One man’s terrorist

A “new breed of terrorists” is emerging according to Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, in the wake of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee who was shot in the head whilst covering the disturbances on the Creggan estate in Londonderry. He followed with terrorists were “lurking in the shadows”. A new breed suggests an enemy not previously known by the authorities, as though we haven’t seen this happen before, as though the troubles were a thing of folklore and we haven’t ever known a threat like it but this is patently untrue. We are experiencing a resurgence of Irish resistance off the back of the Brexit debacle. This is what Brexiteers wanted but in a complete split from reality they will not take responsibility for it.

In a month where we looked back at incidents of British terrorism inflicted on the colonies, the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in Amritsar where British forces opened fire on peaceful protesters, the majority of whom were women and children and the trial of Soldier F, the only soldier to be held accountable for the Bloody Sunday massacre, a fact that saw bikers demonstrating in their thousands because they don’t think anyone should be punished for the terrorist murder of peaceful civilians, this “new breed” comment is its own kind of violence. The British high commissioner to India said Britain regrets the Amritsar massacre but stopped short of a full apology.

Time and time again the British have brutalised colonised communities and have many years later acknowledged the barbarity with which the empire operated yet they remain elusive, because admitting you did something wrong and actually feeling sorry about it are two different things. They admit to their actions but they really don’t believe they put a foot wrong. It made them who they are. They cannot apologise for bringing the world to its knees because then we would be seen as equals and reparations would have to be made, and they do not actually see a problem with the subjugation of non white non English subjects. The British empire used brutal military force the world over and somehow managed to capture the hearts and minds of its public as a force for good but this sits completely at odds with the way they are viewed by the rest of the us.

We have Muslim terrorists and Irish terrorists but we seem to have completely bypassed the worst of them all, the English terrorist. Even when they are committing acts of terrorism and planning them for weeks, drawing up manifestos like the calculated cold blooded murdering terrorists they are, Britain pities them with labels like ‘lone wolf’ and ‘mental health’ added on for good measure. No, what English terrorists need is sympathy because it is completely understandable that an historic oppressor would crack a whip to remind the colonised of their lowly position. Ireland and India have suffered terribly under British rule and this many years after independence continue to be mired by the devastation left behind, and deliberately. Both nations continue to struggle over borders, like a self sustaining colony that needs little interference from the architects to turn in on itself. The Israel Palestine conflict is another example of this.

Lyra McKee should not have lost her life on Thursday night. She was a bystander in this fight between historic enemies. To feel her death was unnecessary and to share the pain of her loved ones is not to align with the PSNI, this is not and never has been so clear cut. For them to use her murder as a sign that they are justified is typically gratuitous behaviour on the part of British authorities. To use her death as a springboard for the insidious agenda of an empire on its last legs, to utilise the terrorist moniker as an attack against anyone who objects to coercive power and refuse to label actual murderous terrorists as such shows just how little they actually care for public safety and the loss of precious life, unless it helps them to maintain existing structures of power and control. I cannot be the only one to feel so vehemently intolerant of it all.

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White proverb: It is you who is the REAL RACIST

I wasn’t going to comment on the Emmerdale Shila Iqbal sacking primarily because I’ve never gotten into it, it seems like a very exclusive white environment that only the most compliant token minorities get accepted into and also because I have no sympathy for non black poc who use the N word but then I saw Anton Du Beke in the news, being treated the exact opposite to Shila, his use of the P word against Laila Rouass all those years ago seemingly having no effect whatsoever on his opportunities and I started to think about other white people who appear to be thriving despite their use of racial slurs and general racist vibe (think Jeremy Clarkson) and all the brown people falling by the wayside, once they’ve fulfilled their hallowed token status.

Shila Iqbal was sacked by ITV bosses when old tweets from 2013 resurfaced in which she uses the N word. This follows the sacking of Marc Anwar from Coronation Street when he was sacked for ‘racist’ tweets against Indians. That’s like Jamaicans getting shit for calling Africans the N word. It’s even more of a travesty when you consider white people consider themselves the referee, when they routinely deny poc’s lived experiences of what is and isn’t racist.

