A N T I C S T H E
L I B E R A T I O N
I S S U E
JERMAIN JACKMAN NADIA WHITTHOME MP
Released September 2021
ERIC MURANGWA EUGÉNE MBE
CHAIR'S NOTE Welcome to a brand new edition of Antics! I’m heartened that despite the pandemic, the Young Fabians have never been more active. Thanks to all of our officers, we continue to organise great events; share our ideas with top Labour policymakers; and amplify our members’ voices in all of our platforms and publications, including in the pages of Antics. I want to congratulate Amber for putting together such a bold, innovative piece of work. After the year we’ve had, it’s so important that she’s chosen Liberation as the theme for Antics’ return. Covid-19 came like a flood. It followed the contours of our existing inequalities, and the cracks in our systems. Across the spectrums of class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and ability, those already facing the greatest disadvantages have been harmed the most. While some extraordinary restrictions of our liberties have been necessary to save lives, Covid-19 has come at a time when freedom and rule of law were already facing renewed threats. In Britain, a populist government erodes the rule of law, and discards proportionality in how ‘justice’ is dispensed. In the USA, a violent far-right insurrection breached the Capitol itself. In central Europe, Asia and South America, strongman leaders have rejected democratic values in favour of a brutal zero-sum approach to politics. Marginalised and disadvantaged communities have borne the brunt of this: but they have also been at the forefront of the fightback. Some are wondering how the left should respond to a political right that is increasingly authoritarian, and no longer squeamish about embracing big government to achieve their aims. The answer is this: we should respond by relentlessly tackling extreme inequalities and prejudices at every level, in pursuit of a more just world. This edition of Antics is an important reminder of that. Finally, I want to thank every writer, and every Fabian reading this, for your contributions to our Society. The pandemic has temporarily disrupted all the ways we used to interact with each other, leaving us with a way of life that’s been lonely and alienating. More than ever, I’m so grateful that the Fabians has kept giving us a unique way of meeting and supporting decent, inspirational, principled people on the left: in spite of all the distances. Mark Whittaker, Young Fabians Chair
COMING TO BRITAIN by Ciara Garcha
THE RIGHT TO PROTEST by Holly Barrow
THE PANDEMIC PULLED US APART, BUT POLITICS IS BRINGING US BACK TOGETHER by Jeevun Sandher
RACING TOWARD HEALTH PARITY by Morenike Adeleke
INTERVIEW: JERMAIN JACKMAN by Tobi Dada
WOMEN IN SCIENCE by Zainab Rehman
TO DEFEAT THE CULTURE WAR, OUR POLITICS MUST BE INTERSECTIONAL by Nadia Whitthome MP
THE FEMINIST LIBERATION MOVEMENT by Emily Batchelor
EDUCATING ON ORIENTATION by Owen Michael
SO FAR, SO GOOD? by Jay Aleksandr
DE-MYSTIFYING BIPHOBIA AND BISEXUALITY by Elly Savva
A DIALOGUE ON TRANSNESS by Jane Fae
INVISIBLE DISABILITIES by Katharine Roddy
A POST-PANDEMIC AGENDA FOR DISABLED PEOPLE'S LIBERATION by Emily Brothers
DAZED AND CONFUSED: BEING YOUNG, NEURODIVERSE AND ON THE LEFT by Leon Alleyne-McLaughlin
AN ASPIRATIONAL SOCIETY FOR BRITISH MUSLIMS by Hasnain Khan BEM
COMBATTING ANTISEMITISM by Luisa Attfield
HONG KONG'S FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY by HKDNOW
INTERVIEW: ERIC E MURANGWA by Amber Khan & Louie Marlow
UYGHUR POETRY translated by Munawwar Abdulla
EDITORIAL TEAM EDITOR: AMBER KHAN Twitter: @amber_khan_ SUB-EDITOR: LOUIE MARLOW Twitter: @louiemarlow ARTWORK: MARIOTA SPENS Instagram: @mariotaspens
COMING TO BRITAIN BY CIARA GARCHA “Every person who under this Act is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies…(shall) have the status of a British subject”. The British Nationality Act of 1948 paved the way for subjects of British colonies to claim citizenship in the UK, marking the beginning of a period of global migration to the UK. The independence of Pakistan and India in 1947, and Sri Lanka in 1948 saw increasing numbers of South Asians take advantage of the clauses of the British Nationality Act allowing them to start a new life and new communities in Britain. The first generation of immigrants to arrive from across the crumbling British Empire after 1948 were greeted with a mixed response, ranging from outright hatred to a warm, if not desperate and strained welcome. “Welcome Home!” the Evening Standard proclaimed reporting on the arrival of the SS. Windrush from Jamaica, whilst the Manchester Guardian described the 492 people aboard as having received “A Thames Greeting”. If immigration was greeted with a strained response in the late 1940s, by the 1950s and 1960s, attitudes amongst the media, political elite and large sections of the population had hardened. 1962 saw the Commonwealth Citizens Bill passed into law, marking the beginning of repeated attempts to curtail immigration from former colonies. Only a year prior to the legislation, in 1961, the Conservative MP Sir Cyril Osbourne had linked the struggles of the “unfortunate English family” to “unlimited immigration”, arguing: “in housing, hospitals and social services, our own people are compelled to compete with the immigrants”. Themes of competition and the country being overrun by “unlimited immigration” - alarmingly reminiscent of modern discourse - were also perpetuated amongst the far-right groups organising in the second half of the 20th century. The National Front was one such group that explicitly targeted South Asians and British South Asians, tapping into wider anxieties on immigration. Founded in 1967, the National Front (NF) grew rapidly to become a considerable force in politics, gaining over 10% of the vote in a 1973 by-election. The arrival of South Asian refugees and immigrants from East Africa, including the 27,000 expelled from Uganda by the President Idi Amin, heightened tensions around immigration. The National Front espoused solutions to these “problems” including forced repatriation and a halt on nonwhite immigration and were increasingly blending into the political mainstream, growing in its profile and membership. The National Front’s racist, anti-Black and anti-Asian agenda had garnered an estimated 14,000 paying members by 1977. Marches and street processions were a staple tactic of the NF throughout the 1970s and 1980s, a physical attempt to intimidate people of Colour and “reclaim” their country. The racist rhetoric of the period, notably Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, triggered the trend known as ‘Paki-bashing’; random violent attacks on members of the Pakistani and wider South Asian community.
"It was not uncommon for South Asians to make up a considerable proportion of those marching against the NF and racist groups, alongside other communities and people of Colour." The birth of a substantial generation of British South Asians within the UK from the 1960s onwards meant efforts for the South Asian community to cultivate and expand its political voice grew. It was not uncommon for South Asians to make up a considerable proportion of those marching against the NF and racist groups, alongside other communities and people of Colour. The Southall branch of the Indian Workers Association (IWA), a left-wing organisation first founded in 1938/39 to challenge workplace racial discrimination and mobilise South Asians in the workplace, helped lead counter-demonstrations against a planned National Front meeting at Ealing Town Hall in 1979. When several of their members were arrested, the IWA helped cover legal fees and was present at the funeral of Blair Peaches, an anti-racist ally, who was killed as a result of the chaotic policing that day. There was an interesting duality in attitudes towards South Asians in the last few decades of the 20th century. Even whilst they were subject to racist abuse, the South Asian community was frequently held up as a so-called model minority by policymakers. The South Asian community, it was claimed, worked hard and attempted to assimilate; they were an acceptable minority group and an ideal for other minorities. This was, however, a divisive way of devaluing other minority groups: and even whilst it raised the political clout afforded to the South Asian community, it was a dangerous extension of the colonial-era divide and rule policy. The politically calculated elevation of the South Asian community's status was little more than symbolic and failed to translate into reality, whilst devaluing other communities and people of Colour. Of old sat Freedom on the heights, The thunders breaking at her feet. Above her shook the starry lights: She heard the torrents meet.
THE RIGHT TO PROTEST BY HOLLY BARROW In recent months, the UK public has experienced firsthand the government’s attempts to erode the right to protest. Following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan police officer, a vigil was organised to both mourn Sarah and to demand an end to violence against women. But shortly before the gathering, police threatened organisers with excessive fines and legal action, leading the organisation Reclaim The Streets having to back down and discourage the public from attending. Feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut made the brave decision to proceed with the vigil, refusing to allow the Metropolitan police to dictate how the public wished to express their grief and demand change. What started out as a peaceful and moving gathering - with a number of women taking to the bandstand at Clapham Common to deliver empowering speeches - soon spiralled into violence. Police officers were filmed kettling attendees at dusk and making arrests by pinning women to the ground, despite monitoring the vigil from a distance just hours earlier.
Throughout the pandemic, police powers have increased dramatically through the enforcement of lockdown regulations, having particularly critical repercussions on the right to protest. The vigil for Sarah Everard only amplified this, alerting many to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which was due to pass its second hearing just days later. The Bill has since been described as an assault on the right to protest, as it would allow police to suppress any public demonstration that it deemed ‘disruptive’ to the public - essentially criminalising the very nature of protest. However, this Bill is simply the latest in a series of attacks against public protest. In recent years, civil liberties organisations have campaigned extensively against the government’s attempts to stifle dissent, highlighting the growing policing of demonstrations. Following a FOI request submitted by UK Drone Watch in November 2020, police forces within the UK admitted to using drones to monitor public demonstrations, including Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. However, despite ten police forces admitting to this, none of those questioned would detail their covert use of drones.
This raises a number of concerns, specifically regarding how this data is collected and stored, as well as how technological surveillance can be used as an intimidation tactic to discourage members of the public from participating in protest.
What’s more, it poses unique threats to marginalised groups who are already disproportionately targeted by the police. This can intimidate many who would otherwise wish to participate, particularly those who are members of groups already overwhelmingly targeted by the police. An example given within Statewatch’s report is refugees and migrant workers who may wish to participate in campaigning activities but who are fearful that doing so would jeopardise their immigration status in the UK. Since it is unknown whether police forces share drone footage with government departments such as the Home Office, this lack of information serves to discourage people from standing up for causes they believe in. It would be difficult to ignore that such intrusive surveillance of public protests clearly has a bearing on whether an individual feels they are able to participate in protest.
"This therefore begs the question: to what extent is police surveillance infringing on our right to protest?" When it comes to marginalised groups, the stakes are higher. Research carried out in 2012 pointed to a long standing issue with using unmanned aircraft systems for surveillance: the prevalence of discrimination. It noted that the same ‘usual suspects’ are targeted by these technologies, namely the poor, people of colour and antigovernment protesters. This issue has proceeded to be echoed in more recent studies, with the growing recognition that technology despite often being deemed incapable of discrimination - is in fact riddled with human biases and, subsequently, racial prejudices. In 2018, Black scholars Joy Buolamwini, Deb Raji and Timnit Gebru found that algorithms can, in fact, be racist. Facial analysis algorithms commonly misclassified Black women (almost 35 percent of the time), while nearly always classifying white men correctly. Since drones frequently have facial recognition technology built in, its use in policing gives great cause for concern.
Recent events which have revealed the abhorrent policing of peaceful public gatherings have not risen out of thin air, nor are they exclusive only to the pandemic. Rather, as Liberty has previously noted, there has been a concerted attack in recent years from both government and police on the right to protest. The growing incorporation of technological surveillance is just one aspect of this but nonetheless one we must fight against if we wish to retain our civil liberties.
There in her place she did rejoice, Self-gather’d in her prophet-mind, But fragments of her mighty voice. Came rolling on the wind …
Sarah Everard protest, 2021
Black Lives Matter protest, 2021
Anti Iraq War protest, 2013
The Eagle of his Nest. No easier divest— And gain the Sky. Than mayest Thou—Except Thyself may be. Thine Enemy— Captivity is Consciousness— So’s Liberty
THE PANDEMIC PULLED US FURTHER APART, BUT POLITICS IS PUSHING US BACK TOGETHER BY JEEVUN SANDHER For this past year, death has passed from person to person, stalking everyone we hold dear, ready to strike them down with its terrible, invisible hand. Death did not, however, strike at us all equally. The privileged could avoid it with ease, while the least privileged could avoid it only with great difficulty. Death, it turns out, has a class consciousness, and it dislikes the Precariat. Unlike previous global infection scares, Covid-19 put everyone’s lives on hold because it achieves the perfect pandemic trifecta – it is deadly (unlike Swine Flu), highly infectious (unlike SARS), and spreads from people who do not show symptoms (unlike Ebola). The only way to stop it spreading and avoid catching it was to stay away from others.
That is true even amongst Key Workers - it was the care workers, taxi drivers, and security guards that were most likely to die from Covid19. Doctors, who are highly paid Key Workers at high risk of catching Covid-19, were the exception rather than the rule. Being less privileged before the crisis meant you were both more likely to lose your job and more likely to die from COVID-19. Lower paid workers were also more likely to live in overcrowded housing where the virus could spread more easily. Lower paid jobs are more concentrated in more deprived areas leading to more job losses and more deaths in the most deprived areas. The left behind places fell even further behind.
For those who were able to work in their own home, it was easy to stay away from others and avoid the virus. These workers were highly skilled and highly paid. They could Zoom in and out of the office. Older graduates who owned their own homes came out of this pandemic the best. They kept their jobs, and saved the money they would have spent in pubs and restaurants. They lived with their families, not their housemates, and their mental health was the better for it. As the pandemic ends, the already-privileged are cashing in those savings to buy houses, and pushing up prices that will put homeownership out of the reach of the rest of us. This pandemic has laid bare our generation’s plight. It isn’t our lack of prudence that has stopped us buying houses – it’s because older generations have the cash to buy them, benefit from rising prices, and won’t let us build more where we need them.
Those who worked in jobs that required close social interaction with others – the people who care for our elderly relatives, pull our pints and cut our hair - found themselves either unable to work, because their sector was shut down due to Covid restrictions, or risking their lives as Key Workers. And jobs that required more social interaction tend to be lower paid than those that could be done from home as shown in Figure 1 .
Figure 1: Relationship between Occupational Wage and Physical Proximity
Woman recieves Covid-19 vaccination in Nottinghamshire
And ethnic minorities were far more likely to die from COVID-19 as well. Part of this was due to pre-existing factors – they were more likely to be Key Workers, putting their lives at risk for the rest of us. But even when we control for age, class, location, and health status, Black men were still twice as likely to die from Covid-19. At least part of this is due to discrimination – ethnic minority health workers were less likely to have been supplied adequate PPE and their safety concerns more likely to be ignored.
"This government may be trying to go back to the miserly status quo, but the public and Marcus Rashford stand in their way. And in a contest between Rishi Sunak and us, my money is always on us. " This pandemic has pulled us even further apart. But there is hope. While biological and economic forces have increased divisions, our empathy and humanity has the potential to bring us together. We should remember that welfare states that cared for people from cradle to grave were created in the aftermath of World War II because electorates demanded it after a national, existential crisis that engendered a greater sense of social solidarity. We can create a better world in the aftermath of this crisis as well. Across the Atlantic we have seen a Democratic President halve child poverty at the stroke of a pen. In this country, the furore over the tiny pay rise for nurses and measly Free School Meals shows how much more we care. This government may be trying to go back to the miserly status quo, but the public and Marcus Rashford stand in their way. And in a contest between Rishi Sunak and us, my money is always on us.
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand. A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
Covid-19: A Pandemic in Photos London's Square Mile 10 April 2020 The capital fell silent, as the UK went into lockdown. Office workers were instructed to work from home and ADD
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery - Holborn, London 23 April 2020 NHS nurses, doctors, surgeons and support staff unveil a rainbow balloon display to thank the general public for their support during the pandemic.
Sutton New Hall Cemetery - Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham 7 May 2020 Burial chambers are prepared for future use.
Bradford Central Mosque - Bradford, West Yorkshire 31 July 2020 Worshippers observe social distancing on the first day of Eid, in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The Area was one of several in the north of the country where measures were suddenly introduced just a day ahead of the religious festival..
University Hospital - Coventry, West Midlands 8 December 2020
From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command. The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Margaret Keenan, 90, is applauded by staff as she returns to her ward after becoming the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine at the start of the largest ever immunisation programme in the UK’s history.
Men who participated in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, part of a collection photos in the National Archives labeled “Tuskegee Syphilis Study"
RACING TOWARD HEALTH PARITY BY MORENIKE ADELEKE The Covid-19 pandemic has brought healthcare to the forefront of everyone’s minds, in a way that has never occurred before in our lifetime. It has also brought to the forefront, and exacerbated, the inequalities that exist in our society, with evidencing showing that people from BAME backgrounds are significantly more likely to be hospitalised or die if they catch Covid-19. There are several factors that contribute to this; people from BAME backgrounds are more likely to have public-facing jobs, live in poorer quality housing and in more deprived areas, and have poorer access to healthcare, compared to their White counterparts. They are also more likely to live in intergenerational households, where older members of a family live in the same home as their children and grandchildren. In this situation, if one family member becomes infected, they may pass the virus to their older family members, who are in turn more likely to be hospitalised, or die. On top of this, if they have a job where they are unable to work from home, and where the traditional employment benefits such as sick pay and paid annual leave do not apply and are required to self-isolate, they will be further negatively impacted financially, compared to an employee who can work from home during their self-isolation.
"There needs to be greater understanding and listening from our politicians on BAME people’s lived experiences of the healthcare system," This leaves some people in the situation of either losing pay through no fault of their own or going to work and risking spreading the virus. Whilst the Test and Trace services offers a payment to those who have to self-isolate, there have been situations where people have been unable to access the payment, leaving them out of pocket for following the legal requirement to self-isolate when asked to. This is not the only issue within healthcare at the moment. Whilst the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine programme has been largely successful, people from BAME communities are less likely to have the vaccine if offered.
