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Britain’s Rejects

My 72 year old immigrant grandmother died in 2002, prompting a rushed visit to Pakistan. She had specified her wishes to be repatriated to her final resting place when the time came. Growing up we’d always objected to their pipe dream plans to show us the motherland, even going so far as likening it to death, given that we were never short of a cautionary tale or two of what could go wrong if they were not truthful of their intentions. There was always talk of so and so’s kid who’d gone off the rails so the folks took them ‘back home’ to straighten them out. This usually meant a forced marriage but there was always the worry you’d never return.

For 20 years I’d ignored their pleas to at least give them a chance and see what they had built with their own hands, for us, so that we had roots and a place we could always call home. My gran, or dhaadhi as we called her, would look at us in disbelief and shake her head, unsure of how else to sell it to us; the stories she’d tell of exotic fruits abundant in the courtyard, trees grown especially for us, her face wrinkled up in a smile as she recalled the exceptional quality of, as she put it, the juiciest mangoes on God’s green earth and other fruits I don’t know the English word for.

Whilst I love listening to her and seeing her clear delight I wasn’t convinced. I considered myself British, English even, and harboured an unhealthy self hate; I wasn’t above sneering at Pakis. Eager to set myself apart I believed the things white people said about Pakistan and Pakistanis and asserted my Britishness whenever it was required of me. I do cringe whenever I think back to that mindset. I think about the sort of white person who’d get off on hearing my disgust for people like me, the kind to collect tokens and play brown people off each other, dividing Muslims and Hindus for example and profiting off the misery that inevitably follows. Divide rule and conquer works to this day.

It didn’t matter when she died though, I suddenly felt I owed her a trip. Almost immediately I was consumed with guilt that I hadn’t honoured this wish of hers whilst she had been alive but I hoped she knew I was with her for her final journey. Barely six hours after she took her last breath we (my twin, dad, aunt and I) were in business class on a PIA flight bound for Islamabad. It was the first time I’d ever flown and my nerves were shot, I’d barely slept or processed what had happened but the hot cloths and silver service made up for the turbulence a little bit. My dad even let twin and I smoke a cigarette! It was that kind of a day, normal programming abandoned, venturing into the unknown out of a sense of duty and family pride. I tried not to think of her, alone, entombed in a wooden box, along with the rest of the cargo.

We landed at Islamabad airport at 6am. I was hit by the heat, as if I’d walked into a wall of hot air and it would suffocate me, upon exiting the plane. The sun hadn’t been up long but it was already 27 degrees. My thoughts went to my gran and the effect these conditions would have on her lifeless body. We waited for her coffin to be released and clung to each other through the chaos and din of the arrivals lounge, we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Random strange men pawed at our luggage offering to carry it, not being entirely forthcoming about the tip they expected for this service. It smelt funny, and the people were scary, staring at us as if we’d fallen from the sky. An uncle herded us out of the terminal and explained we looked different to regular Pakistanis and they were probably trying to figure out if we were worth anything.

It didn’t feel like a homecoming but the worst day of my life and the natives weren’t exactly helping. I didn’t want my worst fears to be confirmed, that we were easy pickings and could be disappeared, never to return. Dad’s cousin thought we were hilarious, batting furiously at the flies that seemed to throng the air, shrieking at the various creepy critters that had dared to greet us. We were a novelty. Fragile. Typical of desis who’d lost their way. A highly amusing form of entertainment for the locals.

