The intelligent quarter percentile of the internet has been asking why the waves of terrorist attacks in the UK in the last few weeks, culminating with a detonated nail bomb in Tipton, Staffordshire, have gone practically unnoticed. The Prime Minister has called no emergency security meetings and made no acknowledgment of the egregious attacks on the citizens he’s supposed to represent, nor has the mainstream media sparked any kind of drive to rectify this. It would probably make a bit more sense if it were made clear that all of the premeditated acts of terrorism in question were targeting (non-IC1) Muslims. Ah, yes. Well…just the work of a few crazies, isn’t it? No need to make a mountain out of a molehill and unnecessarily spark tensions. Surely you can’t compare the nail bomb at the masjid that didn’t actually hurt anyone to Drummer Lee Rigbsy? Come off it… A man was ruthlessly executed purely because of his demographic background by people that were acting on their extremist ideologies, you can’t just trivialise that.
A couple of years ago at a demonstration against a potential Anglo-American invasion of Iran and Syria, I had the (mis)fortune of speaking with a reporter from BBC Radio 1. After making a point of telling me she was “half Iranian, half Pakistani”, she asked if I believed Iran should be allowed to have nuclear weapons (If Israel has nuclear weapons, why not?). “But wouldn’t you say Israel is more…responsible?”
Every narrative regarding East/Global South and West is inexplicably nuanced towards “White governments are civilised and responsible, brown (Muslim) governments are not”. It isn’t Iran that contravenes international law by maintaining a permanent illegal occupation, building illegal settlements, abducting and torturing children, detaining civilians and elected politicians indefinitely without charge, deciding the calorie intake of a blockaded population and accordingly only allowing so much food to be transported in, committing extrajudicial murders on foreign soil, producing false British passports for its assassins or having nuclear weapons, yet we’re still supposed to believe - and many do - that Iran is reckless and Israel is civilised. It seems that the world is happy for countries that occupy Muslim land and appoint instigators of Muslim pogroms to public office to have nuclear capabilities.
It’s the same racist and Islamophobic undercurrents that mould the differing organised and “acceptable” forms of ‘resistance’ against Israel and Syria. Human Rights organisations and particularly the token POCs and natives that staff them will pertinaciously dismiss all ideas of armed resistance for Palestinians or black South Africans. The struggle must be peaceful, with happy clapping, songs, “dialogue” and Carefully Worded Reports that “strongly condemn” the policies of the white settler ‘government’. The campaigns against the “oppressive regime” in the independent Syrian Arab Republic, on the other hand, have no such limitations on rules of engagement. Human Rights organisations and mainstream peace/democracy-purveying media institutions will unabashedly cite the murderous rebel forces as credible ‘human rights observers’. No problem at all.
It is also these same racially biased structures in our society that have the White House inviting Michael Oren to their annual “Iftaar event”, and that elevates “good”, “pragmatic” Muslims to be our representatives. It’s the same skewed parameters of discussion regarding racism that has people thinking calling out “whiteness” as a trait is racist, or that white people can be victims of racism! There are POCs in the West whose minds are so colonised that they think they are on a par in society with their IC1 counterparts, and many take the same, irresponsible policy of “I don’t see race…If we don’t talk about racism it isn’t a problem”. Those that think a “racist” comment made by a POC against white people is equivalent or even comparable to a racist comment - inexorably the product of a racist, societally-endowed mentality - made by a white person against POCs are completely ignoring and disregarding the undeniable context of colonialism and the tangible results of white racism compared to saying “cracker” or talking about bland food.
Racism is a PURELY one way street. In every single country in the world where white people have been or still live, they are materially and socially better off than the natives. White people don’t migrate to ‘brown’ countries to do manual labour work so that the natives can enjoy working in swanky, air-conditioned skyscrapers. Nor do they go to clean, distribute flyers, or flip burgers. One-way traffic.
Disdain for Islam and Muslims is but the 21st Century manifestation of racism. The discourse space is crammed with purportedly socially-conscious atheists that rail against Islam - with this man as their Lord and Master. It is no surprise, in an inherently imperialist, Islamophobic society like this one, that “atheism” is fully focused solely on Islam. They relish the conditions laid out for them to enable crusading neo-imperialism to continue stealing Arab oil. Put it like this, I’ve never heard nor read any “atheist” call out Zionist Orthodox Jew settlers for their “practices” or “beliefs”.
Fortunately, thanks entirely to our witty and almost self-embarrassed culture in this country - compared to our friends across the Atlantic - we don’t have to be so bombastic in our self-proclamations of Britishness (it is better for you if you do, however). My sanity is eternally appreciative that we don’t have to put up with the same fascist nationalist culture that is so emphatic in the USA. Americans are so indoctrinated into believing their country is great, that they’re compelled to pledge allegiance to a flag that putatively protects their freedoms. The freedom that allows a white man to murder a black boy and get away with it, the freedom that denies millions of people healthcare, the freedom that allows unstable individuals to carry firearms into public places, the freedom to let their own cities go bankrupt while donating billions of dollars to prop up vicious apartheid regimes abroad.
We were still, however, brought up in this country to venerate and exalt the “British way of life” and “egalitarian British values”, and to be grateful for the opportunity to grow up and live here. Never mind the past and current barbarity of British imperialism, we ought to be honoured to have been taken in by our fair overlords, lest we be stuck in the savage homeland, without democracy, education or human rights. And of course, if we don’t like it here, we can eff off back to whatever backwater swamp we came from.
But why are we here? Why is Europe rich and the homeland poor? Why do we have clean running water, electricity and relative personal and religious freedom - so we’re told - while our people back home, do not? Until these questions become asked and answered on the same platforms that demonise and castigate Muslims, we will not be equals.
Discussions of Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Indian nuclear ambitions are not off-topic tangents when it comes to understanding the double standards of ‘terrorism’ in the UK/US. It’s the same approach by our ruling elite to those issues that are reflected in the domestic problems POCs and Muslims have to put up with here. Our liberation will not - cannot - come from normalising the racist structure that oppresses us. The prosperity of the ruling elite is dependent on our marginalisation. As long as the seeds for the “White is Civilised, Black is Uncivilised” tree continue to be sown in our consciences, we will never see things clearly. The legal and education systems and the narratives they produce are designed to sustain and perpetuate the disparities in our society, so why should we be surprised when the dice won’t come up with thirteen?