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Malala backs poetry initiative

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POETRY ENDORSED BY MALALA: The Nobel Peace Prize winner has said she backs a national competition for children who do not have English as a first language

POETRY ENDORSED BY MALALA: The Nobel Peace Prize winner has said she backs a national competition for children who do not have English as a first language

Education activist praises ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ project

A national Laureate Education Project, led by the Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, has been backed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

To date, the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ competition has received more than 14,000 entries in over 70 languages since its launch in 2013.

Award winning boxer, Amir Khan, launched the 2015 competition, and said: "I think it's important to encourage more pupils in school to learn a language and this competition is a great way to boost children's confidence."

As in previous years, the poetry competition will be split into two parts.

‘Mother Tongue’ will see children who do not have English as a first language write about what a lullaby, poem or song in their native language means to them, while as part of ‘Other Tongue’ pupils will create an original poem in a second language that they are learning at school.

The national final will take place on 30th June and will feature a personal address by Malala, with prizes at the ceremony awarded by her father.

Malala said: “Our cultural heritage, identity and languages are all important to us and poetry is a great way to express these – I am inspired by my father, who is a great poet.”

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Dr Sharon Handley, said: “I am delighted this year that the national Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition is officially endorsed by the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner and education activist, Malala Yousafzai.”

Sharon, who is also Director of ‘Routes into Languages North West’, added: “I am passionate about promoting languages and encouraging pupils to learn new languages.

“I love the Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition because it does just that – it celebrates the Mother Tongue, the language that is spoken at home, as well as promoting the Other Tongue, the opportunity to learn new languages at school.”

The project has been instrumental in supporting pupils to explore their multiple identities through culture, poetry and language and sharing this with their peers.

Being multilingual has many advantages the project aims to ensure pupils learn to value this early on in their lives.

Yasmin Hussain, Project Manager for ‘Routes into Languages North West’ said: “’Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ is a fantastic project. The competition is unique as it allows pupils to use their bilingualism creatively.”

Mainstream media gone dumb?

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Activist Ashleigh Shaw gives Asian Express readers her opinion on the world-wide press coverage on the ongoing Gaza conflict

ashlieigh shaw

ACTIVIST: Ashlieigh Shaw


Since the three Israeli settlers were kidnapped and subsequently found dead, the Israeli authorities have escalated their control over the people of Gaza, as usual in the form of violence, fear and bombing from land, sea and air.

Since the beginning of the escalation, ordinary people, from around the globe, from all walks of life, all religions, all cultures, have joined together, sometimes in their tens of thousands, to show their support for the Palestinian people.

Their soul purpose has been to voice their contempt for the disproportionate Israeli attacks and collective punishment, of the already beleaguered citizens of Gaza, and also the West Bank.

The mainstream media, such as the BBC, from here in Britain, were reporting the attacks on Gaza, as a justification for Hamas rocket attacks.

As for my part at this point, I could not bare the bias reporting of the situation, and reached for my phone, and made a video giving a brief outline of what was actually happening, and why Hamas had fired the rockets.

What began to become clear was that Hamas were reacting in self-defence after the mass arrests of civilians.


After a few days, reports came pouring in over social media, especially Facebook, showing that people were beginning to protest in favour of Palestine, and against the Israeli attack on them.

Yet our British mainstream media remained silent.

As a direct result of the video I had posted to Facebook, I was contacted and asked to speak at a protest outside BBC Media City, Manchester, to show our outrage at the clear misinformation and pro-Israeli bias.

The protest was attended by around 5,000 people and I can assure you - we were very loud.

The BBC reported the protest, as a short paragraph stating that the protest was against the Israeli attack on it's website, but still, we had nothing on the mainstream news.

If there is a large demonstration anywhere, the media is there, on the ground, in the thick of it, giving us minute-by-minute reports. So why the silence now?

This is not a couple of small protests, this is a global out pouring of humanity towards the Palestinian people, surely - a mass global movement is worthy of reporting.

At the heart of the matter, lies the ‘no-criticism-of-Israel’ policy, which appears to have been adopted by both the world's governments and mainstream media with equal guilt.

What makes Israel so special?

Why is it that we are allowed to criticise every other country on the planet, yet criticism of Israel is actively suppressed?

Without entering into the realm of conspiracy here, the fact of the matter is, that Israeli lobbies are a powerful force.

They have infilterated most governments, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the U.S.A. and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BDBJ) in Britain for example

Their purpose? To fight for the rights of the Zionist state, behind the closed doors of OUR government's conference rooms.

Our governments put the interests of Israel, before those of it's own people, and that of the Palestinians, and now they are actively censoring the Global Media.

Frustrated BBC journalists had to resort to tweeting pictures of the protests below their offices at BBC headquarters in London.

It is a most disturbing turn of events, and those which must be addressed. We want a free press, not a Zionist press.

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