Thursday, July 14, 2005

Not a dicky bird

I've not heard anything from the Belfast telegraph about my comments on Steven King's article. However a similar letter was published on 12.07.05 here.

I know several other people wrote in after I did - thanks y'all. We can only hope that it will make a small difference. I was talking to a really good friend of mine who lives in London. She is a Muslim - her family want her to get out of London. A Muslim lady had her headscarf set alight not far from where she lives, and there were children shouting abuse outside the mosque her family attends, as people went to worship.

I will try to remember that next time I enter the Quaker meeting house and wonder what it would be like to be shouted at by children as I go in.

The involvement of children in this sort of activities really bothers me. A few years ago in the delightful "holiday" that is Northern Ireland's marching season, there had been a spate of car hijackings all over the country. Most people think of big strapping crowds of men hijacking cars, but a lot of the time, its not like that. Most of the people I saw causing trouble, stopping cars and intimidating people out of them couldn't have been fifteen years old - some were, I'm sure as young as 10 or 11. (Of course, we don't release this information to the national news - how embarrassing to realise that Ulster's teeny-boppers bring our country to a halt each summer!)

I turned out of our road and got half way to the end of the main road, whereupon I saw about 10 kids waiting for me with big sticks. I did a very fast U-turn and drove right back home again, deciding that whatever I was going out for wasn't all that important after all.

I think the greatest tragedy, isn't so much the burnt out cars - we have insurance (and in NI, we pay through the roof for car insurance because of it). Its not having to walk home because your car has been stolen. Its the fact that our children and young people are doing it. That is the greatest tragedy. What sort of community are we building?


Daniel S. Ketelby said...

Sometimes difficult to walk cheerfully over the world in such circumstances... but what else is there, except the attempt?

In your 'blogroll' you mention Alice as 'the only other British Quaker blog I've heard of'... you can always drop into Metaphysics As A Guide to Lunch if you like; I've travelled a significant distance as an attender at Quaker meetings and will always value Quaker theology and practice, though I'm being guided more towards my local Baptist Church these days.

postliberal said...

One of the saddest sights I've ever seen is a photo of a kid sat in a pushchair with a placard on it reading something like "hang the paedophile scum". Children shouldn't be drawn into the dysfunctions of adults and thier hate; they have too much fun and play to do.

ash said...

what you wanna do is excellerate at them. My grandma does it when kids play chicken in the street. She just shuots obscenities at them and hits the floor! the kids scarpur!

Peterson Toscano said...

CA, I love to hear your heart and mind when they so beautifully merge. Thank you for your committment in writing the messages you write.

Soon after 911 I travelled to Spain to visit my brother. As a living performance art piece, I travelled dressed in Pakistani garb that I received from my cousin's husband who is from Bangladesh. I wanted to see the world a little differently and documented my experience in my journal as I travelled all that day.

What amazed me was how many Muslims there were around me and I never knew. Dressed that way, many assumed I was Muslim, and one by one they revealed themselves as I travelled by subway, then bus, then plane. I met many people that day who connected with me through a smile, a handshake and conversation.

Nothing negative happened except in London Heathrow when I was changing planes. Then some young men (late teens early twenties) verbally assaulted me. Well, not really me, they assautled the Muslim they thought I was.

Having witnessed the attack a small child cringed and ran to the other side of his mother when I walked by. It seemed he learned the lesson that someone dressed the way I was dressed was to be feared and disrespected.