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By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319064
I'm beginning to think we live in times similar to the 1930s, when democracy was in retreat, and intolerance, especially racial and religious, was used by interested parties to build their support, ending in war and genocide.

This began last century, with the rise of Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. As we all understand, some political movements have found it useful to them to stoke the intolerance those movements have bred.

In 2010 the French National Assembly passed a law against the concealment of the face in public spaces. This, of course, actually meant veiled Muslim women, not men in crash helmets. Many in Britain continue to call for a similar law here.

And this is where it leads. Thugs and bullies now feel they have permission to attack, assault and persecute women wearing not only the burqa, but also the hijab, which is legal in France as the face isn't covered.

A 21 year-old in Paris has been attacked, her hijab torn off, her hair cut off, and when she pleaded with her attackers because she was pregnant they kicked her in the stomach until she lost her baby. You may want to read that again, or you may not.

http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_g ... sId=318574" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The story is also covered in some (left-wing) French newspapers
http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2013/0 ... ebe_911721" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It's even covered, with spin, by the Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -face.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Only the Mail and the Independent seem to have covered the story in the UK.

The comments are pretty much what you would expect at the Mail, no comments at the Indy.

Nicolas Sarkozy, Tommy Robinson, Nick Griffin, Nigel Farage, Jack Straw. You have sown the whirlwind, now look at the harvest. One more nudge towards an intolerant, hateful future.
By canus insanus
Membership Days
#319066
This is something which makes me intolerably sad and despairing at times. What makes it worse is that people who wish to be public servants for this country are actively trying to make political profit from other people's circumstances; I posted on another forum to some particularly vicious and nasty EDL types that they were glorying in Lee Rigby's murder, rather than protesting about it, and it's things like this where they quite honestly don't give a shit about Lee Rigby, his family or any other circumstance - save the fact that they can cash in on "it was them muslims what did it and we're all next".

Fear, the potential takeover from foreign elements, cashflow problems - they're all great weapons by the Establishment to batter our insecurities, but you won't find an MP or higher public servant being directly inconvenienced by any of those things. And this is what odious creatures like Farage make me sick about. He will never have to worry about his next meal or mortgage payment, and he's got a German wife don'tcha know, so he's not racist, like.

The only positivity that we must focus on, and must not let slip, is the buoyant optimism that the nation's kids have; we gripe and groan that they all like shit music, dress like the Harlem ghetto or have no respect bruv, but you barely see kids being divisive over colour or religion - and we must encourage and ensure this glorious multiculturalism and tolerance among our next generations.

And we must regain the nation's flag and media.
 
By ezinra
Membership Days Posts
#319104
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:And this is where it leads. Thugs and bullies now feel they have permission to attack, assault and persecute women wearing not only the burqa, but also the hijab, which is legal in France as the face isn't covered.
As I tried to argue on the Mail vs Muslims thread, I'm hesitant about making the link between this law (which is, of course, awful) and the assault (which is unspeakably evil). I'm not convinced that violent racists such as these would be any less likely to beat up a covered woman in the absence of such a law.

Also, perhaps because the sun is out and I had a nice deep sleep last night, I'm going to resist your 1930s analogy, and your pessimism overall. I would much rather be a Muslim woman in Paris in 2013 than a Jewish woman in Paris in 1938. Militias like the one that killed Clément Méric last month have no support from the authorities, the media or the population. The police are far from perfect, but they're not led by Maurice Papon any more, and if they were to murder 100 Arabs by dumping them in the Seine, it would be met with more than a shrug of the shoulders. France is, like Britain, a properly diverse country, and minorities have a greater degree of institutional and organisational strength than ever before. That's not necessarily enough in the face of an undoubted rise in right-wing know-nothing populism*. But it is something.

