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The case for local lockdown litterpicks. Should we be doing any?
Joining up the dots…
Hi, having a break from using social media, (12 months) and also starting up a new website concentrating on efforts to hopefully help in the often horrific world of Missing Persons. I enclose my first post below. If you wish to follow me on that journey please do press the appropriate ‘follow blog’ button!
Many thanks, and many thanks for following me on this blog to this date!
The disappearance of Mr. Sanjiv ‘Tony’ Kundi, Paris, France 2013
Over the past couple of months I have made two day visits to the area where Sanjiv was supposed to have gone missing in Paris, France. I made no enquiries there. I spoke to no one about his disappearance. I had a curry in ‘Little India’, an area frequented by the Asian community, and which is close to Gare de Nord railway station where Sanjiv was last seen on cctv, 25th September 2013. On my second day visit I just sat having a few coffees at a pavement café on a busy main street. I people watched. Sanjiv has been missing for over 5 years now.
I took my time. Over the months I contacted, and have had e mail conversations with The Lucie Blackman Trust, The UK’s Missing Persons Unit, The French Interior Minister’s Office in Paris, Warwickshire Police in the UK, and finally as suggested by the latter, I contacted Interpol by e mail. I have yet to receive a reply from them. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t, but I followed a fairly logical contact list, and so as not to just impose my own will on wanting to attempt to find out what happened to Sanjiv, I tossed a coin to see whether to act-or not.
I have just tossed another coin. Disappearances are often very random and, until solved, do not follow logical or characteristic patterns. This is perhaps why so many disappearances are so difficult to solve. So although perhaps seemingly naïve and irresponsible, tossing a coin rather takes personal control out of the decision making process. If the coin had said tails, do don’t do it, I wouldn’t have compiled this latest blog post. It was heads. I am compiling it.
Anybody has the right to disappear. If someone has had an accident, it is my assumption that closure and understanding of what happened is needed by family and friends. If someone has lost their life through a criminal act, the same, family and friends deserve and need to know what happened to their loved one. If someone is scared, frightened, ill, or needing help perhaps our appeals for their whereabouts can reveal results, and allow for that person to somehow be found, in a sensitive, caring, and positive way. If someone has disappeared-because that is exactly what they needed and what they wanted to do, again, perhaps our pleas for their whereabouts might reach them, and just maybe it could trigger the right circumstances for them to reveal their whereabouts. We can only try.
In a world of over 7 billion people, sometimes things are overlooked. I asked the French Interior Minister, then finally, a couple of weeks ago, Interpol, (because that’s who the UK police told me to send my enquiry to)-if they could possibly please re check their unidentified bodies records-just in case, and in the very sad circumstances and for whatever reason Sanjiv’s life was cut short, and the right circumstances have not yet been created to connect the relevant Authorities together to find the reason Sanjiv can still not be found.
And just in case you are out there somewhere Sanjiv, can we help create the right circumstances for you to either reveal yourself, or for you to make contact with someone so you can be left to live your life the way you want to and at the same time heavily reduce the pain your family are in. I know you have the right to disappear. I hope you are out there. I hope you are well. I hope you are ok.
Update #1 on UK Citizens missing with a connection to Paris, France.
Having been in touch with the UK Missing Persons Unit I have been given permission to quote the paragraph below. I asked if they could tell me if the five people mentioned on The Lucie Blackman Trust website who have seemingly gone missing with a travelling connection to or through Paris, France were still missing, according to their own records.
“According to the UK Missing Persons Unit it is highly likely that Samina Iqbal and Anthony 0’Hare are no longer missing as they do not appear on their Missing Persons listings. The UK Missing Persons Unit is the UK’s national and international point of contact for all missing persons and unidentified body cases. It is the only UK agency focused exclusively on Missing People and they serve all UK Police Forces as well as overseas Police Agencies”.
It seems that quite often organisations are not kept up to date when certain people are located. I am hoping that Update #2 will be able to shed some light on making this part of the Missing Persons phenomena more efficient.
UK Citizens missing with a connection to Paris, France.
For those following this blog you will see that over the years I have often spoken of the horrors that family and friends find themselves in when a loved one goes missing.
Over the last year and a bit I have focused my thoughts on the fifty or so UK citizens that seemingly remain missing in different parts of Europe.
I have taken most of the information from the Lucie Blackman Trust website, and although I have had contact with them at intervals in the past, the work I am doing here I am solely responsible for. There has been no interaction with the Lucie Blackman Team at all since the latter part of last year. What I am saying is, they are not responsible for my actions or thoughts. Their website is for public viewing. I am a member of the public. I take responsibility for my own actions.
