Category Archives: Articles

Statue of Dr Martin Luther King has been unveiled in Newcastle by his great friend

A bronze statue of Dr Martin Luther King has been unveiled at Newcastle University by a man who knew him better than most.

Ambassador Andrew Young, now 85, was a friend and colleague of the American civil rights leader and accompanied him to Newcastle on November 13, 1967 when he received an honorary degree from the university.

Read David Whetstone’s article here

TWAFA Comment:  Great to see Andrew Young here in Newcastle to unveil the statue of Martin Luther King.  Let us all be strengthened in our determination to end the scourges of war, poverty and racism.

(c) TWAFA November 2017

Why were the words of Martin Luther King being read out on the Metro?

To mark the 50th anniversary of Dr King’s visit to Newcastle, the Metro played recordings from his honorary degree speech

The message of Martin Luther King was shared with Metro commuters to mark the 50th anniversary of his visit to Newcastle.

The words of Dr King’s speech at Newcastle University on November 13 1967 were played on the tannoy across all 60 Metro stations throughout Monday.

Extracts from the speech were voiced by 15 year-old Excelsior Academy pupil Yuri Neves and four recordings an hour were broadcast across the Metro system.  Read Kathryn Riddell’s article here

TWAFA Comment: Another reminder of a great day in the history of Newcastle. But how sad that the scourges of war, poverty and racism, which Dr. King highlighted in his speech in Newcastle, are still with us. We have much to do to continue Martin’s great work.

(c) TWAF November 2017

Religions come together in Newcastle for annual Peace Walk to promote harmony

Hundreds of people from all walks of life marched as one to promote racial and cultural harmony in Newcastle.

The Newcastle Council of Faiths’ Annual Walk for Peace took place today, leaving the Hindu Temple on West Road at 11am.

Following opening prayers, marchers headed to the Church of Venerable Bede shortly after lunchtime to learn more about Christianity. Follow the link to here to read Chris Knight’s article

TWAFA Comment: All faiths tend to boil down to one main thing; what the acclaimed writer Karen Armstrong calls the Golden Rule. In other words, treat others as you would wish to be treated your self.

This walk shows that many in Newcastle, of whatever faith background they come from, understand this.  At the end of the day, as the late Jo Cox put it, we have far more in common than that which divides us.

Extremists from whatever background they come from, can only divide us if we allow them to.   Walks like this remind us that so many of us will not allow the extremists to win.

(c) TWAFA October 2017

She fled the Taliban to Tyneside but now she’s fighting deportation to her troubled homeland

She fled the Taliban in her troubled homeland taking refuge on Tyneside but despite securing a prestigious scholarship this budding biologist is facing the prospect of being unable to take up her course.

Arooba Hameed has been living on Tyneside since she was 19 when she fled the Taliban in her native Pakistan but more than three years later she is still hoping to be granted asylum. Read Amanda Cashmore’s article here

TWAFA Comment:

How ironic that somebody who has had to flee the Taliban is now facing deportation back to danger, largely because of racist, anti-asylum attitudes, which often start with people who would claim themselves to be very much against the likes of the Taliban.  That such attitudes seem to be prevalent in the Home Office should be a matter of concern to us all.

The story also highlights exactly what life is like for an asylum seeker, away from the fantasy land of the shoddy right-wing press and media.  it is often a very difficult life and is often in many respects worse than the life they have fled from. The only way it is any better is that they feel safer here, than in their country of origin.

We can also clearly see just how much Arooba, like so many asylum seekers has to offer this country.  We should be delighted that such a talented young woman has come to live here. Indeed it is ridiculous that asylum seekers, who include so many doctors nurses, teachers and other highly educated people are not allowed to work in our country. All because of the lies and half-truths of a few London-based newspapers, owned by tax-avoiding millionaires who don’t even live in this country….

By way of contrast is heartening to see one of our local newspapers printing a truthful story about an asylum seeker. We wish Arooba all the best in her quest to gain the funding she needs to help her in her studies and so help her to contribute so much to our society.

(c) TWAFA September 2017

Newcastle MP threatened over ‘unspeakable crimes’ in wake of Operation Shelter views

An MP has revealed she received thousands of abusive messages after she said it was wrong to use the abuse of young women as an excuse to attack Muslims or Pakistani immigrants.

Chi Onwurah told the House of Commons that some of the messages accused her of “unspeakable crimes”.

And she said they made it harder for her to respond to attempts by her constituents to contact her with their views. Read Jonathan Walker’s article here

TWAFA Comment: This is really appalling.  The amount of hateful social media messages is really getting out of control. It is also a cowardly way to attack somebody, to hide behind a keyboard and write mindless, vile abuse.

The abuse also, of course, solves nothing. Those abusing Chi Onwurah have nothing to say about helping the girls and young women involved in the awful crimes in the west end of Newcastle to heal and get on with their lives.  Those abusing Chi Onwurah also have no solutions to the problems posed by the crimes and nothing to say on how they can be prevented in the future.

Indeed, as Chi Onwurah has pointed out, by making it harder for her to read sensible comments from her constituents, they are making it more difficult to prevent future abuse.

Perhaps it is time for the government to take this kind of abuse seriously and really toughen up the laws against such online hate crime.

(c) TWAFA September 2017  

The grooming of girls in Newcastle is not an issue of race – it’s about misogyny

What’s worse, rape or racism? I found myself posing that question after the Operation Sanctuary investigation was finally made public, revealing horrific abuse of girls and vulnerable young women in Newcastle. I had been moved and inspired by the courage of the victims, testifying, sometimes multiple times, to the most appalling and intimate crimes. And I felt overwhelming anger at the men who had done this, men in my constituency, men who used girls and women as their property without respect for them or thought for their futures. Read the article from The Guardian here

TWAFA Comment; Chi Onwurha makes some very valid points here. It is clearly wrong to link the appalling crimes of the gang of sexual predators, who have been convicted as a result of Operation Sanctuary. Rape and abuse of girls and women has been (and sadly is still going on) in communities across our country for centuries.

It certainly makes sense that, “stereotyping does not safeguard the vulnerable, it merely makes them more vulnerable. What is needed is raised awareness, mandatory PSHE, well-resourced community policing and mandatory training for all relevant agencies in identifying and reporting grooming indicators.”  What is important in response to these terrible crimes is to do all we can as a society to ensure that they are never repeated and simply seeking to employ misinformed, divisive, racial stereotypes will only make things worse, not better.

(c) TWAFA September 2017