Burqas Under the Bed – Fabricated Fear for the New Millennium

reds-under-the-beds-omg-commies-mommy-politics-1354105987Well it seems as if the new boogeyman of the 21st century is fully established.  Instead of drumming up fear and paranoia at the idea of Reds Under the Bed as was done in the past our governments have now determined that all our fear focused hate should be turned in the direction of those who follow the Muslim faith.  In short we should all fear the ‘Burqa Under the Bed‘ [courtesy of Yvette Scholtmeyer].

Regardless of the political tap dancing our world leaders use to present the idea that they are only interested in those who are extremist in their faith to the point of violence against others the facts are that they have stirred up a mighty brew of xenophobic fear and hatred.  How easy it is to cast stones at those whose beliefs differ to ours especially when we do little to understand those beliefs.

differences in opinionPeople become so irate at the idea that there are those out there who think differently and worse have the temerity to believe in a different god but when did difference become something to fear and even worse something to fight.  I’ll tell you when, when our governments decided it was a useful tool in the manipulation of the masses but even they may not have truly understood what can be unleashed when fear is fed with doctored images and carefully chosen catch phrases.

What is sad is that our governments are doing exactly what those in the extreme camps of religious fervor do, they are trying to whip up discontent and fear but it is usually the innocent who get caught in the crossfire.  As this picture so clearly shows, we do not hold those whose beliefs are so racist to be representative of the Christian faith so then why are we so eager to believe that the images provided for us represent those who follow Islam.

We are seeing the effects here is Australia already, although much of what has occurred in the past two weeks has been a rather desperate attempt to divert attention for the failure of this government to pass the budget and the possibility of a double dissolution that could come from it.  Abbott and his advisers have obviously gone with the concept of no country ousts a sitting PM in a time of war.  Tiny problem for him is that most of us are aware we wouldn’t be involved in this travesty if not for him.

No photo shop necessary - life just sometimes provides the perfect image

Out of nowhere we were informed of the rising level of the Terror Alert and the possibility of an attack on Australian soil.  This statement was met by the general public with something less than belief despite the dramatization of the information and the serious faces along with very pro Australian props for the media conferences.

Then on Thursday 18 September [strangely coinciding with raids in the US] there were dawn raids around the country in a massive effort of military, ASIO and federal police.  Eight hundred police detained 15 people, although all were released bar one who is due to face court.  Two guns were found and one machete [of the gardening variety it turns out] and all of these weapons turned out to be legal. According to an interview with the Guardian the Prime Minister stated:

That’s the intelligence we received. The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in Isil [Islamic State] to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. So, this is not just suspicion, this is intent, and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.

the future for australiOf course as the Guardian stated the PM did not submit this statement to the courts nor has any material of a similar nature been submitted as evidence of a plot to commit acts of terrorism on Australian soil.

That has not stopped him nor his government from moving ahead with security measures that will be trampling on the civil liberties of regular Australians.  He and his government have made it clear that it is better to live in a more controlled country than one where the public has rights. The story covered in the Guardian shows a clear path toward gagging of the media and the suppression of the individual’s right to protest.

This picture to the right shows all to clearly the future for Australia at the hands of this man and his government.  It saddens me that there are so many people out there who find it easier to hate and fear than reach out and offer understanding and friendship.  What is worse is that I am more than aware this is a problem for all peoples, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu etc, we are all guilty of hating or fearing blindly based on difference. Humanity has to grow up some time or we’re not going to last much longer and that is simply a fact, whether we like it or not.


21 thoughts on “Burqas Under the Bed – Fabricated Fear for the New Millennium

  1. Thanks for the link to the article. I’m glad you think that most people see through this attempt to make us forget the budget. Earlier, on the news, they were talking aobut securing the MCG ahead of the football grandfinal. My memory was jogged by the last scare campaign being in the same timeslot! Terry Goodkind makes themes one of his novels, something along the lines of: people are stupid, they will believe a lie if they are afraid is true. Scary stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good day Jenni! I understand your concerns about restrictive legislation and I agree. However, that being said, Abbott has chosen a good time to do it as many world gov’ts are doing the same thing. Today’s Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper (business oriented and slightly conservative with a wide readership) had the following article on Australia’s upcoming legislation http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/australia-to-introduce-proposed-law-to-stop-citizens-from-joining-terrorist-groups-overseas/article20717892/

    They also covered Canada’s similar new legislation http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/canada-aligns-with-global-push-against-islamic-state/article20736128/ .

    My purpose in bringing this up is to point out that this new creation of freedom surpressing laws is UN sanctioned and common to a lot of countries.

    Although protesting Abbott’s legislation is certainly important, focussing on this is liable to weaken your case against Abbott’s politics. Whether we agree or not, this type of legislation is now common and anyone seen opposing it is liable to be dismissed as fringe.

    Honestly Jenni, I agree with your assessment of the implications of repressive laws. However, from a purely strategic perspective, it is my opinion that you are best to tread lightly as any action on your part could be held up by the officials as going against world opinion – making Abbott look justified.

    Great post Jenni – I applaud your perspective and strength in writing this post. Very thought provoking.


    • It does seem to be a world wide pattern – I actually think it’s in retaliation to the impact that social media has had on the world of protest. Manipulating the media is much more difficult when the internet is involved. Even more so is the censoring and managing of information – for the first time governments are faced with something that cannot control so they seek to increase control over the users. Those who do speak out become branded so that others are less likely to make use of the internet to share stories and information. This however is something I wish never to see and will not stop speaking out against to the point of arrest. Democracy and freedom of speech carry huge difficulties in balancing information flow but all things worth having are difficult. Short cutting the process through censorship might seem useful in the short term under ‘war’ circumstances but there is no government on this planet that I trust to redact those laws once the situation passed.


