Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Prince Harry and his alleged 'racist' remarks

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.

9 comments:

  1. Harry Windsor (a.k.a. Hanover) is apparently finding it hard to ignore his ancestral ties. As Genealogy Wikipedia puts it: "The Stuarts were followed by the House of Hanover, under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701. Members of various cadet and illegitimate branches still survive today. " In more clear terms, the German Hanover branch (changed to Windsor) is a portion of these "illegitimate branches" that still survive as the British Royals .. parasites of the state living on the tax payers' money since decades.

    The unsightful, patchy-skinned Harry is apparently getting nostalgic and secretly appreciating much the trends and thoughts of his German (many of them Nazis) ancestors. Four years earlier, in a fancy dress party, he chose to wear a Nazi outfit with the swastika staring at the face of the world. Now he insults a Pakistani immigrant army colleague who got the Queen's award, calling him a "Paki" and a "raghead."

    Of course, no one gives a crap about what this little bugger says because he's just too insignificant in today's world. But my point is -- now common Brits! this is the 21st century. Britian is not a rich country from Western standards and otherwise too. You guys can't afford to waste your money on lazy parasites eating away on your hard-earned money for spending on their palaces and on vacationing on sandy beaches around the world. The 21st century is not the era for kings, queens, princes and princesses. Boot them out, make them work like all of you are working and elevate your standard of living by saving on your taxes.

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  2. To anonymous:

    I do not allow profanity on this blog under any circumstances; if you post other messages here with profanity included, your messages will be deleted.

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  3. 'our little Paki friend'
    I have no-doubt Bill that your work place observations with regard names are perfectly correct, but all to often it is the majority or those in power who name call with the unfortunate recipient unable to do very much about it other than grin and bear, and accept the cruel daily belittling by his/her betters.
    Nanny state may not be acceptable, but neither is what is in effect adults bullying by applying derogatory names against their chosen victims, singling them out by race or creed.
    True the underclass might have it’s own list of names for those who rule them, but this is kept under wraps and is generally not for public consumption.
    Harry’s comment might have been for his mates, but to dub someone ‘little’ together with ‘Paki’ is hardly showing respect for that person, and sadly is a name that the said person might suffer on a regular basis from his white colleagues. The UK forces are far from squeaky clean when it comes to issues of racism, and one would hope that Harry is not picking up the unfortunate traits of his grandfather!

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  4. I think you're right Bill and I'm glad someone's been brave enough to say it (I wasn't).

    The worst name anyone in this country can be called is, ironically, "racist".

    Fortunately two of my ex-girlfriends have taken their colour in the appropriate way and have had a distinct lack of a chip on their shoulders -- they probably wouldn't have been my girlfriends if they hadn't.

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  5. Hi AyeRight and Gavin

    AyeRight - I'm afraid I believe that there is rather too much 'political correctness' in Britain and it has grown worse in recent years. I can assure you that if I was in any way thin-skinned a few of the names I have been called in recent years (and had scratched in the paintwork of my car) because of my sexuality I might acquiesce in your 'right on' attitude, but as it is my attitude remains what it always was - it is far better to let people say what they think and not drive negative comments underground. As it is, I doubt very much Harry is racist, or that his comrade Ahmed was in any way phased and expect he gives as good as he gets. Anyone who has worked in Hong Kong amongst Cantonese, as i have, knows all about colourful name-calling, usually directed at Gweilos or Gweipos; a friend of mine was a policewoman there and she knew all about that, too - mind oyu she could give as good as she got and in the local language (street Cantonese), which I certainly couldn't.

    Gavin - thanks. The first time I told my secretary in Paris, in very flowery and polite archaic French and with a deadpan expression, that our meeting was over (in a manner of speaking) she was a little nonplussed until she saw the glint of humour in my eyes and then burst out laughing; she and other staff there said some pretty awful things to me, too. I had some great relationships there and in various other countries (e.g. Morocco, Oman, Hong Kong, even in Saudi Arabia with a few selected Saudis and other nationalities there) and part of that working relationship was friendly banter that probably sounded strange to some outsiders; humour is a great lubricant and it's a pity more people don't remember that, so long as you can take as well as give.

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  6. Bill,

    I can only think that you are are very liberal minded if you support people scratching what I assume were derogative remarks about your sexuality into your car, on the basis that this is OK rather than ‘drive negative comments underground’.
    I find such actions totally unacceptable. I may in your eyes be ‘right on’ but left unchallenged the actions of the person or persons who damaged your car might be a scratch (Or more) on someone’s face, or worse.
    It sometimes takes political correctness to control individuals who otherwise are allowed to grow their homophobic views, sad though that may be
    I find it difficult to square your promotional message of ‘say no to hate’ on your blog site whilst you seem to be saying a little is OK?

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  7. Hi AyeRight

    The word was 'poof' and it is ridiculous to suggest I expressed support for freedom to carry out such acts of vandalism. I see absolutely no conflict with my 'slogan' for this blog.

    What I do believe, though, is that if 'freedom of speech' is to mean anything then people must be allowed to say they dislike poofs (gays, queers, etc) or people from different ethnic or religious groupings; such comments should not be driven underground, but should be confronted with reasoned argument, not by trying to drown out their filth. I am not afraid of reasoned argument. There is an old saying which I recall from my childhood:

    "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

    The State should restrict itself to enforcing laws which prevent physical harm against individuals (which includes actual physical harm as well as disriminating against people in terms of employment or the provision of goods or services, as well of course as indulging in slander or libel) because of their racial or religious groupings or their sexuality. As for the last, religious organisations have gained for themselves the right in law to discriminate against people in employment on the grounds of a person's sexuality; obviously this is something I oppose virulently.

    None of this has any bearing on what Harry said to or about a soldier colleague, until and unless that soldier makes an issue of it; that particular soldier was one of the few who seemed to be awake and aware that Harry was wandering around with a video camera; the others mostly seemed to have camouflage jackets over their faces, trying to get some sleep. What really interests me is how the video came into the hands of the News of the World, although I suppose it's possible Harry uploaded it to YouTube or to his Facebook profile, if he has one. In any case, from what I can see, no harm has been done, or to have been perceived to have been done, to any person directly involved in this incident; the same applies to the apparent name used by Harry's father, Charles, of one his own friends who reportedly says he quite likes being known by that name. What IS all the fuss about?

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  8. Bill,
    I don't think our minds will ever come close on this issue.

    'The State should restrict itself to enforcing laws which prevent physical harm against individuals'

    My final comment would be to say that the above statement should include (For me) mental cruelty against individuals, but appreciate that you might see this as an infringement of free speech.

    Regards

    AyeRight

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  9. Hello AyeRight

    Well, you're probably correct about that! ;)

    OK, include mental cruelty, if you like, but so far as I have been able to ascertain there is no evidence that either Ahmed or 'Sooty' estimate they have suffered under that heading. And in my own case, whilst I was 'upset' about the physical damage to my car and angry that I had to visit my garage (Peugeot, at the time) to get it repaired, so of course the person I dealt with there and the mechanics then knew I am gay (if they hadn't already worked it out, for all I know or care), but I have to record that everybody at Arnold Clark dealt with the matter in an exceptionally professional way. I absolutely refuse to become a 'victim' or get into the mindset of thinking I am one. Real damage is one thing, imaginary/imagined damage is quite another; for that kind of thing there are plenty of places of worship in Nairn where people who think that way can go to consult their 'imaginary friends'; me, I prefer a good glass of burgundy.

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