I have been involved in human rights issues all my life and was actively involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) in the UK. This continues today with my support for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement “which works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”
In my early years I grew up following the work of John Pilger, Australian journalist and documentary film maker reporting on the Vietnam war who continues to inspire me today. In 1993 I was fortunate to visit the country and learn about the conflict from those who lived through it. I also visited El Salvador during the 12 year civil war.
My background is in psychiatry with additional qualifications in addiction counselling and health education. I worked in the field of AIDs and hepatitis from 1983. This has taken me to the former Soviet Union in 1987 as part of the UK/USSR Medical Exchange Programme, to America, Washington DC, to participate in haemophilia workshops and to China to work with lawyers and AIDs activists following the contaminated blood disaster in Henan.
I was involved in a documentary on a school/orphanage in Dumbraveni, visiting Romania twice after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu. The programme was given a regional media award. My love of travel and campaign interests led to time spent in over 50 countries volunteering in a number of projects including an orphanage in the Guatemalan jungle.
A visit to Kashmir in 1991 shortly after Kunan Poshpora attack opened my eyes to the human rights abuses under Indian occupation. It was during this period I had my first encounter with militants in the region and developed an interest on writing on insurgency.
My Masters was in Gender, Culture and Development (Distinction) studying Indian feminism, Black Power movement and Civil Rights, Islamophobia, Post Colonialism and Media Interpretations on the War on Terror. I wrote my dissertation on the impact of the global blood trade on the UK haemophilia community following a personal tragedy and received two awards for my work. These were the ERSC Michael Young Award and the COTT Action =Life award. I was invited to give lectures on combining activism and academia on the MA in Activism and Social Change, Leeds University.
I was Executive Producer for Incident in New Baghdad short documentary nominated for an Oscar and researcher for a BBC Newsnight special on Contaminated Blood (2007) nominated for a Royal Television Society (RTS) award. My late husband and I ran a Bad Blood Campaign jointly with the Newcastle Journal which won awards and assisted in the research for Blood Brothers documentary also awarded. I also won a local cup for photography.
My interest in writing on insurgency and conflict resolution led me to run a website jointly with award winning Pakistani investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad with specific interest in the region of Afghanistan, Pakistan exploring human rights, militant movements and drone warfare. Saleem was a mentor to me and served as the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online (Hong Kong) and Italian news agency Adnkronos (AKI). Tragically he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2011. His first book Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 was published shortly before his death. In June 2011 Shahzad was awarded the Ischia International Journalism award and his name is included on the Journalists Memorial at the Newseum in Washington. I try to continue his work on Radical Sister blog, claiming back the word from a negative connotation to its meaning of “characterized by departure from tradition; innovative or progressive.”
I aim to expose human right abuses, uphold truth and justice and work towards conflict resolution.
Carol Anne Grayson