Invisible Victorians

In 1993 Vital Link Educational Limited was formed. It’s first publication was called “Invisible Victorians”. It asked the question why were a group, sometimes referred to as “a visible minority”, be invisible in history. Of course this refers to the many, notably women, who have been grossly overlooked in successive patriarchal societies that have defined what recorded history should include or leave out. As Winston Churchlll famously said “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

An exhibition in London explores that dimension of Victorian Britain members of Vital Link and others have from time to time uncovered.

Shoja`eya`s Diaries (1). Young Gazan Writers



“Ya Allah, I`m so weak and I can do nothing….I cannot make decisions, so please help me” The Paralyzed mother Om Ahmad was praying to Allah (God) to help her getting ut her serious problem.” Ya Allah, I`m disabled and cannot walk like others. I lost all my family last week and I`m alone with my little baby Ahmad who is mentally disabled. I cannot deal with this difficult situation. I wanted to leave this dangerous place as I`m so scared of the coming few minutes, but I cannot leave with him, so please help me.”

The dreadful bombings where targeting the homes all around Om Ahmad`s home mercilessly. The horrible voices hither and thither where heard loudly. There were no sirens although the streets were full of spread burnt corpses and injuries. Om Ahmad went out her home carrying her baby difficultly, creeping like children, and not knowing whether she would live or die. She could not carry him for a while, and she did not know what to do. She cried and moaned. She wailed like children over the harsh situation that she was in, but the blare of a rocket cut in her voice. Miraculously, she left her baby in front of the door crying, and then she left the area on the last spurt creeping on her knees. The baby remained in that dangerous area under the bombs not knowing his fate and the mum hurried to an unknown area leaving her little kid crying. Finally, this story can be over when we say that the entire family got abolished as if the air removed the dust.

Done by: Mohammad S Arafat (Mr. Pen)

Scottish separation is not the way to get rid of the Tories

Saying “yes” to independence for Scotland is very tempting, but those of us left with the Westminster elite feel dismayed that a country with a strong Socialist tradition want to go it alone. We all want the chance to say “yes” for an independent West Midlands not mention Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. So why say “no”?

I remember the great struggle for an independent South Africa under a seemingly Socialist ANC led eventually by the iconic figure of Nelson Mandela. The name was going to have to change to Azania if I remember correctly. I can’t say from personal experience since I have only set foot on South african soil briefly, in transit to and from Zimbabwe, but I am sure things have changed greatly. For the better for many, yet not by any means for all. An elite continues to exist, not along the apartheid lines with black people excluded from power, but leaving many, the majority black, still waiting for a modest place at the table. Socialist it surely ain’t.

With the Westminster elite launching themselves on Scotland only days before the referendum, comment that panic had set in seemed spot on. Given that they are the very reason that we’d all say “yes” how wise the idea was remains to be seen. Why say “NO”?

Seumas Milne writing in the Guardian sums up why Salmond’s promises can’t and won’t come to fruition:

The message that if you vote yes you’ll never get another Tory government could hardly be a more powerful one in a country that polled 42% for Labour and less than 17% Conservative in 2010 and ended up with Cameron as prime minister all the same.

But the idea that a yes vote would be a short cut to a progressive future in a Scandinavian-style social democracy is another matter. It’s not just that Scottish voters aren’t being offered genuine independence at all. Instead, the state cooked up by the SNP is one signed up in advance to the monarchy, Nato, the EU and a currency controlled from London.

Sure, Whitehall and Brussels will negotiate terms if it comes to it. But that will certainly be on the basis of harsh debt and deficit limits – turning an already tight fiscal inheritance into a turbo-charged austerity that would make the kind of welfare system Salmond is promising impossible to deliver.

On top of that the SNP, which would doubtless rule the roost in the aftermath of a vote for independence it would rightly be seen to have brought about, is still no party of the centre-left. Backed by tax avoiders, hedge funders, privateers and Rupert Murdoch, its central economic policy is to cut corporation tax 3% below the British rate to attract capital to Scotland.

The Socialist Labour Party in Scotland is calling for real Socialism to be established which is not on the agenda of the SNP:

Statement by Socialist Labour Party Scotland

Scotland Needs Socialism – Not Sham Independence

A Scotland in the European Union, NATO, under the fiscal and economic jurisdiction of the Bank of England and with an unelected monarch as head of state may have gained some elements of separation after a Yes vote but what it will not be will be independent. And this is the SNP’s Plan A!

This anti-independence would deny the Scottish people through their elected parliament, without outside interference, the right to invest in …industrial regeneration, to retain the NHS as a free at the point of need public health service, to build homes for the 200,000 plus on council waiting lists or freely develop policies to tackle many of the other essential needs of the Scottish people. There would be no independence either when it comes to fishing or farming policy. And with the drive towards “fiscal and monetary union” in the EU, economic policy as well as tax, pensions and welfare benefits would all be further subject to decisions and veto from outwith Scotland.

