Wednesday, 28 January 2009

BBC Loses Plot on Gaza

Had the BBC decided to broadcast the appeal for humanitarian aid for Gaza not many Palestinians would have been offended. Their so-called `neutral' decision not to broadcast looks therefore like a highly-politicised act designed to appease Israel and its supporters. In other words, in their misguided attempt to assert neutrality they have in fact created the impression of significant bias.

As for their feeble second excuse - that there were doubts about whether donated aid would get to where it was intended, that's like refusing to show the Greens party political broadcast on the grounds that they might not get many MPs!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Compassion and Hope for Jersey Victims

I have extracted a sequence of related postings from Jersey Senator Stuart Syvret's blog which occurred over the 16th and 17th of January. Rather than just copy and paste, I have edited out those postings that seemed to be heading off in other directions (as blogs will do) in order to leave what I hope is a coherent thread. Many of the contributions are submitted anonymously. I have identified these contributors as Anonymous(1), Anonymous(2) etc. and have used this device to indicate where follow-up postings seem to have been made by an earlier anonymous contributor, though obviously I may have missed other instances. Oh, and I admit to correcting a few spelling errors because, well just because - it's something I do.
If you are in any way suspicious about the editing liberties I have taken, or just curious about what I have left out, I encourage you to visit the source, Senator Syvret's blog. You should visit it anyway -it is a shining beacon of light in the quest for truth and justice in the Kafkaesque world of Jersey politics. You will see below that on the evening of 16th January it reaches the milestone of 100,000 readers in just under a year, a remarkable indicator of the power of the people's media.
The thread is about child abuse. It includes contributions from a number of survivors of abuse in Jersey and elsewhere. It highlights the terrible dilemma of abuse victims in trying to decide whether to come forward with accounts of the horrific experiences they have buried for decades as a mechanism for survival. And it is marked by the collective and individual compassion of the contributors.

It starts with a desperately sad account from someone living in France.

My Life in France said...

A lesson too late for the learning (for me anyway)

Well here I am, in France and now very isolated. Many months ago, after much soul searching and advice given by my wife and GP , and against my better judgment I was persuaded to talk to the States of Jersey police who visited me here in France, with regard to my experiences whilst resident at Haut de la Garenne.

I had never, ever confided in anyone (not even my wife) before, and looking back now, as my family life lay in ruins around me, I wish it had stayed that way.

After the initial robust support I received from my soon to be ex-wife, I find myself once again alone, and locked into a time warp which like a fool and against all of my natural instincts I had re-opened the portal to.

An entrance way to an evil, hard and cruel world which had remained firmly closed and sealed for near on forty years.

As I write this, and, as I have done many times over the passing decades, I wish that my life experiences had been different.

When I was a child and I looked at my friends who all seemed to have normal, loving, and caring childhoods , I often wished that I could be them.

Just once, I used to think to myself. Just so I knew what it was like to wake up in a warm, clean, safe and loving environment where there were no bogymen.

An environment which in my very late life as a parent, I have tried so very hard to provide for my still so very young little girls.

However, you know the old saying about history repeating itself? Well, in my case it’s true. Having suffered the heart-break of a child who witnessed my father disappear through the front door with suitcase in hand.

I now find it’s my turn to leave. The stress that reliving my childhood experiences has put on me personally as an adult, can only be known by those who have suffered the deprivations and poverty that the Jersey system has encouraged century after century.

Up until recently, I personally believe that I had put my childhood nightmare world, of poverty, deprivation and abuse behind me. In fact, I know I had.

That is until I let others in. Others, who although well intentioned, had little or no idea as to the power of gene they were resurrecting from the dead.

Finding myself abandoned by those whom I thought cared, and for the health of my children, like my father before me, I am now packing my bags to leave. I love my little girls with all my heart, but have been left in little doubt to me that there is no longer room for me at this particular inn.

I wish that I had kept my dark and sinister secrets safely locked away. I believe, that had I not been so honest and frank about my childhood that, the personal catastrophe that I am now experiencing, and the hurt and the pain the my little girls will soon experience would have been avoided.

Perhaps there are those who should think very carefully before they start looking for the key to open the door - a door which may be better left firmly locked.

Senator Stuart Syvret said...

Your Life in France.

I found your story very moving.

My e-mail address is lower down. I think you should e-mail me so I can see if there is anything I can do to help.

Your life - which you had thought 'fixed' - has remained broken - or been broken - by having to revisit these terrible issues.

Tragedy upon tragedy.

Your story illustrates just how the consequences of child abuses do ruin so many lives.

Just how terribly damaging and difficult it is to overcome.

Which is why we must fight abuse - and speak out against it.

I know that must seem of very little comfort to you in your circumstances.

But I believe you did the right thing for the cause of fighting, exposing and attempting to prevent child abuse.

I know a number of survivors who, at times, have questioned whether they did the right thing by opening up to the police - especially after many complaints made in the past simply being ignored.

But the great majority of those I know ultimately decided that speaking out was/is the right thing to do.

Though having said that - I couldn't begin to describe the despair and devastation experienced by many survivors who - this time - finally - believed they were going to get justice - only to see the Jersey establishment attempt to character-assassinate the only two leaders the Jersey cops have ever had who took the abuse issues seriously.

This coupled with the obstructions to charging and prosecution we see by Bill Bailhache has also been very difficult to endure.

But - do not think for one instant that the war is lost.

It isn't. We're confident the court in London will ultimately decide that Mr. Straw has to look at the plain malfeasances of the administration of justice in Jersey.

But - for you personally - you sound as though you need support at this difficult time. Are friends and family helping you?

Would it help to speak with Ray of the NSPCC, who has been based in Jersey for the duration?

My e-mail address is:

Please e-mail me directly - and I'll see if there is anything I can do to help.

Be strong.


Zoompad said...

Dear `My Life in France',

I really felt for you as I read your post. I was in a similar situation with my fiancee, recently.

When the Haut de la Garenne story first broke, it opened up everything inside me once more - although I was one of the Staffordshire Pindown children, not Jersey. My friends and fiancee saw me fall apart - I was also being dragged through the secret family courts, it was a terrible time. I thought that my relationship would be smashed up - it seemed like it would not survive - I made my fiancee cry because of all the hurtful things that I said to him - the poor man, the only person I felt that I could safely shout at was him, and so I did, and cried and made his life like hell for a while. All that anger and hurt had to come out somewhere, and my lovely man took the full force of it. One day, I realised that we were breaking up - he just couldn't take any more of it, it was making him ill, and so I prayed, I lay on the floor and asked God to help me. And I decided there and then that we were NOT going to break up, they were NOT going to smash me up any more, and God would NOT allow me to be hurt any more.

I don't know if me writing this will help you at all, I really wish I could say something, but I will say this : I thought that my fiancee was thinking things about me that were not true - I thought that he would be better off without me, but that is not true, I had somehow convinced myself that he did not love me any more, and that certainly was not true. We had a long talk - a quiet talk, with no crying or shouting, about these things, and then we asked God to keep us safe. I was so wrong about my fiancee's feelings, he does love me, very much, but in all the shouting and crying how could he express it? How could I know what he was feeling?

In my experience, women don't fall out of love so very easily as you might think, especially if there are children to remind you of the man you once loved. I know a lot of women, and we are not as fickle as men might think we are. A person might mistakenly think that love has died, when all that has really happened is that love is hidden behind a dark cloud. I don't know if this is any help, please ignore it if it isn't.


Anonymous said...

Life In France

I too had a difficult childhood and can totally empathise with you in wishing for what other children appeared to have,,,,but I didn't,,,,,,,,,,,in adulthood my husband left my and our child....and I felt totally alone and worthless once only child myself I had no one to turn to..........I have put it all in a box in my mind now and I don't talk about it, my story is tragic but I survived it all.

What got me through the tough times of reflection was actually talking about it with friends and acquaintances - and I can tell you that it is crucial that you do that - so take any help in that area that you can get may be surprised how much strength you will get from that and then you too may be able to put the past back in the box.

