Tag Archive: Free Speech


Another Friday Looms

Another Friday looms, and Raif Badawi doesn’t know whether he will be flogged or not.  So far he hasn’t been, since January.  It would be nice to think that international pressure is contributing to the repeated postponements.  I’m sure the wounds from the first flogging will have healed by now, but he does have other health issues, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Ensaf Haidar, his wife, says that he is psychologically low, presumably the weekly uncertainty will be contributing to that.  The psychological pressure on him must be immense. Amnesty UK has a petition for his release.  If you haven’t already signed it, please think of doing so.  King Salman is in breach of international law to treat him the way he is doing.  Free speech is a human right.  There should be no flogging for blogging.  Here, again, is the link to the petition.

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Raif Badawi

Some of you will know who Raif Badawi is, some won’t, so for those who don’t I will explain.

Raif is a 31 year old Saudi Arabian man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012, and 1,000 lashes, planned to be given in 50s every Friday after prayers.  There is also a 10 year travel ban and a 10 year ban on using the internet, both to start when he leaves prison.  In the meantime they are seeking to have him accused of apostasy, which carries a death sentence.

His crime is that he started a blog expressing his liberal views, advocating free speech and criticising clerics in his country.

He had the first 50 lashes in January, but the rest were put off because of his health.  the second 50 were due today but they have been postponed again, also because of his health.  He suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.

He has a wife and 3 children who at the moment are resident in Canada.  His wife is appealing his sentence.

I am posting a link to an Amnesty International petition asking the Saudi authorities to stop the punishment and to free him.  If you haven’t already signed it please do.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/saudi-arabia-free-raif-badawi-flogged-blogger?gclid=CJex2qOXisYCFU3HtAodQRwAXg

On Censorship (in my context).

This morning I had a managers’ hearing at the hospital.  The doctor kept using emotive and demeaning language when talking about me.  He said I was strongly deluded and trying to hide paranoid thoughts, etc.  He said it was unrealistic for me to want to go to Bulgaria, even though I’ve already spent 21 months there.  I’m not sure how his name is spelt, he wouldn’t even tell me when I asked him what part of the world he is from, but he pronounces his name Moldovsky.  When I started reading an R D Laing book it said in the introduction that people have a right not to believe in the term ‘schizophrenia’ and all its baggage, but that if people said they don’t believe in it they are said to lack insight.  He kept saying that about me, and that I was guarded.  I told the managers’ panel about this quotation from R D Laing, but it didn’t change their position.  They have kept me on the section 3.  I was strongly advised by my solicitor this morning not to blog about this place.  Tonight I was invited to play bingo in one of the other bungalows and the man who was in charge slipped the word ‘schitz’ in twice, with no context for it.  If I complain about it I will be told that I am mistaken and that he wouldn’t do something like that.  I am afraid to write because it will bring bad feeling into sharp relief.  I am at Enright Close in Newark.  One of the women asked if he would only speak to her to be cheeky and he said yes.  I don’t know what kind of relationship they have with each other.  I can’t see why he couldn’t let himself be pulled up and say he was sorry.  They don’t take anything seriously except their job to observe us and write about us, and throw food away.  That’s how it feels today.  Given that that might not be too far from the truth, I can’t see how anyone can expect anyone to recover from anything here.  Not even enough respect and security to acknowledge when someone says they are being cheeky.  I’m afraid of it turning really nasty, as it did at Highbury and Macmillan Close.  When it matters, they are not approachable and not accountable.  That is my belief born of experience.  Trying to keep it nice is just hypocrisy, it isn’t nice anyway to keep it that way.

Convulsed

My medication has been increased from something I was comfortable with to an amount which makes my limbs go haywire and I have minor convulsions every night.  I have mentioned this to the staff and they said they might think about changing my medication.  I was on 10 mg of olanzapine and it has been increased to 15.  I am taking procyclidine with it but it is making no difference. I wake several times a night, both too hot and angry, my arms and legs flailing and rigidity in my back.  I think that is my fault, that it is happening because I am not handling myself properly and that I need to take myself into deep relaxation and acceptance of the medication to let it work properly when I flail and get the convulsive feelings.  That is when I am not thinking that this medication and everything else I am not being protected from in here are a very brutal way to access my emotions.

Further Observations from Today’s Post

I’m listening to Michael Mish, Conversations With God.  I put it on to write in the library, but as soon as  I started to listen to it I didn’t want to write anymore, and it felt as if that was all I needed for everything to be all right with the world.  Is that all I’ve been missing, all I needed, in my hospital world, for everything to be OK?  Or would I have felt undermined in that also?

