Posts Tagged ‘Peace Studies’

The Independent on Wearing a Safety Pin to Show Support for Immigrants

June 30, 2016

I’ve put up a couple of posts today about the massive growth in racist incidents after the Brexit vote. Unfortunately, some of the Nazis lurking in British society have decided that the vote to leave the EU now means that it’s permissible and accessible to intimidate immigrants to our great nation. One of the pieces I put up was sent by Michelle, one of the commenters here, who posted a link to a pamphlet from a Peace Studies prof at Bradford University on personally challenging and standing up to racist incidents.

Joanna, one of the other commenters to this blog, has also sent in her comment on the piece, which links to an article published on Tuesday in the Independent. It’s another great piece on how people can show their support for immigrants against rising racism. An American woman in London, Allison, has started a campaign to encourage people to wear a safety pin to show their solidarity. It’s inspired by the ‘I’ll ride with you’ campaign in Australia, which was launched last year after the Sydney CafĂ© killings. Here’s the comment and the link:

hi beast have you seen this?

http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/safetypin-the-simple-way-to-show-solidarity-with-the-uks-immigrant-population–ZJzeRPz6kHW

She also assures us that she’s going to wear one!

Of course, to some of us of a certain, wearing safety pins as jewelry brings us back to the heady days of 1977, when the Sex Pistols were in charts scandalising everyone, and in addition to brightly coloured hair and mohicans, punks were also sporting safety pins through their noses. This was when Johnny Rotten, now John Lydon, was intoning ‘No future! No future!’ I think it’s a great idea that the safety pin has come back as a fashion item to show no future for their racists after Brexit.

Useful Information on Personally Challenging Racist Incidents

June 30, 2016

I put up a piece yesterday reporting that anti-racist activists had held a rally on College Green in Bristol to show support for immigrants and foreign nationals living in Bristol after the Brexit vote. There has been an alarming rise in racist incidents across the country after the victory of the ‘Leave’ campaign. Michelle, one of the many great commenters on this blog, posted up this very helpful comment on the post, and the link to an online pamphlet. This shows how people can safely step in to stop or challenge racist abuse. Michelle wrote

Lisa Cumming has been working on peace studies and interracial dialogue for the last 10 years at Bradford University on Saturday said that she had ‘been contacted by more fearful people in the last 24 hours than in over a decade of working in community conflict’, Lisa also gave out this helpful advice on ‘how to step in’ if you witness racist confrontation, aggression or anger: /em> http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/archive/pages/info30.htm

It’s horrendous that somebody working in the area of challenging racism should see that the number of people living in fear of racist abuse or violence skyrocket to such proportions. Hopefully, people like her and the other anti-racists activists, as well as the decency of ordinary people, will win out in the end and put a stop to this.

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Prof Paul Rogers on ISIS’ Blowback War

December 29, 2015

This month’s (December 2015) issue of Justpeace, the newsletter of the Roman Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, carries an article ‘The Paris Atrocity, and After’, by prof Paul Rogers. Rogers is professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. In his article he analyses the Paris attacks, and their intended consequences. He makes the point that the massacres had three purposes, and were ultimately intended to provoke the West into retaliating so the Islamists could gain further recruits in Syria and Iraq as the true defenders of Muslims. Identifying the three aims of the attack, he writes

The first is to demonstrate that in the wake of the destruction of Russia’s Metrojet over Sinai and the bombing in Beirut on November 12, ISIS has now gone truly international. Thus its modus operandi has reached the level of the loose al-Qaida affiliates in the post-9/11 years: Islamabad, Bali, Madrid, London, Jakarta, Istanbul, Mombasa, Amman, Sinai, Casablanca, Djerba in Tunisia – and many more. This is potentially a very major change since ISIS has so far concentrated primarily on its territorial base, in contrast to the old al-Qaida movement.

The second is to further damage intercommunal relations, not just in Paris but across western Europe and further afield. An accelerating Islamophobia suits ISIS in its quest to attract more recruits from recent diasporas and more established migrant communities, many members of whom now feel thoroughly insecure and greatly worried and even fearful of the hardening of attitudes towards them.

The third is to provoke and incite France and other states to intensify the war against ISIS – in Syria, Iraq, and anywhere else that it, or its affiliates, make progress.

