Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I'm back. Why?

So, what's been happening while I've been stuck away in my little hidey-hole in Calvados listening to Radio 4 while being smoked to death by a misbehaving log-fire?

Not a lot, really. A long dead story about some cartoons was dragged up on a slow news day and the whole world's gone mental. Denmark! Of all places, that's what I can't get my head around. I've been to Denmark many times and I love the place. The populace are a bit insular, they don't really like lots of strangers in their little country but they're not nasty about it. Well, they never used to be in my experience. A bit naive maybe, just like Britain was when The West Indians arrived but nothing more sinister than curiosity among the population at large. In fact, Denmark used to be like dropping through a wormhole into a Britain of 20-30 years previously, such was their enthusiasm for change. Yet these evil devils must now be beheaded on sight. And now they've dragged Norway in, too. OK, they may have a had a Nazi leader in the last war but...OK, I get it; when they constituted themselves as a country at the end of the 19th century they didn't have a native Royal Family so borrowed a bit of the Danish one. That's it then. Burn them!!

Unlike the Nazi (because that's all they are) flag burners and zealots dominating the news, to my knowledge, the Danes haven't actually embarked on an orgy of destruction for the best part of 1100 years when they worked it out of their system on the Anglo-Saxons. And even then, for a large part they needed to get on with the locals and integrated pretty well with only the barest rape and pillage necessary. I dare say the Vikings wouldn't have tolerated the racist nonsense being trotted out by the so-called men of religion. You could count the Normans as being Viking invaders I suppose but I've just been to Normandy and yes, they like a good argument but the last thing they want to do is start smacking around other races. William the C was only getting what he'd been promised, after all. Coincidentally, the village in Normandy I was staying nearby to, Balleroy, is twinned with the ancient Viking capital of Ribe in Jutland. Go to Ribe and climb the cathedral spire. It's a grand view.

So what have we got? An explosion of Islamaphobia? No. There's a distinct dissatisfaction with a faith being forced upon a reluctant west through fear, though . That's terrorism. Do as we say or you're an infidel and must be killed. That's not religion. That's not the faith of Islam as I understood it to be or the one glorified by some of the most beautiful architecture to grace this planet. These cartoons (and I've not seen them, either, so I have that in comon with the millions of protesters) aren't mocking Mohammed, they're expressing disgust at anyone who uses religion as the basis for hate. I've known Muslims for years and none of them hated anyone. I worked in a multi ethnic drawing office in the early 80s and the Muslims joined in the jokes along with the Jews and the Hindus, even joking about the privations of Ramadan. But there was respect on all sides and nobody got hurt.

And the fear is working. We have councils all over Britain calling Christmas by all sorts of ridiculous names and banning depictions of the nativity in case somebody gets upset and blows up the centre of Builth Wells. Maybe these new laws on religious hatred should also have clauses on provoking fear. Moreover, this country has bent further over backwards than any other in trying to make our laws non-sectarian and all embracing in order to accomodate religious sensitivity. We do all this to protect minorities from the occasional home-grown tosser who thinks that violence is the answer and apparently it's all for nothing. They've enough tossers of their own.

Sadly, the west doesn't understand that there's no reasoning with zealots who would rather die for their faith than listen to well meaning do-gooders. Well, if they're that fond of martyrdom, clear the streets next time and give them a dose of what Private Eye's Cab Driver No 94 used to call, "The only language they seem to understand." Sounds cruel, I know but nobody loses. Personally, I'd rather take my chances in this life than take the risk of there being a field full of scantily-clad spectral temptresses wielding warm bottles of Timothy Taylor's Landlord IPA waiting for me in the afterlife. The guy who rather inadvisedly turned up wearing a mock suicide bomber's vest must have known he was damn lucky not to have ended up full of holes. By the way, for a religion that largely frowns on artifical stimuli, that guy was a convicted drug dealer. Nice. Is that allowed under Sharia law? Kill my children with crack but don't even think of questioning the prophet? Where's the trade-off? Do they actually understand what religion's meant to be about?

To accommodate suicide bombers or those others to whom the promise of paradise and an endless supply of virgins is enough to make martyrdom a viable lifestyle choice, the government should make available one of those islands used for germ warfare tests in the last war and a large pile of one of Norway's premium exports, dynamite. Then they could blow themselves up legitimately, without hindrance or arousing any kind of hatred. I'd even admire them. It's a rather extreme form of immolation admittedly but they seem quite willing to do it on tube trains so why not in the open air where we can all watch and applaud. From a distance, naturally.

I'm no bigot though. I just don' t like religion for precisely this reason. Anything that can inspire hatred of this kind is bad. There was no concept of good and evil until religion defined it; you offended and you paid for it presumably but now we have thousands of theologians re-defining what's good and what's not all over the world. For the benefit of...?

Now a bit about Nick Griffin. If anybody heard the final programme of The Now show on Radio 4 last week they would have heard Marcus Brigstock's neat little piece on the BNP child-molesting (freedom of speech - I heard it from someone, just the same way he heard rumours and recycled them as the truth. I'm waiting for him to sue me. He hasn't yet. Anyway, with those little chubby legs and too-close-together piggy eyes he must be. Stands to reason, eh? ) leader, Nick Griffin. If you didn't, here's the gist: Griffin isn't a racist. It's official, the court says so. That must be a tremendous disappointment to the tens of people who joined the BNP thinking that it was indeed a party founded on purely racist grounds by John Tyndall and still believe it to be. What a singular failure! Has anyone pointed out to the membership yet that the BNP isn't racist and that they can get their money back? Griffin, you don't kid anyone and if you or your little orcs turn up on my doorstep spouting their bile, they'll end up in the recycling bin.

I just want to live in peace. I don't care who alongside, I want to be able to shake their hand and not be scared.

2 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Tennessee Jed said...

I just want to live in peace. I don't care who alongside, I want to be able to shake their hand and not be scared.

Well said and welcome back!

11:52 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Thank you, Jed.

1:45 pm  

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