Know Your Rights at Palestine Demo. History of Protestors Sentenced During Operation Cast Lead

*OLD NEWS ALERT* 2008-09 HUNDREDS OF PRO-PALESTINE PROTESTORS ARRESTED AND MOST END UP SERVING TIME

In 2008-09 many protestors demonstrated against another Israeli invasion of Gaza in London.
Tomorrow once again many protestors will demonstrate against ANOTHER Israeli invasion of Gaza in London…

Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative and the myriad of other organisations were ill prepared to defend the largely muslim and asian/arab/black protestors that were kettled against their will and attacked by the riot police on horseback mirroring the crusades. Protestors courageously defended themselves physically against police attacks – as is their right.There was a lack of police monitors/legal observers to observe and record the conduct of police and to distribute rights information cards (aka ‘bust cards’)

People were filmed by specialist evidence and intelligence gathering teams including the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) and footage was examined for months after the protests to track down these protestors, kick down their doors, arrest them and serve many of them with notices that they were liable to be deported if convicted. Filming by journalists became riot porn as opposed to primarily serving to defend the protestors.

In the months that followed it emerged that around 200 protestors were charged with public order offences and then sentenced to custodial sentences.

All the protestors arrested and charged were muslim – with the exception of 3 that we were aware of. All of the protestors arrested and charged were Arab, Asian or Black (i.e. not white) – with the exception of 3 that we were aware of – and of those 3 one of the most severely treated was an East End actor that had converted to Islam.

Organisations of demonstrators collectively tried to defend themselves in the courts. One of those organisations – the Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign – of which I was a founding member – was unable to defend the protestors in the courts as best as they could have done if monitors/legal observers had originally been on the demonstrations.

Almost all the protesters were convicted and sentenced severely. One protester that threw one plastic bottle at police after he claimed he was attacked by police was sentenced to 12 months in prison because of this act.

In 2010 and 2012 at Palestine demonstrations police monitors/legal observers were deployed and arrests were largely avoided. Where arrests occurred monitors responded rapidly and I personally.Tomorrow, again Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative and the myriad of other organisers are ill prepared to defend protestors and I am concerned about what the police might do.

Thankfully trained police monitors/legal observers from the Network for Police Monitoring – including myself, Green and Black Cross and Legal Defence and Monitoring Group will be watching the police and distributing rights information cards. [We need more monitors from our communities most affected by the policing!]

I urge you PREPARE. Do NOT wait until tomorrow! Do NOT wait until you get arrested!

‘Good people’, ‘innocent people’, ‘nice people’, ‘people that have that not-so-dark-oh-so-coveted-lovely-light-olive-coloured skin’ get beaten and arrested by the police on these demonstrations. Get ready… and Know Your Rights by reading below.

GOING TO A PALESTINE DEMONSTRATION IN UK TOMORROW?
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

This might seem long and boring and a waste of your time but if I have taken my time to write it, then I suggest you take the time to read it!

1. WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN ON YOUR PERSON/ON SOME PAPER – 07946 541 511 (greenandblackcross.org) – If you are ARRESTED and taken to the police station you have a right to call for free at the police station.

2. NOTE DOWN AND REMEMBER THESE CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS’ NAMES AND NUMBERS JUST IN CASE YOU ARE ARRESTED. For trusted solicitors in your area looked at our Criminal Solicitors list (http://netpol.org/solicitors/)

For demonstration in LONDON:
a. ITN Solicitors 020 8522 7707
b. Hodge Jones and Allen 07659 111 192
c. Bindmans 020 7833 4433

d. birnberg Pierce & Partners 02079110166

3. REMEMBER your key rights:

A. AT THE DEMONSTRATION

i. If police ask you to STOP, you only have to stop if you are driving a motor vehicle (e.g. deenriders). You can ignore them if you are on foot.

ii. if police talk to you and ask QUESTIONS, remember you have a right to silence: say nothing and do not answer questions. Specialist intelligence gatherers will be on the demonstration – including seemingly friendly blue-bib-wearing ‘Police Liaison Officers’ – who are required to record all intelligence gathered on a database called CRIMINT. Don’t Feed the Feds – Don’t be on a database (cf. Our campaign at Netpol:http://netpol.org/campaigns/dont-be-on-a-database/)

iii. If police ASK you for your NAME AND ADDRESS, it is a request and you can REFUSE the request without committing any crime.

