Like life

April 15, 2011

Sometimes I just want to write.
I don’t know why, but it becomes a sort of irreproachable desire that overwhelms whatever it is I am doing at the particular moment and I want to write. I have hundreds of drafts of random blogs I’ve started when the propensity to sit down at my laptop and arrange thought patterns into words massacres all other modes of thought. And then I get frustrated with the direction the blog takes, knowing it has no real ending, and so I just give up and wallow in languid self pity. I am told this is common for people who enjoy writing. Perfectionism is a fucking bitch. So I thought i’d just write, and see where it leads, and when it ends it ends. And like life It has no overwhelming purpose or meaning, and just imposes itself on those it chooses without aim, quickly forgotten. Bits and pieces imprint themselves on the memory of the back of the darkest reaches of the consciousness, but its essence is always there contributing to what it is (even in the smallest and seemingly insignificant ways) that makes you, you.

I was five when we moved away from Cavendish Road, just off of Saffron Lane. I vividly remember a significant amount of enlightening episodes from before the move. Here are a few:

I remember the fucking horrendous accents – I hate the Leicester accent. I have made a conscious effort over the years to eradicate it from my own speech. If being beaten up badly, and then being spat on as you lay crying in a wrecked ball in a shit filled gutter could be conveyed through an accent, it would be the Leicester accent. It does however provide some beautifully crafted sentences I over hear a lot. Today, in Tesco, a boy on his mobile phone, said “yeah well Josh can suck the fucking piss out of my dirty black nips”. I have never in my life wanted to kill someone for raping the English language, whilst at the same time wanting to worship him as the God of beautiful sentences, so much.

I remember a man being kicked in the face by two other men and then being chased away.

I remember drawing a picture of a boat and my teacher pinning it up on the door of the classroom. I was so proud. But we lived in the social darkness and backwardness of Tory England then, as we do now, and no one told me that pursuing art for art sake is irrelevant in Tory England, we should aim for a life in a call centre instead. Beauty is the destitute office with the distinct smell of printer ink, in Tory England.

I remember adorning myself in Leicester City blue and white and walking down to Filbert Street with my dad, past the rows of cars with Leicester City badges in the windows, and drifting into the wind with the same fans week after week. I was born one year after Gary Lineker moved to Everton from Leicester. The early 90s weren’t the greatest years for Leicester. Though I saw them play in the most exciting Wembley play off final i’ve ever seen, when Swindon Town beat us 4-3 after we went from 3-0 down to 3-3. Steve Thompson was the man on the back of my Leicester shirt that year. The walk to Filbert Street down Saffron Lane was one of the highlights of my childhood. I once saw a man push a grown woman down a flight of stairs of the double decker stand at Filbert Street, she smacked her head and passed out. That wasn’t such a highlight.

I remember my dad and I watching a sunday league football match on Nelson Mandela park, when the ball was manically kicked out of play, and smashed me in the face. The guilty player (who I am adamant even now, should be shot) came over deeply apologetic, and is now one of my dads good mates. My dad befriended my abuser. Thanks dad.

I remember walking downstairs one morning to find our shop had been broken into, the windows smashed, and police talking to my dad. This is pretty normal when you live a few doors in from Saffron Lane. The terraced houses all look the same; the towering army of Edwardian brick chimney tops, street after street. England. But the street is usually full of kids kicking a ball, and old women with nets over their hair for some uninspiring reason. Mrs Spick lived opposite us. I always thought ‘Spick’ was a name that conveyed the feeling of living in cramped streets. She was about 50. I vividly remember the awful smell that emanated from her. She spat when she spoke. Missus Spick spat when she spoke. Oh how the structure of language can disguise the vile essence it is trying to convey. Which leads me onto the next memory.

