This week’s tragic events in Manchester highlight just what dangerous times we are living in. 22 people tragically killed during an evening intended for fun and entertainment.
It was warming to see how the city of Manchester came together to support bereaved families in their darkest hours, rejecting both the violent terrorism of the perpetrator as well as the bigoted, fascistic response of some far-right nationalists, and even some sections of the media. And it is the latter, which now more than ever, needs to be held to account.
Katie Hopkins call for a “final solution” to be found to deal with terrorism is demonstration of how open this genocidal rhetoric has become. Hopkins swiftly deleted the tweet and reworded it to sound less holocaust-y. But given she has a track record of calling for the death of non-white people, such as when she labelled refugees as cockroaches or Palestinians as rodents, then I think it’s fair to say her initial tweet was more than just a slip of the tongue. (Note the hyperlinks don’t go directly to Hopkins’ work. A parasite will die if you don’t feed it right?)
Aside from the overt fascism of the likes of Hopkins, as ever with British bigotry, we must look little closer to actually see it. When the identity of the perpetrator was finally ascertained he was described as “British born”. Well, the overwhelming majority of British people are born here so why not just call him, you know, British?
The broadcasters and print press were up to their usual tricks. Immediately attempting to separate this crime from his being British. Anthony Joshua is never described as “British born of Nigerian heritage”. Mo Farah, although born in Somalia, is celebrated as a British hero, and rightly so. But to say that when an immigrant or someone of immigrant descent thrives in this country it’s because of their Britishness, but when they do wrong, they do everything they can do attribute it to their ancestry is racist and absurd. It’s as it is unfathomable to these detached journo’s that Britain was his biggest influence. The nation we all share and called home birthed and bred a crazed killer. Uncomfortable it may be, but it’s a truth we must accept. To “other” individuals like this is to completely ignore the weight of the issue at hand.
The journalists and broadcasters that help perpetuate this cycle of hatred must now, more than ever, be called out for that they are. This in no way diminishes the personal accountability of the vile individuals that carry out these kind of attacks, but it is high time we start calling a spade a spade and acknowledge that this kind of rhetoric only further fuels hatred and does more harm than good in stopping these kinds of things from happening in the future.