@rustyrockets on #Woolwich

Superb piece of writing from Russell Brand on his blog reflecting on his own response to the killing of Drummer Lee Digby in Woolwich, social media and how to respond to it. Set aside whatever preconceptions you might have based on Brand’s comedy or acting or writings and give it a proper read. Brand walks through his own response on Twitter, the reaction to it, and his need to return to it in a more meaningful way in the blog. He evidences an emotional intelligence and degree of humanity that many will find hard to reconcile with the Russell Brand they know from the media.

What adds depth to it is that Brand simultaneously (and subconsciously) challenges you to rethink your perception of him in the process of having to rethink your own attitudes towards events like Woolwich.

Here are a couple of extracts to whet your appetite.

This is the most tricky bit to understand. What I think is that all over our country, all over our planet there are huge numbers of people who feel alienated and sometimes victimised by the privileged and the powerful, whether that’s rich people, powerful corporations or occupying nations. They feel that their interests are not being represented and, in many cases, know that their friends and families are being murdered by foreign soldiers. I suppose people like that may look to their indigenous theology for validation and to sanctify their, to some degree understandable, feelings of rage.

…and another sample…

The establishment too is relatively happy when different groups of desperate people point the finger at each other because it prevents blame being correctly directed at them. Whenever we are looking for the solution to a problem we must identify who has power. By power I mean influence and money. The answer is not for us to move further from one another, crouched in opposing fortresses constructed from vindictive words.

That’s just two short extracts, there is lots more in there worth taking the time to read and reflect on.

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  • Morpheus

    “To truly demonstrate defiance in the face of this sad violence, we must be loving and compassionate to one another. Let’s look beyond our superficial and fleeting differences. The murderers want angry patriots to desecrate mosques and perpetuate violence. How futile their actions seem if we instead leave flowers at each other’s places of worship. Let’s reach out in the spirit of love and humanity and connect to one another, perhaps we will then see what is really behind this conflict, this division, this hatred and make that our focus.”

  • Morpheus

    Ooops, ent that too early – I meant to finish with ‘Beautiful piece of writing, well done RB’

  • iluvni

    ………as I arrived in Los Angeles.

  • GavBelfast

    The trouble with Islam is that most aspects of it are inherently intolerant and illiberal – which must, or should, cause particular angst to fashionable liberals like Brand.

    But, apparently and almost uniquely, it does not.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    Probably all religions should. Its not even fashionable for Ian Paisley to be too homophobic any more, let alone Russell Brand!

    If you only face one aspect that you have a problem with, you’ll find it staring right back at you.

  • MrPMartin

    This is a very insightful analysis of why liberalism turns a blind eye to the illiberal ways off the non Judeo Christian world

    Link is here but the main thrust is pasted below:

    “”So what is it about liberalism that makes it so difficult for it to take a clear, critical look at Islam, even while liberals have no problem excoriating Christians for every imaginable historical evil?

    I believe I can give at least a partial answer, if we take a big step back from the present scene and view the history of Western liberalism on a larger scale.

    Liberalism is an essentially secular movement that began within Christian culture. (In Worshipping the State, I trace it all the way back to Machiavelli in the early 1500s.) Note the two italicized aspects: secular and within.

    As secular, liberalism understood itself as embracing this world as the highest good, advocating a self-conscious return to ancient pagan this-worldliness. But this embrace took place within a Christianized culture. Consequently liberalism tended to define itself directly against that which it was (in its own particular historical context) rejecting.

    Modern liberalism thereby developed with a deep antagonism toward Christianity, rather than religion in general. It was culturally powerful Christianity that stood in the way of liberal secular progress in the West—not Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Druidism, etc.

    And so, radical Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire rallied his fellow secular soldiers with what would become the battle cry of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment: écrasez l’infâme, “destroy the infamous thing.” It was a cry directed, not against religion in general, but (as historian Peter Gay rightly notes) “against Christianity itself, against Christian dogma in all its forms, Christian institutions, Christian ethics, and the Christian view of man.”

    Liberals therefore tended to approve of anything but Christianity. Deism was fine, or even pantheism. The eminent liberal Rousseau praised Islam and declared Christianity incompatible with good government. Hinduism and Buddhism were exotic and tantalizing among the edge-cutting intelligentsia of the 19th century. Christianity, by contrast, was the religion against which actual liberal progress had to be made.

    So, other religions were whitewashed even while Christianity was continually tarred. The tarring was part of the liberal strategy aimed at unseating Christianity from its privileged cultural-legal-moral position in the West. The whitewashing of other religions was part of the strategy too, since elevating them helped deflate the privileged status of Christianity.

    And so, for liberalism, nothing could be as bad as Christianity. If something goes wrong, blame Christianity first and all of Western culture that is based upon it.

    This view remains integral to liberalism today, and it affects how liberals treat Islam.

    That’s why liberals are disposed to interpret the Crusades as the result of Christian aggression, rather than, as it actually was, a response to Islamic aggression. That’s why Christian organizations are regularly maltreated on our liberal college campuses while Islamic student organizations and needs are graciously met. And the liberal media—ever wonder why you didn’t hear last February of the imam of the Arlington, VA mosque calling for Muslims to wage war against the enemies of Allah? Nor should we wonder why, for liberals, contemporary jihadist movements in Islam must be seen as justified reactions to Western policies—chickens coming home to roost. Or when a bomb goes off, that’s why a liberal must hope that it was perpetrated by some fundamentalist patriotic Christian group.

