Tyranny of the minorities


by Kismet hardy
25th October, 2005 at 2:15 am    

RiotsWe take it for granted because it seems so glaringly obvious: majority rules. I may belong to a minority (Bangladeshi man, Jewish girlfriend, friends from all races and sexual orientations – no black friend at the moment, there has been and probably will be in the future, but then I don’t collect friends to complete a cultural pack).

But I believe my beliefs put me in the majority bracket: that there are good people and bad people in Great Britain.

Now if you think like me, at this point, you’ll be muttering: “Well, obviously…”. But I think you’ll find our popular thinking, peppered as it is with liberalism, is no longer as powerful as the ones voiced by the minority: the angry, the ignorant, the downright evil.

This seemed depressingly apparent to me last night when I scanned through the (now thankfully deleted) previous post where terms like Nigger, Paki and Yid flew around with gay abandon, as if these terms are still in widespread use.

Now you and I both know that insults such as these are seldom used in day-to-day life by the normal majority. Bbut I wondered what a casual, liberal minded black-skinned observer may have thought when they read the post by an Asian claiming black people were most likely to be muggers, dealers and rapists.

For that one second, he would be put in a position where he had to take sides.

Yet this is a tiny minority who feel this way, but their impact affects all of us. Think that an exaggerated comment?

Consider this. After the 7/7 atrocity, if you sat on a train and saw a bearded Muslim man with a bag and thought, even for a split second, “people like you”, then the minority that caused the tragedy achieved in making you the very thing you hoped never to be: judgemental of people you do not know.

If anyone still believes the actions of minority aren’t the main focus of the populous, pick up the two best selling newspapers The Sun and The Daily Mail.

They’d have you believe there are countless terrorists living next door, asylum seekers are coming in their droves to take your jobs and rape your women, black and Asians are fighting in the streets between selling your children heroin as they walk home from school.

And the government, instead of pointing out it’s a tiny minority who are responsible for the above, are allaying their fears by introducing new terror laws, restrictions on freedom of speech and ID cards, thus fuelling the notion that: yes, it’s not just a sick parrot, soon it’ll be a pandemic. This minor problem is indeed a major issue.

The more I think about it, the more it seems obvious. It’s the minority that always rule, because they can inspire fear. Look at dictator states. Do you think the majority of people under Saddam, Hitler, Kim Il Sung or Mugabe wanted to be under him?

But it happened, because the people like you and I, who believe in equality for all, simply aren’t selfish enough to want everyone to see things our way, or contentious enough to have our obvious, free thinking values make it to the outraged letter pages of The Sun and The Daily Mail.

Our voice, thus, is lost. The one that is heard instead is that of intolerance, prejudice and a call for values to return to the dark ages. And in case you still think the idea that minority rules is a tad farfetched, don’t forget… the majority of people in Britain were opposed to the invasion of Iraq.


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Filed in: Current affairs,Race politics,Religion






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  1. Foureyes — on 25th October, 2005 at 7:46 am  

    Gratuitous mention of Iraq in the same breath as the actions of 7/7 bombers and dictators (including, ironically, Saddam) spoils an otherwise thought-provoking and well-written piece.

    What a shame.

  2. Fe'reeha — on 25th October, 2005 at 8:18 am  

    CONFUSED IDENTITY

    I think your article is very interesting. However, I am surprised that you had to mention having a Jewish friend and a collage of friends from different cultures to prove you were not part of a “minority”.

    I think you are wrong here and are confusing the issue of cultural integration to that of living breeding terrorism. The two phenomenon should not be confused. This is what the Home Office seems to be doing and it would be dangerous if we embarked on the same road.

    A large number of Muslims in Britain do not have Jewish girl friends or boy friends. They would have married in their own community, have been to mosques regularly all their lives and had stuck to their heritage and tradition like an injunction ordained. At their dinner parties, they would hardly have a person outside their religion or creed.

    How far they are correct in their approach is a debate for another day, yet, the above does not make them “terrorists” or “potential threats”.

    The way a large number of English people in this country do not integrate with people of other cultures, go to Church and send their children to faith schools without being questioned(your average reader of Sun and Daily Mail), Muslims and other communities should have this right too!

    But probably, this is from an ideal world. Sadly, the acts of media do play upon our minds. How can we blame other communities, when I, myself, felt the utter fear in my back bone, one week after 7/7, when a teenager with beard, a rucksack and a copy of the book “Life hereafter” entered the train I was on.
    How guilty I felt afterwards at this thought is yet again another matter. But how can we get out of the frenzy that has been created by the times we live in?

  3. peter — on 25th October, 2005 at 8:23 am  

    All a bit ‘blame the messenger’, isn’t it? Sure, everything would be great if the Sun and Mail didn’t exist…. Meanwhile, out there in reality-land, the BBC opts not to mention the race dimension in Birmingham and Adam Curtis thinks that fear of terrorism is merely about exploiting the ‘power of nightmares’. Perhaps sheer liberal denial and tabloid overstatement are two sides of the same coin.

