The eleventh of November is a day that sees a two-minute silence to remember the armistice signed to end the First World War. Poppies are a symbol for this time because they grow in the Field of Flanders, which is the generic name for the world war one battlefields. It was named remembrance day in the UK after the end of the Second World War.
This year, at the beginning of the two-minute silence, a small group of Muslims set a large image of a poppy on fire and paraded it through London. This event was then splashed all over the tabloid newspapers and was used as further evidence as to why we should hate Muslims – At least for those without the brain power to think for themselves. This generated standard arguments like, ‘why don’t they leave our country?’ Or, ‘I don’t mind them living here but they must live by our rules’. ‘If we behaved this way in their country then we wouldn’t get away with it.’
Firstly I would like to point out that thirty-five Muslims aren’t enough to judge every Muslim in the UK. Secondly, maybe they would live in their own countries if they weren’t so war torn. Also I don’t think a lot of people in the UK realise that we live in a democracy and we have freedom of speech. The Muslims in the country are as entitled to an opinion as the narrow-minded racists who complain about them. Living in the South East of England, I am surrounded by many of the latter.
Now this act was disrespectful, of course it was. But when you’re homeland is being devastated by a war without any real justification, is it not understandable that they may feel powerless and utterly robbed of a voice. Not only that, but they then have to be victimised in this country and labelled as terrorists among many other things. I have white skin and was christened a Catholic but that doesn’t mean I’m a Paedophile, or that I want to burn the Koran. If I can be afforded this consideration then why can’t the Muslims in our society? Fear, that’s why. The population is controlled by fear mongering tabloid newspapers. The mindless trash that they put out is absorbed by many without question.
This group claimed that they wanted to raise the awareness of what was actually happening in their country. They called the British and American soldiers terrorists – A label which has been shackled to Muslims since ‘the war on terror’ began. They received much negative press, but at least they received some press, and those news organisations, which allowed their words to be printed -un spun and un manipulated -, show the sadness of these people. If we continue to suppress a whole group of people is it not understandable that they may have to use shock tactics to be heard?
My hope is that with the new, knowledge savvy generation that is coming through, that general opinion won’t be so easily manipulated. Although all the evidence I’ve seen thus far doesn’t fill me with confidence.