Thursday, 23 May 2013

British and Proud

I spent last night not studying. I've got 4 deadlines coming up. I've got freelance work to do. I've got washing to put on, I've got food to cook, I've got people who are important to me to interact with.

I didn't do any of these things last night.

I am torn apart by the young soldier who lost his life at the hand of those maniacs. I read about the attack and instantly, for a few seconds, worried about my brother based in Aldershot. He's a soldier, he's been known to go into London. I remembered the phone call my ma had with him within the past hour, and this terrible fear dissipated and was quickly replaced with the guilt that comes with wishing that pain and heartache on another. Another sister, another mother, and as it turns out, another son and wife.

It is awful, beyond awful, what happened to the soldier killed in Woolwich. And my heart goes to the people now suffering his loss.

But that loss should never incite the action to create more hatred.

I've seen an underwhelming number of updates and posts from people, directly reacting to the man who was caught on camera with blood on his hands. My favourite was Muslim Prick. Not Cleaver Wielding Nutter or Deeply Disturbed Individual That People Saw As So Threateningly Terrifying They Just Had To Film And Put Up On Youtube. They posted on Muslim prick.

The start of this statement was accurate. The murderer on the video converted to the Islamic faith in 2006 (the link is there for reference but has the deeply insensitive imagery that's been bouncing around the internet and media outlets since yesterday, so click with caution). But by choosing that particular frame of reference, the author is predicating the idea that the actions of this disturbed individual represents the ideals of the whole.

A friend gallantly tried encouraging some thought on the subject of an immigrants status in the UK to no avail..

I had to blur out another bit as it gave away a name,
but trust me, just as insulting as the other highlighted bit

The lack of serious thought and consideration for who they were talking to gradually degenerated into racial slurs. I sat frozen staring at my computer for a minute or two, fucking furious at what I had just read.

After collecting myself and reading through the entire thing again, I messaged my friend, applauded his efforts, screengrabbed and reluctantly fuzzed names and pictures and reposted.

I then went on to see other friends status'. Not along the same lines as this, but in response to similar posts they'd seen in their own new feed. Some asking for advice on where they could acquire funds pretty sharpish so they could F off back to their own country or just simply questioning, like they never had before, whether they were welcome in the place they knew as home.

I know that a lot of this was said satirically. A response to the twerps bemoaning the drain on resources all these foreign immigrants are, and if "they" were going to do something so malicious and vile as that that happened in Woolwich yesterday, why should we keep them here?

To be British is to be diverse. There will not be a single person who can take their bloodline all the way back and say that their lineage started and remained in what we now call Britain. This land has been invaded and colonised so many times it's impossible to calculate. Not to mention all the stomping about all over the world we've done more recently..

The Islamic Society of Britain made a statement about the attack. In their own words:

"Justifying this killing in the name of faith or religion is false and rejected. Rejected by the Islamic society of Britain. Rejected by scripture. Rejected by those who commit to God. Rejected by civil society. And rejected by truth. 
We, the British, will remain together, resolute and strong."

So when I hear the statement British and Proud, I don't imagine things like this:

In response to the letter made by the ISB, and to any people suffering persecution because of the actions of a few, I would say this is not my Britain. Justifying physical and verbal attacks and bigoted attitudes in the name of patriotism and cultural pride is rejected. Rejected by the people of Britain. Rejected by its laws. Rejected by those who purport to having a higher level of tolerance. Rejected by our society. And rejected by truth.

I am British and Proud because of the diverse range of people that are in this country. It's a privilege and a blessing to be surrounded by those whose experience could be so different to mine, and could show me things I might never have seen.