Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

What is a patriot? According to dictionary.com, it’s “a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.” According to The Daily Mail (henceforth known as The Daily Hate) it’s a person who apparently loves and shows devotion for such British institutions like the monarchy, the church and the army.

Well, beat me, guv! I didn’t know I wasn’t a patriot. I don’t hate the Queen, mind you (although I am a fan of the band), but I couldn’t give a toss about ma’am either. I am an atheist, so religion ain’t my cuppa tea either. As for the army, I consider myself a pacifist, although I would go to war to defend a country’s right to self-sovereignty. For instance, if that country were the UK and our democracy were under threat. Same with my country of origin, even though I don’t agree with the Castro government I would die to defend the land where I was born.

So, am I a patriot or not? I have loved and supported the British way of life since I arrived on these shores many years ago. At the same time I believe that no country is above criticism. I might not use a past-its-use-by-date theory like Marxism to express my views, but I do, too, have a social conscience and want a better future for the people who live in Great Britain.

Ralph Milliband: not patriotic enough according to The Daily Hate
Just like the late Ralph Milliband, the father of the current leader of the Labour party, Ed Milliband.

If you live in the UK, you will probably have borne witness this week to the furore caused by The Daily Hate’s decision to smear Ed Milliband’s father with what can only be labelled “distorted views”, otherwise known as “lies”. Under the umbrella of free speech, the paper laid into Ralph Milliband, saying that the late academic "hated Britain" and going as far as to making him look as if he agreed with Stalin’s excesses.

Fortunately for Ed Milliband, most people sided with him. An apology was demanded from The Daily Hate immediately. Both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, showed solidarity with Ed as well. The former actually said that “"if anyone had a go at my father, I would want to respond vigorously".

The problem with The Daily Hate is that it is frozen in a time-warp. A time, perhaps, when there were no single mothers, gays, immigrants and working class people in Britain, or in England, which is how The Daily Hate usually sees the United Kingdom. Immigrants, single mothers and homosexuals are the usual targets of The Daily Hate, amongst many others. The problem with The Daily Hate, to sum up, is that it has not realised, or it hasn’t wanted to realise that Britain has changed beyond recognition. On my arrival here my first impression was how different the country of my lectures in university was from the one on whose soil I was setting foot.

If someone hates the UK, it is not a long-deceased Jewish immigrant. Ralph Milliband's ideas about social and economic justice were drawn from a long-standing tradition of British liberalism. The Chartists, the suffragettes, the miners in the 80s, the Levellers. They all represented Britain somehow. They also represented the promise of a better future for Britain. By contrast The Daily Hate is never short of articles to run about what they see as the poor state in which this country is. If someone hates the UK, it’s The Daily Hate. This is the same newspaper that allied itself to Oswald Mosley’s infamous fascist blackshirts. This is the same newspaper whose owner not only appeased Hitler but also admired him as well as looking up to Mussolini. The Daily Hate does not represent the views of most British people anymore than football hooligans symbolise British football.

That’s why I am doing my bit for this country. This country that is not perfect but which I have grown to love over the years, warts and all. This is the country that gave me the person I have loved for seventeen years and where the two other people I love equally - my children - were born. I may not be British by birth, but I feel as British as I am Cuban. Taking a cue from Mehdi Hassan's outstanding performance on Question Time the other night I will be fighting The Daily Hate where it hurts it more. Sales. Like Mehdi, I think enough is enough. He was right when he said that we needed a “debate about who hates Britain more, it isn't a dead Jewish refugee from Belgium who served in the Royal Navy, it's the immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail." Starting today, every time I walk into a newsagents or news outlet I will take whatever copies they have of The Daily Hate and place them under another newspaper. It could be The Independent, or The Guardian (that’ll probably make Paul Dacre, The Daily Hate’s editor, very, very cross), or The Times or even The Daily Telegraph. I ask you to join me.