You were brave to open up and by doing so you have helped others, do not be too hard on yourself. Good luck.

Proud Survivor said...

Life in France

Leaving your little girls is not the answer for you or for them because how ever hard you try you can't leave your troubles behind - they travel with you.

When the news broke last February, I agonised for months before coming forward and would have had a total breakdown if I had not found a wonderful counsellor who has helped and supported me through this. I agree with Stuart that you need someone who is trained and experienced in this area to talk to. If you go on the BACP website you may find details of English counsellors living in France.

Like you I had lived with my memories of HDLG for over 40 years and none of my family were aware that I had been in there as none of them lived in Jersey and my mother had cleared off after leaving me there and she died over 20 years ago. Since I made my statement I have gradually managed to tell my family and my friends and the support I have received has been amazing. My partner and my grown-up children have been distressed to know what I experienced but it has made us closer than we have ever been.

I do not regret coming forward although I am angry and frustrated by the delays. coverups and distortions of the truth that have followed.

One thing I do know is that whether children died or not in HDLG, there was savage physical abuse that I witnessed; emotional abuse that damaged my self-esteem and that of countless children and sexual abuse that cannot be denied. I wonder how some people can live with themselves and some must be spinning in their graves!

There is lots of support for you here and although I stay anonymous to protect myself and those I love, I would willingly communicate with you by email through Stuart if you wish.

This is definitely not over and I really hope we will all meet up for a big party when justice is finally done!

Proud survivor

Life in France said...

Zoompad & anon. You both talk a lot of sense! Thank you

From France

Anonymous(2) said...

Life in France

I dont often comment on here but my heart goes out to you fella - youve been let down badly twice by Jersey and I hope some of the spineless bastards who continue to cover up this child abuse will one day be exposed...but lets not hold our breath eh?.

Please dont blame your coppers because the lower ranks can only do so much mate,especially since your AG is doing such a good job(if you catch my meaning!)-the whole establishment here is tainted and I sometimes wonder how far up the rot actually goes?

You are not alone in having your life shattered yet again by the "Jersey system"-believe me!.

Ah well-time for an exit back to my housing estate "oop north"-the air around here is a little ripe for me!..Good luck to you fella.

J'ai espoir mieux avoir!.

Anonymous(3) said...

It's a shame nobody is commenting on who is responsible for unearthing those of us who kept it closed up and were forced to release the demons to satisfy their politcal agenda.
Spinless eh?

Anonymous(4) said...

Re: Life in France

You have more support than you yet know. When Lenny Harper left, many of us predicted the officials would succeed in covering up all he had brought to light.

But, just look at the numbers on this blog. Stuart has about 100,000 new individuals who have read it, and many of us follow the blog regularly. Lenny continues to support the Jersey victims and refuses to be silenced. Stuart never backs down in his defense of justice and truth for victims.

Truth just has a way of pushing its way out past the frantic spin of the Warcup handlers and house rag. Now books are already being published with stories of survivors of HDLG. More will be written, and officials will be named.

You will not be alone in this.

Newfan said...


Just wanted to send you warm wishes and congratulations from USA readers who support your efforts on behalf of abused children. Your blog has become truly global and will continue to grow in influence, as it should.

- Newfan

Senator Stuart Syvret said...

Unearthing the Past

I’m very sorry you feel that way. I know such things are immensely difficult – I’ve come to know many survivors.

But nearly all of those I know feel they have done the right thing.

For some – confronting the past and opening up has been a deeply debilitating experience – for all kinds of reasons – but most people tell me they have found new strength and purpose in fighting this evil.

All any of us can do – is to do what we think is right under the circumstances. And I have had no doubt that fighting this battle was the right thing for me to do.

At risk of repetition, as I’ve explained the chronology of events many times before – it was not me who chose to make this whole episode a “political” issue.

As the rock-solid evidence shows – as the chronology demonstrates – it was Frank Walker and the rest of his Council of Ministers who chose to use the child protection failures in order to further their “political agenda” against me – back in the summer of 2007 – when they thought they could carry on the concealing once they’d got rid of me.

