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Yes, another marriage rant… Continue reading

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The “Real” Dewsbury News

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Incidentally, the picture associated with this blog is of an EDL march that took place in Dewsbury in June 2012. When I typed “The Real Dewsbury News” into Google, the first two links Google threw back were the twitter account and facebook page of The Real Dewsbury News… the third was the facebook  page associated with the EDL. The picture used by The “Real” Dewsbury News on the article in question can be found at the bottom of this page.

NOTE: As an aside to the contributors and editors of the aforementioned publication, I could have embedded hyperlinks on the big words, since your grasp of the English language is, at best, around the Primary School level, but I just didn’t have time, so I suggest you take your time and purchase a dictionary before you read this. I also note that you are unable to understand grammar, so you just ignore the squiggly lines that sometimes accompany a word and we can cover that another day, yeah? Amusing, is it not dear readers, that these so called writers of the news cannot get to grips with their mother tongue and yet expect us to be dictated to by them on the subject of international politics?

You may be wondering why I am attacking, and rather rudely at that, such an insignificant independent organisation*. The reason is because I am absolutely fucking livid at the authors. It has taken me a week to calm down, although the break has allowed me some reflection and has given me time to resist the urge to simply blurt out something along the lines of: “Boycott The Real Dewsbury News – for it is misinformed, biased sensationalism put about by ignorant, grammatically incorrect cunts!” I wouldn’t want to make such bold, crude statements without qualifying myself and name-calling isn’t going to get us to the root of the problem, now is it? So I will not call them boorish twats and similar vulgarities, for that is mere opinion; but I will say this as fact: they censored me. And I didn’t like it. Not one bit.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

The other day, while blundering around facebook**, I came across what I believed to be a something posted by a friend. I was curious; it appeared that the friend was under the impression that a Muslim holy day was somehow about him. In fact, not just about him: about all of the non-Muslim community in Dewsbury. Which struck me as a rather odd point of view. Why on earth would any Muslim on a holy day give a flying fuck what a non-Muslim was up to? So I commented that Muhammad’s Birthday, for that was the holy day in question, was probably just like Christmas except that they were only closing one road in Dewsbury for a couple of hours rather than taking over every bloody shop on the high street for six weeks. I also made the point that it was unlikely the march down said road in Dewsbury was a direct threat, and was more feasibly an excuse to have a bit of a street party and enjoy whatever respite from work Muslims may be awarded for such celebrations. You know, like we (as in the friend and I) would have done a few weeks earlier with our respective families. On Christmas Eve, for example, were we quaffing beer and mumbling and grumbling in the pub about how we would show those pesky Muslim with our bucks fizz and brightly wrapped gifts? Were we bollocks! We couldn’t have given two shits about what the Muslim community was up to as long as it wasn’t about to start trying to convert us or attempting to harm us in any way. Even less dramatic than not caring: we were completely indifferent to it. And I’m willing to bet that the Muslim community was as equally apathetic about us.

My friend saw it as a march against the non-Muslims, but I could honestly see no reason for that assumption, given that the march wasn’t a march of protest, but a march of faith. He had absolutely nothing but a gut feeling to go on, which I wasn’t prepared to trust as gospel. I like my facts to be cold and steely and hard… and maybe a bit minty.

I was called naïve, which seemed a bit superfluous to the argument and gave me no further insight into why my friend (and, it seemed, quite a few others) believed that the celebration of a Muslim holy day was a direct threat to their safety. I conceded that I might be naïve and that he was entitled to that opinion (not that it had ever been expressed about me before), but then endeavoured to get the conversation back on track. I said that I could possibly be wrong of course, but that it was a bit extreme to assume that we were under attack without further information than: a road in Dewsbury will be closed for a couple of hours for a march. In addition to the march, the road was also closing for waterworks and a 10k race, but that wasn’t at all the focus; apparently fun runners and Yorkshire water are less scary than people with different beliefs.

