Antony Loewenstein – Master of Doublethink
07/02/2011 10 Comments
Is Loewenstein a liar, a hypocrite or a partisan of the Tamil Tigers?
How credible is Antony’s claim to be independent when commenting on Sri Lanka’s war and post-war politics? Antony has previously criticised “…the bias of those journalists who do not bother to report both sides.” The facts will prove his claims to authority on Sri Lanka are unfounded and that he concerns himself exclusively with one side of a multi-faceted story.
A proven pro-LTTE partisan
Tip to Antony: If you claim to be an ‘independent’ commentator, it helps if you at least pretend to be non-partisan.
Antony was an ‘Election Monitor for LTTE Elections
Antony was proud to monitor pro-LTTE front-group inspired ‘Elections’ in Australia to create a separate state (for Tamils only) in Sri Lanka, after the group was annihilated inside Sri Lanka. The election monitors were generally chosen for their sympathies for the separatist cause.
Lies about civilian casualties in last days of the Sri Lankan War
“My partner’s father was under the bombs in the north-east of the country and he tells of aerial bombardment on make-shift medical centres. It was hell on earth. Up to 50,000 Tamils were murdered.”
Antony cannot admit that the LTTE kept their heavy artillery near the makeshift hospital, knowing that it would make it a legitimate target for the Army who duly obliged, inadvertently killing innocent civilians. The LTTE deliberately put Tamil civilians in harm’s way. Unfortunately Antony cannot admit this.
Video of LTTE armoured vehicle firing on Sri Lankan forces from inside the ‘No Fire Zones’ (at 00:30) and LTTE cadres firing on their ‘own’ people (at 00:20) in May 2009.
In a bravura display of chutzpah in June 2009, Antony “criticised the media’s tendency to put “equal signs” between the two sides in any war. He also criticised the bias of those journalists who do not bother to report both sides.”
Fact: Loewenstein cannot even hold himself to the standards he sets for others. He truly is the ‘gift that keeps giving’ by showcasing his ignorance and partiality.
Supported a pro-LTTE inspired sports boycott in Australia
Antony proudly supported a boycott of the Sri Lankan cricket tour to Australia in 2010.
Fact: The Sri Lankan cricket team (consisting of all Sri Lankan communities) is one of the few unifying symbols that all ethnicities in Sri Lanka unreservedly support. The boycott campaign in Australia was a total failure.
Unable to distinguish defeat from victory
Antony creates a new definition for overwhelming military victory. It is now a “…cessation of hostilities” [between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers…”] The hostilities didn’t ‘cease’. They were ended by the most comprehensive and complete military defeat suffered by a terrorist group in recent times.
Supports trade boycott against Sri Lanka
Antony’s battle-cry against the oppressed Sri Lankan poor is: “Don’t buy anything from Sri Lanka”. He proudly supports the LTTE-diaspora instigated trade boycott of Sri Lankan garments. How this boycott is supposed to improve the economic well-being of the poorest segments of Sri Lanka society (including ex-LTTE cadres), whilst simultaneously punishing the Sri Lanka government, Antony doesn’t address.
Fact: The textile industry is a key employer of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres.
Tri Star Apparel in Sri Lanka announced that the company will employ “1,200 former LTTE cadres in its factories at Trincomalee and Vavuniya” and will enjoy the “same salaries and benefits” received by the others in the apparel group. Compare and contrast with pro-LTTE groups and their supporters boycotting Sri Lankan garments in the UK.
Loewensteinian Hypocrisy in action
Loewenstein campaigns against racism and racial hatred yet is unable to admit to the LTTE’s own virulent racism resulting in the only genuine act of ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka, when they ‘cleansed’ the Muslims from the East.
He says: “My point here isn’t to support rampant racial hatred; I actively campaign against it”. I never felt comfortable with what I saw as a racially superior mentality. It seemed disturbingly close to racism.”
