Remember this image? Two years ago members of the far-right English Defense League took to the streets of Birmingham to express their various forms of displaced rage. At one stage about 20 of them surrounded a woman in a hijab. That was when Saffiyah Khan stepped in. The city’s local MP summed it up rather gloriously: “Who looks like they have power here – the real Brummy on the left or the EDL who migrated for the day to our city and failed to assimilate?”
An equally iconic image is that of Danuta Danielsson taking a swipe at a young member of the Nordic Reich Party in 1985. Danielsson was a Polish-Jewish immigrant whose mother had been interned in a concentration camp during World War II. The look on her face says it all. She’s no thug, not by any stretch of the imagination, but she’s so enraged by these creeps that she just can’t help herself. The Swedes loved this image so much they declared 13th April ‘Danuta Day’ and the Photographic Historical Society declared this ‘Picture of the Century’.
The people of Aotearoa/NZ responded in many different ways to the attacks at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre. There were huge public gatherings with thousands wearing headscarves in solidarity; haka all over the country; floral tributes; gang members providing security during prayers; sports events and concerts cancelled; interfaith worship at mosques; website take-downs; investigative reports; law changes; and millions of dollars collected for the victims’ whānau. A Royal Commission is now under way. This is our offering. May it serve.
Sooner or later most of us will move on. Before we do, let’s ask ourselves one crucial question: What can we do to make sure this never happens again? We want everybody to feel safe and welcome in this country. So – what can we do to identify, monitor and help those whose minds are stuck in feedback loops of anger and hatred? One of Paparoa’s main goals is to identify members of the far right. Supporters have sent us swathes of files and photographs, and the more we have the more we are given. But that’s only half the job. We also need to reduce the risk these people pose. Please contact us if you are able to help in this work, or if you want to hand in your swastika. All discussions will be private and confidential – that’s a promise.
Thinking together out loud
- Paul Spoonley: Returning to the front lines December 5, 2019
- Little white liars November 15, 2019
- Byron Clark: Not so quiet on the Western Front November 8, 2019
- Philip Arps: White ISIS & the freedom of hate speech August 31, 2019
- Islam versus terrorism August 11, 2019
- Lauren Southern ‘retires’ as scandals emerge August 9, 2019
- NZ hate crime reports 2004-2012 July 7, 2019
- Solidarity versus despair June 14, 2019
- Martin Doutré: Faeries, fallacies and fascists May 26, 2019
- ‘The Great Replacement’ theory: batshit on stilts May 12, 2019