Beirut Explosion

My thoughts are with the incredible people of Beirut and Lebanon. An amazing country and city. What a travesty! I remember my ten days in that fascinating country and, in particular, Beirut with fondness :). Hospitable, emotional people, tasty food, lively cafes, crumbling streets, a diversity of colourfully dressed people, crazy traffic and such a vibrant city and society. To me, Beirut felt like a nightclub in a building site! Walking around that chaotic metropolis, blind, was a fun and interesting challenge! So sad to learn what has happened to Lebanon in recent times and now this idiotic, devastating, destructive explosion. I send out my thoughts and strength to the people of Beirut and Lebanon. We have to all try and help where we can. Cheers, have a good and thoughtful day. Tony.

Continued racial profiling in police stop and search!

Bianca Williams: Athlete accuses police of racial profiling after vehicle search – BBC Sport This is one of the many reasons why the Black Lives Matter movement has sprung up and become active. It’s because of events like this by police who continuously use their ‘stop and search’ powers to harass black people on an an assumption that all black people are involved in illegal drugs or are gang members. Especially if they are driving an expensive looking vehicle. Subconscious or direct conscious policing by a largely white Metropolitan police force. This is why change needs to occur now.
British sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner have accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling and acting violently towards them. They fear they were targeted because they are black and drive a Mercedes. An assumption that they must be in a ‘gang’. Police appear to stop black people on a daily basis to search their vehicle for drugs, assuming if they stop and search them enough, they will eventually find the illegal drugs that must be there. Because in the minds of the mainly white police forces, black people are, of course, involved in crime.
Officers were patrolling in the Maida Vale area because of an, apparent, increase in youth violence. Police say the vehicle had been on the wrong side of the road and the driver sped off when asked to stop. A police statement said: “Officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards have reviewed both footage from social media, and the body-worn video of the officers, and are satisfied that there is no concern around the officers’ conduct.” Why were the black people in the car handcuffed?
In most cases in England and Wales, police can only stop and search you (or your vehicle) if they have “reasonable grounds” that you might be carrying: Illegal drugs, stolen property, carrying a weapon, Something that could be used to carry out a crime, like a crowbar! Reasonable grounds for stopping someone cannot be based on race or whether the person is a known criminal. But, that might not, necessarily stop some police from doing this.
The Met Police said, there had been an increase in violent crime in the area and that the car in question was driving suspiciously. Bianca Williams denies this. If you are stopped, you have a number of rights. This includes being told the reason why you are being stopped, what they expect to find on you and information on how to receive records of the search. Williams and 25-year-old Dos Santos, who are training for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, told the Times they plan to formally complain at being pulled from their car for a weapons search when returning home from a training session. They say police handcuffed them while their three-month-old son was on board and carried out a search that lasted 45 minutes. Dos Santos, who plans to meet lawyers on Monday, said that he had been stopped by police as many as 15 times since they changed their car to a Mercedes in November 2017. The police statement said, that at about 13:25 BST on Saturday officers from the Territorial Support Group “witnessed a vehicle with blacked-out windows that was driving suspiciously, including driving on the wrong side of the road”. The statement added: “They indicated for it to stop but it failed to do so and made off at speed. The officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road. The driver initially refused to get out of the car.” After searching Williams and Dos Santos, and the vehicle, nothing was found and no arrests were made. Williams, the fifth-fastest British woman in history over 200m, and Dos Santos said that a written report given to them by police did not mention driving on the wrong side of the road, and that where they stopped is a single car-width road.
Maybe they should have stopped immediately when told too, but the fear of being stopped by police might have made them drive on.
The incident was first raised on social media by their coach, 1992 Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie, who accused the police of abusing their power and institutionalised racism.
This seems to be a consistant theme for black people and, not just, in the capital. Check out the video on the bbc sport website page and decide for yourselves. But in my mind, as a white blind individual, it appears to me that the proportion of stop and search policy is improportionate to black people compared to white people. There is still too much racial bias and racial profiling within British police forces. Change needs to occur more quickly, throughout all UK institutions to bring about fairer policing, justice and balance throughout our entire society. People of Black, Asian and all ethnic minority backgrounds should be treated equally.
Thanks for reading. Have a good evening. Tony

Removing Statues?

