San Francisco: Indo-Canadian youTuber JusReign, or Jasmeet Singh, was recently asked to remove his turban at a San Francisco area airport security check, where he was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to board the plane unless he removed his turban for screening. After not finding anything amiss, he was forced to walk through the airport to retie his turban.
The comedian also stated that while he had no problem taking off his turban to follow protocols that would make them feel ‘safe’, the main issue was the fact that when he asked for a mirror to retie his turban in the private room he was taken to, the TSA told him to walk to the nearest restroom and do it, which, he felt, was insensitive on their part.
A similar upsetting incident had taken place with designer Waris Ahluwalia, where he was barred from boarding his flight unless he removed his turban. On this he had said, “That is not something that I would do in public, that’s asking someone to take off their clothes.”
There has been no comment from the TSA on this yet.
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.
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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.”
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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.
Feb 27, 2017: The most important part of advertisements is the story line and it gives a spur on the social media when the lessons from the story line are timeless. Needless to say, every time a free-spirited ad is released, it not only sparks conversations over the internet but also leaves a viral trail of debates. Just in the same way, some of the Indian advertisements did when they strove to change the mindset of people with regard to gender difference. We often tend to slur women not realizing the essence of being a woman, it takes strength and an indomitable spirit to be a woman. This article will talk about how advertisements in India are leading by example and discarding gender difference.
Let’s recall some of the advertisements that did away with gender difference.
Nike’s recent ‘Da Da Ding’ ad starring Deepika Padukone as one among other female athletes is a powerful ad which got the people talking about giving importance to female athletes as well. It showcased females of a real athletic figure which is not animated and has got nothing to do with ‘legs and butts’.
(A still from Nike’s Da Da Ding advertisement)
The ad portrayed women as fierce and passionate about sports. Once upon a time, Nike’s product catered almost exclusively to marathon runners and then, a fitness craze emerged –and the folks in Nike’s marketing department knew where to mark their next move, an applause for Nike for initiating a spellbinding effort.
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Whisper, Touch the pickle ad
(A still from Whisper Touch the pickle advertisement)
Whisper, Touch the pickle ad is another exemplary of breaking taboos surrounding women’s menstrual cycle. The whisper #Touchthepickle campaign makes an attempt to purge the baseless superstitions owing to Dos and Dont’s in menses. The ad showcases a young girl who dares to touch the pickle while she is on her periods. It conveys a sensible meaning to its viewers to break away these taboos. The ad was lauded internationally and awarded ‘Glass Lion Grand Prix’ award at Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
Many advertisements over the years have sold the cosmetic product but fewer have tried to change the societal conception of beauty. Even fewer have tried to do both, Joy Cosmetic is the brand that did it in India.
(A still from Joy beauty advertisement)
The ad begins with showcasing a well renowned oversized comedian, Bharti Singh asking the viewers “What did you expect, 36-24-36?”, and shuts down body shamers who presumed it to be an ideal body size. The ad conveys effortlessly that an Ideal beauty has nothing to do with body and shape.The advertisement has a sensitive message and is meaningful to its consumers.