Anton du Beke is still employed by the BBC and looks set for a promotion by the looks of things, his sights set on Darcy Bussell’s vacant seat. The same BBC that sacked Tommy Sandhu for his ‘racist’ remarks against Pakistanis. As a Pakistani, I think he’s a bit dense and a chamcha, or a spoon, doing a great job of stirring things up but a racist? Would that be because Islam is racialised? Was he being racist to Muslims? Cos they’re both brown people from the same subcontinent otherwise. Don’t forget though, white people say you can’t be racist to Muslims cos Islam is not a race.. and yet.

This is the same BBC that platformed a swastika tattooed nazi without challenge on the news. The BBC that made Nigel Farage a household name, the one whose presenters are friends with Britain First’s leaders and downplays terrorist attacks against brown people suggesting ‘racial motive theories’ when assailants were heard screaming ‘white power’ for example. ITV isn’t that much better to be honest. From Corrie’s “more roots than Kunta Kinte” to the Midsomer Murders row (cos poc don’t live in the country, apparently) and more recently Vanity Fair (I switched off the quickest I ever have) to Victoria (empress of my arse), ITV is just as sentimental for the good old days of empire and raping and pillaging and world domination. The stoic civilised white person is just jolly in their jingoism, they don’t mean to offend, they just do. It’s those foreigners who are the real racists, with the real hurtful intentions (despite having little structural power).

White people invented this racialised system of deserving and undeserving. They divided and conquered minorities to maintain it. They devised eugenics to justify it. Some of those divisions are still being manipulated and yet still, white people evade justice for their role in creating and administering it. They still control perceptions of racism and who it does and does not affect. They punish people for it when they are the worst offenders and avoid scrutiny for it, keeping their jobs and privileges, erasing and rewriting narratives.

They must be stopped.

Band of Bollocks

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It’s been an embarrassing week for Britain’s armed forces. Following the news that soldiers were using Jeremy Corbyn’s image for target practice, 6 more have been arrested for an ‘alleged’ sexual assault against a teenage female soldier. I quote alleged because I believe her. In response to these events an army chief Sir Mark Carleton-Smith released a video in which he condemns such actions as “downright unacceptable”. He went on to say it was inappropriate to remark further on the individual cases but added:

“But I will say this: where serious allegations are proven against members of the army, including allegations of a violent or sexual nature, it demonstrates indiscipline that is wildly at odds with the values and standards that represent the fabric of not just our army but the nation’s army, the British army.”

I wonder the leaps one must take to actually believe the British army is a force for good that doesn’t routinely engage in sexual assault as part of their hazing rituals and only employs good decent non bigoted people to carry out their duties. The main objective of the British army is to keep the world prostrated to its superiority. They have outposts all over the world, during peacetime, and why? To remind the world the empire is still live and kicking. White people, without a single desirable trait, join the army to feel superior about themselves. All the domestic staff employed by the bases abroad are brown, they clean up after their white superiors and take orders, however small and so even the lowliest of personnel in terms of rank, feel like they’re the master.

For a short while in my late 20s I was engaged to a British armed forces man. Before he went on his first tour he was kind, or at least that was the impression he gave me. Coming from an army family myself (Pakistani) there was something of the familiar in him that I was drawn to although now I appreciate this wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He was from an army family too, going back at least two generations. He had fought it himself, didn’t want to join the forces because he believed it to be a mug’s game for people who didn’t have any other option. When his heavy metal band failed and he could no longer hold off the stern direction of his retired army dad, he joined the royal air force, unlike his younger brother, who had joined the paras as soon as he could (all he ever wanted to do was please his daddy).

What an eye-opening affair it was. Up until I met him I actually believed I was British and loved my country. I felt like I had a place here and white people on the whole were accepting of British born foreigners. It was he who put me straight. He said most white people put on a face for non whites, but the second our back is turned they switch. They’ll refer to us as the paki or coloured one, even if the person being referred to is a pilot in the royal air force. He came to me with a conundrum once, what to do when his staff sergeant refers to brown people as pakis? He felt a little put out because he felt it was personally disrespectful to him (because he had a paki in his possession?) but at the same time didn’t want to rock the boat. What could I say to this, I was still busy trying to survive well and didn’t want to draw attention to myself.

