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Trump’s fascist contagion gives
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Australia's monumental errors
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Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
Rohingya crisis: A concern for
By Mahfuz Anam
to the insurgent attacks on some police outposts and an army camp on August 25,
the Myanmar security forces have unleashed a "war" of sorts against
the Rohingya—an ethnic minority group living for centuries in the Rakhine state
of Myanmar—burning down their villages, killing their men and raping their
women, committing what can be termed as "crimes against humanity"
that has resulted in nearly 500 dead and nearly 200,000 taking shelter in
Bangladesh, which has hosted Rohingya refugees for more than three decades in
varying numbers depending on the level of oppression across the border.
then called Burma, became independent in 1948 from the British, a year after
the latter's withdrawal from the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Geographically
Rakhine state, where the current conflict is taking place, is separated from
the rest of Myanmar by barren mountain range. Ancient history gives the area
its own separate past with a distinct Rakhine Kingdom being established in 1430
with its capital in Mrauk U located as a link between Buddhist and Muslim Asia
with close ties with the Sultanate of Bengal. After 350 years of independent
existence Rakhine State was conquered by the Burmese in 1784. This annexation
was short lived as the territory was occupied by the British in 1824 and made a
part of the British Indian Empire. Today the Rohingyas are about 1.1 million
Muslim citizens of the Rakhine state but are not recognised legally as one of
the 135 ethnic groups constituting a part of the citizenry of Myanmar.
is perhaps not just a coincidence that the current attack on the Rohingyas
follows on the heels of the report of the Rakhine Advisory Commission led by
the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. This Commission was set up with
active participation of the Myanmar government, albeit under severe pressure
from the international community, and whose findings it had earlier pledged to
implement. Now with the latest spate of violence the prospect of implementation
of the Rakhine Commission appears remote and the possibility of a peaceful
resolution of the Rohingya crisis may elude us once more.
Commission has correctly identified the central questions to be “citizenship
verification, documentation, rights and equality before the law” and goes on to
say that “… if they are left to fester, the future of the Rakhine state-and
indeed of Myanmar as a whole-will be irretrievably jeopardised.”
we see it from Bangladesh, it is not only the future of Myanmar which will be
jeopardised but that of this region itself as the Secretary General of the UN
warned last Wednesday (September 6) China, given its historical links, will
take more than a passing interest in this affair, an effort in which it will be
supported by Russia the indications of which is discernible in their pattern of
voting at the UN Security Council on recent resolutions on the Rohingya issue.
block of Arab and Muslim countries will naturally be drawn into this fray as
fellow Muslims are being slaughtered. Already there is sufficient reason for
concern at the flow of Middle Eastern money in the region with distinct
fundamentalist overtones. We all know about Rohingyas finding their way into
various Arab and Muslim countries with stories of atrocities invoking a natural
reaction for seeking justice and fighting a future of fear and intimidation by
building up some sort of resistance including armed. These are but natural
outcomes of prolonged oppression to which the Annan Report clearly alludes to.
US is likely to be more interested than usual given its deteriorating
relationship with both China and Russia and the rising tiff in the South China
Sea, not to speak of tension with North Korea and its unpredictable and
has completely surprised Bangladesh by its all out endorsement of Myanmar's
position. We, naively as it now appears, were hoping that Prime Minister Modi's
visit to Myanmar would help, if not to solve issue but at least to stop the
violence and ebb the flow of refugees. PM Modi's support to the Myanmar's position
and the absence of any substantive reference to the refugee issue and the
consequent humanitarian disaster has greatly disappointed Bangladesh.
rising terrorism that both Prime Minister Modi and the Aung San Suu Kyi have
pledged to fight is created and sustained by oppression and ignoring the rights
of a minority group. That has been the experience everywhere. For the so-called
“Jihadists”, the oppression of the Rohingyas fits the bill completely as a
cause they will espouse to gain credibility in the Muslim world whose natural
support for this oppressed group of Muslims is only obvious.
this regard the emergence of ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) is something
that should concern all. In the early hours of August 25 this group, whose Arabic
name is Harakah al-Yaqin, simultaneously attacked 30 police posts and an army
base in the northern side of the Rakhine state. Twelve Myanmar troops and
officials and 77 insurgents were killed. This is by far the most audacious and
damaging attack by the insurgents who are mostly equipped with machetes, few
small arms and hand held explosives. The emergence of such an armed group
cannot be welcomed by any country wanting peace and stability in this region.
International Crisis Group (ICG) termed this as the most serious escalation in
the conflict. Obviously the biggest losers from the escalation and continuation
of this conflict will be the two countries directly affected—Myanmar and
has not yet taken any hard-line against its only other neighbour save India and
has tried, over the years to reach an understanding with Myanmar. It has
internationalised the issue only to the extent of seeking humanitarian aid and
nothing more. It first received about 300,000 Rohingya refugees in 1978.
Through negotiations about 210,000 were repatriated with the rest continuing to
live in Bangladesh.
the latest situation has changed everything. Bangladesh will now be under
severe pressure from the Arab and Muslim world to internationalise the issue
and take a tougher stance than it has hitherto taken. The visits of the
Indonesian and Turkish foreign ministers are indications of that. If there is
no change in the situation on the ground Bangladesh will be left with little
option but to take a more stringent approach that would further complicate the
on its part must, realise that blaming all the current atrocities on the
so-called terrorists and claiming that its security forces had nothing to do
with the crimes committed, in spite of unvarying accounts of thousands of
refugees to the contrary, is neither credible nor helpful in solving the
Kofi Annan Commission has painstakingly worked out what international experts
say to be a realistic path towards peaceful resolution of a conflict that left
to itself may become a dangerous crisis. Myanmar must pay heed to the
recommendations of that report.
San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar needs to remember what she herself said in
her Nobel Prize acceptance speech that “Whenever suffering is ignored, there
will be seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages”.
needs to remember what she herself said in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech
that “Whenever suffering is ignored, there will be seeds of conflict, for
suffering degrades and embitters and enrages”.