  4. Fe'reeha — on 25th October, 2005 at 8:59 am  

    Ref: Peter’s comment

    No one has denied that terrorism does indeed exist in our community. At the same time, you cannot trivialise the damage done by Sun and Daily Mail by merely calling them “messengers”.
    When Hutton’s inquiry report came out, Sun was the “only” newspaper reporting it as a genuine report while the whole world labelled it as a “whitewash”.
    Tabloids have a policy to sensationalise things, but losing track of facts while reporting is just disgusting.
    It is only newspapers like these who never mentioned the word “Pakistani” nor “Muslim” while raving about Amir Khan’s success in Olympics, but remember to bring both the words in their intros if it’s a report about a terrorist or a mugger.

    Only two weeks ago, they reported on Ian Blair’s and Jean Charles de Menezes family tussle and never in the whole report mentioned that the poor man short by the police was innocent.
    In fact it would be interesting to do a survey on how many times the word “asylum seeker” and “immigrant” has been used by Sun and Daily Mail and in which context.

  5. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 10:41 am  

    Fe’reeha,

    I did say I’m in a minority by being a Bangladeshi man dating a Jewish girl (for what it’s worth, I only found out a year into our relationship when our mothers met – stereotypes do exist on both fronts!) but my point is, my THINKING puts me in the majority.

    I’m not talking about the insular Asian community who demand their children marry their own kind, or racists who would disown theirs if they brought a black person home… but most of the people of Great Britain do not choose partners based on which temple their parents pray in.

    The majority of people in Britain are not racists. When a guy with a Headhunter tattoo strikes up a conversation in a pub, chances are he wants to talk football. When I get approached by a black guy after coming out of a club in brixton at 3am, the likelihood is he wants a light. When I go to an Asian gig and a group of drunken Sikhs accost me, the probability is they want to know what the score is with my disastrous haircut…

    And for anyone who thinks the working class english person, long noted as the most likely racists, are not tolerant of other races, walk into any council flat and see the number of mixed race kids there are.

    As for mentioning the Iraq war in the same breath as 7/7, I went on the anti-war march outside the houses of parliament not because it seemed like a fun day out, but because I wanted to send tony blair the warning: invade Iraq and something like 7/7 is inevitable. Now that it has happenned, why shouldn’t I point it out?

    The actions of terrorists cannot be justified, but they can be understood. Otherwise you’re surrendering yourself to the notion: Evil people do evil things. Panic. Much better to understand why – whether it be mental illness, childhood trauma or a misguided belief that they are soldiers at war – to be able to treat it. If you concentrate on the effect and ignore the cause, it WILL happen again.

  6. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 10:46 am  

    Oh and Peter,

    No. Daily Mail and The Sun aren’t mere messengers. They’re dictators because they dictate news. All through the war, when news of the thousands of innocents killed in ‘friendly fire’ and the atrocities in American camps were coming to light, The Sun dedicated front page after front page to Abu Hamza, a nut only a handful of people knew spouting shit no different from the mad bloke in oxford circus who walks around with a ‘the world is nigh’ placard. And the week the abu gharaib scandal broke and reports came in about the scale of AIDS in africa, what did they do on their front page?

    How to build your own Abu Hamza hook with some tin foil. Ronnie Barker (PBUH) was right when he branded it a comic.

    And will someone please tell The Daily Mail the term Moslem became obsolete around the same time as the fall of the Ottoman…

  7. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 10:47 am  

    The actions of terrorists cannot be justified, but they can be understood.

    Nonsense.

    I will stop holding negative views about iIlam when Muslims stop coming out with this kind of twaddle.

    Yeah, yeah, it’s the media, it’s racism. Nothing to do with the fact that 4 Muslims murdered 50 innocent people, while others, equally opposed to Iraq managed to stay in one piece.

  8. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 10:49 am  

    Abu Hamza, a nut only a handful of people knew spouting shit no different from the mad bloke in oxford circus who walks around with a ‘the world is nigh’ placard

    Nonsense. These people are not attacking their own society or inciting murder.

  9. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 10:54 am  

    4 Muslims murdered 52 innocent people, off that there is no doubt. But these 4, by all intent and purposes, were evil lunatics. I wonder how many British and American soldiers feel comfortable with the idea that they may also be evil lunatics knowing they have caused the death of 22.000 innocent people

  10. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:03 am  

    There are arguments for and against the war in Iraq. Casualties were accidental. However, the London bombers were not ‘lunatics’. They were evil certainly, but they knew exactly what they were doing.

    When Hindus, Sikhs and Quakers start blowing up their fellow countrymen because they are opposed to foreign policy, I will question their religion too.

  11. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:05 am  

    Bush and Blair aren’t blowing up their own countrymen?! Or don’t soldiers count as our own anymore?

  12. Siddharth — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:15 am  

    When Hindus, Sikhs and Quakers start blowing up their fellow countrymen because they are opposed to foreign policy, I will question their religion too.

    The
    Tamil Tigers
    are Hindu. Sikhs have their form of separatist politics and have been known to use terrorism. And Timothy
    McVeigh, maybe not a Quaker, certainly was a Christian Fundamentalist was responsible for the worst terrorist attack in
    the USA
    prior to 9/11.

    Bet they don’t tell you that on Little Green Footballs or JihadWatch.

