There Is No Such Thing as a ‘Happy Pill’

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My hopes of unbiased reporting without a bigoted agenda are never high when reading an article on the Mail Online but I was even more annoyed than usual when reading their article on the subject of mental health published 29 December 2017.

It is hard to say what irritated me the most – the use of the inaccurate and patronising term ‘happy pills’, the implication that medicine based treatment for mental health is a ‘quick fix’ or the confusion between a negative reaction to a life event and medical diagnosis of a mental illness.

In a society where we are seeing increased levels of hate crime against people with both mental and physical disabilities, it is irresponsible to vilify people who reach out to the medical profession for help as this will only lead to further marginalisation of these groups. In quoting Professor Pariante from Kings College London “We all have losses and there’s an element that brings progress and personal development, but we have to accept that feeling like crying for a few weeks is perfectly normal,” the Mail appears to be telling people experiencing the symptoms of depression to just get on with it. The news site implies that those taking medication (anti-depressants in particular) are using pills because they cannot cope with life, not because they have a diagnosed medical condition. This attitude is neither compassionate, nor constructive.

This is not the first time the Mail have slighted users of mental health medication. In this piece the author refers to Britain as a ‘nation of pill poppers’ and follows that up with the claim that the country is a ‘nation of zombies’. In this article the Mail makes the claim that ‘GPs over-prescribe happy pills’ and suggests that doctors are prescribing medication for life related stress rather than genuine illness.

I queried whether there would be any reason for a person not suffering depression to take the most commonly prescribed medication (SSRIs) and consulted a qualified pharmacist for the answer. SSRIs do not cause a high or a temporary state of euphoria, they correct a chemical imbalance in the brain. So a person suffering from depression will gradually start to feel better over a period of time but a person who is not suffering from depression will not get ‘happier’ as a result of taking this medication. It is therefore ludicrous to refer to antidepressants as ‘happy pills’ or to insinuate that the pills are being abused by mentally healthy individuals seeking a quick boost to their mood.

It is certainly true that mental health issues, depression in particular, are rising in the UK but in being so quick to blame doctors for over prescribing and patients for not being tough enough to cope, the Mail fails to objectively consider why this is.

We live in a world where the environment of our day to day lives is not suited to our mental health. We force ourselves to awaken in the dark when our bodies have evolved to sleep, we work long hours under electric lights, we are too frightened of the consequences to phone in sick at work so we push ourselves even when ill. The long hours we work make many of us sedentary and lacking in exercise yet we are too tired to exercise in our leisure hours. The Birmingham Mail recently reported that 57% of women are too tired even to take a daily shower. 

We goggle all day at computer screens and use mobile phones for increasingly long periods of time. We eat processed foods rich in fats, salts and sugars which negatively impact our bodies and in turn our minds. Most of us run on a cycle of caffeine and alcohol for the energy shift in our days. We are living a life as removed from the natural cycle of our ancestors as it is possible to get and it is virtually impossible in the modern world to break this cycle and lead a more natural life in tune with our own bodies.

In addition to the environment we also experience a number of social factors that can lead to an increase in poor mental health. Our economy is in a mess, leading to increased poverty and financial strain. Evolving technology means greater uncertainty in the workplace which leads to insecurity and stress.  Social media presents an unrealistic picture of other people’s lives which can result in low self esteem and despair for many.

Most of us are permanently tired, leading long busy lives with little rest in a world that isn’t geared up to be a healthy environment for the human mind. We cannot hold individuals accountable for these lives we all lead – it is society that has forced these changes and, until we address these underlying problems, mental health issues are not going to go away.

I am singularly unsurprised that more and more people are suffering from depression. My only surprise is that, given the lives we are all leading, more people are not suffering.

More people are seeking help for depression because there is help to seek. The last thirty years have seen an increase in medication for mental health with fewer side effects and with provable results. If medication can assist people in continuing to function then it is not just irresponsible to condemn those who take it, it is cruel to do so. When the Mail and their far right media brethren vilify those who take antidepressants there is a very real risk that people will stop taking them and there is a very real risk that doctors will bow to ill-educated media furore and stop prescribing them.

We need constructive discussion on how to combat the increase in mental health problems and the platform for this discussion is not the sensationalist pages of tabloid newspapers.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Not All Opinions Are Equal

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All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.” – Douglas Adams

2016 and 2017 brought with them a shift in attitudes toward the concept of ‘expertise’ on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, Justice Secretary Michael Gove (defending Brexit) publicly announced that ‘people in this country have had enough of experts.’ In America, President Trump dismissed the almost unanimous scientific view of global warming in favour of tweeting his own unscientific views to his Twitter audience.

Increasingly, when the viewpoints of experts are challenged the position is being taken that all people are entitled to have an opinion and that those opinions are equally worthy.

This is only half right. Yes, if we wish to avoid Orwell’s thought crime dystopia, we do not want to enter the murky waters of telling people what they may and may not think, for therein lies fascism. But we must not confuse a person’s right to have an opinion with the worth of that opinion itself.

If I am unwell I go to a doctor and seek his/her opinion on my health. You are welcome to venture an opinion as to why my left ear appears to have stopped working but I am only going to be interested in what you have to say if you have the appropriate qualifications in medicine. The worth of an opinion depends at least in part on the person holding that opinion. The worth of an opinion from somebody with knowledge in an area is greater than the opinion of someone with ignorance in the area.

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’’” – Isaac Asimov

The idea of anti-intellectualism has been nurtured by the right wing press to encourage those who identify as the working class to reject those whom they perceive as elitist. Nigel Farage captured this mood perfectly with his Leave campaign for Brexit.  But any argument proposing that education is a privilege is anachronistic. In the modern age of information any one of us has the power to become informed and aware. Farage tried to make a value out of ignorance but missed the point that he was insulting the very working class people he claimed to represent. Ignorance is not about income, class or social status. Being informed is not about the school you went to or whether you have a degree. Ignorance is a choice. If you choose to be ignorant then you cannot expect that ignorance to be held in the same esteem as somebody else’s knowledge.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Some opinions are based on objective facts. I believe the earth is spherical because all the evidence I have on which to base this opinion points to the fact that the earth is spherical. Some people choose to believe the earth is flat. That’s fine. But believing it does not give that opinion validity. You have the right to believe whatever you choose but that does not mean your opinion is of the same worth as the one based on empirical evidence and scientific study. Popular celebrities often get this one wrong and muddy the waters. I recently came across a quotation widely attributed to actor Brad Pitt stating: “There’s no right, there’s no wrong. There’s only popular opinion.” This, frankly, is balderdash. There are verifiable facts. If you choose not to believe in them, you are wrong. Yes you have the right to be wrong but, frankly, if you choose to disbelieve proven facts you are going to end up looking a bit of a prat.

Some opinions are based on facts that have not yet been verified as true or false. Religion is an excellent example of this. There is a God or there isn’t. But we don’t know beyond all doubt which of these two states is the case. And until we do know then we cannot say that either the opinion of an atheist or of a person of faith is any more or less valid than the other.

Everyone has the right to an opinion. No one has the right to be listened to.” – Cyril Connelly.

It follows from the idea that not all opinions are of equal worth that not all opinions deserve an equal platform. I discussed this concept in a previous article where I explained that free speech is the right to speak, not to be heard.

I am becoming increasingly tired of hearing that the views of people who have made no effort to inform themselves are worth listening to. Politically this viewpoint has become nothing but a sop to those who cannot be bothered to get off their sofas and educate themselves. It is an implied responsibility of airing an opinion that you make it an informed one. If you are not willing to do this then it is not undemocratic for others to discount the views you bring to the table.

Ignorance is the world’s most curable affliction.” Jeri Smith-Ready

We are in danger of becoming a society where we are incapable of differentiating between the ignorant and the informed. When we deride our experts and give ignorance a pedestal we turn our backs on all the progress we have made as humans. We must not let our very worthy desire not to offend people blind us to the fact that some people do know more than others, some people are more informed than others, some have worked harder to obtain more knowledge than others and, when it comes down to it, some people and some opinions are worth listening to more than others.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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DJD – Mass produced Anti Semitism

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At Resisting Hate we have been watching (for some time) an account titled ‘DieJewDie’ on Twitter.

This account has gone through numerous incarnations posting more and more vile anti semitism and hate every day. It openly acknowledged earlier today it has been suspended four times already since the start of the day and regularly boasts about the number of accounts it has made.

The account is both organised and systematic. It uploads numerous accounts at a time in bulk and then brings them into play as each account gets suspended. It currently has a list of 29 back up accounts sitting in wait.