Anam is Editor and Publisher, The Daily Star.
By Shaista Aziz
government’s study into the social mobility challenges faced by young British
Muslims once again shines a troubling spotlight on how race, class,
Islamophobia and patriarchy within Muslim communities – and wider British
society – is impacting the life chances and quality of life for a significant
section of the British population.
also further highlights the deepening fractures in our society. It is not
inconsequential that the report from the government’s social mobility
commission has been published days before the 16th anniversary of the 9/11
attacks, and the subsequent normalisation of anti-Muslim rhetoric in so much of
our political, social and media discourse.
is important for this connection to be made if we want to understand the wider
context behind why British Muslims are lagging so behind with social mobility.
The impact of 9/11 and the so-called “war on terror” on the lives of young
British Muslims cannot be separated from the avalanche of racism and
Islamophobia, micro-aggressions and hate crimes many young people face and the
impact this is having on all aspects of their lives, from mental and physical
wellbeing to career prospects.
millennial Muslims, often the only references they have to their Muslim
identity – and to wider society’s understanding of it – is terrorism,
continuous war in Muslim countries, the savagery of the Taliban, al-Qaida and
Isis, “home-grown” jihadists, desperate refugees fleeing, images of sex
grooming gangs, and oppressed and victimised women splashed across the
newspapers and internet. When this is the only dominant image you see of
yourself, there is a problem. When you as a young person are being told over
and over that this is your identity unless you prove otherwise, this does not
bode well for you as an individual or a constructive member of society.
18-year-old man from Burnley explained to me the impact of all of this on his
identity: “It makes me feel uncomfortable because they [the public] don’t know
me as a person, but they judge me based on the media coverage and what they see
on the TV. And then, yeah, of course, it makes it much harder for me to be
British, doesn’t it? Because even though I am British and I feel British, I’m
not allowed to be British. I’m only allowed to feel like I’m nothing, like a
criminal. I’m only allowed to feel like I don’t belong and I will never
to the report, British Muslims are now more highly educated than at any other
time, yet this is still not translating into jobs. British Muslims are missing in
action from the job market. The study found that 20% of Muslims aged 16 to 74
were in full-time employment, compared with 35% of the overall population. When
they are in work, just 6% of Muslims hold down professional jobs, compared with
10% of the overall population in England and Wales. And when it comes to Muslim
women, these figures make for even more grim reading. British Muslim women are
the least economically active group of women in the UK. Overall, 18% of Muslim
women aged 16 to 74 were recorded as “looking after home and family”, compared
with 6% of the overall female population.
doubt, patriarchy and cultural practices inside their homes and communities are
holding back many Muslim women. Families and communities often encourage young
women to prioritise marriage and motherhood over developing their careers – but
this does not explain the full picture. Society’s expectations of Muslim women
continue to be low.
I was 16 and at school in Oxford, a teacher who had never once taught me decided
he already knew what my life plans were. He told me there was no point in me
thinking about going on to study for my A-levels “because you are no doubt
going to Pakistan in the summer to have an arranged marriage”. I remember
feeling baffled that he could say this to me, given he had never spoken to me
during all the time I was in the school.
my conversations with young people, these assumptions and stereotypes are still
prevalent, especially of Muslim women who are assumed to be subservient and
Afridi is a manager at Oxford Brookes University who works in the same
department as Farhana Ghaffar, one of the authors of the social mobility
report. Afridi manages a mentoring project run by the university and Oxford
Central Mosque to improve the social mobility of young Muslims in the city. The
project has been running since 2010 and connects students from the city’s two
universities to working-class youngsters who they tutor in English and maths,
boosting the students’ confidence, and helping to lift their academic
is in schemes such as this that we can find the solution to this problem. As
Afridi says: “It is through a community-based approach that we can really make
a difference to social mobility and raise the aspirations of Muslim
youngsters.” If only more British Muslims were given such a chance to be
accepted and build a life.
• Shaista Aziz is a freelance journalist
By Mashari Althaydi
are intertwining wars in the region, all the way from Iraq to Syria through
Lebanon. This is in addition to wars in Libya and Yemen. These wars include
other conflicts related to sects, parties and tribes and national, regional and
Syrian war has been on for more than six years. No one expected this at the
beginning as it was thought that Bashar al-Assad’s fate will be like Bin Ali in
Tunisia or Mubarak in Egypt. However, this was not the case.
fate was not even like that of Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh’s fate
has complicated the entire Yemeni case as after a political exit was secured
for him, he continued to look for a way to retake the reins of power.
and Iran both have interests to serve through Bashar al-Assad’s regime and they
have done so by killing the Syrian opposition. This opposition was peaceful at
the beginning but it militarized at the hands of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda after
around six months from the regime’s brutal crackdown and amid Nasrallah’s and
Khamenei’s justifications, Putin’s procrastination and Obama’s empty speeches.
will not discuss this much but will rather address the repercussions of this
war on Syrian social harmony and how non-politicized social categories are
interacting with it.
everyone in Syria is a symbol of political opposition and not everyone is a
minister, a warlord or a militia leader as there are people who have nothing to
do with politics and some of them are public figures, such as artists and
athletes like Omar Al Somah, the Syrian football player who plays for Al Ahli
in the Saudi Professional League, and is the star of the Syrian national team.
who scored for the Syrian team in their recent game, played a significant role
in qualifying his team against Iran in the World Cup qualifying rounds. After
the game, he thanked the Syrian people and mentioned Bashar al-Assad in
mentioning the name of Bashar sparked people’s anger, as how can he the son of
Deir al-Zour, commend the head of the regime which caused the loss of his town
and the displacement and murder of its people?
the Iranian media complained of how ferocious the Syrian footballers were
during the games played with its national team. Iranian agencies published an
interview with Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun in which he attacked the Syrian
team players and said: “I do not know why they say Syria is a brotherly
country. They’ve insulted us in both matches.”
point of narrating this is to excuse Somah and other non-politicized athletes
or artists if they say a word here and there, as the Syrian disaster has
escalated and pledges have not been fulfilled.
scene is more complicated than it seems as there are complaints against the
Syrian football team from Iran and others.
