This poster was shared with me by a Jewish friend living in US. The poster supposedly preceded
the right winged extremist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, where one person was killed and 19 injured by one of the extremists.
Does the poster need any comment? Or can we just get a hands up from everyone who understands that what is going on is a return of a madness?
Racism is becoming more normalized in Sweden – in all of Europe, I dare say, and people with xenophobic views who previously kept quiet about their views now feel more free to express them openly. Still, most of them reject the label of being racist.
A young Syrian man in Sweden recorded this woman on a tram in Gothenburg, Sweden, when she verbally abused him and his friends. Check the video out on his Facebookpage.
Don’t speak Swedish? This is the bottomline of what the woman yells about:
She gets 3.800 SEK a month, while “they” (presumably the young man and his friends) are receiving 8.000 SEK a month, to study Swedish for immigrants.
And at the end of her speech, she states that she obviously has the wrong skin colour, white, in Sweden, but even if she does, she still has the right to have opinions in her own country, and she’s not a racist.
Now with this kind of narrow definition, who is really left to be a racist?
“If you hate an entire sect, group, community, region, religion, nation etc., then you have surely fallen prey to indoctrination.
You have been taught to hate, either by your own negative experiences, or by negative experiences/perceptions of others, or by agenda-driven propaganda.
Yes, true. You can also indoctrinate yourself (self-indoctrination) by leaving your critical faculties unused.
But, don’t worry!
A learned behavior can be changed. Just remain humble; tell yourself repeatedly that you are teachable.
There’s no shame in unlearning falsehood and embracing universal truths.”
Do you have a hatred inside you that you wish to transfer to your children? Do you channel the hatred by religion? Is hate more important to you than children feeling safe and loved? This piece is for You.
This is how You should roll it.
Speak directly the kids that You want to transfer the hate to – Your kids, Your grandkids, other kids that You are taking care of or have an influence over, kids that are dependant on You and Your care in order to feel safe and secure, and therefore have no other or little other reference they can relate to, no other safety net, no other strong role models that they can rely on instead, when You start your hateful indoctrination.
Tell the kids that there is A Certain Religion that is bad, simply bad with no specific reason. Tell the kids that whoever belongs to That Religion is dirty, unclean, unfaithful, greedy, cheap. Any negative adjective You can use – use it for That Certain Religion.
Use a stereotype for anyone coming from That Certain Religion. Tell the children about the certain features of that religion. These people have certain hair colours, noses, facial features. That’s how you can tell they belong to That Religion.
The people from That Religion is all bad. Everything they do, they’re bad. You can never be friends with them. You can never go to school with them. You can never be neighbours with them. You can never work with them. This, the children needs to know. Before they start school, they need to know. They can never accept other people as individuals. Everything should be filtered in the dirty filter that You use for life.
Does anyone in the children’s extended family belong to That Religion? Did they, God forbid, marry an outcast who belongs to That Religion? Did someone make the unforgivable crime of converting? Tell the children that all these people that have committed that unforgivable sin will be punished for what they did. Family or not, religion cuts through everything. They don’t celebrate the same religious occasions as You and the children do, and therefore, they are bad. They will never be able to enter certain religious places because of their religion. Even when life is over, when they’re dead, they won’t find peace. They will burn in hell. Hell, to children, is scary. Use that fear as an incitement. Fear filters everything. Fear is a useful filter against love. Fear is a useful filter against happiness.
You hope that You succeed. Succeeding in passing on the hate is, first and foremost, the ultimate goal for the children that You care for.
But wait! Somehow, with one child or more, You were not successful. The children grow up, slowly but steadily along a rocky path, and where fear had it’s way, hate somehow didn’t make it. They could not buy the concept of hate, but they could not resist the concept of fear. Confusion and anxiety took the place where You hoped hatred would be.
You did not succeed. The children are not haters the way You hoped. But they are not secure, happy, grown up persons. Any hateful comments, they flinch and dodge. Any hateful comment, they might attack. Any hateful comment, it hurts them as if a bullet went straight to their heart.
You have made everything poisoned. Any religious holiday, any family gathering, it’s all attached to the fear and confusion, to the hatred You hoped would be planted in their heart.
You have succeeded, but You have not succeeded. You have created a damaged, fearful person where You hoped hatred would have been a part of the child, now the grown up person’s, spine. The hate have stopped, but the pain hasn’t. The pain probably never will. You have succeeded, but You have not succeeded. Where You wanted a strong hate to take place, something else took it’s place.
In the worst case for You, the grown up child recent everything that You were standing for. The grown up child might recent You and Your ways, even long after You have left this life. But the grown up child is still not happy. Still not secure. They are just fucked up. But they won’t carry on Your hate. This means, You have really not succeeded at all.
Someone who’s not carrying on with Your hate
Another, as expected, terrorist attack, another round of tensions getting high in all directions.
One of my friends wrote that he won’t add the Belgian flag because of the previous oppression of Congo, and that Belgium had brought this on to themselves.
Some friends were upset that the bombings in Belgium received more attention than the ones in Istanbul.
Some blamed the uncontrolled influx of refugees with terrorist sympathies; the failure of the European intelligence services; the failure of the social policies for integration in Europe.
A Kurdish friend of mine nailed it down like this:
“The existing ‘us vs. them’ dichotomy has recently gotten extremely ugly and inhumane.”
Heartbroken, as always, I scrolled though all these comments on social media. Then suddenly, this popped up. My Muslim Syrian friend who I gotten to know in Syria in 2013, a colleague whom I worked with, who has since gone to Belgium as a refugee, still struggling to rebuild his life, posted a public post on Facebook:
That for me, at least, became my own light in this darkness.