There were many things I let slide, or laughed off. He had a friend, Jamie, with a massive bald head and northern accent. When sober he’d make inappropriate remarks like “can I have a go on her next?” to my ex but when he was drunk, there was no filter. He’d call me a paki to my face and laugh at my ex saying our kids would be ugly. This was banter you see and I couldn’t get upset about it because then I didn’t have a sense of humour or he might get violent about it. There was a respect for bullying toxic patriarchy in that crowd that ensured victims never spoke up. I found out this ex had been disciplined for telling a female solider he could smell her period. I only found this out after I asked why she and her partner and friends were giving me daggers. I guess they couldn’t believe someone would be so desperate and pathetic as to legitimise him by being in a relationship with him.

There were some good people, I cannot deny this but they tended to be few and far between. I liked the corporal who was his immediate superior and his wife. They seemed to have an understanding of racism, even in the forces and made an extra effort to be inviting and friendly, I even cat sat for them once at Christmas. There were another couple of wives I really got on with and I still stay in touch with one of them.

I knew someone else in the army, on the clerical side and he always gave a good impression on behalf of the forces and condemned the people I told him about, saying they were bringing the armed forces to disrepute. For example, my ex and his brother would constantly talk about the tricks they’d pull on their peers, the rituals that almost always bordered on sexual assault. On a few occasions I had to object and call it what it was, rape, and how it wasn’t funny and how they were complicit in enabling and covering it up. I was told to get a grip, that “it’s only gay if they push back” and how this process was meant to sort the wheat from the chaff, if it really is too much for newbies they were always welcome to leave. I saw a clip his brother shared once on fb and was actually triggered by it, being a survivor of sexual violence myself. A young lad, couldn’t have been more than 19, clearly distressed but smiling as his pals piss all over him whilst he’s sat there naked, tied to a chair. They were throwing things at him and pawing at his body and all this kid could do was grin and bear it. Only real men take it like a real man, that’s their mantra in a toxic mostly male environment that is rife with non consensual activity.

After doing a tour in Afghanistan he came back with a sort of cocky confidence that scared me. Whilst he was there he’d commissioned an Afghan to make me a luggage tag with all 22 letters of my very Muslim sounding name on it, like he was saying “we’ve got one of yours”. As he described this unspoken exchange between the two men it made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach cos I had felt a bit like a trophy right from the beginning. He’d say things like “you’re safe now you’re on the white side” and “they’re always taking ours, so now I’ve got one of theirs” like I was just a piece of property to be coveted and appropriated by the best man, naturally white British.

I don’t know where Sir Michael got the impression the events of the past few weeks sit at odds with their values. Domestic abuse is 5 times more likely to occur in the armed forces, in an environment where toxic patriarchy thrives. When they return from tour they have a couple of weeks to holiday in a hot country to ‘decompress’ before they come back to the UK. They’re given a talking to by the padre on how to act when they are reunited with loved ones. They’re reminded that wives and girlfriends are human and probably don’t want to have rough sex for hours on end. They have to be TOLD. My ex’s mother would say it was part of the armed forces job to break the recruits down so as to rebuild them again into the soldiers they need. She and the rest of the family would roll their eyes at her boy’s exploits and even titter but no one ever called it out for what it was.

I’m glad I had that experience, in hindsight. It was revealing and formative, it made me into the person I now am. I am damned if I ever sit by and just listen to any of that shite ever again. I will object to racism every single damn time, I don’t care if it is a ‘joke’, I think ‘banter’ is for shit people who haven’t a single funny bone in their body, who invoke it when they’re being called out for being a nasty little bigot. I don’t care if you do think I’m a vampire sucking the fun out of your undeserved entitlement, look at the state of you will ya? And I will call a rapist a rapist and a toxic patriarchal environment when I see one.

They don’t get any more toxic or patriarchal than the armed forces.

A positive mental health story

When we talk about mental health it’s always about the suffering that goes with it and the judgments other people make about the mentally unwell. We very rarely talk about recovery and the magic that sometimes happens when you achieve the unexpected, without even trying it would seem. I might be underestimating the work that I’ve done or perhaps I’m not sure what exactly triggered it but I’m going to share a couple of things that have happened to me recently that can only be linked to a traumatic event that I’ve somehow neutralised.