God have mercy on Syria and its people.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al
Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has
previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia &
Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published
several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He
appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the
ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.
By Kuldip Nayar
a clutch of followers, Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat was
about to storm in Kolkata when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
cancelled the use of the hall which the RSS hired to address a meeting, is
quite right when he criticised the cancellation as undemocratic. But the record
of RSS in polluting the Hindu-Muslim equation is so long that the precaution is
quite in order. True, Mamata Banerjee looks dictatorial. But her act can be
rationalised. Still I wish that she had allowed another voice, however,
critical to be raised.
steps like including Muslims in Other Backward Classes (OBC) and giving stipend
to selecteds Mullahs and Moulvis do not go well with the democratic India we
are trying to build. Appealing to the sentiments of a particular community is
obviously meant to get their vote. This is worse than what RSS does.
a small temple, which came up overnight on the site where the Babri Masjid
stood once, the chapter had been closed for the time being at least. But that
does not seem to satisfy the Muslims, nor is it in their interest, as they
perceive. The BJP, guided by the RSS is trying to create the same atmosphere.
The equivocal stand by the government on pluralism has only helped the Hindutva
Minister Narendra Modi could have done something positive to clear the vitiated
atmosphere. But his party does not appear to do so because it's getting
dividends in keeping the society polarised. No outsider could interfere because
the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, did little to follow
the Supreme Court's judgment, which said that the status quo should be
"Hinduising" a secular society, the integrity of the country is in
danger. Religion can never integrate a nation as the example of Bangladesh
cutting itself asunder from Pakistan shows. The attempt to impose Urdu forced
the same Muslim East Pakistan to become independent, sovereign republic of
has stayed as one country because the various cultural entities have not been
disturbed. True, the Hindus are 80 percent of the population. But the minority,
the Muslims, have not been threatened except by a lunatic fringe.
the RSS is really interested in Hindutva, it should be agitating for the rights
of dalits who, despite discrimination have remained in the fold of Hinduism.
True, some have sought freedom through conversions to other religions. But they
have only adversely affected the Muslim and Christian societies. The converts
from among the dalits face more or less the same discrimination in the
religious society they join.
RSS chief, claiming to be championing the cause of Hindus, did not react to the
recent burning of a dalit because his goat strayed into the land of an upper
caste member. Now that Modi has caught the imagination of the country, he
should help the dalits and ask the upper castes to give up discrimination
have not seen even a mild criticism by Modi or his ardent followers, who claim
that they would build a future India which will know of no discrepancy. At
least the burning of dalits, if not the daily prejudice, should have been
covered by the widely-watched Doordarshan network. But it seems that the
government itself doesn't want to raise the pitch on this issue because it is
dominated by the upper castes. Even otherwise, there seems to be an unwritten
law which dictates that such stories should not be printed. Surely, this does
not constitute the freedom of the press.
the institutions in the country are languishing. Had the media, an important
institution, been free from pressure, the RSS would not have dared to challenge
the basic structure of the constitution, which includes secularism. The RSS
chief should realise that the core of Hinduism is a sense of accommodation and
spirit of tolerance, not the division of the society.
spread of the BJP is a point of concern because it ignores the aspirations of
Muslims. Modi's slogan of development has gone down well because it gives the
hope of reducing, if not ousting, poverty. He has done well not to deviate from
that path. Unfortunately, his regular contacts with the RSS and that of his Man
Friday Amit Shah, effaces even the wishful thinking that Modi would build the
society without any prejudice or bias.
would have been different if the demand by some liberal BJP men to severe all
connections with the RSS had been implemented. This possibility was on the
anvil when the Gandhian Jayaprakash Narayan was able to convince the top Jan
Sangh leaders to dissolve the outfit and join the Janata Party. However, the
old Jan Sangh members stayed constantly in touch with the RSS and this negated
the very purpose.
long ago, the liberal Atal Behari Vajpayee tried his best to terminate the
relationship between the RSS and the Jan Sangh. He, however, succeeded only on
paper. He could not dilute the loyalty of the old members. L K Advani too was
the one who had founded the BJP. He thought that the old Jan Sangh members were
not trusted any longer in the Janata Party. He was successful in building the
party because the Gandhian Jaya Prakash Narayan had given credibility to the
Jan Sangh members when he brought them into the Janata fold. Obviously, he did
not succeed in his mission. But the situation today is worse. The Congress is
no more relevant and there is no other opposition in the horizon.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar can stop the BJP onslaught if he brings all the
non-BJP parties on one platform to fight against the BJP. Even this combination
would be late if it is not brought into being immediately. The soft Hindutava
which has spread in the country will thicken and push the idea of India—secular
and democratic—to the background. This is a harrowing prospect.
Nayar is an eminent Indian columnist.
By Amir Taheri
is too early to guess how the latest storm triggered by North Korea’s behavior
might end. Will this lead to a “surgical” strike on its nuclear sites by the
US? Or will it cause “a global catastrophe,” as Russian President Vladimir
Putin, never shy of hyperbole, warns? If past experience is an indicator, the
latest crisis is likely to fade away, as did the previous six triggered by
North Korea since the 1970s.
the Kim dynasty, North Korea — in an established pattern of behavior — has been
an irritant for the US, not to mention neighbors, such as South Korea, Japan,
and even China and Russia. By one reading, that pattern, known as “cheat and
retreat,” could be laughed at as a sign of weakness disguised as strength.
However, if only because nuclear weapons are involved, one would have to take
the provocation seriously.