There is increased hesitancy in the BAME community to have the vaccine, which may be due to the negative experiences people from BAME backgrounds have had in the past, of which there are many examples. The 40-year long unethical Tuskegee Syphilis Study that took place in Alabama, saw African American men deliberately infected with syphilis without their consent, and never offered treatment, despite antibiotics being readily available. 128 of the men died, either directly from syphilis or complications related to the condition. Add to this the history of Black slaves subjected to unethical human experimentation during the antebellum period. Or the reports from many BAME people of their healthcare conditions not being well understood or treated by clinicians, whose data comes from studies where participants are predominantly White, and it is little wonder that there is a level of distrust from the BAME community of the healthcare system. Despite improvements in healthcare, there is still a disparity of outcomes between patients who are White and those who are not, and a number of things contribute to this, from the patient’s postcode, to their occupation. A recent report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (which has been subject to criticism in the media) suggests that there should be a body set up to investigate the existing health disparities. However, when it comes to Covid-19, it refers more to external contributing factors such as the type of job a person does, rather than the person’s ethnicity, without taking into consideration the fact that people from BAME backgrounds are more likely to be subject to these factors, which in turns leaves them more exposed to the virus. There needs to be greater understanding and listening from our politicians on BAME people’s lived experiences of the healthcare system, and their suggestions must also be taken into account, if we are going to address and eradicate the racial differences in healthcare. We must also recognise the many factors which contribute to poor health, from housing to occupation to air quality. This way, people are less likely to suffer worse health outcomes, simply due to the colour of their skin.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
The Ungrateful Patient
JERMAIN JACKMAN MUSICIAN. ACTIVIST. SOCALIST. INFLUENCER. Sitting in Nedicks, the women rally before they march , discussing the problematic girls; they hire to make them free. An almost white counterman passes a waiting brother to serve them first
Tobi Dada sits down to speak to Jermain Jackman about running for the Labour Party National Executive Committee, founding the 1987 Caucus and mobilising young people to get involved in politics.
Jermain Jackman: I didn't choose to be political. Me being a black man from Hackney inherently means I’m political. Me being from a working-class background inherently means I am political. It's about fighting to survive. It is about fighting to live, it is about fighting for rights and freedoms that you aren't able to access on a day to day basis. It's about fighting police harassment and heavy handedness. It's also about being surrounded by the struggle and wanting to get out of that struggle. As recently as December 2019, My friend in Ilford was stabbed and killed and it reminded me that while we fight one another within our movement there are real life problems happening. In society, there are real struggles. There are people losing their lives. There are families really struggling to make ends meet. That's what really drove me into politics. I said we can't continue to live in a society where people are robbed of their future. We can't continue to live in a society where families are struggling to make ends meet or to even look after their kids. We can't continue to live in a in a society where there are systems and structures in place that prevent people from reaching their full potential. I wanted to bring about change. I wanted to be a part of a movement that chips away at the wall. I don't believe that I can change the world, but I do believe is that I can add my voice and chip away at that systemic wall that's oppressing so many people.
Tobi Dada: I completely agree with that. Have you seen the movie that recently came out about Fred Hampton? Judas and the Black Messiah? It was really interesting, because the Black Panther Party as a movement, what they primarily focused on was just feeding black kids in the area and giving them free education and that was that was the heart of their politics. Just serving their community. I think we have to sometimes ask ourselves, as labour members are we serving our community? If the Labour Party didn't exist in Hackney, would it make a difference to people’s lives? I think if the answer is no, then maybe we're not doing our jobs properly. Jermain Jackman: 100% I don't even know if the majority of residents in Hackney know that there's a constituency Labour Party. Even if I look at my CLP in Hackney, Hackney is one of the most diverse areas in London but I'm one of the only black men in the room. Then I ask are we actually campaigning on some of the issues that our community members actually face? Or are we campaigning on the issues that we care about in the Labour Party? At what point do we start to represent? During the NEC election a lot of people were talking about open selection and how I need to support open selection. I said well what I do support is ensuring that our CLP’s are representative of our local areas, because open selection means nothing if it's just a room full of white people picking who will represent Lewisham, one of the most diverse areas with the highest population of Caribbean people in the country. What we need to focus on first is how do we ensure CLPs are representative? How do they reflect our community?
Tobi Dada: That's a really interesting point. I remember just after the 2019 election when we had our respective ward meetings and people were talking about why we lost, there was a huge amount of people within my CLP that didn't want to accept that we had gotten things wrong. But I made the point that many of the people that came to the ward meeting, and within the wider Labour Party, will be okay under five years of a Tory government. But for many people from working class backgrounds, they won't be okay and that’s point of the Labour Party movement. That's the point of the Labour Party. To get the Tories out of office so that people can have a better life. I think sometimes people can lose sight of that.
Tobi Dada: The entire selection process in the Labour Party seems like a sham, at times. I mean the NEC imposes who they want to win and then the membership of the Labour Party just votes for a candidate. And, like you said, membership of the Labour Party in most cases is entirely older and white. So they're not really in touch with the real issues that people like me and you would face as young black men and it's shocking. Relating that to the NEC elections, would you say that the process needs to be reformed in terms of how the BAME representative is selected?
Jermain Jackman: We get so sucked in internal party machinations but I actually realised that while I was putting my energy into a party that actually didn't want me on their team, I was neglecting the actual groundwork that I left behind in Hackney and I have been able to do so much more through my community activism in Hackney, than I have trying to get onto the NEC to try and bring about change. i realised my work is within the community. I started leading campaigns to take that all the racist symbols in Hackney, including the street names and the statues. That's the work that’s bringing about change to people's lives. Not an NEC election. My worry for our movement is that we are quick to lose sight of the bigger picture and we distract ourselves with these small battles.
Jermain Jackman: oh God, I’m revisiting the trauma [laughs] My mum’s a nurse and my dad’s a bus driver, I know I sound like Sadiq Khan but my point is I’m working class through and through. I come from community where I have seen poverty, where I have seen struggle, where I have seen social injustice and as a young person. So what you had was me entering a race full of energy, engaging with people and then being told you need to engage with trade unions. I was like wow, okay, well I don’t really know trade unions that well, so I made connections and I got the support of the musicians union. Then I put an argument forward to Unison and to Unite saying this is what the party needs, the party doesn't need somebody who's institutionalised or factionalised What ended up happening was I had the most amount of member votes, if we were to go by Members, I'd be on the NEC right now. I beat everyone. By a large margin.
and the ladies neither notice nor reject; the slighter pleasures of their slavery. But I who am bound by my mirror; as well as my bed; see causes in colour; as well as sex
Tobi Dada: So my first question is what brought you into politics? When did you get involved? When did you join the Labour Party?
Tobi Dada: That sounds like that sounds like such a sham, because the whole point of having a BAME Rep is to have someone on the NEC that represents minorities, and if it's being indirectly imposed by white men in trade unions, then that person probably just has strong connections with the leadership and various other parts of the Labour Party. It seems like they can just overwrite what the majority of black members want. Jermain Jackman: A lot of people said to me Jermain, you were robbed but I say you win some and you lose some. You just keep it moving. The reason why I was so frustrated and, it was that frustration that made me run again for the NEC, was because I wouldn't have a problem if the trade unions had spoken to their ethnic minority members and the ethnic minority members had voted. But when I was campaigning with local trade unionists from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, they said we don't know about any vote that's happening. I said you do know that there is an NEC vote, and they said yeah, but nothing was shared with us and I was speaking to a regional director. So what you had was white male General Secretaries choosing who their unions going to back to represent black and ethnic minorities in our movement. When I then raised this to the governance and legal department in our party, they said oh we don't have a say in how the unions to make decisions. So then what is our movement all about?
Tobi Dada: That's ridiculous Jermain Jackman: The injustice continues. We are now having BAME structures put up. Who designed the BAME structures? It wasn't members, it was trade unionists. We now have the we now have more information about the BAME structures, I hate the term BAME by the way, but we are actually going to have a BAME conference. The trade unions also decided that it's going to be a delegate system for the BAME conference so already there's barriers put up for BAME members. We have to be elected as delegates to go to the BAME conference and trade unions decide that. So even to be around the decision making table, you need to be pally pally with trade unionists. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against trade unions like they've done enormous amounts for workers rights and for change in our country. But we do need to question at what point and to what extent can trade unions have a say in black organisation in black mobilisation? I feel like there needs to be a space for black and ethnic minority members to make decisions that then will feed into the main conference. If it's just okay this is just the BAME conference and you guys have your corner and it's nice that you have your conversations, but nothing is going to bring about change, then I have a problem. But if you have a main structure and then a BAME structure and the like feeding into this main conference, then yes. Because what happens is women members, disabled members, LGBTQIA members, BAME voices in that main structure are voices that go unheard, therefore, you create a space for their voices to be heard and feed that in. Now I want to know is at what meaningful point do we see that fed into the main structure? Is there going to be a section of Labour main conference where they say these are the BAME motions, everyone should be here to be voting on this? Or BAME members get to vote on this.
Who's really designing this? So those are my concerns and I feel like they are just the tip of the iceberg with what the Labour Party has to really try and get a grip on. Tobi Dada: I think those concerns are legitimate just because you know, oftentimes, you put these structures in place and then you know the Labour Party can just say oh but you guys have the BAME conference, why you raising this issue here? Just go and raise it at the BAME conference and then when you get to the BAME conference you realise that there's so much bureaucracy, that you can't even have a voice in in the conference, so I guess in that sense it could be a step backwards, but only time will tell, right? Only time will tell. Jermain Jackman: 100%. It's such an important point. Tobi Dada: What did you find most surprising when you ran for the NEC? Jermain Jackman: I think I was naive to the nastiness. I didn't think people would be so nasty. I wanted to really be dignified and respectful in my campaign. I didn't need to speak down about anyone's campaign, I just wanted to focus on my own. Well, what you had was people who would slate you, call you names and, I'm going to be honest, it was disproportionate to the black members who decided to run. My inbox was filled with abuse, not only my emails, but my Twitter DMs and requests. People are sending me screenshots from different WhatsApp groups about people talking about me. I guess if you are passionate about public service, you're going to have to expect that, but I believe that it shouldn't have to be a part of that and you shouldn't have put up with being called names.. And that's something that I was really surprised by, because I said to myself, are we not a movement of brothers and sisters and siblings? Okay, cool I lash out sometimes at leadership, but not to a point where it's a detriment to them. Everything I do and everything I say is with kindness in my heart, or there's an ounce of frustration, but I just felt like people just woke up wanting to be mad. People just woke up wanting to come after me and I'm like, do you not have anything else? Focus on something else, because really the Labour Party is not the be all and end all. Tobi Dada: There's a book called “Why we get the wrong politicians” and the point it made is that because of the abuse you get when you enter public life, especially politics, a lot of people that would be really really good MPs and really really good politicians don't want to do it because the abuse is just too much. For me personally, I think there's a difference between abuse and criticism and when you get abused, especially as an MP or someone in politics, then I think there should be repercussions. Jermain Jackman: I think people like to blur the lines with the abuse and criticism. There is a clear I think there was clear line between abuse and criticism. I don't mind you critiquing me. I don't mind you holding me to account. I want you to hold me to account. I want you to ensure that I'm transparent. You live and you learn but I think one of the main things that I learned is that this movement really isn't ready to change.
and sit here wondering, which me will survive, all these liberations.
Tobi Dada: Yeah, I completely agree. Jermain Jackman: So yeah, I had all these ideas but the Labour Party weren’t ready for it. They weren’t ready for me. I was too radical for them [laughs]. I realised at the end of 2020 that this is not about me. This is not about getting Jermain Jackman into the NEC. It's again about chipping away at that wall. The 1987 caucus group that I have, I'm trying to inspire them to try and go for seats and go for the NEC. Tobi Dada: , I still think in terms of the way you’ve inspired people. I was definitely inspired to see your campaign. Just seeing someone actually go for the NEC position that looks like me and that came from a similar sort of background as me was really inspirational and I guess maybe one day you will get onto the NEC. You've basically created a pathway and your legacy can be that you motivated people to actually just go for it. I think that the worry is now there's going to be people within the trade union movement, who I think are probably very worried that someone like you can come in and just win. What is the 1987 Caucus? Jermain Jackman: The 1987 Caucus is actually something that was born out of the first NEC election I ran for. I hated the term BAME, I wanted to develop structures within our movement that represented the global majorities, I've started to stop calling it ‘ethnic minority’ but ‘global majority’. In 1987 we had our first Labour Party global majority individuals elected to Parliament - Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz, Paul Boateng, and I felt that a lot of people can resonate with that date. So why don't we call it the 1987 Caucus and the Caucus will be a collection of different groups within our movement to be represented.
Obviously, I didn't get elected, but I still felt like the idea was great and one of the things I heard throughout the campaign trail was young black men feeling like they were voiceless. We don't have any representation. We feel voiceless. Whenever we raised issues or concerns in my CLP, I'm just put to the side. There is no opportunities for us. Tobi Dada: That's really interesting, actually, because I guess for me trying to motivate people to get involved in politics, and especially my friends, whenever I mention the Labour Party they always switch off. I have friends who run some really cool organisations and I'll be like why don’t you come to my ward and we can do a collab? But as soon as I mention it’s the Labour Party, they’re like no thanks, don’t really want to be affiliated. I think the sad thing is that the Labour Party has become a toxic phrase within our community, especially because a lot of people feel like it doesn't represent us, so I'm really really happy to see that you've started something of your own and I’m definitely going to check it out.
"It is going be down to you and how you mobilise yourself. It will be down to you and how you leave your house and campaign. Now is the time to stand up and fight and don't just stand by and allow injustices to go past you. Nothing is going to change if we stay silent." Jermain Jackman: Please do and if you know any other young black men in the movement, then please encourage them to join to. We’re a non-factional group - we've got young black men from across our movement all in the same WhatsApp group chat. We have monthly meetings to talk about some of the issues that we face and what we're going to do to overcome them. I would like to grow the 1987 Caucus and campaign on issues outside of the party as well. Too often when we think about groups affiliated with the Labour Party, they only have to focus on Labour Party issues. So when police are harassing young black men, for example last year in June you had over 1/4 of all the young black men in London stopped and searched in the space of two months. The Labour Party was silent on that. But the 1987 Caucus were vocal and I feel like we should be vocal on some of the issues, because when I think about the young people that I come across, they don't want to be party political. They just care about the issues and the moment you start to say oh yeah we’re affiliated with the Labour Party, they just switch off. So when I'm engaging with young people in Hackney and in other boroughs, I don't actually talk about the Labour Party at all. I talk about taking the fight to your local authority, taking the fight to your MP, taking the fight to your counsellors, taking the fight to the leader of your council or your mayor. That's what they care about. They care about the issues on the ground. They care about, okay how can I ensure that my house has Wi-Fi? What universal Wi-Fi or a statewide Wi-Fi can we implement? I care about the social, I care about the dog mess on my street, I care about the knife crime and the anti-social behaviour in my area. Those are some of the issues that we need to be talking about rather than all these big, lavish topics that the Labour Party want to put forward. Young people are like no, no, no I want to know what's going on in my own area.
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be). Who have felt the weight of too much liberty, Should find brief solace there, as I have found …
That was the key thing for me. This movement is really not ready for change. I was at Leeds University for the first couple of years of my degree and I did a module called the Labour Party since 1945. What I learned in that in those seminars was that every single Labour defeat was down to the vision in the movement. Without a doubt. Every single Labour defeat was down to the vision within our movement. I had so many ideas - I wanted to create the council of factions within our movement, a two chamber system within our Labour Party so you have an NEC that represents the members and their voices. Then you have a council of factions that talk about the factionalist bullshit that we have to deal with on everyday basis. What I'm talking about is formalising the factions within Labour, because right now the factions within Labour are almost like, these unspoken cliques that no one speaks about but everyone knows exists. Why are we acting? Let's formalise them. Let's have a label. Let's have a Labour left and a Labour central and create a council of representatives to debate those issues, to talk about and pluck and pick. That's the only way we can actually move forward when we start to actually address the divisions and look at factions are not something that divides us, but something like that can unite us and surround the Council with pillars of coproduction, transparency, collaboration and ensuring that decisions get made. You always have these deadlocks on the NEC, when NEC should actually be there to represent the voices of the members. That's not the space for factionalism.
In 1987 Paul Boateng, Bernie Grant (RIP) and Keith Vaz and Diane Abbott (L to R) smashed through a glass ceiling that changed British politics forever
In 2019 the most diverse group of MPs (in terms of race, gender and sexuality) in British history were elected to sit in the House of Commons Lift every voice and sing; Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise; High as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Jermain Jackman: There's a reason why Westminster is the way Westminster is. There's a reason why they put forward bills like the policing bill that was going through Parliament. There's a reason why they trebled tuition fees and got rid of EMA. There's a reason why they call Black Lives Matter protesters, thugs. There's a reason why they don't want us to take down the statues. There's a reason why they make decisions on our behalf and that's because we're not around the decision-making table. That's because our voices are not being heard in those spaces. That's because they want us to be ignored. That's because they want us to be to remain unheard, and that's why they want us to stay in our corner and stay in our lane. But the mere fact that you are a person of colour, the mere fact that you are young, the mere fact that you are from a working class background, inherently means that you are political. At the end of the day, somebody is making decisions on your behalf, and you are not around that decision making table.You may feel disillusioned, disengaged and even feel disenfranchised. But if you don't fight and if you don't vote, you can't complain. You cannot complain and I say that to all my friends, they’ll say look what this Tory government's doing and I will say did you vote? No, I didn't what's my vote going to do? And then I say, shut up I don't want to hear it. You didn't vote, you told yourself that you will remain voiceless during this time, so do that - remain voiceless. But now is the time in 2021, after what we've experienced in 2020, to begin to mobilise and organise and prevent what we saw last year and what we know happens in our society to continue. It is not down to Boris, it is not down to Priti, it is not going to be down to Angela, it is not going to be down to Rishi. It is going be down to you and how you mobilise yourself. It will be down to you and how you leave your house and campaign. So my plea to global majority communities. My plea to young people. My plea to people of colour. My plea to black people. My plea to the GRT community. My plea to all the marginalised groups in this country. Now is the time to stand up and fight and don't just stand by and allow injustices to go past you. I know this time we're living in is very difficult. Yes, I agree, I've felt it too. But nothing is going to change if we stay silent. James Baldwin said “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced” .We are living in a challenging time. Do not allow it to beat you down. Don't. I have many quotes around my bedroom, one of them from Malcolm X who says a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. So my message to young people is what do you stand for? Tobi Dada: I have a quote of Malcolm X on my wall too - the future belongs to those who prepare for it today, but yeah the next question is what does the future hold for you?
