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July 9, 2008
On business trip to Europe, wile sharing a drink with a co-worker in the lobby of our Vienna Hotel the conversation was disrupted by a steadily rising thump of bass notes from the street outside. A minute or two later we could hardly hear each other over the staccato techno-beat and decided to investigate. Lo and behold we emerged outside to find the Vienna's first annual "March Against Racism and Discrimination."
Parading past on the historic RingStrasse were an assortment of unshaven grubby men, and their liberally pierced and tattooed ladies, stretching back as far as the eye could see. Huge vans filled with sound equipment pumped a deafening concoction of manic dance beats interspersed with otherworldly screeches and wails.
Blazoned across the front of these traveling discotechs were signs reading; "Say No to Fascism!; No Racism/No Discrimination!; with an occasional anarchy symbol tossed in for good measure. The protesters marched, enveloped in this sonic tidal wave, filled with self-congratulation for the righteous stand that they had taken racism in Vienna.
Meanwhile back in the lobby, Middle Eastern men, comfortably attired for the summer weather in shorts and tee shirts, stood next to their wives dressed in full length, jet-black burqas. Still an unusual site in America, women in this attire are relatively commonplace in many European capitals.
I'm sure these enlightened fighters of discrimination marched past several of these ladies who silently watched them through the narrow slit in their garment.
And what did they think -- if they bothered at all? Probably something about tolerance and diversity, a rainbow of cultures, etc., etc. The idea that this subjugating half the human race to cover their entire body so that their connection to the world is reduced to dimensions of a mail slot somehow didn't register as "discrimination" in their minds.
Standing up to Islam, or more precisely the strain of Islam that traffics in burqas, honor killings, and compulsory marriage of teenagers, is a messy fight. It's a fight where the opponent sometimes swings back, occasionally with deadly accuracy. No, better to combat battles like segregation and apartheid; injustices like making black musicians stay in a different hotel than their white bandleader; or disgraceful bans on inter-racial marriage.
Except -- and here's the bitter pill for all my leftist friends to swallow -- those fights have ended. Sorry you were too young at the time. I know the movies and documentaries make it all look pretty exciting, but it's over.
Of course there are groups in the world that still segregate and discriminate on the basis of gender, religion and nationality. They say things like, "Israel is a one bomb state", or "Behead those who defame the prophet!" They terrorize Jewish students at public schools in Paris, they throw deadly riots on the basis of satirical cartoons, they even go so far as to summarily execute innocent people and publicize the event on the Internet.
How's that for an enemy of tolerance? How's that for a fight worth fighting? How's that for a stand that takes some guts and moral courage?
But in the end these questions are drowned out in a wall of dance music and the good feeling that comes from taking an irrelevant stand against something that virtually everyone already condemns.
In reality, what the Left defines as discrimination is largely extinct and what constitutes real discrimination today is - thanks to their morally relative worldview - is off limits to even discuss.
Meanwhile, back on the sidewalks of Vienna, ladies in burqas walk obediently behind their husbands, sweating in the warm summer sun, thankful for the fact that everyone is so "tolerant" of their unique cultural heritage.