, 28 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter

Remembering how British columnists use words like cockroaches and talk of using gunboats on refugees. That language paved the way for the slo-mo national suicide attempt now underway.
I have been thinking how we reach for the trajectory of hate filled rhetoric —> dehumanisation —> violence.

I have done threads about this too. They are meant to be warnings against our worst selves. But also warnings to those vulnerable and rallying, organising cries.
But what of those with diminishing power deploying hateful rhetoric?

Do fading empires dissolve in bitter self-hatred?

Thinking Brexit....yes, it’s far right, hateful, stupid thuggery. But the greatest harm is to UK itself.
This past week marked 25 years of #Rwanda genocide. I did a thread here so won’t repeat but that violence was preceded and accompanied by a build up of dehumanising, hateful rhetoric.

The press bloodied its hands first.
The mass, physical violence was carried out because of active involvement of outside superpowers (France, Britain especially).

+There was a significant percentage of ‘fighting age’ population. Mass killings, especially at close quarters require people able and willing to kill
Yes I know one can kill at far range but ethnic cleansing/genocides of those deemed the enemy within requires violence at close quarters.
And yes even close quarter violence requires some level of state apparatus.

But it still requires a significant mass of fighting age folk.

So here is another question: does the trajectory we started need an age caveat?
No, I got no answers. Just something I have been thining about in the past months.
Tea break
But here is the other thing. We also know that the hateful trajectory to violence can be interrupted, that people can change their minds, that a different kind of rhetoric can create a very different reality.
I jnow the Brits rationalise and even idolise the BBC in all kinds of sweet ways (it IS sweet to watch).

But it’s a state backed, propaganda channel and not all the legalese can change that.

And while BBC has stayed off explicit hatemongering (*waves to tabloids, LBC*).....
BBC has done a LOT to mainstream xenophobic, racism, nativist rhetoric.

Not going to cover that ground again as there is a LOT Of my tweets about it over the past years.
BBC made racism acceptable around the dinner table again.

I saw it happen in real time, in slow motion. And because I had seen the same shitshow elsewhere, I recognised the signs.
And the tabloids as well as most broadsheets ran with the same shit but more crudely. Because that was what the state wanted.

It isn’t just the Tories, or specific policies of hostile environment and austerity. This shit has been cross-party.
But here is the thing. That narrative can be changed.

Racism can be taken off our dinner tables again. Limited on our streets again. And in our workplaces, schools, courts again (not ended. That will take much much more).
That’s why stories matter. that’s why stories from and by folks who are different, on the margins, not from the establishment matter.

And these stories - in our news, films, TV, books, comics, cartoons, music, ALL forms - matter way more than the pro-regime propaganda fed to us
And yes, those stories are harder to find. They don’t have big money, big power support so they are harder to produce, create, circulate.

But they are being made nevertheless. If you want them, you can find them.
I had a convo this past week with someone who said he didn’t know what he could do to ‘stem the tide,’ that he felt powerless.

Then he - older, English, Oxbridge, white, male - asked me how I kept going. What did I do to stay positive, he asked me?
First I laughed a bit. Then I told him I had no choice but to keep at it. But that neither did he. Giving up is not an option for any of us,

And what I do? Anynthing I can.

But most of what I do involved small, unrewarded, unnoticed, daily choices.
I refuse to listen to LBC. Watch BBC. Buy newspapers that demonise me crudely but also the ones that pretend that pretty words make that demonisation, dehumanisation invisible to me (hello FT!).
I get my news from Twitter and have deliberately constructed a feed that is international, and yes, diverse news sources, analyses, viewpoints.

I follow experts here from a host of fields and countries. And that means I get a wider, nuanced, informed view of the world
I have bbcqt on mute btw and never watch that or other shows that are set up to ensure nothing of value is discussed and anything of value is degraded and diminshed.
Even here on twitter, I follow mostly women of colour, queer folk, people from places that many in UK, US, western Europe don’t often think of except as ‘exotic’ holiday destinations or swathes of human misery.

And I spend most of my time listening to them. Learning from them.
And I read a lot. Again mostly people unlike me. But also people who are on the margins in different ways.

And I recommend their work....books, essays, poems, films.

And I but their work. And gift their work.
And I try not to RT the bullshit spouted by ignorant, hateful, powerful men even if to critique it. They don’t need more attention.

Instead, I RT the folk I mentioned above. Experts who aren’t on TV and in newspapers but are here on twitter sharing ideas freely.
But mostly I don’t let myself be complicit with the trajectory of hate filled rhetoric —> dehumanisation —> violence.

Because I know it is not inevitable. That we can stop and change course at every single moment.
And I write (and tweet). Because it all matters! Every last bit.
That’s all. Off to get more tea....
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