Jermain Jackman: I'm just trying to chill [laughs]. I think about one of the things Dawn Butler said it to me once, it's not everyday politics, sometimes pursue other things and sometimes have different passions. I love music, love making music, love playing music and I'll be happy to do that but also fight for what is right. there's two parts to this answer. The first part, where I say that the things that I've created, the things that I've done, have not been for me and they have been for others. So the 1987 Caucus is not me to run it or to say I'm the president, I am the chair, I am the forefront runner. No, it's not like that. It's for young black men, and a safe space for young men to talk about issues that they feel are most important to them. And the second part is I just want to take some time out and gather my strength because of what I did in 2020 has been politically, emotionally and mentally draining, so I think this this year is going to be my year of zen, reclaim my time, my energy and be ready for another fight come the end of 2021. I'll just continue to speak to more and more young people, inspire them, empower them, and raise their aspirations and their ambitions, and to ensure that they they fight the good fight. So far I’ve written one book which came out in June. It's a children's book on Windrush and when I got sent the edits and I broke down and cried. because I paid homage to my grandmother and seeing her name on that printed book just brought back emotions of her passing.. I'm writing another book called the Reality of Reality TV about my experience on The Voice, but also the experiences of other reality show contestants because I believe young people and the public should know what goes on those programmes. Tobi Dada: My final question is, do you have any closing thoughts for our readers? Jermain Jackman: We are living in a time where this government will prefer you to be voiceless. We're living in a time where they would prefer you to be silent, in a corner, not active, not bringing about change for you and your community. They prefer things to be the way they are. I find it interesting that we're talking about new normal and building back better, and I'm like better for who? And the new normal? I'm sorry the old normal never worked for us. The old normal never worked for women. The old normal never worked for our trans community. Old number never worked for the GRT community. The old normal never worked for black people. What we need to be working towards is a better normal and the only way we can do that is by tearing down and tackling the systemic issues that affect our communities. But this government doesn't want to pay attention to the systemic issues, so therefore the role and the onus falls on us to do that. We need to continue to speak up and speak out. We need to continue to speak on behalf of those who can't speak up for themselves. We need to be able to champion our communities and we need to to be able to speak on the issues because no one else is going to do it.
Follow Jermain Jackman on Twitter @JermainJackman For updates and ways to support the 1987 Caucus follow them on Twitter @1987Caucus Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Tobi Dada: This actually leads on to our next question, what advice would you give to young people of colour who aspire to enter politics?
REISE | PAGE 5
Snakes & Ladders
Nobel prize laureate Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity
Dr Nina Patel (left) and her all-female team developing a Covid-19 vaccine
BEHIND THE GENDERED VEIL OF SCIENCE BY ZAINAB REHMAN There is still a certain ideology that comes with being a woman in science. When someone hears what it is you do for a living, they always respond with how hard it must be. As a researcher in the early stages of my career, I can confirm that there are many challenges to be faced as a PhD student. This isn’t to say that my male colleagues don't experience hardships. Whilst many of the daily tribulations are shared, as women we face additional battles. Our initial motivations for entering this line of work vary from passion and interest to being inspired by the great minds that came before. Personally, my interest in science developed from a young age when I became fascinated by the way in which things come together. As I grew, so did my desire to stay in the field. I wished to direct myself down a career path that allowed me to contribute to the greater good whilst developing my knowledge in that which interested me. As I progressed through the journey into becoming a scientist, I realized that the further you go the fewer women you meet. Every interaction with a female scientist brings a certain amount of excitement. At conferences or meetings in an industry setting, I often find myself counting the number of women in the room. I think to myself, these are the people who have been on this journey before. The ones who can truly resonate with your experiences. You see it is possible to keep progressing and feel a sense of hope.
"Being a woman in science can also be very empowering. Exploring your passions and channeling your determination into your research with the hope of having a positive impact on the world " Fortunately, in 2021 there are many women we can look to as role models. Throughout history, the likes of Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie and more recently Dr. Nina Patel who is known for her research into the development of a vaccine against Covid-19 have paved the way for aspiring young female scientists. Their achievements have created a place for them in the STEM fields typically plagued with gender bias.
This may be from the education they receive in their earlier years or the understanding they have of what it means to be a scientist. In this case, it becomes our responsibility to encourage them. We must explain to them that they can do anything they want. Perhaps they will have to learn to assert themselves, to make their voices heard when they feel unheard. One thing they must be reminded of is that we will always have to carry each other. Something that is universally agreed between female scientists is that we are held to a higher standard than our male counterparts. Being a woman in science can also be very empowering. Exploring your passions and channeling your determination into your research with the hope of having a positive impact on the world is an opportunity to be grateful for. Whilst only a small percentage of researchers may be female in the UK, it is important to remember that we are fortunate to be able to pursue this career. Many women around the world can only imagine studying their interests let alone develop them into a career. We must always remember to take a moment to express gratitude and consider that having these problems is also a blessing. Ultimately, there is reward in hard work. Women are raised to be robust and resilient. We find ways to stand back up when we are kicked down. The environment that comes with working in science certainly thickens our skin and prepares us for the next stages in our career as we look to progress. Perseverance is extremely important as is a strong support system. Even now, only 24% of the STEM workforce is female – what will get us through is sticking together and always encouraging each other. Regardless of what people say, we are able to maintain our lives inside and outside of our jobs. There is no limit to what we can accomplish.
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won.
BY NADIA WHITTHOME MP In our society, it is a sad fact that if you’re working class, a woman, a person of colour, queer, trans or disabled, you face barriers that affect your life chances and how you experience the world. Disabled people are 30% less likely to be in work. Women’s pensions are worth 40% less on average than men’s. And during the pandemic people from minority ethnic groups are up to twice as likely to die from Covid-19. The list of structural obstacles and discrimination is endless. But our identities are complex; we hold multiple identities at the same time and we don’t fit into neat little boxes that mean we face each form of oppression separately. Intersectionality helps us to understand and address this. With origins in Black feminism, the term “intersectionality” was coined in 1989 by American professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics engage with one another and overlap. Put simply, intersectionality is the concept that people are disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression and all oppression is linked. As a queer woman of colour, intersectionality not only helps me make sense of the additional barriers and prejudices that I and many of the people I represent face, it is also central to my socialism. For socialism to truly reach its goals, I believe it must be intersectional. The Labour Party is the party of the working class.
We want to increase the power of working class people in society and redistribute wealth away from a tiny minority of the super-rich back into the hands of people in our communities. Sometimes when people talk about the working class, especially in the media, they have a particular image in mind - primarily white, primarily male, perhaps with a specific accent or doing a specific type of job. But the working class is not a twodimensional caricature of a bloke you met down the pub once. Class is about your position in society - your wealth and power (or lack of it). "Our identities are complex; we hold multiple identities at the same time and we don’t fit into neat little boxes that mean we face each form of oppression separately. Intersectionality helps us to understand and address this." So the working class includes white, straight men, but it’s also queer, trans, disabled, different genders, and different ethnicities. Our socialism must fight for the working class in all its diversity, not just a small section of it. Intersectionality helps us to understand the complexity of working class people’s experiences, and the additional barriers people face which we must also dismantle. This is the argument that we should be making as a Labour Party. We must not pander to right-wing narratives on immigration or trans rights. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is how we can win. We have to show that it is through unity, through standing in solidarity with each other, that we can achieve a better life for all of us. Wading against a tide of right-wing rhetoric from the media and the government is a struggle which will not be won overnight, but it is the way we build a new vision, a more inclusive and liberatory set of politics, and, ultimately, the broad coalition we need to defeat the Tories and deliver the deep structural changes that our society desperately needs.
Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast’ning rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
TO DEFEAT THE CULTURE WAR, OUR SOCIALISM MUST BE INTERSECTIONAL
"Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects" Dr Kimberlé Crenshaw
Have not our weary feet. Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
THE FEMINIST LIBERATION MOVEMENT BY EMILY BATCHELOR
Feminism is tasked with a monumental job – to transform and improve the lives of over half of the population. It is largely a political movement underpinned by the firm belief that women and girls are equal to men, and thus should be afforded the same rights, power and opportunities. It is a global phenomenon, with a diverse range of activists tackling a multitude of issues worldwide. Traditionally, feminism in the Western world is historically seen as splitting into three waves of movement, with each wave representing a particular peak, surge or flurry of activity by feminist intellectuals, academics, campaigners and activists in their struggles for equality. The first wave begun around the start of the 19th century as feminists sought to gain basic civil and legal rights for women, with a principal focus on securing the right to vote. At the start of the century, women had few rights of their own, particularly after they married, which of course was considered to be natural and desirable role for women at the time. Once married, a woman became the property of their husband, had no right to own property, to be protected from domestic violence, and if a marriage should end (as was allowed in very limited circumstances), the father, not the mother, would be given custody of children. It was not until a landmark ruling in 1929 that the Privy Council found that a woman should be defined in law as a person. Most associated with the first wave of feminism in the UK was the campaign for women’s suffrage
"A hugely transformational change to women’s lives in this time was reproductive freedom.The impact of this new freedom is hard to conceive." Through the endeavors of peaceful suffragists and militant suffragettes, the cause was brought to the attention of the nation – in 1918 the right to vote was won for women over 30 years old who met a minimum property criteria, and on equal terms to men in 1928.
The second wave is considered to have started in the 1960s and had lasted roughly two decades, focusing on liberating women from inequality and discrimination, under the slogan, ‘the personal is political.’ Fundamentally, it was about consciousness raising amongst women, and tackling inequality both in the public and private spheres, with activists pressing for change on wide variety of key issues such as rape, reproductive rights, workplace inequality and domestic violence. In the UK activism brought about landmark legislation such as the 1967 Abortion Act, the 1970 Equal Pay Act and the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. A hugely transformational change to women’s lives in this time was reproductive freedom – in the early 1960s abortion was illegal in all Western European countries, but by the end many women had conditional rights to abortion and access to the contraceptive pill. The impact of this new freedom is hard to conceive. The third wave is harder to describe, with few commentators agreeing on its agenda, constitution, when it started or if it is still going on. It is generally considered to have begun in the 1990s, focusing on tackling workplace sexual harassment and increasing the representation of women in powerful positions. This wave focused on the unfinished work of the previous, and challenging concepts of gender, sexuality and power. Critically the term intersectionality was formulated at this time, seeking to describe and acknowledge the different forms of intersecting oppression that so many women experience. The wave metaphor has faced justified criticism for being reductive and exclusive – each wave was not an unified body with a single agenda as some descriptions may imply. While waves may be a useful metaphor for a general overview of feminism’s basic history in the Western world, the waves typically focus on the activity of white middle class women, concealing and ignoring the critical contributions of many women of colour from feminist history. Feminism must do more readdress this erasure, and must identify and celebrate the women of colour who have been at the front-line of all social changes in the UK.
Let woman's claim be as broad in the concrete as the abstract. We take our stand on the solidarity of humanity, the oneness of life, and the unnaturalness and injustice of all special favoritism, whether of sex, race, country, or condition. If one link of the chain is broken, the chain is broken. A bridge is no stronger than its weakest part, and a cause is not worthier than its weakest element.” Anna Julia Cooper We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last .Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
With movements like #Metoo and Time’s Up there is debate about whether we have entered a fourth wave of feminism, with fervent online activism transcending domestic borders, and feminist campaigns advancing across the world. What is clear is that we are currently experiencing a painful halfway house as we simultaneously celebrate hard-fought feminist achievements and face relentless discrimination and inequality.
Charlotte Despard, second from right, leads a suffragette march by the National Federation of Women Workers in Bermondsey, London
Historically these women include Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, Jayaben Desai, Olive Morris and Claudia Jones, amongst countless others. Most recently, one of the most influential political movements of the our generation, Black Lives Matter, was founded by three women. Contemporary feminism cannot be colourless. Where is feminism now? While women certainly have a lot of progress to celebrate, we need feminism as we always have. Real equality between men and women is still a concept of the future, and we have just as many, if not more, causes for anger than jubilation than before.
Additionally, the pandemic has sharply demonstrated how far we still have yet to come in terms of reconciling women’s responsibilities between caring and earning. Women still continue to bear the brunt of crises, shouldering the majority of both paid and unpaid care work in health and care services, and disproportionately experience more job losses in the economic downturn. These facts are not natural or inevitable but evidence of an unequal society that has persisted for centuries. Going forward intersectionality must be central to feminism and we must promote the voices of all women - of the unheard, vulnerable and disadvantaged, not solely those who fortunate enough to secure platforms, power and success. As Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” Surrounded by incredible women everyday I have no doubt that progress towards equality will continue, and hope that the pace of change will accelerate - this cannot be and will not be as a good as gender equality gets.
Importantly, out of the seven core demands of the women’s liberation movement made in the 1970s, we are still waiting to secure several, including “freedom from intimidation by threat or use of violence or sexual coercion regardless of marital status and an end to all laws, assumptions and institutions which perpetuate male dominance and men’s aggression towards women.” In 2019, two women were killed every week by a partner or ex-partner, and over 1.6million women experienced domestic abuse. Women's March on London, 2017
If her functioning as a female is not enough to define woman, if we decline also to explain her through “the eternal feminine,” and if nevertheless we admit, provisionally, that women do exist, then we must face the question: what is a woman? . . . The fact that I ask it is in itself significant. A man would never get the notion of writing a book on the peculiar situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say, ”I am a woman”; on this truth must be based all further discussion
Simone De Beauvoir
Who needs to be at peace in the world? It helps to be between wars, to die a few times each day to understand your father's sky, as you take it apart piece by piece and can't feel anything,
CHAIR'S NOTE Welcome to the LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group’s contribution to this edition of Anticipation! Holly and I founded this group based on the need for LGBTQIA+ representation across the Young Fabians and the Fabian Society more widely. As a new Advocacy Group we have platformed some amazing activists within the Fabians - including hosting amazing events on LGBTQIA+ Health Inequalities; LGBTQIA+ Education and a historical look at one of the most overlooked pioneers of LGBTQIA+ representation in politics, Maureen Colquhoun MP. We want to help make sure that the Young Fabians is an open and welcoming space for everyone in our community, which is why we have prioritised getting as many people involved in the group as possible. Some of our members have already recorded podcast episodes, on trans rights and biphobia, and we’re in the process of putting together a pamphlet on LGBTQIA+ health. We’ve also got a great committee, and are really proud that we can help in some small way to carve out a space for LGBTQIA+ members to get involved and make a difference. As you will see in the following contributions, we have some really talented members and hope to grow even more!
can't feel the tree growing under, your feet, the eyes poking night only to find another night to compare it to. Whoever heard of turning pain into hummingbirds or red birds— haven't we grown?
Jonny Winbow & Holly Smith, Young Fabians LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group Co-Chairs
Together, connected, loved
SO FAR, SO GOOD? A Short History of the Trans Rights Movement BY JAY ALEKSANDR
With the incredible showing of transgender athletes like Canadian footballer Quinn and American skateboarder Alana Smith competing at the Tokyo Olympics Games, you might think 'we'll we've done it, trans rights: achieved'. Unfortunately, it is not—nor has it ever been—quite that simple. For some, a stumbling block on the road to becoming an ally to transgender people is the idea that being trans is somehow a 'new' phenomenon. But this could not be further from the truth. Written around 360 BCE, Plato's Symposium features a speech on the power of love which includes the concept of not two, but three sexes. Earlier still with records dating back to 3000 BCE, priests of the Sumerian goddess Inanna known as the Gala are thought to have existed outside of the gender binary as well, identified as neither male nor female. Since then, many cultures around the world have recognised gender identities outside of the binary. There is, for example, a rich history of gender-expansive identities in South Asian societies, and many Indigenous cultures likewise have a long history of recognising these individuals, evident in the pan-Indigenous, two-spirit identity. Practically at one fell swoop, however, colonial powers criminalised and persecuted people who identified with these gender-expansive labels. This is not to say that we ceased to exist but rather, that many transgender people were forced to live the life they wanted in secret.
"The fight for transgender rights is far from over. The Gender Recognition Act was an over-medicalised and needlessly bureaucratic system that has resulted in fewer than 5,000 transgender people receiving Gender Recognition Certificates since 2004." Those who expressed themselves freely experienced discrimination in society and oppression from governing institutions. Though Roberta Cowell made history in 1951 as the first known transgender woman to receive gender-affirming surgery in Britain, nearly two decades later in 1970, the Corbett v Corbett divorce case established a legal precedent that barred transgender and intersex people from changing their assigned gender at birth on official paperwork. In 1974, the University of Leeds would welcome activists, social workers, and medical professionals to a conference which made literature on trans health available for the very first time; however, Mark Rees later lost his case for legal recognition as male at the European Court of Human Rights in 1986. Despite vacillating social victories and legal losses throughout the final fifty years of the twentieth century, this rocky beginning for increased transgender recognition in the UK set the stage for the great successes of the transgender rights movement in the twenty-first century.
Trans activist at an LGBTQIA+ march, 2017
In 2002, the UK Government was held directly responsible for the lack of legal protections for trans people when the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of Christine Goodwin, stating that UK laws preventing trans people from getting married and keeping their medical history private was a violation of human rights. Goodwin v United Kingdom would provide the groundwork for the 2004 Gender Recognition Act which grants binary trans people the right to legal gender recognition. While that sounds fantastic—and in many ways, it was—the fight for transgender rights is far from over. What resulted from the Gender Recognition Act was an over-medicalised and needlessly bureaucratic system that has resulted in fewer than 5,000 transgender people receiving Gender Recognition Certificates since 2004. It also fails to provide legal recognition for nonbinary people, offers little support for transgender people who are under eighteen, and does nothing to make trans healthcare more accessible. In 2020, the Government had the opportunity to reform the GRA…and didn't. Now, more than ever, there is a considerable need for strong trans allyship across the UK—activists, organisers, and MPs—because transgender people should not have to be afraid to engage with systems supposedly put in place to help us. And educating yourself is the first step. Charities including Mermaids and Stonewall have a history of advocating for the rights of transgender people and provide plenty of resources for those interested in learning how to become a better ally to trans people. We’ve always been around; we’re not going anywhere, anytime soon; and we deserve the same amount of dignity and respect as anyone else.