I was in the park this afternoon and had tea which was meant to be lunch.  I said I felt surrounded by ugliness.  But perhaps that is because I’m not going to the park, I’m going into town, where everyone looks at me and makes comments, and I’m sometimes not sure if the comments are meant for me or not.

I think Michael Mish would not make a lot of difference to my existence.  I think the importance of his music to me would be patronised away.  I wish it had been different.  I lost all my belongings on the night of the Occupy St Pauls eviction, including my computer.  If I had had it it would have had all my music on and my temporary tenancy might not have gone so badly.

I don’t want to feel calm and pacified and happy as I do listening to this, because there were other things I wanted to say that I forgot.

Like yesterday Alison said that racism wouldn’t be tolerated and the police would be called in.  It felt like the time when my brother and sister decided to gang up and throw stones at me when we were small, and my dad smacked them when they came in after keeping me inside drawing because I was upset, then he said he would do the same to e if I did anything like that.  First they stoned me then my dad said he would smack me as well, if necessary.

I’m confused.  But everything I say gets negated if I say anything, so blogging and the complaints system feels like the only way forward.  I daren’t say I’m sorry and I daren’t say you’ve hurt me.  Pride?  Fear?  Justified or not?  In an ordinary relationship it might be a bit clearer than it is in a place where they insist I am mentally ill.  Perhaps it wouldn’t mean much to anyone.  The touchstone and the handover information from recent and distant past would still be the same.  But  I am sure that to some degree I am as addicted to writing as they are to calling me mentally ill.  I will betray anyone, even myself.  I will cause all kinds of problems for myself rather than not write.  I feel as if I am not giving myself or anyone else a chance.

While I wasn’t writing I was thinking things like all facts are for interpretation, and how you work with them affects their outcome.  If you approach them with love and through love it is better than if you try to expose people.

A practical thing about the ward is that there are no full length mirrors, and the mirrors we have in our rooms – well, mine is so high I can only see down to my nose.  And it is warped.  The mirrors in the bathrooms are as well.  I’ve been thinking that not even having an accurate idea what you look like is not good for you, especially under such circumstances.  I was wondering if I am just betraying my vanity.  I used to think that the best mirror is the eyes of other people.

Tommy Boyd used to say as well that living in bedsits was bad for people’s mental health.  I suppose it is, but plenty of rich and privileged people have mental health problems as well and commit suicide.  I used to think that if the people were nice you could live happily anywhere.  After all, I recently experimented with a tent and was looking forward to tent dwelling for a few months, the adventure of it.  I know it could have worked and, in principle, I could have been happy that way.

Back to the mental health system.  They don’t say they are sorry for the major stuff that hurts but try to carry on regardless but still call you mentally ill.  I was thinking the other day that, when they are talking about an imbalance of the brain, which brain have they been using as the ideal and the model of perfect balance?  Are we designed to live in perfect balance unto ourselves?  I read a book ages ago about temperaments and thought I had left it behind in my thinking.  Temperaments and personality types.  How they all fit together in a loving respectful relationship.

It isn’t fair anyway to be talking about imbalances in the brain while leaving intolerable situations unaddressed.  One of the problems is said to be that the brain produces ‘too much’ dopamine. Why would the brain do that?  Dopamine is a problem solving chemical.  It releases too much dopamine when it is trying to deal with an unsolvable problem.  If a problem is supposed to be the responsibility of the authorities and the authorities are not doing their job, no wonder a problem is unsolvable.  Or if a person is working with insufficient information.  For example, the mental health authorities treating me as a risk without having told me that I had been untruthfully reported to have chased a neighbour up the street with a knife.  I was accused of things by neighbours who said that cannabis was OK in their house as far as they were concerned, who looked through the slats of my blinds to see what I was doing in my kitchen when the flat was in silence and before doing so said ‘what is she doing in there?

In spite of all that I am still going to continue to be handled by them as if I have a mental health problem and might be a risk.  So if the same situation arises in the community again I have no confidence that I can report it without being considered to be experiencing auditory hallucinations.  Certainly not without feeling so degraded by the prejudice I would encounter by the things that have been said about me that living with the problem would almost have been better.

