ONCE we start applauding comments which are clearly nonsense, we begin that slow and painful journey into the abyss.
Some might say we are already part-way there but I will save that for another column.
This week, an actor we hadn’t really heard of before got so excited about being hailed a common man hero (talking about white privilege is boring etc etc) that he decided to moan about a Sikh character in the movie 1917.
He seemed to feel it was a bit odd that a Sikh man was in a movie about World War One and Sam Mendes’ epic was ‘institutionally racist’ and ‘forcing diversity’ because it included a turbaned Sikh soldier in the trenches.
The problem was not the comment itself. If I am going to be honest it is the fact that there were a few people who were keen to support him simply out of this idea that by doing so we can ‘have an opinion’. This, despite the fact that over one million Indian troops served in World War One and at least 74,187 Indian soldiers died.
Having realised the error of his ways he apologised, saying on Twitter: “I am as moved by the sacrifices your relatives made as I am by the loss of all those who die in war, whatever creed or colour.”
Now, some have pointed out at that his initial comments were bigoted. I would disagree. What we have here is an issue with general knowledge and how things get airbrushed out of history.
It takes me back to a time in school when I decided to include the contribution of Indians in the world wars in a project, only to be told by the teacher that in fact there were no ‘Indians in the world wars’ in front of the class.
Without Google, I wasn’t able to prove the teacher wrong but I did realise even at the age of 13 this had nothing to do with the teacher being prejudiced in any way, it was just that he been told something else.
I don’t think he was the only one who gets their information from romanticised movies, TV series and news reports who tend to leave out the hard facts that we just don’t like. We do the same with our political heroes.
In this case the sacrifices of millions should not have been used an excuse to make a point about ‘diversity’. That certainly backfired.
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