Kim dynasty has relied on that ambiguity as part of its survival strategy for
decades. It has worked because the Kims did not overreach, sticking to strict
rules of brinkmanship. Contemplating their situation, they know that they had
few good options.
option is to embark on a genuine path to peaceful reunification of the Korean
Peninsula. But in that case, the Kim regime would be doomed. That is what
happened to Communist East Germany when it was swallowed by the German Federal
52 million, South Korea’s population is twice that of the North. As the world’s
13th-largest economy, with a gross national product (GNP) of almost $2
trillion, it is also far wealthier. South Korea’s annual income per head is
close to $40,000, compared to the North’s $1,700, making the land of the Kims
poorer than even Yemen and South Sudan, in 213th place out of 220 nations.
other option is for North Korea to invade the South, to impose unification
under its own system. That too is unrealistic. Even without the US “defense
umbrella,” South Korea is no pushover. Barring nuclear weapons, it has an
arsenal of modern weapons that the North could only dream of. The South could
mobilize an army of more than 800,000, three times larger than that of the
has the advantage of nuclear weapons, but it will not be easy to use them
against the South without contaminating the North as well. Almost 70 percent of
the peninsula’s estimated 80 million people live on less than 15 percent of its
total area of around 200,000 sq. km, which is precisely where nuclear weapons
would presumably be used. In other words, the Kims cannot rule over the whole
peninsula, either by peaceful means or force.
Kims’ other option is to keep quiet and steer clear of provocations, but that
too is high-risk. It would mean peaceful coexistence with the South, which
could lead to an exchange of visits and growing trade, as well as investment by
the South. In such a situation, the South’s wealth, freedom and seductive
lifestyle would be a permanent challenge to the austere lifestyle that the Kims
could the Kims claim legitimacy and persuade North Koreans to ignore the
attraction of the model presented by the South? One way is to wave the banner
of independence through the “self-reliance” doctrine, which says that while
those in the South have bread, those in the North have pride because the South
is a “slave house of the Americans,” while the North challenges US “hegemony.”
Kims know that by picking a quarrel with the US, they upgrade their regime. But
such a quarrel must not go beyond certain limits and force the US to hit back.
So in every crisis provoked by the Kims since the 1970s, North Korea has never
gone beyond certain limits. And each time, it has obtained concessions and
favors from the US in exchange for cooling down the artificial crisis.
pattern started under former US President Jimmy Carter and reached its peak
under former President Bill Clinton, who sent his Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright on a pilgrimage to Pyongyang and offered to build two nuclear reactors
for the Kims. One overlooked fact is that during the past four decades, the US
has helped save North Korea from three major famines.
yourself by picking a quarrel with the US is not an art practiced only by the
Kims. The Soviets did it from the 1960s onward. The Cuban missile crisis was
one example; it helped create the image of the USSR as a superpower, later
symbolized by “summits.”
the 1960s and early 1970s, Communist China, regarding the US as a paper tiger,
did the same by occasional attacks on Quemoy and Matsu islands, and
saber-rattling against Taiwan. The Khomeinists in Iran upgraded their
ramshackle regime by raiding the US Embassy in Tehran, keeping them on American
TV for 444 days.
Kims’ strategy has worked because successive US administrations have played the
role written for them in Pyongyang, pretending outrage but ending up offering
concessions. Clinton had a beautiful analysis: “I ask myself: Can I kill these
people tomorrow? If yes, why do it today?” The Kims have banked on that
analysis, and have been proven right. Regardless of what North Korea does, the
US will not try to do today what it thinks it can do tomorrow.
Kim-generated crisis also suits China, which does not want a united Korea that
could become another Japan: An economic powerhouse and a potential military
obstacle to Beijing’s regional ambitions. Russia, too, is happy to see the Kims’
shindig diverting world attention from Putin’s shenanigans while exposing the
US as weak and indecisive.
what if the Kim-scripted crisis also suits US President Donald Trump by
providing weeks of diversion from other problems? The Kims did not invent
governance by crisis, but have proven to be among its most ardent
know journalists are not supposed to predict the future. But let us break the
rule by guessing that the latest crisis will fizzle out in time for the Olympic
Winter Games next February in South Korea. Pyongyang has achieved its objective
of upgrading its regime and cheating on its nuclear arsenal without suffering
serious consequences. It has no interest in pushing things over the edge.
• Amir Taheri was executive editor in chief of the
daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at, or written for,
innumerable publications and published 11 books. Originally published in Asharq
By Diana Moukalled
Facebook user sarcastically commented that Israel bombed a Syrian chemical
plant this week to celebrate Bashar Assad’s victory over his “terrorist”
opponents. Indeed, over the past few years, many have made fun of the fact that
Israel has repeatedly struck Syria with no response except for lame statements
and killing more citizens.
week’s strike, which Israel said was launched from Lebanese airspace, seems
like an attempt to make a statement and take a bold position in the Syrian
arena. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President
Vladimir Putin two weeks ago that his country was ready to act unilaterally to
prevent Iran’s military expansion in Syria. So the raid is part of attempts to
convince the US and Russia of the danger Iran poses to Israel and regional
is disappointed at the Russian and US positions vis-a-vis Iran’s presence in
Syria. Tel Aviv has accused Washington of ignoring Tehran’s ambition to
establish a Shiite crescent in the region. It seems Israel’s presence in Syria
will increase so as to have a role in shaping its future.
expansion in Syria is closely monitored by Israel. When the Americans talk
about the party’s presence in Syria, they do not take into account its role in
protecting a regime that kills its own people, but rather Hezbollah’s
deployment close to the Syrian-Israeli border.
knows Hezbollah will not move toward the border with Israel because this has
been settled by Moscow. Israel’s border with Syria is more stable than its
border with Lebanon. It strikes Syria whenever it wants, knowing there will be
no consequences, but this is not possible with Lebanon. Alas, none of these
factors take into consideration the future and wellbeing of innocent civilians.
Nor do they offer a fair solution based on rights and justice.
• Diana Moukalled is a veteran journalist with
extensive experience in both traditional and new media. She is also a columnist
and freelance documentary producer.
She can be reached on Twitter @dianamoukalled.
