media

Brexit was an opinion poll, nothing more

Brexit has caused ‘economic PTSD’!

Brexit has forced the Tories to retreat from austerity!

Brexit has broken everything.

Whilst these headlines are presented as facts they actually mean very little. What is economic PTSD? Do you suffer flashbacks to the EURef whenever your eye accidentally catches the Euro symbol on your keyboard perhaps? Maybe the Tories will start throwing cash at everything now, they couldn’t have foreseen the collapse of our economy, not even with all the world class economists on speed dial. Also, when they say Britain has broken *EVERYTHING*, define ‘everything’. Do they really mean ‘every’ ‘thing’ as in every little thing that ever existed? Or do they mean everything that exists to their knowledge, so anything outside their sphere of experience isn’t actually a ‘thing’?

I’ll tell you something else Brexit hasn’t caused; racism. In the days that followed the referendum racism became impossible to ignore, only because the racists widened the net to include Poles, other European ‘migrants’ and people who don’t ‘look Muslim’. Brexit did make one thing absolutely clear; Britain is racist, of this there can be no question now but did it actually cause the racist violence prevalent today on Britain’s streets? Of course not. The majority of people targeted by the far right have been Muslim and many thousands of these incidents occurred before Brexit, before Zac Goldsmith’s racist mayoral campaign, before the racist van even.

I was personally racially abused on a London bus in 2013. The passengers on the packed night bus sided with the racists on that occasion, it was a frightening experience for me and my white friend. When I shared the incident through social media right wingers and liberals alike decided I had no right to defend myself against racism and listed all the things they imagined had happened instead of my eyewitness account. In fact every time I spoke about racism on the internet I was either ignored or targeted in malicious campaigns to silence me. I reported racism to the police and they responded with an informal caution for saying ‘kill all men’. Where were the defenders of freeze peach when I was deemed ineligible for support because I exercised my right to say whatever I feel? What possible justification did West Midlands Police have for blocking me on social media? The authorities turned their back on me when I needed the law, racism is in fact illegal and a punishable offence. It went by unchallenged though and emboldened racists to escalate their attacks against me.

With every inaction, every no holds barred ‘debate’ on immigration and attacks on people the mainstream can’t stomach; disabled people, trans people, refugees fleeing catastrophes we caused, the proud British racist was given the nod to abuse anyone he doesn’t personally like. He thought the referendum would decide whether or not immigrants would be made to LEAVE, in fact he knew nothing about the EU and our part in it.  The violent racism we have all witnessed the past few days has been picked up because the people with the power to spread information (or misinformation if we’re being honest) decided to publish it on their platforms. They keep the spotlight on it. If they had done the same for Muhsin Ahmed, Mohammed Saleem, Nahid Almanea perhaps we wouldn’t be in this nightmare scenario today.

If Richard Dawkins et al hadn’t been so focused on bashing Muslims at every opportunity, maybe we wouldn’t have been quick to ‘other’ European migrants. If Helen Lewis and her ilk had listened instead of ‘literally not giving a shit’ and monstering, othering and silencing marginalised groups they might have heard how we were suffering for many years before the rise of fascism went mainstream. Heck they might even have tried including us in their ‘debates’ so we could provide a suitable counter argument instead of the circle jerk that is the neoliberal mainstream media. Had David Cameron refrained from making Muslim mums the target for his racist crusades, others may not have seen fit to abuse them too. If Katie Hopkins never existed in the first place brown people wouldn’t have been dehumanised and reduced to vermin in a national newspaper.

Despite the many comparisons on the internet between the ‘journalism’ we are subjected to today and the hate speech which was the norm prior to the Holocaust there were still liberals and lefties calling Godwin and accusing us of attention seeking cos we’re all after a book deal (says a lot about the accusers in my opinion). Various national treasures feigned ignorance, going as far as to defend their use of racial slurs with the argument it is not in fact racist to say the p and n words (John Terry, Prince Harry, Anton du Beke, Jeremy Clarkson, India Knight etc made it commonplace where once it was censored). Theresa May justified her creepy racist van asking foreigners how we could make it easy for them to go home, because the British people insisted it wasn’t racist to talk about immigration controls. She can make even a British person stateless, if they are suspected of ‘terrorism’. Britain First, even after their proven links with Jo Cox’s killer, is not yet referred to as the terrorist militia it clearly is so I can only imagine it will be non whites who live with the threat of statelessness. When you make a person stateless it becomes easier to dehumanise them.

