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Hijab ban extends to European companies

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Hijab ban extends to European companies

European companies may ban employees from wearing religious symbols in the workplace, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday. This ban targets those employees who wear visible faith representations, including headscarves (hijab), crucifixes as well as kippahs and has been put in place as part of a policy of neutrality in the workplace.

The court said that a company may choose to promote an atmosphere of neutrality and ban all visible forms of religious affiliation. However, before enacting such a ban, the company must first demonstrate a need to preserve a neutral workplace, such as customer demand or strong need by the employer.

That justification must correspond to a genuine need on the part of the employer“, said the court.

This ruling was prompted by the case of two Muslim German women who were prohibited from wearing a hijab at their workplaces and as a consequence, suspended from their jobs on multiple occasions while also been given a written warning. 

The court recognised that such a ban may disproportionately affect those groups where visible faith representations are mandatory, as in the hijab. 

This new ban as ruled out by the European Court of Justice may not stir new controversy, as this is not the first time such a ban has been introduced in Europe. In 2017, the EU court had already granted the right to companies to prevent their staff wearing visible religious symbols, hence such a ban hasn’t raised any eyebrows, rather it’s reaffirmed the 2017 ruling. 

Prohibiting the wearing of hijabs in state schools back in 2004, France – already home to Europe’s largest Muslim minority – appears to be just reflecting Europe’s desire to move towards a more homogeneous society. These rulings that appear after every couple of years in the EU’s courts represent growing gendered Islamophobia in Europe and its endless efforts to eradicate any visual representations of the religion in society including schools and now, the workplace. 

Europe’s now regular attempt to create a bland, uninteresting society may consequently give birth to a generation that will not only be intolerant of differing views, but also a generation that will be too afraid to express their voices, and will follow a uniform manner of thinking and behaving.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Environment

The world is ageing at a rapid pace and there will be consequences

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World and Aging Hands

There are more old people in the world than there are young people. Both developed and developing countries have to be ready to take the huge burden of the rising population of older people.

According to 2019 data from the UN, the proportion of people aged 60 and over will be 1 in 6 by the year 2050. However, a more recent observation by the WHO shows that the world might reach these statistics much sooner; that is, by 2030. And by 2050, the population of over 60 will double to almost 2.1 billion people.

This demographic change has already occurred in some developed countries. In Japan, the median age is 48 years old, and this makes Japan’s population the oldest in the world. By 2060, there will be one elderly person for each person of working age.

Similarly, there are already more people aged 60 and over in Europe and North America than young people under the age of 15. Germany is another example. It is predicted that by 2050 the population of the income-generating population will fall from 55 million to less than 40 million.

The change is greatest in developed countries because of low mortality rates as well as low fertility rates. This means new children are not being born while the healthcare of the country is improving, so people and children live longer.

The data for the population of the world in 2020 already shows that the population aged 65 and older is 727 million, whereas the population under 5 is 677 million.

There are many consequences of this change. The biggest is the increase in the dependent population, which will affect the economy of the country. Most people over the age of 60 are retired, so they depend on pensions while the younger income-generating population is responsible for providing the money through taxes. The taxes will need to increase to meet the demands of the older generation. Not only that, the government has to spend more money on the older generation who don’t earn on their own rather than invest in developing the country.

There will also be a rise in chronic illnesses which will affect the allocation of healthcare facilities as right now there is more focus on infectious diseases. Since there will be an increase in the older generation, there will be even less informal care from the remaining younger family members. Elderly abuse is already an issue, but there will be a rise in this form of abuse as well.

Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said, “There will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65, and that makes it very difficult to sustain global society.”

Adding, “Think of all the profound social and economic consequences for a society with more grandparents than grandchildren.”

For many reasons, in America, most women are staying child-free or having children later in life. The biggest reason is the expense required to raise children. Since 2007, the birth rate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28%, shows data.

Similarly, in England and Wales, the percentage of women in their 30s without children rose from 18% in 1975 to 50% in 2020.

Unless more work is done to replace the population and prevent population shrinkage by encouraging people to have more children, the economies of many countries need to prepare for a boost from the older population.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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“No, Rwanda is not an uncivilised well of darkness” 

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Rwanda

As deportations go, being shipped off to Rwanda sounds like the lower end of the scale. It has the echoes of Paddington bear’s Darkest Peru.

And yet, all those who have seen the live action film can probably agree that the fictional bear’s Darkest Peru wasn’t really that dark; luscious greenery in a thriving jungle, trees weighed down with oranges perfect for making buckets of marmalade, constant sun, and blue skies. It’s the perfect description of a luxury holiday.. in Africa? Rwanda maybe?

