Raif Badawi tells of flogging in ordeal in letter from Saudi prison http://gu.com/p/473hb/stw
21st century – but still many millions do not enjoy free speech and freedom of conscience.
Amongst the political cutlery drawer of manipulative political tools there is one that has not received the attention it deserves, and that is the deliberate creation of social taboos.
Coming from Northern Ireland I grew up with the social taboos of virtually never discussing politics or religion. These topics were very vigorously discussed by my parents, especially by my mother who, to say the least, was not in love with Irish culture. She had come across the world from Australia believing she was coming to England. How was she to know that a geographical distance that was tiny by Australian standards, a mere twenty miles the closest point between Ireland and mainland Britain, could be such a yawning chasm in culture.
I had only been in England a few weeks when an English person, hearing my Irish accent happily dived into the deep end by starting a conversation about both politics and religion. Although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, this was my first revelation of what free speech meant, and I welcomed it. I was home at last.
Thirty years on I don’t feel so at home. I am now surrounded by people who quietly appraise you before opening their mouths, and 90 percent of the time, decide not to. How can people deal with the reality they are living in if they can’t talk about it? How can issues and problems be properly discussed if people are afraid to talk about their concerns? We are now living in a country where a competent professional, with no blemish on his professional expertise or character can have his career ended because of what he thinks. And that thought isn’t even radical, but commonplace.
In thirty years the free English, Scots and Welsh have been reduced to craven serfs, like the North Irish have always been.
How has this come about? Our quisling politicians have a lot to answer for. But perhaps a better question is, why?
Perhaps looking at the subjects which were and have recently become taboo, will shed some light.
Take the word “eugenics”. Even saying it causes an involuntary wince, so good has been the conditioning. Eugenics of course was practiced by Hitler with his forced sterilisation and slaughter programmes. The pleasant modern word for this is “ethnic cleansing” which sounds like an admirable health and hygiene routine. Cleaning the word up, the correct word being massacre, makes it half respectable. So maybe ethnic cleansing is about to make a comeback. But since Hitler the taboo word “eugenics” has totally prevented examination of whether eugenics was being practised in the West.
Forced adoption, or in many cases, child kidnapping has been practised in the West for decades. Being born in the fifties, as a white working class woman, I grew up with the awareness that any pregnancy outside of marriage would probably result in forced adoption, where the child would be placed with a nice middle class family. But there were exceptions to the forced adoptions. Social Workers and religious establishments were not interested in handicapped children, mixed race children, or having children adopted where the mother did not have the intelligence to avoid impregnation by a criminal or psychopath.
The ideal mother was white, working or lower middle class and who had got pregnant “by mistake” by a normal, healthy, intelligent man. (the mistake being, the man got the woman pregnant, then ran away).
In overview it appears that working class white women were being used to provide prime babies for the middle class.
In the 1970’s I met a working class woman while at University who suffered epilepsy as a result of being hit by a car (the driver’s fault) when a child. It often occurred that she would have a fit in a public place and wake up in hospital. On one occasion she woke up in a mental hospital and the Social Workers told her she would not be released until she signed over her young daughter for adoption.
A eugenics programme, being carried out in the West but out of sight of public discourse because the subject of eugenics has been made a social taboo.
One might deduce then, that if the establishment deliberately manufactures a taboo subject, then that is a topic they want swept under the carpet, then nailed down.
Subjects that British people have become wary of talking about in the last thirty years. Race, religion, Muslims, foreign cultures, British culture, history, particularly British history, the EU, immigration, gypsies. Crime, especially crime imported by criminals taking advantage of open borders, pick pocketing gangs. Unemployment – in the context of shortage of jobs as opposed to vilifying people not working due to not being able to find any, including people on their death beds and the elderly. Terrorism, the real kind not the thought crimes the authorities are so zealous about. Overpopulation and inferior, over-priced housing. Shed cities sprouting in suburban gardens near London, ignored by Councils who don’t allow British citizens to house their own children who can’t afford to live anywhere else, in garden accommodation.
