The sorry story of Shamima Begum, the stripping away of her citizenship by opportunist Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and the death of her third child in the squalor and misery of a refugee camp, is also a test for our free and fearless press. How can the low-level racism still be doled out in a scene of such personal helplessness and tragedy?
This thought has no doubt been taxing the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker: the desire to slag off the Scary Muslims™ must have been overwhelming. But the potential backlash from those not possessed of racial intolerance could lose them yet more sales. Shafik Mandhai summed up how that might play out: “It’s when you see people gloating over the death of a two week old baby that you realise how stupid the idea that there’s good in everyone really is”. That was echoed by Otto English.
“If you're sneering at a 19 year old girl who was groomed age 15 and who has subsequently seen her three babies die your moral compass is fucked frankly”. Priyamvada Gopal added “The same kind of people who think the mother has no rights to determine the fate the foetus in her womb are perfectly happy to say that a newborn must live or die as a consequence of something it's mother did as a child four years ago”.
Former Downing Street spinner Craig Oliver mused “Hard not to agree with Anthony Lloyd, the journalist who found Shamima Begum, speaking on @BBCNews, when he says the decision to strip her of British citizenship was cruel, hasty and ill thought through”. What were the Murdoch doggies to do? How would they score that bigotry clickbait?
It was then that an intervention came from shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, also a hate figure of the right-wing press. “It is against international law to make someone stateless, and now an innocent child has died as a result of a British woman being stripped of her citizenship. This is callous and inhumane” she told.
Following that, by complete coincidence you understand, Rebekah Brooks’ old mucker Piers Morgan gave the Sun just what it wanted to make a story. “Begum spent 4yrs actively supporting ISIS, the world’s most barbaric & inhumane terrorist organisation. Her three children all died because she chose to bring them into the despicable world she chose for herself. To now blame Britain, the country she denounced, is disgusting”.
Wha-hey! Green light for pile-on! Never mind that a 15-year-old girl was the victim of grooming - doesn’t matter when they aren’t white, does it, Murdoch goons? - and never mind the hyperbolic ranting, just cash in that readership hatred of Scary Muslims™ and Ms Abbott - and it’s job done. The Sun had its story, and Ms Begum was The Bad Guy!
At least when the Super Soaraway Currant Bun put out its story - “Piers Morgan slams Diane Abbott for blaming UK over Shamima Begum’s baby’s death saying her kids died because ‘she chose to bring them into her despicable world’ … The outspoken GMB host hit out after the controversial Labour politician sparked outrage by blaming the tragic death on the 'callous' decision to strip the ISIS bride of her British citizenship” - it did not enable comments. The resulting sewer of racist bigotry would have been truly repulsive.
By now those readers have lost sight of the real story: as a three week old child dies needlessly, the Murdoch press and its pals don’t care. Shame on you, Piers Morgan.
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