I remember the day I learnt the word “cunt”. I was 5. I overheard a man on my street call his girlfriend a cunt. We Leicestarians know how to treat our ladies. I didn’t know what it meant, so I thought i’d put this wonderful new addition to my vocabulary to use immediately. My friend who was over with his mum, and I were playing with our wrestling figures. I was Brett Hart, he was Crush. Crush attacked Brett and kicked him across the room. I didn’t hesitate any longer, “you cunt”, I yelled as loud as I could. The helper at our shop overheard me and went insane at me. So I called her a cunt too. I didn’t know what it meant, but the reaction was amazing. One single word could cause an atomic bomb to explode around me? This was like gold dust! Thus began my fascination with the power of language. Word became both exciting, yet largely meaningless and empty. My year 7 English teacher told my parents I would never be a reader and i’d never be a writer. I’ve told this story to a lot of people, because it explains exactly why I struggle at times with my confidence. She used language to convey her stupidity and ignorance and I knew it even back then. Just because I didn’t like Shakespeare, nor her, I was doomed to sit dribbling on myself and getting fat in a dark room with nothing but a TV for entertainment. What a cunt.

I remember cricket. I come from a cricket background. My dad played cricket. He now coaches cricket. He loves cricket. My mum catered for cricket testimonial matches. I could often be found in a hired out old pub, surrounded by people in grey suits talking about who should and shouldn’t make the team. Cricket is an odd game. It is played by kids, coached by the kids grown up, and watched by snobs. The pub rooms and the snobs always smelled of real ale. I can remember the smell so distinctly. Sometimes I miss it. Real ale, and old leather from the seats in the pub rooms. I played cricket for the school for a few years. I was pretty good too. But my god, it’s a boring sport.

I remember being told by our school that we should be careful because there is a man roaming the area trying to take kids by offering them sweets. I have only just learnt that all schools do this every year to teach kids about the risk of paedophiles. But when I was younger, it sounded to me like they were warning us against taking sweets from people. Why would they do that? If someone is offering me sweets, I should say no? Only people who offer kids sweets, want to kill me? All of them? This confusion led me at the age of seven to accuse the shop keeper at the end of the road of trying to take kids, because he sells Snickers. In a shop full of people, me, a kid, accused the shop keeper of being a child molester. Great. Thanks school! Not only did you make me believe I could be Fritzled at any moment, you also ruined the life of the nice corner shop owner. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.

I remember a man a few doors down from us, who was in his 90s and had one leg, the other had been blown off when Saffron Lane was bombed during the war. On the BBC war website, a writer who was eight years old during the war writes:

The worst bomb damage that I saw was in Cavendish Road, on August 21st 1940. I was with my dad in his lorry on the coal wharf at Danvers Road. The air raid siren sounded, it was just after ten o’clock. Dad made me go into an air raid shelter near by, when the all clear sounded, I came out of the shelter and we could see the smoke rising. Dad was worried as it looked to be in the direction of where we lived. He said “come on son we had better go and see if mum is OK”. As we came up the Saffron Lane past the end of Cavendish Road the gas main was blazing and I could see lots of bomb damage, many buildings were in ruins, people were just being rescued with ambulance’s and fire engines all around. This was less than half an hour after the raid. Six people were killed

All I knew from the history of my street, was that it had been destroyed during the war. This one guy in his 90s used to say this his knee in his one remaining leg hurt, and he’s lucky he doesn’t have to deal with pain in the other one. He was fascinating. Here is a picture of the building that got hit. Our place was a few doors up from here:

The houses are pretty much exactly as they were back then. Though, minus that massive gaping hole on the corner.

I remember my primary school teacher had some sort of odd mental breakdown whilst reading a book with me one day, and started to sing “the wheels on the bus” whilst stood on a table. She then collapsed and was taken away by the school nurse and a few teachers. It’s funny because I worried about her. We never saw her at school again. Years later I saw her driving.


The art of being boring

January 17, 2011

There is a sort of serenity when you realise that you are considered an invariably boring person. You start to appreciate your apparent self deluded sense of sanity and absorb yourself in the wonderment of cynical boringness. I still get a little annoyed and depressed when people call me boring, just for being me, but I am starting to learn to embrace and be proud of it. Let me give you a few examples.

