By Shirley Edwards
July 20, 2013
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
[These are my views as a woman living in England, on how the culture and spirit of my country has changed over 50 years, why the country does not feel protected or strong any more, how it has lost, and is losing its values and decency, and how we are daily losing our free speech.]
It has been just 2 months since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. He was an off duty soldier of the 2nd Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who made headline news in the UK. There must be very few people around the world who have not heard of how Lee was savagely attacked in a busy London street, after being run over, whilst walking back to his barracks. The attackers, 2 men by the names of Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, then hacked him to death, with knives and a cleaver, and attempted to behead him. Both were of British and Nigerian descent, and both were reported as being raised as Christians in the UK, and subsequently converting to Islam.
Rather than flee the scene of this heinous crime, Adebolajo and Adebowale then calmly asked the many onlookers to photograph them, claiming the attack was in honour of the Muslim people who were being killed by British soldiers.
The crowd then very kindly stood and complied with their order, and photographed the murderers with their phones and also the body of Lee, which was lying bleeding and abandoned in the road.
When I heard of this crime, I was with a small gathering of other women having lunch out in the beautiful countryside of England....what you would consider a pocket of peace, a green corner of Great Britain. It is a different and far removed place to the busy crowded streets of London, but not that far away.
My heart started pounding at the gruesomeness of the attack, as I listened to the details of the crime and the numerous pictures which were now being circulated and shown over the internet. It was barbaric and blatant. How could this be happening on the streets of London? It was spectator cruelty. The type of cruelty you would have witnessed in ancient Rome, not secretly carried out in some dark remote alley in the middle of the night, where no-one could see, but right out in the open, an open arena, an attack in front of men, women and children as onlookers.
What type of defence could this man have offered for himself?
I could not get Lee out of my mind, and the horror and grief his family would be going through. I looked at the faces of my friends sipping tea, and saw a silent fear, an uneasiness. Our bubble of safety, despite our surroundings, was slowly being revealed, and was deflating.
The next day many people were talking about Lee, mainly women that I met. The ladies in the canteen at work, the women who came in my office, and the women on the checkout in Sainsbury’s. They could not help but get this story out of their mind and out into the open. They wanted to do and say something. But no one knew what to say, and no one knew what to do. No one mentioned terrorism and no one mentioned radical Islam. Was this the circle I moved in, or was this the general conversation taking place in my country, an avoidance of their fears?
believed there would be some show of solidarity and respect by British
citizens the next day. I looked at the ‘Help for Heroes’
website, a British organization which provides support for soldiers
who have been injured. Lee had been wearing one of their tee-shirts
that day. They had been inundated with donations. People had pledged
money and bought merchandize, anything to show their support. It was
at least something when I heard that the Ministry of Defense in some
areas had warned their soldiers not to wear their uniform off duty.
I wondered if this was really standing up to terrorism? Was this really
standing up to the murderers of Lee? Link
With a little trepidation, I decided to read the full report of Lee’s murder knowing there would be many graphic photos. I did not want to participate in being a spectator of horror, but I did want to know some facts, albeit knowing at the same time there would be another story yet to be revealed surrounding the murderer’s true motivation and why they chose Lee. I also knew there would be a temptation to anger.
Amidst the reports, I learned that a woman saw Lee and went to help unthinkingly, and found herself confronting one of the terrorists. She slowly realized what had happened and continued to speak to him, asking him why, and what would he get from this crime. She told him he would not win. Meanwhile another lady and her daughter who had been passing stopped their car, and went over to Lee’s body, knelt down and prayed for him. I thanked God that someone had offered this comfort for Lee’s family. They would know that someone cared, that someone in the face of such evil could ask for Gods intervention. Someone had guts.
Both of these actions took courage, but something crossed my mind; I wondered where were all the men who should have been around on that busy street that day? Why did this incident, highlight the action of women? Why did the group of women I was sitting with feel insecure, and is it that we have compromised with evil, rather than confronting it and taking action? We stare in silent fear and vulnerability.
Some people say that the human race has become so brainwashed into having everything done for them, they have become so used to standing by and watching such horror that their knee jerk reaction now is to stand and idly do ‘nothing.’ A kind of apathetic state that there is nothing they can do, and that it is up to our forces and professionals to look after us. Do nothing, until someone comes who knows better.
In some cases this is sometimes true, in some cases heroes step forward, but looking at my own observations surrounding this particular event, I just kept asking why a group of men didn’t go in and stop this, disarm these men from hurting anyone else. Why in the aftermath of this event did we still feel so utterly underpowered and useless? Why did people feel safe in watching and taking photographs?
During the attack Adebolajo had shouted:-
“I apologize that women had to witness this today, but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is gonna get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think politicians are going to die? No, it's going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back … leave our lands and you will live in peace." —Michael Adebolajo, excerpted from a Daily Telegraph transcript
I noticed he spoke of his land as being somewhere other than the place where he was living and was raised, and that he warned of more trouble to come. He now hated Great Britain. What had made him change?
Following the attack the news called for calm. It spoke of retaliation against the muslim community. The plight of ‘prejudice’ against the muslim community was being highlighted. I wondered if this was the media’s way of stirring up contempt? Yes, people were angry with the attackers in this crime, but the majority still retained a level of common sense.
What I saw and experienced were people who were really scared of even mentioning it. A fear against the very vocal and aggressive section of this faith and the threats it was making, and which had indeed been carried out in its name.