A mother that managed to make everything out of nothing. Old earth into islands.
EDUCATING ON ORIENTATION BY OWEN MICHAEL
One specific aspect close to my heart is my own sexual orientation, asexuality – not experiencing sexual attraction to people of any gender – and alongside it aromanticism, the equivalent for romantic attraction. Once in class we were told to get a photo of someone of the opposite sex we found hot. I didn’t know where to start! Teaching would help people like me know we’re not broken, and we don’t need to be untrue to ourselves to be ‘normal’. That we can still be happy, without being ‘cured’. Instead, I remember being told “this will happen to you as you get older”, becoming confused as I never did become interested in the way my peers were, and being mocked and bullied by some for that lack of interest. Education wouldn’t end bullying, but understanding can only help. Some of this can be useful for allos (people who aren’t asexual and/or aromantic), as well. Making everyone aware from an early age that not everybody wants to have romantic (or later, sexual) relationships with others can help with discussing and destigmatising other reasons people might not want them, whether that’s not being ready, not fitting into other plans, or what.
Asexual protestor at an LGBTQIA+ march, 2019
Not that schools should be preaching abstinence of course – the point is that it is fine for the consensual sex and romance people desire to be “none”. Some might worry teaching about aspec identities like asexuality or aromanticism will lead gay, bi or trans youth to identify as asexual, repressing their actual orientation or identity. There are certainly some who identify as asexual and then later realise they aren’t – but what about the aspec teenagers who spend years misunderstanding their orientation and try to force themselves into boxes they do know? At the end of the day the only person who can judge someone’s orientation is themself – is denying them knowledge of possibilities really helpful to that?
At primary level we can teach students whilst explaining the concept of romantic relationships existing that not everyone will be romantically attracted to others and that’s fine, and then as we move onto discussing sexuality at secondary school establish that sexual attraction is not universal or required. Schools can explain that whilst they might be, asexuality and aromanticism are not necessarily linked, nor are asexuality and sex-repulsion, or even not having a sex drive or not having sex, that orientation is about attraction – and, again, the same with aromanticism and romance - and even explore related points like grey and demi identities.
I never had anything of the kind. I had no formally taught idea of asexuality, and though I was lucky enough to have come across it in reading my conception of it was very limited, specific, and stereotypical. It wasn’t until years of confusion later that through first fanfiction and then, as I began to wonder more and more, online resources meant to educate that I expanded my understanding. I realised that some of what I had assumed were exaggerations were really the norm, and it wasn’t that I was failing to fit in but that most people weren’t asexual – and came to understand who I was.
"Making everyone aware from an early age that not everybody wants to have romantic (or later, sexual) relationships with others can help with discussing and destigmatising other reasons people might not want them, whether that’s not being ready, not fitting into other plans, or what." I’m fairly happy with where I am now on that, but it wasn’t the ideal way, and I look back on the years wasted and the lack of understanding between me and my peers and think “It didn’t have to be this way”. It’s not too late to make sure it isn’t for others, as is already being tried in New York and some charities are trying. Let’s do the same as a matter of policy here.
A father that grew up in an age of the 70s. Protests, peace and love on the tip of everybody’s tongues. A determination that could turn dirt into diamonds
There has been a lot of discussion on the left in recent years of the need for LGBT+-inclusive sex and relationships education. This is definitely something urgently needed – Section 28 may have been gone, but in my schooling, official mentions of LGBT+ people basically consisted of a video saying “gay relationships exist too, And That’s Okay”. Another student attempting to bring up bisexuality was met by the teacher saying “well sometimes people experiment”. Young people deserve, and need, a lot more education.
lgbtq+ history: A timeline 1957: The Wolfenden Committee publishes a report, recommending that ‘homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence’. 1966: The Beaumont Society, is founded to provide information and education to the general public, the medical and legal professions on ‘transvestism’ 1969: North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee becomes a UK-wide organisation and is renamed as the Committee for Homosexual Equality (CHE). The Stonewall riots in America - This key event triggers the modern LGBT liberation movement in the US and beyond. 1970: London Gay Liberation Front (GLF) is established in the UK. It is based on a parallel movement in the US based on revolutionary politics. 1971: The Committee for Homosexual Equality, keeping the same initials, becomes the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). 1972: The first Pride is held in London, attracting approximately 2,000 participants. Gay News, Britain’s first gay newspaper is founded. 1977: The first gay and lesbian Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference takes place to discuss workplace rights. 1980: Sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ is decriminalised in Scotland. The first Black Gay and Lesbian Group is formed in the UK. 1981: The first UK case of AIDS was recorded when a 49-year-old man was admitted to Brompton Hospital in London suffering from PCP (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia). He died 10 days later. London Bisexual Group is formed, the first bi group in the UK. 1982: The Homosexual Offences Order decriminalises sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ in Northern Ireland. 1984: Chris Smith, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, speaks openly about his sexual orientation and becomes the first openly gay MP, 10 years after Maureen Colquhoun came out as the first lesbian MP. 1986: Mark Rees, a trans-man, brings a case to the European Court of Human Rights, stating that UK law prevented him from gaining legal status recognising him as male. The case was lost but the court noted the seriousness of the issues facing trans people. 1988: UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, introduces Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. The Act states that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". 1989: Stonewall UK is formed in response to Section 28 and other barriers to equality. Founding members include Ian McKellen and Michael Cashman. 1990: Candlelit vigil is held in London after five gay men are murdered within months of each other. This leads to the formation of OutRage, who call for police to start protecting gay and bi men instead of arresting them. 1994: The UK House of Commons moves to equalise the age of consent for same-sex relations between men to 16. The vote is defeated and the age of consent is instead lowered to 18. An age of consent for same-sex relations between women is not set. 2003: Section 28 is repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, lifting the ban on local authorities from ‘the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality’. 2010: The Equality Act 2010 officially adds gender reassignment as a protected characteristic. A new offence of ‘incitement to homophobic hatred’ comes into force in the UK. 2013: Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed in England and Wales.
2020: Religious leaders from every major faith come together in a show of unity to urge the UK government to legislate a ban on conversion therapy. 2021: The UK census includes questions on gender identity and sexual orientation for the first time, meaning that data can be gathered on the numbers of LGBT people across the country.
DE-MYSTIFYING BIPHOBIA AND BISEXUALITY BY ELLY SAVVA Because bisexuality doesn’t fit with our natural inclinations to fit humans into binary categories, people find it easier to treat it as if it were a myth. To many people it doesn’t really exist, they either see it as a stepping-stone to being gay or a brief hiatus from being straight. In reality, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and being bisexual is just as real and valid as any other identification.
While bi women are seen as ‘really straight’, the converse is true for men. For all genders, bisexuality is seen to be temporary. People suggest that being bi is easy, especially if you can pass as straight if you want to. If your identity doesn’t pose an immediate threat to your safety, you are privileged in this aspect. But that doesn’t mean your sexuality will make your life easier.
In my experience, the erasure of bisexuality made accepting my sexuality much harder than it needed to be. The signs were always there, throughout my childhood I’d develop intense friendships with girls that were all-consuming. When I first met a lesbian couple, I was filled with excitement to learn that their love was a possibility. I already knew I was allowed to love boys, but learning I could love girls too was a revelation.
In 2016, the Movement Advancement Project found that bisexual people typically experience violence and discrimination at higher rates than their gay and lesbian peers. They found that bisexual people are more prone to abuse, with nearly half of bisexual students reporting sexual assault, while 61% of bisexual women and 37% of bi men reported experienced intimate partner violence.
"They laughed and told me I was just confused. They said I didn’t understand how it worked, that girls only came out as bi for attention and I had to be straight. While I knew my emotions were real, I tried to bury them for years because I never thought they would be accepted. "
When it comes to mental health, a similarly worrying pattern emerges. Stonewall research found that 59% of bi people experienced depression, 50% felt life wasn’t worth living, and 26% had self-harmed. All of these rates were higher than their gay and lesbian counterparts. They suggested that biphobic discrimination, daily harassment, rejection from family and friends, and incidences of hate crimes were contributing factors to this experience of mental illness.
In general terms, bisexuality is an umbrella phrase that describes the attraction to more than one gender. While it was initially created to mean “both” as we thought there were only two genders, its meaning has evolved alongside our understanding of gender. Now, it can mean different things to different people. People who are attracted to multiple genders might identify as queer, pansexual, or many other things, but the one thing that ties them all together is their experience of biphobia. Just as bisexuality is seen to be a myth, biphobia isn’t seen as a problem. While it can be defined as the hatred, fear, or intolerance of bisexual people, it’s often masqueraded as humour, squeezed into playful comments or jokes rooted in negative stereotypes that portray bi people as promiscuous, greedy, or untrustworthy. It also manifests differently depending on the gender it’s directed at. For women, the overlap with female sexualisation means that while your preferences are highly objectified, your emotions are invalidated.
Although biphobia is more subtle and less aggressive than homophobia, this doesn’t detract from the damage it causes. While homophobia is well-known, biphobia goes unnoticed. What stings about it so much is that it doesn’t just come from one direction - it comes from straight people, and from the queer community you thought would support you. You’re told that you don’t really belong and you don’t understand the way you feel. They suggest that you don’t understand the struggles of being queer and your experiences don’t matter. Alienated from your own community, who are you supposed to turn to for help? Even now I’ve stopped hiding myself and have openly had queer relationships, I still feel like a fraud in LGBTQ+ spaces. When asked about my sexuality, I hold my breath and pray they don’t laugh in response. The persistent belittling has made my experience alienating and confusing. Really, it didn’t need to be this way. Bisexuality isn’t mysterious, bi people exist and we need to start seeing biphobia for what it is.
Switchboard provides an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men and bisexual and trans people – and anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity. Call: 0300 330 0630 Email: email@example.com So when people ask me if I’m more like my father or my mother I say I am purely a product of their power. Revolutionaire.
As I grew older and people began talking about their sexuality, I finally shed the weight of the thoughts I’d hidden with friends who had already come out. In response, they laughed and told me I was just confused. They said I didn’t understand how it worked, that girls only came out as bi for attention and I had to be straight. While I knew my emotions were real, I tried to bury them for years because I never thought they would be accepted.
Political satire c. 1820 LGBTQ histories have been dominated by men. Only male homosexual acts were criminalised in Britain – although criminalising ‘gross indecency’ between women was discussed in Parliament in 1921. Lesbian communities have long existed, but the lack of legislative, criminal and reform records regarding sex between women has made their histories less visible. 'Love-a-la-Mode, or Two dear Friends': Lady Strachan and Lady Warwick making love in a park, while their husbands look on with disapproval.
A letter from 'Cyril Coeur de Leon' to 'Billy' about visiting the Caravan Club, London. Many people in the past experienced great fluidity in their sexual lives. Queer men and women often chose to marry. Marriage might have offered protection or offered financial stability. Others married out of genuine emotional commitment and love. But we can’t necessarily call them bisexual. A selfconscious bisexual identity is relatively recent, emerging in the later 20th-century. Cyril was bisexual and explained to Billy that "I am married and have a little girl two years of age, and I still like girls occasionally, there are very few boys with whom I want to have an affair"
My daughter wouldn’t hurt a spider; That had nested; Between her bicycle handles; For two weeks; She waited; Until it left of its own accord; If you tear down the web I said; It will simply know;
A DIALOGUE ON TRANSNESS BY JANE FAE Trans folk, eh? Modern phenomenon. Invented in 1997. Or 2004. Or, if you believe the latest “scholarship” in this area: something, something 2015! Which makes my own transition in 2010 an accident. Or maybe just my being very much ahead of the curve. Because I’m fashionable, like that! And none of it true. My social network includes dozens of trans individuals who transitioned long before me. The first time transness was significantly tested in the UK courts was 1970, when a UK court declared the marriage of April Ashley as null and void because “sex change” is not possible. Not forgetting Lili Elbe, aka “The Danish Girl”, who so famously transitioned back in 1930 that they made a film about her and gave the starring role to famously not-trans actor Eddie Redmayne. Then there were the Chevalier d'Éon (19th century) or the Roman emperor Elagabalus (both of whom appeared to identify with a gender other than that with which they were born). Or the transgender priests of Sumeria (c2500 BC). Or a whole range of global cultures that recognised trans, both binary and non-binary, including Indian Hijira, indigenous American two-spirit, and Arabian Mukhannathun. Trans has been around a long, long time. Although, also - and cause of some less than good faith critique - any attempt to locate historic groups or individuals within modern queer categories is fraught with dangers. It was, as they say, another world, entirely. Even Stonewall, the infamous uprising that set in train so much LGBT liberation in the US is argued over in part because some of the key players, unarguably trans, would, in the argot of the age, have been described as “gay”. Because that’s what they called ALL the gender and sexual non-conformists.
"Accept that we are who we say we are. Affirm us. Enable us. Support us. Believe us when we say we have no desire to change the world. Only that small part that impacts on us - and then, only to make it a tolerable place to live."
Also difficult is the fact that the modern conception of trans owes far too much to a non-trans medical establishment. It was the medics and the psychs - cis white and male, to a man - who first created and then imposed rules about what it was to be trans. They set up definitions, started the gate-keeping process, and were mightily proud of their ability to sort the true trans sheep from the predatory (?) goats. Had transness been owned, from the start, by trans people, no doubt understanding would have been a long way forward. Nonbinary, perhaps, would have been seen as the norm, with us fewer binary transitioners viewed as the outliers that we are in numerical terms. Surgery would have been recognised as add-on for some, and not the defining criteria far too many in the media and politics claim it to be today.
As for what we want? Mostly, it is to be left alone to BE who we are. Not so much Rights as the enjoyment of life, liberty and happiness. That means recognising that gender mostly does not matter. So, enforcing rigidly binary bureaucracy, whether in passports or job applications, is not only a waste of time and resources, but also actively discriminates against all trans people. Against nonbinaries, whose gender is simply unsayable, officially. Against binaries, who must jump through all manner of hoops to change official details. Left alone means not being discriminated against at work. Or attacked on the streets. Both these things are, in theory, already law. It’s just the practice that is lacking. And we want decent healthcare. Not just the right and the ability to transition, or to be financially assisted when we do. Though if medical systems are going to spend millions on men with erectile dysfunction, we reckon a small percentage of that spend coming our way would not go amiss. Or be unjustified. Decent healthcare means individuals not being refused life-saving, urgent treatment BECAUSE they are trans or gender non-conforming. Like they do in backward, religious authoritarian countries? You’re joking! In the UK and plenty of other “advanced” western nations we regularly encounter trans individuals being told that a GP or nurse or hospital medic cannot, will not treat them because they’re trans and that makes it “complicated”. Hormone stuff? Sometimes. But apparently even the common cold or a broken arm become “complicated” when a trans person is involved. Of course, it’s discrimination. Because there is no conscience opt-out when it comes to treating trans people, as there is for abortion. So those who don’t like the idea of trans deploy a lot of other excuses. All bullshit! And that, mostly, is that. Sure. There’s detail. Other areas, including loos, prisons, changing rooms and the like. But if you start with who we are and what we need - as opposed to abstract debating points thrown up by those who hate us, the so-called “trans agenda” is very simple. Accept that we are who we say we are. Affirm us. Enable us. Support us. Believe us when we say we have no desire to change the world. Only that small part that impacts on us - and then, only to make it a tolerable place in which to live. No more. No less.
The power of the trans community and their allies comes from collaboration and collective action. For actions you can take visit: https://www.transactual.org.uk/change-actions
This isn’t a place to call home; And you’d get to go biking; She said that’s how others Become refugees isn’t it
Strength in difference
CHAIR'S NOTE The Young Fabians have long been at the forefront of progressive policy and innovative thinking within our movement. This is why I’m pleased that the Young Fabians have created liberation groups such as the Disability Advocacy Group; providing disabled members a space in which to advocate for themselves and share their lived experience in order to advance policy ideas that will support the creation of a more equal society. I’m honoured to be the inaugural Chair of the Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group. The Conservative Party has been in power for over a decade, that means a decade of austerity in which disabled members have borne the brunt cuts; in order for a Labour Government to return life chances and opportunities to disabled people, our voices need to be heard. The life experiences of disabled members vary greatly, thats why I’m delighted we have contributors giving insight and perspective of both physical and non-physical disabilities. While the following pages do not give the full extent of living with disability, more can be found by visiting the Young Fabian Blog. Disabled people face many barriers, for example in accessing services, including healthcare can be challenging; those who are neurodiverse sometimes face being left out of public life and excluded from the internal structures of our movement. I am pleased we have articles touching on several of these issues and Blog articles on many more. The words here are a snapshot of living with disability under present legislation, however, what is clear is that when Labour return to power, there will be a need to deliver policy that will bring about lasting change to make our society fairer and more equal. The voices of disabled members in our movement have an important role to play in shaping that future.
