Archive | August 12, 2011

British Riots: Elites “Shocked” The Poor Are Rising Up…

British Riots: Elites “Shocked” The Poor Are Rising Up Against Brutal Austerity Measures

By Laurie Penny

 

I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who watched Croydon burn down on the BBC. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder ‘mindless, mindless’. Nick Clegg denounced it as ‘needless, opportunistic theft and violence’. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge – declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was “utterly unacceptable.” The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ‘pure criminality,’ as the work of a ‘violent minority’, as ‘opportunism.’ This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. In one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

  “Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets. The looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

No one expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

Source:

Related Topics:

U.K. – Tottenham Riot and Disenfranchised Youth

Living off the Grid: How Ridiculous Can the U.K. Get!

U.K: The Affect of Globalization on Poverty

The Deserving Poor!

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Make Mistakes?

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Make Mistakes?

Text Summary:

Could God make a mistake? Have you ever considered that? We know that God is Perfect and so by extension does not make mistakes. Sometimes we forget that there is a reason why we exist in the world. As we deal with our own humanity, at times we think- “I am not good at this”, or “my appearance isn’t good”. At other times, we bring ourselves down and allow others to tear us down and make us not feel good about ourselves. These are the moments when we forget that God IS perfect and since He does NOT make mistakes, I am a perfect part of His plan.

Instead of bringing ourselves down, we should be asking- what are the gifts that I bring- what are my assets? How can I use them to help myself, my family and my community? My gifts were given to me for a reason- I have a responsibility to use them, not allow short-sighted people doubt my worth.

Sometimes we take the gifts we have, and we mis-use them and we know that because we hear that internal voice telling us; we do things that go against God’s guidance. At times we ignore that voice which leads to our own detriment in the end. Other times, we take those gifts and use them for our personal benefit and end it there. Forgetting that those gifts were given to us as a blessing and we have a responsibility to help those around us and to try and make the world a better place.

Whatever good that we can do, we use it to help ourselves and then others. We don’t use it just to gain money or just to say we are the “best”. Although “ihsaan” is from our legacy- doing things to the best of our ability, we do this not to boast, but to be of service to others, to be merciful to God’s creation and to improve our relationship with Allah.

This Ramadhan, let us reflect on our gifts and many blessings and try to find ways to not only help ourselves but our community.

 

Related Topics:

 

 

 

Why Does God Let These Things Happen To Me?

Ramadhan Reflections: Are You Worthy of God’s Forgiveness?‏

Do You Really Trust Allah?

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Think About You?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Memorizing the Qur’an is Not Enough

Ramadhan Reflections: What Do Your Actions Say About You?‏

The World Does NOT Revolve Around Me.‏

Stuffing Ourselves and Sleeping All Day…

Ramadhan Reflections: Do My Prayers Benefit Me?

Ramadan Reflections- We begin with Mercy‏

Pre-Ramadhan Reflections

Keep Ramadhan Simple!

Ramadhan 2011

Iftar…

Letter to the Self #30 Remember Me

Letter to the Self #29 Forgiveness

Letter to Self # 28: Those We Ignore
Letter to the Self # 27: Destination or the Journey!
Letter to the Self # 26: Change
Letters to the Self #25: Window of Opportunity
Letters to the Self #24: More Than You Think You Are Able
Letters to the Self #23: Submission
Letter to the Self #22: Do You Have Trust Issues?
Letter to the Self #21: Possessions
Letter to the Self #20: Sacred Spaces
Letter to the Self # 19: The Big “I”
Letter to the Self # 18: Insecurities
Letter to the Self # 17: Backbiting
Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?
Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?

Pfizer: At Last a Drug Company Held to Account!

Pfizer: At Last a Drug Company Held to Account!

 

 

By Hwaa Irfan

As more and more are being held to account for their actions in name of the public, it is good to see a drugs company joining the queue. It is only when this purging is fulfilled that the everyday person can begin to reclaim control over their lives.

While the Monsanto run Food and Drugs Administration continues to pass dangerous drugs as safe despite the mounting evidence that is publicly available, the much commented news that U.S-based multinational drugs company Pfizer met one of its nemesis abroad in Nigeria by being obliged to pay compensation to its victims, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg!  More is to follow as 200 children took part in the trial when the state of Kano was hit by a meningitis epidemic in 1996!

In the ancient city of Kano, Nigeria, after 15 years of fighting for their rights, an experimental drug Trovan underwent a drug trial that involved human lives, lives that ended in the death of 4 children. This is a terrible indictment on a company that is meant to be the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company. The settlement of U.S$175,000 (£108,000) cannot return those lives, but at least it holds a pharmaceutical company to account when they place profits over welfare.

