In the wake of the attacks on the US this week, what has been most shocking to me is the number of people living in the UK who are unwilling to condemn such actions.
Last week we saw ugly scenes of racial hatred on our tv screens on BBC´s Newsnight and today´s papers tell of a school here in the UK where children were encouraged to cheer the attacks. What the hell is going on in our society?
Of course it is wrong to blame Islam as a religion for these acts. The perpetrators of these atrocities are motivated by hatred, jealousy and evil. Religion is just a veil for them to hide their insanity behind.
One of the problems western societies have with Islam as a religion is that it is decentralised. There is no international figurehead like for example the Pope to articulate and communicate the disgust and horror of the silent majority with regard to these others. In fact, the nature of Islam seems to be such that the only figures who raise their own profiles to international levels are the "Mad Mullahs". These people subsequently come to be seen as the face of Islam in the media.
What scares me is the degree to which we allow the fundamentalists to operate in our society. Fundamentalist Mullahs preach hatred in Mosques in the United Kingdom. In at least one case they have even dispatched terrorists recruited in this country to attack another country (Yemen).
The British as a society would not stand back and allow a charismatic Neo-Nazi to poison our youth. Nor would we stand for hooded Klansmen burning crosses in Brixton. Yet we allow fundamentalist Muslims to spread their poison among the disaffected youth of our inner cities. Why? Could it be that we´re too afraid of appearing racist or non-politically correct?
I´m proud to say that I live in a multi-racial society. I´m convinced of the value of cultural diversity. But I do not believe that it is advisable or safe to allow any branch of this country´s society to try to seperate itself from the rest and pursue it´s own agenda.
Because thats the way Britain is nowadays, we have freedom of speech on everything but one subject. I can guarentee that customs officers, police officers, imigration services understandibly paying extra attention to people with middle eastern appearance, will be howled at and called racist by the luvies. In fact when I think it through, they will probably be ordered not to do so by the powers that be. Heaven forbid,better to have terrorist living among us than for anyone to even begin to think we might be guilty of the ultimate crime.
[ 16 September 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]
But of course, Tony D, how could it be otherwise? I hope you did not entertain any contrary thoughts, or I may have to note your name in my little black book. Now children, pay attention to Teacher, for we have a new National Hymn to learn today. Listen to the words, then sing them after Teacher:
Onward interdenominational social workers, Marching not too far; Clappy handy welfare porkers, Keeping doors ajar;
Welcoming whoever comes For admission here; Paid by high taxation, Serving out free beer.
Scot or English, Irish, Welsh, They are very bad; Good are only immigrants,
(This the new jihad).
We are for multiculture, And treat with hot derision Anyone of British nurture,
‘gainst female circumcision.
That, you see, is culture too, And not for us to judge; Baby girls may scream boo-hoo, But we shall not budge.
Scot or English, Irish, Welsh, They are very bad; Good are only immigrants,
(This the new jihad).
Freda: I have difficulty in following your reasoning from the premises in the penultimate paragraph to the conclusions in the final paragraph. If you do not like Nazis, the KKK, and murderous religious zealots, and none of these is (or was)indigenous to the UK, why do you find it better to create a new multiracial multicultural UK to which they are brought? How do you reach your conclusion? Has someone told you you ought to believe that? Or do you have reasons of your own? Do you mingle with the new racial groups regularly/at all? I am just asking. Do you?
I live in a multicultural society, and all I see is balkanisation of dozens of at best mutually uncomprehending (at worst hostile)racial and religious groups. I do not mingle with the X............ or the Y............. or the Z.................., and they show no inclination to mingle with me. Quite apart from the new arrivals, we already have difficulties of long standing. The relations between the non-hyphenated and the "First Nations" populations in Saskatchewan, for example, are far from great. Why does Saskatchewan with a huge empty landscape and a population of +/- 1,000,000 have the worst violent crime rates in Canada? Could it have anything to do with the movement of one group from the Reserve into the cities? What do you think? Would you want to walk alone across the square in front of the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina? Especially at night?
Yeh Mr D, People forget, we had one of our citizens condemed to death here in the UK by one of those bearded kind wise men of the middle east, a million pound contract put upon his head, of course it was a fatwa, a religious thing, so that was ok, but I also remember thousands of our citizens howling for his blood in the streets of Britain. I also remember people throwing petrol bombs around Yorkshire last year, but that was Ok also, they were minorites. Time we woke up and smelled the coffee.
