The Orlando Shootings

My dear readers, we have been alive to hear of the latest and most horrific mark on the honour of the United States, the worst mass shooting in all of American history in terms of sheer numbers. 50 dead, 53 injured. If you are still unaware of this story, in the early hours of Sunday (2:00AM local time), a gunman opened fire in a gay club in Orlando, Florida. The man was armed with an assault rifle and opened fire on a venue said to be hosting more than 300 people inside as part of a Latin themed event. At 2:09AM, the official Facebook page of the club instructed everyone to run away and keep running. The man took hostages and holed himself up inside the club, before police resorted to using explosives to create a hole in the wall of the building and storm inside. The gunman was shot and killed, though not before apparently declaring his allegiance to IS. Make no mistake, this story must not fade from our memories, this must be remembered as both a human tragedy and an LGBT tragedy.

The news have been eager to deflect on the LGBT angle, calling this a tragedy committed against people as a whole, rather than against a community but that is unfair. If a gunman shot down 50 Jewish people, we’d call them anti-semitic. If a gunman shot down 50 church-goers, we’d call them an antitheist. If you are considering a tragedy such as this, it is important we know who committed it and against whom and in this scenario, this man opened fire on a known LGBT venue – this is hate crime. You could try and argue that it being a gay bar, as opposed to a normal bar, doesn’t give it any extra weight to the story but the difference is more palpable than many of us can relate to. A gay bar is not just a watering hole for a community, it’s a sanctuary, it’s a place where you are the norm. As straight white people, you can walk into almost anywhere in the Western hemisphere and feel that you are the social default, the definition of ‘normal’. Gay bars, black churches, Muslim neighbourhoods, you might feel walking into such places as a straight white person puts you ill-at-ease but that is because you are walking into a different community, a community of people who adhere to different ways of life or look different to you but have banded together with those like themselves to look out for each other. In a world where there have been attacks on Sikhs just for wearing turbans and thus, being assaulted as ‘terrorists’, many of us want to be in a safe familiar setting where the man sat opposite us looks like us or thinks like us. A gay bar is just that, a place to deviate from the expected-heteronormative and not be judged for it.

IS have claimed they were behind this, whilst groups such as Westboro Baptist Church call this the wrath of God. Me, I call bullshit, I think IS wants to label any act of hatred or destruction as their work to make us scared and ignorant, to make us think they have power over us when in fact, they are nothing more than rag-tag thugs exploiting opportunities as they arise for lack of a better strategy, a cult of twisted madmen playing themselves up as the heralds of the apocalypse. Still, we expect this of them, they are profiteering hate-mongers wanting us to cast out our Islamic brothers and sisters into their receiving arms, that they might manipulate their resentments into weaponised anger. This gunman claims his allegiance to them but the FBI themselves have found no link, this is more than likely a blame-shift to the IS because you hear IS, your racist buddy hears “Syrian immigrant”. If you ask me, this is one man, one twisted man, using the assault rifle his country’s laughable laws allow him access to, as a means of executing a vendetta he has against those different to him. Also, funny coincidence, funny being extremely facetious, that the worst mass shootings in recent memory were against a gay bar, a planned parenthood clinic and an all-black church service, these seem like the communities another cult of hatred would like to see gone and I don’t mean IS.

Worst of all, in reaction to this, even worse than the news channels saying “This isn’t an LGBT tragedy, don’t politicise this (which I’ll address next)”, was Trump. Donald Trump, the pile of human excrement, has said this is what should lead Obama to resign for refusing to admit that this was the work of Islam and has decided to resort to “I told you so”, saying had the US tightened its borders, this wouldn’t have happened. First of all Trump, you sputum-sucking sack of horse shit, the gunman was an American-born man so that doesn’t work and secondly, he was not indoctrinated by some foreigner coming in and egging him on, he was inspired by online content and his own personal disgust for the LGBT community, his own father said so. I cannot be civil when it comes to Trump, the man is a buffoon to say the very least but to take a tragedy and use it as a moment to boast that you were the prophet of this, he is not only a buffoon but an amoral pus-filled sore on the face of the United States of America.

Politicise this, I said this of Paris attacks, I will say it of this, this is a matter to get worked up about. Be angry that the media is overlooking what this venue once meant to the LGBT community, be angry that the far-right feels the victims were struck down by God, be angry that the US is so backwards, an assault rifle is fine but an abortion is murder. Our modern world forgets things fast, we digest what we can and leave things behind, be it memes, memories or stories of tragedy but not this one. Almost twice as many people died in this attack as in the Sandy Hook shootings, more than twelve times as many people were injured in this attack as in the Binghamton shootings, this is not some bullshit story about a Kardashian or a Game of Thrones twist nobody saw coming, we are not going to just talk about this for a week and then move on to the uplifting story of a pug that rescued a drowning kitten or whatever, we are going to demand justice.

