HOPE not hate

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Holocaust Educational Trust

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 27 June 2012, 10:20


I've just finished an interview with Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), for the next issue of HOPE not hate. Karen spoke about the work of HET, its future plans and her own motivation for being involved.

I think HET is a really fantastic organisation and even I was surprised with how much they achieved and the breadth of their work. HET recently organised the visit to Auschwitz by the England football team and they will be following this up, in conjunction with the Football Association, with an educational pack that will go into schools and sports club.

The next issue of HOPE not hate will be out next week.

 Posted: 27 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The heroes of our communities

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 23 June 2012, 11:17


We have been deluged with nominations for our community champions award and there have been plenty of inspiring stories. There is Hayley, from Sheffield, who runs the Learning for Life scheme which helps newcomers into the city speak English. Then there is Qudues Zafar, from the Stechford Youth Network LTD in Birmingham, and who over the past ten years has been involved in 30 different community projects. A nomination has come in for Lesley, from the Sorrell Youth Cafe, in a small village just outside Leciester, which provides cheap food for young people.

Then there is 'Judo Joe' from the Newburn Activity Centre, in Newcastle. "His positive attitude is infectious," says Hayden, who has nominated him. "He is a great role model and people manager."

There are plenty more and next week we shall begin to profile them in more detail.

To nominate someone in your community who deserves a title of Community Champion, click here:

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/community-champions/

 Posted: 23 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Ed's speech shoots wide

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 22 June 2012, 13:46


I didn't see Ed Miliband's speech and can only go on the press reports but there are a number of things that come to mind which concern me.

Firstly, you can't deal with immigration in isolation. I have long argued that the Labour Party needs to discuss immigration and the impact it has on the communities least capable to cope but this cannot be done as a race to the bottom. It has to be dealt with in the wider context of economic, social and public policy.

Why do people migrate? What is attractive about Britain to people who live in other countries? Why is there the demand for overseas workers? Are concerns over the impact of rapidly changing communities genuine or a cover for racial prejudice?

These are complex and sometimes difficult issues that too many have been slow to discuss. There is also a need for a clear and honest debate on the issue but this goes as much for those demanding a tightening of immigration policy as it does for those who refuse it discuss it.

Ed Miliband comes up with a list of suggestions which he believes can limit immigration and protect British workers. But what he omits from the list is more significant than what he includes. There is no discussion about the failure of successive governments to develop an effective education and training system that properly equips young people with the skills that Eastern Europeans often come to fill.

He talks about naming (and shaming?) companies which have more than 25% non-British workforce but says nothing of raising employment rights for all workers which will help stop companies from hiring overseas workers to lower wages and conditions to undercut other workers.

He talks about preventing people from the next group of countries to join the EU from working here for seven years but says nothing of his vision for a modern Europe and the relationship between countries and its people.

More importantly, he raises the whole issue without any reference to the data which repeatedly shows that the adverse impact of East European workers is much lower than popular mythology.

Labour needs to discuss immigration and changing communities but it has to be done in a wider context of overhauling its economic and public policy. Labour needs to address the contradictions of supporting globalisation whilst many of their own supporters feel they are losing out. They need to address a training system that doesn't do enough to equip young people with the skills for work. They need to address a democratic deficit that has led to so many people turning off mainstream parties, with some going off to the far right.

The debate about immigration needs to be had but it cannot be had in isolation and simplified with a list of bland goals. It has to be honest and based on facts, and a reality of what is achievable in the context of the changing world economy. Most importantly, it needs to be dealt with in the context of a vision of a better tomorrow for all the people of Britain.

 Posted: 22 Jun 2012 | There are 9 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Inspiring stories

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 21 June 2012, 19:30


We have had nominations flooding in for our Community Champions award, which we launched this morning. There are some really inspiring stories, such as the woman in Tameside who does a lot of work around BME health issues and the man from the Rice Lane Community Association and City Farm, in Liverpool, who has been working with disadvantaged young people for almost 30 years. There is the Chair of Moston Residents Association who has done some terrific work to integrate new arrivals into the area and the woman from the community radio station in Bradford.

HOPE not hate, in conjunction with the Daily Mirror, is launching a competition to find the champions of our communities - the unsung heroes who bring communities together and make life better for ordinary people.

Every community has them and now we would like to acknowledge them too.

Who is the champion of your community?
http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/community-champion

 Posted: 21 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Who is the champion of your community?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 21 June 2012, 11:07


HOPE not hate, with the support of the Daily Mirror, is launching a competition to find the champions of our communities – the unsung heroes who bring communities together and make life better for ordinary people.

