Victory

Uncensor British Palestinian Award Winning Schoolgirl!

This petition made change with 7,131 supporters!


Thank you for your tremendous support for this petition to allow a young woman's right to speak out.  The Speakers Trust have added the video back to their site and it has been viewed by over 85,000 people on YouTube and Vimeo!

The censorship of Leanne Muhamad's video is indicative of a wider censorship of Palestinian issues and the punishment of anyone who speaks out for Palestine.  To show your support for freedom of speech for Palestine, please read, sign and share our new petition at
https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-freedom-of-speech-on-palestine.

Is the voice of a fifteen year old girl that dangerous?

Leanne Muhamad of Wansted High School won the "Speak out" challenge after giving an impressive performance to enthusiastic applause. However one day later, following complaints from extremist anti-Palestinian blogger Edgar Davidson to the Speakers Trust (the charity that trains the students to take part in the Speak Out Challenge) the Jack Petchey Foundation and Wanstead High School, the judging panel have now decided “unanimously” against sending Leanne Mohamad through to the final rounds of the competition.

Julie Holness, CEO of the Speakers Trust, alleged that Ms Mohamad had breached “two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training”. She said: “There are two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training: the speech must have a positive and uplifting message - in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation [and] a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset.

Given that the so-called "two fundamantal rules" are not written as Ms Holness shared them - and also were taken out of context - it is not stated anywhere about an "uplifting message" nor is it stated anywhere about "insulting others" nor any reference to "propaganda" in the topics recommended: Topics (note not rules) should be presented in a positive/constructive manner even if the subject is of a more serious or hard-hitting nature.

How Leanne was supposed to raise the death of her baby cousin who was trapped in Gaza and lacked basic medical aid due to the Apartheid blockade, positive and uplifting is macabre. She did manage to make it a part of her plea for peace and his passing has since been used against her in a cruel and malign fashion. This young person is still a minor and her cousin's death has been very upsetting and yet there are those who believe it is acceptable to slaughter thousands of children, imprison thousands more and in Britain at least censor a young person from speaking out about it in an event designed specifically for young people to speak out!

However controversial the subject, speakers are warned never to offend the audience. Given that the audience gave her a standing ovation and rousing standing ovation at that - there was no signal of offence reported or given, and given that she asked for Birds of Peace instead of Bombs and an uplifting message to free her people; as well as summarizing the traumatic past from which she at her young age has escaped; there is nothing to offend a normal audience, and nowhere is the term "others' mentioned. Also given that the speech was previously, marked voted on and won in another heat - by another panel of judges, and coached by teachers from Speakers Trust - all with no comments or remarks about its eligibility - as there was no offence and they thought it was constructive and positive - it is curious that a new panel voted against it, effectively silencing and deleting the previous panel's decision and also silencing a schoolgirl's story and plea for peace and freedom.

The fact that both the speech and also the video were deleted from record coincides with the deleting of a young girl's story and passion, and also the history and recognition of an entire population and their identity and plight.  It contradicts both the basic rights of freedom of speech, the spirit and ethos of the competition, and the democracy of this country. We ask that this speech is reinstated to the competition and given the time and respect it and all those who wrote, supported or coached it deserves.

Leanne has suffered upset and abuse, threats and personal attacks without any protection from this body that describes itself as one that empowers young people and gives them a voice. We the undersigned would see her reinstated and her story widely told.

UPDATE -

After accusing 15 year old Leanne of spreading propaganda and giving grist to the racist mill attacking her, the Foundation changed their story in a statement that blames the VICTIM of the abuse for the abuse instead of the perpetrators; and stated in an effort “to protect her“ that they removed her. Therefore, instead of standing up to the bullying and abuse from the same Zionists whose manipulations and complaints led to her expulsion from the competition; they censored the victim of the abuse and instead of simply turning off the racist notifications on the site they removed the victim and silenced her.

By expelling her from the competition they sided with the racist bullies and abusers.. They also over-ruled their own judges and mentors, the teachers and trainers, all of whom encouraged, edited, rehearsed and supported this young girl as she honed her speech WITHOUT ONE complaint or question mark over content.

How is this meant to empower and embolden bright thoughtful young people? What message does this give? Will this encourage others to Speak Up or Speak Out?

This statement has raised more questions than it has answered.This brave young woman has suffered abuse and name calling from the powerful far right Zionist lobby accusing her, a young Palestinian Semite of Anti Semitism and trying to silence her voice.

It is wonderful to see the support of so many humanitarians rallying to her cause to be heard, we are grateful for the supportive words from many, including the prominent Jewish human rights activist Norman Finkelstein….

”I find this episode appalling. What's going on across the pond? Have the Brits lost all their marbles? If a Jewish girl memorialized her family who perished in the Nazi holocaust, would she be disqualified on the ground that her presentation wasn't uplifting or might have offended a Teutonic nationalist? My goodness, not even a diminutive Winston Churchill would have passed muster with these judges. I once appeared on UK's Hard Talk to debate the Israel-Palestine topic. The presenter wouldn't let me speak. One viewer called the program "Hard to Talk." Maybe this competition should be rechristened, Speak Out--At Your Peril!“

 



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