London Slaves: The Cutie, The Handsome Devil And Remembering Robert Murat
LONDON Slaves: A look at the big story in the media. Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda have been arrested. Josephine Herivel, Rosie Davies and Aishah Wahab working with the police.
The Daily Mirror has been wallowing in the slave story. Today it takes readers “INSIDE THE ‘SLAVE’ LAIR”. Do you keep salves in a lair? Surely, you keep them in a cage or in chains?
It turns out to be complete and utter bollocks. We don’t journey inside any slave house. The Brixton flat from where the three womene were “rescued” not yet on the tourist trail.
These are the first pictures inside the house where tragic Sian Davies mysteriously fell to her death from this bathroom window. For six years it was the lair of an extremist Maoist sect known as the Collective run by Aravindan Balakrishnan and wife Chandra who lived “controlled” a band of women allegedly held captive.
The inverted commas around “controlled” and the use “allegedly” show that the Mirror knows the case is hardly closed on Comrade Bala, a man so dangerous he’s out on police bail. He’s been convicted of no crimes, let alone tried. Still, he operated a “lair”. So the innocent have lairs? The man is being monstered. The Mirror has leant nothing from Robert Murat, the innocent it’s hack Lori Campbell exposed.
The Mirror gained access to the property and the current owner said it was difficult to believe anyone could fall out of the window because it is so low and has a sink in front of it.
Wow! It’s now a murder case?
Sian’s cousin Emyr Morgan last night claimed the 44-year-old was on the verge of fleeing the sect when she fell 30ft on to a concrete patio and broke her neck. And a former neighbour told how she spotted a woman holding up handwritten notes at a window of the home in Herne Hill, South London, as if trying to communicate with the outside world.
Sian Davies fell to her death trying to escape from the house she occupied with alleged slave master Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda.
We hear from Morgan, who says:
“She said she wanted to meet her mother without indicating she wanted members of the commune being with her.”
Is the word for a group of slaves a “commune”? Oh, and if you want to play along with this game of Armchair Detective, get this:
The current owner of the death fall home, who asked not to be identified, said the layout of the bathroom had not changed since Sian lived there. The householder added: “I can’t see how anyone could have just fallen out of that window. It’s so low you have to crouch down to see out of it.“
The window was so low you have to crouch down to look out of it. It’s not a high window.
The Irish Press have focused on Herival:
Brought up with her two sisters, Mary and Susan in Belfast, Ms Herivel joined Balakrishnan’s extremist collective in the 1970s after moving to London to study, turning her back on her family.
When her father John Herivel, who lectured at Queen’s University, died in 2011, obituaries only mentioned his two other daughters, who now live in London. Attempts by her family to make contact failed, according to family friend Frances Presley.
She told The Times: “They have tried to contact her for years. I know she was involved in some kind of cult group. My understanding is that she cut herself off (from the family). I know they have always tried their best.”
Miss Herivel was prosecuted in 1978 after police raided the group’s south London bookshop and headquarters. She and five fellow cult members appeared in court charged with obstructing police officers.
She refused to recognise the court and denounced the judge as a “Fascist lackey”.
So. Now it’s a cult? Not slave commune, then?
The Mail adds more family history:
‘Slave held for 30 years’ is daughter of Bletchley Park codebreaking hero but family lost contact with her before he died
And then we get religion:
Really? He thought he was the won of God?
The Indy reports:
The head of the Maoist sect accused of keeping three female slaves tried to convince his followers he was like Jesus Christ and persuaded them to hand over thousands of pounds for the revolutionary cause, a former activist claimed on Wednesday.
So. He never did say he was Jesus.
The Standard had the scoop:
A man who rejected the Maoist cult whose leader is accused of keeping three women as slaves for 30 years today revealed intriguing new details of life inside the hardline sect. Community worker Dudley Heslop, 59, revealed how as a young man he attended lectures given by Aravindan Balakrishnan, 73, at the group’s Brixton centre for more than a year.
The sect leader and his wife Chanda, 67, are accused of holding three women as slaves at 13 different addresses across London. Speaking to the Standard today, Mr Heslop, now a para-legal worker, told how he attended meetings at Balakrishnan’s Mao Zedong Memorial Centre in Brixton in the 1970s.
Was Mr Heslop a slave? Or are only women enslaved?
He said Balakrishnan had a brilliant mind and was an amazing speaker, adding: “He was handsome and slim and dressed neatly. He always wore a pressed shirt. “
He said the leader would claim “I am Christ follow me”.
“He was approachable and charismatic. His flaw was that he was 100 per cent revolutionary. If people said he was brainwashing others he said he was cleaning their brains… His followers were committed to becoming revolutionaries. He would say ‘I am the Christ follow me and people would’. He was never violent he was too self controlled. But women abandoned their careers and their futures for him. They would have to put him and the collective before their families.”
But not slaves.
“A lot of the collective, some from overseas, were often people trying to better themselves and get a degree, but somehow were enticed away from their studies to be part of it. Their message was that China was going to liberate the imperialist heartlands. This was what baffled people.”
Attention turns to Siti Aishah Wahab, the OAP Malaysian-born “slave”.
Malaysian Digest: “London Slavery: Siti Aishah Was A ‘Cutie’ In College”
Everybody wanted to date her,” said Pip Ahmad, who studied architecture.
A Malaysian who became a slave for 30 years in London was on the police “wanted list” in Malaysia in the 70s for leftist activities, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar… Siti Aishah was then a leftist student activist in the 70s, with their activities centred in London. “At that time, there were all kinds of freedom in London and that’s why she was there. In the 70s, she was wanted here (Malaysia) but she managed to flee.”
The Malaysian Insider:
Veteran politician remembers Siti Aishah, doubts slave claim
Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation, former PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali said Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab was one of “two to three Malay girls” who were with the Maoist cell in the 1960s, and recalled that two of them had returned to Malaysia to work.
“I am rather sceptical about enslavement,” said Syed Husin. “That group back then, was a very centralised ideology, it tends to control its members, even in association with others, that could have happened to her.”
Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab left to study in Britain around 1968 and her family lost track of her soon after that…While she now walks free, she did not seem to want to be found, reportedly rejecting even the foreign ministry’s offer of assistance…
Aishah, who came from a big family of 12 siblings, was said to be the brightest and the favourite of her parents.
She was in her 20s when she left for the UK where she met the husband and wife who were arrested in connection with the case…
Aishah’s family claimed that she went missing in the late 1960s after joining a Maoist sect in London. They now want to be reunited with her.
Whatever Aishah’s story is, women’s rights advocate Ivy Josiah said walking away from a situation like hers would not have been easy.
Josiah, Women’s Aid Organisation’s (WAO) executive director, said: “The master, whoever’s been controlling that woman, would probably say to her, when you go out there, there are even more dangers. So when you’re in a confined-like space, a slave-like space, you know, you’re mentally abused and tortured. Slowly you start believing that this is the case. So it takes a lot of courage to come out and run away.”
Such are the facts.