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My experience of the EDL demo at Luton.

So I woke at 4am to get ready for my long day, anticipation growing every minute as I got closer to getting on a train towards Luton. I kept thinking to myself, what am I doing? I feel like I’m willingly walking in to the belly of the beast, and have no idea if I’ll get back home tonight in one piece! Never the less I carried on – water bottle: check, phone fully charged: check, inhaler and other medication: check, umbrella which can be used for self defence as well as protection from rain: check. I was ready.

My journey towards Luton seemed to be full of obstacles; I missed my first train because I was collecting my tickets, there were tube line closures, and an hour delay on the train due to a person committing suicide. It honestly felt like God didn’t want me going, like what I was doing was going to get me harmed, but I stuck it out and got to Luton at about 11 -11.30am with Jane and Ed.

As we drove into Airport Way, we noticed the road ahead was partially closed due an ‘incident’, as we got closer, we noticed lots of coaches on one side, shock horror the EDL coaches were being stopped and checked. We later found out that the police found weapons and drugs on their coaches; I wonder where the EDL’s quote of being a non-violent organisation went?

Anyway more of that later, back to driving in to Luton.

I have never in my life seen so many police men, women, vans, cars, bikes and horses. My heart sank and I honestly believed at that moment, that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Other than the police, there was barely anyone else on the streets, it seemed like we entered some sort of police practice procedure or a quarantine zone. The town was deserted. We parked our car and decided to head in to the Mall. As we wandered around, both Jane and I realised we needed the bathroom, as we headed in to the mall to find a bathroom, we heard a mega phone, we both looked at each other, please God don’t let that be the EDL! Only then did we realise it was the UAF on route, with a few police to guide them at their sides. We ran to the bathroom, hoping we’d still catch the march when we got out; luckily we caught the end of it.

As we walked around the mall, it seemed as if we were the last people left on earth, the majority of the shops were closed and those that were open were near enough empty. What I did find amusing was seeing McDonalds with bouncer style security guards and hearing about Wilkinson with bouncer style security guards too! I mean, those were the last two shops I expected there to be that kind of security!

Once we met up with Aoife we decided to head out to the town centre, the first thing I noticed were these ‘HUGE!’ metal fences, which I realised were there to contain the EDL. On the other side of the town centre stretch, was where the UAF’s demo was held, from where we were standing we could hear some music, the police were around them, but it didn’t seem like they were in any sort of formation. Jane decided she wanted some photos, so ran up to get some.

We waited for her outside the Town Hall, it was a beautiful building, I really wanted to have a chance to have a look around it, but knew I was here for other reasons. Hopefully I’d get chance to come back to Luton to have a proper look around. We decided that once Jane was back we’d walk around to where the EDL march would stop.

As we stood waiting for the EDL, the air seemed to be tense with anticipation. The press were in front of us setting up and making sure they had everything ready. I noticed they were interviewing the MP of Luton and some locals. All of a sudden a lady from the BBC Asian Network approached me and asked if she could get my views. Taken aback a bit I obliged. It was an interesting experience; I explained my feelings and thankfully got a plug in for USoB. She seemed quite interested in USoB, I had a chance to explain USoB’s ethos and what we were all about, handed her my business card and ended my interview. She asked if we could catch up afterwards to do a second interview. I, of course said yes. I mean who wouldn’t want to be on air TWICE and have the chance to some free publicity?

After the lady went, Aoife and I received an offer to go in to the Town Hall and view the demo from there, I personally wanted to stay down on the street, I came to be part of this, see it first hand, experience it first hand, I didn’t want to feel like I came here for nothing and hide away in a building. I was about to say no, when a female police officer came up to me and Aoife and told us that the EDL were on their way and it was best that we left now and try to not be seen by them.

THIS, this worried me! Were we not safe in our own country? We were stood with our backs to the wall, couple of feet away from a line of police officers, behind a metal fence as well as a line of press; we had a good distance from where the EDL would be passing. Was it that unsafe for a Muslim Asian woman in hijab and a woman in a wheel chair to be there? The EDL constantly spout they are ‘non-racist’, ‘non-violent’ and ‘not against all Muslims’. Yet here was a police officer so concerned for our safety that she wanted us to leave and not be seen!   We of course left and kindly took up the offer to watch from the Town Hall.

