"This documentary explicitly reveals under cover work of missionary agencies and individuals in the destruction of an ethnic group, the Akha people of South East Asia. It is a picture of evil cloaked in righteousness. Evangelical missionaries come with the Good News of the Gospel, and aid for the poverty stricken mountain people. The reality is division, destruction of family core groups, human rights violations, displacement, forced relocation, theft of land, cultural genocide, racism and power of a majority people group over the indigenous group.
[Tomáš] Ryška does an excellent job presenting the contrast of hypocrisy and wealth of the missionary, aid, food and clothing, the underworld of child trafficking versus the appearance of cleanliness and holiness, worship done the 'right' way, versus the 'pagan way.' He contrasts land theft, greed for the rich mountain resources, good business versus God's service. He uncovers the fear of eternal punishment versus the joys of heaven, fear of death threats for those who dare expose evil that dwells in the fundamentalist Christian missionary centres, corruption versus holiness, forced relocation, illness, depression, malaria, and prison camps in the lowlands for the unfortunate mountain people. It is colonization all over again."
(Akha Heritage Foundation)
"The history of modern Iran provides a dramatic illustration of the fallacy represented by the modern jingoism of 'better our imperialism than theirs'. For the two forms of imperialism are actually intimately related. By forcefully imposing Western values on Muslim states we are merely creating the ideal conditions for the very form of Islamic imperialism we most fear. At the same time, by maintaining an attitude of almost complete insensitivity in relation to The Satanic Verses we are feeding the cruel fundamentalism we seek to oppose. For the continued prestige of the novel in the West is itself a source of cultural humiliation for countless thousands of Muslims both in this country and elsewhere.
Most ironically of all, by persisting in their intransigent support for Rushdie's novel, Western liberals are demonstrating not their strength but their weakness. For it is by having the courage to correct mistakes and misjudgments that cultures ultimately demonstrate their strength.
In this respect Salman Rushdie's reflections on his own possible fallibility are highly significant. In his essay 'In Good Faith', he writes: 'Would I have written differently if I had known what would happen? Truthfully, I don't know. Would I change any of the text now? I would not. It's too late. As Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote in The Physicists: 'What has once been thought cannot be unthought.' '
The flaw in this argument is that the quotation from Dürrenmatt addresses a quite different problem from that which is at issue. It is quite true that 'what has once been thought cannot be unthought' but thoughts are not words. They are essentially private and the fact that we cannot 'unthink' them is irrelevant to the Rushdie affair. For it is one of the conditions of human freedom that we can choose whether or not to voice in public the thoughts that we have in private. And having once chosen to commit our thoughts to speech or to writing we remain free to have 'second thoughts' – to revise, change or even completely repudiate what we have already said.
It is, indeed, almost a precondition of successful human relationships that we should remain free to withdraw or apologise for remarks which have proved hurtful, to 'unsay' things which we have already said and to put right mistakes or misjudgments. To place ourselves in a position where we are unable to do this is a sign not of liberty but of rigidity. Indeed, when Rushdie claims that he cannot alter or withdraw what he has written, he appears to invest himself with the infallibility which traditional religious believers normally ascribe to their gods and their divinely inspired prophets. It is just such delusions which lead to the monolithic and terrible certainties of scripture. By implicitly applying a scriptural doctrine of inerrancy to his own secular writing Rushdie has come close to making a novel – a human fable – into something as rigid and dangerous as scripture itself."
(Richard Webster, 1992)
Retrospective "identities use as resources narratives of the past which provide exemplars, criteria, belonging and . ... This provides for an unambiguous, stable, intellectually impervious, collective identity. This consumes the self in all its manifestations and gives it a site outside of current and future instabilities, beyond current ambiguities of judgement, relation and conduct. In some contexts it produces a strong insulation between the sacred and profane, such that it is possible to enter the profane world without either being appropriated or colonised by it. Islamic fundamentalism enables the appropriation of western technologies without cultural penetration. Nearer home orthodox Jews in the 1920s, and even earlier, occupied small shops and business slots in the economy and retained their identity through strict orthodox practice. In the 1960s and onwards many British [Central] Asian Moslems occupied a similar economic and cultural context. The problem here for such retrospective identities is their reproduction in the next generation, and here we might expect a shift to prospective or even therapeutic positions. Age may well influence the expression of the retrospective identity through differential selection of resources. It may well be that the young are attracted to the current revival of charismatic Christianity with its emphasis upon the subjective, the emotional, upon intense interactive participation and upon oppositions to institutional orthodoxes. On a more anecdotal level I have been impressed with the revival of student fraternity rituals in Portugal, Norway and Germany. Finally we can consider nationalism and populism as subsets of retrospective fundamentalism, drawing on mythological resources of origin, belonging, progression and destiny (rise of the extreme right). Any weakening of the collective resource on which the fundamentalist identity draws and which minutely regulates conduct, belief and participation, as is likely in inter–generation reproduction, may entail a shift to re–centring identities on the part of the young."
(Basil Bernstein 2000, p.74)
Bernstein, Basil. (2000). 'Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity, Theory Research Critique'. Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.