tag : bright yellow-green apples: testing the waters

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

testing the waters

figure 34.8. are you drinking what we're drinking?

I'm going to make this quick and to the point.

Michael Howard; There's no good dressing it up any more, drop the game. Yes your rhetoric is becoming racist. When you and your national party figures talk about the case of Kamel Bourgass, you imply that being an illegal asylum seeker is linked to his terrorist intentions. You say that 'asylum chaos' has a bearing on how vulnerable we are to terrorism, yet most acts have been from within our own islands. How could you so conviently forget our history of, for example, Northern-Ireland related terrorism and violence? My origin as a Derbyshire lad doesn't make me any less of a potentially violent person. But I'm not dark skinned, or a traveller, so would not be flagged up as a threat. And while we're at it, let's just look at this quota business. As soon as an arbitrary limit is set up, any sense of the situation of a case is lost - it's simply numbers rather than how needy someone is. The very cause of asylum for the needy is destroyed, and lost to political expediency. Stop talking xenophobic tripe, and get onto caring for our society with a little generosity.

George Galloway; you're in danger of splitting the community you so claim to care for. Is it because you're shallow enough to run a single issue campaign, or because you don't have the imagination to shift beyond opportunist rants about the Iraq war every minute? Either way, it seems clear that you're pandering to a desire for a simplistic perception of what happened, with the intention of getting in on 'the Muslim vote', whatever that is. Because Islam is so important to the constituency, you're simply going to create fractures along narrowly defined lines, the longer you persist in making a fragment of foreign policy a defining issue to a local community that has more prescient social needs. Stop talking about Fallujah, and get talking about the GP surgeries.

Here endeth the lesson for today.

Actually no, I want to end on a more positive note. So I can declare I've made good on my threat to begin concocting postcards - producing the first run tonight. They're actually very satisfying, as they're by nature small, graphic, and simple. You can't have too many pretensions or noodlings - just whack down a few colours and shapes. As an easily mobile convenient art, I can think of no better.


Blogger Martin said...

Yes, that sounds fair enough. Although I note in my last post in the subject that Labour too - if more subtly - link immigration to asylum.

I find it interesting that you should move from a 'landscape and environment influence psychology' viewpoint in berating me and then morph seamlessly into this, some bizarre claim that you are equally likely to be what is inaccurately referred to by politicians as a 'terrorist' if you're from Matlock or Gaza.

If, as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said, "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims", I think there's considerable space for a sociological understanding of why this is, and I'd have thought you'd be one of the first to flag up the circumstances of growing up in warzones rather than the tranquil setting of north Derbyshire. To recognise that the majority of the 'terrorists' ARE Muslim is not, in and of itself, racist, as you appear to be implying. I too find Mr Howard's rhetoric pretty appalling though, because it implicates migrant workers, who help prop up our economy. I just don't think that a 'we're all just as likely to be violent and anyone who thinks otherwise must be racist' line is very helpful.

Also, there's no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker.

Quite why Galloway has chosen to stand against one of the more liberal Labour MPs is a bit beyond me.

Well done with the postcards, I look forward to seeing them (on stands in Matlock Bath).

10:35 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

That first paragraph was a typo. I meant immigration to asylum to terrorism.


10:36 AM  
Blogger ash said...

Martin: saying that nearly all terrorists are muslims is like saying all people who burn crosses and murder black people are Christians. It is simply inaccurate: They may call themselves Muslims, but I doubt whether any serious Muslims would call them that. Just as I would say that Bush is not a Christian. They have a warped sense of the religion, and either exploit it deliberately or through the miscommunication of others. It is very sad.

Laurence: I'm not sure I've ever seen you thins close to (righteous *wink*) anger... he he. Good for you.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Ash: That's quite a strange reading of what I said. I don't mean Muslims necessarily by the views of other Muslims. The link that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was drawing was that the Muslim community needs to acknowledge that the majority of the people making up these 'terrorist' groups are originating from Muslim countries and Muslim communities (I am by NO means saying that the reverse is true). And I believe she is probably rather more informed to judge the accuracy of that statement than you or I are.

I am hardly some kind of shouty conservative on this issue - I hope you would note this from my refusal to use the blatantly politicised term 'terrorist' outside of inverted commas. But at the same time our understanding of the issue here - that there are groups of people plotting to carry out mass murder for their cause, whatever that may be - must get past the suggestion that ANY link between terrorism and Muslim communities is made based on pure irrational dislike of skin colour, or that we are all equally likely to become involved in it. Biologically, I accept we are, but sociologically? I'll leave that up to you.

11:08 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

I'm glad you picked some of that up - as my attempts to make a point have left certain aspects treated poorly. Yes, a background does have an impact - potentially very potent in some cases. What I was attempting to show was that the language and terms of reference used doesn't actually take account of that, but whatever the intention simply serves to couple a demographic (in this case, by implication, all 'forighners') with an issue (in this case, a general percieved threat that might be ecnomic loss or terrorism or whatever else can be dragged together). Someone is essentially still able to stab a policeman if they were born in this country. And it has happened, as have bombings by people with white skin. Yet the discussions and statements are avoiding that reality for to be able to hitch thier bandwaggon to a potent case.

Galloway was a bit of an amusing figure, but now he's just annoying me. He hasn't chosen the constituency by reference to his soapbox (the Iraq war), but simply on his best chance of getting into parliment. And that means one where he has the best chance of whipping up a 'muslim vote' as his own by means of very simlplistic slogans.

My postcards might not go down well with the tourists - who probably have an idealised image of us anyway, as twee little people who reside by tuffa grottos and old spa houses. Who wants a picture composed using sellotape and post-it notes? ;)

12:17 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Oh Ash, you know even I can sometimes manage it at a push! It just takes the odd moment for my defenses to let slip...

12:19 AM  
Anonymous RobertB said...

I'm probably straying from the point (or wilfully ignoring context), but I think it is a massive stretch for Ms Alibhai-Brown to claim "almost all terrorists are Muslims".

I think I can confidently claim that almost all recognised acts of `terrorism' committed on British soil were not perpetrated by Muslims.

It wasn't Muslims who blew up the Conservative Party Conference, or Canary Warf, or Warrington, or Manchester, etc, etc! (I guess muslims might be able to take the credit for Locherbie. I'm struggling to think of another major incident in the UK.)

Of course that might not reflect current threats. But that remains to be proven.

Ash - I don't think we can extricate ourselves from association with people quite that easily.

Bush might not be my kind of christian (Blair unfortunately is); we might not think specific actions of his (or of a klansman) are christian actions; we might not consider him a particularly `good' christian by our standards; but I think we'd need to be pretty sectarian to deny him the the name christian.

I'd think the same surely applies mutatis mutandis in the islamic case.

3:23 AM  

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