Another year of children being forcibly separated from their fathers.

Another year of children being forcibly separated from their fathers in secret courts.

Another year of fathers driven to suicide by the loss of their family and their barbaric treatment at the hands of our secret courts and the Child Support Agency.

Another year of broken promises from our politicians who scurry into hiding at the mere whisper of Fathers4Justice.

Another year of often willful ignorance, disinformation, bigotry and lazy prejudice in the media designed to malign a group whose sole aim is to ensure a child’s human rights to their fathers are enshrined – not abused behind closed doors.

No wonder they call this pitiful excuse for journalism the ‘lamestream’ media when we haven’t heard a single media outlet accurately report the facts.

Ian Douglas in today’s Telegraph writes “Fathers4Justice have just set back dads’ rights by decades.”

That’s an inflammatory accusation, so where is the evidence for his claim?

As the 2011 Norgrove report confirmed, fathers have no rights and should have no rights. 200 dads are losing contact with their children every day in secret courts by judges who sit under the Crown. Many of the legally binding court orders fathers have to see their children simply aren’t enforced. The CSA has reduced fathers to the status of sperm banks and cashpoints. (If Ian wants to read our fact sheet he can find it here )

We are a nation of first-class fathers, treated as second-class parents. And increasingly, many of us feel like outlaws in our own country.

As a result of this demonisation and denigration of fatherhood, millions of children will have little or no contact with their fathers this Father’s Day. 

As the Centre for Social Justice said this week, up to 75% of children in inner cities live without their fathers in what they called ‘father deserts’.

So what do we do? Just sit back and do nothing?

Did Ian Douglas want us to engage with our political classes? If he had been paying attention he would know we spent five long years, engaged with the political establishment. For what? Ten broken Tory promises, and for just three MP’s out of 650 to turn up to the Shared Parenting meeting held by George Galloway MP in Parliament on Wednesday.

If journalists like Ian Douglas really cared about this issue, it shouldn’t have taken a man with a spray can sending a message to the Queen in Westminster Abbey for Father’s Day to make him write about it.

To that extent, Ian Douglas has proven this point, rather than made his. As far as I can see – he hasn’t written a single article about the family courts.

The media simply can’t help themselves. The coverage for our cause is at best grudging, maligning, loaded with disdain and insult. ‘Heavy handed’ said Channel 4 news earlier this week. But thus as it ever was.

There is an old man dying in South Africa at the moment. 30 years ago he was called a terrorist by the mainstream media. I know, because I was in the anti-apartheid movement. Now he is venerated. We’ve just celebrated 100 years of the Suffragettes, yet we are expected to condemn a man for carrying out similar actions

Back in 1914, Ian Douglas would have been the journalist calling suffragist Mary Richardson ‘deranged’, accusing her of ‘setting back the cause of Women’s suffrage back by a decade’.

If Tim Haries had sprayed ‘help’ on a portrait of the Chinese Premier, he would have be a dissident hero celebrated by the West. God knows, if he had committed this act in Russia wearing a neon pink Balaclava and his underwear, Madonna would be singing about him and Angelina Jolie would have adopted him.

But the vision of our society has become so distorted and twisted, that our Prime Minister (who condemned dads on Father’s Day 2011) today says he wants the ‘Syrian opposition to succeed’ by violence, but says nothing about dads succeeding in their fight to see their children using peace and love.

The state have destroyed this man and his family in an act of capital punishment, and yet we expect him to do nothing. We have suffocated him, denied him any voice or representation in our country – by the very people who are the first to condemn him. Yet we expect him to comply, quietly, conveniently as the rest of society turns a blind eye to the national emergency that is mass fatherlessness.

I hope Ian Douglas doesn’t have any children and I hope his children don’t have any either. For his sake, statistically, the cancer of family breakdown will happen to him and when it does – when he can’t see his children or grandchildren 

– I want to see how far he will go for his family.

I know I would do anything for my children. What would you do Ian?

As Martin Luther King Jr wrote fifty years ago in his letter from Birmingham Jail, “…though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love? Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”

Matt O’Connor, Father’s Day, 16th June 2013

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