Monthly Archives: September 2006

Time to Go Demonstration, Manchester

Saturday, 23rd September and an estimated 30,000, probably more on the day, assembled in Manchester ahead of the Labour Party Conference to express frustration, anger at continued violence and deaths from foreign policy. Old friends assembled for the coach from Soho Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, comrades on the left split between a variety of organisations as New Labour took on the left and pursued its Thatcherite policies. Some had been memebers of the Socialist Alliance, others had joined Respect while some of us cling to our Labour membership. At one of the service stations we met up with our friends from the Indian Workers Association, many of whom supported Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour. New Labour were well satisfied when comrades were forced out, as was Raghib Ahsan, while interminable killings and violence were too much for others. Gurdev Manku and I were among the remnants inside Labour, still a thorn in the flesh to the increasingly discredited and beleaguered Blairites.
Albert Square by Manchester Town Hall basked in warm sunshine. Placards familar and unfamilar were held aloft as we assembled for a march around the G-mex complex where the Conference was to start the following day. Soni, Gurdev’s daughter, joined us having started her university course in Manchester a week earlier. She chose a blood spattered “Time to GO” banner and took a liking to a picture of Bush with the caption “The World’s Greatest Terrorist”. Quite so.
At one point on the march people lay down in the road with blood-stained sheets, symbolic of lives lost by ordinary woemn, children and men in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Lebanon and elsewhere the U.S., British-backed war machine ploughed its way.

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Hungary’s Blair

The Hungarian P.M. appears to have come a cropper for telling lies leading up to thie spring elections. Sound familiar? I was in Budapest the week prior to voting, and comments I heard then mentioned the arrogance of the candidate! One aspect of this was his picture covering the whole face of a tower block.
Hungarians will not stand for any nonsense as those who remember the 1956 resistance to Soviet power. Now in front of parliament there is a flag with a hole where the reminder of earlier domination has been removed.

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Gurdev Manku is set up

Friday 15th September and we’re called to Oldbury to hear an appeal by Gurdev Manku as to why he was excluded from the Labour Party panel of candidates. Bill Challis and I accompany him to give evidence on his behalf of his unstinting work for Labour over nearly 20 years as a Birmingham City Councillor. Here he held high office, including Chair of the Transportation Committee. Gurdev has been given a piece of paper giving one reason why the panel turned him down. He had failed to canvass or leaflet in Soho during the 2006 local election campaign. It was explained that Soho never canvasses either on the doorstep or by telephone. The councillors and officers feel it not necessary since it is thought to be safe for Labour.
At the hearing the case against was made by the chair of the interviewing panel which had turned him down. He laboured the point about Gurdev’s alleged crime. The ppeals panel read out a letter from the Chair of Ladywood Constituency who confirmed SOHO DON’T CANVASS. Nevertheless hsi accuser felt he should have used his own knowledge and experience to conduct a campaign. The pertinent question was asked ” who runs campaigns?” “The candidate and agent came the reply”. Gurdev pointed out thathe had regulalrly tried to persuade Soho to campaign, but to no avail. Usually he was busy in his own (the former Sandwell) ward in any case.
Obviously the prosecution felt they were cutting no ice with the appeals panel, so he then began to make two further allegations, the first of which claimed that Gurdev had been involved in a brawl. Was he a fit candidate? Our breath was taken away. Gurdev involved in violence? He’s the most unlikely person you could think of to behave in even a mildly threatening manner. The only incident I could call to mind having worked closely with Gurdev and Phil Murphy as close comrades on the City Council. Shortly after 9/11 Gurdev was waiting for a bus ib Cape Hill, Smethwick, when a passerby asked menacingly if he was a Muslim. challenged the questioner. Dharm Singh kept him engaged in a debate while Councillor Chaman Lal called the police on his mobile phone. After a while and before the arrival of the police, the man suddenly took off punching Gurdev in the mouth as passed by. At this point Gurdev was standing by himself at the bus stop not wishing to be involved. I next saw Gurdev at the A & E Department of Birmingham’s City Hospital at 1 o’clock in the morning. We spent the rest of the night waiting there only to be sent across to Selly Oak Hospital the next day to try to secure Gurdev’s loosened teeth.
Where had the information come from? The accuser said he must of heard it at the meeting he chaired, but there was no statement among the papers or reference to it thta the appeals panel could see. They ruled it out of order and forbade reference to it.
Next point. Gurdev had not been able to give an account of the executive/scrutiny functions following the “modernisation” programme of local government. Agai this had not been included on the feedback information. Indeed there did not appear to be a question asking about it. Gurdev confirmed that he had not spoken about it at the interview. Once again the appeals panel overruled the accusation.