iv. If police say you are REQUIRED to provide your NAME AND ADDRESS, they are mistaken or lying UNLESS
(i) they want to REPORT you/SUMMONS you to court or serve you with a FINE (‘penalty notice for disorder’) because they have reasonable grounds (i.e. evidence) to suspect (i.e. think) that you have committed or are committing a crime that is minor e.g. littering or;
(ii) (without any reason required at all if) you are driving a motor vehicle (NB: you also must provide DOB)

v. If police ask you for your ID or FINGERPRINTS (even as a condition of leaving) you can refuse to provide them without committing a crime.

vi. If the police want to take a photo of you or film you they can, but you can COVER yourself up/put your hands on your face. In certain circumstances if an order is in place, they can require you REMOVE A FACE COVERING if they REASONABLY BELIEVE that it is intended to be used to conceal your identity. I would argue they cannot reasonably believe that a Niqab is being used for such purposes but rather for religious expression.

vii. If police KETTLE you (i.e. hold you and others in one place and prevent you from leaving or other people entering) then they CANNOT PLACE CONDITIONS ON you as a requirement of LEAVING e.g. say ‘you can leave if you let me take a photo of you’

viii. If the police say you cannot say chants or fly flags concerning HAMAS or HEZBOLLAH remember this: it is true that under the Terrorism act 2000, it is a criminal offence to be belong to or ‘PROFESS TO BELONG TO’ (s.11) or ‘INVITE SUPPORT FOR’ (s.12(1)) a proscribed terrorist organisation. It is also true that both Hamas and the Military wing of Hezbollah are proscribed terrorist organisations. However I have NEVER heard of a successful prosecution for chanting or flying a flag and this has been occurring a long time. Many people feature pictures of Hezbollah/Hamas on their facebook but I have not heard of successful criminalisation for this. ALSO HEZBOLLAH’S POLITICAL WING (including arguably political leader Hassan Nasrullah) are NOT a proscribed terrorist organisation.

ix. If the police try to place CONDITIONS on the protest that restrict your movement and numbers etc. under the Public Order act, remember that you can only be criminally punished for breaking the conditions IF they are COMMUNICATED TO YOU. If you think a police officer is trying to communicate conditions to you verbally or by giving you a leaflet, get away, put your fingers in your ears and do not take the leaflet. If you are in a crowd and an officer is trying to address you, start chanting to avoid hearing conditions. So don’t listen to and don’t read any conditions.

x. Unless you are DETAINED (i.e. held against your will in order for example in order to search you), you are free to LEAVE. If you are unsure whether you are detained, ASK ‘am I detained?’

xi. Watch out for Police with cameras and earpieces – Forward Intelligence Teams (with blue tabard hi vis on) – they are often up above near the embassy in the hotel. Although they are supposed to be visible they often conceal themselves. And let others know they are being filmed.xii. Watch out for establishment press. They will readily share footage with the police and when they put footage out on tv/online it is publicly accessible and therefore the police can use it to prosecute you.

xiii. Take notice of police movements. If they are starting to form lines they may be preparing to kettle protestors and you may want to consider leaving if you need to. If they are putting on more militarised equipment (‘riot gear’) then prepare.

ixx. If you are really stuck and unsure of your rights in a particular situation, consider calling 07946 541 511 (greenandblackcross.org). They will try to assist you if they can.

B. If you are ARRESTED

i. You have a right to SILENCE. Just say NO COMMENT.

ii. ALWAYS remain SILENT and REFUSE to answer questions, accept any charge/caution or sign any documents AT LEAST UNTIL you have spoken to a LEGAL ADVISER.

