Club Politique by Che Tibby

Do not be afraid

Yes, I have many friends and family living in London, and I too am worried about them. To my infinite relief the emails home have already begun to flood in. But I also fear for what it must be like to be Muslim in Britain today. It is a bad, bad day to be black under the Union Jack.

I say this because, though London is yet another tragedy in the war on terror, we can't have the deaths of all those innocent lives provide yet another rod to beat the backs of an entire other group of innocents.

And that's my fear, that simply being Muslim will be enough to incur the wrath of angry, bewildered and vengeful citizens of many countries, not just Britain. Once again, the spectre of fundamentalist Islam will be raised by those who want to scare you into hating innocent Muslims in quiet havens like New Zealand.

But, let me make one point very clear, Al Qaeda is to Islam what the IRA is to Catholicism. The IRA exploding bombs in London did not equate to Catholicism being a threat to everyone. No-one invented farcical terms like 'Islamopopists'.

Let me repeat the title above. DO NOT BE AFRAID. This type of attack will not occur in New Zealand. We have not made any insane enemies. We have not followed our powerful friends into any foolhardy, greedy wars. Since long before September 11 we have been known as an open and tolerant country that accepted 'others' like Muslims into our society. Nothing that has happened over the past few years should change that, and nothing that has happened can justify ever changing that.

But in Britain? The British already have far, far too many kinderfascists who will already be using this attack to galvanise their support. Already the angry words are being muttered, soon to be screamed at people who do not deserve hatred. Already the spectre of the Jewish pogroms that beset innocents in another age will be waiting just over the rise. And I say that we should have no part of it, lest we become the animals all these fundamentalists are.

Again. Do not be afraid. Do not ignore that the lives of ordinary people have been taken. But do not give in to the purpose of these acts; to make us have to hate.

And what can we then do? Oppose fundamentalism in ANY form. Oppose the National Front. Oppose haters like the Destiny Church. Oppose our most xenophobic leaders, who would bring such a war to our doorstep to satisfy their own Byzantine ambition. Oppose Right-Wing-Death-Beasts and their petty, mindless vitriol. Oppose anyone who would prevent such fools as these having their own stupid, blinkered voices. Oppose killing any person for any reason.

And be thankful you are safe in New Zealand, while others will fall victim to a war spiralling out of control.