My Life in 2020

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Depression, BLM and Facebook

I still can’t shake off being depression but Facebook isn’t helping due to people not educating themselves therefore doing their best to make me look bad. Sadly it’s much to do with Black Lives Matter which people think I’m not getting it over racism, white supremecy and how black people are generally treated by police.

I’m not stupid or ignorant I am fully aware of racism and not just towards black people. For example, a favourite complaint is about immigrants coming to the UK for our benefits and NHS. I know there is truth in this as I’ve seen it with my own eyes in South East England but not all immigrants are like that.

There are East Europeans in North East England who are hard working, pay their taxes and make N.I. (national insurance) payments so they are paying into ‘the system’. Why should they suffer racism when they are working and paying their dues?

There aren’t so many ethnic groups in the area we live but again they work hard too. The gypsies/travellers aren’t very popular either and I understand why yet the ones I’ve got to know aren’t all bad. Some have been honest about the trouble they have been in but are trying to turn their lives around. It’s not easy for them but the ones I’ve got to know have been respectful and honest. I used to spend quite a bit of time at one chapel in the circuit and some of the gypsies helped out around the place with such things as repairs. If I was spending time in the chapel they would always make a point of coming to me for a chat. It helped me to understand them better.

However, on the other side of the coin, black people need to accept responsibility for their own actions. George Floyd whose death started up BLM (peaceful) protests had a criminal past but found faith so should have had the support of all people. It’s also terrible he died because of a police officer but one point people are missing is statistically more white people die at the hands of the police. They will argue that it is because there are more white people but this is taken into account. A police officer killing a black person causes an uproar and in this case four officers are facing charges. A white person dies and nothing happens to the officer so isn’t that racism towards white people.

It frustrates me that when a white person dies because of the police it is rarely in the news but if it’s a black person dies there is uproar. They miss the point that all lives matter not just black lives. Yes I do understand the white supremecy point but not all white people are like that. Why should the average white person be tarred with the same brush?

I understand why black people are making a stand but the problem is it’s only black people who deserve equality. What about all the ethnic groups who have been treated badly by white people?

Is it okay for Native Americans, Aborigines and Maoris to name three groups to be treated less than equal to white people?

No, they deserve equal rights as well.

If a death is to do with the KKK then yes I agree it is disgusting and white supremecy is a major part of it. But what about racism from ethnic groups?

Why is that called being judgemental instead of racism?

My husband and I have suffered racism and threats of violence and potentially death. What about the racism towards Jewish people?

Is that okay?

Do people seriously believe all racism is aimed at black people?

We don’t see asian people starting up Asian Lives Matter or Jewish people starting up Jewish Lives Matter. It’s like saying the Holocaust didn’t really happen and there are people who believe that.

As far the white sypremecy slave trade, well a black American has done her research which is in the internet arena. The slave trade was actually started by black West Africans and Ghanians and wasn’t abolished until after the UK and USA abolished it. Why are people choosing to ignore that fact?

I’ve been ignored each time I have made that point. Don’t people like or accept that black people are equally to blame for the slave trade?

What is the problem with accepting all ethnic groups lives matter?

Isis don’t care what colour a person is when they commit acts of terrorism so why on earth can’t all groups come together to end racism and inequally instead of putting black people on a pedestal?

Outrage

The following article has outraged me by the blatant racism of an Asian lady who has been promoted on the grounds of making a lawful comment and allowed to share her views. Any white person who made a comment like hers would have been called a racist so why is different if you’re not white?

Cambridge University backs academic who tweeted ‘White Lives Don’t Matter’ and PROMOTES her to professor after she received barrage of abuse and death threats

  • Dr Priyamvada Gopal was hit by a wave of abusive messages and death threats  
  • The academic tweeted: ‘I’ll say it again. White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives.’
  • Cambridge University defended rights of academic to express lawful opinions 

By Bhvishya Patel For Mailonline

Published: 17:04, 25 June 2020 | Updated: 10:43, 26 June 2020

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The University of Cambridge has spoken out in support of one of its lecturers who was hit by a wave of abusive messages and death threats for tweeting ‘White Lives Don’t Matter’. Dr Priyamvada Gopal, 51, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Churchill College, took to the social media platform on Tuesday evening to write: ‘I’ll say it again. White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives.’ However the controversial message, which has since been deleted by Twitter, was met with a barrage of outrage, with many people responding both publicly and privately with death threats and racist abuse.

A petition titled ‘Fire Cambridge Professor for Racism’ was also launched on the petition site change.org on Wednesday demanding that Dr Gopal be fired by the university for the comment.    Dr Priyamvada Gopal, 51, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Churchill College, was met by a wave of death threats after her message on Tuesday+5

  •  Dr Priyamvada Gopal, 51, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Churchill College, was met by a wave of death threats after her message on TuesdayThe Cambridge University professor took to Twitter to write: 'll say it again. White Lives Don't Matter. As white lives'+5

The Cambridge University professor took to Twitter to write: ‘ll say it again. White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives’

Dr Gopal later shared some of the hate speech she had received, including from a  man sending her a picture of a noose and writing: ‘We are coming for you you n***er loving piece of s*it’.  

As well as sharing some of the worst abuse she has received, Dr Gopal who is also a journalist and activist – announced that on Wednesday night, the university promoted her to a full Professorship. She added: ‘I would also like to make clear I stand by my tweets, now deleted by Twitter, not me. They were very clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people. My Tweet said whiteness is not special, not a criterion for making lives matter. I stand by that.’        

Following the torrent of abusive messages, the Russel Group University defended the academic and deplored the attacks she has faced since her tweet.  A statement released by the university read: ‘The University defends the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions, which others might find controversial. [It] deplores in the strongest terms abuse and personal attacks. These attacks are totally unacceptable and must cease.’ Cambridge University (pictured is Churchill College) said it defended the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions, which others might find controversial+5

Cambridge University (pictured is Churchill College) said it defended the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions, which others might find controversial

Dr Gopal later explained on social media that she was 'clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people'

Dr Gopal later explained on social media that she was ‘clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people’ 

Stand-up comedian Nish Kumar came out in support of the academic and said it was 'awful seeing the hard right mob descend' Dr Gopal

Stand-up comedian Nish Kumar came out in support of the academic and said it was ‘awful seeing the hard right mob descend’ Dr Gopal

Meanwhile, the Cambridge branch of the University and College Union (UCU), also showed their solidarity with Dr Gopal. The union wrote: ‘Solidarity with Priyamvada Gopal – being targeted with vile sexist and racist abuse for speaking up against white supremacists. ‘We are proud to be your colleagues both on the picket line and off it. BlackLivesMatterSolidarity.’              

Many colleagues and students have since expressed solidarity with Dr Gopal following the incident, with even popular comedian Nish Kumar wading in to call her ‘one of the best and brightest around’.

However, the university’s defence of Dr Gopal has been labelled by some as inconsistent and politically biased. Critics have pointed to the recent removal of Noah Carl from his research position at St Edmund’s college over links with far right extremist groups. And others have referred to the university rescinding a visiting fellowship invitation to controversial professor Jordan Peterson in March last year. Opponents of the university’s stance have suggested that the same defence of free speech and tolerance of controversial views was not extended in these instances. +5

On June 18, Dr Gopal said that after 17 years of consideration she would not be supervising students at King's College due to the consistent racial profiling and aggression by porters+5

On June 18, Dr Gopal said that after 17 years of consideration she would not be supervising students at King’s College due to the consistent racial profiling and aggression by porters

Dr Gopal’s tweet has since been removed by Twitter for ‘violating the Twitter Rules’.    The incident comes just a week after the academic announced she would no longer be supervising students from King’s College because of ‘consistently racist profiling and aggression by porters’.   On June 18, Dr Gopal told her 20,000 Twitter followers she was taking the stand ‘on my behalf and of other people of colour’ calling the situation a ‘festering sore’. She said: ‘With deep regret but with 17 years of consideration behind it, I have finally decided on my behalf & of other people of colour @Cambridge_Uni to refuse to supervise any students at @Kings_College. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH of the consistently racist profiling & aggression by Porters.’