This is not just about Ralph Milliband, or Marxism, or a reporter (from The Hate on Sunday) gate-crashing a private memorial service for a relative of Ed Milliband’s and trying to gather yet more information on his father. This is about what I believe Britain, my adopted land, in the 21st century stands for: diversity, acceptance and fairness. Moreover, this is not about readers of The Daily Hate. Obviously, trying to find their paper under any of the other big piles of publications might be a tad bit inconvenient. I apologise beforehand. They could, however, take their complaints to Paul Dacre and Geordie Greig, the editors of The Daily Hate and The Hate on Sunday respectively. I know that in the grand scheme of things my initiative will not unleash a revolution. It's a small act of rebellion. But sometimes we need to stand up to bullies, no matter how small our actions can be. Besides, I am one today, you, reader or fellow blogger, are another. Tomorrow there will be others and before we know it, together, we might have caused a dent in The Daily Hate's sales.This is our Cable Street moment. Let’s smash the fascists, let’s show The Daily Hate what we’re made of.

© 2013

Next Post: “Let’s Talk About...”, to be published on Wednesday 9th October at 11:59pm (GMT)


29 comments:

  1. patriot is a very subjective title...all in who is defining it....some may label those that fight the powers that be the true patriots...and they are often misunderstood and seen more as terrorists.....

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  2. Regardless of what you may be labelled, you love your countries and you want to expose truth. That's a patriot to me. Good luck with your little revolution.

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  3. Not closing ones eyes and believing everything they are spoon fed is more of a patriot to me

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  4. Spot on, brother. Being considered a
    patriot is all about where your heart and intentions are--it's a simple love for the good of your country. Too often we put a select few under the spotlight and forget about the heaps of other true patriots. I can't wait to join you over there in the UK, myself.

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  5. there are newspapers that seem to enjoy making others down or talk a country low.. i'm not really patriotic about my country but i surely would defend what it stands for and is if someone says mean things about it..

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  6. What a brilliant post. Yes, I will join you in your mission to place the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday underneath the other papers.
    And your pointing out what their definition of a patriot is - very perceptive.

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  7. Excellent post! Also brings to mind the US's Edward Snowden - history will show whether he was a traitor to the US or a hero of humankind. In our global village I think we're moving away from old paradigms of patriotism, honour etc. We need to forge new directions which encompass a world so much bigger than individual nations.

    Judy Croome, South Africa or

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  8. A great post!
    I have never understood why newspapers seem to feel the need to destroy people's lives.
    None of these scathing stories are ever quite as they are reported...quotes and facts are cleverly misrepresented etc.

    So grateful I'm not a famous person!!!

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  9. I have been following this story at a distance with some horror!! thanks for your reflections........Greetings from Nice!

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  10. Mis saludos y deseos que tengas un buen principio de semana.

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  11. Many thanks for your kind comments. As it happens, I started my little revolution yesterday when I went to buy my Saturday paper. There were only three or four copies of The Daily Hate left so it wasn't hard to put them under a pile of The Mirror newspapers. Who knows? Maybe I turned some Hate readers into Mirror converts! :-)

    Have a great week.

    Greetings from London.

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  12. Wow. You know, this is not a controversy that I have followed but I lived briefly in the UK years ago--so am familiar with the newspaper and some of the warts--also there are so many comparisons that may be drawn.

    We have so many news outlets that are not actually news media companies but propaganda--it's become kind of terrible. And I do think it is worse on the right. And there is a kind of baiting that goes on here that seems like the 1950's anti-communism. Agh. McCarthy redux. Anyway, this was so interesting--much enjoyed and interesting to see some of your background too, thanks. k.

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  13. We have papers which have strong similarities to your Daily Hate as well. And they are really good at not only hating, but stirring people up to join them.
    Patriotism? If it is the unquestioning kind I think it is dangerous. Loving a country, a place, a person doesn't mean viewing their every action as perfect - or not in my eyes.
    Thanks - another thought provoking post.

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  14. don´t think I´ve heard that song before.

