An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

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Sean Hewitt

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:55 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:Alex and Lara are not power crazed, they are volunteers who receive little recompense or thanks. It astounds me that they continue to go to all this effort [rest removed by moderator as it was, by the author's admission, a personal attack].
I think that that is an appalling thing to say. Andrew Farthing may not have acted in the way that you would have wished but that is quite a different thing.

John Moore
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by John Moore » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:00 pm

Agreed Sean. Doubt that I would ever say that, but there you go. Andrew has done a pretty decent job by all accounts and the last thing he needs is Andrew Z slagging him off.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:06 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:Alex and Lara are not power crazed, they are volunteers who receive little recompense or thanks. It astounds me that they continue to go to all this effort [rest removed by moderator as it was, by the author's admission, a personal attack].
I think that that is an appalling thing to say. Andrew Farthing has not treated anyone like dirt and for you to say that he has belies your own ignorance. He may not have acted in the way that you would have wished but that is quite a different thing.
You are quite correct. It is an appalling thing for me to say. It is a personal attack on a hard working advocate for the chess community and somebody I know to be an extremely pleasant man. I am sure when Andrew Farthing reads this he will be very hurt.

Raymond Keene called Alex and Lara brutish, homophobic and said they should be investigated by the police. That was a person attack on two very hard working advocates for the chess community and we know for a fact that Alex and Lara were very hurt and this whole sorry affair continues to take its toll.

Andrew Farthing has been given ample opportunity in this and other threads to condemn Raymond Keene's comments. He will not do so.
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All views expressed entirely my own

John Moore
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by John Moore » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:10 pm

So is that a reason for a personal attack!

Sean Hewitt

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:24 pm

In response to people reporting Andrew Zigmond's post and the fact that by his own admission it was a 'personal attack on a hard working advocate for the chess community' I have removed the offending sentence.

Just because someone is thought to have been wronged does not make it right to wrong someone else.

Personal attacks may be tolerated by the PCC but not by this forum. Can we all please try to bear that in mind.

John Moore
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by John Moore » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:26 pm

Thank you Sean

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:35 pm

As readers of this forum will have noted I am frustrated by the refusal of the ECF board to condemn the Keene slanders (which as I have stated should be as straightforward as condemning racism or homophobia). Mr Farthing as CEO does have to act as spokesman for the board and sometimes seperating the person from the position is difficult.

Personal attacks are not pleasant. We have all been subject to them at some point (I certainly have). They are very hurtful and distressing, particularly when you approach everything you do with the best of intentions (as Andrew Farthing certainly does - he is a great man, I cannot stress that enough). My point remains - that the most unpleasant comments to be found in this debate are the Raymond Keene slanders.

That said, my comment was poorly thought out and ill judged. I readily concede I overstepped the mark and and I am happy to apologise for an offence caused.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

John Moore
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by John Moore » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:39 pm

Thank you Andrew Z

It takes a big person to say what you did.

John

Andrew Farthing
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:12 pm

I don’t know what the nature of the personal attack on me earlier in the thread was. I didn’t see it at the time and the moderator’s actions mean that I never shall. That’s probably for the best.

What I’m going to say now reflects my personal views. It is not an official ECF statement and I’m not writing in an official capacity. I don’t know whether my choosing to post something will make things better, worse or make no difference at all.

The first point I want to make is that I do not believe for one second that Lara, Alex or anyone else on the organising team of the 2011 British Championships is a bigot. There is no doubt in my mind about this, and I don’t want there to be any doubt in anyone else’s.

The second point I would make is that the ECF has said the same in its official statements. Firstly, on 8th August, it said:
For our part we wish to reaffirm our confidence in [...] Lara and all the administrative team of the British Chess Championships, who did a magnificent job as always.

It would have hardly have said this if it harboured any doubts, but in any event a later statement from me (on behalf of the ECF) on 28 September reiterated the point in very plain language:
I have always considered that the ECF’s expressions of support for the organisers were clear, but for the avoidance of all doubt I wish to state that the Board and I are completely satisfied that any accusations of homophobia or bigotry are entirely without foundation.
It should be clear from this that the ECF’s position is that anyone who says or believes that there was bigotry here was and is mistaken.

My third point will, I fear, be more controversial, and I’ve hesitated for the best part of 24 hours before making it because I suspect that it will be misunderstood. The events of 6th August 2011 (the day of the British Championships prize-giving) are not materially in dispute. There may be slight divergences over exact words used, but the substance of what happened is not seriously questioned. When one considers the meaning of the events, however, one enters into the realm of opinion, interpretation and belief, inevitably coloured by personality, experiences and agenda.

I have probably seen and heard more comments about this affair than almost anyone else, and the opinions expressed about how the events should be interpreted have been many and various and at different points on the spectrum of extremeness in the way they were expressed. Andrew Zigmond wrote that
the most unpleasant comments to be found in this debate are the Raymond Keene slanders.
I wish that were the case. Some of the comments and personal attacks which I saw around the same time in other places were of a vileness that is hard to convey. The internet is sometimes not a place for the fainthearted. Not all of the interpretations of what happened were that this was a case of homophobia (and let me keep stressing, as far as I and the ECF are concerned, it was NOT); some - one e-mail I received from a complete stranger is burned into my memory - took the opportunity to make horrendously homophobic comments about CJ and gay men in general; others saw the events and expressed the opinion that they signified a deliberate, premeditated publicity stunt on CJ’s part.

