RACIST, MUCH?

When it comes to the topic of racism, people can only fit into one of three categories: racist, non-racist and anti-racist.

Obviously, if you are racist then you hate someone based on their race or ethnicity. Just to be clear, this makes you a shit person. No explanation needed really.

Now what constitutes non-racist, you may ask? Well, non-racists are individuals who don’t harbour any ill will towards a person based on their ethnic or racial extraction, but who take no active role in combating or preventing racism. You might think this isn’t such a bad thing, as you aren’t the one engaged in racist activity. Guess again. If you stand by and allow racism to spread or go unchecked, you are still a shit person. At best, you are the lesser of two evils. But still evil nonetheless.

As for individuals classed as anti-racist, these people take an active role in combating racism, in all its forms. If you aspire to be any one of these three, be this one. For the love of humanity, be this one. The world will be a better place for it.

Lastly, there is no such thing as ‘reverse-racism’. If you hate anyone based on their race/ethnicity, you are a racist. It doesn’t matter if it is an African hating on a Caucasian, or vice versa, it’s still racism either way. Think about it, if you ‘reverse’ racism, wouldn’t that mean you love someone for their ethnicity/race? Now wouldn’t that be a world worth living in?

DECLARATION OF ARBROATH, 1320

696 years ago, Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, supported by his nobles and the ‘commons of Scotland’, drafted a document intended to be presented to the Pope in Rome. This document is known as the Declaration of Arbroath.

In effect, what the Declaration constituted was an assertion of Scotland’s independence from England.

Since 1306,  the Bruce had been at the forefront of the Scottish resistance movement. In 1314, he won a great victory at Bannockburn, against a much larger English force, effectively securing Scotland’s freedom.

Following his success at Bannockburn, Scotland’s independence was an undeniable physical reality: the next phase of the struggle was the transmutation of the gains made at Bannockburn into a political reality. The Declaration was the physical manifestation of this.

So, in effect, what Scottish Unionists have done since 1707 is dishonour the Bruce’s legacy, and everything that he fought for. Perhaps, think about that next time you ponder whether or not to vote Yes or No.

ISIS Hunter? For Real?

In recent years, I have come across several individuals who fancy themselves as ISIS Hunters (so-called on account of their choice of apparel). None have struck me as the type who have actually seen combat, let alone combat in Syria or Iraq.

In my estimation, what the ISIS Hunter trend actually represents is an expression of anti-Islamic sentiment: a hatred of Islam in its entirety, not simply the fundamentalist aspect of the religion’s ideology. I make this argument because when I engage with Islamophobes (as far as I can recall) none make any kind of distinction between moderate Muslims and their extremist counterparts. However, I am digressing. Time to get back on track.

I fully understand why someone would want to hunt down ISIS operatives. After all, they are murderous, rapacious, homicidal lunatics that must be stopped.

Yet, when the former individuals present themselves as engaged in physically combating ISIS, they demonstrate the most grievous degree of disrespect towards those combatants in the Middle East who, as I write this, are locking horns with ISIS. The brave warriors of the Peshmerga (and the like) deserve more than to have their life and death struggle co-opted by individuals far-removed from the conflict, for their own political agenda no less.

Before signing off, I would just like to express my admiration for the brave fighters in Rojava (Christian and Muslim alike), who are actually fighting to secure their future, and that of their children.

Still Scared of Muslims?

We are fast approaching the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur killings in Tasmania. Considering the current wave of Islamophobic hysteria sweeping the nation of Australia, a brief appraisal of the Port Arthur Massacre is needed to provide some perspective.

Martin John Bryant (pictured), born and raised in Tasmania, executed 35 people and injured a further 23. His weapons of choice were an SLR and an AR-15. The Lindt café siege pales in comparison, in terms of the human cost.

Currently, this is the third-largest mass-shooting by a lone gunman in history.

Guess what? Bryant wasn’t Muslim.

The United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia, along with their supporters whilst happy to foment social discord around the topic of Islamic extremism, are quick to forget that Australia’s worst terrorist attack- and that is exactly what it was- was perpetrated by a ‘true blue Aussie’.

So let me ask you, are you still scared of Muslims?

1981 Hunger Strike: 35 years on

1 March 2016 marks the 35th anniversary of the beginning of Bobby Sands’ hunger strike for political status. This courageous act ultimately led to his death 66 days later.

Perhaps if I hadn’t been robbed of my native gaelic/gaeilge tongue by the vicious process of British Imperialism, and cultural genocide, then I would have something better than Maith thú, mo cara, to say to you.

I guess this post is a kind of open letter to Bobby.

I don’t think I will ever be able to express just how much of an inspiration you, and your comrades, have been to me.

Not long ago I spoke with some friends of yours, Joe Watson and Séanna Breathnach. They miss you dearly, and Joe even took me to your grave.

I can’t imagine the strength it must have taken to starve yourself. Needless to say, your sacrifice hasn’t been forgotten. Not by me, and certainly not in the Six Counties.

