By Baba Ruckus
If I’m honest, I felt a little apprehensive when asked to write something for the nascent Griot blog over the Christmas break. I’ve never written an article or blog before and wanted my first contribution to be both pertinent and interesting. However, with the majority of my limited free time over the festive period already accounted for by an unforgiving schedule of eating, wanking and watching the much maligned Hobbit trilogy, this seemed an unlikely outcome. I was especially worried I wouldn’t find the time to carry out the level of research and fact checking necessary to ensure the integrity of the thought provoking piece I hoped to produce. However, my anxieties of having to meet such standards were allayed after reading the contents of some bloke’s blog about Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition (STWC). The blog came to my attention after the ‘famous white leftie’ Peter Tatchell retweeted it with his approval – I was therefore in no doubt of its journalistic quality.
In a manner reminiscent of the final scene of the film the Usual Suspects – where the audience learns that the mild-mannered Kevin Spacey character was actually the evil criminal mastermind Keyser Soze all along – Tatchell’s mate unleashes a mind blowing revelation. It turns out that rather than the lifelong champion of peace and social justice I thought she was, German is actually a racist thug and an accomplice in mass murder (her surname no longer looking like a coincidence).
We also learn that Jeremy Corbyn, former Chair of the STWC, is also at fault for a lot of this (I bloody knew it!) and that the STWC believes it ‘knows better than brown people’ and refuses to let ‘brown Syrians’ speak at its events. The fate of white Syrians is not exposed in this instance.
Like others, my fellow contributor to the Griot, Shaun van Eeden, held the view that the blog consisted of nothing more than a sequence of incoherent and unfounded assertions about a woman and organisation that have made immeasurable contributions to this country’s peace movement; basing his pedantic argument on irrelevances such as international law and things that Lindsey German has actually said and done. But then again he’s never had anything retweeted by Peter Tatchell, so what the fuck does he know?
So, with that in mind, I began to reassess all that I thought was once true. Recalling fond memories and experiences of STWC, my mind wondered back to the national conference I attended in October. Sat there in my brown skin, surrounded by brown people, listening to one of the several brown speakers that day, I remember thinking I hadn’t seen this many brown people since I last exited Whitechapel station. Which, now I come to think of it, is EXACTLY the sort of stunt you’d expect the evil white Decepticons of STWC to pull, in order to mask their racist Putinist mass murdering agenda.
I then recalled how throughout the day a number of ‘brown Syrians’ (some with English accents) who opposed STWC’s position of non-military intervention in Syria, were handed microphones and given considerably more time than others to voice their opinions. When this became a bit shouty and offensive (as it did on several occasions), I observed an Arabic speaking lady – possibly a ‘brown Syrian’, but more likely a browned-up Lindsey German in disguise – attempt to calm them down and engage them in reasonable debate.
At that moment, I contemplated the complexity of this horrific war. I felt disappointed with the level of ignorance and lack of imagination demonstrated by many westerners who repeat tired slogans when advancing arguments for increasing our military involvement in Syria. At the same time, I understood perfectly why someone with loved ones in Aleppo would want anybody (even the Americans!) to intervene. Most would in the same position.
However, that didn’t change the fact that I knew the Syrian war involves many different national powers and non-state actors, including Isis, Al Qaeda (remember them?), Russia, Iran, USA, Great Britain, France, Turkey and various other western allies. I believed all to be acting in their own interest, all to be deadly and, like Lindsey German, that all must be opposed.
I may have been wrong in my analysis but I always thought I was sincere in my beliefs. However, thanks to Tatchell’s retweet I now know I was actually just another self-hating brown pawn in German’s great game. Where, for reasons only known to her (or Tatchell), she aids the mass murder of Syrians while simultaneously advocating our country take in and care for thousands of Syrians fleeing war.
Which, as I dispense with my poor man’s Mark Steel impression, brings me to my final (only?) point. It is clear to anybody with any meaningful knowledge or experience of the STWC that the blog in question is, for the most part, a slanderous absurdity, penned by an author armed with nothing but his own bias and an ability to copy and paste text out of context. So why would Tatchell, somebody who claims to have been a part of the STWC and has spoken of their significant contributions to peace, choose to publicise such poorly written slurs he cannot reasonably believe to be true? I can only think of three possible explanations:
- He didn’t actually read it;
- He’s a dick; or
- His personal and politically motivated axe to grind against STWC and Corbyn weighed heavier than the need to debate such important matters in manner that doesn’t cloud the issues with fallacious arguments (which would also qualify him for point 2)
Like any politician Corbyn is not beyond reproach. But I find it hard to believe that as a human rights activist, on Human Rights Day, Tatchell genuinely thought the world and the Syrians he purports to speak for, were best served by crashing the Labour leader’s speech on domestic violence. There are plenty of people in Britain guilty or complicit of human rights abuses – several currently in government. For all his faults, Corbyn isn’t one of them.
Maybe I’m missing something. Or maybe it’s just easy to believe something if your career and profile depends on it. Tatchell seems to be rewarded with maximum attention by the media when criticising Corbyn, or Corbyn via STWC. That sort of Pavlovian conditioning could explain why a man who once bravely confronted Robert Mugabe (remember when he was in fashion?), now sees less value in going after what to him must seem a low level human rights abuser, now that he has instead decided to focus his efforts on cutting off the head of the war crime snake: Jeremy Corbyn.
Perhaps he’s on to something…
Look out for my next instalment where I will be asking why Corbyn and his cronies at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament continue to bang on about Trident while clearly aiding North Korea’s nuclear program. Hopefully I’ll get a shout out from Tatchell – fingers crossed!