I've largely been offline this last week due to some computer issues. I actually could have gotten online if I had been willing to jump through some hoops to get one machine hooked up to the internet, but after a few days of not paying attention to blogs, I realized a break could be kind of nice. This was particularly true since my computer problems wound up causing me to lose a 6,000 word document that was going to be a first draft of a new eBook, which was rather upsetting.
But the problem with taking a break is now I have a backlog of material I want to get finished. I have a couple posts to get finished following up on things I've written in recent posts, as well as a couple posts on some topics which came up during my break. For instance, did you know when a prison guard beats an inmate to death, that counts as a police officer killing a civilian? Did you know if a prisoner commits suicide while in police custody, that will be counted as a person the police killed?
Yeah, it's weird. I'll have more on that in a few posts though. For now, I just wanted to get something out of the way. There's been some discussion of anti-Muslim bigotry and related issues on this site over the last couple months, and I have been quite critical of people for expressing that bigotry. I'm not going to go into the details of all that. I just need to make a simple request of my readers: Please stop citing Neo-Nazis. It would make the world a better place.
The impetus for this request is a comment I saw when I logged into this site today which said:
Cologne’s own city council has declared downtown Cologne as a “no-go area for women”.
This was in continuation of a discussion across more than one page where I mocked and derided people for saying there are "no-go zones" where Sharia law is the law of the land, and other such nonsense. These claims were never backed up with anything resembling evidence, and no such areas were ever listed to be verified, yet a number of people continued to insist they exist. The lack of any evidence, reason or rationale for believing in the existence of these zones just didn't seem to matter to some people. It seemed anything, no matter how slight, would be leapt upon and heralded as proof of what is, quite frankly, an idiotic belief which stems largely from bigotry.
And that's what we have here. This user didn't offer any evidence for his claim. While he claimed a city council made an admission, he didn't quote them. He didn't provide a link to their announcement. In fact, he didn't provide anything at all. His comment was, on a substantative level, useless.
Still, it's trivially easy to find articles making the same claim he made. For instance, this article says things like:
the city’s own council has admitted the town centre is now a ‘no-go area’ for women, while protesters angered by authorities’ alleged inaction held demonstrations last night.
But it doesn't quote the city council admitting anything. It doesn't provide a link to an announcement from the city council. Like the user who commented here, it makes a claim while managing to do absolutely nothing to support it.
It's likely the user saw an article like this or heard about one through some means or another, but anyone who was actually interested in the truth would have to notice the glaring lack of substance. That an article claims a city council announced something doesn't make it true. One needs to at least see what the city council actually said. Which in this case is... nothing.
Yes, nothing. Literally nothing. The Cologne city council hasn't had a meeting since the events which sparked the current controversy. It isn't scheduled to have another meeting until February. It couldn't have made the admission this article claims it has made. It, and the user who repeated the claim we can find in it, is simply full of ****.
The trick is one member of the city council happened to write an open letter in which she labeled certain areas no-go zones for women. A single council member, acting unofficially, obviously cannot be said to give an admission for the city council. The articles and individuals misrepresenting this one council member's personal actions as being the entire council's actions are wildly exaggerating things.
But it gets worse. It turns out that one council member who wrote this open letter, Judith Wolter, is a member of the Neo-Nazi political group, the Bürgerbewegung pro Köln.
Okay, they're not actually Neo-Nazis. They're strongly nationalistic and authoritarian while supporting discrimination and basically just being racists. That's close enough for me. When a group of a people call for a basically dictatorial government to institutionalize discrimination because their people are inherently better the rest, I don't know what actually distinguishes them from Neo-Nazis.
And it doesn't really matter. The point is Judith Wolter is a member of this group. Call them Neo-Nazis or whatever else; they are not people who can be relied upon for a reasonable viewpoint of racial relations. And yet, a letter by one of their members is the entire basis for this idea the Cologne city council has announced the downtown portion of its city is a no-go zone for females.
That's horrifying. There are thousands and thousands of people who undoubtedly believe the Cologne city council truly announced this, all because a member of a racist group wrote a letter and that got spun by people who wanted to twist it to suit their preferred narrative.
Which is why I think, as a rule, people should agree to just not cite Neo-Nazis and the like. I think it'd make the world a better place.