18 February 2011
We hope you are all well and enjoying international African History Month.
Just as we were finalising this newsletter a small package containing a DVD and (once we looked deeper inside) powerful book arrived in the post. It's title was simply NARM (Naming and Role Model) Highlighting African British Male Role Models 1907-2007 (ISBN: 9780954449254). Written by the community worker and author Kwaku this amazing book does what it says on the lid and with the contribution of Ms Serwah, Nana amongst others sets out to list many Notable, Aspirational Role Models of African Descent (1907-2007) both living and now Ancestors. From role models like Michael Williams of BIS PUblications to Bernie Grant, Menelik Shabazz and Jak Bubuela-Dodd. Its an impressive collection that puts paid to the notion that there are no male role models for our young people in the UK. Times are changing. Now all we need is a female edition.
Finally, we are testing a new format for our newsletter. Please let us know your opinions and thoughts on both form and content.
And remember, please feel free to share this newsletter amongst family and friends who you know will benefit from its contents. You can click here to subscribe for your own copy and you can stay in touch through our interactive forums at www.ligali.org/forums/
Peace & Love
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Nyansapo - the weekly internet based community radio station hosted by the Ligali Organisation is still offline. We hope to continue broadcasting our honest and progressive discussion of community issues alongside pan African news, current affairs and feature reviews of cultural media and events later in the year.
You can listen to archived podcasts of previous Pan African Drum programmes at http://www.ligali.org/nyansapo/drum.php
The Pan African Drum
"A cautious person will never learn how to swim" - African proverb, Oromo
Greetings, type the word 'assembly' into a search engine and it returns;
a group of persons gathered together for a common reason, as for a legislative, religious, educational, or social purpose.
Likewise enter the word 'revolution' and we get;
a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving;
an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
When I first started writing this article over a week ago a significant change was talking place across North Africa. Millions of people tired of oppression and inspired by the possibility of self governance decided to exercise their natural right to freedom of assembly and association. As a result, after a couple of weeks, the 82 year old Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s western backed president cum dictator was forced to resign. Yes, the oppressor predictably fell back on using force and intimidation (leading to several hundred deaths) in an attempt to stifle people movement, but ultimately, the inevitable happened – change occurred.
Mass assembly had led to quasi-revolution.
I say ‘quasi’ because following his ‘departure’ the army took over and suspended the constitution as a means to outlaw the right to strike or protest; these ironically, are two freedoms that face similar legislative attacks in the UK. As with regards to the constitutions, well just as in Israel and New Zealand, Britain has no written constitution despite its claims to be a progressive democracy!
It is significant that we take note of events like this, what is happening in Libya and Bahrain and of course, what occurred recently in Tunisia because they hold the key to refreshing our own memories of the latent power dormant within each and every one of us. The last time I wrote this editorial I focused on the tragic New Cross Fire and the subsequent racist investigation and media demonisation of our community that took place in 1981 by the British regime.
But thirty years ago, another historic event also took place, one with echoes of what has been occurring around the world today. On the 2 March 1981 over twenty thousand people gathered under the banner of the “black people’s day of action” and in an act of revolutionary protest kick started a process that began the transformation of Britain’s indolent approach to human rights across state institutions. There are several planned events taking place this year to commemorate this date.
Indeed, these events remind me of Ousmane Sembène’s Les bouts de bois de Dieu, they teach us that alongside freedom of expression, the right to assembly (and its partner – the collective withdrawal of labour) has always been one of the most powerful and dignified weapons in the arsenal of human rights for bringing about restorative change. Today, as was yesteryear, corrupt agents within oppressive states continue seeking to deter and disrupt those organising for justice by use of immoral counter intelligence programs and tactics such as racist ethnic profiling and state bullying.
In Britain, police agents infiltrate community groups some even organising events, others bedding and even wedding key members. Only a few weeks ago it was revealed in the Guardian newspaper that the well intentioned are becoming targets as “Police forces in England and Wales have gathered data on millions of people who have called to report possible crimes or pass on information.”
Of course, the ConDem government are now promising that out of the millions, a few hundred thousand people will soon have their DNA profiles deleted from the police database under some soon to be created civil liberties bill. Meanwhile millions of innocent people remain harassed as Britain’s police forces continue to abuse their stop and search powers predominantly targeting innocent young people.
But why is this so?
Well to answer that question let’s take a look back at what occurred in Egypt. In almost every address to the people from Mubarak during the run up to his fall from power, the dictator was clear to make explicit reference to the young people taking part in the protests movement. Mubarak knew what most oppressive governments knows and that is , that the real threat to their power is not from those of the older generation that tolerated historic abuses whilst bemoaning the state of affairs in their armchairs and advocating confrontational protest. No. The true threat to repressive states is from those that passionately work to release and guide the potentially limitless energy that comes forth from those for whom the past is a step ladder to grasp the future which truly belongs to them... our children... young people.
I suspect the majority of us reading this newsletter are actually afraid of freedom. I don’t mean that so called freedom to vote, freedom to shop or freedom to watch television nonsense. No - I mean true freedom.
The freedom to self determine.
The freedom to express ourselves spiritually and politically.
The freedom to embrace our identity, our culture and educate each other about our own beliefs and traditions without apology.
But most of all - the freedom to organise for real meaningful and persistent change – without seeking permission or validation from our oppressor.
