Syria: No string, film by Karim Shah.

“No matter where refugee children are now living they cannot escape war. The Turkish border town of Kilis is where most of my film was shot. As children run around the playground of the Kilis refugee camp, plumes of smoke can occasionally be seen in the background; the aftermath of aerial barrel bombs attacks on Azas, the first Syrian town over the border.

Kids told me that they sometimes feel the ground shake from the shockwaves. TV sets are locked to rolling news, filling the barest of abodes with images of death and destruction. Kids get caught in the crossfire of the adult’s conversations, fluctuating from the details of the war to the hardships of making ends meet.

It’s a testament to Margaret Thatcher’s belief that naked self-interest always defeats class solidarity that she imagined that the 1984-5 miners’ strike would end swiftly due to pressure from miners’ wives. Among the tranche of documents in this year’s National Archives release are handwritten notes Thatcher took during a meeting she held with the wives of strike-breaking Welsh miners.

Rose Hunter, from North Staffordshire Miners’ Support Group, recounts her experiences at a commemorative event in Bethnal Green: “Thatcher thought the women would get the men back to work. No. We wouldn’t put up with it. You don’t attack our community, our comrades, our sisters. So we organised.” And so Women Against Pit Closures formed 30 years ago, organised quickly and with remarkable tenacity for those with little direct experience of campaigning – and women’s groups sprung up and flourished in every mining community in Britain.

From the soup kitchens they began with, the women involved became increasingly politicised. Sometimes dismissed as little more than food distributors, the women marched, campaigned, collected money and picketed alongside the men. One of the most infamous photographs of the strike shows Sheffield WAPC’s Lesley Boulton at the “Battle of Orgreave”, raising her hand as a police officer on horseback prepares to strike her with his truncheon.

The women were keen to forge links with others experiencing systemic oppression – visiting Northern Ireland and welcoming the lesbian and gay miners’ support groups which drove to join pickets. Women from the Midlands noted how Asian communities ploughed money into the strikes when they saw the police treatment of miners mirroring their own experiences, and when Asian workers at Kewal Brothers clothing factory in Smethwick went on strike in 1984, 150 women and miners joined them in solidarity on their picket line.

Margaret Thatcher didn’t expect it, but miners’ wives galvanised the ‘84 strike

One thing nobody teaches you is how politicised being disabled is. Your whole existence being called a waste of resources. Your whole worth being boiled down to whether you can work. If you can, you’re not disabled and get nothing. If you’re not, you’re lazy and deserve nothing.

Accessibility is seen as a burden and us demanding too much like the greedy people they claim us to be. No handouts! No Handouts! We are invisible and subhuman. We are the other. We are portrayed as burdens to society for simply wanting to exist in the world as they do.

The ability to live week to week is constantly in jeopardy. Lost jobs from sick days. Rising costs of medical care and accommodations. Your government assistance becomes a talking point and a target. People rallying for you to starve instead of paying any taxes to your care. One day your means to live just disappears without fanfare or your input. ‘Austerity measures’ being levied on us for being ‘leeches’. They might not kill us directly but they don’t care about leaving us to die.

Right to die advocates fighting valiantly for euthanasia but doing nothing about disability rights. Nothing about accommodations. Nothing about accessibility. Nothing about subsidies or in home care. They’d rather give us the ability to die than allow us to live. Because we are tragedies.


David on Taiwan's Politicised Judiciary

Also, check out this great post from Mike Turton.  It appears more and more like the KMT decided in 2008 that it would use prosecutions as a way to discredit the opposition in the public’s eyes.  It certainly felt that this strategy worked excellently in the case of former President Chen (they couldn’t go after Lee in the courts but sure as hell wanted a way to historically slur and forever blacken the name and reputation of the first DPP President who dared to wrest from them control of THEIR nation).  This may have backfired though by a) making the public suspicious of further prosecutions that are increasingly later found to be false and b) undermine the reputation of the ROC judiciary and the public’s trust in it despite having claimed on entry to office that they would restore its honor and neutrality.  

