The HM Passport Office.

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I was in the process of renewing a British passport the other day and I decided after, to have a read through the leaflet that accompanied the passport form. I came across a section in it, written for those who happen to have a disability and i spotted a certain point which made me read it twice, thrice even.

I could not believe the poor quality of this particular paragraph in what is, such an important leaflet from the British Government, the HM Passport Office. For anyone wishing to apply for or renewing their British passport.

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You know me, I tried to contact the Passport office to politely let them know of this poorly worded paragraph but they have not responded or acknowledged it, yet.

For more information about Typetalk which is alternatively known as Text Relay, please follow this link to better understand.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/accessibility/text-relay-guide

Somewhat disappointed at the incompetence but hopeful that the said paragraph will be rectified after some educating . Feel free to join me, in educating them.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

Outdated Attitudes.

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“The disability is not the problem. The accessibility is the problem.” – Mohamed Jemni.

Not always accessibility but rather, attitudes.

A friend shared this earlier which helped me to appreciate yet correct it a bit further… since the out-dated term “Deaf-mute” was used in my presence earlier this week, this left me feeling speechless. If an elderly person had said it, I would not have minded so much but she was thirty ish.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

What Is A Hate Incident?

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I was reminded of an incident that happened to me some years ago, by the actions of this hateful woman who very recently hurled verbal abuse non-stop for about five minutes at a pregnant woman because of her religion. Not only that, she threatened to kick her in the stomach. The only thing I feel able to say in response to this offender is to “Take a look in the mirror”. For people to realise such hypocrisy. Her ancestors are neither white nor British – how dare she tell this innocent woman, to go back where she came from.

My memory of a potentially hateful incident serves as follows…

I was shopping one day in a maternity shop, for a gift to purchase for my sister who was expecting her second baby. I spied some pyjamas in the sale for my young daughter so I stretched my hand out to pick it off the rail. However, this woman snatched it from my hands and said it was hers. It was on the rails so how could it be hers I exclaimed. She refused to let go of the hanger and the garments I had picked up. There was a battle of words and anger took hold. She was absolutely vile.

We were in a maternity store and there she was, kicking me in the stomach with one aim, she obviously assumed I was pregnant and aimed to maim. The security guard and my husband rushed to pull us off one another yet she continued to kick me in the stomach. I had a life-saving operation on my stomach 2 years before and had to see the GP to be on the safe side.

It was more than clear to the shop’s staff that the instigator was, along the lines of not being respectable, good mannered and well-behaved. The contrast was rather apparent.

I was looked after while this vile woman was escorted off the premises, I had asked the shop’s manager for the police to be called so I could have it ‘on paper’ what happened in case the, let’s say… ‘ABH’, actually did some harm or long-term damage to my already fragile stomach. The police were not called but the shop very kindly put me into a pre-paid taxi for my safety, homeward bound.

Should my request then, for the Police to be involved, be respected or not?

Did my deafness hinder my opportunities to keep on top of the situation regarding what happened?

In addition, is it a positive thing that my deafness hindered me from understanding / knowing what was actually said to me during the incident? I feel somewhat fortunate that my deafness prevented me from being as exposed to the verbal abuse from her and her acquaintances.

Just to clarify any notions that this incident may have been along the lines of hearing vs deaf or vice versa. This is not the case as most people were not aware of my hearing impairment until after the incident, due to a hat I was wearing which covered my ears, therefore my HA’s.

I had to take it all in my stride as with everything else, as a good experience and challenge.

One of the problems with being deaf is that everyone else knows who we are yet we do not know who they (the hearing people) are.

All they have to say / think when they see us, ‘that’s the one who is deaf’… they can identify / recognise us.

We can change how we look, our names but not our disability, which at times, renders us vulnerable. Disability hate crime does exist.

I have since bought several personal alarms (key-ring pull ones) for my children. I already had one at the time but was unable to use it during this particular experience.

It is quite unfortunate my children were with me at the time and they were extremely distraught.

Advice given to me by a friend at the time was that I could always “go along to the police station and ask to speak to someone about it. They can still go back to the shop, ask questions, and if necessary take action. It is not always the best idea to call the cops in the heat of the moment as it can escalate hostilities” so they assured me I did right there.

To quote him;

“What is a hate incident?

When a person or group of people treats someone badly just because they do not like whom they are.

Why does this happen?

Some people bully or hurt other people who are different from them because:

#They are disabled

#they have a different colour skin

#they wear different clothes

#they are old

#they are young

#they are gay

#they go to a place of worship e.g. church or mosque

If this happens to you or someone you know tell someone. There is nothing wrong in being different.”

Report it, always. http://www.report-it.org.uk/home

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Each To Their Own

Everyone is different and what I am seeing from all the discussions about Alfie Durant, a boy being asked to remove his headband for a smarter school photo, is basically what people think the way forwards should be (based on their personal choices) rather than respecting the individual’s choice. All of which is in danger of being blown out of proportion.

If I say I would not mind taking it off for a school photo that is my choice. Others may want to leave it on, others may want to have both the choice of a photo with one and one without to decide on after – their choices entirely.

The school did go on to say in hindsight they could have done a photo with one and one without to choose from – they have all learnt from this just as the public is. There will be those who choose not to show their walking aids or glasses or etc. for a nicer photo to cherish – again, this is their choice.