She added: ‘It’s for the students that over the years I’ve hesitated to take this decision. But I think it’s come to point where it is for students, BAME students who’ve shared their Kings stories with me, that I must do it. Oh and today, I repeatedly asked them to address me as ‘Dr Gopal’ and repeatedly failed to get them to address me as anything other than ‘madam’.’

The academic went on to say that Kings’ porters treated her differently because she was not white. But King’s College hit back at her claims, saying there was ‘no wrongdoing or discrimination’ from its staff. A King’s College spokesperson said: ‘We have investigated the incident and found no wrongdoing on the part of our staff. Every visitor was asked to show their card during the course of that day, as the College was closed to everyone except King’s members. Non-members such as Dr Gopal were asked to take alternatives routes, around the College. This was a matter of procedure, not discrimination. King’s College is a rich and diverse community, and take the wellbeing of its students and staff extremely seriously. We remain committed to being an inclusive and welcoming environment in which to work and study. We categorically deny that the incident referred to was in any way racist.’

Feeling low

I am surrised I have let this go for about 6 weeks without posting. It really feels like life will never truly get back to normal. There have been local lockdowns in some towns but those haven’t affected us. Schools are supposed to be getting back to normal and opening up for the new school year. The unions have been threatening that they will refuse to open schools although it does look like they won’t get their way. I believe it will do children a lot of good getting back to schools.

We are trying to get back to some kind of routine with the health club. It’s hard getting motivated due to our lives being so retricted for so long. We’ve both been feeling run down, had colds and our sleeping patterns have been poor. I’m beginning to feel a bit better generally but my mood has been all over the place.

Out highlight of the year will be going to Devon for a break then onto Essex for a few days to visit family. It’s going to be a year since we last saw them aand then it was for a sad reason. Our great niece, Chloe, was born on the 21st September 2019 and died the following day. We knew she wouldn’t survive as she had Edward’s Syndrome (Trisomy 18) but it was still devastasting for our niece, nephew-in-law and great nephew. Chloe’s funeral was on the 22nd October which was the day after our great nephew’s birthday.

One of our other niece’s (younger sister of the other one) had her third daughter on the 29th April this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing her as we haven’t been able to visit due to COVID-19. A few weeks ago I chatted to my sister and niece on messenger facetime so I was able to see the youngest and middle daughter. The eldest was with her father that weekend. I have a low opinion of him as he walked out on my niece then she had to do all the hard work to get him to see his daughter. During lockdown he only saw her once in four month as he wouldn’t have it that children of divorced/separated parents could spend time in both homes. He then blamed my niece for not seeing his daughter despite her sending prove that he could see her. He doesn’t want to cross me if I ever see him as my niece doesn’t lie and no matter what she thinks of him she would never stop him seeing his daughter. That would only happen if he emotionally and/or physically hurt her.

No matter what differences and fall-outs I have had with my family I will always love them. Although it took our parents deaths to get me and my sister on better terms I am thankful that we have and being able to see her grandchildren is a bonus.

Getting back to normality

Life is getting back to normality although there are still restrictons in place. It is a relief as we have got to the stage of not wanting to go far. It’s a good thing we have contented pets although we have lost our beautiful Cassie our very happy staffie.

She became increasingly more agitated and didn’t like us leaving home regardless of whether we were taking the dogs out for a walk or us going out for another reason. The vet reassured us that we were doing the right thing but I still feel guilty even though it was stressing me so much that she was getting so aggressive with it. I’ve only just got used to Cassie not coming to bed with me and lying under my knees. She knew my moods and could be so gentle but we had to do the right thing for her.

Bandit aka Bam-Bam has calmed down so much although he still has his scatty moments. Peggy-Sue and Storm are very tolerant of Bandit and they are getting very close. He has such a sweet temperament and is very comical.

Rick is self-isolating for 6 days apart from getting a COVID-19 test done on Saturday. He will be getting some tests done next week with the fun bit starting tomorrow. Rick has got to be on a bland diet then the day before he will be on fluids only. It’s going to be a long 6 days.

