Watch Your Tongue

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Okay, let's have some fun with p.c. Naomi Campbell, the supermodel who is no stranger to controversy and public rows, has sued an English tabloid for an article last year that revealed she was a drug addict and a member of Narcotics Anonymous. But that's not all. Naomi has issued a further writ for infringement of privacy and exacerbated hurt caused to her when a writer noted: "As a campaigner, Naomi's about as effective as a chocolate soldier. She was sacked as figurehead of the animal charity PETA after she wore fur in the Fendi show. Doh!"

Naomi claims that being called a chocolate soldier "undermined my color, my mother and my grandmother." Not bad for a dumb model?playing the race card, that is?but this time there's no cigar. Before hysterically shouting racism, Naomi should have read up on the expression "chocolate soldiers," or at least have some flunky who can read do it for her. The term "chocolate soldier" became popular during the disastrous (for the British and their allies) Gallipoli campaign while World War I raged at the Western front. Australian and New Zealand forces were used as cannon fodder by the British commanders, suffering horrendous losses as they attacked the heavily entrenched Turkish troops. The troops involved at the start of the standoff suffered by far the most casualties. By the time the Brits realized that frontal assaults were going nowhere, thousands upon thousands had been sacrificed needlessly. When fresh troops arrived, they were referred to by those who had survived the slaughter as "chocolate soldiers" who wilted in the heat of their dugouts and did not have to charge the Turkish machine guns at point-blank range.

When the phrase was coined by the survivors it was a term of abuse, but later on it became a rather affectionate term. Two decades earlier, George Bernard Shaw's 1894 play Arms and the Man contained the term "chocolate soldier," when Capt. Bluntschli, a mercenary working for the Serbs, tells a Bulgarian countess that he never carries live ammunition, but loads his gun with chocolate. She scolds him and calls him "a chocolate cream soldier." Nothing in the history of the term has ever hinted at race, creed or color, but Naomi played it for all it was worth. (As I write, the libel case continues.)

P.C. is now very big bucks, and those little tin dictators of the European Union are playing it for all it's worth. The EU recently announced plans to outlaw "racism and xenophobia." All that really means is that one can be thrown in jail for calling me, say, a dirty little Greek, or when in the land of pasta calling some Roman lothario a wop. Public insults of minority groups will be outlawed by draconian laws being written as I write. As everyone is now part of a minority, all this legislation means is that the EU can jail one with impunity, and if the political case is convenient, throw the key away. People like Jean Marie Le Pen and Jorg Haider will really have to watch their step. Mankind's long battle against intolerance will now end with the most intolerant laws of all being applied to 350 million supine Europeans. Whether these laws will be brought to bear on Islamic groups is not clear. Anyone insulting Christians is, of course, immune, as is anyone insulting whites per se.

Here's an example: A Muslim sheik in London is urging schoolboys to learn how to fire Kalashnikovs on tapes openly sold in Islamic bookshops. Abdullah el-Faisal, a 38-year-old Jamaican living in London, has been giving lectures around Britain calling for Muslims to kill "filthy Jews" as they are "evil to the core" and "deceitful by nature." The only reaction of the Home Office has been to hold on to el-Faisal's passport while he's applying for permission to remain in Britain with his wife and four children. Never mind that since Sept. 11 he has issued two tapes calling for all Muslim males to train for battle and kill infidels. The self-styled sheik studied religion for eight years in Saudi Arabia?where else??and is even receiving funds from the European Development Fund as well as his local council.

And here's the other side of the coin. A senior barrister (barristers being the ones with wigs who plead in court) who called a clerk (lawyers who prepare the briefs) a "blackamoor" was taken in front of a disciplinary tribunal, found guilty, suspended from working for one year and had to pay a heavy fine. Gordon Pringle, 52, a criminal barrister for nearly 30 years, used an ancient reference for a black person in jest, in an anti-p.c. way. His accuser received a letter of apology once Pringle was informed that the clerk was upset, mainly about when Pringle had joked after a case?both men had participated in it?that "senior counsel will get a suite at Eric's client's hotel, junior counsel will get a nice room and Eric will serve the drinks on the plane..."

When the Joking Had to Stop would be an ideal title for an anti-p.c. novel, although if published in Europe both the publisher and author could end up in the pokey. So eager are those who make the rules to keep us in line that even in Poland, a country not as yet enslaved by EU legislation, one has to be awfully careful with one's choice of words. A main Eurosceptic politician, Andrezej Lepper, was fined $5000 for calling the president of Poland "a layabout." A previous verdict on the same charge, which Lepper appealed, had sentenced him to 16 months in prison. Imagine, 16 months in jail for calling someone a layabout. God help us.

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