I return to the UK next week. If I can be of any positive use I would like to think I may be able to find myself a niche within the Missing Persons phenomena, a very real and horribly frightening and painful area of Human life.
So to finish my short journey in Europe this time around I would like to show you the names and faces of five people who are deemed still missing from travelling into Europe. These five people have connections with disappearing having had a connection to travelling through, or to, Paris, France.
I totally understand that everyone has the right to go missing. I have no desire to disturb anyone who still wishes to remain missing. However, alongside the right for each and every one of us to go missing I can only believe everyone also has the right to search, everyone has the right to somehow rid themselves of pain, everyone has the right to attempt to find out what has happened to their loved one or friend.
I print the photographs and information with the intention of only goodness happening from showing these people’s stories on another platform, apart from those platforms already showing them.
I do hope something good comes from these photographs, these stories, these lives.
Georgina Michelle Adams was last seen in Paris in March 2008 whilst visiting a friend. Georgina works in the fashion industry. She was 39 at the age of her disappearance. She is around 5’6” tall.
Sanjiv ‘Tony’ Kundi was reported missing on October 15th 2013. He was last seen at Gare du Nord railway station on September 25th 2013. Sanjiv is described as an Asian male, about 6’2”, large build, has a beard and wears spectacles.
Samina Iqbal travelled to Paris via Eurostar. She was reported missing April 30th 2014. It may be that she travelled on to Jordan. Samina is 5’2”.
Anthony O’Hare travelled to Alicante, Spain with a friend on 31st August 2016. Anthony became separated from his friend. It could be that he travelled on to Paris. Anthony was 56 years old at the time. He is 5’9” tall. He usually wears glasses.
Denise Jordan was last seen in November 2017 at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam. However, it is thought she may now be in Paris. Denise is 5’9” and of a thin build. She has black hair and brown eyes.
I post this blogpost hoping to help, and not to hinder. Any information that might help resolve these true stories I am sure would be best placed towards the UK police, the Lucie Blackman Trust or the UK Embassy in Paris. Also, I can be contacted through my website should anyone wish to do so.
If I have made any mistakes with the above details please tell me and I shall update immediately. Thank you.
Tiptoeing around Europe, part 4.
This blogpost involves the sighting of an African lady in Paris. It involves a short walk in some woods. It involves the tossing of some coins. It involves five missing people with a connection to Paris, (France, not Texas). It involves looking for a way forward, personally selfishly, but personally!
I was in Paris, (France) on Saturday. I planned to stay there a week. I thought I knew of a free parking place close to Gare du Nord. I was incorrect. It was free from 7pm to 9 am, and free all day Sunday. I paid 20 euros to park from 4pm until 7pm. I could stay in my campervan until 9am Monday morning for that price.
I had come to Paris to see if there was anything I could positively and safely do to help in the five stories I knew of UK citizens that are missing supposedly in Europe and having a Paris connection in that disappearance. I visited the ‘Little India’ area close to Gare du Nord railway station. This area has an Asian influence. I had two curries. I spoke to no one about people disappearing. I sat drinking coffee on the sidewalks outside cafes. I looked at people walking past. An Englishman had disappeared in Paris just over a week ago. I heard that he had been found over the weekend. He was safe and he was well. Good. Excellent.
There were many many people from Sub Saharan countries in the area. They populated the parks, the pavements, they congregated outside churches. The more well-off of them crowded the African bars, restaurants and cafes. I wondered how many were Migrants, how many were employed, how many were desperate, how many were frightened, hungry, penniless.
I met a Polish guy on another pavement. He had arrived with his mate from Poland just the day before. He had a sign next to him written on a large piece of cardboard, “Building Work Please”. We chatted. His name was Luca. I didn’t have work to give him but I bought him and his mate a bottle of water, (single use plastic I’m afraid), a banana each, an apple each, a mars bar each and a sandwich each. I also gave them a 5 euro note each. Good luck to them. I think he was genuine.
What can you do for 5 ‘missing’ people with a Paris connection? I had no leads, no hunches, no ideas. I tossed a coin. Heads I stay in Paris, tails I leave. Tails it was.
Shall I go 50 kilometres away from Paris? Tails, no. Shall I go 100 kilometres away from Paris? Tails, no. Shall I go over 200 kilometres away from Paris? Heads, yes.