Tom Laing, Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group Chair
Know no name; Why this holy day honed; Hollow day haul; I lost wind when wooden; I can’t bear to be; Unaided in hunt unhanded
INVISIBLE DISABILITIES BY KATHARINE RODDY Having a long-term health condition or hidden disability is like having a job that you never actually applied for. There are no weekends or holidays, and the overtime rate is pretty dismal. I have had Type 1 Diabetes since I was 8 years old. If you met me in the street tomorrow, you’d have no idea that I have the condition, unless I chose to wear my insulin pump clipped to the top of my jeans. ‘Is it a thing to count your steps?’, ‘is it a camera?’, ask the kids at the high school I teach in. When I tell people that I have the condition, they tend to respond airily with ‘oh, you’ve got it under control though’, ‘you must be used to it after having it for so long’. Because, of course, aside from the insulin pump clipped to the top of my jeans, my diabetes is hidden. And with that comes a huge emotional burden. Research from Stanford University has found that diabetics make an additional 180 healthrelated decisions per day in comparison to someone without diabetes. This is where the mental health toll comes in. You see a fit and healthy young woman. You don’t see me sitting on my bedroom floor at 3am, trying not to vomit with dangerously high blood sugars and desperately willing them to come down so that I don’t have to go to hospital. You don’t realise that I went to bed far too late last night, because my blood sugars just wouldn’t go up and I had to keep on eating. The long-term nature of conditions such as diabetes is where the greatest strain comes from: maintaining your efforts to manage your health over years and decades is exhausting. ‘Burnout’ is now talked about far more openly than when I was diagnosed all those years ago. Healthcare professionals have started to enquire about this at consultations, there is a recognition of the challenges we are living with. I am fortunate to have a consultant who treats me as an expert. They know me incredibly well, and I always feel respected and validated in my decisions to manage my health in the way that best suits me. Having that support network and consistency in care is crucial: it should be an expectation that long-term patients see the same consultant and specialist nurses for every appointment, to ensure consistency in their care. Unfortunately, in recent years, this has become more difficult. As the NHS comes under increasing pressure, consultants are doing more ward rounds and appointments are spaced further apart. I recently contacted the specialist nurse team for mental health support and advice: the next available appointment was two months away.
"The long-term nature of conditions such as diabetes is where the greatest strain comes from: maintaining your efforts to manage your health over years and decades is exhausting". In the absence of professional support, peer support networks are an invaluable tool. In 2017, I set up a local Type 1 Diabetes support group. We now have over 300 members, a thriving online community. Shortly after the network was created, positive feedback started flooding in: ‘the page is a great for venting, moaning and groaning to people who understand (without having NHS team knowing what faux pas you have committed!). It really helps your mental health as non-diabetics don’t necessarily get it... the diabetes burnout.’, ‘I love this group, when things are going belly up and you can't think straight, you get a friendly person nudging you in the right direction!’. Powerful testimonies which show how the group has become a lifeline to its members. However, a common thread ran through these stories: a lack of provision for mental health support. Local NHS trusts should be encouraging of patients setting up similar groups: they provide mental health support and mean that patients share expertise: members know the standard of care they are entitled to and have more advocacy to push for it. In 2019, I needed some support. I arranged a call with a counselling service, recommended by the diabetes team at my local hospital. The call began with hope. It ended shortly after with tears and frustration. The service’s funding had been cut, and my needs were not considered serious enough to access help. For the first time in my life, I was faced directly with the realities of austerity and years of budget cuts to mental health services. The personal had become political. It is vital that people with long-term health conditions have access to help when things go wrong. We must push for substantive mental health support that's there whenever people need it. There shouldn’t be a checklist for what qualifies you to access help. We need to treat people with long-term conditions as the experts that they are. If they say they need help, fund it. Who will be held in hand; Brought sent; Mooring at the shore; Who’re you for; For what fewer who wore; Be called this wooer
A Post-Pandemic Agenda for Disabled People’s Liberation BY EMILY BROTHERS
Despite incremental improvements in disability rights over the last 30 or so years, systemic discrimination stubbornly persists. Britain’s estimated 14.1 million disabled people (making up 22% of the population) are being held back by outdated public perceptions and government policy. For instance, Tory austerity has been devastating, illustrated by 26% of families with a disabled person living in poverty. Little attention has been given by the government to the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on disabled people, representing 59% of the death toll. The pandemic has brought about a flurry of Do Not Resuscitate Notices and the diversion of oxygen from some disabled people to covid patients highlights a disturbing re-prioritisation of care.
"The effect of coronavirus measures on disabled people shows why our commitment to human rights must be at the heart of the next Labour government. " It is also alarming that safeguarding may have been compromised by the Care Quality Commission halting inspections. As Winterbourne View and Whorlton Hall cases have demonstrated, service-users are at risk of exploitation, violence, abuse, inappropriate medication, and restraint. The lack of contact during the pandemic with family, friends and advocates gives rise to safeguarding concerns not being addressed. The social care system is broken. Disabled and older people have been failed by successive governments. Whilst it is important to address fairness in the funding model, the rights of recipients are even more crucial. Deep cuts in local government funding have seriously restricted independent living. This was compounded by the government halting care assessment during the pandemic. It is hoped that the much-anticipated inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission will stimulate new thinking. So, it is not just about more money for local government, but also establishing a framework that ensure councils are accountable for meeting the assessed needs of disabled and older people. Support is not just about providing physical care. It must address a range of needs and aspirations to live independently. Tackling loneliness, being able to shop and travel are examples.
Loneliness is common for many disabled people. Lockdown has been more harmful than ever. Whilst many of us have found new ways to connect with each other online, 27% of Britain remains digitally excluded. This arises due to being disadvantaged in skills training, inaccessible systems and assistive technology being expensive. Shopping has proven particularly challenging for many disabled people during lockdown. Social distancing can be harder to observe and getting assistance has been more difficult. Whilst much progress has been afforded with access to goods and services, new ways of operating leave disabled people behind as we struggle to navigate inaccessible online shopping, absence of phone help facilities and inflexible processes developed to meet the so-called norm. There is probably a need to refresh equality guidance and awareness in this area, with a view to strengthening legislation if access continues to be thwarted. If Covid Status Certificates are introduced, they will fuel inequality. After years of campaigning to secure step free access to pubs and the like, a new barrier will be erected. Many people with serious health conditions are unable to have a vaccine at present. Being excluded from much of social life because of a condition simply reinforces structural discrimination against disabled people. The effect of coronavirus measures on disabled people shows why our commitment to human rights must be at the heart of the next Labour government. That means new legislation to enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons into UK law, creating an Independent Living Service, as well as strengthening inclusive education, improving employment opportunities, and embracing new technology. The moto of the disability movement is @nothing about us, without us’. Yet much of political and public life does not include disabled people. We have learnt from other liberation fronts that lived experience shapes a better future. That is why the next Labour Government must empower disabled people to lead this cause and provide the tools that will enable our effective contribution to wider society. Coronavirus and the government’s response to it has disproportionately impacted negatively on disabled people. The rights of disabled people have been setback and there is much concern about public policy as the government applies its roadmap. That is why we must hold the Tories to account on its response, whilst developing a post-pandemic agenda for disabled people’s liberation. Scope's helpline provides free, independent advice and support on the issues that matter to disabled people and their families. Phone: 0808 800 3333 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Textphone: dial 18001 then 0808 800 3333
More who are the ones; In horror to light will strew; then sue for war
Most of us have been let loose from institutions of care and control, but many of us do not enjoy the same rights and privileges of non-disabled people. Hard fought wins towards independent living have been setback by the impact of coronavirus, lockdown measures and a roadmap that is destined for even deeper inequality.
DAZED AND CONFUSED: BEING YOUNG, NEURODIVERSE AND ON THE LEFT BY LEON ALLEYNE-MCLAUGHLIN
I am neurodiverse. I have dyslexia and dyspraxia, as well as having stress-induced epilepsy (essentially, there’s a small part in the speech centre of my brain that’s always somewhere between ‘on the blink’ and ‘completely fucked’). It’s always made things difficult for me, but since I received a formal diagnosis aged 18, I’ve increasingly found ways to cope with it. At this point, I think that I’m generally able to hide or circumvent the worst effects, like difficulty organising myself, verbal ticks, difficulty organising myself, fidgeting, social ineptness, and most of all difficulty organising myself. And yet despite that, for the past six years, Labour has been the one place that can, for an evening, make me feel completely ‘normal’ (hint: I don’t mean either of those things as compliments). First, on that ‘normalcy’ point. When it comes to interacting with other people, being neurodiverse is a minefield at the best of times. ‘How did that come across’, ‘did I seem weird’, ‘am I unintentionally making this person uncomfortable’, ‘what’s happening to my hands’, ‘why did my voice go all loud there’, ‘why can’t I make eye contact properly’ are hourly questions for me and many other neurodiverse people. And while the awkwardness of any given interaction can vary wildly based on a whole host of different factors, over time, it leads to a feeling (especially before I understood my diagnosis) that I was weird and a bit wrong and, on some level, broken. But, not in the Labour Party. I mean, in some ways, the Labour party is the perfect proof of the social model of disability. Behaviour that would mark me out as neurodiverse in general society; poor social skills, an inability to interpret how others express their emotions, a tendency to be erratic; are not only matched but so wholly eclipsed by the much greater character flaws (to use a distinctly overgenerous description) that are so frequently on display in my nonneurodiverse peers that I can walk into many Labour Party meetings and always feel like one of the most ‘normal’ people in the room.
And to be clear, when I say character flaws, I don’t mean a detailed knowledge of and interest in Party procedure and structures or being part of a faction and genuinely caring about whether the Party goes in one direction or another, to choose two examples. What I mean is the toxic behaviour that can be found in all the youth wings of the Party, that see people leverage things like internal elections or factional politics to get away with the worst sort of bullying, harassing, intimidating behaviour.
"Being neurodiverse is a minefield at the best of times. Over time, it leads to a feeling (especially before I understood my diagnosis) that I was weird and a bit wrong and, on some level, broken." The kind of culture that normalises vindictive, capricious conduct as just part and parcel of gaining such high offices as chair of a Young Labour branch, delegate to a NOLS conference, or an officer position in the Young Fabians, and encourages new members not only not to challenge it, but to get stuck in themselves as soon as possible. It’s this, this total lack of even the most basic sense of what is proportionate behaviour for what is fundamentally a voluntary organisation for young people, that makes me feel like there's nothing my broken dyspraxic brain could randomly throw up that would compare. No oversized physical tic. No burst of laughter at completely the wrong moment. No insulting comment that gets past my nearly nonexistent filter. Nothing. When it comes down to it, seeing how some people in Labour behave has made me feel good and bad about my own disabilities and the place of disabled people in Labour. Good, because it has made me realise that being neurodiverse doesn’t mean that I’m somehow predestined to end up inadvertently hurting people with my behaviour, as I’ve sometimes worried. Bad, because I fear that many of our non-disabled comrades will not show us the same regard.
ANTICS | PAGE 29
Neurodiversity, noun. The range of differences in individual brain function and behavioural traits (including sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions), regarded as part of normal variation in the human population (used especially in the context of autistic spectrum disorders, but applies to a number of conditions).
Prayer in Peace
Riz Ahmed wins the limited series or movie lead actor trophy for his role in “The Night Of” at Sunday’s 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.
AN ASPIRATIONAL SOCIETY FOR BRITISH MUSLIMS BY HASNAIN KHAN BEM In the Modern era, Muslims' mass immigration began after WWII following the rebuilding of the UK to support the labour shortages. Muslim migrants, majority from countries under British colony such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, were heavily recruited by the government and businesses in order to rebuild the country. One example includes the recruitment of a workforce for the NHS. Over many generations, many Muslims are proud to continue to practise their faith and uphold the core British values of a society of aspiration and building a sense of community. It is important to celebrate influential muslims, who’s families have worked in the UK over many generations, to now act as leading role-models to many muslims and non-muslims in Britain. Of course, we all remember watching Nadiya Hussain’s incredible journey baking glorious cakes and pastry’s to win ‘The Great British Bake Off’ 2015. She is a second-generation BritishBangladeshi, born and raised in Luton. With that series being the most viewed show of 2015, Nadiya’s journey and story had been an inspiration to many, breaking the Muslim women stereotypes and building cultural diversity. In her acceptance speech, she said ‘I'm never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never gonna say I can't do it. I'm never gonna say 'maybe'. I'm never gonna say, 'I don't think I can.' I can and I will.’ Since then, she has hosted numerous TV cooking shows/series and published many cooking books.
Amir Khan is known for his ferocious hand speed and power as the former unified light-welter weight boxing world champion. Outside of boxing, Amir Khan has openly stood up for what he believes in, condemning the actions of terrorists falsely using the name of Islam. In addition, he has been seen by many young people as a role model, someone who balances openly speaking about Islam but also someone who keeps it private and familycentered. He is someone seen to be extremely proud to be British, representing his country at the Olympics and his professional career. James Caan, born in Lahore, Pakistan, immigrated to the UK at the age of 2 years-old and had grown his entrepreneurial accolade to be an investor on the famous TV show- Dragon’s Den for 3 years. let me find you; and the song (forever); between us
However, his achievements have grown from humble upbringings. He left home at the age of 16 years of age with no O-Levels or ambitions for a University degree. In seeking a better life for himself, he started his own recruiting company, in the early 1980s. His office was so small the door was unable to fully open as it was blocked by his desk. James grew the business to a level where it had a turnover of around £130 million in 2002. With his successful business career, he set-up the ‘James Caan Foundation’ where he built a new school in his birthplace, Lahore, which educates over 420 children aged 5-11 years old. James Caan's challenging journey to then appear on the popular Dragons Den TV series has shown to many British Muslims the vastness of opportunities on offer in the field of British business regardless of your background or ethnicity. Actor and rapper Riz Ahmed was born in Brent, London to a British Pakistani family who moved to England from Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, during the 1970s. As an actor, he has won a multitude of prestigious awards for his work and achieved many history-making firsts. He was the first Muslim and first Asian to win a lead acting Emmy, as well as the first Muslim to be nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. He has since leveraged his platform, launching a fund to help combat "toxic portrayals" of Muslims in films. He has been at the forefront of the movement within the acting industry to reform and end stereotypes that drive ‘policies enacted and people killed’, poignantly stating that “The Islamophobia industry is one that measures its cost in blood.” The Runnymede Commission on ‘Islamophobia: A Challenge for us All’ highlights how Muslims are excluded from the economic, social and public life of society which leads to lack of opportunities, and harassment and discrimination. Building an aspirational society requires policy and cultural change at a multi-system level. These three inspirational individuals have shown the breath of opportunities there are for Muslims in living in an aspirational British society. In reading their personal stories, Islam had been a central factor that has driven their focus, ambition and passion towards their chosen career path. In building a tolerant society, we must look to empower individuals, open opportunities and break cultural barriers to allow people to proudly practise their faith to raise future British leaders and role models.
in these terrible times
COMBATTING ANTISEMITISM BY LUISA ATTFIELD My great-grandmother Louisa (for whom I am named) was both a proud Jew and totally opposed to organised religion. These two facets of her personality didn’t exist in conflict with each other, they were in fact more intertwined. She pointedly ate matzah all year round, except for Passover where she would eat bread. For context, during the festival of Passover Jews do not eat risen food (bread being the most obvious example) and do eat the unleavened matzah as a reminder of the exodus.
Zionism and Anti-Zionism mean very different things to different people. For some Zionism means a belief in Jewish selfdetermination, others the belief in the State of Israel (as is) as a Jewish homeland. Some see it as uncritical support to the Government. For many Jews, especially Jews on the left, the relationship with Israel is complex and nuanced, not least because many have friends and family there. Israel forming a part of one’s identity is not incompatible with opposition to the illegal settlements.
Jewish identity means different things to different people, its often a complex blend of religion, culture, ethnicity, history, and community. There are Jews who are descended from a long line of Jews who observe every minor holiday and strictly keep every Shabbat. There are Jews, born of Jewish parents, who have no involvement in the religion or ‘community’. There are Jews with no Jewish ancestry who converted. There are Atheist Jews who practise Judaism. There are Jews with heritage from Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and everywhere else.
Protest against anti-Semitism in London in March 2019.
Antisemitism and, anti-Jewish racism have a long and varied history. The Jewish people have been persecuted for over two thousand years. This persecution takes many different forms. It has been religiously motivated, and it has been hatred of Jews as an ‘ethnic group’.
"When it comes to antisemitism, listen to Jewish people. You do not have to agree with their conclusions, but always assume that a Jewish person raising concerns about antisemitism is doing so in good faith." Despite the heterogeneity of antisemitism across the years its essence remains constant. Firstly antisemitism (in contrast to most other forms of bigotry) positions Jews as being in a position of power and influence. This conspiratorial thinking is probably the most defining feature of antisemitism. In medieval Europe Jews where accused of poisoning wells to spread the Black Death, the Nazis (and modern far right) believe that Jews are purposefully ‘destroying’ the white race. The stereotypical portrayal is of Jews as rich, powerful bankers, and conspiratorial antisemitism depicts Jews, Zionists, or specific Jews (such as Soros or the Rothschilds) of controlling the world. A second common feature of antisemitism is the ‘dual loyalty’ trope – whereby Jews are seen not to have loyalty to their home but to Israel, Zionism or the ‘collective Jewry’. In the Soviet Union ‘Rootless cosmopolitans’ (aka Jews) were persecuted, accused of disloyalty to the regime and ‘grovelling towards the West’. These days this dual-loyalty often takes the form of non-Israeli Jews being accused of being more loyal to Israel than their home country, or even accusing Jews of acting as agents of Israel or Zionism.
Both the far right and conspiracy theories are on the rise, and with them both comes antisemitism. The threat of both cannot be overstated, and action against them is imperative. But fighting antisemitism is more than opposition to white supremacists and those who believe in the ‘Jew World Order’. As recent events in the Labour Party have shown, antisemitism exists across the political spectrum. When it comes to antisemitism, listen to Jewish people. You do not have to agree with their conclusions, but always assume that a Jewish person raising concerns about antisemitism is doing so in good faith (which they are). On the topic of Zionism and Israel, many on the left would do well to educate themselves on the history of both antisemitism and Zionism, and to try to understand the nuances in a left wing, Zionist identity. And truthfully there are many, including within the Jewish community, who need to better understand antizionism, and how it can be a legitimate political identity. An understanding too of how antisemitism can disguise itself as ‘anti-zionism’ or ‘criticism of Israel’ is essential for any self-professed antiracist. (Of course Israel can and should be criticised, but calling European Jews murderers of Palestinians isn’t criticism of Israel – it's racist). And most importantly, to oppose antisemitism you need to stand up and be counted. Hold your friends and allies to the same standards as your political opponents. Don’t leave fighting antisemitism to Jews alone.