I hate drunk people. Absolutely despise them. I do, and have always considered drinking to excessive amounts, a weakness, and I have no time for it; and not just because when you drink and drive, you ALWAYS run over a horse, as shown in the photo above. I hate how different people become when they drink. I hate that I cannot have a conversation with a drunk person, because it becomes utterly absurd and if I say the wrong thing, that at any other time would not be considered the wrong thing, they suddenly hate me, in their pathetic drunken state, and then I feel guilty, as if i’m the one who is lingering in the wrong. When I finally come to terms with my utter hatred of drunk people, I start to think….. fuck them….. I will ignore them until they apologise for being shit whilst drunk. And if they try to blame their shitness, on alcohol, then I will ignore them further. And it’s absolutely every time I am out with drunk people, that it becomes inevitably negative. I have no positive experiences with alcohol. But, this makes me essentially boring. Being 24 and having an intense hatred of drunkenness does not bode well for my social life. When out surrounded by drunk people, I cannot control the fact that I feel wholly uncomfortable and anxious, as if i’m aware that something negative is going to occur in the very near future. Ironically, the uncomfortable anxious feeling objectifies the negativity that I am waiting to occur. And yet, I like being this way. I don’t want to be a drinker. It doesn’t suit my personality. I’d have to change much of my personality in order to squeeze a tolerance of drunkenness into my psyche. I don’t want to squeeze a tolerance of drunkenness into my psyche. That isn’t to say that I don’t accept that other people enjoy drinking. It’s their decision and if they enjoy it, great. I just don’t enjoy it, and I don’t enjoy being around people who excessively enjoy it. They just work to annoy me.

I do not begrudge people who genuinely love clubbing. Good on them! They have found what it is that makes them happy, that’s great. It just doesn’t make me happy, and certain types of clubbers make me hate it more and more every time I go out. “Omg just enjoy yourself!!“……. no!! I genuinely do not enjoy it. Constantly telling me to lighten up and enjoy something that I don’t enjoy, is so futile, I would rather tell you to be quiet and spend that time banging my face on a nail. It’s like me handing a copy of Camus’ ‘The Outsider’ to a drunk in a nightclub and saying, “here, sit in the corner and just enjoy yourself…. lighten up“. I can’t imagine they’d enjoy it.

Clubbing makes me want to vomit. I enjoy clubbing less than I enjoy being wee’d on by a tramp. You queue up, you pay a fortune, you get threatened by a drunken cunt, you stand in a room that stinks, you go to a urinal that has piss all over the floor, you watch a few people dance for a few hours, you see a fight, you stink, you see a drunk girl with at least an inch of make up on crying because her friend is snogging the chav she wants, you go out into the street to be confronted by an idiot wanting a fight standing next to a slightly overweight girl being sick in the gutter with her minge on show, at the tax stand you walk past two cavemen fighting because one looked at the other “funny”, you pay extortionate rates to get the taxi back to the hotel, you go back to a hotel, you don’t sleep for the next four hours because people are running up and down past the door, you wake up an hour after you fell asleep and for the next 24 hours you feel like your brain has been raped. I find no redeeming feature in clubbing. It is like genocide. I am supposed to, apparently, acknowledge that Saturday night was created specifically for clubbing and enjoyment. Yet, in my land of boringness, the words “clubbing” and “enjoyment” are antonyms. They are completely incompatible, which means for me, Saturday nights being made for clubbing and drunkenness means I either embrace it, and feel like I’ve wasted my weekend watching the enjoyment of other people whilst myself edging ever so closely toward wanting to top myself, or enjoy it my own way, on my own terms, and actually be happy with myself. But to be happy with myself, and what I enjoy, means accepting that I am, infact, fucking boring. I now fully accept that.

The crock of shit they refer to as “dance music” doesn’t help the situation for me. It is awful. It is a constant banging noise. When my neighbours put up shelves, I don’t suddenly stand up and dance to it, and yet it sounds EXACTLY the same as absolutely every dance track ever written. Every now and again, they have a special guest to come and do a live set!!!! How exciting!! “Ziggy from Big Brother is live this week at Oceania!!! Do you want to come?” No, as I am spending that evening poking myself in the eye.

It is probably all down to the fact that I don’t particularly like people. I am cynical when it comes to humanity. We’re bastards. My apparent sense of misanthropy drives my feelings on clubbing and drunks. I can only stand to be around people for a small amount of time on any occasion, unless they’re asleep. I like my own company and my own space. I like being on my own. I like the sound of my thoughts which is rendered impossible by the sound of god-awful club music. I do not dance. I take myself too seriously. I have to be in control at all times. And I fucking like it that way, until people start to question it, as if being me, and not being them, is a problem for me. It isn’t. I quite like it. “You must be 60“…… fuck right off, i’m just not you….. I don’t have to succumb to your narrow vision of what constitutes fun, to enjoy myself.

