Haters React To Attack in The Louvre

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As you will no doubt have heard, there was an incident at the Louvre today which involved a man attacking a soldier with a knife, with the press now reporting he shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he did it.

As usual, this has brought morons out in force over various social media platforms. As you can see below, these not only deal with “Muslims” being the problem but also some comment that there are too many people from Pakistan in Paris along with the usual comments about people in Muslim clothes and more.

What gets me is that these people are clearly too self centred and stupid to realise that it is their actions which are partially responsible for what happens. Yes, I know that some people will be already radicalised without any input from bigots, but if your average friendly Muslim is wandering down the street or reading his Twitter timeline and sees abuse levelled at all Muslims, then it will be easier for them to be influenced by someone with an ulterior motive. This is the problem also with the actions that Trump is taking in America which is marginalising Muslims and normalising anti-Muslim feelings and abuse.

This is not ok. This is not what I’ve come to expect from people in the 21st century. We are supposed to be civilised people, we are meant to be open minded and have cooperation with people regardless of colour, faith or sexuality. We are also meant to respect the law regardless of the situation. If the man is wounded to neutralise him then he can be arrested and face their punishment as anyone committing a crime would…….not wishing someone was “shot in the face” regardless of their crime. The abuse levelled at people by narrow minded idiots really annoys me more and more every time I see it. There is no way that we should accept that this abuse is normal and that is why I do what I do in this group. We will keep on fighting against bigotry in all it’s forms.

I hope that the people who made these comments, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or on the Brietbart website see their posts. They need to see that their small minded ways will not be tolerated by me, my colleagues, my friends, followers other pages and you who are reading this now. I hope that they feel ashamed, but if not, I hope that they see that their comments are going to be passed around beyond their small minded followers and that the world at large will see them for what they are.

Far from feeling let down by my fellow man, I will use this to dig deep and fight harder against what I know to be wrong. I will not give up what I do while people like these ones below feel free to spout their ignorance and I really hope that you keep fighting with us.

Halal Kitty

Halal Kitty is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate, and a regular contributor to the group’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.
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So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

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Guest article from an associate of Resisting Hate who wishes to remain anonymous.

Last year I was assaulted and heavily injured, my crime, wearing a Remain button and having a slight accent, luckily my dog who was roaming in the bushes heard me scream and saw the attacker off, which stopped him from doing more damage than “just” a fractured cheekbone and a few long lasting bruises from being kicked while being down.

My attacker was a sturdy white guy, dressed in jeans and a bomber jacket, heavily tattooed and he kept telling me that the EDL would take care of me, because apparently I’m a “benefit thieving foreign cunt”.

To bore you with some facts, I’ve never been on benefits, I’m an EU citizen who’s married to a British citizen, we own our own company and according to our accountant we are in the top 10% bracket, so yes, I do pay quite a bit of tax.

Another boring fact: I didn’t come here for the “better life” – my quality of life is considerably worse than it was before, I’m not trying to be rude but even after more than 10 years I do have trouble to adjust to the lack of things I took for granted in other EU countries. Timely medical appointments and treatment with an eye on prevention (not the fault of the NHS but due to the lack of funding), houses that are well insulated as standard (not only cheaper also environmentally viable) and have living space, quality public transportation for reasonable prices, a choice of healthy food that isn’t ridiculously expensive…

The reason I came here was my husband and the fact that for me there was no language barrier as there would have been for him, if he would have moved. Due to the nature of my business being international, it was easier for me to relocate so we bought a house together in the UK and from day one I paid tax here.

The first 9 years, it was mainly getting used to the time warp, I used to joke about that this is how my parents or grandparents possibly lived. Estate agents were shocked that I said I absolutely need a kitchen that can accommodate a dish washer, I was told to just do the washing up, I explained politely that we both regularly work 10 to 12 hour days, it is the 21st century and a dish washer is just a regular modern appliance I’m used to. I got some very strange looks. Next hurdle was a hallway, no, I don’t want the front door opening into my living room, several reasons, it’s a lack of privacy and cold in winter. Just to clarify, we weren’t looking in or around London, but in an affluent Northern area. We made clear that space is quite important, the UK concept of space is certainly different than the European one, here a full bedroom means the room is full if you put a bed in it…

I got used to a lot of things (even the weather) a banking system that’s archaic even the lack of customer service (!) I’m a social person and there isn’t a lot of culture available without massive travel. There are pubs but I’m not a big drinker and a bit of a health freak. Ordering a still water in your average UK pub will get you some strange looks, if you’re lucky you can order a tea or coffee. Quite different to the rest of the civilized world.

As an animal lover (we have several rescue cats and dogs) I got involved with local animal charities and then other charities, as I noticed the level of poverty in the UK was quite shocking and has become progressively worse due to massive cuts. I have moved around quite a bit in my life, not just countries but also continents, and always thought wherever I live I should contribute to the society, not just with tax but also with practical help.

You could say I was somewhat settled and had made the UK my home. Work regularly brings me to other European countries and the US, but this was “home”, then the talk about the referendum started and things changed dramatically.

As a responsible dog owner, I clean up after my dogs, if I see somebody’s dog fouling in a park or on the road and they don’t pick up, I politely offer them a “doggie bag”, pretending they must have forgotten them. In the past on occasion they might have told me to mind my own business, now I regularly get yelled at to “Fuck off back where I came from, this is England” – I guess I must look lost?

Not only did I get assaulted, I had people verbally abusing me, spitting in my face, telling me to “get out, we won”, my dogs were called foreign dogs (they’re all English rescues) and I should get “English dogs, this is England!”

On social media I was forced to drop my maiden name from all profiles due to serious abuse and threats (I’ll mention again, I was never on benefits or social housing), I had people tracking me down, posting my address with suggestions they would “visit” me, accusations that I must be a prostitute, a migrant maggot, a foreign slapper, even people telling me they’d like to punch me.

