Speak out against injustice, wherever you see it. Simple. Let that be the preface.
On Tuesday evening the Union of Jewish students’ stall at the National Union of Students annual conference was vandalised.
It goes without saying anti-Semitism is not tolerated within NUS. The Jewish Chronicle stated the incident involved sticking “Boycott Israeli Goods” stickers upon the stall, also covering the sacred Star of David.
This has opened up a new realm of questions. Was the anti-Semitism or was this a political move?
It seems to be intended as political move. However the defacing of the Star of David has caused offence to many and can be classified as anti-Semitism. Rightly so. In fact defacing any religious symbol is wrong, regardless of what it is defaced with.
There is a clear lack of understanding by whoever decided to vandalise this stall. Being anti-Israel is completely different to being anti-Semite, so why is there a need to cover the stalls with stickers? Tactically makes no sense.
Think about it logically. Would someone who wishes to condemn the 9/11 terrorists from Saudi Arabia post stickers on to a FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies) stall? No, because the religion Islam and the terrorists association with Saudi Arabia are two completely separate things. The religion and people of this religion are not associated with such atrocities. It is understood that this comparison may appear ambiguous but it appears ambiguity is necessary to free some people’s minds.
It should be understood that the fight is for the freedom of Palestinians, not the downfall of Jewish people and Jewish societies. Any issue regarding the oppression of others is a human issue. This is regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. Palestine is a human issue. Every human can relate and have an understanding if they are informed.
There are Jewish organisations working towards the freedom of Palestinians; B’Tsalem is an example. Unity is crucial. These antics insult to them and the work they do. It creates divide.
If a person truly wished help the Palestinian cause they would directly speak to the Union of Jewish students and engage in intellectual debate, one of which may be more beneficial to the Palestinian cause. Even better, they should have put every ounce of their energy into discussing Palestine on conference floor! That should be the ultimate aim.
Vandalising a stall with stickers is disrespectful, not to mention a waste of stickers. There is no need for this. First time delegates do not expect to see this. They travelled to conference to witness a united front from the student movement with intellectual policy debate. Let’s hope they are not disheartened by such antics.
Fighting racism and injustice is one of the reason’s I ran for election onto the NUS’ Black Students Campaign. The Palestinian cause is one I support. I support the people, it is that simple.
It saddens me to know many will read this post and think me critical and a traitor to the Palestinian cause. The truth is I make these criticisms to fight for the Palestinian cause. Anti-Semitism aside, the vandalism was detrimental to the cause. What if people who know nothing about Palestine refuse to now get involved because of this? These are activists. We need them.
It is unfair on the Palestinians. It is unfair on those trying desperately to seek freedom for them. And it is unfair on the innocent Jewish community to have their emblem defaced.
I speak out against injustice wherever I see it. Like I said, it is simple. Please try to understand.
Peace and Love always.
Ok, so I was expecting to be riled up by the “Make Bradford British” programme. I had seen many criticisms of the programme tonight on social networks, stating that it was racist propaganda etc. so it’s safe to say I had preconceptions. But after viewing part one I must admit it is one of the most insightful programmes I have seen in a very long time. Not only that, this programme is exactly what the public need to open their eyes.
Force 8 people who would deny each other of their British identity to live together one house. They each have drastically different values and lifestyles from the food they eat to the clothes they wear. So what happens?
Firstly conflict, a clear lack of understanding and bewilderment of these unfamiliar people. People become defensive, cling to their own values and use them as strength. But they use that strength to attack one another. Then, they realise they cannot live in this way. It is simply not possible. So a compromise is made. In this case, Rashid agrees to pray on a trip with his new housemates rather than the Mosque.
I did feel bad for Rashid. Perhaps this would cause more controversy, perhaps he would be resentful. Did his new housemates expect him to be like them? No, no, no. They showed him gratitude. Not only that, they learnt of what his prayers meant to him by seeing him pray. One lady who previously referred to Rashid as a “dickhead” was even brought to tears.
“Give me your hand Rashid, Thank you for coming, because you’ve helped me to an understanding.”
And as for Rashid, was he a sell out? No way near. He showed incredible strength. He realised that his heart was dedicated to God wherever he prayed and in that devotion, his compromise brought unity to this community. It was nothing less than beautiful.
Another guy, Damon. I admit, he’s the kind of guy I’d look at and call a racist. Don’t get me wrong, his views were racist and slightly ignorant but after a few days living in the house and integrating with people that him and his friends would call “p*kis” you begin to see him change his perception. We mustn’t write off those in society who have harmful views for they may not understand why what they do is wrong. This programme gives them the opportunity to learn.
I’ve seen a fair share of agenda driven documentaries in my time. But I genuinely think this documentary shows a balanced and truthful perception of communities. The show received a lot of criticism, I think people can’t take that it was a bit explicit at times. But that’s reality. It is hard truth, from each side of this conflict. We’ve got to face it, realise it doesn’t work. Realise we integrate with one another to create unity.
We have the potential to learn so much from one another. We must find common ground, let that common ground be that we are all British, regardless of what anyone says.
I might change my mind on this programme after seeing part two.
But till then,
Peace and Love.
Stephen Lawrence, a young Black student from south-east London was murdered in a brutal racist attack in 1993. Lawrence’s family after 18 years of persistent campaigning, witnessed the guilty verdicts handed down to David Norris and Gary Dobson.
A lot can be taken from the Lawrence case; why did it take so long to convict Norris and Dobson? Were the sentences correct? Norris and Dobson had been given 18 years of freedom before convicted. That’s the same as Lawrence’s entire lifetime. Has justice actually been delivered?
Perhaps the most important aspect to focus on now is whether or not the lessons of Lawrence case will carry through to today’s society. The truth is, there are still many families of victims of racist attacks waiting for justice. Not only that, there are still racist attacks taking place today.
Despite the beliefs of those who do not directly witness it, racism still thrives amongst our institutions and society. Worst of all, it still exists in the institutions created with the intentions to protect us; the police. And also in the one’s created to inform us: the media.The Macpherson inquiry that followed Lawrence’s death concluded the Metropolitan Police to be “institutionally racist” and stated that officers made fundamental errors during the case.
The scary fact remains that racism derived from subconscious prejudices is now silenced, almost unnoticed because it is indirect and even in some cases unintentional. Academic racism is an example of this. Anonymous marking prevents unfair marking, but it is not the solution. Ultimately we should also be working towards creating a society in which anonymous marking is not a necessity.
And what about organisations such as the English Defence League (EDL)? The EDL and other fascist organisations are allowed to promote hate and increase racial tensions amongst our society. This hate leads to attacks and murders just like Stephen Lawrence was subjected to.
Days after the sentences were delivered to Lawrence’s murderers, the caseovershadowed by condemnations of Diane Abbott for her twitter comments. We must not let attention to be diverted in this way. We must concentrate on those with racist sentiments which lead to harmful serious issues rather than political correctness, and condemning those who have no real fascist intentions.
Do not forget what happened to Stephen Lawrence. Do not forget what his family faced. And most of all do not forget that there are many many others out there facing the same plight.
We must continue to challenge and fight racism, wherever we may find it.
Peace and Love