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a different narrative « Previous | |Next »
July 14, 2005

The political rhetoric of empire in response to the July 7 London bombings:

BellS8.jpg
Steve Bell

I listened to John Howard on the airwaves this morning. It was a replayed segment of this interview on the ABC's 7.30 Report. The PM was using the caricature of al-Qaida fanatics to run the quiet political stirring about possibilities and 'could be's' about homegrown terrorists and suicide bombers living in Australian Muslim communities. It was about us becoming alert and alarmed.

The tabloid Murdoch media takes the cue. Andrew Bolt dumps on any Muslim cleric who links the bombings to US/UK policy in the Middle East, or questions that policy, as wrong. The scaremongering with its language of social sickness, vile perversion, nests of violent extremists infesting our communities, monsters lurking with in, soft liberal ideology, is rolled out by the Daily Telegraph. Piers Ackerman is on the integrationist meme with his 'Vipers who live off our warmth' column directed at Australian multiculturalism.

The strategy of the One Nation conservatives is to divide Australians one from another.

The on-the-ground reality in the UK is that the suicide bombers were cleanskins with no convictions or known terrorist involvement.They were foot soldiers who do not fit the standard caricature of 'al-Qaida fanatics'. Madeline Brunt says:

It must be an agonising moment to be a British Muslim. This has been their worst nightmare come true: British-born young men from families who were well established in this country committing a suicide bomb attack... the actions of these four men have thrown British Muslims into the biggest crisis of their community’s history. It makes of the 7/7 atrocities a completely different narrative to those of Madrid or New York: our enemy is in our midst. It puts the British model of multiculturalism - which until now has been the source of considerable, quiet admiration across Europe - under unprecedented scrutiny. It was always obvious that British multiculturalism had some major inadequacies - 70% of all Pakistani and Bangladeshi children grow up in poverty and nearly 40% leave school with no qualifications - but never before have we had to consider whether it has failed. And if so, in what way?

As Madeline Bunting observes the strategy of an intrusive, aggressive state tearing into local Muslim communities of British/Australian citizens, who mostly favour reform and liberal democracy, is not going to work.

The One Nation Conservative response ignores how the Islamic diaspora in Britain and Australia has largely rejected radicalism, extremism, and jihadism of al-Qaeda. The latter, just like our One Nation Conservatives, understands the debate between Islam and the West in terms of the clash of civilizations, with its inevitable conflict between the West and Islam, of war and mistrust and fear.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:15 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

I don't understand how conservative commentators can continue to peddle their ideologically-driven line about the "war on terror" when the facts (and any sensible analysis of them) just don't support their point of view.

Guy,
Easy. It's not about the facts.

It is about trying to gain control of the hearts and minds of public opinion.