The independent London newspaper

I was horrified by the conduct of the media at the Nazanin protest

07 December, 2017

• I AM a British Bangladeshi and I am absolutely horrified at the conduct of the media last weekend where a group of peaceful protesters were supporting the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a Camden resident who has been imprisoned in Iran, and is separated from her baby and husband.

It is absolutely the choice of, and a basic human right for, people to speak out about what they feel passionate and moved about and they were doing it with the support of their local MP, who happens to be Tulip Siddiq.

Yes, the niece of the prime minister of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh, whom we all know about anyway, winning Hampstead and Kilburn with an unimaginable majority and whom you may also know was told off by the Speaker of the House in parliament for leaving the chamber during a long session of debates to eat (shock horror!) while heavily pregnant.

You will no doubt have watched the Channel 4 report covering last weekends events at the rally for Nazanin, as it has been the talk of the town, and we all know the view we took personally on the bits of the conversation aired to the public.

Tulip Siddiq was asked about a man arrested in Bangladesh – for? I don’t know what, and who later has transpired is not a British citizen as claimed.

What galled me was a suggestion that “a phone call” from Tulip Siddiq could fix it.

Bangladesh is an independent state. The very suggestion that a British MP could influence the decisions of Bangladesh’s government with one phone call, regardless of who their relatives may be, is offensive and absurd.

You don’t have to believe that any country is perfect to show some respect for its status as a democracy in which decisions are taken by its own elected representatives.

Those suggesting to the contrary may want to pause and think about their own prejudices when discussing the human rights situation in Bangladesh. I am offended and its things like this that add to prejudice and division.

In addition I’m confused as to why this totally unrelated subject would be a focus of an interview at a rally organised for an Iranian woman who lives in West Hampstead totally disrespecting the reason why so many people had gathered there in the first place.

Labour, Regent’s Park ward
Cabinet Member for Safer Communities


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