Billie Holiday’s burned voice; had as many shadows as lights, a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano, the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.
The Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews protest against anti-Semitism in London in March 2018.
Antizionism cannot be assumed to be automatically antisemitic, nor is the statement ‘antizionism is not antisemitism’ true. There are certainly those whose anti-Zionism is motivated from a hatred of Jewish people. What’s more anti-Zionism has frequently been used as a cover for antisemitism. The Soviet Union and other Communist states used the term anti-Zionism as a cover for blatant persecution of Jewish people. Neo-Nazis have adopted the crude ‘Zio’ as a euphemism for Jew. And across the political spectrum conspiracy theories about Zionists and use of classical antisemitic imagery to describe Zionism or Israel.
Riots erupted between anti-Fascists and Blackshirts (British Fascists) when Mosley's supporters were gathering in Great Mint Street for a march through the East End of London in what is now called the Battle of Cable Street, 4 October 1936
The Battle of Cable Street is one of the most infamous but triumphant days in British history in which a 300,000 strong army of Londoners made up of Jews, Labour members, communists, anarchists, trade unionists, and Irish Catholics forced a procession of the British Union of Fascists off their streets. In May 1930, Sir Oswald Mosley — Baronet, a prominent politician, and high-society figure — resigned his ministerial position in the Labour Party. After founding the short-lived New Party, he would go on to form the authoritarian, nationalist British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932, following a visit to Mussolini’s Italy. The party initially proved popular but lost much of its support following a spate of high-profile violence. By 1936, Mosley was focussing much of his energy on London’s East End, exploiting anti-Semitism in an area short on jobs and housing for political gain — with 60,000 Jews, it was home to Britain’s largest Jewish population. In October of that year, he organised a march through the East End, leading a procession of British Blackshirts.
The procession was given police protection to guard against any disruption by anti-fascist protesters, while Jews were warned to stay away by The Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Board of Deputies. Nobody was prepared for the massive show of resistance that followed, now remembered as one of the most significant non-sectarian, anti-racist demonstrations in British history. East Enders flooded onto the streets, building makeshift barricades out of mattresses, overturned lorries, and bits of timber. When the police and fascists arrived, they were beaten back with sticks, chair legs and rocks, while children hurled marbles, and women dropped chamber pots onto their heads from windows above. The protesters chanted the slogan ‘No pasaran’, or ‘They shall not pass’ — inspired by the Spanish Civil War’s antifascist forces (not Gandalf). After a mole revealed that the police chief had recommended Cable Street to Mosley as an entryway into the East End, the anti-fascists rushed to erect more barricades. It was here that Mosley was eventually forced to concede the march to prevent further violence. The fascists were dispersed, and a united East End celebrated its victory. Though the BUF would later lead other marches through the East End, the Battle of Cable Street was immortalised as a powerful symbol against the rising tides of European fascism. (Now you’re cooking, drummer to bass, magic spoon, magic needle. Take all day if you have to; with your mirror and your bracelet of song.)
Dare to Protest
HONG KONG'S FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY
Translation: When we persist, we will see hope
We spoke to pro democracy activists in Hong Kong about the protests that erupted earlier this year, following the Extradition Law Amendment Bill and their struggle for democracy. The activists remain anonymous to ensure their safety. A: What sparked the protests in Hong Kong? HKDNOW: The protest was sparked by the Hong Kong government (HKGov) wanting to introduce the Extradition Law Amendment Bill (ELAB) by using the murder of Poon Hiuwing, which took place in Taiwan, as an excuse. Both, the victim and the murderer, were from Hong Kong. Chan Tongkai, the suspected murderer of the case flew back to Hong Kong right after the incident. Because there was no extradition law between Hong Kong and Taiwan, Chan Tongkai was free in Hong Kong and was not able to extradite to Taiwan for a trial. Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong, used the opportunity to introduce the ELAB which every criminal may have a chance to be extradited to mainland China for trials. This hugely undermined the rule of law since Hong Kong had its independent jurisdiction and laws are based on common law principles. It was also against the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This triggers massive antiELAB protest.
A: Could you explain to our readers how the Hong Kong government works? The current HKGov was inherited from British Hong Kong, which by law, is in charge of all internal affairs and external relations. It is also financially independent although the city is part of China.
In short, there are three major branches in the government, the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Although the government was inherited from British Hong Kong, the only democratic element within the government are directly elected 35 seats out of 70 seats within the Legislative Council. However, this is going to be changed by the election reform initiated by Beijing this year.
A: How has the Hong Kong government responded to the protests? HKDNOW: After a protest of 1 million people, one of the biggest protest ever held in Hong Kong, the government insisted to continue the 2nd reading of the bill. In response to her unresponsiveness, protesters gathered outside of government headquarters in an attempted to stop the 2nd reading. However, police trapped and beaten protesters using batons, tear gases and rubber bullets at unarmed protesters. After several protests, including a 2 million people protests on June 16, Carrie Lam announced that the bill was ‘dead’ on. July 8th. People were sceptical since the formal term should be ‘withdraw’ and not ‘dead’. So, everyone suspected that it was only a wordplay and until today, the bill has not been removed. A: What are the goals of those protesting? HKDNOW: The chant ‘5 demand, not 1 less’ has been 1 of the most used chant in this movement. The 5 demands are: 1 withdraw the Extradition Law Amendment Bill; 2 not to name the movement as riot; 3 release those protesters that are arrested; 4 conduct independent inquiry on police brutality, 5 implement genuine universal suffrage for both LegCo and the Chief Executive. A: How much support do the pro-democracy protesters and activists have in Hong Kong? Even though the movement in Hong Kong seems to be able to draw a lot of international attention, a lot of activists are still not being able to receive enough support. The UK has granted British National Oversea passport holders in Hong Kong a chance to immigrate, but a lot of activists who do not hold that passport struggle to seek asylum. A lot of them are in Hong Kong and may be arrested at any second.
Fact is, the invention of women under siege; has been to sharpen love in the service of myth. If you can’t be free, be a mystery
A Telegram group from the UK revealed that hundreds of activists are still waiting for status in the UK. If they get returned to HK, they surely will be arrested or even get sent to China. Because so many people were arrested in the movement, the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund was formed to help activists who were arrested. The fund would also provide financial support for those who had left HK seeking asylum. Some lawyers are willing to help those who are arrested. However, the fund is running short and there are still a lot of cases that need financial and legal support. Another fund called Spark Alliance provided financial and legal support for arrested activists was accused of money laundering and had their account frozen on November 21, 2019. However, it was a political move as Hong Kong Police were not able to show clear evidence.
Even if that day was over, we couldn’t go home immediately nor let our guards down. When the movement was over, the biggest problem was a psychological problem. When everyone has started to go back to their normal routine, we have to face everything alone. We don’t know when will be arrested, being followed anytime, dealing with injuries, friends leaving, PTSD, etc. On top of the stress from our daily lives, we have to face all those problems ourselves. It takes a long time for us to barely live normal lives again. We are a group of people that can be vanished anytime.
A: The pro-democracy activists protesting on the front line, have been described as “the braves” as they are called in Cantonese. What repercussions could activists face within Hong Kong for protesting? We’ve invited 2 frontline activists to answer this question: Activist 1: First I want to explain some of what ‘the braves’ need to face. The lucky ones that have families that share the same political views can go out (to protest) without fear. For those whose families with a different point of views, families might stop supporting them financially. They might not even be able to afford their meals. Even if they have money, they would save it for their gears (face mask, goggles, helmet). Those gears could cost a lot. They depend on people giving them vouchers to have simple meals. Some of the ‘hand foot’ (comrades) got abandoned by their families and had no shelters. The following is about the situation at the frontline. Firstly, we had to be alert even before arriving on the scene because police could appear anywhere all of a sudden. Needless to say, it is more intense when we arrived. There are more things to consider such as geographical concerns, and we also have to consider the possible location for police siege. We could not relax after we leave. The police might tail ‘The Braves’, so we also had to learn how to counter it. Activist 2: There are 2 parts to this question: before the movement was over, my perspective was being ‘The Braves’ as a full-time job. Firstly, during the movement, maintaining a living is already a problem. Taking myself as an example, I used $500hkd a month (an average household income in Hong Kong is $30,000hkd a month). Even if I have money, I would use it to purchase gear, supplies or donate to other people. Some of them might get kick out of their house because their families share a different political opinion with them. So, they would have to live by themselves in places with bad living conditions. When we went out, we had to stay vigilant before arriving at the scene. Needless to say, even more at the scene as we had to have clear objectives, observe the environment with a clear mind and analyse what the opposition might do. The pressure is extremely high given that we had to do all of the above in a life or death situations. After all those, we would still have to face the actual violence from our opposition.
Pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong 2020. The slogan in Chinese on the flag says “Liberate Hong Kong, the Revolution of Our Times”, which was a common chant during the 2019 protests
A: What role does social media and the internet play for Hong Kongers in the fight for democracy? HKDNOW: Unlike all the other movement that led by pandemocratic politicians or parties before, social media and the internet played a critical role in the Anti-ELAB movement. Most people that actively participated in the movement used Telegram as their major ways to communicate because the identity is protected in the app. A famous local forum LIGHK.com was also a place where tactics and news were shared. Numerous protest was held through LIGHK from mid2019 to 2020. With the internet, not only prominent activists or politicians, but anyone could initiate a protest as long as there are enough people to follow. This put us at an advantage over the police as they could not stop a protest just by arresting a few leaders. It gradually became a self-adjustable system because anyone could raise ideas and others could also give other suggestions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit were also used for us to draw people’s concern about what happened in Hong Kong. At the beginning of the movement, a lot of posters and graphics were created to draw local people’s attention and persuade people to join the movement. Although those posters had successfully drawn more people to our site, we notice that the government would not listen no matter what. So, we realised that for this movement to continue, we had to also draw international attention. Different Facebook pages and Twitter accounts started. SWHK also held crowdfunding and post advertisements in newspapers in different countries.
won’t you celebrate with me; what i have shaped into; a kind of life? i had no model. born in babylon; both nonwhite and woman; what did i see to be except myself?
FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY IN PHOTOS
Protesters run back to the campus after police advanced while they were trying to leave Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hung Hom district of Hong Kong on Nov. 18, 2019.
Demonstrators hold an SOS sign and U.S. flags during a Thanksgiving rally in Hong Kong, Nov. 28, 2019.
Masked woman and children hold a balloon and a placard reads "Guard the Future" as they attend a "No Tear Gas" rally in Hong Kong, Dec. 1, 2019.
A woman writes a Christmas card for people who are in detention during the recent protests, at a footbridge in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, Dec
Anti-government protesters hold hands to form a human chain at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, Nov. 30, 2019.
Protesters hide behind umbrellas during a Human Rights Day march, organised by the Civil Human Right Front, in Hong Kong, Dec. 8, 2019.
PA protester is detained by riot police for a stop and search during a demonstration on Dec. 8, 2019 in Hong Kong.
During a rally in Hong Kong to show support for the Uyghur minority in China, a police officer aims a pistol at a protester, Dec. 22, 2019.
Police arrest a Hong Kong protester after a Chinese flag was removed from a flag pole at a rally in Hong Kong, Dec. 22, 2019.
Pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong 2020. The slogan in Chinese on the flag says “Liberate Hong Kong, the Revolution of Our Times”, which was a common chant during the 2019 protests.
Police in riot gear round up suspected protesters during a demonstration in Hong Kong, Jan. 5, 2020.
People take part in a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2020. Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong during a massive pro-democracy rally on New Year's Day.
Freedom will not come. Today, this year.. Nor ever Through compromise and fear. I have as much right; As the other fellow has; To stand; On my two feet; And own the land.
A: What lessons have activists taken from the Umbrella Movement and how has this shaped their activism today? What are the key differences between the Umbrella Movement and the protests that are happening today? HKDNOW: Nobody expected the Umbrella Movement turned out to be what it was from the very beginning. Although the idea was discussed for quite sometime before the event, nobody expected that many people would participate for such a long time. For most people, it was their first time to see police shooting tear gas, assaulting unarmed citizens. However, the level of violence and police brutality was nothing compared to what they are today.
Spreading communism and totalitarianism has been CCP’s goal since Xi Jinping came into power. China uses every means to influence the world including ‘Belt and Road Initiatives’ and other joint ventures to promote the advantage of communism and the ability to control over its people. CCP does not only expand its influence with businesses but also support other military and bribery. The people in Myanmar posted pictures and suspected that the Chinese army has entered the country and supported the Myanmar Military. The Milk Tea Alliance was originally formed with Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand, which later joined with Myanmar, has to surge throughout the internet. Twitter has made an emoji, especially for #MilkTeaAlliance because of the number of tweets there are. How solidarity helps is to raise attention in other parts of the world. A: What do you think will happen next? HKDNOW: With what is currently happening in Hong Kong, the future does not look optimistic. The current situation is very similar to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, I believe that the crackdown will be worse. However, dictatorship has never been sustainable throughout history. As long as the Hong Kong movement can sustain, Hong Kong will one day be liberated.
Umbrella Movement pro-democracy protesters flash lights outside the Hong Kong government headquarters in 2014.
A: How do you compare the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, Myanmar and Thailand? Do you observe any interactions among protesters or pro-democracy activists across the three regions? Will such interactions bring positive changes in Asia? HKDOW: We share a lot of similarities with Myanmar and Thailand. Both Myanmar and Thailand are facing monarchies with military coups. The persecution, police brutality, level of violence, protesters getting arrested are all something we are all suffering from. Of course, the level of violence and the number of deaths in Myanmar is much more severe than what it has been in Hong Kong. On the other hand, the three movements are led by mostly young people and students instead of traditional political leaders and parties. Social media and the interactions within the internet also played a crucial part in all three movements. Another similarity between the movement in Hong Kong and Myanmar is both places are facing totalitarian states supported by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Great Wave of Milk Tea Alliance
A: How can people across the world lend their support to Hong Kongers fighting for democracy? HKDNOW: Fortunately, the movements in Hong Kong has been receiving a lot of attention across the globe. However, there are a lot of people that are forgotten. Some might have left Hong Kong seeking asylum. Some might still stay in Hong Kong wishing to stay until the very last second. Some are put behind bars or have already disappeared. We wish that people across the world will know that those people are real people other than just anybody you hear in the news. Those people have family and friends. Whenever you hear people are put in jail, their loved ones are hurt and devastated. Those who are forgotten are the ones who need help the most. They can be helped by offering asylum or scholarship. Another way to help is to pay attention to the news about Hong Kong, Thailand, and Myanmar. The movement is over if nobody bothers to pays attention.
FOR UPDATES AND WAYS TO SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT FOLLOW THE TWITTER PAGE: @HKDNOW1 AND FACEBOOK GROUP AT: WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PG/HKDMOVEMENT i made it up; here on this bridge between; starshine and clay,; my one hand holding tight; my other hand; come celebrate; with me that everyday; something has tried to kill me
Lacking planning and experience, Umbrella Movement was mostly led by traditional political leaders. However, towards the end of the movement, people started to question whether the movement should have leaders or not. “Breaking the stage” was a heated argument towards the end of the movement. This argument heavily influences the movement today and it became a mutual understanding that there shouldn’t be a leader in the movement. Rather than waiting for different political leaders for instruction, everyone can initiate and do anything they thought could help the movement. That was why Lennon Wall appeared in multiple locations, and protests started every few days.
MURANGWA EUGÈNE MBE
FOOTBALLER. ACTIVIST. SURVIVOR. CHANGEMAKER. Freedom will not come. Today, this year. Nor ever Through compromise and fear. I have as much right; As the other fellow has; To stand; On my two feet; And own the land.
Louie Marlow and Amber Khan sit down to talk to Eric Murangwa Eugène MBE about his experiences in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, what lessons can be learnt from the horrifying and tragic events that occurred and his foundation, the Ishami Foundation, which works with survivors, young people and vulnerable communities to build equality, tolerance and lasting peace in Rwanda and the UK. In 2018, the UN General Assembly passed resolution A/72/L.31, designating 7 April as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It encourages "all Member States, organisations of the United Nations system and other relevant international organisations, as well as civil society organisations, to observe the International Day, including special observances and activities in memory of the victims of the genocide in Rwanda."
Eric Murangwa Eugène: Yes, very much so yes. My life is pretty much all about football, although I no longer play football as I was over 25 years ago, football has remained part of my life. My story shows how important football was and still is for me. I was born into a football family, I grew up around football, I learned everything that I know today from football and football saved my life when the moment came in 1994. It has also provided me with a platform to do what I'm doing today. So yes, I'm very much into football, even today. Louie Marlow: Could you tell us a bit more about your journey about becoming a footballer for the Rwandan national team? Eric Murangwa Eugène: I was born in a family of football. My father was very much involved in community-related football activities. You know, playing the role of an official president of the local club. At home, he would be talking about football with players of those local clubs or fans. He also happened to be a huge fan of the biggest football club in Rwanda called Rayon Sports. So the name of Rayon Sports is pretty much part of the first thing that I learned when I was learning to know things around me and I also had the privilege to accompany my father to some of the games that the club was playing in at the time. We come from the east part of Rwanda, in a town called Rwamagana and we lived there until I was about 9 or 10 years old and then we relocated to the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali. When we arrived in Kigali, where the football club was, I started going to the training ground where they would be running the training sessions. I was a very young boy at the time, so I would finish school around 4:00 and then I would run from school to the training ground, which was about 6-7 miles from my school. I would just go there standing behind the goal and just enjoy watching the big boys playing. Now and again, the goalkeepers would either be late or just not show up, so because I had become a regular and I was always standing behind the goal they would call me and say "Toto", which is a Swahili word meaning young one. No one knew who I was, they only recognised me because I used to come to the training ground, they did not even know my name but they would say "Toto, can you stand in the goal, just to make the numbers?" So yes, that's how my love affair with football and the football club, Rayon Sports, really started. I started as a ball boy and standing in to make numbers whilst waiting for one of the goalkeepers to show up and within a few years, I had developed that love and the belief in wanting to become a football player. Amber Khan: You said earlier that football saved your life and one of the reasons that you and your immediate family survived the genocide against the Tutsi is thanks to the courage and humanity shown by your teammates. Could you tell us a bit more about what happened? Eric Murangwa Eugène: When the genocide started in April 1994, I was already one of the main players for the club. The genocide is started on April 7th, 1994.
