Sunday, 26 May 2013

No place for hate

Friday evening, around 8pm.

I'd put the children to bed and returned to the lounge to idly browse Facebook before falling asleep in front of Eastenders.

That was the plan, anyway.

What I found on my news feed led me to a wholly different type of evening.

One centred around incomprehension, anger and debate.

A "friend" of mine had written something about the impending EDL march in Newcastle.

A message of support to a group of people who were planning to convey outrage at the prospect of an Islamic school being opened in the area.

What's worse is that this was not an isolated incident.

The person in question had uploaded several disgraceful photographs and made numerous worrying statements in the two days since the attack on Lee Rigby in Woolwich on Wednesday.  He had even gone so far as to change his profile picture to one that would leave you in no doubt of his feelings.

Additionally, people were "liking" what he wrote, what he stood for; he had messages from new "friends" who had found him online and were drawn to what he was vomiting into his (public) timeline.

I decided to reply; put forward an alternative viewpoint.

My initial response, if I'm honest, had been of such repulsion that killing off his friendship in the form of the unfriend button seemed the only option.

But then I thought no.

If I am so bothered by this attitude in someone, why suffer it in silence?

In the end, I contested his opinion twice, only to be shot down and labelled as "naive" and "liberal".

Undeterred, the interaction inspired me to write the following status minutes later:

"So the thing is this and this is the thing... I wasn't going to say anything. I wasn't going to be drawn into the appalling displays of ignorance and misplaced hatred. But there comes a point when something needs to be said. I was going to unfriend a few people but that is pointless and cowardly. How will our children learn to stand up for what is right if we run and hide and forget and think we ought not to get involved? As Sally so rightly said yesterday, engage with them. Answer back. It's ok not to agree with it, it's ok to tell them that you think they're wrong. What I think is not ok, indeed is totally unacceptable, is to victimise innocent people on the grounds that they supposedly share the same religious beliefs as two clearly disturbed murderers.

I will not stand for terrorism, but I will also not be discriminatory in my opposition. How anyone can be so disgusted by murder that it compels them to glorify retaliation is completely beyond me. Don't sit there and cry for the poor man who lost his life; for the boy who lost a father and the mother who lost a son, whilst simultaneously applauding the scum who think that racist and xenophobic attacks are a justified response.


Finally, to those who have openly expressed interest in deporting every Muslim in the country; what would be the point of that when we would be left with people like you?"

Ok, so it's not the most well-planned or articulate argument ever made, but I wrote it in anger having seen some intensely hateful remarks openly displayed via a social media site.

True to form, the "friend" whose outpourings of vitriol had inspired me to speak out made an unpleasant comment, calling me "just as bad as the murderers" and "a racist to your own country".

He then blocked me.

Yes, he blocked me.

Still, we are all entitled to our opinions and I am glad that I made mine known.

Encouragingly, the above rant of mine is my most liked, shared and commented-on status in the seven or so years I have actively shared on Facebook.

It sparked a debate that made me both question my stance and feel completely vindicated.

I have listened to opinions and responded, I have questioned my feelings and arrived at new, more understanding places.

I understand that, to some people, what I have said comes across as being liberal, for liberal's sake.

Not wanting to cause offence to anybody, perhaps.

Soft, I was called.

But no.

I thought about it, I asked myself how I'd come to the conclusions I did and wondered what exactly had made me so angry.

And, if I was pushed to make my point succinctly, I think the title of this post says a lot.

No place for hate.

It doesn't matter who you are or where you (or your ancestors) were born.

It doesn't matter what you believe in or where you live.

It doesn't matter what you look like or what job you do.

There is no place for your hate.

And dressing your prejudices up in a veil of national pride makes you no less hateful than those you purport to be fighting against.


  1. I have lost count of the number of "friends" I've seen write things that have made me ashamed. Like you I've commented, replied, denied the accusations that have followed and been blocked for talking sense (well you and I think it's sense lol). Good for you for taking a stand and not allowing the opinions of others make you just hit the unfriend button.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way, thank you. x

  2. Fantastic post. You should go and read Who's the Mummy as she posted a blooming fab video which you so need to see.

    My stance on these things is very mnch to speak up. I believe that I need to set a good example for my children and to be silent is complicit in some ways.

  3. No place for hate - exactly. summed up very well there! I agree whole heartedly with what you have said. I am Muslim myself, we are just normal people, this murder which has happened has nothing to do with me, my family or any other muslims. To link it and blame us all is just so stupid. A mosque has been fire bombed in the town I grew up in, with people inside it. People spreading this hate on either side are just as bad as each other, there is absolutely no need for any of it

  4. Exactly, there is no need on either side. Thank you for your comments.

  5. Thankfully, I didn't see anything like this on my timeline, but it's horrible when people you know and like to this. Makes me feel embarrassed for their behaviour and disappointed in them as people.

    1. I was very embarrassed to have such a person on my friend list.

  6. Good on you for speaking out, luckily very few of my friends made any commenta other than that of sympathy for the family however I agree totally with what you said and applaud you for stabding for what you believe xx

  7. Good on you for speaking out, luckily very few of my friends made any commenta other than that of sympathy for the family however I agree totally with what you said and applaud you for stabding for what you believe xx

  8. What happened was a little close to home for me, I lived right near there and used to play on the common outside the barracks as a child. I was utterly disgusted that something like that could happen on my old door step and in a place I'd worked and had friends still living. I was just devastated and couldn't quite find it in myself to tackle some of the pure crap I saw on facebook from friends who quite frankly left me feeling like I didn't know them at all. Then one comment too far pushed me over the edge and I pretty much let everyone have it.

    Unfortunately for me some of the people with the opinions I hate so much are very close family and I have to live with it daily, I can't even begin to describe how that feels, the constant battling to protect my children from it and allow them to make their own minds up about things is quite frankly exhausting but one I'm prepared to take on until they are old enough to make their own minds without having bile spouted infront of them.