And the issues I discovered initially didn’t relate to HDLG – but far more recent – indeed, contemporary - failures. The HDLG investigation was a police exercise.

I respect your opinion – but have to disagree with it – not least because many other survivors tell me they’re relived the subject is finally being confronted, and hope that children will be better protected in future.

I share their views – and if that be a “political agenda” – so be it.


Need I say more?

Anonymous(5) said...

People can run but they can't hide. The truth will come out eventually and those responsible will become known. Just as with the Occupation the truth will come
out eventually. Let us hope that justice is done before it is too late for those affected.

Anonymous(6) said...

"It's a shame nobody is commenting on who is responsible for unearthing those of us who kept it closed up and were forced to release the demons to satisfy their politcal agenda.
Spinless eh?"

Jerseys welfare policies are flawed and continue a long tradition of the "Jersey way" being preferred over U.K. practices.

If the Greenfields and HDLG abuses had not come to light they would have been repeated for decades in various forms.

Playing down the abusive practices for "the good of the island" allowed the abusers free rein and immunity.

So please, no more of this "you're only hurting people" bullshit.

Changes are happening as we speak and children in the States care are safer than they have been for decades thanks to Stuart and Lenny Harpers efforts.

Anonymous(7) said...

100,000 achieveat 21 43

Anonymous(8) said...

In the end honesty is the best policy

Senator Stuart Syvret said...

100,000 + of you.

What can I say?

Thanks, really, for taking an interest.

Supporting the child protection campaign.

And providing what has frequently been a great source of support to me - during what has, at times, been a cold, hard battle.

I missed the actual counter click - but hell - I was watching Miles Davis on YouTube - playing the song 'Time After Time' - live.

Just sublime. Check it out.



Anonymous(3) said...

Yes you are right - confronting the past CAN work for some people, however the professional advice is that it's often not a good idea.

The point I was making is that this has FORCED the issue for many people (as evidence by your poster from France) and THAT IS very damaging and is destroying families who were coping.

Yes, facing it is necessary for some - the CHOICE would be nice.

Anonymous (9) said...

"The point I was making is that this has FORCED the issue for many people (as evidence by your poster from France) and THAT IS very damaging and is destroying families who were coping.

Yes, facing it is necessary for some - the CHOICE would be nice."

Do you HONESTLY believe keeping a lid on things would be better?

By confronting the abusive behaviours and institutions children now and in the future are being saved from mistreatment and suffering.
No one else will need to have to make a choice because the abusers will be stopped.

Or maybe murders shouldn't be investigated so the bereaved families wont be distressed.

Anonymous (3) said...

Unearthing the past

I was not suggesting that the issues should not gave been unearthed. I was saying the manner in which it was done, with all the attendant politics and media spin, has made it impossible for people who wanted to keep the past where it belonged for them.

Anonymous (10) said...

Sadist abusers (they are sadist however you look at it) prefer their crimes (and they are crimes) to be kept secret and will seek out environments and others that allow them to practice their sadist tendancies.

They must be brought to account for their crimes against humanity otherwise it is sending out the message that any and every depraved act goes - as long as you have the right people protecting you.

Many people simply do not want to beleive that these acts of depravity occur and will simply bury their heads in the sand rather than to have to accept the full and horrific implications that some 'humans' are beyond comprehension.

Anonymous (11) said...

"people who wanted to keep the past where it belonged for them."

If you try to deny or ignore painful abuse in the past it has a funny habit of coming back and biting you in the bottom when you least expect it! It could be the sight of a building,the smell of a type of floor polish, the sound of footsteps in a corridor or the feeling of being locked in a room.

Flashbacks can be visual, auditory or sensory and for some they don't go away until you have told your story to someome who really listens to you and affirms your pain.

My life in France said

I’d just like to thank all of you that have written so many kind words to me.

You have all shown through your kindness to me, that the world could be such a very different place if we just all reached out to those in need.

