Thursday, 22 January 2009

Pond Life Descends on Pumpherston

A quite disgraceful episode played out in the streets of Pumpherston last Sunday. (For those who don't know, Pumpherston is a small village on the eastern fringe of Livingston and which has been immortalised by the celebrity charity football team Dukla Pumpherston.)

A dinner to raise funds to help alleviate the humanitarian disaster in Gaza was held at the excellent Raj Poot restaurant that night. Sadly, the 100 or so attendees, including 20 - 30 kids, were subjected to a torrent of racist abuse and foul language from a group of 'protesters' proudly displaying the Israeli and Union flags.

I can see why suppporters of the Israeli state might want to remind people attending this event that there are two sides to this story through a peaceful presence. But there is no excuse for intimidating people who are trying to ease the suffering of fellow human beings - and what on earth was the point of the Union flag?

I suspect, and certainly hope, that a peaceful protest on the part of Israeli sympathisers was hijacked by an insidious group of BNP activists who were simply displaying their usual standard of debate and enlightenment.

I guess we'll never know for sure but it is worrying to know that an event which had no purpose other than to help innocent victims of a war, in a place with virtually no political connection to that war, can result in such a poisonous atmosphere.

If this can happen here, is there any hope that common ground can be found between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves? We can only hope that they have a higher standard of awareness and tolerance than the pond life that polluted Pumpherston at the weekend.

No comments: