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04 August 2009 @ 12:59 pm
Teletext Letters Page, Today  
Today's Tele-Texts comments page has, as one of its two subjects, the torture inquiry - and whether or not we need one. I look at this page, and I see an awful lot of highly bigoted comments against holding an Iraq inquiry, along the lines of:-

"In war sometimes persuasion is needed to save many lives. The terrorists don't care what methods they use, so no inquiry." - Flashy, Wexford

"I'm afraid the welfare of terrorists and terrorist suspects is of no concern to me whatsoever." - Jean, Knottingley

"Why are people so worried about the alleged torture of people who want to torture, maim and kill us?" - Donna, Stroud

"Terrorists deserve no compassion whatsoever." - Jane, Croydon

"Terrorists deserve all they get. They torture and kill their victims without any regard for their human rights. Why does the government show such pity on these monsters? Perhaps they should look into why these terrorists hate and despise us so much." - Richard, Nottingham

(I suspect these posts could all have come from one person texting from half a dozen different mobile phones, but there you have it)

And this is my statement:-

"Yes, we need an inquiry. We need to know if a morally turpid government and people have turned our back on ethical principles which our forefathers fought to enshrine in law.

"Other nations may torture, but we British must not because we are supposed to hold the high ground. If we lose this, we become no different than a rogue state ourselves."

+ + +

I fear we have already lost that cherished status some years ago. But I do need to remind people of what our forebears fought for, and later generations sold off for Nintendo Wiis and cheap bananas.

Now here's the thing, before we go much further. Let's play a game. Let's take all the instances of the word "terrorist" in the rants above, and swap them for any other single word. It's a simple game. Just copy and paste into your word processor, then do a search / replace action on it.

Let's replace the word "terrorist" with the following word, then replace that word with the next one, and so on.

Let's start with ...










See what I mean? With each replacement word, the inherent bigotry becomes ever clearer.

People in my family tree fought to excise this cancer from British society. It would appear to have since relapsed, and in fact thoroughly metastasised.
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engorged lawyers: team GB!taversham on August 4th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
With each replacement word, the inherent bigotry becomes ever clearer.

You're saying inherent bigotry is clearer when directed at Atheists than at Poles?

Maybe if the list had gone "Paedophile, thief, tramp, Jew" then you'd have made a reasonable point, but putting Polish-ness as only one step up from being a child molester makes me think you're probably not the person who should lecturing about British society having lapsed into bigotry as if you have the moral high-ground.

(I do think there should be a torture inquiry.)
Aarona_pawson on August 4th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
Discriminating against people based on race or religion is very different to discriminating against terrorists.

fiat_knoxfiat_knox on August 5th, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
What begins with finger pointing and accusations of terrorism ends with the lumping together of entire peoples, races and cultures as pariahs and labelled as legitimate targets for persecution by a morally bankrupt government desperate to distract the public and divert righteous ire away from it.

Look for an excuse to hunt for witches / Communists / terrorists, and you end with persecutions of immigrants, gays and women.
Garyalienatedduck on August 4th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
Except for pedophiles, I don't quite see the link between the first half of your post and the second half. I do not agree with a single one of the first bunch of statements, but there is a difference between this and normal bigotry simply because there is an issue to be scared of. People who are involved in actual terrorism pose actual threats to the world.

People who are bigots when it comes to race, gender, religion and sexuality usually have no good grounding for their beliefs.

We shouldn't be torturing anyone, but I'm sure you don't like actual terrorists either.
fiat_knoxfiat_knox on August 5th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
I don't like terrorists, true. But then I consider our current government to be no more than terrorists anyway, and the slavering wolves waiting in the wings for the next General Election to be even less noble.

There's an old saying: "Noblesse oblige." "Nobility obliges. It referred to the duties and responsibilities to protect and care about the people which were accepted by the nobility. Somebody clearly decided some time ago that "noblesse n'oblige plus."
DanGdan_g on August 4th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
Look the game you play makes the point, but uneccesarily so, because quite frankly, anyone that agrees with you already gets it, and those that dont probably never will.

You could make your point quite simply with a single retort to;
"I'm afraid the welfare of terrorists and terrorist suspects is of no concern to me whatsoever." - Jean, Knottingley

Yes Jean, best hope that you never become suspected of terrorist connections. Still, no skin of your nose if you do apparently...

the adventures of Christinecdaae on August 4th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)

And ugh to the Jeans of the world. I can see why some people would say they don't care about terrorists being tortured, not that I think it's acceptable, but people suspected of terrorism? Do these people even think about what they're saying??
Aarona_pawson on August 4th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
If they are terrorist suspects they must have done something wrong. Not my opinion, but one commonly held.
DanGdan_g on August 4th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Well, these days its fairly easy to find something that someones done wrong...

But theft from the stationary cabinet at woork and minor road transgressions (annoying as they are and contrary to the abuse I shout at them during my daily commute ;p ) are not punishable by torture...
Aarona_pawson on August 4th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
That's not quite the meaning I was trying to convey. The idea is more that if they are accused of something they must be guilty of it, or at least guilty of something connected to it or else the police (or other authorities) would never have accused them.
DanGdan_g on August 5th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
I know... You were refering to the old saying 'no smoke without fire'... I was assuming that you were taking the piss and so deliberatly responded in kind.
fiat_knoxfiat_knox on August 5th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Stefan Kishko was accused of raping and murdering a little girl, and spent the last eighteen years of his life in jail for something that he did not do, all because the cops beat a confession out of a man with learning difficulties.
Ratatosktribal_thrash on August 4th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
This is what I was going to say... probably less eloquently
fiat_knoxfiat_knox on August 5th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
I heartily recommend to such people that they purchase Kafka's "The Trial," or watch an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine called "Tribunal" where Miles O'Brien is arrested by the Cardassians, in a legal system where the verdict is set as guilty before the trial even begins, and the sentence is automatically death.

Best of all, I recommend that they watch any episode of The Prisoner starring the late Patrick McGoohan. Indefinite imprisonment without charge, rendition, regular torture including psychological torture, and no hope of legal representation or hope of release.