This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Sunday 21 June 2020
Ash Sarkar, Prokofiev, And Doctor Who
Racism is poisonous. When it is mixed with political allegiance, the poison becomes worse. When those elements are then mixed with rank paranoia, we risk the poison overwhelming all else. That happened yesterday evening, after one person took the radical action of taking a photo - and posting it with a comment on Twitter.
Writer and campaigner Ash Sarkar had been out on her bike. She had taken a break in a local park, in Hackney, to enjoy an ice lolly. It was an orange lolly. The bike had an orange seat and an orange wheel. So she Tweeted out the photo of her with images of three oranges. And then the censure, racist abuse and dark threats began.
A Tweeter called Joan Braithwaite snapped “I am absolutely disgusted with your latest tweet and can only apologise to the families of the bereaved. I have reported you and hope you no longer have any platforms on TV or social media”. WHAT?
Then came James McGrillen to sort of explain. “Left wing in one picture. This is the left's response to #readingstabbing. Remember this the next time the #BBC get this vile human on the screen”. The photo was taken before that happened. But by now the paranoia had taken over. “She posted this after the stabbings just a tiny bit insensitive as it's in the same park”. Hackney is now a suburb of Reading. Could it get worse?
Sadly, yes it could. Like flat-out defamation. “She a weapons grade cunt, the timing of this post plus the fact shes [sic] put three oranges on it to represent the three dead people is quite frankly beyond disgusting”. On it went. “The pic was seemingly taken just after the stabbing 3people [sic] dead. You were asked by many about where the pic was taken and the time to clarify it but you refused to respond. I know if people accused me of this I would def be proving it wasn't the case if that was true”. But she did respond.
The photo was taken in Springfield Park at 1724 hours. That’s in Hackney. And before the grim news from Reading had emerged. Without access to a Tardis. Because the stabbings in Reading had not, at that time, happened. That didn’t stem the flow of bile and hatred.
One Tweeter tried to connect the oranges to Libya. Another tried a link to The Godfather. Ms Sarkar tried to keep up. “Wait, now orange ice lollies symbolise support for Libyan terrorism?! Oh no wait, orange lollies now symbolise mafia killings. Because obviously, I am in the cosa nostra”. But by this morning, the responses were, well, disturbing.
“I’m waking up to death threats because Twitter has decided that a photo of myself eating an orange lolly in Hackney is a mockery of the people who were stabbed in Reading. It’s deranged stuff, but nasty all the same. I’d appreciate if people could report some of these tweets” she told. Racism, political opposition and paranoia had come together.
There was also the point made by Shaun Lawson: “That Ash Sarkar … is clearly living rent free in an alarming number of Nazis' heads only shows what a legend she already is. Absolute solidarity with her. Zero tolerance of racist, women-hating far right scum”.
Not since Sergei Prokofiev almost a Century ago have three oranges caused such a meltdown. Not that the Gammonati will understand the reference. Cos it’s foreign, innit?
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