@Keme Nzerem

Thanks to Jim for his post on the Channel 4 news item about “shared living” at Camphill Communities last week. As he pointed out, the entire film failed to mention Rudolf Steiner or anthroposophy even once.

Keme Nzerem visited two Camphill Communities to make the film, Newton Dee in Aberdeenshire and Botton Village in Yorkshire – unless there was some clever editing in the report.

I read what Mr Nzerem said on twitter, when Andy Lewis pointed out the criticisms of Camphill and anthroposophy. As Andy commented on Jim’s post, the reporter (who is described  as sports correspondent) tweeted that the religious ideology is not important. He went on to say

“surely anyone who sends their relative to a Camphill has a responsibility to know what they’re letting them in for?”

From this I understand that he knows about the belief system and does not think Camphill are concealing anything important.

Is he saying that all became clear to him when he was at Botton – that he found out all about anthroposophy? He must have spent quite a bit of time there talking to people – probably as much or more time than most clients would spend on a fact-finding visit.

If he learned about the occult belief system and decided not to mention it, surely as a journalist that was irresponsible?

If, on the other hand, he came away from Botton none the wiser about anthroposophy or its importance in Camphill, how can he blame parents for not knowing what they’re letting their family members in for?

As I mentioned in a previous post, Camphill appeals to Steiner followers because they get to do anthroposophical study, biodynamic farming, bible study, celebrate anthroposophical festivals and carry out associated rituals without outside interference.

The talk of “family” and “love” as heard in the film, is not family and love as understood by the rest of society. It is a warped version of these concepts, based on the Steinerian ideas of what is human.

I would not want my child or any other family member to be cared for by people for whom “loving” is part of a bizarre spiritual exercise, where they believe that experiences in former incarnations are influencing our karma. And nor would many parents, if they knew all about it.

So there are some questions for Keme Nzerem;

Do you now know all about how camphill workers regard the people with learning difficulties in their care? That the villagers are suffering the consequences of events in their previous lives, according to anthroposophy, and that the spiritual guidance they receive at Camphill is supposed to help their progress to a more successful incarnation next time around?

If so, why did you choose not to include it in your report? Had you heard of anthroposophy before Andy Lewis mentioned it to you?

Your written report on the channel 4 website comes close to mentioning the belief system – you say;

“Has CVT really fought hard enough to retain what is special about Camphill?” This question is one that the Action for Botton group has been asking – and they are talking about anthroposophy.

What is *special* about Camphill is anthroposophy. If it were not for Steiner’s occult belief system camphill would not exist. The people who volunteer to live at Camphill are doing so because they have bought into the anthroposophical worldview, and wish to live the anthroposophical lifestyle at no expense to themselves. This lifestyle choice would not be possible for them in any other situation.

Mr Nzerem I don’t think you do understand. I think you failed to grasp the most important aspect of Steiner-run institutions such as Camphill. And as a consequence Channel 4 failed to inform the public that there is much more to Camphill than baking bread and saying grace.

Your blithe statement that parents should do their research shows contempt for the families who have become victims of Steiner. You spent time there yourself and yet for some reason glossed over the important issue.

A couple of TV reports on the BBC, Spotlight and Newsnight, have done more than skim the surface of the Steiner movement over the last couple of years, but this Channel 4 news feature did not even come close.An opportunity was missed.




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