Monday, October 03, 2011

I'm not racist, but...

My eyes have been slowly opened up these last few weeks. My semi-political posts in the post haven’t been born from any great knowledge in the subject (as would be quickly apparent if you either know me or have read them) but from an anger and frustration at the increasing idiocy in the world around me – almost invariably built around the ease with which your average idiot can descend into racism and bigotry. And how easy it is to convince said idiots that all the problems in the world can be blamed on a small group of people.

They're stopping you wearing your football shirt!

Oh, sure. I knew of the BNP and their Silas-Greenback lookalike Führer Nick Griffin, and a little of the English Defence League. But hadn’t really paid much attention to their online brand of bigotry until I came across the group Still Laughing at the English Defence League.  It's comprised of a good group of people, is entertaining, frequently visited by inarticulate trolls and is quite, quite terrifying.

I hate to generalise. People who generalise are invariably idiots (see what I did there?) but in the case of the EDL I’ll make an exception. In all my 40 years on this planet I’ve never seen such a half-baked reactionary set of poorly thought-and-spelt out nonsense exchanged ‘twixt brain and keyboard.

It’s said that civilisation is only three meals away from anarchy(1). This could be expanded upon to state that the average EDLer is only one burning poppy picture away from furious red faced apoplexy.

The EDL scare me on a fundamental level. Not because of their growing numbers, because the vast majority of decent people still and always will find them and their politics utterly abhorrent. Not even because almost without exception they lapse into threats of physical violence at the drop of a St. Georges cross adorned hat, because that doesn’t come as a great surprise to me – after all, what else to expect from an organisation that sprung out from the fine ancient English tradition of Football Hooliganry?

What scares me is that much like the Terminator you cannot bargain with them, and you cannot reason with them. What scares me isn’t so much them as a group but how damned easy it is to feed certain groups of society bigoted lies and have them lap them up like some manner of racist thick shake.  In much the same way you’d find it impossible to ever encourage me into being a bigoted xenophobic racist (even with the promise of free cake), it’s equally impossible to convince them of the folly of their ways.

In the eyes of the EDL, to disagree with them is to side with their enemies. They’re defending the hard working honest people of Great Britain which I'd like to think would typically include me, but because I don’t agree with their right wing politics I’m a member of the MAC or UAF. And I’m one of the great unwashed. And a Communist. And on the dole. Yes, those who oppose the politics of the EDL fit very neatly into their giant fascist Venn diagram - the same default responses always emerge. Every single time.

They’re not racists, they claim. Islam isn’t a race, after all. It’s a religion. But simply scrape beneath the surface of this bold claim and this statement is simply the murky foul scum holding the surface tension in place of a stagnant pool of paki-bashing. Their claim of hating extremist Islam (which is fair enough, I hate it as well. I hate all extremists from either side) is a cover for hating Islam in general which is in itself a cover for the same old racist chants that have been around since the National Front and Combat 18 that they can’t separate themselves from.

They’re not associated with the Nazis, they claim (although if they simply admitted they were, it would explain why they hate Communists so much) but doing a google image search to find an EDLer performing a nazi salute is as easy as finding photographs of Jordans tits.

They're fed a constant source of propaganda and lies, which acts like some manner of perpetual motion hate generator. "It's a two tier legal system" they cry when they're arrested for criminal damage or racial hate speeches - breaking the laws of the land that they claim to value so much.

The EDL have supposed pages of their own that encourage debate, but this extends only as far as debating the detail of things they agree with. Posts that they disagree with are deleted as though they never existed, with the Admin of said hate sites gloating that they've won the argument. It's the online equivalent of burning books.

Don't claim you're defending my rights. Don't claim you're protecting my country. My forefathers fought and died beside the Muslims you hate so much to stop people like you subjugating people based on religion or colour. You do not speak for me, and nor do you speak for anybody with any sense. You see enemies - I see friends.

Yes, it’s easy to laugh at them. Altogether too easy. But it’s a nervous laugh.

(1) Tried to find the proper source of the ‘three meals’ quote but couldn’t get any more detail than this being attributed to Arnold Rimmer of Red Dwarf fame. And that hardly gives this whole blog piece the intellectual gravitas it demands.


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