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    Racial abuse in Luton and media reporting

    by Rumbold on 5th August, 2009 at 9:38 pm    

    Recently a coach carrying dozens of Sikhs caught fire in Luton. Luckily no-one was injured, as everyone got to safety before the fire really spread. As the coach burnt however, the Sikhs were subjected to racist taunting from white youths, who said “you Pakis go back to the burning bus.”

    This is an utter disgrace of course. Yet it is the media reaction that I really want to focus on. The Indian newspapers are reporting it extensively, with the focus on the racist abuse. Apart from Dean Nelson’s Telegraph piece on the other hand, the main British newspapers have ignored it (as far as I can tell).

    This in itself is not unreasonable. A story about a fire in which no one was injured and non-violent racial abuse isn’t a major story. Rather the way in which British media outlets (aside from the Telegraph) have approached the story is strange. The BBC website and Luton Today chronicled the case, but they the odd thing is that they both ignored the racial abuse angle and simply reported on the fire. The BBC website did include a small section on the racial abuse, but it was buried halfway in the accompanying video. Although I can only speak for myself, I suspect that plenty of people read the BBC website without watching the accompanying videos most of the times: one expects to have the entire story in the article itself.

    I have e-mailed the BBC asking for clarification, so we shall see.

      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: India, Media, Other racists

    29 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Sofi — on 5th August, 2009 at 9:59 pm  

      i heard about the racial abuse on bbc - news 24, if i’m not wrong.

    2. Amrit — on 5th August, 2009 at 10:48 pm  

      I saw it first mentioned on the BBC 6 o’clock news.

      Do you mean: ‘Rather the way in which British media outlets (aside from the Telegraph) approached the story was strange’?

    3. damon — on 5th August, 2009 at 11:40 pm  

      I can’t really see the point of this story Rumbold.

      Apart from just reporting it that is.
      I hadn’t heard of it until just now, and going up and down the motorway every day, you thank heaven that all the people on the bus got off without injury, as accidents are always there in the back of your mind.

      Were the horrible racist comments worthy of international attention? Were there more than just a few neanderthals telling the people to get back on the burning bus?
      Are we saying that the racist underbelly of Britain was fleetingly exposed in all its semi-fascist sickness?

      And that the real story is why weren’t the main news outlets covering this story in detail.
      ”Teenaged racist shit-for-brains shout stuff from passing car (cars)”??

      And the Indian press pick up on this. That’s a story?

      But I understand about the frustration at these rolling news organisations.

      Today on drivetime on BBC radio five live (as I came down the M11), the two presenters were laughing about it being the silly season, and one of the subjects they kept mentioning was the reported plagues of flying ants that were cropping up all over the country.
      (Which is just something that happens every year on particular summer days).

      But no mention of some bozos shouting disgusting shit out the windows of passing cars at stranded Sikhs who had escaped a bus fire.

    4. brian — on 5th August, 2009 at 11:43 pm  

      you’re shit mate. you’re a bit like this guy:


      except apparently you bat for the other team. maybe you should introduce whole sentences in bold to finish the boring, batshit-for-brains feel you got going on here?

    5. ahmed — on 6th August, 2009 at 12:24 am  

      Ah yes an article about white youths attacking Sikhs- which turns into an anti-Muslim bashing one courtesy of Bob

      The site he linked to is truly appaling- it blames Muslims for everything- spreading disease, dogfighting, sexual assaults -reminds me of Der Sturmer

      Why hasnt Bob been banned/his post deleted?

    6. billericaydicky — on 6th August, 2009 at 6:53 am  

      I am beginning to detect a bit of paranoia here over the measurements of how many column inches or minutes of air time are devoted to racial incidents and if there is a disparity in favour of whites then it is obviously all a media conspiracy.

    7. Rumbold — on 6th August, 2009 at 9:05 am  

      Damon (and others):

      As I said I could see why it wasn’t a major story. But I also wanted to know why the racist absue had been ignored/heavily downplayed in such a story. No, I don’t think that it is representative of modern day Britain

    8. hantsboy — on 6th August, 2009 at 9:29 am  

      This is a sad event particularly bearing in mind the military efforts of Sikhs on our behalf and the fact that their beliefs pose no existentialist threat to the host population.