*If I were to draw a historical analogy, I might plump for this — the succession of populist 'anti-politics' movements in the 19th century US. Some of the same conditions were present: the lack of class consciousness or a class-based political movement; racial anxiety and panic about the effects of immigration; rapid economic and demographic change; governments intransigent over an economic policy that was seen to benefit the prosperous elite; and a press that, especially in the south and the midwest, existed purely to further its proprietors' interests and to spread their prejudices.
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319108
Resist it all you want.

Your attempt to unhitch attacks on Muslim women for having their faces covered to a law which pandered to the right-wing forces that demanded that Muslim women not have their faces covered seems strained. Think about the permissions the law gives for behaviour.

Then read this:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/matthew ... 0003&ir=UK" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Children's Society is very disappointed that the government has in fact worsened anti-social behaviour measures for children. We fear that the measures could seriously affect the way children go about living their everyday lives.

The bill proposes to replace the ASBO with a new Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNA). This injunction radically widens the scope of the types of behaviour subject to anti-social behaviour measures. It can be used for children as young as 10 if they behave in a way that is capable of causing "nuisance and annoyance". This is instead of causing "harassment, alarm and distress", as defined by ASBOs.

This lower threshold will cover a huge range of normal childhood behaviour and could result in many more children being unnecessarily drawn into the criminal justice system.
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319115
Really?

One way or another there is a clear indication of a link. It doesn't much matter whether or not it was the headcovering or the religion that caused the attack because they are both part of the same 'fault' in the eye of the attacker. Intolerance of difference writ large.
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319120
The law and the attack are both examples of growing intolerance. The law shows that the intolerance is becoming normalised and institutionalised. My inference is that this normalisation emboldens the intolerant.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#319123
Burqa bans might not be the direct cause of racist attacks, but they do give succour to racists - the more governments cave in to the lobbying of the reactionary right, the more emboldened it is. But generally I agree with Ezinra's post. Minorities are now in a far stronger position in most European countries than they were in the 1930s, which makes the job of the far right considerably harder now. Nevertheless, the complacency and denialism among the mainstream European political class is striking. Just take a look at Hungary and Greece. The far right is really setting the agenda there by dragging the mainstream right towards it, and there's been little by way of a response from the EU.
By Andy McDandy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319124
I thought, last year, that a corner had been turned. The jubilee and the Olympics seemed to present to the world a country essentially happy with itself despite the best efforts of its leaders. A confident country, a welcoming, tolerant, happy one. Despite everything else.

And you know what? I think it is still there. Talk to people individually, face to face, and it's there. Talk to the DM reader I met the other day who quite happily said 'it's a load of old crap, and they seem to go over the top about every little thing nowadays; in fact I'm thinking of switching to the Independent'. However, there is an ugly undercurrent out there. It's fuelled by the fact that the media get their feedback there days online, where reaction is instant and frightening. Never mind the fact that comment feeds are the modern equivalent of the late night phone in or the green-inked letter - those were limited (by their format) to quite low numbers. Online comments (and red/green arrows) can be duplicated and suggest a much higher backing for an idea than the hard core of posters they represent.

It leads to a race to the bottom in the media, a dearth of ideas. Not helped by a proliferation of TV channels and a stretching thin of finite funds. Quality gives way to quantity, and above all else, NOISE takes over. Format edges out innovation, structure (even in drama) becomes more important than content*.

You know what it reminds me of? The second series of the House of cards trilogy, 'To Play the King'. If you remember, it was set a year or two into Francis Urquhart's reign, and there were constant touches (background events, hints at the edge of the frame) to indicate a growing cheapening of life. Homelessness on the rise. Random violence (from mugging to state sponsored murder) increasing. A growing disconnect between the rich and poor. A loss of concern and empathy for others. Plenty of characters spoke out against it, but ultimately all they did was speak.

