Well, the major media outlets have continued the embargo on the big pro-Elise Chapman petition.
It’s the one in support of the City of Greater Bendigo Councillor who is facing the firing squad for having the courage to express her views on Islam, the Bendigo mega-mosque and female genital mutilation.
If you haven’t signed it, you can find it here.
But the Bendigo Advertiser is fearless where the big boys are not. So it did mention this petition last night, saying that it had over 3,000 supporters. That’s kind of true, in the same way that it’s true that Bendigo has more than 3,000 people. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
That’s because when the Bendigo Advertiser story broke, the pro-Elise petition had over 4,000 supporters.
Now, I’m sure the Bendigo Advertiser wasn’t trying to downplay the number of people who had shown their support for Councillor Chapman. However, it was very specific about the number of anti-Elise petition supporters last week, telling us at one stage that it had 841 signatures.
I’m also pretty sure that the Bendigo Advertiser isn’t biased in its reporting of this whole issue either.
For instance, it has shown an admirable ability to maintain standards. When its stories focus on the anti-Elise petition, anti-Elise people are interviewed and given a say. And when it mentions the bigger pro-Elise story first, the Bendigo Advertiser sticks to its guns. Hence its decision to only interview anti-Elise people in those articles as well.
In yesterday’s article it was Ken Marchingo’s turn. He’s the CEO of a prominent affordable housing company based in Bendigo that receives some taxpayer funding. It also claims to support “culture and standard of practice that embraces diversity”. I suppose it is as a result of that kind of mantra that he has become a community spokesman on Elise Chapman, if you will.
So yesterday wasn’t the first time he’s had a go at her. Last week he was saying that Councillor Chapman was giving Bendigo a bad rap all over the world. This time he was calling on the Council to represent the views of the Bendigo community while making it clear that he would no longer deal with her.
Fair enough. Considering the pro-Elise petition has far more support than the anti-Elise petition calling for her to be sacked, I hope the Council takes those views into account as well. It might be nice if Mr Marchingo did too.
Mr Marchingo also said that Councillor Chapman’s views were a “hate speech matter, not a free speech matter”.
Now, they’re pretty strong words. But they come from a guy who owns his words.
On his Twitter profile, Mr Marchingo proudly proclaims, “If I said it, I own it.”
And on Friday last week, he had a few choice words to say about Elise Chapman, the Bendigo mosque and the female genital mutilation on Facebook:
“This is too fun for words… A few knuckle dragging African primitive leftover morons practise the disgusting habit of FGM..& a moron then tags it to a particular religion…& then suddenly a boring planning issue is a statewide nonsense! ….ohhh dear ….that such a thing can invite so many !,!!”
You’ll notice that this post was made by ‘Ken Marchingo’. And you’ll also notice that the little picture next to his name is the same as the little picture on the ‘Ken Marchingo’ Facebook page that’s up today. It’s the one with links to media reports of interviews given by a person named ‘Ken Marchingo’ who is also a CEO of an affordable housing company based in Bendigo.
Anyway, enough of the boring background. Back to the comments.
Strangely enough, these comments have been removed from the Facebook page that they were posted too. I say strangely enough because I actually think ‘knuckle dragging’ is a very apt phrase when it comes to female genital mutilation. Mr Marchingo and I seem to agree on that point. If he still does.
Now, I don’t know if the moderators of that page decided that the comments were way out of line, or if Mr Marchingo simply decided that he was no longer prepared to ‘own’ them. Who knows? Indeed, it’s entirely possible that Mr Marchingo no longer thinks that Africans engaging in female genital mutilation are knuckle dragging primitives.
But, for whatever reason, the comments are gone and that’s all beside the point. So here is the point.
If I had said something like that, I have no doubt that I would be accused of racism. Even if I took them down. And even if I could prove a link between some African cultures and female genital mutilation.
And if Councillor Elise Chapman had said something like that, then she’d be denounced as a racist bigot too.
But maybe it might have been better for her if she had. At least then, Ken Marchingo, one of her most vocal critics, might not have made comments in the Bendigo Advertiser yesterday evening inferring that her views on the Bendigo mosque, Islam and female genital mutilation were Islamophobic hate speech. He could have said instead said that he supports the good councillor and her right to free speech when it comes to Africans and their ‘cultural’ practices.
Of course, Ken Marchingo, like everyone else, is entitled to his view on these issues. He’s entitled to criticise Elise Chapman for expressing her concerns about the link between female genital mutilation and Islam. And he’s also entitled to express his view about the link between Africans and female genital mutilation. And if he wants to be some kind of Bendigo community representative in the anti-Elise Chapman crusade, then he can fill his boots there too.
But if he’s going to do all of this while simultaneously presenting himself as a beacon of tolerance, he should expect his credibility to be questioned. After all, ‘tolerance’ means accepting everyone and he’s referring to primitive, knuckle dragging African leftovers while at the same time going on about hate speech.
I’m also saying that this situation is rather ironic. That’s because it is wrong to say that female genital mutilation is purely an Islamic thing. That’s not true. There are non-Islamic people that practise it on cultural grounds, primarily in Africa. I oppose them as much as I oppose any other group that does it.
But it’s wrong to say that it’s not an Islamic thing either. It is a practise that Mohammad specifically allowed (even if he didn’t promote it in the same way he promoted other things, like beheading). That means Muslims don’t have to support female genital mutilation, nor do they have to practise it to follow Islamic teaching. But it does mean that they cannot condemn the practise and still claim to be a follower of Mohammad.
And here is a link to just one of many Islamic clerics who do promote female genital mutilation.
Unfortunately for Mr Marchingo, his ability to condemn the cultures that practise female genital mutilation has been completely undercut by his vociferous protestations that it’s hate speech to condemn religions that do. He’s a victim of his own illogical censorship.
Anyway, I put some questions to Ken Marchingo’s office this morning asking him to explain his comments.
Unfortunately, Mr Marchingo declined to answer my questions. I wasn’t informed that his account had been hacked. I wasn’t informed that they weren’t his words. And I wasn’t informed that he does not support them. He could have told me any of those things and I would have taken him at his word.
Instead, I was told that Mr Marchingo is always willing to answer questions, as long as they come from a ‘reputable’ media outlet.
Luckily, I presume the Bendigo Advertiser is a ‘reputable’ media outlet, especially as Mr Marchingo’s in there on a regular basis answering questions. About Elise Chapman.
So maybe it’s time for this hard-hitting publication to start asking Mr Marchingo a few tough questions about his own statements and beliefs regarding female genital mutilation and primitive, knuckle dragging African leftovers. After all, the Bendigo Advertiser has given him plenty of space to criticise other people for their views on these issues. And to present himself to the Bendigo community as a leader in the fight against hate speech.
But I won’t be holding my breath for the story.
As you may know, serial litigant and Anti-Free Speech activist Gary Burns is using legal terrorism to shut down this website. He’s lodged a huge volume of complaints with the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board. In each case, I could be fined up to $100,000 and forced to apologise for my beliefs. If I don’t, I could be jailed for contempt.
You can read more about the abusive behaviour of Gary Burns and this entire saga here.
I intend to fight. But it will be expensive to win and a loss will impact every one of us. There will be a new target if this page is forced to shut down.
I would appreciate any financial assistance that you may be able to provide. Details and the progress to date are shown below:
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- A/c No: 39 446 4501
- Goal: $150,000 (22% achieved)
Gaynor Family Support A/c (keeps this website going and feeds my family while I fight)
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