Now that I have you riled up or afraid, let me end on this note that I want all of you to remember, especially those of the LGBT community. In the wake of this, you may find yourself scared and uncertain of the future, you may want answers or vengeance or security. Firstly remember that your enemy is never a religion or a race, all religions and races are capable of good and bad. You may have friends or neighbours who are Muslim and feeling vulnerable so I implore you to reach out to them. Secondly, do not let this fear rule you. The LGBT flag is a rainbow, reflecting all the colours of the sexual spectrum, a world beyond the black and white of the gender and sexual binary but the colours stand for more than that, they stand for hope, pride and freedom. If you let this tragedy scare you into being someone different, terrorism has defeated you. Don’t shy away from going out. Go out more. Have some fucking sensational parties and drink to those who aren’t there to share the drinks with you, to the siblings you never met or the siblings that the hate in this world stole from you. Be louder, be prouder, be especially queer and never let hatred win.

Feminism and Egalitarianism

You know, despite the best efforts and good intentions of pretty much every feminist out there, we still encounter those disheartening individuals who say they support gender equality and women’s rights… but not feminism. I have made posts before about calling it Humanism, a mistake because Humanism is a philosophical belief system about the destiny of the human race as being “to be good people”. However, perhaps you or someone you know says it’s not feminism they support but egalitarianism? An egalitarian society is one in which race, income, gender and background do not affect what rights you have, everyone gets the same chances and that’s that. Awesome right? Ehh…

Egalitarianism was the philosophy that served as the starting point for fair and equal societies, the argument stood as thus – everyone is fundamentally the same, we are all human, we all therefore deserve the same as one another. In the early days of society, those who spoke of egalitarianism got the ball rolling for the formation of fairer societies in which equal rights were not available. Slavery, colonialism, sexism, many creeds of people were denied the most basic of resources on flawed grounds and egalitarianism is the idea that this can be rectified by giving everyone the exact same entitlements. A great concept, if everyone was given £100, everyone is £100 better off right, especially those who are without any money right? Well the problem with this idea is egalitarianism fails to take into account some factors that might drastically alter how far that £100 goes – maybe you already have £100,000, what’s £100 more? Maybe £100 isn’t enough to pay off £500 of debt? Maybe what you need more than money is a home and food? Maybe your problem, say, a disability, can’t be fixed by throwing some money at it? Egalitarianism doesn’t address this, everyone gets the same resources, everyone has to make do.

Feminism, as a concept, only really existed as a combination of ideas and legal battles and protests, taking its name as a means to represent the under-represented class of citizens at its time, women. Women wanted the same rights as men, rights to an education and to ownership of property, to be allowed to divorce unfaithful men and to be allowed to earn their own keep. However, what is often overlooked is what feminism stood for and still stands for – gender is not a fair basis for discrimination of any kind. Feminism grew to encompass the idea that no discrimination is acceptable and a feminist will not stand for discrimination on the basis of sexuality or socio-economic status just as much as they won’t stand for discrimination based on gender, because every human issue affects every human being, regardless of gender. To the outside world, you are defined by your gender, your race, your religion, your sexuality, and feminism says that whatever the world sees, you are never fair game for being discriminated against. Feminism was the word chosen for the movement that defends the rights of those that were unspoken for, it was the name given to the gauntlet cast against the uncaring majority. If a feminist claim isn’t one that seeks to achieve equality in terms of rights and protections for all, it’s not a feminist claim and feminism is still a valid name, though that’s a blog post in itself.

Egalitarianism opened the door to this discussion for the masses when people proposed the concept of an equal society but feminism is the only mainstream movement actively making strides to achieve just that, in fact one must consider that what we often seek is equity, not equality. Equity Theory, as it is known, is the recognition that our varying backgrounds not only make us who we are but that they must be reflected in what must be done to render us all equals. Confused? Say you have a room full of people to feed and you offer everyone in that room peanut butter sandwiches. Here is the difference between equality and equity:

EQUALITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches”

EQUITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches but if you are wheat-intolerant, allergic to peanuts or just don’t like sandwiches, we’ll fill your plate with something more appropriate”

Like the £100 analogy from earlier, just offering everyone £100 is equal means but not a fair playing field, some people only have that  £100 and some have that £100 added onto the £100,000 they have in the bank. A fair society is one that levels the playing field so there is nothing outside of the individual’s control that is affecting their chances at a happy life. Equity, therefore, is the offering that if you need more, you can take more and if you can give more, you should give more so that we all share in the wealth and thus, share in the happiness of a secure life. Where does Feminism fit into this? Feminism, at this buffet, is the person at the buffet table telling people not to push and shove because we should all get what we want, everyone deserves to eat and that even if you are entitled to your sandwich, which you are, you shouldn’t force your way through the crowds because when it comes down to that, it’s the weak that get left the crumbs at the end.

The notion of equality can be exploited but equity is harder to fool if implemented correctly. Feminism seeks equity and for a truly fair society, so should we. To fight for social justice and a fair standard of living for all, where all needs are met and everyone feels safe, valued and able to contribute, is to be a feminist and that names does not need to change. By our very human nature, we are social animals who want to better the world we live in, even those of us who commit crimes think we are doing the right thing in some capacity, so a society of equity would ensure everyone’s basic needs were met whilst everyone’s talents were put to use. That is what feminism fights for, that is what a fair society is and that is why we are not egalitarians, we are feminists! 

Christmas Is Always Coming

So, let’s talk about Christmas, it’s obligatory with it being less than ten days away at this point and I do plan to discuss my actual day of Christmas with you on Christmas as it happens, a sort of sum up like last year followed by a retrospective of my year as a whole. However, for now, let’s discuss Christmas, in particular why some may view me as something of a Scrooge on the topic. I never really partake in festivities to the same degree as my friends – no antlers on my head, no Christmas jumper waiting to be sprung out come December and you’ll never get me singing along to Jingle Bells. A variety of reasons surround this, first and foremost is my social anxiety which insists that although everyone else in the room looks like a colossal dickhead wearing red noses and tinsel scarves, I will be the most dickheadiest of dickheads if I join in, that somehow my foolishness isn’t just fun, it’s utterly disgusting and degrading to watch and people will remember the display as a reason to hold me in slightly less high regard. On the other hand, there are some other reasons I’m not huge on Christmas as a whole, which I’ll cover over the course of this post.

Now, don’t be mistaken in thinking I want December 25th to be just another day on the calendar and we don’t bother at all, that’s not it, I think it’s nice that we all agree to dedicate some time of the year to togetherness and family time and so on – though it sucks to the nth degree not all of us get that. Christmas, forced onto the mainstream by a previously Christian dominated society and now kept around for people of all walks of life due to a combination of tradition and marketing, is fun when you’re in the right setting for it with the right people and resources and so on – hard to be miserable at Christmas when you have all you want. The problem is just that though, Christmas is such a beacon of light and joy that some of us expect it to cast out the negativity simply the grace of existing and we can overlook the pains, struggles and loneliness of our fellow men because we think “It’s Christmas, someone will do something for them and they’ll probably feel better with a belly full of turkey and some nice new trinkets to unwrap”. Here then. we have that phrase, that phrase that is the bane of my life every single year between the end of October and December 26th.

“BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

You know what? So fucking what if it is? We’re aware what time of year it is, which by the way, I resent for creeping earlier and earlier into the year, partly because I’m a November baby and partly because it applies the pressure to be cheerful and excited on depressed folk like me before they’re even in the right frame of mind to adopt false happiness. Christmas isn’t some be all, end all cure to the woes of the world, whatever Bob Geldof insists on telling you. The reality is Santa doesn’t deliver world peace, bosses don’t always let things slide because the big day is coming and not every broken heart finds someone willing to bring them out of the cold, let’s not delude ourselves. If we perpetuate Christmas as being the best thing to happen in a year, it loses that status because we don’t need to do anything, it becomes that for the consumerist masses just by being Christmas – people already have their Christmas spirit pumping without the need for volunteering in a soup kitchen or checking in on their lonesome neighbour who doesn’t have kids to come visit or whatever. By doing that, Christmas becomes less and less like the fairy tales and slips more and more into what cynics like me have been calling it for years – a mass of over-excited meatheads stuffing their faces and buying shit.

So, Christmas lovers, maybe you’re think I’m being a Grinch hmm? I just don’t understand because I’m a misery right? Maybe you’re right, this year is seeing me be the most depressed I’ve been at Christmas time since my schoolboy days, for reasons too personal to disclose here. However, last Christmas (Don’t), I wasn’t as bad, I had money, friends and even though Christmas didn’t happen at my home, I did my fair share of philanthropic gestures and gift giving and even then I STILL wrote an article about how overhyped Christmas is and how unfair it is on children in particular. I love Christmas and that’s speaking as a staunch Atheist to whom Christmas has no religious meaning to give remembrance for, it’s literally just “Winter is shit but hey presents and food happen!”. but I still love this idea of a time in which we stop to think about people and how we can express our love for them, my only concern is that perhaps we lost sight of that.

You know the shpiel here, that Christmas has become about buying affection rather than earning it, in showing love through consoles and laptops rather than actual words of kindness or shows of support and many of you will roll your eyes at the goody two-shoe deal here but it is so important we remember that and we must remember that Christmas isn’t a time of joy for us all, no matter how much you wish it to be. Tragic story time, my Dad when I was young, despised Christmas, so much that seeing decorations filled him with dread and sorrow because to him, it didn’t mean joy and laughter, it meant a time of spending money and fulfilling other people’s dreams because if he didn’t, he had to disappoint them. We had no decorations in our house until Christmas Day itself and they’d come down again afterwards as soon as Dad could manage it, just so he didn’t have to see that tree for one second longer than he had to. I didn’t understand as a child, I don’t think my Dad ever realised that as a kid, I was always happy at Christmas with anything he got me – probably because kids are so shit at being grateful for stuff. We’ve always lived on the breadline in this home and to then have December 25th pop up “JUST A HEADS UP, YOU BETTER SPEND AT LEAST LIKE… £500 ON GIFTS OR PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU DON’T LOVE THEM” when you can barely afford £5, it’s terrifying and makes you resent Christmas as being a toll, a challenge to PROVE your love and selflessness, as if everything else you did all year didn’t count.