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Developing the Curriculum for Equality in primary schools in Kings Norton, Birmingham

Developing the Curriculum for Citizenship & Equality
Issues and Resources
1. Issues: migration, a problem or benefit?
Popular accounts of migrants play up fears on employment, alien influences and lawlessness. Evidence does not confirm these fears with contrary views that migrant labour has been a valuable and necessary contribution to the economy. A poll asking Muslims about being British found the vast majority identified with Britishness despite experiencing hostility in the media and in society.
The Independent 23/8/2006
“Immigration: This island’s story.”
“How immigrants sustain Britain’s economic growth.”

The Independent 7/9/2006
“Women migrants ‘suffer double discrimination’ “
Women migrants are at risk of exploitation and abuse, yet “they contribute billions to the economies of the countries they travel to in terms of taxes,,1867528,00.htmland consumption…”
Guardian 23/8/2006
.“New in the U.K: the ‘guest’ workforce who don’t stay long”
“Slice of life from 71 countries.”
Guardian 28/8/2006
“Why minorities feel marginalised”
Guardian 7/9/2006
“Muslim girls surge ahead at school but held back at work”
“Black teachers face bullying and racism, survey finds”
ICM poll of 500 Muslims carried out in February 2006.
The vast majority of those surveyed were positive about Western society (80%). Only 7% were negative thinking it was decadent. 12% didn’t answer the question.
2. Resources:
including case studies of people who have become involved with their adopted countries in conflict and peace
Daily Telegraph 23/8/2006
Proud to be Muslim, a soldier and British.” L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi from Birmingham, killed in Iraq this year.
Islam for Today
Muslims in Britain Past and Present

Columnist Brig (retd) Noor A Husain
Muslims in the British Army during World War 2
Memories of my Sister.
Pir Vilyat Inyat Khan remembers Noor Inyat Khan G.C., killed by the Gestapo in Dachau in 1944.
U.K. Navy gets first Muslim Admiral 14/4/2006
British Community Pays Tribute to War Veterans
Birmingham Council House 2005
Squadron Leader Pujji’s Story
Observer 10/11/2002.
Caribbean honour officially restored.
String of Pearls National Army Museum
Accounts of Caribbean contribution to European wars from 18th Century
The Black Presence in Britain
includes a wide range of people, including
Una Marson, broadcaster
Harold Moody, doctor etc.
The site has many biographies which include:
John Alcindor, doctor
Walter Tull soldier, World War 1
Sylvester Williams, organiser of the First Pan-African Conference in London in 1900.
Samuel Coleridge Taylor, composer
John Archer, Mayor of Battersea
Shapurji Saklatvala, M.P.
William Cuffay, taylor and Chartist.
When the boat comes in: where I live – Tyne. Foreign seamen. Muslim community.
Jimmy Durham. The sergeant’s boy from Sudan.
Arthur Wharton. The first black footballer.
Black Romans.
Asian Britain
Quiz on Black People in Britain and Europe includes William Davidson, William Cuffay, Elizabeth Lindsay, Olaudah Equiano, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Claudia Jones and Alexandre Dumas.
Ranjitsinji, cricketer
History of Estevanico
The Story of Sir Francis Drake
Drake works with the Maroons in Panama against the Spanish
The Black Mozart: The Knight of Saint-George.

The Black Jacobins

St Maurice and the Theban Legion.
News from Nowhere
Asian cinema
Sikh Cyber Museum
Channel 4 Untold story
For Black History Month 2000 Channel 4 launched The Black and Asian History Map of the British Isles. The map is an extensive gateway to existing and newly created websites, searchable by location, time and subject, documenting the black and Asian presence in British history. It is an exciting, interactive resource to which you can add your own contribution. Click on the image below to go to the map.
The commitment to examine the intimate relationship between mainstream British history and stories of black and Asian Britain continues on the Untold website. Use the forum for questions and debate. Get started tracing your roots in the genealogy section. Add your own contribution to the telling of black history by joining the Black & Asian History Map project. Test your knowledge of black British history with the Blagger’s Game.

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