To be clear, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is not within the confines of British values or even human sense or reason. To spend millions and millions of pounds to deport vulnerable refugees seeking safety four thousand miles away from the apparent beacon of democracy and human rights – that is Britain, by using taxpayers money, seems to defeat the very purpose of sending them out of Britain in the first place. Rwanda, if one is familiar with the events of 1994, and the ever constant threat to the lives of journalists, activists, and opposing political rivals of the government, isn’t exactly a beacon of human rights, democracy, and freedom. 

That’s why the European Court of Human Rights – not to be confused with the super-villain that is ‘Europe!’ according to a very loud group of Tory backbenchers – blocked the flight which was to fly seven refugees off to the East African country. Cue the cries of ‘Europe Telling Us What To Do Again’, and lets opt out of that one too – several Conservative MPs called for ties to be cut with the Strasbourg based body. 

But just because the legality of a sovereign policy was disputed by the highest court of human rights on the continent, does not mean Britain’s leaders need to throw a strop and exit yet another institution that can hold it accountable for its actions. And just because a policy is draconian and ethically wrong – even the heir to the throne and the Church of England bashed the plans as ‘appalling’ and ‘immoral’ – does not mean that the country which happens to be the designation for said unethical deportation, should be viewed as the uncivilised backwater of the world. It’s almost as if most of the hand wringing of the liberal wing is doubled on hearing that Rwanda is the intended destination.

Patel herself, biggest pusher of the policy, and perhaps in order to justify it, accidentally blurted out some truth to that matter; talking about Rwanda’s past of genocide and recent human rights abuses to the Guardian newspaper, she said that, “It’s scarred the country in the sense that they are rebuilding. If it was France, if we were sending people to Sweden, New York, Sydney, would they (the critics) change their mind? That actually speaks of inbuilt prejudice and, I would even go as far as to say, racism.”

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Indeed Patel might have struck gold in identifying the underlying thoughts that exist in the media coverage, and even through the many demonstrations and online petitions which speaks of Rwanda’s less than forgiving record of the impending deportation of refugees.

In the last few days, the word Rwanda has become synonymous with the abuse of human rights, just as Africa has become the poster child for third world poverty and lack of civilisation. Much of that is because poverty is high on the continent and Rwanda does have a murky human rights record; but a lot is because of the portrayal of African countries in Western literature and media dating back to the slave trade of African people. The ‘orientalising’ of Africa is something that is always so unconsciously done. After all, being known not so long ago as the ‘dark continent’ never created the image of a comfortable life, nor of a ‘civilised’ society.

It is true that the leadership of African countries have much to be wished for. But it is precisely in a democracy – one where the votes aren’t rigged by the highest bidder – that a government can reflect the mindset of its people. And for many African nations, including Rwanda where political opposition is often violently quashed, that is not the case. Why is it that the poverty caused by western appeasing, tax guzzling African governments is then applied as a blanket term for the countries as a whole?

Because the perception of poverty – and of education, literacy, all components of ‘civilisation’ – in the eyes of western statistic charts is a number. A man in Uganda with twenty goats and chickens, acres of land with trees producing fresh fruit, sugarcane, and vegetables, probably isn’t very ‘educated’. But he’s able to send all his kids to school and have a heaving table of food with organic homegrown things and without any price tags, for himself and his family every night, without any money leaving the palm of his hand, nor any money entering it. The fact he wakes up at five a.m. isn’t a sign of his difficult uncivilised, impoverished situation, it’s a sign of his work ethic and strength to live a comfortable life that is just different from the western way of living. Lack of money isn’t the only sort of poverty – reliance on it for a comfortable life is too.

In Britain where jobs are getting harder to find and the unemployed are stuck on state handouts, with too much reliance on the latter to make any move towards leaving the cycle of dependence, it is unimaginable that a woman in a place like Kenya can collect hard grass from the sidewalk and bind them to make brooms which she then sells – it’s not much, and there is no way you can glorify capitalism through that. Maybe she won’t have enough to feed her children every night, nor herself. But she is able. Her face, her manners, her way of living does not reflect lack of civilisation or humanity, it does not dignify being labelled as an unable, helpless, illiterate African in dire need of Western rescuing – as is portrayed through western media.

Yes it is true that governments in Africa should spend more on alleviating the result of low or no income, and lack of affordable education – rather than filling their own stomachs – but that doesn’t negate the fact that even without all the comforts of British welfare, the strength and entrepreneurial spirit of the people in countries like Kenya, Uganda, or Rwanda, and so many other ‘underdeveloped’ African countries is unmatched against the ‘civilised’ West who rely on help from the state and without which the cost of living makes it impossible to have a comfortable life.