The Socialist Labour Party in Scotland is opposed to this sham independence and advocates a NO vote. The Scottish people, as do the peoples of Wales and England, need jobs, social and welfare security and a vibrant productive economy. Working people need to know that they can rely on a National Health Service and be able to look to a future dignified life in retirement free from financial worry. Salmond’s so-called independence jeopardises these things because it will undermine the unity that built the welfare state after the second world war and open up our public services to the bureaucrats of the EU commission, the IMF and the sharks of international finance – ask the Irish, the Greeks, the Portugese, the Cypriots, the Spanish or even the Italians.

Our world remains in the grip of the greatest capitalist economic crisis in living memory and the only long term viable solution for working class people everywhere is to move in a socialist direction. To achieve that we need to build the widest possible unity of working class people – separation and division as proposed by the SNP and their confused, red tartanites and MacTrotskyite acolytes undermines this and would be a backward step.

SLP Scotland say No to the EU, No to NATO, No to the monarchy and No to tax cuts for the big corporations.

Vote No on 18th September.

The Stolen Surprise. Gazan Young Writers


“Mum, when will I see my little brother Ahmad in front of my eyes?”
Kholood, the eldest daughter, asked her pregnant mother happily, waiting
for the day to see her brother Ahmad in.” I want to see him very soon,
please. I want not to stop hugging and kissing him. I want to play with him
and to be proud of him as many of my friends vilify me because I don`t
have a brother. But now they will never dare to. He will protect me and my
three sisters when he grows up Inshallah.” 

“Hahahaha,” the tired mother smiled a very lovely innocent smile” you will see him very soon. Just try to force yourself to be patient for just five days. Your dad will get so happy and finally he will be a father of a real son. He finally can walk proudly among his neighbors not caring about their insulting words. I`m sure he will be the happiest father in this life. My aim is just to cheer him up.”

The five days have gone very quickly in safe and sound, full of joy and smiles in spite of the sever situations that Gaza was in. The family did not know the taste of sadness after the happiness killed their sorrow. But all of that was erased after the news about their uncle reached them. The mother`s brother got martyred with his entire family. That news made the family upside down. Their hopes got abolished and their joy got stolen. Everyone got shocked.

The mother was about to deliver the baby on that day, but she began to bleed severely before the time of delivering came. So the father called the ambulance and it arrived after ten minutes. Then the mother was moved to the hospital and entered the intensive care room to be treated before going to the room of birth. Doctors did their bests to make the mother alive, but, alas, she passed away.

Kholood and the sisters` screaming filled the hospital and everyone got really sad. They realized that they will never have a mother again and a brother as well. Everything has happened in some moments quickly.

After half an hour of crying and suffering, they heard a crying of a baby boy from the intensive room, so Kholood smiled a fake smile under a shade of sorrow. She did not know if she should smile or cry. Everything got mixed with each other. Happiness was mixed with sadness, but sadness was more. Her brother Ahmad was alive and her mum got dead. His tears were mixed with theirs. He will be motherless from the first day he saw the life in. Who will care him? Who will nurture him and make him a man to protect his four sisters? Who will look for Kholood and the other three sisters? Who will care the father? Where the family will get the humanness from after they have lost it? Who will let the family`s life smile? Those questions have been asked by kholood and her three poor small sisters until now.

Written by: Shaima` Al- Kholy
Edited and translated by: Mohammad S Arafat (Mr. Pen)


My Beloved Home!!! Gazan Young Writers “Mosab and Mohammad”


Arif`s family got their breath back after about forty five days at the UN school and its bad circumstances. They lived in what no one would live in miraculously. The class, that they used to live in, had more than seven stricken families, and every family of those had more than eight members including crying babies and little needy children. The class was really crowded as though there was an enthralled audience watching a very heroic film. The crying of the babies filled the place and the groans of the elders were heard as if it was a room in a full of patients hospital. Men did not know how to stop their and their children`s suffering as there was no choice except accepting their cursed fate. Women were just thinking of nothing, but were thinking anyway. The clashes between couples filled the class and the slapping on cheeks was really hard. The situations there were really too dreadful and merciless for Arif and his family who were patient until the final spurt of the brutality. Once they heard the news about the ratified ceasefire, they forgot every bad moment that they lived in.

“Let’s gooooooooooo!!!” Arif cried out happily at his family.” Let’s go back to our home. It`s waiting for us as we used to wait for this moment!!”
“Al Hamdulilah,” Arif`s wife praised her God smiling at her husband,” Finally we got to go to our beloved home and enjoy our life with our children like others.”
The wife wanted to collect the things that the charities donated for them, but Arif stopped her” What are you doing? We are not going to take anything from this place to our home. There are still many families lost their homes and they need these things.”