I informed the group that I worked with some Muslims, considered them friends and was pretty sure they didn’t have any desire to do me ill. I also said that if, when the march ended, war was declared against the non-Muslims then I would most definitely reconsider my stance on the issue; but having nothing to go on other than the bare bones of the thing, I wasn’t about to make scare-mongering assumptions about something of which I knew next to nothing.

Then a brown face appeared next to a comment and I thought: “Huzzah! For we have our v.own Muslim right here to ask. Now we’re cooking with gas.” His comment was simply: “Great day :)”

Immediately, that comment was deleted.

I commented: “Um… you deleted the Asian guy’s comment. Couldn’t you just have asked him what it all means to him?”

The next time I checked back to see what the response was, my comments had gone too, and there was a warning from The “Real” Dewsbury News saying that we had to “keep it clean,” because people were going onto the site to take screen shots of our conversation. I’m still not entirely sure why screen shots would be a problem – I was having a conversation in an open forum, after all. They could screen shot away, as far as I was concerned. In fact, here you are (please note that my comments are no longer there).

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Now, as you are probably aware, I swear like a sodding trooper, and if you have a problem with that, then you can sod off! But, at that moment in time, I was v.calm; I had been on my best behaviour because I hadn’t known the friend with whom I was conversing on the matter v.long, he’s one of my partner’s best friends, and I was genuinely not riled until this point. What I didn’t know until yesterday, was that the The “Real” Dewsbury News contacted this friend in a bid to keep me quite, which enraged me all over again.

I was rather taken aback by my censorship at first. I wondered briefly whether some of the longer words had confused the editors and they’d been under the impression that I was insulting them because they’d been unable to understand plain English.

Of course, this wasn’t the case. I had been excised, as in some Orwellian nightmare. Except that this was a public facebook page in the year 2013; we don’t live in a police state or a dystopian future-world where history is rewritten willy nilly and people are punished for speaking out. I was also blocked from making further comments. So, the comments ran as The “Real” Dewsbury News wanted them to – people winding each other into that mob-mentality because there was no room for mediation or debate. With no alternative way of thinking to diffuse situations like this, people can create a buttress for whatever method of ethnic culling they believe is somehow necessary. Whether you’re fighting others for a religion or a race, it’s all the same – it’s pure hatred channelled into a weak excuse to fight, and the opposition could be anyone. If you’re an angry person and you have to blame others for it, then you will – whether that censure is violent, verbal or internal – and it doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end as long as you can bally well hate them. It’s Pakistani Muslims at the minute; it might be the Chinese next decade, or the Sikhs, or whoever is being surreptitiously portrayed as the “baddie” through certain media vents and channelled into our systems by media osmosis. As in the novel, 1984, the masses are controlled by what they see on a screen – one day being told that they are at war with one country, and the next believing themselves to have always been at war with another. They love Big Brother (they have to love him) and hate Goldstein; daily screaming hatred at the image of this man whom they have never met and have been told to hate. The hatred is no less real for being subliminally implanted in their minds. But I digress; the media portrayals are just one aspect of it. Having one-sided reports and articles on your side only makes you blameless, in your eyes. But in reality it doesn’t make you blameless: it makes you blind and obtuse, and your subconscious should keep you awake at night.

Now, I had had an inkling, because I wasn’t born yesterday, that this paper may have a bias towards the white majority. It does, after all, advertise itself as the paper for the English community of Dewsbury (I believe that they specifically meant the white English community, given that we have rather a lot of English Muslims in this day and age). I had also had a hunch that what I was saying wasn’t going to be particularly popular. But, as I said: nothing I wrote was offensive; it was clean, succinct and open minded. I can’t prove it to you because I was deleted, but you can make your own mind up – I’m not the one trying to quash the opinions of others. In addition, nothing that I wrote was pro-Islam. It certainly wasn’t anti-Islam, but all I had actually asked was why the people making comments had seen fit to go into panic mode about something that would be over and done with in a couple of hours and would only affect them if they happened to be driving down that particular street at that particular time and didn’t have the brain capacity to take an alternative route.

