Saturday, October 07, 2006

Scarves n Stuff pt1

One day, a few years ago, we were sitting outside the visitors centre at a National Park in Kentucky waiting for a tour to start when my other half pointed out an unusually dressed family also waiting for a tour. Maybe they were Amish, maybe they were Mennonites, maybe they were something else. I’m no expert. They certainly looked the part – a bearded patriarch of a husband, a wife half his age and three daughters, all dressed like it was 1860; sitting quietly and minding their own business.

“Cool”, I thought

For reasons that shouldn’t need explaining, I didn’t take any pictures of them

Other people did not feel quite so inhibited and after a few minutes a small crowd of gaping morons had gathered around the family, snapping away - some of them even going so far as to instruct their partners and children to stand next to the family to get in the shot.

It was like feeding time at the zoo.

Even though it was none of my business I got really, really annoyed, stomped over to the crowd, started taking photos of the morons taking pictures of the family and called out to my girlfriend to stand next to ‘these fucking idiots over here so that I can take a picture and show the people back home’.

It wasn’t a pleasant scene. My Dearest wasn’t having any of it. The Amish/ Mennonites began to look even more uncomfortable and the crowd started to look nasty on top of moronic.

Fortunately, before I really hit my stride, the tour buses turned up and everyone went their own separate ways.

It wasn’t that I was annoyed at the other people for wanting to take pictures of the unusual looking family – I’ve fallen prey to those kind of urges plenty of times – it was the complete and total lack of respect for them as human beings that was so shameful. The photographers didn’t have the common decency to either...

a) Ask permission before taking the pictures, or
b) At least be sneaky about it

instead they just carried on as if that family was a paid exhibit or, nearer to the mark, dumb animals.

What the entire episode drummed home to me was that if you are a little different to the herd, the herd has absolutely no problem with treating you like non people.

So, it doesn't take a mind-stretching exercise in empathy to understand why the Amish, or the Mennonites, prefer to live in their own tight-knit little communities rather than put up with crap like that every day.

I was reminded of this story partly because of all the bonus attention the most recent school massacre in the States is receiving because the victims were Amish (i.e. Freaks) but I am also reminded because of the latest heap of horse manure our beloved former foreign secretary is shovelling...

Cabinet Minister Jack Straw has waded further into the row over his call for Muslim women to remove their veils by saying he would like the garments to be discarded totally.

Apparently, such a move would improve community relations and facilitate improved ‘face to face’ communication.

Well, dark sunglasses and facial hair must be right out then too.

And so the sustained campaign to blame Muslims for all our ills trundles on. I'm not 100% sure where the politicians and media are taking us on this one but whatever the destination is I'm pretty sure it's going to be vile.

So, British Muslims aren’t feeling alienated because our government accuses entire communities of tacitly supporting terrorists or because we have been party to the slaughter of thousands of innocents across Asia and the Middle East in fucked up, ill-conceived wars. It's not even because Jack Straw's own government has packed in so many lovely cheap migrants, Muslim and non Muslim, and sticking them in ghettoes over the last ten years that any prospect of painlessly assimiliating them into our society (whatever that is) was extinguished long ago.


It’s because their women wear fucking scarves

Playing the trivial/ irrelevant difference card, eh? It never fails does it.

You’re a right old cunt Jack

Handshake with a dangerous nutter -
What on Earth possessed Robert Mugabe?


Apprentice said...

A political commentator on the esteemed R4 pointed out Straw's long experience in media relations and the timing of this bizarre commentary. His star has been waning in recent times, being so tied to the PM that there's been an assumption that he'll go when Blair does. So, a deliberate, well timed statement, that's thought through, may be an attempt to show that he is man enough to make 'controversial' issues, a sure sign of political stature.

Eh? Don't we have laws against inciting racial hatred?

That War Crimes Tribunal isn't arriving soon enough.

The Antagonist said...

I think the time has finally arrived when *all* women, regardless of religious persuasion, should adopt niqabs, hajibs and jilbabs in much the same way as *all* men should grow beards in sympathy with the 1000+ men rounded-up and occasionally shot by the state for the crime of being brown and bearded.

BTW, the police busted a BNP dude and dentist friend with the biggest haul ever found of 22 or so chemicals, a rocket launcher and an NBC suit, but don't tell anyone because there aren't any suspect pakis inolved, just the usual white fascists.

The police have determined the men with the largest haul of chemicals ever found are not terrorists despite the prosecution alleging they had a 'master plan' to go with.

It seems the Fascists have forgotten the pasting they got at Cable Street in the 30s and may need to be reminded again soon.

Shahid said...

This time, the fascists are in government.

And if you want to see what Straw looks like wearing a niqab, you could do worse than look at this.

What really got me laughing (with hysteria) was seeing the Evening Standard headlines on posters everywhere last Friday - blairing out (hmmm..) "MUSLIM CABBIE BANS GUIDE DOG"

David said...

If America was a monarchy, that hut would probably wualify as a palace ;-)

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of a Britishness test ... if Jack Straw tries to tell you how to dress and you don't tell him to piss-off, you should be deported.