This is the first in a series of moving-word-images for a project called e-motions.
Facebook offers us the opportunity to encounter people we would normally never want to meet, and despite this notion of the sealed bubble I think it has actually brought me into more direct contact with terrible thinking than I ever encountered in real life pre-social-media.
An example the other day was a discussion about women in the UK wearing burkas. Someone pitched in to say that it was an affront to our (his own) ‘national’ identity that a woman should wear a burka: he seemed to take it as a personal insult that someone should dress in a way that unaccountably, he disliked intensely.
He had challengers, including someone who appears on TV, but they had little or no apparent impact on his thinking. (He did however suddenly grovel when he realised who he was talking to which just showed up his twisted mindset even more clearly). Last night about 5 am this Rant formed in my mind and clearly I cannot actually post this on FB, yet it really has an emotional clarity about it that I wanted to capture. I have made it a little more generalised as this is a conversation I have seen several times online in variations but always along the same lines. If you click to see the image at full size it becomes readable.
What it says
“You say that it is an insult to ‘our’ way of life that a women should wear a burka in this country. Well it is an insult to my way of life that you should demand that she should strip herself. If it offended you that I wore a pink jacket, would that give you the right to demand I strip it off? If you wore an England flag and it offended me, should I be allowed to strip it from you? You say you have travelled so extensively in ‘Muslim countries’ and always show so much respect by not wearing shorts, yet in this our ‘Christian country’ you drop this respect and feel you are entitled to let all your petty hatred out in public and direct it at the most vulnerable, remote and unknown of people. Did you leave your respect abroad in ‘Muslim countries’? Why? Why is it OK to ‘respect’ people in one place and not in another? What entitles you to dictate anything to anyone else, anywhere on the planet, if they are doing you no harm? You perceive it as an attack. Consider the woman in the burka – (can you? Have you ever bothered thinking yourself into anyone’s life but your own?). Why do you think she is wearing a burka? Do you think she is following the customs of her family, her world? OR do you think she thought, ‘I know what I will do today! I want to really insult everyone in the country in which I find myself as a stranger. I will don a piece of cloth just to show them how much I disrespect them. I will insult them by refusing to drop my deeply held beliefs or respect my own needs. That will show them, those awful English in whose country I am travelling.’
No. It is you who want to go out and insult strangers, who wants to disrespect people, whose ego is so fragile that it is profoundly threatened by a woman wearing a piece of cloth. To elevate this to some kind of national principle is disgusting and deeply offends me. Do you know what it is called when you pick on someone in a less privileged position than yourself? It is called bullying. You are a cheap little bully and nothing more. How Dare You attempt to attack a stranger in our country! How dare you puff yourself up as if you have an Important and Valid point of view! You are just a pathetic little weak man who is projecting a bunch of self hatred onto people who have absolutely nothing to do with you and are not even slightly interested in you. Do something better with your life and your mind than meddle in this foul and poisonous pool of sewer thinking. Bully Go Home! Crawl back to your hovel and look at yourself in the mirror. Come out in public when you have rid yourself of your shame and self hatred, when you have something good to offer the world, when you are no longer frightened by women in masks.”