Perhaps I was too quick to wax lyrical about the local mood. John and I were out today, just getting the groceries up at Asda, and I am pleased to report I detected none of the tension I probably imagined I felt a couple of days ago. Greenwich is the same as it ever was. And yet I was worried to see on the news today that several monuments and war memorials in the capital have been daubed with the word ‘Islam’.
I must admit this both worries and interests me. It is crude, even patronising: it was obviously done my some half-brained member of the EDL, BNP or perhaps UKIP, hoping to stir up Islamophobia. Why would any Muslim spray the name of his own religion in such places? If they were that way inclined, wouldn’t they be more likely to spray some pro-Islamic slogan? Thus it is surely blindingly obvious that this graffiti was done by some Islamophobe. But what does that mean? It implies an eagerness on the right to stir up trouble, to create tension; this is an attempt to manipulate us all that the xenophobes have a point. The irony is, it is so crude and obvious that it should backfire: it lays bare the depths to which these far right thugs will stoop, and the simplicity of their thinking. Hopefully nobody will be taken in by this laughable ploy. The problem is, it reveals an absolute hatred, a willingness to defile one’s own national monuments (things which, to nationalists like those in the EDL, will have great significance) in order to stir up inter comunity tension, and the profundity of that hatred scares me.