Sunday, October 23, 2016


On Thursday, I posted a 'poem' about Freedom of Speech on my Facebook page.

Here it is:

Don't Nooruddean Choudry
Don't comment if you're poor or disadvantaged, because you're a scrubber and a scrounger and basically a waste of space.
Don't comment if you've got any affiliation with a political party or social movement, or have previous for mouthing off about issues that matter to you, because you clearly have an agenda.
Don't comment if you've not commented about this before, because you're out of your depth and need to stick to what you know and what about all the other things in the world you're not commenting upon?
Don't comment if you've got 12 followers on Twitter because no one cares what you think, you unimportant loser. Don't comment if you've got 1.2 million followers because who do you think you are, you jumped up egotist?
Don't comment if you're brown or black or Muslim or Jewish or gay or trans or bi, because you just need to get over yourself and stop playing the victim all the bloody time.
Don't comment if you're none of the above because you're just a bleeding heart liberal leftard, who jumps onto bandwagons that have nothing to do with you. Wind your fucking neck in.
Don't comment if you're a woman because you're getting ideas above your station and you're too pretty to be worrying about that, or maybe you're just one of them feminazis and probably a lesbian.
Don't comment if you're rich or famous because you're a luvvie and you don't live in the real world, and why don't you open your own fucking home to them? Just like we take in orphans when we donate to Children In Need.
Don't comment if you haven't got the full facts because you're ill-informed and wrong. Don't comment if you're an expert in the field because we don't trust so-called experts and educated elites.
Don't care. Don't worry. Don't have compassion. Don't comment on anything or anyone that's not us. Don't question what 'us' is. Don't be offended. Don't feel guilty. Don't get angry. And don't fucking cry.
Don't comment. But yeah, free speech.

It was shared and liked by a few people and the original source - in The Poke - was also shared by a great deal of people.

Whether we accept it or not, most of us are surrounded by people we share similar views with, especially on social media. Because we have our 'enclaves' our exposure to the polar opposite of views tends to be masked in horror, disgust and a nastiness unlike anything I can remember in my 54 years. However, I am a believer in 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' whether it is a Voltaire quote or by Evelyn Beatrice Hall. I very much dislike, possibly even hate, things people say but they are entitled to say it unless it causes more offence than it does constructive criticism or argument. I also don't think a person should necessarily be lambasted for an opinion, unless that opinion is being forced on others without due care and attention. But the internet, as I know full well, is a place for the knee jerk, the reactionary reactions and the bitter, twisted and malevolent.

On Friday night/Saturday morning after avoiding Facebook for best part of the previous 12 hours, I was just about to shut the computer down and go to bed when I noticed I had a message. Now, I'm aware that most of my family has become Conservative as I've drifted further left. I have at least two people I consider my best friends who do not agree with my politics - diametrically - and I discovered, through Brexit, that some of my other friends and acquaintances have ... extreme thoughts. I rarely fall out with people because of politics - unless it's my vaguely fascist family - because like music, it's all about personal taste. Before I continue, my Northampton chums need to be told that what follows was not someone I know locally, but someone I've known, quite well, through my previous life, who I reconnected with recently. I'm not going to name (and possibly shame) him. Oh and it isn't family.

"I never realised you were such a hand-wringing bleedin heart liberal" was the single line message I received. No punctuation, just that message. My typical Phil reply was: "Liberal? LIBERAL!? I'm a bleedin' heart socialist, me. Always have been, always will be. "
"Then your a cunt. You should be ashamed to call your self british!!!!" And with that I was 'unfriended' and then blocked before I could reply; not that I felt like replying. This was a guy who, as far as I know, worked with a Muslim for 30 years who was also his best friend and best man at his wedding. 

Obviously 'Don't Comment' was the refugee that broke the camel's back as far as this person was concerned and it left me puzzled as to why that one thing prompted him to terminate 20 odds years of lighthearted friendship. I eventually concluded that racists, xenophobes and to borrow a modern colloquialism, haters have a problem with truth, logic and people disagreeing with them ideologically and while even I find myself frustrated at times by the lack of English voices on my street, I think it is the effect the constant press manipulation of the weak-willed that has turned them into nastier people than they ever would have imagined. The press might only reach a really small percentage of people in the 21st century, but personal opinions, face-to-face, often hold more sway than being expected to read something and we are influenced by people we respect, especially when we are probably relatively ambivalent about a news story or issue but get subjected to a negative view of it almost constantly from them. It is no wonder people bought the Leave bollocks and really believed we'd be leaving dull, bureaucratic paradise for Super Independent Paradise, especially if some self-opinionated twat like me but from the ignorant majority starts telling people half truths, nonsense and lies peddled by the Sun or the Mail. What 'Fred' preaches is what little Englanders wanted, so they voted for it and now...

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks this might be a fabulous plot hatched by Conservative Central Office to destroy the last vestiges of peoples interest in politics by subjecting everyone the narrow minded, insular, racist views of ignorant people and the condemnation of anyone who opposes those views. The underlying message in 'Don't Comment' is DON'T COMMENT, it's pointless, it's futile, it's self-defeating and worst of all it opens you up to the same kind of treatment these people believe others deserve.

If my name was Hans and I was writing this in Frankfurt in 1932 I could understand it, but it's 2016 and this is apparently a far more civilised world.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what has happened to us as a society. So many haters and idiots (and both). It's depressing.