Only a couple of hundred years ago, the situation was reversed. Ships full of Africans were being forcefully deported from their homeland to Britain, Europe, and the Americas. Now, the descendants of slave traders are paying the descendants of their would-be slaves to take a burden off their hands. It’s not something you can make up and the taste left over is sour to say the least.

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it right:

“If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that Africa is a place where the people do not need limps gifts of fish but sturdy fishing rods and fair access to the pond. I wonder whether I would realise that while African nations have a failure of leadership, they also have dynamic people with agency and voices.”

The answer to Adichie?

No, none of these things are so easily realised by those so programmed for centuries to look down upon, enslave, and brutalise the inhabitants of the cradle of civilisation itself.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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World

Illegal Maasai eviction for wildlife hunting

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Screenshot 2022 06 16 at 23.52.03

Tanzania to forcefully evict indigenous community in illegal move for wildlife hunting ground

The government of the United Republic of Tanzania is currently planning on removing the Maasai people from their ancestral land in 2022. The land is being cleared so it can be leased to wildlife hunting firm Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC) owned by Dubai Royals and for tourism reasons. 

The 1,500 km2 area is located in the Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region. Known as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) it is home to many locals who do not want to leave. 

If the leasing plan is passed, it will displace around 70,000 indigenous Maasai people and more than 200,000 livestock, according to an urgent alert by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). The Maasai were told of this plan in January of this year by Regional Commissioner for Arusha, John Mongella. The forceful eviction is also being condemned by the Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) organization. 

But the land of the NCA is also under threat from other international organisations such as UNESCO and safari businesses. Allegedly posing a threat to ecological sustainability and wildlife tourism, the government of Tanzania believes that the area is overpopulated which could impact surrounding wildlife. The Multiple Land-Use Model (MLUM) was previously developed so the land could be used for more than one purpose. However, there is evidence that in the past this plan has led to serious problems for the locals. 

Current protests against the proposed evictions and demarcation of land for conservation have been met with violence. On June 10th police fired on at least 18 men and 13 women, and 13 were wounded with machetes with one person confirmed dead. The protests began back in January. 

The eviction of the indigenous peoples is illegal according to Tanzania law and international law and a violation of the Village Land Act of 1999. According to international law, forced evictions are a violation of human rights and can only be allowed in extreme conditions whilst strictly complying with specific standards and legal processes. However, a representative of the Tanzanian government, Malik Hassan Shafi refuted claims of enforced evictions stating that the government would “never hurt its own people it has sworn to protect”, and that anti-government agitators were to blame for the discord.

But a local Maasai leader attending the protest insisted, “We have nowhere else to go. Losing this land will mean the extinction of our community. We have taken care of our environment and lived in harmony with other living and nonliving things. And we are not ready to lose our traditional lifestyle we have lived for times immemorial. ”He added, “Over 70% of our homelands has been taken for conservation and investment reasons. We are appealing to human rights organizations, media and other citizens who value Indigenous human rights to share our plight and put pressure on the government of Tanzania to respect the rights of its citizens, and particularly indigenous people.” 

As well as protesting, the Maasai community has also written a letter to appeal to Western leaders for support to stop the forceful eviction, but so far there has been little response. There are fears it could mirror the forceful eviction of Palestinians which was approved by an Israeli court earlier this year.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Politics

Israeli Blockade Causes Depression in 80% of Palestinian Children

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A recent report put out by Save the Children, titled “Trapped”, shows that four out every five children living in Gaza suffer from depression, sadness and fear. The report followed 488 children and 168 parents and caregivers in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Blockade of the Gaza Strip began in 2007. Not only did The Israeli government prevent items such as livestock, shampoo and musical instruments from going into Gaza, but they also blocked aid groups from sending basic learning items such as paper and crayons. The blockade severely impacted the area’s economy and restricted travel of its citizens. 

800,000 Palestinian children have only ever known life within the blockade, living through traumatic violence by Israeli military and living in constant fear for the duration of their whole lives. 

Building upon past research, the latest report by Save the Children shows that the mental health of not only children, but also youth and caregivers, has deteriorated severely since their last report four years ago. The number of children with emotional distress increased from 55% to 80%. The report also showed an increase in children feeling fearful, sad, nervous, depressed and in grief. 

More than half of Gaza’s children have had thoughts of suicide, with three out of five children thinking of self-harm.

Many factors have been contributing to the poor mental health of Gaza’s children due to the blockade, such as  lack of basic services such as healthcare and other needs. Another study published in 2020, showed high levels of anxiety disorders and PTSD in Palestinians. It reported that they were at a higher risk for these mental illnesses due to continuous exposure to polital violence, prolonged displacement, and limitations of education, professions, financial opportunities and mental health services. 

Before the blockade even started, a study was conducted in 2004, under Israeli occupied Gaza, of 403 refugee children living in four camps on the Gaza Strip. The study included that children living in occupation and blockade zones were at high risk of suffering from PTSD.