The funeral was as expected; the outpouring of grief par the course but I had never imagined my dear gran knew so many people. I was bewildered by the number of women sat around smoking, a practice that was almost entirely gendered amongst the older generations in Britain. I only ever knew one lady smoker, my granddad’s sister in law and she had a free pass on account of her mental status. Here it just seemed to be a way of life, the chilum, similar to a shisha, was a permanent fixture. Granted they weren’t holding penis shaped cigarettes as they do in the west (cigarettes were originally marketed to women on the basis that women envied the penis and smoking would achieve equality or something) but this was really a sight to behold for someone who’d been brought up in a strict household where women most definitely did not smoke. I was also surprised at the relative freedom my girl cousins had with regards to their personal grooming. We’d been forced to keep our hair long, our eyebrows natural and our sleeves below the elbow and yet my cousins had no such restrictions. It’s when I first started to believe our grandparents were trying to preserve something of our culture in the west, that we were a snapshot frozen in time of an era pre colonialism whereas the rest of the world had just moved on.

They referred to us as the English princesses, for being so vulnerable to the elements. In our hurry to bury dhaadhi according to Islamic law within 24 hours, we’d had to forgo the usual preparations; shots for foreign diseases and the like. Within 48 hours we were struck with a mystery bug that was determined to shoot itself out of both ends and stifling temperatures in the mid 50s weren’t helping the situation, especially when the electricity was guaranteed to give out at least twice a day. I had never felt more miserable in my life and decided there was nothing else for it, we had to go home. Everyone else had other ideas though; we hadn’t given it a chance, we needed to eat more and think about getting better, the airline wouldn’t carry us if we were too sick and for a brief time I was petrified they weren’t going to let us leave at all. Maybe this had been the plan all along.

Fortunately the bug seemed to attack in waves and a day later our uncle took us shopping, we hadn’t come with very much stuff, in my case I didn’t even own more than one pair of salwar kameez. All was going well until we actually spoke to the vendors and my uncle clocked they were hiking up the prices. He said if we liked the look of anything to point at it rather than say anything aloud. I was confused, we’d been conversing in Punjabi but apparently even that sounded different to them and English people could afford to pay more.

I felt personally attacked, not gonna lie. I didn’t belong here, as people were keen to point out with every interaction. I didn’t like the heat, I didn’t like the food, or the people even, they were rude and looked at me the way closeted racists did in England. I didn’t feel safe. All I wanted was a cheese and tomato sandwich and my bed, at home in rainy blighty. I asked for fries on one occasion, thinking there isn’t a place in the world you can’t get fries, and bawled my eyes out when they arrived dusted with chilli powder. In the end, I shook off as much of it as I could and sliced up some tomato and onion for the weirdest chip butty ever. I dreamed of Nandos. I vowed to kiss the ground when I got home and never complain about the cold ever again (delirious or delusional, you decide) and made it my mission to pester the folks at all times, ET had to go home. Eventually, 10 days after the ordeal began we boarded a flight home, excited like you wouldn’t believe I made lists in my head of everything I would drink and eat.

I wasn’t sorry to say goodbye to my dysfunctional country of origin, but I did think of what it might be like, 50 years on. There’s no doubting Pakistan is a hellhole for many reasons but it was made this way. It was a consolation prize given to the victims of the British empire, those who once considered themselves Indian, those of my grandparents generation who would’ve been young children at the time of partition. They’ve seen horrors we can only imagine. They are the product of such horrors. To show humanity you must be shown it and Pakistanis are amongst some of the first to be dehumanised. They are the losers of the empire and all the alliances that followed, between extremists bound by mutual desires for power and control and must be mocked and denigrated in order to maintain the global hierarchy. They are Muslims and they were once proud rulers of India, loved by moderates of all faiths. Their fall from grace is the only lasting legacy for young Pakistan, it simply hasn’t had enough time to recuperate.

Our grandparents were refugees of a kind, the land they occupied was destroyed by the British who busted a dam, destroying everything. Britain promised those people refuge from a disaster of their own creation and so they came, naive to the racism that awaited them. They never accepted they were British, my grandparent’s generations, their hearts were too broken, unable to mend. Such is the life of the stateless citizen. I had tricked myself into believing I belonged in the UK but 9/11 changed all of that. The unspoken hate bubbled to the surface and became impossible to ignore. It’s gotten exponentially worse in recent years, there’s no denying it now. They say we don’t integrate but when we do they want to ban us from getting involved, just look at the furore over the Xmas ads, life is impossible for those of us who do not belong anywhere.

