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Sunday 6 May 2018

Day For Freedom ISN’T

As advertised, the assembled forces of the far-right, their hangers-on, and other sundry opportunists converged on London’s Whitehall to enjoy their right to speak freely, present any and every speaker they wished, and then moan the house down that they were being denied that same free speech, as well as the freedom to assemble, which they just did.
If that sounds confusing, it is because those participating in today’s gathering appear to be just that. They have freedom of speech. They have freedom of assembly. They have the freedom to move around their country, and indeed many other countries. It is not about freedom of speech. It is about a combination of Islamophobia and paranoia. We can see this from the observations of those watching this singularly unappealing spectacle.
Stand Up To Racism summed up the tolerance on show: “Video of the far right thugs of ‘Democratic Football Lads Alliance’ and Tommy Robinson followers trying to attack anti racists in Downing Street”. The news that Raheem “Call me Ray” Kassam had arrived prompted one Tweeter to note “A brown person is there so they're not racists”.
Mike Stuchbery was there on the ground, as it were, and his summaries of the action, plus the speeches, gives a good idea of what it was all about. “This isn't about freedom of speech. This is anti-Islam … Speaker: 'Theyre boxing us in, they're keeping us quiet, telling us it's wrong to say things about religion... Especially the barbaric one.’
There was more from Mr S: “'Is Sadiq turning London into a shithole? YES!' - Raheem Kassam”. Predictable attempt by a talentless nonentity to score points by slagging off someone who is well-known and more popular than he is. Then there was the brains trust currently leading UKIP, and you’ll love this one. “‘What we're seeing is an unholy alliance between the Far Left and big business…' - Gerard Batten, just now”. He gets invited on Peston on Sunday and he’s full of stuff like that? Ri-i-i-i-ight.
Jo Phillips also had the measure of the far right: “The other thing about these #DayForFreedom eejits is ... they are very paranoid. So far we've had - the people in that van are scrambling all our phone signals - twitter are stopping it trending - the police are staring at me”. And what kind of subjects were they into discussing?
This you’ll love: “These speakers are doing a pretty shoddy job of trying to pretend they aren't bigots so far I'll recap ‘Islam … Islam … Diane Abbott … Islam … Snowflakes … Islam”. And then it all went a bit OTT: “Shazia H just made a ‘Muslims rape animals’ joke Sorry but there's a point at which the police need to speak to these organisers”.
That was all it was about - slagging off and goading Muslims. As for real freedom of speech, we already knew “Tommy Robinson has banned @AliDawow from speaking at the #DayForFreedom event”. It wasn’t about that - as Hope Not Hate had to point out, “Speakers are complaining about not being allowed to attack Islam by attacking Islam from a big stage in the centre of London in front of a big crowd, within shouting distance of No10”. The free speech angle is a fraud. It’s all about pushing hate speech.

And when it all kicks off, it will all be someone else’s fault. I’ll just leave that one there.


Anonymous said...

Your opening paragraph is a classic, Tim.

But you can guarantee it went whoosh! as it went straight over the heads of those racist morons.

Jonathan said...

Apparently Milo was speaking, find it odd how he explains to his black husband how his far right views are compatible with being in a same sex marriage and particularly someone who isn't white....
Puzzled of Manchester.

Tim Fenton said...

Parish notice time.

An abusive comment has been excluded.

A wide range of views is encouraged, but the line is drawn at name calling and other abuse.

As you all were.

Anna S. said...

For those who actually want the truth, instead of these biased pseudo-journalistic ramblings, the march for freedom was NOT about far right racism. I mean, for Christ sake, there were gays, jews, muslims, black people, women, and a drag queen even sang on stage ! (she was amazing by the way). You say that freedom of speech isn’t under attack when more than 3000 people every year are taken to court for supposed « hate speech » (like jokes, or posting song lyrics) in the UK, when you yourselves then say that the police should « talk to the organizers » (basically tell them to censure themselves), and when, faced with such an event, all you can say is « racists ! ».
What is wrong with saying that there are issues within Islam ? Yes, among peaceful verses, the Coran promotes the killing of infidels, adulterers, gays, apostates, etc., yes, it calls for war against the infidels, and yes, it promotes actual sexism (you know, like saying that women are half the worth of men). And the thing is, it’s mostly true of all the Abrahamic religions ! The difference being that Mohammad was also a war lord and a pedophile (cf. Aisha). But that aside. The problem is that, today, you can’t even say those things — even as an ex- or reformist Muslim ! — without being called « racist », and without fearing judicial punishment. The fact is that in our countries, the rate of FGMs is rising, as is that of child mariages, acid attacks and honour killings — and that’s without taking into account the rape gangs. I have lived in India, and the fact is, that although it’s a lovely country as a whole, it does have some barbaric practices that just aren’t going away (forced abortions if the child is a girl, honour killings, gang rapes, child mariages, etc.) — the problem is not even Islam by itself, it’s a specific culture. If I take my country’s example, France, fifteen years ago, women didn’t wear the veil — it just isn’t in French culture. But recently, through the influence of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular (which has been proven, this is not just me saying that), French Muslims are becoming increasingly radical (rejecting any and all criticism, women wearing the veil, and even burqas, praying in the streets, rejecting French culture and secularism, up to terrorism). So yes, there is a problem with Islam. That doesn’t mean that there is a problem with Muslims as a whole. You are the ones who are incapable of making that difference.
I’ll just end this by saying that of course there were all manners of people at the march, including far right nationalists and such. Because that was the point — people of all creeds, colours, and opinions coming together to defend a human right (defended by the UDHR, by the way). It wasn’t about a partisan issue, it wasn’t about far right propaganda. If you really cared about truth, you would have actually mentioned those things, instead of only focusing on the aspects that confirmed your pre-existing bias. Yes, people at the march, like myself, want free speech, even when it’s about « hating » others. Because the thing is, a lot of it is criticizing (you know, like when we criticize are religion for its dogmas, and you just say it’s « hate », even though it has nothing to do with the people practicing that faith, or with racism, or with hate), and even if it isn’t (like baseless insults, which we all agree are stupid and meaningless), how are you going to criticize or dispute an idea, or a sentiment (it’s very 1984 of your lot to always want to control speech, thought, and emotions), if you can’t hear it ? And, as one of the speakers mentioned, what are you going to do if a government you disagreed with (let’s say, a far right government) was elected, and then decided to apply those hate speech laws to you ? Do you not see the danger in this ?
Lastly, about Ali Dawah, he was prevented from speaking because he had refused to comply with some security measures, didn’t come to briefings, and refused to give out his info.