Tag Archive | Scapegoating

Bonfire Of Promises 

On a night when some people celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes with celebrations and firework displays I take a slightly different look at bonfire night. I do this by  taking an alternative look  at the issues of austerity and the homelessness it can and does to lead to. In this poem I explain why I believe the I’m alright Jack mentality has resulted in a culture of apathy in which people are content for others to suffer so long as the suffering doesn’t reach their door and this allows the more reactionary Conservative forces within the UK establishment to have a bonfire of promises. It is with this in mind I have titled my poem Bonfire Of Promises I hope you enjoy the read. 

Bonfire Of Promises 

As I stand in the cold

watching fireworks explode

 a cavalcade of colours

light up the evening sky

like a rainbow

but with no pots of gold at the end

I am lucky when the evening concludes

I will return to the shelter of my flat

after time spent with friends

enjoying the warmth of their company

as the weather turns colder

I walk past a homeless girl

checking my pockets to see if change can be spared 

on this occasion only goodwill can be shared 

and that won’t fill empty stomachs

or remove hunger pains 

in a world where nobody listens

and politicians feed the public a diet of slogans 

designed to blame others for our problems

scapegoating is the road to ignorance

and acceptance of rules

made by others to tighten their grip 

on us and our circumstances

till we believe change is no longer possible

and as long as we’re alright everything is going to be fine 

all we need to do is shut the door

on the outside world

and pretend it doesn’t exist 

but there is a warning in my words 

if we do take this road it will be the vulnerable who suffer 

as we start to view minorities as others 

and allow governments to make

a bonfire of promises

 © Gayle Smith 2017


The Moment I Wake Up I Say A Little Prayer For Humanity

Hey Readers The moment I wake up, before I put on my make up, I say a little prayer for you. These are the opening lines to one of my favourite songs Dione Warwick’s Say A Little Prayer

Now I appreciate this may be a slightly unconventional way to start a blog post, but on this occasion it is at least to me, the only appropriate response to the tragic and indeed horrific events which stunned the world this morning  when the Belgium capital  of Brussels was devastated by bombings thought to have been carried out by the terror group Islamic State.

Like everyone else I was shocked when I heard the news of these attacks in which 31 people have been confirmed dead so far. I say this as with not everyone having been accounted for plus the number of injuries already reported it is likely that the death toll will rise still further.

This was not the start to the morning I or anyone had been expecting. I think most of us had thought we would rise refreshed from our sleep have our breakfast and get on with our daily routine and I am sure these were also the thoughts of those murdered in this disgraceful attack by criminal minded thugs who give not a thought for human life.

As you can see I referred to these cowardly attackers as criminal thugs rather than terrorists and I did this for a very good reason. My reason  is simple by replacing the terrorist with criminal downgrades them to what they really are which in my opinion is no more than common criminals. By taking this step we immediately lessen any sense of fear they may have been trying to create by informing them your actions are futile you will not win.

Also by referring to them in this way we both as individuals and as national /international communities are valuing ordinary Muslims by saying we refuse to demonise  your faith because of the actions of idiots. This is important to me not only because I have Muslim friends but also because I believe and have always believed that all human life is of equal value and that the some are more equal than others myth should be kept for those gullible fools who call what is printed in the Daily Record or even worse the Daily Mail quality journalism. 

You see it’s my belief that by demonising Muslims and the faith they belief in you are feeding groups like Islamic State by giving them the very publicity they need in order to gain new recruits.  The radicalisation of Muslim youth does not happen by accident it happens due to fear and ignorance whipped up by the ruling political establishment against those it views as other.

This attitude which breeds a climate of suspicion is by no means a new one. I remember the British establishment using against Irish people at the height of the Ulster civil war and and my parents and gran would tell me of American McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s where anyone with remotely left wing views was branded a communist and therefore Un-American.

These lessons from history illustrate, that no matter how horrific this latest outrage and the recent attacks on Paris were why I think we need to take a cautious but pragmatic approach to tackling any issues we may have
to potential terror threats. It is in my opinion, unacceptable to go as the British press surely will hunting for scapegoats in the ashes of tragedy, we  simply cannot afford not to show compassion at this time of sadness.

