Let us be less quick to judge others

SITTING there at the council meeting, one could not help but be moved by the passion and anger with which many councillors spoke at length and to applause about the fearsome events at Orgreave — ‘it was abject fear’ — during the year long miners’ strike so

They related how the police concluded someone was a rioter because they wore jeans and trainers! It was, indeed, a very dark, difficult and fearful year for miners and their families in spite of Rotherham Council, people, churches and traders rallying round to provide what help they could. As was rightly said, “injustice is not diminished by the passage of time”. Quite involuntarily though, I could not help but contrast that passion, anger AND call for justice by councillors of different political persuasions with their coolness when confronted with the dreadful truth about CSE in Rotherham; and the council leader’s call earlier in this meeting in response to a question about past CSE events that we needed to move on, focus on the future and improvements being made.

In drawing this comparison, I do not seek to diminish in any way the wrongs and injustices of Orgreave nor the improvements being made post-CSE, I merely ask for some reflection on — (a) how much more abject the fear and damage to survivors of CSE and their families and how much greater their passion and anger as the victims here were children, their abuse was allowed to continue and grow unchecked for 14+ years, and only revealed some 12 months ago; (b) how even greater was our failure, as corporate parents, in respect of our ‘looked after’ child victims, and; (c) how dangerous are our judgements of people based on the way they dress etc, particularly when it leads us to think that girls and young women ‘are asking for it’.

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I hope that such reflections enable us all to be a little less quick to judge others and a little more engaged, empathetic and mindful of each others’ safety and wellbeing.  

The awful media pictures and reports of refugees and their families at the Hungarian razor wired fences and Eastern Europe’s unwillingness to meet their obligations under the United Nations Human Rights Convention are in stark contrast to the kind and welcoming response their refugees received during the Hungarian Uprising in 1956.

I recall that many mining families in Rotherham took in Hungarian refugees. How sad that Hungary should forget this and choose to erect razor-wired fences rather than offer a helping hand to today’s refugees.

Chris Peters, Broom