    9. Random Guy — on 6th August, 2009 at 9:51 am  

      Nice one abdullah - always good to expose the tacit racism that some commentators here (and many commentators elsewhere) use and encourage. I have the feeling that if this had happened to a busload of muslims, that Telegraph article would never have seen the light of day.

    10. anobody — on 6th August, 2009 at 10:11 am  

      The incident didn’t attract inches because it wasn’t brown youths - who happen to be Muslims - shouting obscenities at a stranded coach load of old dears, on their way to a SAGA beach holiday in Southend.

    11. Random Guy — on 6th August, 2009 at 10:37 am  

      Why was abdullah’s comments deleted? He raised a very pertinent point.

      I will summarise it: someone like hantsboy would be completely happy with this type of racism if:

      (a) the ethnic group in question had not made military efforts on ‘our’ behalf (in the opinion of the racist)


      (b) their belief posed a so-called ‘existential threat’ to the host population (once more, in the opinion of the racist).

      It is not hard to see where hantsboy is going with this. He clearly favours the “divide and racially abuse” mentality that has been used to single out muslims/asian-muslims as the ethnic target of the day by groups such as the BNP.

      abdullah then went on to provide this link to detail the muslim contribution to the military effort in WW2:


      I responded with comment #9.

    12. Rumbold — on 6th August, 2009 at 10:40 am  

      Because ‘abdullah’ is Munir.

    13. anobody — on 6th August, 2009 at 10:49 am  

      This is a sad event particularly bearing in mind the military efforts of Sikhs on our behalf and the fact that their beliefs pose no existentialist threat to the host population.

      I’ll be in hants this weekend, with a few friends.

      We’ve all got our backpacks loaded.

    14. chairwoman — on 6th August, 2009 at 11:17 am  

      “Because ‘abdullah’ is Munir.”

      You can’t keep a good troll down :)

      Keeping on subject, I am appalled that this incident has not been widely reported.

    15. Jai — on 6th August, 2009 at 11:25 am  

      Because ‘abdullah’ is Munir.

      He’s now pretending to be “Asad” on the Daily Mail thread. Even after his comments under the username “Ahmed” and “Abdullah” have just been deleted.

      I think his intention is to carry on doing this until PP’s editors become tired of identifying his random aliases and subsequently removing his comments. It doesn’t exactly display a great deal of respect towards this website’s editors if he’s simply going to ignore the ban and continue to try to “outwit” Rumbold, Leon, and Sunny, despite the fact that it’s been made explicitly clear to him by PP’s editorial team that his participation on PP is no longer welcome and any further comments will be deleted. I’d actually define it as an example of an ongoing attempt by Munir to bully the editors into submission.


      Back to this thread’s main topic:

      Yes it’s absolutely disgraceful that this incident has apparently been ignored by most of the mainstream media in the UK. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people in this country still don’t know about it.

    16. Edwin Greenwood — on 6th August, 2009 at 11:36 am  

      Coach bursts into flames, nobody hurt, however unpleasant for those involved, is a standard “bottom of an inside page with small photo of burning wreckage” story in the local newspaper, or in this case, the respective local papers in Dorset and Luton. With a bit of film footage, it might just make the regional TV news.

      As I read the various Indian reports, it sounds like one car-load of White youths were abusive. This is hardly a pogrom or the outbreak of a race war, is it?

      Get a grip, Rumbold. Of rather more concern is that the Indian media are reporting this at all, let alone bigging it up and looking for a bit of juicy victimization to stir up.

    17. Rumbold — on 6th August, 2009 at 11:51 am  

      Edwin Greenwood:

      That is why I said:

      “This in itself is not unreasonable. A story about a fire in which no one was injured and non-violent racial abuse isn’t a major story. Rather the way in which British media outlets (aside from the Telegraph) have approached the story is strange.”

      But don’t you think it odd that people would report on the story without reporting the racist angle?

