Media

Daily Mail, the Welsh Taliban and the Rants of a Hate-Filled Journalist

The Daily Mail. Or the Daily Fail if one prefers to use the epithet by which it has become labelled amongst those whom view its ridiculous and worryingly regular sentiments of unsourced xenophobia a consistent outrage. A national newspaper with a right-wing stance which would be nothing more than a comedic caricature if it wasn’t for the simple fact that it has somehow attained a readership in its millions amongst its middle class target audience, a section of society that undoubtedly ingests these articles as the gospel truth of the world they live in.

You know the types of stories? The Left wing are the great unwashed, all Muslims are terrorists and and asylum seekers are not victims of oppressing regimes but grasping thieves of the benefits system. This is the paper that proclaimed that 61 members of the 2012 Olympics Team GB were not actually British but “plastic Brits” including heroes Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, which naturally caused much offence. They then went a step further by lambasting the representation of Multiculturalism at the Olympic opening ceremony and scoffing at the idea of mixed marriages, of which I personally am the product of. The opinion piece included the lines “it was the absurdly unrealistic scene showing a mixed-race middle-class family in a detached new-build surburban home” before quickly following it up with “it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up“. Ridiculous.

On Monday 26th November another target was attacked by this pitiful publication and that was the Welsh Language and by proxy the Welsh people whom utilise this language. The article was run with the headline “Tyranny of the Welsh Taliban”. What? The Welsh Taliban? I’m sorry, but I didn’t realise that there was the equivalent of the extreme Afghani fundamentalist sect prospering within Wales. Barely a day goes by that I see a plethora of executions on the Millennium Stadium pitch and suicide bomb attacks around the town centre of Aberystwyth. Ridiculous comparison before even reading the article, and indicative of the Daily Mail’s propensity to insert any negative connotation that relates to the Muslim world into their stories. Whilst I can how it can confuse those wonderful people over at the Daily Mail, what with Wales being a mountainous region with a history of military invasion from the English, to make the sudden leap to Taliban-based comparisons seems extreme in the least. Of course I suppose we should be thankful to their stupidity for it has helped initiate on of the Twitter highlights of the year in the #WelshTaliban hashtag that highlights the best of Welsh humour.

The article professes to have been written by Roger Lewis, who opens his diatribe by highlighting his Welsh credentials. Nicely played Daily Mail, it can’t be a racist or offensive article if written by one of their own can it? All this proves is that Mr Lewis clearly has an element of self-hate regarding his Welsh background and probably has longed for acceptance into the English establishment. He states he knows that “popty-ping” is the Welsh word for microwave. No its not. Its slang. He then goes on to state;

“In South Wales, where I am from, there was never any tradition of Welsh speaking. And at the turn of the last century, though my great-grandparents spoke Welsh to each other…”

Wait…what? There was not tradition of Welsh speaking you state, but then highlight a perfectly good example of Welsh speaking. It takes an incredible skill to contradict oneself in the same paragraph. Mr Lewis stated that he had been raised in Monmouthshire, an area of Wales with a low quota of Welsh speakers. He seems to use this as his basis for stating there is no tradition of Welsh speakers. He has clearly never travelled further West into Wales, into areas like the Amman Valley or other parts of Carmarthenshire which have regularly posted above 50% Welsh Language users in official census’. Last time I checked, this is still South Wales.

For Welsh has become a political and divisive weapon in the principality – and the stories one hears are like those tales of oppression that used to seep out from behind the Iron Curtain

Another scaremongering story from the Daily Mail, this time a subtle dig at socialists and the left-wing, attempting to compare a couple of people speaking Welsh to each other to the regime of Stalin. They do love an overreaction don’t they, these Daily Mail types? As for divisive and political? I’m sure Plaid Cymru, that bastion of Welsh Nationalism, have only recently appointed a non-first language speaker as their Party Chairman and I do know personally having never been excluded from the friendships of those who speak better Welsh than myself. Ridiculous line from Mr Lewis.