So I left my flat where I was staying with another friend of mine. Then on the following day, which was April 8th, I left the flat and was heading to my parents' house, which was about my mile away from where I was staying. So, when I arrived there the morning of April 8, the situation meant that I thought it would not be safe to stay in my parents' house. So, I quickly left and went to my teammate's house, which was about 3-4 doors away from my parents' house. When I arrived at my teammate's house, they welcomed me so that the house was occupied by four teammates. Three were Hutus and one was a Tutsi, hence why I decided to go there because I thought in that house I will not be in danger or any of the other kind of things that I thought could have been happening in my parents' house. Whilst my friends and acquaintances throughout Rwanda were killing each other at the time, my Rayon Sports teammates remained united and helped me throughout the time I stayed there, one of them whose name was Longin and he did everything to help me out. At one point, a group of militiamen caught up with him and they wanted to take me away and in the process they even injured me but first, my teammate stepped in and then tried to convince them to not take me away as they wanted to and he even paid them through his own money at the time and then someone else also stepped in, a cousin of one of my teammates who was a soldier of a former Rwandan army but had defected from the fighting and he had come to see his cousin. Luckily, he happened to be there and he stepped and used his influence to stop the militia from taking me away. After that, I needed a new destination to hide and after discussion with my colleagues, we decided that I should try a board member of the clubs whose name was Zuzu, as he was known as his nickname. Zuzu was the leader of a militia that was pretty much conducting the genocide at a time. So when the suggestion of going there came, obviously I was reluctant to agree with that but eventually, we realised there was no other option because after the militia attack, everyone at the house was shaken and my teammates were no longer sure that they could continue to help me, as they had helped me for the last few weeks. So we agreed that we should go to Zuzu's house which was not very far from where we were and so we went and luckily Zuzu agreed to allow me into his house and so I stayed there for two weeks, twice actually. So I went there for the first time and at one point some people in his neighbourhood were apparently not happy that I was there so I was asked to leave and go back to my place. I went and when I left I was attacked by the militia and that's when I decided to go back to Zuzu's house again and he agreed to take me in again and eventually allow agreed to transport me from his house to downtown, where the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters were. He dropped me there and I stayed at the ICRC headquarters for another two, three days. Eventually, an arrangement was made by the head of the ICRC for myself and all had also come to seek refuge at this place to be taken to the Hôtel des Mille Collines. Hôtel des Mille Collines is the place where the story from Hotel Rwanda comes from. So I stayed at the hotel for a couple of days until we were evacuated to the control zone on the outskirts of Calgari city. So this process of how I moved from one place to another with the help of my teammate who helped me at the beginning of the genocide in April, and then came with the idea to go and seek refuge at the leader of the militia's house.
I tire so of hearing people say, Let things take their course. Tomorrow is another day. I do not need my freedom when I’m dead. I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Louie Marlow: Eric, you were a goalkeeper for most of your early life, and I just want to start by asking if football is still something that is still very close to your heart. Is it something you still follow? Do you still play?
These groups and who then used his influence and power to transport move from our neighbourhood to the Hôtel des Mille Collines and so if it hadn't been for what my teammates and his colleagues did for me and my family, it is obvious and I am convinced that we would never have made it through alive. I was marked for certain death, but my teammates made sure that I and a number of other people were with me, were all looked after. They provided me and those I was with, with protection, and most importantly they gave us hope. What my teammates did was just an act by ordinary people who happened to be incredible human beings and who demonstrated courage and bravery that most people inside and outside Rwanda lacked at the time. So this is how my teammates helped me and my family. Amber Khan: Thank you for sharing that. I think it's an inspiratio how bonds between friends can endure and resist any of the horrifying things happening outside of that friendship. For readers that might not be as familiar with the genocide against Tutsi, what do you think are some important details for people to know and to understand better about what transpired.
Eric Murangwa Eugène: Thank you for the question. It's a very interesting and important question, because there are wrong perceptions of how well the genocide against the Tutsi is well known. But when you look around and you dig deep you actually realise it very few people know the true facts of the story of the genocide against the Tutsi. I'll try and summarise them in this way so first and foremost the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi did not start overnight because of the shooting down of the president’s aeroplane or the civil war that had been going on between the then Rwandan regime and the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which is what you find in quite a number of people’s belief or understanding of what caused the genocide. The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was in part the result of a decades long political programme to divide Rwandans against ethnic lines. What were once social classes, were defined as races. First by colonial powers and then reinforced by local leaders for political gain. The Tutsi faced shocking discrimination for years or decades, I should say. Many were killed or forced to leave the country and those who remained were automatically second-class citizens. They were refused basic rights, including freedom of movement or education. They were called foreigners and cockroaches. By 1994 the genocidal government and the media had so demonised Tutsis, that many of the killers said after the genocide that they didn't even think they were killing fellow human beings. The genocide in 1994, could also have been prevented if the world super powers had acted on available strong science information and warnings. The genocide against the Tutsi took the lives of over a million innocent people, mainly Tutsi but also moderate Hutus, but when you hear the wording in the statistics used mainly by the international community you find them a bit distorting and not respectful of all. What happened in Rwanda is quoted as having taken around 800,000 victim, which the a figure generally used by international community. However, as I mentioned over a million people have been the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. In 2002, the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government research found that 1,007,417 people were killed during the genocide and 27% were Tutsis. There is also the ongoing discovery of new mass graves over the past 27 years, which means the numbers that the international community likes to focus on, which were pretty much used twenty to twenty-five years ago has significantly changed and increased. However, you tend to find that the international community giving little importance to such a thing.
Since 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted a new resolution, A/72/L.31 to name the genocide in Rwanda as the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The main reason for the change in wording is to all to avoid ambiguity about a group that was targeted and to combat genocide denial. Rwandan genocide is a term which can offend survivor’s because it has begun to be associated with negationist and disapproved theories about the genocide. So these are these are the key details that would want to highlight for those who are less familiar with what happened in Rwanda 27 years ago. Amber Khan: You touched upon the fact that the genocide against the Tutsi didn't happen overnight and actually it was a long and enduring campaign by political leaders that created the environment for the genocide to happen. Was there a period during which you felt that there was a marked escalation towards violence? Or do you feel it was more a slow and steady increase towards the tragic events that happened? Eric Murangwa Eugène: I will answer that question by trying to give you my understanding of how things evolved from the young age. The Rwanda that I experienced in my early life was generally stable with little evidence of the countries complex and tragic recent past. As a young boy you could see there were some issues, but I didn't really understand it fully, but this changed when I started school at the age of six or seven years old, when teachers would ask Tutsi students to stand up to be identified and counted, it was around this time that dynamics of conflict began to become apparent. Around 1989, my dad lost his job where he was working as a senior officer of a company that was owned by the European Union.The company where he worked was overtaken by the government and related discrimination and politics resulted in his unemployment.This was part of president Habyarimana’s regime to strengthen what was known as a quota system. This was the regime policy of discrimination used to balance quotas in places of work, education and other areas of life based upon ethinicity. So the government at the time believed that people should be in a position of work, should have access to education and in every other sector of the country based on their ethnicities, so the higher the ethnicity was, the higher the chances of having access to these things well. The storm had been gathering well before April 1995. And as you can see that ethnic hatred was openly accepted between 1920 and 94. This actually stopped me travelling with my football club to matches in certain parts of the country mainly in the north due to fear of being singled out or attacked because of my ethnic background or appearance, which was the two main reasons why people were attacked or singled out. Things started getting from bad to worse after October 1990 when the government accused people of being accomplices of the Arabs who had started the war against president and government which also had refused the return of Tutsi refugees for decades. To give you a little bit of background to this, in the mid 1950s Rwanda was going through the process of independence. Rwanda had been colonised by Germans first and then Belgium. Then in mid 50s different movements started calling for independence. The most vocal turned out to be an extremist movement of those who were caught calling for to emancipation is a party called MDR. They won the elections in 1961, but the process that led it to election came with the violence against Tutsis. So many Tutsis were killed and so many of them were forced to flee the country. So between 1961 and 1990 hundreds of thousands of Tutsis who were forced out in that those years of 50s and early 60s were completely refused the right to return to their homeland. In 1990, a movement made of those refugees, especially mainly the second generations of those who fled in 59 started the wall against the Government of Rwanda at the time.
Freedom; Is a strong seed; Planted; In a great need. I live here, too. I want my freedom. Just as you.
The bodies of a woman and her child lie by a church in Nyarubuye parish, which was the site of an April 14 massacre, 31 May 1994
Rwandan refugee children plead with Zairean soldiers to allow them across a bridge separating Rwanda and Zaire where their mothers had crossed moments earlier, 20 August 1994
Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, today You may write me down in history; With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise
Human skulls of victims at the Kigali Genocide Memorial serve as a stark reminder of the horrors of the genocide. The Kigali Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for 250,000 victims of the genocide, 29 April 2018
So this is where I was getting, trying to highlight how the situation changed from bad to worse. Those who had remained the country we were subjected to discrimination and attacks every now and again, but things changed from this time. The oppression and discrimination towards Tutsis became more open and very vicious with many intellectual and business Tutsis being arrested, tortured or even killed. So when the plane carrying the President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, was shot down on April 6 in 1994, it was like a final signal to more things to what some extremists had been calling for, which was a final solution. So as the evening stretches into night, from the darkness emerged the belief that the President’s assassination lay at the hands of one group, the Tutsi rebels, and by extension the country's Tutsi minority. Around 1989, my dad lost his job where he was working as a senior officer of a company that was owned by the European Union. The company where he worked was overtaken by the government and related discrimination and politics resulted in his unemployment. This was part of president Habyarimana’s regime to strengthen what was known as a quota system. This was the regime policy of discrimination used to balance quotas in places of work, education and other areas of life based upon ethnicity. So the government at the time believed that people should be in a position of work, should have access to education and in every other sector of the country based on their ethnicities, so the higher the ethnicity was, the higher the chances of having access to these things well. The storm had been gathering well before April 1995. And as you can see that ethnic hatred was openly accepted between 1920 and 94. This actually stopped me travelling with my football club to matches in certain parts of the country mainly in the north due to fear of being singled out or attacked because of my ethnic background or appearance, which was the two main reasons why people were attacked or singled out. Things started getting from bad to worse after October 1990 when the government accused people of being accomplices of the Arabs who had started the war against president and government which also had refused the return of Tutsi refugees for decades.
To give you a little bit of background to this, in the mid 1950s Rwanda was going through the process of independence. Rwanda had been colonised by Germans first and then Belgium. Then in mid 50s different movements started calling for independence. The most vocal turned out to be an extremist movement of those who were caught calling for to emancipation is a party called MDR. They won the elections in 1961, but the process that led it to election came with the violence against Tutsis. So many Tutsis were killed and so many of them were forced to flee the country. So between 1961 and 1990 hundreds of thousands of Tutsis who were forced out in that those years of 50s and early 60s were completely refused the right to return to their homeland. In 1990, a movement made of those refugees, especially mainly the second generations of those who fled in 59 started the wall against the Government of Rwanda at the time. So this is where I was getting, trying to highlight how the situation changed from bad to worse. Those who had remained the country we were subjected to discrimination and attacks every now and again, but things changed from this time. The oppression and discrimination towards Tutsis became more open and very vicious with many intellectual and business Tutsis being arrested, tortured or even killed. So when the plane carrying the President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, was shot down on April 6 in 1994, it was like a final signal to more things to what some extremists had been calling for, which was a final solution.
So as the evening stretches into night, from the darkness emerged the belief that the President’s assassination lay at the hands of one group, the Tutsi rebels, and by extension the country's Tutsi minority. In the early hours of April 7, I was woken up by the sound of bullets and bombs coming from all corners of Kigali city. The message to Hutus in Rwanda was that the president had been murdered by Tutsis, so Hutus had to fight for their lives because if Tutsis could kill the president, what else were they capable of? That was the message on the radio and in people's homes. Almost apologetically when viewed in hindsight, the words were roadblocks and militias, who had been formed, were sent out to kill and cause carnage, a collective mental disorder befell the country over a thousand hills and the world would look on without doing anything. For the next few weeks, I would experience a Rwanda I never knew possible. Radiohead LTLM reported the news of new sanctions and ordered people to stay indoors and continued its mobilisation against Tutsis. So this is how basically things turned from bad to worse and into a full scale genocide in 1994. Louie Marlow: Thank you for sharing that. You say the world just watched on and did nothing. From my understanding, it seems that the UN and the USA and many other countries knew exactly what was happening, and y exactly what the scale of the genocide was. In your experience and also understanding of it, what exactly are your thoughts on the international involvement within the genocide against the Tutsis and what more should have been done to prevent something like this happening?
Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels inspect the wreckage of president Habyarimana's plane, 26 May, 1994
Eric Murangwa Eugène: My thoughts on the international community are that it really badly failed us. The UN decided to withdraw its peacekeepers troops right in the middle of genocide and evacuated the foreigners to safety, giving the extremist Tutu regime freedom to eliminate the Tutsi population. The genocide started through a civil war that has been going on since 1990, but by the time genocide started the fighting had stopped, so the two warring groups were in peace negotiations. A peacekeepers mission in Rwanda had over 2500 soldiers. Men from Belgium and a few other African countries such as Ghana, Tunisia, Mali and others. But when the genocide started as I just mentioned, the UN decided to cancel this mission. I think two days, three days after the genocide and all the soldiers were withdrawn from Rwanda. A brother of mine, the youngest member of the family who was only 17 years at a time got killed alongside our cousin in the outskirts of Kigali city. My younger brother had gone there for Easter school holidays. My brother and cousin’s death is partly to blame on the international communities failure, as their protection only lasted until the UN decided to cancel its peacekeeping mission in Rwanda. French and Belgian soldiers raced to the European citizens leaving Rwandan nationals including my late brother at the hands of militia who had already surrounded the hospital where they had gone to seek refuge. Almost everyone at the hospital was later killed by militias. This is one example for how the international community really let us down.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells; Pumping in my living room.
3 June 1994, A Tutsi man shows the machete wounds on his face and head at a Red Cross clinic in Nyanza. During the genocide, Tutsis were slaughtered at roadblocks, often with machetes, a common farming tool at the time
France used its influence to sabotage different decisions and resolutions that were meant to be taken at UN Security Counsel which obviously allowed the situation to deteriorate to the point where over a million people were killed in just 100 days and the support and the interference of France continued even after the genocide. This led to the catastrophic situation of many Rwandan refugees who fled the country once the genocide was stopped and the country was captured in July 1994. Most of these people were somehow captured as hostage in the refugee camps that we put in place in the DRC, former Zaire, which was the neighbouring country. They were captured as a hostage by the army, and obviously politicians and many people who had a hand in the genocide that had just been stopped. So this situation grew into a very serious problem and eventually a war in the neighbouring country DRC between Rwanda and DRC. This is basically to highlight the interference by the international community in what happened in 1994 and soon after 27 years on the growth of international community through government and government institutions and the media, which for some reasons continues to support either directly or indirectly the causes of genocide their sympathisers. So in other words, the international community had her had a huge hand in what happened in Rwanda, and then unfortunately to make matters worse, it does not look like it has learned very much from the tragic past of the country 27 years ago. That is my take relating to the role of the international community and what happened in Rwanda.
How do you think things need to change within the international community to make sure that the Tutsi that were killed are properly honoured by the international community, and also what steps should be taken to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again ever?
"Ishami is a Kinyrwanda word, meaning a branch – a tree branch. It symbolises resilience, recovery and connection of the Rwandan people. But it’s also a symbol of what we believe the world at large can be. We want to share a message of resilience in the face of whatever challenges people are facing anywhere in the world. " Eric Murangwa Eugène: Well, sometimes the challenge is to know who is the international community, what is the international community? Generally speaking, when we talk about the international community we only talk about those in position of power and the leaders of this influential countries. To some extent, they're the ones who makes the decisions. They are the ones who are involved in all these issues that that that we're talking about. But when we look at the way systems are in the West, those people accountable to the to the, to the to the general public who vote them into power. The decisions and the actions they take don’t reflect what the general public want or know. Yet there is always very little consequences to those decisions. So for me, what can be done and what needs to be done and what change can come really happen to make sure that the mistakes of the international community in Rwanda and many other parts of the world will not happen again is for the general public to genuinely get involved in what goes on outside their own countries. People need to be well informed. People need to be concerned about the issues that takes place in other places in other countries or in other parts of the world, so that whenever their representatives are taking decisions, they take the decisions based on what the general public want to be happening. But that will only happen if the general public is well informed, unfortunately I don't think the general public is well informed on what goes on in other parts of the world. This is for example, is one of the reasons why we do what we do within my foundation. We try and use our experience and raise awareness within the community that we live in in the UK and then in the other parts of the world. So that community can be more aware of issues like the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and what lessons can be learned to deal with a similar situation in Myanmar and Yemen or anywhere else so that to me that is the best way forward. That's the only way the international community can genuinely be able to use its influence and power in a more positive way. Without that we will continue to to go through the same cycle as we have seen it. The international community came together soon after the Holocaust over 76 years ago and said, we, we, we are committing to never again but that has not worked. It has not worked in it because of what I've just described. Amber Khan: Thank you, I know that you touched on the your foundation on the Ishami Foundation and the mission and the work that you do. How can people learn more about the foundation? Eric Murangwa Eugène: The foundation is product of our experience and lessons from Rwanda. First and foremost, I’d like to tell you what the name Ishami means.
