The Rohingya People And Their Struggle For Equal Rights

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The term ‘refugees’ is spoken, heard and seen almost every other day. From Syrian refugees to Rohingya refugees, news about these individuals never seem to cease. We live in the 21st century where the internet enables us to reach out and hear the refugees stories. However the saddest part of it all is, despite all of that; the circumstances of the refugees is barely getting any better.

It would not be a surprise if many have heard and seen news of the Rohingya crisis. But the questions is, why are they speaking out and wanting to escape from Myanmar? The Rohingya people were called the ‘boat people’ by the international media when they were spotted waiting on board fishing boats off the coast of Indonesia, seeking asylum. As time passed, they were known as the ‘stateless people’.

And why is that so? Simply because Myanmar claimed them to be illegal immigrants, whereas “the Rohingya people say they have lived in the western state of Rakhine for generations“. Moreover, Bangladesh has repeatedly refused to allow the Rohingya people in their state and according to Amnesty International, “Bangladesh detained and forcibly returned hundreds” of Rohingyas.

The Rohingya crisis has been present since the 90’s and Amnesty International further revealed that “the Bangladesh government has since 1992 refused to grant refugee status to Rohingya arriving from Myanmar”. Thus, the Rohingya are more than often pushed back to Myanmar to a collective punishment.

Image Credit: Indian Defence Analysis
Image Credit: Indian Defence Analysis

The Indian Express mentioned “the fears of a fresh influx of Rohingya have compelled the Bangladesh government to refuse entry to those who have once again been exposed to the brutality of the Myanmar army”. Why are the Rohingya people so adamant to leave Myanmar? That is because they have been treated unjustly by the government and the military forces.

As told by many people from the Rohingya community, there have been many indiscriminate reprisal attacks on their people by the Myanmar security forces. International media outlets have mentioned attacks such as firing at Rohingya villages from helicopter gunships, torching hundred of homes, conducted arbitrary arrests and raping of women and girls.

Moreover, the Myanmar government has denied all the allegations against them and said there is no violation of human rights against the Rohingya. United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee mentioned in a news conference on 20 January 2017 how the Myanmar government’s refusal to address the allegations have lessened its reliability.

“The government’s response to all of these problems seem to currently be to defend, dismiss and deny,” Lee said.

” For the government to continue being defensive when allegations of serious human rights violations have persistently been reported, that is when the government appears less and less credible.”

Sure, the Rohingyas have faced atrocities and resentment in Myanmar but it’s not the only country who has been unfair to them. Bangladeshi authorities have repeatedly pushed the Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar which forced these asylum-seekers into hiding. The fact that Bangladesh detained and forced hundreds of refugees to return to Myanmar, the act itself was a violation of International Law.

Image Credit: Bangladesh Authorities - Southeast Asia Globe
Bangladesh Authorities – Southeast Asia Globe

As cited by Amnesty International, “the move is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement – an absolute prohibition under international law on forcibly returning people to a country or place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations”.

Many out there often blame Myanmar for being the sole reason to the circumstances the Rohingya people are in, whereas Bangladesh has an equal or a greater part to play in their lives. The Bangladesh government has a policy from back in 1992 of refusing and returning Rohingya refugees back. This led to the Rohingya having to pay smugglers in order to take them across.

Furthermore, the Rohingya vulnerability made them a target for local thieves. Refugees tend to run from their homes without even the basic necessities and it’s not only upsetting but disappointing to see how two big nations have caused the Rohingya people to plead for help from the international media. Is this what democracy is like?

There is a clear violation of human rights against the Rohingya but apart from Myanmar declining these claims, they have further “blocked access to humanitarian aid and effectively barred independent journalists and human rights monitors from entering the area“. The question is if the Myanmar government has got absolutely nothing to hide, why are they not allowing access to “independent observers, including human rights monitors, aid workers and journalists“? Something to wonder, yes?

Aung San Suu Kyi, the ever famous Burmese politician and the prominent leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) has the primary responsibility to lead the concern and conflict over the Rohingya people. However, she has failed to end or even address the Rohingya migrant crisis. Moreover NLD has refused to comment on the issue, which has turned into a concern for the international media.

Image Credit: BBC
Image Credit: BBC

Researchers in the West concluded that “despite the fact that this is the most significant test of Suu Kyi’s leadership, she has remained remarkably indifferent”. This crisis has also placed NLD and Suu Kyi’s image on the line as there are many doubts surrounding them.

Also, 28 global leaders have warned Suu Kyi of the consequences of not involving herself in the Rohingya crisis. As mentioned by Al Jazeera, “more than a dozen Nobel laureates have criticised Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to uphold the human rights of Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state, urging for immediate action to avoid ‘ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity’ “.

