Friday, 5 February 2021

Attacks on Uighur Muslims and Rohingya Muslims

Systematic Attacks on Uighur Muslim Women
Please note:  This blog post contains adult themes and is NOT suitable for children.  

News has been coming out of China about attacks on Uighur Muslims in China.  First, the mainstream news outlets reported that Uighur Muslims were sent to "re-education camps" within China.  


Now, we are receiving news of Uighur Muslim women being attacked, sexually assaulted,  gang-raped and tortured in the "re-education camps".  Other Muslim women may also be experiencing these attacks.  I am very disturbed by this, and I am sure you are as well.  


If you have followed my blogs and the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence, you will be aware that I am passionate about Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and that I frequently blog about attacks on Black people, particularly those involved in police officer-related incidents.  These are happening with alarming frequency, and Black people in the UK are 50% more likely to die in officer-related incidents than any other group.  


I am always saying that each of these incidents is another reason to practice Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and, of course, they all are.  


However, there is so much suffering in the world - all different countries, all different cultural backgrounds, experience violence.  Many of them experience extreme violence.  


In conflict situations, rape is commonplace - it is used as a method of subduing the population.  


One woman, Tursunay Ziawudun, has broken the silence on systematic rape and torture of Uighur Muslim women. 

Go here for more from the BBC.  

Go here for more from Daily Sabah.  

Go here for more from The Guardian.  


You will also recall the reports of genocide being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Burma/Myanmar.  


We must do all we can to stop these atrocities being committed against Muslims, and to end violence in our own communities.  This is one more reason to practice NVC.  


Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Sibling Rivalry in These Troubled Times

In these coronavirus covid-19 lockdown days, many parents and children are struggling.  Nobody knows when the schools will reopen, or whether parents should send their children back to school.  Not being able to go outside or interact with their friends is creating stress for children and families.  Conflicts between children are occurring more frequently as everyone is on edge.  And outside of the watchful gaze of teachers and educators, some children are more at risk of violence or abuse.  


According to this article from the New York Times, in the past, families that had several children who were close in age had a higher infant mortality rate than other families.  I wonder whether this is still true today in cultures and/or countries that have unusually large families.  


Sibling rivalry is something those of us who have siblings have all probably experienced.  Again, I wonder whether rivalry in families and in societies, such as China, where single children are the norm, is expressed outside the home.  

Sibling rivalry can help children to learn to navigate relationships.  It can also have the opposite effect, and can be vicious.  


Nonviolent Communication (NVC) can be an effective way to address and resolve conflict between and among siblings.  Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication, has witnessed children as young as four using NVC effectively.  NVC is based on empathy, which is defined within NVC as honouring feelings and needs - both ours and other people's.  


For more about NVC, go here for six short films with Marshall Rosenberg, in which he explains the basics of NVC.  


For more about how to use NVC with children, go here for my ebook, Affirmations for Parents.  


What are your methods of resolving conflicts between siblings and/or other children?  Please comment below and please share this post with your networks.  Thanks.  

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Dealing with Lockdown Loneliness

Loneliness courtesy of NYT
Many of us are having to cope with loneliness during the  coronavirus lockdown.  Not being able to meet up with friends, family members or loved ones can be challenging.  It can be even more difficult for those who are self-isolating.  Some suggestions for dealing with loneliness include: 
  •  Embrace the technology!  Stay in touch using video technology, such as Skype or Zoom;  

    • Plan your day and stick to a schedule;  
    • Stay active.  Even a short walk every day can help; 
    • Read online articles (like this one) for fun and to increase your knowledge base; 
    • Join a Meetup film group or Facebook watch party to view films online with others;
    • Avoid watching too many news programmes about Covid-19, as too much information can be confusing and increase our stress levels.
Below, I have listed some resources that can help us to cope with loneliness and isolation.  


Personally, I find that helping others is the best way to feel connected - and useful.  That's why I have posted these coronavirus resources.   


 What to Do If You Feel Lonely during the Coronavirus Outbreak (advice from the NHS) 

How Singles Can Fight Loneliness during Social Isolation  

How to Cope with Loneliness during the Coronavirus Pandemic 


Loneliness during Coronavirus;  


Reducing Loneliness among Migrant and Ethnic Minority People

Get Support from a Mental Health Charity (advice from the NHS); 


Find a local NHS urgent mental health helpline (England only).  

Please share this with your networks and please comment below.  Thanks.  

Monday, 2 November 2020

Success Strategies: What's Haunting YOU?

Beautiful, black heavily melanated black cat











    In this show, we discussed some of the issues that have come out of the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2020 and previous years.  Go here to listen to the show

In case you have not heard or read them, go here for Readings from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2020.  


For the bIogging carnival, I spoke with Ken Fero, filmmaker whose film, Injustice, the police tried to ban back in 2001.  Now, in 2020, these issues still haunt us.  Go here to listen to our conversation

Ceri Buckmaster read from her blog post, "A Letter on the Anniversary of the Shooting of Cherry Groce".  Cherry Groce's shooting has parallels with the killing of Breonna Taylor earlier this year. 


So what's haunting YOU?

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Ceri and Zhana Discuss NVC

I am so glad Ceri Buckmaster is now a Certified Trainer in NVC (Nonviolent Communication).  She has supported me so much with issues in my life and also supported my practice of NVC.  Ceri has so many skills in terms of connecting with empathy towards ourselves and others.  So I was very interested in holding this conversation.  

Often, we don't want to contact, or communicate with, the parts of ourselves which are in pain or distress.  We also talked about our different conditioning as Black woman and a white woman, and how our feelings and needs are conditioned by race.   

If you want to learn more about NVC and cultivating self-empathy, have a listen.  

