Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

The gloves are on

Not content with attacking Sikh temples, the UK's confused London bombing backlash is spreading to another beseiged non-Muslim minority: the Irish. With red-headed, white-skinned, green-eyed Syrian Mustafa Nasar on the run, Catholic Church roof-beams are being 'raised'[sic, presumably], and gingas brutally teased at primary school.

Well. That's as funny as it gets. And it's still not that funny.

That the London bombers were local-born Asian boys is the worst news imaginable for the UK Asian communities. 'It wouldn't make sense' UK Asians were saying earlier, for local fanatics to blow up Asian and Arab-infused Tube-stations in London, or to put the safety of millions of Muslims and Asians in the UK at risk of the blowback that is to come. Those choices would be made by international redheads.

The perceived 'normality' or mainstream characteristics of the two Leeds boys identified will be terrifying for UK Asians, because any Asian identifying with those very 'mainstream' elements of secular dress, a British accent, and love of cricket, all now fall within the qualifying criteria for being a terrorist. Maybe some things protected you before; they won't now.

The first anti-Muslim retaliation murder has already occurred in Nottingham.

With suicide-bombings, you only have a broad idea of who or where the victims will be - the unpredictability is part of the terror. For the 'payback' you do know, right down to the neighbourhood, even the shop, even the house. The predictability of it is another, special kind, of terror.

There's something new though, in the post-terrorism security planning and noise-making of the UK authorities. Two wars into the new world order, they seem to know now that backlash hate crimes are the inextricable other half of terrorist attacks, meaning that protection of those scapegoated communities has to be on the same footing, and have the same value, as the terrorism investigation itself. That's what it seems like - I hope the words fit the deeds.

As for Auckland, the rally date has been called by the New Zealand Council for Christians and Muslims, and heeded by the secular liberals. My friends who passed the message on to me from Bruce Keeley are, I believe, rather secular Lebanese-Christians, and are well aware that I am a heathen. So those of any or no faith, mark Sunday 24th in the book, or The Book.

Dear friends,

Plans are underway for a rally in Aotea Square, Queen Street on Sunday 24 July @ 2.30pm where Christian and Muslim people can publicly demonstrate their solidarity in the wake of events in London and the mosque attacks in Auckland.

It may be that marches from the Ponsonby Mosque & various city churches will converge on the Square for 2.30.

Please could you take responsibility for alerting your denominational and/or ecumenical networks about this.
Additional details will be publicised as they evolve.

Yours in peace,

Bruce Keeley (for the NZ Council of Christians and Muslims)

Another eye-catcher in the paper today was my friend Kah Bee Chow whose new joint show Chow Browne is showing at Anna Miles Gallery. It reminded me of the uncomfortable love affair people have with their countries that I mentioned towards the end of the last post, after too much thinking and talking about nationalism and unease.

One of Kah Bee's works currently at Anna Miles is a book that I made an insultingly low offer on (I may have made up for this insult by taking her to Kung Fu Hustle) filled with the mythology of the marriage of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, with, as the Herald says:

a sandpaper cover, a reference to Memoires by situationist Guy Debord, which was bound that way so it would destroy other books it came in contact with.

You hold and leaf through this book wearing white gloves - the sandpaper reaches through the gloves and pricks your skin, snagging the cloth and sticking your hands to the cover - so you can't let it go. So you don't let it go. Unless you can't afford it.