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