Now we learn that one school in Ceredigion – which used to be quite happily Cardiganshire when I was a lad – the children are not allowed to use the toilet unless they ask the teacher in Welsh. Furthermore, one mother is said to have been urged not to read her child English bedtime books, and at another school, a child was admonished for speaking English in the playground

Ah yes, Mr Lewis’ desire for anglicisation. How dare the Welsh, recently empowered to reverse centuries of imposed Anglicisation from Westminster, proudly rename their country Ceredigion. Is Mr Lewis aware of the history? Yes it might have been Cardiganshire when he was a kid, but 1000 years ago it was Ceredigion. So surely it is irrelevant if it was ok when 50 years ago, or is he that self-important that his own memory is more important than history? I’m sure a Welsh school might urge a parent to help improve a child’s usage of Welsh through ideal teaching practices like bedtime reading, but it is up to the mother to act on this. I’m sure she could just say no? Its hardly being demanded to at gunpoint. Why have these schools and teachers remained nameless? Is this yet another Daily Mail story without source. Name and shame these schools if you are going to stand behind this story, otherwise I have to admit I don’t quite believe you. Remember those yearly rumours that a Muslim has cancelled christmas or refuses to sell Poppy’s in his store…always without source. One may even consider a sourceless story to merely be lies, fiction, conjured up from a hateful mind to further ones agenda.

“Some children are, it seems, too frightened to speak English, even at home. This sort of thing would have done the Warsaw Pact proud

I find this hard to believe. Are children who are made solely to converse in French or German during high school language classes too afraid to speak their native language at home? No. More fiction I believe, again without sourced material. As for the Warsaw Pact, merely the second reference to Communism. In a story about Wales. Go figure dear reader.

Mr Lewis then goes on to lament that many employers request applicants to be proficient in Welsh. How dare employers advertise for a Welsh speaker for a job in Wales. God forbid that an English employer in England want an English-speaker in the role, or a French employer in France want a French-speaker and so on. Mr Lewis may never have considered the fact that many people, contrary to his claims, expect services to be done in Wales through the medium of their first language of Welsh and thus there is a duty to these people to offer such services. His desire to outlaw this ironically paints him as the fascist and not this “Welsh Taliban”. Not surprising considering the Daily Mail’s history of supporting Fascism during the pre-World War II days. He also claims that such Welsh speakers are ill-equipped with the world at large and would be confined to Wales or Patagonia, completely ignoring the fact that every Welsh speaker is also a fluent English speaker as well. Don’t let facts get in the way a good scaremonger however.

Roger Lewis also refers to a former colleague of his at Oxford whom backs up his views that Welsh is a dying language, although again without a name or source it is impossible to verify such quotes. Does this former colleague exist? Can he corroborate this? What exactly is his role at Oxford? He also states there is no Welsh Shakespeare. How would he know, he has shunned the Welsh language. Although I am not a fluent Welsh speaker or reader, I am not so ignorant as to not accept there is a plethora of great Welsh literature on the market, both modern and historical. He then cites the Welsh Language Society as the equivalent of the Taliban. This comparison deserves no further comment, such is the patheticness of such a mentality.

Mr Lewis finishes his hatchet job of an article by lamenting that Tenby was always Tenby until only a few years ago when it suddenly became Dynbych-y-Pysgod. Displaying his incredible sense of ignorance and lack of research, he would be keen to note that it is not “Dynbych” but rather Dinbych and the name is an historical reference and not suddenly dreamt up by the Taliban in the last decade. He then refers to YET ANOTHER story about a Welshman refusing a taxi and preferring to walk home because the said-vehicle didn’t have the Welsh variation of “tacsi” on it. I say story because surely this is a work of fiction. I’d be interested to know where he heard about this story or did he create it?