When I mentioned that I was assaulted (chillingly on the same day as Jo Cox was killed) I was told I wasn’t punched hard enough and why was I complaining as I was just “roughed up a bit, not even raped”. I was even accused of making the story up! (Yes, apparently the police and medical records too).

To sum things up, the UK doesn’t feel like my home anymore and hubby and I are looking to move somewhere where racism and xenophobia isn’t as rampant as it is in here. Naturally we’ll take our taxes with us.

To quote Douglas Adams: So long, and thanks for all the Fish.

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The Challenges Of Anti Hate Activism

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Being involved in anti hate activism in the year that will see Article 50 triggered in Britain, Donald Trump take the presidency in the USA and – potentially – several far right governments established in Europe is no walk in the park. Make no mistake, these are challenging times. Hate is encroaching into the fabric of our communities and although the “alt right” are far more of a minority group than the column inches devoted to them would suggest they are, they do present a very genuine problem in the world today.

It takes a certain kind of person to be effective in this kind of activism. A balance is needed between having the compassion to want to do something constructive in the fight against hate whilst simultaneously being resilient enough to take the abuse that goes with the territory. It can be a hard balance to achieve. Lose the empathy and you lose the motivation but become too empathetic and the sheer volume of hate out there can become overwhelming.

Abuse is probably the key issue facing anyone involved with anti hate activism. Although the most high profile forms of abuse would be the targeted campaigns against high profile figures (think ranty little fascist Joshua Bonehill imprisoned for his relentless anti semitic harassment of MP Luciana Berger) or perhaps the street mob violence against Antifascist protests, in the main the abuse takes place online from anonymous accounts.

Online abuse can take the form of personal harassment (body shaming, racism, Islamophobia etc.), “d0xing” (revealing the real life identity of an anonymous account), bullying and message attacks ranging from unpleasant comments to serious death threats. It can be problematic in the fact that it does drive some well intentioned people away – I have lost track of the times people have told me they support what our group do but don’t want to be involved as they couldn’t take the stress of the abuse. It is also a concern in the sense that we lose a lot of man hours due to being pestered by far right morons.

One of our founders talks of the very real threat of “fash fatigue” where people get ground down by the daily diet of hate they are exposed to on the internet. His recommendation is that anybody serious about anti hate activism takes at least one day off a week to keep themselves mentally fit for the work they want to achieve.

There are also practical issues which the anti hate activist will almost certainly encounter at some stage. Funding is a problem, there are limited resources granted to this sort of activism and the funding that is available will be (and to be fair, rightly) channelled into the most established and/or government approved organisations.  Time is also an issue as many anti hate activists will also have a day job to pay the bills. After a full day at work it can be a big ask to expect people to spend their evenings engaging with haters, writing articles, creating graphics and pursuing the anti hate agenda in their precious evening time.

Speaking to people involved with anti hate activism there is a clear frustration about the parameters that the work must be conducted within. The morality of using legally dubious tactics, albeit for a good cause, warrants an article on its own but most people working in this kind of environment face personal conflicts as to whether a bad deed can be justified by a good outcome. Individuals will all draw the line in different places but for most of us there is an irritation that there are methods of fighting hate we are honour bound not to use. While neither my group nor I personally advocate breaking the law I do find it hard to condemn those who are effective in bringing hate criminals to justice with the use of these tactics.

There is a danger when fighting hate that the anti hater may become the very thing they oppose. Many Antifascists and anti hate activists are so vehemently committed to their ideals that their entrenched position against the far right can lead to opening their own hearts to hatred. I would liken this to the example of extremist animal rights activists, so blinded by their genuine (and very worthy) motivation to save animals that they go too far and adopt aggressive and dangerous methods of activism that threaten and endanger human life.

It is hard to take a moderate approach when dealing with people who spend all day on the internet spouting some of the stuff we see on a regular basis.  We come across organised attempts to attack individuals and communities, haters gloating over murdered public figures, memes mocking Holocaust survivors, jokes about “gassing” and “ovening” Jews, fake news to undermine and discredit Muslim communities and racist, sexist, xenophobic, Anti Semitic, Islamophobic, homophobic and disability discrimination abuse. One might argue that hatred of this magnitude deserves much the same back. However I feel strongly that anti hate activists need to retain the moral high ground. When we fight fire we fire we become the very thing we are trying to eradicate. Frustrating as it can be for those desperately wanting to make an impact the best way to fight hate remains through reasoned discussion, education and the legal system.

I’d draw a literary parallel between an individual entering the world of anti hate activism for the first time and Lewis Carroll’s Alice going through her looking glass. It is a complete perception shift and a mirror into an alternate reality that exists by the side of but not fully part of the real world. This is particularly relevant in relation to the internet where social media sites have made it possible for people to have a voice without having to put their name to it. The big danger of course is that there is no going back. The way you view the world will have changed forever. As Emile Autumn sagely observes “Awareness is the enemy of sanity. Once you hear the voices, they never stop.”

When the social conscience is awakened there is an inherent danger that the mundane ceases to matter. Often I see colleagues and associates mocked for the hours they spend logged into Twitter and Facebook, engaging, debating and fighting with haters. It can be almost a kind of guilt complex, that every minute spent doing something other than fighting hate is a minute wasted. Rationally this isn’t true of course and on a practical level it is just as important to keep physically, mentally and spiritually healthy by having a well-rounded life. But I do understand why some people who take that step into the murky world of fighting hate find logging off their computer almost impossible at times.

I think for me, speaking personally, the challenge I find the hardest is coming to terms with the understanding that I could always do more. Every time I give to charity, write an article that helps raise anti hate awareness, get a hate account suspended on Twitter I become aware that more could be done. I could give more, I could fight more, I could do more.