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  15. We have the same thing happening here in the US. The right-wing agenda is horrifying in its depth and breadth. Through their news and newspapers, they spew lies, hate and misinformation.
    What we see happening now --the "reasonable" rationales to cut Social Security and Medicare, the undermining of public education through privatizing -- are the efforts of these same people. If you follow the historical threads, they lead back to extremists of the John Birch Society. Fred Koch, the Koch brothers' father, was one of the founding members), who have funded efforts like this for more than forty years.

    This isn't fantasy. These are well-funded, long-term plans. Most people don't have the time, inclination or stomach to plow through the historical underpinnings of these seemingly spontaneous "movements", but those of us who have are quite wary. The Kochs and their ilk are the ideological descendants of the same dark figures who attempted a corporate coup against Franklin Roosevelt.

    The hate mongers would move us back to the Middle Ages, where women were burned at the stake and Jews massacred at every "Crusade." It looks like the British have awakened to the horrible goals of those hate mongers; I hope that Americans will wake up as well. What they call patriotism, I would call treason against what the democracy is supposed to stand for.

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  16. It appears you are an advocate of guerrilla warfare in a civilized manner, CiL. Good for you.

    I usually have an opinion about everything, but about the internal political and journalistic wars within England, I am completely ignorant and will not venture to enter. Furthermore, this, it seems, is not just a contemporary battle, but one which has a lengthy history and would require some amount of time to study.

    But, perhaps inadvertent to the intent of your post, you also have left me with a question about myself. I am not really sure how I would define what it is to be a "patriot" or if I think of myself as one.

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  17. Que especial todo esto.Cuando vivimos la dictadura de Pinochet los patriotas eran ellos y lo que hacian y los demas si estabamos en contra eramos anti patriotas. Gracias a Dios en el ultimo tiempo eso a cambiado petsonalmente me siento ciudadana del mundo y pir suouesto que amo a mi pais.
    Pero a veces cuando a diario hablo o interactuo con personas de otros paises me doy cuenta que tenemos mas en comun de lo que se cree.

    Gloria

    esto me hace pensar en esa cancion de John Lemon "Imagine all the people..


    Gloria

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  18. En España, la "patria" nos trajo por la calle de la amargura durante 40 años. Ahora a los de mi edad, solamente decir esa palabra nos produce escalofríos.
    A mí me dan envidia los pueblos que tienen el sentimiento patrio normalizado.
    En fin, un tema algo peliagudo.

    Saludos Mario.

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  19. It seems as though some people try to turn patriotism into a bludgeoning club. These pseudo-patriots accuse others of being unpatriotic if they don't view every issue with the same narrow-minded vision as the pseudos do, and then in essence, so-called love of country becomes a wedge of animosity between citizens, rather than a uniting force.

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  20. I agree with Brian - it's most definitely a subjective title. Great post as always. Greetings from Kentucky :)

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  21. The Daily Mail is a nasty paper, its terrifying how many people read it, but thankfully even most Mail readers thought the paper was wrong on this one

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  22. A most thought-provoking post. And changing the topic somewhat, I particularly like the quote in your sidebar: 'We're all born with two languages: our mother tongue and a smile; the latter needs no translation.'

    Greetings from New Zealand.

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  23. You may like this article from this side of the pond.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/opinion/cohen-a-jew-not-quite-english-enough.html?hp

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  24. (That was from me -- Manicddaily--Karin!) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/opinion/cohen-a-jew-not-quite-english-enough.html?hp

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  25. Dairy Hate is sad matter, though it happens in every country.Your post makes me ponder...Thank you. And thank on for visiting on my blog. From Japan

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  26. Fascism knows that it is weaker and inferior to the soul power of people!




    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^=

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  27. PS I meant to thank you for the very 'sweet' comments on my blog!

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  28. What the world needs is more patriots like you. How interesting that you feel as British as you do Cuban. I've never understood how some people can use "patriotism" to bash other citizens and immigrants. I'd like to think that patriotism has to do with love, not hate.

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