It makes me wonder, have we become so comfortable with the perceived stability of oppression that the unknown ‘instability’ of freedom terrifies us?
Many of us now seem too scared to talk about what we want outside the imagined security of our homes. Yet with this attitude we enable a situation where one by one we are being made redundant, systematically attacked in the workplace, daily harassed by debt collectors, all situations seeking to violate our dignity, our right to do more than exist – our right to live free from sustenance survival.
So what can we do?
How many times do you hear people claim the problem is economic? Well let me be clear about this, the problem is not simply economic, for although there is an economic component to our plight, it is politics that determines the unequal distribution of wealth and subsequently health. Contrary to popular belief we have many people amongst us who are extremely wealthy. What we don’t have are many of those very same people who have the morals or integrity to take risks beyond causes that service their own need for personal self-gratification. Not only are those of us like this culturally illiterate, but despite all their accumulated ‘stuff’ they are simply and pathetically political incompetent.
No. The problem now as it has always been is fear.
Fear of ‘authority’, fear of freedom, fear of doing for self.
“We have spoken. When the citizens speak, we cannot go back... I came here to fight the fear inside me. Now people have lost their fear.” - Ahmed Mustafa, Protester in Egypt
For too long, we have become accustomed to submitting to the will of those who we allow to assume authority over us without substantive challenge. Whether it is a wotless employer on the plantation, a racist police officer on the streets or one of the many corrupt councillors/politicians in government.
When we obey their instructions we give up our own innate authority which was invested in us by our parents, our Ancestors, the Creator. It’s like allowing a vampire into our home and then complaining that they have slaughtered our family and are now leeching off our blood.
Well if it is the ‘authority’ that is causing the lack of freedom in our life, the lack of dignity in our life, the lack of justice, then perhaps it is time to let the ‘authority’ go. But I don’t mean run away into the forest so that their pet werewolves can chase us down, attacking us from the back, but instead arming ourselves with a few good old fashioned wooden stakes, some blessed water and dealing with the problem of performing a messy tooth extraction and root canal treatment without any aesthetic face on.
As African people it is important that we face up to our own culpability in perpetuating the condition we are in. Likewise we need to face up to our responsibility to correct the mess we are leaving for our own children to inherit. Over the past few weeks I have also been impressed with the actions of a new UK based campaigning group named UK Uncut.
As reported in the Guardian;
“When a group of 12 friends met for a Friday night drink at a pub in north London in October they were looking forward to chewing over the events of the week. But the discussion at the Nag's Head, in Islington, quickly turned to politics and particularly George Osborne, who had just announced details of the government's £83bn of public spending cuts.
Over the next few hours the friends – many veterans of the environment protest movement and most in their 20s – hatched a plan to highlight an alternative to the chancellor's cuts by focusing on corporate tax avoidance. They agreed to occupy the Vodafone store in central London the following week and UK Uncut, the country's fastest growing protest movement, was born.”
As a campaign group they are not overtly revolutionary in their political thinking but I respect them for being both passionate and active. It has always been my belief that a small group of committed workers taking a creative walk can achieve far more than a mass group of complaining talkers making a rhetorical stand. What’s that saying we must align ourselves with those ‘walking the talk, not talking the walk’ or something like that.
Here’s another quote from the UK Uncut article;
"We have seen the opposition movements in this country become quite stale," observes Garvin. "The anti-war movement is a classic example. If you march from the US embassy to Parliament Square every other month or so ... people get tired and bored of listening to the same speakers and just trudging up and down in the rain."
Garvin argues that although UK Uncut is based on some of the same principles it offers a more effective, engaged alternative. "This is the future of protest, but it is important to remind ourselves that the basis of what UK Uncut is doing is not new; organising in our local communities, friendship groups, unions and colleges to produce sit-ins, pickets, creative forms of public engagement and civil disobedience against the 'powers that be' are tried and tested tactics that brought suffrage for women and defeated the poll-tax. "Only now, because of the internet, individuals can discover and engage at the click of a button, and most importantly every activist can communicate and co-ordinate nationally, and we can do it very quickly."
So what can we do?
Well protest by itself is never enough. Sadly this is something I suspect the people in Egypt are about to find out. For change to be persistent, legitimates expressions of people movements have to be organised into an organised political state.
Reclaim our imagination. Rediscover what actions are useful, who in our lives are reciprocal in being helpful and supportive, which of our possessions have practical use and for everything else – let it go.
You see it takes many of us time to learn that the government is not solely responsible for the censorship of ideas amongst an oppressed people, those of us who close our minds to freedom are. Today we have access to so many forms of media but chose to perpetuate ideas that maintain our ideological enslavement instead of liberating us from it.
I am not opposed to entertainment media being shared in order to provide us with moments of relaxation in life, but when that entertainment dominates our personal timescape with culturally harmful content and vacuous elements for progression, it’s time to take a stand. Usage of Facebook alongside Blackberry phones in the US and UK are unimaginatively utilised as tools for wasting time, setting up parties, elitist groupings and even facilitating crime, in Egypt they became tools of mass mobilisation. In fact, so threatened by their use in encouraging mass participation in revolutionary themed events, Mubarak’s regime blocked all access to mobile phone communications and internet based social networks to a total of 80 million people.
Despite this, those people serious about desiring change (and prepared to work for it) found another way.
