Fear and Prejudice

June 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Australia, History, Politics, Psychology, Social Responsibility, Society, War and Conflict, Ways of Living | 6 Comments
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Australia’s first boat people

I received an email this morning from someone I will call James – one of those circular ones that play on the fears and prejudices of people to stir up emotions that suit their cause. It came from the U.K. and I live in Australia, but these things spread like a pandemic.

Note spelling

   This one stirs up xenophobia, nationalistic pride and fear against, mainly, Islamic migrants and the ‘fact’ that they aim to make ‘our’ nation into something it’s not.

The theme of the email is, “Speak our language, appreciate and conform with our established culture and customs, leave your own where you came from, or don’t come here at all”.

  To support their cause , the writers of the email have quoted a speech they attribute to our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. In the speech, Ms Gillard is purported to have said words to the effect of, “If you don’t want to be like us, don’t come”. 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Now, Ms Gillard is too intelligent to say such things. If she had, it would be in all the media outlets and shouted out by some to support their cause or by others to denounce her politically.

I am tired and saddened by items such as this, sent on through hundreds and thousands of personal computers by people who are too eager to pass on their own fears and prejudices. In doing so, they are supporting and propagating those fears and prejudices in others. So, I wrote back to James – and all those to whom he sent the email (he didn’t BCC them!).

Hi James, and the others on your list to whom this email went out.

I just wanted to make a few comments on this email and others like it that have been circulating for some time now.

Julia Gillard did not say the things attributed to her (even if she ever thinks some of them at times, she wouldn’t say them publicly). This is a speech by some American, in which Gillard’s face and Australia’s name have been substituted for political reasons.

Have a closer look at it and you will see that it describes the US culture and political system, not Australia’s. For example, Gillard is an atheist, and wouldn’t base a speech on the Christian foundations of our nation (all that is American).

Whilst many people will agree to varying levels with what’s written here, false attribution is dishonest and destructive. It is part of the whole fear-driven agenda of one section of society to get support for their own desires and, because it is fear based, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact that these emails are so popular is in itself proof of that.

I urge all people to look behind these email campaigns to find the truth. The speech was probably made by someone, but it was not Gillard, and that is one of the things that make the whole campaign severely suspect.

Those who wish to control public opinion find that fear is their best weapon, and this is an excellent example of their rallying cry. Regardless of what any of us believe, we need to use intellect and reason, not emotion, to work out the truth of any of those beliefs.

Regards, Linda

I don’t know whether my reply to James and his friends will make any of them think a bit more deeply about what they hear and read. I may even be cut off from James’s mailing list because of it. But it had become too much – constantly receiving such destructive correspondence, and being unable t do anything about it.

But this time, I have done something – the email I sent, and this blog entry, may just get somebody somewhere to examine the bases of their thinking.

 

Do you receive emails like this? Do you read them? Delete them right away? Respond to them?

Do you like to receive such communications? Do you like to have your own beliefs supported? Or do they make you question what you believe and why?

 

 

© Linda Visman 29.06.2012

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Blocks to Action

October 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Writing | Leave a comment
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I first enquired about the process of getting Ben’s Challenge converted to an e-book at the beginning of September; it is now almost the end of October. Why have I left it so long to do something? Why have I been procrastinating?

Well, it is probably for the same reasons that I procrastinate with my writing: there are too many other things to do; I am too easily distracted; I don’t have the self-discipline to focus on this one thing and get it underway. And why is all that so, I wonder.

Well, I sat in my car by the lake this morning and thought about it. I came up with the answer – an answer I have known about for a long time, but have failed to address. The answer is Fear.

That’s right, fear. I am afraid of starting the process of making my novel into an e-book. I am afraid of getting into my writing, particularly into the follow-up to Ben’s Challenge. So, what is it I am afraid of? And why is that fear paralysing me?

I have the answer to those questions too, and the answer is the same for both. I am afraid of not doing something perfectly. I am afraid of starting something because I may make a mistake. So, I keep putting it off; after all, if I don’t do it, then I can’t make a mistake, can I?

Oh, yes sister, I sure can! And it is a much bigger mistake than doing something imperfectly; much bigger than doing something wrong in a process that is probably foolproof anyway.

The mistake? Not doing something that I need to do, want to do; something that will be fulfilling and will, hopefully, also give pleasure to others.

After all, at the end of life, it is not the things we did that we will regret the most, but those things we did not do.

So, today – in fact, just half an hour before writing this, I began the process with CreateSpace of converting Ben’s Challenge to an e-book that can be read on Kindle.

And it feels good.

© Linda Visman

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