By Chi Onwurah
worse, rape or racism? I found myself posing that question after the Operation
Sanctuary investigation was finally made public, revealing horrific abuse of
girls and vulnerable young women in Newcastle. I had been moved and inspired by
the courage of the victims, testifying, sometimes multiple times, to the most
appalling and intimate crimes. And I felt overwhelming anger at the men who had
done this, men in my constituency, men who used girls and women as their
property without respect for them or thought for their futures.
I was also angry at rightwing attempts to make this abuse and exploitation an
issue of race and religion. On Saturday the EDL will be marching in Newcastle
and I have been told on social media that I was little better than a pimp for
not warning white working-class girls against Muslim men.
then I was angry at those – mainly men – who seemed intent on turning the rape
of girls into a minor skirmish in the great war on imperialism, talking only of
rightwing racism, not rape. Having been raped and abused, disempowered and exploited,
were these survivors now going to be written out of their own story?
then I became tired of my own anger. It is horrendous that with this recent
destruction of so many young lives there should come a sense of deja vu. But we
as a society have been here before. We have seen violence against women reduced
to the crimes of a particular group of ethnic minority men against a particular
group of white women, with everyone else either sidelined or forced to take
I was growing up in the 80s it was the supposedly overpowering lust of
African-Caribbean men from which no white woman was safe, with black women
urged to call out the loose sexual morals of “their men”. These were the racial
and sexual stereotypes that had been at the heart of so many lynchings in the
United States. Fighting that stereotyping while at the same time condemning
misogyny and sexism wherever it was to be found risked being called a traitor
to both gender and race.
I would have hoped we had learned over the decades – indeed, centuries – of
documented sexual violence is that rape is about power, and power imbalances
can form part of any community, culture or religion.
has been claimed that some cases of sexual abuse have not been reported or
taken seriously because the perpetrators were from ethnic minorities and the
authorities wanted to be culturally sensitive. This is quite horrifying.
Cultural sensitivity is a justification for serving lamb instead of pork. It is
no reason to stand by while children are raped – and anyone who thinks that or
anything close to that is themselves being racist as well as perpetuating
abuse. It also undermines the thousands of hours of investigation by officers
of Northumbria police and local safeguarding teams, who poured limited resources
into bringing the perpetrators to justice.
to say, as Sarah Champion did, that “Britain has a problem with British
Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls” is either saying that
Pakistanis are more likely to rape and more likely to rape white girls, or that
the rape of white girls is more of a problem than the rape of, for example,
white boys or brown girls. We have a huge problem with sexual violence against
children and vulnerable adults. After tabloid headlines about “Muslim rapists”,
one of my constituents who was himself raped as a child expressed concern that
his abuse did not raise the same kind of outrage and therefore the same level
of the perpetrators were identified by family and friends – members of the communities
accused of supporting these criminals. Almost all the perpetrators were of
Asian Muslim descent, and it is right that the serious case investigation
should consider what shared values, background, employment or interests brought
these men together, whether there was a criminal culture that “normalised” this
abuse, and how that culture was formed. I will be writing to the investigating
officer to ensure he does so.
idea that Muslim immigrants and their families have brought sexual abuse and
violence against women to our shores is an insult to them, as well as to the
generations of women and sexual abuse victims who have lived among us for
centuries and whose suffering had no name or voice.
does it help safeguard our children. In the north-east it would appear that the
majority of those convicted of online grooming are white men. Should we be
teaching our children to beware of white men online and Muslim men offline?
Does that mean abuse by black Christian men is ignored? We know that the most likely
perpetrators of child abuse are family members. Should we be attacking the
family unit? Stereotyping does not safeguard the vulnerable, it merely makes
them more vulnerable. What is needed is raised awareness, mandatory PSHE,
well-resourced community policing and mandatory training for all relevant
agencies in identifying and reporting grooming indicators.
which is worse, rape or racism? The answer, of course, is to reject any such
choice. We must seek out and eradicate misogyny and sexism wherever it may be,
to condemn absolutely those who would judge or disrespect women and girls on
the basis of their appearance or background, to recognise that male violence
against women has no race and no religion, to invest in the measures necessary
to prevent others becoming victims and to protect, champion and honour the
survivors who, through their bravery, are helping to make our imperfect society
• Chi Onwurah is Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne
since Ronald Reagan, much of America has embraced an ideological framework
claiming that government is the source of our problems
the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and of wildfires out
West, one cannot help but think about the crucial role that government plays in
our lives. But while we accept, even celebrate, the role of government in the
wake of such disasters, we are largely blind to the need for government to
mitigate these kinds of crises in the first place.
since Ronald Reagan, much of America has embraced an ideological framework
claiming that government is the source of our problems. Reagan famously
quipped, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm
from the government, and I'm here to help."
argued for a retreat from the vision of an activist state and advocated instead
for a strictly limited role for government, one dedicated to core functions
like national defense. Outside of these realms, he believed, government should
simply encourage the private sector and market forces.
worldview grew out of the 1970s - a period marked by fiscal mismanagement,
government overreach and slowing growth. It might have been the right attitude
for its time. But it has stayed in place for decades as a rigid ideology, even
though we have entered a new age in which America has faced a very different
set of challenges, often desperately requiring an activist government. This has
been a bipartisan abdication of responsibility.
decades now, we have watched as stagnant wage growth for 90 per cent of
Americans has been coupled with supercharged growth for the richest few,
leading to widening inequality on a scale not seen since the Gilded Age. It has
been assumed that the federal government could do nothing about this expanding
gap, despite much evidence to the contrary.
have watched China enter the global trade system and take advantage of its
access to Western markets and capital, while still maintaining a massively
controlled internal economy and pursuing predatory trade practices. And we have
assumed that the American government can't do anything about it, because any
action would be protectionist.
watched as financial institutions took on more and more risk, with other
people's money, effectively gambling in a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose system.