  13. T Nathan — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:23 am  

    Shihab – Your arguments are peppered with self righteousness, with a desperate need to justify your liberal status and a false sense of moral superiority. You’re weak.

  14. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:25 am  

    There is a huge difference between accidental casualties in time of war and deliberate murder of civilians.

    But this is going off the point. What I take issue with is the claim that for some, yes a tiny minority, of Muslims, mass murder is an ‘understandable’ response to the war on Iraq. No it is not.

    I also take issue with the idea that concerns about Islam are just products of the media and have no basis in reality.

  15. David T — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:31 am  

    “gay abandon”!!!!!!!

    Bigot.

  16. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:49 am  

    T Nathan, I am weak. That’s my point. As part of the majority of free-thinking, liberal folk, I don’t insist anyone agrees with my way of thinking. I won’t blow you up or call you names just because you have extreme views. That’s what makes me weak because I have no desire to fight you. As for the misinterpretation of the word ‘gay’, it just goes to show easily a prejudiced person will twist a word to make it slot in to their little box of thought.

    Old Pickler, I agree going of on one about the war isn’t helpful to the topic at hand. But the media are to blame for raising a single topic and nurturing it as a pet hatred for all. They did it with The Spice Girls, they did it with Saddam (don’t you think if the acts of Mugabe were on the front page day in day out, the average Sun driver wouldn’t be making a call for war to free Zimbabwe?)

    It’s all about the way it’\s put to people. When the Tamil Tigers blow up people, it’s seen as a political (albeit violent) cause and doesn’t smear Sri Lankan people in general. Sadly in your eyes, that’s not the case for Muslms

  17. David T — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:53 am  

    As for the misinterpretation of the word ‘gay’, it just goes to show easily a prejudiced person will twist a word to make it slot in to their little box of thought.

    I’m teasing you Shihab – I (mostly) agree with your line in this article.

  18. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:55 am  

    Ah, understanding. What a pleasing sensation this warm, fuzzy harmony bringeth…

  19. David T — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:59 am  

    *embraces Shihab while weeping pitifully like a character in a US drama series*

  20. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:04 pm  

    C’mon everyone, group hug. And stop frisking me nathan. It’s not a bomb in my pants. I’m just pleased to see you

  21. Siddharth — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:07 pm  

    Oh God! Is this a moment of communality. I might regret this tomorrow morning, but who cares!
    I love you Old Pickler!

  22. Robert Sharp — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:10 pm  

    Consider this. After the 7/7 atrocity, if you sat on a train and saw a bearded Muslim man with a bag and thought, even for a split second, “people like you”, then the minority that caused the tragedy achieved in making you the very thing you hoped never to be: judgemental of people you do not know.

    Correct, but incomplete. I did feel like this after 7/7, but I was able to allow my reason to conquer any prejudices: I was aware that the initial thoughts that sprung to mind were irrational and wrong. After that, I deliberately took the tube in London in mid-July, and in a couple of cases I deliberately took the empty seats next to fellows with brown skin (no-one else was).

    You may not be able to stop your ‘gut reaction’, whatever it may be, but it is what you do with that gut reaction that marks you out as tolerant, or racist. This is why I get annoyed with people who say they made up there mind about Arabs “at 9:30am eastern on Sept 11, 2001″ as if following your gut reaction is something to be proud of.

  23. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:27 pm  

    Siddarth – I love you too. I’m Sweet Pickle really.

  24. Jai Singh — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:41 pm  

    Old Picker,

    =>”I’m Sweet Pickle really. ”

    Are you the hot & spicy kind, or the type that starts smelling of vinegar after a few months ?

  25. Sunny — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:43 pm  

    What? I come here to start an argument and you guys are busy hugging each other? *snort*

    To say that the Daily Mail and the Sun are merely messengers is like saying Pickled Politics is a fan site of the MCB. We all take editorial lines and we all highlight certain news that fits into our agenda.

    David T for example is more likely to highlight the approving of the draft constitution in Iraq than the killing of Iraqis, while Lenin’s Tomb does the opposite. Its the way the media works.

    Fe’reeha there are studies down on the coverage of asylum seekers and immigration policy by many. The GLA did one last year.
    http://www.london.gov.uk/gla/publications/refugees.jsp

    The think-tank IPPR also has a report on how asylum policy is manipulated by the media and how public attitudes are formed. I have a copy of the that book but you can also buy it from their website:
    http://www.ippr.org.uk

    I can lend it to you instead if you like once I finish with it.

  26. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 12:51 pm  

    Leave David T alone, Sunny. He’s my special friend. And Nathan is just misunderstood. He needs friends. I’ll be your friend Nathan. You make me go ‘weak’ at the knees.

  27. Col.Mustafa — on 25th October, 2005 at 1:28 pm  

    Good article Shihab.
    But although we might be part of a majority in the sense of thinking like the broader majority of this country, were not in a majority when it comes to our muslim counterparts in this country.

    But saying that theres also so many prejudice people all around us regardless of colour or religion.

    Its about how we react though to the majority and also how are reactions are then portrayed to the public.

    Sadly our reactions aren’t always understandable to alot of the majority.