On one side of the Town Hall we could see the UAF demonstration and on the other the EDL demonstration. Sitting in the Town Hall, Aoife and I felt a bit out of the loop, but were lucky enough to meet some of Luton’s councillors, MEP’s and Luton’s Mayor. It was interesting speaking to them, hearing their views and how they felt about the day’s events. The line we kept hearing, keeps ringing in my ears ‘This is not our Luton, we are not like this, we’re normally happy to live alongside one another, why have the EDL brought this on to us?” It seems like the EDL don’t seem to understand that no one wants them!

While in the Town Hall, we watched the increasingly boring and repetitive speeches of the EDL. Two hours later I was surprised there were still any EDL members there! It seemed like the already small numbers of the EDL march were decreasing, and decreasing fast.

Both Aoife and I were ‘Tweeting’ away, which is quite a new experience for me. While ‘Tweeting’ I was also checking what other people were saying, when I noticed a tweet that didn’t look right, it read something along the lines of “Bury Park Mosque been attacked, riot breaking out, Police have reported”, now considering where we were, both Aoife and I thought it was strange, we would have heard this about already, but hadn’t, this can’t of been a legitimate police claim! We quickly headed towards where the councillors were and showed them the tweet, they quickly got on the phone to the control centre and checked, we were right, the tweet had been sent to stir up trouble. I quickly tweeted for people to ignore it, it was a rumour and it was untrue! It was the most excitement Aoife and I had all day!

Once the EDL demo disappeared, we all met up again and decided to head to Bury Park. We arrived about 10 minutes after about 100 UAF joined them and tried to stir trouble, the police were in a line formation and the mediators had linked arms. It looked like trouble may be brewing, but thankfully the mediators did a fantastic job of calming the local Muslims down. We stayed at Bury Park for about an hour and chatted to some of the local Muslims and other locals that were there.

The BBC Asian Network reporter caught up with me at Bury Park as well, she asked if she could do a follow up interview and I obliged. It was good to get an informed view across after experiencing first hand what the EDL demos were like. After a while the police dispersed and so did the crowd. We all decided to get some food, it had been a long day and we all started feeling hungry and tired. We headed back to the Mall to see if any food places were open.

As we sat down outside one of the food places in the Mall, Ed noticed some newsletter’s on the table and started flicking through them, only after looking at them for a few moments did we realise they were from ‘Christian Voice’, in my distaste, I threw one across the table and we all started discussing how much we loathed them and how, in my view, there was not one ounce of Christianity in Stephen Green, unknown to us at this point we were sitting next to him! This, we only discovered after a friend of ours from Luton, who had helped us great deal on the day.  He then started having a discussion with them. The discussion quickly became heated, and only confirmed my thoughts of Stephen Green. I disliked him before, but I loath him now. Standing in front of me were two men who called themselves Christian, sadly I could only call one of these men a true Christian through and through, and that was the man that helped us during the day. Mr Green showed no Christian compassion or values, and seemed to me to be everything which Christianity was against.

I will always remember my first ever experience of Luton, and only wish it was under better circumstances. I truly admire the people of Luton for putting up with what they did on Saturday 5th February 2011. All the people I met from Luton on the day were very welcoming and I thank them for that. I only hope I can revisit Luton on better conditions and meet all the lovely people I met, again.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Ectopic Pregnancy: The silent loss

I feel like my story is very different to most people who have lost a child and I truly feel for others, I can’t imagine what they must have gone through.

The first time I had heard the term ‘ectopic pregnancy’ was last year when I went through the ordeal myself.

I never expected I could have children; I had been diagnosed with P.C.O.S about 6 months earlier, after 7 years of saying to doctors I had it. I had lots of problems with my hormones from a young age and had accepted that the chances of having a baby would be minimal. Then all of a sudden at the end of April last year (just after my birthday) I started feeling odd so I decided to take a test and to my shock I had fallen pregnant. It was still very early days, but I was over the moon, so was my then fiancé (now husband) – it was like everything was being put into place, we were going to be getting married in August and would then have a little baby shortly after.

I was given my due date by my nurse as 9th January 2010, the day after my mum’s birthday; it was like everything was in place.

Then in my 6th week I started getting cramping pain, and was told it was normal, it was implantation pains. Then on the second day of my final placement for my PGCE, I started bleeding, again I was told ‘it’s normal, its implantation bleeding’. Even though they thought it was normal, the doctors gave me an intra-scan and advised me they couldn’t see anything, but this could still be normal as its early days so they ordered blood tests to check my HCG levels were at the level they should be.  The blood tests showed my HCG levels were low; they suspected I was having a miscarriage.