These might be people who through their work – be it a youth worker, teacher or doctor - help to break down barriers between communities. They might be people who give up their spare time to voluntary and community work which contribute to making their communities a better place. It might be someone who uses their position in a place of worship, who reaches out to people of other faiths and none. It might be someone working with refugees or a teacher who helps children from different cultures to get along together; or it could be a parent who gives up their free time to help young people from different backgrounds to play sport.

Every community has them and now we would like to acknowledge them too.

Who is the champion of your community?
http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/community-champion

 Posted: 21 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Nearing the end

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 20 June 2012, 07:54


After ten miserable and sometimes painful weeks, the trial of Anders Behring Breivik is drawing to a close. It is scheduled to finish on Friday and by all accounts this is going to happen.

After the end of the trial we will be summing up some of the key facts found and looking at the lessons of what took place.

 Posted: 20 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Obama lifts deportation threat for young immigrants

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 18 June 2012, 10:12


HOPE not hate correspondent Eric O’Neill explains the reasoning and the reaction to Obama's move

President Obama just gave immigrant rights advocates in the United States 1.4 million new reasons to vote in the approaching November elections. On Friday the President announced that he ordered the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately cease forced deportations of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 16-29. The administrative order will benefit as many as 1.4 million immigrant youth who came to the country before age 16. Known as “Dreamers” the United States is often the only home that many of these undocumented Americans have ever known. According to ICE “Successful applicants will be given deferred status for two-year periods, which can be renewed, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.”

Friday’s decision by President Obama has shifted the immigration playing field. The President was forced into the decision by a growing successful immigrant rights movement that is increasingly led by young immigrants and their allies. This new generation engaged in public actions including hunger strikes and arrests that forced the Obama administration and the Democratic Party to pay attention to their demands or potentially face the political consequences in November. Senator Marco Rubio, a U.S. Senator from Florida, also played a significant role in the Obama decision. Rubio, an up and coming leader within the Republican Party, has chided the anti-Latino and harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric in its ranks. Rubio’s recent announcement to push forward congressional legislation to provide status to undocumented youth along with parallel pressure from young undocumented immigrants created the conditions that forced the Obama administration to utilize this unprecedented use of administrative authority.

Until Friday, a well-established anti-immigrant movement in the United States has made it politically impossible to establish pro-active migrant laws that move the country forward together. President Obama’s unilateral move bypasses a deadlocked U.S. Congress. By ignoring organized xenophobia, the President Obama’s executive action rivals both President Harry Truman’s order to desegregate the military in 1948 and President Eisenhower’s directive to the Army’s 101st Airborne Division to enter Little Rock, Arkansas to ensure that African American children could safely, without threat of racist violence, attend public school in 1957. The President’s decision, at least temporarily, provides status to hundreds of thousands of youth who have been forced to live in the shadows of American society by an anti-immigrant movement with ties to white nationalists and driven by racist fears of demographic changes. Congressional Representative Steve King from Iowa, a Republican, has already announced that he will sue Obama for his actions. King showed his ability to represent America’s anti-immigrant movement when he called for an electrified fence along the border because “we do that with livestock all the time.” The extremist Congressman has also crassly compared immigrants to a “slow-motion holocaust” and in May of this year compared immigrants to dogs. Unsurprisingly Congressman King was the only member of the House of Representatives to vote against a resolution that honored Africans held in slavery who built Washington D.C. The Obama administration can expect a vigorous backlash from America’s anti-immigrant movement.

At a time when xenophobia drives policy and elections at the local and national level, the President’s order is a direct challenge to anti-immigrant organizations and leaders who have pressured both Democratic and Republican elected officials to advance laws modeled on the failed migration policies of Fortress Europe. That is, laws that seek to deny migrants basic human rights and pathways to legal status. In the U.S. these draconian laws have increased hate violence targeting Latinos whose ethnicity is often conflated with immigration status. In 2010, the latest statistics available, hate crimes targeting Latinos comprised 66.6% of all ethnically motivated acts. The economic costs of the laws have been devastating as well. In June 2011 the state of Alabama instituted one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws ever written. According to the Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm, Alabama could lose almost 18,000 jobs and approximately $2.6 billion dollars as a result of the immigration law. Recent articles from Alabama lament that not enough workers can be found to harvest the state’s vast tomato fields—further proof that anti-immigrant laws are often fueled by racism rather than common sense.

The immigrant rights field has shown its ability to build a coalition and hold elected officials accountable to human rights standards that counter racist practices. This new strength is needed more than ever and will soon be tested. Within the next two weeks the nation’s Supreme Court is expected to rule, and rule badly, on anti-immigrant legislation (SB-1070) passed in Arizona in 2010 . This new invigorated immigrant rights movement will have its hands full in ensuring that rational Democrats and Republicans don’t break ranks in ensuring opportunity for all Americans, including those who are undocumented.

