Murder in Woolwich, don’t let the racists divide us

Murder in Woolwich, don’t let the racists divide us

In the last month, two brutal murders took place on the streets of Britain, the first was Mohammed Saleem. Mohammed, a 75 year old Muslim, was stabbed to death in Birmingham, the victim of a racially motivated attack. The second, Lee Rigby, was hacked to death with a machete in Woolwich. The first of these deaths was par for the course. Oh sure it made the news. But ultimately it was just one in a sad, constant stream of racially motivated murders where the victim is of African, Asian, Caribbean or Arab descent, and the assailant is white. The deaths were not the subject of a national conversation. Ed Miliband did not cut short his trip to Germany for them. David Cameron did not provide any brave speeches, promising that Britain would never buckle in the face of incidents like these. There were no COBRA meetings. There was no talk of ‘terrorism’. White people were not invited on to television to condemn the murders and reaffirm that the majority of white people are peaceful, because that question was never implicitly raised in the first place. There was no ‘Arab Defence League’ plaguing the streets in the aftermath, drunkenly attacking churches. The second of these deaths was different. Lee Rigby was white, and the lunatics who murdered him were black Muslims. This, of course, changes everything. All of the above occurred in the case of Lee Rigby, everyone is aware of that. Facebook, Twitter and the traditional media have been aflame with debate about it. Representatives of Muslim organisations were invited on to major media outlets to condemn the attack...

Are the post 9/11 youthscape becoming desensitised?

Since the images of New York’s decimated skyline by jumbo jets were played out across the world’s media outlets in September 2001 how much have young peoples’ attitudes towards violence have changed? Growing up with any act of violence has an effect on the mindset. When events are reported they then become relevant and personal whether they’re being sensationalised or not. Someone could tell you something tragic has happened and you may attempt to empathise but it is clear, it is more affecting when images are streamed and details recounted. Both perpetuate the other in a cyclical fashion of the event and the story i.e. the way most people gain knowledge of events. It’s clear that post 2001 there has been a heightened sense of security (or lack thereof), sense of enemy and their method of attack and spawned an entire new lexicon, coined phrases and straight up redefinitions like ‘war on terror’, ‘terrorist’ and ‘9/11’. There was a shift in the role the media played in everyday life. As more and more footage was broadcasted, these pictures – and therefore events – were permanently woven into society’s fabric, as children growing up during this time would know nothing different from this ‘post 9/11’ era. It’s an impossibility to ignore the rate at which news channels, newspapers and the internet have become attuned to reporting and posting feedback to violent events. Of course atrocities took place pre-9/11 but an atmosphere of fear was forged in New York that is stark in its global irreversibleness. Right on our doorstep, the London attacks in July of 2005 were another example that reinforced...
Nominate yourself or someone else for a 99% Campaign Young Journalist Award

Nominate yourself or someone else for a 99% Campaign Young Journalist Award

As part of the IARS Research and Leadership Awards 2013, you can nominate yourself or someone that you know, to receive an award. One of the award categories is the 99% Campaign Young Journalist Award, which is for the young person (aged 16-25) who has shown the most journalistic endeavor in their submission to the The successful submission should fulfill the following criteria: The piece addresses an issue/story in an original way; Depth and quality of the research; The information is relevant, timely, accurate and addresses an issue[s] affecting young people in the UK; The subject matter fits the key message of the campaign; promoting a more positive image of young people; The piece has the potential to spark debate amongst young people. To nominate, simply visit the 99% Campaign blog and ‘Like’ and comment what you think the best article is. We will be celebrating everyone’s achievements at a fun and lively event on Wednesday 6th August at the Ritzy Cinema, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW12 1JG. Attendance is free and refreshments will be provided. If you have any questions about nominations, sponsorship or the awards ceremony, please email contact@iars.org.uk or ring 0207 820 0945. The IARS Research & Leadership awards are funded...

The Iron Lady’s Legacy

In the days and weeks after the death of Margaret Thatcher, several buzzwords emerged in media discussions of her political legacy. Words like ‘divisive’, ‘controversial’ and ‘determined’. The regularity of these words reflected a consensus of opinion – from liberal left to conservative right – that might be summed up as “Although Thatcher divided opinion, she was a courageous politician who got us out of a mess”. Thus, we saw Ed Miliband declaring his disagreement with her attitude towards LGBT people and her approach towards the miners’ strike, but nonetheless declaring her a political inspiration and praising her recognition that ‘the economy needed to change’. Readers of the 99% blog may subscribe to this commonly held view, so often repeated by the press and politicians. They may have sterner criticisms. Perhaps, though, I will be in a minority in viewing Thatcher’s life and legacy as an utterly toxic one – and in considering her death to be a cause for active celebration. Here are five reasons for my belief: Thatcher’s allegiance with dictators As Richard Seymour has pointed out, although Barack Obama hailed her as a champion of liberty, “Thatcher rarely met a dictator that she didn’t instantly like and wish to aid”. The list is long. To name only some – Pol Pot, General Suharto, Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, the Apartheid Regime and, most famously, General Pinochet. There is not space here to provide an account of the nauseating atrocities against human life that were committed by these regimes. But any friend of these people is someone who should command no sympathy whatsoever in death. Thatcher’s government destroyed...