Any talk of regulation was seen as socialist. Even after the system blew up,
causing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the calls soon
came to deregulate the financial sector once again because, after all,
government regulation is obviously bad.
this same period, technology companies have grown in size and scale, often
using first-mover advantage to establish quasi-monopolies and quash
competition. The digital economy was supposed to empower the individual
entrepreneur, but it has instead become one in which four or five companies
utterly dominate the global landscape. A new technology company today aspires
simply to be bought by Google or Facebook. And we assume that the federal
government should have had no role in shaping this vast new economy. That would
be activist and bad. Better for government to simply observe the process, like
a passive spectator watching a new Netflix drama.
then there is climate. These hurricanes have not been caused by global warming,
but their frequency and intensity have likely been magnified by climate change.
Particularly calamitous hurricanes have their names retired, and in the last 20
years there have been about as many names retired as in the preceding 40 years.
California has had more than 6,400 wildfires this year. The 17 hottest years on
record have all taken place in the last two decades.
yet, we have been wary of too much government activism. This is true not just
in tackling climate change but in other areas that have contributed to the
storms' destructive power. Houston chose not to have any kind of zoning that
limited development, even in flood-prone areas, paving over thousands of acres
of wetlands that used to absorb rainwater and curb flooding. The chemical
industry has been able to convince Washington to exercise a light regulatory
touch, so there is limited protection against fires and contamination. And now,
of course, low-tax and low-regulation Texas has come to the federal government,
hat in hand, asking for more than $150 billion to rebuild its devastated state.
We are living in an age of revolutions, natural and human, that are buffeting
individuals and communities. We need government to be more than a passive
observer of these trends and forces. It needs to actively shape and manage
them. Otherwise, the ordinary individual will be powerless. I imagine that this
week, most people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico would be delighted to hear
the words, "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."
By The Editorial Board
is commonly believed that Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential
campaign consisted mainly of the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails and
unfavorable stories circulated abroad about Hillary Clinton. But as a startling
investigation by Scott Shane of The New York Times, and new research by the
cybersecurity firm FireEye, now reveal, the Kremlin’s stealth intrusion into
the election was far broader and more complex, involving a cyberarmy of
bloggers posing as Americans and spreading propaganda and disinformation to an
American electorate on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians is, of course, the question
at the heart of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
Donald Trump Jr. told Senate investigators this week that he met with Russians
claiming to have dirt on Mrs. Clinton because it could concern her “fitness,
character or qualifications.” But Russia’s guile in using hackers and
counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts to undermine her campaign represents
a new dimension in disinformation that must not go unchallenged by Mr. Trump,
however much he may have benefited from it and however close his relationship
to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
attack, according to the Times report, involved hundreds or even thousands of
fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter that regularly posted anti-Clinton
viewers, the messages resembled the normal partisan give-and-take one expects
in a political campaign; in fact they came from foreign sources. Many of the
rapid-fire salvos came from automated accounts.
the normal bounds of American politics, such partisan messaging is required by
law to account for its source — as in “I’m candidate McAdoo and I approve this
message.” But in the riotous world of social media, disclosure is not a high
that the scheming is clear, Facebook and Twitter say they are reviewing the
2016 race and studying how to defend against such meddling in the future.
Facebook announced Wednesday the removal of 470 fake accounts and pages
“likely” engineered in Russia. It requires account identities and can challenge
the bona fides of fakers. Twitter does not, nor does it prohibit automated
accounts, which can create fake “trends” to attract readers. Between them, the
sites have more than two billion accounts.
has not exactly hidden its intentions. In February of last year, a top
cyberintelligence adviser to Mr. Putin, Andrey Krutskikh, hinted at a Moscow
conference of a possible attack. “I’m warning you: We are on the verge of
having something in the information arena which will allow us to talk to the
Americans as equals,” he said. Mr. Putin has insisted there is “no proof”
Russia is directing the work of “free spirited” hackers — despite decisive
American intelligence to the contrary.
the Russian challenge will involve complicated issues dealing with secret
foreign efforts to undermine American free speech. National security agencies
in Washington have identified Russian involvement in the spread of the email
leaks that bedeviled Mrs. Clinton, and the Russian military intelligence
agency’s use of hackers to penetrate state voting systems.
it is unclear whether any federal agency is focused specifically on the
problems Mr. Shane and FireEye have illuminated — foreign intervention through
social media to feed partisan anger and suspicion in a polarized nation.
social media scheming is further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented
foreign invasion of American democracy. If President Trump and Congress are not
outraged by this, American voters should ask why.
By Jonathan Freedland
the remainer, and even to the neutral, our current politics contains a big
mystery. Put simply, where is the sentiment we hoped to call regrexit? Where is
the collective outbreak of buyer’s remorse? After all, the evidence that Brexit
will be the greatest error in our national history since Munich is piling up.
It’s not just that a process the leavers used to say would be quick and easy is
proving to be long and torturously difficult, or that the European economies
are growing while ours is sluggish. It’s more fundamental than that.
the fact that ending free movement will deprive our hospitals of nurses, our
old-age homes of care workers and our farms of essential workers: recruitment
of EU nurses is already down 96%, while farmers are already warning of food
rotting in the fields.
the contradictions, which are legion. We did this supposedly to stop sending
money to the EU, yet now we’re negotiating over how many tens of billions we’ll
pay into Brussels coffers (this time getting nothing in return). We did this to
make parliament supreme once more, yet now Brexit necessitates a withdrawal
bill that would see a massive shift of power away from MPs, as the executive
grabs enough unchecked authority to make a Tudor king blush.
Brexiteers tacitly concede this reality through their quiet dropping of the old
promises. No longer do they insist that leaving will bring eternal sunshine.
Now the best they can offer is the glum hope that things might, eventually, be
no worse than if we stayed. Witness the pro-leave economist Andrew Lilico
confidently telling the BBC earlier this summer that the country might recover
from the transitional pain of Brexit by 2030.
the best that can be said for leaving is that it might one day be as good as
remaining, and when the worst points to national catastrophe, you might expect
the public mood to shift. And yet the polls detect little sign of change.
