Every single day, people like me are subject to a media onslaught. Every single day, we are demonised, both by the people who make our laws and by the people who have significant influence over public opinion. And when I say “we”, I don’t just mean Muslims. Because it’s not just Muslims who are losing their lives at the hands of far-right nationalism. It’s Jews and Sikhs and black people. Because when fascism comes to call, it usually doesn’t care what shade of “different” you are. All it knows is that you are different, and it does not like you for it.
My fury and my pain is not lessened when a Jewish person is killed, or when a Hindu person is killed. We share a common humanity and that is sufficient for us to feel rage and pain. And it is evident that very many people do feel a sense of shared humanity with those targeted in attacks. Those emotions are not specific to people of colour, or to religious minorities. We do not own them. But marginalised people do have an acute understanding of what it is to live their lives in a constant state of low-level alert. How could we not? We’ve spent the past 20 years watching the world around us change beyond all recognition. Endless wars in the Middle East. Talk of “clashes” of ideology and culture. Refugee children left to die in the sea. The Windrush scandal. Rightwing nationalists given platforms that no one would have dreamed of giving them in the 1990s. There was a time when the very notion of the leaders of extremist parties appearing on Question Time was criticised heavily from almost all quarters.
These days we have racists and extremists on mainstream television all the time, and hardly anyone in any position of influence bats an eyelid. Those in power have made their position clear: they will invade our countries of origin and they will plunder our resources, but they don’t want us in their countries. They value our oil, but they don’t value us. They dress it up as “free speech”, but through their actions hatred has been legitimised, and minorities die because of it. You may disagree, but it is the truth. [Continue reading…]