Thursday, August 16, 2012

Terror in Oak Creek, another wake up call for US

Washington DC - How many "Wake up calls" do we need to see our subculture of bigotry, fear, hatred and violence for what it really is? Why can't we see that rising xenophobia and Islamophobia is threatening and actually eroding the fabric, safety and security mean for all of us Americans? The slaughter of Sikhs gathered at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is the latest casualty of this metastasising culture war.

Far right extremists like Wade Michael Page, responsible for the deaths at Oak Creek, like the Norwegian militant Anders Behring Breivik,the self-described anti-Islamic militant who admitted killing 77 people, are not simply crazies or lone gunmen. They are the product of extremist ideologies and movements from white supremacists, politicians, media pundits, religious preachers and anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim websites and blogs that have received more than $42 million over a 10-year period, according to the recent Centre for American Progress study, Fear Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.

This danger goes way beyond discourse and can easily lead to a deadly reality. Racist and vitriolic "us and them" language feeds a culture war that increasingly targets immigrants, non-whites, Muslims (and those like Sikhs who are mistaken for Muslims), not only in the US, but also in much of Europe. We passively read comments like: "There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military, and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism." (Daniel Pipes, in Jerusalem Post, January 22, 2003, p9) or "where there are Muslims, there are problems" from a New York Post editorial that warns of New York becoming "New Yorkistan"; Newt Gingrich warning of Sharia taking over American courts, or Ann Coulter encouraging us to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" because "We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war". More


"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.


and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Martin Niemöller

Born 14 January 1892 - Died 6 March 1984 (aged 92)