Trovan

One hundred children were given the experimental oral drug, an antibiotic while others were given a control, the standard Ceftriaxone for the treatment of meningitis from which there were also deaths. Trovan was approved for adults in the U.S. in 1997, but not for children! Where was the ethics that Pfizer declared when instead of changing the treatment when the children did not respond, they were kept on Trovan according to the eye-witness report of Doctors without Border’s physicians. Trovan is a known hepatotoxic that interferes with the DNA of bacteria, and as we known the magic-bullet theory does not work! What ended up devastating the state of Kano, was not meningitis, but the trail left by Trovan: deaths, brain damage, paralysis and slurred speech.

Trovan enters the milk if taken by a nursing mother.

The Battle

Being an African country, the initial accusations by the company were due to mal-administration, i.e. the does given was too low hence the ensuing brain damage, paralysis, and slurred speech. Not being a population with years of consuming modern medicines as the cure all, the body reacts quickly to the point that even a parent can tell that the problem is the drug.

Then Pfizer argued that it was the meningitis not Trovan that led to the deaths, and the many deformities of the survivors. At the time of the trials, Doctors without Borders heavily criticized the clinical trial as they were also in Kano at the time trying to treat the meningitis.

Instead of settling, a Wikileak disclosed that Pfizer hired investigators to look for evidence to disqualify the claims a disclosure that was a result of a US diplomatic cables. This involved looking for cases of corruption against Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa, then to expose Aondoakaa using corporate media, which took place.

One cable noted that one of Pfizer’s negotiators, Petrosinelli had exploited the situation through  former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon (who became head of state through a military coup) who in turn spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau to reduce the settlement from U.S$150mn to U.S$75mn, a common tactic by U.S. multinational companies at home and abroad. This also involved the aim to drop the court cases.

It was in 2009 to save public embarrassment of Pfizer, that an out of court settlement of U.$75mn was made with the state of Kano. Those families had to submit DNA samples of 546 saliva swabs to prove they were the parents of the dead according to Abubakar Bashir Wali, head of the claims verification committee. However, the results were not released after 6 weeks as everyone was informed, but after 10 months!

Between those who wanted to not pay, those who wanted to line their pockets, and those who sought justice despite pressures, somehow, justice prevailed. In the words of one the lawyers Mr. Ishola of Omotimirin, Ishola & Associates:

“How can you be a judge in a case where you are the accused?”

This was in reference to the 6-membered Trovan Settlement Committee (3 appointees from Kano state, and 3 appointees from Pfizer). It was clear to Ishola that it was an attempt to pay 200 victims a paltry $2 million while the government counsel would earn U.S$15 million for handling the case.

 “Their aim was to make money,” argued Mr. Ishola.

“If their aim was not to make money, they would not collect money until the victims have been compensated.”

Each family receiving U.S$175,000 from the Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund, and is managed by an independent board of trustees in Kano.

Pfizer also agreed to sponsor health projects to the value of U.S$35mn for those affected, but this is just a way of securing their market in Nigeria.

Not the First Time!

Zoloft  is another questionable drug that Pfizer has produced. The effects of Zoloft can be lethal as highlighted in the revealing study of psychiatrist David Healy from Wales, who looked at 20 healthy volunteers. Half were given Zoloft and the other half were given an antidepressant that does not target the brain chemical serotonin. After two weeks there was a switch in drugs. The SSRI recipients had become dangerously agitated and suicidal. After the two-week period, a 30 year old wife and mother became obsessed with the idea of throwing herself in front of a car. Even though Healy was surprised, he remained neutral on the subject and served as an expert witness in many cases gaining access to many company records of clinical trials.

In a civil action against Pfizer, the manufacturers of Zoloft, Healy discovered an unpublished 1980 study in which healthy female volunteers were given Zoloft or a placebo. After four days, the trial was cancelled due to complaints of agitation and apprehension.

Healy was also a witness in the Forsyth case, which changed his position on SSRIs. The 61-year old father and husband, William Forsyth, retired in Hawaii after a successful life. Retirement proved difficult for him affecting marital relations. Marriage counseling helped until three years later when he became unsettled again. He was prescribed Prozac by a local psychiatrist. By the second day he felt terrible and put himself into hospital care. Still taking Prozac, he felt well enough to go home after 10 days. His grown son and daughter returned to find both parents dead in a pool of blood on the 11th day. Their mother had been stabbed 15 times and their father impaled himself. A year after the incident, there were 160 suits filed against Eli Lilly ranging from homicides and suicides to other forms of violence. Eli Lilly had engineered Zoloft for Pfizer.

Making a Deadly Profit

Pfizer is the largest and richest pharmaceutical company in the world and at one time produced one-fifth of the US wealth with Viagra making Pfizer a household name. President George Bush Senior once headed both Pfizer and Lilly from 1977 – 1979. Both Pfizer and Eli Lilly are sponsors of the Manhattan Institute: the right-wing think-tank founded by William Casey. William Casey helped to bring Nazi experts over to the US during and after WWII who went on to pioneer the genetics program – eugenics – including the Genome Project. William Casey was also a former CIA director during the Reagan era.