The friend went on to say, because funnily enough he hadn’t been blocked, that he wouldn’t have asked the Muslim guy (also blocked) what the holy day meant to him because of all the corruption in the Islamic faith. Which was also a bizarre thing to say, because unless he knew something that I didn’t about the Asian guy who made the comment, then that Asian guy was just an average bloke. And unless you’re someone way up at the crooked top, you are also the victim of corrupt society. We all are. Show me organised religion and / or politics and I’ll show you corruption.

Oh, you want examples? Ok:

1. Catholic Church. The pope covered up the fact that several hundred priests had been tearing little boys’ arseholes apart. Are you going to tar everyone of the Catholic faith with that brush? Vast swathes of the Irish are Catholic, for a start, so if you applied the same logic that these troglodytes apply to Muslims, the implication would be that Ireland is populated by nonces because some sick fuck kept his gob shut instead of doing the decent thing.

2. The Media. Phone hacking.

3. Church of England. Do I even need to start? A religion that was pushed to the forefront so that some fat, horny king could divorce his older wife and fuck a younger one.

4. The Conservative Party. Sir Peter Viggers spent taxpayers’ money on a duck house not so long ago. I’ve never been a fan of the conservatives, but I’m not going to immediately spurn someone just for voting for the right wing prats. I’m pretty sure some of my friends vote conservative; we may be on disparate sides of the middle, but I love my friends all the same.

5. The Labour Party. Received a million pound donation from the Formula One driver, Bernie Eccleston, then the Labour government changed its policy to allow Formula One to continue being sponsored by tobacco producers. The money was sheepishly returned when all this was found out. I know that at least one of my friends is all about Labour, and she’s as straight up as they come. Just because she votes Labour does not make her approve of the sleaze aspect, and it certainly doesn’t make her sleazy herself.

The average person cannot be judged on the scumminess of those who represent the culture in which they live, because that average person hates the corruption as much as the people outside of that society. I’m willing to bet that your average, hard-working, decent Muslim detests the extreme beardy-weirdies giving them a bad name as much as your average, hard-working, decent non-Muslim hates the violent, extreme opinions of the intellectually repressed. Or as much as your average feminist resents the extreme opinions of a woman who calls herself a feminist merely because she hates men (which, incidentally, makes her just as bad as any woman-hating man and makes feminism look like a hate crime). Or your average, hard-working Brit who likes a drink, but abhors the pissed-up groups of hooligans that stalk the city streets at night terrorising others. And just as your average, civilised Catholic finds the acts of the IRA insufferable.

Muslims don’t kill people – extremists do. An extremist in any regard is a scary person, because an extremist believes that there is one way of life and that that way is their way and if you don’t agree, if you are not exactly like them, they will harm you whether you impinge upon their existence or not. The IRA and Al Qaeda are official terrorist groups that would, given the chance, silence everyone who doesn’t hold the same values. The BNP is a terrorist group posing as a political party (believe me: I have known some BNP voters and what they like to do for fun) and if placed in a position of power would happily go to work to create a police state.

Muslims are not just Muslims; they’re people: they are fathers and mothers and artists and comedians and fashion victims and depressives and optimists and so many other things besides. I am an atheist, but I am not just an atheist. I am working class, but I am not just working class. I am a feminist, but I am not just a feminist. Nobody is ever defined by one belief or act.

One of the Muslim girls I work with has the most amazing, dry sense of humour imaginable; she cracks me up whenever I talk to her. She is also exceptionally intelligent, quick-witted and beautiful.