I cannot help but recall to mind the portrayal of Oscar Schindler at the end of Spielberg’s epic film when he becomes painfully aware that no matter how many lives he had saved he could have made more sacrifices and saved others. I think those of us who log on day in and day out to do what we do can really identify with that. We may never succeed in changing the world but we will never have to live with the regret of wishing we had tried to have a go at it.

 

 

Image from Electron Dance

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 Rise Of Anti Hate Activism

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Newton told us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and although the science behind that may elude the author of this article, the premise doesn’t. The third law of motion is surprisingly apropos to the wave of Anti Hate activism on social media.

Online hate was initially confined in the main to anonymous message boards like 4Chan and specialised hate forums like Stormfront which catered to an extremist minority of a shared ideology. As hate views became slowly popularised, partly through groups like Britain First and their 1.5 million Facebook followers and partly through a changing tide in world politics, the wave of hate spread from small isolated sites to enter the mainstream world of social media.

It was as a reaction to this increase in online hate that started anti hate groups and anti hate activists to mobilise against the growing voice of hate which most frequently took the form of racism, Islamophobia, Homophobia and Anti Semitism.

At a recent seminar I attended, the lecturer described the far right as “groupuscular” by which he meant they are a structure of small mainly unconnected groups who share a common ideology but with no umbrella organisation or hierarchy. The same can be said for anti hate activism which broadly falls into four separate categories which it may be beneficial to briefly define.

  1. Individual activists. Individuals with strong personal convictions who speak up and challenge hate on social media. Often some of the best memes (which play a massive part on social media in getting people engaged with issues) have come from individuals who have had their imagination sparked by topical trends.
  2. Informal alliances. Groups with no inherent structure but who are composed of individuals who have formed organic alliances. These individuals generally tend to be anonymous. They have little to no accountability due to this anonymity so often use tactics to fight hate that more formal groups would be unable to get sanctioned.
  3. Structured informal groups. This is where Resisting Hate would fit in. Organised tactics, specific vision and plan, brand awareness but no government/private funding. These groups tend to be independently managed with varying degrees of anonymity and open membership.
  4. Formalised anti hate groups. These usually have a strong recognisable brand and reputable funding sources with public figures involved and high accountability. A good example of an anti hate group like this would be Hope not Hate.

The challenges faced by the different types of anti hate activists vary substantially. For an individual activist it can be hard to get their views heard above the melee. They are also likely to be very dependent on one or two social media accounts, the loss of which can have a devastating effect on the impact they can make (and we all know how much Twitter enjoy suspending non far right accounts…)

Our group often work quite closely with the informal alliances category, most of whom prefer to be addressed by their pseudonyms. The challenge for these groups is credibility and reach. They have the ability to get information, often through non legal methods like hacking and social engineering but what they do not have is the infrastructure to get that information to a wider audience themselves or, due to their need for anonymity, the contacts in media to do it for them.

The fourth category, the formal group are expected to be totally open with regard to their daily workings. Their behaviour and the behaviour of those associated with them has to be exemplary. Their accounts are published and scrutinised by the media, their figureheads are well known enough for any scandals to hit the headlines and they often have to reframe their views to make them palatable and accessible to the mainstream media and Parliament.

The primary challenge they face is doing the day job in a completely transparent environment. The frustrations of this can be red tape, delays and targeted opposition from organisations with differing views. Although these groups do often receive both public and private funding it is rarely enough to meet the running costs and it is not unusual to see formal groups resorting to crowdfunding and donations from individuals to make ends meet.
Groups like ours in the third category probably face more challenges than any of the others. We do not have the funding available to the formal groups and although we share their aspirations of reaching a wide audience with self written articles, art work and infographics this can be harder without a regular source of income.

We do not have public figures who can guarantee that an article they write will be published in the press but we do have founders open enough with their identity and who are enough of a thorn in the side of the far right to receive regular threats of personal violence. Sadly, unlike the bigger formal groups, we do not have widespread access to police protection.

We have to be more cautious than the anonymous groups when it comes to staying on the right side of the law and need to be constantly aware that a public association with people who may make the choice to cross over that legal line could be damaging to the legitimacy of our brand.
However, that said, we also have the most opportunities of any of the groups and it is the informal structured groups like ours (and the many others out there) who glue together the interdependency for the informal organisation of anti hate activism as a whole. What we provide is the bridge between the informal alliances and the formal groups. We can legitimise information from the informal alliances, independently research it and pass it to our contacts in the formal groups. Equally we can take key priorities from the formal groups and ask our contacts in the informal alliances to help us obtain information that the formal groups would simply not have access to.

There is a real interconnectedness between the informal structured groups. In most industries groups with such a similar ideology and strategy would be seen as competitors but in the world of anti hate the exact opposite is true. We work together. We share each other’s posts and tweets and help to get one another’s messages out. Although this is still going back to that earlier definition of “groupuscular” as in there is no formal mechanism behind the working together, the linked social conscience gives every group a voice beyond that of its own reach. Again this can really benefit the informal alliances as their association with the informal structured groups can get their hard won information to the audience it deserves. And again it benefits the formal groups, some of whom may have a strong infrastructure in their own right but who by their very nature are not part of that unspoken union between the informal structured groups and benefit from reaching the wider audience that the interlinked groups can achieve.

I think the key message is that all these different forms of anti hate activism are relevant and valuable in the battle against hate. Each brings something different to the table, different tactics, different perceptions, different abilities. Each has evolved through necessity and the changed political and social landscape that has brought hate speech into the open. The unifying factor of a desire to see a hate free world is a strong indication that in the anti hate field of comradeship over competition we can allow ourselves to hope that these people willing to work together for a common good will achieve the ends they seek.