According to the Save the Children report, 59% of children show signs of speech, communication and language difficulties, even temporary reactive mutism, a sign of trauma or abuse. In the last few years, 79% of children have suffered from bed-wetting.

The effect of these symptoms on the children’s learning, development and social interaction is immediate and long term, warned Save the Children. Jason Lee, Country Director in Palestine for Save the Children, said “The physical evidence of their distress – bedwetting, loss of ability to speak or to complete basic tasks – is shocking and should serve as a wakeup call to the international community.”

Save the Children called on Israel to take immediate steps on lifting the blockade on Gaza and ending the ongoing occupation. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Russia’s War on the World’s Food Supplies

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When Russia invaded Ukraine, the country didn’t just declare war on Ukrainians, but also the world’s food supply. According to the UN chief, the consequences for the world’s food security, energy and finance have been severely impacted by the Russian invasion. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, went on to say that the war “threatens to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and misery, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.” He warned that this year, access to food will be a major problem, but next year the crisis might be about lack of food itself.

Ukraine has been a major exporter of wheat, especially to the Middle East and Africa.. With Russia’s Navy blockade of Ukraine’s main ports in the Black Sea, millions of tonnes of grain are stuck, which leaves many countries without necessary food. Many of those countries have been battling famine and cannot afford another food crisis.

 Western countries have accused Russia of withholding food supplies for millions around the world, although Russia denies weaponizing food supplies.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of stealing approximately 600,000 tonnes of grain, exporting some of it. Russia counters that Ukraine must first de-mine the waters off the coast of the Black Sea to create corridors for exporting the grain. 

The US has accused Russia of attempting to sell the stolen grain to drought stricken African countries. In Mid-May, a State Department cable alert was sent to 14 Countries, most of which were in Africa, stating that Russian cargo ships were seen leaving Ukrainian ports with wheat. 

The Russian official in charge of the Russian occupied Ukraine region of Zaporizhzhia, Yevgeny Balistky, said the wheat was on freight trains bound for Crimea, then further on to the Middle East. Russia and Turkey’s foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, discussed the grain issues, however the talks were inconclusive. Lavrov denied any wrongdoing on Russia’s part, saying his country was not obstructing any wheat exports. He said that Ukraine needed to  de-mined the Black Sea corridors near Odessa and other ports. Ukrainian officials argued back, saying that if they de-mines the waters then Russia would use those corridors to launch an attack on southern Ukraine.

Russia also put much of the blame on the West, saying they have put up sanctions during a time of food crisis.

Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, stated that Russia was shipping stolen grain to Crimea, with Turkey being one of its final destinations. He continued “We have made our appeal for Turkey to help us and, upon the suggestion of the Turkish side, are launching criminal cases regarding those stealing and selling the grains”.

Mykola Gorbachov, chief of Ukraine Grain Association, warned that if exports could not resume quickly, then the next harvest, starting in late July, would be negatively impacted. He went as far as to say Ukraine’s grain exports could be limited to 20m tonnes next year, whereas last year’s exports were 44.7m tonnes.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the country had 85 million tonnes worth of storage capacity, however due to the destruction of infrastructure and Russian occupation, that capacity has fallen to 60 million tonnes.

Wheat is not the only key food supply that is threatened by the Russian invasion. Ukraine is also responsible for 42% of the world’s sunflower oil exports, 16% of maize and 10% of barley, with wheat bringing up 9% of the world’s exports.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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World

India’s Islamophobic Pop Songs

Islamophobic pop songs in India gain popularity

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Indian pop-music is being used for right-wing political agendas as Islamophobic songs sweeps the nation.

Singers like Krishnavanshi and Dubey are of the few that found recognition through their Islamaphobic songs and upon receiving praise from government officials, have a belief that their actions are righteous and play a key role in saving their homeland against Muslims.

These songs encourage Indians to buy land in Kashmir and marry a Kashmiri woman.

Kashmir, a state with 97.6% Muslim majority is now concerned that without the protection of Article 370, it might be facing a cultural and demographic change.

Hindus and Sikhs are expected to settle into the region as encouraged by the Hindu-led government and transform the dynamics of the war-torn state. 

Countless, Indian artists have paid homage to the motherland in the past by singing patriotic songs, some have been songs about harmony and others about authority.

Their Islamophobic songs suggesting that Muslims of India are ‘anti-Nationals’ and ‘invaders’ has been the backdrop to the recent marches and hate-crimes rampant across the Indian states. As the Hindu majority weaves an intricate plot to assert dominance across the nation, whether it may be mistreating the Sikh farmers or Muslim citizens, music plays a central role in conveying their agenda to the masses.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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