One of my Muslim mates will shag anything in a skirt and has a backlog of anecdotes that could entertain you for hours. Every single time he comes back from visiting family in Pakistan, he is interrogated in the airport and worries because he has to say he’s going to Leeds… “I was like: ‘Ohhhhhh fuck: it’s where the suicide bombers were from’.” He was the one to stand up to a colleague who thrust his face into the breasts of another colleague at the Christmas party and expertly diffuse the situation without causing violence or embarrassment. He is a wicked cricketer and footballer and will do anything for anyone.

Another Muslim colleague of mine will not use his real name and goes by a western one instead. He is the laddiest lad I’ve ever met, which irritates the life out of me, but he’s only young, bless his cottons. He gets wasted, he throws himself around dance floors, he bangs on about which chicks he wants to bone, he does everything he can to fit in with western society. And yet a few months ago, on a night out in London with mates he had his head kicked in by a gang of yobs. He has had extensive corrective surgery on his face and needs to go back for more, and there was a v.strong possibility that he would lose the sight in one eye, which, thankfully, has returned. He is twenty two years old.

I have to mention, having gleaned more info this v.day, that the lad in the above scenario is actually Hindi. I did think it was odd that a guy with Indian parents would be Muslim, but since you do get a few Muslims in India, I didn’t really question it. However, I doubt the fact that he is a Hindu would stop a white supremacist from beating ten shades of shit out of him.

Here’s the rub: I am not pro-Islam. I am not in favour of any religion***. I don’t like the racism that religion breeds, or the misogyny, or the cliques, or the general bigotry and hatred. But I do not think that anyone should be persecuted for having a religion. As long as you’re doing others no harm and not foisting it on me, you can go ahead and believe in your imaginary friends and everything that pertains thereto. Knock yourself out. I won’t be bothering you about your beliefs as long as you don’t bother me with them. You can reiki the shit out of yourself, if you like, just as long as you don’t intend to hurt anyone with it. You just pop your homeopathic cure into your mouth and feel better for it, if it works for you; it doesn’t work for me, but who am I to judge? Confess every time you have a bad thought, if you must, but don’t expect judgement from me. Don’t want to eat bacon because you believe it to be dirty? All the more of the yummy pig-meat for me. I confess that I’m tremendously upset by automatic genital mutilation to male (and particularly female) children, but if you must, do not touch me or mine†.

There are, of course, cultural differences that need to be addressed. As in the case of Adil Rashid, the eighteen year old who was recently allowed a reprieve from a prison sentence because he “didn’t know it was illegal to have sex with a thirteen year old girl.” He had been taught that women had “no more worth than a lollipop dropped on the ground” in a strict Islamic school. Naturally, this gets my goat. I don’t like that it happens in other countries, but I am v.lucky to live in this country, where women are allowed their freedom and basic human rights… now. So when that sort of thing happens here, it enrages me that it was allowed to happen. I absolutely agree that Muslim parents should have the right to bring their kids up as Muslim themselves, but those kids should also be taught to conform to British basic human laws and to understand the worth that the British law places on our women (even if it is severely lacking in some regards). It is the responsibility of our school boards to ensure that our schools teach children appropriately, and it is the responsibility of Muslim parents and Imams to ensure that their children obey the rules of this country if they are to reside here. It is also the responsibility of the immigration officials to make sure that people taught abroad understand our laws and ethics before allowing them into the country. I’m not talking about us being pussies here; I’m not saying that England should be a free-for-all playground for people to use and abuse; I’m just suggesting that we conduct ourselves with decorum and compassion, like the civilised people we should all be.

Currently, the Muslim integration into British society is not without its pitfalls: the frequency of trafficking of white girls by groups of Muslim men, for example, which has recently come to light. I heard a young, English Muslim speaking on Radio 4 recently who said that the opinion amongst some of the older Muslims is that “white women are asking to be raped” where the majority of the younger Muslims don’t believe this at all. This put me in mind of our older generations who verbally persecute someone for being black or gay or female or Asian, and constantly rile the younger generations with their prejudice; like I said, Muslims are just human beings like any other when it boils down to it. To have the discriminatory opinion is intolerant; but it is one thing to believe something and quite another to act upon it. As with the issue of the equality of women: it is not yet ideal, but it is slowly improving all the time, generation upon generation. The traffickers in question should be severely punished. All human traffickers should be severely punished, and now that it has come to light, it is up to the decent members of society, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to prevent this from ever happening again by teaching children from a young age how to act accordingly.

