Saturday, 12 May 2018

Free Speech in Question at the Merthyr Rising ?

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr while we greatly appreciate the Merthyr Rising Festival we are concerned that this good example of free expression in Wales is being curtailed leading to the resignation of its Director Ian Jenkins.

The issues that lead to our concern at Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr are contained in the posting below from Vanessa Beeley :

John Pilger has given me permission to publish an abridged version of his email to the organisers of #MerthyrRising Festival 2018 sent BEFORE they took steps to withdraw myself and Patrick Henningsen from the speakers list without informing either of us.

They chose to inform Chris York of Huffington Post though, who had been emailing them and applying pressure for us to be withdrawn.

It seems the "ethos" of Merthyr Rising is to cave in to pressure from the Neocon media and to passive-aggressively support and condone the "regime change" war being waged against #Syria by their own UK Regime & US Coalition of Terror - and also to endorse the anti-Russia mania that is sweeping "Global Britain".

Truly shameful days!

John Pilger's message:

"You ask for advice. There is only one piece of advice to give -- you must stand up to the bullies and censors. Vanessa Beeley is in trouble with them because she wrote truths that countered their misrepresentation of the invasion of Syria by US and UK backed jihadists. 

Vanessa is a fine reporter, who was one of the finalists in the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, perhaps the most distinguished award for truly independent journalism in Britain, which the Guardian itself was proud to receive in the past. 

What the bullies and censors can't stand is that she has exposed the fraudulence of the UK and US funded 'White Helmets' and so they resort to craven smears. She is is not an apologist for Assad. She makes clear that 'the proudest day of my life' referred to the American Peace Delegation to Syria, of which she was a member. In any case, Vanessa has written all this, and it is the responsibility of you and me to familiarise ourselves with the background to these attacks and smears. 

The cold war mania they express is everything those you celebrate in the Merthyr Rising festival fought against. You should be proud to host Vanessa, who has my unqualified endorsement. This is a matter of free speech. Let me know if I can help further."

I do not include Ian Jenkins, one of the founders of Merthyr Rising, in my criticism, he has been a staunch supporter and defender of Free Speech.


  1. Anyone know who actually decided on this and at what level?

  2. Anyone know who actually decided on this and at what level?
    Dafydd ap Gwilym