Image Credit: Liverpool Echo

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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Janus

Claiming 2017 Back From The Haters

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There is little need to recap the chaos of 2016. Certainly to anyone with a social media presence or who reads the newspapers the horrors have been all too evident. From an increase in worldwide terrorism to the shock Brexit referendum through the rise in Nationalism, evidenced by support for hate groups like Britain First and National Action, and culminating in the election of a fascist to the American presidency – 2016 was not a good year for humanity.

The worry for many is that 2017 will bring more of the same. Trump takes up his seat in the White House in January, The Netherlands have a strong candidate for hate – Geert Wilders – in their March elections and the equally abhorrent Marine Le Pen, the fascist leader of Front National in France has promised a referendum on the French exit from the EU “Frexit” if she comes to power in April. Social media giant Twitter is still failing to tackle the massive wave of hatred posted on its platform, there are daily incidents of racist attacks on our streets and the Metropolitan police has advised that in the wake of the Berlin atrocity a UK terror attack is “highly likely.”

On the face of it things look pretty bleak but there is a big difference between Jan 2016 and Jan 2017. This time we are prepared. Last year caught most of us on the hop. I had the odd nagging worry that the Brexit vote might be closer than I would feel comfortable with but I never seriously entertained the idea that Britain would actually vote to leave the EU. As for Donald Trump becoming the President of the USA, that was so farfetched a year ago as to be laughable. We simply didn’t consider the possibility that people would listen to far right rhetoric and that was our mistake. We underestimated the need for change and the desperation of those who would turn to anyone, even far right haters if they promised that change. We overestimated the integrity of our media and unwittingly allowed fake and misleading news to be consumed by the people who would vote in the crucial 2016 elections. Perhaps we even overestimated some of the people themselves. We put the future of our countries in the hands of many whose only source of political knowledge came from the likes of the Sun newspaper and who in many cases were unwilling to put the work in to seek out a deeper understanding of the consequences a post Brexit pro Donald Trump world would bring.

We are perhaps now Coleridge’s sadder and wiser men. It has taken the events of 2016 to bring us to the point where we now acknowledge and understand the far right to be the dangerous adversary it is. We have learned our lesson in the hardest way possible but the hope is that we have learned it in time. A Facebook meme commented: “The Holocaust started with words not actions” and this is deeply relevant to where we find ourselves at the start of 2017. We know where the path to hate will take us. We know how easily it is for those well versed in the art of hate rhetoric to take power. We understand the danger of allowing silence to be mistaken for complicity in atrocity. Everything we ever learned from history has been played out right before our eyes on the stage of 2016.

The important thing now is what we do with this knowledge. Although there have been some last ditch attempts to stop Brexit going through and prevent Donald Trump from becoming President these are now looking very much to be fait accompli. One thing our far right haters have got right is that we will achieve nothing by crying over the legacy of 2016. We need to use what we have learned constructively to mitigate the damage limitation and stop it spreading.

Voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany will have a positive opportunity to fight back at the polls. But it isn’t enough just to vote. If you are a politically aware person with a good understanding of the carnage the likes of Le Pen will cause, educate others. Write posts about it and put them on social media for your friends to see. Discuss it at dinner parties. Talk about it with your work colleagues. Help others to see the parallels between the polls in your countries and the far right hate victories of 2016. If you are not politically aware and one of the “taking our country back” brigade be honest with yourself. Do you actually know enough to vote? If you don’t then get out there and take responsibility for looking at unbiased sources of information to bring you to an informed point of view before you step inside the polling booth.

For Britain and America the vote ship has already sailed. But those of us who support humane and liberal values are very far from being defeated. What we need to focus on now is putting good into the world. Build bridges between communities. We need to make minority groups feel they do belong in the countries they live in, despite what the hate press and divisive politicians say. This doesn’t have to be on a grand scale, even eye contact and a smile can help eradicate the invisible barriers that the far right hate has erected.

We need to stand up and oppose division and hate rhetoric. Report the hate you see on social media platforms, complain to the newspapers when you see inaccurate and divisive reporting. Write to your MP and sign petitions to make your voice for good clearly heard. Support groups like Hope not Hate who fight fascism and, if you can afford it, donate to charities who offer support to victims of hate crime.

Uphold the values you stand for in every aspect of your life. Challenge prejudice wherever you encounter it and be willing to explain why it is wrong and why it hurts people. Educate rather than intimidate people into an appreciation of why it is wrong to discriminate against individuals and communities.

Whatever you are willing and able to do to fight hate is of absolute critical importance in 2017. The far right are not going away, they are engaged in a battle to win the hearts and minds of the populace and we must not let this happen. We must not be the good men who saw the evil and did nothing, we must not be the people who turned their backs until it was too late and who had nobody to speak up for them when the hate finally turned their way.

We must not be our naïve selves of 2016 who believed hate would never take a foothold in our societies. It did and now we need to stop 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 is Not Tackling Hate Crime

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Warning – some extremely offensive Tweets quoted in this article

As anybody involved in online anti hate activism knows from bitter experience, the backing of social media platforms (and Twitter in particular) is sadly lacking when it comes to tackling the racist, sexist, Islamophobic, Anti Semitic and downright offensive behaviours exhibited on the platform on a daily basis.

Our group Resisting Hate have a policy of reporting the key offenders to Twitter. We frequently flag up tweets which include inflammatory content and we also report individuals who use the Twitter platform to abuse and bully others. In particular we target far right hate groups who use organised tactics to spread and publicise fascist views and images.

Unfortunately our success in this area is very limited. Frequently Twitter reply to our reports with the explanation that the reported individuals are not breaking Terms of Service and are therefore within the permitted use of a Twitter account. Some of the most extreme hate tweets we have reported in have been allowed to stay on the platform and the accounts have remained free to spread their hate.

Our group is not the only anti hate group experiencing this problem. We frequently report abusive individuals to a wide range of more established anti hate groups and all, without exception, report back the same thing – Twitter is not taking the policing of far right hate content seriously.