However, despite numerous appeals; Suu Kyi has yet to taken any action to make sure the Rohingya people receive their deserved citizenship rights. BBC reporter Mishal Husain had interviewed Suu Kyi earlier last year and the Rohingya crisis was brought up. it was disappointing to see how Suu Kyi was more concerned about the cultural and religious differences between the Buddhist majority and the R0hingya people rather than what can be done to solve the crisis itself.

“I would like to make the point that there are many moderate Muslims in Burma who have been well integrated into our society, but these problems arose last year and I think this is due to fear on both sides,” Suu Kyi said.

“This is what the world needs to understand; that the fear is not just to the side of the Muslims but on the side of the Buddhists as well.”

Image Credit: Al Jazeera
Image Credit: Al Jazeera

The Rohingya crisis has been existent for decades, but the recent refugee crisis in Europe indefinitely overshadowed the Rohingya plight. It is still very much present and only seems to be worsening. The international media has no doubt voiced their circumstances and what atrocities they have gone through and are still going through.

Then why is there little done for them? Bangladesh and Myanmar both have contributed equally in worsening the Rohingyas situation and it is our duty as ethical individuals to speak up and be their voices, until the day it starts getting better.

Day in and day out, we hear refugee crisis going from bad to worse. Therefore, lets use our voices to speak out for these voiceless individuals as a larger force with a stronger voice might perhaps be their solace.

Mari Khan Safi 

Update

Hi guys, unfortunately, this is not an article update but more of an update on what has been going on in my life and my reason for not being able to publish recently.

In all honestly, I was not expecting to receive emails and messages asking me when will I be publishing my next article. I am genuinely honored. I started this website to pursue my passion in Human Rights, which I will continue to do so. However being a fresh graduate, I had to look for work commitments and I am currently doing an Internship.

Yes, that is the reason why I have been unable to publish anything for almost four weeks. Trust me, it does upset me that I have not been active on my website. I love writing, therefore I am able to work on something I have not done before. Moreover, I believe it is necessary to experience different things in life.

Moving on, I have some great article ideas for my next few publications and I hope I am able to publish one during Christmas. With so much happening around the world, my mind is bottled up with things to pen down. I aim to put my voice out there and hope I could somehow make a difference in the world.

Therefore, I would like to thank all of those who have asked about my website and are still supporting me, Thank You! I am blessed to have people in my life who push me towards my dreams.

Next article coming very soon.

Much love Xx.

Maria Khan Safi

Female Genital Mutilation


[1]

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – a term that is taboo to speak about in many communities. However, it is still very much practiced in certain parts of the world. With the advancement of science and medicine we have been given a better understanding and cure of illnesses. It has also come up with risks and benefits of certain medical procedures, such as FGM. Then, why is FGM still practiced in certain countries?

FGM is wrongly referred to as ‘female circumcision’ in some communities that practice it.  [2] However, this term suggests a deceiving analogy to non-mutilating male circumcision. Whereby, male circumcision is the cutting off the foreskin from the tip of the penis without having to damage the penis itself.[3] FGM causes damage to sensitive genital nerve tissues as there have been no medically proven benefits to it.

There is not one, but 4 types of FGM procedures according to the World Health Organisation.[4] All the four types of FGM procedures causes damage to a women’s genital nerves, be it a partial and/or total removal of the clitoris, labia or narrowing of the vaginal orifice.

FGM is a very sensitive topic as it is predominantly practiced within the Muslim community in Central-North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is not practiced in all Muslim countries. Moreover, the FGM practice statistics vary according to ethnicity in general, and not by religion. Also, it is not required in Islam to do so. There will be people who find it wrongful of me to say that FGM is not required in Islam.

However, that is the truth as it is nowhere mentioned in the Quran, as what some claim. Certain Muslim communities have come out and responded that they do not practice FGM, but do Islamic circumcision. According to them, mutilation only occurs when the clitoris is cut or removed. Also in their point of view, circumcision is when the foreskin, outer fold of skin over the clitoris; the prepuce is cut. They have repeatedly said that circumcision was mentioned in some Hadiths (Prophet Sayings). Although, it was never supported or opposed. It also predates Islam by many years.  Nonetheless, there were no medical benefits found for either FGM or female circumcision, which means the same thing in medical term.

