Comment, Comics and the Contrary.
This is a day when The Express is reporting on a ‘purge’ of medical staff wearing a veil and The Guardian is reporting that the Government plans to ask lecturers to spy on their ‘Asian looking’ students.
This is the week after a ‘Labour’ minister brashly supports the sacking of a person wearing the veil. This would be bad enough if it were the actions of a Tory, merely a breach of proper employment procedure. But this is a break with the tradition within the labour movement of resisting all sackings. Never mind those that ride a wave of public aggression against a threatened minority group.
This is the week after David Davis talked of ‘voluntary’ apartheid, a nifty linguistic trick that transfers responsibility from those who, morally, must bear it, the powerful, to those who cannot, the weak.
This is a time when integration is bandied about by people who have no sense of its meaning; integration is the bringing together of separate elements to create a whole unit. It is not the same as assimilation, but is a process in which the people and peoples who are the separate elements contribute to the character of a whole. Demands for assimilation, of course, who be met with less than full-blooded approval by those with a sense of history. Or a sense of shame.
A demand for a sense of history would, funnily enough, exclude those defenders of ‘reason’ and ‘Enlightenment’ around whom dangerous middle-class and ‘intellectual’ anti-Muslim sentiment is coalescing. These wannabe Volatires use words such as Enlightenment as fetishes, as magic utterances, to cast them in the glow of ‘Civilisation’. But while they act the buffoon, invoking the legitimacy of historical eras of which they have only the passing acquaintance, they are dangerous. Dangerous, because it is through this polity of the middle-class, with their access to the levers of power and persuasion, that laws are passed, cultural moods are changed and street violence is given its head.
This is an autumn of firebombed dairies, attacks on veiled women in the street and the stabbings of young men with the ‘wrong’ colour skin. These events cannot be neatly divorced from the pronouncements of those with tremendous cultural power, or from the actions of those who launch wars abroad and stoke fear and suspicion at home.
So, at this time, it is nice to hear a line that disembowels the bloated, slothful thinking of the pseudo-scholars and phony-humanitarians* who seem to dominate the Anglophone world of letters:"Veiled Muslim women are caricatured as oppressed victims who need rescuing from their controlling men, while at the same time accused of being threatening creatures who really should stop intimidating the (overly tolerant) majority."
Salam Yaqoob, via TTSD
*I have tackled the worthless imagination of Martin Amis before [One
]. I plan to address the error of Salman Rushdie next.