When our troops came under verbal attack from some radical anti-war protesters in Luton recently, they maintained their professionalism and dignity in the face of the insults and taunts of the protesters. Some who had come to the parade to pay tribute to the troops were, somewhat understandably, undignified in their response but the police managed to maintain some form of order. That day served as a reminder of the professionalism of our armed forces and police, and our protection of the rights of free speech for all (something we need to see more of admittedly!) no matter how repugnant that speech is.
Alas, some organisation named "March For England" organised a peaceful protest that got out of hand over the weekend in Luton, with slogans such as "No Sharia Law in the UK" and "Respect our Troops". Whilst I very much agree with the sentiments, I somewhat think the organisers missed out on one major thing: this sort of protest is bound to draw in the wrong elements and in so doing bring dishonour upon the troops whom they claim to be defending.
And some of the protesters this time certainly sound like lovely representatives for the cause of respecting our troops:
"Groups of young men in balaclavas and England shirts chanted outside the city centre and one balacava-clad protester held a Rottweiler on a chain, while others clashed with police in riot gear. One Asian man was hit across the face with a banner and left with a bloody nose."
Mmm... English nationalism at it's best. These people should be roundly condemned for allowing this sort of a mess to be carried out in the name of respecting our troops! It is a hideous insult to their courage and reserve.
Our British soldiers deserve a better tribute than this rabble of "English" people.
If we are to stand up for the rights of our decent citizens and our honourable troops then we must do so peacefully, decently and with integrity. If we are to defend our way of life from sharia law, and religious stupidity, we must do so through the proper channels (the law, our Government and the way our society works). We must integrate our communities and not allow differences which sow terror and violence among our population.
Riots, racist attacks and disorder serve only to bring our country into disrepute, and stoke tensions in areas that need few reasons for outbreaks of violence. We must engage with our minority communities and bring them into our society and not show them reasons to avoid integration such as has been done here.
How can we imagine that by showing our way of life to be full of hate and violence we are going to encourage the young minority community member to engage with mainstream society? I'm not a Christian but surely reaching out with love (not tolerance, we don't wish to tolerate people, we need to embrace them as our neighbours!) is far better than doing so with hate.
We might achieve a little more.
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