 Posted: 18 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Marine Le Pen loses

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 17 June 2012, 19:29


Over in France Marine Le Pen has failed in her bid to get elected to the French Parliament despite getting 42% of the vote in the first round.

However, her niece, 22-year-old Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, does get elected.

 Posted: 17 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Golden Dawn set to return to Greek Parliament

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 17 June 2012, 17:33


The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party looks set to receive between 6-8% in today's Greek elections which will see it returned to Parliament. This is despite growing anger at their racism, scapegoating and violence, and the appalling studio attack on political opponents just a few days ago.

This is an astonishing rise for an openly fascist party. In 2009 Golden Dawn received just 0.29% of the vote, little more than 20,000 votes. In last month's general election their vote jumped to almost 7% (400,000 votes). While this might have dropped slightly today they have still polled enough to enter parliament.

Only a few days ago one of their leaders told a rally: "If Chrysi Avgi [Golden Dawn] gets into parliament [as polls predict], it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place."

Welcome to the politics of austerity.

 Posted: 17 Jun 2012 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Vlaams Belang members force Muslim children to eat pork

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 16 June 2012, 07:45


Belgian far right Vlaams Belang activists caused uproar a couple of days ago when they scaled a school wall to protest against the school serving halal meat at a barbecue for 12-13 year-olds.

According to deputy head Jacques Gits they scaled the school walls and “intimidated the children and pushed pork sausages down their throats”.

One of the fifteen students told De Morgen newspaper. "They said that halal meat is not real food, and that she still came to fill our stomachs." The school board has now stepped to the police a complaint against the militants.

According to Filip Dewinter, head of Vlaams Belang, the three men did not overstep the mark. "It was meant to be funny. Schools would better stop exposing children to such multicultural activities."

Really disgusting.

 Posted: 16 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Fans kick for anti-racism

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 15 June 2012, 14:17


Football fans from several countries are currently kicking a ball around the main square in Kiev to show their opposition to racism and intolerance.

According to AP: "Dozens of fans wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Football Unites" played five-minute matches in the Euro 2012 fan zone set up on Kiev's main avenue. Hundreds of spectators cheered and applauded the players."

To read the full story, click here:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/euro-2012-soccer-fans-unite-against-racism-kiev#overlay-context=article/pelosi-confident-court-will-back-health-care-law

 Posted: 15 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE not hate signs up to the Ramadan Festival

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 15 June 2012, 09:26


I am delighted to announce that HOPE not hate will be supporting the 2012 Ramadan Festival and we are currently working with its organisers on a number of joint initiatives across the country as part of our Britain Tastes Great initiative.

The Ramadan Festival is a series of events and activities that will take place during the month of Ramadan and strives to bring together the Muslim community with others from all backgrounds and all faiths.

The organisers are also in discussion with The Big Issue as one of the intentions of the Festival organisers is help feed the homeless and vulnerable during the Iftars (fast opening). There are also plans to provide food parcels for elderly people and womens' refuges.

Ramadan begins on Friday 20 July, a week before the Olympics, and the organisers are keen to link the festival up. "It is a great opportunity for Muslims to share such a special time with friends and neighbours around them," says Ramadan Festival organiser Julie Siddiqi.

As their website explains: "Ramadan is a time of giving, of charity, of sharing, of remembering those in need and reaching out. These are all qualities embodied by the Olympics too and we are excited to be able to combine those at the same time this year. All eyes will be on the UK and especially on London. For most people this will be a once in a lifetime chance to experience the Olympic Games in their own country. And it gives all of us the chance to showcase the fantastic diversity that we celebrate and hold so dearly in Great Britain."

We are currently discussing several potential joint initiatives including opening up mosques to the local community. More on this soon.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning, we are delighted to back the Ramadan Festival and see it as a great opportunity to bring communities together and break down some barriers.

For more on the Ramadan Festival, visit their website: http://www.ramadanfestival.org/

 Posted: 15 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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On this day....

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 13 June 2012, 09:55


Seventy-four years ago today, the Nazi regime launched a campaign to round up Gypsies. Within five days over 1,000 Roma and Sinti had been arrested and deported to concentration camps. What has now become known as ‘Gypsy Clean-up Week’ was the beginning of an increasingly radical programme against Gypsies that led ultimately to their mass murder in Nazi death camps.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has written an excellent piece on it:

http://hmd.org.uk/genocides/dates-to-remember/the-start-of-gypsy-cleanup-week

 Posted: 13 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We have a winner

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 13 June 2012, 09:21


The draw was made for our Caribbean holiday and I'm pleased to announce that we have a winner - but unfortunately it is not me. The winner has been notified and immediately he is the most popular man in the office where he works.