There’s no love lost between me and centrist Sadiq Khan but I felt for him today. We don’t belong anywhere, we only have an idea of what it is to belong somewhere and our place of birth is the nearest we can get to realising it, despite what the racists might say.

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Toxic Twitter is for White Supremacists

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Yesterday I posted a tweet regarding the suicide of Carl Sargeant, who took his own life following allegations of sex abuse.

I stand by this tweet, at a time when media vultures are desperate to create a narrative that will help cover up the true extent of sex abuse in our society we must take it upon ourselves to maintain the truth even when it makes us uncomfortable. I wasn’t surprised when the usual suspects – white men – turned up in my mentions to tell me to go see how I liked it in Delhi, a nod to the gang rape a few years back and how I was a bitter woman and an attention seeker.

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I didn’t go looking for this man, just to be clear, he found my tweet and approached me just to say I was an attention seeker. I replied:

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I would suggest this was a fair enough rebuke given that he was doing exactly what he was accusing me of, seeking my attention. He went on to say:

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This random on the internet was just looking for an excuse to bully me and so I muted him after the swiftest of exchanges and thought nothing more of it. In fact I had many tweets attacking me for standing in support of victims of sexual violence:

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I can just imagine Alan wanking furiously to the thought of brown women being violated in foreign countries, it’s a fetish of his. He blocked me before I could report his account for targeted harassment and abusive behaviour aimed at my perceived race/religion etc.

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This is a perfect example of white power, subjected me to hateful language and harassment whilst claiming I’m the racist.

alanconalancourseOnly an entitled white male with zero self control/awareness would think it ok to suggest I give a shit at all about whether he finds me attractive or not. Never mind the infantilisation that comes with it, quite sickening when you think of it in the context of sex abuse. He thinks he’s attacking a girl, not a 35 year old woman and this makes it even more despicable.

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This take.. correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the PIE filled with right wing establishment types, like prince Andrew’s best mate? As if I’ve ever made a distinction between the sorts of men I’d like to see dead and buried. ALL men are capable of sex abuse and ALL men must be held to account.

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White men do not care about victims of sexual violence, they object to non white predators. You can draw a parallel with the ‘coming over here, taking all our jobs’ trope, they’re only upset there are fewer victims for them. This is why you never see white men demand action against all predatory sex attackers.

jimmyrolf

That’s SIR Jimmy Savile, 1300 child victims of sex abuse, and everyone knew about what he was doing but no one said a thing, not the BBC, nor the government or the mainstream media. A mentally ill sex pest who used his elite networks to abuse white children at whim but all is forgiven, the real issue is those darkies who’ve been hardwired that way. Timmeh’s account is live still despite directing hate at a group of people/members of a religion. What a fascinating double standard Twitter seems to operate.

Later in the day I went to log in to Twitter only to find myself locked out. The prat who’d said I was an attention seeker reported me for two tweets which I happily deleted upon being prompted by Twitter and yet my account was still restricted, effectively silencing me for a week as I am not able to tweet, RT, like or send media in my DMs. I can read my TL and I can send DMs to mutual follows.

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There are Nazis advocating genocide on Twitter but we must allow the marketplace of ideas for civilised debates even if that means inciting hatred and violence towards minorities but I can’t be hyperbolic and suggest a man eat his own weiner, what if I tracked him down and made him do it..?

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He sent me a tweet calling me an attention seeker and routed a bunch of other white supremacist misogynists my way and when I tried to return the favour (at which point I also muted his account because he wouldn’t stop tweeting at me) he reports me for abuse and I am punished for a week? I don’t think this is just crappy algorithms, in recent weeks I’ve seen many of the prominent woc I follow have their accounts suspended because they were reported by a fragile fuckin snowflake and Twitter has done nothing to rectify this. I don’t think the Twitter nerds are ignorant, I believe they are actively supporting white supremacy behind the scenes – wtf is the Trump account about? – but cannot sieg heil in public because nazism doesn’t pay, at least not this century.