Result: more and more Taiwanese are now of the opinion that the ‘we’re not the same old party’ KMT are in fact both untrustworthy and unreformed.  If democracy is a choice between the lesser of two bad choices then perhaps Taiwanese will at least choose the candidate and party that genuinely has Taiwan at its heart rather than the one that merely says it does.  

how do these ppl even think?

“oh em gee, maybe if the cowardly French govt had let their citizens bear arms 100+ people wouldn’t be dead”

apart from being appallingly insensitive- splendid thinking. yes, let’s suddenly flood an entire country with guns. it’s not like it won’t also make it even easier for potential terrorists to get their hands on guns. it’s not like it won’t potentially be a disaster given the EU’s open borders policy, given France’s obligation to uphold this freedom of movement between EU states, and lead to huge issues of weapons getting into countries where people DON’T want to bear arms. perfect logic uwu 

my dad was a military dude, and he can attest to how difficult it is and how skilled you need to be to be able to take down a target. and yet these people somehow think that giving everybody guns is a silver bullet? that wow, innocent people might not accidentally be shot, that in the chaos the police may also confuse citizens defending themselves with the gunman? it’s like these people don’t even look at the statistics and see that gun deaths in france still dwarf those in the us by far, on a per capita basis. 

Rapper's lyrical fight for Mexican women's rights
An indigenous Zapotec, Mare's hip-hop songs speak to many women as they continue to endure rampant violence in Mexico.

Oaxaca City, Mexico - Rain spattered against the taxi’s window during the uphill drive to the Colonia Jardín neighbourhood on the outskirts of Oaxaca City, the capital of one of the country’s poorest states.

“Storms turn the mud up here into chewing gum,” Mare Advertencia Lirika, a local rapper, told Al Jazeera.

Mare, 28, an indigenous Zapotec, has made a name for herself on the Latin American hip-hop scene. Her rap stands out in part because of her indigenous roots, the poverty she’s endured, as well as her politicised upbringing.

Okay seriously don’t give me that “way too show disrespect to the victims by politicising 9/11” bullshit when for 15 fucking years American politicians have not just used 9/11 to justify a war that killed hundreds of thousands innocent civilians but have also used it as an excuse for blatant islamophobia and bigotry towards American Muslims who had absolutely nothing to do with it.


June 16th 1976: Soweto Uprising begins

On this day in 1976, police fired upon peaceful anti-apartheid protests in Soweto township, near Johannesburg in South Africa. Black Africans had been marginalised in the education system for many years, with black schools neglected and underfunded. The 1953 Bantu Education Act formalised this discrimination, taking all black schools into state control and declaring that the only role for black Africans in South Africa was one of manual labour. Further legislation excluded blacks from universities and led to overcrowded and underresourced schools. Students became increasingly politicised as they felt the effects of racist apartheid policy, and began articulating their protest with school boycotts. In 1974, Afrikaans - the langauge associated with apartheid -  was made compulsory in schools alongside English. This measure was the immediate cause of the Soweto protest. On June 16th 1976, mobilised by the South African Students Movement and the Black Consciousness Movement, thousands of students and schoolchildren marched peacefully against the government policies, intending to end in a rally at Orlando stadium. However, the march was halted by heavily armed police, who fired tear gas, and, eventually, bullets, on the protestors. In one of the most famous images of the event, Mbuyisa Makhubo can be seen carrying the lifeless body of 13-year-old Hector Pieterson. Outrage at the brutality sparked a nationwide uprising against the government, and prompted condemnation from governments around the world. It is unclear how many people died in the violence that followed Soweto, with estimates ranging up to 700, making it a pivotal moment in the years leading to the formal end of apartheid in 1994.

40 years ago today

Heroin, addiction and free will
by Vaughan Bell

The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman has sparked some strong and seemingly contradictory responses. What these reactions show is that many people find it hard to think of addiction as being anything except either a choice or a loss of free will.

The fact that addiction could involve an active choice to take drugs but still be utterly irresistible seems difficult for most people to fathom.

