The development of the Shamima Begum story, and the discourse around it, has been fascinating and depressing.
Last week I posted the argument for why I thought she should be brought back to the UK to face British justice. Since then, in a rare foray into the jungle, I’ve posted similar arguments in various Facebook comments sections. In response, people have posted the most vile things, entirely unaware of the irony of doing so.
For example, here’s Neil, a father, calling for the actual beheading of someone:
While Corey, who is refurbishing his house, is more clinical but equally dismissive of British values.
Noah seems to think that advocating for the rule of law makes me ‘scum’
I prefer Richard’s comment tbh:
That’s all in response to one comment, so imagine what politicians and controversial journalists must get every day of the week.
On my own Facebook time-line, I’m pleased to report that things are a lot calmer. But there are still plenty of people posting messages demanding that we bin our international treaties and make Shamima Begum stateless (which I understand the Home Secretary has just done). There are still plenty of people happy to abandon a newborn British baby to the lawlessness of Syria. Plenty of people showing the flakiest commitment to British laws, preferring hot revenge over cold justice.
I think the Shamima Begum story dominates the news because its an opportunity for us to engage in the ‘two minutes hate‘ of George Orwell. We express solidarity with each other by finding a figure of hate, and shouting at her. A form of virtue signalling that achieves nothing. It is deeply unedifying and un-British.