Overall, the two camps are broadly where they were on referendum day, with few
leave voters having changed their mind.
explanation surely lies in the nature of the 2016 vote. Remainers may wish it
to have been based on a calm assessment of empirical evidence, so that fresh
evidence now would shift opinions. But it wasn’t like that. Much of what drove
that vote, like all votes, was emotion. This was remain’s weakness. And it
now, anti-Brexiteers struggle to articulate a case that matches the emotional
power of “take back control”. It certainly resonates when you say that it’s
wrong to shrink the horizons of a generation of young Britons, who will now be
denied easy access to an entire continent. But the deepest emotional argument
for remain looked not to the future, but to the past. It centred on the second
contemplated the long, lethal history of Europe and saw the European Union as
the answer. For a continent that had been gripped by the fever of nationalism
and hatred, the EU proved to be an antidote, soothing the brow with its spirit
of co-operation and sharing of sovereignty. The Britain that had fought two
world wars surely was obliged to cherish, rather than risk, this remedy to the
argument barely flew in the referendum campaign. When David Cameron tried it,
Boris Johnson mocked him for it. But mentioned even less was the conflict that
followed 1945: the cold war that divided Europe with a wall and left the
continent – and the world – in the permanent shadow of nuclear apocalypse. Its
absence was strange, given that it had been Britain, and especially the British
Conservative party, that after the cold war was over had seen the EU as the
means to bind together a once-ruptured Europe. It was the Tories who pushed for
EU enlargement, to include the ex-communist nations of the east. Once again, the
EU’s mission was to heal a continent shattered by conflict.
reminder of that vision has come this week not from a politician or pro-remain
pamphleteer, but a fictional character. George Smiley, who lived the cold war
in the shadows, returns in John le Carré’s masterful new novel, A Legacy of
Spies. He makes a fleeting, enigmatic appearance in which he asks himself what
was it all for. “I’m a European,” he says. “If I had an unattainable ideal, it
was of leading Europe out of her darkness towards a new age of reason.”
a veteran of both the hot war against fascism and the cold war against Soviet
communism, had known that darkness first-hand. But for those who voted in last
year’s EU referendum, perhaps it all seemed too long ago. Those demons were
slain, the EU no longer needed.
if that’s how it looked on 23 June 2016, it looks different now. In a talk on
Thursday night, Le Carré spoke of the behaviour of Donald Trump and others as
“absolutely comparable” to the rise of fascism in the 1930s. “It’s contagious,
it’s infectious. Fascism is up and running in Poland and Hungary. There’s an
encouragement about,” he said.
is a warning to take seriously. Hungary is indeed led by a man who boasts that
he is building an “illiberal state”, while Poland’s government is trampling
over fundamental democratic protections, including an independent judiciary and
freedom of the press (and Trump is cheering them on as they do so).
US president is not making America great again, but he is making the 1930s
current again. Perhaps, then, and in a way he would not want, Trump is
providing the anti-Brexiteers with the one thing they always lacked: an
emotional heart to their argument. Trump and the fascist contagion is reminding
us why the EU exists: to ensure that the neighbourhood we live in is never
again consumed by the flames of tyranny and hatred.
that fateful day in June 2016, it’s possible that some of those who voted leave
did so because they believed that democracy and peace were now safe and secure
in Europe. In the short time that has passed since, we have seen that those
things are, in fact, fragile. As the head of Nato warns that the world is at
its most dangerous point in a generation, Britain’s duty, to use a word that
might make Smiley wince, is surely to defend the body that helped lead Europe
out of its darkness. Instead, we are turning our backs and walking away.
By Karen Wyld
Australia, there's a growing discontent of statues that don't accurately
memorialise the past. From measured appeals to change the plaques, to bold
proposals to remove the more problematic statues from the public domain, calls
for action are building momentum. Unfortunately, these timely suggestions are
being rejected by a dwindling clutch unwilling to fully accept Australia's
are justifiable reasons to remove or alter some monuments. Statues of people
long dead, people whose celebrated deeds fall short of modern ideals of
justice, freedom and equity for all. At the very least, the plaques on these
problematic statues need to be rewritten to provide a more accurate account of
history. There's also a case for putting up more monuments that remind us of
moments in history that have shaped the present.
'Stolen Generations' of Australia
the mid-1800s to 1970s, tens of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander (First Peoples) children were taken from their families. These
children are now collectively known as "the Stolen Generations".
this time period, all Australian states and territories implemented policies to
remove Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their homes without
parental consent. Children were moved far from their communities, forbidden to
speak their mother tongues or engage in cultural practices. After they received
minimum education, many of these children served as unpaid labourers and
domestic workers until they reached adulthood.
with broad scale removal of First Peoples from ancestral lands, on to reserves
and missions, this was an orchestrated attempt to force First Peoples to
assimilate with the colonisers. Instead, these policies of cultural genocide
have left a legacy of inter-generational trauma, health disparities, and
remember Australia's "Stolen Generations", we need to build more
monuments like Colebrook Reconciliation Park in Adelaide, South Australia. This
memorial garden, on Kaurna land, is where Colebrook Home once stood.
Established in 1944, hundreds of Aboriginal children were institutionalised in
this Christian-run home. The site now features statues, plaques and landscaping
that invite people to learn of and reflect on this shameful scar in Australian
a massacre what it is
Australia wants physical reminders of past deeds, let's put up more monuments
that acknowledge First Peoples' lives sacrificed in combat. Men and women who
fought on foreign soils, in the service of a nation they were not citizens of
(Australia did not grant citizenship to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people until 1967).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial in Adelaide, on Kaurna
lands, was unveiled in 2013. This memorial is the result of many years of
lobbying for a visual acknowledgement of First Peoples who served in
Australia's armed forces, from the Boer War onwards. Despite their
contributions to Australia, First Peoples still have to fight long battles to
erect monuments like this one on their own lands.
also put up monuments that acknowledge lives lost in conflicts on Australian
soil. And don't pander to those calling for a whitewashed version of history.