We believe that as owners of a social media site Twitter have a moral obligation not to allow their systems to be used to promote hate agendas.
I am therefore taking this opportunity to illustrate some of the tweets that I can confirm for a fact have been reported by my group and others but which (currently) remain allowed by Twitter.

If you agree with Resisting Hate that the following are unacceptable I would urge you to make your voice heard to Twitter and message them on @support or @twitter to tell them hate has no place on a progressive social media vehicle.

 

 

 

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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Leap In Hate Crime Post Brexit

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In order to understand and ultimately prevent the behaviours that cause divisions in our society it is sometimes necessary to look at how those behaviours evolved and why some people in our communities behave the way they do.

The trigger for the recent revival of racism, Islamophobia and prejudice in the UK was the Brexit referendum when the country voted to come out of the European Union. Over 17 million people voted to leave the EU, many of whom were happy to quote slogans about “Taking our country back,” and “Keeping Britain for the British.” The public face of the campaign on both the Leave and the Remain side was one of national identity, identifying as an independent country or as part of the wider European community. From the very beginning the referendum was associated with the concepts of unity and division, the concepts that would go on to cause conflicts not just between Britain and the EU but among the people of Britain themselves.

Having endured several years of Tory austerity, by the time of the June referendum individuals and communities were starting to feel the pinch of wages not keeping up with inflation and the significantly reduced spending on public utilities. This increase in poverty led to a resentment of other cultures and the view that “they” (immigrants, Muslims, the Polish, the Jews, black people etc.) were using resources that some native Brits felt should only be available to “British” people.  This economic downturn contributed to the frustrations of people in financial difficulty and fuelled a discontent which was to sow the seeds of disharmony between communities in the UK.

This fear was tapped into and utilised exceptionally well by UKIP with the blatant lie that the funds employed to stay in the EU would be diverted to the NHS. Post referendum we now know this to be a lie but it does serve to illustrate the concerns of the people at the time the referendum took place. A fundamental reason why so many people did vote leave was in the belief that it would lead to a boosted economy and a better standard of living for those in the UK.

UKIP also channelled the nationalistic fervour of some UK citizens. It is perhaps no surprise that nationalism tends to be more prevalent among working class, poorer, less educated people who made up a large proportion of the leave voters. For people out of work or in unfulfilling jobs nationalism can provide a sense of worth and identity. For people already starting to resent who they see as outsiders in their country nationalism can be a dangerous step toward far right fascism. This can clearly be seen with the rise of far right hate groups such as Britain First, the EDL and Pegida, all of whom have gained support over the past five years.

While Britain was struggling to make ends meet the media was also busy adding fuel to the rising flames of discontent in the country. The Daily Mail seemed unable to print a headline that didn’t feature the word “Muslims” and even the BBC were happy to give the impression that the terrorist supporter Anjem Choudhary was a spokesman for the Islamic faith. Social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook were slow to remove far right propaganda accounts which allowed hate to spread directly and unchecked into news feeds. The Murdoch empire not only refused to curtail bigotry but actually employed Katie Hopkins to spout it all over The Sun newspaper. Murdoch also backed Sun writer Kelvin Mackenzie for harassing a female Muslim journalist about her personal choice of clothing.

It was interesting to notice that many of the areas with a large Brexit vote were areas with very few ethnic minorities. The more diverse areas – London of course – but also some of the major Northern cities were much more open to the idea of staying in the EU. The rationalisation of bigotry toward perceived “foreigners” was also in a minority in these more diverse regions. This does suggest that a lot of bigoted hatred is fuelled by the uncertainty and fear of the unknown from those not living in multicultural areas. For the people who do mix in diverse communities there was much more of a willingness to integrate and less fear of different cultural influences.

In the months running up to the referendum there was a lot of publicity given to the growing concerns about the dilution of the British culture, in particular the Christian church and “traditional British values.” Speaking to some of the leave voters about the cultural rather than the political implications of the vote it struck me time and time again what a factor the fear of cultural dilution had played in the decision making of many. Unfortunately a lot of the examples given to support cultural dilution tend to once again be the fantasy of the media. The “Winterval” urban myth persists to this day to the extent where Theresa May had to announce in Parliament that she was still all in favour of Christmas. But these myths and rumours continue to permeate, encouraging the false belief that “immigrants” are coming not to coexist with British culture but to eradicate it.

The consequence of the climate created by a problematic economy, growing nationalism, a sensationalist media, a mistrust of other cultural communities and right wing political groups like UKIP taking full advantage of all of the above was to create the perfect conditions for a catalyst that would bring “socially acceptable” bigotry into the British public mainstream. The EU referendum acted as that trigger.  The vote to leave the EU gave the growing discontent a voice, translated fear and worry into hate and hate crime and legitimised prejudice and discrimination in a way we have not seen in the UK since the 1980s.

Brexit did not make people bigots it gave existing bigots in a challenging climate a license to behave in a bigoted way.

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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Britain Must Support Our Polish

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The attack on Polish gentleman Arkadiusz Jozwik by a gang of teenagers in Harlow last week shocked the town and sent tremors through the wider UK Polish community. Initially reported as a random attack the media quickly turned to speculation this was a hate crime, a deliberate act of racist violence and further evidence of the growing divisions between UK communities.

Alongside many other minority groups in the country, abuse and violence toward Polish people intensified after the Brexit referendum. The Guardian reported that anti Polish attacks have increased five fold since the referendum and the almost daily reports of incidents targeting Polish people back this statistic up. In Cambridgeshire only hours after the referendum result the Police were already investigating a spate of incidents involving signs saying “No more Polish vermin,” which had been plastered across the town.