Arif`s wife got smiled and collected asked her children to begin the magnificent journey to their home!!

While walking towards home, everyone of Arif`s family was thinking of what he/ she would do once arriving the home. The girls thought about their pink room that their father painted for them before the beginning of the aggression. They thought about the big dulls and toys that they will play with. The little boys thought about the pets that they left at their home and about their little babies that should have been bigger by now. The eldest son thought about his new room that his Father built for him to get married in. The mother was thinking of her lovely big kitchen that she missed and the clothes that her husband gifted to her in their wedding. All were thinking about their lovely things except Arif who was really worried about the shock that he would get if something would happen to his home. He just stayed silent waiting for the emergence of the home.

After half an hour of walking, the family arrived at the area of their home happily diving into their hopes and dreams, dreaming for a better future and thinking positively, but the scene that they saw as they arrived destroyed their dreams and turned their hopes into ghastly horrible nightmares.

The home was disappeared as though someone uprooted it and threw it into an unknown place…

Mohammad S Arafat (Mr. Pen)

The night that we were waiting for!!!

Gazan Young Writers “Mosab and Mohammad”


The night that we were waiting for!!!
Both, the groom and his bride, prepared themselves to go to their flat that they rented on Gaza beach, after finishing celebration their wedding. They got in a red car towards that flat thinking of the first night that they would live with each other. . The atmosphere in that car was merely silent, but the thoughts were working more than speech .The groom looked at his pretty bride waiting for the first moments in the coming night with her wanting to know about the secrets that night would show him. He was thinking of the surprises that will happen during that lovely first night. He got so shy with his face red when he thought of himself with her wife on the smooth red bed that he bought after getting paid from the bank. He thought about his bride`s red lips that he will never leave and the lipstick that he will be drawn into. He also thought about her black tall hair with two the that he would clamber towards the top of love. Her blue magnificent eyes enthralled him completely and turned his dreams into reality. Her small white shining face was the same as the moon in the moonlit night. Her beautiful attractive white dress of the wedding was as a sign for their white future.The groom was looking at her husband`s silver ring that she gifted him during their wedding happily, but she was shy in the same time. Then he pressed on her warm white hand so that increased her shyness as a sign of love. She thought of the lovely atmosphere that she would have with him alone inside a very nice locked room. She wanted to do everything that her husband would ask her to do as long as he`s her prince. She wanted to make him the happiest person on earth as he promised her to love her forever.After ten minutes of mutual thoughts between both in the car, they arrived at their flat preparing for the nicest night in their life. They entered the room, that was lined with ostrich`s feathers, with shy silent smiles. The dancing candles were lightening that room and the windows were open looking over the sea. There was a very attractive perfume was smelled from that room. The husband got worried that the candles would discover the secrets that they will do and the sea will see them as well. So he left his wife`s hands hardly for some moments and went and closed the windows and put out the candles except one candle that he put over the head of their red lovely bed.
The wife was standing not knowing what to do as it`s the first night with her husband. After a while of looking at each other, the husband asked her to go with him to the shower to had one and then to pray two times to their God to bless them and to make it easy for them both before doing anything.Suddenly, the phone rang and the husband finished his praying and answered it..” Hello!!”

“Sorry for calling you in this time, but I just wanted to tell you that your family and your bride`s got killed after a reconnaissance drone targeted the car that was supposed to move them to their homes…!!”

Share if you care…
Mohammad S Arafat(Mr. Pen)



We must not forget!!! Mr Pen, Gaza


It was only a matter of minutes rather than hours and even days before the patient people of Gaza heard the news of the ceasefire agreement through Radios and TVs. That happy news was like the best thing that they never heard before as this aggression stayed for more than fifty days. They did not believe that until the clock chimed 7pm and the fireworks launched singing the songs of triumph. They expressed their stolen joy with the simplest ways of celebration they could use. They got happy and the grandmothers shrilled as strongly as they could manage. The children filled the streets vigorously not knowing how they would celebrate that special day…..But wait a minute, please. We forgot something…. Where is the joy of the children who lost their parents? Where are the smiles of the women who are windows right now? Where is the shrill of the mothers who lost their sons and daughters? Where is the voice of our martyrs? Where will the people who lost their homes and lands celebrate? They did not get happy at all as they are still under the cloak of sadness that the enemies covered them by. They are still drowning into their blood and sorrow. They think that no one cares about them. However, we must make a decision to try to give them their imprisoned joy that they lost during the brutality. We all MUST console with them by staying silent for one minute and read Al- Fateha Surah for the sake of their martyrs` souls and the injuries` efforts and other families.