Yes it is only right that we offer practical and emotional support to the people of Belgium in their country’s hour of darkness.  However it is important that we remember our Scottish and British Muslim friends and keep them in our hearts at a time when the more xenophobic amongst our number will be looking for every excuse they can find to label them as a danger to our nation and our way of life. Make no mistake it may be regrettable but I think it’s true to say that asylum seekers and economic migrants will be in for a tough few days in what passes for the press in this country especially if they are Muslim. This kind of behaviour is the child of an imperial British nationalist mindset and has no place in the  21st Century Scotland I and others are seeking to build, nor does it have any place in the fairer Britain supported by some of my friends.

You see on occasions like this it really doesn’t matter if like myself you see your primary identity as Scottish or like my good friend Sean McBride you identify with a more British tradition, what matters in situations like this is that we remember to treat others the way we wish to be treated and that means respecting and valuing other people and their cultures and beliefs. So by all means pray for Belgium but remember as you do so to pray for others as by taking this simple act of faith you will shine a light for humanity and showing those who committed this sickening atrocity that unlike them god doesn’t do selective tolerance when it comes to his love nor does he accept those who use as a justification for murder.
So I will end this post as I started it except this time I will paraphrase the words of the song by Dione Warwick

The moment I wake up
before I put on my make up
I say a little prayer for you.

Now you have to believe me readers I do say a prayer for you but I don’t stop with you or limit my prayers to my friends  on Facebook, Twitter, or otherwise. I make sure I include everyone in my prayers as by doing it I remember to say a prayer for humanity and the kinder fairer world I have always aspired to live in.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Many Tongues

Hey everyone. The idea for this poem came to me in 2007 as a gesture of support for Asylum Seekers and in protest at the dawn raids at Dungaval. I finally decided to write it due to the currant attitudes to Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Economic Migrants. Yes i know I should have written it years ago but as often happens I put the notes in a drawer and forgot all about them till I found them the other day. It really saddens me that the topic is as relevant today as it has ever been and possibly even more so. I have given it the title Many Tongues I hope you enjoy the read.

Many Tongues

They say there not like you and I

They speak a different way

They say there not like you and I

Because of how they pray

They say there not like you and I

They claim their in the right

They say there not like you and I

You and I are white

So I tell them that might be true

But it’s all we have in common

We don’t have room for bigotry In 21st century Scotland

It’s time to leave the past behind

It’s time for moving on

It’s time for global culture

To embrace its most radiant dawn

A rainbow lights our nation’s sky

With diversity and hope

And Scotland’s voice of liberty In many tongues is spoke

Our country welcomes everyone

We scorn the myths and lies

For people are people all over the world

There just like you and I

@ Gayle Smith 2015

Xenophobes With Word Processors

On day 28 of NapoWrimo my subject is xenophobia which as we know is activity encouraged by certain sections of the British establishment and their friends in the press and media. Yes i am mainly referring to the tabloid press and the BBC but if truth be known even some of the so-called respectable broadsheets indulge in this disreputable behaviour. i have to admit to being totally disgusted with the fear of foreigners nonsense so i have decide d to write this poem as my way of voicing my considerable displeasure at this out of date attitude to those some would perceive as other. I have given it the title Xenophobes With Word Processors i hope you find it an enjoyable, challenging, and thought provoking read.

Xenophobes With Word Processors

Xenophobes With Word Processors
sit behind their comfy desks
typing hate at record speed
This is the last thing we need in a civilised nation
Scapegoating and demonising
so called ‘ others’
Is not the way to go.
Yes I know they live in a mythical past
but that is no reason for not embracing the present
These people may find me unpleasant
because I don’t want a day trip to Victorian Britain
I want better than that
I want a vision for tomorrow
a land of fairness and equality
where our national priorities
are spending real money
to get people out of poverty
rather than wasting money
on weapons of war
providing decent homes
reducing the gender gap
so girls can be valued
for who they are
not what they can used for
like part time jobs on zero hours contracts
It’s time to state the facts
It is not immigration that’s to blame
for the state of the country
Ugly language creates more problems
than it solves
meanwhile Xenophobes With Word Processors
sit in ivory towers with guarded gates
spreading fear and hate
teaching the gullible to loathe
those considered different

@ Gayle Smith 2015