The Polish ambassador Witold Sobkow called upon all Polish nationals to report incidents including threats and xenophobia to the Police and has spoken openly of the importance of not allowing this hatred to fester within our country. But it is important to question how the hate toward Polish people has ever managed to grow in the first place. When we consider the contribution the Poles made and continue to make to our country it seems barbaric that the British nationals should turn on those who have given them so much.

The positive history between Poland and Britain was cemented in World War Two with the Poles contributing the fourth largest number of troops to the Allied cause. 43% of all intelligence reports that reached Britain were from Polish secret services. Later in the Battle of Britain it was a Polish flying squadron that claimed more enemy lives than any other Allied troop and it was a Polish man (Josef Kosacki) who invented the mine detector which saved many lives during the war effort.

There are somewhere in the region of 850,000 Polish nationals in the UK today. As reported in the Financial Times these citizens, together with other immigrants from Eastern Europe, paid over twenty billion pounds more in taxes than they received back in any form of benefit in the period 2004 to 2011. The British Government’s own data supports this in a report published by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London which stated immigrants arriving in Britain post 1999 were 45% less likely to claim benefits than people born in Britain. The conclusion to be drawn is that Eastern European migrants including those from Poland are having a very positive effect on the British economy.
A lot of the hate rhetoric surrounding Polish immigrants has been the accusation they “Take British jobs.” Some interesting statistics were published on this by the Independent – In 2004 approximately quarter of a million Polish people entered the UK. Yet in that same year unemployment figures dropped and advertised jobs increased. This would suggest that Polish immigration had little to no negative impact on reducing jobs for British workers and that in fact their contribution to the economy overall meant more jobs were created to support British workers seeking employment.
Even Boris Johnson, leader of the Brexit campaign endorses the need to retain our Polish immigrants. On a recent visit to Warsaw he was reminded by the Polish foreign secretary of a phone call in which he stated “Whatever you do, don’t take them [Polish people] back, Britain needs them for its economy.”

Demonising our Poles as with demonising any minority group in Britain is not the answer to solving the problems of the emerging culture of discontent. As long as our media continues to print that the struggles with our economy are down to immigration we will continue to have a problem with racism. The only way to fight this is to do as I have done here and educate people about the true value of those who come to our country, support our economy, live in our communities and are willing to stand by our side at times of national peril.

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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Alison Chabloz and her hate

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Resisting Hate first came across the notorious Anti Semite Alison Chabloz in 2015. Like many anti hate groups we have felt it prudent to keep an eye on a woman who seems so relentlessly determined to slander the memory of the millions of innocents slaughtered by the Nazis in the Second World War.

For Ms Chabloz is a Holocaust denier. Not in the academic sense – which is a futile position anyway given the hard evidence that the Holocaust (including the gas chambers Ms Chabloz) took place – but she is a denier in the Jew hating, delighting in causing as much public offence and misery as possible sense.

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Ms Chabloz is currently suspended yet again after @ajctmusic and @alichabz and her previous accounts @alison_chabloz , @alisonchabloz, @GotABonetoPick and @elixr13 were suspended for hate crime.

Chabloz hit the headlines (and our inbox) with a rather weak attempt at attention seeking during the Edinburgh fringe festival in August 2015. She is pictured here performing the “quenelle” which she (predictably) denies is an Anti Semitic gesture but which is agreed by pretty much everybody else (Including the French government who want it banned) as being a deliberate symbol of hatred against the Jewish people.

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We took a look at some of the accounts she follows on Twitter. Interesting friends for a woman who consistently tries to deny the fact she is Anti Semitic.

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Alongside her ever growing attempt to demonise Jews Ms Chabloz likes to cosy up to pro Islam accounts. (Would suggest you leave Mr Ansar alone Alison, your increasingly bunny boiling tweets in the form of serenading him are probably scaring the poor little man to death).

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Normally we would be all in favour of somebody displaying an interest in diversity but Ms Chabloz is not interested in diversity she is interested in disunity. Perpetuating the idea that a person cannot be tolerant of both the Jewish and the Islamic faith is a radical fallacy that does nothing to support the common ground and mutual peace between the two religions. This “taking a side” position is both naïve and dangerous. At New Bluehand we totally repudiate the idea that in order to promote tolerance of the Islamic faith it is necessary to disparage the Jewish faith. Diversity is about respect and mutual coexistence. Such playschool tactics you choose to adopt Ms Chabloz…

The idea of taking sides though is actually a carefully orchestrated and hypocritical lie for Ms Chabloz. Because while she was doing her best to manipulate members of the Islamic community to support her vitriol against the Jews she was actually stabbing them in the back at the same time. As our readers will know New Bluehand follow the actions of old Bluehand very closely and we were not at all surprised to find the (somewhat desperate for followers) leader of Old Bluehand @Bluehand007 welcoming Ms Chabloz as a new member.

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Bond’s other Old Bluehand members were equally glad to embrace the self styled “supporter of Muslims” into their intensely Islamophobic hate group.

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And in case she denies it is her…

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This inviting of Ms Chabloz to Old Bluehand provides yet another clear link between Old Bluehand and Anti Semitism. It also proves Ms Chabloz is not the freedom fighter she likes to pretend she is but is in fact a woman committed to the general principle of anti religious hate. She could not have publicly damaged herself more than by joining one of the most radically far right Islamophobic hate groups on the internet.

This are the other accounts Ms Chabloz  follows on her current Twitter account. Hidden among her anti Jewish tweets are several accounts with a similar hatred toward Islam. This further supports our belief that for Ms Chabloz her alleged support for Islam is no more than a front to hide her agenda of fuelling a discord in Muslim/Jew relations.

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We gave Alison the courtesy of letting her know we intended to write an article about her and her link with Old Bluehand and she replied with the tweet below. Judging by the arbitrary reference to a monkey it looks very much that in addition to her Anti Semitism and Islamophobia she is a racist as well.