Christmas is getting a little too big for its own boots here and stomping on the poor and the heartbroken, it brings joy not only because we are all given what we want and are giving those we love what they want but because everyone looks happy when you push the unhappy ones out of the photo frame. I’m not even going to try and count the number of times my depression has been muddled up with a lack of Christmas spirit, that somehow all this obnoxious corporate money-grabbing and ugly jumper parties should be the strongest mood medication I could ever want. Somehow though, it is not but I still partake in Christmas – gifts have been bought, nice gestures done without the hope of them being returned have been performed and on Christmas Day, as is my tradition, I contact everyone I consider a friend to at least give season’s greetings.

So, what am I saying here, you ask? The article has sort of read as a general guilt-tripping Santa-bashing bitterness sandwich but I guess ultimately, I want you to read this and remember that Christmas in and of itself is not special, Christmas is as special as we make it for ourselves and others. If you think buying lots of stuff is all it takes, well done, you’re nothing more than a patsy Amazon and Wal-Mart will bleed dry year upon year, but Christmas is about charity and charity isn’t just giving to the homeless, it’s showing love. PLEASE take this time to check on people and that they’re ok, if that’s the only genuinely good thing you do that isn’t all about presents, please make sure that miserable fuckers like me are at least safe and comfortable this Christmas. I guarantee you that everyone who hates Christmas has a reason for it and it’s no good telling them to just cheer up; do something that makes this time of year a little easier for them.

Merry Christmas.

An Analogy For The Bombing Of Syria

So I want to continue to explain my viewpoint on the recent bombing and as I currently lack video editing software to make a video on the subject, I’m going to relay a comical little analogy about bombing using David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn and water balloons. You might argue making a funny blog post about such a tragedy undermines the gravity of the situation but the point is to laugh at the absurd logic of the characters and heighten awareness of the issue. You’ll think the characters stupid and ridiculous and when you do, realise that those stupid characters represent our government.

So, to set the scene, David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn are hanging out together when along comes a guy wearing an ISIS t-shirt who calls David a wanker and runs and hides in a bar called The Syrian. David, pissed off by this, quickly goes home and makes himself a great big box of water balloons, whilst Jeremy watches with a look of concern.

JEREMY: David, I really don’t think this is a good idea

DAVID: Look, he called me a wanker. How many other people has he done that to? I’m going to make him and his friends learn a harsh lesson about common decency

JEREMY: By pelting balloons at them? Why don’t we at least talk to them first?

DAVID: Talk to them? If they’re willing to call strangers wankers, what makes you think they’re reasonable human beings?

JEREMY: Well maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, can’t hurt to try talking first

DAVID: Nah, I’ll lob balloons at them, asked my mates about it, they think it’s a great idea too

JEREMY: But you can’t just storm into a pub and lob water balloons around willy-nilly, you’ll get everyone soaking wet and angry

DAVID: I’m a really good shot with a water balloon, honest

So they go along to The Syrian, David and his mates with a box of balloons, Jeremy wandering after them with his own friends who mostly have hangdog expressions upon their faces. The Syrian is a relatively packed bar, with mostly ordinary people inside but there are some people wearing those ISIS shirts, mostly tormenting the other patrons and demanding free drinks. David sneers.

DAVID: See, those ISIS guys are dicks, look what they’re doing in there

JEREMY: Yeah well I don’t see how us going in there pelting people with balloons fixes the matter

DAVID: Well they probably have balloons too, I heard they were in that French bar the other day, they caused some real fucking mischief in there, I’m telling you

JEREMY: True, but the ISIS guys in the French bar don’t come to this bar or vice versa

David shrugs and starts throwing balloons, cheered on by his mates and even some of Jeremy’s mates start laughing and cheering. The balloon barrage begins, Jeremy watching uncomfortably as ISIS guys and normal patrons alike get pelted with balloons. Just then, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia comes along, watches what is going on and David explains. Abdullah laughs and asks if he can have some water balloons, which David agrees to and Abdullah wanders off with them, Jeremy watching him leave with some suspicion.

JEREMY: I think he’s going to give the ISIS guys some balloons

DAVID: Nah, we’re bezzie mates me and Abdu

JEREMY: Since when? You do realise Abdullah hangs out with the ISIS guys too right? He probably calls you a wanker behind your back

DAVID: Yeah but he’s sound really, we hang out too, he buys my lunch whenever we meet up. Plus, he gave me like, a tenner for ten balloons, good deal right?

Sure enough, the ISIS guys in the bar now have balloons, throwing their balloons back at David and even handing balloons out to other patrons in the pub, telling them David started the fight so he’s the one responsible for all this. Some patrons hurry out of the bar, pushing past David and company, some stick with the ISIS guys and some just lie there and get pelted with balloons. Jeremy voices his concern again.

JEREMY: Now everyone in that bar hates us, I’m pretty sure we can’t come here ever again

DAVID: I didn’t know this was going to happen ok? I just came here hoping to get the ISIS crew, the other guys just got in the way and that’s a shame but what am I supposed to do?

JEREMY: Stop throwing balloons?

DAVID: But I’ve hit so many ISIS guys

JEREMY: And lots more non-ISIS guys. You do realise they’ll all hide in our pub now right? I mean, I don’t have a problem with that but you hate anyone who isn’t your mate hanging out in our regular haunt

DAVID: Shut up Jezza, I’ll just tell the barman to shut the doors. Worked for that French pub. Besides, the water balloon fight is well under way now, if I stop throwing balloons, that doesn’t mean they’ll stop

JEREMY: They might if you apologise and leave them alone, maybe offer them a towel afterwards?

DAVID: What am I? A bloody towel merchant? Look shut up and toss a balloon already

But of course, Jeremy doesn’t and the balloon fight continues, with everyone involved getting soaked to the bone by the back and forth of balloons and David keeps giving balloons to his friend Abdullah, who then gives balloons to the ISIS crew, who are nutters that just fucking love balloons. Eventually, they’re all going to be too wet to throw any more balloons and everyone will be miserable and have a cold and need to wring out their shirts and only then will David realise he had done something very dumb and now the ISIS guys have left the pub out the back door, hiding in various other pubs waiting for David or his mates to come in so they can hit them in the face with their own balloons. David will have to apologise to the owner for throwing so many balloons and setting off a huge fight (The Syrian has had a tense atmosphere, people don’t much like the management and the ISIS guys stir up trouble a lot of the time) and whilst his apology will be reluctantly accepted, David probably won’t get served in that place and by extension, neither will his mates or even Jeremy most likely, just for association.

Now this was all very silly but if you read this thinking that David is a bit of a twat, guess what, this is a very scaled down and simplified reconstruction of the decision to bomb Syria. I’m not using this as the end-all argument, I’m not that stupid and taken literally, this post is not a great explanation of our situation but it gives those of you lagging behind a simpler model to refer to instead of combing through news articles (Though I implore you to get up to speed). Bombing a whole nation, even with ‘targeted precise airstrikes’, is akin to running into a bar and throwing stuff at the people you don’t like and when people say that’s a bad idea, you respond with “But I’m really good at throwing stuff, I promise I won’t break anything by accident”. Yeah, when has that ever worked? Funny thing is, David’s predecessor, Tony, had this same idea twice over and neither time did it work out and David thought him a twat for it at the time but now David’s had the idea, it’s suddenly genius.

We don’t want war and if we did, Syria isn’t the enemy, Syria hates ISIS as much as we do, they’re the victims, the trapped masses forced to fight under their flag or die in the gutter and presented with that choice, it’s noble to say you’d rather die but many of us would cower from sacrifice and live as bastards. Our problem nations are the ones pumping money into ISIS and slipping them munitions for further chaos – Turkey, Saudi Arabia – but we don’t start beef with them because they’re our allies and they have a lot of money that we want and that they’ll give us if we give them munitions… which somehow end up in the hands of ISIS. You see the problem here? Moral bankruptcy for financial gain, such is the way of our government and this has led us to declare war on a country that is still reeling from the last one it had.

Not In My Name

It happened, the government actually agreed to begin airstrikes in Syria, the votes for outweighed the votes against by a significant amount, though the votes against were many and the people of this nation voiced their disagreement but as you’re reading this, either preparations are being made or bombs are being dropped. I cannot condone this, you will never convince me that you can create peace through waging war, if history has taught us anything it is that violence begets violence. The needless deaths of the innocent has begun and the threat of ISIS to the UK has just increased. Now I warn you, whilst I will try to remain civil, I am livid as I write this and this will be an emotionally charged article but I implore you to read the content within and heed the words I write.

Paris was a target for ISIS because France agreed to bomb Syria, following in the wake of Russia who have been making such a move for longer than I care to mention and longer than is justifiable. The government has decided Britain needs to join in, I usually refer to Britain as ‘we’ – ‘we believe, we decided, we are’ – but I am not part of that and the government no longer represents us, considering our current government won on 26% of the votes because most of us just chose not to. ISIS will see this, ISIS will use this as justification to attack us and recruit more people into their fold. I ask you, if your home was blown apart, your family gunned down, your friends abducted and your entire country a barren wasteland and then suddenly someone offers you the chance to take up arms and kill the bastards that did this, would you join them? That’s ISIS. Those refugees we turn away and those innocent people we drop bombs on run, some run to other nations, some run to ISIS and give themselves over to it because hell, if everyone on the planet wanted me dead, I’d blow it up too. An unstable nation of war-ravaged homes and internal strife has now become the bombing grounds of the Western world, a pitiful landmass for everyone to bully because if you shoot enough people, you have to shoot someone worth killing eventually right? The logic of bombs is exactly that, it is fire and forget until every bad guy is dead, but considering we’ve had ISIS operations take place in France, carried out by people who were never Syrians to begin with, we won’t bomb away ideals, we’ll just perpetuate violence. Tragedy does not make the human spirit submit – it hardens it and sets it aflame with the thirst for revenge.

