• Far-right NOT all right!

    27 April 2021

    When I posted a link to a review of my Zom-B series yesterday, it reminded me of an article on Sky News in the UK a few months ago, about the rising number of links between children and the far-right in the UK. I've included the link to the full story below, but in summation it comments on the way that increasing numbers of children are being recruited by groups on the far-right of the political spectrum. We're not talking HUGE numbers here, thankfully, but it's still a worrying trend.

     

    I wrote Zom-B in response to the rise of the far-right after 9/11 and the bombings in London. Even back then, I was thinking about the children, wondering what it would be like to be brought up in a household where toxic racism was the norm, and how difficult it must be for those kids to see through the lies that they're being fed, to challenge adults who are telling them they have to hate, to break the chain and say NO to fear-mongering and hatred and racism.

     

    I think it's fair to say that the first Zom-B book divided readers. Some found it far too sickening to take. Some didn't want the focus to be on a main character who goes along with her racist father. They couldn't see why I was taking them into that world, where the person I was asking them to identify with was a teenager who, in ACTING like a racist in order to keep her brute of a father onside, WAS guilty of racism. They didn't like B, saw no worth in B, thought B was repulsive, and some (particularly if they threw the book aside and didn't finish it) even accused me of promoting racism by asking them to sympathise with a racist character who repeatedly tries to ratonalise away her racism.

     

    Of course that wasn't the case, but I DO have sympathy with children like those mentioned in this report, who have been led astray. As kids, we look to our parents and other adults around us for guidance. We rely on them to instruct us and teach us to tell right from wrong. If those adults are filled with hate, I think it can be very difficult for children to see that hate for what it truly is. If you grow up in a house where racism is the norm, then for you it becomes the norm. You don't necessarily know it's wrong, because you're being told it's right.

     

    But I believe there comes a time, on our path to adulthood, where each of us chooses to be the person that we will ultimately become. Regardless of where we start out, we all have the choice of where, morally speaking, we wind up. And that's what Zom-B was about -- a teenager who learns to say NO, who turns away from hatred, who seeks a different path. There's no denying she does it later than she should have. She causes great hurt and pain by not taking a stand sooner than she does. But in the end she comes good, and starts trying to put right some of the great wrongs that she has done. And I hoped the book might help others in B's position, the way I hoped Lord Loss might help kids who were struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one. I've always felt that really good fantasy should reflect the real world, and help us navigate through that real world. If a kid like B saw mirrors of their hatred and violence in her, I hoped they would also find hope and strength in themselves when B finally made her stand and set about turning her life around, and that they would start thinking about taking a stand of their own.

     

    I firmly believe there's always hope for the young. If we reach adulthood, and we're still saying and doing vile things, then often we're beyond reach. There ARE truly bad people in this world, for whom there can be no excuses, no salvation, perhaps even no forgiveness. But kids... I don't think we should hate kids who've been taught to hate... we have to do all that we can to reach them and help them find their way back out of the darkness... we have to believe that kids have the ability to change and put the evil ways of their mentors behind them... otherwise the monsters win, and I refuse to accept that we live in a world where the monsters can win, even when they're making inroads, as they sadly are in many places right now.

     

    https://news.sky.com/story/sharp-rise-in-children-investigated-over-far-right-links-including-youngsters-under-10-12131565

     

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