So what to do?
A young brother I know who is passionate about our people is organising a screening of a film I made called The Walk. If you want to meet up with like minded folk and perhaps even become part of a movement that can do more than just talk then please come and greet us. But please make a donation to enable him to continue the work.
So what to do?
Also this month there will be another event taking place that simultaneously commemorates two elders in our community who through action facilitated progressive change, but also through publishing left a legacy, a blueprint for future generations to learn.
The annual Jessica and Eric Huntley conference this year is themed Get Up, Stand Up: Campaigning for Rights, Respect and Self-Reliance.
It is my belief that the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate. But please make a donation to enable them to continue the work.
Embracing African Beauty
The tragic story of Claudia Aderotimi, 20, the young African woman who passed away after a botched cosmetic operation is sadly not an anomaly. Far too many of our young people are influenced by the belief that beauty is how we externally present ourselves instead of recognising that it comes from within. As a result skin whitening creams are prevalent throughout our community, hideous tattoo’s have become seen as a mark of short sighted trendiness, designer labels empty proof of self-worth and men and women dress in drab colours as if permanently attending a funeral.
Claudia was a beautiful young woman desperate to seek acceptance in the misogynistic world of music entertainment. Her decision to self-mutilate for fame led to her paying an estimated $1000 to opportunist ‘surgeons’ who it is believed ultimately killed her with a lethal silicone injection.
These toxic ideas of beauty have for a long time affected African people by cultivating a powerful hatred of self - from the obscene wigs of human and horse hair sold by ‘Afro hair and beauty shops’ to the macho-adolescent thug style perpetuated by media clowns and ‘fashion’ propagandists in the name if ‘urban’ entertainment. This is not a problem isolated to any one gender, both a responsible for accepting and exacerbating this issue.
The Truth remains that the image of the natural African as ugly unless enhanced by western prosthetics to restore some semblance of ‘normality’ is a gross deception foisted upon us from birth. It starts in the posters that adorn a hospital ward continuing to the images we see at nursery, at school and throughout the media including the shameful front pages of some of our own national news publications.
So what can we do about it?
There is little point in seeking to forever tear down cultural viruses unless we first work on the antidotes. What we need to help heal us is promotions of natural African beauty, critique and appreciation of our own natural aesthetics, whether present in art, prose or cultural events.
From carnival to art galleries, to groups like the Colour and Movement collective aka Bro Alvin Kofi (Kofi Arts), Sis Jennifer Lewis (Pepperstorm) and Bro Ken McCalla (Yahwarts) to sculptors such as Elder Fowokan. From animations like African Tales by Trans Tales to Operation Sankofa an event that promotes the idea of African dolls.
You see unless we care enough to comment about what it is we like more than our dislikes, then those who are working and doing often grow fatigued and discouraged when continuing charitable acts that risk our own self for the health and wealth of others.
The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust is another organisation in need of funding in order to continue providing us a service that can save our lives in a tangible way. Check out details of the campaign and please make a donation to enable them to continue the work.
Ligali has also just published my new book called Revoetry. It’s an attempt at revolutionary poetry that normalises the day to day realities of our experience in literary art. I would really appreciate some feedback and constructive criticism and support. You can get a copy by donating at Ligali, asking for it at a local library or visiting a local African bookshop.
You see it is our continuous engagement, re-evaluation and redefinition of what constitutes the legitimate African aesthetic that provides us with a tangible way of redressing the balance caused by a hostile anti-African paradigm that seeks to programme our young people to hate themselves.
Over the next few weeks there will also be a whole series of events dedicated to the wellbeing of African women that are designed to encourage us to accept, appreciate and love ourselves by building healthy living environments.
Collectively we have the ability to determine our own reality, to shape our own norms, to submit to our own authority. However for that to happen it becomes imperative that we start by recognising that true power, as it always has, comes from within those who have been deceived into believing they are the powerless. Us.
So what can we do about it?
Well I think we need to change the way we perceive leadership in our community. The passive waiting for an anointed one with divine abilities to come around and lead us to the ‘promised land’ must stop. If we want change, and I mean meaningful change, then that process has to begin with our being self motivated and engaging with solutions that include sacrifices, from a small donation for a community service or product, to a few hours a week volunteering to our Pan African society, not the ConDems so called ‘Big Society’.
I remember a message my father once shared with me on the issue of progress. He said when people want change and see movement in the right direction that they have a choice to either lead or follow it, but if they want to remain stagnant and simply waste energy complaining whilst others are moving then they are free to do so but should first simply get out of the way.
He was right.
May the Ancestors guide and protect us.
Toyin Agbetu is a writer,
film director, poet, and founder of Ligali, the pan African human rights based organisation.
Cosmetic surgery in American hotel leads to death of British woman
UK Uncut: 'People are starting to listen to us
DNA profiles to be deleted from police database
UK Uncut protesters spied upon by undercover police
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African sun could light world’s cities
Africa’s greatest resources may no longer be diamonds and gold, but instead, its big sun-drenched skies. In coming years, the continent, known for the innovation and determination of its people, could provide enough solar energy to light up some of the world’s biggest cities.
A group of students from a girls’ college in Mauritius is showing the way. The pupils have recently developed a way of producing 14KW of clean electricity daily, and their project is touted to be the model which other nations in Africa could adopt.