Go here for details about Ceri's next NVC Foundation Training.  

Go here for details about Ceri's Self-Empathy Training.  

Plus go here to listen to Ceri, other bloggers and myself read blogs from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence

This conversation was recorded about six weeks ago.  I also mention a forthcoming discussion of the representation of Black people/people of African heritage on British TV currently.  I have some serious questions about why there is so much programming about the Black experience on UK TV now, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, which was watched all over the world.  (This is not just about the programming during October, which is Black History Month in the UK).  You can listen to this discussion here:  "What's Haunting YOU?".   

Please share this with your networks and please leave your comments below.  Thanks.  

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Readings from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2020

Ceri Buckmaster
This year, we are doing something different - celebrating the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence by reading some of the blogs aloud.  I am very honoured to be joined by NVC Certified Trainer Ceri Buckmaster, poet and educator Carla Cherry and blogger and radio host Zelda Speaks in reading blog posts from this year and previous years. 

For each blog, I have included the link to the original post, except when it has not yet been published.   



Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence - Zhana - read by Zhana 

A Letter on the Anniversary of the Shooting of Cherry Groce - Ceri Buckmaster - read by Ceri Buckmaster 


For the Lovers - Carla Cherry - Read by Carla Cherry 


The readings are in two parts.  Go here to listen to these posts.  

A Little about NVC & Me - Zhana - read by Zhana 


I Never Knew I Was Violent - Zelda Speaks - read by Zelda Speaks 


You Are Never Going to Be Loved – Lady Blu - read by Zelda Speaks   


Teen Dies in Front of 50 Classmates - Zhana - read by Zelda Speaks 


 Go here to listen to these posts.  

Please share this with your networks and please leave your comments below.  Thanks.  


Go here for more from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2020.  





Friday, 16 October 2020

A Letter on the Anniversary of the Shooting of Cherry Groce

Cherry Groce
Cherry Groce was shot in the back by police in Brixton in 1985, and died some years later as a result of the shooting. 

I note that Ken Fero has said that the children of those shot by the police – like Cherry Groce – or who died in encounters with the police were left without any support, and the experience Lee Lawrence, the son of Cherry Groce, echoes this (see below). However, Ceri has written this letter to Mr. Lawrence to let him know that she does care, that people do care about him and his mother. 

Ceri also reflects on the parallels between the shooting of Ceri Groce and the killing of Breonna Taylor.   

Ceri Buckmaster 

Lee Lawrence
This project of letters is inspired by ‘My Dungeon Shook’, a letter written by James Baldwin in
1963 to his 15-year-old nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation.

In the letter, James Baldwin writes to his nephew - also called James - about the times he is growing up in and the societal challenges younger James is facing. It’s a moving letter of love and encouragement to foster resilience and clearsightedness.

Taking this letter as a starting point, this project is an invitation to write a letter to someone, (a loved one, a colleague, a politician, a section of the community, an organisation, a business leader, a celebrity, an adversary, an opponent) on the anniversary of a historical event.

So, here is my letter to Lee Lawrence, on the 35 year anniversary of the shooting of his mother Cherry Groce in Brixton, South London (28th September 1985) and the six-month anniversary of the murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.


Dear Mr Lawrence,

I hope you are well, as well as you can be with all that is happening and all that you have had to deal with in your life.

I recently read the article about your life and your mother’s life in the Guardian. The same day I read that, I found out about the historical settlement of $12m dollars to the family of Breonna Taylor for her murder back in 13th March 2020. When I heard about the settlement, I wondered what it must have been like for you to hear all about the tragedy of Breonna murder on that terrible night in March through a ‘No-knock warrant’ raid. You must be reliving so much through each and every similar event that happens around the world.

I am grateful to hear more about your experience and there are so many things that stand out from the account I read. I was very sad to hear how no one at school asked you how you were coping with the stress of your mum being shot and how you didn’t have any support to integrate the trauma.

I really got how bewildering and hurtful it was that your mum’s story got so little airtime and exposure leading you to wonder why no one seemed to be interested. It’s like you were saying Say Her Name back in the late 80s and early 90s, way before hashtags and social media. I can only imagine the loneliness that no-one caring must have lead you into.

I’m struck by how many years you have plugged away to try to get justice and that when your mum sadly died in 2011 of kidney failure, the pathologist’s report that the kidney failure was linked to the shooting triggered an Inquest. Then in 2014, 29 years after the shooting, Southwark Coroner’s court found that the badly administered raid and the shooting contributed to your mum’s death. In 2016, the High Court ruled that the Met had a duty of care to you and your brothers and sisters.

I’m recounting this back to you to show I am listening and tracking all the twists and turns of the case. There are of course many more details and years and years of your life dedicated to honouring your mum’s life and trying to carve out a path for yourself.

I am inspired and very grateful that you have invested so much effort to create positive outcomes from this experience, such as the programme to support people who have been traumatised as a result of wrongful police actions, setting up the Cherry Groce foundation, working as a voluntary consultant for the police and engaging in a restorative process in order to be heard by the Met. But I hear the despair that the system is broken as there isn’t the will to fix it and you are still waiting for recommendations to be implemented.

What I’m hoping to achieve from this letter is to raise awareness of what you have been through, so that white people (like myself) in the UK don’t think that police violence is something that just happens in the US, that it is an unresolved blight in our country and there is much work to be done to change police attitudes and the white general public’s lack of care and attention, so that no family ever has to go through again what you have gone through.

With my very best wishes to you and your family.

Yours sincerely,

Ceri Buckmaster 

Go here for more about the shooting of Cherry Groce and the reaction from Lee Lawrence from the BBC

Go here for more from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2020.  

Please leave your comments below and please share this blog.  Thanks.