The biggest challenge is keeping focus. We are living in a time governed not so much by “debates” and “polarisation” as the outright denial of fact. Large parts of society are not so much “divided” as tearing themselves free from reality. The hardest thing is how to address that.
I have been thinking about this article a lot recently. It was praised for its nuance and balance but it omitted the huge issue for many around the race report - the report’s deliberate distortion of sources, often to the horror of those who were claimed as contributors.
This is something I see constantly in British political discourse: the avoidance of huge and horrifying realities in the search for reassuring nuance. But a Government that lies to the electorate in the vast majority of its Facebook ads doesn’t want nuance. It wants domination.
That narrative of “black lives matter is racist against white people” has really taken such deep roots in the UK. Just a few months from a video of a black person getting choked to death by a police officer, and now you’re “woke” just for caring about that.
When people say “stop being so woke”, they sometimes mean “stop being so self-righteous”. *Most* of the time, though, they mean “stop having integrity”: because they don’t have integrity and they’re too cowardly to get it, so they have to market their own failures as bravery.
The world would get a lot better a lot faster if people stopped using the word “woke” as a defence mechanism and simply admitted “I’m simply too exhausted and terrified to care about anything other than the basic needs of me and my immediate social circle”.
I worry that the debate culture in which so many journalists were raised - where a smart line or argument demolishes the opposition’s case - has made them uniquely vulnerable to this political moment. You can’t beat these people in debate. The platform itself is their victory.
When it comes to anti-democratic actors, sunlight is rarely if ever disinfectant. Sunlight is what they crave. Debate didn’t reduce the effectiveness of online extremists. Removing their platforms did. But of course the biggest profits come from politics as spectacle.
"[Trump] cares about three things: money, power, and immunity from prosecution. If you threaten any of those things, you have leverage. But people would rather talk about how he wrote "covfefe" in a tweet." the.ink/p/sarah-kendzi…
They kept insisting [Trump] was making errors, and that's why he let the virus spread. I saw the situation and said...he wants to kill people and make money off the crisis. He is absolutely willing to let Americans die; he gets off on it. And I was right. the.ink/p/sarah-kendzi…
1/ Every so often, I re-read this harrowing yet inspiring interview with Benjamin Ferencz, the last living prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials. He is someone who looked at the very worst that human beings could do and still found a way to push forward.
2/ The biggest challenge for anyone trying to do anything progressive in response to the current social, political and ecological moment is keeping focus. The most helpful thing for me has been to re-read the stories of people who had to engage with huge challenges years ago.
3/ This interview is incredible and it contains the best lines about fending off apathy and cynicism that I may ever read.
"People get discouraged. They should remember, from me, it takes courage not to be discouraged."
We need the courage not to be discouraged, always.
1/ Quick thread. It’s #BiVisibilityDay, and so I thought I would mention what I call my “iceberg theory of bisexuality”: which is that for every openly bisexual person in your friends’ circle or workplace, there are likely a few others just below the surface.
2/ There’s still a lot of ignorance about bisexual people - I received a weapons-grade dose of it just the other week - so that’s why I am open about it. (I hope that the relevant individual, should they read this, is utterly ashamed of themselves.)
3/ Now and then I get messages from bisexual people, mostly men, who say that it’s helpful that I talk about this subject, so that’s mostly why I do it. We’ve got a lot of serious challenges facing this world so people should really be too busy to be ignorant, yet here we are.
My timeline is particularly unhappy about politics tonight, so here is a Spotify playlist that I made specifically to raise spirits on such occasions. Nothing worse than an evening spent feeling helpless and miserable. open.spotify.com/playlist/16gBs…
The thing I love most about that Paul Rudd dancing video is that these are ridiculous dances that pretty much all of us have done in private at some point, but he has done them all in public, in front of millions of people. Repeatedly. What an absolute hero.
“I have studied and worked to prevent genocide for forty years. Genocide Watch and the Alliance Against Genocide, the first international anti-genocide coalition, see such hate-filled conspiracy theories as early warning signs of deadly genocidal violence.”
“QAnon true believers think Donald Trump will rescue America from this Satanic cabal. At the time of “The Storm,” supporters of the cabal will be rounded up and executed... Over a dozen Republicans running for Congress have signaled support for the QAnon movement.”
1/ What she has done here is an extreme example of something worryingly common. This is such a terrible betrayal of trust. It is - from very grim experience - very specific to the behaviour of a certain type of white woman in black spaces. It is a colonial level of entitlement.
2/ I don't make the above claim lightly. Krug has ridden on the back of sisterhood and blackness for many years, and goodness knows how many confidences she has falsely acquired in that time. Now watch as her pain is prioritised over that of the many people she has hurt.
3/ Krug wandered into a world that was not her own and cherry-picked her friends and jobs at leisure. She must have felt like a celebrity. Sadly, she is not alone in that. Access to blackness - to black womanhood - is intoxicating for people like her.
Barcelona-Atleti is getting tasty. Atleti sitting in their own final third like it’s Helm’s Deep.
3-0 Wolfsburg. Engen again, this game’s done. One of the most interesting things about this game is that Alex Popp, who has played long periods of her career as a 9 and as a left back, is running things from defensive midfield.
1) We are now asking whether it was someone's personal responsibility for drowning at sea. That is how subhuman refugees are to many people in the UK. Too many people talk about refugees, not enough people talk to them. They are mere objects, to be debated and then discarded.
2) It shouldn't matter, but it seems that some people - some newscasters - still need to understand just how much desperation it takes to put yourself in a boat to escape to a country where you will be safe. If they did they wouldn't come out with cruel questions like that.
3) My worry was once that refugees like my own family would come to the UK, quietly get on with it, not tell their stories, and not telling their stories would allow others to sanitise the refugee experience. But then I realised: your stories don't matter if you're not human.
I don’t have the right words for how hyped or excited about this news: @RoughTradeBooks will be publishing “In The End, It Was All About Love”, my book about Berlin. Love, grief, memory, sexuality and more. More details below; if of interest, please share. instagram.com/p/CDyWmTjhsCj/…
(Re: the above tweet: for anyone who has read "The Ungrateful Country", my essay in #TheGoodImmigrant, my book about #Berlin begins immediately after the end of that essay, and takes all of those themes forward.)
A very quick story. Many months ago, long before @RoughTradeBooks read “In The End, It Was All About Love” and offered me a book deal, I posted its opening chapter on Instagram. Nathan Thornburgh of @RoadsKingdoms enjoyed it so much that he asked for the whole manuscript; and -
The sheer number of black people who can tell you stories of times they were stopped by police for no reason other than to take them down a peg or two. Personally: at a cash point, at a bus stop, at a set of traffic lights. Let people “debate” with their own sense of denial.
If these people care so much about the “mistakes” caused by a well-meaning but misguided bureaucracy they would be throwing their energy behind Windrush compensation. They aren’t. They’re too busy gaslighting anguished black people on Twitter.
Several of the same people saying the UK is one of the least racist nations in Europe are very busy making alliances with some of the nastiest parties and budding autocracies in Europe. It’s almost as if the anti-racism efforts are taking place despite them.
Genocide is a continuous act. It begins with mass murder of a people and it continues with the ongoing denial of that mass murder. The suppression of this historical fact is not a new crime but its logical end. That is why what is happening in Srebrenica today is so dangerous.
The UN defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such". So maybe we shouldn’t talk of “genocide denial”, but regard the denial of historical fact as part of the genocide itself.