I hope that the millions of Daily Mail readers are able to treat this article with the cynical contempt that it deserves, a rabblerousing piece of racist rubbish against the Welsh Language. Mr Lewis has previous on his attacks against the Welsh Language. On 12th August 2011, in a review on Jasper Rees’ brilliant book “Bred of Heaven”, the journalist, and I use the word loosely, states “not many people in full possession of their faculties would find it appealing or necessary to try to turn themselves into a ‘real Welshman’. He also states “I abhor the appalling and moribund monkey language myself“. He claims to be a Proud Welshman. I suggest the hateful Mr Lewis look up the definition of the word Proud in the Dictionary, an English language one if he prefers, and stop aiding in the incitement of racial hatred against the people of the Land of his Fathers.

Categories: Media | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Not all Muslim’s are Terrorists. Neither are all Christians. Stop the Hate.

Just as in centuries before, the modern world is often a dangerous and brittle place always on the cusp of self imploding, the collateral damage often being innocent civilians and young children caught up in the warfare of another man’s fight. Whilst atrocities in generations past did happen and often on a grand scale one must consider the present day to be unlike any other in the alarming way death and destruction has moved away from the war front and into town centres, public transport and civilian places of work.

Terrorism and the loaded meaning of the word is in itself a political minefield and can be disputed depending on each individual view. To some there is no doubt that a certain act is terrorism whilst to another it can be a military necessity to achieve ones aim’s and is in no way different to sanctioned state action. One of the biggest cliché’s surrounding the noun Terrorism and its aims is oft-quoted:

 “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”

 This quote tends to have a degree of truth to it and is often dependent on which side of a political fence one sits. An example would be the issues in Northern Ireland during the latter part of the 20th century where depending on which religious/ethnic background one was from the Irish Republican Army and similar Loyalist Paramilitary organisations were termed as terrorists or freedom fighters but never both. On one point it is argued that men only resort to what is termed as terrorism out of a struggle for survival and a necessity to fight against oppression whilst opponents of terrorism argue mass murder in the name of a political or social campaign is never acceptable and should always be condemned. Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001 terrorism itself has become synonymous with the terms Muslim and Islam. On that day a group of men committed an act of atrocity (or celebration, again depending on the background of the person analysing the situation) that resulted in over 3000 deaths of people of all kinds of religious and ethnic backgrounds whilst shocking and humiliating the United States of America at its very core, no doubt the aim of the perpetrators. Since then it has almost become a Western acceptance that terrorism is the sole concept of those from the Islamic religion. Indeed a common status often sighted on Facebook and other forums states “not all Muslim’s are terrorists…but all terrorists are Muslim”.

Ignorant claims portrayed in an academic way leads to myths being claimed as irrefutable facts by the easily-influenced and gullible general public and this can thus transcend itself into serious issues within an already fractured society. A young boy whom believes such claims can grow into a man whom due to a lack of education has an inbuilt rage and hate towards the Muslim population or whomever a false allegation has been made about. In Northern Ireland and to an extent Scotland there is still major issues with sectarianism whereby due to the separate education system plus rhetoric used at home by an equally unenlightened parenting system Catholics and Protestants grow up to consider the other side to be inferior human beings. Muslims have for the last 10 years at least come under increasing persecution and hostility from all sections of society due to the acts of a very small minority of people committing such public acts of terrorism in the misguided notion of Islam. Being of an “Asian” appearance can lead to looks of disdain and suspicion when travelling on public transport or, god forbid, air travel. The Western world has a deep and worrying level of distrust for Muslim’s that they seem to think is to be expected due to the various acts of terrorism that have been committed in the West by people in the name of Allah. Yet looking at the basic facts is this necessary acceptable? Various acts of terrorism perpetrated in the West include the aforementioned and historically infamous September 11th Twin Tower attacks, the London 7/7 bombings and the 2004 Madrid train bombings. All alarming acts carried out in the name of Islam and all of which carried substantial casualties. Yet 3 major acts of terrorism by a handful of people does not under any circumstances correlate to a religion of over 1 BILLION people being undoubtedly guilty of being or aspiring to be terrorists. An interesting report by the European Union stated that in 2006 there were over 500 acts of terrorism committed or attempted in the EU but only ONE was related to ISLAMIC terrorism. Europol figures also clearly show that 99% of all terror-related attacks in the last 3 years in Europe were carried out by non-Muslim’s, a great deal of these being carried out by people of a White and Christian background in the Basque region of Spain and Northern Ireland.

