As a mental health charity that strives to take a rights-based, intersectional and social justice-informed approach to our work around mental ill-health, trauma, and distress, we cannot ignore the impact of violent oppression, including the traumatic violence and oppression being experienced by Palestinian people under the siege of Gaza. As this catastrophic humanitarian crisis, violation of human rights, and loss of life continues, we are joining the global call for a ceasefire for the prevention of genocide in Gaza, as called for by the United Nations: we urge MPs to vote for a call for a ceasefire in the House of Commons tomorrow, and we stand in solidarity with people affected by the rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism and experiencing grief and vicarious trauma in the UK as a result of the extreme violence in the Middle East.
We echo what was written by Diversity & Ability, a social enterprise led by and for disabled people, in a statement posted on the 19th October, regarding the long-established occupation of and apartheid in Palestine:
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the last fortnight’s escalation of terror in the Middle East. We’re witnessing an unprecedented level of loss and violence, but it’s important to note that these losses reflect those that the Middle East has been facing for decades. The word “conflict” is being used a lot at the moment. But it’s inaccurate to call this “conflict” when Palestinian people and homes are, in fact, victims of colonialism and apartheid. To imply that we’re in the midst of an equitable dispute is to deny the long-established history of occupation, repression and genocide of the Palestinian people. (See Amnesty International’s report on Israel’s apartheid of Palestinians to learn more).
With that in mind, we join the global call for an end to the violence and massacre of innocent people. As a disabled people’s organisation, we know how these atrocities – war, terrorism, and war crimes – particularly affect the disabled community, as well as ensuring a legacy of disablism for decades to come. And this is especially the case for those who face multiple forms of discrimination; particularly, in this instance, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and racism. It’s both terrifying and tragically unsurprising to see the seismic impact of this discrimination and violence in the UK. But the rise in UK incidents of both Islamophobia and antisemitism feels like a visceral mirroring of the fact that conflict in the Middle East is the direct and deliberate result of UK colonialism and policy over the last few hundred years and beyond. We must acknowledge our role, as British people, in perpetuating the violence of our colonial history, condemn all future violence, and continue to fight for equity, justice and safety.”