Here's a link to an excellent piece on the topic that not only inspired the name of this blog, but also shaped the reason why I started it in the first place. 'Eurabian Follies' The shoddy and just plain wrong genre that refuses to die.
Somehow, perhaps not an entirely unprecedented phenomena, the idea seems to have taken root amongst some groups and individuals, that 'our' identity is under threat, that hordes of Muslims and/or immigrants have been 'flooding' Europe, leaving it only a matter of time until the crescent moon rises high, its shadow all but darkens the very skies, undermining all that is dear and trusted in this, our in fact, continent.
I am tempted to point out that 'Muslim', really isn't an ethnic category, that 'Muslim' comes in white, brown, yellow, red or what have you, that many are not dropped off by ships, but born on the pages of books, in the centre of a prayer room, and that spirituality isn't a choice tied to exotic names.
More pressing however, do I feel the urge to ask what it is that they seek to summon, speaking of the 'Judeo-Christian tradition' of 'European culture. Much like an elusive, all but forgotten house-ghoul, conveniently re-discovered at a time of need to construct and reject the 'other'. In the absence of substantial claims, an image is conjured to re-invent our history to define European identity and to stake out claims of ownership. Disingenuous as many of these attempts are, recent years have shown an alarming rate of success with which this 'ideologizing' of identity has spread across the continent. Far-right nationalists across Europe (BNP, PVV, Front National etc.) have embraced Islamophobia, a beautiful gift, at a time when discrimination on grounds of race is out of fashion, to talk of freedom has opened avenues, that many had hoped would remain closed, a shameful memory of our past.
'There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn't mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.' Christiane Amanpour
"Gaza will probably be for Al Jazeera what the Gulf War was for CNN. People forget, CNN was created in 1980. What did they call it, the Chicken Noodle Network? It was ridiculed really until 1991 when the Gulf War happened. It all of a sudden became an important part of American media culture. Our coverage of Gaza [which was released for rebroadcast by other networks for free] is a reminder to a lot of people that there are a lot of important aspects to a lot of stories, not just the Middle East, that are being denied them." Tony Burman
Passed by Whitelands House, area of prime exclusivity in proximity to Southern poverty. Mad me wonder about the ups and downs, in's and out's of life selfconsciously aware of how I've been crossing borders that require no immigration, no passport check, no border control, yet leave me stranded in a foreign country. Back to Green Lanes. God bless Public Transport
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.
[Robert Frost, Excerpt of Mending Wall]'
'Pretty soon everyone will have to admit that they are sitting around in the dark and pretending they see daylight.' It's a phrase I'll unscrupulously borrow from a recent articleby Stephen Walt. In a way it perfectly describes my own sentiments on the issue of identity politics that has commanded so much attention in recent years. It seems as though the question of who we are, has been replaced or at least been answered by who are we not? And while understanding the other may help to grasp and better understand the boundaries of one’s own identity, it should and cannot provide a solid basis for self definition. Arguably, identity is a multileveled, contested and fluid concept. [tbc...this is gonna be a longer one, but will need more time to organize my thoughts]
Oh my word...this layout seems to have developped a life of its on. too tired to sort it out now, especially since I have no ideas how/where/ the changes came from, seeing how I've only submitted the beginnnings of a new post???? Well, the colour coding sure does beat any feng shui. NOT
Wow. This has been more difficult than I thought. On the one side, there's this barely contained urge (slightly narcisstic I wonder?) to communicate my thoughts, ideas and emotions. In a way broadcast whatever is on my mind, as though I had just seen light, a bright revelation, that simply needs to be shared, this instant, no later, for I might forget (I could) and what a loss that might be. A loss to the world, in fact, for I...have thoughts. And that's the problem in a way, isn't it? Yes, I have ...thoughts. 'Grand that!' a voice in my head sniggers, while I inch closer to the keyboard. Fingers outstretched. 'What do you have to say?' - 'Say' meaning 'to share' not just 'rant on about' as though I suffered from an uncontrollable case of food&mouth disease, or just happened to crave the sounds of the keyboard. Longing for the audience's scream 'Encore!' So yes, welcome to the sounds of these keys, welcome to the voice of this mic.
Alright, listen let me tell you how truly awesome I am. No...not really. This isn't exactly that kind of blog. I could start by trying to explain the name, and I probably will later on, but I hope you forgive me as I leave you with this link. I'm sure you'll work it out.