TEA COFFEE OR ME ME ME
You may have read about Lisa already. If not, Google “Lisa Ashton BMI” , it’s the story right at the top of the page. Once the Sunday Times ran the story the rest of the world’s media followed suit, with most of the British newspapers running it as a major story along with the Washington Times over in the USA making the story its editorial.
In 1967 the book “Coffee, Tea or Me?” was released, a book of alleged memoirs by Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones depicting the anecdotal lives of two lusty young fictional stewardesses.
Lisa was a stewardess, hence the “Coffee, Tea” reference, however the “Me Me Me” refers to something quite different to that which was hinted to in the book.
Lisa, under the name of Marcelle (Marc) Ash was singer/songwriter for Manchester band McKinney and released the album entitled “Me Me Me” whilst she was still working for BMI and before the Saudi issue. She is now a full time singer/songwriter releasing tracks as Marcelle Ash and McKinney.
She was nominated finalist in the BBC Radio 2′s “New Talent” Songwriters award which is run in conjunction with the academy responsible for the Ivor Novellos and also enjoyed radio exposure for her music, including the BBC Radio 2′s “Chris Evans Show” which is now the most listened to show in the UK.
More Important Than Writing Songs
A few cynics have suggested that this story was merely to publicise Lisa’s songwriting career, however, as Lisa commented, “Taking two years out from writing and recording and spending two years in legal wranglings over discrimination, then trying to get a Government and Union Amicus/Unite to take notice is not, I would suggest, the best route to further a career in the music business. The fact is, sometimes, there are more important matters to deal with than writing songs”.
What is very apparant as you explore the website and read the documents is that The British Tribunal, The British Goverment and most unforgivably Union Amicus/Unite got it WRONG! and refused to support Lisa. It has literally became one woman’s fight to put this blatant wrong, right.
U.S. Female Pilot Ordered To Wear Islamic Abaya
In the USA, Col Martha McSally found herself in a similar one woman fight with the establishment. The U.S. Military demanded that U.S. Females wore the abaya when in Saudi, however unlike the U.K., there was political will to actually change this discrimination once the story went public.
In Washington, DC, On June 24, 2002, the U.S. Senate voted 93-0 in favor of an amendment to prohibit the Department of Defense from requiring or even formally urging servicewomen stationed in Saudi Arabia to wear the Muslim abaya. The amendment passed by the Senate prevents any member of the Armed Forces or employee of the United States from requiring or encouraging that the abaya garment be worn and from retaliating against those who choose not to wear the abaya.
Col McSally Interveiw With CBS
Racially Stereotypical Managers at BMI
The deeper you look, the darker it all becomes, the murky world of big business and international affairs meeting head on the world of tolerance, respect, and REASONABLENESS.
Lisa a British citizen, was told, by the British Airline BMI, that she must, in effect, remove any sign of her own faith and replace it with the racially stereotypical view of Muslim and Saudi culture expressed by BMI’s culturally illiterate managers. How racially stereotypical can be shown by the BMI demand that “It is expected that female crew members walk behind their male counterparts in public areas such as the airport, no matter what rank” and that of the abaya “It’s an item of uniform that should be worn at the times and destinations it’s provided for so refusal to wear it would be treated the same as refusal to wear any other uniform item – i.e. as a potential disciplinary matter”
This is totally at odds with what the Saudi Authorties have stated. A spokesman from the Saudi Embassy in London said “There is no requirement for females to walk behind the men in Saudi or for western women to be required to wear the abaya, there is only a requirement for women to dress conservatively”.
Harriet Harman Minister for Women and Equality Does Not Reply
The old cliche of “you find out who your friends are” could not have been more true. Those that should have supported Lisa, i.e. the Union Amicus / Unite, the British Government, especially Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, should be totally ashamed of the lack of interest in this case. Even Government funded organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission who’s website proudly declares:
“Our job is to promote equality and to create a fairer Britain. We do this by providing advice and guidance by working to implement an effective legislative framework and raising awareness of your rights.” have proven to be totally unwilling to pursue a similar course to right this discriminatory wrong.
Muslim Support Throughout the World
However Lisa’s disappointment at the above opportunistic, self serving groups, were more than out weighed by the quite simply fantastic support for her stance from throughout the world including many Muslim men and women who were shocked that even today there is still racially and culturally, stereotypical views within major British companies and the British Legal system. As Lisa mentioned in a letter to Gordon Brown:
“My support comes from the Mirror, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Express, Telegraph and the Star and in the USA the Washington Times among many others. A very rare case would you agree, of a consensus of opinion across the entire ethnic, cultural, and political landscape of the United Kingdom.”
Lisa’s stand is picking up support, this new website is proof of that.
If you wish to support Lisa and her deterimination to overturn these blatant discriminatory demands, that the UK Tribunal Judge said is acceptable ,please visit the “Help” page.