Thursday, 24 September 2009

Watch Out For These Subtle But Nasty EMails

Have you had one of these chain emails? I've had two very similar ones that I've taken to replying to all the people in the chain. First here's the e-mail:

Hi Everyone. This e-mail was sent to me by Jeans auntie Mary, as well as the caption below. But it really is true!!


An incident occurred in an English supermarket recently, when the followingwas witnessed:A Muslim woman dressed in a Burkha (A black gown & face mask) was standingwith her shopping in a queue at the checkout .When it was her turn to be served, and as she reached the cashier, she made a loud remark about the English Flag lapel pin, which the female cashier was wearing on her blouse

.The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, "Yes, I always wear it proudly. My son serves abroad with the forces and I wear it for him".

The Muslim woman then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombingand killing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.At that point, a Gentleman standing in the queue stepped forward, andinterrupted with a calm and gentle voice, and said to the Iraqi woman:"Excuse me, but hundreds of thousands of men and women, just like this lady' son have fought and sacrificed their lives so that people just like YOU can stand here, in England , which is MY country and allow you to blatantly accuse an innocent check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen.It is my belief that if you were allowed to be as outspoken as that in Iraq ,which you claim to be YOUR country, then we wouldn't need to be fighting there today... However - now that you have learned how to speak out and criticise the English people who have afforded you the protection of MY country, I will gladly pay the cost of a ticket to help you pay your way back to Iraq .When you get there, and if you manage to survive for being as outspoken as what you are here in England , then you should be able to help straighten outthe mess which YOUR Iraqi countrymen have got you into in the first place,which appears to be the reason that you have come to MY country to avoid."Apparently the queue cheered and applauded

.IF YOU AGREE... Pass this on to all of your proud friends..I just did...............!!!

Here is my reply:

Sorry if you think I've spammed you with this reply, but..

For ages I couldn't work out what bothered me about this account of an Englishman's defence of liberty and support for our boys in the Force .

It is the second similar email I've had where a fair minded Englishman has the opportunity to defend, in reasonable tones, our reasonable English nature against outspoken Islamic fundamentalist.

The tone, style and vocabulary in each are very similar, and each has the same earnest common sense appeal to reason - after all who wouldn't defend the right of a mother to support their sons out there risking their lives?

But then I spotted subtle way in which my attention was being directed. For example we are encouraged to consider the potential loss of the soldiers' lives - rightly abhorrent - and to view the Iraqi woman's stance as ingratitude.

What we are not encouraged to consider is the -Iraqi woman's story - the possible losses or experiences, for example, that may have brought her to this point.

Worse though is the way the author pits two visible symbols - the cross of St George and the woman's traditional dress - against each other, forcing us to view one in the context of moderate patriotism and the other as strident radicalism.

This is not the casual account of supermarket conversation, but a well crafted attempt to influence the reader.

Don't let this increasingly common tactic slip beneath your intellectual radar. Give these things a thorough assessment before endorsing them and propagating them

Posted via email from stevencroft's posterous


misterwoppit said...

I was listening to a phone in on BBC London where a caller made much the same observation, although this was related not to chain emails, but to the general imbalanced jingoistic guff printed certain smallsheet national dailies. A good post Crofty.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Mmmm... this is awkward territory to explore - rather like quicksand. Alert to the views of ordinary working people with deep roots in this remarkable country, I know there is a very powerful mainly unspoken view that Britain has been too accommodating, too nervous about defining boundaries, too self-effacing. Amongst the intelligentsia there is a reluctance to say anything that might be construed as vaguely racist. Too much tiptoeing through the tulips, too many sealed lips. It isn't healthy.

Crofty said...

Mr W - thanks for endorsement

YP - I agree that too much tulip tiptoeing by the anguished hand wringing Political/political types has reduced the opportunity among ordinary folk for open and honest dialogue, which if it happened would have gone some way to stopping the sort of cynical influencing in these e-mails being so successful.

It's about time we worried less about political correctness and got on more with having brave conversations in our communities and in our workplaces.

Don't get me going...!