Yvonne Ridley hasn’t yet given us the benefit of her views on the current events in the Middle East – perhaps like Menzies Campbell (and me) she wants an immediate ceasefire and the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Let’s hope so. But her most recent article is instead about someone she calls Shaheed Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris. You may not be familiar with the name Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris, or with the term “Shaheed”, conferred on him by Yvonne Ridley and defined on Wikipedia as “a title that is given to the Muslim after his death, if he died during fulfillment of a religious commandment, or during a war for the religion. The shaheed is considered as one that his place in Paradise is promised”. Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris, as Yvonne explains, is better known as “the fearless Chechen commander Shamil Basayev”, adding that:
The news (of his death) provided one of those awful coincidences which make you shudder and reminds you of your own mortality…you see I was leafing through a manuscript of his unpublished work called Book of a Mujahiddeen when the news arrived. The paragraph I was reading said: “A Mujahid is looking closely into a child’s eyes, for they are the ones that get to see the world without sorrows. When a Mujahid wants to know whether someone beside him is trustworthy, he tries to see it with the eyes of a child.”
Such as the eyes of some of the children who survived the Beslan school massacre that Basayev organised. Such as Malik Kalchakeyev:
Malik Kalchakeyev, 14, speaking slowly and with great detail, then told of how the schoolchildren and their parents were herded into the school’s gym, how the attackers stopped providing water and how they taunted the exhausted hostages, often forcing them to stand and sit quickly in the hot, crowded gym.
“On the second day, we were all very thirsty. Women told us, the boys, to pee into plastic bottles so that the children could then drink our pee,” the boy said, bursting into tears. “I peed into a bottle, and small children — even babies — drank it.”
Such as Tanya:
Little children were tearing off the leaves of plants and eating them – they were so hungry. One little boy, about seven, stood naked with urine running down his leg. He was stuffing rose petals into his bleeding mouth from one of the bouquets the children had brought for the teachers. He was shouting, ‘Mama!’ She couldn’t hear him. She was dead.”
Such as Laima:
Nine-year-old Laima draws a picture. It shows an armed terrorist, his face covered by a mask. She draws several pictures until she is finally happy with the result. Then she picks it up, tears it to pieces and sets it on fire with matches. “I draw the terrorist and burn them for all the children who died in the school. I want to take revenge on them for killing those children. It’s never enough. It is impossible to get enough revenge. All my life I will have to do it, because of how they held us for three days”.
Ridley says of Basayev that he “led an admirable struggle to bring independence to Chechnya and resorted to targetting Russian civilians in the latter years of his struggle to try and bring the plight of the Chechen struggle to the wider world”. It’s not clear yet whether it’s official Respect party policy to regard the mass-murderers of children as “admirable”, or as Shaheed. I’m sure it won’t be – to George Galloway’s credit, when Ridley said that Muslims should “boycott the police and refuse to co-operate with them in any way, shape or form,” including “asking the community copper for directions to passing the time of day with a beat officer” – his response was that “Our policy is not that we should withdraw co-operation from the police”.
As Yvonne has pointed out before, “Most of the incoherent rants against me come from Zionist bloggers” – hi, Yvonne! – but even Respect, whose track record on selecting candidates isn’t exactly spotless, must realise that someone like Yvonne Ridley is a liability if they have any political ambitions at all beyond a single term in a single seat.