Amber Khan: Thank you for being so candid, what do you think the international community needs to do now or what steps need to be taken to that are not currently being taken? Just like moons and like sun, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes spinning high, Still I'll rise
Freedom; Is a strong seed; Planted; In a great need. I live here, too. I want my freedom. Just as you.
Prior to the genocide, information circulated through European embassies that were here in Rwanda clearly showing what was to come. Canadian General Dallaire sent information to the to the UN headquarters in New York highlighting information he had discovered of how the government was planning to kill Tutsis. He had discovered a place where a number of weapons had been hidden and that those weapons were going to be used as part of that killing campaign that the government was planning. So he wanted authorisation from the UN to basically go to that place and be able to capture those those ammunitions. They refused him that authorisation. One can say those ammunitions were the ones used a few weeks later to exterminate over 1,000,000 people. Countries, powerful countries such as France were very much involved directly in what was going on going on in Rwanda. France provided support throughout and after the genocide to the interim government that came in place after the president had been killed.
Ishami is a Kinyrwanda word, meaning a branch – a tree branch. It symbolises resilience, recovery and connection of the Rwandan people. But it’s also a symbol of what we believe the world at large can be. We want to share a message of resilience in the face of whatever challenges people are facing anywhere in the world. Today we’re in a different kind of fight – against Covid-19. We need a resilient spirit to recover from it. To do that, we need to connect to one another: to overcome that challenge. This is what Ishami means for us. So the Foundation draws on genocide survivors’ experiences, to bring us together in our common humanity through sport: football in particular. Many of our team lived through the genocide, and having lived through that and through discrimination, social polarisation and violence, we genocide survivors understand the importance of peace. We are committed to helping communities in Rwanda and the UK to learn from that. Our activities empower people in vulnerable communities, and our teams of trustees, advisers and volunteers can do that through providing other means of support: be it donations, or other things, and by following what we do. They can be able to learn from our experience, and also contribute to the wider community: because what we share is something that we believe the wider community can benefit from. So that’s how I can say they can be involved. We can share different communication channels that they can use to reach us: including our website https://ishamifoundation.org, and we’re also active on Facebook and Twitter.
So in grief’s legacy, we have learned how to resolve our differences in a respectful way. This has given us a belief in what we can achieve when we walk together side by side. This is how I would summarise the legacy of genocide. But I would add one thing to that: this is not something which can be called ‘done’, but is something that needs to be continued for generations to come. That’s why our Foundation is important: it can carry on the legacy we have today for many years to come. Louie Marlow: To close off the interview, I thought it’d be good to ask what lessons people can learn from the genocide against the Tutsis: and what do these lessons mean to you? Eric Murangwa Eugène: Well, there are so many lessons that one can learn from the Rwandan experience. But the most important one in my view is that the most powerful countries should not think that they know all. They need to also learn from others, especially when it’s issues concerning other people. The way that past experiences have shown us the intervention or non-intervention’s actions caused more problems than solutions – and this, to me, is because there is this belief or view in many people in the international community that when we go into a conflict-impacted community or nation with that attitude that they know all. I believe that this is one of the key lessons that people need to learn from Rwanda.
Amber Khan: On the topic of learning from what happened in Rwanda, and the work of the Ishami Foundation post-conflict, how do you think that the legacy of the genocide against the Tutsis has affected Rwandans afterwards? How has it affected Tutsis and Hutus? Eric Murangwa Eugène: : Basically, we’ve refused to give up. I’ve always said that surviving the genocide alone is a big achievement: but finding a reason to carry on is an even bigger challenge. This is what we see in the legacy of the genocide amongst Rwandans. We have refused to give up even after going through an unimaginable situation, which has gone beyond what even ourselves or anyone else could have imagined – because Rwanda today is a country that is seen as exemplary in many ways, being on the African continent or the world stage. To have that status just 27 years after what we experienced here where more than 1 million people perished in just 100 days and millions more scattered across the country and beyond – is unbelievable. But this didn’t happen by chance or by accident. It happened because in the years after the genocide, Rwanda introduced a number of initiatives which did come from leadership, but also showed incredible bravery from ordinary Rwandans who embraced those decisions and proved them possible. Instead of revenge, we have learned forgiveness. Instead of continuing hatred, we have learned to love our neighbours as ourselves. And so we have an authentic peace which surpasses human understanding. Instead of continuous destruction, we have reconstruction. The genocide was a horrific period: but at the end of it, Rwanda had no choice but to start from zero. Today, I am proud of the change that has taken place in my country. Rwanda today is a beautiful country. The rolling hills that were once stained with blood, are now covered with homes and crops. We will not forget how Rwandans learned to live side by side again, and to respect each other’s rights.
Tens of thousands of Rwandan refugees, who have been forced by the Tanzanian authorities to return to their country despite fears they will be killed upon their return, stream back towards the Rwandan border on a road in Tanzania. 19 December 1996
Louie Marlow: Do you have any final thoughts for our readers? Eric Murangwa Eugène: My final remarks would be that the complete loss of respect and value for human life, and murder of more than 1 million people in Rwanda, was not inevitable. It could have been prevented. Sadly, the world does not seem to have learned much from Rwanda’s tragic experience, as similar situations continue in many parts of the world. So my hope is that our dedication to share the lessons from Rwanda is that my children, and their children’s children, will not have to experience what we experienced. For lasting impact, we need more survivors’ stories – and more authentic voices – sharing their lessons in schools in the UK and across the world. History from across the world needs to be discussed in schools, in universities, in corridors, everywhere. By doing this, we can help avoid the hatred that causes genocide and so many other human atrocities. Those are my final remarks. Thank you.
FOLLOW ERIC MURANGWA MBE @E_MURANGWA FOR UPDATES AND WAYS TO SUPPORT THE ISHAMI FOUNDATION, FOLLOW THE TWITTER PAGE: @FOUNDISHAMI, THE FACEBOOK PAGE: ISHAMI FOUNDATION OR GO TO THE WEBSITE: HTTPS://ISHAMIFOUNDATION.ORG Leaving behind nights of terror and fear; I rise. Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear; I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
REISE | PAGE 5
Send them my Salam
UYGHUR POETRY The Uyghur people are an ethnic group, mostly Muslim, living in East Turkistan/Xinjiang, China. The Uyghurs speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population. The United Nations reports that an estimated one million people, mainly Uyghurs, are being held in detention centres across Xinjiang. Many States and international human rights groups have described China's treatment of the Uyghur population as constituting crimes against humanity and genocide. Uyghur activists say they fear that the group's culture is under threat of erasure. Human Rights Watch's Elaine Pearson warns that "China is blueprinting a way of eradicating Muslim identity from a population." This selection of poems have been chosen to share in the beauty of Uyghur culture and to highlight the urgent humanitarian crisis happening in China today. Translations have been kindly provided by Munawwar Abdulla. Send my Salam Abduréhim Ötkür To the winds that fan by me, lend an ear to what I say Hold your scarf up to my eyes and wipe my tears away Climb over those mountains and reach over to my homeland From my tearful heart send my homesick salam to my homeland As you reach the orchards, caress the flowers as you pass by Kiss the beauty who sits below the flowers as you pass by As you pass over the mountains, send my salam to the blossoms To the hearts that have suffered from distress, send my salam To the lovers separated by oppression, send my salam To the prisoners in those dark dungeons, send my salam To the Begs with not a care in the world, send my salam To the orphans whose fathers have died in gaols, send my salam To the laborious peasants in the farmlands, send my salam To the gardeners who bitterly wept in orchards, send my salam To the abandoned boys, the widowed women, to the wretched, send my salam To the beggars who slave for a piece of bread, send my salam To the wild flowers humiliated by outsiders, send my salam To the basil flowers that died for humility, send my salam To the Tahirs separated from their Zohres, send my salam To the poets with orchard tongues and black-stained souls, send my salam To the feeble, bullied everywhere, longing for all, send my salam To the destitute writers with sorrowed souls, send my salam! June, 1945, Lanzhou
My Name Abdushukur Muhemmet I am Abdushukur Muhemmet but my name is a stranger to me, draped over me like a spider’s web. Perhaps it had run away from a land I had never visited and happened on the Taklimakan. It’s misspelled too like the kiss of the wrong first love, And too long like my longing, like my never-ending thoughts, like my unverbalised anguish. Sometimes it looks like the demolished mosques, Sometimes like the old grave left to me by my father, and other times like the circular naan of Kucha. Its twisting lines, like a border turns me into the pair of elm trees at my father’s grave. My father was not the prophet when I was born, but we were chased from our country like the prophet bearing the name “Muhemmet”. Like the stones worn down from aeons of winds you are hung up like a forgotten museum piece. O museum, passed through by the living and settled by the dead O world, where truth and lies are one and the same, In the bloodstains of those diseased eyes, may names scarify in the colour of sand.
Bathe me with my name When I die If it still wants me. 22.11.2020 Stockholm
Today I did not comb my hair I didn’t even look in the mirror My kitchen greeted me icily The walls eyed each other, but didn’t look at me I wasn’t worth it to those four walls It’s hilarious that my cat was scared of me Is my appearance uglier than a cat Is it so important to dress up How did I get to this thought To carry on for a day like I am not living Doing whatever that comes to mind To think like those who have gone mad Firstly, I boiled the coffee in a saucepan then added a touch of vinegar I washed my socks in the dishwasher Found holes in four places tossed and turned it and sensed that it was still sound I tried calling my daughter mum Can you believe she replied, yes my daughter I will remember that my mother is also my daughter I hesitated when it was my husband’s turn because sometimes I do not recognise him He has this one look where my insides end up on my outside That is the way I am tested I will try calling him by another name Wallander, I called, staring at him Wallander is a Swedish inspector He didn’t respond, so I repeated, Wallander Your case is fairly complicated, huh If we bear it for a day it will unravel itself A gourd with no water will wear holes in itself from dryness So he said, looking at himself Carefully combing my unkept hair I will remember my husband really is Wallander The litterfall is my red carpet The trees sway and flirt On one foot I wear a boot, on the other a slipper I wailed loudly in my Uyghur tongue The Ili roads are winding, winding On those winding roads, a pair of skylarks sing plaintive Mournful skylark I will remember the magnanimity of the trees and litterfall
I came upon a gaunt woman She froze upon seeing me then backed away slowly barely holding back a laugh Between the two of us one of us is crazy I know I am faking crazy If she is also faking crazy it’s clear then we are both crazy After the gaunt woman I arrived upon a four-way intersection Green, yellow, and red lights were touching the road’s pressure points Ah the highest degree of mania It is not at all like the imagination The lights stand around Shining their eyes There is only colour here The colour yellow is calm How mystical is the red How loving is the green Some people would say I was calm when they became toothless snakes and bit me They would say I was a loving woman when they hid the sun behind their hems They would say I was a mystical woman when I became crazy like this Again a green light On yellow we prepare Red summons I raised my right leg I raised it and I saw a woman stretched out on the ground Her white hair uncombed On her right foot a boot, on her left a slipper Mournful and restless Oh, this crazy, whining woman said the gaunt woman whispering Oh, this lunatic woman said the cat muttering The woman lying on the floor looked like me but was not me The green light was still on I will remember the countenance of the colour green I recalled all my memories My vinegar flavoured coffee My holey socks My daughter mother Wallander My litterfall My madness All of these are my green lights
I Will Remember Rahile Kamal
The Healer Munawwar Abdulla I could pour my heart into her hands, and it wouldn’t be enough I could catch her smoke and count her sands, and it wouldn’t be enough I could look to the heavens and shout her name, beat my chest with love I could cover each piece of doubt, each strand, and it wouldn’t be enough I could kneel before her and drink her waters, fill her head with dopamine I could hide her from the mean and damned, and it wouldn’t be enough The healer of my insecurities, the revealer of the good in me I could spend my life near her thyroid gland, and it wouldn’t be enough She sparks a small sunlight in me, an atrium echoing with the coo of doves I could shift all gravity, ocean and land, and it wouldn’t be enough One may inspect my countenance and ask, “who is it that you love?” And for 99 days I could recite entranced, and it wouldn’t be enough
Break Open Dear Stone Rena Yashar Aybala Break open dear stone, break open stone Let me take a glimpse of my father Let me look again and again at his eagle-like eyes Let me hear his tongue from which Honey drips when he calls, My child Let me hold his hands with which He held the pen and the universe Break open dear stone, break open stone Let me take a glimpse of my mother
I cannot hold ice like stream water Nor can I flow like river water I cannot fall down like cloud water To press my breast against flowers or thorns Thinking of the taste of ocean water I taste the water that falls from my eyes Boiled water in a glass slowly grows colder My heart is water, I lie flat like a leaf
I envy the water you are soaking yourself in I long to be just one gulp of water Dewdrops, even frosts, fall to pieces Could we not be like water joining water…
Let me look into her eyes That drowned in mourning for her daughter Let me satiate in her love Which to me was just like heaven Let me smell my mother’s hands; Fragrant like flowers, soft like cotton Break open dear stone, break stone Let me quickly crawl inside
Water Chimengül Awut
My child, Aybala, is in pain Let me cry and cry ‘til I am satisfied I have sorrows to fill epics and epics Let me pour out all my grief. Break open dear stone, break stone Let me quickly crawl inside
The world has become too cruel to me Let me escape this world…
REVIEWS FILM PETERLOO - Mike Leigh by Omid Miri The Peterloo massacre was an event so shocking to the Georgian sensibility that it changed the course of British political history forever. The event was immortalised most recently by Mike Leigh in his 2018 film "Peterloo", and serves as a pertinent reminder that perhaps history does repeat itself - it's only the details that change. Leigh’s film reaches into the depth of history and pulls it into the modern day. Though the forces at play, both among the people and among the elites, are caricaturised and simplified for artistic effect, the viewer can’t help but be reminded of 21st century Britain – anxious dinner-table conversations about wages, detached and naïve authority figures, and ultimately the countless human tragedies occurring daily. Many have posited that we now live in an increasingly Victorian country, but Leigh’s “Peterloo” takes the mind back further: the obscene poverty and unrepentant wealth, the unrestricted anger and celebrated greed, the dwindling opportunities and shrinking support – all hallmarks of Georgian Britain and, as the film so plainly reminds us, modern Britain.
LITERATURE KINTU - Jennifer Nansubug by Daniel Wood Recently I had the great joy of discovering for myself Jennifer Nansubugi Makumbi’s Kintu (2018). Kintu is an ambitious, transgenerational epic set in the author’s native Uganda. Inspired by folktale and the oral tradition, the novel is rich in Bugandan history and mythology, as it tracks the course of a familial curse handed down the years from the pre-colonial era. After some difficulty finding a British publisher, apparently on the account of it being ‘too African (very much to their loss and disservice), the book was taken up by Oneworld. Notably, Makumbi refuses to let her national story be defined by the colonial era. Despite its sweeping breadth, from 1750 to today, the time of British rule is absent. This is Uganda’s story. And what’s more it clearly stands, in addition to its many other qualities, as a rebuke to the conceptions of a ‘dark’ continent. The sort of appeals to colonial learning and destiny so readily found in the words and writings of imperial officials such as John Hanning Speke, for example, the ‘discoverer’ of Lake Victoria, here quoted in the novel’s epigraph. A great achievement that ought to be better known.
The Colour Purple - Alice Walker by Zainab Rehman Set in 20th century Georgia, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker is an epistolary novel focused on a family of connected black women. The story follows the difficult life of Celie, an oppressed other who is victim to much abuse and suffering, with the battles beginning at home. Every page will provoke great emotional response as you learn who Celie is through her letters to God and then correspondence with her sister over two decades. Multiple themes are explored throughout this novel such as friendship, family, abuse and liberation. The journey this novel will take you on is hard to express in just a few short words. One thing that becomes apparent through the novel is that there is strength in hope. Each stage of Celie’s life is plagued with pain whilst she is constantly treated as less than those around her. Her release from her abusive father only leads to her then being under the control of an abusive husband. The arrival of a beautiful independent woman, Shug Avery, into her life ultimately encourages Celie to build a life for herself. Shug shows her what it means to be loved and helps her to feel empowered. The book follows the development of Celie’s relationships with those around her and ultimately herself, taking us on a journey of her personal growth to the point of her freedom and contentment with herself. Celie’s distressing life experiences are shared in detail throughout, making it all the more satisfying at any point she receives some well-deserved progression or closure. Finding her identity and independence becomes a goal we as readers share with her.
MUSIC A Seat at the Table is a musically daring, soulful and profound statement on the pain and joy of womanhood, blackness, pain and healing. Co-executive-produced by Solange and neo-soul sage Rapahel Saadiq, A Seat at the Table is Solange’s third fulllength album. The album derives its power from the rich, languid airy sounds which belie Intensely personal, political and provocative lyrics that reckon with racism, oppression and discrimination. Solange embraces the listener and guides them on a cultural and social history candidly, generously and lovingly. There are joyous odes to the black culture but many of the songs also react to the heinous, enduring endemic of black women and men being murdered by the police. The album goes further this, merging a national and personal history, Civil Rights hymnals document centuries of horror black Americans have been subject to, including that inflicted on Knowles’ own ancestors, and she incorporates her family’s past through interludes with her mother Tina and father Mathew. Throughout the album, Solange’s anger and hurt is evident, but she also invites healing and dialogue, and emphatically rejects division. Solange navigates difficult topics with such artistic and emotional intelligence that the album is an experience like no other . Her delivery of brutal truths and experiences in a soft, velvety whisper that simultaneously embraces you and challenges you in a way that can only be defined as being both beautiful and radical. I rise. I rise. I rise.
A Seat at the Table - Solange Knowles by Siemal Khan
The Young Left, painting by Bertha Newcombe; Mr G. Bernard Shaw, Mrs Sidney Webb, Mr Sidney Webb and Mr Graham Wallis The Young Left, 1897 Young Fabians GB Shaw, Beatrice Webb, Sidney Webb and Graham Wallis in 1897 Bertha Newcombe (1857- 1947)
The Young Left, 1897 Young Fabians GB Shaw, Beatrice Webb, Sidney Webb and Graham Wallis in 1897 Bertha Newcombe (1857- 1947)
A free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky. But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.