Delaware history: Exploring African roots
At Stubbs Elementary School on Thursday, a group of four students carrying a plastic chain walked to the front of the auditorium during a Black History Month assembly. Pat Butler, a Mother African Union Church member playing the character of a slave trader, asked the crowd how much they would pay for their peers. The seated children started shouting out prices -- offers were as high as $800.
"You see this today and you think it is a game," Butler said as the students quieted down. "This was not a game -- families were sold away from each other."
The "auction" was, of course, a teaching moment.
After the lesson in history, the four student-performers joined Butler and other church members for joyous African song and dance in celebration of [African] History Month..
"When you can deliver the dialogue in human form, people relate to that more so than anything they can read in a book," she said.
Miller thought the performance was a great addition to her black history education.
"I only knew the basics, like Martin Luther King, Malcom X," Miller said. "It taught me more about the African history."
Teacher banned for spraying Asian primary children with air freshener
15 February 2011
Elizabeth Davies struck off for two years for spraying pupils in her half-Bangladeshi class if she said she smelled curry
A teacher has been banned from classrooms after spraying children of Asian origin with air freshener if she said she smelled curry.
Elizabeth Davies, 48, was struck off for at least two years for the way she treated children in her primary school class.
A disciplinary hearing was told that Davies would say: "There is a waft coming from paradise" before using the air freshener. She was accused of having a "smug look" as she sprayed children in the class, where half the pupils were of Bangladeshi origin.
Teaching assistant Wendy Roe alleged she used the words "black bastards" in a low whisper on more than one occasion. Asked if she thought Davies was discriminating against the children on the grounds of their race, Roe said: "I think so. I feel she had a problem with them."
Busted: The sisters facing jail after buying £8,000 boob jobs with stolen credit cards
16 February 2011
Two sisters are facing jail after using stolen credit cards to pay for breast enlargement surgery. Rishona Downes, 25, and her older sibling Ramona, 27, each splashed out more than £4,000 for the Harley Street treatments within weeks of each other.
They paid the bulk of the balance using card details provided by a friend working for a credit firm. But it wasn’t until six months afterwards that they were rumbled when a technology firm noticed they had unwittingly paid £8,090 for the sisters’ surgery.
Today, the sisters were convicted of five counts of fraud at Southwark Crown Court following a week-long trial. The Downes sisters stood impassive in the dock as the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts against them after deliberating for more than five hours.
During the case it emerged that both women were desperate for surgery because they felt self-conscious about their bodies.
G4S security firm was warned of lethal risk to refused asylum seekers
8 February 2011
Whistleblowers' testimony concerning banned restraint technique known as 'carpet karaoke' given after Jimmy Mubenga death
The multinational security company hired by the government to deport refused asylum seekers was warned repeatedly by its own staff that potentially lethal force was being used against deportees, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal.
Details of how some G4S guards developed a dangerous technique for restraining deportees by bending them in aircraft seats is disclosed in official testimony drawn up by four whistle-blowers from the company.
Their evidence was secretly submitted to the home affairs select committee in the aftermath of the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan man who died while being forcibly restrained on a flight from Heathrow in October.
The previously unseen testimony reveals that G4S managers were repeatedly alerted that refused asylum seekers who became disruptive on flights were being "forced into submission" with their heads placed between their legs.
The technique, which is strictly prohibited because it could result in a form of suffocation known as positional asphyxia, was nicknamed "carpet karaoke" by G4S guards.
Sickle cell ignorance leads to passing of Sarah Mulenga
30 January 2011
The two ambulance staff whose negligence and callous malpractice led to the passing of Sarah Mulenga have been suspended whilst the case is being investigated.
An ambulance team were called to assist student Sarah Mulenga, 21 at her home in Barking on 9 January 2011. Sarah had sickle cell anaemia and is believed to have been suffering from a crisis.
People with sickle cell disorders experience excruciating pain and typically need emergency assistance including fluids and strong pain relief to manage the crisis. The disorder is responsible for pain which can last for days and in some instances requires an immediate blood transfusion.
The team from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) were called at 4:15 by Sarah’s concerned landlady, Chinwe Moneke, 35 who found her collapsed in her bedroom. As Sarah’s health deteriorated Chinwe called the emergency services again at 4:30 to inform them of her worsening condition.
By 4:47 the ambulance had still not arrived so she called again explaining Sarah had sickle cell disorder and her health was in a dangerously poor state.
Minutes later two female ambulance workers arrived. Chinwe then explains that a paramedic told Sarah, to get out of bed and “screamed” at her shouting “If you want to be taken to hospital, then get up so we can take you.”
Sarah who was by now seriously ill was unable to do so and involuntarily soiled herself. It was after this that the crew refused to treat her or take her to hospital. Chinwe said “They did not check Sarah's temperature nor her heartbeat, in fact they did not touch her at all.”
Chinwe cleaned up Sarah and minutes later (Sarah’s) sister arrived. A second ambulance was called which arrived 45 minutes later. This time the paramedics took Sarah to hospital but by then her condition had deteriorated too far.
Tragically she passed away the same evening.
Council abusing procedures to demolish community centre
At Brent Council’s meeting on 15th February, the Council’s executive decided to expand Newfield Primary School and to demolish the centre of Mission Dine Club (MDC), a charity that provides vital services to the elderly and vulnerable. The decision was taken in spite of the fact that the consultation was flawed, and breached the Compact. MDC, a key stakeholder and its users were not consulted; a number of those listed as consultees said they were not consulted; key information was missing from the consultation document; there was misleading information; and as at 14th February an Impact Assessment Report was not available.
The Council failed to mention that the centre was actually built by MDC at a cost exceeding £200,000, and that after MDC completed building works, Council asked charity to pay Council's legal costs, and commercial rates for ground rent.
In order to justify the decision to demolish MDC Centre, the Council failed to mention that MDC built the centre, and wrongly claimed that MDC was in arrears of ground rent. The Council stopped contributing to running costs of MDC to offset the alleged ground rent arrears. MDC is making a formal complaint regarding the incorrect information the Council is putting in the public domain, and thereby tarnishing its reputation.
Council claims it needs to expand Newfield Primary School, which was assessed at Grade 3 by Ofsted, to provide additional school places. Speakers against the expansion of Preston Manor school questioned the figures regarding school places. In any case the Council has not explored ways of providing additional school places without demolishing MDC Centre, such as providing the playing field over a raised level. Supporters of MDC are astonished that Council has decided to demolish a community anchor built by a charity without offering alternatives or compensation to the charity for funds it used on building the centre.
"As MDC can make a case that Newfield can expand without demolishing MDC, I have asked for the decision to be called in so that this case can be scrutinised," says Cllr. Alec Castle, Chair of Overview & Scrutiny Call In Committee.”
Appeal for Genevieve Dowokpor
Basilar artery migraine (BAM) is a rare and potentially life threatening type of migraine that is severe and persistent. It is disabling and consists of a severe throbbing headache at the back of the head, pain and stiffness in the neck accompanied by visual disturbances or temporary blindness. Dizziness, incoordination, vertigo, decreased hearing, ringing/aching ears, nausea or vomiting, speech disturbances, diplopia, loss of balance, bilateral paresthesias or paresis, syncope, jerky eye movements, sensitivity to light and/or sound, trouble thinking clearly and sometimes altered or loss of consciousness.
Some symptoms of (BAM) are similar to that of a stroke however its effects are not permanent. Neurological and sensory disturbances occur and there is concern that those with basilar artery migraine may be greatly increased at risk of stroke.
The attack can last for days and in some cases can come in succession - several one after the other!
The exact cause of basilar artery migraines is uncertain, but they may be the result of a disturbance of brain chemicals and/or an abnormal functioning of the basilar artery, a major artery in the back of the brain. It is however believed the symptoms of a basilar migraine are caused by the constricting of the basilar artery which supplies blood to the stem of the brain. The unique feature of (BAM) is that it seems to occur either in the brain stem or both cerebral hemispheres. Often these patients are mistakenly thought to be intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or suffering from other conditions.
For more info: www.basilarmigraine.net
Genevieve Dowokpor is a community champion, social entrepreneur and founder of Youthology. Based in Newham, Youthology is a social enterprise that provides long term engagement and support to some of London’s most vulnerable young people aged 13-24. Youthology is focused on personal development, creative workshops and access to employment, training and further education across various industries.
As a small entity, the existence of Youthology hinges on Genevieve being the linch pin that holds the entire organization together. Without Genevieve, Youthology unfortunately comes to a premature end.
Genevieve is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and has 12 years experience working within the fields of youth development and the social services. Genevieve is a regular inspirational speaker, who has dedicated her life to nurturing young people to fulfill their potential and represent their local communities with excellence.
PERSONAL HISTORY/IMPACT STATEMENT
I have suffered from headaches since childhood and aged eight I was diagnosed with migraines. I was referred to the City of London Migraine Clinic who trialed new migraine abortive and preventative drugs on me throughout my teen years.
As I have got older my attacks have become severe and frequent. Since 2004 intense symptoms including loss of consciousness have accompanied my attacks. It was at this time I was referred to a neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital, then further to the Royal London Hospital. In 2006 I was diagnosed with BAM and have continued to receive various forms of medications, all with no avail.
During a general attack my first signs are usually dark patches in my vision, a stiff painful neck, earache with ringing and pain behind my eyes. Other symptoms of slurred speech, a ‘dead’ arm and leg will follow with sweats, dizziness and nausea/vomiting etc.
An attack usually lasts 3-4 days and at present is followed up by another attack within a 48-hour period. It is rare to get through a week without an attack. I have had many attacks where I have been found unconscious in shops, the back of a cab, my work car park, under my desk at work. On one occasion my younger brother had to break into my house through my bathroom window and follow the instructions of the emergency services before they arrived to take over. I have several times found myself collapsed on the floor in my house, in severe pain with no recollection of what had happened.
I have received various forms of medications such as Triptans, Channel and beta-blockers, blood pressure, anti-coagulants, anti-depressants and anti-convulsants from various neurologists with no avail.
I have also tried alternative methods such as Vitamin B12 supplements, Fever Few, smelling salts, Acupuncture and CranioSacral Therapy at the Institute of Osteopathy. These did not help to reduce my attacks.
Over the years I have kept a diary, which has allowed me to identify and track my triggers. My triggers range from stress, sudden change of mood, weather, over exertion, sugar free drinks (Aspartame), eating or sleeping late, certain foods and many more.
I live alone in a one bedroom flat with this condition and for the last 12 months I have received help from the social services who organised an occupational health specialist to assess my home and needs. They fitted a Tele-Care Alarm system in my flat with accompanied flood and heat detectors, a bath bench to shower with as I am no longer advised to have baths (risk of drowning) and a high chair to use while I manoeuvre around the kitchen. I now have a carer who attends my home to assist me with basic care needs when I am unwell.
I am registered disabled and I have been unable to consistently work. As a result of this circumstance the future of Youthology is at high risk. I have now reached the point where my life has hit a brick wall. Living in severe pain more often than not, I am unable to work, socialize and have had to give up activities such as gym, dance and choreography as I realised such activity also triggers my attacks. I am now 30 and even the prospects of meeting a potential partner and starting a family in the future are bleak. I rely on friends and family to help me function on a daily basis and struggle to keep my spirits up.
My last attack preceding this letter, was horrific. I found myself in hospital pleading the nurses and then God to let me die. I am far from one to give up but at that point the option of death appeared better than what I was going through. I have always tried to remain positive and refuse to accept that this condition will rule my life, but I have now reached breaking point.
LAST AND ONLY OPTION
Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) involves implanting electrodes at the base of the head and an impulse generator at a site in the torso and connecting insulated wires under the skin. The patient uses a remote control to deliver electrical impulses to the occipital nerve.
ONS is carried out in the UK by the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery London, which is the first centre in Europe to use the technique. It has been successful in the U.S. for more than a decade. The cost of the procedure is approximately £25,000 privately, which includes consultations, the operation and stay in hospital. ONS has a reported success rate of 70 - 100% for patients in the UK.
I need your support to help me raise the funds for the operation. I have no savings, as everything I had has been invested into setting up and growing Youthology. I have been rejected for bank loans due to the recession and lack of certainty that I will be in a position to earn an income and make repayments.
I am desperate and reaching out for your help, so I can access this treatment. By donating money and/or helping me to raise the £25k needed, I will be able to turn off my attacks at a press of a button. This procedure is not a cure but a management tool, which has been proven to work and save lives. Saving my life helps me to continue saving young lives in the community.
TO DONATE PLEASE CLICK HERE
Thank you for your support, as it is greatly appreciated. If you need more information on my condition, please contact me use my details below.
Black History and African World Studies
I am Robin Walker.
I am excited to announce that Centerprise have agreed to host a 36 week adult education program at their venue in Dalston taught by me.
The course, Introducing Black History and African World Studies, is divided into six modules that are all focused on the black experience and taught from a black perspective.
The modules are
* Political studies
* Sociology and Psychology
* Economics and personal development
* Science, technology and production
To confirm you place or for any enquiries: write to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Course: Introducing Black History and African World Studies
Venue: Centerprise Bookshop, 136 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2NS, 020 7254 9632
How to get here: British rail - Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction, Bus - 67, 76, 149, 243
Times: Sundays 12.30 to 2.30 pm
Start date: 13 March 2011 /
End date: 11 December 2011
Course fees: £250 for the whole course (or £55 per month over five months, or
£100 per term over 3 terms)
To confirm your place
Contact: Centerprise on 020 7254 9632 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Robin Walker on 07875 186 695, email@example.com
14 DEAD, NOTHING SAID
By Kwame M.A. McPherson
Mamma ah bawl
Daddy ah holla
Where is my son?
Where is my daughter?
No it can't be
Where is my child?
How did it start?
African children at a party
Dancing, having fun…jussah skylark
Can someone tell me why?
Was it because they were African children
Seeds from a strong, eternal nation
Was it because they were lights
Others saw their brilliance, scared
They run with fright
Evil in their heart to snuff out,
Terrorise our children that fateful night
14 DEAD, NOTHING SAID
Sunday 18 January 1981
These young people paid with blood
Do we remember this legacy today?
Do we care about this story anyway?
Who has been charged?
Please someone tell me
As nobody can say…
30 years of hurt
30 years of pain
Another chapter in our lifestory
Our struggle cannot go unsaid
Their warm liquid glows with their life
Streaming through us…untainted
Wonderful, great in all its flowing might
Do you feel its flow?
Do you feel its force?
Are we aware of this powerful legacy?
Our journey, our life course?
14 DEAD, NOTHING SAID
We are Our Story
We are Rich
Taking an inspiration
Forming our determination,
Aware of our realisation,
To create our powerful foundation
Our story is rich, for it is our story
Like a copyright page
Never duplicated, cloned, morphed or substituted
Flip it, see our blessing
Know our sheroes and heroes
Stepping through time
…And like the 14 young people
Frozen forever in our minds…..
14 Dead, Nothing Said
14 Dead, Nothing Said
14 Dead, Nothing Said
Dedicated to the parents for the 14 brothers and sisters and were murdered on Sunday 18 January 1981, 439 New Cross Road.
© Kwame M.A. McPherson, January 2011, all rights reserved, may not be reproduced without the author’s permission
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Get Up! Stand Up! Campaigning for Rights, Respect and Self-Reliance: Then & Now
Saturday 19 February, 10.00am - 4.30pm
Why campaign? What difference does it make? How can a successful campaign be carried out? Where are the new sites of resistance? Come join in the debate. The conference will examine these questions and showcase collections from the Huntley Archives 1952 – 2010. Guest speakers include political activist and former Thames News presenter, Marc Wadsworth. Special Guest Speaker: Darcus Howe.
