Tarek Fatah: as good as I’ve seen.

At the 3rd India Ideas Conclave, held in November 2016 in Goa, Tarek Fatah was called to speak.

I deliberately went looking for this. I had discovered Fatah’s existence as a result of a reTweet. What I found interested me, and I became one of his Twitter followers. Shortly afterwards I went seeking a speech and found two.

This was the most recent.

We immediately discover that he is surprised to be called, so he is mainly shooting from the hip. As an author and journalist he will have opinions a-plenty, but we have found often enough on this blog that those who live by the pen are by no means necessarily able to communicate well by the tongue. Nevertheless it takes only a few seconds to discover that here is a very skilled speaker.

Just listen to his tone colours. He plays his audience wonderfully.

He needs to because although he switches back and forth between languages, and has a habit of switching out of English for the punchline of each point made, I think it is clear that he is confronting group-think. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, he is giving this audience an industrial strength bollocking. And what impresses and amazes me is that they let him.

The audience listens in respectful silence and even applauds sometimes. This is a tribute to the persuasiveness of his speaking, but it is also a tribute to his audience. Although the bilingualism of this speech might be confusing me I think – and if I’m wrong no doubt someone will tell me – that he is scolding India for being too tolerant of Islamisation within their Hindu country.

Can you imagine the reception this would receive in the west (and it’s worth bearing in mind that Fatah lives and works in Canada)? For much less than this we see ferocious street riots, with shop windows broken and cars set alight. The cancer of political correctness has metastasised within western society to such an extent that we have ‘hate speech’ laws whose counter-productiveness is downright imbecilic. This sort of polite and respectful exchange of ideas and opinion is today just a memory in the west. I am reminded of that famous quotation from Mahatma Gandhi when asked what he thought of western civilisation.

I think it would be a good idea.

So do I, and we can apparently look to India to set us a noble example.

Even if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick completely, I am still in awe of this speech. We’ve had a Gandhi quote, let’s have a Fatah one –

There is no democracy without individual liberty (4:20)

Just after 13:30 he moves into his peroration. He  has given us loud power, quiet intensity, and wonderful flavour-enhancing pauses. Now he goes super-quiet for a while, drawing his audience to a focal point just a few inches from his nose. And then a huge auxesis arrives in the last couple of seconds. My word, but he’s good.

I mentioned that I found two speeches of his. This is where you will find the other. That was delivered in Canada in 2011, and he had come from cancer treatment in hospital to deliver it. Again it is brilliant, though his being unwell he doesn’t use quite the same breadth of palette. He is warning of Islamism as distinct from Islam. He is a Muslim.

I have become a fan of his, and delight in the discovery that we were born in the same city – though my being three years older we were born in different countries. I’ll leave you to work that out.

5 thoughts on “Tarek Fatah: as good as I’ve seen.

  1. Long back I read in imprint an anonymous quotation ” Inspite of the stare of the wise and the world’s derision dare follow the star blazed road dare follow the vision. ”
    I am amazed at the boldness of Tarek Fateh’s expressions and I like them. He has a vision .

  2. Tarek Fatah’s return to Indianness is a foresighting of things to come.
    Islam doesn’t bother me really; it is an ephemeral cult built on lies and backed by power wenders right from the start.
    What impresses is Tarek Fateh’s reavatar as the neo Dara Shikoh. Truth is on his side. And truth prevails.
    More important now is straightening up of the India Coil. India must set an example as of its stature: Perennial Jagatguru. Remember Vivekanand 1893 Chicago? That example in our time.
    That is the main point.
    Tarek Fatah is doing his bit driven by his devotion to truth, nothing but truth.
    Actually, he is already a success, for well begun is half done. The most Islam can do is kill, but he is fearless! Death is inevitable anyway. Thus, this erudite Muslim is doing the right thing.

  3. Tarek’s passion and courage is amazing. As a cancer survivor, he can probably value the gift of life far better than most and therefore is willing to put a lot more on the line. He is rightly calling the bluff of Islamic clergy, pseudo liberals and fake moderates and does it with stinging nonchalance. I think they just can’t swallow his brashness and can’t confront on logic.

  4. Islam is not all about killing. Sufi Islam is very different. Would you not agree APJ Kalam, ex-President of India, a rocket scientist, poet all rolled into one was a great person and his being a muslim was just incidental?
    What has happened is that a vicious interpretation of Koran in the form of Salafism (or Wahabism) is taking hold. This is being exported by Saudi Arabia by financing most of Sunni madrassas. Stop this, bring Saudi Arabia to its knees then you have something going for you.

  5. I really don’t agree with Tarek Fatah on name of city Allahabad. It literally means “Where Allah abides”. It is a holy city of the Hindus but Hindus believe the same God is called by different names and one such name is Allah.

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