Racism and violence are inseparable because racism itself is violence. It stands to reason then that these people, emboldened by the sharp right turn in British politics and the overt xenophobia of Brexit, see violence and the threat of violence as political instruments. None of this comes as a surprise. We need look no further than Brexit, in fact, for the hardest evidence of this violence. Thomas Mair, the man who hacked Labour MP Jo Cox to death during the EU referendum campaign was a white supremacist and British nationalist.
If you are thinking what I am describing here is apocalyptic, you’re right. This is apocalyptic. Not in the modern sense of an end of the world, but in the proper sense; an unveiling – a cataclysm between the ages, a laying bare and an unleashing of the aggressions that the dying age has stored up in sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Yes, I fear we are about to reap the whirlwind.
Until the Scottish independence campaign all of this has remained alien to my experience of Ireland and Scotland. Now I hear and say this word “unionism” every day. As a concept and as an identity it has become more real to me.
In fact the real nasty racist and xenophobic material of British ethnic nationalism is never too far from the outriders of Scottish unionism.
After decades of anti-Christian violence in Egypt the Coptic Orthodox Christians have once again become the victims of a terrorist attack in Cairo. As people prayed this morning at St. Peter and St. Paul church, adjoining St. Mark’s cathedral, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device killing 24 worshippers – mainly women and children.
Since September 11 (2001) a development in racism has taken place across Europe. Reported incidents of racist abuse have shifted from the identification of the victim’s skin colour or their perceived country of origin to an identification of their religion.
Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League, is a man I have struggled to accept. His open racism and Islamophobia have turned my stomach. Yet he and I share much in common.
Thousands fled to churches in the hope of sanctuary, but their Hutu neighbours forced their way in and transformed the churches into killing centres where children’s heads were broken against walls, baptismal fonts were used to collect the blood of those whose throats hand been cut, and where thousands were shot or hacked to death by machetes.