The blood tests continued for 2 weeks, my HCG levels were going down, but very slowly, however on my fiancé’s birthday we were told they HCG levels had risen. We both had gotten our hopes up thinking everything was OK. At this point I would have been 8 weeks pregnant, we thought maybe I was carrying twins and one miscarried, how wrong we were.

I had another intra-scan and it showed that I had an Ectopic Pregnancy, the embryo had planted itself in my right tube, and I was devastated. I was given the option of having Methotrexate or surgery. Methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug that is given as a treatment for many types of cancer, but it is also prescribed for Ectopic Pregnancies, as the drug targets and breaks down folic acid, which is present in rapid cell growth within Embryos.

I chose Methotrexate, as this meant my recovery time would be quicker, but I don’t think I will every forgive myself for it, I feel like I killed my own baby. I was advised to have bed rest for week, but I didn’t let it sink in at all, kept myself busy, went against doctors orders, and didn’t rest at all. I focused on my civil marriage, which was taking place in August and went shopping all over in preparation.

What a mistake I had made, 4 days later I was in agony again, I couldn’t move and started getting sharp pain in my shoulder tip, I was rushed to hospital. The doctor thought it was nothing, but kept me in overnight just in case. I was given an Intra-Scan to check if everything was ok, they found that my tube had ruptured. I was bleeding internally, within an hour I was in an operating theater, having emergency surgery. Everything went so fast, I was alone trying to take in all the information the doctors and nurses were giving me, I felt like I was on information overload.

When I came back to my ward I was being given conflicting information, while still extremely groggy from the general anesthetic. This just made me feel so much worse. Not only had I lost my baby and had just come out of surgery I was being provided conflicting information, for four days I didn’t know which tube had been operated on or when I was able to go home.

It took a while for what had happened to sink in, I feel like I’ve gone through the five stages of grief without realizing. In my 6 week check up I was advised that I would now have a 10% higher increased chance of another Ectopic Pregnancy, it’s so scary to know that there is not much known about why Ectopic Pregnancy’s happen and that there are not many ways to prevent them.

I would never wish what happened to me to happen to anyone else, but know that there will be others.  Knowing this and knowing I needed to talk to someone, I asked my local GP for any counseling groups or counselors who could help me work through my grief. I was advised that there were none in the area and that I’d have to find my own one. This shocked me. So I set up my own group on Facebook, by doing this I was given another Facebook group that dealt with giving support for couples and families that had to deal with miscarriages, still births and baby loss in my local area. I approached the creator and asked if Ectopic Pregnancies could be included as there seemed nothing out there for people trying to deal with this. The creator was more than happy to include Ectopic Pregnancies in her cause.

I now try to share my story, so that others know there not alone.  I’m also currently trying to raise money for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust as well the local baby loss group Tyler Jake’s Angel Nursery. I will be taking part in the Tyler Jake’s Angel Nursery’s Sea Front Walk in June, I hope to raise money for both charities as, both charities aim to provide support and information to all those that may suffer this loss.

If you can please sponsor me at my Just Giving site – http://www.justgiving.com/Nazia-Alvis-Sea-Front-Walk

If you would like any more information about Ectopic Pregnancies or about my personal experience, please do not hesitate to ask.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

My Trials and Tribulations

When I was asked to write this article about my life with depression, the first thought that came to me was how will people react? I’m not one for shying away from a topic like this but, to have people know the ins and outs of what happened, is quite daunting. However if it can help with understanding why people may have depression, I will do my best. I am now 27 and my first memory of ever trying to harm my self was age 10, I was standing at the top of my cabin bed looking down, touching the ceiling thinking “I could jump or tie that light cord around my throat till it all ends.” It was at that moment, my life changed., my life spiralled out of control.

To understand this a bit more I should really delve in a bit further in to my past, when I was five, my mum and dad employed an Imam to come to our house to teach us Quran. On one particular occasion my mum left my brothers and I alone in the house with him, she had full trust in him, however what she didn’t know was that, this was the day that changed my perspective on Islam forever. My brothers had finished their lesson and were playing outside in the garden, however I was younger so it took me a bit more time to learn certain things. The thing about the Imam was that he used to whip us with a stick if we got things wrong, but on this day he took it further than a normal whipping. I remember him telling me I was too stupid to learn anything and that it’s no wonder I was slower than my brothers. This is when he went further, this is when he placed his hands in places no young girl should ever be touched. This one single event changed me as a person forever.

However my childhood self blocked this from my memory until I became a teenager and this is when my depression went in to full force.