Update: Twitter has verified the account of the Nazi who organised the Charlottesville klan rally where Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist. Twitter is telling us what it is, it’s time we listened and accepted it.

 

All Grooming Gangs

Maajid Nawaz (a man I’m strangely familiar with even though I couldn’t tell you what he does for a living) has admonished his Muslim ‘sisters’ and pleaded with them in a ‘heartfelt’ campaign to remove their Muslim dress, and as an added bonus, dredged up the old Asian grooming gangs ‘scandal’ a coupla days later, reiterating how we as British Pakistanis should be discussing it not brushing it under the carpet. I don’t think we need reminding ever because the narrative around Asian grooming gangs is ongoing, it is the first thing bigots of all classes belch at us when we defend our right to exist free from harm.

I also find it dangerously problematic this man of Pakistani descent is contributing to a narrative which excuses the violence perpetrated by white men against Muslim women for their dress; Muslim women have been murdered, beaten so viciously they have lost their unborn children, spat at, sworn at, assaulted, all because of what they are wearing. Rather than support his Muslim sisters in their choices and seek to protect them by naming the problem –  violent white men with empire sized entitlement issues – he enables it, victimising them further. He wants white men to attack Muslim women in the street. He’s given them carte blanche when he, self-appointed mehram, is PLEADING with us to be good little Muslim girls and strip for the white people. If we dare to disobey this very public appeal then we’re, honestly, just asking for it, white supremacists are looking for any excuse. Maajid repeatedly underlines that Muslim women are attacked in the street because of Muslim men who flee terror situations in female attire. He doesn’t once mention the racist judgments white people make of anyone who is not lily white, of the sort of violence and arrogant misogyny white men subject Muslim looking women to.

I was wearing a dress cut to my knees with bare legs and my hair out when I was racially abused on a packed bus at 3am in a multicultural part of London. It does not matter how many hoops you jump, my beloved diaspora siblings, a dog born in a stable is still a dog to these mad Englishmen. Take your veil off, uncover your face, you arse even, men will still be men, racist cunts will still be racist cunts. I challenged a white male on Twitter recently, when he said he did not want Europe overrun by Asian grooming gangs yet didn’t think twice before he told me:

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That’s why I find this stab at the ol’ grooming gangs all the more grotesque. This insistence that Asian grooming gangs are somehow the biggest threat to society is deliberate. This regurgitation of information to the exclusion of all other facts is propaganda. What makes the victims of Asian grooming gangs more deserving of recognition and justice than the victims of Britain’s national treasures, parliamentarians, social services, the police, the football association, the church? I know for a fact no one cared about these young victims of sadistic brown men. It went on from 1997 to 2013 and the excuse given by the all-powerful authorities is they didn’t want to offend anybody. How awfully British in its delivery and the fact that it is complete and utter bullshit. When I was a domestic and sexual violence worker for women of all colour, religions etc. I would often inquire with the officers in charge of my cases why there was such a gap in provision for women of colour and they used the exact same excuse, that the perps would insist it was a part of their culture and the authorities didn’t want to offend. From my perspective, it was just lazy racism, when you are not motivated to care about people you do not consider human you’ll make up a thousand excuses for your negligence and no one will think to question it because it is in line with their lazy racism.

Fact: no one, not the cops, or the governing authorities, or even the average white man, gives a flying shit about white working class girls. You think of them as chavs and sluts and mock them for being gym slip mums in love with Albanian refugees. I’ve seen it, heard it, I’ve worked with these young victims. Nobody cared until it appeared the rug had FINALLY been pulled out from the elite paedosadist networks and we’d finally get justice for the many thousands of historic victims.