I knew a place over 200 kilometres away from Paris. I had been there twice before. It’s a pretty magical sort of place. Good things had happened to me before there, maybe they’ll happen again. I’d wasted most of my 20 euro parking fee but maybe the coin had better ideas for me…
It was Saturday evening, lots of traffic. I waited until late and crept out of Paris, European satnav as my excellent guide. Driving down a brightly lit road, a 4 metre wide pavement to my left I glimpsed an absurd sight. What I presumed to be an African lady lain down on the pavement. I only had a split second to observe her. The lady was perpendicular to the road, her feet pointing our way, a thin duvet covered her. She lay with her head propped up by her left hand, her elbow directly on the pavement. She wasn’t looking my way, she was looking down along the pavement. She had a couple of plastic bags stood upright next to her, close to her supporting elbow. She had one of those bright and large scarves wrapped a top her head. She seemed a well-built lady, dark dark skin. Perhaps she was from the Ivory Coast? In my ignorance, perhaps she was even French! I made an assumption that she had fled a war torn, poverty stricken country? What ‘on earth’ was she doing living, hanging out, laid out on a brightly lit pavement in the middle of Paris. She was all alone.
The split second passed. I was doing 40 miles an hour. ‘Stop Simon’. ‘You can help’. ‘Stop, go back, you can change her life’.
And I’m still thinking about it. I didn’t stop. I thought about it. I keep thinking about it. But I didn’t stop.
Could I have helped her? Or actually was she ok? Who am I to say she needed help? Who am I to say I could have helped?
So I arrived in the town I had been to twice before, Bagnoles de L’Orne in Lower Normandy. It comprises a lake, a casino on the lake, a spa, a forest, a castle, sporting venues. It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere. It’s a tourist trap in the spring and summer, and one of those ghost towns in winter.
I’m parked up in a free motorhome parking lot. I woke up this morning thinking of looking for a cheap campsite where I could get hold of electricity and wifi to write this blogpost. And I found one. (Yes, I tossed a coin. Heads said to write a blogpost before the end of the day).
I tossed the coin thinking it was bound to be heads for going to the campsite, but dammit, it was tails. I was pretty annoyed but went with it. I visited the tourist office. It’s probably 100 metres from my home, Clarence, my motorhome.
I asked for a local library so I could hunt down my desired electric and wifi. “You can use our wifi spot here, it’s free,” she said. “You can stay as long as you like so long as you have an electric adapter”. I have. I’m here. I have 2 hours left to write and publish this post. Easy. The coin got it right!
I went for a walk in the woods this morning. There is a trail marked out depicting how the German forces used the woods here as cover for supplies. It was an ideal place for them to resupply their forces along the Normandy coastline. They had fuel storage areas, munition areas, clothing and food supply areas. There is and was a railway line to here, and the road system was also good at the time. Over the years the woods and surrounding areas were heavily bombed by the Allied forces until finally securing and liberating the area in August 1944. I counted the rings on this tree. It, and many others witnessed the 1940’s bombings. Some of the trees must have been killed, some of them heavily scarred. Thousands of civilians and troops died here, but often we forget that nature suffered too.
A coin toss said stay a week here. Much better than a dodgy 7 days on a noisy busy road close to Gare du Nord railway station in Paris, France.
I have put up the five names and details of the missing people with a Paris connection in Clarence. I await instructions, a hunch, an idea, or nothing, with regards to helping in their situations. There are plenty of woods to walk in. The coin told me not to go gambling in the casino, (very good idea, ‘not’ to that is). I hope the lady in Paris is ok.
And a way forward for me? Coin tossing could be a part of it yes, but with targeted questions, and all the time asking the Universe for the best way forward….with or without tossing a coin. There’s a comedy film in English at the casino tonight. I’m not tossing a coin for that one. I’m going.
Tiptoeing around Europe, part 3.
APOLOGIES: Correction to a statistic, most recent report of missing is February 2019, not May 2019 as I said.
There are 43 UK citizens presumed still missing in Europe according to the Lucie Blackman Trust alone. A 2 minute 15 second statistic.
Tiptoeing around Europe, part 2.
If I am quiet enough, just perhaps I may be able to help in some of the desperate missing persons cases in Europe . Focusing specifically on UK citizens that have disappeared here.
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How can we help? Can we help? UK missing people in Europe.
If you look on the Lucie Blackman Trust website you will see the photographs and names of seventy five people that have disappeared abroad. Forty seven of these people have disappeared whilst in Europe, the remaining twenty eight people have disappeared in countries outside of Europe.
These are not the only people that have disappeared whilst abroad but these are the people that friends and family have decided to seek the help of the Lucie Blackman Trust for.
The Lucie Blackman Trust was set up in 2008 by Lucie’s father, Tim Blackman. Lucie went missing in the year 2000 whilst working in Japan. Tragically, after months of searching, Lucie’s body was found. She had been brutally murdered. Her father and sister set up the Trust to help others in similar circumstances, and to date they have helped thousands of people who have found themselves in the horrific situation when a loved one goes missing abroad.
The Lucie Blackman Trust exists to “support British nationals in crisis overseas”.
The Trust obviously does vital work. Supporting the Trusts’ financial costs must be an obvious starting point to help them in their work. But as individuals and groups outside of their close knit operation, are we able to do more to help, and without hindering?
In a confusing world, it can only be assumed that everyone has the right to disappear, to go missing. That is my assumption. But with the free will to disappear and to create a new life for oneself, I am again assuming that family and friends of the disappeared have the right to look for the disappeared. This does not take away the free will of the disappeared but just stamps the approval for the free will of the searcher.
Sadly, apart from those people wishing to remove themselves from their old lives and to set themselves up as missing, people also succumb to crimes abroad, and people also go missing after having fatal accidents. Sadly, many people are missing because their bodies lie waiting to be found whilst they were out walking, trekking or sailing. Sadly, many people lie waiting to be found after a murder has been committed.
The complexities associated with such disappearances often lead to utter despair on the family’s and friend’s part. The not knowing of what has happened to their loved ones can lead to panic, utter horror, and huge despondency.
How can we further help the families and friends of those that have disappeared abroad? Can we set up ongoing search parties for those that have gone missing whilst out walking abroad? Focusing on those that have gone missing in Europe whilst out walking or trekking, according to Lucie’s site the number of people is five, in countries such as Greece, France and Portugal. And two gentleman have gone missing whilst sailing in European waters.
What is stopping us from organising ongoing, professional well run search parties? Would the families and friends support such thinking? Or would this just further raise the angst of the horrendous waiting game these people are up against? Would it be more helpful not to raise their hopes to try and find answers?
For those people that we feel are still out there but just living different lives, would the family and friends welcome discreet, sensitive searches-to find out if their loved ones are still alive-to carefully respect the will of both parties, and to potentially come to terms with an understanding that for the time being contact is not needed or wanted-for whatever reason that might be?
Where the reason for disappearance can only be speculation, and this perhaps is in the majority of disappearance situations, is there a role for individuals, and or groups, with the permission of the loved ones to go out there into the field to sensitively, calmly and with the best of intentions unearth what may have become of the disappeared person?
At the last time of reading Lucie’s site, the youngest person mentioned at the time of their disappearance is fifteen years old, the eldest at the time of their disappearance being eighty four years old.
Thirteen people have gone missing in Spain, nine in France, six in Portugal. Four people have gone missing in Greece, three in Germany, three in Italy and two in Switzerland. In Hungary, Malta, Austria and Holland, one person has gone missing in each country.
The longest person missing on Lucie’s site is from nineteen ninety four. The shortest period so far missing is from the year two thousand and eighteen, last year.
The statistics above don’t quite add up because some people’s disappearances involve the potential of more than one country. Similarly the way people may have gone missing statistically don’t quite add up because one is still not quite sure of the definite way. However, it is thought that three people went missing after taking cross channel ferries to France. It is thought that two people went missing after having taken the Eurostar train. It is thought that a further nine people went missing whilst on holiday in a European country, six people whilst working in a European country, eight people whilst living in one, eight people whilst travelling in one and two people whilst visiting friends in one.
There are a further twenty eight people on Lucie’s site that have disappeared whilst travelling, living or walking in countries outside of Europe. These people deserve equal mention. My only reason for concentrating on those that have disappeared from Europe is because I have wanted to set up a project within Europe to potentially search for particular people that have disappeared within Europe’s boundaries. I have a campervan. I have travelled abroad widely. I have often come across strange situations on my travels. I found a missing person quite by chance whilst travelling back in the early nineteen nineties.
When one feels one has a knack to potentially help, when one feels one’s life has been a training ground for potentially helping in particular missing persons cases I guess one can only put one’s thoughts out there, and wait, look, for a response.
In my quest to help people whose loved ones have gone missing I know for sure that I have butted in when in fact my help was not needed, not wanted, not appropriate.
I have a big belief in a God, in a force for good within life, a force that wants to help and rectify the horrendous situations we witness in life today. When you feel you have some form of vocation, sometimes you have to step right back, try and make yourself available and then potentially be asked to step forward. You need to be the right person to be of use in this particular line of work, I assume.
In the first instance, the Lucie Blackman Trust does enormous and important work for so many wounded, frightened and seemingly helpless people who are searching for their loved ones. Raising money to continue their operations must surely be a big help, and in that, perhaps I can recommend a look on Lucie’s site, http://www.lbtrust.org
Similarly, if you feel like talking about the ability, the necessity and the permissions to potentially help search further please do get in touch with me. For me, this is a God thing. Searching could be done by listening extremely hard to a force within that knows the wheres, the whys and the hows.
Perhaps I am a dreamer. But it feels real to me.