Frankly I do despair sometimes of the tinpot little dictators who form part of the fourth estate in Britain! It is really hilarious when this deplorable rag, owned by a company whose founder is an unashamed republican (nothing wrong with that per se, but both he and his 'organs' do, notoriously, have 'agendas'), tries to come over as 'outraged of Wapping'! Let's face it, this concocted story has little to do with real moral outrage and much to do with getting media coverage and, more importantly, a way of supporting sales of this newspaper. End of ...
Naturally the BBC (and undoubtedly other media outlets) have had great fun with this story, too. They have to find something, anything, to fill their 24-hour news service, after all! And news about the Royal Family, particularly where they have allegedly made a gaffe of some kind, always makes good copy.
In this particular instance the only matter of relevance, in my opinion, is whether Harry's army colleague, Ahmed, was offended by being referred to as 'our little Paki friend'. If he was offended, then Harry needed to make his apology. If he wasn't then this whole story is just media froth. As for Ahmed's relative, shown in this video (scroll down to embedded video of gent wearing sunglasses) his comments seem completely contrived (prompted by the interviewer, it almost seems), when he suggests that cadets shouldn't have nicknames for each other, but should show 'more respect' for each other. What planet is this man living on? I have more to say on that particular subject (nicknames, not planets - lol!) - read on.
Coming back to that News of the World story and the video it publishes: if you watch to the end of the video you will see that the final part includes an off-screen soldier asking of Harry, in a jocular tone, "are your pubes ginger, too?" - Harry seems not to hear clearly what he has been asked (or makes out that he has not understood, at any rate) so the soldier repeats his question, to which Harry responds 'Yes, they are'. His head hair is 'ginger', so it is natural that his genital hair may be ginger, too - and I'm surprised his soldier-colleagues haven't already seen these in the showers, anyway. In other words, these are soldiers (just like any other young men) 'taking the mick' out of each other. That's really all that needs to be said, but you know (probably despairingly - lol) that I have a great deal more to say on the subject, from my own personal experience!
- From Morocco (Casablanca), the colleague who was known as 'le Noir' ('the Black') to everyone in the office. The young man in question was a VERY good-looking person (think Denzel Washington, or Adrian Lester) who was VERY black, presumably because (as my Morcoccan secretary explained to me when I had queried her about his nickname when I first heard it, soon after I arrived in Casablanca) he descended from sub-Saharan slaves. He was well-liked by everyone in the office and had a great sense of humour himself. He was a very witty and amusing young man. He referred to himself as 'le Noir', too.
- from Oman (Muscat). I had heard often reference to a person known as 'Mr White' - he was head of a central branch department which controlled stationery and various other administrative matters. He had the reputation of being a bit of a 'martinet', as people who are in control of their own little 'empires' often are, particularly when far-flung branches (there were about 30 throughout the country at the time) needed something from him, although on the very rare occasions when I had occasion to become involved personally with my own branch's dealings with him, he was always very polite to me, if still 'officious' (basically I was the 'British management officer', even if quite a young and junior one at the time) - I assumed that he was a long-serving Christian Indian member of staff who was good at his job (which he was). It was MONTHS later when I met him at a bank function (a cocktail party) and realised he was a 'coal black' Omani whose real name was of course Mohamed (Peace be Upon Him) something or other. My ignorance, quite frankly, was perfectly understandable because whenever he picked up the telephone he always responded "Mr White here". When I eventually met him in person it was quite clear he was a sardonic individual who rather enjoyed the joke of his nickname and had adopted it himself; bizarrely, and apparently at his own request, he was referred to as 'Mr White' in the internal telephone directory.
- from Hong Kong. In one of my jobs there (whilst seconded to another bank by my own bank, at the request of the Hong Kong government) I was in charge of quite a large part of that bank, a small part of which was the foreign exchange dealing department. The head of that department was a very clever young Chinese man who, naturally enough (he was a foreign exchange dealer), had a very quick brain and a good sense of humour - he was also VERY good at his job. After a while we became quite friendly and he happened to mention that his wife (also Hong Kong Chinese) was a Catholic, whereas he was a Buddhist. I came to realise, however, that he really had no understanding of what being a 'Catholic' is, or of what being a 'Christian' is, because he was quite unable to understand that being a 'Catholic' meant that his wife was also 'Christian'; the first time he ever mentioned his wife to me he told me that she was a 'Catholic' and he wondered whether I was, too, or whether I was a 'Christian'. I said that I was not really a Christian, although that like most Europeans I had been brought up in a nominally 'Christian' home, but I was a little nonplussed by his question so I said that being a 'Catholic' meant that his wife was also a 'Christian', but that being a 'Christian' did not necessarily imply that a person was a 'Catholic'. I was never able, over several months, to convince him about this; it remained a complete mystery to him, despite the fact that he was a highly-educated, highly-qualified and very intelligent man. He used to ask me about the subject regularly, because he simply could not comprehend what I was telling him - I would never have referred to the subject again unasked, because my personal interest in the Christian religion is almost nil - if I have any religious leanings at all, they are toward Zen Buddhism.
Personally I have never referred to anyone as a 'Paki' or a 'raghead', although I have heard these terms used often, sometimes negatively, sometimes with affection. I've also heard others refer to me by various terms (relating to my sexuality or my nationality) - sometimes in a negative way, at other times neutrally or with affection. Like most Gweilos in Hong Kong I believe I had a rather 'colourful' nickname amongst the Chinese (Cantonese) staff I knew and I have a framed photograph of a rather amusing cartoon which includes an image of me and which illustrates very succinctly what that nickname was, in pride of place in my entrance hall; it's part of who I am, 'warts and all' and I am certainly not offended by what it implies, simply grateful for remembrance of good friends. In these matters context is all - I tend to believe that the context in which Harry has used the terms 'Paki' and 'raghead' do not reflect badly on him at all and this media storm is just another ridiculous 'storm in a teacup' over nothing or very little. The fact that I have wasted so much time discussing this matter in so much detail is a reflection, unfortunately, of just how ridiculous our country has become, specially when the current economic situation means there are much more important things to worry about. One almost wonders whether this whole story has been concocted by the government-supporting left-wing media to try and distract the populace from things which the government would prefer people not to dwell upon too closely, such as how our government has completely messed-up the economy and left this and future generations with enormous debts and the likelihood of higher tax levels to try and pay for the present government's economic mismanangement.