C. If you are arrested and taken to the POLICE STATION

i. You can PHONE both a FRIEND (07946 541 511 greenandblackcross.org) and a LEGAL ADVISER of YOUR CHOICE (i.e. those solicitors above are recommended e.g. ITN 020 8522 7707) FOR FREE.

ii. You have to a right to FREE LEGAL ADVICE from the legal adviser. Do NOT accept a DUTY solicitor. Exercise your right to CHOOSE to speak to one of the criminal solicitors above.

iii. You have a right to SEE A DOCTOR if you have injuries or feel ill.

iv. You have a right to ASK FOR AND READ THE PACE CODE OF PRACTICE which details your rights in custody.

v. If you APPEAR UNDER 17, an APPROPRIATE ADULT will be called

vi. Unfortunately the police CAN CHECK YOUR MOBILE PHONE has been reported lost or stolen, including scan the IMEI number and you are liable to charged with a further offence if you refuse.

vii. Unfortunately the police CAN TAKE YOUR FINGERPRINTS, DNA and YOUR PHOTO including by force and you are liable to be charged with a further offence if you refuse.

D. If you want to FILM the police

i. You have a right to film. You can film legally. Filming is NOT A CRIME and NOT TERRORISM in this context.ii. Read our Rough GUIDE at Netpol (http://netpol.org/2012/07/27/a-rough-guide-to-filming-the-police-during-a-stop-search/)

iii. consider my advice that will be included in our next update of the guide to filming. Most of you have and carry smartphone; if you have a SMARTPHONE with 3G internet connection, USE IT to film by downloading a LIVE STREAMING APP and set it to PRIVATE MODE. This will allow you to film and have the footage stored remotely so the police cannot delete it and it will deter them from trying to stop you. Film sparingly because your battery will drain doing this.

For further reading read our report at IHRC:http://shop.ihrc.org/policing-protest-and-conflict-a-report-into-the-policing-of-the-london-gaza-demonstrations-2008-09-adam-majeed

popo

By Taher Gulamhussein. Founding Member of the Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign

 

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Red Ant Dream Screening with Sanjay Kak, London

red ant dreamred

 PDF Download: 210_Ethos_flyer_v5

We’re lucky to be joined by Sanjay Kak screening his documentary Red Ant Dream based around grassroots movements and the struggle of communities in India who struggle against the Indian state and corporations. Red Ant Dream had been shut down by police during a screening in India. The Cass Business School is hosting this screening to go ahead in London at the Barbican Centre.

Wednesday 25th September 2013, 6.30pm-9.30pm

The Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Frobisher Auditorium 1 (Level 4)

ednesday 25 September 2013, 18:30-21:30
The Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS – Frobisher Auditorium 1 (Level 4) – See more at: http://bunhill.city.ac.uk/media/events.nsf/(AllEvents)/7F480F9061ADB81D80257BB2005170F4/?OpenDocument#sthash.xRhlc1cl.dpuf
ednesday 25 September 2013, 18:30-21:30
The Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS – Frobisher Auditorium 1 (Level 4) – See more at: http://bunhill.city.ac.uk/media/events.nsf/(AllEvents)/7F480F9061ADB81D80257BB2005170F4/?OpenDocument#sthash.xRhlc1cl.dpuf
A screening shall also be going ahead in Oxford on September 30th and one in Cambridge (tbc).

Website : www.redantdream.com

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/redantdreamdocumentary.

Trailer http://redantdream.com/?portfolio_archive=red-salute

Register: http://bunhill.city.ac.uk/media/events.nsf/%28AllEvents%29/7F480F9061ADB81D80257BB2005170F4/?OpenDocument

Red Ant Dream | माटी के लाल | 120 mins

Synopsis

‘Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist’, the revolutionary patriot had said almost a hundred years ago, and that forewarning travels into India’s present, as armed insurrection simmers in Bastar, in the troubled heart of central India. But to the east too, beleaguered adivasis from the mineral-rich hills of Odisha come forth bearing their axes, and their songs. And in the north the swelling protests by Punjabi peasants sees hope coagulate– once more–around that iconic figure of Bhagat Singh, revolutionary martyr of the anti-colonial struggle. But are revolutions even possible anymore? Or have those dreams been ground down into our nightmares? This is a chronicle of those who live the revolutionary ideal in India, a rare encounter with the invisible domain of those whose everyday is a fight for another ideal of the world.

