September 24, 2016: “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason”- Abraham Joshua Heschele
Indian and African artists will showcase through their work the issues of racial discrimination and cultural identity in “Coriolis Effect: Migration and Memory”. The intimate moments in the lives of the African community living in India will be put up at an upcoming photography to sensitize the public against racial discrimination and biasness from September 29 to October 4 at Khoj Studio.
The exhibition is the culmination of a month-long residency that seeks to rekindle the social, economic and cultural relationship which exists between India and Africa.
“We have been deeply contemplating migration. Globally, we have borne witness to the forced displacement of thousands of people from their homelands and locally we have first-hand experienced the trauma of re-location,” said Khoj Studios curator Sitara Chowfla.
“We are also extremely interested in the formation of memory due to this migration – both individual and collective. We have invited artists to look back at the past and comprehend the present. What happens to your identity when you lose your place of belonging? What are memories of home and place that you carry with you,” she questioned.
The participating artists are Mahesh Shantaram, Andrew Ananda Voogel, Chibuike Uzoma, Joao Orecchia, Liza Grobler, Malini Kochupillai and Swati Janu. The critic-in-residence is Persis Taraporevala.
An independent documentary maker, Mahesh Shantaram, 39, is showing a collection of 10 photographs titled “Looking at You Looking at Me: The African Portraits”.
“It’s as if they don’t accept us as human beings … is what I keep hearing amidst all the heart rending stories,” Shantaram said.
Indo-Caribbean artist Andrew Ananda Voogel centres his work around the indentured labour trade from India to the Caribbean.
After the gradual abolition of the African slave trade, the search for cheap labour had spread across India, from where many men and women, including Voogel’s ancestors, were separated from their families and forcibly herded into ships leaving for Guyana and other colonies.
Unable to return, these workers eventually forged hybrid communities in their new homes. Memories of their violent departure and exile form an important part of Voogel’s work.
“I have worked on a text and textile based project where pieces of different textiles will be printed with phrases that highlight issues of discrimination. I got these phrases from various African people that I have spoken to and also from newspaper reports, and from my own personal history of multi-generational trauma,” Voogel said.
Nigerian artist Chibuike Uzoma has tried to look beyond a literal interpretation of the subject.
In 2014, he left Africa for the first time to take up a residency opportunity in Vienna. This led him to kick-start a multi-media project titled “West to the Horn is the Heart” which incorporated sound, stamps and images in a bid to understand and accept where he was.
He is also exhibiting six photographs taken on the streets of Old Delhi that showcase him walking around like a tourist.
“I don’t feel so lost in India because of the similarities between our two nations,” he said.
The multi-media project is intended to assert his condition of mixed and intertwined thought, hope, choice, expectation, anxiety, joy and shame. (IANS)
India prides itself on its so called diversity but these are just plain talks. The real situation on the ground is terrible for all Northeasterners, especially womenfolk. People from Northeast are racially abused by mainland Indians as "chinkis" This derogatory term means an individual with slanted eyes.
The author spent several years in Delhi and sadly witnessed numerous unfortunate incidents in Delhi involving shoddy treatment of Northeast women and girls especially by Jats of urban villages like Katwaria Sarai, Ber Sarai and Munirka.
Northeastern states of India comprises of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim & Mizoram. This region is also referred to as the Seven Sisters. The physical characteristics of the inhabitants of these states are different than the Indian people. Due to which they face racial discrimination in other parts of the country.
Northeasterners have oriental looks and are hard-working, friendly people. Matriarchy is practised among many groups in the Northeast. Successive Indian governments neglected this whole region, as a result it has stayed backwards in terms of infrastructure.
Tourists need special permits from the government authorities to visit many regions of Northeast India. In 1958, the Indian government passed a law, the Armed Forces Special Act (AFSPA) that applies to various seven Northeastern states. This grants security forces the power to search properties without a warrant, to arrest people and to use deadly force if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a person is acting against the state.
Army officers have legal immunity for their actions as per AFSPA; there can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under this law. Indian army frequently misuses its power by harassing the residents of Northeast region under the pretext of this draconian law.
Social Exclusion of the Seven Sisters
An activist from Manipur, Irom Chanu Sharmila holds the world record as the longest hunger striker”. Sharmila grew up in Manipur, one of the Seven Sister States in India’s northeast, which has suffered from continuous neglect by the Indian government for decades.