Moreover, medicine had not advanced to the extent it has now. Therefore with the advancement of medicine, there are risks but no benefits of FGM.  The removal of or wounding healthy and normal genital tissues complicate the natural running of a female’s body.[5] Moreover, there are both short-term and long-term risks of FGM. Short-term risks involve excessive bleeding, urination problems, impaired wound healing and etc.[6] In worse case scenarios, excessive bleeding could cause a haemorrhage; which could further result in the death of the female. Whereas long-term risks such as menstrual problems, obstetric complications, prenatal risks and psychological consequences are much more threatening.[7]

A large portion of Muslims and academics in the West are making an incredible effort to emphasise that the FGM practice is not rooted in the religion but rather in culture.[8]  Haseena Lockhat, a child clinical psychologist at North Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, had written that the fact FGM is condemned in Saudi Arabia, the centre of the Islamic world, makes it evident that the practice is not an Islamic one.[9]

A lot of us have the idea that FGM is generally practiced in African countries, which is true to an extent. As, WHO stated in its statistic report that FGM is practiced in almost 30 African countries. Also, FGM is practiced in some non-Muslim communities in African countries. However, it is very much present but hidden in parts of Asia as well. Certain communities in Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan and etc still practise FGM. An article published in The Jakarta Post earlier this year mentioned that according to UNICEF’s latest statistics half the girls less than 11 years old have undergone FGM.[10] This was a call to raise awareness on FGM practices in a country with the highest percentage of Muslims, Indonesia.

The existence of FGM in Singapore overwhelmed me. Singapore is a developed, affluent island state which prides itself on being an accomplished cosmopolitan city at the age of 51. However, the mere existence of FGM proves that the most developed countries also face cultural challenges.[11] FGM is mainly practiced in the Malay Muslim community in Singapore. Filzah Sumartono of women’s rights group AWARE, told Reuters that it is important to create awareness and educate the community about the risks of FGM before it can be banned.[12] The banning of FGM requires a large amount of public support; or else it will never be banned.

A friend who wished to remain anonymous spoke to me about how she finds FGM to be unnecessary and that the practice ought to be halted. 

“I was 11 years old when I had it done. It was a regular doctor’s office and I knew this had to happen sooner or later,” she said.

“All I had been told was that it was something Muslim people have to go through. My own understanding was that it was a circumcision and that it was necessary, no other explanation or reasoning was given to me.

“Do not get it done. This is the best advice I could give in regard to this.”

She had further mentioned that she is unable to identify any side-effects to FGM that she might have experienced and as per her knowledge, this practice is no longer active in her family. It was relieving to know that there are some who have stopped the FGM practice in Singapore. Perhaps the advancement of medicine and internet has created an awareness of the risks related to FGM. But what about those who still do so? I suppose, time will tell.

There have been efforts made on international levels, especially by the United Nations agencies to increase awareness on the risks of FGM. They have been successful on placing FGM in women’s health and human rights as a health hazard.[13] Moreover, it has also been deemed as a form of violence against women.[14]

Bettina Shell-Duncan an anthropologist spoke to The Atlanitic about her visit to Kenya—northern Kenya in 1996 to conduct a research on anaemia, iron deficiency among an ethnic group called the Rendille.[16] She discussed some typical misconceptions about female genital mutilation. Rendille male and females are known to be sexually active before marriage and it is culturally acceptable.[17] Therefore FGM, in the Rendille tribe has got nothing to do with a female’s modesty or her virginity.

It is more of a cultural practice whereby the female going through FGM is entering womanhood. They pride themselves in this practice, and do it willingly. Perhaps the lack of medicine, technology and resources in Northern Kenya has unable the Rendille tribe to come across the risks related to FGM.

The practice of FGM has indeed been declining over the past three decades. According to UNICEF statistics stated, almost 1 in 3 girls aged 15 to 19 today have gone through FGMversus 1 in 2 in the mid-1980s.[18] Also, UNICEF statistics mentioned a rapid decrease among girls aged 15 to 19 has appeared across countries with differing levels of FGM/C prevalence including Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia and Togo.[19] However, not all the countries in the FGM practice statistics have made progress. Moreover, the rate of decline has been uneven.

Young girls should be educated about the risks involved in the practice. Due to the conservative culture in Asia, it is important to give females who have undergone FGM a platform to speak about their experiences. It is a topic on how and what is the best way to protect the future of the next generation. Perhaps, the future of girls is not protected by having them to go through FGM.

In many communities, FGM is more of a collective decision than an individual one. It is also an individual decision in some communities. Whether it is a collective or an individual decision, the females ought to be educated on the risks related to FGM.

Raise the awareness. Raise your voices.

Maria Khan Safi

 

References

Bartlett, A. 2006. “Female Genital Mutilation: Treating The Tears: Haseena Lockhat”. Psychiatric Bulletin 30 (2): 78-78. doi:10.1192/pb.30.2.78.

Batha, Emma. 2016. “Singapore Comes Under Pressure Over Female Genital Cutting Of Babies”. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-fgm-babies-idUSKCN12D04C.

“Classification Of Female Genital Mutilation”. 2016. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/overview/en/.

“Female Genital Mutilation And Cutting – UNICEF DATA”. 2016. UNICEF DATA. http://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation-and-cutting/#.

“Health Risks Of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)”. 2016. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/health_consequences_fgm/en/.

