You’ve been in my head for days. Much to my disgust. I’ve tried to ignore you. I’ve listened to the advice that you are fuelled by my indignation. But, but, but I just can’t let it lie. There’s self-seeking publicity, there’s rant upon rant in the endless craving for headlines but this Hopkins, this has crossed a line.
You don’t have to go far back in history to recall the damage rhetoric like yours does. “Vermin”, “cockroaches”, all words that sat happily in speeches as Nazi’s reclassified Jews as sub-human in the 1930s or as Hutu’s listened to broadcasts intent on the destruction of the Tutsi people in the 1990s. Each shamed humanity. And each was driven with a bigotry so vile it changed continents forever.
You call migrants attempting to cross the mediterranean a “virus”, worthy of gunships or burning boats, as if they are no longer human. As if they have no place in your world, a world of privilege and shelter and food and safety. When was the last time you had to flee for your life? When were you threatened with rape or faced beheading or enslavement because of your religion? When did you have to leave your home, encountering danger at every turn just in an attempt to provide for your family? I doubt you ever have – but then you are not The Other, sat in the crosshairs of your hatred. You are a Brit, living in a warm home paid for by peddling ignorance and hatred for Rupert Murdoch.
Thing is I am an Other. I’m a queer, thankfully living in a tolerant society. But rhetoric like yours fills me with fear. Because rhetoric like yours leads to a bad place. A very bad place, where those who are not like you don’t deserve what you have. No equality, no empathy and, according to your column inches, no life. Your rhetoric and that of the publications you work for leads to an acceptance of prejudice, an alliance with fear that drives the nation’s agenda from ballot box to street, from political policy to the world stage.
And for allowing you to be part of this process I hold The Sun responsible. Yet again driving across the message that we are not all equal. Migrants, the unemployed, trans people, queers, miners, football fans, people like me – they’ve had us all in their sights over the decades. Believing that some deserve more than others and that hatred, bigotry and xenophobia, all wrapped up in so-called free speech with a nice byline and a teasing headline, is what we want and excuses the hatred. Well it isn’t and it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t be allowed to continue unchallenged. Politicians may be too afraid to deal with the horror in the Med as they chase crosses in boxes from the fearful but some of us aren’t.
Maybe we can’t do more than petition, boycott, tick the boxes of those brave enough to make a stand or make a social media noise but, just as against the bigotry of Jan Moir, Richard Littlejohn, and Garry Bushell that came before you, when we raise our voices, complain to the IPSO, use our purchasing power and convince the money – the advertisers, the sponsors, the broadcasters – that there is a line, they will eventually listen. And then we can stop listening to you. Because you crossed a line and the decent and I are not coming with you.
*Note to the reader. If you do fancy making a noise – and if lots of us do it becomes a roar – you can sign this petition.