Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Grumpy young man pt II


I can't do it. I cannot write this letter. I cannot be the sort of person to write to the Watford Observer to point out factual errors. I'm only 23. But look:

Exhibit One:
"It's a fact
- Contrary to popular belief, there are almost no Buddhists in India, nor have there been for about 1,000 years."

Um, ever heard of Dharamsala? The capital of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile? Home of the Dalai Lama and over 80,000 refugees from Tibet. All fairly Buddhist, at least. As a percentage, it's probably pretty small, but 80,000 of them is not almost none. And that's just one town.

Exhibits Two and Three:
Taking Stock with Roy Stockdill
'There is surely an argument for asking why the majority shold stump up money for what is, after all, a minority past time.'
- Roy on why the council shouldn't be paying for a skatepark.
Um, hate to say it, but you could argue theatre and art are fairly minority pasttimes. In fact, short of shopping and driving, I can't think of a single majority (ie practiced by more than 50%) pasttime in watford. That doesn't mean we shouldn't fund the arts, it just means that it's not Roy's minority, so don't give them money.

'You've got to hand it to the French, they're always good for a laugh.

Did you hear about Monsieur Le Twit, some Gallic politician who wants us to change the names of two of London's most famous, Trafalgar Square and Waterloo Station, because they remind French tourists of their defeats in battle?"
- Roy off on one again
Actually, it was a British European Trade Negotiator. And he said maybe we should stop going on about beating the french, germans etc and start being just a little more forward thinking, like everyone else in Europe. But it's easier to just assume it was a frenchman, isn't it Roy?
'...and then there was that German fellow who was arrested for teaching his dog, Adolf, to give the nazi salute when he shouted 'Sieg Heil'!'
Er, Roy, there's a good reason why all nazi gestures and imagery are illegal in Germany. And that fellow by all reports was a nazi. What's coming up next week Roy? 'so that fellow was thrown out of the police for putting a white sheet over his head. What a classic case of political correctness gone mad!'

Exhibit four concerns the church group in Watford who have pulled out of the fireworks display in Cassiobury Park, as the theme incorporates Hindu themes, falling on Diwali night. Rev Guy Miller, of Watford Elm Church, says, "The Bible tells us in the ten commandments that we cannot serve any false gods or set up any idols."

Actually the commandment in question says 'You shall have no other gods but me'. The organisers aren't asking him to fall down before Ganesh (each to their own- He's a lovely looking god), but merely, on what is *not* a Christian occasion, to take part as a community group and enjoy the fun, and maybe just smile at the work of local kids who have made laterns, incorporating the differing beliefs and backgrounds of those children, in what is, after all, a diverse community. Maybe some of the kids will have made lanterns incorporating some charming christian imagery. Like burning Catholics to death on a big fire.

Bigot. But I cannot write this letter. Can I?


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