If you are looking for a campaign that is opposing a miscarriage of justice in 2022 look no further than #Justice4MohamudHassan
The Colston Four’s acquittal for taking down the statue of the murderous slave trader Edward Colston was celebrated with an opinion piece from one of group with the headline “I’m one of the Colston 4, our victory took the nation closer to racial justice“. (The headline has now been changed). but although the removal of the statue was historic for the people of Bristol, it does not move us closer to racial justice one iota.
In fact, with the the polarisation of Brexit on the wane, our right wing media has ramped up their culture war with is attacks on ‘wokeism’ – which is their 1980s attacks on ‘political correctness’ rebranded for a new era. The Daily Mail predictably launched a furious backlash, with “VANDALS CAN’T CHANGE OUR HISTORY” on the front page, and The Sun with the legally illiterate and downright fascist “JUDGES MUST END JURY WOKENESS”. The Conservative party – agenda set once again by Jonathan Harmsworth and Rupert Murdoch – deployed Attorney General Suella Braverman on Twitter with news that she was considering referring the matter to the court of appeal, a move described as “politically driven meddling”
And while happy for the acquittal of the Colston Four as prison abolitionists, one wonders if they would have received the same treatment had they been Black and working class. What’s more, any future punitive measures to defend the UK’s colonial history as a result of their success will impact people of colour the hardest. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – currently in its reports stage in the House of Lords – proposes ten years in prison for damage to statues and monuments, a move that echoes a similar measure brought in by Donald Trump. And lets not forget that Black teenagers are more likely to be sentenced to life for serious crimes than their white counterparts. and that one in four black teenage boys guilty of manslaughter are given maximum jail terms while none of their white peers sentenced to more than 10 years.
On this glaring disparity between white and black adults and children – we’ve been here before with the Stansted 15. As Media Diversified wrote at the time, as the protestors were being sentenced, a deportation flight of Black Britons was due to leave.
“So while the Stansted 15 were being lauded, Black Britons on the deportation flight were contemplating living in countries they did not know, and were being told by the home office they could bring up their children by Skype“
“Today was also the day that the people popularly known as the Stansted 15 were sentenced. Weeks of activism on their part and others plus stellar support by their legal teams resulted in none of them going to jail. They did a great thing And the people they saved from deportation no doubt are eternally grateful. I don’t begrudge that they are going home today. However they were very able to defend themselves, complete with photoshoots for the Guardian. Many know their names and even their faces. ‘
‘We know far less about the fifty or so black people of Jamaican descent who were deported today. We don’t know their faces and we didn’t hear from them in their own words. In fact when would they have had time to write for the Guardian?”
So while the Stansted 15 were being lauded, Black Britons on the deportation flight were contemplating living in countries they did not know, and were being told by the home office they could bring up their children by Skype.
Similarly, extensive reaction about the Rhodes Must Fall campaign contrasted starkly with inaction with regard to concurrent #PredatoryPeacekeepers activism. The plight of those abused by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic struck less of a chord with senior journalists than Rhodes Must Fall, with its focus in the UK of a statue of white supremacist Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University. Could it be because 36% of the News Media 100 and 44% of newspaper columnists went to Oxford or Cambridge according to 2019 figures?
Twitter user @choosy_beggar said it best:
In the light of dicussions about the Nationality and Borders Bill, Jolyon Maugham from The Good Law Project discussed why he thought the provisions of Clause 9 which would give the home office powers to remove British citizenship without notice were racist:
So many are sadly naive if they think those who stood up in their hundreds or thousands for the Stansted 15 or the Colston Four will ever stand up for Black and brown people in the same manner. And so often we are thrown under a bus in negotiations around punitive legislation, our disenfranchisement seen as necessary collateral damage. See how the Liberal Democrats agreed to Tory benefit cuts that could have caused immense harm to working class and/or disabled people – and by extension a greater impact on people of colour – in exchange for a 5p charge on plastic bags.
Our point is clear: we care most about Black and brown people and people of East Asian descent. White supremacy will make sure middle class white protesters are OK in the main. White working class people rather less so – which should be clear from this article Media Diversified founder Sam Asumadu wrote in 2018 after working with them for months on a building site.
We are happy the Colston Four are free as abolitionists, but apart from that we couldn’t care less. It’s us people, the Black and brown journalists, celebrities, builders, lawyers, poets and cleaners finding solidarity and joining the fight, that’s who concerns us most. As Anas from CAGE said about the Nationality and Borders bill – but could apply to anything else:
“it’s vital we don’t concede ground and confuse our communities about the danger this Bill represents. Ultimately, a watered down Bill is extremely unlikely and Westminister politics often pairs unconscionable policies with others that are more palatable to get the vote through. We shouldn’t validate this. This means we must look at alternative ways in which those positive aspects of the Bill can be secured in a manner that does not pit one minority against the other. This politics of division is something we must reject outright”
So if you are looking for a campaign that is opposing a miscarriage of justice in 2022 look no further than #Justice4MohamudHassan. 52 police had contact with Mohamud Hassan before his death. The police refuse to #ReleaseTheBodycam so they can dampen public outrage and allow officers time to construct plausible denial and a legal defence.
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For ideas about how you may resist the bill use BID Detention’s template to email your MP that the #BordersBill will criminalise refugees, erode the meagre rights of those subject to immigration control & sow further division into UK society. Click here for the petition. opposing clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill. Sign, and share on your social media channels.
Find out who your MP is and what their email address is by going to writetothem.com and entering your postcode. Also find out which Lord is interested in the Nationality and Borders Bill and write to them by searching here. Template here