      • That’s an excellent point Jenni – that restrictive legislation intended to address a specific set of security circumstances will never be redacted once the circumstances no longer exist. That’s very true. This however, is a different focus than your desire to highlight the poor decision making of the Abbott gov’t. My point is that if you combine the two, you weaken your argument against Abbott. It has become standard these days to judge the actions of a gov’t by comparison to similar gov’ts in other countries. By that standard, Abbott is simply one of the crew in legislating the restriction of freedoms. It is hard to point to that and make the argument that he is making poor decisions. It may very well be that he is, but with the current international political atmosphere his actions will be seen as prudent. And that is not what you need in order to highlight his incompetence at governing. Just sayin’. 🙂


    • I do like your idea of no stressful news after 12.00 – I may in fact adopt such a practice. Balance is important after all.

      Thank you for your support and yes we do need to be aware of the level of manipulation and the depths to which those in power will go to further their own causes.

      Have a restful after 12.00 and take the time to enjoy.


  3. Hi Jenni, great article. Way too much moral panic and fear mongering going on in my view.

    Just one small thought. Islam and Christianity believe in the same god. As do the Jews.

    The Muslims follow the very strict teachings of the prophet they call the last prophet and therefore their underlying philosophies are different, which can lead to assimilation challenges unless we are prepared to learn and understand. I’m not suggesting we convert – I am an avowed atheist married to a Muslim.


    • I’m a Wiccan so my god is a goddess so I’ve got no issue with the variety of flavours out there. One of the fundamental teachings and truths behind my faith is that all gods are the one god/goddess and are just different masks or pathways that people choose to find their way in this world – even the path of atheism is a belief in and of itself so I get frustrated and confused when people try to drum up hate for what the see is difference.


      • Well now – small world and all that stuff!!

        One of the things I enjoy about this whole blogasphere experience is the connections you make, especially when outside of this environment you’d never meet them with the whole living on the other side of the world issue.

        I’m going to sneak over to your blog and have a look around. See you 😀


  4. Jenni, you said it so succinctly: “It saddens me that there are so many people out there who find it easier to hate and fear than reach out and offer understanding and friendship.” I would add love and grace to that.

    The U.S. has had a history of picking out a group to vilify, to blame for the country’s woes, and ever since 9/11/01 it’s been Muslims. You’re spot on with the photo of the Klan and your caption, “No one thinks that these people are representative of Christians.” We’re all so quick to point fingers and judge, so quick to group people together, it prevents us from seeing individuals. From forming relationships. From offering compassion. From learning that the hearts, minds and families of each other contain more similarities than differences. Grouping and judging is just another way to dehumanize. That’s not what we need to do in order to come together in truth and peace.

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never understood why it seems easier for some to hate than to learn, to vilify rather than understand or to dismiss where it would be better to include but it does seem to be a flaw that is rooted deeply within humanity. If we are to survive, if we are to thrive it is something that must addressed because nothing built on destruction or fear ever lasts. History has shown over and over that this is true but it also shows that a great deal of damage can be done before it ends. Such a world as this is where we are heading, right now and I tremble for what it will cost all of us before it falls.


  5. Why is it so easy to get morally normal people to believe horrible things?

    I mean this literally, not in the “shame on whoever” sense, by the way. I ask it because I think it leads to a deeper truth – the “monsters” are you and me and you don’t have to be bad to do bad things.

    So the most important thing to do, in my opinion, is to honestly understand the beliefs of “bad” people and figure out how to defeat them without hiding behind a curtain of moralizing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think part of it is rather simple and like most simple things not that pleasant. People are sentient creatures, we like to feel as if we’re justified when we behave in certain ways and definitely when it comes to killing each other wholesale in times of conflict.

      As such it is much easier to believe those we are taking things from are ‘less’ or ‘bad’ or ‘primitive and need civilizing’ than it is just to say ‘well I don’t like their religion or their politics and they have stuff that could hurt us plus they have stuff we want so lets kill them, take everything, and make them be like us.

      Put that bluntly the average person would be horrified so we dress it up, give it slogans, hero’s and villains, so that when we slaughter civilians, when we take away their rights, freedoms and natural resources we can feel good about it.

      That this is what is behind most acts of racism, violence or discrimination [from all sides of the argument] is not something people want to hear nor is it something most want to believe and as such the cycle goes on and on.


      • I completely agree. One of the things that happens to most people all of the time and all people some of the time is we use our nice, shiny frontal cortexes not to examine evidence and find conclussions, but to rationalize after the fact the conclusions our emotions made for us already.

        This is why I think it’s so silly to look at a complicated situation and call one side “bad” and one side “good.” Morality is so flexible, humans are so good at rationalizing, that we can and will justify anything.

        While it’s very easy to say our enemies can’t make complex, non-emotional judgments, it’s much harder to say the same thing about ourselves.

        I would bet everything I own on the fact that Abbot is acting in good conscience, for example. So was Hitler, so was Mao every bit as much as dudes like Ghandi. People who are palatable enough to earn power, as Abbot certainly has, simply do not indulge in demented cackling and they do not plot evil from within their lairs. They present powerful, persuasive moral visions that millions of perfectly normal people find appealing.

        And I don’t mean this in the sense that we should always be nice to the well-intentioned people opposing us. One of the principal values in understanding an enemy, whether Stalin or that annoying woman three offices down, is that if you know their motivations and genuinely empathize with their feelings, you are in a much better position to destroy them. I wrote a story about bin Laden, exploring exactly this angle.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Tuesday’s Thought For The Day | Unload and Unwind

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