Obviously I'm hoping that he will ask me to accompany him as a guide/bag carrier/or just general cool guy but as I don't actually know the person who won I don't think this will happen.

Anyway, I would like to thank the 623 people who bought tickets. All the money raised will go towards our community work.

 Posted: 13 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Anthony Hancock dies

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 12 June 2012, 14:27


One of Britain's leading post-war nazis has died. Anthony Hancock, the far right's printer for the last 30 years, died of a stroke in hospital yesterday.

Hancock printed for the National Front, the British National Party, Combat 18 and Blood and Honour. He was also very well connected to the Holocaust Deniers, especially in Germany.

An obituary of Anthony Hancock will appear in the next issue of HOPE not hate.

 Posted: 12 Jun 2012 | There are 6 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Bad news for Stockholm. Hate is coming to town

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 12 June 2012, 13:24


The first worldwide 'Counter-Jihad' initiative is set to take place in Stockholm on 4 August. Among the speakers billed to attended are Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Anders Gravers and EDL leader Stephen Lennon.

Stockholm was chosen for the Global Counter Jihad rally because of Taimour Abdulwahabal-Abdaly who blew himself up in December 2010 whilst preparing to carry out a suicide bombing.

In September a conference in New York will see the launch of the Stop Islamization Of Nations (SION). Speakers from across the world are due to attend.

August is when a lot of residents in Stockholm will be away on holiday. Let's hope that there are few people there to hear the poison of Geller, Spencer and Lennon.

 Posted: 12 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Racism and violence mars Russia's first match

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 10 June 2012, 10:14


UEFA are now investigating racist chanting and violence that accompanied Russia's opening match against the Czech Republic.

Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie, who is black, was the target of racial abuse reported by official FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) monitors to Euro 2012 organiser UEFA. Russia supporters later attacked stadium stewards after they tried to identify a fan who had earlier set off flares. Police said four people were treated in a hospital.

On Tuesday, Russia play Poland in what could well be the most high-risk game of the competition.

UEFA are under pressure to fine Russia for the behaviour of its fans, particularly since they have handled the whole issue of racism in Poland and the Ukraine so disastrously so far.


 Posted: 10 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Win a holiday of a lifetime

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 8 June 2012, 15:16


HOPE not hate is offering its supporters a one in a thousand chance to win a holiday of a lifetime.

We are offering a fortnight at a private beachfront villa in one of the most unspoilt natural islands in the Grenadines. The villa, which sleeps 9 people, enjoys around 100ft of beachfront with coconut palms and thick powder soft sand and whilst the main house will be your base, it also comes with a beach hut and a large BBQ and beach terrace area. In the grounds there are banana, mango, pineapple and coconut trees.

This could be yours for just £20 a ticket. There are just 1,000 tickets available so you have a one in a thousand chance of winning. Buy more than one and increase your chances of winning.

It is a dream holiday and made even better with the knowledge that all proceeds will be going to help HOPE not hate continue its work in communities.

The raffle closes in a few hours so get buying now

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/competition/

 Posted: 8 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Why Uefa's failure to deal with Holland racism is no surprise

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 8 June 2012, 14:27


Here's a really good blog by the Guardian's Richard Williams on the failure of UEFA to deal with the racism faced by Dutch players yesterday.

"Michel Platini and Uefa's continued reluctance to use their power for the public good makes them accessories to a crime."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/jun/08/euro-2012-racism-holland

 Posted: 8 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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An important day for England

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 8 June 2012, 10:54


Auschwitz:

Auschwitz:

The England team are currently being put through their paces in an open training session in Krakow. This is the same city where Dutch footballers were racially abused during an open training session.

The decision to base England in Krakow in Poland was a decision by former manager Fabio Capello.

The Football Association has worked hard to make this decision one that is beneficial not just to our footballers, but also to the wider community in this country who will see our pampered footballers exposed to the true horror of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz this afternoon.

The trip is being run in conjunction with the Holocaust Educational Trust, close friends of the Hope Not Hate team. Most of the HNH team have been to Auschwitz on trips organised by HET. Thousands of British school children visit Auschwitz every year to learn about the horrors of the Nazi genocide. It is an educational programme that is also backed up with learning tools and lectures, where possible, by actual survivors.

Yesterday England goalkeeper Joe Hart spoke emotionally about a visit to the England training camp by Zigi Shipper and Ben Helfgott, two Holocaust survivors. The two spoke for forty minutes and says Hart, "you could hear a pin drop".