For over 30 years I could not eat strawberries. I’d manage a strawberry yoghurt, enjoy a strawberry milkshake but the actual fruit, bleurgh, it made me feel nauseous. I thought they were too tart and when overripe smelt a little bit like death. The pockmarked flesh can’t have helped, I do have moderate trypophobia. It was strange because my twin sister adored them and would eat them by the punnet load. I wasn’t always like this, as a small child we often went on family trips to local farms where we’d pick fruit and veg and spent an entire day rolling down hills in the sunshine (these being some of my fondest memories) sneakily eating strawberries along the way as we overfilled our baskets but I also recall the sick bag that inevitably featured when we’d overdone it, in the car on the way home. It was usual to go off a food if I’d suffered as a result of consuming it but it never lasted very long so I didn’t think this explained why I hated strawberries so much. That is, until I suddenly found them palatable again and examined what had changed.

I’d hit a stage in my recovery where I was actively healing the wounds that had left me so isolated and started naming the cover ups that had ensured my descent into mental instability. You lie about who you are long enough, you either buy into it or you suffer a breakdown, the latter being my destiny. Naming my own faults and vowing to rid myself of false virtues I’d picked up like fleas and having the opportunity to reconnect and share and lean on others, I felt safe enough to delve into memories that were too painful to bear, up until now, because I was remembering who I was before the labels slapped on me damaged my sense of self. I know in my heart that my dislike of strawberries came from an event that was cruel and played on my bonds with my loved ones. I know that as a small child it probably felt like dying and I made this association with the nearest thing to hand. All organic things smell a little bit rotten when they’re at the riper end of their shelf life, mangoes for example, but I can’t get enough of them because I’ve only ever had good connections, like my mum lovingly handfeeding them to us with the sun beating down outside, refuelling her brood with good energy. Food is very much connected to our interpersonal bridge with our parents and early hardwiring can affect us for the rest of our lives unless we work intensely to strip it back and start again.

My dad dying a few years ago coupled with the opening of sealed doors in my mind changed something in my perception of strawberries. They’re really actually rather good. I don’t need to know exactly what it was that created this barrier in my baby brain but I’m choked that I can do something about it if I stick with it long enough. Our dad favoured my twin and strawberries were her thing I guess? Perhaps with his passing I can have them too? He snatched food out of my hands on a number of occasions, laughed at my distress. I can’t help feeling this is connected.

The other tiny miracle that just kinda randomly occurred to me, I can suddenly do percentages in my head without panicking at my complete inability to do anything with numbers, save basic arithmetic. Aged 10 I was coached for the 11+ and the times table was drummed into our heads by our father who resorted to violence if we stuttered. I was actually in the top set of maths all the way through high school until aged 15 I ran away from home. When I returned after a few months, because the school in London was so awful, my previously motivated and interesting maths teacher had had a complete personality change and was suddenly a bit of a dick. He’d been off sick with shingles in my absence and came back completely disinterested in his students. It must have really knocked my confidence because I became convinced I was bad with numbers and didn’t care because I was obviously more creative anyway.

I think I’ve proved to myself since my breakdown that I am capable, and remembering the past, how I was brimming with self esteem aged 12, which was the last time I remember feeling sure of anything, has reminded me who I am at my core: someone who stands up in the face of injustice to my own detriment because the alternative is unacceptable. I feel personally responsible for the world we find ourselves in, for all the years I toed the line and enabled coercive power, all in the hopes for a seat at the table. Coming to terms with a world that doesn’t reward talent or integrity and actively sets out to destroy it, that has been healing I guess? Resolving the past and coming to terms with my elders exactly as they are not as I would have them, has unlocked parts of my personality I’d long buried, to appease the green eyed patriarchy and minimise myself so I was never a threat to anyone which ultimately bit me in the butt when I was that much easier to victimise.

Learning that it is possible to change instilled behaviours, all it takes is a couple of weeks to lay down new pathways, making the past the road less well travelled every time you do things in your new way, has been liberating. Others might still judge me for the person I was aged 25 but that’s because they’re incapable of changing themselves. They judge others as they would judge their selves.

I’m excited to see what other things become available to me on my recovery journey.

How did the UK get into this Brexit mess?