Every time well-meaning bros like Maajid and Adil Ray contribute to this metanarrative of predatory men of colour seeking out white women to spoil, they are confirming entrenched notions of sexual violence as a basic trait found in most if not all darkie savages to the detriment of all victims of white men.

Whenever I try to point this out I am targeted by white supremacists who just keep repeating the same old shit; “why don’t Muslims condemn it?” They condemned it in 2013 and again in 2014, read all about it here.

“Why are you denying there is a problem in the British Pakistani community?” If you’d ever actually listened to me you’d know I believe all men are capable of sexual violence in a patriarchal society that actively encourages harassment and subjugation of women, both east and west. In my opinion I wish they’d all drop dead but some of y’all find this contentious too.

“You don’t want to discuss it, just pretend it never happened.” Maajid, again with his impassioned pleas, has said we must talk about the grooming scandal and yet twice, I’ve tweeted at him to let him know he has an open invitation to discuss it with me, a British Pakistani, a cultural Muslim as opposed to firm believer, a survivor of male perpetrated violence from both Pakistanis and whites, a domestic and sexual violence worker with feminist leanings and first and foremost, a woman, and he hasn’t responded and most likely won’t. I do not fulfil their stereotypes, I provide a real account of life on rainy fascist island from the perspective of those women everyone seeks to silence. Or maybe he cannot speak to me because he is NOT my mehram and can only communicate via a third party. I find it cheeky af he uses his position as a ‘brother’ to convey certain patriarchal dynamics whilst being most unbrotherly like when he asks them to take their clothes off. Whatever his angle, it wasn’t as innocent as it would seem with his emotive culturally familiar language, it just makes it even more despicable.

When they do this, recycle ‘scandals’ like these, I cannot help but wonder what they are trying to cover up. It is sensationalised and it’s difficult not to get swept up by it, rage is renewed, the facts are distorted some more until it feels like it only just happened yesterday. How many thousands of victims of white grooming gangs are currently suffering unimaginable cruelty because we’re all focused on a particular kind of rapist? When they do come forward they get accused of only doing it for the money or attention, no one ever believes them. This should be an obvious double standard, plain for everyone to see.

Don’t be a racist collaborator, Maajid, it never ends well, & fucking well answer my tweets.

Penny Sized Thoughts

As a short Asian woman (5ft 1in) belonging to one of the largest demographics on this here planet of ours, representation matters. We’re an easy target, we’re smaller so we can’t get away quick enough, or we’re more visible because we are child sized in an adult world, frequently fetishised by orientalists and predators who think we’re easy pickings. Everyone has a go, and I mean EVERYONE, because we’re traditionally submissive and scared of most people. The penalties for deviating evident on this very blog, as a notoriously small yet unusually loud and ‘aggressive’ south Asian woman I’m a shock to most people’s systems because I refuse to play to type, not that it matters, people only see what they want. We never have legitimate concerns, we’re merely acting out, throwing a tantrum.

Perhaps this logic can be applied to some people, just not all. The equally diminutive Laurie Penny has since deleted the offending tweet but I gather it went something like this:

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Here’s the thing Laurie, there isn’t a niche market for little Asian lady clothes, we live in a society that almost exclusively caters to white people, with their big bones and flat bodies. We are masters of the wunderweb or else we have our clothes professionally altered, it’s always been more expensive to be a little Asian lady on Rainy Fascist Island, unless you manage to find a child sized garment with enough room for woman sized boobs and bums.

We’re the same size more or less, Laurie and I, in height that is. Our bodies are completely different, as you would expect. I suspect Laurie, whilst similar in stature, has a fetishisation for bodies she would deem exotic, the curvier silhouette of a woman of colour for example. It is perhaps why, when she overheard me bemoaning the severe lack of smoochable comrades at a party, she offered her own mouth. What was I going to do, put on the spot like that? I couldn’t exactly reject her (I’m much better at saying no these days, beware)  so I obliged. It was nice enough but I couldn’t shake off the feeling it was a bit awkward and entitled and she walked away straight after, if it wasn’t already weird enough.

