Someone always has some statistics about the West’s failings whenever I speak of Iran or Islam or sharia and wants to know what I’m doing about it…
Next time I meet someone protesting against the welfare cuts in Britain, I’ll be sure to ask what s/he is doing about the Iranian regime’s cut in subsidies or the brutal economic sanctions!? (Not.)
And this happens to me all the time and it’s usually from people who do – well – nothing.
Just recently, after my talk at the National Secular Society’s Secularism conference, someone came up to specifically advise me not to focus on Sharia law as it is discriminatory to do so (I guess they were sleeping during my speech). I asked the ‘well-meaning’ chap whether he would then go up to the brilliant Sue Cox at the adjoining Survivors Voice – Europe stall to ‘advise’ her to focus on something other than paedophilia and child rape in the church because it was so very discriminatory against Christianity. My point was that this is a demand solely made of us dissenters of Islam.
It never seems to be the right time or place to raise our issues…
I am now reminded of this because again today some dimwit, biasedfreethoughts, has spewed off statistics on US executions in a comment on my piece on the current killing spree by the Islamic regime of Iran and asked what I am doing against executions in the US!
That I am a long-term anti-death penalty campaigner or that this demand is never made of anti-DP campaigners in the US are side issues.
What angers me most about this sort of comparison (apart from being patronising) is that the reason behind it is not a real concern about the death penalty. Rather it is an attempt to promote a hierarchy of rights and wrongs – with the US always in the lead, thereby trivialising and dehumanising the lives of ‘the other’ and also their forms of resistance. If it’s not somehow holding the US culpable for everything, then it’s not the time and place.
Let me fill you all in on a secret.
The precious lives of the thirteen executed in the past 48 hours - whatever their ‘crimes’ - is just as important as the precious lives of those languishing on death row in the US – not more and not less.
And whilst I have often said that US-led militarism is the other side of the coin of Islamism, am I not allowed to focus on the executions in Iran if I so choose without someone telling me what is more important to condemn?
If not now, then when?
If not me, then who?