‘Maoism teaches us that self-preservation is possible only through war’ the disembodied voice of an ideologue fills the forest, now peopled by armed guerillas. This subterranean war broke out more than half a century ago, and the continuing battle is shaped not just with bullets and explosives, but also ideas. ‘Population is the center of gravity’, says the officer charged with training policemen in jungle warfare in Bastar, with turning them into soldiers who can take-on the Maoist rebellion – ‘whichever side the population tilts, that side wins’. This is the struggle that the Indian Prime Minister has referred to as the ‘single greatest internal security threat to the nation’. As if in answer, the words of the radical Punjabi poet Pash return to haunt us – ‘If the security of the land calls for a life without conscience… then the security of the land is a threat to us’. His words draw us back into a zone of conscience, of those who resolutely resist the inequalities and injustices of the present, in defence of another utopian ideal of the world.

The third in a cycle of films that interrogate the workings of Indian democracy, Red Ant Dream (2013) follows Jashn-e-Azadi (2007) about the idea of freedom for Kashmir, and Words on Water (2002) about the people’s movement against large dams in the Narmada valley.

Credits:

Director: Sanjay Kak | Camera: Ranjan Palit, Setu & Sanjay Kak | Editor: Tarun Bhartiya | Written by Sanjay Kak & Tarun Bhartiya | Sound design Madhu Apsara | featuring the music of Delhi Sultanate & Word Sound Power | and the poetry of Avtar Singh ‘Pash’

Reviews

Profiles/Interviews/Notices

Patriarchy Workshop Bookings including Poetry

I’m currently delivering workshops in the community on sexism and patriarchy. The intention is for men and women to have a better understanding of each other, to address sexism and misogyny preached to our young men and women which later becomes a barrier when attempting to build our communities, where unaddressed issues only further deteriorate our communities. It is important for us to address prevelant issues based around the conditioning of our young men and women in society and address the barriers in education on the relationship between men and women, defining rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, discussing the young male perspective of women and how men are controlled emotionally and psychologically by patriarchy whilst there is a bigger system in place.

I intend on holding workshops in youth centres, schools, colleges and in the community with young men and women to get this discussion going. I have written poetry addressing these issues but poetry is not enough to lift people. We need to actively engage with our communities and allow people to participate in healthy debate and get the conversation going in order to have an understanding to prevent further trauma to our brothers and sisters struggling through our societal conditioning. I intend on providing a better opportunity of how one can be deemed an oppressor to women and how to resist that oppression, especially in violent volatile situations. Everything shall be discussed from a post-colonial perspective but to allow young people and women to have a voice. Workshops will address issues around the greater power structure and the symptom of patriarchy which is prevalent in our society with the encouragement of dehumanising and treating women like “bitches and hoes”. I shall share a few spoken word/poetry pieces towards the ends of a workshop.

If you have access to a group of young people through youth work or women or would like to get a few friends together, please contact me to organise a workshop or an event to allow this discussion to go ahead. I am willing to deliver workshops on separate occasions to be sensitive to different age groups and understand the controversy that can occur from dealing with sensitive taboo topics where it may be better advised to deliver separate workshops for both genders, to avoid egoistic debate and to overcome barriers of discomfort. Contact me on shareefa_p@hotmail.com or leave a message below in order to arrange a workshop time and date. I am currently based in London but i’m willing to deliver workshops in England, where covering transports costs can be discussed. It would be brilliant for young people in the community to get involved, share ideas and participate in discussions. If you would like to get involved in the delivery or supporting this independent community project, contact me also. A collective effort in bringing discussions affecting us all to the table is always appreciated.

Shareefa Panchbhaya

Post-colonialism. Grassroots youth and community activist. BA International Relations. Child protection trained

The Assasination of our brother Malcolm Shabazz, Including Interviews and Speeches

This post is to support Dr W Randy Short from the Black Autonomy Network, his comradMalcolm Shabazzes working on campaigns and the Shabazz family in the United States. Dr W Randy Short was a close brother in the struggle to our late beloved Brother Malcolm Lateef Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, who was assassinated on the 9th of May 2013. It is or duty in Europe to be supportive at this devastating time and actively support engaging more people who are disengaged. We can only intend on doing our brother Malcolm Shabazz justice by stubbornly refusing to allow his character to be assassinated and to support the continuation of delivering the message he spent the last few years of his life dedicated to, before the United States brutally assassinated him.

Dr W Randy has sent me a list of links and articles he would like our communities here from both Afrikan and Muslim communities, alongside people from colonized lands to read and watch in order to have informed opinions on our late brother Malcolm and not buy any of the pathetic rumours that are currently being spread in order to tarnish his character and his fight for justice when positioning himself on the axis of resistance against white Western imperialist powers.