But back to the spark that conjured my wrath. Editor of The “Real” Dewsbury News facebook page – you silence anyone who questions you wherever you can and I can only assume that your ideology would be a police state run by your most like-minded and blondest friends. But we have freedom of speech and equal rights here, and those are among the many things that make this country great. It goes hand in hand with our ability to adapt, our humanity and our multiculturalism. It’s the backward ignoramuses that slow our cerebral evolution as a society that scare me more than anything. With your childishly simplistic, black and white views on which you will allow no further comment or no room for improvement you are inciting hatred, and that makes you no better than the Islamic extremists who hate you. And dude – Dewsbury is the home of hundreds of Muslims, so to exclude their voices from your articles makes The “Real” Dewsbury News, not really real in any regard.

EPILOGUE

Do you know, I wrote a little song the other day. I feel that song coming on now, although I know it to be clichéd… ahem ahem…

 

Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitleeeeeeerrrrrrr,

Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hit…

… lerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr was a fascist wanker!

 

Oh, I beg your pardon – that came from out of the blue.

Guys, I implore you to comment on what I’ve written. I appreciate that I may have allowed some grammatical or lexical errors to leak through, in which case please do let me know so that I can learn from, or learn of, the mistake and correct it.

Please do let me know if there is any aspect that you agree or disagree with. In the same vein as my typing skills, my opinions are not complete because I have in no way stopped growing and learning, or honing my views. I hope I never lose the ability to consider a contrary argument, appreciate it and perhaps, after careful consideration, absorb some of its elements. But be aware that simple name-calling will just mean that I ignore the comment… not delete it because I am not a total fucking moronic bell-end.

I hope that I haven’t offended anyone (who isn’t the editor, contributor or writer of The “Real” Dewsbury News) – my comments on religion should be taken with a pinch of salt††. I have no faith, but I appreciate that others do and I appreciate the importance of those beliefs to the faithful.

Did you say encore? Yes, it is a catchy tune, isn’t it? Ok then… ahem ahem…

 

Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitleeeeeeerrrrrrr,

Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hit…

… lerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr was a fascist wanker!

FOOTNOTES

* I may be wrong, but in the short time since being made aware of the existence of The Real Dewsbury News, I have been unable to find a hard copy of the “newspaper.” I believe it to be web-based only, although I do apologise profusely if I am mistaken. I didn’t realise just how insignificant this publication was either until I began to do some digging, but I’ve started now, so I’ll finish.

** Bloody facebook!

*** Except maybe Hindu because if you’re going to make some stories up about some magic people in the sky, they may as well have eight arms! That’s one amazingly imaginative religion. In the Hindu religion, a cow gave birth to the world. A cow! I love it! I honestly love it. I have also adored every single Hindu I’ve ever met, although I haven’t met many, I grant you. Lovely, gentle people, as far as I’m aware. I could be wrong, but I like to think not.

† Or I will rip your fucking heart out!

†† Apart from my comments about the pope, because, as Tim Minchin says: “… the fact remains that if you protect a single kiddie fucker / Then pope or prince or plumber, you’re a fucking motherfucker.” But then that is a comment on the individual, not on every catholic. In the same way that I believe Osama Bin Laden to be (to have been?) a total goddamn cock of the highest order, but don’t believe that of all Muslims.

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The picture that accompanied the article in question. I’m pretty sure that’s not Dewsbury either. I actually couldn’t find any pictures at all of the march in Dewsbury in respect of Muhammad’s birthday.

On the other hand, this is another picture of an EDL march in Dewsbury…

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Oh, and another. Classy…!

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