That’s what they’re asking, the political journalists. Like they’ve been on another planet for the past couple of decades, or only woke up to vote in the referendum. Theresa May as home secretary vowed to get rid of human rights and in order to do that they had to make themselves unaccountable to the rest of the European union and its court for human rights – a union that was forged to prevent the kind of atrocities Europeans are famed for, against their own neighbours more often than not.

If we were taught history truthfully then we would never have been left with the impression that Britain and its allied forces were fighting fascism and saving Jews. No, in fact East Europe wanted a piece of the action, with western Europe wielding power over whole continents as a result of various empires, Hitler even admired the British for the way they annihiliated entire cultures, slaughtering millions and modeled his empire on theirs. He coveted a ‘new world’ like America, another British endeavour. East and Central Europe was only doing what western Europe had been doing to the rest of the world and somehow this fact has gotten lost in history, the extended narrative around socialism and nationalism deliberately muddies the waters so we forget that it is white western imperialism that is the underlying cause for most of the wars of the past 200 years.

The union was set up to prevent further infighting between Europeans. Collectively they could continue to exploit the rest of the world but they formed an alliance to ‘never again’ turn on each other the way they had during the world wars. Imagine the unease felt by the rest of Europe when Britain decided to cut its ties and become a sovereign nation unaccountable to anyone, the way it was when it dehumanised my ancestors in the name of civilisation. Britain considers itself above the rest of Europe or it is saying that it cannot guarantee it won’t invade neighbouring nations and that’s why Europeans are antsy.

Lisa Nandy, the Labour MP for Wigan was quoted yesterday as saying “this is not normal” as a result of being accosted on the way in to cast her vote and was called a fucking traitor by rabid Leavers loitering outside parliament. The same Lisa Nandy who said “Labour should be a party of patriotism not placards”. She also said “I am very liberal in my outlook around immigration….But I feel very, very angry – like many of my constituents – that the system of free movement has allowed us to ignore the skills and aspirations of young people in towns like mine”. Nandy is by no means alone, when MPs and journalists were busy making similarly inflammatory statements we were on the sidelines booing them and warning that their words would contribute to a slippery slope into white supremacist nationalism, because human beings are just not sophisticated enough to leave it at a ‘debate’. Using emotive language like ‘angry’ then claiming ignorance when it all goes to plan, who do they think they’re kidding eh? When Theresa May said MPs were to blame for the Brexit impasse, Lisa said “Theresa May has trashed our democracy and put MPs in danger” so she knows how drip fed propaganda works.

Pander to racists and they will eventually start killing people, they were emboldened by your divisive rhetoric. You prioritised their hateful agenda and claimed they had ‘legitimate concerns’. Now they’re beating up police officers and bullying MPs under the watchful eyes of UKIP and the EDL and it’s only going to get worse.

The world is a stage and bread and circuses keep us all focused on the Brexit red herring. Brexit isn’t where this began. Brexit is a cover up, as I said many months ago. It’s a convenient smoke screen for more insidious operations. This government has already enacted a genocide against the British people with 100s of 1000s dead under austerity but it went through legal channels so there’s no backlash (yet). Only those personally affected have so far acknowledged its impact. Tyrant Theresa has condemned many others to a cruel death; from those who perished at Yarlswood to those of the Windrush generation, who spent their last moments afraid and destitute having been wrongly deported under the ‘deport first ask questions later’ policy, (surely a grave human rights violation).

This government isn’t looking to enact a genocide, they are already in the midst of it. Pushing through Brexit would just have made it a whole lot easier.

So I put this to the politicos who haven’t a clue, why don’t you? You get paid to seek the truth no? Are you being paid to repeat the party line? Are we in the ‘jump ship’ phase because this venture is doomed to fail? Is the ire of the British public limitless and non discriminatory like we said it would be? Did you genuinely think you would be fine, because you’re white? I genuinely want to know.