 

The account is the central figure for an informal online Neo Nazi collective who refer to their actions as ‘shitposting’ but who are involved in spreading some of the worst anti semitism we have seen on the internet. They regularly pay homage to Adolf Hitler and post deeply offensive comments and memes about the Holocaust, Jewish survivers of the Holocaust and Jewish people in general. The account also posts negative and racist comments targeting anybody of non white appearance.

This is the kind of filth it spews:

 

Twitter has banned the individual’s home IP address so it cannot make new accounts at home but Twitter have not banned the phrase ‘DieJewDie’ so new accounts are still being created daily.

We are asking all our members and readers of our website to send through any tweets/new accounts by this prat to our primary Twitter account @ResistingHate . We have over 500 people in our email network who are aware of this serial hater and all our Twitter members will be watching for it too. (Not hard to spot as it always uses the same name, so a quick Twitter search brings it up – and it always uses the same picture too.)

Hopefully, together we can shut this channel for antisemitic hatred down.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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The Hopkins Hate Archive

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We have put together a collection of the worst of Katie Hopkins tweets in an archive to support our campaign to remove her platforms on social media. We will regularly update.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Why we do still need to ‘humanise’ Muslims

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There was an interesting article published by Shaista Aziz yesterday in the Guardian posing the question: Why as a society do we need to humanise Muslims?  She asks what specific purpose this is intended to serve and suggests (with much eloquence) that the attempts to humanise Muslims create divisions within the Islamic community.

Aziz explains that allowing the state to pick and choose which Muslims it bestows endorsement upon becomes a flawed and dangerous political exerciseThe implication being that this will increase rather than tackle the problem of Islamophobia and will leave some Muslims more exposed to hate as a result.

Now, to an extent, I agree with Ms Aziz. It is, of course, important that we do not marginalise a community – however it is equally important that we do not marginalise individuals who may not fit the state sanitised version of how a Muslim should behave.

Acceptance should not be dependent on the non-Muslim view of what a Muslim is, it should be defined by the Muslim view of what a Muslim is. There is a danger that if we look only to the high profile Muslims embraced by Western media as representations of their faith then any Muslim who doesn’t fit the stereotype of ‘British Muslim’ is viewed as an outsider and mistrusted. It is easy to see how this could result in negative stigma and prejudice for many of the Muslims in our country.

It is crucial we do not judge Muslims by their willingness to conform to Western ideals.

The concept of integration is often confused in the media where it is, more often than not, used as a synonym for conformity. When the far right press howl for Muslims to ‘integrate’ what they are really asking for is those Muslims to reject their own beliefs and values in favour of accepting the beliefs and values that Nationalists feel are appropriately ‘English’. This is not integration. Integration means respecting a person’s ways, not changing them. In the context of this article integration is not asking a Muslim lady to take off her niqab, integration is a society where a Muslim lady dresses as she pleases and a non-Muslim lady dresses as she pleases and the two co-exist in mutual respect and harmony.

We need to be clear that we do not have to understand something in order to defend the right to it. Integration with Muslims does not and definitely should not involve having to understand why something is of significance in their faith. Too much persecution of others is based upon the demand for personal understanding. Overcoming prejudice is not about understanding why a Muslim prays five times a day (simply so you can align the act neatly with your own world view), it is about respecting the fact that people act for their own motivations which you do not have to understand in order to respect. True acceptance lies in recognising this.

Much as I liked the focus in the Guardian article about seeing people as individuals and not as a product of type, I do disagree with two points Ms Aziz made.  She states (with regard to acts of charity) British people who happen to be Muslim have responded with humility and generosity to help people in need, because it is what human beings are programmed to do – including Muslims.

I suspect Ms Aziz is fortunate enough to know a lot more decent human beings than I do. Perhaps running an anti-hate organization has by now exposed me to enough of the worst side of humanity to take a rather jaundiced view of human kindness but I honestly do believe that selflessness is a rare enough thing these days to be considered noteworthy and worth celebrating. Perhaps there was once a time when acts of charity were the norm but these days I think it is worth making some loud noise when people do go out of their way to help others. If that helps fight negative stereotypes then surely that can only be a good thing.

