A women’s revolution under attack

There are so many things to celebrate and campaign about this International Women’s Day, but the immediacy of the crushing violence being inflicted on the women’s revolution in Afrin, Syria, deserves more attention.

Afrin is one of the three cantons in the north of Syria, where women have taken active leadership in all spheres of society –  a rarity in this region. The area was liberated from the grip of ISIS by Kurdish forces who received the backing of the USA, but the area has now been invaded by Turkey in a clear violation of international law.

The Turkish government is led by the Islamist President Erdogan, who has jailed 81 journalists (a record number for one country) and clamped down hard on civil liberties. Kurdish women activists seem to have been deliberately targeted and killed on occasions, both within Turkey and in 2013 in Paris.

The creation of an area within Syria which is democratic and based on the principles of gender equality and ethnic inclusivity, has been one of the few rays of hope to come out of the awful Syrian civil war. Yet, Turkey’s acts of aggression are being met with an uneasy silence by western governments because it is a NATO member.

Turkey’s war on Afrin is a war on women. It should be a priority of the women’s movements in the United Kingdom to stand up for the resisting women of Afrin and to challenge the UK government’s complicity in war crimes through its political support and arms trade with the Turkish state.

Sign the petition for the UK to put resolution to the UN security council here


Why I wear both the red and white poppy

I wear a red poppy, but I wear a white one too. One of the defining features of modern wars is the vast numbers of civilians who are killed as well. Over 140,000 civilians are estimated to have died in the Iraq war or its aftermath. The white poppy is one way of remembering them. From those thousands in Iraq to the Londoners who died in the blitz and the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the white poppy speaks for them. When the red wreaths are laid at the cenotaph and at numerous memorials around the country, would a wreath of white poppies be out of place? Should we remember all of the dead, or only those in uniforms? Continue reading “Why I wear both the red and white poppy”

When the NHS catches a computer bug are security services to blame?

There is no doubt that the delays and disruption caused by the NHS computer virus could have been avoided. The government could have used a fraction of the multi-billion security budget to enable hospital trusts to update ageing software. However, instead of being focused on designing out crime as they promised to do, western security services are doing the opposite. The US government and our own, are pressuring companies like Microsoft and others to create ‘backdoors’ which open up our privacy and security to attack if they are leaked.

Continue reading “When the NHS catches a computer bug are security services to blame?”

Green supporters who switched to Corbyn will feel let down by a Labour Party supporting an expensive, damaging, dinosaur technology like Hinkley

“Nuclear power was the future when I was growing up. My very clever Cambridge-educated late brother even worked on the house-sized new computers at a nuclear power station in the early 60’s. Back then, the talk was of free energy for the masses. Continue reading “Green supporters who switched to Corbyn will feel let down by a Labour Party supporting an expensive, damaging, dinosaur technology like Hinkley”