There is a very sharp voiced manageress lady here who is having a business meeting in the lounge rather than in an office.  I have Napster up as loud as it will go but every time I get a wind of where I want to go her voice penetrates.  It is a little too sharp and a little to high to feel natural or comfortable.  I am among spiritual and mental magpies again.  She always conducts her business meeting in the lounge in this way.  The other week she and her colleague even conducted a job interview right in front of me with no apparent regard either for me or the interviewee.  I have never felt more as if people are trying to tell me I am not important, or not welcome.  It is really embarrassing and uncomfortable for me, as I am not doing a good job containing and hiding my distress.  Hence another rambling post that says nothing very deeply.  I am wondering if I am ever going to be free to write as it comes to me, or if I am always going to have to make do with the approximation I am permitted?  It makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t be writing at all.  If frustration is all I am going to encounter I wish I wasn’t writing, especially when it is so important to me to communicate well.  I am wondering if they can hear a certain flow developing in my typing ad are reacting to that.  That is how it appears.  I think they are trying very rudely to get rid of me.  They must have an office for their meetings.  It is the Mercure on George Street.  I’ve been embarrassed here before.  The woman on reception is very perfunctory in her welcome and looks down at the desk.

I was thinking about the racism thing and feeling Alison had a point and that I had missed an opportunity to deal with an issue. I don’t know if I am right or not.  I can’t think here.  They are going right on, not apologising or recognising my distress or offering to move into an office.  They are being really rude.  It is like wave after wave of provocative, spiritual sludge, deliberate.  As soon as I started to type again after a break of a few minutes she started to raise her voice even more.  My audio is right up.  It feels like deliberate sabotage.  As someone who is paying for a drink here and use of the internet I shouldn’t have to approach them.  My frustration and discomfort are obvious.  I feel as if I am being grabbed by the throat all the time.

Green Gartside, to be exact.  But my ears pricked up as soon as I heard ‘Scritti Politti’, because when I was at the Polytechnic of North London (now London Metropolitan University, I think) studying English, I was in a class with a lecturer called Pat Jackson (so we must have been studying pluralism as critical method.  I think we had to go for another than our main option, in the final year) and she told us she had heard a song which she thought was rubbish, but when she realised it was Scritti Politti she understood how intelligent it was and it made sense to her, or something like that, because the songwriter, or one of the songwriters, in the band had been one of her students.

I can’t remember who it was, if she mentioned his name.  I just did a Wikipedia search and it says they were in Camden but there is no mention of the Polytechnic of North London.  I didn’t look at the biographies of all the band members, only two.  They mention another Polytechnic up North and Art College or something.  I wonder if they have disowned PNL.

I might not have listened if the Jools Holland television programme wasn’t being advertised on the BBC TV iplayer site.  I haven’t listened for the past few weeks, even though I have meant to.  But there is a main feature advert, so my listening can hardly be called coincidence.

How exposed do I want to feel?  It is hard, when everytime I try to look at something that would make me vulnerable to say, lady sheepy upstairs opens her throat and utters.  It must be something to do with the violence, that they are able to do that.  The hysteria I feel at the invasion takes away my ownership of what I want to say.  And for me that feels mentally and psychologically dangerous.  These people are demons feeding on my human blood, sticking their fangs into my emotionally open and meditative throat.  Keeping it open by their constant, doglike behaviour.

As I was saying, how exposed do I want to feel?  The Wikipedia article says Green Gartside has worked with Kylie Minogue.  Kylie Minogue was on Jools Holland’s New Year Hootnanny programme.  Among other things they were doing their usual toilet stuff, and in her mix which made it obvious Kylie used the word I used to use as a child for faeces, ‘a-a’ (said like the first syllable of ‘apple’ twice), and she performed an appropriate body movement while leaning on the piano.  There was more in that programme, but I didn’t get to record it for some reason I can’t remember.  But where did she get it from, because she definitely had it and used it.

I’m looking at my ‘free speech’ tag and feeling guilty about exposing this, because I told Tommy Boyd he could do anything he wanted with anything I gave him.  But I didn’t mean make a show out of it for years, while I am still living under people who are psychically going for my tongue and leaving me struggling to breathe.  They just banged again, just now.  Three sharp bangs.  They do that when they feel a change in energy or something.  Since they do it when sleep approaches, every time, that is the only explanation I can find for it.  So understand something of my complete fear and desperation.  When I lose it I shout a them to shut up.  I just did, and one of them rapped again and another went and peed.  This is a regular pattern.  I’m beginning to get used to it and see it as normal and not gross, and feel as if these people could possibly be friends.  There is something wrong with my mind,. isn’t there?  I’m bombarded with it all the time, from the media and everywhere.  There is no refuge.  Is this brainwashing?  Indecently intimidating brainwashing and dumbing down, or what?  They shut their doors at me when I go in and out, but do all this to me over my flat.  I began to dream about how I wanted relationships in my new home to be, when I get it, and they did it then as well.  They are holding me hostage.  I’m in Plovdiv.  It might be stupid to give my exact address.  My leaders know.  Knowing this, and that they are leaving me here, or trying to woo me, makes me feel as sick as being here with these gross human beings, whom to call dogs might make me a target for the RSPCA for cruelty to the real thing.

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