Tommy Robinson, Hero dishing Out Hope

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I watched the entire live feed which Tommy Robinson maintained on Friday, 25th May, outside the Leeds courts. He was some 45 minutes into his brave stance to shed some light on this horrific epidemic of Asian Muslim men gang-raping children when, out of the blue, he was arrested for ‘breaching the peace’. But there was no breach of the peace. As Tommy Robinson has been treated like nothing more than a right wing hooligan by the UK media, I was actually pretty impressed at how he handled himself, despite aggression and abusive language about his mother, by each of the Pakistani-origin, Muslim males arriving for the hearing on their charges of the grooming, drugging, raping and prostituting of children in Huddersfield.

On his live feed, Tommy only stated facts and did not swear or even attempt to touch the shoulder of one of these abusive Muslim men… though one of them did touch him and there was aggressive yelling at him and as I mentioned, insults relating to his mother were repeated again and again by cohorts of these Asian males. But despite his restraint under such provocation, how come he was arrested for ‘breach of the peace’? In fact, surely, if here has been some concerned citizens about, those police should have have been subjected to citizen’s arrests, for their ‘breach of the peace’.

The fact is, Tommy Robinson conducted himself admirably. He kept to his goal of coming up all the way form Luton, to stand outside the Leeds courts, all to highlight the truth of what is going on in the U.K. There was no other media there. Why not? If some film star changes her hairstyle or the Queen dons a different coloured hat, out come the paparazzi to take photographs and there are many comments, articles, chats which take up our mental and physical space. Yet, these kinds of court cases are barely reported in the media. Jayne Senior made many valiant efforts to get the police and social services to stop the abuse of girls in Rotherham (read her book, ‘Broken and Betrayed’). Check out how she was sacked for her concern and integrity. As one whistleblower to another, I give her respect !

Anne Cryer, the M.P for Keighley tried to get this issue addressed by police and Parliament from 2002 onwards. In an article in the Guardian dated 30 August 2014, she said, ‘If only I had known what was going on in Rotherham, I would have had a better understanding of the widespread nature of the problem but it was all kept under wraps”. So the media has been complicit in maintaining a silence that has enabled these vicious men to continue their crimes against children. Why has the existence of these rape gangs been kept ‘under wraps?’

We could say, that for years and years, there has been a blanket of silence while underneath, intense blue flames of the most vicious emotional, physical and sexual abuse have been allowed to burn these young girls to their very bones and scorch their families. For decades, such girls have been blamed for the crimes perpetrated by adult Muslim males and everyone responsible for the rule of law has looked the other way. Religious leaders, social workers, teachers, reporters and the police – all of them, with only a tiny few, honourable exceptions, looked the other way.

In fact one young man, passing by the courts, showed that he too, sat on the fence on this matter, and yelled to Tommy, ‘It’s got nothing to do with you’. He strode past, aggressive and dismissive. Tommy turned to his viewers, appealing to our conscience in the way that few if any of the moral philosophers in the modern era have done. ” If young white girls, as young as 11, are being groomed and gang-raped, then it is everything to do with me, as an Englishman, to protect them, to try to stop this from happening”. Or words to that effect… you can check out the newsfeed yourself, here I’m giving the gist of what he said.

Tommy touched, in his direct, no messing way, the heart of what it means to be human, rather than a narcissistic bystander or a psychopath. The cowardly bystanders and psychopaths whether politicians, police or social workers, and many ‘members of the public’, are all basically, looking out for Number 1. In contrast, of course, there are many people who do extend their circle of concern to care about their friends, their parents, their partner, their offspring, their siblings, Aunties, Uncles, cousins, neighbours, the friends of friends and the neighbours of neighbours etc. That’s how we humans form communities. And it is by people learning from each other’s life experiences and maybe growing towards some common purpose, beyond survival and material well-being that people actually fulfil their potential and thrive.

