Its been a hard week so far and we are only at Tuesday... no apparently its Wednesday, and will be Thursday by the time this blog comes online. Fasting, night prayers, Twitter and following unfolding events in London and around the country makes the days blur. I heard that it takes a village to raise a child. In these times of trouble we see in our towns and villages both the best in humanity and the worst. Experience tells us that almost always, the worst is driven by prejudice, hatred and bigotry. This peril comes in a number of forms.
Bastards, miscreants and degenerates: the first category consists of the ill educated, who unable to think independently, moronically follow others. They are sheep-like and pursue their base instincts. They give in to their lower selves. Amongst the overtly neanderthal we see groups like the EDL and SIOE who peddle there wares, ideological houses as they are built upon sand.
During the riots and criminal damage in London this week, spread now to other parts of the country, the articulate amongst them have not hesitated in claiming this is a failure of multiculturalism. 'English' patriots who were roaming the streets of Eltham earlier - yes, the same Eltham where there was little or no looting, rioting or violence - to the trained eye would have sounded suspiciously like the EDL. They 'patrolled' an area where there were no problems. Result? Aye, you guessed right.
The One Eyed Man aka the blind leading the blind: A quick peruse of Twitter will bring you into contact with racist, Islamophobe populist and dangerous semi-thinkers who purport to lead sheep. They are chameleons who will regularly change skin to propel their arguments. Its the Muslims, then multiculturalism, then lefties. Angry, bitter, hate filled but with the sense to watch what they say and in front of which audience. Particularly ominous were the pronouncements from Nick Griffin two days ago who spoke of English defencemen walking the streets of Eltham looking for trouble. Well yes, they found it and threw bottles and bricks at them. They were the police.
This category of hate mongers are dangerous because they weave a web of misinformation and outright lies such that category one types, clearly wont be able to differentiate truth from falsehood other than to say "yeah. ugh". Incidentally the 'Ban the EDL petition' has now gone live.
For the one eyed men: Newsflash. Multiculturalism is alive and kicking. It is here. The contribution to our society noted. We love it. The wonderful diversity of food, sportsmen and women, religions, colours, clothes and music. Ok, so not everyone wants to integrate fully, so what? Even in the poshest parts of the home counties, there are plenty of well heeled white middle class Englishmen and women who don't volunteer, don't meet their neighbours (or even know them), who don't give back to society or fully participate. We know English people generally understand the complexities of integration least and are the worst at integrating.
Ever met Brits abroad? Of course, they are the epitome of learning the language, eating local food and honouring laws and standards. Oh, hold on. Even Breivik, the archetypal hater of multiculturalism took a break during bomb-making to go and get a chinese (scroll to June 25th). The irony isn't wasted. I digress.
Ostriches aka subconscious discriminators: On Newsnight a couple of nights ago we saw the re-emergence of the controversial figure, Darcus Howe. As someone who grew up watching his programming and has learnt of his record, the man has (if nothing else) his finger on the pulse of black Britain. Not all of it, conceded, but the bit that makes white middle class divorced women cringe.
And why that demographic? Darcus was appearing to speak about the plight of disenfranchised black youth. Whether you like or dislike the man, he knows what he is talking about. Yes, white folks, that means this is the bit where you shut up and listen. And what was the response in the Twittersphere?
Amidst the predictable claims that he had been brought out to stir up a hornet's nest, or that he was 'the man' one comment caught my eye. The egomaniacal and emotionally bereft FleetStreetFox, crawled out from huddling behind her front door with a screwdriver to call him a "narcissist, misogynist tit". Now in footballing parlance that's known as 'playing the man'. Also considered a weak, low blow. And this from someone not only tweeting anonymously but who has self promoted her recent book deal to death and now has a FleetStreetFox phone app out. Er, pot kettle bl... I wont go further in case of what she might claim. However, it seemed odd considering the gravity of the issues he was discussing. Attack the substance absolutely, but the man, surely not?
Whilst Darcus told the diarrhoeatically verbose Edwina Curry to be quiet and listen, that she didn't understand the plight of black youth, it seemed a perfect time to call-out the now suspiciously anonymous Ms Fox on her comments. Founded, or something more as Lord Nicholls might state, insidious?
I will have to accept that its a little unfair - I'm no spring chicken when it comes to discrimination advocacy, case law or diversity. There again, its all on my Twitter profile and I would certainly like to know what I'm dealing with here. Well no sooner had the return button been hit than the age old hiding place of the awkward bigot was revealed. They call you a racist. You have to laugh it off. Now there might be an angry divorcee thing happening here, so I did. The next day I found the delectable Ms Fox recommending her legion followers to sign up to some tweeter or other called Cakebread.
Now this was interesting because Cakebread was whipping up false hysteria about attacks in New Eltham and Eltham. This was at the same time Nick Griffin was doing the same. Reports on the ground said little or nothing was going on. Meanwhile, I had a person on the ground feeding me information directly. Then I stumbled onto something a little scary. Cakebread seemed to be colluding with others in the Twittersphere (either intentionally or otherwise) to bring people down to Eltham. To congregate. At the pub. Where she was. The same pub which Griffin was also referring to. Not good. Absolutely not good. It was being touted as a refuge and safe haven. The next day what did we get? English 'defencemen' patrolling the streets of Eltham looking for trouble that wasnt there.
In response to my whistleblowing, the delightful and very spiteful Ms Fox called me a racist again. Good grief. It is exactly in these situations people need to take some responsibility to avoid becoming tools of discriminators, an extension screwed onto the cue of prejudice. Head in the sand time. Not part of the solution, ok fine, but for the love of humanity, dont be part of the problem. But either way, not good. Its the kind of behaviour and attitude that would drive any Fox to look for a new vixen. Best not to speculate.
Faustian bargain Politicians: If I even need to say anything about this, and I dont know who you got to read this article to you, get thee back to category one.
As a final note, I can't write without mentioning things which literally brought a tear to my eye this week. The first was the report on SkyNews which stated that Muslims were generally not involved in the London riots but that they were the first to lead the protection of the capital after night prayers during Ramadan. Double-take Kay Burley was priceless. The second was the story of Sikhs patrolling the streets of Southall and guarding the local mosque during the night so their Muslim brothers and sisters could pray at night. Solidarity and brotherhood in the face of oppression. And lastly, the tragic story and incredible humility of Tariq Jahan. After giving CPR to his son outside the mosque in Birmingham, who whilst guarding the community after Ramadan prayers was one of three victims of a heinous hit and run killing (the other two brothers no less), he offers the following words to us all:
"Last night we lost three cherished members of our community...
today we stand here to plead with all the youth to remain calm
and for our communities to stand united.
"Black, White, Asian we're all part of the same community.
Why do we have to kill each other?
Step forward if you want to lose your sons,
otherwise calm down and go home."
A lesson for the whole of humanity. Let it never be said that multiculturalism has failed us and let it never be said that Muslims are the problem.
Shout it from the rooftops, from the church towers and from every minaret.