  28. Geezer — on 25th October, 2005 at 1:41 pm  

    Fe’reeha there are studies down on the coverage of asylum seekers and immigration policy by many. The GLA did one last year.
    http://www.london.gov.uk/gla/publications/refugees.jsp

    The GLA is a terrorist organisation Sunny that is hell bent on global domination!

    “There are few defenses against the motivated Terrorist. The GLA Terrorist costs little to train. Armed with several kilos of C4, the Terrorist charges opposing units or structures and self-destructs on impact. Terrorists can capture cars for faster, more lethal attacks.”

    http://www.eagames.com/official/cc/generals/us/armies_gla.jsp?state=5

  29. Sunny — on 25th October, 2005 at 1:46 pm  

    Haha! How I love the Command and Conquer series…

  30. Sunny — on 25th October, 2005 at 1:51 pm  

    You may not be able to stop your ‘gut reaction’, whatever it may be, but it is what you do with that gut reaction that marks you out as tolerant, or racist. This is why I get annoyed with people who say they made up there mind about Arabs “at 9:30am eastern on Sept 11, 2001″ as if following your gut reaction is something to be proud of.

    Robert – I agree. I think its too simple to declare gut reaction as inherently racist, though initially we are still getting over the shock. Hell, even I tried to avoid Asians (plus they smell I tells ya, specially shihab) after 7/7 for a few weeks on the train. Well at least I looked around more carefully.

    Specially for guy who start praying and sweating profusely on the tube. :|

  31. Siddharth — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:05 pm  

    Specially for guy who start praying and sweating profusely on the tube

    That’ll most likely be me on the Victoria line in that horrible claustrophobic hell between Seven Sisters and Highbury. So the man who constantly sits up close and next to me while I go thru a mild seizure is Robert Sharp?

  32. SKye-Vee — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:15 pm  

    Sunny you want an argument well you got one.

    if f(x)=y, x is the independent variable

  33. coruja — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:35 pm  

    Fe’reeha,

    The refugee council had a recent campaign: http://www.dontbelievethetype.org.uk/why/index.html on the issue of irresponsible reporting.

    Phrases such as ‘bogus asylum seekers’ , ‘swamping’, ‘flood’ are all still regularly used in articles on immigration/asylum/refugee issues – all the same thing as far as papers such as the the Daily Hate is concerned.

    So is anyone surprised that many people – usually people who have never met anyone from the groups vilified – think the ‘ethnic minority’ population of the country is around 25%!

  34. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:38 pm  

    x isn’t independent, it’s blinkered with brackets.

  35. SKye-Vee — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:43 pm  

    You know what …your right. Look I just put define argument in google and copied it from one of the definitions ok.

  36. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:49 pm  

    that was an easy argument to win. I might cut and paste this to the leaders of israel and palestine and maybe they’ll sort out their problems with a happy equation

  37. SKye-Vee — on 25th October, 2005 at 2:57 pm  

    The definition was from from

    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    “a variable in a logical or mathematical expression whose value determines the dependent variable; if f(x)=y, x is the independent variable”

    I was initially puzzled but you wouldn’t expect Princeton to make mistakes like that, which made me doubt myself.

    Hmmmm how I ever get my degree only god knows.

  38. Al-Hack — on 25th October, 2005 at 3:01 pm  

    If only, if only.

    Foureyes – What is with the “Don’t mention the war” mentality? Do you consider all these events to be entirely unrelated like our blindspot ridden Prime Minister?

    Though I would oppose the usage of that example for other reasons. The IRaq war was a decision taken by the govt, which have the right to sometimes take unpopular decisions. This article primarily seems to be concerned with actions of individuals not governments.

  39. SKye-Vee — on 25th October, 2005 at 3:28 pm  

    Actually thinking about it x is the independent variable upon whose value that of a function depends. x is the argument of y, the dependent variable.

    So I was right. Argument back on.

    Or maybe not. I think I may have side tracked the main issue with this sillyness for too long. Shows I got too much time on my hands(anyway my head hurts. So confused). Should really do some study.

    I leave you lot to discuss the real issues at hand.

  40. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 3:49 pm  

    well if you look at it in isolation (x) looks like a ladies bottom.

  41. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 4:16 pm  

    Does my variable look big in this?

  42. Robert — on 25th October, 2005 at 4:33 pm  

    So the man who constantly sits up close and next to me while I go thru a mild seizure is Robert Sharp?

    Yes Siddarth, that sounds like me. To further ingratiate myself with the Muslim community, I’ve taken to wearing a Kufie, growing my beard long, and carry gifts around in my big rucksack. Unfortunately, you all seem so antisocial and change seats when I approach. What gives?

  43. Kulvinder — on 25th October, 2005 at 4:43 pm  

    …Adam Curtis thinks that fear of terrorism is merely about exploiting the ‘power of nightmares’.

    He put that in the context of past wars and conflict. I wouldn’t agree with anyone suggesting that the ‘war on terrorism’ amounted to a government plot, i do however see some merit in his argument about democracy in a post-theoretical-political-ideology world.

  44. peter — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:08 pm  

    “Oh and Peter,
    No. Daily Mail and The Sun aren’t mere messengers. They’re dictators because they dictate news.”