Thinking on it now, with my more rounded view of Laurie and the world she inhabits, she probably did it just so she could say she’d kissed an Asian girl and she liked it. It’s not the first time she’s gotten into trouble for saying inappropriate things about woc, specifically small Asian women.

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Or you could just be a white woman with an orientalist fetish, and enjoy the relative privileges being white gives you. You can dip into short people’s oppressions when it suits, and also the ways in which you are perceived, for instance, I think you play on the infantilisation people impose on you. We’re expected to forgive the awful things you say because you haven’t eaten, when people like myself are expected to never make a mistake even when we’re on opiates for ill health.

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Frankly, I’m sick of this petulant brat. She is beyond reproach, schmoozing Nazis, helping to rebrand white supremacy for the 21st century and her sycophantic audience laps it up, time and time again. Laurie has many opinions on womanhood and how we use performative femininity to attract men, completely ignorant of the various cultural reasons non white women have for keeping their hair long. She thinks of herself as enlightened, almost Godlike (a white supremacist trait) in her analysis of other women.

I don’t care what she meant, or whether she thinks her words are being taken out of context, every interaction Laurie has with the wider world speaks volumes about the kind of person she is; irresponsible, self absorbed, entitled and ultimately, a predictable bore.

 

Calling Time on Twitter

I have deactivated my Twitter account. There are many reasons but it was in fact a straw that broke this camel’s back and I don’t particularly want to discuss it. By and large, I have achieved my objectives, we all seem to be on roughly the same page now; the nazis are here and we won’t let them pass. Liberals have left no doubt in our minds whose side they’re actually on. You all know what to do (punch nazis, in case you forgot).

You can catch me on here, or if you have my email address, feel free to drop me a message there. If you’d like to work together, please ask. It’s been life affirming and destroying, I want to ponder on this awhile.

Thanks to everyone for their unwavering support. A big fuck you to all the white people who made these past few years a gaslighting hell, the truth always outs and your words and actions will speak for you when future generations look back. An almost equally humongous fuck you to all the people of colour who were quick to believe the bullshit yet never quite managed to pull their finger out for me. I’ve had to play this duplicitous game but please, do not think me stupid or unaware.

For once, it is actually going to be all about me. I want to learn a skill I can put into use in my local community. Time to learn how to be around people again, like, physically in front of me. I plan to give my time to those who need it. Take care of yourselves.

Part Three: Sticks and Stones

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“It’s not racist to say the p or no words, maybe offensive to those who love to be offended but they’re just words.”

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“Those might be racist words but they were not said with racist intent.”

immigration   ukba-vans

“It’s not racist to say.. you don’t care about black people.”

Much of the rhetoric around racism the past few years has been rooted in denial of its very existence. It’s not racist to have an opinion, even if that opinion dehumanises non whites. The definition of racism has been distorted so that we cannot complain of racism unless a white person was on hand to witness it and their criteria is met.

boodleoops  bengoldrhodes3

Even then it might not be that racist, the white person is just ignorant through no fault of their own, we must try to understand the economic difficulties that inspired their Very Legitimate Concerns and accept their superior status on account of their whiteness.

moron  morangoldacre

When Caitlin Moran told the word she literally couldn’t give a shit about black representation, what effect did that have on ignorant white people? The woman who taught liberal middle England how to be a white feminist attended Michael Gove’s wedding even though she’s a ‘leftie’, also thinks it’s funny to punch down at those with less privilege, people with HIV status or trans people for example. All we ever did was point out how wrong this was, nauseated as we were at this odious bigotry. Imagine if she and her friends had replied “I’m awfully sorry I’ve made you feel this way, it was not my intention. Please accept my sincere apologies, I will do better”.

IMAGINE.