Comments of which are critical or imposing people’s personal choices upon others will only confuse and question people’s own identities further… I can only say I would be very interested in this boy’s personal opinion when he is much older – in about 10 years’ time, which photo he would have preferred. As he is still very young and at a vulnerable point in time, feeling different of which the school photo will probably have contributed to but will not be the only contributing factor for once again, we do not know all the facts and it is dangerous to make assumptions.

Each to their own.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Race Card

Excuse me please.

There are sadly, times when people of race will use their colour as an excuse. One example is there was a team who were all chosen based on their merits. Several of those who were originally chosen had since become complacent and were subsequently asked to leave – to make way for those willing to volunteer in their place. One of these people who were asked to resign just so happened to be of black skin and the only one amongst us who was. Because of that reason alone, I anticipated he would attempt to play the black card and he did.

“Are you asking me to resign because I am black?”

“No, it has nothing to do with your skin colour or origin but the lack of effort, input and presence from you”

“It is because I am the only black person here!”

He was then advised not to go down the racism route of accusations, as there was no evidence whatsoever to prove his claims but that, which backed up his laziness and absence in more ways than one. He seemed to be completely oblivious of the few who were also being asked to part ways.

Whenever people try to use whatever cards as an excuse to try to manipulate a situation into their favour, are they not actually potentially shaming their race (or disability), in the longer run?

On that note, I have always tried my utmost best to respect and see everyone under the same banner of equality whether they be a toilet cleaner or a celebrity. For every being deserves respect – regardless. Despite the obvious differences between those who need attention and those who seek attention.

“He who excuses himself, accuses himself.” ~Gabriel Meurier

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

It Is Not A Laughing Matter.

I condemn all acts of terrorism especially where innocent people have to die.

Muslims seem to lose either way. They are constantly asked to apologise for crimes they did not commit nor supported. They are stuck between the extremists and fanatics on either sides. Most Muslims want to work providing for their family and get on with life in harmony, just like the police officer, Ahmed Merabet wanted to, who was also killed yesterday. I am certain not many people know that he was a Muslim because the media did not mention this until much later on but there was no news of what religions the others were. It does not matter to the media because it is not sensational enough and does not go with the narrative of their headlines. This police officer paid with his life trying to do his job as a just person. The far right are striving in France and this will be an opportunity for them to milk this sad situation to their advantages. Sadly the bigots will jump on the band wagon of hatred without any thoughts to the consequences.

Charlie Hebdo was founded in 1970 and since then they have been relentless in mocking everybody in a very aggressive manner. They have a long history of provoking a wide range of people based on their choices and beliefs. Many of their satirical cartoons are tasteless, violent and sexually explicit – depicting many religious figures and politicians.

In 2012 the French government condemned Charlie Hebdo for publishing caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed. They even urged the magazine to reconsider their decision in publishing the material but they refused. As a result the French government decided to take security measures to protect their embassies and consulates around the world. They also increased security around Charlie Hebdo’s offices. The magazine was determined in pursuit of what they believed is their right to mock others through “Free Speech”. While they are free to publish what they like with the exception of any anti-Semitic content, the law could not stop them or any of their provocative material but there is an unwritten rule to be respectful to others in every walk of life – regardless, in my opinion. You might be walking down an extremely narrow path and someone walks up towards you so you decide to step aside in order to let them go through first. This is what humanity is all about. Why do we have to be so nasty, oppressive and/or so hurtful towards one another?

There are those who will poke fun at disabled people – does anyone still remember Glenn Hoddle? When he remarked disabled people had been punished for their previous life (not very clever) and as a consequence he was sacked from his position as an England football manager. While there is nothing set in law to prosecute him with, the FA still acted and sacked him to show such opinions will not be tolerated.

My point being, freedom of speech is important but we need to hold back at our own discretion if we feel what we might say or do is hurtful towards others. There will always be people who want to push the boundaries and there is nothing wrong with that but freedom of speech cannot be used as an excuse to hide behind from when their actions has consequences and they should expect the same level of freedom of speech back especially when in a democratic state.

My main worry at this point in time is how society is reacting based on what the media wants us to see and believe regarding the cartoons. First it was Denmark, now France – next it will be the UK. When the World Trade Centre was targeted on the 11th of September (9/11), we suspected London would be next but not when. We also knew that the London public transport system would be targeted as that is what would have hurt the city most. If the Waging a dirty war. continues to retaliate to this sad state of affairs regarding the cartoons with the same kind of mockery that provoked all this, their offices could be next.

Any perceived anti-Semitism would be handled straightaway and the offenders promptly dealt with. Yet for any other religions, any anti views are sadly casually tolerated which I find very unfair because the same law should apply to all religions. By being respectful and mindful of others at all times would nip any anti views in the bud and would avoid that cataclysmic chain reaction of events spiralling out of anyone’s control. As for censorship? Do not even try to hide behind that excuse because no one ever sees what actually happens to the people of Palestine and other war torn countries: Waging a dirty war.

Is the Ku Klux Klan a representative of Christians? So why do many think Terrorists are representative of Muslims? Fanatics or extremists does not define their religion come what may except distorts the truth behind it – all religions which asks for submission to the one and only same god is about peace and humanity. A true believer would not stoop so low to harm another because their religion (should) forbids it. Unfortunately people not in the know or are well informed regarding a particular religion will accept that distortion all too readily. It is those who are the most sincere in their hearts that suffer the most from all this due to fanatics and others attributing excuses.

Thank you for allowing me to practise free speech – with respect comes peace.

~ SJ