Khazan, Olga. 2015. “What Many People Don’t Understand About Female Circumcision”. The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-anthropologist/389640/.

Lubis, Anggi M. and Hans Nicholas Jong. 2016. “FGM In Indonesia Hits Alarming Level”. The Jakarta Post. https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/06/fgm-indonesia-hits-alarming-level.html.

Peters, Julie and Andrea Wolper. 1995. Women’s Rights, Human Rights. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

Uwer, Thomas and Thomas von der Osten-Sacken. 2016. “Is Female Genital Mutilation An Islamic Problem?”. Middle East Forum. http://www.meforum.org/1629/is-female-genital-mutilation-an-islamic-problem/.

Triumph for Trump; Triumph for America?

[1]

America has spoken. Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. Trump won with a large margin over Hillary Clinton. Some may ask, how did Donald Trump win when in reality, Hillary Clinton received more votes than him? Well, that is where the electoral votes come in. The Presidential elections are determined by gathering the majority of the United State’s 538 electoral votes. Therefore, Hillary Clinton received more votes but, Donald Trump won the most votes in the right places under the Electoral College.

The results hype has yet to die down. The hype is not only in America, but all around the world. Why is that so? Well, because this was definitely not expected. Moreover, Hillary Clinton was doing pretty well but it all went south when Donald Trump hit the 270 margin or perhaps much earlier. Almost the entire map of the United States went red. Trump supporters were probably over the moon with such an unexpected win.

A number of people have and are still protesting against Donald Trump. The most abhorrent thing was, according to the exit poll data collected by Edison Research for the National Election Pool 42 per cent of females voted for Donald Trump.[2] After all the derogatory terms Trump used for women, how did he manage to still get female voters? Being a female myself, I am unable to comprehend as to how a female could cast him a vote.

Not that Hillary Clinton was the perfect candidate as it seems like many were aware of her controversies and even tho FBI had given her a clean chit, people lost trust in her. They knew what she was capable of doing. However, Donald Trump is the unknown. No one is aware of his capabilities. He has no doubt spoken of what he intends to do. However will he actually do all those things? That is the main question. There is a sense of fear that he might just do what he has said till date.

Donald Trump’s policies of banning Muslims from entering America, deportation of illegal immigrants, building a wall at the Mexican border, reject the resettlement of Syrian Refugees and so much more. In a population of more than 300 million people in America, were these two the most competent candidates for the Presidential elections? A question many are asking now.

While speaking to a friend residing in Chicago, she mentioned a number of people feel that Trump supporters are irrational and have no concrete set of thinking. Zahra also mentioned how people are feeling a loss of hope and dejected.

“The entire population is lost for words as we are all dumbfounded, grieving and mourning for a loss,” she said.

“America has always projected love, prosperity and acceptance of all races.

“Now people have a platform to speak of their hatred, because of Trump there are no longer any boundaries.”

Furthermore, Zahra said people are hoping for the best even if it means to protest. They also plan on paying a close attention to Donald Trump’s future policies and oppose them if they seem inappropriate.

They are many articles published which claimed Donald Trump would have lost, had Bernie Sanders been against him. However, many thought Bernie Sander’s plans were not feasible and too good to be true. Well, it seems too late to have such thoughts.

African Americans, Mexicans, Latinos and Muslims feel threatened and fear for their futures. Democracy should not have made them fear for their futures but this has what the world has come to. Individuals are raising their voices through social media and sharing posts with the hash tag, he is not my president – #HeIsNotMyPresident.

It is not much of a wise decision to allow someone with no knowledge about politics, to lead an entire nation. Donald Trump’s vile; bigotry and racist policies or comments should not be tolerated. Moreover, one should never underestimate today’s generation as they have the strongest weapon, social media.

Their voices will be heard. They should be heard.

Maria Khan Safi

Reference

Buncombe, Andrew and Alexandra Sims. 2016. “White People Won It For Donald Trump”. The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/who-voted-for-donald-trump-white-men-and-women-most-responsible-for-new-president-elect-voting-data-a7407996.html.

Invisible Victims

[1]

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words domestic abuse? Yes, abuse against women. It is not much of a surprise as to how we always link domestic abuse to women. Whereas, it comes as a surprise if domestic abuse is linked with men.

A statistics report in 2015 revealed that almost every nine seconds, a woman is either assaulted or beaten in the United States. [2] However according to mankind statistics, two out of three domestic abuse victims are females while one is most definitely a male.[3] Then why is it so that not many speak about the one out of three abuse victims? Is it because they are males? Or is it because it is out of the ‘ordinary’ to do so?

