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a September 11th, 2009

  1. Bookmarks for September 3rd through September 11th

    September 11, 2009 by Daniel

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  2. Alan Turing

    September 11, 2009 by Daniel

    Alan Turing Memorial, Manchester

    When I signed this petition I didn’t actually think that the Prime Minister would respond. As the petition’s originator said, it wasn’t really about that it was about getting recognition in the public’s eye about what Alan Turing did and the sad story of how he ended his life.
    Some years ago I read his biography by Andrew Hodges this was at the height of my fascination with Enigma and how it was broken.
    His contribution is worth recognising, the University of Manchester recently named a building after him, there is the Alan Turing Way that passes by the City of Manchester stadium and there is the fantastic statue in Whitworth Gardens, between the Gay Village and the North Campus of the University (which I and many others will always call UMIST).

    Government response to petition ‘turing’ Inbox X

    Reply

    from 10 Downing Street
    to e-petition signatories

    date 11 September 2009 10:33
    subject Government response to petition ‘turing’
    mailed-by petitions.pm.gov.uk
    hide details 10:33 (11 minutes ago)
    Thank you for signing this petition. The Prime Minister has written a
    response. Please read below.

    Prime Minister: 2009 has been a year of deep reflection – a chance for
    Britain, as a nation, to commemorate the profound debts we owe to those who
    came before. A unique combination of anniversaries and events have stirred
    in us that sense of pride and gratitude which characterise the British
    experience. Earlier this year I stood with Presidents Sarkozy and Obama to
    honour the service and the sacrifice of the heroes who stormed the beaches
    of Normandy 65 years ago. And just last week, we marked the 70 years which
    have passed since the British government declared its willingness to take
    up arms against Fascism and declared the outbreak of World War Two. So I am
    both pleased and proud that, thanks to a coalition of computer scientists,
    historians and LGBT activists, we have this year a chance to mark and
    celebrate another contribution to Britain’s fight against the darkness of
    dictatorship; that of code-breaker Alan Turing.

    Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on
    breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that,
    without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could
    well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can
    point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt
    of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that
    he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross
    indecency’ – in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence – and he
    was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison – was chemical
    castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own
    life just two years later.

    Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing
    and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt
    with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his
    treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance
    to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and
    the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted
    under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more
    lived in fear of conviction.

    I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this
    government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT
    community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most
    famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long
    overdue.

    But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to
    humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united,
    democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once
    the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in
    living memory, people could become so consumed by hate – by
    anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices
    – that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European
    landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls
    which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is
    thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism,
    people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war
    are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.

    So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely
    thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved
    so much better.

    Gordon Brown

    If you would like to help preserve Alan Turing’s memory for future
    generations, please donate here: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

    Petition information – http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/turing/