‘Speak Out’ – or ‘Shut-Up’?

Leanne Muhamad, a student at Wanstead High School who is British-Palestinian, won the “Speak out” challenge after giving this impressive performance to enthusiastic applause. But one day later, the Speakers Trust decided Leanne will no longer be sent through to the grand final of the public speaking competition.  It seems that giving a personal account of the Nakba and a plea for end to discrimination against Palestinians is not acceptable in the UK in 2016. Once Leane’s win was retracted, the video was removed from the Speak Out Challenge website and Youtube channel, but we managed to retrieve the copy below.

The Speak Out Challenge is described by its organisers thus: “In each one-day workshop, students take part in games and exercises to encourage them to think on their feet in a fun, interactive and safe environment. The day culminates in a “Speak Out” speech contest where students can speak on any topic they feel strongly about ­– using only their voices, their words and their passion. Notes are not allowed; they must use the techniques from the training.”

Judge for yourself the quality of this young person’s presentation.

UPDATE:

Erased: Speakers Trust rewrites history by removing all trace of Leanne Mohamad’s win  See more at: http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/erased-speakers-trust-rewrites-history-removing-trace-leanne-mohamads-win/#sthash.iK2XO8a5.vjAm5JeL.dpuf

Amendment: This post has been amended since the source of this news, Jewish Chronicle were reporting falsehoods. They wrote “Following complaints by blogger Edgar Davidson to the Speakers Trust” the decision was taken not to put her through to the grand finals. In fact, they had already taken the decision to censor her.

The JC were correct on this: the letter from Speakers Trust CEO to Davidson: “There are two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training: the speech must have a positive and uplifting message – in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation [and] a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset… Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation judging panel decided unanimously against sending Leanne Mohamad through to the next stage and she will not be speaking at the Grand Final. These were precisely our concerns.”

Edgar Davidson, as we previously reported, is an anti-Palestinian activist with extreme views, who has published his exchanges with the Speakers Trust CEO on his blogsite.

May 31, 2016
Update: Speakers Trust betrays ignorance of the Palestinian experience
– See more at: http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/update-speakers-trust-ignorance-palestinian-experience/#sthash.RWP5SK0m.dpuf

June 1, 2016

Update: Speakers Trust re-instate Leanne’s video and issue statement. http://www.speakoutchallenge.com/leanne-mohamad-winner-jack-petcheys-speak-challenge-redbridge-regional-final-2015-16-2/?utm_campaign=leanne-mohamad-winner-jack-petcheys-speak-out-challenge-redbridge-regional-final-2015-16&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

 

12 thoughts on “‘Speak Out’ – or ‘Shut-Up’?

  1. Deborah Darnes says:

    She is so inspiring. We must challenge the decision. Set up a petition?? Make sure as many as possible see and hear her.

    Like

  2. freedomisfraud says:

    As a proud, fearless Palestinian woman, Leanne is a threat to the Zionist-friendly political consensus in this country. For this reason, she is an inspiration to diasporic people everywhere.

    Like

  3. mala114 says:

    Reblogged this on rebel.lio and commented:
    Fear and hatred bring the colonialists to suppress truth. At all cost, the lie that is Israel must be maintained… unless, like this passionate young lady, we rise up against the lie and let our voices be heard no matter what the initial consequence. She may have been removed from the competition but the takeaway is that her reach has been broadened as a result of this attempt to silence her.

    Like

  4. Professor David Chadwick says:

    Excellent talk. If only the organisers would listen and act on her message of discrimination, instead of doing the very opposite.

    Like

  5. EllyS (@BDSJustice) says:

    The source of this news, Jewish Chronicle were reporting falsehoods: They wrote “Following complaints by blogger Edgar Davidson to the Speakers Trust” the decision was taken not to put her through to the grand finals. In fact, they had already taken the decision to censor her.

    The JC were correct on this: the letter from Speakers Trust CEO to Davidson: “There are two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training: the speech must have a positive and uplifting message – in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation [and] a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset… Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation judging panel decided unanimously against sending Leanne Mohamad through to the next stage and she will not be speaking at the Grand Final. These were precisely our concerns.”

    Like

  6. Deborah Darnes says:

    Here is a statement from the Speakers Trust:

    May 30, 2016
    Statement:
    Our primary duty of care is to the young people we work with and we cannot tolerate any form of insult or abuse. We are concerned and saddened that Leanne’s experience has been less than positive.
    Leanne Mohamad is the Redbridge Regional Final winner and there has never been any suggestion that she should be disqualified. Almost 190,000 young people have spoken out over the years on any topic which they feel passionately about and none has ever been banned from the process or silenced.
    We are, however, a small charity without the capacity to moderate comments 24 hours a day and it was considered essential to protect Leanne by temporarily suspending the regional video over the bank holiday, until we were able to consult with her school and family.
    Of 37 talented regional Champions only fifteen can be voted through to the Grand Final. This selection process took place on Saturday 21st May based on standard judging criteria and without any external influence or input.
    The general “rules” of effective public speaking are guidelines to help speakers to create a speech that will connect with a large and diverse audience and every speech was judged on its own merits. At the heart of what we do lies the determination that all of our young speakers, irrespective of background, race or creed, should be able to speak out in a safe and supportive environment.

    Frankie Rushton
    Programme Director

    Like

  7. rachel yuri says:

    Excellent talk. If only the organisers would listen and act on her message of discrimination, instead of doing the very opposite.As a proud, fearless Palestinian woman, Leanne is a threat to the Zionist-friendly political consensus in this country. For this reason, she is an inspiration to diasporic people everywhere.i like her talk

    Like

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