Over the past forty-eight hours a great many people on social media reacted to my thoughts on this subject with a great deal of anger and frustration. Many of those who replied to me were perfectly sincere, believing that what I had done endangered the rights of ‘real women.’ Others were more extreme; many of whom branded me a misogynist, as a man who supported violence against women, as someone who would subject women and girls to ‘rapists,’ ‘predators,’ ‘perverts,’ ‘peeping Toms,’ ‘men in dresses,’ and ‘abusers’ in ladies’ toilets and other female-only spaces.
Yet, we feel that we can’t ban these marches – that we can’t ban the organisation – because to do this would be illiberal, it wouldn’t be tolerant. Rubbish! If the Orange Order insisted on marching through the more affluent streets of Glasgow, insisting that they too were “the Queen’s highway,” they would have been banned decades ago. If their songs and their open hostility were directed against Jews or people of colour instead of Catholics, the government would have no option but to ban the organisation. So, why is this not the case when they are marching down working-class streets?
We may pretend that this could never happen here, but mass murder was thought out of the question in Srebrenica. The reality is that this can happen here, and it will happen here if we do not find a way of stopping the temperature rising. Already we have reached boiling point. All that is holding the old order in place is the democratic habit of a few generations, but this is eroding. It seems perfectly clear to me that we have reached a critical moment.
There is absolutely no question that this video is racist, and it can do nothing but put his motives for teaching his partner’s pug to give a Nazi salute and respond to “Gas the Jews” in a starker, uglier light. Mark Meechan comes across as an expert at doing himself no favours. On the one hand he is trying his best to convince a judge that his video was a joke and that he is a comedian, and then on the other he is making racist parodies and linking up with Tommy Robinson at Rebel Media to advocate freedom of speech. Yes, you read that right – Tommy Robinson.
When the man in the pulpit says that Islam is satanic and the Bible teaches that homosexuals are wicked, how might a Christian fundamentalist respond to a Muslim man murdering innocent women and men in a gay nightclub?
Regardless of the facts, the right-wing media has to make this about the danger of Islam even when that narrative reading of the event comes at the cost of the truth. Owen Jones, during a SKY News interview, pointed this out and was rounded upon for daring to challenge the official agenda.
Muslim people in the West, as a result of politically opportunistic and security industry rhetoric, have been denuded of their rightful sense of safety and so exposed to the blatantly racist agenda of the media.
Yes, the sexual assault or rape of a woman is a crime, and a vicious and despicable crime at that. The race, religion, language, or ethnicity of the victim has absolutely no bearing on the gravity of the offence.