Sharmila’s primary demand to the Indian government has been the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
She started her fast in Malom on 5 November 2000 and vowed not to eat, drink, comb her hair or look in a mirror until AFSPA was repealed. She ended her hunger strike on 9 August 2016 after 16 years of fasting. Sadly, AFSPA is still in force. Ordinary people of Northeast India are tormented by Delhi through its army.
No major industry exists in this region, therefore, the employment prospects for the locals are practically non-existent. Basic infrastructure like roads and electricity supply is not up to the mark in this area. Youngsters from these parts migrate to big cities of India like Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore etc. to find jobs.
The women of North East are good looking and fashion conscious. Majority of Indian males are sexually frustrated perverts. They harass Northeast women on a daily basis. People from Northeast are racially abused by mainland Indians as “chinkis”, This derogatory term means an individual with slanted eyes.
The same abusive word is also used by the majority of Indians while referring to the Chinese citizens. State of affairs is dreadful in New Delhi, which is the capital city of India. Delhi has many localities known as Urban Villages. These places are just villages in a name. They do not have any farming land.
Owners of houses in these neighborhoods have got tall buildings erected by flouting all building laws, regulations in order to build the maximum number of rooms and put them on rent to earn easy tax-free cash. Northeast migrants to Delhi are overcharged higher rents by these deceitful landlords.
Urban villages, especially in areas around South Delhi are dominated in particular by a community known as ‘Jats’. They own most of the houses in these parts.
The Jat community comprises of male chauvinists of the worst kind on this planet. They earn huge tax-free income every month as rent from Northeasterners and other migrants to Delhi; as a result, most of them don’t do much productive work. They just sit in groups, play cards and drink liquor from morning-night.
All Indian political parties are scared of Jats as they resort to hooliganism to blackmail central as well as state governments in order to get concessions for their community.
These Jat men have made the life of Northeastern women in Delhi a living hell. These Northeastern women cannot go back to their homes in Northeast because they face sexual violence at the hands of Indian army personnel furthermore; there are no job prospects in the region. They are teased, sexually harassed and even raped by these unscrupulous Jat house owners and their family members.
Delhi Police also has plenty of Jat personnel so, these poor, unfortunate Northeast women cannot even complain about their ordeal to the Police.
A few women, who gather the courage to approach police stations to lodge complaints are ridiculed and abused by the Police staff as women of loose character, ‘chinki whores’ etc.
Northeasterners are highly depressed and frustrated due to this daily ordeal. Their culture, language, food habits and norms are all entirely different from the mainland Indians.
Does Unity in Diversity really exist in India?
India prides itself on its so called diversity but these are just plain talks. The real situation on the ground is terrible for all Northeasterners, especially womenfolk.
The citizens of all seven Northeastern states should not tolerate this discrimination anymore. They must pressurize their local politicians to raise this matter seriously with the central government in Delhi alternatively, they could completely boycott their so called political representatives.
“No taxation without representation”, this slogan originated during the 1750’s and 1760’s in U.S.A. It summarized the primary grievance of American colonists in the thirteen colonies against the British Parliament. This ultimately culminated in the successful American Revolution.
No voting without safety & respect
Northeastern citizens across the entire length and breadth of India should unite under the slogan; “No voting without safety & respect.”
Election Commission of India has introduced NOTA (None of the above) on the ballot papers as an option for the voters. It means that the voter does not find any political party’s candidate competent enough, that’s why they exercise the NOTA option by not voting for a candidate of any political party.
If, the ordinary residents of all seven northeastern states unite together and press NOTA during all state assembly as well as Parliamentary elections, then their local politicians, as well as political parties in Delhi, would definitely wake up to their serious grievances and initiate measures to prevent this dastardly treatment meted out to Northeast citizens in India.
Footnote– This composition is dedicated to three beautiful, kind, compassionate, independent & friendly girls from Northeast India. Suzie, Tanya and Mikii were friends of the author in Delhi during the late 1990’s before we lost contact with each other. These girls were unfortunate victims of numerous atrocities perpetrated on them by Jats.
The writer sincerely hopes that all three of them are presently leading happy, peaceful lives somewhere and women from the Northeast region of India do not face any future trauma in Delhi as well as other cities in India.
– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.
Radicalization is the process by which young individuals are introduced to a blatantly ideological message that accompanies extreme views
Over 50 per cent of the radicalization operations carried out by terrorist organizations are conducted over the internet
Parents must observe any change in their child’s behavior to gauge potential radicalization
New Delhi, September 4, 2017 : Imagine looking at a video of adolescents in camouflage, wearing ISIS bandanas in a barren dessert, learning hand-to-hand combat. Imagine ISIS fighters wielding long daggers standing behind them, wearing black scarves that mask their faces.
