Saturday, 12 May 2012

Who is helping who?

Last week when this (see appeared on the Manx government website I was sure we would read it in the columns of a ‘Manx’ newspaper in the next few days. Curiously, it has not appeared.
It certainly had all the right ingredients, i.e. a story involving a supposedly senior Westminster politician visiting a Manx government committee which purports to help poorer nations. The fact that Cox is actually a pariah even within Westminster Tory circles, and that Manx ‘overseas aid’ is far too often money gifted uncritically to neo-colonial dabblers (or  faith-based simpletons who only interfere in other countries because they are unemployable here) would not normally bother a docile local media which likes to be spoon-fed titbits from those whose advertising keep it going.
I remember our not-so-distinguished visitor as one of the main participants in a Rupert Murdoch funded campaign to curb local educational authorities in the early 1990’s. More particularly it sought to stop the better ones ignoring Section 28 – which prevented schools educating children about homosexuality (rather than presenting it as a disease or undesirable lifestyle). More recently she became involved in the Christian Institute, which even its politest critics view as the British evangelical right’s version of the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Further afield is her involvement in something known as the ‘One Jerusalem’ project, which seeks to deny Palestinian claims on the Temple Mount in favour of the current set-up, where a handful of the world’s most flat-earth Christian cults squabble amongst themselves over a square mile or so of mystic hoo-ha while the Israelis look on with gritted teeth and Muslim interests are handily ignored. Her overseas ‘charitable activities’ are similarly suspect, tending to perpetuate crude stereotypes of people from poorer countries which resist the ‘help’ (i.e. undemocratic control) of Western governments and evangelical charities as well as excusing some pretty inhuman UK government decisions, such as one where money is being, on the one hand, cut from women’s groups which genuinely help women escaping forced marriage and, on the other, given to a religious ‘charity’ to ‘help’ (i.e. repatriate back to their abusers) women allegedly ‘trafficked’ to the UK.
‘Trafficking’is one of those emotive terms played on by both evangelical panhandlers and racist civil servants.
We think we know of ‘thousands’ of poor foreign women smuggled into the West under false pretences by criminal gangs and then forced to work in the sex trade because we’ve read stories about them, not only in the gutter press but the women’s pages of supposedly liberal and objective papers. The problem is that when academics and serious journalists look closer they find that firstly all the stories were based on just two police raids, secondly the stories were coming from evangelical groups who saw that reviving Victorian myths about the ‘white slave trade’ could generate some handy government grants running ‘support groups’ and thirdly that neither figures nor sources could be substantiated. They were - to be absolutely blunt - plucked out of thin air, made up, bogus….(insert any term you prefer here).
In addition to the panhandling godbotherers, the other party to benefit is an immigration service which finds it easier to stereotype all women from certain countries who came here to work or have been held back by culturally conservative families as victims and tarts. This avoids awkward questions concerning their future employability and allows them to be forcibly returned on the next plane, under the supervision of Anglo-Saxon missionaries, while letting both sweatshop employers and misogynistic religious leaders with a power base in minority ethnic communities off the hook.
As knowing any of this involves research I doubt that it explains why the story was not used. Perhaps it was simply elbowed out by other ‘news’ beneficent to more immediate religious interest and privilege, though it would be interesting to know why Cox really came.
I suspect that a fellow evangelical on the far right of the picture might know the full story. If so, he will not be telling it.

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