Admitting fault in a toxic post truth world of their own making is impossible for these most fragile of snowflakes. They double down. They responded to our increasingly (understandably) hostile call outs with pointed irreverence.

blame-caitlin   haynesbanging

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The journalists we knocked heads with online continued with the very agenda we were opposing because they knew they had the power to silence us and carry on as if this kind of racism was the norm.

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liddle  muslimmums

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Later that day.

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Only powerful white people have the power to say what is and isn’t racist.

dawk      stephenfrydawk

britfirstdawks     dawksnotaracist

They can claim they’re being silenced by our call out culture and no platforming, the only tool we have to combat hate speech, but we know otherwise.

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bindelbindel-transphobia  bindel1

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3 years of this blatant propaganda (Lee Rigby provided a catalyst on the back of years of fake news following 9/11) and denial of its trickle down effect has culminated in the rise of cowardly fascism, white supremacists emboldened by the actions of those with the power to do immense good, who’ve demonstrated consistently their intolerance of folks deemed *other by the most privileged in society. Those who possess the kind of privilege that could bring world peace, if they weren’t so white, greedy and self obsessed. They lie, they turn the truth upside down and in doing so condemn 100s if not 1000s to a backlash incited from their national platforms to their international audiences.

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60% of people don’t read past headlines, and the journalists know this. Object and they’ll pull out the Journo Card “if you’d actually bothered to read it.. I address that further down in the piece”. How gullible do they think we are? Every word is deliberate. They make the news but they also want to be the news, so playing the victim even under all of that privilege keeps them relevant. They understand power and control dynamics and are aware they possess most of it. This campaign to undermine and erase various feminists of colour, trans women, sex workers etc has been successful, most people bought into their divisive narrative. Most people believed the lies.

suzanneedl

(published 2011)

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We cannot now be expected to believe they are on our side, ready to fight fascism and smash white supremacy. Not when they’ve done some of their best work drip feeding bigotry to the unquestioning masses. No one wants to go down in history as a nazi collaborator, but there are no free passes here.

(TBC)

We need to talk about the commentariat

I write this not for the Brexit ate my braahn baby crowd but for those of us who are willing to admit harsh truths in order to effect change. To know what it is we must do for the future we learn about the past and study trends so we can be better prepared for what’s coming. You don’t need an academic record in order to observe how the world is affected by narratives however, especially if you are burdened by unspoken rules placing you at various intersections of oppression, you experience them through social inequality. Speaking for myself I have been a keen observer of all things social and have been since I studied sociology at high school. It informs my interactions with the world. I never anticipated the backlash though, I had expected some resistance but not on the scale I received and not from the people I thought I could trust, the Guardian types keen on saving us all from ourselves.

When you learned about the Holocaust did you stop to wonder as I did, how so many were organised and in such a short period of time, carted off to their deaths without so much as a whimper from their white German neighbours? Did you marvel at the breathtaking ignorance of the allies who were allegedly unaware of the camps until it was almost over anyway? Perhaps now you know, given the ways in which truths are erased in our supposedly post truth world, and how narratives are framed, by those who claim to know better, those publications considered ‘leftie’ or socialist in some respects are squarely to blame, along with the perhaps deliberately embellished version of war we were taught on the national curriculum where Britain saved the world, and the Jews.

