In the middle of Fortnum and Masons we decide to debate Islamic terrorism. In the heat of the discussion, a close relative said, yes it was good and right to kill Muslims, implying there was no such thing as an innocent Muslim, and that in this world it is either us or them.

My own responses to what seems to me to be irrational generalisations built on paranoia and hate, was to ask for some compassion, some humanity when, afterall, our own people, his direct ancestors, were killed for similar reasons by a different group of people. We have direct experience of the bloody and unjust outcome of hatred. Then the discussion turned to the idea that Muslim people want to come over here and change the way we live. More evidence of it being us or them. They will take over the world (cite historical example).

I never realised that people believe the Bush/Blair line. I knew our presidents are stepping up the propaganda which will send us all into war - it is easy to make people hate - but I am surprised at the level it has risen to, that 'the only good Muslim is a dead one'. I remember seeing a show on tv about how atrocities are committed and that one of the 4 steps is to convince people that another group is less than human, has inherently less value, and is therefore easy to dispose of.
Auden wrote in 1939 and Louis MacNeice, a year more significant than they could have known. I hope my diary is not part of the prelude to a tragedy - tragedy, because it's foreseeable - a disaster of yet more inhumane crimes against man.

After our debate had calmed down, the waitress came over with the bill for our coffees. She added under ther breath that the problem with London was all the foreigners. "Not your kind," she reassured us, "But those others."

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