I was scheduled to talk with Gilad Atzmon about his excellent new book, Being In Time. A few hours before the start, the venue, called The Cluny, cancelled our booking. We went along to alert those coming to a change of venue and to ask the management of The Cluny, a music venue where Gilad has played often over many years, why they felt compelled to exclude us. Their reaction was vitriolic. Vitriolic and weird. The weirdness is the thing. We were treated like sub-humans, literally worse than the whippet which was allowed access to the venue from which we were barred. When we asked “why?” the manager and the owner of the venue would not answer. We were not worthy of a response. We were a stink in their nostrils, or at least that is the impression they felt compelled to give.
Being in time is available from Amazon Books.
What had happened? Well some persons had been spreading lies about Gilad and what he believes. They had used some of the new left buzz-words. My guess would be anti-Semite, holocaust-denier, racist and hate-speaker. What puzzles me is why does it work? Not only are none of the charges true, but why would anyone treat another human being so badly based on nothing but third-party hearsay? Gilad has made a short video on the Cluny affair, "Cluny or Clueless".
Those verbally abusing us had obviously not read Gilad Atzmon’s work. Neither did they have any real knowledge of the area that formed the core of his writing until recently - Jewish identity politics - the subject of his previous book, "The Wandering Who?". What really surprised me was the lack of any attempt to determine the truth of the allegations. They were quite uninterested in what we had to say. Our words were viewed as though uttered in a foreign tongue, which in a way they were, for we were talking about logic, peacefulness, understanding and ideas. None of this made any sense to those instructed to commence the two minutes hate.
We retired to an alternative venue and had an excellent discussion on “Being in Time”. A full recording of this discussion should be ready soon. There was also some wonderful music – I tweeted out a brief extract here.
We met outside the Lighthouse bookshop, who had also banned us, in this case twice. They had posted a statement on their blog encouraging everyone to join the violent Antifa movement, which seemed an odd choice for bookshop claiming an allegiance to the free discussion of ideas. But of course by ideas, they mean whatever is approved thought in these dystopian times.
As we walked down to the alternate venue, some of those following us suddenly attacked Gilad. After a brief struggle they ran off, without succeeding in their attempt to snatch equipment and books, and fortunately without causing any serious harm to anyone present. But it was a violent attack in the streets of Edinburgh on a peaceful man who simply wished to engage in an intellectual public discussion. Let that sink for a moment. The city called the Athens of the North, home to the Enlightenment, the Edinburgh Review and philosophers and thinkers of renown now has anti-intellectual thugs on its streets.
Gilad’s thoughts on the events are recorded here:
We then carried on to have our discussion, in a room full of the greatest human variety you could imagine. There were UK Column viewers who were fighting against official oppression in their state sector jobs, jazz fans, a revolutionary socialist, lesbians, musicians and all manner of folk. If this was a gathering of “nazi scum” then words no longer have any meaning. But of course, this is a struggle to maintain meaning in language, and in life, as post-modernism gains strength and assures us there is no meaning, anywhere.
From a personal point of view I got a great deal out of the two days discussing "Being in Time" with its author. That is because he asks questions (the very definition of an intellectual), is open to ideas and his work stimulates thought. In areas where I do not agree with Gilad’s analysis, I am the better for hearing it; for the challenge he poses has made me examine my own ideas and beliefs more rigorously. What more can we ask from our public intellectuals that that?
And so, dear reader, let me close by encouraging you to buy Gilad Atzmon’s books or listen to his music. Do whatever you wish, but stand with Atzmon, for if he is silenced, you are next.