I do not necessarily see high profile Muslims as detrimental to the fight against Islamophobia though I strongly believe we should fight against tokenism as this does devalue individuals to no positive end. I agree entirely that when Nadiya Hussain went on GBBO she went as a keen amateur baker with no secret agenda to represent the faith of Islam on the world stage. But if in doing the baking show she happened to positively role model a community who have suffered more than their fair share of prejudice and ignorance then there is nothing wrong with that. Yes we shouldn’t hold the lady up as an example of ‘what Muslims should be like’ and yes we definitely should not pressurise other Muslims to follow her specific example. But there is nothing wrong with celebrating positive role models and acknowledging that they do play an integral part in dispelling disinformation and lies.

In a world where everybody was educated and enlightened we would not need this emphasis on using role models to humanise Muslims. But unfortunately we live in troubled times where ignorance reigns supreme. The Islamophobic hatred I see on a daily basis during my work with Resisting Hate is astounding and a huge part of this is down to myths and lies that are genuinely swallowed by a gullible public. We do need to educate people so they understand that Muslims are not the enemy and a big part of this can be achieved by promoting positive newsworthy Muslims as role models.

I can see what Shaista Aziz is saying and I do acknowledge the very real issue that we must not pressurise Muslims to conform just so we can label them British Muslims and pop them in a pigeon hole within our own comfort zones. But until the people of this country stop getting their information about Islam from the Daily Mail then I do not feel we can afford to stop humanising Muslims. Indeed I would argue we have a moral obligation to continue to do so.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Resisting Hate – A Year Down the Line

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Resisting Hate – Just ordinary people doing what’s right.

As most of our readers and supporters will know – Resisting Hate started out in 2016 as an online protest group in response to Islamophobic Twitter hate group Bluehand. We began as a parody organisation, intentionally copying the #Bluehand branding to cause confusion and to disrupt the online recruitment of haters to ‘James Bond’s’ clique of Islamophobes. And oh my word did we cause some chaos!

In November 2016, in the wake of the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, the five founder members of, what was then termed ‘New Bluehand,’ decided to rebrand our organisation to oppose hate on a broader scale.  We had seen an increase in hate toward many different communities based on faith, colour, gender, orientation, race and health status and we wanted to use our group as a force for the good to combat these prejudices.

We built a Resisting Hate website (kudos to our tech guy who built and established all our rebranded technology in the space of 48 hours with no sleep) and we now have over 170 articles written by our members and guest writers which discuss and document many aspects of hate crime and its consequences. We also launched our ‘Good, Bad and Ugly’ gallery to highlight key figures in hate speech and hate crime on both sides of the Atlantic. Judging by the angry response we have had from the haters we have featured to date, it is safe to say our website is having an impact…

We launched a presence across several social media channels and have built up a strong following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in particular. Recently we added a Tumblr channel to our social media platforms.

We founded a second Facebook page (managed by our infamous founder Halal Kitty) called ‘Mock the Right’ which is set to top 20,000 followers by the end of the year. The reach across our combined social media pages is regularly in excess of 1 million people and we have built up a contacts network of likeminded groups and individuals who also help to share our positive anti hate messages.

In addition to the work we broadcast on our own channels, I was given the opportunity to publish our group articles on Huffington Post which has further helped bring the attention of the public to the necessity of standing up to hate.

We have grown as a group, welcoming new members, both nationally and internationally, on a weekly basis and building a support network for people already working as activists on their own. Our Twitter DM groups have increased, giving all our active members access to shared information and hate fighting techniques. Many of our new members have brought positive energy to the group and given us different ideas and tools to work with. I understand two of our younger members are establishing the RH name further in the gaming world. Watch this space!

We established an email reporting channel where we could send out key information about haters to enable our members to take action. This has been a very positive endeavour and Resisting Hate can be credited with removing numerous haters from social media platforms.  We expanded our website recently to add a Members section where we can update those who support us with the specific results and statistics to show the results we are getting as an organisation.

Resisting Hate had a presence at both the 2016 and the 2017 Annual Anti Hate awards and one of our founders had the honour of a nomination this year. Shaking hands with Nasser Kurdy was probably the highlight of the whole year for me.

I was delighted to be invited to sit on the East Midlands advisory board for respected anti hate organisation Tell Mama UK who do such excellent work to combat Islamophobia. We have also had the pleasure of working with other anti-hate organisations and have supplied key information on haters to both these organisations and to several UK police forces. Founder ‘Old Wolf’ in particular has some key projects on the go that may well result in some high profile arrests before the year is out.

