Post-Brexit racism?

July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

Racism. After the “Brexit” referendum result, so-called post-Brexit racism has gained attention. I have seen numerous twitter posts showing disgraceful incidents, which are totally unacceptable. The Leave voters say “Don’t call us racist. It’s just some of us. Do not tarnish the majority of decent leave voters”. I understand, because that is what racism is all about. That’s why, almost throughout my entire life, I thought “White British people never understand racism”.
The “post-Brexit” racism almost sounds like a one-off thing. No. Racism is something that the minority faces EVERY DAY. During my teenage hood in West Midlands countryside, I had that “look” from the British people. That isolated and alienated feeling of “I am different and people make me feel so”. Sometimes it was harsh for a 15 year old me back then. Kids can be harsh. Not that I was bullied, but that indescribable atmosphere was definitely there, and I did not like it. I had to grow up with the presence of racism. I never wanted to hang out with other Asians, just to make myself seem different and free from the stereotype. After moving to Brighton, life seemed a little easier. It was a multicultural and fun place, filled with joyful people from different backgrounds. Yet, racism was still present. It happened not just to me but also people around me (Iranian, Spanish, Italian, Moroccan, Nigerian…) The minority has to live with it. Teenagers chucking stones at me, abusive racial remarks, or a car driver saying we almost got into a car accident because I (pedestrian) couldn’t see things (lifting his eyes to imitate that “slinky” eyes of mine).
When people say “immigrants are stealing jobs from us” – think about it. We, us minority, had to be emotionally strong to survive, in order to achieve our life goals. My goal was to study and gain degrees, just like an ordinary British person, but it was extra hard. I would never say “British people are lazy” – it’s just us minority are perhaps mentally strong. I remember my ex-colleague, who was a refugee from Morocco, fled to Britain as he was a child soldier. He works in a shop, serves local people, pays tax… I said to him, “it’s nice you’ve got to stay in Britain”, and he replied “I had no choice. It’s not nice”. He went through a lot in his life, still he faces everyday racism – comments such as “terrorist” “refugees not welcome”. The minority either has to ignore or fight.
The Brexit result – did not reflect our voice. The anti-immigration discourse has won, regardless of EU and non-EU immigrants’ voice. And it seems we will need to endure more of the racists nonsense from now on, and that is sad.

Domestic Violence

September 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Recently the video of Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee from the elevator after the alleged attack has been exposed on the internet. It was beyond shocking and disturbing to watch, and it points out the fact that domestic violence is common throughout the world.

I’d like to mention that domestic violence is NOT only the matter of physical violence. Of course, injuries are visible and any perpetrators assaulting their partners should not be tolerated. However, it is often the case that ONLY actual physical violence is the centre of attention by the society in general, however, the psychological abuse is very often harming and affecting one’s life for a long period of time. Psychological abuse includes controlling behaviour such as isolating from friends/family, limiting the access to money, threatening to harm, indicating a suicide etc. The problem associated with this “invisible” abuse is that the police and the society often find it difficult to notice it is domestic violence.

As a result, the Government (finally) launches consultation on strengthening law by explicitly stating that domestic abuse covers coercive behaviour in England (Reference http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/20/new-domestic-violence-offence-consultation ). It means that domestic abuse offence could cover emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. This is brilliant news – although it might be difficult to actually prove “invisible” psychological abuse compared to actual physical abuse.

Incapability of GDP

May 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

The word “GDP” (gross domestic product) itself has become well-known worldwide and also been used to measure economic growth. GDP is, without a doubt, a powerful and useful tool to provide a country’s production, expenditure, and income streams, as well as the flow of goods across borders. Additionally, it has provided essential guidance to countries in the sense of helping them to track economic gains that have improved citizens’ quality of life considerably. For instance, GDP per capita is often employed to measure citizens’ well-being.