    Bollocks. A ridiculous misunderstanding of what ‘dictator’ means. There is a thriving plurality of opinion in the British press of which the Mail and Sun are just one part. Deal with it.

    As for your cliche: ” you concentrate on the effect and ignore the cause, it WILL happen again.” All these ’causes’ are entirely opportunistic – read Devji. It’s a global virus – bird flu of the mind.

  45. Rohin — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:09 pm  

    Good God. The moment Shihab arrives and Pickled Politics goes all gay. Sunny you fool!

    On that note…what happened to the politics and beer idea?

    Nice to see you too Skye-Vee.

  46. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:40 pm  

    Peter, thanks mate. When I said newspaper dictated news, I got swept away in a wave of rhetoric and wordplay and suddenly truly started seeing The Sun and The Daily Mail as mini origami dictators floating across a river of blood headed toward shit creek. Thanks for throwing me a paddle.

    With that prentiousness out of my system, fuck am I going to read Devji.

  47. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:41 pm  

    And Rohin, this is a race debate. If you bring up my refusal to let you bumbang me the other night, I shall tell everyone why.

  48. Steve M — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:42 pm  

    Shihab, let me get this clear. You say that your girlfriend is Jewish and that you were introduced to her mother without any prior warning or opportunity to prepare yourself.

    …and you say that you’re weak!

    Not at all. In fact, sir, I applaud your courage, your strength, your indefatigability …

  49. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:46 pm  

    Oh my mother was pretty well versed in her own brand of stereotype to keep the focus of us kids…

  50. Steve M — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:46 pm  

    Oh, I’ve just reread your post. Your mothers met. Oh well, in that case I withdraw all lavish praise previously given. Were you there; was it fun?

  51. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:50 pm  

    If I may stereotype, and I think I may seeing that as a couple we are muslim and jewish and we like woody allen as much as Omid Djilalli (not really a comparison, but it sounds right), ‘typica;’ Asian mothers and ‘typical’ Jewish mothers have so much in common it’s scary

  52. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:54 pm  

    First Christmas, while I drooled over the turkey and chippolatas and stuffing, I was offered a sainsbury’s onion bhaji as starter and a M&S curry for one as main course. My mother always greets my lady with ‘shalom’ because it sounds Jewish, while my father always brings up The Merchant of Venice, even when the topic of discussion is garden peas.

    Believe it or not, it’s all good natured.

  53. Al-Hack — on 25th October, 2005 at 5:56 pm  

    If you mean Faisal Devji, he also said to understand the al-Qaeda in a brilliant article here:
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/academicexperts/story/0,,1594004,00.html

    Yeah, the Daily Mail and Sun represent the plurality of the media like the BNP represent the plurality of the political classes. Let’s all celebrate diversity!

  54. Siddharth — on 25th October, 2005 at 6:00 pm  

    Matzo balls and fried Ileesh maach and rice. Sounds yum.

  55. Siddharth — on 25th October, 2005 at 6:06 pm  

    Unfortunately, you all seem so antisocial and change seats when I approach. What gives?

    The Dhimmi-Watch tshirt is why they flee, Robert.

  56. Steve M — on 25th October, 2005 at 7:08 pm  

    I have to say, though it’s clichéd, that I was amazed by the (hilarious) similarities between the stereotypical Asians portrayed on ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and the 2nd generation Jews of my parents’ generation.

    Who’d've thunk?

  57. fotzepolitic — on 25th October, 2005 at 7:33 pm  

    Didn’t ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ have a sketch about a Asian Muslim converting to Judaism and suddenly acting all Woody-Allen-ish and trying to convince his parents there were lots of similarities? i.e. not eating pork, circumcising, etc. ;)

    My boyfriend and my best friend are both Bangladeshis who feel they have absolutely nothing in common with 99% of British Bengalis, including their own families (they feel they’re completely lacking in culture), so I imagine Shihab is certainly in the minority. As an American, I retain the right to find ALL of you very weird. ;)

  58. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 7:43 pm  

    I am in the minority. I represent the Sponge Beer Off Gay Mates, Dance Badly at Clubs Vying For The Attention of Blonde Ladies Who Sometimes Are Mad Enough To Come To My Home Where I Put On Some Pixies and Spoil the Moment by Putting on Dwarf Porn Party. I’m very lonely

  59. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 7:46 pm  

    Steve, you’re Jewish. Now I get it. Your mum and my common-law-mum-in-law should get together and go bowling. Is she free Christmas day? I’ll arrange for mine to come to you. Hope you live far away

  60. Sunny — on 25th October, 2005 at 8:17 pm  

    Siddartha, I highly doubt Robert would be wearing dhimmi-watch t-shirts.

  61. j0nz — on 25th October, 2005 at 8:42 pm  

    Mate I was agreeing with you 100% — right up until “don’t forget… the majority of people in Britain were opposed to the invasion of Iraq”

    That’s absolute bollocks and straight out of Galloway’s mouth!

    Poll no.1

    Poll no. 2

    Poll no. 3

    To be fair the country was split about 50/50.

  62. Old Pickler — on 25th October, 2005 at 8:43 pm  

    my father always brings up The Merchant of Venice, even when the topic of discussion is garden peas.

    Hahaha!!!