High profile Halal Kitty has managed to acquire a bounty on his/her head (we always keep Kitty gender neutral for safety reasons – even most of our members are not sure if Kitty is male or female) – offered by Britain First after one of our many mole accounts leaked rather a lot of sensitive information about Golding, Fransen, Blunn and the rest of the motley crew at Britain First.

We have appeared on the radio – speaking on The Voice of Islam and Beat 103.6 and have also been interviewed by several academics involved in researching the subject of hate crime.

As we go forward into our next year I am expecting further hurdles. Our accounts are being mass reported by far right trolls, myself and our members regularly receive death threats, there has been talk of suing the group for libel… I fully expect us to lose various platforms at various times and I imagine the abuse against those of us who fight hate will only intensify. However we have achieved our key objective of organically growing an anti-hate organisation with no public or government funding and we have inspired hundreds of people to take a stand against hate.

There are two points I particularly want to make as a result of this. Firstly (obviously) we are always interested in expanding Resisting Hate and we welcome enquiries from interested parties. Please do contact us.

But more importantly I want to highlight one of the #Resistance slogans that I feel really sums up our group and the work that we do –

An avalanche is just snowflakes with team work

All it takes to make a difference in the world is to believe in yourself and to find others who share those beliefs. We are making a difference because we believed that we could and we gave it our all. If you agree with us that hate has no place in our society then now is the time to stand up and be counted. It may not be our group you join – there are hundreds of reputable organisations dealing with hate and the tragic consequences it leaves in its wake. Take your pick and fight for what you believe in.

Become part of the avalanche and let’s end hate for good.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Rape and Death Threats Against a Resisting Hate Founder

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This threat was posted this week as a clear incitement to violence toward myself.

Twitter would not take the tweet down until I had provided them a copy of my driving license.

Twitter said the account had not broken Terms of Service and refused to suspend it.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Twitter – The Promises, the Lies and the 18th December

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Much has been written about the problems of hate speech on social media and the concern that high profile mainstream platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been hijacked by far right haters pushing an extremist agenda.

Twitter in particular has acknowledged there is a problem relating to the use of its platform for organised right wing troll gangs to form alliances and spread propaganda to confuse and disrupt the genuine messages put out by credible news sources.

Twitter claims to take hate seriously and states in its Terms of Service that “We prohibit behaviour that crosses the line into abuse.” It recently updated the ToS to include a Hateful Conduct Policy where it makes the claim “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.” It specifically states they do not tolerate “violent threats, wishes for the physical harm, death or disease of individuals or groups.”

The problems with hate speech on Twitter are not a recent issue. Back in 2015, a full year before the EU referendum and long before anybody had seriously considered that Donald Trump might be successful in his bid for USA President, Twitter were battling threats of violence in the form of tweets. In April 2015, in a bid to clamp down on online hate, Twitter announced that not just threats of violence but indirect threats of violence would be taken seriously, with consequences for the offending user.

Later in 2015 Twitter came under fire for not doing enough to tackle abusive speech on their platform and publicly announced: “As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs, but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse.”

Despite calls from activists and anti-hate groups to tackle the problems at source – i.e. the individual users posting threats and hate speech, Twitter’s answer was to introduce a mute function. This gave users a greater control over the messages to which they were exposed but did nothing to remove the hate itself from the social media platform. To all intents and purposes, this attempt to plaster over the cracks was a win for haters.

In May 2016 several social media providers, including Twitter, agreed to adhere to a new online code of conduct established by the EU. The basic principle was that hate speech should be removed within a timescale of less than 24 hours from the company being notified of its presence. Twitter’s then Head of Policy made the commitment that “Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society. We remain committed to letting the tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”

In February 2017 Twitter announced further new security measures which would stop habitually abusive users from making new accounts, once suspended, to continue with their abuse.

Twitter’s dirty laundry received another public airing in August 2017 when artist Shahak Shapira stencilled some the worst tweets on the ground outside Twitter HQ  Twitter’s reply to this was “Over the past six months we’ve introduced a host of new tools and features to improve Twitter for everyone.”

The Twitter abuse laws tightened again in October 2017 with Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey finally conceding that the measures so far put in place had still not addressed the problem of hate on Twitter. This was timed (rather conveniently) with Twitter’s much criticised decision to suspend actress Rose McGowan who had used the platform to speak publicly about the sexual abuse she had received. (Ms McGowan has since been reinstated by Twitter).

