Faruq Faisel

Monday, September 19, 2005

How are the Bangladeshis doing in the UK


In a recently published article in The Guardian -Please stop fetishising integration. Equality is what we really need A decent job with a decent income is still the best path out of thecrudest forms of racism and fundamentalism by Gary Younge mentioned that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are facing great trouble in the UK.

He wrote that, the most likely victims of race attacks are Pakistanis andBangladeshis - the dominant ethnic groups among Muslims. And this was before the bombs sparked a significant rise in Islamophobia. All this is compounded by economic deprivation. Bangladeshis have the highest rate of unemployment, reaching just over 40% for men under 25. These people are not segregated; they are alienated. If they need to be integrated into anything as a matter of urgency, it is the workforce and the education system. A decent job with a decent income is still the best path out ofthe crudest forms of racism and fundamentalism. Polls and studies show a link between wealth and the propensity to integrate.

Please read the full article below:

Where race is concerned there are, it seems, some words that just don'tgo together. No matter how many young drunken white men beat each otherup over the weekend, there is no such thing as white-on-white crime. No matter how many non-white people flee inner-city neighbourhoods for better schools and services, there is no such thing as "black flight".And no matter how bitter their ethnic divides, white people never engage in "tribal conflict". And so it is that it seems to make no difference how segregated their lives, white people rarely ever seem to live in ghettoes. When a group of white people gather, they call it a country club, boardroom or - for most of the last century - House of Commons. But when non-white people reach a critical mass in any area, they always hit the G-spot - the point at which policymakers scream. The cause of integration has become so fetishised since the July bombings that it has been elevated to the level of an intrinsic moral value - not a means to an end but an end in itself. Later this week the government-appointed task force will make integration a vital componentof its report to Tony Blair on how to tackle Muslim extremism. In a speech in Manchester, Trevor Phillips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality, will warn against the country "sleep-walking" into a"New Orleans-style" quagmire of "fully fledged ghettoes". This is fine as far as it goes. The trouble is, unless integration is coupled with the equally vigorous pursuit of equality and anti-racism, it does not go very far.

Rwanda had plenty of inter-ethnic marriages before the genocide; Jews were more integrated into German society than any other European nation before the Holocaust. Common sense suggests that the more contact you have with different races, religions and ethnicities, the less potential there is for stereotyping and dehumanising those different from yourself. But even that small achievement depends on the quality and power dynamics of the contact.

Take the American south. Despite preaching segregation in his presidential campaign, the late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmondstill slept with black women, like most white southern gentlemen. Blackwomen breastfed and raised white children, and since most slave owners were not that wealthy, many black and white families shared the same roof.The question was not whether the races could mix but what were the ground-rules for them mixing. These relationships were not consensual or mutual but usually coerced and one-sided. The whites-only signs kept African Americans from many a public place; but in the most intimate parts of their lives, black and white people were as integrated as they possibly could be. In other words, the value of integration is contingent on whom you are asking to integrate, what you are asking them to integrate into and on what basis you are asking them to do so.

The framing of the current debate is flawed on all three fronts. It treats integration as a one-way street - not a subtle process of cultural negotiation but full-scale assimilation of a religious group that is regarded, by many liberals and conservatives, as backward and reactionary. It is hardly surprising that many Muslims would not want to sign up to that. But they would have a hard time trying even if they did.

The racial group in Britain that has the hardest time integrating is white people. A YouGov poll for the Commission for Racial Equality last year showed that 83% of whites have no friends who are practising Muslims, while only 48% of non-white people do. It revealed that 94% of whites, compared with 47% of people from ethnic minorities, say most or all their friends are white.

There is no good reason why white people should go out of their way to befriend ethnic minorities. But the truth is some go out of their way not to. A Mori poll for Prospect magazine last year showed that 41%of whites, compared with 26% of ethnic minorities, want the races to live separately. Britain has a great many qualities where race is concerned. But the image so eagerly touted after the bombings, of an oasis of tolerant diversity that has been exploited by Islamic fundamentalists who hail from a community determined to voluntarily segregate, simply does not square with the facts. If fair play is a core British value, racism is no less so.