These aren’t projected fears, these behaviours have been identified as dangerous because human behaviour is formulaic. If x happens then y is sure to follow. Human beings have proved again and again, through various historical genocides that ‘othering’, that is to say polarisation of groups, ‘us’ and ‘them’ inevitably leads to dehumanisation then mass killings. On the flipside this means we can prevent atrocities if we are honest about the horrors around us. Try and get an honest answer out of a journalist or politican though and you’ll see why we are condemned to this Tory enabled Brexit wasteland. They’re all in it together, to the detriment of us plebs.

At every twist and turn we have raised flags and pleaded with powerful people to recognise “we have far more in common with each other than that which divides us” (as the late Jo Cox once said) and they responded with control; denying our experiences, denying our very existence and charging on without us, full steam ahead. We’ve been discarded and abandoned for demanding equality. The same people carry on today as though they are innocent of any wrongdoing and as shocked as the rest of us at all the worrying reports.

It is never too late to admit you have white privilege and make amends with those you have wronged. If you cannot humble yourself and put others first, you carry us further down this beaten path of iniquity, still against our will. There are those who’d rather we all perished than relinquish even a little of their power and control, and this thought should frighten us all.

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You are exactly like all the others, whatever they say

If you were one of those people who insisted it is not Islamophobic to scrutinise Islam and Muslim people when you are neither of those things yourself then you personally contributed to the actions which led to a Sikh man being identified as a Muslim terrorist (by Gamergate trolls who exist only to torment vulnerable people cos ethics) and reported to the rest of the world before the information was even verified. This happened beacause the western world is largely ignorant of the rest of us and experiences it as a sort of quaint skewed little fairy tale which best fits their centuries old prejudices. The media were fooled because they are perhaps the most ignorant of the bunch and a brown face to them is always a terrorist. When a poc is probably responsible, as it is whenever there’s a disaster then due process becomes a privilege only afforded to white people. It’s consistent with the experience I have of the western world, where it doesn’t matter what you do to distinguish yourself from all the others, you’ll always be a paki, regardless of whether or not you are actually from Pakistan.

I’ve been asked where I’m from more times than whether I’ve had a good day, I know this much without doing the maths. Once upon a time I humoured it and asked people to guess and they did; Maltese, Greek, Arab, Iranian, Afghani, Latina, the list goes on and on. White people literally see colour before they see anything else and depending on your answer to this question draw conclusions before you need say anything further. I was always wary of saying Pakistani because I’d grown up feeling like the proverbial shit on one’s shoe for no apparent reason, it was just a feeling that was ever present. I used to say I was Kashmiri and this was partly true, my mum hails from there but I always had a sense it was preferable to identify as Indian, as all the Muslim Indians I knew liked to rub it in, for why, I had no idea, but it was there, this unspoken rule. I imagine now it was the residual tenets of divide rule and conquer which had passed down the generations, infecting us before we were even born. It’s apparent in the token few who deny our existence and experiences of the world so that white people can write us off as bullies and attention seekers, this idea that we must only object because we are jealous and not genuinely critical for the greater good. They will attach themselves to each other as allies and ambassadors for one another just to keep you out and struggling.

The ignorant world we find ourselves in is a direct consequence of white supremacists and their token allies. Every time a white person says to you you are not like all the others and you’re actually some kind of special snowflake, it is a lie. You are maybe a toy to the person who says that to you, someone they can wind up and watch make a fool of themselves but you are most definitely just like the others to all the white people you haven’t yet met, and probably most definitely the person who would say such a racist thing in the first place. If you’re a poc and you’re still struggling with observing and identifying divide rule and conquer, if Veerender Jubbal’s case has not made your blood run cold in horror, that the people in control of narratives can get it so very wrong, then you alone will be responsible for the ways in which you are abused.

A Sikh man (wearing a Sikh turban which is completely different to other brown people’s head coverings) can be thrust onto the world stage without his consent, without any viable reason for this attack on his identity (not that racist targeting is a viable reason even when the subject is Muslim), have a Quran photoshopped into his hands (replacing the ipad) and the media will probably get away with it, but we mustn’t let them. Remember that time little old me made a mistake that barely a few thousand people will have seen (though they will have most definitely witnessed my unprompted apology) yet the media acted as though I had killed someone with my false allegation of racism, the way they used it to whip me with because it was just such a terrible thing to accuse someone of being a racist shitheel. Well it’s actually worse to be a victim of racism, even more than being falsely accused in a system where actually, racism is inherent, it being a proud nation built on the looting and erasure of other people and cultures, and unrepentant in its ways.