Is there a pattern here? Topics that immediately affect people’s lives have been cleverly reconstructed as taboo, with swingeing penalties attached if the taboo is broken. Subjects that the establishment don’t want people to talk about, subjects relevant to their daily lives and their futures have been deleted from public discussion.
The entire British citizenry has effectively been gagged. Now people discuss these topics, furtively, only with closest friends, making sure there is no stranger nor lamp post listening – as if they were discussing a crime.
I spent the first 30 years of my life in a country where the only free thinkers and free speechers, appeared to be my parents. I loved England the moment I arrived for the opportunity to talk to anybody about anything. That England is dying.
When you stifle speech you stifle thought. And the subjects that most need to be aired, aren’t.
It is overdue for the United Kingdom to have a Bill of Rights after the model of the USA. A free people should have free speech and not have to live under state censorship.
We are free citizens, not serfs.
When someone says something derogatory about someone they might be being discriminatory or they might just be merely descriptive. If what the person is saying is true – after all we have libel and slander laws which recognise the difference between people who tell the truth about someone and people who tell lies – then the statement is justified. No person nor group of people should be allowed to hide their criminal and/or anti-social behaviour behind a claim that telling the truth about them amounts to discrimination.
For example if someone said – gypsies are criminals, blacks are drug dealers, men are rapists – that is discriminatory and prejudiced. However to say that gypsies are disproportionately involved in the crimes of pick-pocketing and vandalism in comparison with other groups. That black people have more people involved with selling drugs at street level, that young white males are the major category of burglars and that most people who rape women and sexually prey on children are men rather than women, that is simply describing what is happening and the people engaged in it. In factual terms it should be no different than saying more men than women engage in mountain climbing and more women than men wear make-up.
The problem is politics, political power, and closely bonded groups with xenophobic attitudes towards other groups, soon muddy the picture. Then we see such arguments as to why there are not equal numbers of shelters for battered men? The answer is for the same reason we don’t have an equal number of prison places for women – because men as a class commit approximately eight times the numbers of crimes than do women as a class. However, this is not reflected in general lower status for men, because their greater social and political power relative to women counteracts that effect.
Criminals as a group are hyper alert to threat and aggressively defend themselves, so it is not surprising that closely bonded social groups with strong involvements in criminal activities, are aggressively defensive when accused. My group right or wrong is also a factor. Even if the entire group is not involved in crime, often they shelter the guilty and partake of the plunder.
Censorship of free speech, by which I mean the right of anyone to describe a factual event as it happened needs to be upheld. The alternative is criminals force the populace to wear blinkers increasing the blind areas in which they can freely commit their crimes.
And given that an entire social class is stigmatised with the continuous suspicion of criminality when they are no more engaged in crime than anyone else – the working class – and the innocent are not granted the politically correct protection of the many groups who are guilty – the right idea of removing unjustified social stigma from those irrationally discriminated against has clearly back-fired. Now we are not allowed to point the finger at the guilty, but prejudice against the innocent is totally accepted.
So, the public are expected to believe that the criminal who threw a brick through Mr Din’s window, was so offended by the sign Mr Din displayed over the broken window, that on his own initiative he went to the police to complain that his feelings were hurt? And it didn’t occur to him that admitting to the crime would result in him being caught?
Let me suggest a more likely course of events. When the police ignore crimes against ordinary people, they don’t like the victims of crime drawing attention to a crime they couldn’t be bothered solving. It wasn’t the victim who was offended by the sign but the police who were losing face.
It is not then a surprise that having found the perp they didn’t prosecute him, but prosecuted the victim. And it is not a surprise that it looks like they couldn’t be bothered finding the perp until Mr Din publicly embarrassed them.
And the police wonder why people think they are on the side of the criminals.
Mr Din was on the right track. Perhaps if every victim of crime posted a notice in their window explaining the crime and how it hasn’t been dealt with, they would get a response. (Hopefully not along the lines of grass-up police failures and you’re nicked).