Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Great Hate-Crime Hysteria

From Eric Felten, at the Weekly Standard, "Untruth and Consequences":

Scottish teenager Kate Hume was no stranger to tragedy. By the time the great European powers hurtled into war at the end of July 1914, her older brother had already been dead more than two years: Violinist John “Jock" Hume was a member of Wallace Hartley's eight-man orchestra that had played on the deck of the sinking Titanic.

Just a month and a half into the Great War she received news even more devastating.

At the office in Dumfries where she worked as a "clerkess," Kate found herself with a pair of letters. The first had the signature of her older sister, about whom the last Kate knew was that she was working as a nurse in the English town of Huddersfield. The letter read: "Dear Kate, This is to say good-bye. Have not long to live. Hospital has been set on fire. Germans cruel. .  .  . My right breast has been taken away. .  .  . Good-bye. Grace."

The first letter was explained by the other, from one of Grace's fellow nurses, a Miss Mullard. "I was with your sister when she died," the letter said, explaining they had been together at a field hospital set up near the front at Vilvorde, in Belgium. The Huns attacked and burned the hospital, according to Nurse Mullard, killing over a thousand wounded men, including through beheadings. As for the nurses, the ones the Germans captured were grotesquely violated before being murdered. Grace was among them: "She endured great agony," the letter went on, detailing that counterattacking British Tommies had "caught two German soldiers .  .  . cutting off her left breast, her right one having been already cut off."

Kate shared the letters with the press. The story caused a sensation—covered not only in local Scottish papers such as the Dumfries Standard, but in London papers including the Pall Mall Gazette, the Globe, the Westminster Gazette, the Evening Standard, and everywhere in-between. The headline in the London Star was typical: "A NURSE'S TRAGEDY: Dumfries Girl the Victim of Shocking Barbarity."

With such widespread reporting, it didn't take long for Grace Hume to learn of her own grisly death. She saw placards up at the newsstand advertising the big headline "Terrible Murder of Huddersfield Nurse." She bought the local Post and, astonished by what she read, wired her father: "Reports untrue. Safe in Huddersfield."

Kate, it turned out, had made the whole thing up.

Jump forward a century and the case of the Mutilated Nurse has a newfound relevance. For we are in a new age of hoaxes, with frequent tales of Trump-inspired atrocities that have unraveled, as did so many of the stories of atrocities committed in WWI. Understanding the propaganda of the Great War may help us understand the motives and methods of the modern propaganda in what we might call the Hate War.

The Hate War got going in earnest in the immediate aftermath of the election with a raft of reports of malicious Trumpkins taunting and attacking young Muslim women, targeting them for wearing traditional religious head-coverings.

One of the most distressing of the hijab stories was that of Yasmin Seweid, who told police she was assaulted on the New York subway by marauding Trump supporters while fellow passengers did nothing, said nothing. The perpetrators were described as three drunk white men talking about Trump. "They were surrounding me from behind and they were like, 'Oh look, it's an f-ing terrorist,' " the 18-year-old Baruch College student told a CBSNewYork reporter. They pulled at her bag, breaking the strap. She said she begged to be left alone, only to be met with a torrent of abuse: "They kept saying 'you don't belong here, get out of this country, go back to your country.' " The men grabbed at her hijab, and her fellow straphangers, she suggested, were, in their cowardice, complicit: "Everyone was looking, no one said a thing, everyone just looked away."

The police didn't look away. They combed through the subway's security video looking for the men Seweid had described. They found none. Though the case was hugely publicized, no witnesses were found. Then, with the police looking to interview her again, Seweid went AWOL. When she finally turned up, "Suspicion," the New York Daily News reported, "went through the roof." Facing continued questioning by skeptical detectives, the young woman admitted she had been lying all along. The whole thing was a fraud. She was arraigned, charged with making a false report.

(If one thinks that a trifle harsh for a bit of youthful fibbing, it's worth noting that Britain, in the midst of war with Germany, prosecuted and convicted Kate Hume for her lies.)

Seweid's was hardly the only hijab hoax...
Of course not.

In fact, I can't think of a single confirmed hate crime committed by Trump supporters against Muslims or anything other progressive demographic group.

It's been all lies. Leftist lies.

But keep reading.