You might argue ISIS has this coming to them, they’re monsters right? Well not all of them and call me a sympathiser if you will, I sympathise with any fucking disenfranchised human being, something happened to them that made them that way and that is what we fix, we don’t fix something that is broken by destroying it. The heads of ISIS, deplorable opportunistic bastards, agreed, get them as fast as we can and then broadcast the message that we have their leaders, there’s no need to fight and then if we offer them the chance to give in and be forgiven, I bet many of them would take it. We could never give back the families we slaughtered but we could offer the chance to rebuild but no, we won’t do that, they’re all heartless savages right? And besides, what is there to profit from in rebuilding their country? This war is a money-making scheme, as David Cameron and his buddies make black market swapsies with Saudi Arabia, a nation with a government notorious for corruption that happen to have a business in giving ISIS weapons for their own gain, using ISIS attacks to ruin nations they don’t much like. The UK government put the smoking pistol in the hands of the shiftiest looking guys they could find and then used it as an excuse to start their idealistic campaign and if we dare have the gall to look into it more deeply, we’re terrorist sympathisers, we’re ISIS propaganda spreaders. You want ISIS propaganda? Here’s some – Join ISIS because if you’re Syrian, you’re pretty much fucked anyway, might as well take someone with you to Hell!

We tried military action against those shifty sods across the sea before, it was got us marching into Iraq and Afghanistan, snooping under rocks for those darn terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, only for the penny to drop much later that we’d ruthlessly attacked a bewildered nation and whilst they were reeling from the punch, we were actually looking for material gain. I wouldn’t be shocked if Syria sat on top of some untouched oil reserves as well. We remember how awful it was last time, it wasn’t a morally clear cut conflict, we saw brave young men either die, lose their limbs or be recorded doing horrific things to innocent people and now we restart the cycle. David Cameron, Tony Blair, the differences are becoming fewer and fewer. All we’ve done is started a new witch hunt because arms dealers need to earn a living too and war is good for business when you’re in a seat that has power behind it, all you have to do is make everyone scared, because scared people are stupid and easy to control. As a result of our actions, we’re going to be waiting a long time before Iraq and Britain have strong relationships as nations, only just recently did America and Cuba patch things up from the goddamn Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962!

Another thing, in this country we’ve heard the word ‘cuts’ more often than a news article about Edward Scissorhands going on a murder spree in a hairdressers but we’re about to spend £12 billion on war efforts. £12 billion? Who agreed to that sum of money, that sum which could have saved so many schools and hospitals from closures, that sum which could be invested into the education of the next generation or the rebuilding of our crippled local councils or, dare I say it, paid into the welfare state that so many people rely on to live? Tax credits cut, police force cuts, NHS cuts, we were told we had to have a tight belt to get by and suddenly the government decides to splash out on some indiscriminate mass murder – we as a nation saved up to buy David Cameron the Christmas prezzie of bomb-blasted Syrian ruins, it was on his list and we didn’t feel quite comfortable with his other request of Jeremy Corbyn grinded up and kept in a binbag. I don’t remember the people being asked if this is what they wanted, this came down to a group of fuddy duddies in suits sitting about bickering about how badly they want a war, the same nonsense that was pulled before we marched into Iraq funnily enough. Huge swathes of British people don’t want war, I don’t war, what happened to our voices? The media certainly didn’t highlight the “Don’t Bomb Syria” movement gathering outside the House of Commons, probably because the guy in charge of it wants very much to bomb Syria. We didn’t choose this, they did, an elite few declared war on behalf of a nation and now everyone is at risk – Syrians will become collateral damage and Brits will become terrorist targets.

Syria, this post is probably not going to reach you but I will say that I’m sorry on behalf of the nation and if I could offer up my life to end the bombing, I’d do so. I know I can’t because death is never an answer, it never fixes anything and I’m sorry because you know that from experience. Your people are going to burn and ISIS will offer you salvation through revenge and if that’s what you want, I implore you to resist the temptation but I cannot blame you if that is what you choose, I would struggle to deny the opportunity to kill someone that killed my brothers or sisters or friends or anyone of relation to me. Know that Britain did not choose this, for too long has our political system inaccurately represented our nation and pinned us under a totalitarian thumb that threatens to remove our human rights with surveillance and regulation. We were never asked, we never took a vote, the number of us that voted on this matter numbered enough to fill a hall, not a country. We wanted that money to save our public services but they took it, they said every penny counted to saving our country so we let them take it but now it seems they took it and invested it in harbingers of death. I weep for your people, for the hundreds of thousands of people like me that will die for the sake of possibly killing hundreds of people who aren’t. I will fight, through word and through deed, and I will never stop screaming at the system because what our government did is not British, nor is it the will of Britain.

Never will I allow death in my name. Never.

Political Filter

Staying with the topic of the recent tragedies, one thing I noticed people saying about people like me pointing out the “what-aboutisms” of places like Baghdad, Syria and Mexico was an accusation of politicising a tragedy to preach a liberal agenda and of disregarding etiquette and decency in our pursuit to make people listen. To that I say, quite simply, bupkis. You politicised it, we all did, political agendas are an immediate reaction from all of us to any news, any issue immediately forms an opinion within all of us – some of us see a shooter in the news and think “Probably crazy, couldn’t have been helped” and some of us will say “This is why we need better gun control” or “This is why I don’t want my children attending a state school”. You are capable of grieving and thinking simultaneously, the world does not stop and pause at each tragedy in the news and we are sometimes perhaps even desensitised to the real tragedies. So, let’s look into this shall we?

Firstly, the filters, you’ve perhaps got one on but I don’t and neither does my Facebook page. Why? Well you’ve perhaps heard the reasoning in your own news feed – Paris did not suffer alone so why is it only a French filter offered? Sure, could go for the red, white and blue and call it close enough to doing something but that doesn’t sit right because whilst I do not mean to belittle the tragedy of Paris, it hasn’t had the roughest week out of us all, Syria is still getting bombed, Lebanon had just had a day of mourning themselves beforehand and in Palestine, earlier this week, Israeli forces opened fire with ‘intention of lethal force’ on unarmed protesters. Baghdad, Beirut, Mexico, Japan, the world as a whole suffers and each life lost is just as sad as the last, be it in a bomb blast, a shooting, a car crash or whatever other means. So why then has Paris become the symbol of these tragedies, the one we stand in solidarity with above the bombed ruins of Syria or the persecuted peoples of Palestine? I have some thoughts.

My scary gut feeling tells me that perhaps ISIS wants to reveal the selective horror of the Western world, crying tears for the white faces that died in the city of Paris and somehow shrugging when you mention thousands of non-white Syrians fleeing from battlefields. Muslims being the dirty word again, but there are Muslims on both sides, ISIS calls the Christian a heathen but calls their fellow Muslim a traitor for not being ready to die for their cause. Could ISIS be playing right into the “us and them” mentality that permeates the west? Turning against each other as we nitpick which tragedy was the worst and most deserving of attention until we angrily close our borders to each other and shout from a distance at one another? If you mention the deaths outside Paris, you get branded a tactless liberal, a left-winged tosser and so on when this shouldn’t be left-wing versus right-wing, this should be good decent people against terrorists, it serves no merit to us to argue in amongst ourselves. Alternatively, perhaps the argument for why Paris is so tragic is that it is closer to home and hits us harder than deaths in Baghdad and Lebanon, it is in a location you can point out on a map without trying all that hard, a city of culture and repute and that scares us for geopolitical reasoning (If they can do that in Paris, they can do that in France and spread out. Suddenly places like Germany, Spain and England are all within reach and from there, spread further west like a horrifying plague). This could explain the Middle-Eastern mess to some extent – they get away with it in one place and we don’t really care all that much so the radicals move out and suddenly an entire section of the world is dismissed as a war zone full of extremists and bombers.

At a time like this, I cannot stand people taking offence and saying this is too soon for the discussion. No, it is not, it is exactly right – we have a short attention span in our modern world, we either act fast or not at all. If not now, when? When is it ok to discuss things from a rational standpoint? I was pleasantly surprised when I posted on here about 9/11 needing to lose the pedestal of the worst tragedy in recent history that I didn’t get grilled into submission and apology but I can perhaps chalk that up to a small reader base. 9/11 needs to lose that by the way, currently the ‘worst’ tragedy in recent history is the Syrian crisis, there are more refugees fleeing Syria now than ever fled their homes in the entire Second World War. The Syrian Crisis is having a worse fallout than a World War! Put away national security and identity and solidarity with ‘allies’ (Like Americans saying “The French were Americans on 9/11, we are French today”, you’re not, you put a filter on your profile pic, well done for your political instagramming) and realise that this is all of us, terrorism can succeed anywhere it is not opposed.

No more sombre-head hanging, no more immigration clampdowns, no more floral tributes and blames games, now is the time to say enough is enough because this is a problem we all face. Until we have crushed this terrorism that drives us to fear and hatred of one another, we need to stop being divided within our own ranks. Realise that you are not an American or an Englishman, you’re not a liberal or a conservative, you’re not a Christian or a Muslim, you’re a human being and somewhere out there is a group of people thinking that it is okay to execute your fellow men in droves. Stop them. Stand together as a species and stop them before they win because if we don’t, we’ll hate each other, we’ll cut our connections and then a few strategics here and there can bring each of us down one by one and nobody will help us. Mourn the lost but let that grief motivate you to save the living and fight the fight against the wicked.

