Abu Qatada (and Dickens and Ian Paisley.) All ‘Radicals’ according to the media. If there is evidence that Qatada has broken a real law (not some cowboy martial law left over from 9/11) stick him in the dock and lock him up for as long as it takes to make him a nice man. But don’t persecute him for being a ‘radical’. That is both an abuse of the language, and of millenia of British culture.
I realise that it is also a grand British tradition to persecute every radical from the Tolpuddle Martyrs through the Chartists and the Suffragettes, none of which ruled out violence as a means of change. But that doesn’t make persecuting radicals right. It just means that reactionaries are always afraid.
A society is judged by how it treats its enemies. This should be obvious on the day that Syria butchers its people while Ayatolloh Paisley, Grand Dragon of the Protestant Klan is peacefully dying in his bed, apparently ‘mourned’ by the media for his lifetime of hatemongering and incitement to acts of terrorism.
Abuse of the word ‘radicalisation’ should be pounced on by anyone who values language. ISIS are fanatical psychotics, not radicals. Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft and Aneurin Bevan made all our lives better, they didn’t want to plunge us back into a new dark age. Reactionaries are not radical. And calling ISIS ‘radicals’ is to spit on the legacy of all progress, and help to slow it down by polluting the word – which is what ISIS and all reactionaries want. They want to be thought of as ‘radical’ and progressive, as the C20th fascists and Stalinists did. Pandering to their delusions is complete appeasement.
The reason nice middle class boys from Leatherhead are going crazy and joining ISIS is the same reason nice middle class people are going crazy everywhere. Nice middle class life is poison. A prison from SATS to the Retirement Community.
Why are there so few radicals out there who object to being labelled with this gang of psychos? It is so easy to use the word ‘fanaticised’ instead, and be right, instead of insulting every thinker in history who made our lives better.
This cannot be a mere slip. There is a sense that the nose of progress is being rubbed in the dirt.