24 July 2005
Day 4 of Open Season on those who are “darker than blue”
First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. – Pastor Martin Niemoller
I first used this statement in an essay here back in 2003 and it was and is, entirely predictable that the hysteria surrounding ‘extremist, fanatical Muslims’ that Blair’s Britain has created would finally result in the murder of an innocent man at the hands of Blair’s security state.
That the man the police shot in cold blood was a Brazilian, only reinforces the essentially racist nature of a system that needs a scapegoat that is in reality, based not on religion but on ‘race’, in order to justify its ‘war on terror’. A system that has over the past four years consistently pumped out the same message – albeit in a thinly disguised ‘code’ – it’s okay to make war on dark-skinned people. Sooner or later, the war would come home, it was as predictable as night following day. Hence the phrase used with such monotonous regularity by the state, ‘not if but when’ was a self-fulfilling prophecy, hard-wired if you like, into the system. A ‘rolling Reichstag fire’.
So when people talk of the ‘blowback’ caused by the occupation of Iraq, I have in mind something quite different. Yet again, I find myself pointing out to the ‘liberal, left’, that the ‘international terror network’ is capitalism’s Frankenstein monster let loose on the world, a monster created long before the invasion and occupation of Iraq. A monster that lies hidden under the veneer of ‘democracy’, waiting only for the ‘right’ conditions before being unleashed by the capitalist state.
The Palestinians are the pikeys of the Middle East. If they must have a homeland, give them part of Saudi Arabia, because the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Jordanians and the Lebanese don’t want them either …. No more hand-wringing. It’s time for neck-wringing ….
The other good news is that yesterday’s terrorists didn’t have 72 virgins on their dance card. They chucked their backpacks and legged it. So maybe there aren’t as many recruits willing to End It for Allah as we have been led to believe ….
We are currently being treated to the thoroughly demeaning spectacle of a British minister swanning around the Middle East trying to elicit assurances from sovereign governments that in the unlikely event of our actually agreeing to their requests for the extradition of wanted terrorists, currently living in London council accommodation, they won’t be subject to the death penalty or electrodes on their goolies.
Frankly, who gives a damn?
Put these lunatics on the night boat to Cairo and let the Egyptians, Syrians or whoever do what the hell they like with them. – Richard Littlejohn, the Sun, July 22, 2005*
We have but a brief window of opportunity to oppose and defeat Blair’s ‘ordinary fascism’ before it engulfs us all and I must say that in all honesty I am not optimistic given the history of this country.
I had started to write the essay reproduced below before the events of Friday, 22 July overtook us but realised that it was entirely apposite to what’s happening right now but with a few amendments to the original text.
Yesterday, the 23rd of July I actually made it to the venerable age of sixty and ironically, the only advantage accruing being a ‘Freedom Pass’ to travel London’s public transport system for nothing (those bits of it that are still operating under the creeping lockdown as the security services shoot their way across London).
I was born in London and have spent my entire life living in big cities, London, New York and Johannesburg. I’m a genuine city boy and feel quite at home in them, or at least I did. I’ve always regarded cities as harbingers of what it feels like to be a global citizen, so whether in New York or Jozi, it was my city. I’ve never felt any real affinity to the idea of national ‘identity’, perhaps because of my background, so if anybody asks me where I come from, I invariably answer, London. This was the place that shaped me, where I cut my teeth, political and otherwise.
My folks’ network of friends and comrades came from all over, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, so I suppose I was raised to think of myself as part of a global ‘family’ from the getgo. This might well have a lot to do with why I’ve travelled so much in my life but also it’s the source of my insatiable curiosity about the world and its peoples’.
Everywhere I’ve ever lived, I’ve always ‘dropped’ right in and never felt out of place or unwelcome. But paradoxically, growing up in a Leftie family, also puts you on the ‘outside’; it makes you different, a paradox that also contributed to my affinity to all those who are, for whatever reason, considered different and on the ‘outside’ (thanks to Patricia for this insight).
On Friday night I went out to a club in north London to listen to music I’ve never really liked, punk (it ain’t syncopated, that’s why) but couldn’t get away from the incongruous thought of everyone in the place listening to this frenetic, 200bpm+ from another age almost, whilst outside, in the big city, the security forces are hunting down the ‘enemy within’ with a licence to kill on sight. Shoot now and don’t bother to ask questions later. God knows what it feels like to be an Asian in Britain today, especially a young Asian man (and as I point out above, anybody with a dark complexion who runs from white people with guns and has their i-pod wires showing).
Somewhere I read that there are something like 200 million people ‘on the move’, mostly unofficially, in our allegedly global village. The reality is of a vast army of unofficial, cheap labour unlike any in history, not even the mass migrations of the 19th century (that was confined to Europeans) can compare to the ravages of the poor countries of the world caused by the economic policies of the Western economies. Policies that have torn apart countries and destroyed whatever fragile gains they made following the liberation struggles of the 40s, 50s and 60s.
I’m old enough to remember quite well the first wave of Caribbean cheap labour drafted into this country in the 1950s to work on the buses and trains and in our hospitals. Brits didn’t mind them doing all the shit jobs they didn’t want to do but otherwise vilified and shunned them, the pathetic remnants of our colonial past, the so-called Commonwealth, that was anything but common or wealthy.
Many found ‘bedsits’ in Balham where I grew up and I can remember walking past the Jehovah’s Witness chapel, a corrugated iron roofed building next to a stable on Boundaries Road on a Sunday morning and hearing the gospel music that always grabbed me, rocking out of the place (the door was always left open so one could look in and straight up the aisle and see the preacher doing his thing). The congregation was actually quite mixed, that is, an incongruous mix of West Indians in baggy ‘zoot suits’ and middle-aged, working class English ladies dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ of flowery print dresses and elaborate hats, an image that sums up the contradictions of those times.
London was in those days (the 1950s), a grim, grey and dismal place of bombsites and rationing, and far from being the glorious victors of WWII, we were in fact, a bankrupt nation totally in hock to US capital (a relationship that has come to haunt us to this day).
The ‘war on terror’ is part and parcel of the reality of the deliberate impoverishment of millions of people through the actions of the World Bank and the IMF and its hired guns, the armies and security services of the US/UK/Israel, the real and awful ‘Axis of Terror’. For not only have these Western institutions caused these mass migrations of people in search of a decent living, they have led directly to what the Western media describe as ‘failed states’ that has in turn, created a vast army of displaced people, who have been denied the right to a life in the country of their birth and so have turned to what they thought of as the ‘bastions of democracy’ for safety, only to be shunned, vilified, demonised, incarcerated and eventually ejected back out into a cold, hard world.
This is the reality of ‘blowback’, a world where sheer desperation has led to rise of the terrorist, for failing a genuine movement of liberation and revolution that can offer a real alternative to the awful world of capitalist exploitation, there are those, thankfully a tiny minority, who fall prey not only to the nihilists but inevitably to the security forces of the West who employ them.
For surely, nothing illustrates the need for a genuine alternative to the world created by the West than the events that threaten now to overwhelm and ultimately engulf us all. Without seeing the events in Iraq and elsewhere as part of a larger process, we are doomed to fall prey to the oldest con in the book, the scapegoat upon whom we can heap all our frustrations and fears, fed by a media that pushes all the ‘right’ buttons right on cue, led by its partner-in-crime, the capitalist state.
And, as more information becomes available about the events of the past two weeks, if past experience is anything to go by, it’s more than likely that the British security services have had a sinister hand in setting up the horrors visited on the people of London over the past two weeks.
And to those who cry conspiracy, look no further than the role of the British security agencies in Northern Ireland, specifically the Force Research Unit (FRU), a unit that was still in operation until at least 1997,
…an undercover security operation financed and run by the British state in Northern Ireland for more than two decades …. involving up to 100 soldiers and double agents— [that] organised a series of covert intelligence and military operations and authorised their agents to carry out numerous illegal activities including bomb making, murder, and the shooting of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers.
… [The FRU’s] chain of command reaches up to the highest echelons of the British state within the armed forces and intelligence gathering bodies.
(For more on this see ‘Fresh revelations on secret British terror organisation in Northern Ireland’, By Robert Stevens, 15 May 2001)
* The quotes above are but a small snippet of the inflammatory and racist garbage of this man Richard Littlejohn. Objections should be sent to:
And I am sure the Press Complaints Commission would like to hear from you as well. http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaint/how_complaint.htm.
See the Arab Media Watch where I got these quotes from.
Langston Hughes by Winold Reiss
And, as I have taken the phrase “darker than blue” from Langston Hughes (1902-1967), it’s only right and proper that you check out one of the giants of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ at Langston Hughes. Curtis Mayfield made it popular in one of his songs ‘We people who are darker than blue’. I’ve tried to find the original attribution but so far, no luck, but I’m sure a reader will direct me to the source.