As time has passed the horror of that day has subsided. Yet I understand Woolwich is still picking up the threads of the aftermath of sadness and tension in its community. An underlying spirit of resentment is growing and being encouraged as each outrage and injustice occurs. This needs talking about. Who and what is behind the fuel that sets a fire ablaze?
The area itself is reported as being in an impoverished and racially divided area of London. It is in such conditions that many young people join extremist groups. A sense of purpose and belonging to a group often gives someone in an unstable environment, a false sense of stability and identity.
For a large section of the population it has turned people away from a sense of pride in a country that is meant to respect and represent them. Many people leave the country of their birth to try and find a better life elsewhere. The spirit of the country no longer has any real definition of what it originally stood for. People feel displaced and rejected sometimes by other cultures who shout louder, whilst silencing them with fear. Unreasonable laws being imposed, high taxation, a high immigration problem, and a daily diet of bad and outrageous news, some involving our very own politicians, does not set a good scene for hopefulness.
At times, a little patriotic pride is reassembled, but it is the ordinary people themselves who try and reinstate this, to hang on to some hope of a united and good life.
Whilst most religions in the UK do indicate a certain quiet respect to each other and get along, the Muslim community has not integrated with other faiths in the UK very well. Rather, they appear to be a separatist faith, which continually asks for special privileges, respect, and laws contrary to our laws and Christian heritage, which I believe should be respected as being the prime basis and underpinning of the country. Especially as the Queen of England is also meant to be the head of the state and the head of the Church of England.
The mere fact that a mega mosque with an original application for a capacity of 70,000 people was applied for in London, and subsequently rejected, also appears to indicate a religion that is growing and being very insistent. The mere size of building with this capacity would have certainly displaced any cathedral in the country, and been a very dominant force in London.
And as one of the leading TV Channels in the UK, Channel 4, deliberately provokes anger by daily airing a call to prayer from the 9th July for 30 days, interrupting normal broadcasting to do so in every home, I wonder how other people really think this helps. I wonder if they think it is timely and appropriate in the immediate wake of Lee Rigsby’s murder. We are, after all, meant to be standing as an ‘equal’ force against terrorism right now. Channel 4 indicates that the Muslim Council of Britain supports Channel 4’s move.
Channel 4 will also interrupt programming four times on the first day of Ramadan to mark subsequent calls by means of a 20-second film to remind viewers of the approaching prayer time.
After that date, the channel will air the 3am call to prayer on live TV, and the other four prayer times will be broadcast on its website. Ralph Lee, Channel 4's head of factual programming, said,
"The calls to prayer prompt Muslims to carry out quiet moments of worship, but hopefully they'll also make other viewers sit up and notice that this event is taking place.
Lee added in an article in the Radio Times:
"No doubt Channel 4 will be criticised for focusing attention on a 'minority' religion but that's what we're here to do – provide space for the alternative and a voice to the underrepresented.
"Following the horrific events in Woolwich and subsequent reprisals against British Muslims, there has surely never been a more pressing need to give a voice to the moderate mainstream majority. And let's not forget that Islam is one of the few religions that's flourishing, actually increasing in the UK. Like Channel 4's target audience, its followers are young. It's recently been reported that half of British Muslims are under 25."
And so, as a woman living in Great Britain for over 50 years, I wonder where my country is going. I wonder where the men are, I wonder where strong leadership is which instils a spirit of common sense and confidence?
I wonder why Ralph Lee, Head of Factual Programming for Channel 4 does not see the actual facts surrounding this incident and who he thinks the underrepresented really are, and why he is intent in promoting ‘provocation’ rather than peace in its ‘truest’ form at this very important time.
He is emphasizing British muslims as having a minority voice when they a have a very vocal and prominent voice, and we hear about them much more against any other religion, outside the Christian faith.
He is also highlighting and promoting the benefits of another faith and culture, during this time, which has a very violent element originating from it. It would have been far better to highlight the Muslim community visibly condemning the actions of this crime.
People are at this moment very concerned about radicalization in this country. Since the 2nd World War, some have already lived through the political terrorist actions of the IRA, who from the early 1970’s planted and exploded many bombs over this period of almost 30 years. They do not want to live like that again.
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The politicians of Great Britain offer no serious hope. Most people don’t know why the British forces are fighting in another country. They just know that they are meant to be a force of protection and they are respected for this ideal. We also hear continually about Islamic hate preachers who are allowed to live in the country on benefits, who have free speech enough to march through our streets calling for all those who oppose Islam to be beheaded.
The subtle twist of injustice and anger this type of propaganda and reporting provokes does not encourage the people of this country in the right way. It puts plasters over open wounds that will not heal without ‘fresh air’ and the light of truth…..
Does anyone possess it?
People of faith , and people of no religious conviction should have an inward sense of what ‘real peace’ is. The evil on our screens, and radios, and on our streets, are the outwards expressions of the evil within mankind.
© 2013 Shirley Edwards - All Rights Reserve
Shirley Edwards was born and lives in Great Britain. She has always worked in administration, but have also taught and studied complimentary health. In administrative roles, she has worked within The Church of England. She also worked for some years as a volunteer within the hospice movement.
Shirley has an interest in all health issues, loves the British countryside, and enjoys writing. She is thankful for talk radio and loves listening.
Shirley has always been concerned about the loss of freedoms in her country, also the demise of America, a country she loves for the original reasons on which it was founded. She believe in the Pursuit of Genuine Happiness.