And let’s say, amidst overheated discussion concerning the safety of turboprop aircraft like the ill-fated Bombardier, JetBlue Airways—which flies exclusively jet aircraft, not turboprops, on its New York-to-Buffalo runs—offered to fund some kind of memorial for your friend. It would be tasteful. It wouldn’t read, say, “In Loving Memory of Your Friend and in Praise of Airbus.” It wouldn’t even say who paid for it.
I, for one, would be against accepting. I wouldn’t want anyone with such obviously suspect motives memorializing any friend of mine. And, since it’s really none of JetBlue’s business, I would consider it a bloody strange offer to begin with.
That’s pretty much how I feel about the battle over Aqsa Parvez’s spartan gravesite at Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton, Ont. Aqsa was the 16-year-old Mississauga girl murdered in December 2007, prosecutors allege, by her father and brother. Because the family is Muslim, and because Aqsa fought bitterly with them over her adopting a more Western lifestyle—most notably refusing to wear a hijab—some have suggested this was, as Toronto Life put it, the city’s “first honour killing.”
Her remains currently lie beneath a simple steel plate bearing the number 774, and this anonymity understandably dismays many of her friends. But as teenagers of limited means, they haven’t been in much of a position to do anything about it.
Enter the blogosphere. As the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington reported last week, the online campaign to properly memorialize Aqsa has been led by one Pamela Geller, proprietor of the blog Atlas Shrugs, with support from other prominent right-wing bloggers on both sides of the border. It hasn’t been going so well. Geller raised more than $4,000 US for a headstone—it was to read, “Loved, Remembered, Free”—but apparently you can’t just plunk down whatever you want atop somebody else’s daughter’s grave.See my prior post on Pamela Geller, Saturday, February 14, 2009, What does the Vlaams Belang Party, Racist Dutch MP Geert Wilders, Neo Nazi's and the "Atlas Shrugs" Blog Have in Common, Everything !
A correspondent reasonably suggested paying for a tree, bench and memorial plaque to be installed in the arboretum at the University of Guelph, but again, no dice. The manager of the arboretum replied that as it would “draw much public attention,” it would be “inconsistent with [the area’s] current use” as a sort of oasis.
Warmington, Geller et al profess bafflement at all this, the former suggesting last week that “the politically correct police seem to be winning out.” I have another theory. I think the cemetery and arboretum managers typed Geller’s name into Google, backed slowly away from their computers and decided they weren’t touching this thing with a ten-foot pole.
A wise choice, I’d say; in my non-professional opinion, she's at least a few chickpeas short of a falafel. She seems to believe, just for example, that the presidency of Barack Obama—whom she refers to, variously, as “Obambi,” “B. Hussein” and “the Jihadists’ President”—is the result of a calculated infiltration of the U.S. government by radical Muslims.
In December, when Obama advisors indicated he was considering
delivering a foreign policy speech in an Islamic capital, she declared “America will be unrecognizable after Hussein’s first and last term (if we live through it).” She does not think highly enough of Muslims to expunge words such as “raghead” from her comment threads.
She reacted to a particularly gruesome report of an honour killing last year in Pakistan, in which three teenage girls were apparently buried alive, as follows (her italics): “The bodies of the five women … were desecrated by the wild animals. This is Islam. … I have utter contempt for any human being who will not call this death cult what it really is. Pure evil. The horror.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the foregoing, she also advocates banning all Muslim immigration to the United States. Her most prominent Canadian blogging supporter, who calls Arabs “violent retards,” advocates the same in Canada. The irony is overwhelming.
The people leading the charge to memorialize the purported victim of Toronto’s first honour killing would have preferred she grow up in Pakistan—which, you will remember, is the place where the punishment for teenage uppitiness is being buried alive, without so much as a trial for those wielding the shovels.
Just so we’re perfectly clear, I can certainly understand Aqsa’s still-young friends latching onto anything that would honour her memory, and I’m sure many who donated to Geller’s quest had the most honourable intentions. And hey, if a tasteful memorial is eventually erected, 20 years later it might not matter who came up with the idea. I don’t know. I do know that as an anti-Muslim maniac, Geller makes a very poor spokeswoman for the cause (she is the USA "self appointed" spokesperson for racist Geert Wilders), and that it’s no help to anyone to pretend, as Warmington did, that her motives are pure.-->