Domestic abuse is not only physical but emotional abuse as well. Both physical and emotional abuse goes alongside one another.[4] It is very much unusual to find physical abuse without the existence of emotional abuse. Moreover, emotional abuse starts much earlier than physical abuse. The question is whether is it the same for both men and women? Indeed, it is. However, a small percentage of the population might agree or admit to that, due to how men are portrayed since evolution. Moreover, the movie industry has always portrayed men to be the more dominant and controlling individual.

[5]

Men are always told to ‘act’ in a certain way. They are represented as the more dominant individual in any form of relationship. This makes it one of the main reasons as to why a number of domestic abuse cases on men go unreported. According to the guardian, reports revealed more than 40 per cent of domestic violence victims are surprisingly males.[6] Forty per cent is no doubt a large percentage of domestic abuse victims. Often domestic abuse cases against men go unnoticed due the extensive coverage on abuse against women and no or little coverage on abuse against men.

Parity, a campaign group which promotes equal rights for men and women claimed that neither the police nor the media takes male domestic abuse victims into much consideration.[7] Feminism is a hot topic in today’s day and era. However due to society’s norms, men are seem unable to fight for their rights as they are not ‘supposed’ to look weak. See the irony of it all?

There is more than one statistical report that states a higher percentage of women go through domestic abuse in comparison to men. However, according to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention statistics report, almost 5,365,000 men and 4,741,000 women were victims of domestic abuse in 2015.[8] The difference in both the numbers is apparent, yet often ignored or goes unnoticed. Only if these statistics were taken more seriously, there might be a decrease in the percentage and not an increase.

Men are often treated as ‘second-class victims’ when it comes to domestic abuse. [9] As mentioned earlier on, men are not taken seriously due to the society’s ‘standards’. A survey done in 2013 revealed that 95 per cent of reported domestic violence cases are of men abusing women and five per cent are of women abusing men. [10] However, what about the unreported ones? The issue of domestic abuse on men is a very taboo subject as men feel it would bring shame to their lives if they ever spoke about it.[11]

 Men seem to feel reluctant to report domestic abuse as they would come upon as ‘unmanly’ and ‘weak’. They fear it might not only affect their personal lives but their professional lives too. People might either mock them or perhaps not take it seriously. Also, culturally it is tough for men to speak about domestic abuse against them to the authorities as it represents them as ‘frail’ individuals. Is it because, men are ‘supposed’ to be strong enough to walk away?

A male victim of domestic abuse who wished to remain anonymous told The Sun a British Newspaper, earlier in September about his personal experience on being abused by his girlfriend.

“She would often punch or slap me if we had simple disagreements and then would apologise and get very upset,” he said.

“It all came to a head one night in a bar when we had both had too much to drink.

“We got into an argument as we were leaving and she punched me in the face several times and broke my nose.

“Two guys came out of the pub and began attacking me.

“I was on the floor telling them that I was the victim but they didn’t stop kicking until she told them that she had hit me.

“The police were unwilling to help and I eventually dropped charges and ended our relationship.”

The fact that the victim was hit without being asked what actually happened, just proves the mindset the general public has of male domestic abuse victims. Moreover, this only shows how the authorities treat men when it comes to domestic abuse against them.

Furthermore, social experiments have been conducted where men were being hit by women in the public. The public’s reactions were appalling. Passersby laughed it off, and many took their smart phones out to record as it looked ‘funny’. When the exact experiment was done on women being hit, the reactions were totally different. People rushed to help the women within seconds. Sense the hypocrisy? I sure did, while watching the video below.

There are 7,500 female refugee places in England and Wales, but only 60 for males.[12] The difference is clear and astonishing; especially with the presence of human rights activists and social media. In today’s day and era, every other person is a citizen journalist, yet such issues are seldom brought to light.

Equal rights should indeed apply to both males and females. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any gender, so why the bias point of view? Domestic abuse against a man is just as repulsive as it is when the victim is a female. It is so very important for people to wake up and realise that each victim should be seen as an individual entity rather than basing them on their gender. Both should be provided with the same amount of help and none should be mocked.

Perhaps women are not the only voiceless individuals when it comes to domestic abuse. Men seem to be prominent in this regard as well, yet are being ignored. Having a voice yet feeling voiceless is a feeling that makes one feel dejected. Why not open our minds, to such possibilities and provide them with the same amount of support as we do with women?

It is time to voice these voiceless individuals.

Maria Khan Safi

 

Reference

http://new.mankind.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/30-Key-Facts-Male-Victims-Mar-2016.pdf.

Birch, Jenna. 2015. “The Number Of Male Domestic Abuse Victims Is Shockingly High — So Why Don’T We Hear About Them?”. Yahoo.Com. https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/the-number-of-male-domestic-1284479771263030.html.

Campbell, Denis. 2010. “More Than 40% Of Domestic Violence Victims Are Male, Report Reveals”. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence.

“Domestic Violence Statistics”. 2016. Domestic Violence Statistics. Accessed November 6. http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/.