I do not like the idea that the only enjoyable way for anyone to spend a Saturday night is to be slaughtered to the point of excessive vomiting for the early hours of Sunday morning. It doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I quite like to read books and essays and I quite like to sit in bars and talk and I quite like to watch a film or play football. To people who enjoy drinking and clubbing on every Saturday night, my feeling of utter boredom and anxiousness in a club, would be equivalent of making those people sit and watch me read a book for a few hours on a Saturday night.

Clubbing, whilst making me sad, also provides people with something to talk about on Monday morning. “What did you do at the weekend?” …. “I went out!!”. It provides people, who we have already established I do not like, with the opportunity to smile vacantly whilst telling me exactly how many drinks they had, and how drunk they were. As if I care. There is nothing in life I have ever experienced caring less about, than someone telling me how many drinks them consumed at the weekend. I have sat just now and tried to think of something less interesting, and I genuinely can’t. Someone could say to me “Either I am going to spend the next hour talking to you about coastal erosion in East Anglia since 1900, or telling you how many Smirnoffs I drank on Saturday night”, the history of coastal erosion would suddenly appeal to me like being told how to turn poo into gold. And yet I’m supposed to care. I smile and act like downing three thousands sambucas and puking over the taxi-driver’s face is in some odd way, heroic. It bores me to listen to them. I want to cry at how bored I am by their incessant need to talk about how drunk they were at the weekend, I literally want to sob.

I am starting to feel proud, when people consider me boring and 24 going on 50. They are attempting to sound superior as if they are privy to some sort of fun that I am not. In this attempt to seem superior, it makes me feel superior that I am not a sheep when it comes to this.

Do not even get me started on the type of drunk person who thinks everyone will find it fucking hilarious if they start to sing karaoke as badly as possibly whilst drunkenly laughing uncontrollably. I hate these people more than anyone else, including serial killers.

It is a social norm, and a sign of social status, in the collective mind of my generation, that the only way any normal, sane, exciting 24 year old could possibly enjoy them selves on a weekend, is to get horrendously drunk and wake up on Sunday intent on posting the Facebook status…. “….is never going to drink again“. I cannot think of a bigger waste of a weekend, than to go to a club and get drunk. I would disappoint and in fact, bore myself if I were to acquiesce to this terrible social norm.

The band

November 20, 2010

A couple of bands in the area that I live asked me to do a few sample photos for them at rehearsal. It is my first attempt at band photography. This is what I came up with:

This second lot of photos, is from a band called Soundtrack. They can be heard here.

It is not soul destroying

October 9, 2010

Today I was subject of a ridiculously inane and somewhat poignant issue at the place I work. I happened to place a tray down on the table of a bunch of people who were eating dinner, in order to put the veg from the tray to the table. I was looked at, by the waitress, as if i’d just walked into their house on a child’s birthday and pissed on his cake; I was told it was unbelievable that I had done that, and I should have in fact used the serving table a couple of metres away. What would the guests think? Surely they would be shocked? Surely putting the tray on their table in order to remove the veg, as opposed to using the table two metres away, was comparable to wacking out my todger and waving it in the face of the eldest member of the group, and then pooing.

The use of the word ‘unbelievable‘ was perhaps a little bit over the top, and worked not to make me regret my apparent lack of hospitality etiquette, but only to insight a burning hatred toward the entire charade. I marvelled at the level of pretentiousness one must have to get to, to resign oneself to a life of getting frustrated if absolutely meaningless table etiquette rules have been a little bit bent. I was told it ‘looks bad’. If someone is to complain that I put veg down on the table an inappropriate way, simply because I put a tray on their table that in no way obstructed them from doing anything else (including laughing and joking with me, as the gentleman did), then I would have to consider telling that person to sit down and maybe re-evaluate what it is that is important in their life. It doesn’t ‘look bad’. It looks nothing. Because people in general are not as pretentious as the overly obsessed soul-less workforce that provide them with a service sector devoid of any social benefit and working – aimlessly – only to illuminate an already overly developed sense of superiority and manic egotism that the guest must have if they take such things seriously.

