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Phones, letters, e-mails

Host Host | 11:07 UK time, Monday, 31 July 2006

Among the audience research to the BBC in the past 24 hours were many calls about Sunday night's Panorama, about the charity Interpal (for more details and to watch the programme online, click here). Some callers thought it was inappropriate to be broadcast amid the current situation in the Middle East, others thought it was particularly timely. Some claimed it was unbalanced; others said it was well researched. Several objected to the style of the camerawork.

We also received these e-mails:

The Panorama programme tonight was courageous and much needed in the present climate.
I've just turned off tonight's Panorama in disgust because it was fundamentally anti-religious. All religions have a political sub-strata - vide Desmond Tutu's "Anyone who says the Bible isn't a political document isn't reading the same Bible I'm reading" - and to attack one religion because you don't happen to find the political sub-strata supportive to your own prejudices is to sanction an attack on any religion by anyone who doesn't like the implications of what that religion is saying. This morning a church I know sang "Soldiers of Christ, arise!" with great gusto. OK, it isn't as detailed as the songs the Palestinian kiddies were singing - but the basic call to believers is the same.


  • 1.
  • At 12:56 PM on 31 Jul 2006,
  • David M wrote:

What on earth was the point of that camera work? How did that in any way make the program more insightful or interesting? It only served to frustrate me to the point of just changing the channel. I have no quarrels with the subject matter or style of interview, but would urge the BBC to leave the fancy camera work to matters or shows that deal with less serious issues.

If it was up to me I would never have shaky cameras, blurring and zooming in and out for no apparent reason, grainy and 'burned' images.

  • 2.
  • At 01:51 PM on 31 Jul 2006,
  • Jane Dobson wrote:

Actually, Soldiers of Christ Arise has nothing whatsoever to do inciting Christians to go out and murder non-believers. The hymn is about personal conduct and the way in which a Christian should live.

I know this hymn well, and I don't believe that anywhere in the text does it tell children to build ladders of skulls ...

Perhaps the writer of the above email should do a google search for Charles Wesley and learn something about hymns and their messages.

The Panorama programme was timely, well reported, searching and very necessary considering the times in which we find ourselves. Well done, BBC for being brave enough to air this programme.

  • 3.
  • At 06:00 AM on 01 Aug 2006,
  • jeff cox wrote:

after reading the headline Thousands of potential new recruits contact MI5. i am surprised that they have had anybody contact them at all with the ridiculous salaries that are reportedly being offered. In order to recruit the best possible candidates for this vital work the government should increase the starting salaries by at least 10000 to 15000 pounds. After all i can't imagine any of our M.P's or Minister's doing the job for this low wage.

  • 4.
  • At 07:56 AM on 01 Aug 2006,
  • Bruce Blackshaw wrote:

Yes, "Soldiers of Christ arise" is based on Ephesians 6:10-18 - about a spiritual battle, not a physical battle.

The armour of God as described here is truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation.

The only weapon is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" - the Bible.

Christians are urged and obliged to imitate Christ's example, who was led without protest to his unjust death.

It was rumoured previously that Ware was influenced by Mossad, but with reference to what “intelligence sources say”, he wore it on his sleeve with pride on Sunday's Panorama.

Ware’s goading of young boys in an orphanage as to how many of them wanted to be fighters was sick beyond words. It was unnerving how he managed to continually divorce himself from his surroundings in pursuit of his agenda. Who were these orphans? How were they orphaned? Why did it seem that there were so many orphanages in the Palestinian territories?

This is not Beverly Hills he was touring. This was a nation under military occupation. Children didn’t sing songs inspired by Hamas – these songs existed before Hamas. The circumstances that brought the songs were the same that brought Hamas – killing, displacement, occupation, humiliation.

Go outwith the Hamas-funded schools, to the UN ones, the ones run by the PA, and you will find children singing the exact same things. Somehow, given their lives, I doubt “baa baa black sheep” “or “hey diddle diddle” would cut it. This may be difficult for us living here where the most revolutionary person possible is a “punk rocker with flowers in her hair”, but there are people in the world with serious issues to contend with.

So what’s Ware’s solution? We stop funding Hamas? Resistance to occupation as I’ve said is not an exclusive preserve of Hamas – it’s natural. Hamas is also supported by 60 per cent of the people. How do you avoid them? Stop funding starving impoverished Palestinians altogether?

For the BBC to be used by Mossad in such a way is a disaster. ‘Panorama’ means we get the whole picture. The BBC usually prides itself on showing what’s happening on both sides of a dispute, even if it means giving the same airtime to one dead Israeli as ten Lebanese. But not for this documentary.

  • 6.
  • At 01:33 AM on 02 Aug 2006,
  • N. Fazal wrote:

The timing of this programme is unfortunate, especially when public opinion and sympathy is slowly shifting from Israel to the civilian deaths in Lebanon - thanks to the BBC for saving the day by attempting to show that a legitimate charity is funding 'terrorists' - which in turn will help to shift the public's sympathy back to Israeli.

Ware's tactics were both distasteful and bias. I wish that the BBC would use my license fee to produce impartial programme's and not attempt to paint all muslim charities and organisation as terrorist sympathiser's. Ware's questioning and reporting was at best frustrating and at worst hideosly biased and baseless. As muslims we are familiar with negative and biased reporting but i don't want the BBC to use my license fee to produce such anti-islamic rigmarole.

  • 7.
  • At 10:14 AM on 02 Aug 2006,
  • Sarah Sart wrote:

Dear BBC Editors,

John Ware should not have been allowed to air Israeli propaganda on BBC. There is a Neocon and Mossad propaganda in the U.K but I never believed the BBC would be the outlet of such drivel as John Wares Panorama programme.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think that my licence fee, fee I have been happy to pay so far is being used in this way.

What kind of "people" do you have running the Panorama Programme? One only needs visit Daniel Pipes website and read his literature to see most of what Mr. Ware was saying is passed second-hand from Pipes.

Sarah Sart

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