Highs and Lows in Satire and Sadistic Punishments

Only a couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning the lack of satirists to help me through the next few months of electioneering in the UK. Obviously not everyone felt we had too few satirists, and the next thing I knew some deemed supernumerary by the Kouachi brothers, as well as others not known for their work in this field, were dead.

More about that later.

However, an unlikely hero came forward. Not quite a knight in shining armour, this one was holding a pint of beer. Al Murray announced he would be standing against Nigel Farage in his Pub Landlord persona.

Now if you are not from the UK there are several delicious ironies in this you may not immediately comprehend that Al Murray is playing upon. The most delicious one is that Nigel Farage, who leads UKIP, has a penchant for being photographed with a pint in his hand and a wide grin on his face. Just An Ordinary Bloke. Yes, just an ordinary public school educated bloke who worked in the City as a banker. Haven’t we all?

Here is FUKP’s launch video.

Good to have something to smile about. Though oddly, there was laughter and smiling at a vigil tonight outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in London. Whistles too, and applause as we chanted, held placards and gazed at the rear entrance of the building. Simultaneous vigils were held in countries around the globe to protest at the floggings of Raif Badawi. Now, I had thought that everyone had heard of this case, but I was talking to the painters today who were doing my door, explaining that I would be going out to join the vigil. They looked blank when I said Badawi’s name. I outlined what was happening to him. Still blank, though now shocked. Amnesty International, who are organising the vigils, has extensive information about Badawi’s case. You can read it here.

Deborah Orr argues here that this type of punishment is a warning to Muslims around the world. I have been surprised by the number of recent columns suggesting that the Charlie Hebdo staff had it coming, and more surprised, no make that confused, by people saying we are not allowed to draw pictures of the prophet. That isn’t true. I am not Muslim, I do not have to abide by the laws of Islam. As it turns out, I haven’t ever drawn the prophet, nor indeed anyone else for quite a long time. Neither do I routinely cover my head when I go out, and I have been known to show other parts of my body in public too, though it isn’t something I would routinely inflict on others. I am sorry if that is offensive to anyone, but personally I find the niqab offensive. I don’t say women shouldn’t wear it because it is offensive to me. I live in a multi cultural society, the benefits of which far outweigh my queasiness about face veils, and so have to accept that not everyone shares my views and beliefs.

Raif Badawi’s writings seem very mild to me. I am pleased that here in London the support for his case crosses all religions and races, but concerned that there is still no sign he will be released and able to join his wife and children in Canada. If you haven’t signed AI’s online petition, perhaps you could do that now.

While oil and arm sales are more important to our government than human rights it is no point looking to our elected representatives to do anything to help him.


11 thoughts on “Highs and Lows in Satire and Sadistic Punishments

    • I think it’s brilliant. Now we need to make sure lots and lots of people see it. I might even watch question time if birth Farage and Al Murray (in his head of FUKP persona) were on.

  1. I laughed out also, these serious books in the background (are they real??? 🙂 ), the wobbling pint, the orange phone (next to a black one), that grin on his face, I really enjoyed it!

    Regarding Badawi’s case: it just makes me sick.

    I recognize my own feelings when you talk about the niqab. I can’t believe these women are asking for this! One of my friends said ‘why don’t they demonstrate to go in prison?”, I always think of this when I see veiled women…

    Have a nice day, Isobel!

  2. Brilliant (and I appreciated you putting the video in context as well). Loved this line: “While oil and arm sales are more important to our government than human rights it is no point looking to our elected representatives to do anything to help him.” The hypocrisy of our governments when oil is in play never ceases to astound me.

    • Maybe I should dig out some footage of Farage for you too. You might struggle to believe he is a real politician.

      I was cheered by the numbers of people outside the Saudi Embassy last night; also cheered when I saw two friends and neighbours arrive. By chance we ended up standing with Kate Allen, AIUK’s director, who had tried and failed to deliver a petition at the embassy’s front door. She was very upbeat, even at the thought of this vigil being repeated every Thursday night until Badawi is freed. It was good to see the pix on twitter of vigils around the globe. I wonder if the death of the king will make a difference. Might his successor free Badawi as a gesture of magnanimity to mark the start of his reign?

  3. Well done on going to the vigil, Isobel. We can only hope that the massive show of outrage at such barbaric treatment will have an effect. Shame on our politicians for putting oil and arms before human rights. Can’t believe the tributes being made to the deceased king. What are they thinking of? We enjoyed the Al Murray video, very funny. Maybe he’ll actually campaign in Thanet South if he can find where it is!

    • He is standing in Thanet South! That means he can be included in hustings and so on. Mots people think he will withdraw just before the election so people I’ll not vote for him. He is being seriously funny.
      As for the vigil; I was free and outraged, I only learned the other day that Badawi has diabetes. So his wounds will take longer to heal. I have been a member of Amnesty all my adult life, and I am very glad it exists, though I cannot always bring myself to read the magazine. I certainly couldn’t do Kate Allen’s job.
      If the vigils continue every Thursday maybe you could come to town and we could meet up again. There were around 250 people there last night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s