Yeh roger that Mr H,Your Right,I've been walking around this old world for quite a few years now but I have never been as angry as I was last tuesday, never in my life, blind fury would be a better description, I would have cheered like a loon if Mr Bush had pressed the Armaggedon tit, and removed the middle east from the surface of this planet, and thats the truth. Still angry but cooler now, but I am not going to sit quiet now and watch the luvies ruin, and then give my country away.
[ 16 September 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]
Tony you have a lot of respect from many people in JB. However the destruction of millions of people cannot be justified. However I am seriously thinking of returning to the Army if we do go and invade Afganistan, Iraq, Sudan. Not for some moral prospective, for one reason, to fight alongside the soldiers that I used to lead. The bravest and most feared soldiers in the world, The British Army. I could not sit back and watch my friends go without being there with them. Maybe it is time for me to stand up and be counted again.
I hope that the world will look at itself and think where are we going.
Well you are probably right, I still feel very bitter, we should have seen it coming, but thats the trouble with Britain now, or the silent unheard majority of Britain anyway, we are so reasonable you see, so dammed reasonable. You see it in a lot of the post's," by all means, get those guilty parties, but don't hurt anybody," sod that ,I watched the most horrifying piece of video, anybody could have watched, a man jumping out of a window a thousand feet up because he prefered that to burning I suppose,christ, I wish cameramen would learn to turn there lens's away sometime. I want somebody hurt,I want revenge, f*ck justice.
Is the greatest horror of this attack that it made Draper, one of the pleasantest of people, to say 'F*ck justice'? Or WWW to cry in anguish for a nuclear strike? Is the greatest threat the stripping of our humanity?
If this happens, remember, we lose all justification for the anger that becomes our only reason for the attack, and then we become the agressors, and are in the wrong, we will have destroyed ourselves, and may destroy the world.
I genuinely don't understand this selective hatred of indiscriminate terrorist attacks on the innocent. Why are so many people only now talking about the evils of terrorism, with events in the Balkans, Rwanda, Northern Ireland and the ME (on both sides) having apparently passed them by? I understand that this was 'in our back yard' and that it was particularly horrific and violent, and that it made an enormous impact in the media. The sheer scale of the killing also makes it uniquely evil, in terms of scale.
I naturally condemn it, and those who inspired, planned and carried it out in the strongest possible terms, and want nothing more than for them to face the most severe punishment. But only the guilty, and not the societies from which they come. I saw the footage of Palestinians celebrating, and felt sickened, angry and disgusted, and I'd have liked to slap them pretty hard. But they don't deserve bombing, any more than any of us do, however 'unacceptable' our politics may be to them.
I wonder why so many of us are incensed at the Islamic world and the Arabs in general, and so lacking in any understanding of the underlying causes of terrorism from that region? Why do people get so angry when it is suggested that we should be proving that we are moderate Islam's friends - solving the problems in Palestine, condemning Israeli atrocities, etc., while simulatneously kicking the cr@p out of the Arab world's unacceptable terrorist element? Does this have to be a war between the West and the Arab world? Shouldn't we be aiming to win Arab support for this just war against the terrorists?
I'm deeply saddened that there should be even the faintest whiff of racism, bigotry or racial hatred behind this debate. Those who died deserve to be avenged, of course, but do not deserve to be the justification for some of the neo-fascist language which is beginning to be heard in the pubs and offices, nor (I pray) for any retaliatory action which is not discriminating, selective, and both appropriate and morally justifiable. Funnily enough, I would suggest that nuking the Middle East wouldn't quite qualify!
I'm not some kind of hand-wringing liberal, incidentally - I have many reservations about immigrants who come to our shores and who then refuse to make any attempt to integrate. But at the same time, I see how unwelcoming our society can be, and I feel uncomfortable that this immigratiom/integration issue isn't as straightforward as I'd like it to be. But I do have second generation British friends, whose skin is a different colour to my own, and I don't see them or their parents as being any less English than I am. Anyone who comes here and wants to be British is paying us an enormous compliment, and should be warmly welcomed, surely?
Isn't that the kind of tolerance and decency that makes us who we are?
Hagbard and Velvet, no posting from me urges the bombing of anyone anywhere. Do I really appear unbalanced, Hagbard?