    18. Raja Sahib — on 6th August, 2009 at 11:54 am  

      Brian, just clicked on your link. a little further down we have:

      “Two repellent attacks on pensioners in Bradford over the past couple of weeks have been carried out in both cases by four “Asian” (the reports should read Pakistani, but this euphemism which unjustly stigmatises Sikhs, Hindus, Chinese etc always appears to be preferred by the media) youths. The victims in both cases were indigenous whites. It’s time that we dealt with these nests of Islamist fifth columnists and deported all who advocate sharia in line with Geert Wilders’s recent recommendation for the Netherlands.”

    19. Raja Sahib — on 6th August, 2009 at 11:56 am  

      furhter down still:

      “What’s with all the hate? I live in Accrington, and used to go to school with both James and Khaver. I know which is the scum- James- stealing people’s phones, egging cars, bricking enemy’s families’ windows.
      It’s got absolutely NOTHING to do with religion. Islam doesn’t approve of drugs and alcohol, which Khaver does.
      Dare I say he deserved it?”

    20. Kulvinder — on 6th August, 2009 at 12:21 pm  

      To be fair it would only have been ‘worth’ reporting if an assualt had occured or if, say, one of the passengers had died then been abused.

      Obviously the incident was unpleasant to those involved, but as it is there isn’t much of a story there.

    21. Edwin Greenwood — on 6th August, 2009 at 12:24 pm  

      To be honest, in the case of the BBC, I’m more surprised that they didn’t title their piece

      “Racist abuse as Sikh holidaymakers flee coach inferno”

      and make the actual fire the secondary issue. No, I thought the BBC got the balance right for once. In fact, I’m pleasantly surprised.

    22. Shatterface — on 6th August, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

      ‘But don’t you think it odd that people would report on the story without reporting the racist angle?’

      They are barely covering the story at all: you only cast about for ‘angles’ when the story itself is interesting. A car blew up outside my house a few months back and didn’t even make the local news. Nobody was hurt, no story.

      Yobbish as this behaviour is, it’s not worth national coverage let alone international coverage.

    23. Sunny — on 6th August, 2009 at 2:32 pm  

      I am beginning to detect a bit of paranoia here over the measurements of how many column inches or minutes of air time are devoted to racial incidents

      Oh dear - bill accusing others of paranoia. Now I’ve seen everything!

    24. Shatterface — on 6th August, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

      My sides are still aching at the the Swiftian satire at (24).

      Now I see the error of my ways: of course knobheads shouting out of a car should have been the No 1 headline, how ‘white supremist’ of me to think this ‘inncident’ wasn’t of international importance.

      And I apologise for being a ‘faggot’ (which I notice you spelt right), which I must be, obviously.

    25. Golam Murtaza — on 6th August, 2009 at 4:51 pm  

      @25 - Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. You people are boring.

    26. Golam Murtaza — on 6th August, 2009 at 5:54 pm  

      Sorry Shatterface, friendly fire. Not meant for you!

    27. Shatterface — on 6th August, 2009 at 6:21 pm  

      ‘Sorry Shatterface, friendly fire. Not meant for you!’

      That’s a relief. I’m only genocidal on my days off.

    28. inders — on 6th August, 2009 at 7:13 pm  


      I just felt like saying that. No, its not applicable to the original story. Or the commentry by Rumbold. Or any of the posters.

      I just felt it was going that way.

      The truth is this. The right wing element has grown in this country during recent years down to one single lie. That racism is no longer perpetrated by white people against minorities because it is not allowed by the state. The argument goes on by saying that racism against the white majority is rife both amongst racial minorities and the ruling classes through unfair legislation.

      They won’t like this story because it highlights continuing racism by ‘average white people’ against ‘average brown people’ in everyday situations. But beyond that it is of little consequence for the progressive as it re-enforces the white/non-white divide, as pointed out earlier its a mirror image of the right wing argument.

      Its useful propaganda but for internal debate amongst like minded people, completely outdated and away from the path I would like to see in the future.

    29. kenni — on 8th August, 2009 at 5:47 pm  

      It isn’t news in the U.K because it’s the sort of casual racism that is an everyday occurrence and you just get numb to it. If the same thing happened in Canada it would be a big deal. I grew up in the U.K and moved to Canada and the absence of this sort of vulgarity was very striking. It’s only ‘no big deal’ if you’re o.k with living and raising your kids in that sort of environment.

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