Every link shared below has been recommended by our brother Dr W Randy Short. I shall be updating this blog piece regularly when delegated to add more information onto as more information becomes clear. Please share this link with collected information far and wide.  Myself and others from communities of people from colonised lands, especially the Afrikan and Muslim community will be willing to engage in discussions if anyone would like to hold screenings on this or hold conference calls with our family in the struggle resisting across the pond.

We have to remember a young brother was taken from the struggle during our lifetime by the FBI, him being the first male heir to Malcolm X making the oppressors even more paranoid and giving them reason to end his life at an early age, before his life goals to contribute to change and resistance were reached.

Here are contact details for Dr W Randy Short who is working on the main campaign to bring those responsible for assassinating our beloved brother, to justice. We must recognise our moral duty and obligation to be supportive in mobilising, whilst refusing to bow our heads and remain silent. Many have lost their lives for the struggle and our brothers death shall not be in vain. No Justice, No Peace.

wrandyshort@gmail.com

Interviews and Articles Related to the Assassination of our late Brother Malcolm Shabazz

Malcolm Shabazz Murder Conspiracy : Malcom X’s Grandson Beaten To Death In Mexico http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDhy8Bxiwag

The Life and Death of Malcolm Shabazz, Grandson of Malcolm X

http://www.steinershow.org/podcasts/life-and-death-malcolm-shabazz/

Brother Malcolm Shabazz and Rev. Dr. Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) agreed to work together to unite African Americans against genocide. She would bring in the churches and he would reach the young people. They agreed on April 26, 2013. Just like his grandfather agreed to work with Dr. King in January  2013 and was killed the following month. This has happened again. Malcolm was vocally anti-eugenics, abortion, and genocide. Look at what he was opposed to. Malcolm was disgusted by the massacre of Black babies by Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia.

Inspiring Interviews and Speeches by our late Brother Malcolm Shabazz

American Spring: Malcolm Shabazz and Tim Baldauf-Lenschen Speak  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0ZYa153Cfw

Documentary: The Façade of the American Dream P1-4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoWbLzcH8wo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohen3FC2MxE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTYZGTrNfc0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrdjwJ7Wl_MIt

(If you appreciate “The Façade of the American Dream,” please leave a comment of support, encouraging Press TV to fund more programs to engage with the issues of the Afrikan diaspora. You can also write to: documentary@presstv.ir)

Blacks are murdered with impunity in the US, Malcolm Shabazz interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OiOj5y2yLI

The Life and Death of Malcolm Shabazz, Grandson of Malcolm X

http://www.steinershow.org/podcasts/life-and-death-malcolm-shabazz/

Shareefa Panchbhaya

Youth & Community Activist

URBAN Graffiti Project for Young People in Hackney

URBAN is a graffiti art project that aims to engage young people creatively whilst promoting team building, social skills, communication and confidence to be more articulate. The finished art pieces shall be used as stage backdrops for a talent show we will be hosting in our centre. The project will be on-going even after the talent show and young people involved in the project will be encouraged where possible to explore diverse issues of culture and history relating to their own lives, their local environment and community and the wider world, with an emphasis on social justice, understanding and equality.

DATE & TIME:
Every Wednesday, 4-6pm.Image

LOCATION:
The Levy Centre
18-24
Lower Clapton Rd
E5 0PD
Tel: 020 8510 4900

Please email younghackney@csv.org.uk or call/text on 07925 638 000 to get more info and tell us what date you will be attending!

The Struggle of Sierra Leonean ‘Street Boys’ and their Opinion on Street Girls

A workshop was held with 30 young 10-17 year old men suriving on the streets of Kono, Sierra Leone where their struggle, patriarchy, their attitudes towards female youth struggling involved in sex work, the war, their opinion on the South African diamond mining company Koidu Holdings, capitalism, colonialism and the 2012 elections was discussed. A handful of the young men were former combatant child soldiers during the civil war in Sierra Leone which encourages some family members to marginalise them by refusing to have them in the house for being ‘rebel pickin’ and many had lost parents at the hands of rebel soldiers, which resulted in their lifestyle having to fend for themselves with no other responsible adult able  to accomodate their basic needs.