Well, are there such communities in the U.K? It is some 35 years after Mrs Thatcher told us there is no such thing as society, only individuals, following their ‘survival of the fittest’ instincts. And how Western societies have become divided, people are isolated, alienated, medicated to their eye-balls, as they are anxious, fear-filled and mostly, minding their own business, trying to keep their jobs, so they can pay their mortgage or rent, and buy food for their families, and have one holiday abroad each year and download the latest movies on Netflix to watch during their ‘free’ time. Too many children are emotionally starved even if both parents are at home after working long hours. Hey, they need to relax, not ‘do’ childcare. . And so too often, each kid in their own room is also ‘relaxing’. Then there are the young girls from broken homes, with single mothers stretched to breaking point… and these girls, in emotional turmoil, perhaps shifting from one foster family to another, or one children’s home to another, who, hungry for some attention, for some sense of belonging, get targeted by these gangs of Muslim males. Because this is what these revolting groups of males have developed expertise in: how to spot those lonely, isolated young white girls, hungry for attention and a sense of belonging.

A fact even more rarely exposed than the the systematic exploitation of white girls, is the victimisation of any lone girl or woman by these types of Muslim males. A Sikh or Hindu girl, an isolated rebellious woman from the Muslim families who perhaps like me, rejected having an arranged marriage – we are all fair game (see my previous post). Being alone, being vulnerable, being too trusting, all makes us fair game. Where are the Tommy Robinson’s, the Ali’s and Harbans, and Pataks of the other communities in which girls and women are being systematically targeted? Oh, I forgot, there are no such communities. There are just shams, their ‘religious’ festivals and rites reduced to occasions for showing off status and wealth. We have only careerists hell-bent on acquiring stashes of cash and fancy cars. We have bleary-eyed students hell-bent on gaining that medical degree or qualifications in Law, I.T and Accountancy. See, they have lost that spark of divinity, the Eye that sees the I in the Other, and comes out fighting to protect. Yes, as every whistleblower proves, that recognition of a shared humanity, sparks a sense of responsibility, of connection, of accountability and efforts to expose wrongdoing by predators and parasites in the human fold.

Such whistleblowers, such firefighters, are the people who are the salt of the earth, warriors for truth and justice. So, let me declare, that Tommy Robinson is my brother, more than any Muslim males I know. He’s a brother in trouble, so I will be making my way to Hull jail, to raise my voice in his defence. Let’s go, warriors for truth and justice!

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Published by Yasmin Alam
A feminist and social activist, a person of colour, living and working in the perennially ‘hostile environment’ in and out of educational institutions in the war-exporting U.K, I refuse to compliance with the forces that seek to exploit and degrade. I make art, build community, and speak out to share suppressed knowledge and hidden experiences so that Global majority people are no longer marginalised. We take centre stage to build communities to resist the powers that exploit people of colour and nature around the world. View all posts by Yasmin Alam

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Muslim Men and their Devious Hypocrisy

When I was 22 years old, I decided in my infinite wisdom that I needed to get to ‘know my own’.  Because apart from the immediate family of parents and siblings plus 2/3 uncles on the fringes of my life, all my schooling, college and university life, most of the time, I’d been the sole brown face in a sea of pink.

Never one to do things by half measures, I decided I would live in Batley, West Yorkshire and attend a teacher training course nearby. I arranged my accommodation but that fell through unexpectedly, so I found myself in a B&B, paying for one night what I thought I’d pay for a week.  I needed to find somewhere to rent quite quickly. But I found again and again, that when I telephoned, the person said, yes come and take a look. But when I arrived at the doorstep, suddenly, the place was not available. When this happened the fourth time, I realised I was experiencing something I’d read about happening to people of colour and Irish people, in the 1950’s.  But there were no signs in any windows, actually declaring, ‘ No Blacks, Pakis or Irish’.  Confused and upset, I walked into a Pakistani shop, paid for some chewing gum and explained to the man behind the counter, what was going on.  Nothing like this had happened to me in Hull, after I left my parent’s home and stayed in various rooms in Hull, over the course of three years. Could I rely on  ‘my own’, for some help and guidance, in Batley?

