Humanity and its Enemies

Kalen Ockerman, ‘The Enemy of Humanity’

This notorious anti-Semitic mural continues to haunt the Labour leadership, as more and more senior members are exposed as having endorsed or admired it. The mural features in this extract from Graham Holderness’s forthcoming Meat, Murder, Malfeasance, Medicine and Martyrdom: Smithfield Stories, in which a young butcher undergoes radicalization and eventually joins ISIS.

It was a Saturday night. After their evening meal the boys would usually wander along the canal to Camden Lock, and meet up with a group of their compatriots. Together they would walk around the streets and estates, smoking cigarettes, looking at girls, or kicking a football around in an empty school playground. There was a certain aimlessness to these activities, and at school Tariq had found himself envying the Saturday nights of his white school-fellows, who would look forward all week with growing excitement to a night of drunkenness and sex. This troubled him a little, but after a while there were no more white kids at the school, so the temptations of alterity were no longer there.

This night was destined to be different.

‘Come on’, said Yusef, wiping his plate clean with a piece of bread. ‘We’ve got an appointment’.

Together they walked down the road. The fabric shops were closing, the grocers still optimistically staying open. The air was thick with the spices of Indian cooking: hot oil, turmeric, garlic. Tariq paused for a minute by a huge mural that decorated a blank brick wall. He had often studied it, and rarely passed without another admiring glance. Seated in a semi-circle, staring towards the viewer, were six figures, with a large flat board spread before them. The square surface was marked out as a kind of board game, at its centre a pile of green American dollars. Among the counters were miniatures of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Gherkin, monuments of western capitalism.

A global game of money and power. The board rested on the painfully bent backs of a circle of bald, brown-skinned men; and the faces of the players displayed the enlarged noses, grey beards and heavy moustaches of cartoon Jews. Above them the artist had depicted, in lurid colours, images of industry: chimneys and cooling-towers venting black smoke, a sky lit by the orange glow of blast-furnaces. Below them, metal cog-wheels intersected to symbolise the global economic system, driven by greed and racial hatred, run over the backs of the prostrate brown masses.

On either side appeared emblems of resistance. ‘The New World Order is the Enemy of Humanity’ proclaimed a slogan on a placard held up by shouting figure in paramilitary fatigues, his right hand raised in a clenched fist salute. On the other side was the face of an oriental woman, a dark-eyed and heavy-lipped beauty, holding a baby whose skinny little arm was also raised in clenched defiance. Gazing down at this scene from above was the great all-seeing eye, set in the apex of a pyramid, Tariq had seen on US dollars: the eye of global surveillance.

The New World Order. The godless, materialistic West, allied with the Jews, playing games of money and power on the bent backs of the brown-skinned masses. Tariq took a parting glance at the baby. Weak, vulnerable, yet charged with an indomitable spirit. Suckled on the milk of jihad; born into resistance. Then he ran to catch up with his brother, who was already further down the street.


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