Getting back to when I was ten, my brothers had started to become more religious and in turn started to enforce the rules and regulations of Islam on me, I used to follow because of fear of what my brothers may do to me if I didn’t, but at the same time something in the back of my head was also pushing me away from Islam. While this was going in I was also going through puberty and was more on the larger size compared to most girls, I remember my mum and other people constantly telling me I was fat and I had to lose weight, as a young girl my self-esteem and confidence hit rock bottom. The culmination of these events sparked my depression.

From the age of 10 till about 14 my bouts of depression got worse and worse, I never used to talk to people how I felt, I only remember feeling worse and thinking I was in this black hole that I could never get out of. Even good days and happy events felt as if they had a black cloud over my head, I didn’t truly feel I enjoyed anything. These feelings just got worse and worse, until the day I saw him again and at the time everything came flooding back. I was 14 and at the doctors for a check up and there he was in the waiting area, he came up and spoke to me, what he exactly said I can’t remember but I remember him giving me Salam. I just froze. When he left and I had my appointment and then walked home in a daze, when I got home I locked my self in my room and sobbed. I remember feeling as if there was no reason to live any more, I was damaged goods, no one would want me, no one would even touch me and that I’m sure this is a punishment from god, I must be so bad that god wants to punish me like this. It was a few days after this event that I first started to self-harm. I remember my first ever attempt, I found a razor in the bathroom put it to my arm and just cut, that feeling of release of all that hurt and all that pent-up pain just coming out, even if it was temporary. It helped. I continued to self harm for many years after this. My decline in to the spiral of depression just kept going further and further down.

It was only a year later that first opened up about my depression, but I never spoke about the abuse. I spoke to a counsellor we had at school after my form tutor referred me to her. I have to say she was the worse kind of counsellor, telling me I did it all for attention seeking, so I stopped seeing her, she made me feel tens times worse than I did already. She shortly left the school after my last session and we had someone else. I reluctantly went to see this new counsellor after being advised to by my tutor, thankfully she was different, she spoke to me like I was human. She refereed me to the local psychotherapists, who in turn put me on the anti-depressant Prozac and diagnosed me with Clinical Depression. I was 16, on Prozac, and had been abused and never spoke to anyone about the abuse. That was until the winter, I decided to leave Islam for good and that’s when I faced up to my brothers and told them everything. They couldn’t bear to look at me, they we’re very different people at that time to the way they were when I was 10, I know my eldest brother blamed himself.

It was and would never be their fault.

After I spoke to my brothers, I came of the Prozac, it made me feel as if I wasn’t me.

Things started looking up, I had passed my 10 GCSE’s after being told I would fail every single one of them and was doing my A-Levels and going on to University, I had my placement and everything was sorted out. I was feeling on top of the world. That’s until I fell ill and ended up in hospital. It all came flooding back, the black hole of despair. I couldn’t complete my second year of A-levels, I lost my place in University, I felt like a failure. All over again. Again I kept it all to my self, except this time I went to the doctor and put my self back on antidepressants.

I tried to cope with my illness and went back to school to re-sit. It was only a month into my re-sit year that I lost a close friend to suicide, someone I never thought would commit suicide. I lost all faith in everything, if she could do it why couldn’t I? I remember I couldn’t even mourn her death properly, due to the antidepressants, so I came of them again. It was at this point I starting attempting suicide, I think I must have attempted suicide at least 8 times in 6 months until I realised that I needed help, I needed to start talking about the abuse, I needed to live. It was these attempts that changed my perspective on life. They made me realise that it can’t have been my time, that God must have something else in store for me.

In the next five years or so after my friend’s death, I went through more counselling, I opened up more to my friends and family, I met the man I now call my husband and I started to talk about the abuse and about how I felt. I even went away from Islam completely. I did however eventually comeback, I realised I couldn’t blame a religion for one man.

I can now talk about what happened quite easily. I can recognise the signs of what I call the black hole of despair. Yes I do still have bad days and weeks, but I know I can come out of it. I now know I can turn to my loving family and friends, that is of course after my loving husband when ever I feel my self getting pulled back. Life through all the trials and tribulations has taught me to be strong not just for my self but also for those I love.

Life now, yes can be bad, but I can see the beauty now whereas before I could only see darkness.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Hello world!

Ok this is new, so lets see if I can work at this. This blog is literally just my ramblings. Right I’m going to post my very first article that was published in a small newspaper for you all to read. I hope you enjoy it.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2010 in Uncategorized