Admirably, the young boys had very refreshing things to say in regards to their concern over the street girls involved in sex work were they weren’t happy with the way the women were treated and felt the female youth living in poverty were suffering more than the young men. They described the women were going to big dangerous men unaware of whether the man had diseases and the money they received wouldn’t protect them from HIV or AIDS. The boys explained the disadvantages the girls faced  as gang targets resulting in attacks and having their money stolen from them and the women being taken advantage of and violently raped, beaten and girls as young as eleven being stabbed if they requested for money but having nobody to defend them, arrest or talk to the men. One of the boys who washes dishes for market women refuses to take money from the girls he knows has to prostitute themselves. The young ‘streets boys’ are friends with the ‘street girls’ where they hold the money for the girls for safety to ensure the women are less vulnerable than themselves. One of the concerned boys with younger sisters makes sure he visits his grandmother’s home to share some of his money with his younger sister so she doesn’t have to prostitute to feed herself.

The young men said they respect the women and understand the women are not involved in sex work off their own accord but for the same poverty the men are living through and having lost parents too during the war. The men explained if the women they knew had the right support, the women would be the next President or First Lady and they share their money with the young women out of the love and respect for them. The young men work unanimously with the young women by accompanying them when they go out at night to ensure their safety from men over 20, the girls half the money they make with the boys.

The boys are unhappy with their own struggle and having to hustle on the streets of Kono day and night for not having sufficient support, sweeping the market, doing laundry, ironing, transporting fish, cleaning toilets, looking for scraps of metal and overall involved in child labour, breaking stones and working near the mines. The boys said they are taken advantage of where the older men would take their money when they lay to rest. The young men who are raped or sexually abused by older men don’t report or inform anyone, afraid of the dangerous beating after if the men aren’t sent to prison. The boys feel their fathers have too many wives which has resulted in some of the children being marginalised, not looked after properly and ending up on the streets. The boys are grateful for the money the young female street girls give to them when they know the boys haven’t eaten.

The boys feel marginalised by the community and not given chances but constantly treated as nuisances and taken advantage of by market traders who refuse to pay them after the work they have done for them “you’re just a street child and all thieves- kuleeloo.” The struggle of Black youth in England was explained to the young men, stop and search and various other methods of marginalising Black youth, the boys were disheartened that they treated European NGO workers in Sierra Leone well and can’t comprehend the institutionalised racism in Britain. The young men spoke of getting into trouble with the police where they call their grandmother or the social workers from the Street Child project to come and collect them from the police station.

The young men feel nothing is going to change in Kono after the 2012 elections “all the politicians are the same” and are fearful for the safety of their lives for the kidnapping and sacrifices that are made prior elections with vulnerable street children being targetted. The boys are frustrated with the Koidu Holdings diamond mining company; their comments have been collected in video footage. Stories of how the boys had lost their parents during the war at the hands of the rebels where shared where one of the boy’s father was commanded to dig his own grave, lie down and was shot where they then buried him. Another boy’s mother had told the rebel she had no money for them where they raped and killed her by the side of the river. The boy sees the former rebel he’d witnessed rape and murder his mother every day, working for the exploitative Koidu Holdings.  Another boy was grateful his mother had decided to keep him and not leave him by the river after the rebels had killed his father and she had lost all hope and still struggles till this day.

European NGO Workers in Africa Promoting White Supremacy

I have been running workshops with young people, supporting a local community led organisation in Sierra Leone, being inspired by local community social workers shadowing their outreach work with young children surviving on the streets in Makeni and Kono, to take back to template and work more effectively with young people in England. I have been in contact with the local community and miners on the exploitation of Sierra Leone’s natural resources and neo-colonialism’s effect on West Africa. Kono is worst affected by the aftermath of the civil war in Sierra Leone, the exploitation leading to an influx of prostitution, child labour, exploited local miners and hundreds of children living on the streets and working in the mines when they are supposed to be in school. Many factors I have witnessed have influenced my understanding of how the presence of white European Westerners in Africa can be damaging to local communities in ‘developing’ their country and continent.

Most NGO’s are encouraged to have international Western volunteers and workers on board by inviting international volunteers to contribute their time to work within a community. Encouraging international volunteers to step in to access and support the struggles of communities drowning with the direct catalyst result of poverty, capitalism and neo-colonialism almost demeans the local communities’ ability and right to self-determination as though the ideas and vision of a Westerner is superior to that of a local community activist.