I may be naive. I heard what the parties involved said after the event and drew the conclusion that there had been a genuine misunderstanding. The organisers acted in good faith in doing what they did and CJ’s reaction was a genuine reflection of how he interpreted what had happened and how upset he was by it.

Some people will disagree with me about this. Even now, they will say that the events signified something different. They have a right to their opinion, even though I think it’s mistaken, and, in a culture of free speech, they have right to express it (within the laws of libel and so forth). I also have to acknowledge the possibility that someone could look at what happened and genuinely interpret it to mean something different from my interpretation.

Given my interpretation of events, I believe strongly that those who accused the organisers of bigotry were wrong in their judgement. I think the ECF’s statements reflect the same view.

In my personal opinion, the ECF has put on record what it considers to be the correct interpretation of what happened. It has said in the clearest terms that “any accusations of homophobia or bigotry are entirely without foundation.”

I personally don’t believe that, in addition to this, the ECF should be required to say – on an individual basis - not only that an opinion expressed which is contrary to the ECF’s views is wrong but that the individual expressing the contrary view should be condemned for reaching the wrong conclusion and then expressing the resulting opinion in public. Hundreds of opinions were expressed in writing about the events of August 6th, and an awful lot of them were – in my view – wrong and, not only that, insulting. Many were personal attacks on one or more of the individuals involved. People look at what happens in the world all the time and jump to what are, in my opinion, wrongheaded and offensive conclusions. For an endless supply of examples, read the Daily Mail... or on second thought, don’t. (There will even be people who have just read that last sentence and are feeling outraged by my gratuitously insulting their favourite paper.)

Believing this still doesn’t persuade me that it would be right for the ECF to make a public statement condemning particular individuals for what they wrote, but I’d suggest that if you want to know what the ECF thinks about a particular comment, do the following: (1) Read the ECF’s statements; (2) Look at what the ECF says about accusations of homophobia and bigotry; (3) Draw the obvious conclusion.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Carl Hibbard » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:19 pm

Not a single criticism of CJ's over reaction after the actual incident then?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Alex McFarlane
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:33 pm

Andrew,

I have said on a few occasions that I can accept that ON THE DAY people could have reacted to what they believed to be the case. Whilst some reactions were indeed vile the only person who approximately a week later stated that he stood by everything said and written was Mr Keene!

In this major respect he is different from everyone else. He is the one person who cannot claim his was an inmediate reaction.
I obviously don't know what comments you have received but I doubt if any of those would have stood by their statements a week afterwards after knowing the truth of the matter. One must assume that Mr De Mooi would have told his friend the truth and so it is all the more amazing that he made the declaration that he did. Even if he didn't you would assume that Keene was aware of the De Mooi statement.

Are you now willing to confirm, as you have implied from your statement, that Mr De Mooi did make accusations of homophobia against the officials involved, albeit in the heat of the moment. If so, as I have said it is understandable, but his lack of an apology in person to those maligned is inexcusable under those circumstances.
If I have misinterpreted your statement please be good enough to state so to clarify the matter.
Last edited by Alex McFarlane on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:45 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:Are you now willing to confirm, as you have implied from your statement, that Mr De Mooi did make homophobic accusations against the officials involved, albeit in the heat of the moment. If so, as I have said it is understandable, but his lack of an apology in person to those maligned is inexcusable under those circumstances.
If I have misinterpreted your statement please be good enough to state so to clarify the matter.
On a pedantic point, this is the second time you've alleged that CJ made "homophobic accusations". I'm sure that you don't mean this. You must mean "accusations of homophobia".

On the more substantive point, I am certainly not willing to confirm it and I don't accept that I implied it. I didn't comment on what he said at all. Please don't try to put words into my mouth.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by PeterTurland » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:59 pm

I hesitate before writing this, hence do not write it.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:00 pm

Andrew,

In another post Mike Gunn mentions that the board works on the principle of collective responsibility. I gave him a chance to back down from that statement which he declined.

Bearing that in mind, and the fact that you say "3) Draw the obvious conclusion" then would you care to comment on the following.

Mr De Mooi after the incident invited people to read the Keene column. Why would someone who held the beliefs you state and abhor the comments made actually ask his followers to read that person's column and to support him? This seems to contradict the points that you were trying to make.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:01 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:sorry Andrew, we can take the ECF CEO out of the equation when you play chess but not when you post something relating to ECF business. saying it's your own opinion does not wash particularly when you make no mention at all of CJ and scant reference to Ray Keene. Your post does not help at all However respect for being willing to say something. Mr CJ De-Mooi has not done the same in fact he's saying nothing about anything.
I'm sorry that you feel that I have no right to express my personal opinions, even when I clearly signpost them as such. In that's the case, I shall have to stop posting.

Will you offer a prize for the first person who spots the three mentions of CJ in my post, or should I?

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