In November this year Twitter suspended its verification system (the infamous blue tick) after a public outcry that it had endorsed notorious Neo Nazi Jason Kessler . Twitter acknowledged there was confusion between verification and validation and agreed to review the blue ticks of those currently enjoying enhanced privileges on the site. Several high profile far right figures, including Tommy Robinson and Richard Spencer were demoted to standard accounts.

The next big date in the Twitter v Hate wars is December 18. Twitter have given an official notice that from this date it will suspend accounts who use hate symbols on the site or who affiliate with violent hate groups either on and off the site.

I would like to say I feel confident about Twitter’s intentions but as co-founder of our anti hate group, frankly I have little faith that Twitter will put the effort into achieving its objective. So far, despite the hype, the publicity and the promises, I have seen scant evidence of genuine committment from Twitter with regard to eradicating hate from their platform.

I received this public threat to rape and murder me this week. (Remember Twitter saying wishes for physical harm broke their ToS?) It has been reported to my knowledge by no less than 200 people. The account has not been suspended. The account is still tweeting abuse.

 

This account has had over fifty incarnations with every single one titled DieJewDie. Twitter are either unwilling or unable to stop it. It continues to post Anti-Semitic hate.

This hate group has numerous members posting Islamophobia. Many of these accounts to date have still not been suspended.

Katie Hopkins still has her verified status despite posting this:

 

Tommy Robinson is still allowed to spread hate to his 387,000 followers despite tweeting this in the aftermath of the high alert at Oxford Circus

We have hundreds and hundreds of tweets like the one below in our database, many of which have been reported by 100+ people. The take down rate is fewer than 10% of extremist hate tweets resulting in actual account suspension.

Twitter are quick to promise but bloody slow to deliver. As for December 18th being the deadline for hate on their site? I’ll believe it when I see it @Jack.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Robert Spencer – Banned in the UK

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Robert Spencer is the Islamophobic founder of blog site Jihad Watch, described by Wikipedia as ‘one of the main homes of the counter jihad movement on the net’ but described by pretty much everybody else as a radical hate site promoting discrimination and prejudice toward Muslims.

Spencer has fostered an academic career off the back of Islamophobic hate. He is the author of several books, most with controversial titles like “Religion of Peace – Why Christianity is and Islam isn’t.” His books have been met with widespread criticism outside the echo chamber of far right fascist mentality and have been banned in several countries including Pakistan and Malaysia.

The Boston Globe described him as a man who ‘depicts Islam as an inherantly violent religion.’

Stanford University students recently protested Spencer’s appointment to speak at their University.

PayPal temporarily banned the Jihad Watch account (and are currently conducting a ‘thorough review’ to decide if it should be permanently banned.)

I asked Spencer if he wanted to make a comment on the article I was putting together and he told me that the Resisting Hate agenda of equality was enabling Jihad mass murder

In 2013 Spencer and his colleague Pamela Geller were refused entry to the UK on the basis that (then home secretary) Theresa May believed their speech would not be ‘conducive to the common good.’ This decision was upheld in the Court of Appeal who confirmed:  This was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit.

Some of the best information on Robert Spencer can be found on Loonwatch who regularly keep their readers updated with information about Spencer’s on and offline hate antics.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Jason Schumann – Efemico

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Rather a small fry entry for our Resisting Hate Rogues Gallery but an interesting subject as we have received more screenshots regarding the online abuse perpetuated by Jason Schumann than we have any other hater in our archives.

Schumann is a self proclaimed anti Islamophobic activist. He claims to be the founder of a group called Efemico but this organisation is actually just Schumann, his six Facebook followers (FB established 2014..) and his Twitter account which personifies the bad attitude that characterises most of his online interactions. The current Twitter account @Efemico_Online came into being when his previous account @DebatingCulture was suspended for abuse and harassment.

It would appear that Schumann’s penchant for abuse is not limited only to his online activities…

Schumann claims to support a pro Muslim agenda but this appears to be little more than an excuse to express his Antisemitic hate views. His negative and hate filled attitude toward Jewish people is well documented as this article from the Jewish Times confirms. (The Efemico website was deleted shortly after this publication.)

I have lost track of how many people have sent me this extract from Schumann’s (then public) Facebook page where his Jewish prejudice was expressed in extremist hate language.

