Anyone in Portsmouth – or anywhere else – who believes that harassing a woman like this – watch till the end, please – is hilarious urgently needs to see a shrink

This is mostly for the people who are not part of the local hate groups but are merely extremely insular, always gossiping and jumping to hateful conclusions about strangers.

This is what your habit of otherisation does.

When people essentially declare other people non-humans, because they’re seen as people who don’t have the same right to live their lives. They are “not one of us, but one of them”. They are not seen as having the same needs, rights and wishes as them but as free to be messed with relentlessly.

If you think that this only happens in the United States, think again. It happens all over the world..

The people like Layla who are affected like this become otherised even more of because what it does to them. They are the ones who are being told to seek help for their temper or their personality disorder or what have you.

It’s the people who otherise them who need help… Those are the ones who have lost their equilibrium and are no longer acting in healthy balanced manner, who declare people like Layla – who had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11 and who was a nurse for crying out loud – prey.

Excessive otherisation is at the root of the tragedies that happened that caused this poor woman to be harassed this way. (Ask terrorism experts.) The west is arrogant and has a habit of treating people from other parts of the world like shit. There is only so much shit people can take.

And sometimes, otherisation can get very badly out of control as we’ve also seen happen with Nazi Germany.

The 9-11 attacks and the genocide that happened during WWII and similar targeting that is still happening all over the world today (Russian killing Ukrainians, China targeting Uyghurs, Canadians, Americans and Australians still often targeting their countries’ native populations, people like Keir Starmer suggesting that BLM is just a short-lived American fad that has no relevance in the UK and the UK refusing to return the Chagos Islands to the Chagossians, these things are all related, aren’t they?

Otherisation begets otherisation begets otherisation begets discrimination, distrust, stigmatisation, hate, cruelty, violence and ultimately genocide.

Is this cycle hard to break? Hell, yeah. Is that a reason for giving up? Hell, no.

And yes, this is more or less what being based in Portsmouth is like for me. This is what it feels like, the way Layla sweeps all her messages across the hospital floor and the way she walks out of the bank. These angry outbursts don’t mean that she is “autistic” or “schizophrenic”. Wanting to stay away from utterly nonsensical abuse – by avoiding people – does not mean that a person is “autistic” or “schizophrenic” or “learning-disabled” either.

Everyone thinks they know exactly who she is, on the basis of assumptions and gossip and harmful stereotyping. This is exactly how it works, how “regular” Portsmouth works.

You all think you know me and have the right to abuse me endlessly. But none of you know me. Not one person in this town knows me! Not a single one!

The way Layla was treated may make you feel like a hunted deer at first – scared and unsafe and always on the run and having to watch your back, always needing to brace yourself for what is around the corner – but it also makes you feel like a lion or elephant that is being shot at – angry and hurt and annoyed and irritated.

And perhaps you even end up wanting to do something about this, somehow get people to get along with other people better. But then again, is that really the responsibility of the Laylas in the world? Shouldn’t people like Layla and me merely be allowed to live our lives?

If you talk about this stuff, you get targeted but if you keep quiet, you get targeted too. There are no safe places left after a while, no places where you can relax. That’s not good.

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