Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > Middle East
Reload this Page >

Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Old Apr 13th 2009, 7:05 am
  #1  
BE Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
alfrombarking's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 361
alfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to beholdalfrombarking is a splendid one to behold
Thumbs up Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Now this is getting interesting...looks like JH's article touched some nerves

Johann Hari: How to spot a lame, lame argument



There is one particular type of bad argument that has always existed, but it has now spread like tar over the world-wide web, and is seeping into the pubs, coffee shops and opinion columns everywhere. It is known as 'what-aboutery' - and there was a particularly ripe example of it in response to one of my articles last week.

As a rhetorical trick, it is simple. Anyone can do it, and we are all tempted sometimes. When you have lost an argument - when you can't justify your case, and it is crumbling in your hands - you snap back: "But what about x?"

You then raise a totally different subject, and try to get everybody to focus on it - hoping it will distract attention from your own deflated case.

So whenever I report on, say, atrocities committed by Israel, I am bombarded with e-mails saying: "But what about the bad things done by Muslims? Why do you never talk about them?" Whenever I report on the atrocities committed by Islamists, I am bombarded with e-mails saying: "But what about Israel? Why do you never write about the terrible things they do?" And so it goes on, whatever the subject, in an endless international shifting of blame, united in the cry: "What about them! Talk about them instead!"

This argument is almost always disingenuous. How do I know? Because when you write back and explain that, why, I do actually criticize Islamists/Israel/the US/China/whoever-you-have-picked-out-randomly, and here are the articles where I do it, nobody ever writes back and says: fair enough; you consistently condemn human rights abuses, no matter who commits them. No. They scrape around for another "what about." What about Tibet? What about Sri Lanka? What about North Korea? This list never ends, as the other side tries to draw your attention further and further from what you were discussing.

Independent readers have just seen a classic example. Last week I reported from Dubai, pointing out that this glittering city was built on what Human Rights Watch calls "slavery" - bitterly poor people who are conned into going there and forced to stay by a medieval dictatorship. Amongst others, I interviewed an Emirati man called Sultan al-Qassemi who passionately defended this system, saying that it is absolutely right that these workers are blasted with water cannons, arrested, and deported if they try to strike against their slavery-style conditions.

He did not react to my article by responding to the many criticisms I made of Dubai. He can't. He knows they are true. Instead he wrote a piece for the Independent asking: But what about Britain? He listed many things wrong with Britain - homelessness, detention without trial, the abuse of trafficked workers - and cried: talk about them instead!

As it happens, I have criticized all these things about Britain myself, in the British press, and in publications across the world. The difference is - Sultan doesn't oppose the appalling things about his own country. He cheers them on - and all he can do to distract from this shameful fact is to try to change the subject.

The best way to respond to what-aboutery is to state a simple truth. Say it slowly: there can be more than one bad thing in the world. You can oppose American atrocities, and Chinese atrocities. You can be critical of Israel, and of Islamism. You can condemn Dubai's system of slavery, and the fact people are detained without trial in Britain. You can stand independent of governments - including your own - and criticize anyone who chooses to abuse human rights. The world is not divided into a Block of Light, and a Block of Darkness; you don't have to pick a tribe and defend its every action.

So whenever you hear the cry "But what about?!", you can reply: what about we ignore this crude attempt to change the subject, and focus on the subject in hand?
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion...t-1667373.html
alfrombarking is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 7:13 am
  #2  
BE Enthusiast
 
Millsyisland's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Abu Dhabi
Posts: 897
Millsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond reputeMillsyisland has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

30 - 15
Millsyisland is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 7:14 am
  #3  
BE Enthusiast
 
klaus3974's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 380
klaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud ofklaus3974 has much to be proud of
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

He is totally right about this. However, that does not mean that his article was any good. Too bad that there was not a smart and articulate answer from an Emirati in the first place. The UAE is a developing country in SO many ways.
klaus3974 is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 9:01 am
  #4  
Remember
 
Desert Dweller's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: The Land of Sindbad
Posts: 1,275
Desert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Originally Posted by klaus3974 View Post
He is totally right about this. However, that does not mean that his article was any good. Too bad that there was not a smart and articulate answer from an Emirati in the first place. The UAE is a developing country in SO many ways.
Or so very few- depending on how you look at it!
Desert Dweller is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 10:03 am
  #5  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,869
seven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond reputeseven seas has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Originally Posted by klaus3974 View Post
..Too bad that there was not a smart and articulate answer from an Emirati in the first place. ..
The response is an official government investigation. I think/hope this might be the start of something new.

The response from individuals who are unused to criticismp- especially from outside- is not to be taken seriously.

Let's see what the investigation results in.
seven seas is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 11:56 am
  #6  
Remember
 
Desert Dweller's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: The Land of Sindbad
Posts: 1,275
Desert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond reputeDesert Dweller has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Desert Dweller is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 12:12 pm
  #7  
Is not impressed...
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Dubai
Posts: 258
Aikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really niceAikman7981 is just really nice
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Is there a link to something about the investigation? I'm curious and this would be good news if true and more than lip service.
Aikman7981 is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 12:13 pm
  #8  
TA5
Banned (Always Correct)
 
TA5's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 941
TA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond reputeTA5 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Originally Posted by Desert Dweller View Post
Can someone photoshop dubai into that?
TA5 is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 1:11 pm
  #9  
Just Joined
 
rainbowtrout's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5
rainbowtrout is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

it's a sad situation when people choose to wield the pen / keyboard instead of a soup ladle to help ease the problem.
rainbowtrout is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 2:05 pm
  #10  
BE Enthusiast
 
AnotherWorld's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 758
AnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of lightAnotherWorld is a glorious beacon of light
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Originally Posted by rainbowtrout View Post
it's a sad situation when people choose to wield the pen / keyboard instead of a soup ladle to help ease the problem.
Whatever, hippy.
AnotherWorld is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 4:43 pm
  #11  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 13,553
The Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond reputeThe Dean has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Originally Posted by Millsyisland View Post
30 - 15
No...............

"Fault!"

"15-all - second serve................"
The Dean is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 5:11 pm
  #12  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Confucius's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,434
Confucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond reputeConfucius has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
No...............

"Fault!"

"15-all - second serve................"
I'm with Hari...Even though I listen to Sultan on Dubai Eye almost always...
Confucius is offline  
Old Apr 13th 2009, 11:31 pm
  #13  
Bob
BE Site Lead
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 91,787
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Johann Hari responds to UAE 'journalist'

There's already a thread on this here so I'm closing this one down...mainly because I'm to lazy to merge it into the old thread and make it look like it makes sense...
Bob is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.