Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bleeding heart, lefty apologist

The people of Britain, and indeed Australia, are having great difficulty coming to terms with the reality that the London bombers were not some evil villains from a foreign country but their own sons. Their sweet faces beam out from the front pages of today’s newspapers, along with stories of normalcy. One played soccer, another cricket, a uni student, a community member. None of them had the hallmarks of mass murderers in the making and most people find that very confronting. You see it is important for us to think that these guys are branded in some ways. They certainly should have been religious fanatics, separatists and very, very evil looking. We preferred them to be shady figures shipped in from an Islamic nation which could explain their hatred against ordinary Britons. The fact that all 4 suspects grew up in the country they turned against has shocked a nation, more than that, it seems to have appalled their own families.

In Australia this latest revelation has given the shock jocks a field day, stirring up deep fear with the repeated phrase “its could happen here”. The underlying message is that we should be afraid, very afraid. We should be even more afraid because our potential bombers may live a normal life next door. Fear is a useful form of manipulating a group. It is a long used ally of politicians around the world. This fear of attack has allowed the public to meekly accept, perhaps even embrace with relief, the increased powers given to our intelligence organizations. Powers that in the past we may have spoken loudly against as contravening what we would consider basic rights, such as being held without charge for a week and interrogated without a lawyer. Frightened into numbness and overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness we are now ripe for a whole new round of repressive legislation. Anything to appear someone is in control of the situation.

The more we allow ourselves to be manipulated by this anticipatory doom, the less likely we are to get to the bottom of why we are a target in the first place. There is a great opinion piece by Seumas Milne in today’s Guardian exploring some of these taboos.

"A week on from the London outrage, this official otherworldliness is once again in full flood, as ministers and commentators express astonishment that cricket-playing British-born Muslims from suburbia could have become suicide bombers, while Blair blames an "evil ideology". The truth is that no amount of condemnation of evil and self-righteous resoluteness will stop terror attacks in the future. Respect for the victims of such atrocities is supposed to preclude open discussion of their causes in the aftermath - but that is precisely when honest debate is most needed."

This last paragraph I write apprehensively because it is inevitable someone will take it the wrong way. I wish to send my condolences to the families of the bombers, the Tanweer’s, Khan’s and Hussain’s, along with those of their sons’ victims. These were not disaffected youths, each had friends and relatives who loved them, miss them and are suffering their own unique grief and guilt. Oh and these families have death threats to deal with as well, some have been moved to safe houses. You can bet the average citizen has little sympathy for their loss. That’s it I am now forever branded as a bleeding heart, lefty, terrorist apologist. However I am not apologising for terrorism, I am just trying to understand it. More compassion, less anger, more wisdom, less fear...

(promise i will start blogging on a subject other than London very soon :)


Blogger Rich said...

You shouldn't judge the reaction of the 'people of Britain' by what you read in our press. I am a 40 year old Brit, who for as long as I can remember have had images of bombs going off in London, I even heard one once. The IRA sleepers were normal, everyday people as well, indeed my brother in law was at college with one such normal guy, who happened to get caught with a car full of semtex before he could blow it up. He was a 'lovely' according to my sister. Of course he was, terrorists that keep getting nicked are no use to their cause or masters.
I feel for the bombers families, they will always have to live with this. As for the bombers, good riddance.

7:52 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I was living in London in the 80's and found the blase attitude of my friends there amusing. I would get told "don't go shopping in Oxford St at the moment' and bingo there would be a bomb/threat there. Local knowledge seemed to sniff out the seasons that us blow ins had no idea of. That said, I dodged bombs all over europe - a post box in Paris, a railway station in Northern Ireland...Very different from a little kiwi girl for whom 'bomb threat' meant a senior girl at highschool had got her boyfriend to phone in to get the school evacuated so she would miss a test she hadn't studied for! ( a regular occurance for a couple of years).

1:13 pm  

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