Visiting Auschwitz will of course not make England play any better. It may give them a better sense of perspective of their lives however. But it will also validate the work of people like HET in a race that is almost against time, to ensure that as many people as possible are exposed to the horrors and the personal testimonies of people who witness and subjected to the most unthinkable of horrors.

It is also right to remember that these horrors, though committed in Poland, were not carried out by the Poles. They were carried out by Nazis. But the lessons of Auschwitz, the result of a barbaric and almost unthinkable hatred, are lessons that everyone should learn. History has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself, as events in the world have since proven.

If Auschwitz can truly open the eyes of some of the richest and most celebrated in British society, then we can hope that our footballers bring this message home with them and share something with an even wider group of people.

 Posted: 8 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Dutch players racially abused in Poland

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 8 June 2012, 09:38


A day after visiting Auschwitz black members of the Dutch team were racially abused by up to 500 Polish fans during a training session in Krakow. Boos and monkey chants were directed at the black players, forcing the team to train on the other side of the pitch.

Holland’s captain, Mark Van Bommel, was furious. “It is a real disgrace especially after getting back from Auschwitz [the Dutch squad had visited the concentration camp on Wednesday] that you are confronted with this," Van Bommel said. "We will take it up with Uefa and if it happens at a match we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field."

UEFA dismissed the monkey chants as not a racist incident, claiming that the Krakow fans were just voicing their unhappiness at the failure by the authorities to play any of the matches in Krakow.

Van Bommel responded angrily when it was put to him not everyone had heard monkey noises. "You need to open your ears," he said. "If you did hear it, and don't want to hear it, that is even worse."

Obviously I wasn’t there but it does smack of the same ignorance as the Ukrainian police chief who said that the two thousand nazi saluting fans filmed by the BBC were simply pointing at the opposing fans.

For more on this story visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18363736

 Posted: 8 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Has UEFA done enough to fight racism?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 June 2012, 12:22


Continuing our series of blogs about racism and Euro 2012, here is an interesting blog from BBC sports editor, David Bond.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/davidbond/2012/06/has_platini_and_uefa_done_enou.html

 Posted: 7 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Sol Campbell slams FA

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 June 2012, 10:56


Former England footballer Sol Campbell has slammed the Football Association over their treatment of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand. Campbell thinks that the decision to leave Ferdinand out of the England team was for non-footballing reasons.

Campbell is concerned that he was left out because the FA decided that it was impossible for Ferdinand to be in the same team as John Terry, who is currently awaiting trial for allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand's brother.

"If it is ever proven true that John Terry was chosen over Rio because of race then I would tell the FA that they can take back my 73 caps and scrub my name out of the record books," Campbell concludes. "I would no longer want to be known as someone who played for England – that would be the end for me."

Do you agree with Sol?

To read the full article, click through here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jun/06/sol-campbell-rio-ferdinand-england?CMP=twt_gu

 Posted: 7 Jun 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Proud to be British? You give us your views

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 June 2012, 08:23


An incredible 2,153 people have so far filled in our 'Proud to be British?' survey. The respondents are fairly evenly split on whether the last few days have made them feel more British, a majority of people think national identity is important and almost all the respondents think HOPE not hate should be working to create positive shared identities at a local and national level.

Here are a few of your thoughts about the last few days:

"Although not a royalist my attitude is let the people have a party, its about time they got something back and it is good for building communities and togetherness. I am sad that "Britishness" appears to have been hi-jacked by the EDL and far right. I think we should be proud to be who we are as long as we are doing our best to be the best we can, I think that national pride should be a way of bringing communities together in a positive way and we should celebrate our identity as a tolerant, inclusive and diverse country. Individuality needs to be nurtured. People need to be comfortable with themselves so that they can work together to build a good world for everybody." (Tina, Dorset)

"I am a republican and anti-monarchist so find it difficult when I am told constantly by the media how to 'be' British. I identify first as Welsh but am happy to be British.

'Great' is imperialistic, 'Kingdom' is alienating.