The Brits may not be gone from the North (yet), but as we Celts say Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Bloody Sunday

One of the most chilling and hair-raising experiences of my life was listening to the audio recordings of the 1972 ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre in Derry, Northern Ireland. The screams and calls for help of those involved is something I will never forget.

For those unfamiliar with the event, more than a dozen Irish Catholics were gunned down by British paratroopers whilst involved in a Civil Rights march. All they wanted was the right to be able to vote on the same basis as their Protestant neighbours, something they had been actively denied since 1921.

The British Army claimed that operatives belonging to the paramilitary organisation the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had fired on the soldiers, using the marchers as cover. This has since been proven false, after attempts at a cover up. What the British Army engaged in that day was State-sanctioned murder.

44 years have passed since that horrific day, and I pray the North of Ireland will never experience the likes of which again. Northern Ireland now operates as a democratic pluralist polity, governed by a provincial power-sharing Administration. Although, tensions remain, this arrangement ensures Catholics can never be treated with such blatant prejudice ever again. Perhaps by the marchers’ deaths, others have had the chance to live. I hope and pray this is the case.

Power of the Petition pt. 2: The Day we Beat Chapman

I wasn’t expecting to write a sequel to my last blog, but things have a funny way of turning out sometimes.

After being made aware that the Foundry Hotel Complex in Bendigo was going to host One Nation’s Victorian Senate campaign launch, I took it upon myself to draft a petition demanding that the Foundry cancel the event. And they did; after a few phone calls were made and Facebook messages left by some of my acquaintances.

It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Elise Chapman’s bid for a Victorian Senate seat has suffered a setback. But the job is not done. Pressure must be maintained. Should One Nation, Pauline Hanson or Chapman try to relocate their campaign launch to another venue, said venue must be made aware of the community’s disgust at the idea of hosting such a vile collection of racists and xenophobes.

Hey Elise, how’s life?

 

Power of the Petition

I was once told by a student that online petitions get “nowhere in Australia”.

I disagreed then, and I disagree now.

Several months ago Australian TV presenter Samantha Armytage made a horrific racist comment, that clearly left her co-host taken aback. Armytage and her co-host were interviewing a pair of non-identical twins; one dark-skinned and the other light-skinned. One child had taken on the racial attributes of the father, and the other had taken on the attributes of the mother. Armytage responded “good on her” to the light-skinned twin.

An online petition from Change.org appeared demanding an apology, which Armytage subsequently gave. So petitions go nowhere? Clearly not. Whilst I personally believe Armytage should have been sacked, I take some solace in the fact that this petition- which gained more than 3,000 signatories- helped procure an apology.

Publicists tried to pass off the comment: ‘Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment. We apologise if anyone misunderstood or if they were offended.’ I smell bullshit.

Even so, let us not forget the power of a petition, even in this day and age. Next time however, I hope that petition procures a more acceptable outcome.

 

Sources: Sunrise; Daily Mail; news.com.au; smh.com.au.

R.I.P RUQIA HASSAN

Reports are flooding in that 30 year-old Syrian journalist Ruqia Hassan, who wrote under the pen name of Nissan Ibrahim, was executed by IS in September 2015.

After the city of Raqqa was captured by IS forces in 2013 she refused to leave. Instead, Hassan chose to document life in the occupied region. She was outspoken, and critical of the extremist regime, something that many Syrians are terrified to even contemplate. Via social media she made her views on IS known the world over. Hassan had little time for the strict social rules enforced by them. Unfortunately, her dissident activity brought her to the attention of the extremist organisation.

IS suspected Hassan of communicating with the Free Syrian Army. This led to her incarceration, and eventual execution on a charge of ‘espionage’.

May this brave human being rest in peace, and forever be remembered as a true hero.

 

Sources: the Independent; the Guardian; the Daily Mail.

Blair Cottrell vs. Female Combatants

“Anyone who thinks women ought to endure the hell of war; wield assault rifles and stifle in disease and famine could only be a sheltered pleb. Women can be precious or equal, but not both.”

– Blair Cottrell, 2015

I find it appalling that Mr. Cottrell thinks it is appropriate to spout this kind of total nonsense from behind a computer screen and keyboard, whilst Kurdish women are fighting and dying in a war against IS extremists.

These women put themselves at great personal risk. Can you imagine the horrors these women would be subjected to if taken prisoner by IS?

What Mr. Cottrell has done, with his obnoxious statement, is denigrate the heroic effort made by these brave Kurdish women.

It seems to me, that Mr. Cottrell’s comments reveal his own personal fear of strong females. The fact that a woman is able to take the fight to radical Islam emasculates him. As does the fact that they are doing more to combat Islamic extremists than he can ever hope to do. That is, unless he were to maybe buy a one-way ticket to say Iraq or Syria. There’s an idea Blair: join a Peshmerga unit. Maybe then you could boast of a contribution to humanity that is possibly comparable to the brave young Kurdish women of the YPJ.

Just a thought…