|(Article and photograph from: http://www.voice-online.co.uk)|
A FORMER race adviser to Ken Livingstone has sensationally claimed that inner city violence has killed more black youths than British soldiers in Afghanistan.
Lee Jasper, who was one of ex-London mayor Livingstone’s closest aides until he stepped down in 2008, said that the black community’s experience over the last decade of serious violence and murder was comparable to that of a country at war.
Writing on his official website, Jasper said: ‘The reality is that there is what can be reasonably described as a ‘small war’ going on within our communities.
Since 2001 up to the 4th July 2011, a total of 375 British forces personnel or MOD [Ministry of Defence] civilians have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001. Of these, 331 were killed as a result of hostile action.
‘Over the same period, 298 black men and 67 black women were stabbed to death. 228 black men and 14 black women were shot dead. That’s a total of 607 black people murdered over the last decade. There is a strong view among black communities that if such levels of serious youth violence and murder were occurring in white middle class communities this issue would be a matter of national concern.’
However, the Ministry of Defence told The Voice that the figure for soldiers killed was 394. And according to Home Office statistics covering the same period for the UK, 636 black and minority ethnic people were murdered.
Jasper’s comments came in the wake of the tragic stabbing of a teenager on Boxing Day. Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, was killed after a fight broke out at a Foot Locker store on London’s Oxford Street, which police described as “the busiest place in the United Kingdom on the busiest shopping day.”
Eleven people have been bailed to date in mid-January, Scotland Yard said.
Jasper said: ‘There is no real strategy or understanding from central Government or the media about the crisis we face or how best to deal with it.
As a result, our suffering is largely in silence. There is little empathy for our plight and no acceptance that the drivers of violent crime, unemployment, poor schools, bad housing, the fear of crime and the dysfunctional families that result, are in need of urgent attention.’
But Patsy Mckie of Manchester-based campaign group Mothers Against Violence said that the black community has to take responsibility for stopping the tide of violence hitting our streets.
She told The Voice: “I believe that what we are asking the Government to do they can’t do. We are the ones who live in the community, we are the black people whose children are being killed, and most of the time it’s by black young men. This should be a wake up call for us. How many more are we going to sit down and let die? It’s our responsibility to do something about it."
“If we are really going to stop what is happening young people have to know that black people care, and I really believe that they’re not seeing that.”
She added: “Fear and concern is very important, because that’s a start, but it shouldn’t stop there. Our young people see that we care enough to do something about it. Most of us are thinking about ourselves or our jobs, or what we have to buy. We’re not really thinking about our children. Money is taking priority over our children, and we need to start opening our eyes and seeing that.”