The media is massively racist, whatever they might say. They just proved it.

Disunited Against Fascism

Demoralising is the word I’d use to sum up yesterday’s events. Fascists converged on my hometown en masse. I wasn’t quite expecting so many; I had been hoping they’d broken a few noses with all the infighting but they were here. If I had not been with my small group of white people, I would have been terrified. I think all anti fascists figured out very quickly we were going to be outnumbered and our plans to prevent them from passing were looking like suicide.

Even if we had managed to stand our ground, the police weren’t having any of it. They followed us around, stopped and searched us, mocked us for being stopped and searched, refused to provide a receipt cos apparently they didn’t need to and when the fun stuff was over, they physically pushed us for not immediately responding to command. They didn’t want to talk about whether what they were doing was lawful or how many human rights they were breaching, at one point I felt almost lifted off my feet as they pushed us out of the way and into the UAF kettle. Or hell as I’ve come to term it.

I don’t know if you’ve ever visited Birmingham’s Chamberlain Square, it looks like an amphitheatre with a fountain in the middle. Sitting on the stairs you can see everyone in the square. As we begrudgingly joined UAF and the like at the designated point for protest, I recognised the various groups assembled. UAF had a megaphone, English Disco Lovers were DANCING and SWP were handing out placards to people who have no idea who they are.  Among the sea of white faces were local Asian lads, older black men and the odd member of an anti-fascist network. It was these people that helped keep us safe. Or at least made us feel safe-ish. They were going to defend our town, they were ready. They had to be; EDL had broken through two police lines and were injuring police officers and even each other in an attempt to attack us. When I heard this news, I felt chilled to the core. There were so many more of them than us. I felt we could come to serious harm. I felt conflicted. I’m not a fan of a Muslim Defence League any more than I am the EDL but given the choice, in that situation, they were my comrades, we had a common enemy and an appreciation for the seriousness of the situation. Unlike the others.

English Disco Lovers made me want to rage in fury. Here we were, under imminent threat of attack and they were boogying? I was on the other side of the square and watching in disbelief as they pranced. Was this a spoof? Is my whole life a parody? Unfortunately not. The group of white people in their retro disco clothes, having fun whilst the rest of us struggled to suppress the 10th panic attack of the day were able to do so because racism, let’s face it, doesn’t really affect them or at least won’t ever in the same way. It’s ok to be so blasé when you’re not the one under threat of attack at any given time. UAF just did not BLOODY SHUT UP once as they reminded us of this racist threat we were under. No shit Sherlock, that’s why we’re at this demo. I was already seething from a comment I’d read on their page where they said they would be dealing with ‘racists, fascists and trolls’. I found it irksome because UAF are known for shopping Antifa comrades to the police. They stifle dissent by criminalising people. I was worried. Worried for the Asian lads and black men and my friends. To be quite honest there weren’t even many UAF there.

I searched the news today, again incredulous, at the media’s portrayal of events. Pictures of EDL interspersed with the counter demo, all white front pages as they say. There were some pictures of people of colour but all of those were masked and threatening. They referred to an ‘anarchist element’ and ‘troublemakers’. The EDL looked like they were at a festival in a country they run. Tell me, if I, as a person with a foot in both worlds, looked at those pictures and identified PoC as the antagonists then what is your average Daily Mail reader thinking? Considering the white mainstream news sources, it is clear to see where their prejudices lie. Everything you heard/saw on the news was untrue. I did however; find a link to content that looked like the demo I had attended. It was a YouTube clip filmed off a telly, a Bangladeshi channel and it spoke to actual people of colour. I wished I knew what he was saying but I didn’t need to, he’d seen what I’d seen and that was good enough for me.

See, that’s what the anti-racist movement needs more of; more people of colour speaking up and defending themselves, more white people shutting the fuck up and listening. But they don’t y’see; they know what’s best after all.