 

 

He appeared to be oblivious as to who brought this to the attention of a wider audience. A mystery no longer Jason, it was one of the Resisting Hate members. (And you might want to check your friends list on there…)

 

Schumann spends most of his time online picking fights, insulting, abusing and threatening others as the screenshots provided below will testify. The remainder of his time he spends in self promotion and the quest to aggrandise himself to prove he is the biggest bully in the school playground (which again is evidenced below).

I could easily write several thousand words about Jason Schumann but I think it would be better to let him show you what kind of person he is himself.

ABUSE

 

DEATH THREATS


 

PREJUDICE/LIES

BOASTING

 

At various different times Schumann has claimed to be gay, black, Jewish, Aspergers and HIV positive. I have no reason to doubt his word or the veracity of these claims but wish to make it perfectly clear that none of these things would induce myself or Resisting Hate to be prejudiced against him.

It is not your sexuality, your colour, your race, your faith or your health status that makes people dislike you Jason. It is the fact you are a pompous, self important, hate filled wannabe who attempts to manipulate an anti Islamophobic agenda for the sole purpose of spreading your hate against Jewish people.

All screenshots used in this article were put into the public domain by the subject of the article with the exception of the picture quoted from a publication in the mainstream press. 

 

 

 

 

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Victim Blaming, Sexual Abuse and Katie Hopkins

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Inured as we all are to the lime light seeking idiocy spewed by Katie Hopkins with regard to any trending news topic, her comments in relation to sexual abuse toward women this month have hit a new low.

In the wake of the #MeToo campaign many brave women have come forward to tell their own personal stories about sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape and sexist victimisation. These frank and honest accounts have helped educate the public at large as to the scale of the problem we still face with the abuse of women in our society.

This bravery has been met with the typical bull in a china shop belligerence by Hopkins (and others) who have spectacularly failed to grasp the point of the #MeToo campaign and who have derided the women courageous enough to take part as capitalising on their abuse to seek attention.
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Hopkins goes on to imply that in some cases women have not been abused but have used sex as a bartering tool for personal gain.

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However the comment that showed a particular lack of empathy and understanding toward this sensitive discussion was the tweet where Mrs Hopkins suggested women should ‘man up’ with the clear implication that if women behaved differently they would be less likely to suffer abuse.

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This is victim blaming at its worst. It is no different from claiming women who wear a mini skirt are asking for it. Our society has gradually evolved to understand that the blame of rape must always lie at the feet of the rapist and not the victim. Katie Hopkins seems hell bent on dragging us back fifty years into the past with her unhelpful and anachronistic attitude that with the right behaviours a woman can stop herself from being violated.

This negative attitude toward victims of sexual abuse was further perpetuated in the media by Anne Robinson who jumped on the band wagon to call modern women ‘fragile’ and commented: “In the early days, 40 years ago, there were very few of us women in power and I have to say we had a much more robust attitude to men behaving badly.”

This victim blaming attitude was further endorsed by Caroline Santos of UKIP who went further even than Hopkins and Robinson to suggest not only could women stop abuse if they want to, but some actively welcome it.

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When women in the media speak out with such little understanding of the issues involved there is a very real danger that it will once again silence those women who did speak out and who did shine a light on the unacceptable behaviour of the small number of men who do use sex to try and obtain power over their female colleagues.

The fundamental mistake that Hopkins and co are making is to assume that women are all the same. They assume all women have the same levels of confidence that they do and that all women are able to fight off sexual harassment in the same way that they believe they would be.

But this is a very naïve point of view. Women differ greatly in their personal circumstances, their background and abilities. What one woman may find easy to shrug off may traumatise another. This is not because one of the women is weaker than the other but because one may have more emotional issues and trauma in their past.

Speaking personally I am extremely lucky in the fact that I have never been abused or raped, I have never had an abusive partner, I have never had personal or working relationships where my gender or sexuality have been exploited and I was fortunate enough to be brought up by parents who cared enough about me to instil me with the confidence to speak up if anything inappropriate was said or done to me. This is privilege. My confidence is not my achievement, I just got lucky.

Other women have not been so lucky. Other woman have suffered abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment. Other women have been so in fear for their jobs that they would endure unwanted attention for the sake of feeding their children.

What Hopkins doesn’t understand is that women do not all start off on a level playing field. There are those of us who would be confident enough to (in her words) “Toughen up and stand alone” but this is not because we are stronger or better in any way, it is because we have been luckier than others.