The paper here tells us today a Montreal police official calls Canada “The Club Med for terrorists”. Ahmed Ressam, Algerian, came here in 1994 on a fake French passport, claiming to be a refugee from torture. He was denied refugee status in 1995. No one arrested him, or looked for him. He disappeared. On a fake Canadian passport and other fake documents he moved freely around the world for the next four years, including Afghanistan, where he trained with bin Laden. He was arrested on Dec 14 1999 by US authorities as he drove into the US, his car packed with explosives enough to level three large buildings, and LA international airport his intended destination.
His trial, the report says, revealed that he was part of a well organised and financed terrorist organisation, with more in the same vein.
It took two thousand years to build a culture in the UK, and many of its benefits were passed on to the New World. The Reformation, for example, was only in part a religious movement, but also a great political contributor to representative government and democracy. The Peasants’ Revolt, the centralisation of government in a movement that got a big boost at the Synod of Whitby in 664 (leading to the central authority of Canterbury, ecclesiastical organisation, and the courts of equity) and through the growth of royal power from Henry II on, resistance of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth to France and Spain, the loss of Latin following the Black Death, and on and on, made a culture, still building. Guy Fawkes Night was for an event in the 17th century. Hallowe’en is part social part religious. The C of E may have little to do with theoretical Christianity but it has a lot to do with England and its national identity. I am not English, but I'd be poorer witjhout England. John Knox and the C of S have a great deal to do with Scotland’s identity.
To judge by my own surname, my ancestors came from France (Look, leave it at that: we all have something to confess), a related culture a long time ago. Recent immigration is not part of that tradition. Britain has always managed to absorb and assimilate reasonable quantities of refugees, Flemings, Huguenots, Jews, but most were prepared to be religiously or culturally assimilated. This is not so of the present wave. Try to take the kirpan from a Sikh.
I have worked, in fact work, with people of many origins; British, American, Iranian, Egyptian, Kenyan Asian, Vietnamese, and Caribbean, and I think and hope I get along with all of them. One measure that I do may be that they consult me and trust me when they are in trouble. For two years I had a Jewish boss and a Palestinian secretary. Most refugees were genuine (from Dr Mossadegh; the Ayatollah Khomeini; Idi Amin; KGB; fall of South Viet Nam; and the like). They came in large but nevertheless limited numbers.
Their coming was of necessity, and nothing to do with a quite separate a priori decision that a multi-lingual multi-cultural society is better than the one the British grew up in fifty years ago. FREDA recites a list of alien evils that she detests, but she concludes from something, I know not what, that she is delighted now to live in a society that boasts some of these elements, absent until now. The UK did not have those evils before, now it does, and she is therefore happy. I do not follow that. Why is she happy on that account? Why in principle, as so many assure me, is it morally better to live in a society of multiple isolated elements that ostracise one another than in a homogeneous society that lives in community? Is that such an unbalanced question? What is the answer?
The British, or maybe I should say the Irish widely defined, have not managed in four centuries to reach a living accommodation between two groups, ethnically related, but at least nominally recognising the same God and similar creeds. If you can’t get those two to live together at peace, why does anyone think he can make fifty work together? I am just, right now anyway, asking: Why create a problem? Does anyone think the UK can import and absorb all of the inhabitants of X, and Y, and Z,or just some of them. FREDA, where does this all lead, and why do you want to go there?
If I misread you, Hagbard, it is undoubtedly my fault and you have my apology. Your posting was addressed to "Guys and Girls" and came shortly after one of my own pearls. It asked the G and G to maintain a sense of balance, which I took to imply a previous imbalance on, perhaps, my part. Anyway, no problem, save that I really do wonder where we are all heading. Cultures are sometimes fundamentally different, fuzzy goodwill notwithstanding, and we will not always like the new ones. I feel no guilt at objecting before it is too late. Vain hope, of course.
Davaar, try re-reading the last paragraph of my post. You seem to have completely missed the point I was trying to make.
The UK is already a multi-racial society and each racial group brings some of their culture to the mix. When I compare muslim fundamentalism to Nazism or the Ku Klux Klan I am trying to say that fundamentalism is no more acceptable in this society then the other two and yet our overly pc government lack the balls to clamp down on it as they would the others. I am NOT advocating either racism or nazism.
Where di you get the idea that I was trying to promote a society of disparate cultural groups that "ostracise each other"? You seem to mistake the idea of a multi-cultured society for a divided one. My point in starting this thread was that a small minority within a minority, i.e. fundamentalist muslims preaching hatred of the traditional culture of this country, were being allowed to continue to do so and therefore heightening tension within the rest of society.
