I’ll be honest as a fellow born-and-bred Yorkshire woman, I’ve always been told to speak my mind but remain polite. Yet I’m equally aware of how passionate and loud we can be on average, so this is going to be a difficult task. Bear with me.
I’m not going to do what others have done, condemning your letter outright, or calling it ‘disgusting’ and ‘sickening’, though in my opinion it is that too, of course. Instead, I’m here to have a conversation, over why you’d want to send letters out to Bradford, Leceister, London, Cardiff and your own hometown Sheffield. I say hometown, because the only identifier we have is that letters have the Sheffield postmark, indicating that they were sent from there. I’d especially like to highlight what a shoddy exercise in communication you’ve committed, and how once again Yorkshire faces some negative press, because well you couldn’t mind yourself. A quality of a truly respectful neighbour, in any part of the world but especially our home county.
But that aside, I’d like to start by thanking you for being so overtly racist, in fact. In a way that only those who’ve experienced the escalation from strange looks, patronisation, or disdain to outright verbal abuse and beatings, could ever truly know. But I’ve got some thoughts, (and heck even some pointers for you) if you really are hell bent on helping those who’ve suffered, and to stop people from somehow mutating into sheep. A hellish thought, not least for motorists on our narrow country lanes.
Firstly, clarity. I’m sure like the rest of us you were put through painfully long English classes on writing a good letter. The importance of addressing your audience, and to make the subject of your sentence clear. Perhaps you were even tested on it, I think even I was and I went to the worst school in Bradford at the time. But mate, I have to say you letter is confusing the hell out of me, who are you talking to? You open up with:
‘They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer.
They have caused you pain and heartache’
But who exactly is the ‘they’ you mean? All muslims or only some. I ask simply because some of your letters were sent to muslim addresses and houses like Councillor Riaz Ahmed’s business address. The best word for this is ‘confusing’ right? Once it could have been a mistake, but many addresses and it’s confusion. Perhaps you’re wanting to reach out to some of these people to join in your game, or give them forewarning, both noble ideas. I hope someone in your collective (if it is that) has some conscience and was trying to do exactly this. The forewarning, not increasing the number of game players for popularity’s sake. I mean are you wanting your followers to punish some muslims and not others, to help prove they’re not sheep?
This leads me to my second point. You seem to be insulting the very people who you are wanting to play your “game”. The saying ‘catching more flies with honey…’ springs to mind, remember no-one ever played with the name-calling class bully. But seriously, someone whose printed out letters on fancy paper, embedded a table and heck even put in two logos (including a crest) into a letter, has to see the irony in what you’ve done right?!
For clarity’s sake, I’ll make it clear – you’re asking them to not be sheep, to not ‘follow orders’ or be ‘easily led’ and then you’re leading them to do things for points. It’s just absurd. Especially as you’re not even coming forward to make it clear who you even are. We may be warm, open folk in Yorkshire but we’re not gullible enough to follow a shadowy someone who’s not even doing the courtesy of looking you in the eye, shaking your hand or buying you a pint/coffee. For some reasons ‘blind leading the blind’ echoes in my head.
Not to mention the fact that all of the acts you’re dictating are crimes, meaning there’s a high chance someone is going to jail. Knowing how these things play out it’ll be those who foolishly follow your ‘actions’, but hey they can’t point to you as the leader of this nefarious plan can they? So no doubt they’ll go to prison and you’ll keep on hanging out in Sheffield or down in 102 Petty France, London (who knows?), leaving the poor daft one to suffer alongside their heartbroken, abandoned family because of they hurt they inflicted on another. Wonder if you’ll send another letter clarifying that it is now you, dear writer, who has inflicted the ‘pain and heartache’?
Now the third point, may sound trivial but it’s important, your game has a serious fundamental flaw, your scoring process. Seriously, when did you last play a game? Maybe, I hit the nail on the head earlier, by noting that many people don’t play with bullies, and considering your bullying tone, perhaps this is the reasons why you’ve created a seriously messed up game (in more ways than one!). But I can’t let this one alone, it bothers me something awful…
How can throwing acid on someone be worth less than beating them up? Similarly, how have torturing using electrocution be worth less than using a knife? I’ve read enough crime novels, and watched enough action and horror movies to know that there are some forms of violence that are easier than others. Also, burning a mosque or bombing it is worth the same amount of points. Do you seriously not know how to value anything? Well I mean of course you don’t, you’re expecting people to take away another person’s life, as well as a significant portion of their own life, all to follow your seriously flawed “game”.
Finally, who is keeping score? Is there going to be a final scoreboard, a bit difficult considering your not exactly putting yourself forward as a ref, and shaking your player’s hands before setting them off to play a game for the day. By ‘day’ do you mean only during daylight hours, or is the night included too. No matter what you think about the premise of the movie “The Purge’, you have to give it to them they at least had the decency to create a structure, and to communicate it well, as well as allow open discussion and criticism. It is in this spirit that I’m putting myself out there to engage with you, as someone who didn’t receive the letter so can only assume I’m a target, but may well have considering some of my fellow muslims in Yorkshire and London did. Because I don’t want a Sharia led police state either, no I’ll be bolder I don’t want any form of police state, I want a democracy. But all democracies are built on ethics, open communication and due process, not badly engineered games, without effective scorekeeping and shady puppet-masters, so why not come forward for your democractic due process and I’ll buy you a cuppa, over which we can discuss the murkiness of your ideals and communication. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Originally from Bradford, but currently on a short spell in London.