Imagine watching these masked men address the government; they claim that the government is no longer fighting an insurgency but an entire army of young adolescent recruits- kids who should have stayed in school.
ISIS has made shocking progress in expanding its operations in recent times due to the upsurge in enthusiasm that would-be jihadist from all parts of the globe demonstrate to join their fight in Iraq and Syria.
However, one of the most frequently asked questions about terrorism traces the very root of the matter.
Why do children join terrorist outfits and participate in extremist activities?
The ISIS runs an elaborate operation that targets, manipulates and eventually recruits young people to believe and uphold their twisted ideologies- a process understood as radicalization.
What is radicalization?
According to a report published by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2009, radicalization is understood as the process by which young individuals are introduced to a blatantly ideological message that accompanies extreme views.
While radicalization is not always negative, it becomes problematic when it culminates into acts of violence, a phenomenon common to organizations like ISIS, IRA and Al Qaeda.
Over 50 per cent of their radicalization operations are conducted over the internet- a space flocked and dominated by young, impressionist minds.
Online risk of radicalization
According to John Horgan, a psychologist at UMass- Lowell who specializes in terrorism, terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, and ISIS can be viewed as amateur psychologists, who are also adept marketers. They provide youngsters, usually very young people, with a ‘one time offer’ and encourage them to act fast.
These extremist organizations make use of internet and the social media to communicate and spread their messages, and recruit people to join their forces.
In an attempt to brainwash and lure young individuals to join forces, their messages usually present extremist vision as an exciting alternate to the ‘mainstream’.
Personal attributes or local factors can make an individual more susceptible to extremist influence. An absence of a positive, supportive force can additionally accelerate the process of radicalization.
Children struggling with independent identity
Some children can have a hard time accepting the culture they practice, which can make them question their place in the society. Young children tend to struggle establishing a sense of independent identity which often makes them vulnerable to extremist influence.
Instances in a child’s personal life such as fights within the family, or undergoing any trauma can increase their vulnerability to radicalization. Extremists prey on children with low-self esteem, who harbor feelings of injustice, such as those who believe they have been subjected to racial discrimination.
Additionally, kids who feel detested by their peers or abandoned by their family members are also at a greater risk of harboring feelings of vengeance that can motivate them to indulge in extremist behavior.
The radicalisation of migrants can happen in seconds. They all use terror to intimidate us. https://t.co/TbzYZCbEaF
Kids who seek adventure and excitement tend to indulge in activities just for the adrenaline rush, without thinking about the consequences. Additionally, kids who yearn to dominate or control others and those who are comfortable with violence can also be an easy target for radicalization.
A child can also be influenced by what he experiences in the local community, country or when exposed to people who have joined any extremist group.
Individuals with a previous criminal background or those who find it difficult to integrate with the mainstream society after serving sentence in a jail, or a reprimand home may also be at a greater risk.
Exposure and indulgence with technology
Additionally, kids who spend increasing amount of time online, or have no supervision on their online interaction are at a greater risk.
Signs of Radicalization
There is no single route to radicalization- it can either occur quickly, or over a long period. Sometimes, there can be clear warning signs that can intimidate you when a child acts out of character. But, sometimes, these changes may not be very obvious,
Change in appearance and personal relationships
Young individuals may distance themselves from people, bring a significant change in their appearance and dressing style and refrain from activities that were previously a part of routine.
Change in political orientation
The children may exhibit sudden indulgence in a particular behavior or growing interest in politics especially relating to trouble areas. They may additionally become intolerant to those who do not share the same beliefs as them (other religions, races and ethnicity) and may begin to look down upon them.
A change in the online identity of the individual such as changing their username on various social media accounts or the profile picture. Alternately, the individual may make two parallel profiles- one being the ‘normal’ one and the other used for extremist purposes, more often than not with a pseudonym.
Spending long hours on the internet, being secretive and showing reluctance to divulge personal details and information about their whereabouts also comprise suspicious behavior.
Additional signs can also include a growing fondness, sympathy or justification for extremist ideologies, increasing interest in accessing more extremist material online, being in contact with extremist recruiters or jihadis, etc.
Exhibition of one of these signs does not necessarily mean that a child is being radicalized. They can also point out to other issues that a child might be facing, such as depression.
Talking to children regularly and honestly is the best way to keep them safe. Making sure that the individual is safe online is also of equal importance.
An individual undergoes several changes during adolescence that can either make children react in different ways. As a parent, you should try and recognize these changes and trace their roots. Also, we would suggest addressing all issues, rather than simply ridiculing or ignoring them.
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate
Tobago and Trinidad, August 10, 2017: A noted Anthropologist from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Kumar Mahabir has brought to attention the racial politics in Guyana and Trinidad. The article is an excerpt from a research paper presented by him recently at the First Diaspora Engagement Conference in Guyana organized by The University of Guyana.
There is legitimate suspicion, fear and insecurity among East Indians of the ruling APNU+AFC regime in Guyana. The President of Guyana, David Granger, was a former Commander of the African-dominated Guyana Defence Force under the PNC regime (1964 -1992), which is the major partner in the current APNU +AFC coalition government.
It is believed that the PNC was instrumental in the Wismar massacreon May 26, 1964. USA non-Indian historian, Stephen Rabe (2005) of the University of Texas, reported that in the massacre, 200 persons [mainly Indians] died, 800 were injured, 200 houses were destroyed and 1,800 persons were left homeless.
Non-Indian sociologist Stephen Spencer at Sheffield Hallam University (UK) stated: “While the police and special volunteers looked on passively, the African Guyanese engaged in an orgy of violence against the Indian community, involving rape, arson, beatings and murder” (p. 52).
Indians have no faith and trust in the African-dominated Government of Guyana led by a PNC former military commander. And indeed most Indians in and out of Guyana believe that the APNU+AFC came to power through a rigged election.
Their belief is not without factual and historical basis. The Latin American Bureau, a human rights organization, reported that the PNC “has been responsible for massively rigging every election that has occurred since the country gained independence.”
Indians would have no faith in the Diaspora Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs unless it is staffed by 40% Indians appointed by the opposition PPP. Contesting the 2015 election as a single party, the PPP barely lost the fight against the united forces of the APNU+AFC alliance.
The result was a narrow victory for the APNU+AFC party with 207,201 votes (50.3% = 33 seats). The PPP followed very closely with 202,656 votes (49.2% = 32 seats) (GECOM, 2015). PPP lost the opportunity to become the government by a mere margin of 4,545 votes. The APNU+AFC collation government is in power by a mere one-seat majority.
General elections were held in racially-divided Trinidad and Tobago on September 7, 2015. The Afro-based People’s National Movement received 52% of the votes and won 23 of the 41 seats in the House of Representatives. The Indo-based People’s Partnership (PP) coalition led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar got 40% of the votes and won 18 seats. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, his Cabinet Ministers and Ambassadors are mainly Afro-Trinidadians and the PP Opposition consists mainly of Indo-Trinidadians.
For the Guyana’s Government’s diaspora engagement programme to succeed, theghost of the Wismar massacre has to be put to rest. This can only be done if the APNU+AFC government establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) modelled after the restorative justice court in South Africa established after the abolition of apartheid. The APNU+AFC government also has to initiate action to take the surviving assailants of the Wismar Massacre to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Holland.
Guyana’s State polices and programmers can work only if the APNU+AFC government shares power.In his book entitled, Ethno-Politics and Power Sharing in Guyana (2011), David Hinds wrote: “Ethnic groups living side by side have always been suspicious of one another. That suspicion turns to fear and insecurity when the issue of who controls power – decision-making (political) and resource allocation (economic) – invariably arises.”
Hinds added: “In other words, groups fear domination by the other and act out that fear through choices they make both at the community and national levels…. What compounds this fear is that both groups have had a taste of domination by the other” (p. 173).
Attempts by the APNU+AFC government to entice Indian figures to give the semblance of ethnic equality is an exercise in futility. The faces of Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan, Rupert Roopnaraine, Amna Ally and Ronald Bulkan are used as ethnic window-dressing.
In Guyana, David Hinds noted: “Such leaders bring little tangible benefits to the party as they are often ridiculed by their own group as traitors. They are often forced to either endorse ethnic attacks on their group or remain silent” (p. 176).
Hinds observed that parties accept the solution of power sharing when they are in opposition, but reject it when in power.Power sharing with the Opposition is the only solution for development in racially-divided Guyana and Trinidad.
The concept of consociational democracy was developed in 1968 by the political scientist Arend Lijphart from the Netherlands. The political system is intended to reconcile societal divisions along ethnic and religious lines. In consociational states, all groups, including political minorities, are equitably represented in the political and economic arena.
Dr Kumar Mahabir is an assistant professor of Anthropology in Trinidad and Tobago.