Incidentally, and for the record, I am a bloke. FREDA is a checklist mnemonic.
No FREDA, I do not think I misunderstood you. Not for a moment, though, do I suggest you advocate racism or nazism. As I read your posts, you loathe these as much as I do.
I do believe that when you take large numbers of people, you take what you get. There may be a multicultured society somewhere in which the multis get along well together. My own experience is limited, but it suggests that such Utopias are rare.
The Balkans have Muslims, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic cultures. Their history of the last five years (ethnic cleansing, murder, assassination) is identical to that of sixty years ago, according to my recent reading, and if I go back a generation before that I come to the Archduke at Serajevo and World War I. I expect if I go back through the centuries I’ll find much of the same.
The Irish experience of the past thirty years is a repeat of Irish history back to the Plantations, and before that back to the visits of Cromwell and before him the Anglo-Normans.
I have never been to India, but I am told they have a neat caste system there that keeps you in your small corner and I in mine. When that multi-cultural Utopia was granted independence, they ran a good series of massacres in Kashmir that many still remember.
The great Canadian novel, if such a thing exists, is Hugh McLennan’s Two Solitudes, of the French and the “English” (as I find myself denominated). Read Lord Durham’s Report, or Mordecai Richler’s article in the New Yorker, or any constitutional paper of the Government of Quebec to see how united is the community in Canada.
In summary, it appears to me that a multi-cultured society is indeed a divided one. Tell me one that is not.
I do not really care that it was only some, not all, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, or whatever who conducted or connived at the ethnic cleansing of the other persuasion down the street if I know that in the approaching shipload are some who will repeat just that.
I say I do not really care, but that is not true. Faced with genuine, or as I may believe genuine, or largely genuine, refugees I suppose I would take the risk. It might be with reluctance, but I’d do it.
My question to you is quite different. It is one thing to accept a situation as a necessity, quite another to see it as desirable. You are convinced of the value of cultural diversity. This, it seems, is to many (perhaps to you also, I do not know) not merely a matter of pleasure or choice, but also a moral high ground. I think it is morally neutral, and to be examined subjectively and objectively. I am interested in all three. Right now I ask why you find the multicultural society prima facie desirable.
What is the value of cultural diversity? The Japanese (I’ve never been to Japan either) seem to value cultural homogeneity, the value of which is more self-evident to me than the value of cultural heterogeneity. You say that Britain is already a multicultural society. I suppose that is so, but not a rationale of desirability, just a statement of fact. Not much you can do about it now, but are you telling me it is not divided? It celebrates its unity in race riots periodically at Notting Hill and less regularly but nevertheless quite frequently elsewhere. How many policemen have been injured in UK race-riots this year? Were there race riots in the UK 1940? How close is your own house or apartment to an “ethnic” enclave?
You make the point of that the extremist in the ethnic group should not be a condemnation of the group. Let's accept that for the sake of argument. What is your view on an obnoxious (to you, perhaps; to many certainly) universal practice of the group? For example, I have heard a Justice of the Federal Court here raging against female baby circumcision. What is your view on that? Is it OK or obnoxious? If it is obnoxious, what do you intend to do about it? If nothing, why not? Is it because you do not want to interfere with the culture? If you do want to do something, who are you to interfere with one of the cultures you so value?
Sorry about the “FREDA”. It is new to me. If I were going with one it would be “HASEL”. Both feminine. Finally, we may disagree, but not on my ever thinking of you as a Nazi, a Klansman, or anything of that nature.
Davaar, let me clarify my idea of a multi-cultural society.
I live in the United Kingdom. Here, as in Canada we have a society which includes minority groups of immigrants who seek to have their own cultural identity within the whole. Until this week, when I saw British muslims on tv applauding the attacks on the USA, I thought that the UK was doing a pretty decent job of reconciling the different cultural influences while remaining true to the essential national identity of the British. In the context of this weeks events, and more specifically the outbursts from a highly vocal minority withing the Islamic community of this country, I now have cause to think I was being rather naive.
My concern is that in allowing these hot-heads to spout their poison through our media and influence the young within their communities the British are allowing two things to happen. Firstly, the majority of people in the UK are learning to see Islam and muslims as dangerous lunatics bent on destrowing society. Secondly, as a consequence of the high visibility of the fundamentalists AND the growing backlash against asian people that they may cause, more and more disaffected young asians may flock to their cause.