An interesting article about plaks and statue of famous actor, John Wayne being removed at Orange County Airport, California. I don’t agree with Waynes’ comments, but rather than removing his statue, maybe a plak explaining both his good and bad points. It was a different era.
We have to educate people and ourselves, not erase the past, but learn from it. Does one now ban all John Wayn films because they portray Native Americans (Red Indians) in a negative light?
Does one remove several Clint Eastwood movies because they contain racial lines? If we go down that road, there will be few films to watch! It is about redressing the balance, so that Black people have the same opportunities as white people. We should create a world where everyone is treated fairly and equally and have equal rights. Black people, asian people, women, disabled people, everyone.
It is about changing attitudes. Attitudes in the predominantly white police forces, the judiciary, and the government and political institutions at all levels.
Cheers, Tony :).

Do Native Americans Matter?

Black lives matter. This is correct and should be highlighted everywhere and the push for change and equality must continue, both in the UK, US and other nations where inequality for black people and other ethnic minorities occur. Australia, South Africa, India, China, and Myanmar among many other nations. But do Native American lives matter? Seemingly not. The more one researches these subjects, the more the individual must be increasingly horrified. The USA has a long and horrific history with the native American. Never fully recognising them as a people, let alone as human beings! This is noted in the Declaration of Independence (July 1776) and in Founding Fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, third president of the nation.
Even today, in the mid of anger and uprising against killings and murders of black people at the hands of white law enforcement, Native American issues are continuously being ignored.
Further dispossession of various kinds against Native Americans continues into the present, although these current dispossessions, especially in terms of land, rarely make major news headlines in the country (e.g., the Lenape people’s recent fiscal troubles and subsequent land grab by the State of New Jersey), and often even fail to make it to headlines in the localities in which they occur. Through concessions for industries such as oil, mining and timber and through division of land from the Allotment Act forward, these concessions have raised problems of consent, exploitation of low royalty rates, environmental injustice, and gross mismanagement of funds held in trust, resulting in the loss of at least $10–40 billion.
The Worldwatch Institute notes that 317 reservations are threatened by environmental hazards, whilst Western Shoshone land has been subjected to more than 1,000 nuclear explosions. There are, probably, people, both Native American and white American, protesting, lobbying and fighting on behalf of the Native American cause, through legal channels and other means. But it is a largely unheard and unrecognised struggle, mainly unacknowledged by the mass American Public and definitely by the wider world.
It won’t affect most of us, who are rapped up in our daily struggles and lives, but it is something I wanted to highlight as we go forward in our lives and, prehaps some of us, attempt to make the world a ‘better’ place. Thanks for taking the time to read and maybe listen.
I fight for the minority, because I am one of them: a disabled person! Have a wonderful day. Thanks, tony :).

Pulling Down Statues!

Pulling down and/or removing statues commemorating people involved in the European slave trade and/or Britain’s involvement in India during the colonial era is an interesting action. It is immediate and has a direct impact, which many people who are angry about the current situation of racism in our society, both direct and subtle, can pour their frustrations into. Nevertheless, it will be a mixture of direct action combined with peaceful demonstration and conversation and discussion that will slowly move the situation forward towards positive change for black people. Changing attitudes and restructuring the white supremacist structures of the state take time.
The many statues throughout the UK that represent and honour people who participated in the slave trade and other components of Britain’s colonial era, should be removed from public display. However, they should not be destroyed, but placed in public museums so the public can learn about these individuals who are apart of our history. Information on their lives in both negative and positive aspects should be displayed to give a full picture of their life and contribution to Britain’s passed, in order to help shape our future. History is about learning. It is only by understanding our colonial and global history than we can realise the mistakes made and learn from them to create a better, more inclusive future for everyone. We must not hide away and remove our pass, but use it for a greater good.
As for changing all street names of people who profited from colonialism and/or the slave trade, I’m less sure at the moment.
These are the personal thoughts of me, Tony Giles, blind world traveller and author.