£5 (children free) - booking required in advance
Afruika Bantu Saturday School celebrates
Original Black History Month
1791 - 1981 years of revolution and counter revolution
30th anniversary of the New Cross Massacre, Black Peoples' Day Of Action, Brixton and National Uprisings - what are the lessons for our youth and community today?
Black Parents' Forum on Black parenting 30 years on - have we let our youth down?
1791 marks the beginning of the Haiti Revolution - Haiti First Haiti Now - Reparations Now!
Presentations from children of the Saturday School
Date: Saturday 19th February 2011
Time: 9:30am to 12:30pm
Venue: St. Martin's Community Centre
Abbots' Park, St. Martin's Estate, Upper Tulse Hill, SW2 3PW
Buses: 2, 201, 432, 415
Train: Tulse Hill
Get involved with our Black Parents' Forum.
No matter what school your child attends (or if you have no child at all).
Afruika Bantu Saturday School is currently recruiting. We have spaces for children aged 5 - 16. We deliver the National Curriculum subjects of Maths, English, Science and ICT. We also teach Black History.
We support children to prepare for SATs, entrance tests, end of year tests and GCSEs.
Further info: 07940 005 907 / 07950 903 503
Life, Above All : (Chanda's Secrets)
Friday 18 Feb at 2.30pm
Sunday 20 Feb at 5.00pm
Tricycle Cinema, Kilburn, London
Don't miss a chance to see this compelling drama from South Africa which follows a young girl (stunningly performed by first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka) who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community.
The Tricycle are screening the film as part of their International Oscar Season
- Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 where it received a ten minute standing ovation and was awarded the Francois Chalias Prize.
· Shortlisted to the final nine of the sixty-six entries to the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film Category.
SEE THIS SPECIAL PREVIEW FOR JUST £6 (USUALLY £9.50) ON SUNDAY 20 FEB. CALL THE BOX OFFICE AND QUOTE 'CHANDA'S SECRET OFFER'.
Strickly limited availability, advanced bookings only.
"Evolving China & Africa Relations - an alternative to Western Domination?"
incl video footage on Africa / China relations
Author of ‘China’s Global Strategy’ - Jenny Clegg
CPGB-ML - Keith Bennett
AJAMU - Asari St-Hill
Join the discussion. African governments are running to China for ‘soft loans’, ‘aid’ and ‘investments’ but in who’s interest are they?
China is now investing huge sums of money in Africa building infrastructure but also for access to our huge natural resources
What is China’s strategy in Africa and how should Africa respond to it?
What can Africa learn from the Chinese development model?
Can only an united Africa be a true equal partner with China’s might?
Saturday 19th February 2010 @ 6pm - 9pm
Entrance: £3 donation requested (children free) Chestnuts Community Centre
St Ann's Road, Tottenham, N15
(nearest tube: Seven Sisters - Victoria Line) Contact: AJAMU on 07852.937.981 or firstname.lastname@example.org Next AJAMU session: Saturday 19th March 2010 (6pm)
In support of International Woman's' Day (IWU)
Screening: John Henrik Clarke: A Great and Mighty Walk
When: Wednesday 23rd February 2011, 7pm to 9pm
Where: PCS LEARNING CENTRE (Victoria), 3rd Floor, 231 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EH. Nearest Train/Tube Station: Victoria
Adm: £4 per person
This documentary chronicles the life and times of the noted African-American historian, scholar and Pan-African activist John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998).
Both a biography of Clarke himself and an overview of 5,000 years of African history, the film offers a provocative look at the past through the eyes of a leading proponent of an Afrocentric view of history. From ancient Egypt and Africa's other great empires, Clarke moves through Mediterranean borrowings, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history.
Running time: 92 minutes
The film screening will take place on
Doors open at 6pm. The screening will start at 7pm sharp!!! Hot food will be on sale.
Places for the film screenings are limited (ONLY 45 PLACES AVAILABLE), so if you are interested in attending please reply as soon as possible to reserve your place. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so don't delay.
In order for us to manage seating and room layout, we would be grateful if all who are attending this event could confirm their attendance in advance. Please confirm via email
email@example.com how many of you will be attending this event Please can you also notify any cancellations made after confirmation.
Screening and Discussion:
When: Sunday 27th Febuary 1.30pm till 7.00
What's WRONG or RIGHT with 'BLACK BRITAIN' (Part 6)
Where: Shortwave Cinema,10 Bermondsey Square,
London SE1 3UN
£5 donation / concessions
Photography ©Thabo Jaiyesimi
The saga continues.!!! PART 6!!!...
Greetings, this is another in the succesful series where you are told to forget the Mockumentories and watch a REAL documentary.
In this session your host will be presenting one of the best cinema productions from the UK which to no surprise most of us haven't seen...1hr 55min of brilliance will be screened @ the lavish Shortwave Cinema/Bar/Cafe @ 10 Bermondsey Square SE1 3UN.
The reasoning session after screening will be joined by writer and film director: Toyin Agbetu
Photography ©Thabo Jaiyesimi
£5 concession for all...Sunday 27th Febuary 1.30pm till 7.00
Don't be late NUBIANS...ASE and HOTEP!!!
National Black People's Day of Action
2nd March 2011
‘Name it and Claim it!’