Community organisations should be encouraging recruitment of local indigenous volunteers for the beneficiaries to be inspired by, who are familiar with the local struggle and have endured aspects of the same struggle some of the young people are currently facing. External funders should support local empowerment by providing petty cash as an incentive to cover reimbursement of travel expenses for those young people willing to volunteer and contribute to building and giving back to their community. Former beneficiaries could be empowered by being given responsibility or a mentor or youth worker opportunity, rather than promoting the presence of expatriates.

How is a young African child abandoned by their parents, hustling on the streets open to immense vulnerability and corruption having only ever witnessed poverty and forced to prioritise to feed their grandparents, supposed to relate and role model a white middle class young person who went to private school in a city in England and had been given everything on a plate? Personally, having struggled as a young working class ethnic minority female in England, it was difficult to believe white middle class people could empathise with my struggle. I witnessed plenty of sympathy but not even a hungry child sieving stones looking for diamonds all day in a mine in Sierra Leone wants sympathy from a white British supremacist, as though white and British supremacy isn’t responsible for creating the conditions the child is living in, with promises of ‘development’ whilst their parent’s an economic slave at the hands of the West who pays their hardworking parent a pittance, maybe a plate of rice if they are lucky, in the first place.

I have witnessed white middle class NGO workers in Sierra Leone who’ve made some pathetic comments on Black working class communities in London, Brixton in particular, accusing traders of stealing gold they are selling. I do not for a second believe these people could empathise with the struggle of an indigenous African nation if they cannot understand the struggle of Black communities in England on their own doorstep but result in racist stereotyping. Racism from white supremacists in England shouldn’t be put up with and neither should indigenous African communities have to tread toes when witnessing racism from white people who are supposed to be ‘helping’ their community.  I have also witnessed international workers speaking to the local community in an African accent, this patronising racism cannot be denied as the worker was not attempting to speak Kreo but speaking to the local community as though they are inferior to his white blonde self. I also witnessed a Welsh mine worker tell a local Sierra Leonean Muslim worker “call me Allah.”

“If a man who speaks pidgin to a man of color or an Arab does not see anything wrong or evil in such behavior, it is because he has never stopped to think.” Frantz Fanon

A few international European activists attempted to deny the institutional racism from the British police in England where Black communities are stigmatised and also denied the continuous exploitation and oppression of Africa by the West. Why are people with such naive counterproductive views allowed to work in Africa whilst promoting white supremacy in communities already damaged by European colonialism and continuing to be damaged at the merciless hands of neo-colonialism. One cannot intend on just working to support ‘poor African children’ to shed a few tears and feel less guilty, compensating for their life of luxury in comparison and suggest politics to be kept separate when politics is responsible for the struggle of young children and their families in Africa. If the West didn’t exploit the natural resources of Africa or depict the African man as savage and incapable, maybe Africa would be self-sustained and able to ‘develop’ itself and maybe then young women wouldn’t have to depend on prostitution to feed her family and pay for her education fees.

Indigenous female workers in Kono and miners who work for Western companies in Makeni have complained of the attitude of white European NGO workers who make them feel inferior and that white Europeans are more respected by their community, which leads to the indigenous workers being left to feel marginalised whilst white supremacy is reinforced and white privilege denied. Westerners’ presence can also be intrusive as though African communities are incapable of building their own communities and need monitoring. A Western volunteer being placed to work with young Africans is almost as though ‘poor African children’ should feel privileged to have met a white British person, whilst Capitalism denies them the right to ever owning a passport or tasting the fruits outside of their village.

What one may naively perceive as helpful is in fact counterproductive. The local community shout ‘a-Porto’ and ‘white man’ at light skinned Westerners. This causes tension where local community activists are distracted from their dedicated work to ensure the ‘a-Porto’ is not being harassed for being an insensitive walking Capitalist with his iPhone which has been produced by exploiting coltan miners and her diamond earrings, again bought after exploiting local diamond miners who never had the privilege of sniffing the value of his findings.

“Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neo-colonialism. Her earth is rich, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continue to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment.” Kwame Nkrumah

Shareefa Panchbhaya