Friday, 24 August 2007


I post to Cif quite a bit these days.

Many of the articles are fascinating in their own right, and they are often given a new dimension by the comments made on them.

There are some which annoy me, so that I can't bring myself to comment on them. Occasionally, I am so incensed by the tone of the comments that a rage overtakes me.

This article did that for me yesterday. I am not naive. I know that not everyone shares my world view, and neither would I expect them to. But I feel angry, ashamed and depressed when I read the vicious xenophobic nonsense that some people spout - covered as they are by the cloak of anonymity provided by an internet login.

Don't misunderstand. I don't want these people not to express their opinions. In fact, I was very unhappy that the Guardian issued moderation rules for the site. Much has been said of late about the standard of debate on forums, and I am firmly in the camp of letting it all in. It's easy enough to ignore the puerile stuff, and if you don't hear the arguments, how can you refute them? More importantly, I have a concern about the moderators for these things. Who says that some Guardian employee has the right to edit or delete a comment I make? It's annoying enough that some bunch of idiots can censor film, music and television before I can have access to it. Who watches the Watchmen?

What I am worried about is the level of uneducated, prejudiced and evil bigotry that I read in relation to asylum seekers - bogus, failed or legitimate. It's as if the average person in the street could be a member of the Nazi party, and are fully prepared to dismiss the lives of other people due to the colour of their skin, or their country of origin.

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