One has to ask, why does it ‘look bad’ to put the tray on the table? Who does it ‘look bad’ to? People are entirely different. Their experiences in life, their memories, and how busy their minds are at the time will all go toward evaluating who thinks that putting a tray on their long table to put veg from the tray to the table ‘looks bad’. My guess is that it was none them. Especially the nice old gentleman who had a joke with me about the local football team as I was standing there. In fact, i’d guess that’s the most any member of staff in the entire building had said to him (other than ‘lamb or pork?’) all day. There is no inherent way to remove food from a tray. There is no universal immovable law. It doesn’t exist. The idea is contrived by humans, and more specifically, by the place I work; not the guests, and after the idea is there; a funny little tale about it ‘looking bad’ otherwise is created to attempt to justify absolutely nothing. Do you like how I am applying Nietzsche to my work situation?

These etiquettes, these meaningless etiquettes, these weak pointless upper class meaningless etiquettes simply perpetuate the pretentious. And pretentiousness is a rather repulsive trait that humanity has created (it isn’t natural) and amplifies in workplaces like mine, which again has absolutely no social benefit and actually appears more like a cancer to me.

You see how frustrating it is? It is inevitable for someone like me, who struggles to be happy at the very best of times with the direction of their life, and resigns their self to knowing that an absurd World is the one in which they inhabit, like Camus’ Outsider, and have to play the game accordingly; that eventually, they start to struggle with that game, wanting to just throw the board up in the air. Make sure the ones with money are happy. See to their every need. Bend over for them. Wash up after them. Feed them. But feed them the proper way other it’s unbelievable. Take their money. Get a tiny percentage of it back. What a waste of a life. I am currently looking for work elsewhere. Hopefully not in hospitality or the service industry at all. I do not want to be part of a generation wasting away answering phones. Often, when I am performing a worthless task, I wonder ‘what is this achieving?’ and I can’t honestly and forthrightly answer. The mellifluous sound of guilt takes over a little. It is a particularly disagreeable feeling in the mind and pit of the stomach when you suddenly feel like you’ve walked into a wall built entirely out of the words ‘What the fuck are you doing with your life, standing taking this sort of shit? A monkey in a science lab has more social use than you do, and he flings his own faeces around every day. Quick, better get back to work, someone wants a bit more milk with their tea.’

I stood today thinking, whilst at work and decided to write down the first thing that came to my head when I considered my work life. I immediately wrote: “It isn’t soul destroying. It is a curiously undesirable and regrettable form of soul searching”. This surprised me for a second, I was taken aback. I had to think about what I meant. Because I have always been under the impression that the place I work, and the service sector in general is emphatically soul destroying. There is no room for creativity or a sense that you are working to help further mankind and provide a societal benefit. Yet now, I was contradicting myself. And I think I was right. It isn’t soul destroying. It is certainly tedious and laughable, it isn’t real and it is meaningless in the long run; but it isn’t soul destroying. It takes tedium and anguish, and it takes a feeling of emptiness and futility to accept that you are in fact deep in a life of nihilism and the only way out is to decide what it is you want and get it. You create the meaning and the purpose you wish to create because it simply doesn’t exist otherwise; meaning is not an objective truism. Today’s issue with the tray proved that. Meaning is subjective. You insert meaning into what it is you want, and you disregard that which you find absurd and wasteful. My workplace management created the meaning behind the issue with the tray, some people mindlessly sucked it up and live it, others notice that we are not the place that we work. We are ourselves. You start to appreciate what it is about life you adore, and cherish, and what it is you find utterly abhorrent and useless. It nurtures your soul by testing your soul.

Today I had this new sense of self and of ambition that I have admittedly been lacking for quite some time. I am asserting myself entirely to becoming a teacher. I would like to do some teaching in a poorer country first. I would also like to eventually teach history. There are certain aspects of my life that are not important. Learning table etiquette is never going to be important, to any life. I am also going to get right back into Photography. I need an artistic outlet because I cannot fully deal with the way much of the World around me works; again, I find it all one big game, with silly little rules to keep the game moving, and yet all they actually do is make me scrunch my face up and proclaim the World to be a miserable absurdity at the best of times. For it to have been soul destroying, I would have had to accepted the pretentious etiquette as essential and purposeful. If I ever get to the stage where I believe that certain etiquettes have any use whatsoever, I will be able to say that my soul has been destroyed because my soul, as I know it, is utterly at odds with that World.

I do not want to end up actually caring that a tray has been put down on the wrong table.

