I am Not a Terrorist…
… and if I was, I sure wouldn’t wear a t-shirt with the fact emblazoned across my chest.
That’s pretty obvious right? Well apparently not to the security team at Heathrow airport, who made Johannes take off and turn inside out his ‘I am NOT a Terrorist’ t-shirt. Why? Well apparently if the general public were to see the word ‘terrorist’ it would cause panic and distress, erm not that he was causing any panic or distress. Well perhaps not until people had to see a young man being dragged off by police. Since Britain’s official stance on fighting terrorism is not to give into demands, not to let it take control of our lives, these actions seem very strange. Words alone have no power, it is only us who can give that to them (think ‘Voldemort’ in Harry Potter). Therefore creating a fear of the word ‘terrorist’ no matter what context it is used in, is in itself a form of terrorism. Sigh. The entire debacle reads like a page from the George Orwell novel 1984, where all the citizens are made to be suspicious of each other, nobody can be trusted. Is that the kind of society the government are trying to breed. So untrusting in each other they must solely rely on those in power, like suckling babes.
Johannes says he always found the wording of the t-shirt a bit passive, I have always felt it should read ‘I am not a terrorist, please don’t shoot me’ especially in the wake of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. A case if ever, as an example of the panic caused by terrorism, so desperate to ‘catch a bad guy’ than an innocent man was brutally murdered by the very people who were meant to protect him.
Can fashion be illegal?
I am reminded of the recent case of Barry Thew, a man who was jailed for wearing a t-shirt with an offensive slogan under the ‘Section 4a public order offense – displaying writing or other visible representation with intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress‘. Wearing a hand written t-shirt seemingly reveling in the death of a police officer on the day PC’s Bone and Hughes were purposefully shot dead. Thew was arrested after reports were made of him causing upset in the town centre where he was seen wearing the t-shirt. Crass? yes; an antisocial thing to do? probably, but a jail-able offense? I can’t help but feel that they could have just asked him to leave the town centre. I 100% do not agree with what he did or what he said, but I can’t help but feel he still had the right to say it. Whatever happened to freedom of speech. Groups of people burning poppies, those holding graphic posters outside abortion clinics, surely they are guilty of the same offense as Thew, yet are left to carry on their protests.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers, I think our police force do a very hard job, very well. But there are certain cases where I think we, as a community, need to question what we are being fed. The recent allegations surrounding the Stephen Lawrence case are yet another example. The rules we structure our society around should be in place for the well being of everyone, not there for those in power to twist and distort so they can be used to control the masses.