Let’s take some reactions from the media. Over at Time, David Sheff wrotethat “it wasn’t Hoffman’s fault that he relapsed. It was the fault of a disease”. On the other hand, at Deadspin, Tim Grierson wrote that the drug taking was “thoughtless and irresponsible, leaving behind three children and a partner”.

So does addiction trap people within its claws or do drug users die from their own actions? It’s worth noting that this is a politicised debate. Those who favour a focus on social factors prefer prefer the ‘trap’ idea, those who prefer to emphasise individual responsibility like the ‘your own actions’ approach.

Those who want to tread the middle ground or aim to be diplomatic suggest it’s ‘half and half’ – but actually it’s both at the same time, and these are not, as most people believe, contradictory explanations.

To start, it’s worth thinking about how heroin has its effect at all. Heroin is metabolised to morphine which then binds to opioid receptors in the brain. It seems to be the effects in the nucleus accumbens and limbic systemwhich are associated with the pleasure and reward associated with the drug.

But in terms of motivating actions, it is a remarkably non-specific drug and it doesn’t directly cause specific behaviours.

Keep reading

I’m so done with “conscious” black men out here humiliating women who wear weaves. The idea that whether or not a woman wears a weave is somehow indicative of her intelligence or awareness is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Whether a woman wants to politicise her hair or any part of her body is 100% her own decision, and (believe it or not!) policing what a woman chooses to do with her hair and berating women for having hair that you don’t approve of is doing 0.000 to bring down the institutions of white supremacy. All it does is make valuable minds with valid opinions and knowledge feel uncomfortable and unsafe in black spaces. How can you turn around and call someone vapid or narcissistic when you can’t even look past their scalp to listen to their thoughts? I will die before I let any man, black or white, tell me what to do with my hair, miss me with that misogynistic bullshit.

Two things to remember about the attack on Paris:

  • In the freshest hours of this pain, now is the time to recover
    • There will be plenty of time to politicise this issue in the months and years ahead.  In fact, there will inevitably be that politicising in the future.  This event will have ramifications that will affect the world for years to come.  The world has changed but, right now, we mourn and bury our dead, we appreciate those who lived, and we prepare for the struggle to come.
  • Accept some can’t and won’t throw all their attention into this
    • I know a lot of people on this website don’t have clear memories of 9/11 or really another major global tragedy of this scope but there are a lot of people with a lot of things going on in their personal lives.  Not everyone has the time, energy, or emotional wherewithal to personalise mass tragedies and you cannot begrudge them that.  If you don’t think someone has enough about Paris on their blog, keep it to yourself.  Not only do we all mourn differently, some of us are dealing with our own tragedies and can’t add Paris to the list.
Mr Sulu Comes Out As Gay In Star Trek Beyond

‘Star Trek’ is finally catching up with the 21st century as it’s been revealed that Mr. Sulu will be portrayed as a gay man in this summer’s ‘Star Trek Beyond’.

Hikaru Sulu, as played by John Cho, is shown to be in a same-sex marriage and father to a daughter, according to Australia’s Herald Sun, adding “in typical trailblazing Trek fashion — it’s just not a big deal.”

Cho told the paper the decision was made by director Justin Lin and screenwriter Simon Pegg “as a nod” to George Takei who played the character in the original TV series and subsequent movies.

“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations,” said Cho.

Takei is openly gay now, but he had to hide his sexual orientation back in the 60s over fears it would ruin his career. He’s an active campaigner for LGBT rights and he recently called for the community to lead the charge on gun reforms in America in the wake of the Orlando night club shooting that left 49 people dead.

This isn’t the first time ‘Star Trek’ has been at the forefront of on screen diversity either having been the first American TV series to show an interracial kiss on screen back in 1968.

- How The Rock Influenced The War In Iraq
- Captain Kirk vs Jesus?
- Actors You Didn’t Know Were In Trek

‘Star Trek Beyond’ is in cinemas from 22 July. Watch a trailer below.