Yet support by a significant section of the pro-LTTE diaspora for the concept of a racially-defined, exclusively Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka is patently beyond his comprehension. Or perhaps he simply can’t admit that to himself.
Hating Zionism and Loving Eelam – Antony’s Doublethink
Antony is a fierce critic of Zionism, which maintains that “Jews have the right to self-determination in their own national home” (by having chased away the Palestinians who disagreed) and is simultaneously a fierce proponent of Tamil Eelam, the yet-to-be-created, ethnically exclusive ‘homeland’ for Tamils in Sri Lanka. In 1990, The LTTE ethnically cleansed Muslims from the area claimed as ‘Eelam’.
A more perfect example of Doublethink, (which George Orwell defined as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”) is hard to find.
Free speech – except for Sri Lankan literary festivals
Antony says: “Free speech is a delicate beast that must be constantly nurtured and defended. Our society can handle robust engagement on a host of issues….Hurt feelings shouldn’t be a crime.”
Fact: Antony was ‘honoured’ to participate in the boycott of a Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. Despite a few authors boycotting the GLF, it was a great success including the BBC World Service sponsored debate called “After shock: the lingering legacy of civil war”.
Loewenstein pompously proclaims: “Western journalists rarely venture past their heavily fortified Baghdad bunkers, instead relying on Iraqi reporters to risk life and limb to gather information.” Antony (rightly) despises hotel-journalists and (rightly) admires good hacks like Robert Fisk and Charlie Glass who actually visit the country they report on.
On Sri Lanka, his experience and knowledge appears to be taken from his pro-LTTE friends. For instance, in 2006, the now-defunct ‘Tamil Eelam Legislature” (without a shred of irony), enacted Child Protection legislation whilst simultaneously continuing to kidnap children to bolster their combat formations units.
Fact: Antony has yet to leave his heavily fortified drinks cabinet to grace Sri Lanka with his presence. He never visited Eelam during its’ existence to experience the wonderful life lead by the Tamil people living under LTTE rule.
A failed Pundit
Loewenstein warns Sri Lanka in December 2009 of another separatist uprising, only a few months after his favoured racist terrorists, the LTTE was annihilated. “…expect an insurgency that will change its face but remain determined to achieve set goals. Sri Lanka, you have been warned”
So far, still no sign of the PLA. Perhaps they’re waiting for Antony to inspire them into battle – from a safe distance, of course. I confidently predict that the next group of LTTE-style terrorists won’t last 30 days, let alone 30 years.
Fact: The People’s Liberation Army was either a figment of an over-excited Times hack’s imagination or a black-ops diversion by Sri Lankan Military Intelligence.
Self-aggrandising fantasist (a ‘Best-selling’ writer?)
From Antony’s bio for the Jaipur Literature Festival, “…He has two best-selling books, My Israel Question (2009) and The Blogging Revolution (2008)”. He provides no independent verification of his claims to be a ‘best selling’ author .
Fact: On Amazon, ‘My Israel Question’ is ranked 2,001,170 in the Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
Fact: His other book, The Blogging Revolution is ranked 1,304,492 on the Amazon Bestsellers Rank.
Definitely not a best-selling author!
Correction to above: based on info from Nick Shimmin, Antony’s book has been reprinted three times. http://catalogue.mup.com.au/978-0-522-85706-1.html
I don’t have sales figures, but Antony’s welcome to provide them to further cement his reputation as a best-selling author. Apologies for the error, which has now been corrected.
If news organizations continue to use Loewenstein as a credible, independent commentator on Sri Lankan affairs, they only have themselves to blame when Sri Lankans and others treat their reporting with contempt.
Antony’s participation in the ‘Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice’ (who proudly proclaim their part in economic attacks on Sri Lanka) helps to reduce that organization’s credibility even further.
His expertise and credentials on Sri Lanka are as shallow and second-hand as the received opinions he regurgitates.
p.s. Antony if of course free to correct any errors contained in the post above. Somehow, I doubt he has the balls for it.