There are two distinct groups of people I feel sorry at the moment. Obviously, young Muslim men have my sympathies because of Richard Prosser’s (hitherto known as Dick) childish assertions that they should be banned from all public transport due to an invented (in Dick’s head) terrorism threat. The other group I feel sorry for are the 538 people who voted for Dick and his staff and supporters – I can only hope that they are collectively banging their heads against a wall wondering how to rid themselves of this nut-job, although I suspect NZ First staff are working overtime to try and extricate him and his beloved party leader out of the fine mess he has got them into.
There is absolutely NO merit in anything that Dick has said in his article in Investigate magazine – it should be and has already been called what it is – RACISM.
If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines…
It’s OK, he accepts that not all Muslims are terrorists, but apparently, most terrorists are Muslims. Really? Oh, and before we rip that hyperbole to shreds what does he count as a western airline (does he mean white European and American airlines, because that’s fine, I tend to fly Singapore Airlines – so that’s probably not affected by Dick’s ban).
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(I have highlighted race, colour and religion as these seem to be the principles on which the supposed ban would occur. Obviously, Scottish born National MP Tim Grosser would sneak through because he is older than 35 and doesn’t look Muslim, even though he converted to Islam when he married his Indonesian wife).
I suspect Dick hasn’t bothered to read that document, otherwise he may have thought twice about joining NZ First.
However, facts are what matter, not right-wing racist hyperbole, and the facts are that Dick is wrong on every count. The reality of the situation is that, through history, white men have committed more acts of terrorism (whether they are state sponsored of via an extremist group) than 19 – 35 year old Muslim males. Even using the term Muslim is wrong. True followers of Islam don’t become terrorists, terrorists are born of extreme Islamic or Islamist beliefs.
I lived in the UK for the first 35 years of my life. If you asked me to make a stereotyped generalisation on who in society is more likely to be a terrorist, I’d pick the young white guy with an Irish accent. Despite the “War on Terror” and the backlash from radical Islamist groups, more people in the UK have been killed by Irish extremist terrorism (young white males and females with strong accents), than by Islamists.
The same is true of the United States. White supremacist groups and and Christian religious fundamentalists (the like of which you find at the Westboro Baptist Church) have killed more US citizens then all the attacks of Islamist terrorists, including 9/11. Indeed, a report published by North Carolina’s Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security points out that, in 2012 alone, mass shootings have claimed the lives of at least 66 Americans – “twice as many fatalities as from Muslim-American terrorism in all 11 years since 9/11,”
This is nothing new, even in 2002 US TV was showing the alternate view to the incorrect belief that all Muslims hate the US – if you don’t believe me, watch:
Again, the reality is that when white people commit acts of terror, we call them lone gun-men, troubled individuals, stress that they have mental illnesses and are ‘one-off’ rare events. If an Islamist commits an act of terror its part of a long running plot or Jihad and par for the course.
When all is said and done, Dick is a Racist!
And then comes the backlash and the response. Obviously Twitter and Facebook were all over this, and quite rightly, every profile or comment I saw yesterday stated the Dick was wrong. But as the initial protests subsided, some more personal responses appeared:
It hurts me in the same way it hurt me when, post 9/11, some stranger in a West Auckland supermarket had the audacity to walk up to my mother and tell her to go back where she came from because she wasn’t welcome here, simply because she was wearing a head scarf. It hurts in same way it hurt me when my younger brother came home from his part-time job one day in a North Shore mall, having dealt with a customer who, in response to my brother’s generic offer of assistance, said he didn’t need any help from the likes of him, who were “coming here” and “taking all the jobs.”
But more concerning were the failures to respond, or the responses in support. I for one am disappointed with Winston Peters for not standing Dick down. Support of these views without serious sanction, even tacitly, is tantamount to racism. I am disappointed with Shearer and Key for not ruling out working with any party which includes candidates who have made blatantly racist comments (and the irony of Hone Harawira stating that Dick’s comments were racist, and without basis in fact is not lost on anyone). I am disappointed, but not surprised that Michael Laws was this morning tweeting about strong support for Dick (from who, the Southland branch of the KKK). It says all too much about talkback radio, and nothing about the invalidity of Dick’s comments.
Edmund Burke, the C20th Irish philosopher said, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. It is not enough for any of us to do nothing, when we see racism like the drivel Dick espoused, it’s our duty to stand up and call it just that, racist, and not appropriate for an elected representative. I suspect this leopard will never change his spots, so maybe he should change his job.
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