MA, John G. Taylor. 2013. “Behind The Veil: Inside The Mind Of Men “That Abuse””. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-reality-corner/201302/behind-the-veil-inside-the-mind-men-abuse.

“Parity – Campaigning For Equal Rights For UK Men And Women.”. 2007. Parity-Uk.Org. http://www.parity-uk.org/.

“Prevalence And Characteristics Of Sexual Violence, Stalking, And Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner And Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011”. 2015. Cdc.Gov. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm?s_cid=ss6308a1_e#Table6.

Tracy, Natasha. 2016. “Physical And Emotional Abuse Usually Travel Together – Healthyplace”. Healthyplace. http://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/adult-physical-abuse/physical-and-emotional-abuse-usually-travel-together/.

Wooding, David. 2016. “Domestic Violence Against Men Soars To Record Levels As Number Of Cases Treble In Past Decade”. The Sun. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1802863/domestic-violence-against-men-soars-to-record-levels-as-number-of-cases-treble-in-past-decade/.

Ignorance spurs Racism

Donald Trump. One of the most searched names on social media and Google. Donald John Trump is not only a businessman but a reality television star as well. Moreover, he is the Republican Party nominee for this year’s upcoming Presidential Elections in the United States. However, there are one too many controversies linked with his name.

Donald Trump’s choice of words and rallies seem to be creating a spur in America and all over the world. It seems the ethnic minorities are no doubt feeling more vulnerable than ever in the history of America’s Presidential Elections. According to Woodbury, Trump’s rhetoric and policy proposals seem to be targeting a specific, ethnic group – Mexicans.[1]

There are various articles and news outlets that have spoken of the biasness of Trump’s speeches and policies. He has repeatedly emphasised on building a wall on the border with Mexico and wants to get them to pay for it.[2] Moreover, his policies of mass deportation and declining birthright citizenship are another policy for the Mexican immigrants and those of whose children are American-born.[3]

It would not come off as a surprise to say that Donald Trump is preying on the vulnerabilities of Mexican immigrants and refusing them their rights in America. In order for Trump to refuse citizenship rights to American-born children, he has to revise the 14th amendment in the United States Constitution. The 14th amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868 which is to grant citizenship to any individual born or naturalised in the United States.[4]

David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has expressed his support and endorsed Donald Trump for his strident rhetoric on immigrants.[5] The KKK promotes the unity and getting White Christian Patriots together in order to build a better future for the Nation.[6]

The KKK’s are known for its White Supremacist actions since the 80’s for its violence against African Americans and those who supported them. However, Donald Trump has not spoken much of David Duke’s support but instead denied any knowledge on him and further disavowed him.[7] Also, a leader of the Virginia KKK mentioned to a local TV reporter earlier this year saying, the main reason as to why a number of Klan members support Donald Trump is because their believes are the same as his.[8]

Donald Trump continuous characterising of Mexican “illegal” immigrants as murders and rapists proves how racist his policies are to be.[9] Tina Vasquez a Latina Woman living in the United Stated wrote on The Guardian that she has experienced an entire new level of racism from the time Donald Trump targeted the Latinos.[10]

“A couple of weeks ago, while I was running errands in my neighbourhood, a stranger asked me if I was ‘illegal’” Tina Vasquez said.

“Around 10 minutes earlier another stranger asked me if I spoke English.

“I have never been asked the type of questions I’m now fielding from white people.”

It is not only upsetting but very much disappointing to hear a Latina woman staying in America say, she never had to face ignorant questions back in the past but now is after Trump’s hate speech. Perhaps, ignorance does indeed spur racism.

In August 2016 two white brothers, Scott and Steve Leader had brutally beaten and urinated on a 58 years old homeless Mexican man citing Trump for their actions for his policy on deporting the illegal immigrants.[11] However, Trump responded by stating he has never condoned violence.[12]

As Woodbury term his policies as Ethnic Cleansing, it gives one a better perspective on the underlying meaning of his policies.[13] She further describes ethnic cleansing the move to pressurise and daunt a minority ethnic or religious group away from an area.[14] In May, Donald Trump had insinuated that Gonzalo Curiel a federal judge, belonging to Mexican heritage was bias and did not hear the case fairly due to his ethnicity.[15]

Donald Trump’s deportation of illegal immigrants, denying birthright citizenship and putting a blanket ban on Muslims entering the United States had given a rise to bullying in schools. A middle school teacher claimed to have African American students fearing of being deported to Africa if Trump wins.[16]Another teacher has heard Muslim students being called terrorists.[17]

Donald Trump has and may continue denying claims stating he is a White Supremacist, racist and someone who encourages violence. However, when will he realise the hate he has breed in the core of America? Will he ever take responsibility for the course of actions his words have brought about?