  63. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 9:21 pm  

    weren’t they?

  64. j0nz — on 25th October, 2005 at 9:32 pm  

    Err no. That’s what I’m saying. The country was split about 50/50. Swaying either way depending on

    1. The time of asking
    2. Who’s asking / The type of question being asked

  65. shihab — on 25th October, 2005 at 9:36 pm  

    Oh bit like the american vote then

  66. j0nz — on 25th October, 2005 at 9:41 pm  

    LOL , yes a bit like the american vote. But the americans did vote for Bush overall… and in the UK 65% of the vote went to a pro-war political party. :)

  67. Foureyes — on 25th October, 2005 at 10:36 pm  

    invade Iraq and something like 7/7 is inevitable.

    We were on the shit list long before March 2003. This oft-repeated ‘reason’ begins to sound like a justification, almost a condoning of the bombings.

    Presumably, by this logic, any Islamophobic attacks should be considered ‘inevitable’, given that it was 4 young Muslims who blew themselves and 52 Londoners to smithereens?

  68. j0nz — on 25th October, 2005 at 11:16 pm  

    invade Iraq and something like 7/7 is inevitable.

    Why?

    Get a grip. What about Sept 11? They hadnt even started on Afghanistan!

  69. Steve M — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:37 am  

    Shihab, I’ll be in Germany with my Aryan wife and kids for Christmas but please send your Mum-in-law over to play with my Mum (although unfortunately her best bowling days are behind her).

    Get your Mum-in-law to bring the Gefilte fish, my Mum will do the chicken soup.

  70. shihab — on 26th October, 2005 at 11:05 am  

    Oh Jonz,

    I resisted getting into a justification over the invasion of Iraq debate because, as a brown fella with muslim origin (I’m an atheist, but who’s allowed to get away from their roots these days?), you’ll forgive me for being tired of this topic. A time machine and a year earlier, I’d have given you something heated enough to leave galloway cold.

    But your assumption that 9/11 was an unprovoked attack takes me back. It was a direct result of constant American involvement in the Arab/ Asian world (Here Afghanistan, have some bombs; here Iraq, kill them Iranians; Israel, we’re right behind you buddy). The average British gets pissed off enough with Brussels meddling with our business, it’s natural the Arab world to feel incensed with Americans (with the noteable exception that instead of dictating the size of bananas, they were directly causing death and suffering of the common man and betraying lunatics that they effectively employed).

    Innocent people died. From where the Arabs were sitting, innocent people were dying everyday. And let’s not compare numbers of deaths on each side, it’s embarrassing. Every human life is precious, no?

    It all comes down to whether you see war as a civilised measure.

    To a lot of people, the term war on terror sounds a lot like forcibly fucking to stop raping.

  71. Old Pickler — on 26th October, 2005 at 11:24 am  

    It was a direct result of constant American involvement in the Arab/ Asian world

    Nonsense. It was an unprovoked attack.

    15 out of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. The US has cosied up to Saudi Arabia far too much.

    The Arab world has received billions from the West in unearned oil revenue, aid to Egypt of $2bn per year. And as for Israel, it is really really tiny. why do Muslims, ex Muslims and Lefties bleat about Israel?

    What you’re doing is saying that the attacks were justified because Muslims are angry. That is nonsense, and it is pandering to the unreasonable. The problems facing Muslims are of their own making, not least a religion that needs dragging out of the 7th century.

  72. shihab — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:28 pm  

    Of course. Silly me. The Americans gave the arabs money. They weren’t there to bleed the middle east dry for any personal gain. And why is it when saudis were involved in 9/11 that America didn’t invade it and went for other enemies instead? cos they’re nice

  73. Old Pickler — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:49 pm  

    Bleed the Middle East dry? What a joke. Trillions of dollars of unearned income has gone from the West to the Arab world, to whom the oil would have been useless without Western know-how.

    And $2bn a year in aid to Egypt, which is as virulently anti-American as ever. Better to flush it down the toilet.

    The West owes the Arabs nothing. Nothing at all.

  74. shihab — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:55 pm  

    “And as for Israel, it is really really tiny. why do Muslims, ex Muslims and Lefties bleat about Israel?”

    By that token, you could say: why do people bleat about a tiny bus?

    People dying for because of any disagreement by po faced politicians or activist lunatics (however noble or twisted) is sick and worth bleating over.

    In the words of a famous bleater:

    What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
    Mohandas Gandhi

  75. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:55 pm  

    Losing? Or Bleeding?
    Anyone know the difference?

  76. shihab — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:58 pm  

    Well oil be damned…

  77. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 1:03 pm  

    I sit somewhere in the middle of all this. Al-Qaeda and their ilk aren’t some protectors of the Muslim faith. They’re a bunch of religious fundamentalists who want to overthrow their own govts and establish theocracies that do things their way (hence pumping money into the Saudi govt and Egyptian govt means squat).

    What they have managed to do however is get other Muslims to jump on their bandwagon because of American interference in the area. They then use American interference as a way to justify their aggressive tactics and suicide bombers.

