(Warning: This post may contain opinions some people may find offensive. I suggest that, if you do, you leave this page immediately!)
I knew at some point I would use this blog to have a rant; I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon, however, I feel I can not contain this any longer.
I am totally fed up with seeing racist, right-winged, fascist posts on my Facebook, and I am totally ashamed that I know people narrow-minded enough to share or re-post them. In particular the people who mindlessly click the share button without knowing the facts and automatically believing the lies spewed out by groups such as ‘Britain First’. Rather than looking at the situation people are seemingly jumping on the hate-monger’s bandwagon.
Let me give you some background information as to why I find this a dangerous topic.
I am part of a generation that holds no recollection of peace- all I remember is our nation in conflict or war with another, or internally, whether it be with Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently Syria and ISIS, or even internally (within the British Isles) and Ireland. I have never seen peace- but I know hate is not the answer.
Hate breeds more hate. And there seems to be a simple answer: just stop killing people, stop hating people, and put aside your prejudices. Sadly, this is easier said than done.
I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to love and not hate. I was brought up knowing the differences between right and wrong. And I was brought up to stand up for people incapable of standing up for themselves.
This is why I am posting this.
I am not a racist, I am not an Islamaphobe, nor am I religious.
If anything I am an agnostic. I pick and choose aspects of different religions that I believe are worth living by. Obviously, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is high on the list. I think that maybe, this is more to do with my upbringing rather than having any religious fate, however, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a steady hand raising them- and this, this is where I believe religion can play a vital part in someone’s life. Within our society is important to play by the rules, religion is often the cornerstone of these teachings, helping people who may struggle, decipher the differences between right and wrong. However, and in more recent headlines and news, religion can sometimes be harnessed as a weapon.
I have never read The Bible, or The Qua’ran, but I have read extracts (English editions, obviously. I am not a fluent Latin or Arabic speaker, unfortunately.) And the messages are peaceful.
As a literature student I fundamentally believe you can interpret pretty much anything from a text, as long as you can back it up by carefully selecting your evidence. I once argued some rather bizarre points in college relating to Nazism in Wuthering Heights but that’s a totally different story. Anyways, this is how we get extremists, reading into texts and interpreting these peaceful messages as acts of war, and as the saying goes, “One bad apple” and all that.
I do not agree with terrorism, let me set that straight! But this post is about the other side of the coin. Extremism is within our community however it’ not coming from the Muslims or the blacks that people expect, extremism is within our government (UKIP/BNP), within those Facebook Groups. Hatred and lies made by white, Christian, or Atheist British people.
It’s when people condemn an entire community on the actions of a minority that really aggravates me. It’s when people can not see that history is repeating itself, and it is when people are so blindsided by their hatred for immigration that they refuse to see that facts.
Let me take you back in time.
This has happened numerous times before. Hatred between religion is not uncommon. The Crusades in the Late Middle Ages, Christians killing Muslims, The Holocaust in Europe, Christians killing Jews, The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Christians killing Christians. For centuries religion has murdered its way across the globe. This isn’t the first time. But like I’ve already said, the solution is simple. Stop killing. Stop hating. And stop obsessing over the beliefs of others. Now I’m not saying Christianity is a bad thing, but have you seen the common denominator?
As for immigration let me just say this. People lie. The figures are not actually as high as some of these Facebook Groups make out. Immigration, our country actually needs it. I’m sorry for saying this but our country is lazy. The Polish and other Eastern European immigrants have a much higher work ethic. I work in a hotel, the majority of our employees are Latvian or Lithuanian, and these are the employees that work double shifts, work from 5 a.m until noon then return from lunch to work until dusk. Daily! These are shifts that a lot of the English people, I personally, refuse to do, however, the Eastern Europeans are happy to go without sleep, without food, and without seeing their family in order to ‘pave their way’. But it sounds more like slavery to me.
Oh and speaking of slavery, who were major perpetrators in the slave trade? That’s right the British. This is forcing immigration on people. Our nation took thousands of people from Africa to work, laboriously, in the West Indies and America. Whereas today, we have people willing to relocate from their home countries, to work for us in our country because the us British are either ‘too proud’, ‘too lazy’, or ‘too tired’ and they do it for minimum wage!
By all means I am not having a dig at Britain or British people. I merely aim to highlight that we cannot take the so-called ‘moral high-ground’. I am actually proud to be British, more so proud of my hometown and city. I don’t believe there’s any other place quite like Newcastle (but that’s another post!).
We have had a history of violence, there’s no denying that, we’ve killed people because they’re different, they believe different things, and we cannot change that overnight but we can atone for that. However, a lot has changed since we took what we wanted from different countries. Today, we have the capability to offer something to the people who’s ancestors we killed, or stole from, or raped and pillaged. We can offer a safe haven, if their government is more screwed up than our own, we can give them a place to live, we can provide an education for their offspring, health care for their elderly. And while our country may not be perfect, it can offer a lot more than their’s can. I don’t blame people for wanting to live here. I don’t blame people for wanting to better themselves and their families, after all this is the exact same reason why I go to university. However, the difference is, I have the opportunity to do so, they do not and if the shoe were on the other foot it would be a totally different story. Just look at how many Britons have emigrated, I personally have family in Australia, USA, and across Europe, they move to better themselves, to forge a new life, so why can’t people from Poland, Pakistan, or the Philippines do the same?
So, if you could improve someone’s life would you? Or would you leave them begging in the gutter?
If you answered to the latter, you need to reassess your priorities. If we can help, we should help.
Like I have already said, I do not believe violence is the answer. Communities, societies, and religions react and reform. It is the reforming that is needed. Two wrongs do not make a right, and neither does labeling a whole community on the actions of a few constitute as right. Did they judge the Christians for the actions of the Nazis?
To elaborate, we are heading down a treacherous path. If we do not stop the hatred, stop the blame, and stop the violence, we are heading towards a second Holocaust. We can not allow history to repeat itself. Learn from out mistakes, accommodate those different to us, and then, and only then, may we find peace.
For those of you who know me personally, you may be wondering where this outburst has came from, let me show you the answer. This post, these comments, and this person- whom I do not know- particularly boiled my blood.
That’s an actual argument I had with a ‘friend of a friend’ over similar matters and the ignorance and arrogance of this woman really shocked me. Especially the comment about seeing how they would treat me if I wear in their country. This raised several thoughts in my mind:
- Turkey. Turkey is an Islamic country and a very popular tourist destination for many Britons, every year and everyone I know who has been on holiday there has been treat wonderfully by the natives.
- Recently, and dreadfully, there have been several murders and beheadings from the extremist group ISIS. While this is a tragedy and my sympathies go out to their families, I can not help but wonder what this women is insinuating. Firstly, and most shockingly, the Britons that were kidnapped and murdered were there as relief workers. They saw the devastation within that country and wanted to help. They didn’t hold any prejudices towards their religion or skin colour, they saw people in need and went to help. So is this woman from the post insinuating that they shouldn’t be helping? Bearing in mind these people paid the ultimate price for their generosity and empathy. Secondly, is she insinuating that because I hold similar sympathies, that I should be murdered too?
Hopefully this woman will see the error of her ways before she does something drastic. I live in hope that one day, within my lifetime, that people will no longer hold these irrational prejudices, that race, religion, gender, social class, and sexual orientation will no longer be an issue and everyone can live freely and equally. However, until then, I will continue to stand up for equality.
And I hope you will join me.