It is a terrifying thought that the ethnic minorities in the United States are at their most vulnerable point of their lives, due to one man’s hate speech. There ought to be a voice for these people. It will be a shame if we as humans, decide to stay put and quiet.

Maria Khan Safi

References

“14Th Amendment To The U.S. Constitution: Primary Documents Of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library Of Congress)”. 2016. Loc.Gov. Accessed October 24. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/14thamendment.html.

O’Connor, Lydia and Daniel Marans. 2016. “Here Are 13 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist”.The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-racist-examples_us_56d47177e4b03260bf777e83.

Osnos, Evan. 2016. “Donald Trump And The Ku Klux Klan: A History – The New Yorker”. The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/donald-trump-and-the-ku-klux-klan-a-history.

Stefansky, Emma. 2016. “Former K.K.K. Leader David Duke Qualifies For Louisiana Senate Debate”.The Hive. http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/10/david-duke-louisiana-senate-debate.

“Traditionalist American Knights Of The Ku Klux Klan KKK”. 2016.Traditionalistamericanknights.Com. https://traditionalistamericanknights.com/.

Vasquez, Tina. 2015. “I’ve Experienced A New Level Of Racism Since Donald Trump Went After Latinos | Tina Vasquez”. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/09/donald-trump-racism-increase-latinos.

Wilkie, Christina. 2016. “‘The Trump Effect’: Hatred, Fear And Bullying On The Rise In Schools”. The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-effect-southern-poverty-law-center_us_570e8619e4b03d8b7b9f2836.

Woodbury, Adalia. 2015. “Donald Trump Hopes To Ethnically Cleanse America To Make It “Great Again””. Politicus USA. http://www.politicususa.com/2015/08/26/donald-trumps-immigration-policy-hopes-ethnically-cleanse-america-great-again.html.

Kashmir, The Buried Conflict

Technology should have been able to prevent wars in today’s era. However, history has proven time and again that humans misuse technology when it comes to territorial conflicts.

Kashmir is a never ending debate between India and Pakistan since 1947. One third of Kashmir falls under Pakistan while the other two third is controlled by India. The Kashmiri people have been fighting for independence since the British colonial rule.[1]

In the recent past few months, the Kashmir conflict has taken a worse and unfortunate turn. On the evening of July 8, 2016 the commander of the Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen, Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed alongside two of his followers during an encounter in the Anantnag district by the Indian Security Forces.[2] This resulted in an outpour of anger and sorrow in Kashmir as Burhan Wani was considered a martyr and hero in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

In the last few decades, there has been an astonishing amount of increase in militancy in Kashmir; many of those who are highly educated.[3] Education provides one with not only academic knowledge but a sophisticated way of thinking; or lifestyle. So what prompts the Kashmiri youth to become militants? It would be the loss of hope that the government would ever listen to their concerns.

On the morning of September 18, 2016 the Indian Army Base in Uri was brutally attacked. The attack left 18 soldiers dead and a sense of mourning took over India. India blamed the Pakistani Army for the Uri attack. The Director-General of Military Operations spoke to Pakistan counterparts claiming that some of the militants had objects with Pakistani labelled markings on them.[4] However, the Pakistan High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit said there is absolutely no chance for a conflict among two nuclear powered countries.

Moving on, India claimed to have carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan in response to the Uri Attacks against the terrorist units residing near the Line of Control. In contrast to what India said, Pakistan army rejected all claims made by the Indian military on conducting surgical strikes.[5] Pakistan did however admit to the loss of two of its soldiers during an exchange of fire which also caused the injury of nine others.[6] 

Kashmir has always been a controversial and sensitive topic between India and Pakistan. Any form of attack on either army bases could result in a possible war among the two countries. The question is would Pakistan risk their state’s security by attacking the Uri base?

Pakistan rejected claims made by India on attacking or being involved in the Uri attack. The Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi spoke about the Uri attack in her speech. She mentioned the timing of the attack on the Indian Army Base in Uri, seemed to have been a specifically designed operation to avert focus from India’s atrocities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. In response, the Indian envoy to the United Nations Eenam Gambhir, counterattacked Maleeha Lodhi by saying she made a false statement and gave misleading information of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir.[7]

Furthermore, she questioned Pakistan’s home grown terrorist organisations. She ended her speech by repeating what India’s Minister of External Affairs stated in her address earlier on, saying the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always continue to be so.[8] However, Eenam Gambhir barely touched on the Kashmir dispute and the atrocities faced by the Kashmiri people in Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian forces.

“My country has been the principal victim of terrorism including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad,” Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif said during the General Assembly at the United Nations.

“Pakistan’s Zarb-e-Azab Operation is the largest, most robust and most successful anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world, deploying 200,000 of our security forces.