The Pakistani man serving behind the counter was sympathetic.  Ithay goray sanuu nehee pasanth karr thay. “The Whites around here don’t like us”, he explained. . Then he told me there was a flat above the shop  and I should return at 6.00pm when his three partners would be able to sort something out for me.

At the appointed hour, I duly returned from the B&B which was a couple of miles up the road.  This happened around 1986 by the way, long before mobile phones and the internet!  The guy at the counter gestured towards three Asian men clustered together at the back of the shop. Two of three guys had long beards, and were  dressed in the Pakistani national dress, of loose trousers called shalwar and the long knee-length shirt, called kameez, with a woollen waistcoat on top.  One of them, with a hennaed red beard,  was wearing the Afghani type hat. The third guy, younger than the others was in his forties and wearing dirty old jeans and  a jumper.  He remained quiet mostly, while the other two began their interrogation of me.

‘Are you a runaway’, said the guy with the reddish beard. ‘Do you have a boyfriend?” Asked Mr Straggly Whitebeard. . Back to Mr Thick Redbeard: “Do your parents know you  are here? What have you come to Batley for? Do you have a boyfriend? Are you one of these runaway girls?”

Their questions, were spoken with aggression and  I  became defensive. I explained  I was starting a teacher training course…  No, I didn’t have a boyfriend,  Yes my mother knew where I was, Yes, I was here with her permission…. eventually almost in tears, I gave them my parent’s home telephone number and Mr Thick Redbeard dialled the number from the call box on the wall in the middle of the shop.

“Salaam Aleikum… do you have a daughter called, Yasmeen, and do you know she is looking for a flat in Batley”,  he began, speaking in Urdu.

My mother also replied in Urdu.  She assured the man I was there with her knowledge and permission. After the conversation,  Mr Redbeard said I could take the flat.

By this time, I was feeling both humiliated and furious.

“You can keep your stupid flat”, I answered, through angry tears.  “First I’m under atttack from White people, and then ‘apnah’ (my people) are treating me like a criminal! No, I don’t want your flat! You can keep it!”

I walked out of the shop.  Mr Soiled Jeans followed me out.

“Oh, don’t be upset, with me, I didn’t say anything did I? I am your Muslim brother…  They shouldn’t have talked to you like that. I’m very sorry. Let me  make it up to you by… giving you a  lift to your B&B”.

On and on he went about being my  ‘Muslim brother’. He was old enough to be my father so finally I agreed to get a lift from him. There were quite a lot of kids around and the idea of sort of belonging  or … do I mean, a yearning for belonging, for being accepted took over me?

“Really it’s not far, I can walk”…  But he opened the back door of the car.  I smiled and  waved to a couple of Asian kids playing by the shop and I got in the car.

Two minutes later, I pointed out the B&B on the other side of the road and Mr Solied Jeans stopped the car.  I’d half  opened the door when he turned and put his hand out to shake my hand. Ok, fair enough. He had behaved decently, I rhought. With my  one leg already out of the car, I turned and took his hand to shake it and he suddenly pulled me forward and kissed me on my cheek.

Shocked and disgusted, I pulled away and ran across the road.  I tore straight upstairs to the bathroom and turning on the taps, I scrubbed my cheek with the green sponge, for cleaning god knows what…  the side of my face was red, and my tears were not stopping.

I stayed in my room for half  an hour alternately crying and raging.  What th eheck was I doing in this God-forsaken place? I decided to go out to the phone booth around the corner from the B&B and call my oldest sister, Nazneen,  who lived in Manchester.  In floods of tears,  I explained to her what had happened.  “Just come here”, she said. I wished she would come for me, but she didn’t offer to do that.  Fine. I would pack my stuff, pay what I owed and leave immediately.  When I got back to the B&B,  the landlady told me ‘Your uncle called and said he would come back later”.