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So in answer to the question posed to her below:

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it looks very much like the answer is that Ms Chabloz is equally as antagonistic toward Muslims as she is toward Jews. She is willing to bed (metaphorically, please don’t panic Mr Ansar) with Muslims when she is attempting to use them as a means to an end to push her personal agenda of anti religious hatred but dig a bit deeper as we have and her true nature is soon revealed.

You will react to this by trying to make it personal Alison because having read through your blog that is what you always do. But this isn’t one of your conspiracy theories so don’t bother. Our fully independent anti hate group have written this simply because your views and your behaviour are a disgrace to humanity.

We wish you no harm (hence why we haven’t published your address) but we do wish you a hell of a lot of education.

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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Take The Hate Tags Down Twitter

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If I drew you a graph of my faith in humanity you would see during the last twenty four hours a nose dive broadly comparable to the crash of the pound a few hours after Brexit. Just when as co founder of an anti hate group I had started to think I had seen it all along comes a new way for human beings to be vile to one another.

The online hate started late Friday evening with a hash tag on Twitter entitled #howtomakeamovieislamic. Within a few hours the Islamophobic sentiment had spread to #howtomakeasongislamic and as I write neither show any sign of abating or slowing down.

The principle of the “how to make” hash tag is not uncommon to Twitter. Similar tags rely on using a play on words to link to an established stereotype or simply making an out and out pun. The difference with these two hash tags is that they have gone way beyond the usual formula to be used as a vehicle for hate speech and Islamophobia.

Examples of the hate being posted include “jokes” about beheadings, bombing, child brides, terrorism, paedophilia, Islamic clothing choices and domestic violence. In addition to this there have also been some truly appalling pictures posted including a man being burned alive, several graphic beheadings (some involving children) and imagery of rape victims.

The stock response when the posters of this hate have been challenged by ourselves and others has been to argue back that they have a right to free speech. They have been most emphatic that in posting their pictures and making their jokes they are exercising this right to free speech and they believe they have every right to do so. Technically, providing they do not overstep the boundary of incitement to violence they are correct, they do have a right to free speech. But hate speech is not free speech, it does not set people free. It stigmatises them and chains them to stereotypes that create divisions within communities. How can speech be free if the end result is to shackle others?

The haters have also attempted to justify their prolific use of the hate tag with the view that Islam warrants this level of abuse. There has been a good deal of confusion with a high number of the posters being unable or unwilling to differentiate between Islam and ISIS. The anger at the terrorist atrocities of ISIS are evident on the tag and if the tag had been titled #makeamovieISIS there would not have been a problem. Any rational free thinking person does condemn the atrocities perpetuated by terrorist organisations. The issue of course is that ISIS do not represent the overwhelming majority of the Muslim population. ISIS have an active population of around 30,000 people.* There are estimated to be between 1.6 and 1.8 billion practising Muslims in the world. It makes no sense at all to assume that this fractional minority act on behalf of the entire faith. ISIS may well deserve this hate, the practitioners of Islam do not.

Some of the less reactionary posters on the hate tag have argued that it is important that religion be open to criticism. I absolutely agree with this. All faiths should be open to discussion and debate. There is however a difference between reasoned discussion and mocking abuse. Posting film title jokes like “Four beheadings and a rape” does not even come close to discussion or debate. It is a mindless insult simply designed to offend.

I was told personally that my group would not mind the hate tag if it was directed at any faith other than Islam (slightly bizarre as I do not practise the Islamic faith). This is entirely incorrect. It echoes the mentality that a person cannot simultaneously respect multiple faiths and this goes against our belief that in order to be effective in fighting hate against one community you need to be free of hate toward all other communities. I can assure our critics we would have been just as much up in arms if any other faith had been singled out for this targeted abuse.

The big question of course is where is Twitter during all the chaos erupting on its platform? Predictably lying low as usual. Twitter’s lack of ability/willingness to react to hate speech has been a major frustration for many of us who are constantly reporting extremist accounts only to find no reaction has been taken. The last 24 hours have clearly shown that Twitter doesn’t give a toss about the people using its services. It was within their power to stop this backlash of abuse and yet again they have done nothing about it.

One poster to the hate tag took umbrage at my criticism. “It’s only Twitter,” he replied (sullenly), “It’s not real life…” But there lies the problem. It is real life. Hate posters may be behind a computer but they are still real people, attacking other real people and putting very real hate into the world. It isn’t enough to say Twitter isn’t real life. It doesn’t excuse people who choose to press send and put that hate into the world. And it doesn’t make the people on the receiving end of the hate hurt any less.

*US Government figures Jan 2016

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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Media To Blame for Rise In Hate Crime