According to Home Office figures, in 2003-2004 roughly 150 racially motivated incidents were reported every day; of those 100 fell into the serious category that includes wounding, assault and harassment. Some are deadly, as in the case of the black teenager Anthony Walker, a devout Christian and would-be lawyer, standing at a bus stop with his white girlfriend. He looked about as integrated as you can be, but that didn't stop him being killed by a single axe blow to the head, followinga torrent of racial abuse.

But the most likely victims of race attacks are Pakistanis and Bangladeshis - the dominant ethnic groups among Muslims. And this was before the bombs sparked a significant rise in Islamophobia. All this is compounded by economic deprivation. Bangladeshis have the highest rate of unemployment, reaching just over 40% for men under 25. These people are not segregated; they are alienated. If they need to be integrated in to anything as a matter of urgency, it is the workforce and the education system. A decent job with a decent income is still the best path out of the crudest forms of racism and fundamentalism. Polls and studies show a link between wealth and the propensity to integrate.The reason black people could not get out of New Orleans was not because they were separate but because they were unequal - the wealthier ones left.

Equality of opportunity is the driving force behind integration, not the other way round, but their relationship is subtle and symbiolic, not crude and causal. July's bombings blew a hole in assumptions, on the left and the right,about the link between race and desperation. The four young men who created bloody havoc led neither deprived nor segregated lives. AbdullahJamal (formerly Jermaine Lindsay) was married to a white Englishwoman; Mohammad Sidique Khan was a graduate who helped children of all religions with learning difficulties; Hasib Hussain was sent to Pakistan only after he "went a bit wild" with drinking and swearing; Shehzad Tanweer was a graduate who used to help at his father's fish-and-chip shop.

In July 5% of Muslims told an ICM poll that more bombings would be justified. Given the margin of error, this could be at least hundreds and at most thousands of potential suicide bombers. Whether it be AnthonyWalker's murderers or terrorists, we know it only takes a few. Liberals must not give an inch to fundamentalism, whether racial, religious, ethnic or national. While its leaders must be ostracised, its followers must be won over. But either collective ethnic and racial identities are universally applicable, or they are not. If so then white people need a taskforce to discuss how to better police "their community" in order to marginalise extremists who kill in the name of white supremacy. If not then we need to move to a more sophisticated place that takes into account the degree to which our prejudices, pain and potential are all interlinked. If integration means anything, then it means we'reall in this together. .g.younge@guardian.co.uk_

Papa Come Home

Sometimes you wait for the right message. It can take long to receive such a message. Or you are so busy with so many other unimportant bussinesses that you can not hear the message. For last few months I was lost. I was not sure where I am going next. I needed a direction. I needed some one to tell me where should I make the next turn in my life. I was waiting and waiting- perhaps for no reason.

And at last the message came today. I was chatting with Priya, my 8 years old daughter on the net. She was straight and direct. The message came from her. She told me "Papa come back home".

Now I know that this was the message that I was waiting for. This was the message that I needed. Now I know what I have to do. I have to come back. Come back where I belong. And I am coming back. I am coming back Priya. Just give me few more weeks. I miss you and I want to be with you. Papa

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tilak in New York

Kathmandu September 18 2005: This morning Tilak P. Pokharel's two despatches from New York made the head lines on the Kathmandu Post. He covered both the Nepalis Protest in front of the UN building and Nepali Foreign Minister's speach inside the general assembly room. This young reporter from the Kathmandu Post is at the UN as a Dag Hamarscold Fellow.

I met Tilak first when I went to Lumbini with a group of Nepali and foreign journalists on a mission to do a team reporting. Tilak and his team broke the issue of vigilantes in that area for the first time. Tilak's story appeared in the Kathmandu Post, as well as Indian Express, USA Today and Christian Science Monitor. The four five days that we stayed together at a Japanese style hotel in Lumbini created a bond between us- the team.

Since then whenever we had time, Tilak and I met. He would talk about his ambitions and I would tell him about all the problems that my project was going through. Two weeks back, the night before he was leaving for New York, Lynne, Tilak and I met at Moksh, the popular club in Patan in Kathmandu.

In 1987 I did receive an UN DPI Fellowship. I was telling Tilak about my first experience of coming to the big apple. This is Tilak's first trip to the States as well. Here in Kathmandu we are eagerly waiting for Tila's return. I am sure that he would have tons of stories to tell us. Good luck Tilak in New York.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Arrival of Sophia

Kathmandu: Shrijana and Navin are my clostest friends in Nepal. I think I have spent all most half of my free time with Navin during my stay in Nepal. In June when I was going to Canada, Shrijana and Navin were expecting their third child. So, the new princes has arrived on August 21, 2005. Now Navashree and Navistha have their new sister. The new baby has been named Sophia Singh.

