Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A storm in a teacup

The video of Harry Windsor referring to a member of his platoon as "our little Paki friend" continue to be the subject of intense media scrutiny. Should he be disciplined? How has the soldier in question's family responded? What does the Asian community feel about this?

The sub-debate that has arisen of whether or not the word "Paki" is racist is interesting - its etymology and original uses answers that with a firm "yes," as it originated not as an abbreviation but as a derogatory term for all from the Indian subcontinent - but it misses the point entirely. As does the dominant question of the main debate, especially after the frenzy over his attending a fancy dress party as a Nazi soldier: is Harry a racist?

The answer to that last question is no. Harry Windsor is not racist. He's foolish, outspoken, and restless, yes, but that is to be expected.

He was born into a prison that, superficially, all of us would aspire to but, when examined, nobody would envy. He is, essentially, a "spare" - his only role in life is to step up to the throne if William dies. Meanwhile, his entire life is lived and scrutinised through a media lens. A lens that not only distorts rather mundane teeenage experiences - smoking weed, daft jokes like the Nazi uniform, underage drinking - out of all proportions, but one that in fact killed his mother. He has been surrounded by sycophants at every turn, rendering him unable to truly learn the basic etiquette of human interaction, and "protected" from the dangers of life, whether they be the risk of dying in war or of being cautioned by the police for possession of a spliff. He can never take an ordinary job, and can only take the one he was born for in the event of substantial losses within his family. He has been born into the "Royal" family, and as such moulded into a wretched creature we can only vaguely recognise as human.

The same is true of all the Windsors - look into their lives and history and you will see deep psychological torment resulting from the very fact of their birth. The monarchy is nothing but a cruel rack upon which to torture very vulnerable people, based on nothing more than what womb they sprang from.

This - aside from the obvious points of it being undemocratic, feudal, outdated, irrelevant to the 21st century, etc - is a very powerful argument in favour of its abolition.