Monthly Archives: April 2010

The arms dealers rule OK

We know that corporations have the power to persuade, influence, to dictate or override governments with the connivance of politicians who may be getting considerable gains for their efforts. It has been noted that in the UK election debate the fact that Britain is at war is not mentioned. While it is clear that many ordinary citizens want nothing of it, the arms dealers and their mates in government have different ideas. War is profitable, so let’s have bigger and better conflicts with ever increasing and sophisticated weaponry. As we saw in the Gaza conflict that weaponry inflicts greater damage and injury to frail human beings. Injuries to both humans and livestock was reported to be extraordinary in the way it severed limbs,. The use of supposedly banned materials such as phosphorous and depleted uranium has seen to it that the unborn suffers.
So it is good to see some action being taken in the US about continuing arms sales to Israel. Arms that will potentially kill and injure more Palestinians. Arms that might well be used for more widespread conflict in the Middle East as the hawks are straining at the leash to deal with Iran.

To be Palestinian will be criminal under IDF laws

New regulations brought in under military law will automatically make huge numbers of Palestinians criminal which will lead to harsh penalties Haaretz reports. Israel has showed the US it has no respect for their wish to stop building settlements in East Jerusalem and settlers are moving into Palestinian houses without opposition from forces of law and order.
It seems that President Obama is thinking about putting forward his own proposals for peace. No one seems to be noticing any of this, or if they are they are saying nowt. Peace Envoy Blair is not to be seen, not in this area. If he’s in Jerusalem he’ll undoubtedly be wined and dined by the Israeli authorities and be told that this is the way to deal with “terrorism”.

Another avoidable disaster

I received the following which includes a letter from a member of the West Virginia mining community which clearly identifies with the miners in the UK. The Washington Post has printed articles about how the private ownership repeatedly ignored warnings about safety violations and how lobbyists on Capitol Hill have managed to safety blunt regulations. The letter explains how in more detail.
On Monday 5th April 2010 at least twenty-five miners were killed in an explosion in the shafts of a West Virginia mine. The SLP sends its deepest condolences to their families and friends and to all the miners and families affected by this avoidable tragedy.
It was avoidable because the owners of this privately owned mine have consistently disregarded safety warnings. Literally hundreds of warnings over the last twelve months alone have been issued and subsequently ignored as the company put the desire for increased profit above the lives of the mineworkers.
The SLP has received a letter from a resident of West Virginia and we publish it below with his permission.

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Letter from East Jerusalem

I received this letter from Caroline Johnson who is currently in East Jerusalem;
Dear all,
Salaam and best wishes from Palestine.
Me, Mike, Ethan, Geoff and his mum Sally have been here for 1 week now and the rest of the group arrived 2 days ago. We started the organised tour yesterday and if I get the chance I will give you an update as often as I can.
There are 13 of us here, 6 from Walsall/Kobar and 6 from Birmingham/Ramallah and 1 from Malvern.
Yesterday we went to Jerusalem for the day. We started our day with a visit to Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem where zionists are trying to evict families from their homes. We met the families that we met in October and met the Al Kurd grandmother of 87 who now has the front part other house occupied by zionists. For details and the history of whats happening please see the families website at
On Wednesday evening the families got together to make a small playing area for the children in the front garden of the Al Kurd house. They cleared away broken glass thrown there by the zionists and planted some trees and shrubs, adding a swing and seesaw. They erected a protective fence around it to stop things being thrown at the children. The zionists tryed to destroy the garden in the night but the families stopped them. All of the children in the area are suffering psychological difficulties and changes in their behaviour since the evictions started to take place.The zionists that have stolen the houses are protected by the police and the soldiers who shout and swear at everyone, including the children however young. The soldiers harass the teenage boys and have taken them away for questioning in the middle of the night. What is amazing is the steadfastness of the families. These are their homes and they will not leave. They said to us that unless they are allowed to go back to their houses in Haifa and Jaffa that were stolen in 1948 they will not leave. They want us to raise this issue with our MP’s and let people know what is happening in the area.
We then went to the Al-Bustan Quarter in Silwan where the zionists want to evict 88 families from their homes and were told about the situation there. We have taken video footage that we can show you when we return and we have a booklet explaining the situation. As some of you know I have my son Ethan who is 11 with me. He loves it here and has made friends with lots of children already. We were both very angry and upsett when hearing about the tactices being used to try to make people leave Al Bustan. The houses are built on both sides of the valley so the soldiers are having difficulty removing people as it is easier for the residents to protect themselves. Because of this the soldiers concentrate on harassing and intimidating the children. Recently the soldiers came to Mousa’s house in the middle of the night and banged loudly on the door. He thought they had come to take him for the role he plays in opposing them but instead they wanted to take his son aged 10. The family and other residents managed to stop them but only after Mousa agreed to take his son to the police station the following morning. The next day they questioned him very aggressively for 6 hours continuously. Now his son is afriad to leave the house as are many of the young children of the area. Children in Palestine are routinely treated in this way and we were told that recently the yougest child to be actually imprisoned is just 12 years old.
Today we are going for a joint picnic in the Aboud valley with friends from all of the twinning groups in the Ramallah district. We will be discussing how to spread and strengthen twinning in both countries.
More soon……
Best wishes
Caroline Johnson
Secretary BRTI

Stereotyping black children is still evident survey shows

I dislike SATs for wasting valuable time in educating children and imposing pressures on them, their teachers and their parents. However yet another report shows that low expectation of black pupils still occurs. The most worrying finding is that black pupils are consistently marked down by teachers when their scores are compared with external assessments
The debate has become a regular one. It is now 40 years since published his Underachievement of Black pupils and 25 years since the Swann Report which famously fudged the issue. This was preceded by the Rampton Report which looked specifically at the underachievement of black pupils but when the ugly duckling transformed itself into the Swann there was indeed a huge transformation. We needed to look at all our pupils. Who was “underachieving” and who was “overachieving” perhaps? It’s pretty clear that the initial concern had to be blurred, the problem being for Lord Swann being that some were attributing the chief reason to “racism”. Even members of his committee held this view as would be evident in the full report. In order to make sure every one understood that this simply could not be Swann sent his own summary to every school in the land. After all it wasn’t very likely that that many people would bother to read the full article.

Dudley needs the EDL like a hole in the head

A group of us went by bus from Birmingham and walked through the almost deserted, boarded up Dudley town centre. We joined the UAF multicultural celebrations. Individual police I spoke to were friendly and helpful. On a couple of occasions focus went away from the square as it seemed that EDL supporters might have infiltrated the area. Don’t know how given the police presence. I saw two white youth being escorted away from the perimeter of the UAF event. I had no clue there had been any violence until I saw the EDL contingent on the news.
Yes I fell desperately sorry for Dudley traders and residents. The town centre should have had a good trading day but this was denied. By the presence of the EDL who are now promising to return every four weeks. Well their “free speech” has now been exercised. Have they any more to say? They are likely to vomit their venom with more force with the risk of violence and damage to people and property. They showed once again they can’t control their contingent. Not only the police but the UAF stewards took full control of the considerable number who took the trouble to come. Residents of Dudley expressed their genuine appreciation that we cared enough to show support, My old friend Kurshid Ahmed, who formerly worked in Birmingham, is fully involved with the Mosque and rubbished the idea it was a “super mosque”. It is a community venture supporting people who have come to Dudley and helped revive some parts of the town that have been struggling against economic downturn. Not only should they be welcomed, they should be seen as a necessary part of the evolving development of the area.