The Canary is excited to share the latest edition of our letters page. This is where we publish people’s responses to the news and politics, or anything else they want to get off their chest. We’ve now opened the letters page up so anyone can submit a contribution. As always, if you’d like to subscribe to the Canary – starting from £5 a month – to support truly radical and independent media, then you can do that here:
This week’s letters
This week we have people’s thoughts on the BBC, professor David Miller, someone’s personal story, and an upcoming event in Bristol.
Please, BBC – tell the truth on Israel
On 26th January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) bottled out of demanding a ceasefire by Israel – but has declaimed a list of genocidal activities – seeking of Israel the following:-
- Take all measures within its power to prevent genocide – including killing and injuring Palestinians in Gaza.
- Stop any incitement to genocide – including from members of the public.
- Take immediate and effective measures to allow humanitarian assistance to enter Gaza.
- Prevent the destruction of evidence relating to genocide.
The BBC reported these findings with sympathy but conversely Israel responded with its usual chutzpah. They informed the world that 10 or so Hamas adherents, who work for UNWRA, participated in the 7 October incursion into Israel. As UNWRA employs some 30,000 Gazans in assisting some two million people to survive Israel’s wholesale slaughter and destruction, it is only surprising Israel could only find 10 names.
But nine nations, including Germany, the US, and the UK – so obsessed with supporting Israel – have withdrawn their funding of UNWRA. The height of cruelty if this means UNWRA cannot continue its vital work – and two million people will go over the brink and die. Of starvation, disease or shelling. And those nations are doubly wrong, now that Israeli newspapers, such the Times of Israel and the Cradle, have disclosed that the atrocities were of Israeli making.
Please, please BBC, tell the world of this.
Ted, via email
A story from a reader
This is an article which is just needing somewhere to go about discrimination and unfair sectioning by a semi-violent, uncommunicative team of very unprofessional professionals which reveals what Bristol Mental Health services are like.
The Human Rights Act was violated by these so called mental health personnel from the AWP (Avon and Wiltshire partnership) and by Bristol Council. My right to privacy, dignity, personal choice were not upheld. No real mental heath assessment was ever carried out and all that happened was that they just ‘roughed’ me up a bit verbally and physically. It resulted in a six-day sectioning which was utterly unjust and had no outcomes delivered for my health.
I suffer debilitating, physical, chronic, multi-system diseases and I have life limiting capabilities. However I am university graduate and I know the world. Speaking to others I found that they had been similarly violated and just treated very lowly in a way like cattle.
In many cases there had been verbal abuse and certainly the services many experienced by ‘professionals’ who are being paid; acted extremely unprofessionally; and the Bristol and British mental health services are really terribly poor.
They made me feel quite frightened in my home. Two years later I am still working on actions I can take in relation to the disturbance they caused me. I am fed up of the way they treated me and have not yet seen compensation.
A service that I thought might be community minded, dignified, and sensible was not in any way any of those things. Doctors, teachers, headteachers, consultants, and many other areas I have been involved in have never compared to the low service that I and others received.
I believe they have been abusing their position of power and causing people more mental health problems or not resolving peoples physical or mental health or even trying to – instead they play with peoples minds and bodies even as if they are nothing and of no worth at all – just like pigs. This abysmal services need surveillance to see what they have been doing and what injustices the poor patients have been suffering and sadly it is probably shocking that they have been so poor at their job.
In no way are they helping people to feel better. Very few good outcomes were happening and they were abusive and very keen to detain people and harm or bully people. Abusing rather than helping community members to stay in their homes – and develop and access positive services. Instead they were just trying to degrade ‘one’ and were not even aware of my physical disabilities or even acting on a serious level – they asked me ‘if I was part of a cult?’
I then phoned MIND but by this time that had followed me into my bedroom and bathroom and MIND said they were illegally there and should leave. The sad thing is that they did not care about anything and had no interest in my physical conditions or the lifestyle I needed to live or anything that could have helped me to evolve or to gain positive outcomes. In the bathroom I had to shower because of my haemorrhaging and bladder and they then came and abused my privacy voyeuristically. In short, when they go to section people Bristol Mental Health abuse people.