 This brings me neatly to my main point. As I have explored very briefly it is clear that Muslim’s and the Islamic religion in the West is the victim of ignorance in that they seem to be disproportionately treated as potential terrorists by the vast majority of the population when cold, hard facts point out the ridiculousness of such a notion. Islamaphobia is unfortunately here to stay it seems and plays a prominent part in the tabloid media who gratefully feed of public hysteria to maximise sale generation. However, the recent tragedy in Norway has once again muddied the waters for your average citizen as it has drastically brought back into focus the fact that Islam does not and never has had exclusive rights to terrorism. Christian terrorism still plays an active part in today’s Western world and has had as many murders and incidents committed in the name of Christianity as there have been in the name of Islam yet doesn’t tend to conjure up the same rhetoric of hate as those committed by the “barbaric and medieval Muslims”. Northern Ireland is or has been a haven for what can be termed Christian terrorism, proscribed groups like the IRA and the UVF regularly committing murder in the name of their relevant religious backgrounds. The Omagh bombing of 1998 by the Catholic IRA killed 29 people whilst the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 by Protestant UVF members accounted for the deaths of 33, just two examples of a tit-for-tat terrorist policy undertaken by various warring religious factions in the North amidst a background of political instability. Other acts of terrorism and murder that have been carried out in the name of Christianity can also be found in America, a country renowned for having a large cross section of society whereby there are people of such religious fervour they are directly comparable with Muslim’s of similar devotion across the Middle East whom they so despise. The Ku Klux Klan may not be as active as they once were but they and other White Supremacist Neo-Nazi groups do exist and often have a strong, militaristic Christian theology at their core, none better displayed as the KKK’s infamous burning crosses. There is an estimated 8,000 KKK members across the US and it is considered to be growing in recent years in direct opposition to issues such as Same-Sex marriages that some conservative Christian beliefs prohibit. Indeed the self-proclaimed leader of the biggest clan, Thom Robb, is himself a Christian pastor. Perhaps the most famous American Christian terrorist is Timothy McVeigh, whom in 1995 concocted and carried through the Oklahoma bombings which cost the lives of 168 innocent people. Up until the September 11th attacks his act remained the single biggest terrorist atrocity on American soil. Finally, the recent attack in Norway by White supremacist and right wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik is the largest single attack by a lone gunman in history, his killing spree accounting for the lives of 77 people. His political aims and his motive for the killing were concluded to be, via his own document that he released prior to his attack, support for varying degrees of cultural conservatism, right-wing populism, anti-Islamification and Serbian Para militarism.  He also violently against Islam itself, multicultarism and communism and felt his actions were needed to help preserve a White, Christian Europe that his native Government had betrayed with their liberalism.

This has shown that murder, violence and terrorism is not the sole domain of one group of society but that ALL are capable of murder. The myth that Muslims alone are to blame for all of the world’s ills does nothing for cross-community relations and such a divide in society through ignorance and non-education will only lead to increased issues in the future. As someone from a mixed Christian-Muslim background I am somewhat enlightened more than most to both religions and therefore am able to understand there is nothing to fear from the vast majority of believers on both sides. The major and famous incidents listed do not account for 99.9999% of believers on both sides whom are law-abiding, quiet and decent people who’s only concern is the safety and welfare of their families. Not all Muslim’s are terrorists, killers, beheader’s or Jihadi’s. Not all Christians are right wing fanatics, genocidal maniacs, racists or gunmen. I do not walk down the road and cross when a White Christian walks my way, mental images of Anders Brievik or Hooded Klan members being conjured up out of fear. Remember this next time you’re on the tube and a Muslim sits next to you. The overwhelming odds are that this person is a peaceful man and a decent human being. Maybe you will even say hello.

 

Categories: Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.