Truth should not be obstructed, like what is currently happening at Elliston in
South Australia on Wirangu land.
nestled in Waterloo Bay, is the site of the most horrific massacre in South
Australia. In 1849, more than 200 men, women and children were driven off the
high sea cliffs of Waterloo Bay, to their death. After lobbying the government
for four decades, Wirangu, and other descendants of those murdered, finally
have a monument at Waterloo Bay.
the monument's plaque remains blank to this day, because non-Indigenous people
have objected to its proposed wording. They are calling for the word
"massacre" to be replaced with "incident". Some are even
arguing that First Peoples' oral histories are not to be relied on - they
suggest only a handful of people were killed, in an unfortunate accident.
persistent refusal to acknowledge settlers' brutal treatment of First Peoples
needs to stop. Put up that truth-telling plaque at Waterloo Bay. Put up plaques
at all the massacre sites, and other places where First Peoples' blood, sweat
and tears were spilled during the forging of a colonial empire.
let's get serious about protecting historical monuments. Starting with some of
the oldest monuments, such as the standing stones of Burrup and Dampier
Archipelago (Murujuga), in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Spread over
many kilometres, these historical monuments are on the lands of Yaburara, who
were massacred by settlers in 1868. Yaburara Mardudhunera, Ngarluma,
Yindjibarndi, and Wong-Goo-Ti-Oo have custodial duties of the broad area.
than Stonehenge, the Murujuga monuments are some of the most archaeologically
and culturally significant works of art in the world. And they are at risk.
Approximately 10,000 petroglyphs have already been damaged by mining companies
and vandals or stolen. Australians need to acknowledge this problem and work
together to protect cultural treasures like these.
collaboration with First Peoples historians and writers, the government should
put up factual plaques on statues and memorials to help educate Australians
about shared histories.
new plaque on an old statue will not resolve concerns that some historical
figures do not deserve a place of honour. But, given the chance, there would be
many First Peoples' artists who'd welcome the challenge to artistically change,
or overshadow, these monuments so they tell a more honest story.
said, we cannot make these revered scoundrels or their past deeds vanish. The
colonisers that participated in blackbirding, ordered massacres, stole children
and defiled First Peoples' lands cannot be made invisible. Their names are on
roads, universities, businesses, rivers, mountain ranges, and firmly entrenched
in museums and libraries. Invaders, colonisers and explorers cannot be erased, nor
should they be. They are now part of our shared stories.
over 64,000 years of pre-invasion stories are also embedded in the sea, land
and skies, and in songlines that crisscross this continent. With a strong
culture of history-keeping, and an increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander academics and authors, our histories are now published in
books, peer-reviewed articles, and online, adding to Australia's collective
time for honest discussions of history, that will lead to changes that are long
overdue. It's time for truth-telling, to help all Australians walk together.
Wyld is an author, consultant and freelance writer from South Australia. Of
Aboriginal descent (Martu), she has a background in community development,
strategy and policy, community housing, social/health research, and Aboriginal
By Salman al-Dosary
who were betting on a short-lived Qatari crisis have lost. Everyone who thought
that Qatar’s efforts for international pressure would be fruitful, was proven
wrong. Three months on, the four states’ stance hasn’t changed, and is as firm
as it was on June 5. Since day one, the ball has been put in Qatar’s court.
message has been clear: If Qatar wants to restore ties, end the boycott and
open the border, all it should do is implement what was handwritten by Qatar’s
emir in the Riyadh Agreement in 2014. However, it is up to Doha if it decides
to face the boycott and lose its interests with the four states.
chose confrontation, intransigence, escalation and the failure to implement
what was requested from it out of its assumption that the crisis would soon end
even if it disregarded its pledges. Yet this didn’t happen and time wasn’t in
Doha’s favor. As three months passed without achieving its goals, maybe a year
or two would also pass and Qatar would discover that it has become the only
isolated state and all its bets are gone with the wind.
is okay if the Qatari crisis lasted two years,” said Saudi Foreign Minister
Adel al-Jubeir. The boycotting states decided to cease the harmful Qatari
policies only after they geared themselves for a long-term boycott out of their
conviction that Doha’s attitude won’t be easily straightened and it won’t meet
its pledges overnight.
it has so far skilfully done, Doha will continue to procrastinate. Only time
will reveal where Qatari interests will lie. Did Turkey and Iran really
compensate the Gulf loss? Did Doha benefit from marketing itself in a trivial
way among western capitals to urge them to pressure for lifting the boycott?
answer is clear, as the crisis nears the 100-day mark, Qatar continues to see
it as its main political, economic and social cause. In contrast, the four
states haven’t lost anything from crisis but consider the Qatari file to be
among a dozen others put on their agenda. Qatar is more than welcome to step
back, but if it holds onto its stance and rejects to abide by its commitments,
then it is free to do so.
can say that the world has forgotten the Qatari crisis. It appeared in the
headlines for some time, then states resumed their businesses by looking after
their interests. The foreign ministers of US, France, UK and Germany toured the
region to carry out diplomatic missions with allied states, then they left.
Nothing more was done.
Qatar woke up on an ugly truth that it is facing a real crisis unilaterally. It
has plenty of solutions, but procrastination or resorting for Western help are
not among them. Pursuits to strike alliances with Turkey and Iran didn’t
compensate its stalled interests. Even the “blockage” lie didn’t work out. It
rather unveiled Qatar’s naivety – here you see Qatar bragging that 35 percent
of Middle Eastern trade goes through the state’s “besieged” port.
the current Qatari regime policy, it seems there is no hope in resolving the
crisis soon. Let Qatar stick to its stance and let there be a protracted
crisis. Sometimes, only time is capable of resolving complex issues. Qatar is
the only damaged party – its losses are increasing but only these losses will
urge Doha to meet its obligations.
article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat.
Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of
Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets @SalmanAldosary.