Apparently, if you read the Guardian, Britain is a racist society. White writers aren’t saying this, BME writers are, because the leftwing Guardian doesn’t do divisive politics, it just does identity politics, which needs the right identities to express the ubiquitous grievances. Where there are grievances, there are opportunists. And so, the narrative follows its course across Britain’s woke-conscious communities, accruing mass following from the social media bandwagons that want to applaud the Guardian for speaking up for the voiceless. The invisible forces behind the celebratory cheers of the voiceless also add their ‘likes’ courtesy of their mass-produced fake accounts. Russia, China, Pakistan, and all the other authoritarian regimes out there, are similarly voiceless, so the victims need to be heard.

All of them.

I now know that Britain is not just a place where racists live, it is so racist that even those who have become victims of racism, don’t know it. They’ve merely acclimatised to it, a bit like Britain’s chilly winters. The brown and black folk simply don the winter attire of the indigenous Britons, the real Britons, and pretend that they’ve never heard the “p” or “n” words callously thrown their way, words that are so offensive, that I must never articulate them in writing because it will fall foul of political correctness. 

Okay, so what does my individual lived experience tell me outside the rhetoric of identity politics? 

Firstly, I prefer the word Identity Bandwagons, because identity politics has morphed into something so dumb, that the issue will now revolve around me using the word ‘dumb’ and not the term Identity Bandwagons. Convictions and insights go straight out the window, and in their place, opportunities for well-placed bandwagons settle. This is the cumulative weight of what’s become the Left’s fight against inequality in Britain, a loose movement that has abandoned entire swathes of white working class Britain, “the white racists”, for the victimised “ethnicities” racialising others. 

Bandwagons that vote are more important than the voiceless communities being demonised by those adopting false identity narratives. Lots of people have no idea what is really happening amongst ethnic minorities within the established groups that are cynically reduced to ethnic tokens to assuage someone’s sense of correct moral conduct. The Guardian, even the BBC – platforms I respect and trust – have no time for a group’s actual memories borne of a painful and bitter lived experience. Instead, they prefer the same tired mantras and the same loyal bandwagons.

So, let me be crystal clear. 

Britain is not a racist society. 

To say it is, is an outrageous lie that silences the real voiceless members of a community. Since we’re doing identity politics, my community is also oppressed and persecuted, not in the UK but in South Asia, or the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Ironically, we’re free and not persecuted here, the old evil colonial power according to the Guardian, but persecuted in both Occupied Parts of Kashmir by, strangely, woke nationalists lecturing Britain about the evils of colonialism, and why it’s so wrong to deny natives their right to self-determination. 

In the UK, Occupied Azad Kashmiris and their much smaller brethren from the Valley of India’s Occupied Kashmir region are forced onto the fringes of two mainstream minority groups that don’t allow self-affirming Britons, almost 1 million of us, the right to self-identify as British Kashmiris, and not as Indians or Pakistanis – “British South Asians”. They insist on creating the correct labels for us, and have roped in the officiating structures of a very benign State that has created contradictory ethnic classifications for us, “Mirpuri-Pakistani”, “Pakistani-Kashmiri”. 

But, none of this amounts to racism even according to the definitions thrown around, apparently. The word Kashmir is a very elastic word, a bit like the word Britain. Indians and Pakistanis want to force their own restrictive nuances on the word ‘Kashmiri’ oddly here in the UK disaggregating the various stakeholders of a Kashmir independence narrative, the voice of the voiceless. But this apparently doesn’t make Indians and Pakistanis racist in the UK, it simply means they are keeping all South Asians safe through an illusory group solidarity that doesn’t exist in practise. 

Only Brits can be racist when they say “Pakis can’t be British!” But, when Indians and Pakistanis say, the (bonafide) Kashmiris can’t be Kashmiris, they’re Indians or Pakistanis; Hindus or Muslims – that’s not racist. 

Ironies are seldom this poetic.

Pakistanis and Indians can never be racists towards their own minorities, despite the fact that certain ethnic groups of Indians and Pakistanis dominate the British South Asian landscape (mostly Hindi-Urdu speaking Punjabis/North Indians). They are given airtime and columns in Britain’s respectable papers to dish the dirt on all the dysfunctional village British Asians from rural Kashmir, oddly born in British cities. The same Guardian newspaper that is now telling me that Britain is a racist society in 2021, conveniently through the mouthpiece of BME writers, was telling ordinary Britons in 2005, some 10 days after the 7/7 suicide bombings that Mirpur, a shitty kind of place in Occupied Kashmir (if you understand how actual racism works), would now be coming under the spotlight. Three of the four Pakistani suicide bombers originated, in all likelihood, from Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, this is what the esteemed writer was telling us. Mirpuris were labelled with the article’s apt title “the Orphans of Islam”. But, this despicable characterisation was not racist at all, because it emanated from the mouth of an otherwise benign liberal, a leftwing one, taking her intellectual insights from her well-placed South Asian native informants, who do not seem to be perturbed when they call white working class members “Chavs”, “white trash”, “rednecks” and “hillbillies” in private. 

On that occasion, the Guardian was similarly applauded for its very insightful take on British Pakistani Muslims, who felt exonerated. Azad Kashmiris, thereafter reduced to the pejorative label “Mirpuris” if you accept Samira Shackle’s take on Mirpuris (clad in tracksuit bottoms), were literally thrown under the bus by the very Identity Bandwagons claiming solidarity with them, the real racists, in my mind, who like to call other people racists.

