Monday, 16 August 2010


I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the way the government and the 'powers that be' are seeking to instil fear, paranoia and panic within communities.

A radio advert created by the Association of Chief Police Officers warns listeners about 'suspicious' behaviour by neighbours and the need to report it as it may be linked to terrorism (read here about it). And what is this suspicious behaviour...?

Keeping curtains shut
Paying with cash
Not talking to your neighbours much

Now I've heard numerous stories about strange behaviour by people in 'power' who detain people for suspicious terrorist behaviour. Often its because someone is taking a photo and sometimes its because people are not willing to be denied their freedom of speech.

And that is what I get concerned about, that our freedom of speech and opportunity to express ourselves are being opposed and oppressed. My understanding is that the Police were established to be preservers of the peace, a group who sought to serve the community. Yet it seems that increasingly we are now being 'booked' for stepping out of line or not playing by the perceived rules. Now don't get me wrong, I believe that we need the Police and that many of them are trying to do their job well serving the community. I have mates who are in the Police. Yet more and more it seems that the Police are being squeezed to become target seekers for rule breakers rather than preservers of peace.

This advert, it seems to me, is promoting fear and paranoia within communities about anyone that seems a bit 'different'. I think it is another example of how the beauty of diversity and relationships, community and solidarity, is being further eroded to make people wary and suspicious of each other and to paralyse people with fear of each other and fear of the government and Police. And that is not right.

Jesus spoke about the truth setting us free. I think we are called to be seekers of truth and in finding truth we find freedom. Let us not be so naive to believe everything that the media and government feeds us about our communities and neighbours, but rather be seekers of truth who go to our neighbours and into our communities to find out for ourselves who people really are and what the truth about each other is. In the building of our relationships with one another and the discovery of love between each other then we will now the truth and the truth will indeed set us free.


Alex said...

Although I (quite naturally) appreciate the country's safety being everyone's responsibility (in part, anyway), I do think that we're in danger of being ignorant of lessons-learned from our modern history.

There came a point in Germany during just before the Second World War where citizens where told to report any suspicious behaviour to the government. A simple neighbour dispute could escalate to a report being made to the government, and within hours a house and it's people inside would be emptied and carted away.

It's important, I feel, that there's a control over these findings. Ensuring people are vigilant is one thing, but let's not forget there's plenty of people in this country that see a man of Middle-Eastern desent on a busy train and quite happily pass judgement immediately.

Karl considering 21st Century Mission said...

Point well made Joe. See 'Subverting Global Myths' by Vinoth Ramachandra for alot more thought on this kind of subject.

Joe Haward said...

Al - That is a really interesting story from WW2, had not heard that before.

Have you seen the FCUK poster of a middle eastern man and the slogan 'This is the man'? It is a really intriguing poster. Kind of makes me think there is something weird going on making people more and more judgemental. Maybe I am just getting more and more into conspiracy thinking!

Cheers for that Karl, I'll have a look into it. How are things? Private message me and let me know.

Tom Haward said...

Read V for Vendetta and it will all become clear. If we are to believe the Daily Mail we should never leave our homes for fear of being murdered, raped or blown up.

I'm screwed as I always keep my curtains closed, I don't talk to my neighbours and I have dark skin.

Joe Haward said...

I was going to call the Police about you mate but then realised I'm prob just as screwed as you! ;0)

I'd forgotten bout V for Vendetta. Spot on. Gonna have to watch that now.

Need to help communities break away from a climate of fear where they think everyone is gonna mug you or blow the train up and help people discover healthy relationships in their communities.

Eating together is a good way to that, like in the Company Shed!

dmk said...

Those 3 activities look suspiciously like the behaviour of someone on benefits with severe depression. Have the ACPO got their wires crossed with an NHS trust somewhere along the line?

Joe Haward said...

That is a very good point David! But then we should all be very suspicious of people on benefits and people who have depression, after all, they could be terrorists!