There are some images on our TV screens that literally leave you choking with disbelief. One cropped up recently. Could that really be former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown promoting gender justice at the UN, fawning over Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafszai who was shot by Taliban in October 2012 as she states, for pursuing her dream of education http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19882799 Taliban militant Adnan Rasheed however denies that this is the reason in Letter to Malala which I received when released https://activist1.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/letter-to-malala-from-ttp-militant-adnan-rasheed-3/
Firstly I condemn ALL violence whether from Taliban or Western states. Secondly I am appalled at seeing bumbling Brown who has denied gender justice to so many British women, seizing a photo opportunity and using a young schoolgirl for his own ends…
So (for the education of Gordon Brown)… what is gender justice? According to political scientist Anne Marie Goetz, it is “the ending of and the provision of redress for, inequalities between women and men that result in women’s subordination to men” http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-111763-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
I fully support the right of every child to receive an education and 16 year old Malala’s bravery fighting through an extremely traumatic experience is an example to many. What disturbs me now however is that since her relocation to the UK she has emerged as the white man’s ticket to “for profit” charter schools globally, check out “Who is Profiting from Charters? The Big Bucks behind Charter School Secrecy, Financial Scandal and Corruption” http://www.alternet.org/education/who-profiting-charters-big-bucks-behind-charter-school-secrecy-financial-scandal-and
Her new found mentor, Brown was recently appointed to UN as Special Envoy for Global Education and now has the ideal poster girl (perhaps inadvertantly) catering to his needs… Read the excellent article by Assed Baig, “Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex” http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/assed-baig/malala-yousafzai-white-saviour_b_3592165.html
Sadly this intelligent, articulate young woman has been picked up by a former Prime Minister who didn’t give a jot about equality when in power, a man criticised by female ministers for his 2 tier system placing women on the margins. Let’s not forget Europe minister Caroline Flint’s scathing attack on Brown (Malala take note) where she proclaimed, “several of the women attending Cabinet – myself included – have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing. I am not willing to attend Cabinet in a peripheral capacity any longer”
What you won’t see at the UN is Gordon Brown promoting the rights of British women whose husbands, sons, brothers, fathers were unlawfully killed by joint policies of Britain and US governments and supporting their fight for gender justice. That’s too tricky!
NO! Gordon Brown won’t be seen in the same photo as a weeping widow asking questions about government wrongdoing. The door in Downing Street was firmly closed to these women and we knocked hard many times accompanied by supporting politicians.
Let me give you some background as to why I say this… I am a survivor of US “collateral damage” (as it was termed in court). My late husband Peter was one of thousands of haemophiliacs given contaminated blood sourced from US prisoners at Arkansas State Penitentiary as “treatment” for his medical condition, a blood clotting disorder. What we did not know at the time was that prisoners were being deliberately injected with deadly viruses as part of unethical experimentation against the Nuremberg Code and their blood sold to hospitals around the world. You can read my story here… http://www.policymic.com/articles/43111/carol-anne-grayson-incident-in-new-baghdad-producer-talks-anti-drone-activism
Inmates or “blood cows” as they were called were often rewarded with drugs and reduction of a prison sentence whilst being studied by doctors who has clearly overlooked the Hippocratic oath (a doctor’s code of ethics).
The British government’s decision to knowingly buy this “bad blood” would have been almost beyond belief had we not managed to get hold of copies of their purchase records from pharmaceutical companies obtaining plasma from prisons and read documents of British government’s willingness to carry out further unethical experimentation in the UK.
Governments had no hesitation in prioritising profit over safety and just like the Nazis, ethics went out of the window. Our haemophiliacs included young children who became human guinea pigs and were recorded by doctors as being “cheaper to use than chimpanzees”. Consequently over 2,500 of the nearly 5,000 patients infected became sick and died of HIV and hepatitis C infection.
Gordon Brown continued the cover up of successive governments during his time as PM and refused a public inquiry into what is called “the worst medical treatment disaster in the history of the National Health Service (NHS)”. He was a man who would not engage with wives and later widows who had little choice but to give up their life opportunities and education at university, forego their careers to become full time carers to the dying men in their life due to government negligence. Although many of the women were the main wage earners (due to their men having health problems) and salaries and projected future earnings could be high, a woman’s losses were not considered equal to those of a man under Brown’s government.
Women most importantly lost their right to have children for fear of infecting a child, a devastating blow to many. Though medical progress has now made this possible, it is too late for some. Brown ignored repeated calls for an investigation into the disaster and to compensate fully for losses experienced by the wives and widows of those affected. He denied a full and open public inquiry which would have established fully how children like 9 year old Colin died after his young life ended in terrible suffering.
Ministers repeatedly informed women that justice would not be given “due to the state of the economy”. … (since when has justice been tied to the financial state of the country!) This was despite the fact that the state had caused the suffering in the first place. Many of the women experienced health problems themselves exhausted by years of litigation, fighting for justice and long term caring with little support from the state. There was no emotional support as with Malala… no offering to take victims to the UN to highlight their legal case for justice and the negligence surrounding the global blood trade… no apology and no accountability.
Although haemophilia is a condition mainly affecting males, the females suffering from the condition received such a second class medical treatment by the NHS and lack of understanding from doctors who refused to believe women could have a bleeding disorder. They had no choice but to set up their own campaign for better care and gender justice “women bleed too”.
I wish Malala the best… She should now have the benefit of a good education in the UK and the chance to make a difference with an international audience at her feet. However I suggest that if Malala truly wishes to continue on her path for gender justice, those advising her do some homework on the background of the male company she is keeping. Brown is a man known for his temper and bullying behavior… the Mail reported the following allegations, that Gordon Brown:-
Hit a senior aide who got in the way as he rushed to a reception at No10.
Physically pulled a secretary out of her chair as he dictated a memo to her.
Hurled foul-mouthed abuse at two aides in his hotel room in America in a state of semi-undress after reports that he had been snubbed by President Obama.
There is a danger that instead of becoming a credible spokesperson for women’s rights and an asset to her sisters everywhere, this promising young woman could fast become an embarrassing caricature, used by western males against her own gender.
Those who claim to care for gender equality should be questioning this man’s suitability to promote girls’ education given his double standards towards females. Those who turn a blind eye to this are in fact doing an injustice to young girls and collaborating with Malala’s exploitation… what a bad day for the progress of women’s rights!
Malala, like blood has now become a western commodity with (according to some media) estimated earning potential of 2 million pounds from film and book deals. What a contrast to drone victims that have not received a penny for their distress nor was their education mentioned by Brown or Malala at the UN. Anyone heard of Shakira?
The plight of drone victims is unlikely to be aired by Brown at the UN as Britain now operates drones from British soil and a recent legal opinion declared this as likely to be “unlawful” http://appgondrones.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/lawful-action/ Malala is a convenient “cause celebre” to distract away from the West’s aggressive and much hated foreign policies in their War “of” Terror. If we are being honest with ourselves, Taliban militant Adnan Rasheed did make some valid points on his letter on the double standards in dealing with terror. Individuals and groups are more likely to be held to account, states such as US get away with murder!
The double standards from the former PM are astounding. While Brown focuses on the education of Malala (lapping up the press) libraries across the UK, vital for education of children are closed down through lack of funding and those with Down’s Syndrome are being deprived of their teaching facilities so important to their development. Not a word from Brown on the drastic welfare cuts affecting the children of poor families in Britain as he sells his “for profit” schools to the rest of the world. Gordon Brown, you are indeed a hypocrite!
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.