Inspirational films by and about the people of Africa, from archive classics to new cinema. Explore the African roots in world cinema through BFI Southbank's monthly matinee programme of films and talks. Each screening will be introduced by a key speaker and followed by a discussion. This programme has been devised in conjunction with the African-Caribbean consultative group at the BFI Southbank.
Tickets for all screenings are £5.00. To book, please call BFI Southbank on 0207 928 3232.
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Greetings to you all
London Black Women Festival 2011 in conjunction with The O.M.E.G.A. Foundation Society Ltd proudly presents
Black Women's Conference March 12th 2011
This event is strictly for women. So men and Children will just have to sit this one out. On March 12th 2011, 200 women will come together under the same roof for a sensational session Celebrating black women
The day is packed with 7 hours of Motivational Speakers, Presentations & Workshops. A hot buffet and refreshments are available on the day, you can also look forward to a selection of arts & crafts stalls and ‘giftbags’.
Tickets for this special day will be £5.00 only inclusive of refreshments
Day of the Goddess Event:
When: Sunday 20th March 2011, 12pm to 7pm
Where: Unity Centre, 103 Church Road, London, NW10 9EG. Nearest Tube Station: Harlesden (Bakerloo Line). For a map of the venue, click here
Adm: Tickets cost £20 but tickets are available for £15 if you buy early
)0( Hear the Calling
Today & every day you should reflect on the beauty that is Woman, you should remember those women that made a mark and those that continue to create marks, templates and finger print traces in this Universe we currently reside in.
Women you must never forget that all begins and ends with You, you are the root and you are also the flower. You have a massive role to play in this life in this Universe fore you gave birth to it.
Women don't turn your back on your natural duties or shun your Goddess role, because when we do we leave the space in which we should occupy and reign in disrepair.
Gracious creators, giver of life, mother, sister, auntie, grandma, nana, niece, daughter, wife, girlfriend are all titles remember above all you are Woman - All begins and ends with you!
This day will include:
- Inspirational Speakers such as Sistah Dr Sandra Richards
- Food and Drink
- Indoor Market
- Hot food buffet and drinks inclusive of the ticket price.
The Day of the Goddess event takes place on
To book your tickets, please go to www.dayofthegoddess.co.uk
Stalls and other advertising opportunites are available.
For more information about this day, please contact Sheryl Powell on 07984 979413 or Aamasade on 07794 388 425.
THIS IS A WOMAN ONLY EVENT.
THERE ARE NO CRECHE FACILITIES
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, in conjunction with the Black & Asian Studies Association
Black and Asian Britain seminars
Senate House, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1
6 to 7.30 pm, room G34
Everyone is welcome. You do not have to pre-book/register. (Contact: Marika.Sherwood@sas.ac.uk)
Friday, 25 March Donald Hinds, Slavery, should there be an apology and reparation? Who should make it and who should say 'Thank you. It was long overdue! Now I am truly free?’
An apology must be immediate and sincere enough to erase the anger caused by the offence. It must not be a public relation exercise. Reparation should be paid by the guilty. Can we with the passage of time separate the descenants of those whose ancestors were slaves from descendants of those ancestors owned slaves? Is there a just man humble enough to accept the apology which will wipe away three hundred years of Atlantic slavery? Are we then to say it never happened? Or it was worth it for the reparation?
Beyond Black History Month
Spirit Of A Warrior
Date: Every Week
Adm: 1st lesson is free. Thereafter, £4.50 per lesson. Members £2.00 per lesson
Mashufaa is a martial are created for the mental, physical and spiritual upliftment of a generation of people who have become detached from themselves! Mashufaa is about living a life with light through the sweat of training. Sweat lets you know you are alive.
Remember Mind, Body and Spirit are one. Train to live and live to train. Mashufaa Classes will take place from at The Albany Theatre (Plum Room) nearest Rail: Deptford or DLR Deptford Bridge.
Monday and Fridays*
Time: 7 - 9:30pm
Venue: Lord Morrison Hall, Chestnut Grove (off Scales Rd), Tottenham, London N17 9ET
Travel: Tube: Seven Sisters (Victoria Line), Tottenham Hale / Rail: Bruce Grove / Buses: 243, 341, 149, 259,279
*Adults and Children
with the children's classes, We encourage
learning through positive encouragement
and use games and skills to reinforce the
martial arts techniques that they learn.
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: The Plum Room, The Albany Theatre/Centre, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG
Tube: New Cross / Rail: Deptford Station / Buses: 53, 453, 177
For further details please contact us on: 020 8808 7547 / 07956 337 391 or, via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nyansapo - In service to our family, with the spirit of our Ancestors
LIGALI is a Pan African, human rights organisation. It is maintained and funded entirely
by friends and family of the Ligali organisation, donations are welcome as we need your help to
keep it running.
NYANSAPO is the name of one of the many Adinkra symbols in Akan culture, it is a knot that is so intricately tied it is said that, “only the wise can untie the wisdom knot”. This ebe (proverb) points to the fact that only wisdom affords one the ability to see parts in relation to the whole within which they belong. Wisdom breeds patience, and the insight needed to untangle complex issues and arrive at just solutions grounded in divine order without profaning Ancestral culture in the process.
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Ligali, PO Box 1257, London E5 0UD. Tel: 020 8986 1984