Genocide is still on the cards

Conservative Party Conference, Day One, Manchester, UK - 01 Oct 2017

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock (9101397q) Theresa May in the Conference Hall Conservative Party Conference, Day One, Manchester, UK – 01 Oct 2017

Theresa May’s hostile environment has succeeded. Muslims are afraid, asylum seekers are afraid, the Windrush generation and their descendants, the disabled, young people, students, those holding a European passport.. the list goes on. Following her frankly aimless announcement the other day when she shifted the blame for the Brexit farce on MPs, leaving journalists and the general public agog at her impending statement only to dash any hopes they had of resolution or her resignation, we woke up to the news on Thursday that five Birmingham mosques were targeted in a racially motivated terrorist attack. This comes on the heels of a government pledge to double the security fund for religious buildings in the wake of the New Zealand terror attack, following several credible reports that the UK is next.

These apparently random attacks are anything but. Look at the way in which the Brexit debacle has been fanned out to build a sense of urgency and resulting impatience, the rollings news is relentless in its breakdown of every little seemingly irrelevant twist and turn. I’m so jaded by the mainstream news I watch as regular folk are swept up by the narrative because they still think they’re playing by the rules and the comedown they experience when yet again, Teflon Theresa issues a non statement and lives to see another day. She fucked the mandate and survived. Her party, embroiled in tax fraud scandals and electoral fraud continues to hold onto power, despite bringing the country to its knees, at home and on the world stage. Regular folks are plodding by in a daze, completely bamboozled by it all and if they’re criminally minded, as white supremacists are, they’re going to take matters into their own hands. Even her own MPs are speaking out against her toxic narrative, labeling it divisive and an incitement to violence, proving that parliamentarians know exactly what they’re doing when they allude to problematic groups.

Brexit means Brexit they said, which translates to ‘pakis out’. The longer they eke this out the more regular fascists are going to react, because they have been indoctrinated by the media and politicians. Theresa May is a narcissistic sociopath. She didn’t get to where she is through hard work and dedication, she’s manipulative and ruthless. She doesn’t meet with victims of terror attacks, look at the way she treated her own citizens after Grenfell. Even the queen, albeit begrudgingly, rolled up to pay her respects but not the tyrant Theresa. She’s a snake charmer. Her knowing looks down the camera and sneaky side eyes might work on her gammon henchmen but she must be apprehended for her crimes, which are countless. What use are security measures on an environment of her own creation? This is like a really badly written script with no thought for continuity and the only reason it has so far prevailed is because we have let it. Similarly, Farage and his (reportedly) 100,000 strong Brexiteer army are already causing chaos across the UK. Their ‘go slow’ protests on busy motorways are a sign of things to come. This is the entitlement of little Englanders, caked spittle in the corners of their thin lipped gammon traps, who’ll threaten violence against workers striking for better working conditions but turn up like Morris dancers with bells on when there’s some racism to be had.

We can’t afford stuff apparently so 100s of 1000s of needy and vulnerable British citizens have died but throwing millions at mosques because the hostile environment was successful, we’re going to just ignore that are we? Think about how that will impact on fascists. Not because we care about their feelings but because we want to stay alive. Think about this attack on a young person in Stanwell, just going about his business only to be confronted by a horror movie monster wielding a knife and baseball bat. Sajid Javid says he is with us, which is ironic given that his party is squarely to blame for the hostile environment all around us. Add to this the revelation that police forces in the UK are failing to identify almost half of all suspects in racially motivated attacks and you can probably understand why it feels like the worst is yet to come.

Google ‘racially aggravated’ and select results for the last week. These page 11 stories are dotted through national and local newspapers, sporadic and understated so we’re never alarmed at the rate with which they’re happening. If these attacks were being committed by men of colour they’d be splashed all over front pages, given the centrefold, we’d read nothing else for weeks. White ISIS has been allowed to brutalise minorities unchecked and now they’re grown too large to slam on the brakes. I still maintain there simply aren’t the numbers to for one nation to carry this on their own, which is why Nazis have joined forces all over the white supremacist west. This process took years, and could have been prevented.

Intense human suffering is on the horizon. Atrocities we said we’d never see again are billed for the foreseeable. Sadly I don’t think we are going to avoid it. Only once they have committed the unimaginable will we be able to justify a violent retaliation. The Silicon Valley trials has a particular ring to it. I can think of several world leaders I’d like to see rotting in The Hague. I can only hope I will survive long enough to see them brought to justice.

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(One of the comments posted after I blogged on Kiwi Farms and their response to New Zealand authorities request for data)