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It isn’t suicide: it’s murder June 2, 2011

Posted by Phil Groom in Current Affairs, Death, Life, Mental Health.
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Cross-posted from 5 Quid for Life:

BBC News, 01/06/2011: Campaigners warn over incapacity benefit changes

BBC News, 01/06/2011: Campaigners warn over incapacity benefit changes

THE BBC NEWS have now picked up on the risk of suicide by those suffering from mental illness as they face the trauma of changes to the benefits system. Citing a letter published in the Guardian on May 31st from representatives of Mind, Rethink and a number of other mental health organisations, the BBC report notes that some claimants have already taken their own lives in response to the changes: Campaigners warn over incapacity benefit changes.

In the letter, the campaigners state:

We’ve found that the prospect of IB [incapacity benefit] reassessment is causing huge amounts of distress, and tragically there have already been cases where people have taken their own life following problems with changes to their benefits. We are hugely worried that the benefits system is heading in a direction which will put people with mental health problems under even more pressure and scrutiny, at a time when they are already being hit in other areas such as cuts to services.

The very reason 5 Quid for Life exists, of course, is to be there for such people: we are a mental health safety net. But for that net to be effective, we need funds and people need to know that we are here.

If you have already contributed to the fund, blogged, tweeted or written to help spread the word, thank you. The need for 5 Quid for Life remains as vital as when the 200 People to Save Ali Quant campaign was first launched, however — and what I said then remains true: these deaths are not suicide, they’re

murder, death by a thousand cuts from a knife wielded by the UK Government — the very people whose job it is to take care of the poor, the weak, the vulnerable on our behalf as taxpayers.

I now urge all who share these concerns, the concerns expressed in that letter to the Guardian, to raise your voices once again: write to the BBC, write to the Guardian, write to your own MP. Let them know that the risk is real and ask them to stand with us.

Thank you, and thanks in particular to The Madosphere for drawing attention to this and to us already.


Remembering Gaza February 2, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Appeals.
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Whilst we fret over a few inches of snow and the impact that’s having on our lives, let’s not forget the people of Gaza. If only it had been snow falling  on them instead of bombs! This is the DEC appeal that the BBC wouldn’t broadcast:


Donate online to the DEC’s Gaza Crisis

Israel: your treatment of your neighbours is an abomination before your God!

Supporting Gaza January 24, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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So the BBC won’t broadcast an appeal to support Gaza, eh? Stuff the BBC and their so-called “impartiality”: I will. Specifically this one, from the real BBC who are there in the midst of it: Bethlehem Bible College.

Bethlehem Bible College Gaza Appeal (PDF, 8kb)

Bethlehem Bible College Gaza Appeal (PDF, 8kb)

(The Shepherd Society)
P.O. Box 17166
Jerusalem, 91190

January 11, 2009

Dear friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Savior and the giver of life.

We have been receiving several telephone calls and emails asking us how to help the people of Gaza. The latest news from Gaza shows that the death toll among Palestinians is over 900 and the injured has surpassed 4000. From all indications, it seems that this number will continue to rise. Many of the dead are women and children and non- combatant men. We are witnessing a great humanitarian crisis. The situation in Gaza is horrible. All the people need our help.

The Christian community in Gaza is very small; some reports estimate its population to be less than 3500 individuals. This community is suffering as much as the rest of the population. Three members of this community, all of whom are civilians, have lost their lives in this war

Some of you are aware that Salwa, Bishara’s wife, is from Gaza. She still has family there. Like most Gazans, they are out of electricity and gas, and most of the time they have no running water. There were days when they did not have any food to cook. The bombing has been very close to them. They are afraid, but have no where to hide.

This past December several families from the Christian community in Gaza were allowed to come and visit Bethlehem for Christmas. While here, the war broke out in Gaza and now they cannot go back. They number about 35 families. They are stuck in Bethlehem with very little resources. In addition there are 7 families that came a year ago and are afraid to go back to Gaza.

We are seeking your prayers. Please pray for the end of this terrible war and pray for wisdom to be given to both sides of the conflict to do what is right in the eyes of God. Pray for an end to the killing of Palestinians and Israelis and that both communities can live in peace.

  • Pray for the leaders on both sides that the Lord will give them wisdom.
  • Pray for all the families that lost loved ones to be comforted.
  • Pray for the Church in Gaza that it will be a Light in the midst of this darkness.
  • Pray for a peace accord that will end all hostilities between Israelis and Arabs

Bethlehem Bible College, in cooperation with the Shepherd Society, the Church of Missionary Alliance in Jerusalem, Musalaha (Reconciliation) and the Palestinian Bible Society are seeking and receiving funding to help the people of Gaza. We are in touch with the Baptist Church in Gaza who will do the actual distribution of food, medicine and other items. Please see the details below* for your contributions.

In His Name

Bishara Awad & Alex Awad
Bethlehem Bible College & Shepherd Society

*BBC Gaza Appeal: PDF (8kb)

decgazaappealThings have changed somewhat since this letter was sent out, of course, with Israel withdrawing its troops; but the apartheid continues and the devastation Israel has left in its wake is but another example of Israel’s crimes against humanity.

The BBC’s refusal to broadcast the DEC Appeal for Gaza is not impartiality: it is rather to aid and abet Israel in those crimes. Ben Bradshaw, Health Minister, has the right of it:

I’m afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally 

This is one such time.

In the meantime, it’s up to the rest of us to step into the breach left by the BBC. If you have a blog, I urge you: use it to support the DEC Appeal for Gaza; and give, give generously, to help the people of Gaza rebuild their lives and their community.

And in answer to the obvious question: yes, of course Hamas launching missiles in Israel was wrong, but that doesn’t make Israel’s brutal retaliation right.

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