Holocaust Day, essentially commemorates the worst excesses of hatred of difference in humanity through Nazi activities. But we must remember with sorrow and shame many other incidents of genocide, and attacks based on difference and we must not respond with equal hate.
In the preparation of news for this day this network was approached by the Holocaust Memorial Trust and from that approach came a story via Mel Close and the team at Disbility North West – Pete’s story – http://hmd.org.uk/…/sto…/hmd-2016-pete-disability-hate-crime.
70% see hate crime and do nothing
The real sadness we must share is that the survey by HMD suggested that 29% of respondents had specifically seen DHC committed, to which I responded by saying – I don’t think the figures in the survey come as any surprise, and in some ways they actually underline what we have been saying for a long time – that we need to see far more realistic numbers of disability, and indeed all other types of hate crimes being logged so that joint action can be taken.
The disappointment in the figures is that while 15% of the respondents to the survey undertaken by the Trust said they had seen a hate crime or incident against a disabled person nearly 70% of them admitted to doing nothing about it.
Media can help
So many times we hear criticism of police CPS, and even at times ourselves, for doing nothing, but for those of us closely involved in our work we say that all too often its easy to blame police and CPS for failures, but when communities and we ourselves don’t take action, how can they? We also say that the media are too quick to pick a serious story or incident, buy are not equal in promoting the vast areas of work being undertaken to challenge hate crime.
Third party reporting
In our work, particularly in the DRUK creating the mechanism for the successful 3rd Party ULDPO reporting centres where disabled people talk to and report incidents to disabled people, we keep pressing the message, as commented by the Trust that ‘Silence and Indifference in the face of discrimination and hatred allows persecution to take root’. This is a message the Disability Hate Crime Network and Disability Rights UK not just endorses but insists is imperative in the fight against Disability Hate Crime.
The Disability Hate Crime Network add the words of their logo which says ‘Silence is acceptance so we must speak loudly’
Forward from History
As an old Coventrian I was proud to be part of the Coventry Cathedral community, where of course on 15th November 1940 Provost Howard looked at the ruins of his beloved Coventry Cathedral which was destroyed by German bombs on the night before – the November 14th raid. The next day, he got stonemason Jock Forbes to chip out some words behind the wrecked high alter. Those words are there today and are the key words of the Coventry Litany – ‘Father Forgive’ but he qualified what some saw as a weak response by saying to the BBC that day ‘I mean we must not feed one act of hatred with another hate, but we must never forget the harm done and always challenge mans inhumanity to man.’
As one of the coordinators of the network I think I am able to say we all share that aim, and by reducing the chance of DHC by making everyone aware of our work is aimed at removing the view that disabled people are easy victims and that hate crime victims will receive fair justice.