Trouble sleeping

It’s been getting very stressful not sleeping well at nighttime. I can’t ‘blame’ it on anything in particular apart from depression which is getting worse because I’m not sleeping well. Each day feels like a groundhog day which probably doesn’t help either.

We still don’t know when the health club will be open again though hopefully it will be early July. It will be interesting to see what ‘social distancing rules’ will be in place. At the moment it looks like it will just for members only, regular cleaning of hands and only so many members allowed in at a time. The speculation is on changing room protocols.

The weather is very unpredictable and I am fed up of being too cold or a bit too hot. A few days ago Rick had the bright idea to go on a longish walk when it was hot although there was a bit of a breeze. We were both flagging the closer we got back to home. I was shaky, had a headache and felt sick so I was very relieved to get home.

Continual boredom

Although we are begiinning to be able to have more ‘freedom’ it’s still tiring being restricted so much in what we can do. My concentration is up and down but it’s worse when I do want to get on with stuff because I have a V.D.H. (very demanding husband).

I have been missing the health club anyway but what makes it worse is that the weather is incredibly hot. I would welcome being able to go swimming just to cool down although I do also want to complete Swim22 for Diabetes UK. Unfortunately it’s still not clear when the health clubs and leisure centres can reopen, hopefully it will be July 2.

The two things that is keeping my spirits up is knowing that we will be able to travel soon to visit family and go on holiday. Whether we combine the two together isn’t a certainty yet.

It’s sad that even though I prefer a quiet life this day I resent not being able to have a break even for a few days. Over the past few years we have enjoyed going to Scotland and other parts of the UK for a week. Our pleasure has been walking the dogs in the countryside while away and looking round other towns and villages.

Boredom and starting new hobbies

Life isn’t getting any better as we’re still being restricted on what we can do. I will be very happy when we go back to the health club and being able to swim gain. It’s not that I mind being at home but each day feels the same with nothing to look forward to. We both want to see our great niece but the distance is the problem as it’s about 260 miles away and we would have to come back on the same day.

It’s hard on my sister, brother in law and their children plus families as they are close. In normal circumstances they would see each other regularly particularly the grandchildren. Today my sister and brother in law were able to go the funeral of his brother which is a sad event but at least they could go.

A huge impact on my well being has been wallowing on things that make me sad. The main one being adoption as it caused me suffer with severe depression – already suffered with depression – and wakng up accepting I have P.T.S.D. It’s never been ‘officially’ diagnosed as doctors generally don’t understand how traumatic it is being denied the right to raise a child. I only realised due to others finally being told they suffer with P.T.S.D. due to their children being adopted.

Only yesterday I was feeling very frustrated talking with a new acquaintance Rick and I have made. We met up with him in the afternoon as he is also a Christian. He came out with comments such as us being prejudiced which got my back up then tried to include himself. Out of frustration, I gave a couple of examples of why we’re not. We both have our faults which we will admit to but it was hard work to get him to listen. One of the examples was a lesbian neighbour we had who was the first person we trusted with a key to our home. She would feed our cats whenever we went out – that example was in reference to ministers thinking we were potentially homophobic. Neither of us has a homophobic bone in our bodies and we have and have had friends over the years that are part of the LGBT community. I would trust them more than some people I’ve known for many years.

The other example was over my son and I told the acquaintance that there is a lot of history between us but wouldn’t go into all of it. He asked me if my son had been in trouble or was gay. I said no to both then asked him if he was adopted to which he said no but he wished he had been as he had suffered abuse from his dad. I simply said some adoptive parents can be abusive as well then went on to say that he wouldn’t understand the history between my son and me. I did explain that I will always ove my son but I don’t like his behaviour and said about some of the issues. I don’t think he really ‘got it’ but I did make it clear that because I love my son I will always be there for him but at the same time it was acceptable not to like his behaviour at times.

