my beloved old blog:

        http://liberal-elite.blogspot.com/search?q=galloway

      • oh the quote you use as the byline is classic – will endeavour to read thoroughly

  6. Citizen Sane says:

    Well said. And this is typical of Galloway, of course, who loves nothing more than to froth and rage against the “tyrannies” of Israel and the “imperialistic” USA yet, when confronted with Ahmadinejad – the vile frontman of a regime based on Theocratic fascism and thuggery – he resorts to his default position in the company of true tyrants: on his hands and knees with his tongue up their sphincter. Then again, this is the man who said that the demise of the Soviet Union was the “biggest catastrophe of his life” – he is utterly in thrall to totalitarianism.

    “Your excellency” indeed. What an obsequious little turd.

    • you paint a glorious picture – a pity I have to delete that picture forever, since it was very well described.

      Of course you’re right – there is a level of hypocrisy present in Galloway’s politics so gaping it’s any wonder the world hasn’t been swallowed up in it.

  7. vildechaye says:

    This guy ellis is quite the bumlicker and apparently very fond of calling anybody who disagrees with him “scum.”

    My own feeling is that he’s just another scummy “I never met an anti-imperialist dictator I didn’t like, no matter how cruel” useful idiot, though I’m uncertain about how useful he actually is to these despots, since his points are so weak and pathetic.

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