“Over a hundred Kashmiris have been killed, hundreds, including children and infants, blinded by shotgun pellets and over six thousand unarmed civilians injured over the past two months.”[9]

However, Eenam Gambhir was not impressed with his speech and claimed Pakistan to be a terrorist state. She further emphasised on that fact that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke of his support for a self acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.[10] This brings us back to the question, why do young and educated youths join such organisations?

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The Indian Express recently revealed 35-year-old Mohammed Ehsan became the 1,000th person to suffer pellet injuries to the eye by the Indian forces in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.[11] However, the Jammu Kashmir’s high court has refused to ban the use of pellet guns. The brutal treatment of the Indian forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir has been acknowledged worldwide, yet little has been done.

k2(http://i.dawn.com/large/2016/07/5782077ed1295.jpg)

Moreover, for the very first time in 26 years, a curfew was set in motion during this year’s Eid-ul-Adha celebrations.[12] The curfew “culture” has been in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir since the start of the conflict. It restricts the Kashmiri people in occupied Jammu and Kashmir to carry on with their daily lives. It has also lead to the lack of food and medicines.[13] The curfew further causes the shut down of banks and ATMs.[14] Many are not able to purchase basic necessities due to no cash in hand.[15] This brings about a sense of retaliation and aggression in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Mirza Waheed a Kashmiri novelist and author of ‘The Book of Gold Leaves’ appeared in Al Jazeera’s segment, Inside Story earlier on in July. He repeatedly emphasised the need for both India and Pakistan to stop treating Kashmir as a territorial property, because it simply is not one.

“The primary dispute is to do with the aspirations of Kashmiri people,” Mirza Waheed said.

“They see their home as a colonised space and decide to resist.

“Pushing a new generation of Kashmir’s towards militancy.”[16]

The focus should not be on India and Pakistan’s political or economical ties as Kashmiri people are the ones suffering between the conflicts of these two states. The Kashmiri people in occupied Jammu and Kashmir ought to be given equal rights to voice their concerns to the Indian government so they do not have to seek external help.

The world needs to know the sufferings of the Kashmiri people in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. This is one of the extreme cases of Human Rights violation and it is time to voice these voiceless people.

Maria Khan Safi

References

“A Brief History Of The Kashmir Conflict”. 2001. Telegraph.Co.Uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1399992/A-brief-history-of-the-Kashmir-conflict.html.

“Abdul Basit Interview Excerpts: War Is Not Really A Solution To Our Problems”. 2016.Vidshare.Indianexpress.Com. http://vidshare.indianexpress.com/previews/PzPNo01Q-xe0BVfqu.

Ahsan, Sofi. 2016. “Jammu & Kashmir: Three Months, 1,000 Eye Injuries By Pellets”. The Indian Express. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jammu-kashmir-pellets-burhan-wani-3079819/.

Akmali, Mukeet. 2016. “As Restrictions, Curfew Continue, People Facing Difficulties In Finding Essentials”. M.Greaterkashmir.Com. http://m.greaterkashmir.com/news/business/as-restrictions-curfew-continue-people-facing-difficulties-in-finding-essentials/223363.html?fromNewsdog=1.

Baweja, Harinder. 2016. “Kashmir’s Disturbing New Reality | The Young Militants Of Kashmir”.Hindustantimes.Com. http://www.hindustantimes.com/static/the-young-militants-of-kashmir/.

“Full Text Of India’s Response To Pakistan At The UN General Assembly”. 2016. Huffington Post India. http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/09/22/full-text-of-indias-response-to-pakistan-at-the-un-general-asse/.

“Full Text Of Nawaz Sharif’S Speech At UN General Assembly”. 2016.Http://Www.Hindustantimes.Com/. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/full-text-of-nawaz-sharif-s-speech-at-un-general-assembly/story-bdlcijC6NbfJgnjYupBBhN.html.

“Kashmir Violence: Security Or Political Problem?”. 2016. Aljazeera.Com. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2016/07/kashmir-conflict-security-political-problem-160713145502287.html.

“Kashmir: Curfew In Entire Valley On Eid, Choppers And Drones To Keep Vigil”. 2016. The Indian Express. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-unrest-curfew-like-restrictions-in-valley-on-eid-tomorrow-3027679/.

Peerzada, Ashiq. 2016. “18 Soldiers Killed In Militant Attack In Uri”. The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/militants-attack-army-headquarters-in-uri-near-loc/article9120760.ece.

Peerzada, Ashiq. 2016. “‘Burhan Wani, Kashmir Valley’S Most Wanted Militant Commander, Killed’”.The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/burhan-wani-kashmir-valleys-most-wanted-militant-commander-killed/article8824756.ece.

“Surgical Strikes: Pakistan Rejects India’s Claims”. 2016. Aljazeera.Com. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/pakistan-denies-india-carried-surgical-strikes-160929165646369.html.