*Here's a good one. Look at any TV or radio show - even a drama or comedy show - and see how they're increasingly defined by a 'spots' structure. Bits that have to be crammed in, preferably at set, timed points, and the actual content is just allowed to wash around it, a bit like the old jar of stones and sand analogy they use in management seminars. So what you get is good items or plotlines cut off in mid flow because they have to fit in the newspaper review/Jimmy Carr's monologue/'let's go backstage to catch up on all the gossip or read out your text messages'/obligatory Dany and her bloody dragons scene in.
 
By youngian
Membership Days Posts
#319127
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:I'm beginning to think we live in times similar to the 1930s, when democracy was in retreat, and intolerance, especially racial and religious, was used by interested parties to build their support, ending in war and genocide.

This began last century, with the rise of Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. As we all understand, some political movements have found it useful to them to stoke the intolerance those movements have bred.

In 2010 the French National Assembly passed a law against the concealment of the face in public spaces. This, of course, actually meant veiled Muslim women, not men in crash helmets. Many in Britain continue to call for a similar law here.

Only the Mail and the Independent seem to have covered the story in the UK.

The comments are pretty much what you would expect at the Mail, no comments at the Indy.

Nicolas Sarkozy, Tommy Robinson, Nick Griffin, Nigel Farage, Jack Straw. You have sown the whirlwind, now look at the harvest. One more nudge towards an intolerant, hateful future.
There has been some nasty elements among the French centre right which have stirred the racist pot while shielding themselves behind the mantel of secular enlightenment. Also I remember being gobsmacked at Chirac using even more crude language about foreigners and their smelly foods. The sort of thing you'd expect an 80s Tory backbencher to say rather than the President of the French Republic.

But to be fair Cameron and Boris Johnson are 19th century inpsired liberals and don't have much stomach for going around telling people what they should and shouldn't wear.

There has always been faultlines in Thatcherite Conservatism as regards to personal liberty and immigration but I agree that the swivel eyed fruitcase are on the march and this backbench Conservative party in-take contains some of the most reactionary elements since the late 80s.
By Andy McDandy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319129
new puritan wrote:Burqa bans might not be the direct cause of racist attacks, but they do give succour to racists - the more governments cave in to the lobbying of the reactionary right, the more emboldened it is. But generally I agree with Ezinra's post. Minorities are now in a far stronger position in most European countries than they were in the 1930s, which makes the job of the far right considerably harder now.
In Germany/Czechoslovakia/France/much of Poland etc in the 30s, Jews were fully integrated into society - it wasn't Fiddler on the Roof and kosher villages we were talking about, you likely worked for and with Jews, banked with Jews, schooled with Jews and so on. Indeed, it was this existence within mainstream society that gave rise to many common slurs against them - being greedy capitalists, not pulling their weight in wars, running a shadow society etc. Of course those Jewish communities that were separate got it in the neck for not integrating enough, dressing different to the mainstream, and so on. Just like today where the ethnic minority du jour is both coming over here and taking all the jobs, and sitting around hoovering up benefits. Or keeping to themselves while simultaneously Wanting Our Women.

BTW Ezinra, great analogy to the Know-Nothings. Although to be perfectly honest, I'd love to see Farage go toe to toe with Bill the Butcher.
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#319140
Andy - I wish I could be optimistic. Yes, the Olympic year was good, and most young people are very decent and tolerant. Good people are seeing good things.
But not everything is good. The rise of UKIP, arson attacks on mosques, newspapers stirring racial hatred, moderate politicians trimming to suit extremist opposition...

It's all too Weimar for my taste.
 
By youngian
Membership Days Posts
#319145
Andy McDandy wrote: In Germany/Czechoslovakia/France/much of Poland etc in the 30s, Jews were fully integrated into society - it wasn't Fiddler on the Roof and kosher villages we were talking about,
Like wise most people of Algerian origins in France have grown up to be model French citizens and similarly the Windrush generation were confirmed Brits before they arrived. And have these people been free of racism? I don't think so.

This "foreigners don't want to integrate" line is a red herring for the racist right, they will always find an 'other' to rail against and a reason to do so.
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