The concept of GDP sounds perfect, however, it fails to measure crucial factors. GDP fails to account for changes in a country’s stock of assets. In this regard, it is difficult for policymakers to balance economic, social, and environmental concerns. In short, policymakers need to apply other measures such as health, education, and the state of the natural environment in order to attain the long-term health of the economy.

The national income total is thus an amalgam of relatively accurate and only approximate estimates rather than a unique, highly precise measurement. In view of the approximate character of the national income figures small differences or changes should not be taken an unequivocal indications that differences actually exist or that changes have actually occurred (Kuznets, 1934, p.12).

As a result, the incapability of GDP has been widely discussed and subsequently “sustainable development” has been introduced in the mid-80s. However, most of the countries in the world still largely rely on GDP although they are aware of the need for more thorough and extensive measures for development. In order to challenge the sole dependency on GDP, it is crucial to change our education systems, political structures, and institutions.

Reference:
Kuznets, S. (1934) ‘National Income, 1929-1932’, The National Bureau of Economic Research, pp.1-12

Eco-friendly or Ego-friendly?

April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have always been wanting to discuss the issue of growing concern over environment, which is undoubtedly a controversial issue.

To a great degree, I think a lot of so-called “environmentalists” and “eco-friendly people” are overreacting and hypocritical. I enumerate from following reasons.

Firstly, many wannabe-hippie environmentally friendly people a.k.a. fashion-environmentalists take recreational drugs and complain that human are damaging the environment and destroy the way of nature. I have nothing against being vegetarian/vegan for ethical reasons. Some people think it’s wrong and cruel to kill animals/live stocks such as cows and pigs. However, those people are ok with taking recreational drugs that is not fully metabolised in their bodies and contaminating the sea. One might argue “well, it’s not like I am taking tones of cocaine”, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the accumulation of toxic in the sea. For instance, one small fish contaminated getting eaten by a medium sized fish and this medium sized fish getting eaten by a bigger fish etc does affect the bigger fish in the sea, which get contaminated the most. You could also argue that “well, it’s not like I am eating millions of rashes of bacon”. 

Secondly, most of environmental related issues are imposed by the West and consequently the developed countries. Recently, the UN has announced that Japan cannot longer hunt whales under the name of “scientific/research purposes”. To be honest, I think it was wrong for Japan to continue whaling in the name of research purposes. Japan should rather hunt whales for consumption. Alaska, which is technically a part of the USA, is allowed to kill whales because it is a part of their culture. However, Japan has been hunting whales for a long time and consuming whales is definitely a part of Japanese culture. Therefore, I do not understand why it is legitimate for Alaska to hunt whales for “cultural purposes” and it’s not for Japan. This argument also applies to less developed countries. As environmental Kuznets curve and Inglehart’s silent revolution suggest, developed countries do start caring other issues i.e. environment compared to less developed countries. New emerging issues such as environmental issues are almost a norm for developed countries as they have reached the most growing economic period. Less developed countries are still concentrating on the growth in terms of economy. Therefore, I think it is wrong that people from developed countries to say the whole world should care about the environment. It is self-righteous for countries that have already been through damaging the environment for growth to say countries aiming for growth are damaging the environment thus should stop what they are doing right now. Furthermore, if the world was working the other way round in the sense that the West was not dominating the world, probably eating dogs/whales could have been a norm and eating beef/pork could have been seen as a taboo. Some people say dolphins and whales are intelligent animals thus should not be consumed, but if the world was dominated not by the West i.e. China, might have brought a different norm. 

In the light of these facts, I think a lot of eco-friendly people are actually, in fact, ego-friendly people, who want to be seen as cool, edgy and hippy. They care more about how they look in front of others rather than the environment. It makes more sense to say we accept how the nature works in the sense that human do eat other animals and big animals eat small animals. Without a doubt, it is important to think about the nature and sustainability but we humans shouldn’t really overreact too much and impose the Western culture on other indigenous/unique cultures. It may sound harsh but those fashion environmentalists are rather ego-friendly, whose ego is as big as mother earth! 

 

Can squatting be justified?

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

First of all, note that ‘Squatting’ here means as in occupying empty/abandoned places.

In England and Wales, squatting had been LEGAL until the 1st September 2012.

Squatting in a residential building in England and Wales will become a criminal offence on Saturday, meaning squatters could face jail or a fine.

Ministers said it would offer better protection for homeowners and “slam shut the door on squatters once and for all”.

The maximum penalty will be six months in jail, a £5,000 fine, or both.

But campaigners warned the new law could criminalise vulnerable people and lead to an increase in rough sleeping.

Before the new law was implemented on the 1st September 2012, Section 6 Criminal Law Act 1977 stated;

THAT we live in this property, it is our home and we intend to stay here.

THAT at all times there is at least one person in this property.

THAT any entry or attempt to enter into this property without our permission is a criminal offence as any one of us who is in physical possession is opposed to entry without our permission.

THAT if you attempt to enter by violence or by threatening violence we will prosecute you. You may receive a sentence of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

THAT if you want to get us out you will have to take out a summons for possession in the County Court or in the High Court, or produce to us a written statement or certificate in terms of S.12A Criminal Law Act, 1977 (as inserted by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994).

THAT it is an offence under S.12A (8) Criminal Law Act 1977 (as amended) to knowingly make a false statement to obtain a written statement for the purposes of S. 12A. A person guilty of such an offence may receive a sentence of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Signed

The Occupiers

N.B. Signing this Legal warning is optional. It is equally valid whether or not it is signed.

It basically means that squatters are legally occupying the place and it is against the law to enter the premisses without their permission, and if you do so you may be prosecuted.

From the landlord’s point of view, this is such a ridiculous law.

Imagine – wake up one morning and notice your property has been occupied by people you do not even know, and the law and police cannot do anything about it.

On the other hand, squatters may think there is noone living in the place, they do not possess anywhere to live, and it is legal to occupy the place. Why not!?

I understand both views.

I squatted last summer before the new law was implemented, however I do not solely take squatters’ side.

You might consider squatters as dirty, drug addicts, alcoholic, violent, loud etc.

It would be a lie if I say that’s not true at all. I know a few who are discribed like that, but please bear in mind that not all the squatters are ‘dirty, drug addicts, alcoholic, violent, loud etc.’

One interesting case;

There is an empty shop in my local area, and a few people have started to squat there.

It has been empty for ages, because noone was willing to rent and open a bussiness.

The landlord and his solicitor noticed the place was occupied by squatters.

Luckly, they’ve found out that those people are rather ‘nice’ squatters who take care of the place and try to make it look nice as their ‘home’.

The landlord and his solicitor notified to the squatters that they WANT them to stay in the premisses, since it is costly to hire security staff.

They thought it would be better (in terms of cost and security) if they let the nice people to squat their place.

The situation has got better and the relation between the landlord side and the squatters seems to be comfortable.

Of course, this is a very very rare case and as I’ve said no all the squatters are nice people for sure.

The thing I’d like to mention is that whether the new law actually prevents squatters to occupy a place or not.

Or, as BBC reports, is the situation getting worse?

I’ve talked to few squatters after the implemation of  new law, and apparenty it is way harder to find a place to squat.

The thing is though, because commercial buildings can legaly be squatted, it is more likely that they squat in high streets and noticible places.

I’ve seen a big tall business building (ex-clothes shop) squatted by a few right next to the shop that is still alive (in the sense that there is a business in the shop.)

Imagine – your shop is next to a squat – you may worry that the number of your customers might decline.

The new law is not only bad for those people but also squatters.

According to The Empty Homes Agency, there are an estimated 870,000 empty homes
in the UK, and SSentif said some 50,290 families and individuals were classed as homeless in
2011/12, up from 40,020 in 2009/10.

It is probably enough to allocate homeless people in the empty houses in the UK.

The world is f**ked up…

Finally, I leave an article from BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19408949

The new law is bad for tax payers…?

As a conclusion, it is hard to decide squatting can be justified or not…

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