I ignored Jubilee as anachronistic and found the amount of money spent on pageants and flotillas sickening. How many 84 year old grandmothers watched the TV from lonely rooms as their care hours have been cut while an over-indulged family indulged the Tories need for distraction? Very sad and unhappy about what this says about this country." (Annie, Newport)

"I was in London during the celebration & wanted to represent myself others like myself to show this is our country too. We live, work & born here & people need to accept us." (Koyesh, Leeds)

"As a republican, the last few days have meant that for me, I see the media conflating monarchist and British and feeling somewhat ignored or belittled as a result of my anti-monarchist views. Britishness is a coincidence of birth, something that I think is over emphasised at times but I do get an idea of a nice cup of tea, politeness, the NHS and an obsession with weather from 'Britishness'." (Jessica, South Yorkshire)

"I thought it positive that the Union flag has been somewhat re-claimed from the right-wing organisations such as the BNP and has been portrayed more as a symbol of justice and equality in recent weeks" (Lily, Birkenhead)

"I met some of my neighbours for the first time at a street party. After 8 years I had never said hello to the people at the top of my (short) Rd. They didn't know us nor us them. So bizarrely, as someone who is passively anti monarchy it has had a really positive impact here." (Billy, Plymouth)

"I'm Scottish but equally happy to be British. I think less than being 'proud' to be British, I'm pleased, relieved even. I'm British by accident of birth, but via that accident I enjoy rights and services the envy of many other nations. I'm ambivalent about the monarchy. Hereditary monarchism makes a bit of a mockery of social mobility and democracy, at the same time having a president put forward by our politicians may not lead to an improved situation. For me the jubilee celebrations were an acknowledgement that the queen appears to be a decent and dedicated person; but more importantly it fostered a sense of togetherness. At least three nationalities, including from outwith the UK were represented at our street party, all on equal terms." (James, Bournemouth)

"Britishness means nothing to me, I am Welsh and proud of that. How can you hope to include the Welsh in your British ideal when you won't allow our Country on the flag of Britain..?" (Gywn, Colwyn Bay)

I'll be putting up plenty more later, but if you want us tell us what the last few days have meant for you please do so here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/proud-to-be-british

 Posted: 7 Jun 2012 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Proud to be British? Almost 2,000 respond

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 6 June 2012, 22:55


Earlier today I asked our supporters what the last few days had meant for them. I asked whether they felt more British as a result of the Queen's Jubilee or whether they turned off their television and did something else instead.

We have had an amazing response. 1,924 people have so far filled in our survey. The results so far are really fascinating. 825 people do not feel any more British after this weekend, 648 do feel more British and 441 are not sure.

When asked if a national identity is important, 1,203 said yes while 647 people said no. The remainder were undecided.

We also asked people if they thought "it is the job of HOPE not hate to help foster togetherness and positive shared identities in local communities?" An overwhelming majority (1,668) said yes, while 188 said no.

Over thousand people have also send in their own thoughts about what the last few days have meant for them. I will be looking through these tomorrow and putting some of the most interesting up on this blog.

In the meantime, please let me know if you the last few days have made you feel proud to be British

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/proud-to-be-british

(Another 32 people have filled in the survey since I started writing this blog taking the total to over 1,950)

 Posted: 6 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Proud to be British?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 6 June 2012, 13:07


Over the last few days there has been an outpouring of Britishness as the country celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. From the thousands of street parties to the Union flags hanging in windows and shop fronts, Britain has been awash with red, white and blue.

Many commentators have marvelled at this display of patriotism believing that we have rediscovered a positive, warm national identity. Do you agree?

I would like to know what the last few days have meant for you. Perhaps you attended a street party or just enjoyed the celebrations through the television. Maybe you oppose the monarchy and have avoided the whole thing.

What have the last few days meant for you?
http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/proud-to-be-british

Over the past ten years there has been a steady rise in people identifying themselves as 'English' rather than 'British'. Is this the summer that we all came together again around Britishness? Perhaps you are Scottish or Welsh and these last few days have meant nothing to you. Maybe you are from a minority community and don't feel British.

We have created a short survey on Britishness and national identity. It will just take a couple of minutes to fill it out.

How British are we and does it matter?
http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/proud-to-be-british

We will be looking at all these issues on our website and in the next issue of our HOPE not hate magazine. There will be contributions from myself and others but I also want to hear your thoughts.

* As I post this blog up over 750 people have already filled out our survey, which is pretty remarkable given that we only sent out the email less than two hours ago

 Posted: 6 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Holiday of a lifetime

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 17:12


HOPE not hate is giving its supporters the chance to win a holiday of a lifetime and in the process support the work of HOPE not hate.

We are offering a fortnight at a private beachfront villa in one of the most unspoilt natural islands in the Grenadines. The villa, which sleeps 9 people, enjoys around 100ft of beachfront with coconut palms and thick powder soft sand and whilst the main house will be your base, it also comes with a beach hut and a large BBQ and beach terrace area. In the grounds there are banana, mango, pineapple and coconut trees.

This once in a life time holiday provides a private tropical paradise, terraced gardens, a private sun garden and direct access to the Caribbean Sea, as well as a team of staff based at the villa who will make this a perfect and unique getaway.