ISIS wants war. It presents itself as the true guardian of Islam under attack from the ‘Crusader west’. This message, though pernicious and dangerous, is currently being encouraged by the progressive withdrawal of all Middle Eastern states from active involvement in the airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

The air war in Syria was in early 2015 led by the United States with the participation of France, Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan. In recent months, however, the four Arab states have ceased bombing. In addition, Justin Trudeau’s new government in Canada is withdrawing all CF-18 strike-aircraft from Syria and Iraq, and Australia is reported to have paused its operations in Syria since the Russians started separate air attacks (almost all against non-ISIS anti-Assad rebels). That leaves just the US and France. So in Syria at least, ISIS can easily claim that a ‘crusader onslaught’ is taking place.

Furthermore, the sustained air assault of the last 15 months, with close to 10,000 targets hit, has not pushed ISIS into retreat. In the first 11 months of the air war, to July 2015, the US-led coalition killed 15,000 ISIS supporters. By October, that had risen to 20,000, yet a Pentagon source said that the total number of ISIS fighters was unchanged at 20,000-30,000. (USA Today, 12 October 2015).

In an extraordinary admission, US intelligence sources say there has been a surge in recruits to ISIS in spite of the air war and the losses. In September 2014, 15,000 recruits were reported to have joined from 80 countries; a year later the figure had risen to 30,000 from 100 countries.

In blunt terms, ISIS is actually being strengthened by the air war, and it can be assumed that it wants more. The movement vigorously and insistently peddles the message of ‘Islam under attack’; and though it is disliked and hated by the great majority of Muslims worldwide, the message strikes enough of a chord with a small minority to serve ISIS’s aim of creating this purist if brutal caliphate.

Prof Rogers writes a weekly article on security at the Open Democracy website. The full article originally appeared there on 14 November. The website’s address is http://www.opendemocracy.net.

Fox News Sneers at Harvard Students for Attacking American Imperialism

February 19, 2015

‘Do I detect a certain anti-intellectualism here? Yeah, it started around 1982, I guess’.

– Bill Hicks on the dumbing of America after Reagan’s election.

I found this clip on Youtube of The Young Turks critiquing a sequence from Fox News, in which the anchors and their guest in the studio are outraged by the liberal views of some of the students they talked to at Harvard. The clip’s called Fox News vs Harvard On ISIS Turns Into Embarrassing Ignorance Fest, and shows just how anti-intellectual Fox News is. The students are articulate, and provide clear arguments why American imperialism in the Middle East has destabilised the region, and allowed radical groups like Isis to emerge.

The response of Fox News’ journos? They start sneering at the students for having educated accents, and larger vocabularies than they have. Like they use ‘outlandish’. Then their guest, a folk musician, starts ranting about how they’re a threat to the gene pool, weren’t taught to say the pledge of allegiance like he was, and don’t support the American troops properly.

As Cenk Uyghur, one of the hosts, points out, that’s all non-sequiturs. Everyone in America took the Pledge of Allegiance when they were at school, and the question wasn’t whether or not they knew anyone in the armed forces, or supported the American army. The question asked was simply whether they considered America or Isis the biggest threat.

Here’s the clip.

Salvador Dali once boasted that he aimed to cretinize the public. Despite Dali’s best efforts, Western culture survived, and Dali himself left some of the most beautiful, startling and original works of art. It’s now been left to Fox News to drag American culture down.

The temptation is to sneer at Fox News as a distinctly American phenomenon. It isn’t. Rupert Murdoch did the same thing over here decades ago in print journalism when he launched the Sun. The Sun’s full of the same extreme right-wing populism, and it and other right-wing British newspapers, like the Mail and the Express, also share the same distrust and opposition to academia for its perceived liberalism. Back in the 1980s one of the staples of the right-wing press was attacks on teachers for supposedly indoctrinating children with left-wing propaganda, especially anti-racism and peace studies.

British television has so far escaped such treatment because of the existence of BBC and the various broadcasting regulations governing the type of content considered suitable for broadcast. This ensures that there is still some attempt to produce quality, informative television, although the British networks have also been accused of ‘dumbing down’.

All this is very much under threat from Murdoch, Dacre and the other media barons. These run regular attacks in their papers about supposed BBC ‘liberal bias’, partly because they want the BBC scrapped completely and for them to get a share. And if that happens, we will get something like Fox News over here, with all its anti-intellectualism and jingoistic nationalism.

As the clip shows, Americans aren’t stupid. They are, however, being misinformed and exploited by an anti-intellectual, hysterically right-wing media empire determined to attack and belittle anyone brighter and better informed than itself.

And the same people want to do the same over here. Let’s stop them.