Do Not Close Those Gates

I shouldn’t have to inform you of what happened on the 13th November 2015, certainly at least, not what happened in Paris. In Paris alone 128 killed and many more injured in a series of shootings and bombings in various locations across the city. Of course, that same day; a tsunami hit Japan, there was a day of mourning following the death of over 40 people in suicide bombing attacks in Lebanon and a bomber killed 18 people by blowing themselves up at a funeral. ISIS has claimed the responsibility for all these attacks (excluding the obvious tsunami which was caused by an earthquake) believed to have been motivated by the news that Jihadi John, a figurehead of their establishment, was revealed by a mole in his inner circle and soon after, killed.

I’m not here to say any of these tragedies are more deserving of recognition than the others as all of these attacks are carried out by the same people for the same reason, hatred and vengeance. However, I am here to address what we should do in the wake of these events, as some of us have responded to it with blind anger and prejudice, playing right into the hands of the terrorists that seek the destruction of our way of life.

Let me get this out there, I hold no sympathy for ISIS, they represent their faith just as well as the KKK represents the white man or Westboro Baptist Church represents Christianity, they are a splinter group of radicals, willing to sacrifice moral integrity and the blood of the innocent to satiate their thirst for vengeance against the world. You might want to pin the blame on Muslims, calling it a religion of violence but that’s simply untrue – there are over a billion Muslims in the world, if they wanted the destruction of the human race, they’re already in a good enough position to bring it about, truth is, less than 1% (0.003% to be precise) of the global population of Islam is actually interested in terrorism, you’re more likely to die falling down the stairs or getting hit by a bus than a crazy bastard running at you with a bomb strapped to his chest. The awful generalisation of the Muslim faith as violent extremists is inexcusable ignorance spewed from the mouths of those who do not care enough to learn the truth. To this end, let me further state my outrage at some of the genuine responses I saw to this news.

Firstly, there is a petition gaining ground in my home country of England to ban all immigration to this country after what happened in Paris, claiming that until the world is a safe one to live in, Britain should have no part in its affairs and as such, welcome nobody from outside our isles. This is ridiculous, you do realise the people turning up on our shores are running away from the same people we all hate right? ISIS isn’t politely queuing to get in, it’s not as if those refugees are sat waiting in airports like “Gee, I sure hope I get to blow up something significant. I was thinking like maybe I could blow up a bus station or whatever”. No. Closing the doors to the outside world means turning a cold shoulder to those who are suffering and whilst you might be callous enough to look the other way as a recently widowed mother and her baby die at the end of an assault rifle, I cannot and I urge our country not to adopt this “Not my problem attitude”. It is our problem, it is a problem the world must band together to face because it affects us all and turning away from it won’t excuse us from the wrath of these terrorists, they won’t give us a break, if they want to get into this country they will – people have snuck in and out of this country, recruits get out, extremists get in, they didn’t all have clever disguises and paperwork to do that – so closing the door will only shut out people with legitimate reasons to come here such as, say, their home was blown to smithereens.

Secondly, some of us have now become suspicious of those different to us in our own community and to that end, if that’s you, looking at every man in a turban with a stink-eyed glare and never trusting a man who introduces himself as Achmed, then the terrorists won against you. Terrorism isn’t just blowing stuff up, it’s scaring people into extreme paranoia and prejudice so they destroy themselves and make irrational decisions based on that. Muslims are as much a part of our community as Christians, Atheists, Sikhs and all other faiths, they have every right to exist and they are not somehow responsible for what happened – they probably watched the news just like you did and looked on in horror and just as your local vicar won’t say “Good lads those Westboro lot, kill all gays I reckon!”, your Muslim taxi driver or shop clerk won’t approve of what ISIS did. We need to cast aside prejudice, fearing of others and treating them with suspicion and hatred won’t fix this because hatred doesn’t defeat hatred, it fuels it and supplies it. You want revenge on some Muslims for what happened? ISIS wanted revenge for what happened to them, which we did to them because of what they did first, do you notice a pattern here? Hatred begets hatred, you want to end that hatred then you stand against it with understanding and care and solidarity.

Nationality and countries and defending your borders needs to stop, each nation needs to stop prioritising keeping their own safe because what ISIS is doing is a tragedy against humanity – they aren’t simply picking on one country or one creed of people, they attack without discrimination and they hate all that are not like them. Our anger at Jihadi John was for what he did but more than that, some people were furious it was the fact he was British and killing British people. WHY? British people kill British people, people kill people, national identity should not come into it. We’ve always wanted a clear cut conflict since World War Two, the last war in which there were good guys and bad guys, since then it’s been a murky shit-show of suspicion and here we are, a common enemy in ISIS for the world to band together against and yet we still prioritise selfishness over the desperate plight our planet faces. Enough is enough, you will not rescue anyone by cowering away from strangers and treating them with disdain, they want us scared and angry, scared angry people are stupid and easy to kill. If you want someone to hate, don’t say “Those fucking Muslims” or “Don’t trust those refugees”, hate ISIS, hate those that do not flinch at killing innocent people, hate such injustice and take that hatred and channel it into doing what is right and helping your fellow man. Humanity, I beg of you, stand together, realise that this is a problem that affects the whole world and do not let it be what divides us any longer.