I went to see the baby as soon as I came back to Kathmandu. She was sleeping. Looked like a bundle of joy. Day before yesterday when I saw her again, amezingly enough, I saw her trying to communicate with her mom.

All my friends who had visited me here from Canada have met this wonderful family. If you want to see more photos of Sophia, here is the link: www.urbanpixel.com.np/sophia

Salaam Namaste

Kathmandu: This was one of those days that every thing went wrong for me. I had a meeting at South Asia Partnership International. I thought I knew the place. I took a taxi from my home at Pulchowk to go to Snaepa, where SAP International was/is. Went to Sanepa. I could not find SAP International. I went around and around. For almost two hours. It was almost three o' clock. I gave up. Took a taxi. Went to Joy Nepal Cinema. Bought a ticket and watched Salaam Nmaste.

I go to Joy Nepal to watch a Hindi movie whenever things go wrong in for me in Kathmandu. And watching Salaam Namaste is one of those events. I was alone. Sitting in between Nepali couples and crying. I can not explain why.

Watching Salaam Namaste gave me two thoughts. One is how Indian Cinema has been globalized,. This whole film was done in Melborne Australia. And I had to read English subtirtle all through even I unedrstood Hindi. Second. it reminded me of my days when I used to do radio shows in Ottawa for local ethnic community.

Sallam Namaste even has a cool web site. If you are interested please visit: http://www1.yashrajfilms.com/

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Global Flu Pandemic

My friend Nyree from Toronto wrote this message the other day: "I've been meaning for a long time to write people to let them know that this solution is available (everytime I see a headline in the paper "Global Flu Pandemic "Inevitable" " - and if you think the headlines haven't really been saying that (I'm not talking about the truth of the statement, justwhether or not headlines have been saying that) you haven't been reading the paper for the last year, at least not the Star.The Flu Balancing Solution is part of the Microbial Balancing Solutions developed by the Perelandra Centre for Nature Research,
http://www.perelandra-ltd.com/, for more information. I took the Microbial Balancersfor myself in Nepal and am quite sure that they saw me through what could have been something really nasty (if you want the graphic details, just ask) with no pain and nothing more than an (extremely unusual) complete loss of appetite for about five days. I just took the balancers twice a day, nothing else, and I was fine.There have been a lot of e-mails in my box about the hurricane, and an interesting one comparing the reaction in Cuba last year to a Category 5 hurricane in whichthousands (20?, 200?) of people were evacuated and none died, because the Cuban government was prepared (and they seem to care about the lives of the poor and the black). So, the motto is, "be prepared". If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me (or the folks at Perelandra).And please pass this on,love,Nyree. PS. the joke about a sobering thought (below) is because the solutionis preserved in brandy. You do ingest it, just not the whole bottle at once :)I believe it's also available in vinegar (for the Muslims & teetotallers among us)."

New Flu Season Balancing Solution

Dear EarthSaver,The 2005-2006 Flu Season Balancing Solution is currently being bottled and will begin shipping during the second week of September. If you pre-ordereda bottle, it is important that you continue taking the 2004-2005 Solution until your new bottle arrives. Machaelle wants to remind everyone that the Flu Solution must be taken DAILY in order for it to be effective. This is especially important in light ofrecent news about the avian flu. The new Solution strengthens your body andit's microbes against both the current flu strains and the avian flu. So please, we strongly encourage you not to be lax about taking the FluSolution as directed. Your health depends on it. And the last sobering reminder (we said take the Solution, not drink it), is for anyone with children or who has friends with children: The flu shot (Thimerosal) contains mercury. Fact. You can search online or keep your eye on the newspaper for articles about this controversial and frightening issue. On the other hand, the Perelandra Flu Season Balancing Solution is easy to take, and it's effective, safe and natural. It may be taken by adults -- young and old -- pregnant women, children and infants. For moreinformation, call or visit our web site.http://www.perelandra-ltd.com/ Stay Healthy!Perelandra Staff

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

So, I have also decided to join the blog community. Welcome to my little cyber home. Drop by, relax, read, stay in touch and write back. Faruq