It could be true that some of us have a monumental chip on our shoulder, that we make excuses for our inadequacies or we might just be telling the truth. Recently the Guardian featured a story regarding the inhumane treatment a Dutch woman had received following Brexit when she applied for a British passport and was subsequently turned down because she had failed to include her original passport because *reasons*. There was outrage on social media not least because this mother of two was going to be ejected from the country minus her children, who did have British citizenship. How cruel the system was under Brexit, how devastatingly inhumane. Except this is the system and has been for as long as I can remember through my work with women who have no recourse to public funds. You won’t hear about them even if people like me blog about it. Where’s your outrage for women like Meena* and her toddler? She came over on a spousal visa from Pakistan and only just fell short of the then 2 year rule which stipulated residency in the country for at least two years under the supervision of a sponsor, in this case her husband, before she could make an application for indefinite leave to remain giving her full access to British benefits. He was violent. One day she made the decision to leave, because it was no longer safe enough, the violence was escalating and she feared for their lives. She’d endured his violent episodes but there was a limit. I’m only explaining this because she knew she had nowhere to go and so had suffered many months of abuse before she made the final break, potentially being faced with homelessness but that threshold had been crossed. Homelessness was preferable to certain death. Think about the hell she endured all on her own, without a clue. In fact she was one of the lucky ones and had a kind and thoughtful doctor, one who’d spotted the signs and knew of a culturally sensitive refuge that had a single room set aside for women with no recourse.

Subsidies for these women who, almost every time, fall through the net and get disappeared by the state or their abusive partners are practically non existent. There has never been adequate representation or provision for these women. When Meena traveled the two hours to the home office every time they said ‘jump’, baby in tow, she came back a sad shadow of her usual chatty self. I saw the state chip away at this personality, this woman who had every right to exist free from harm and to be supported in her darkest moments but instead she was yanked around like cattle to the slaughter. I can’t forget the way she cried as she prepared for the final hearing and was advised by her solicitor to bring all her valuables with her, if the home office denied her extenuating circumstances (despite the reams of evidence) she would be remanded immediately and sent to a detention centre. When we pleaded for the baby’s sake the home office, along with social services and even our own legal advisors said the state was obliged to provide for the little one and take her into care but Meena would still have to go. I was a temp and I left before her case was closed but I think about her even now and where she might be. When I read about privileged white women bemoaning airport queues, I think about Meena, and all the others the Guardian overlooked through indifference and probably racism, until Brexit provided the sacrificial king upon which to pin all of our woes.

Even more recently the Guardian published a lament from one Lindy West who left Twitter because it serves best the trolls, bots and dictators. I hear she wrote about the Nazism that Twitter is now famous for and also about all the ways she personally was sick of it and to be fair, this wasn’t regular trolling but a sustained campaign of abuse, harassment and stalking. I feel for her, absolutely, but I’m also a little pissed off. Anyone who knows what I and many other woc have been forced to endure the past few years will tell you the gigantic role journalists had in directing that abuse, harassment and stalking our way. When we protested the Guardian and New Statesmen ghouls for their hot takes on our lives they said we were bullying them and they as white middle class people with all the top jobs were being oppressed by us. What effect do you think that had on wider society? At a time when the far right mobilised in the wake of the killing of Lee Rigby these allegedly leftie papers were saying women of colour, queer people, trans people were bullying them and making false allegations of racism that were just unacceptable, oh, and intersectionality was just an elitist buzzword whilst poc had sinister undertones. You want to talk fake news?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

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This guy is an editor for the Guardian. When we called out the racism his girlfriend, who works for the New Statesman, was subjecting various people to, in her actions if not so much her words, this is how he responded.

His girlfriend later went on to ask:

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It is the middle class liberals and lefties citing Brexit as the root of all evil who have enabled the rise of fascism. Virtually every last one of them is white, plus a few tokens on hand to massage their egos. They did know, we tried to tell them a million times. They didn’t just do as they were told, they were the ones doing the telling. These are the facts we must remember.

It doesn’t matter what we think, as grandchildren of immigrants, and legitimate citizens of rainy fascist island, where our lives are scrutinised and twisted beyond our recognition. We are not permitted to defend ourselves or to react from a place of fear and vulnerability. When we react to these privileged white people’s assessments of our lives they double down instead of listening to us because they cannot believe we would have the audacity to talk back. We are bizarrely hostile, not understandably so. We should ask nicely, with our heads bowed and exult upon our colonial masters how special and superior they are, if we are to be given a voice, otherwise we simply do not exist.

 

READ NEXT: Part Two – Comments on the Commentariat