Lomography Film Roll: Five

June 8, 2010

My fifth roll from my Diana mini. A few photos from the weekend at the park with friends, and a few from around Leicester.

I have a bit of a love for random photos; snapshots of the mundane life in motion.

Lomography Film Roll: Two

April 1, 2010

My second roll of redscale lomography film produced the following photos. I’m pretty happy with them. The lady who develops them for me, keeps giving me my money back because they “came out a bit red”. She thinks the film fucked up. It didn’t.

All of these pictures are taken in and around Leicester City Centre.

Time to get cracking on my third film, I think.

Islam and Christianity

March 17, 2010

I have wanted to write this blog for a while, but didn’t particularly know how to start it. A lot of this writing comes from the knowledge I gained reading Henry Chadwick, Karen Armstrong, and Voltaire. But I still didn’t have a beginning. Today provided me with that beginning.

Today is St Patrick’s day. As I was wandering through Leicester city centre, through swarms of happy people with tall green hats and pints of Guinness, I happened across an Irish pub. Outside the pub were six or seven people dancing to Irish music. Pleasingly, dancing side by side, arm in arm, were two men; An old grey haired Irish man with a huge smile across his face as he swayed, dancing quite comically with a young Muslim man also with a huge smile across his bearded (a bit of a failed attempt at beard growth actually) face whilst his friend filmed the entire scenario on his mobile phone. I was struck by the apparent lack of culture barrier between the two. They were just two men, enjoying themselves.

Meanwhile, in Sheffield, the “English Defence League” plan a march, against Islam. I wondered if this seemingly polarised contrast of values has always existed between the west and Islam? I’d argue that it has. I’d argue that the irrational fear that the contemporary western World seems to have of anything Islamic has been a linear progression since around 900ad.

During the 10th Century, in Al Andalus (Muslim controlled Spain), Islam was becoming amazingly ahead of it’s time. Cordova especially. Under Muslim control, Christians, Jews and Muslims were allowed to live side by side in peace, as long as respect was shown for each other. The Christians and Muslims shared poetry, literature, and philosophy. It was a golden age for the history of Spain. Typical Christian States at this time, were not allowing such integration to exist, because Jews and Muslims were considered heretics, who should be killed rather than accepted.

A Spanish Christian outside of Cordova, whom would undoubtedly be a member of the EDL today, once spoke out against this arrangement, arguing that Cordovan Christians had become corrupted by Islam. Paul Alvaro stated:

The Christians love to read the poems and the romances of the Arabs. Not to refute them, but to form an elegant Arabic. Alas! All young Christians read and study with enthusiasm the Arab books”

This was an attack on the Christians of Cordova. Christian layman reacted viciously, and started to burn Islamic books and writings in the centre of Cordova. One man in particular, named Perfectus, began to denounce Muhammad publicly. As this began, the Muslim supreme judge known as the Qadi did not pass the death sentence (to insult Christianity, in Christian lands, would have almost certainly resulted in a rather nasty death penalty) because he considered the Christian to have been provoked by both the writings of people like Alvaro, and angry Muslims, so he released Perfectus. But, Perfectus continued attacking the name of Mohammad. And so, without any other option, given the social and historical context of the time, Perfectus was executed by the order of the Qadi under the control of Abd ar-Rahman II. This martyrdom started a fresh wave of anti-Islamic sentiment. Known as the “Cordova Martyrs“, they began to publicly condemn Muslims for being heretics, and did not cease until they were executed. The Muslim court was reluctant to execute people for two reasons. Firstly, they believed it to be wrong to execute people for believing something different. Heresy did not exist for Islam. Disrespect for the Prophet did exist. But heresy, was not a concept Islam understood. Islam expanded at a time of religious plurality in the near East, and so they were used to different beliefs, and did not execute people on that basis. Secondly, they did not want to create a cult surrounding these martyrs. The martyrs were quickly being recognised as soldiers of Christianity. Islam did not provoke nor want a religious war. Christian bishops in Cordova, did not want a religious war. In fact, many Christian bishops and scholars denounced the martyrs as simply out to cause trouble where it was not needed. Slowly, successive Popes started to ban anything slightly Islamic. Koran’s were banned. As was recitation from memory of verses. In contrast, Islamic nations allowed Christian bibles, and Christian debates and discussions, even propaganda from Christians, providing it did not insult Muhammad. Islam, was generations ahead of Christianity both morally and spiritually.

