The Burkini

Stop the madness

The French High court has ruled to ban burkinis, essentially a wet-suit which allows women who choose to cover, the ability and freedom to swim and enjoy a day on the beach. As I type hundreds of men and women are protesting outside French embassies across Europe and I stand with them.

France is a republic which was founded on liberation and freedom but in this new legislation I see no pride for secularism nor liberation or equality. The ban is discriminatory as it specifically targets Muslim women. We hear of no ban for the habits of nuns nor bans on the Jewish kippah – if France is to ban religious clothing, arguing that religion in France is to be strictly private – then law must ban all or none at all.

The reality of this madness – is that a country is arguing over whether or not women can wear a wet-suit on the beach, a suit and piece of clothing that doesn’t harm anyone.

What is most disturbing of all – is such a ban mirrors exactly what ISIS is doing: Forcing women TO cover!

if France can’t see the horrendous irony in that, policy makers are missing a few brain cells…

 

Pray For Nice

A tweet of mine led to twitter mayhem yesterday. A tragedy has struck France once again and terrorism reveals it’s ugly head once more. Sadly it’s a common occurrence and I’m reminded by one tweet which wondered why violence and hate was so common nowadays? Perhaps things haven’t changed. All is the same and that simply, as a child – such hatred was not recognized … one thing is for certain:

humanity has shown its darkness but we should not let it divide us further.

These pleading words fell on deaf ears and I couldn’t help but feel maddened by it. Hate tweets making a tragedy worse – voices that are not heard when victims of atrocities are Muslims themselves, the largest victims, in fact, to ISIS tyranny. Leaving aside the absence of #PrayForIraq from most western media. One tragedy should never be placed to trump another but that is another discussion, for another day.

Having been bombarded by Islamophobic tweets last night – I thought I’d clear the air on a few things that like a stuck record was thrown at me, riddled with misinformation or hate speech.

  1.      Islam is no better or no worse than other religions. They all have their faults and in my opinion, the world is better without any of them. That being said, you cannot judge someone by their creed – judge individuals by actions alone. Collective punishment is not the answer.

This would seem like common sense to most but I had to remind keyboard warriors and the so called defenders of Jihad invasion, that as an Irishman there was a time I would have been tarred with the same brush for the actions of a few.

2.   There are 1.6 million Muslims in world (yes, even white ones too. I know crazy right?!) According to general figures, there are less than 30,000 ISIS mercenaries within Libya, Syria & Iraq and the figures for terrorist activists are lower. (Source: US Military intelligence via CNN but figures can be found from other sources also). If all Muslims were murderous extremists – I wouldn’t be blogging right now…

3.   Many of the hate tweets spoke of how the Qu’ran is hate filled, calling upon the death of infidels. This is true but like most good religious people. They either interpret the passages differently or ignore the passages all together. Any religious person who follows their religion to a T – is problematic but other religions are no better. Interestingly (as many tweeters argued with me) – the Bible is in fact more violent compared to the Qu’ran. Don’t believe me? You haven’t read the bible then!

The British Independent did a great article comparing the two holy texts. See for yourself here: Study finds Bible more violent than Qu’ran Don’t for one moment think I’m bashing Christianity, most Christians are good like most Muslims but as an Atheist I view all religions in the same critical light. It is just common, that Muslims bear the brunt from ignorance and those grabbing at any excuse to bash brown people (let’s be frank here – a lot of this charming bunch who gave me hell are avid Trump supporters. I’m just saying …)

4.     Many tweeters spread misinformation. Either they did not know how ISIS formed or were completely ignorant of the situation in Syria (the cause of all this tragic and horrific mess). This didn’t stop them from voicing their hate.

A common “Fact” thrown about is that most of the refugees (Yes, refugees. Despite what the media might tell you) are men (most of them ISIS supporters) are coming into Europe & the US. This is complete bullsh*t – according to UNHCR figures more than half of Syrian refugees are children/minors under 17. Let the real statistic sink in. That’s thousands of innocent children fleeing with their families to evade ISIS militias, the barbaric regime of Assad (the Russian supported dictator of Syria) & on top of it all – hundreds of drones from the UK, US and French forces ( nothing says democracy like a bombing!)

Source: UNHCR stats

5.     For those of you who think that by collectively punishing all refugees/migrants because of the actions of a few, & thereby your home country will be safer (I’m looking at some of you Brexiters … you know who you are) – well, the facts don’t stack up to build that crazy wall or close the borders.

Seth Jones, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, testified to Congress in June 2015:

“The threat to the U.S. homeland from refugees has been relatively low. Almost none of the major terrorist plots since 9/11 have involved refugees.  Even in those cases where refugees were arrested on terrorism-related charges, years and even decades often transpired between their entry into the United States and their involvement in terrorism. In most instances, a would-be terrorist’s refugee status had little or nothing to do with their radicalization and shift to terrorism.” Source: Washington Post

The process of applying for refugee status is grueling and requires a number of documentation (it isn’t simply filling out a form) and extensive background checks are implemented to confirm identities – It doesn’t make sense for a would-be extremist to enter Europe or the US via refugee status. What we should be concerned about is home-grown extremists. People who are unstable, excluded or assumed rejects of society. (Leaving America’s crazed gun laws aside). The threat here is social media and ISIS recruitment of the unstable and vulnerable. The Florida shooting is a prime example here and the infamous Jihad John – was a reject. A small man looking for power (Islam did not come in to it. Not really. It was about power and control).

6.   Refugees can actually be of economic benefit. Despite the fact that a grasp of humanity should allow refuge to those in dire need. There are many monetary advantages for host countries/communities.

Refugees also bring economic benefits and development potential – for example, new skills and, above all, expanding consumption of food and commodities such as building materials, which stimulates growth of the host economy. At the same time, the host community may benefit from assistance programmes such as infrastructure and welfare services provided by agencies responding to refugees’ needs. Source to Full Article

 

I think I’ve made my point and although I understand that most of the keyboard warriors will carry on regardless of facts – at least I could have it out there. I’ve never been one to back away from an argument (this is both a flaw and a virtue – me thinks) but for some having the facts matter. I am one of them.

I’ll finish this scrap with a piece of advice. Read everything. Read and watch all forms of media. Objective and investigative journalism is sadly fading and I know from experience how the media works – to piece the whole picture seek all perspectives, be critical and don’t stick to only what you know. As a sub-editor, I have been the one to cut away at information, to give only one side of the story – the scandal, the controversy mostly. Don’t be fooled. The facts are there – you just have to look for yourself …

A Spot of Bother

Just heard the news …

fuck.

A new Prime Minister with a scary trek record & she was the lesser evil?! An Elitist, conservative, a Warmonger … working to have Britain ax the convention on Human Rights? … alarm bells are ringing … What is happening to that big neighbor of ours?

Boris?! Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary?!

Christ – The UK has gone mad!

From an Irishman.

 

 

 

A late night thought

How can we remain passive?

How can we turn a blind eye?

The news today has been heavy. Between the lives lost without much media attention in Iraq to the struggle to make a change in the United States which has gone global. We live, still, in a messed up little world.

Sometimes I feel people take more interest in what toilet paper the Kardashian’s use than making it known that people want fairness, justice & an equal system in politics and the law. It’s not enough to just say you are an ally – you have to stand as one.

Being passive changes nothing, sitting on the fence does nada. This is a black and white issue here, there is not grey. It’s about standing up for what’s right. For standing up and being accounted.

Passiveness will do nothing but hurt.

As whites, we should feel guilty only if we use our privilege to help ourselves.

Enough of your #AllLivesMatter bullshit.

It’s black lives which need saving.

#BlackLivesMatter

Troubling losses

I’m sipping coffee as I write. The noise of traffic outside is flooding in and as I check my Facebook, I can’t help but feel saddened for the youth of Britain & the people championing for their best interests.

At a conference in Paris three days ago, UK delegates and reps from youth organisations felt so out of place, in a limbo as youth organisations gathered to exchange ideas to better the lives and futures of young people in Europe. They were devastated with the result. It meant loss of funding for some, loss of European partnerships but more importantly it clipped the wings of youth hoping to travel easily & work within the European community.

Forget for a moment the economy. What Brexit did was limit the opportunities for young people & made the world a little smaller.

It is a sad day when lies, xenophobia and misinformation triumph affecting the lives of those who wished to remain the most.

Report after report continues – hate crime is on the rise, validated by a disgusting leave campaign preying on the ignorant… what has become of modern society?