It’s hard to explain when someone doesn’t understand adoption and yesterday I wasn’t in the mood to try to explain to someone who is very full of himself and his Christian beliefs. I have had a conversation or two with my sister about it due to one of her granddaughters dying a day after being born. It is still a tragic death and one my niece will never get over, she will learn to live with the loss. Adoption and infant death can’t really be compared except for one thing and that’s the loss of a baby. I think my sister understood what I was trying to get at as ‘loss’ in reference to an infant is so profound that words can’t describe it. At the same time I said that whilst I understood the loss of a baby – adoption is a loss – obviously my son hadn’t died so I can’t understand the loss of a baby dying. My son and I reconnected but I still mourn the loss of my baby. My niece can’t reconnect with her beautiful baby daughter while she is alive as her daughter grew her wings the day after being born.

Coping …. just

It’s incredible how tiring it is being forced to stay at home so much. nor was I prepared to be in so much pain. With my right wrist, it hasn’t helped with the dogs jumping on and off the chair and landing on it. I’ve also had to deal with achy shoulders which have caused me to have problems sleeping. What didn’t help last night was going out into our front garden and stepping on to a slab which wasn’t on flat ground and I fell onto my left side, hitting my head and making my left shoulder worse.

It’s worse for Rick as he doesn’t have any hobbies except web design and playing games on his ipad. At least I have several hobbies so I can swap around what I’m doing.

I don’t think the dogs could understand why we started spending more time with them. They love it though as they are getting plenty of attentionand see more of our friend now as well.

Hopefully the health club will be re-opened sooner rather than latter as I’m missing swimming. The exercise has helped as a form of pain relief so I have missed that.

Constant tiredness and pain

It’s amazing how tiring it is staying in so much even with finding things to do to keep my mind occupied. On the other hand, I don’t like going out for long otherwise I get very anxious. My mood can’t get any worse as I am already rock bottom and my appetite is becoming poor but at least I shouldn’t start piling weight on. I have struggled so much over the past few years over putting weight on then struggling to lose it again which hasn’t helped with my mood.

My joints are suffering as well as I’m not swimming at the moment which isn’t helping with my health. Swimming is great for people who suffer with osteoarthritis as it’s low impact. It’s the one form of exercise I can do without putting a strain on my joints but as I can’t go swimming due to the lockdown I am physically suffering. My wrist has got so bad that I can’t use my right hand for heaving lifting such as shopping because the pain is that bad. My hips, knees and ankles are also getting painful quite quickly so it takes me a while to get comfortable in bed at night time. I am also losing my balance more often so that isn’t helping my joints. Subsequently I’m not getting as much quality sleep each night.

There doesn’t look like any let up any time soon wth the lockdown. The longer it goes on the less likely that life will get back to normal as we knew it before lockdown. The north east hasn’t been as hard hit as it has been down south but the population is much less than it is in the south. It’s much easier to do social distancing here particularly as we live in a small town. I am worried about neice who is expecting her third child at the end of the month particularly as she has asthma. Our nephew in law is still at home with COVID-19 so we are hoping and praying that he gets better soon. He and our neice have been through enough over the past seven months as they lost their baby daughter last September.

The family knew she was going to die due to Edward’s Syndrome (Trisomy 18) and she survived a day but it doesn’t make it any easier. The funeral was a day after their son’s 8th birthday so it was awful for him. He chose to go to school as he ‘didn’t want to see people upset at the funeral. That was very deep for a child of his age.

Having a ‘good’ day

I can’t really define a good day for me at the moment except for my mood is better and I haven’t lost my temper. Of course, nothing is normal due to COVID-19 and lockdown getting stricter by the day.

It’s bad enough for people who suffer with depression but it’s also bad for everybody. I worry more about domestic abuse/deaths because people are struggling being at home and tempers are fraught. That said it’s hard for people who are losing loved ones to COVID-19 and not being able to have a normal funeral. It’s also scary how many adults/children are dying even though they have been fit and haven’t had underlying medical conditions.

We are finding days are bluring into each other and have to think what day it is. In a few weeks times one of my neices will be having her third child which is something to look forward to but we don’t know when we will be able to see the little angel. I feel sorry for my sister and brother-in-law as they won’t be able to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary as they would have liked to have done.

I look forward to when we can start having a more normal life. It’s so isolating not keeping to our normal routine and not seeing friends. I’m thankful for the internet though as a way to keep in touch with family and friends.