  78. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 1:08 pm  

    Yep. Whilst the pro-war posse masturbates to the thought finding £150,00 in Galloway’s wife’s account, they seem unable to get it up for Bremer’s missing Iraqi billions. You can’t map Galloway’s crime with Bremer’s they will say. Of course not, they are soooo morally disparate arn’t they?

  79. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 1:37 pm  

    Siddharth, when you or anyone else discover documents that prove Bremer took ANY of that money for himself, I will gladly see him go to jail. Until then you are just blowing smoke and you know it. Do stories of dodgy accounting in the chaos of post war Iraq and the case of a British MP pimping for a tyrant (while defrauding the UN) really compare? Re the comments about 9/11 and 7/7 from others on this board. Those poor French must be wondering what it is they did wrong huh?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050927/wl_afp/franceattacksarreststargets

  80. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 1:48 pm  

    Those poor French must be wondering what it is they did wrong huh?
    As I’ve already said, al-Qaeda don’t discriminate when they want to kill…. they’ll even happily kill Muslims who oppose their agenda. But the Iraq war has served as a wonderful recruiting ground for them, that is undeniable except to those who support the war. I guess we shall keep going round and round in circles.

  81. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:07 pm  

    Do stories of dodgy accounting in the chaos of post war Iraq and the case of a British MP pimping for a tyrant (while defrauding the UN) really compare?

    Yes, they absolutely fucking do. They both broadly come under the concept of the accountability of public office. And until you stop making excuses for one (“dodgy accounting”) and demanding the full exposure of the other (“defrauding the UN”), you’re argument is biased and therefore partisan. Incidentally, whats the difference between dodgy accounting and defrauding nowadays, anyway?

    As for pimping, your side seemed to have no qualms, did they?

  82. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:39 pm  

    I don’t deny it has become rallying cry. A recruiting ground though? Those that join al-Qaeda would have joined anyway with or without Iraq. 7/7 or an event like it would have occured no matter what and the attempted attacks in France prove this. Iraq is just a front, a battle in the context of a larger war. People who kill in the name of al-Qaeda know this. They have long term aims, and those aims are the same with or without Iraq. It just provides them with a convenient excuse. And Sid, no they absolutely do not. I am not ‘making excuses’. Post war Iraq was a fuckup on a grand scale. If there was impropriety, i expect it to be investigated. I’m sure the journalists who wrote that story are beavering away right now trying to join the dots. When they do, i hope whoever is responsible goes to the wall. George Galloway is a traitor to his country and to the Iraqi people who he claims to speak for. Taking money that was supposed to feed them from the Tyrant that was oppressing them. You really couldn’t get much lower could you? As for your links to the Rumsfeld stuff….yada yada. The world was a very different place then.
    History is like that funnily enough: http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en-commons/d/d2/Yalta_summit_1945_with_Churchill,_Roosevelt,_Stalin.jpg

  83. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:46 pm  

    The world was a very different place then.

    Yeah – Saddam was a friendly stooge then. And he was busy killing Iranians under the auspices of US and European military weaponry and intelligence.

    And Rumsfeld has always been an honourable man.

  84. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:52 pm  

    I don’t agree that they would have done it anyway. Kids join movements if they see something going on that they fundamentally disagree with. Some of them become brainwashed into doing more drastic things.

    Saying that people would have blown themselves up anyway is a bit like saying the American public would have reacted against Vietnam anyway, regardless of how the war went.
    Every action has a reaction. Al-Qaeda have used the American action to feed propaganda and brainwash more kids into their agenda, that is undeniable.

    And Sidartha – there is no need for potshots at other blogs when it does not concern this topic. I would rather stick to the topic than have this place as somewhere people use to simply abuse each other.

  85. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:03 pm  

    “Stalin was a friendly stooge then. And he was busy killing Germans under the auspices of US and UK(damn i had to change it!) military weaponry and intelligence”.

    See how that works? Maybe they should impeach Roosevelt posthumously?

  86. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:13 pm  

    I am yet to find in the history books any mention of Roosevelt invading Russia, occupying it, changing its regime and dividing up the nation into 3 vassal states based roughly on spurious racial and religious groupings.

    So no, thats a crap analogy. Even if Roosey wanted it that way.

    And Sunny – no more potshots at the drink-soaked bandars for war, from me. ;-)

  87. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:13 pm  

    “Every action has a reaction. Al-Qaeda have used the American action to feed propaganda and brainwash more kids into their agenda, that is undeniable.”

    I am not denying this Sunny. But you are contradicting yourself. First you say “al-Qaeda don’t discriminate when they want to kill”. Then you appear to be saying 7/7 (or an event like it) wouldn’t have happened if britain had stayed out of Iraq. You can’t have it both ways (and forgive me if i’m misinterpreting you).

  88. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:22 pm  

    What’s a bandar? I would google it but i can’t be arsed. Sid, i’m sorry you don’t like my analogy but I fear you are biased ;)

  89. shihab — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:25 pm  

    bandar is what muslims called efininate people

    no, it’s a monkey

  90. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:25 pm  

    I’m biased because the history books don’t follow your Roosevelt analogy? Thats a bit weak, excuse me.

  91. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:27 pm  

    Drink soaked effeminate monkies?

    Hey, I didn’t say that Sunny!

  92. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:30 pm  

    bandar = monkey, usually in a playful manner.

