Fighting Denigration!

| September 6, 2005 | 0 Comments

Fighting the denigration of our Holy Religion and the Odinic Rite has always been an important part of the Rite’s work. Even though we are supposedly living in more tolerant times our religion and the OR still comes under attack. Whether it is by national newspapers or individuals we have always sought to gain redress from those that would attack or ridicule our Religion, the Odinic Rite, or both. So when I received the following in an e-mail on the Sunday evening after the clean up at the White Horse Stone I was somewhat incensed to say the least.

The following is a copy (typing errors included) of the e-mail received, though I have removed his name and e-mail address to protect his identity!

“Dear Oh mighty leader

I came across a huge pile of junk and rubbish labelled with signs denoting that the rubbish had not been dumped it was cleared by the guardians of the white horse stone. With contact details of your website. The note also stated that the council would be collecting the rubbish ASAP. Firstly ar we supposed to believe these white horse stone people use their sunday mornings clearing up the publics rubbish, I dont thinks so. Secondly it is totally irresponsible to dump rubbish and junk so close to a high speed rail link. The north downs area has attracted more than enough interest from local yobs and to place ammunition for the yobs to use is socially irresponsible. Are these people complete idiots not only do they worship elves who they have regular contact with, the decide to supply ammunition in the form of rocks to local yobs. Is everbody concerned with this cult a complete moron? A high speed rail link is only metres away from the illegally dumped rubbish and has attracted unwanted attention from local yobs, if these yobs were to use the junk supplied by your cult, a very serious accident could happen partly responsible by your cults actions. Do you support the actions of your cult members? Will the elves come and clear it away or will it be the little green men in flying saucers?  I feel  that  in  order  to  attain  some  social respect you must be held responsible for your actions in public. In future if your cult members wish to dispose of unwanted items such as cookers and tyres they are facilities provided by local councils in which to do so. Dumping rubbish in the countryside is illegal and I have passed on your details to the local police due to the nature of the potential hazard it could The Guardians, true friends and family. Hail The Guardians! Hail All true and noble folk! Hail Mother Jorth! actions. Do you support the actions of feel that in order to attain some social in public. cause. In future make sure all your cult members dispose of their unwanted items in a environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. Next time you have a chat with the elves can you ask them where they hide their pots of gold.

Yours hopefully”

Now take a few deep breaths, calm yourself and try to relax, well that’s what I had to do when I first read the e-mail. My first response was, “is this chap mad”, or “is this a joke?” We had indeed collected a lot of rubbish and placed it ready for collection by the council, we even put labels on it with our website address, hence the e-mail, but was this guy really serious! Incidentally, the rubbish was left in an area agreed to by the local council who arrange for the waste to be collected by their staff. Our clean up campaign is not just a turn up and move rubbish, it is all done with the approval of Kent County Council and in conjunction with the Clean Kent campaign. We notify the council of our intentions prior to the work commencing.

Now once I had calmed down I decided to share this enlightened e-mail with the OR’s e-mail discussion group as I was sure that more than a few would like to offer this chap some spiritual guidance! Next morning I sent this chap a reply and passed his e-mail on to my contacts at the County Council, as I was sure they would be interested also. I then decided to check out the rubbish to see if the council had removed it yet, it normally takes about three days to a week for them to collect, but I was concerned that perhaps someone had moved the rubbish or thrown it around so I went to the site and checked all was still safe. There just as we had left it two days before was the rubbish, and rather than “being only a few meters away” the rubbish was actually 60 meters away from a bridge which crossed the rail link.

Whilst I was down at the site, I took the opportunity to see if any of the locals knew this guy’s name, which Mr M had happily supplied to us on his e- mail. Anyway no one I asked had heard of him, but when I checked my e-mails one of our list members had pointed out that he had sent the e-mail from his firms e-mail account. Now it did not take long to locate his firm, Carillion,  and the nature of their work; yes he is a railway maintenance man. So I immediately knew where he worked.

The following morning I set off to pay Mr M a personal visit, you cannot beat a face-to-face meeting to sort out your differences. Unfortunately Mr M was not on shift, but his very helpful and concerned manager was. I had a good chat with Mr Birch and explained to him the problem and I must say he was very apologetic for Mr M’s conduct and assured me that he would be speaking with him about the situation. I informed Mr Birch that unless we received a full and unreserved apology from Mr M immediately we would have no hesitation in taking this matter to his company and I pointed out that this really could be seen as religious hatred in the present political climate. I think that point hit home and again Mr Birch assured me he would be speaking to Mr M immediately.

Later that afternoon I sent Mr Birch a copy of the e- mail, and also received a reply from the Council informing me that they were very unhappy with Mr M and would be speaking to their contacts at his company! The same afternoon I received the following apology from Mr M.

Dear sir/madam

I am emailing you to apologise for the comments I recently made in an email regarding the placement of rubbish recovered from the North Downs Area. I am sorry if my comments caused any offence or upset in anyway. The comments I made were intended to lighten the tone of the email not offend as the purpose of the email was to highlight the potential hazard that the placement of rubbish could cause. The placement of the rubbish caused significant concern that a police officer called at the depot to express their concerns. It was my intention to highlight this concern to you so that it did not occur in the future.

In hindsight I can see that my comments could cause offense and I apologise profusely for them as that was not my intention at all. I now understand that your actions were of good intentions and with due respect on my part and cooperation on your part the situation could of been resolved amicably. Once again I would like to apologise for my comments as I did not mean to offend in any shape or form.

Yours apologetically Mr M

Now it might not be the best apology I’ve ever seen, but it was an apology, and I understand that he also sent an apology to everyone that e-mailed him directly. Mr M’s e-mail could easily have been ignored and treated with the contempt it deserved, but we should not allow people to denigrate us and get away with it. I have received an e-mail from Mr Birch, Mr M’s manager, in which he assured me that  Mr M has learnt a valuable lesson, which he would not forget! Had we allowed this slanderous attack on our good name and work to go unchallenged, I am sure Mr M would have been bad mouthing us whenever he could, instead he has learnt not to denigrate the OR and as I have also been in contact with his firm’s human resources people (I informed them that Mr M had apologised and that we were happy for the matter to be dropped and no further action to be taken against him) who are very unhappy with Mr M’s conduct and I’m sure they will be having words with him also. Companies do not like this sort of trouble, its rather bad PR for them!

As is often the way, out of bad comes good! When I spoke to Mr Birch he informed me that his company would be interested in helping us by providing a skip for any future clean ups as his company is keen to help the local community. This would indeed be a big help as it is the removal of the rubbish that often proves to be the biggest problem. Of course we shall see if they come up with the skip or it was merely lip service.

We have also gained greater support and respect from the County Council who gave us their support immediately. This will stand us in good stead in the future I am sure. It does no harm to have good contacts in such places.


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