    What liberals do not want to do is take a deep, critical look at Islam. To do so just might question some of their most basic assumptions.

  • tacapall

    Nostradamus wouldn’t get a look in with those Elders of Zion when it comes to scary predictions. This conditioning of the people to believe there is some sort of war between Islam and Christianity is as discredited as jimmy savile, who trains these Islamic terrorists, who arms these terrorists and who ends up invading countries to kill these same terrorists. Who ends up profiting from these wars. Drummer Lee Digby was sacrificed for the purpose of sending a message to the country.

    Home Secretary Theresa May

    “We need to look… at the question of whether perhaps we need to have banning orders, to ban organizations that don’t meet the threshold for proscription. We need to look at organizations outside government as well as what government is doing. Whether we’ve got the right processes, the right rules in place in relation to what is being beamed into people’s homes,” she told the BBC. Legislation that would see the creation of a dragnet surveillance database, allowing police and intelligence agencies to effectively monitor the communications of everyone in the country.

  • 6crealist

    I’m delighted Help For Heroes will refuse the EDL’s fundraising money after one of its members hacked a soldier to death.

    In other news, Channel 4 News spent over 20 minutes tonight talking about the rise of Nazism in Greece and the dangers of right-wing extremism in Britain: and not one word throughout its 55 minutes of news about the terrorist attack by Muslim prisoners last night in Yorkshire.

  • GavBelfast

    The lack of Channel 4 News coverage of a possible – and increasingly probably – extremist Islamic attack on prison officers is not surprising.

    Again, Islamist extremism / terrorism / barbarism – call it what you will – is clearly a hugely difficult issue for fashionable liberals, not least fashionable liberal media, to deal with.

    Why is this??? Why is the “liberal media” unwilling to interrogate that which is most illiberal. Are they afraid or something?

  • DC

    I think Russell Brand talks a lot of sense but i think Tommy Robinson talks sense too.

    Davy Cameron sounded clichéd.

  • MrPMartin

    GavBelfast et al

    U asked a good question. I refer you to my post higher up the thread. therein lies the answer. Liberals bray at Judeo Christian illiberality and rightly so but ignore illiberality from other sources because historically liberalism was born from Christendom and historically is used to battling against Christian hegemony. They just can’t compute when faced with transgressions from those they regard as fellow oppressed peoples.

  • Monty_Carlo

    Why do people bury their heads in the sand when it comes to the likes of this? No-one wants to see anyone cut down like that, but for so-called polititians to pretend that it has nothing to do with British foreign policy is surely taking the piss! A British soldier is killed (and I’m using the word “killed” for a reason) on a London street and it goes around the world with all the predictable howls and screams of outrage. Imagine being a young boy or girl in, say, Afghanistan and you’ve just seen a missile hitting the compound where all your family were having a wedding party. You run around looking for your Mother and Father and uncles and aunts and cousins, but realise that they are all dead. They are splattered from one end of the village/compound to the other, and all that’s left is limbs, pieces of flesh and spatters of blood. Then you’re told, “oh sorry about that, it was a mistake, we were targetting Al Queda. See, the difference is, when the Yanks or Brits do something like that it’s “killing” not murder. Then “polititicians” pretend that they don’t know what is “radicalising” people! John O’Dowd (and I’m no fan of his, or SF) was spot on when he asked on QT, who it was that radicalised the (white) moron who stabbed a 75 year old Asian man to death a week before Mr. Rigby was killed. I look at all these incidents on a human level, if Lee Rigby was murdered, then so were all those people at an Afghan wedding party (and there’s been quite a few). I don’t see any difference between the anguish, hurt, pain, despair and sense of loss experienced between Lee Rigby’s family and a relative of people killed in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else.

  • Neil

    ‘Islamist barbarism’ (check out the etymology of the word barbarism) isn’t a topic for liberals because it would be wrong to blame an entire religion for the acts of a small few. It would be a bad idea to start giving your local Malaysian a hard time because of an Afghan suicide bomber.


    As Monty points out it’s no coincidence that the majority of these incidents start in countries where Muslim’s are being killed by western troops. If it was about to be blamed on Islam more acts would be carried out by citizens from one of the other 50 Muslim countries which isn’t being terrorised by drone strikes.

  • GavBelfast

    Who’s talking about blaming a whole religion for barbaric murders like the one in Woolwich eight days ago? I’m not.

    I’m more interested in the bigger issue, however, of liberal attitudes to Islam generally and extreme Islamist viewpoints in particular, and why they seem to find other religions much easier to criticise and interrogate.

    To mix threads for a moment … Ian Paisley Jnr is derided as homophobic (he may well be) for opposing gay marriage. Islamist extremists advocate the murder of homosexuals – in fact, it is a criminal act, punishable by death, in some Islamic countries.

    I really cannot remember the last time I heard a Muslim cleric tackled on this issue (or others related to what would commonly be referred to as a ‘liberal agenda’.

    Why not?