Bradford: A security State or a state of Security
Each person on the panel is on the Intelligence files of the police and police intelligence are in the conference too. Today I'm at The Racial Justice and Human Rights Conference, Whose Terror Is it Anyway, particularly concerned with anti muslim racism in British Society. It'sat Bradford's Film photography and Media Centre. Outside is the statue of JB Priestley where I once stood at the end of a radio documentary I made about the man.
The panel on stage with myself are Arun Kandani, author of Whose Terror is itAnyway, Imran Khan a leading Human Rights and Criminal Lawyer and sat nextto me Moazzam Begg who was held in camp x ray in Guantanamo Bay by The USA for three years. His book Enemy Combatant is out now.
All three speakers deliver brilliant speeches which articulate the anti muslim racismhappening in this country on a day to day basis. Today five muslim men have had their houses raided in Birmingham. “Are we in a security state or a state of security” asks Imran Khan.
After hearing the dehumanising harassment of the Muslims here in the North ofEngland I wonder whether this was how the extermination of Jews begun. The harassment of Jews and the erosion of their human rights happened for years before they were incarcerated in concentration camps. It is happening to The Muslims now. Todehumanise a whole group of people because of their race and religion is the first step towards genocide: it is part of the process of atrocity.
I am here to read poetry? A creative at such a conference is a dynamic intervention in the politics of change. While on stage I asked Moazzam Beg if he had a poem in his book. I was making the case that poems happen at times of great need. Moazzam said yes, I asked him if I could it, again he said yes. On BBC radio 4, midweek special, I met the last man out of the collapsed 9/11 twin towers, a fireman. He ahd written a book and it began with a poem. But it was with Moazzam's poem that I ended.