A friend of mine got into a discussion on a UAF page where she echoed many of the sentiments I have expressed above. UAF were praising Disco Leaguers for their impressive shapes. She was told that the term ‘person of colour’ is offensive and that she, as a white woman was being patronising. Well, I had to correct them and sent them this, “Hey, so I’m a person of colour and think it highly patronising when white people undermine threats to our lives with happy clapping and stupid dance moves. You are quick to dismiss dissent and you can manipulate it to look like some white people appropriate the struggle as though it’s all about them, but what exactly are you doing? Thoroughly disappointed with UAF, SWP, English disco league. You make a mockery of our pain” which was then promptly deleted by them. Unite against Fascism, the anti-racist organisation don’t care for my opinion. Is it because I am brown? Or is it because I am a woman? Is it because these people don’t actually have a clue what they’re doing and are seen to be doers with very little respect for people of colour’s lived experiences? I think all three. The Disco Leaguers didn’t even know what PoC means! They had to Google it.

The face of anti-racism, ladies, gents and non-binary peeps.

I’m absolutely brimming with confidence and hope.

fuck all racism no one is illegal

It’s not about me (TW)

It’s about the pregnant 21 year old Muslim woman who was beaten so savagely, her foetus was stillborn.

It’s about the 18 year old activist Clement Meric, beaten so badly he was left brain dead.

It’s about the young woman from the North of England knocked unconscious when she was attacked from behind.

It’s about the Muslim boarding school that was burnt down whilst the boys lay sleeping. Two of them were treated for smoke inhalation.

It’s about the 78 year old grandmother beaten for being brown and defenceless.

It’s about my comrades; black, white, Asians, Jews, queer, trans* and everything in between.

It’s about protecting them from Nazi/police brutality.

It’s about the state questioning my motives for reporting malicious communication regarding Muslims and suggesting my offence was borne from my religion. I have repeatedly told them I am an atheist.

It’s because we are brown and not white British that we cannot respond to YouGov polls questioning the threat against the ‘indigenous’ population. Personally, my 31 years of citizenship mean nothing.

It’s when they ask how British Muslim communities can protect themselves, not how they will ban the fascists hurting them.

It’s about my little nieces and nephews and their futures. I wish them long lives.

It’s about the focus on braaaahn perpetrators and paedophiles whilst the white ones get away with 15 months in prison cos 13 victims aren’t as serious as Savile’s 1300.

It’s about the soldiers who sexually abused minors in Afghanistan but escaped punishment because of the effect on THEIR families. What about the minors and their families?

It’s about the solider who punched a woman in the face but escaped punishment just because he’s an outstanding soldier otherwise. That’d be murdering civilians I guess.

It’s about the systematic rape and abuse perpetrated by Western forces in countries around the world.

It is about the value of a white life compared to the valueless non-whites.

It’s about changing our names, wearing their clothes, eating their food and still being rejected for not being white enough.

It’s about the fascists’ right to protest. It’s about the police facilitating hate.

It’s about people of colour being openly racially abused on our transport system. No fear of reprisal from their attackers but a sense of entitlement.

It’s the fact that police are reporting 8 Islamophobic attacks a day where there was previously 1. Why didn’t we nip it in the bud?

It’s about reverse racism and the audacity of white people to suggest we control their lives in the same way they control ours. This denial of power and control dynamics is offensive.

It’s about the way whole communities of non-whites are treated as a hive whereas white people are individuals.

It’s about the systematic monstering of non-white men whilst white men are free to abuse women and children and retain their hordes of adoring fans.

It’s about the accusations those in power throw at us; that somehow we’re just doing it for the kudos, instead of defending the right for everyone to live a non-threatening life.

It’s about the ease with which WoC are erased from the narrative, by painting them as delusional, hateful and provocative. Cos of course, we don’t ever tell the truth.

It’s about the abuse women in hijabs suffer. Somehow they are more controlled and oppressed for covering their bodies. Uncover yours and see them blame you for your own rape.

It’s about the white men attacking women in hijabs. Clearly the men are too much of a challenge.

It’s about those non-whites so desperate for acceptance that they support the oppressor. Token non-whites need help.

It’s about the way the media do not report the impending threat to non-whites everywhere.

It’s about the way terrorism has been defined as an act of defiance against the white majority. When non-whites are terrorised, they are simply being hated for who they are.

It’s about the way they sneer at you for ‘attention seeking’. Damn right I am seeking to draw attention to the unacceptable systems of control we are under in this godforsaken world. Solidarity with all likeminded activists.

It’s about the parallels modern day Britain draws with genocides of yesteryear. The dehumanisation of groups of peoples.

It’s about our ‘comrades’ allying themselves with people who wish us dead. No platform for bigots, ever.

