Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 30 Aug 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Good old fashioned murder

People often search through the biography of a terrorist to find the moment they were radicalised, the moment when they turned their backs on all they knew and embraced a different, more violent way. I saw it done with the IRA and now I’m seeing it done with supposedly Muslim terrorists. Was there a crucial turning point when they passed a tipping point? Generally, no, because we’re not in Hollywood. But for me, the closest I get is the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Not that I’m a terrorist, of course. I think that the system we live under stinks and is endlessly and utterly corrupt, but most people like it, so that’s fine. But before de Menezes was murdered, I was a fairly patriotic bloke, happy to cheer on the England team, vaguely dislike the French and, if I had a politics, it would broadly have been described as centre right. I was earning money and, just as importantly, my friend had been killed in the July 7 attacks.

I’ve said before that I was angry, and in the days after her death, I was angry with Muslims. I wanted them dead, I wanted everyone with a beard killed. And then I went to her funeral, where the man who was giving it said that if you held on to hatred, you violated every principle by which she lived her life. He was right. I felt like someone had taken a rucksack full of rocks off my back and I saw that I’d been a tool of my anger and an utter idiot. And when de Menezes was killed, which I initially had thought was a terrorist being killed, the narrative started to unravel very, very fast.

We were told that he had not ticket, had hurdled the turnstiles at the Tube, sprinted down the escalator and then boarded the train in a bulky coat with wires protruding from it. Slowly, element by element, the story was discredited and elements were retracted. In the end, the truth emerged. He had been shot repeatedly in the head, by representatives of the state, having boarded the Tube in a wholly lawful manner. And, of course, he wasn’t wearing a bulky jacket with wires protruding from it.

What happened that day worked on me like putting sand in an axle. It didn’t do anything that day or the day after. Or the day after that. But over a period of time, I realised where I live and what my country is. Every attempt was made to smear de Menezes by institutions of the state who killed him and they failed. There may have been no prosecutions arising from his murder, but they looked like what they are – shabby little hucksters who lie an cavil for their paymasters and who represent established power for no other reason than that it is established.

Just to recap, the state can decide had a person is surplus requirements, however wrongly, kill him in broad daylight, in front of others and not face any censure. And people are wondering is that state is able or even willing, to look after our human rights, or our needs and wants. I don’t think it is. I don’t think it even wants to. I think it wants to further legitimise itself and that its sole reason for existence is to endlessly replicate its own power. There is some window-dressing that it needs but, generally, it no more cares about the welfare of its citizens than I can shit rainbows.

This, in turn, promotes some rather sharp thinking about the political system. We can’t make real, lasting change to it. First past the post has been the electoral system forever so it must always be the electoral system. The House of Lords exists and is not elected, so it must always exist and not be elected. We have a monarch, so we must always have a monarch. And so on. Even though we have left the EU, the endlessly supple regime will do what it was going to do anyway and denude us of our rights and do enough in the negotiations to make sure that capitalism, its style, continues to function and continues to benefit them.

My writing this is, in no way, a suggestion that we resist. Against the state, the individual is wholly and completely powerless. We don’t change the system at all. We live, we consume, we die. Of late, I’ve been thinking about totalitarian states. They’re no different from this, albeit a sod of a lot more hard-faced. You might wonder how they can torture people to death, but you might also wonder how they could repeatedly shoot an unarmed Brazilian electrician in the head, or talk up a huge fog of old crap to justify war in Iraq. Having a vote, for all the use that it is, means nothing. We can rubber stamp decisions made for us, but we can’t make decisions ourselves. And that’s how it is supposed to be, in perpetuity.

Radicalisation of a sort took place. I saw the system as it was, but at the same time, I know that it won’t ever change. It’s infinitely more powerful and infinitely more agile than anyone or any group could ever hope to be, so I suppose this is a counsel of either despair or acknowledgment. You win, now and always, and I’m allowed to live because someone, somewhere, hasn’t yet decreed otherwise. Some life. Some freedom.

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