Respect Me or I’ll Shoot This Dog

I like this one. Oxymoron in action; very droll.

But the lead convener of the Campaign Against Monica Ali’s Film Brick Lane, officially launched yesterday, vowed to continue with the protest irrespective of where the movie is filmed. Abdus Salique threatened to burn Ali’s book at a rally on Sunday which is expected to be attended by hundreds of protesters…[H]e added: “[If] she has the right to freedom of speech, we have the right to burn books. We will do it to show our anger. We don’t like Monica Ali. We are protecting our community’s dignity and respect.”

Heeheeheehee. Yup, that’s what you’re doing all right, protecting ‘your community’s’ dignity and respect by standing around talking idiotic threatening drivel to a Guardian reporter. Yup, that’s dignity and respect-protection all right; you bet. Good move. Everyone’s way impressed with your dignity.

He continued: “It is not just filming [in Brick Lane] which is the problem. We don’t want a film which degrades our community.”

No, because you want to do the degrading yourself. Very enterprising.

Much more refreshing is the letter to the Guardian from PEN members Lisa Appignanesi, Hanif Kureishi, Anthony Lester QC, Salman Rushdie and Gillian Slovo.

Your article (July 18) about Brick Lane residents’ response to the filming of Monica Ali’s novel gave the mistaken impression that there was a united Bangladeshi community in the area threatening protest and keen to stop the production of the film of this supposedly “insulting” novel. Your readers may wish to know that there is no such united and censorious front. There are many differing Asian voices in the area. Few of them are as punitively adamant as the chair of the Brick Lane Traders’ Association, who, according to Asians in Media, leads a small minority of Sylheti traditionalists and has overblown the size of local protest.

It’s what Sen is talking about, in a way – this pretend unity which is a mere pretense. Hearing twenty people squawk and calling that ‘the Bangladeshi community’. There are many differing Asian voices in the area, and everywhere else; people don’t have to and generally don’t want to speak as a bloc. Not every ad hoc group is a ‘community’ much less the ‘community’. It’s more dignified and respect-worthy to realize that.

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