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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meeting hate with hate

Those of you who live in or are from the UK (and many of those of you who are not given the nature of 24 hour world news) cannot have failed to have heard about the terrible, stomach churning crime which took place in Woolwich, London yesterday.

In broad daylight in the middle of what appears to be a busy street two men attacked a third and killed him. Details of what happened during the attack remain patchy with some reports stating he was run over by a car driven by the assailants who then proceeded to 'hack' at the victim with meat cleaver style weapons, others simply that he was attacked with weapons. The two then, covered in the blood of their victim (who reports have said is likely to have been a serving soldier, the attackers clearly believed this to be the case) requested passers by take photographs and pretty much gave an interview citing their own messed up version of Islamic Jihad and the need for revenge for the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan as the motive for the crime.

As a crime of this utter brutality and cold bloodiness should illicit,  there has been outrage and disbelief. It is an indefensible act of murder.  But there has also been those quick to point the finger. Those who have been quick to use this act of barbarism as an excuse to vent their own prejudices and intolerance. Those who would hijack another family's pain and grief and horror to push their own agenda.  There has been much talk of how they should 'go back to where they came from', despite the fact there is nothing at this moment in time (evidence is still thin on the ground at the time of writing nothing beyond the videos is known about the two assailants - their comments about 'our country' are more likely to be them talking about a wider Islamic community than an actual country, particularly when quite clearly neither of them were Afghan nor Iraqi), including the accent of one of the attackers in the widely circulated video, to suggest that these assailants are not in fact British. There are those who are quick to blame it all on the 'Muslims'  despite the fact that the vast majority of Muslims, not just in Britain but across the world, are horrified at the fact that a tiny minority of those that claim to follow the religion of Islam would commit such brutal and heinous acts in its name.

Groups such as the EDL and BNP will use this tragedy to add an element of perceived self righteousness to their ignorant and bigoted words and deeds. Already Mosques have been attacked in retaliation and even benign (ish) Facebook groups are using words like 'vengeance' when they should be looking for justice. But what I do not understand is what this actually solves, who it helps.

Violence and hate is not the antidote for violence and hate. It just breeds more of it. Making a scapegoat of an entire group, whether it be religious or ethnic based on the actions of a few is not helpful. It solves nothing, it helps no one. It just perpetuates the cycle.

One of the attacker said he was taking 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' and there are many who think that in this case it should work both ways, but to paraphrase the great wisdom of Ghandi, that just leaves everyone blind.

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