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Recorder letters: Condemning hatred, acid regulation, culture borough and breast cancer

PUBLISHED: 07:30 04 October 2017

Forest Gate charity workers who run Abdullah Aid deliver supplies to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Picture: ABDULLAH AID

Forest Gate charity workers who run Abdullah Aid deliver supplies to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Picture: ABDULLAH AID

Abdullah Aid

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Don’t tolerate hatred and violence

Cllr Salim Patel, Manor Park ward and Cllr Mas Patel, Forest Gate South ward, write:

Newham Council recently passed our motion condemning the violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar/Burma and calling for the British government to do much more to help them.

We have seen news reports of how the Burmese military and police have systematically isolated an entire minority community, the Rohingya, and denied them citizenship, forced them into becoming refugees and has recently undertaken a horrific and genocidal military campaign against them which the United Nations has decried as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Over 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, India and Thailand. They have no government backing, no super-power ready to intervene on their behalf and are abandoned both in their own country and abroad. Whilst there has been some international outcry towards the government of Myanmar and their de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has shamefully tried to defend the action against the Rohingya, much more must be done by our govrnment. Aung San Suu Kyi should remember that when it comes to oppression of a group of people, silence is consent.

We are pleased that Newham Council unanimously passed our motion at Monday night’s full council meeting (September 18, 2017) and we continue to call on our government to put serious pressure on Myanmar/Burma to end their genocidal campaign.

With great power comes great responsibility and we all know what happens when powerful Governments fail to speak out for the persecuted. The horrific holocaust perpetrated against Jews and other minorities by the Nazis in WWII and more recently the genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda are just some of the examples of why we should always remain vigilant. At Monday night’s full council meeting, we sent a clear message to the British Government that they must do much more to stand up for the Rohingya and defend their rights, it is our historic responsibility.

Many residents will ask why is a local council taking a stance on an international issue? For us it’s simply the case that whilst we as a council act locally, we must always be engaged globally. Yes, we are locally elected representatives in local government, but why should our motions and resolutions only represent local issues? We must always stand united against all forms of discrmination and we should always speak up for people who suffer from genocidal war crimes and human rights abuses in the world.

We have sent a strong message from Newham, the most diverse place in the world, that we will never tolerate or stand silent in the face of hatred and violence against minorities, wherever it occurs.

Acid regulation needed urgently

Kelly Marton, Bisson Road, Stratford, writes:

Another week goes by with reports of yet another acid attack, or suspected acid attack.

Many incidents seem to be in the east London area with Newham seeing a high proportion of incidents. Many of the people arrested tend to be quite young - just teenagers. Whether gang related or simply isolated incidents this cannot be acceptable.

I know stop and search is not a hugely favoured method of policing but it can be effective. Our police must know they have our backing and government must play its part.

We need tough laws curbing the sale and possession of acid - and also restricting the strength of acid for sale. But there’s no point dragging our feet. We need decisive action and we need it now.

Bid to become borough of culture

Cllr Veronica Oakeshott, Boleyn ward, writes:

Newham has announced it is bidding to be London’s Borough of culture in 2019/20.

We have a huge amount to offer and with the right work, I believe we can win. Our diversity gives us a range of artistic perspectives that can wow anyone from elderly opera boffin to smartphone wielding teenager. We’ve always made it clear that as a council we believe culture is for and by everybody not just the privileged few. That’s why we’ve invested in Every Child A Musician and Every Child a Theatregoer.

To be credible in our bid of course we must show that we value our heritage and respect the cultural icons we already have.

This includes the much loved Bobby Moore statue in Boleyn - which is one of our best pieces of public art, having been sculpted by the royal sculptor Philip Jackson and paid for partly by public donations and the Arts Council. A quick look at the online petition to keep the statue where it is reveals quite how strongly the Newham public associates the statue with its culture and how disempowered residents feel by its potential loss.

One signatory, Peter Duffy, said:

“They are stripping this area bare of its history” - a sentiment echoed by several others on the petition - and one which the council now has the chance to prove wrong. In a rapidly changing borough like ours, acknowledging and respecting our heritage secures our identity.

The statue’s preservation shows that we, Newham, know that culture and history enriches ordinary life. Culture is not just for theatre goers and park visitors, but for everyone who wants a sense of history and belonging about where they live.

The mayor must make a decision to keep the Statue where it is as a basic demonstration that we are truly serious about Newham’s heritage and culture. And then let’s win that borough of culture bid!

Do more to treat breast cancer

Deborah Cameron, Durham Road, Manor Park, writes:

I read with great concern a new report by Breast Cancer Now, “Good Enough? Breast Cancer in the UK”, which highlights how much more needs to be done to save the lives of people with breast cancer.

Although more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before, it is still the most common cancer in the UK with over 50,000 women diagnosed with the disease each year. And still every year around 11,500 women die of breast cancer in the UK.

The report uncovered a number of issues that need to be addressed in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

That’s why I have emailed my local MP asking them to take action to ensure that Breast Cancer Now can achieve its vision that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. Please visit breastcancernow.org/goodenough2017 and contact

your MP.

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