Friday, 24 June 2011

Different approaches to the same problem

Right, I want to start off by saying I adore Johann Hari's writing. He's written fantastic articles in the past which sometimes teach me things I hadn't known before and other times resonate exactly with what I'm already thinking.

However, a while ago he wrote something that I didn't only disagree with but I thought was verging on dangerous. I said at the time I didn't agree with a lot of what he said in this article, including the dodgy uses of statistics which he apparently got from an article in the Guardian. My response apparently got me blocked, which I wailed about at the time.

A response to the article that I agree with [in words I couldn't hope to write] can be found here.

The reason I'm talking about it now is the other day I read Peter Tatchell's article for the New Statesman.

Now the reason it got me thinking about Johann Hari's earlier piece is because it's about very much the same issue, which is homophobia in the Muslim community and more specifically about when 'Gay Free Zone' stickers started appearing in the East. However, to me it deals with it in a very different way. Whereas Johann Hari says the reason that there were homophobic stickers in the East End must be because there are so many Muslims (which shows he needs to remember correlation does not [necessarily] imply causation) Peter Tatchell points to specific ills done to the gay community by specific Muslims, such as lectures by Abul Muhid (here's an example) and asks why there hadn't been the same protests as there were about the 'Gay Free Zone' stickers about this behaviour.

To sum up, the way I read the articles is, Johann has said Muslims are homophobic and Peter has said that the behaviour of some Muslims is homophobic.

These two approaches ultimately end up at two different conclusions. Ultimately what Johann seems to be saying is that all Muslims should be told they're wrong which may ultimately lead to more homophobia from the more extreme parts of the community but Peter ultimately is saying we need to challenge the homophobic acts by specific Muslims.

What I've learned: Saying "your behaviour displeases me so please change it" is better than saying "You're wrong and you must change"; About Section 5 and one of the ills it's lead to.
What I've been watching: Bartoli vs Dominguez Lino match. Bartoli - you put me through the emotional mincer today, but I still adore you.

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