Sources:

Clayton, J. “Pfizer Under Fire After Drug Trial.” http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/health/article1990908.ece

Ibekwe, N. “Lawyers, Not Victims, Made Money From Pfizer Settlement.” http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5663712-146/lawyers_not_victims_made_money_from.csp

Smith, D. “Pfizer Pays Out To Nigerian Families Of Meningitis Drug Trial Victims.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/11/pfizer-nigeria-meningitis-drug-compensation

“Pfizer Pays Nigeria Drug-Test Victims.”http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/pfizer-pays-nigeria-drug-test-victims/story-fn3dxity-1226113486474

“US Embassy, Pfizer, Aondoakaa and $75m Settlement For Kano Drug Trial Victims.” http://www.transparencyng.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2867:us-embassy-pfizer-aondoakaa-and-75m-settlement-for-kano-drug-trial-victims&catid=235:wikileaks-on-nigeria&Itemid=170

Related Topics:

Wikileaks ‘Blower Being Tortured

Being Driven Insane!

The Lies We Trust: Cancer and Other Viruses

Religion, the State and Mental Health

Drugs That Stop Your Brain from Working…

Drugs That Make You Violent

The Marketing of Madness

The Pill, Our Bodies, Ourselves

Oil vs. Communities: Has the Chicken Come Home to Roost for ExxonMobil!

Oil vs. Communities: The Case of the Niger Delta

 

Why Does God Let These Things Happen To Me?

Why Does God Let These Things Happen To Me?

Text Summary:

As life goes on for many of us and we face difficult trials, we arrive to the question, “Why Me?” I am trying to do what I can, I work very hard, I do my best- so why are these things happening to me?

It is important for us to remember that Allah reminds us that this life for us, is a “test” and sometimes, some things will be good and other times it will be difficult. If we look at the one, peace be upon him, we call, “Uswatun Hasana” the most perfect example- quite frankly- his life was not always easy. Yet, he did the most to make Allah pleased with him.  Many tmes he suffered and struggled because of the harm met out to him by those who hated his message and those who wanted to extinguish the light of Islam. People fought him, they attacked him, they tried to bring doubt on his character and they tried to kill him. So if this was God’s messenger and things were difficult for him, who are we?

Even when we are doing good things, when we are trying to do the right thing that does not mean things will be easy for us. Sometimes we see people suffering and we may think or say that God is punishing them because they are not good Muslims or good people. How do you know that? We will all face tests in life and during those tests we will see our inner resolve, our true character and our reliance on God. Whenever things are difficult or a test happens in our life, it is for our best and greatest good. We know that God will not give us a test greater than we can bear due to God’s Justice and Mercy.

When we obey God, we are doing so because we need to because God’s wisdom surpasses our own and we find safety, solace and freedom in following that. We do not follow God’s will in order for things to be easy for us because then we are placing a condition on our obedience to God.

So when we are faced with tests and difficulties, instead of sitting and feeling sorry for ourselves, becoming filled with worry or despair, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions: What in my own actions would have caused this to happen? What do I need to change about me to improve my relationship with God and God’s creation? Where within myself, will I find the strength I need to overcome this? That constant sense of reflection, and turning to God is where we will find our strength. That inner talk that reminds us that with God’s help- I CAN get through this and will not become a victim to my circumstance.

So this Ramadhan let us internalize the reality that no matter what comes to us, we can deal with it, that it is for our best and greatest good and we can become better individuals by learning through it.


Related Topics:

Ramadhan Reflections: Are You Worthy of God’s Forgiveness?‏

Do You Really Trust Allah?

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Think About You?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Memorizing the Qur’an is Not Enough

Ramadhan Reflections: What Do Your Actions Say About You?‏

The World Does NOT Revolve Around Me.‏

Stuffing Ourselves and Sleeping All Day…

Ramadhan Reflections: Do My Prayers Benefit Me?

Ramadan Reflections- We begin with Mercy‏

Pre-Ramadhan Reflections

Keep Ramadhan Simple!

Ramadhan 2011

Iftar…

Letter to the Self #30 Remember Me

Letter to the Self #29 Forgiveness

Letter to Self # 28: Those We Ignore
Letter to the Self # 27: Destination or the Journey!
Letter to the Self # 26: Change
Letters to the Self #25: Window of Opportunity
Letters to the Self #24: More Than You Think You Are Able
Letters to the Self #23: Submission
Letter to the Self #22: Do You Have Trust Issues?
Letter to the Self #21: Possessions
Letter to the Self #20: Sacred Spaces
Letter to the Self # 19: The Big “I”
Letter to the Self # 18: Insecurities
Letter to the Self # 17: Backbiting
Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?
Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?