We can then follow that insecurity, and irrational attacking of Islam or anything that was slightly different, almost directly to Pope Urban II and his attacks on Jerusalem. Perhaps this wasn’t necessarily an all out attack against Islam, but more Papal imperialism. Spreading the power of the West. Using Muhammad and the “heretics” as a predicate for war. As if Urban II was protecting Christianity rather than extending his own power, dominance and wealth. The Jews across the Rhine Valley were victims of Pope Urban attempting to kill off any non-Christians across the known World. Islam and Judaism have a lot more in common then they have differences.

For the next couple of centuries, false legends were propogated across Europe surrounding Islam and their Prophet. He was the anti-christ, a child molester (which is rich, coming from Catholicism), out to destroy Christianity, Satan himself.

As the reformation swept through Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries, it became apparent that Christian ignorance would not go away. Catholics attacked Islam by linking it to Protestantism. They were a breakaway sect of Christianity that denied the Pope’s authority. Similarly, Protestants began attacking Islam by linking it to Catholicism. They worshiped false idols and didn’t believe in faith alone. Even Luther, the hero of the reformation wrote how he considered Europe at risk from being engulfed by Islam; and so the continued irrational fear spread miserably for another century. By 16th Century, the modern historian Norman Daniel points out that Islam was now used as a dirty word. The illiterate European population had no idea what Islam was; had never read the Koran; had never even spoken to a Muslim, but they had all decided through relentless Catholic and Protestant propaganda that Islam was never to be tolerated, purely because Islam held that Jesus was not the chosen Prophet of God.

In fact, it was not until Voltaire wrote his account of Muhammad, as being a great philosopher and Islam as being far more progressive than Christianity, that anything positive from the West was being written about Islam. Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, the French imperialist writer stated that:

Christianity is the most favourable to freedom.”

And that Islamic nations were:

A Family without a father

The Western imperialist powers, were apparently that “father“.
And then rose the British Empire.
The “us VS them” mentality continued. The Empire marched into Muslim lands and proclaimed that those who lived their, were barbarians who needed the British Empire to improve their lives. Algiers, Aden, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya; all came under imperialist power, and we were horrendously evil in our dealings with our new colonies.

The writer Boaudricourt of France at the time, wrote what he had known of the British and French expeditions to Africa and our treatment of Islam:

“About 18,000 trees had been burnt; Women, children and old men had been killed. The unfortunate women particularly excited cupidity by wearing silver ear rings, leg rings, and arm rings. These rings have no catch like French bracelets. To get them off, our soldiers used to cut off their limbs and leave them alive in a mutilated condition”

And we had the nerve to refer to Islam as barbaric?

The fear and violence continues right up until today. George Bush in 2004, run his re-election campaigned claiming to have been sent by God, and that America shouldn’t change commander-in-chief during a war. Christian and Western arrogance propagating fear all over again.
After 9/11, Muslims were viewed with unprecedented fear. As if they were all terrorists who simply “hated our freedom”. The same propaganda that was being used 1000 years ago, was being used again. Screening young muslim men at airports, always telling us that our terrorist threat level was at critical. And yet, the majority of terrorist attacks on U.S soil over the past twenty-years, has been by Christian fanatics. Burnt and bombed abortion clinics, the KKK, the murders of abortion doctors, the Olympic bombing in 1996; all Christian extremists. Why aren’t Christians given the same, if not more level of suspicion given their rather disgraceful past?

It was inevitably that eventually a generation of disenfranchised Islamic lunatics with delusions of hatred and an irrational bloodlust for Americans and the West was going to arise. When one mad man kills a few people, that’s a psychological issue. When a hundreds of men become radicalised, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. You cannot simply blame Islam for “hating our freedom”. It simply isn’t true. It’s an ignorant, racist concoction used to feed our arrogance because the West, and Christianity, has always had this delusional sense of superiority.

Not today. Today, the Irish man and the Muslim man proved that multiculturalism and tolerance work. The linear progression from the Cordova Martyrs, to the English Defence League and the War on Terror, has not prevailed. It is clear that the anti-Islamic prejudice is slowly dying out, on a scale never before seen. This is a fantastic thing.