It’s about the way victims are required to be humble and vulnerable to establish their victimhood. Defending oneself makes you just as bad as the other. Erm no, doesn’t work like that.

It’s about the accountability all Muslims face for uttering the words “Allahu Akbar”. Can’t see us asking the same of the queen when the fascists sing her anthem.

It’s about the way we are dismissed for being educated middle class academics on the fringes of actual people of colour’s lived experiences. Couldn’t be more wrong could they?

It’s about the everyday murder, rape, brutality faced by those considered subhuman by the white people in power.

It’s about feeling the pain of others who share the colour of your skin, your sex, your environment.

If you don’t understand that, then you are part of the problem.

The patriarchal media and its victims

It’s hard being a victim. The very word implies submission to a violent or aggressive act, one in which we were overpowered and controlled. It makes us feel helpless and vulnerable. Being a victim or coming across as one leaves us open to further victimisation. And so we prefer to say we are survivors. We were able to overcome the horrific circumstances that threatened to shut us down and because we have survived we deserve praise for our resilience and ability to rise up. To do this, we need recognition. Firstly to recognise for ourselves that we fought hard and that it wasn’t our fault. Our clothing is not to blame, nor our looks or the time of day. Secondly, that our supporters believe us and in doing so protect us from further harm, defining the line for what is acceptable, ensuring that we do not begin to believe the lies our media and politicians spin in order to control our movements and associations.

A sex scandal is what happens when a supposedly happily married media ‘personality’ cheats on their long suffering, eternally loyal partner. Why it is any of our business, I won’t pretend to understand but for the sake of a comparison, that is how it reads to me (and I hope for most people). My aversion to the phrase aside, I strongly object to those words being used to describe CHILD ABUSE/STATUTORY RAPE (where patriarchy calls the underage victim willing and ‘older than their years’). In one article exposing the child abuse/sexual violence perpetrated by the voice of Elmo (yes, really), he is described as having ‘sexual relationships’ with underage ‘accusers’. Minors cannot consent to ‘sexual relationships’.

NON CONSENSUAL SEX IS RAPE.

(You can read the article here http://huff.to/WMoubA)

The writer of this article calls it underage sex and suggests the voice of Elmo continues to experience ‘misfortune’ as a result of the allegations. Hey Elmo, it really is bad luck that you’ve been caught abusing children. Maybe if we tarnish your young victims with the sort of language that implies something sexual happened but they’re only making it known now cos they want to see you go down, you’ll be spared a proper punishment and the victims will be ridiculed instead.

What do Berlusconi, Dominique Strauss Kahn, Jimmy Savile and Elmo have in common? They have raped and abused and violated women and children without their consent. In the British press, they are all allegedly involved in ‘sex scandals’. There are numerous attempts on behalf of the patriarchal press and media to silence the victims by giving a platform to the perpetrators (‘I’m not an abuser and that’s the end of that. Now give me money’) and using language to convince you of their innocence. Victims do not want to be associated with a sex scandal. It is sordid and implies they were actively involved in some way. By implicating the victims and suggesting that they are in some way to blame, patriarchy ensures that survivors remain victimised. It creates a barrier for other victims to speak out too. It normalises abuse by rebranding it as just sex and the ‘accusers’ as jilted lovers or scroungers after their 15 minutes. Just like the many women who believe partners have more rights to their bodies than they themselves do (wish I’d been there when patriarchy invented this one) even when she doesn’t feel like it, the message we are consistently given is that there are levels of rape and your rape isn’t even rape rape. In fact rape rape is extremely rare so in this way patriarchy has convinced you that sexual violence against women just isn’t even a thing (what rape culture?).

This is one of many examples I could give regarding the way news is reported in a patriarchal system and how it influences society’s attitudes to victims of gender related crime. In as many weeks, 2 perpetrators of domestic homicide murdered their wives before committing suicide. Neither case was reported to involve domestic abuse. There was an emphasis on the behaviour of the murdered woman in the run up to the incident, perhaps she liked a drink and was ‘bubbly’ (read overly friendly/in your face). There were no indications as to the behaviour of the perpetrator except maybe he’d had a spell of depression (sympathy please) and don’t forget what an amazing personality/leader/sportsman he was and what a loss this will be to the world. The language used attempts to invoke sympathy for the abuser; it paints a tragedy not a brutal murder.

It is powerful and influential and they know this.

..Don’t even get me started on child ‘porn’.