Left- Lee Rigby Right- Baha Mousa
Last week, as I’m sure you are all aware, British Army soldier and a Drummer of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was killed by two attackers near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London.
The assailants were two British men of Nigerian descent, raised as Christians and converts to Islam.
I am a British born Asian man raised as a Muslim, so found the reaction to this story to be very harrowing indeed.
Of course, murder by its very nature is morally wrong in my opinion. The reasons for so are numerous and very easily formulated.
We ought not to kill another person, for doing so can be argued to cause more harm than good. Murder is wrong because we should not do to others as we would not like done to ourselves. We should not kill because we have no right to take a life. And so I could continue with the many philosophical arguments against taking a life.
So the outcry, the public unrest over the murder of the innocent man I can understand, and I can accept what these two men did was wrong and worthy of our condemnation.
Yet it seems absurd to me then, that the taking of Mr. Rigby’s life should result in more violence, more destruction and hatred against the Muslim population of Britain.
Surely we should use this opportunity to rise above the ill reasoned hate and blind dogma followed by the two “terrorists”?
I use this term lightly, for I maintain that the two suspects in this case are not politically motivated killers, but two disillusioned youths taken in by a dangerous way of thinking.
The same kind of thinking that has lead to the violent outburst against British Muslims, the attacks on their places of worship, and the religion they follow.
We must look at the facts when discussing such issue’s. We must also maintain a level of impartiality when analysing them.
So what do the facts tell us?
Statistics show that only 6% of all terrorist attacks from 1980 to 2005 have actually been perpetuated by Muslims.
I think this is a rather sobering statistic. Have the hate comments been justified in this regard? Is all this contempt for Muslims reasonable?
I read a frightening statistic the other day – 64% of people in the UK would want the death penalty reinstated for terrorists.
Is this really an appropriate response to the lone killing of two renegade killers? The attacking of Mosques, the use of social media to spread venomous hate and corrupting ignorance, surely this is not what free speech is all about?
The Woolich killer was created precisely by this kind of backward thinking – that one group of persons should be treated differently to others.
Ultimately it is this very kind of irrational reasoning that instigates atrocities such as genocide.
A recent YouGov poll suggested that the number of those who believe such clashes are inevitable is increasing – up by a staggering 9% from last year.
There has also been a small increase in the proportion of people who believe British Muslims pose a serious threat to democracy, up to 34% on Thursday and Friday from 30% in November 2012.
These beliefs are entirely unjustified, and all the more reason for those of us who have disposal of the facts, to speak up and be heard.
I read about the Association of British Muslims yesterday taking part a march in East London, in a show of solidarity with the family of murdered solider Lee Rigby. While I accept the intentions are wholly good, there is no omen on the Muslim population of Britain to apologise for Rigby’s death, nor is there any need for them to feel guilt over the murder.
Yes, we all mourn, we all shed tears for a life lost, taken so abruptly and unjustly in its prime.
Yet every day, every moment that we spend debating this issue, we spend trying to defend or defame the assailants, Rigsby, Muslims, the EDL – we fail to concern ourselves about the truly important issue’s humanity faces.
We’re fighting each other when we need to be working with one another to end global hunger, to absolve severe poverty and take humanity into a sustainable future.
Whilst people argue on social media over the death of one man, one soldier killed in the South East of London, well over 10,000 people today died of dysentery, an easily preventable illness.
On the same day Rigby died, several dozens were killed in our supposed war on terror.
Both sides are guilty of crimes, both ends of the spectrum are susceptible to the same narrow mindedness and short-sightedness.
The brutal murder of Rigby could very easily be compared to actions of the western military – such as the horrific torture of Baha Moussa, beaten to death by British soldiers; the savagery of the attack on Fallujah, were 800 civilians were killed, and the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, were the rights of native Palestinians are abused daily.
Why are the EDL not concerned with this kind of murder, this kind of oppression? Why are the the majority of the British public not concerned with these killings?
In a previous post, I asked a profound question, and I will ask it again – What’s really important here? What lives matter more to us, and why?
Death knows no hierarchy, and I stand by this claim.
RIP to Lee Rigby, the soldier, the drummer, the brother and son, I hope the two assailants feel the full weight of justice. But once again, I hope to extend my condolences to the forgotten, the lowly and downtrodden. The thousands that die daily silently and unknown, those who are murdered so cold heartedly through the pretence of war.
It’s sad to know that a majority of us in this country turn a blind eye to these daily injustices. The story I was fortunate to report on last week, about the homeless men having their sleeping bags stolen, was lost amongst the relentless onslaught of updates on the Woolich killing. Our most neglected, those of us most suffering and without a voice, their story was ultimately lost thanks to the uproar caused by this incident. It seems the noisy and ill informed are for more proficient at spewing their repugnant hate and unbridled rage then I was at bringing the plight of our homeless to the masses.
And it saddens me, it saddens me that organisations like EDL will march over the Woolich killing, but not world hunger. Why don’t these people tweet about Malaria, why don’t they speak up about solving our energy crisis, our food shortages, the rampant inequality that exists in this world? Why don’t we all use our voice and our efforts to create actual meaningful change in this world? Because if we didn’t have poverty, if we didn’t have oppressive regimes and the destruction of war, the Woolich killings would of never happened. There would be no civic unrest in Syria, in austerity struck Greece and Spain, the racism and hatred, the rising death count born off increasing poverty and inequality – this I can guarantee you.
I want to see the same passion and enthusiasm people have for this issue taken to things that really matter. When it comes down to it, Rigby’s death has been a used as a political tool, as a device to spread hatred and ignorance both ways.
For the powers that be, a population that is busy fighting against one another, a society that is divided is far easier to control, far easier to keep in the dark to the real grave injustices being perpetuated in this world.
Open your eyes to beyond Lee Rigby and the two men who murdered him. Because we’re never going to create any meaningful change in this world hating, berating, and ultimately killing one another. The only meaningful progress we can achieve must come from love for your fellow man and woman, the spreading of peace and the pervading of equality for all living beings on this planet.