It was starting to get dark. I felt like Little Red Riding Hood,  pursued by a demon. Throwing my clothes and books into my rucksack,  I went down, paid what I owed and left for the train station in Batley.  Thus ended my first foray into ‘getting to know my own’.

My sister picked me up from the train station in Manchester. As we entered her home, I felt huge relief to be back on familiar ground. Over tea and biscuits,  my brother-in law, said, ” Your brother and I, we should go to Batley and insult their daughter in some way”.

Why would we want to do that? I said, scowling at him.  I wanted to throw hot tar over that Mr Filthy jeans and then a bag of feathers, and tie him to a car and drag him through the streets of Bloody  Batley.  I wanted to get a whip and beat him to a bloody pulp. Or  put him in the stocks and everyone throw rooten stuff at him… these were scenes from a film I’d watched years before:-  punishments in 19th century Ireland, done to a woman who’d committed adultery.  What  I wanted to do, was publicly expose and humiliate that shit of a hypocrite.  Not harm his daughter.

Looking back over the years of my dealings with ‘my own,’ ‘apnay’, this is what I never understood really, this tribal/clan type of feeling and response, where the women and girls are seen as belongings of the men of their family. You harm one of their girls, so they, will harm one of yours.

Tit for tat. One object substituted for another.  It was a mentality that my second oldest sister, Paveen, was even at that time, starting to absorb.  She had got married to our first cousin, son of our mum’s brother the year I left for University.  Now,  some four years later, she was well along the path of  evading responsibility for her decisions, and embarking on a pattern of scapegoating me: holding me responsible for events I neither initiated nor foresaw. So, what can I say, to the youth of today    Dear young girls and boys, being brainwashed in a Muslim family… may I warn you? Along with hypocritical Muslim males, you have the compliant Muslim wives, endlessly taking the men’s  crap, and then finding targets to unleash their frustrations upon. I never imagined I’d become such a target.  Targeted, scapegoated, for over thirty years. It all began with one word. Chalark.







When Angels Won’t Visit

Life is getting stranger by the day.  Earlier this week, I  happened to call my elderly and very frail father at midday to see how he was and he replied he’d only just got up, because he  had gone to Manchester to visit his brother’s daughter in hospital. Now fo rthe past ten years, my father has insisted he is not strong enough to visit me. However, he has managed to get be in a car all the way  to London for an event my brother wanted him to attend. He has also gone to Manchester to sign papers relating to property in Pakistan.  But to come to visit me, oh that is too much for him, though the distance is less. Now he had gone to Manchester again, to visit my cousin. “Oh, it’s so sad, she is so ill she is not expected to live’ explained my father.  So my brother had driven our parents to the hospital after work, a journey of some 130 miles.

None of them thought to call me and ask if I would like to go. Yet another brutal  erasure of me. Yet another way occasion I am being told, I don’t matter. It’s quite amazing how, the less they need me for anything practically, the  more this abandonment of me, grows and grows.  I think it’s time I saw it as my liberation.  However, I did become tearful and upset, that they did not let me join them or even let me know of the situation, so I could decide whether to go or not.

I went, a couple of days later, after calling my uncle.  When I arrived, his older daughter was there too and she described how she had put up many photos of her sister, along with bringing dried flowers and teddy bears to decorate the room. She was trying to make the hospital room feel more homely and personal.  However, her brother believed that angels would not visit if photos and other images were in the room, so he had taken them all down.  It’s amazing how these men can forget every one of their duties as a son, as a brother, as a husband, but they see how vigorously they assert themselves over some small obscure rule.

Just a power game of the stupid, led by the ignorant. The feelings of his sister didn’t count for anything, just as my brother and parents totally forget any obligations  they are supposed to have towards me, however ill  I have been, they have almost never visited me.   Just a power game, these Pakistani Muslims play -whatever suits their convenience.  They will sell alcohol, have sex outside of marriage, fail to support their families, be a stay at home husband, while the wife works full-time outside the home… all that is fine, but put some photos up  to provide some comfort and some cheer? Oh no, tut tut tut… angels won’t visit!