I grew up in Britain, and I once recall an old women using the “p” word. We were kids playing football on the street, at a time, when there weren’t many cars around. Some of my white friends were tackling me aggressively. The old woman shouted from the other side of the road, “Oiy, leave that Paki kid alone!” She thought I was being bullied. This was the same woman who would give us tiptops and ask after my father, always referring to him through his surname as a mark of respect. She was a wonderful person, who did not have a bone of racism in her body. But, she happened to use the word “Paki”, which, perhaps, if I’m going to take my intellectual cues from the politically correct left-wingers, made her racist. At most, she was ignorant of emerging social conventions, and definitely not racist. I have heard far worse terms for different communities from within the South Asian community, who are utterly callous towards black people, and those a few shades darker themselves. But none of this matters.

Some of the remarks British Pakistanis make against Bengali Muslims exposes the fraud of thinking diverse groups belong to the same minorities; when Pakistanis call other Pakistanis Bengali, it’s not a compliment, it’s an insult, a subtle way of degrading them. It’s like saying, “you look Indian”, even though the Pakistanis making these racist claims are more Indian-looking than the people they degrade through stupid stereotypes. Colourism is rife amongst Pakistanis because of self-hatred – approximating to whiteness is a disease amongst Pakistanis; the way they describe British Azad Kashmiris is a window into their souls. It speaks volumes about their insecurities and anxieties. But, solidarity between ethnic minorities in the UK means we must all fight together to redeem ourselves through the tired trope that Britain is a racist society, which it isn’t.

My white neighbours have always said hello to me whenever I’ve passed them by. Occasionally, my wife gets chocolates from a good hearted neighbour, thanking her for kindly handling their deliveries when they’re out. For every Christmas card I gave to my white neighbours, I got one back. They came from both the white working-class and middle-class communities. Even with bereavements, my white neighbours gave us cards of condolence. I can instantly recognise the humanity of Britons, in all walks of life. I’ve invited white people into my home, and they’ve never declined the invitation, and vice versa. Members of my family are married to white people, I have nephews and nieces married to an array of different ethnicities. This holds equally true of British Azad Kashmiris in general. There is some quality amongst Britons that makes us more humane, less cruel, less vindictive, and more accepting of diversity. By no stretch is Britain a perfect society, but compared to Pakistan, it’s heaven. I do not recognise the picture being presented by the Guardian because it contradicts my lived experience – one that I want to be fiercely honest about, as opposed to conjuring up a false narrative that wants to demean Britain, at every turn. I’ve always felt safe in the UK. I explicitly trust Britons. In Azad Kashmir, I would be persecuted for simply daring to speak truth to power, to the Pakistani Occupier – our real oppressor. British Azad Kashmiris are constantly abused at Islamabad Airport and forced to pay bribes. They are considered rich pickings, and then dehumanised by those who process them through the corrupt machinery of the Pakistan State. In the UK, immigration officers, for the most part, treat them like any other travellers, with dignity and respect.

So, please, tell me, who exactly are the racists? 

The one’s that occasionally discriminate people, or those who actively persecute them? 

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Equality & Human Rights Campaigner, Researcher, Content Copywriter and Traveller. Blogger at Portmir Foundation. Liberal by values, a centrist of sorts, opposed to authoritarianism – States must exist for the welfare of people, all of them, whatever their beliefs or lifestyles. People are not “things” to be owned, exploited, manipulated and casually ignored. Political propaganda is not history, ethnicity, geography or religion.

I love languages and cultures – want to study as many as I can; proficient in some. Opposed to social and political injustice anywhere in the world.

I believe ‘life’ is a work in progress, nothing is fixed even our thoughts! Feel free to contact me – always prepared to widen my intellectual horizons and stand corrected – don’t insult me though. Be grown up. Tell me why you think I’m wrong. If you make sense, I’ll change my views.

My opinions are not necessarily those of the Portmir Foundation; the Foundation does not do censorship; if you disagree with any of us, and you espouse liberal values, write your own opinion piece, and we’ll publish it even if we disagree with it. It has to be factual and original. You can contact us at info@portmir.org.uk.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Guardian doesn’t want writers from our community talking about our lived experience as honestly as possible. Racism only makes sense when it comes from white people, and is directed at black or brown people. Why do so many black activists shy away from the BME label? Because they know it doesn’t work for them. Inter-minority racism is too big a discussion for the Guardian, a self-styled “truth seeker” – I deploy their words. Let’s start a real discussion on the Guardian, no more tropes, no more bandwagons? But, I get the impression they prefer that Pakistanis and Indians take the mantle for Britain’s South Asians, because Azad Kashmiris have no genuine representation on these platforms. It’s sad but true. Pakistanis have become gatekeepers to our community and they always demean and degrade us. They’re constantly telling Britons fibs about us – “othering” us, influencing how ordinary people should think about us.

    How do dispossessed members of the white community get treated? Exactly like us. They’ve been infantilising our community for decades, but apparently this isn’t a form of structural racism; calling someone “Paki” and throwing alcohol on him is racism, no doubt a horrible act. But, apparently, insulting Jews, intimidating homosexuals, brutalising women through domestic violence, deciding who they marry and how they dress, none of this constitutes racism, because racism is about something else, apparently? Dragging a human rights’ activist in Pakistan’s Occupied Kashmir region across the ground, and then locking him up for more than a year through a farce trial doesn’t constitute a discussion on the Guardian about how Pakistanis treat one another. Let’s not offend our South Asian friends who claim Kashmir for their own nationalisms. And the million strong British Azad Kashmiris must shut up, because we are not worthy of having our own opinions even if it can be shown we’re wrong. We must be forced onto the fringes of other people’s narratives.

    This is independent journalism. This is how we celebrate freedom of thought and speech.

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