Image credits: Paramount/Associated Press Photos

“When you dissect the trajectory of most British bands of the last 30 years, a certain performance at Glastonbury will always stand out as a pivotal moment. With such a diverse crowd and so many variables, it basically has the potential to be a career-defining performance for a band, something that pushes them to new heights and wins over a whole different audience. This was that performance for The 1975.

Drawing a huge crowd over on The Other Stage in the early evening, their performance was simply flawless, and made it very obvious that we will see them headline the pyramid in a few years. Kicking off with ‘Love Me’, the first half of their set was centred around their second album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, with stunning visuals and frontman Matty Healy in suitably jubilant form. Away from the music though, it was arguably the politicised nature of this set that made it the most resonant, with Healy hitting out at the recent referendum outcome with a lengthy, empowering speech: “There’s a sense of anti-compassion that’s spread across the older generation, to vote for a future that we don’t fucking want” he rallied, before exploding into 'Loving Someone’. “But i’m just a pop star, so what do I know?”

From their fearlessness to push the boundaries of pop music, to the meticulous craft that goes into their visuals and live shows through to their willingness to speak their mind and ruffle feathers, The 1975 are basically what the world needs right now. Just watch them take over the Pyramid Stage before this decade is out.” -Gigwise review of The 1975 at Glastonbury 2016 [x]

Photo: Shirlaine Forrest

“You think it only happens in the rest of the world, until you become the rest of the world”
- Pray for the world.

Pray for Paris, Lebanon, Baghdad, Japan, Mexico, Beirut + the rest the world. Pray that the media soon realises that terrible things like this do not only occur in the first world, but the whole world. Schools have been attacked in Pakistan, Mosques were attacked in Saudi and unfortunately many more attacks have occurred yet it has taken me hours upon hours of research to find out how large of an issue this is worldwide. We need to hear more. Also pray that Muslims are not targeted and blamed for these attacks, religion doesn’t define you. Muslims are not terrorists.

115, 200. That is the number of people who have died in the past 24 hours due to terrible tragedies across the world whether that be terror attacks or natural disasters and that number is expected to rise a little more. I didn’t want to think about that number but I think it’s important. Its raw truth that cannot be manipulated anymore.

I have seen news outlets (Fox News & Salon are the main culprits) politicising the terror attacks in Paris. This is not the time to blame the refugees (whom are running from the very people who committed these attacks) and it never will be. It is also not the time to question free speech rights or to blame such a thing on religion and it never will be. This has never been about religion, it never will be. This is a time to unite against those who wish to harm our fellow human beings. Please wake up and view this as a worldwide issue, no matter if its first world, second world or third world.

It isn’t a competition on who is suffering the most. Stop blaming religion. Never spread false information. Hug your loved ones and pray for those grieving. Try to help as many people as possible. Stand by each other and fight this in a humane way. We are one.

I’m literally just sat here crying over the ‘illridewithyoutag’ because everything is so violent and aggressive so much of the time it’s absolutely lovely to see humans being good and gentle with each other and not caving to politicised hatred, it’s like a flower growing out of concrete

Texas axes HIV prevention funding for Planned Parenthood
Until now, the US state had administered $600,000 of federal CDC funding with the aim of tackling HIV and reducing transmission rates. The state of Texas has axed funding for an HIV prevention programme - with almost no warning.

For nearly 30 years, sexual and reproductive health clinic Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has received the funding – which paid for condom distribution, HIV testing, counselling, and HIV referral services. However, this week state officials in Texas took the decision to axe the contract with no warning whatsoever – as the current agreement expires on December 31.

A letter from the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed: “There will be no further renewals of this contract.”

It comes amid the heavy politicisation of Planned Parenthood by anti-abortion activists and Republican lawmakers nationwide, Activists have vowed to cut off all funding to abortion providers, and have also made allegations of fraud and ‘harvesting baby organs’ by Planned Parenthood – both of which are strongly disputed. Proponents of Planned Parenthood insist that defending the right to choose an abortion is just a small part of the work carried out PP – which is the sole provider of vital sexual health and reproductive services in some areas.