A ticket for our raffle costs just £20 and the draw will be made on Friday 8 June.

Snap up a ticket
http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/competition/

The winner of the raffle will be able to take up to eight friends with them. Or they might prefer to go alone or with just one other person. It is the ideal location for a family holiday of a lifetime or the most romantic getaway for a couple. It will be your choice.

Just as importantly, you will be helping the work of HOPE not hate and in particular its charitable wing. The money raised will enable us to continue to help bring communities together and go toward our Britain Tastes Great initiative, which seeks to use food to diversity of our society and as a way to bring people together.

See more photos of this amazing holiday villa
http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/competition/

Terms and conditions apply and are stated on the sign up page.

 Posted: 5 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Tackling racism and antisemitism in Eastern Europe

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 17:08


Here's a really interesting blog on racism and antisemitism in the Ukraine and reaction to the Panorama programme.

http://cambridgeculturalmemory.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/eastern-european-xenophobia-under.html#more

There is some really useful insight into the origins of antisemitism in Poland and the Ukraine but also criticism of the Pamorama programme and Sol Campbell for telling people not to go.

 Posted: 5 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Guest Euro 2012 blog: A Fan-Friendly Euro 2012?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 4 June 2012, 08:55


During the Euro 2012 championships HOPE not hate will be opening up its blog to people who have interesting things to say and report, particularly from within Poland and the Ukraine. In the first such blog, Mark Perryman, of Philosophy Football and LondonEnglandFans, offers a different take on the BBC Panorama programme and calls for more balanced reporting.

A Fan-Friendly Euro 2012?

Over the past week or so the coverage of Euro 2012 hosts Ukraine and Poland has been overwhelmingly negative. Much of the reporting has been sensationalist and my view as an active travelling England fan is that this is seriously unhelpful.

First some background. Ahead of World Cup 98, Euro 2000, World Cup 2002, Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 there was an entirely different build-up. This was almost entirely concerned with the risk our, England, fans posed to the tournament in terms of hooliganism. Much of this was overstated, the actions of a minority allowed to paint a picture of the majority.

However at World Cup 2002, Euro 204 and World Cup 2006 there was virtually no trouble involving England fans. Instead we were widely reported as joining in the party, travelling in huge numbers and singled out for praise because of the fan-friendly initiatives we were involved in.

Ahead of World Cup 2010 in South Africa the agenda suddenly changed. The build-up became all about the risks we faced. Bloodcurdling tales of the likelihood of robbery, carjacking and worse. This was despite South Africa having recently hosted the Rugby and Cricket World Cups with next to no incidents of this sort , nor for the 35,000 who followed the 2009 British Lions tour to South Africa either.

The reality? After an extremely well-policed tournament virtually no incidents of this sort took place, in fact South Africa had the lowest crime rate of any World Cup and fans, despite England’s pitiful performance on the pitch, came home with tales of a trip of a lifetime. All the horror predictions had been proved to be grossly incorrect.

Now we face something similar with the Ukraine. Not a single report I’ve read has mentioned England played in Ukraine in October 2009 with no racist incidents. I can remember chatting at the end of the game with fellow England fan, Yassir Sidique about what a great trip this had been.

Nor have any of these reports mentioned the fact that in recent seasons Arsenal, Spurs, Man City and Fulham have all played in the Ukraine in European club competitions. Unlike the England game I wasn’t at these matches but as far as I know no racist incidents were reported.

The group I am involved with, LondonEnglandFans, has since January been holding fan forums with Ukrainians. The issue of racism and hooliganism has come up, of course it has. But we’ve had the good sense to put this in context. These incidents are almost exclusively at club level, between Ukrainian teams and involved a minority of fans, certainly not all fans, and even less so all Ukrainians.

In the past the actions of a small but significant minority of England fans was allowed to create a negative reputation for all England fans. Now this same gross error is being applied to others. However serious the incidents of racism this is entirely wrong. The Ukrainians are unsurprisingly very angry with the way they are being misrepresented. Last week our final forum with Ukrainians was dominated by this issue. We made it very clear that as England fans we rejected the way their entire nation and culture was being mistreated. They were amazed and pleased, the forum was filmed by two of Ukraine’s main TV stations, our message we hope will reach many in the Ukraine too.

The coverage is unhelpful in three other ways too.

First it is patronising. Few fans, black or white, travel to an overseas away game incapable of taking sensible precautions; don't get in an unmarked car, don’t stray too far off the tourist trail, if an attactive lady invites you into a bar for a drink ask yourself why?

