A name many of us may have heard, not in a great way either…
I still remember the morning when I woke up and checked my twitter and one video kept popping up over and over, and over, again.
I won’t lie, till this day I haven’t watched the full clip, I can barely get past the first 15-20 seconds without having this sickening feeling at the pit of my stomach, this is a video I really don’t think I can ever forget.
To the people who have not heard of Jamal, the video shows a young 15 year-old boy walking on a field in school and a bunch of bullies approach and physically assault him. There was one boy, in particular, who drags Jamal by the neck and pours water over him, over his face, his forehead, the video shows Jamal being pinned down and being told he would be drowned; he seems to be subject to water boarding.
I just want you to process that, I have not given any background on Jamal, yet already I have that sickening feeling because bullying in any form is not acceptable…..Seeing Jamal’s face in that video has haunted many people including myself, this is a face of someone who looks so lost and defeated; his body language spoke for him when maybe his voice couldn’t be heard.
Jamal and his family have come from Syria, they had come to seek safety and to escape war and brutality. To then have this happen to him? Therefore, this is why the story touched me more, how can someone suffer so much; I cannot imagine what he must have gone through. Thinking he was finally safe to then be abused like that? Jamal survived Homs, go on – search it online and see what he survived! He then had to survive at school, a child had to survive in a place that should be a place of safety.
I started to read more of this story as I wanted to know more about it, to try and understand what had happened, and why. I saw the video on Tuesday 27th November 2018, however this incident had occurred on 25th October 2018; the video was shown a month after it happened and allegedly Jamal had been bullied before this. This did not appear to be a one-off incident – I read in the papers a previous incident, on 7th October, occurred where Jamal suffered a wrist injury. Yet, no further action was taken and it has been said this was not connected to latest incident. That said, Jamal was attacked when he was, due to an arm being in a cast, physically vulnerable, unable to defend himself. Smaller than the other boy, and with a broken arm, he was assaulted and filmed by others.
The next day someone sent me a video of another victim from the same school having her hijab being ripped off, this turned out to be Jamal’s sister. I have since read in newspapers this is currently being investigated.
I want to just go back to Jamal, and of the individual who was assaulting him. We all know how wonderful and dangerous the internet can be, especially for sharing information. Within a few hours of the video of Jamal circulating, one of the boys in the video had been identified and his details shared including his other social media profiles.
I want to make one thing very clear, I do not condone any form of bullying whatsoever, I never shared this boy’s details or his picture, or anything that would put him at risk. I did, however, see posts about this alleged bully’s Facebook page –
The profile had posts shared about the far right. I remember as I was scrolling through this boy’s profile feeling absolute rage and sickened. If the posts and views of the likes of ‘Tommy Robinson’ (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) and Britain First were being followed by young school boys, then something was definitely wrong. You could immediately see how this boy felt and what his views were, the worst thing was after reading some more news I found out his mother was a convicted racist. She was prosecuted after spitting at a restaurant owner and calling him a p*ki and a terrorist.
Maybe this explains her son’s views, but maybe he had other influences, including some online ones.
Whilst newspapers were reporting this incident someone had kindly set up a fundraising page, within a few hours it had raised thousands of pounds from hundreds of people around the country and then people were donating from other countries! Every time I checked the page, the amount was increasing, and the amount of support and love people were sending to Jamal and his family was so heart-warming. I have always said love will overcome hate, and this was a perfect example of it.
As with anything positive comes something negative. It felt like the more support and love Jamal was getting, the more the Far Right were getting restless until suddenly, out of nowhere, a story came out that Jamal had supposedly bullied some girls at the school prior to this incident.
Just to clarify, the person ‘reporting’ the story was ‘Tommy Robinson’ aka Stephen Yaxley- Lennon, he had shown some messages from a mum who had said Jamal had bullied her daughter. The post by Stephen has since been deleted and no evidence has been shown to support this happened. At one point people were saying the mother of the girl said her daughter had been bullied on a separate incident, but she did not get any media attention whereas Jamal had. It is now known, and admitted by him, that Yaxley-Lennon did not check his source! He was so keen, too keen, to run with the information without checking if it was true or not. Why would a ‘reporter’, and adult, risk causing a child further injury, harm to a child’s reputation?
This was followed by a few more videos/posts by Stephen talking about Jamal and asking why people were donating to the fundraising page – why not? Free country; free choice; freedom to express love, care, concern; freedom to offer financial support as well as sympathy. The assaulted girl’s actual mother had needed to justify what had happened to her child because of Yaxley-Lennon’s actions – to have to bring all that up again, and to have to ask people to stop using photos of her daughter must have caused distress to that family, again. But, the mother still found it in herself to state Jamal had not assaulted her daughter – if only Stephen the ‘reporter’ had checked his source another family would have been saved more upset.
Yet again another post was put up of Jamal by Stephen stating another parent had come forward where apparently Jamal had bullied their daughter, turned out this was false and yet again Stephen deleted this and posted a video admitting it was a lie.
Since Tommy/Stephen decided to get involved he was sent a letter by Jamal’s lawyer advising they would be pursuing legal action against him due to him sharing false information. Personally, this has been a long time coming and I wish them well in pursuing this!
Although some posts had been deleted the damage was already done, the amount of abuse I saw people directing towards Jamal from the Far Right was absolutely sickening. It was as if the more money the donation page made the angrier they got, they just couldn’t handle it.
As I predicted, pretty soon Tommy/Stephen set up some fundraising pages for the alleged bully, to be honest I am still baffled as to why he would have set up a donation page for an alleged bully who was caught physically abusing someone – the evidence was there for all to see, so what message is Yaxley-Lennon giving?
Whilst this was going on and the alleged bully’s details were being leaked and he was receiving threats (which I completely condemn) Jamal asked people to leave the boy alone, even after all the trauma he went through he was still trying to look out for the other boy and protecting him.
I understand this is currently going through court so it is a delicate subject, but I did not want this to be something which is spoken about once and then forgotten about. Jamal’s story touched me deeply as I felt it did with others, due to his background and his fighting spirit after the story broke. Jamal did not ask for the donations, in fact I have been told he was so overwhelmed with the love shown, and is so thankful to everyone.
The fact that some people have tried to tar this story with such negativity, use other bullying stories to play tit for tat, shows how envious and narrow minded they can be. Jamal’s story has never been about one incident being more important than any other, which some people have tried to say. I have since come across videos showing white children being bullied by Asian/Black bullies, these posted by Far Right accounts. The crazy thing is they think we wouldn’t care about the victims? Why? Because they think Jamal has got more attention as his alleged bully is white and we care more? (I don’t need to answer this, children are children.)
As I mentioned previously this is an on-going court case and so I am careful about what I can/can’t say; what I can say is Jamal is so, so thankful and grateful for all the love and support he’s been getting. I have always said, Love always overcomes hate.