    PapaHomer – well al-qaeda is not a tight and well organised group, as we all very well know. Anyone who think its a strongly organised group is being naive.

    So my point is, there have always been plenty of AQ supporters over the years. But like any terror organisation, it does not get support unless there is a conflict going on. Then it can convince people that in the “war on terror”, where you are either with GW Bush, or against him, that the people from AQ are doing something right.

    What I’m saying is, many more become brainwashed into believing that in this global conflict they should support AQ against the Americans. That is the problem. Without that, it would easier to isolate AQ, expose them for who they are, and pull the carpet from under their feet.
    In Algeria for example, a while back, the Islamists went overboard with their campaign and public support completely dissolved and the govt cracked down hard. The same is hard to do with AQ while they keep exploiting (and making worse) the conflict in Iraq. Not for the vast majority of Muslims, but the few who do get brainwashed.

  93. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:40 pm  

    No. You’re biased because you refuse to the see the obvious parallels between roosevelt meeting stalin and rumsfeld meeting saddam. It was a marriage of convenience as we were in the middle of the cold war. All states practice that kind of diplomacy. It might be an interesting bit of history but it has no bearing on current events. Bringing up rumsfelds visit to saddam is ‘weak’ Sid. Next you’ll be telling me we’re there to steal the oil..

  94. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:43 pm  

    Next you’ll be telling me we’re there to steal the oil..

    Well if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

  95. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:45 pm  

    Also why is Rumsfeld’s diplomacy honourable and Galloways’s treachorous?

  96. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:45 pm  

    quack quack :-P

  97. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:51 pm  

    mind that oil slick Daffy.

  98. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 4:05 pm  

    I don’t ever recall saying Rumsfelds diplomacy was honorable? He was doing a job he was paid for by the US government. Is implementing it’s foreign policy by cosying up to dictators honorable? It would certainly stick in my throat. But, was the pact with Stalin honorable? There are a few thousand souls haunting the Katyn forest that would disagree (and millions more elsewhere i’m sure). Galloway wasn’t performing diplomacy. He was neither a British or Iraqi diplomat. He is a british MP, one that (thankfully) would never get a position in any cabinet. His job is to look after his constituency…not take food out of the mouths of iraqi children (who he claimed to speak for) by shilling for the dictator who was oppressing them.

  99. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 4:19 pm  

    There’s a little bit of a sleight of hand going on in your argument there PapaHomer, which could certainly be mistaken for either or all of the below
    1) Hypocricy
    2) Bias
    3) Selective Ahistoricality

    Calumny and greasing dictatorial thugs are OK if called for under the pstronage of State and with the pretext of career diplomacy. Either way, its shameful and well you know it.

  100. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 4:37 pm  

    “Calumny and greasing dictatorial thugs are OK if called for under the pstronage of State and with the pretext of career diplomacy. ”

    That isn’t what i said at all. in the context of the cold war, we cosied up to Saddam. In hindsight that was regrettable but probably necessary at the time. That is not the ‘pretext of career diplomacy’ as you call it. It’s the pretext of national security. And again, Rumsfeld was a representative of the US Gov, while GG was simply lining his pockets under the pretext of giving a shit about iraqi children.

  101. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 5:02 pm  

    OK, excuse a cheap shot response here, but the Oil for Food Programme, despite its abuses, looks like it was much better for Iraqis than this war has turned out to be. Hindsight is 20-20 I agree, but here I am considering US national security. Of course.

  102. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 5:11 pm  

    Good for Iraqis? Yes i’m sure those starving kids got a real kick out of all the tanks and anti-aircraft guns saddam spent the money on.

  103. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 5:17 pm  

    Ha ha. Since when did Conservatives worry about the welfare of starving kids in 3rd World countries?

  104. PapaHomer — on 26th October, 2005 at 5:30 pm  

    ‘Conservative’ moi? You shouldn’t presume too much Sid. Meanwhile, i’m off to Moe’s for a couple of cold one’s. It’s been fun :)

  105. Siddharth — on 26th October, 2005 at 5:36 pm  

    Don’t forget to put a penny in the old karaoke for a bit of ‘We are the World, We are the children’ stylee. Iraqi children will thank you.

  106. Kulvinder — on 26th October, 2005 at 9:14 pm  

    The Arab world has received billions from the West in unearned oil revenue

    ?

  107. Bijna — on 26th October, 2005 at 10:51 pm  

    UK banks ban piggy banks

    British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.

    Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here….

    Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, backed the bank move.

    “This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers,” he said.

    However, the move brought accusations of political correctness gone mad from critics.

    “The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity,” the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said.

    “We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them.”

    Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for a Birmingham seat and one of four Muslim MPs in Britain, also criticised the piggy-bank ban.

    “We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another,” Mr Mahmoud said.

    “I doubt many Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks.”

    Well, I hope not. But banned they are nevertheless: this must have been done to please someone.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/008691.php

  108. PapaHomer — on 27th October, 2005 at 8:22 am  

    ” Iraqi children will thank you”

    The million that died under the sanctions, or the ones that are alive now? I thought of you and stuck ‘better the devil you know’ on too. Mmmmm Kylie..

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