David Aaronovitch, courtesy of The Times, 17 November 2016 & The Australian, 17 November 2016, with the former bearing the title “The West has only itself to blame for populist revolt”
At the time of his death, Alan Kurdi seemed to be a harbinger of something else. Washed up on a Turkish beach last year, his lifeless body symbolised a suffering that could no longer be ignored. This tragic consequence of mass migration, mostly involving Syrians fleeing the civil war, was going to be the moment when a conscience-pricked world would do something to help. No more – Alan has an altogether different significance now. The insurgencies that gave us Brexit and the Trump presidency have gestated over many years. But the proximate cause of both, I believe, was not economics or wage inequalities but the events of 2015.
A Turkish paramilitary police officer carries the body of Alan Kurdi, 3. Picture: AP
Filed under accountability, australian media, discrimination, economic processes, ethnicity, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, immigration, life stories, politIcal discourse, racist thinking, self-reflexivity, terrorism, tolerance, world events & processes
S W R de A Samarasinghe, of Tulane University, Washington DC, courtesy of The Island, 11 November 2016, with the title “What Trump’s victory means for US and rest of the world
US President-elect Donald Trump described his presidential campaign as a “Movement” and not the usual party fight between Republicans and Democrats. The poltical pundits did not take him seriously. He broke almost all the rules of the US campaign rulebook and won. Trump and Hillary Clinton each have polled about 59.5 million of the popular vote while Trump has won the 538 Electoral College vote 299.5 to 238.5. Trump’s “Movement” mainly consisted of white blue-collar middle class voters drawn from suburbs, and small towns and rural residents. In contrast Clinton’s support came mainly from a coalition that consisted of more educated and more prosperous white middle class suburbs, and racial minorities mostly from the big cities.
Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, immigration, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, Presidential elections, unusual people, world events & processes
Ishaan Tharoor, in The Washington Post, where the chosen title is “The forgotten story of European refugee camps in the Middle East”
Tens of thousands of refugees fled a war. They journeyed across the Eastern Mediterranean, a trip filled with peril. But the promise of sanctuary on the other side was too great. No, this is not the plight faced by Syrian refugees, desperate to escape the desolation of their homeland and find a safer, better life in Europe. Rather, it’s the curious and now mostly forgotten case of thousands of people from Eastern Europe and the Balkans who were housed in a series of camps across the Middle East, including in Syria, during World War II.
As the Nazi and Soviet war machines rolled through parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, vast civilian populations were displaced in their wake. In areas occupied by fascist troops, Jewish communities and other undesired minorities faced the harshest onslaught, but others, particularly those suspected of backing partisan fighters, also were subject to targeted attacks and forced evacuations. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, atrocities, cultural transmission, discrimination, historical interpretation, immigration, life stories, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, tolerance, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world affairs
Shamindra Ferdinando, in The Island, 22 June 2016, where the title is “Unresolved Indo-Lanka Issues”
One-time head of the Law Faculty, University of Colombo, Dr Nirmala Chandrahasan last Thursday (June 16) called for tangible action on the part of the Sri Lankan government to bring in Sri Lankan refugees, living in India, particularly in the state of Tamil Nadu. Dr Chandrahasan estimated the number of Lankan refugees in India at the peak of the conflict at 200,000. The appeal was made over seven years after the successful conclusion of the war with the annihilation of the LTTE leadership. The distinguished law academic insisted that special arrangements should be made to facilitate the return of refugees. Dr Chandrahasan was addressing a forum on India-Sri Lanka relations in the 21st century, organised by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BSIS).
Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, disparagement, doctoring evidence, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, immigration, life stories, LTTE, people smugglers, politIcal discourse, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, world affairs
Among the films being shown in Australian cities by the Alliance Francais Film Festival is that entitled DHEEPAN. The Tamil migrant and ex-Tiger fighter who inspired this tale and appears as the principal actor first burst onto the media pages as Shobasakthi …and the author of a book entitled Gorilla. The brief resume of the film is followed by a news item from 2008 .
Dheepan is a major film event and the winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2015. This blistering slice of realism, entrenches director Jacques Audiard’s status as one of today’s greatest auteurs, with a unique presentation of the asylum seeker experience that will move audiences profoundly. Three strangers in conflict-ridden northern Sri Lanka band together as a makeshift family in order to flee to the suburbs of Paris: Dheepan, an ex-Tamil Tiger (Antonythasan Jesuthasan, author, activist, and former child soldier); lost young woman Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan); and orphan girl Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby). As they struggle to find stability, they are forced to improvise their relationships. Soon they find they must cope with new violence and intolerance in their adopted home.
Based on Antonythasan’s own experience, his journey of self-realisation is a powerful and visceral tale, told with a timeless classicism that marks the finest world cinema. As in A Prophet and Rust and Bone, director Audiard orchestrates creeping menace with an emotional punch and a complex social message. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, human rights, immigration, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, LTTE, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes
Christina Lamb, courtesy of The Sunday Times & The Australian, 1 September 2015, where the title is “Europe’s asylum-seekers form a human tide of desperation
It took perhaps an hour for them to die. The children would have suffocated first: the baby girl of around 18 months, the three boys aged about eight to 10, watched by their anguished mothers, helpless to give them air inside the hot, sealed truck. By the time it crossed the border from Hungary into western Europe where the asylum-seekers must have hoped for a new life, all 71 were dead: 59 men, eight women, four children. The Austrian police who found them said their bodies were piled one on top of the other inside the vehicle as if they had tried to climb up. With four bodies for every square metre, they had been so desperate to get air that the side of the truck was bent out of shape.
Blankets hide the chicken delivery truck in which 71 people, believed to be Syrian, suffocated in Austria last week. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, immigration, life stories, people smugglers, politIcal discourse, population, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes
Cameron Stewart, in The Weekend Australian, 6/7 June 2015, where the title is “Half of all terrorists hit by citizenship changes” … NOTE the striking interactive graphics which depict the suburbs of Sydney and Brisbane where individuals have been d identified and produce a photograph of each when you hit tht the right spot — Wow!!
Half of all Australians convicted or suspected of terrorist offences could be stripped of their citizenship under the proposed crackdown on dual nationals who engage in or support terrorism. This includes 11 dual Australian nationals jailed in the past decade for major terror plots, including planning to bomb the nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights and the MCG on grand final day. The bill would also cover almost half of the estimated 110 Australians currently fighting for Islamic State and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. It would similarly jeopardise the citizenship of a large proportion of approximately 160 Australians whom ASIO suspects are actively supporting Islamic State in Australia.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would have the power to strip Australian citizenship from dual nationals on advice from security agencies. Photographer: Liam Kidston Source: News Corp Australia
The figures, obtained by The Weekend Australian, bolster the government’s claim that the controversial measure could materially help reduce the terror threat to Australia. However, the number of those who are actually stripped of citizenship within Australia under the proposed change is likely to be modest, in line with the experience in Britain, which has similar laws. Even so, the surprisingly large number of dual Australian national extremists, both at home and overseas, would give the government broader scope to act against those it considered to pose the greatest risk. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, atrocities, australian media, cultural transmission, discrimination, governance, immigration, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, law of armed conflict, life stories, martyrdom, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, unusual people, violence of language, war crimes, world events & processes, zealotry