It pains me a great deal to say it but I’m with Nigel Farage on this one. JK Rowling misstepped when she blamed Farage for the van that slammed into a mosque crowd during prayer in London on Sunday. Not that she was wrong (she was at least partially right — Farage has his share of blame, indirectly but clearly). The problem was that Rowling played the blame game only with Farage. She held back concerning other attacks.
See, if you’re going to assign blame where terrorism is concerned, you have to do it to all sides.
Farage, of course, is overplaying his hand, as always. He claims he has nothing to do with the rise of bigotry and extremism and all the incidents of race-related violence in the UK, and he’s wrong. He has everything to do with them, and he knows it; he knows what his campaigns did, what his party’s message between the lines was. That righteous rage he stood for. He nurtures a version of Britain that belongs to the 19th century, and his words incite the kind of action that leads to prejudice, fear, and, as tends to happen under such circumstances, violence.
So JK Rowling was right in a sense.
But, and this makes all the difference, if you’re going to specifically blame Farage for British extremism, you also have to blame someone else for other forms of extremism, including Islamist extremism. You can’t sit that one out, simply deflecting the haters on the web. If you’re assigning responsibility, you have to post a picture of some radical Islamist cleric, too, or some radical state theocracy known for promoting terrorism and blame them openly for their stance.
Saudi Arabia, for example. Wahhabi Islam. Islamic State. Anjem Choudary. Someone.
Only then does pointing the finger amount to something effective.
Rowling may yet do this — it would be the right thing to do — but it’s not easy to do the right thing.
Fans of the Harry Potter canon may have picked up on a jibe that is not fun to make. It pains me to use Rowling’s words against her, one of my favorite authors, but she is opting for the easy thing, foregoing the right one. She does make a big difference on the web with her anti-hate tweets, which is certainly a hard task in itself, and right on all counts, but not right enough. It falls short of the mark. It gives in to fear and double standards, addressing only part of the picture.
Fear is holding people back from pointing the finger at suspect clerics and/or agents behind the radicalization of everyday people, plus the dodgy organizations that fund them and support them, including Wahhabi extremist radical theocracies like Saudi Arabia and their proxies, not to mention parts of Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Qatar, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and, of course, the entirety of Islamic State aka Daesh. They, like parts of the USA (military industrial complex, Trumpism), Israel (extreme right parties), Poland (extreme right parties), Hungary (same as Poland), Greece (Golden Dawn and SYRIZA, to each their own), France (National Frontism), Russia, (kleptocracy) and many other places, promote extremism. They’re to blame for their share of extremist incidents in their respective spheres of influence and sometimes beyond, to each their own. We’e talking economic, political, judicial, military, administrative, or cultural and colonial extremism. It depends on the case study.
We’ve said everything there is to say about these places — USA, Poland, Russia, Israel etc and their respective roles in their respective forms of extremism, the prejudice they promote through their agendas and systems, the harm they commit unto others, the fear they spread, the destabilization they promote.
How about we use the exact same words with equal fervor to address the extremism supported and promoted and made possible by Saudi Arabia and IS, and parts of Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran etc. How about we are clear in our condemnation of them?
Alas, fear is holding us back — fear and/or double standards.
And what double standards! Quite peculiar, no doubt about it, as peculiar as the standards employed by the out-of-control parts of the West we so readily (and justifiably) criticize. We fail to point the finger spherically. We address the problem only partly, playing patsy to who knows what impulse under the surface.
The answer leads back to fear. People are afraid to voice their opposition to Islamic theocracy, unwilling to point out its extremism. They just want it to go away magically, with the wave of a wand.
It says a lot about us and our constitution. It weakens our cause a great deal, making it impossible to gain ground on the matter because we, like the ones we castigate and oppose, are making no sense whatsoever. We are super partial in our application of morality, even as we strive to be open-minded and inclusive. We deem all Islamist terrorists sick individuals who have nothing to do with the systems in whose name they spread death and destruction, but when we’re talking Christian terrorists, or British terrorists, or someone easier to speak of, we seek to blame the greater system. We have no trouble assigning responsibility beyond these sick bastards. We’re suddenly brave enough to follow the stink all the way to the British top.
How about we follow the stink all the way to the top in Islamist cases, too?
It’s simple. We either go after all instigators, looking for the roots of the problems we are currently facing, or perish under extremist fire, to which we can then add the fire of all those pissed off at us on account of our double standards — those affected by our convenient version of assigning blame.
Time to snap out of our trance, ladies and gents. Point the finger at the people behind the Islamist attacks and call them out, to each our own, just as we do with the hateful politicians / puppets / cronies among us, the ones who foment fear and prejudice. Call them out and shame them, hold them responsible. Point to all perpetrators of terrorism, all its backers and supporters and fomenters, no holding back, and people will surely respond in a way that bridges the partisan divide, making our argument against terror stronger.
Until then, our cause is weak.
It’s not advisable to keep the cause weak. It works against us, feeding all kinds of imbeciles, such as Nigel Farage, giving his and his clones a platform from which to spew their hateful rhetoric.
It’s an advantage we can’t afford to give them, ever.
But we’ll take any argument that snaps us back into reason, no matter who voices it. It’s our obligation to our informed and open society, the one we’re fighting so hard to uphold.
Criticize all terrorists and their supporters, period!
From your vexingly forthright Spin Doctor,
Eyes open, mind sharp.
This is Nigel Farage's blistering response to JK Rowling after the Harry Potter author accused him of "radicalising" people against Muslims.
Geplaatst door LBC op maandag 19 juni 2017