In my case I was no danger to myself or others so it was an unfair and potentially illegal detention. In fact I was more in danger from being in contact with them then at home myself. And others I have discussed this with report similar stories of verbal and physical abuse and loss of possessions.
The council when challenged by me through the ombudsman process also lied as the employees put their account against mine and lied in their account. They claimed that they only had 1 or 2 women in the bathroom and there were at least 4 or 5 people in my bathroom starring at me dressing and men also.
Thus this kind of abuse in this day and age is not acceptable and I really believe that it shocking. You can imagine over the last 15 years how they have been treating members of the public. People I spoke to report being treated like victims, like cattle – not with respect or professionalism in their manner or pride in their role – just abusing the public for their own backsides.
I know no other services where people treat others in this way in this country. I would say the whole thing needs surveillance and they need to be monitored as I believe they are using their job to violate the British public and are thus wasting public money and upsetting the balance of respect and dignity that one is used to.
I have decided to try and find outlets to communicate the sense of grief I feel at this time about Bristol Mental Health services and the way people especially vulnerable people are treated. Life is not just a game. We are living authentic people who are obliged to help one another along in life. And our decency is not a green light for any underhand behaviour towards us in anyway.
I hope my writing will take off this year and will find audiences – multiple audiences.
Vania, via email
ED: thank you so much for your heartfelt letter, Vania – we empathise with what you’ve been through and hope you finally can hold Bristol Mental Health Services to account.
Professor David Miller
As you will be aware, professor David Miller, an expert in the history of settler colonialism and a well known anti-Zionist was sacked by Bristol University for allegedly harassing Jewish Students. He was targeted by three Israeli lobby groups who conspired to bring about his removal from the university.
The tribunal found this week that he was not guilty of harassment and that his right to free speech under Equality Law was infringed. A landmark ruling was given that anti-Zionism is a protected belief.
The repercussions of this ruling for the dozens of Labour Party members persecuted by lobby groups with specious accusations are very significant. Also, the IHRA definition of antisemitism forced on the Labour Party and adopted by many local authorities, is now open to re-examination. It conflated antisemitism and anti-Zionism in a most pernicious manner.
Alan, via email
ED: you can help with Miller’s legal costs via the link in the post below:
Miller, Lowkey, and Subeiti to take part in event in Bristol
David Miller and Lowkey to discuss Zionism, Islamophobia & the weaponisation of antisemitism at public meeting this weekend.
Bristol Palestine Alliance (BPA) have organised a public meeting to take place on Sunday 11 February to help the Muslim and wider communities better understand Zionism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and their connections. The panel of speakers will contextualise/discuss the reality of how the Zionist ideology negatively impacts on community cohesion and feeds in to Islamophobia.
Since 7 October there has been growing concern amongst the Muslim communities of a rise in Islamophobia, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate crime which is being witnessed on a global scale.
One of the organisers of Sunday’s event and a member of BPA said “we wanted to create a space for local communities to consider and understand the difference between Zionism and Judaism, to understand how Zionism can feed in to Islamophobia. We want be people to be able to confidently call out racism and a genocide without fear”.
Although he was ultimately vindicated, David Miller’s experience at Bristol University is a stark reminder of how organised, relentless and vindictive the powerful pro-Zionist lobby can be in the UK – and the tactics they often use to vilify any perceived opponent.
The main speaker David Miller is an unflinching anti-Zionist. With his experience, research and in-depth knowledge on the subject, he is ideally suited to be part of our amazing panel. We look forward to a lively, engaging and insightful discussion.
Guest speaker Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic, political campaigner, and a MintPress video and podcast host. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique, and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, the Racial Justice Network, and the Peace and Justice Project founded by Jeremy Corbyn.
Final guest speaker Batool Subeiti is an energy engineer, political analyst, and public speaker.
Bristol Palestine Alliance, via email
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