Second some of it is hypocritical. The BBC Panorama programme tells us Ukraine is a hotbed of violent racism and the far-right yet if its that bad why has the BBC not campaigned for the past 4 years to prevent Ukraine hosting Euro 2012. And if it is that bad why are all the BBC sports programme trumpeting how much they are looking forward to kick off?

Third, there is no context. France is the Euro 2016 host, in the recent French presidential elections Marie Le Pen, a fascist, attracted 18% of the vote. No far right group has anything like this degree of support in the Ukraine, so where’s the balance in the coverage?

When we met the Ukrainians we made it clear that we are absolutely opposed to racism. if abuse ot worse is directed at our players or fans we will be the first to complain. They understood this and agreed with us. At the same time as England fans we have worked toward a situation where we are treated on the basis of our own behaviour not on the basis of a reputation that others have stuck on us. It is all we can ask for, and the same principle should be fairly applied to others.

Reporting of racism in football, in the Ukraine and anywhere else, is vital so that it can be stopped. But balance and context is just as important too. In the build-up to this tournament my fear is that sensationalism has led to the demonisaton of all Ukrainians at the expense of a clear and targeted anti-racist message.

Mark Perryman is the author of Ingerland : Travels with a Football Nation

 Posted: 4 Jun 2012 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Will Euro 2012 act as a catalyst to change football culture?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 3 June 2012, 11:23


Anti-racism action organised by FARE's partner organisation Never Again in Poland, at this Ekstraklasa match between Lech Poznan and Korona Kielce. Photo: FARE network

Anti-racism action organised by FARE's partner organisation Never Again in Poland, at this Ekstraklasa match between Lech Poznan and Korona Kielce. Photo: FARE network

There has been a lot written and aired over the last few weeks about racism and antisemitism in Polish and Ukrainian football. Today we have put out our own report, first published in the HOPE not hate magazine, which includes the most comprehensive account of racist and antisemitic incidents over the past year.

Our article features an account of the Krakow derby, dubbed the Holy War because of the intensity in the rivalry between the two teams. The match was preceded by a march by the away supporters in memory of one of their ultra leaders who was literally butchered to death by rival hooligans last year. The game began with home fans displaying a huge banner depicting an away fan in a burning cauldron. The game itself was marred with violence.

For those who say that there is not a problem with racism and antisemitism in Polish and Ukrainian football are simply wrong. There were over 120 separate incidents in 2011 in Poland alone.

However, our report also focuses on the positive initiative by Polish anti-fascists to deal with the problem. It concludes that while racism, antisemitism and a culture of violence does prevail the situation at many grounds is improving.

And that brings us to Euro 2012. The trouble in the domestic game will not necessarily translate into problems during the tournament. The Polish police and authorities appear to be well organised and determined to stop any display of racism or even violence. Hooligan groups are unlikely to get tickets and the large numbers of fans following the teams will ensure a positive atmosphere inside the grounds. There could be trouble around the Poland v Russia game and the prospect of Poland playing Germany does genuinely scare a lot of people, but otherwise we are unlikely to see open displays of racism inside the ground.

The situation in the Ukraine is less clear. The BBC Panorama programme showed awful outbreaks of racism and racist violence inside the ground, involving hundreds, if not thousands, of supporters. What was more shocking was the apparent ignorance of the police to recognise that there was a problem.

Unfortunately racism is a problem in the Ukraine and even the official Foreign Office advice is for black and Asian fans following England to take extra care.

Let us hope that the tournament passes without incident and everyone enjoys the competition as it is intended. And let us hope that the decision to hand the tournament to Poland and the Ukraine will provide the catalyst to change the culture within football. That is certainly what our friends at Never Again are hoping for and in this we wish them well.

“This is an opportunity for us to get our anti-racist message across,” says Rafal Pankowski, of Never Again. “Not just to football fans but to the wider population at large.

“It is up to us to make sure the change is for the long term.”

Click here to read: The beautiful game? A special report into racism and antisemitism in Polish and Ukrainian football

 Posted: 3 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Sikh community reject EDL advances

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 1 June 2012, 10:59


The English Defence League have attempted to make political capital of their presence at a Sikh community protest against the alleged failure of the police to properly investigate an attack on a Sikh teenager. The EDL have even boasted about being "invited" down to join the protests.

Unfortunately news of the EDL presence was widely reported in the media.

The truth, of course, is different. It appears they were invited down but only by an individual and as soon as their presence was noticed they were asked to leave.

This report on the website of the Turban Campaign has some more information:

http://www.turbancampaign.com/updates/exploitive-edl-hijacks-sikh-protest-in-luton/

 Posted: 1 Jun 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments