Headlining many TV news bulletins for several days now has been the story of Rohingya Muslims, fleeing Myanmar in their hundreds of thousands to make the often perilous journey across the border to Bangladesh. Many have seen their villages burnt to the ground by the Myanmar military, often aided and abetted by extremist Buddhist monks. The UN has come out and likened the exodus to ethnic cleansing.
I've only had one, honesht
And while it is true that some in Myanmar have been given the impression that the Buddhist majority is somehow under attack by militant Islam - in the style of someone wearing metal-capped boots complaining that the nasty enemy attacked them with their vicious unprotected groins - the fact remains that well over 300,000 people do not up sticks and leave their homes merely for the sheer hell of it.
But none of this is allowed to enter where the desperate and deeply unpleasant Rod Liddle is concerned: there are Scary Muslims (tm) involved, therefore they are guilty. And so it came to pass that Liddle’s latest hot and steaming pile of weapons grade bullpucky for the Super Soaraway Currant Bun asked all the questions no-one else is asking. Well, no-one except the likes of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, that is.
“ARE you sure we’re being told the full story about those Muslim Rohingya refugees who are flooding into Bangladesh from Burma?” asks Liddle, confirming that he hasn’t caught up with the country’s change of name - 28 years ago. But do go on.
“All we get is a BBC correspondent crying in front of the refugee camps every night”. I think Reeta Chakrabarti might have something to say about that.
But there’s more (unfortunately): “It’s probably true that the Burmese government has been a bit, um, heavy-handed”. No shit, Sherlock. Burning villages, shooting those fleeing, laying land mines to maim and kill a few more. That’s a bit more than heavy-handed.
Then comes the inevitable and ominous “But shouldn’t we be told a little more about the causes of the problem?” It’s called the Myanmar military, Rod. We know about that, thanks. Perhaps you’d like to get to the point.
And get to the point he eventually does. “The countless terrorist attacks against Burmese police stations and Buddhists? Just askin’”. Oooh look, are you thinking what he’s thinking? Muslims, militants, terrorists, attacks, nudge nudge, wink wink, nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat? Say no more! Very good Rod, except that this is crap.
The attacks are so countless that neither Liddle, nor any reliable news source, can pony up evidence of any (although, yes, they most likely happened). What he also missed is that the BBC did report from the Myanmar side last night, and that Fergal Keane cornered extremist Buddhist monk Wirathu, who for once was camera-shy, almost as if he were afraid of answering questions about what had really been going on.
Rod Liddle has once again put his name to a Murdoch press-ordered slice of Islamophobic bigotry. And once again he will be banking a fat paycheque. But, as with so many of his columns, honesty and reality will not be allowed to intrude. And that’s not good enough.