Hopkins and Robinson make a virtue of their confidence and their ability to stand up for themselves but these are powerful women in the public eye. They have no concept of the vulnerabilities of others.

I did see a flasher once and gave him a round of applause and marks out of ten which entirely killed the rather uninspiring erection he had. But I do not consider my confidence to be something to brag about. I have been fortunate, very fortunate. Many women are not. We must own our own privilege when we have not been subjected to the trials that others have. It is too easy to claim to be strong when you have never been tested.

The point of the #MeToo campaign was to give a voice to women who have been abused and to give them a platform where they can speak out. When people of our own gender like Hopkins and Robinson mock these women they are not just letting down the sisterhood they are undermining the whole principle that those who harm others should be held responsible for their actions.

Keep on speaking up with the #MeToo ladies. Your courage does you all credit.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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Tackling Hate Is Not About Taking Sides

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I have seen many anti-hate individuals and organisations trip themselves up by trying to fight for the rights of one group or community at the expense of denigrating another. Few things frustrate me more than the view that fighting hate has to be about taking sides or the implication that defending one group automatically assumes the attacking of another.

Sadly, I have come across many self-proclaimed fighters of hate who stand on their soap box and preach tolerance but who, when it comes down to it, are simply using their support of one culture to fuel hate toward another. This is not what anti-hate is about. You cannot go out into the world and fight hate effectively if you harbour it within your own heart. It is not a victory for tolerance if raised awareness for one community is achieved through prejudice and discrimination toward another.
Standing up against the hate in the world has to be based on the premise that all individuals have something positive to offer our society and that all individuals deserve the same level of respect and the same right to live free from abuse. We may not like or even understand the beliefs of others, we may not wish to adopt their cultural habits, their clothing or their values but it is through accepting their right to be who they are and to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs rather than ours that we establish the bedrock of a free and tolerant society.
We founded our group Resisting Hate on the principle that all humans are of equal worth and value and that in order to stand up for the rights of one we must be prepared to stand up for the rights of the many. This developed our understanding that if, as individuals, we want to be respected for our beliefs, views and cultures, we must in turn respect others for theirs.
This has led to Resisting Hate developing a very diverse online community with multiple faiths, beliefs, races and orientations openly accepted. If we ever did decide to promote one culture at the expense of another we would be acting totally against the integrity of our ethos which is to believe all cultures to be equal.

Our anti-hate community have managed to integrate together our very different beliefs in an environment that allows us all to be true to ourselves without infringing on the rights of one another. We have created a space where we can ask and answer honest questions about our different faiths and where we can debate topical news items without fear of seeming ignorant or prejudiced. This has enabled our members to learn from one another about other cultures which in turn has helped eliminate prejudice and ignorance from our organisation.

What deeply frustrates me is the fact that the wider world is struggling so much to overcome their differences to integrate in the way that our members have demonstrated is so achievable with the right attitude. Our Christians and Atheists are capable of discussion without argument. Our Muslims and Jews can discuss the problems in the Middle East without personal conflict. Our homosexual and heterosexual members respect one another’s sexual orientation without judgement. The unifying factor among all our members is the categorical opposition of all forms of hate and discrimination. Every single member of Resisting Hate believes that the only way they can expect respect and tolerance toward others is to offer it first.

Only last week I saw a self-professed ‘activist’ tackle his objective of fighting Islamophobia by making offensive and inaccurate comments about Jewish communities. I have seen the same mistake made by supporters of Jewish rights against Muslim communities. These tactics are counterproductive. They encourage people to believe that they must take one ‘side’ or another and to see those with differing beliefs as the opposition. For these limited people the world has not progressed very far from the concept of “If you are not with me, you must be against me.” A world in which everybody who thinks differently is the enemy.

There are some excellent organisations who do not approach anti-hate with the aim of division but there are still too many people using the guise of support to oppose, discriminate and condemn those of whom they disapprove.

At Resisting Hate we believe that the only way to achieve peace and unity in the world is to find a way for all races, faiths, cultures and belief systems to integrate and work together. This is not me mouthing platitudes, I have put my money where my mouth is and co-founded an organisation that has achieved exactly this. We have proven that it is possible for people with widely opposing world views to come together and unite under the principle of accepting our differences and co existing in harmony.

If we can do it, so can everybody else.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK
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