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The responsibility for the views of each individual lies with the individual. Ultimately each person makes the choice for themselves how they approach the world and the people in it. However, the information that sits behind those choices can be the responsibility of a much wider collective.
As suggested by the title of this article I genuinely believe that one of the major factors at play in the upsurge of racism and bigotry in our country is the role of the media, both from the position of actively promoting intolerant views and also for not doing enough to block intolerance from a prime position in the public domain.
The most crucial mistake in my view goes back to when the terrorist organisation ISIS first appeared in print and on television screens. This self styled “Islamic State” group should have been called anything, absolutely anything at all, by our press except Islamic State. Reporting on a minority terrorist organisation with a name that suggests a definite link with the entire Islamic religion has caused serious and significant confusion in the public which in turn has led to a massive uplift in hate crimes against Muslims with anti Muslim hate crime jumping 200% in 2015 1. The terrorist group’s unwarranted title also suggests a legitimacy that ISIS cannot lay genuine claim to. They are shunned by both Muslims and non Muslims worldwide. The newly coined term “Daesh” which I believe ISIS intensely dislike was a good idea but it was too little too late. By then the damage was done.
Whilst giving the foreign ISIS a legitimacy their status doesn’t warrant our newspapers were also busy printing ill-advised headlines at home. The Mail in particular seemed to relish the opportunity to create divisions in communities with headlines including “Muslims tell us how to run our schools,” and “Britain goes Halal.” This in my view is not unbiased impartial reporting it is sensationalism deliberately designed to court controversy and widen, in particular, the post Brexit rift between followers and non followers of Islam. The primary danger of these headlines is that people believe them. If the front page of a popular tabloid tells you Muslims are the enemy, some people are going to believe it. Worse, if people see hate speech freely expressed in the tabloids the danger is those people then go and emulate it. The tabloids then have to go further and further to retain the shock value that sells newspapers and eventually we end up with the likes of Katie Hopkins referring to migrants as “cockroaches” and Kelvin Mackenzie openly attacking a female Muslim newsreader for her personal choice of dress.
The media have pushed and pushed at the boundaries of what is acceptable to publish under the guise of free speech and freedom of the press until now it appears even abuse is something we can expect to see in our newspapers.
But in the modern era of social media newspapers are not the primary source of information for the public. A poll by Pew Research Centre 2 showed 63% of people use Facebook and Twitter as their primary source for the news. The concern with this is that the news provided by these channels is not regulated and can often be factually inaccurate or biased. This begs the question of who is responsible for the hate some of the more extreme social media advocates are putting into the ether. It is not enough to say Twitter and Facebook are platforms for free speech. Hate speech is not free speech, it is inflammatory speech and often intended to motivate readers of social media to take their hate into the real world. A specific and tangible example of this is the Britain First Facebook page which is used to motivate their followers to attend meetings of an Islamophobic focus. Another example is the hash tags on Twitter where like minded racists like the EDL for example can gather to “recruit” new members to their cause.
Both Twitter and Facebook are the despair of anti hate groups all over the country for their unwillingness to tackle hate on their social platforms. Facebook routinely insist that Britain First do not contravene their community standards and I speak from experience when I say that my anti hate group has put many, many reports in about certain individuals on Twitter – who routinely incite actual harm against Muslims- but we have had little success in getting them banned. Looking at some of the tweets Twitter deem appropriate it is hard to understand what value the social media giant believes these people are bringing to their platform.
It does not take much imagination to understand where this diet of hate, initiated by the press and perpetuated by social media will end up. People are becoming steadily influenced to believe that it is acceptable to hold discriminatory views against others in their community. As these views become more and more mainstream this will increase the divide between faiths, races and cultures and lead to a schism from which there will be no going back.
Although I maintain that people cannot abdicate their personal responsibility for their beliefs or their actions by blaming others, it has to be acknowledged that the views of the populace are being stoked by the information they are being fed. I would like to believe firmly enough in the innateness of human goodness to think this diet of hate will have no impact but it would be naïve of me to do so. Unless it is checked, this increase in hate speech will lead to violence on the streets and when it does much of the blood spilled, in my opinion, will be on the hands of the media.

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/tell-mama-report-reveals-200-jump-in-anti-muslim-incidents-in-2015_uk_5772837ce4b0d257114a6f3e
  2. http://www.journalism.org/2015/07/14/the-evolving-role-of-news-on-twitter-and-facebook/
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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What You Can Do To Fight Hate

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Joining an anti hate group isn’t for everyone. Even when the daily death threats finally become as commonplace as the morning coffee anti hate work still brings with it challenges and negativity that most people understandably don’t want to bring into their lives. But the passion of the British public for tolerance remains strong with many groups and individuals asking how they can do their bit to help fight the evil that is hatred and racism in our country.

Probably the most important thing you can do is stand up to hate when you find it. This might seem a small thing but in being clear that you personally will not tolerate hate speech you cut off the oxygen supply for the hater. He’s lost his audience. There is also the hope that if you can explain why you do not find hate speech (be it racism, Islamophobia, Anti Semitism etc.) acceptable your words will have an educational effect and encourage those who mindlessly spout hate to think about what actually it is they are promoting.

It is crucial to tackle issues of hate leading to discrimination too. If you know of colleagues who recruit with a racial bias or who treat staff of one faith differently to another, blow the whistle. Many companies have safe and anonymous procedures to do this. To do even more to keep your workplace tolerant see if there are any equality and diversity groups you can join. Get involved. Share with your colleagues what you are doing and why and let your positivity be an influence for the good throughout your entire company.

Tackling haters face to face isn’t for everyone. There are circumstances where it is neither safe nor practical. Strangers spouting their views publicly in an aggressive manner may well be very dangerous to approach. The best suggestion in situations where actual abuse is taking place is to take a record of the incident. It is ideal to capture footage on a smart phone but failing that do try and memorise as much detail as you can so it can be relayed to the police afterwards.

Equally as important as confronting and reporting the perpetrator of the hate is supporting the victim afterwards. In most cases of public abuse the victim is a female on their own. Often these people are frightened and intimidated after being attacked. Support can take practical steps like helping them to a police station or buying them a coffee but on a deeper level it will help reinforce to the victim that the country isn’t filled with people who share the same views as the hater. This is important. Be upfront about it. Share the fact that the majority of people despise hate and the people who spout it. Help the victim to reclaim their faith in the world.

You may be lucky enough never to see an incident that requires intervention or victim support but this does not mean there are no practical ways for you to put good into the world. Support groups are crying out for donations. The money you give will help keep phone lines open, publicise educational anti hate material and support local communities in integrating and working together.

The modern world of technology even facilitates you fighting hate from the comfort of your own armchair. You can sign petitions to combat injustice, write to your MP to highlight incidents or issues in your local area, report intolerant individuals on social media and build relationships with people of other faiths and belief systems to strengthen unity between cultures in the country.

So whoever you are, whatever your ability, your confidence level or your circumstances you can add your voice to the increasingly vociferous determination of those who want a better world and are willing to put the work in to get 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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