For who he does not know Al- Fateha Surah, you can read it as following. It`s in English language, thank you:

(In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the merciful* All Praise is due to Allah, the lord of the worlds* The Beneficent, the Merciful* Master of the Day of Judgment* Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help* Keep us on the right path* the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray).

Gazan Young Writers “Mosab and Mohammad”


Once the reconnaissance drones and the airplanes disappeared from the cloudy skies over Gaza. Once the soldiers got back to their military basics. The sky turned into a clear blue sky with the sun shining. The owls with their hoots perched on their branches sadly. The horrible bats groaned and rushed to their dark caves. The birds went out their warm roosts happily singing the songs of victory, inviting other kinds of birds to join them. The reptiles slithered out their burrows towards their lovely lagoons. The moles went out their scooped-out holes in the ground and began a new journey of looking for food. The hidden fish in the bed sea trembled slowly towards the surface of the sea to smell new oxygen mixed with the taste of triumph. The afraid children left their mums` humane laps towards the voice of the fireworks happily not believing what happened. Boys and girls wiped their tears out and smiled. Mothers and grandmothers raised their voices with lovely shrills crying with joy. The atmosphere turned into noise of happiness after it was silent. Everyone is happy and everyone is victorious…
Congratulations Gaza, Congratulations Palestine…

She is my Mother, not my Country. Mr Pen, Gaza

from Mohammad S. Arafat


He entered the office of the passports in the airport in Holland wanting to travel back to Palestine. The officer took his red Palestinian passport from his Palestinian hand and she stamped it. She asked him without a thought” What is your lovely country, Palestine or Holland? ”

“The difference between both is like the difference between the Mother and the Wife.” He smiled.” I can get the wife by choosing her according to her beauty and behaviors, but the mother is another story. I cannot choose her, but I own her and she owns me. I can rest only in her lap. I can cry only on her chest. She is only the one who wipes my tears out when I cry. She stands with me when I`m in distress…. I just pray to my God to take my soul over my Mother Palestine”.
The officer smiled and closed the passport and asked him” We hear that the Palestinians live in bad circumstances over there, so why do you love Palestine?” He retorted” You mean my mother?? Oh well, Maybe my mother does not have the price for buying food, water and medicine, but her humanness is my food, water and medicine. Her heart`s beatings treat me..”.
“Could you please describe Palestine for me?” The officer asked in amazement.
“My mother is not blonde as others,” He smiled another lovely smile,” but you will love her hair and face. Her eyes are not green like the westerns, but you will feel safely if you look at them. He flesh is not as white as others, but it`s shiny. Her clothes are too simple, but she is proud of herself. She does not use gold and silver for her beauty, but her beauty is in her Olive trees and wheat spikes. The Thieves have stolen her, but she is still smiling!!!”
The officer gave the passport to him and said” I see Palestine in T.V and Media, but I don`t see what you described for me!!”
“You saw Palestine as it`s on the Map,” He breathed,” but you did not see Palestine into my heart. You did not see Palestine in our hearts as Palestinians. You did not see how steady she is when we are suffering. You did not see how she sacrifices for the sake of her children. You just see the appearance and you believe it, but you forgot the proverb that says, Appearances are deceiving,”
The officer nodded her head down and entered in a long wave of crying over his words begging him to complete his speech…

Mohammad S Arafat (Mr. Pen) — ‎with ‎Mohamed E. Haneya, Abed ElHadi, Ahmed Obaid and 43 others‎.‎

Not a Dream. Mohammad S. Arafat, Gaza


“There were neither bombs nor rockets. There were no bullets and no buzzing of the annoying drones. The sky was so clear and the atmosphere was really lovely. The sun of the morning was as bright as the moon in the moonlit night.
He looked all round and saw what no one would see. The swans were croaking loudly beautifully, ambling in the blue gleaming ponds around him. The nightingales were filling the skies, smelling the fresh breeze of the morning, flying happily, singing their private favorite songs, making a whistled concert through the air. The beautiful colored goldfinches were going in and out their warm roosts bringing delicious food for their little babies. The fish under the deep sea were swimming and chasing each other through the mazes, making a game as it`s their marriage period. The green high trees made shades for him so he could lie down and eat from the scarce edible colored fruit that he picked from the pendulous bunches over his head. The small beautiful children with their white faces and black gleaming hair were running around the tree that he was lying under, smiling at him, hoping him to come and join them. The white steady horses were racing each other on the golden shore in front of him with their manes flying. The yellow green frogs were croaking loudly in the transparent lakes with their small lovely heads out the water. They were blowing out their cheeks like two bubbles so they could crock loudly.” That, merely, was his simple dream while sleeping before a snatched rocket invaded his room and destroyed his body leaving bowel out. His body was thrown yards away….

feeling Nothing….