Yesterday, when I posted `my life in France’ I was feeling pretty low. Today, although still very much alone, sad, and coming to terms with what looks like the inevitable as far as my personal life is concerned. I still see a glimmer of light in the darkness that surrounds me.

This light is kindled, by those of you who have held out a hand of friendship, kindness and understanding to a complete stranger. And what’s more, a stranger in need.

Yesterday, after posting on Stuarts blog, I received a telephone call from a very understanding lady at the States of Jersey Police. Who, offered all of the help that is at the disposal of the SoJP.

Similarly, Stuart has been in contact, again offering me all the support and help that he can muster.

If I had not realized it before, I certainly do now. That is, through the kindness and fellowship that you all have shown to me, the world could be such a very different world if we just held out our hands to someone in need.

Like many of you, I have young children, two beautiful little girls. I, am in my early fifties and, at times am very frightened for them.

I’m frightened because of the world we live in, a world which has made men like Stuart, Lenny and many others who contribute to this blog, indispensable in the fight against the darkness which is waiting around every unlit corner for the unwary innocents to step into.

I know now, that perhaps there is more hope for us then I had realized before. Yesterday proved to me that total strangers, regardless of race, religion or gender can embrace a fellow human being who is in need.

It demonstrates not only regarding my fears for my own little girls, but with regard to all of those who are in pain and all of those who have experiences abuse and injustice, that there are some very extraordinary human beings who without being asked will take your hand in kindness.

Thank you for being there.

"If I had not realized it before, I certainly do now. That is, through the kindness and fellowship that you all have shown to me, the world could be such a very different world if we just held out our hands to someone in need."

This sums up very well, I think, the power for good that this kind of online fellowship can be. My thought go out to `My Life in France' and I very much hope he is beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, through the support that has been forthcoming as a result of his contact with the blog.

Friday, 2 January 2009

New Year Message to Senator Stuart Syvret

Happy New Year Stuart

I have been following your blog closely and have posted occasional comments since the middle of last year.

I discovered your blog in a roundabout way. Although I never knew him, I came to know a little about the late Dereck Carter - former Tourism Minister on Jersey - through contacts in France, and was impressed by what I heard about his reforming and principled approach to politics. Then I discovered the tribute to Dereck on `Is This Jersey?', written by Greg Matthews, in which he described Dereck as having "more principle in his little finger than the whole gang of talentless amateurs and lowlife gangsters who ran the States when he was active and still run the States now".

This further intrigued me, and as the Haut de la Garenne investigation became an ever higher profile story in the national media, I began to wonder whether in some way there might be a connection between an apparent history of child abuse on the island stretching back decades and a tradition of government by a largely unaccountable and possibly corrupt establishment clique. Having made that tentative connection, it was not long before I found the blog of Senator Stuart Syvret!

Not only was I astonished by the forthrightness of what I read, and by your honesty, persistence, compassion, courage and high principles, I also soon realised there were other powerful voices such as Voiceforchildren, Linda Corby and Simon Bellwood, using blogs as a means of political expression in Jersey. I have searched for a similar online community in my native Scotland, and despite it being a time of great constitutional and financial uncertainty here, have found nothing similar. So I concluded that there must be something special - indeed unique - about the situation in Jersey, and over the months you have obliged by demonstrating in forensic detail just what this is.

As an outsider, some would say I have no business even taking a distant interest in the private tribulations of a small rich island. Here is my justification: you are absolutely right to say that highly paid public servants with a responsibility for child protection must discharge their duties, but in normal modern democracies this duty of care is the explicit responsibility of EVERY adult. As global citizens this translates to a responsibility to notice abuses of power wherever they may occur and to do whatever we can to support the cause of justice.

Of course this is not always easy, as this beautiful song by Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs eloquently illustrates; and it is the people of Jersey who will be called upon to make the hard decisions, not the armchair altruists like me!

Anyway all the best for 2009, starting with your date with Jack Straw, and know that support for your tireless efforts and for the cause of the Jersey victims extends to many places well beyond your island's shores.