The reason given by countries like the US and the UK for being a foreign presence in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan is fighting for the right to free speech, freedom of expression – battling those who would deny these rights to their people. Maybe newsreader Charlene White would do well to move to one of these more ‘unenlightened’ countries to carry out her job in that case.
In case you missed the story – Charlene appeared poppy-less when she read the news on ITV London because she didn’t want to be seen publicly giving one charity precedence over another. Brave woman – for in recent years the wearing of a poppy by anyone appearing on British TV has gone from cajoling fashion accessory to an all-prevailing polit-bureau-type dictat that people ignore at their peril! For many years Channel 4’s Jon Snow has invited disapproval by ignoring the ‘ruling’ but it seems that a special kind of vitriol has been reserved for a black woman who – shock, horror! – has shown that she is a thinking, reasoning being and not a media robot. And as you can probably guess the criticism had a nasty racist and sexist tone to it.
It’s strange, but a totally unscientific study – i.e. looking at ‘ordinary’ people in the street, at work and those that slipped through the net on TV – showed not that many wearing poppies. Could it be the ‘ordinary’ person in the street has more reasoning power that they’re given credit for? Maybe they feel that with people from the last world war now slipping away wearing a poppy shows support for conflicts that are confused and complicated at best and illegal and wrong-headed at worst. And maybe – possibly – they feel they can show fitting support for those who died for freedom of expression by refusing to be dictated to or bullied.
So to all those people who thought it their duty to reprimand Ms White using her gender and her race as starting points for their insults – I hope you weren’t hypocritical enough to show support for another young woman of colour attacked for self determination – Malala Yousafzai. I also hope that both women continue to challenge racist, sexist, dictatorial neanderthals whether it be in Afghanistan, Pakistan or the UK!