Saturday, 11 October 2014

Why can't they see the link?

I picked up a copy of the Daily Mail today. Not my usual reading material, but its purchaser had finished with it and, occasionally, I like to see what rubbish it's spouting. Today it excelled itself!

Due to UKIP's electoral success the front-page headline tells us that "After historic Ukip surge, MPs tell Cameron and Miliband... YOU CAN'T IGNORE MIGRATION NOW". It then goes on to tell us how "David Cameron and Ed Milliband are being told to 'wake up' to public anger over uncontrolled migration following Ukip's stunning by election advances." Anger that has, of course, been whipped up by the media, including the Daily Mail, for years! But the article goes on to tell us that  "Conservative MPs warned the Prime Minister that he must now harden his stance on free movement within the European Union" and that "Jack Straw said he [Ed Milliband] should do a 'lot more' and take a stronger stance on immigration to win back traditional voters.' Inside the paper, Simon Danczuk's commentary headline states, "MY PARTY'S TOO SCARED TO TALK ABOUT MIGRATION". Similarly, a piece by Sue Reid is under the headline "Immigrants, HIV and the true cost to the NHS". Quite simply, there are pages and pages of articles in this paper telling any reader who can be bothered to wade through them all how awful immigrants are, and what a burden they are on the UK tax-payer.

Inside the paper, there is also a double page spread, with the headline SCHOOL OF JIHADIS which states, "Set in one of London's wealthiest areas, it's the Eton of state schools. So why have SIX former pupils of Holland Park School been linked to terror?" It then goes on to give pen-portraits of six pupils who have, in some way, been linked to Islamic State (IS), pointing out that this represents a quarter of the 24 jihadists from London. Paul Bracchi and Tim Stewart, the authors of this piece, are clearly mystified as to why intelligent, young men and women, who have achieved so much in their school careers, should want to align themselves with a groups like IS. The article offers no explantion - just incomprehension and amazement.

However, reading the aricle, I think the pen-portraits may offer a clue - Mohammed el-Araj's father is of Palestinian descent. The parents of Mohammed Nasser were from Eritrea. Hamzah Parvez's family come from Pakistan. Amal el-Wahabi and Nawal Msaad are both of Moroccan descent. Nassim Terreri is a British Algerian. So every single one of these young people is, in some way, one of the migrants that the paper has spent so many pages declaiming as lazy, good-for-nothing scroungers who (or so the paper claims) are not wanted in this country.

Now my own heritage is solidly English - for all the generations my brother has tracked down, my family come from the South East of England - so I don't really understand what it is like to grow up with a heritage that is split, in some way, between the country of one's birth and the country of one's family. But I do know that, as they grow up, many young people struggle to find their own identity, and I can certainly recall many discussions when I was in my early 20s about what was wrong with the world, and how it should be put right; discussions that helped to shape my own political views. Is it really impossible for these journalists to imagine the informed and well educated young men and women from Holland Park School being engaged in similar discussions? Discussions that would be influenced by their mixed heritage and the headlines screaming at them from the news-stands on a regular basis. Is it really so hard to see that, if the country of their birth appears to hate them, then some of those young people will turn to other countries and organisations to find their sense of value and worth?

The incomprehension of the Daily Mail's journalists is simply caused by their inability to see that they have helped to create the very circumstances that have driven these young people to sign up to IS.