By midnight on the Tuesday after the atrocity in Manchester, no doubt those who attended the vigil in Albert Square had gone home, comforted and gratified by a show of togetherness. Candles were lit, the Union flag was beamed onto public buildings across the world, and a poet read an ode to the industrial revolution. Some Guardian journalists became misty eyed about what they called “a celebration of diversity” – seemingly forgetting the beauty and innocence destroyed, the scarring, the grief, the ending of precious lives at the hands of monsters, the theft of their immortality, the lives and careers they would have enjoyed, the children they would have carried.
Reading social media comments, I was struck by the self-congratulatory tone of many – it’s all OK now, they would have us believe, because the denial is continuing, the memes about terrorism having no religion, the posters saying “love for all” as if the repeated vigils following the countless deaths were not the result of attacks carried out exclusively by Islamists, as if loving savages who rejoice at the deaths of our children and reduce once peaceful countries to places of horror is a virtue rather than an illness.
These scenes, these sayings, have now been repeated to the point of tedium right across Europe, where our beautiful, precious children are targets for the hateful, envious, self-pitying rage of failed people who, our children are taught, are perpetual victims. The hideous spate of atrocities – from mass sexual assault, to murder – since the influx of hundreds of thousands of immigrants unwilling to integrate, is repeatedly belittled, a tiny Holocaust to be denied as apologists for Islamic terrorism so frequently deny the Holocaust of the 1930s and ’40s.
UNESCO figures show that 75% of north African refugee claimants are male, in good health, aged between 18 and 40 – the demographics of invasion, not a humanitarian crisis. We are told that men clearly in their late 20s and 30s are children because they say they are children and they must not be disputed or checked, even by examining their teeth, because to do so violates their rights – an unforgivable active choice to declare the privacy of a refugee claimant more valuable than the life of their potential victims.
We all know the score now, the familiar dance which follows each barbaric assault on our people, our culture, our peace. Before the poor, broken bodies have been removed, the machinery of denial whirs into action: the cries of fear of a backlash, the vitriol directed at those who don’t share the fantasy that a religion which has never produced a single liberal, tolerant, egalitarian democracy, is an ornament to any society, the attempts to criminalise free speech, anything rather than admit that there is a problem, the fantasy that these horrors are an act of nature to be overcome by firing up a couple of hundred tea-lights.
Who are they kidding? And who do they think they are helping? Do they care? They certainly don’t actually care about Muslims – I’ve seen them turn and rend Muslims who argue with the neutered passivity the deniers expect us all to show, as if we are simply Eloi bred to frisk in the sunshine with never a cross word, pretending that the Morlocks won’t be coming to eat us any time they like.
I see no evidence of empathy, or passion – and surely, the murder of the innocent deserves both. What the deniers become passionate about is any threat to their vision, any questioning of their denial. To maintain their stance, they will sacrifice any number of children, any amount of peace.
What’s needed now isn’t another round of candle-lighting and flags projected onto tall buildings – it’s a display of righteous public anger: not attacking people in the street or fire-bombing mosques, but a demand that our safety, our security, our right to live as we have chosen to live, is without debate the absolute priority, and we must risk offending, rejecting, removing, excluding, even endangering, anyone who might in any way threaten those things.
Soldiers are on the streets, and thus war has been declared. Our righteous anger must ensure that the enemy is acknowledged as such and dealt with accordingly, because if not, the backlash which has obsessed the deniers will become a reality – and they won’t be the ones to suffer it: no, they’ll be safely at home congratulating themselves on not being ‘haters’.
The victims of any backlash, will be those Muslims who the deniers don’t give a toss about, who quietly potter about their daily lives, without a malicious thought in their heads, trying to avoid the ‘mad dogs’ the deniers find so unaccountably appealing.