Both of these effects will have the effect of disturbing what has for decades been a fragile and peaceful balance between the majority of British and the muslim community.
I´m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of a multi-ethnic society because it´s irrelevant. The UK is such a society and that isn´t going to change. Certainly people here need to re-evaluate there policy on so-called asylum seekers but that isn´t going to significantly affect the problems already evident when a second or third generation British-born muslim will stand up on national tv and declare that he doesn´t consider himself British, but a soldier of Allah.
When an asylum seeker or other new entrant, is given the right to live here does he or she not at some point have to declare that they will abide by certain standards in return? If not surely this should be the case. I feel strongly that it is harmful and potentially dangerous that ethnic groups should be permitted to isolate themselves from the indigenous population by means of language and separate(state funded)educational facilities. I enjoy living in a multicultural society but surely it is a potential threat to our state to fail to ensure that immigrants integrate themselves effectively.
Mmmm... edited after a rethink: Perhaps the potential problems motivating my post will be less likely to occur if the actions of the US and its allies at this critical time are well-considered (see my earlier post).
I remain angry, bitter, confused, desperately seeking a response that meets the need to punish the instigators of these crimes, but still recognising the part the west had to play in bringing about this tragedy.
[ 18 September 2001: Message edited by: Chicken_hawk ]
Hot heads exist in every segment of society. There has been in the recent past clashes between cultures in Britain. Sadly it has often been a Muslim v the rest. I do however think from general observation over the last few days that there have been massive efforts by all segments of society to differntiate between Muslims and Fanatic extremism. I do not for one minute doubt that the majority of people world wide have the common sense to be able to identify between peacefull law abiding people of any religion and the small violent minority, again of any religion, who utilise extreme and indiscriminate violence as a weapon to get their way. It is these who do often use religion as a pretext and cloak to hide themselves and to forment hatred. It is this small group, who civilised and law abiding citizens must set about identifying and eradicating from our midst, for they are a poison within. They will utilise every mechanism put in place to protect personel liberty at the same time ignoring the lives and liberties of any they feel oppose them. They will try and appeal to whoever they think will be a ready tool to help them. It is up to everyone of us Moslem, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Bhuddist or of whatever religion we individualy follow, to realise that if we value civilisation and the rule of order then we must take a collective step to put out from amongst us those whose only methods are those of the bomb and indiscriminate death to anybody who gets in their way. We must send a message to those countries who harbour, openly help and support them, that this is intolerable. A small band of people have inflicted incalculable grief suffering and financial hardship on people worldwide who had nothing to do with this bands quarrel. They demonstrated their contempt for all of us and our opinion. What are we going to do about it? We can continue to bicker and quarrel amongst ourselves or we can realise that their is a deadly enemy to be fought. It will take the concensus of civilised people who support the rule of law and order in society, wherever it is, and whichever coutry we live in. It is never perfect, for it is an imperfect world we live in, and we ouselves, as we only too well know, are flawed.
But we have evolved over millenia mechanisms and institutions that we all generaly recognise as being the ones that give us all the greatest chance to live in harmoney. These are being threatened, and we all need to recognise the danger. To put aside our differences and send a message to extremists everywhere of whatever colour class or creed, that their way is totally unacceptable. That it is time to call a halt to their way of persuading people to listen to them, to their way of trying to force their opinion on others. Every single one of us has felt the effects of the 11th of this month. It will continue to effect us all worldwide for a long time in ways we cannot yet imagine. Did we appreciate the way the message was sent, did we like the way it effected us. If not do something about it today, even if it is only to reflect on how best to go about either living in a civilised society, or how it is being destroyed.
[ 20 September 2001: Message edited by: Paterbrat ]
The facts are that it is indefensible for citizens of a country like the UK to openly back the fanatics and celebrate the events of last week. I if were to stand outside the Pakistan embassy with BNP or NF literature I would expect to be arrested, and rightly so. Therefore if others choose to get involved with similar rhetoric (albeit for the 'other' side) they MUST be arrested. UK citizens openly saying they want to be the next suicide bombers is UNACCEPTABLE. The UK has taken tolerance to new and ridiculous levels - I fear we will pay the price for our ineffective and weak policies on this issue. Before some airhead points out that its a tiny minority in the UK that supports last weeks outrage let me state that if its only 1 person - thats too many.