i hope you get cancer™

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Melanie Phillips is a racist scumbag whose words can kill

UK readers will be familiar with the strange, and strangely popular, daily newspaper the Daily Mail, whose columnist Melanie Phillips spews out the indignant bile which the paper has made its own. Today I was moved by the quiet dignity of those of all faiths and none, in London, Leeds, around the country and around the world who remembered last Thursday's dead and demonstrated the unity and humanity that the bombers sought to destroy. Contrast this with Phillips' cowardly and opportunistic piece in the Mail. I have in previous posts this week highlighted the filth that the bedwetters of the right have been peddling. But today Phillips excelled herself, reheating the themes and codewords of hate that push the buttons of closet racists around Britain. Let us be very clear. Phillips is a woman who retails the paranoid venom of neo-conservatism and ultra-Zionism, acquired wholesale from the US press and the internet, to her sizeable newspaper readership. The British newspaper market is quite unlike the US, and British national newspapers exert an influence on the overall news agenda in this country which is disproportionate to their circulation. Day after day, Phillips uses her column to set out an apocalyptic vision of a society and a world at war, and consistently puts Muslims - all Muslims - on one side, with "civilisation", "the west" (remember "the west"? it sounds so Cold War) and of course her faith, on the other in such a way as to tickle the particular prejudices of a particular kind of audience. This is not to say that - now more than ever - there are not real, hard questions to be asked about some of the issues she covers. It is up to all Britons to ask themselves and each other how to confront the new and unpredictable menace which was unleashed in London last week. But Phillips is not interested in answers, merely in peddling her own warped and vicious message with depressing consistency. Her rants are as hypocritical as they are hateful. "Item after item on radio and television has dwelt upon the need to avoid blaming Muslims for what happened, rather than addressing the hard questions to the community that cry out to be asked," she moans. Yet she needs no excuse, it seems, to exercise her own victim mentality at the same time as condemning it among those of her fellow countrymen. Her hysterical reaction to any criticism of Israel's actions in Palestine - she welcomes those, like Howard Jacobson, who come to share her view that anti-Zionism is indistinguishable from antisemitism - is breathtaking in its double standards. All this would be just so much bloggery-medialand willy-waving if it weren't right here, right now. 53 innocent men and women were brutally murdered on their way to work last Thursday. In the intervening seven days, 300 racist attacks have been reported to police, a Nottingham man has been murdered after he was reportedly showered with anti-Muslim abuse, and an arsonist tried to destroy an Islamic centre on Merseyside. A victim mentality may sometimes be understandable among those - unlike wealthy newspaper columnists - who live in fear of such behaviour. To racist filth like Phillips and the Daily Mail this post would be dismissed as political correctness, handwringing, denial, moral equivalence - oh, not forgetting antisemitism. To anyone else the message should be obvious - too many people have died already. We have no alternative but to STOP THE KILLING TOGETHER. Technorati tag: