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Recorder letters: Community support, terror and foreign policy, cancer and working animals

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 June 2017

PRESS ASSOCIATION

Children from Newham play at the luanch of M&S’s new Community Transformation Programme at Stratford Old Town Hall.

Community response to tackle growing loneliness

James Caller, East Ham, writes:

For too long our NHS has focussed on the physical aspects of illness and we have grossly underestimated and under-funded mental health.

Fuelled by the rise in social media where children and adults are made to feel insecure or inadequate at every turn, it’s a ticking timebomb that is likely to have long lasting effects on families and communities.

I realise many news outlets including the Newham Recorder have tried to highlight the plight of the suffering and signpost ways to seek treatment but the simple fact is this area of health and treatment is not a priority when it should be.

It’s also encouraging to see such a big business like M&S launching a community initiative to tackle loneliness and isolation.

Unless we look after our mental health and wellbeing collectively we will continue to see a negative impact on communities.

Foreign policy has impact on terror

Ian Sinclair, McGrath Road, Stratford, writes:

Paul Kaufman is surely right to argue the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London “show a complete of that most human quality, empathy” (Recorder, June 7).

However, the evidence suggests it is a bit more complicated than this. For example, the sister of Manchester bomber Salman Abedi told the Wall Street Journal: “He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge.” Similarly, a report in the Independent noted the last WhatsApp message sent by Khalid Masood, the perpetrator of the March 22 Westminster terrorist attack, “declared that he was waging jihad in revenge against Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East.”

This suggests the people who carried out recent attacks have a very limited and twisted sense of empathy - concern for the wellbeing of some people and a complete disregard for the lives of others.

With the UK and US intelligence services noting that Western foreign policy in the Middle East plays a role in motivating terrorist attacks on the West, it is worth considering whether Western governments and the mainstream media also have a limited and twisted sense of empathy.

For example, a 2013 ComRes survey found 74 per cent of Britons estimated that less than 50,000 Iraqi combatants and civilians had died as a consequence of the war, with 59 per cent estimating that less than 10,000 Iraqis had died. Only 6pc of the poll’s respondents estimated the death toll to be over 500,000 Iraqis - the number estimated by a 2013 study published in the PLOS Medicine journal. This depressing ignorance is likely the result of the media’s shocking record of ignoring credible evidence about the number of deaths caused by thew West’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Therefore, one way we can help to reduce the terrorist threat to the UK is to inform ourselves about the reality of UK foreign policy - and increase our own empathy for the hundreds of thousands of people it has killed.

Hidden cost of fighting cancer

Farhana Chowdhury, regional communications assistant for London, Anglia, and South East England, Macmillan Cancer Support, writes:

If you have cancer, or have had a diagnosis in the past, you might have noticed getting travel insurance isn’t as easy as it used to be. Whatever your issue Macmillan wants to hear from you.

As part of our ‘Make Money One Less Worry’ campaign we want to raise awareness of the hidden, and often unexpected, financial impact of cancer. If you would like to share your story please contact us on fchowdhury@macmillan.org.uk. For travel insurance advice you can visit the Macmillan website and search ‘Travel Insurance’ or call the Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Mon-Fri 9am – 8pm).

Help to protect working animals

Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), writes:

Working animals – such as horses, donkeys and camels – are fundamental in supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.

More than 200 million working animals do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, helping to provide a small income for one billion people in developing countries worldwide. But, this vast global workforce is largely unknown and ignored.

Many working animals currently endure hard lives and very few have access to the veterinary care they desperately need when they are sick or injured. These invisible heroes need our help.

Which is why I’m asking everyone to back SPANA’s “International Working Animal Day” today (June 15). Show your support for these hardworking animals by visiting spana.org/IWAD


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