Daniel’s tribute to Jaya Khoobsurat: Memo – Sunday, 08 Sep 2013
“I first met Jaya online, in the heat of battle, back in 2008-2009. She was fighting against mandatory fluoridation in Queensland; and I, in Victoria. Whilst many campaigners for safe water work crazy hours and endless days, Jaya’s output was truly exceptional (given that she was teaching English in a foreign country at the time).
Keeping on top of all the latest research, news reports, critical analyses, multimedia items, and so on, can be a daunting task, but it is essential for maintaining effective local and online safe water campaigns. Rebutting the claims of the promoters of fluoridation, whilst simultaneously educating and empowering the general public to do the same, are paramount goals. Truth, given enough time and effective dissemination, will always chase the lie from the shadows.
However, first and foremost, the frontline troops of fluoridation must be able to efficiently coordinate their multifaceted strategies, based on the efficient sharing of information and discussion. This was Jaya’s major contribution, especially in the crucial years between 2008-2010. Her diligent, relentless crusade to get vital information to the troops cost her in many ways personally, but collectively, cannot be overstated in its significance.
Jaya’s forwarding of thousands upon thousands of emails between key international anti-fluoridation activists, along with her original contributions to strategic discussions, have without a doubt kept the fires of fierce opposition burning. Now, due to this exponentially building pressure, Queensland is no longer fluoridated by state force. Local Councils now have the vote, which is certainly not ideal (i.e. still violating the principle of individual informed consent to treatment, when a Council votes for fluoridation), but is an improved situation in comparison to the previous reality of state dictatorship. Jaya’s endless stream of emails to the right people, in the right place, at the right time, made a world of difference to positive change.
Jaya’s second major contribution was the documentary film, Fire Water: Australia’s Industrial Fluoridation Disgrace, to which I contributed as Researcher/Writer and Production Assistant. Jaya, now back in Australia, produced, directed, narrated, presented, filmed, edited and promoted the project, which now has well in excess of 100,000 extended views online, from dozens of countries. The film is a raw, grassroots critique of the fluoridation program, featuring a diverse range of professionals and campaigners. It has also screened at two international film festivals (more info here: http://firewaterfilm.com/overview/).
I still remember the day filming began, with a tiny hand-held camera, no sound equipment and no editing software; and virtually a zero dollar budget. But this did not phase Jaya. Despite the technical difficulties, she knew we had vital and significant content that would strike a chord with the general public, and would act as a vindication of all the work done by the campaigners with whom she had been in email contact for years.
The media had treated us in one of two ways: either completely ignoring us; or with vindictive, ignorant hatred. We knew this had reached boiling point, especially in Victoria and Queensland, where communities had been forcibly treated with industrial-grade fluoridation chemicals, despite overwhelming opposition. They had nowhere to turn, with the media, civil servants and political representatives brutalising their free speech and human rights. Fire Water gave everyone a voice – free, full and unmanipulated to suit a mainstream media agenda. That fact that the film was so raw, in my view, made it ‘real’, not some slick, devious, industry-funded propaganda piece that we have all seen far too many times. Jaya stuck to her guns at every step of the Fire Water process; even traveling to India (with myself) to ensure that our collective message was heard by an international audience. We also attended numerous Australian screenings, held by community groups.
In India, the insanity of artificial fluoridation was not questioned by the audience, and Fire Water received healthy applause and positive feedback. Millions of people in India have had their lives ruined by naturally-occurring fluoride in drinking water, and the notion that the Australian Government would force this well-known toxin into drinking water, in any amount, simply left the audience shaking their heads in disbelief. The fact that arsenic, lead, and other junk also comes with the silicofluoride cocktail, just served to increase this sentiment.
It was eye-opening to move beyond the insane asylum that is the radical Australian Church of Fluoridation, where God is a giant tooth and fluoride is His lap dog. In countries that do not fluoridate, the idea that the practice violates the principle of informed consent to treatment, and is obviously dangerous to health, is a ‘no-brainer’ – which could only be dreamed up by devious industry king pins, backed by simplistic propaganda, enforced with the zealous support of ‘useful idiots’ at various levels of the cult, and mindlessly supported by an ignorant public.
When all this madness finally ends (and it will), those like Jaya – who worked insane hours, put up with abusive industry shills, and who educated and connected thousands of good people – certainly should be remembered as the true workhorses who helped turn the tide towards sanity and truth.
Today, Jaya continues her good work, as always.”
NB. The two international film festivals in India, to which Daniel refers, were “Green Unplugged” and “Voices from the Waters”. They were held in 2011.