What You Can Do to Fight Racism Before the Election

A lot of us have become increasingly angered at the rise in hate crime, including Donald Trump’s and Theresa May’s policies. Some of us are numb from it, some of us try to hide from it. Some of us call it out and some of us are just plain unaware of whats actually going on. What none of us can do is ignore it.

Even if this is your first election, your tenth or fiftieth, or have never voted before because you ‘can’t be bothered’ or say ‘whats one vote going to change anyways’, here is a list of things you might want to start doing.

See it. Fight it. Change it.


British journalist Shaista Aziz says that she has personally experienced racist attacks since the Brexit vote

British journalist Shaista Aziz says that she has personally experienced racist attacks since the Brexit vote. She tells My Salaam that she founded the Facebook-based “Everyday Bigotry Project” to monitor incidents and give Muslims a platform to documents experiences of Islamophobia and bigotry.
“I felt that that Muslims had started to internalise the Islamophobia. So we wanted to bring the feelings outside instead of inside and document it. How does it materialise [from] day to day? What does it look like, and what does it feel like?”
Aziz believes that the confidence of the far-right contingent has been boosted since the Brexit vote and “the UK government needs to understand that this is very real and they must condemn it from the top.”
“We have to be clear from the Prime Minister downwards that it is not acceptable to abuse people based on their identities, and this should also include language used.”

A Feminist Foreign Policy

Sweden is the first county in the world to champion a feminist foreign policy. The country has a population of 10 million people and is one of Europe’s biggest donors of foreign aid. It is also among the top five exporters of arms around the world. However, under the leadership of its foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, Sweden has unapologetically put the security of women and girls at the heart of its foreign policy.

I worked as an aid worker for more than 15 years and have had the privilege of working across the Middle East, East and West Africa and Pakistan, gathering testimonies and stories from women and girls. More often than not many of the women and girls I’ve worked with have survived sexual and physical violence. And all of them are locked in a daily battle against poverty which hits them the hardest because of their gender.

I’ve seen how these female survivors are becoming younger and younger. When I was working in Borno state, north east Nigeria last year, I was struck by how young the survivors of rape and forced marriage are. I met children, not even teenagers yet, cradling their own babies, almost certainly the outcome of rape and brutality by their ‘husbands’ – a euphemism for the men who kidnapped them and raped them. The girls and women I met told me that these ‘husbands’ were Boko Haram fighters.

Last year in Norway, I met a Yazidi journalist and human rights activist who is documenting the crimes against Yazidi girls and women in Iraq at the hands of the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh. She told me about a young Yazidi girl, kidnapped by Daesh. The girl, again not yet a teenager, called the journalist and told her where she was. She begged her to make contact with the Iraqi army so they would call in an air strike. “She was crying and begging me saying she would rather die than be gang raped and become a sexual slave. She said it was easier to die once than 100 times” recalled the journalist.

Around the world, women and girls are facing unprecedented levels of physical and sexual violence from such armed militants. Fighting between these militant groups and national and international military forces is fueling the mass displacement of people. The UN estimates more than 800,000 civilians are now trapped in Mosul and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance as the Iraqi army battles Daesh.

In these conflicts, women and girls are the main targets of forced kidnappings, rape, sexual slavery and trafficking. Even if a woman or girl survives rape and violence,her ordeal is far from over. She will carry the trauma and stigma of being a survivor for the rest of her life.

In many cases the survivors face the real prospect of being subjected to so-called ‘honour killing’ and being banished to a life of degradation because of the stigma of rape. Girls and women are being pushed into forced marriages and child marriages as their families disintegrate under the burden of conflict.

The British government is now the biggest supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia, a country that stands accused of using indiscriminate and lethal force in densely populated civilian areas in Yemen, pulverizing hospitals, clinics, schools and homes. There are reports of extreme poverty caused by almost two years of this conflict, which is sustained in part by British arms exports, a poverty which leads to a rise in child marriages.

Now more than ever then a real feminist foreign policy needs to be developed by the UK government along with its counterparts in Sweden and Norway, two countries leading on this area of work.

A true feminist foreign policy has to be rooted in an ethical approach that puts human rights above arms sales profits. We need a foreign policy that safeguards women’s agency and puts women centre stage in developing policies that offer long-term security, justice and economic opportunity to the first victims of failed western foreign policy – women. Firefighting is not the right approach. Instead we need to be planning ahead. In Iraq, for example, we should be planning for Iraq free of Daesh as well as supporting those defending women’s rights now at great risk to their own lives. We need to be building networks with these women in a region engulfed by war.

We must bring women’s rights defenders and women’s groups to the table so they can negotiate peace and conflict resolution. These grassroots women and groups are best placed to advocate for the needs of women in the communities they work in. All the research shows that when women are involved in developing and building strategies to reduce conflict and build peace, then that peace has a greater chance of being sustainable.

Feminist discourse “liberating the burka-clad women of Afghanistan” – was co-opted by the British government and the US administration – to help justify the invasion of Afghanistan post 9/11. Fast forward 16 years and more girls are receiving an education in Afghanistan but war is still raging and women and girls continue to die in childbirth, from preventable disease, from poverty and in gendered violence.

A feminist foreign policy has to be bold and grounded in these realities. It must seek radical solutions to the catastrophes enveloping women around the world. Otherwise our foreign policy becomes yet another political force harming and damaging women.

Shaista Aziz will be a panellist at the Women of the World Festival’s Whose afraid of a feminist foreign policy? event on March 10 at the Southbank Centre, London.

The Fabian Women’s Network and the Fabian International policy group are hosting a Feminist foreign policy: lessons from Sweden event this Friday, 24 February, 18:00-19:30 in London. 

Fabian Society Talk on British Identity Politics

Following the Brexit vote on 23 June 2016 and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America, there has been a rise in reported hate crime, often racially-orientated, in Britain and the USA.
But what role did identity politics play in the Brexit referendum outcome and how will this relatively new phenomenon shape politics in 2017 and beyond?
Does it signal that Europe and North America are swerving away from multiculturalism, and if so, what does this mean?
On the one hand some commentators argue that almost all political ideas and activity can be viewed through the lens of identity, whereas others posit that the entire topic is a distraction and we should instead focus on core economic and social issues such as jobs and housing.
The panel included Nesrine Malik, who writes for a number of publications including The Guardian and is a regular broadcaster, Roma Tearne, a novellist, film maker and artist and Ella Whelan is assistant editor at Spiked and co-convenor of spiked’s campaign Invoke Article 50 NOW!
TWEET: #Fabidentity

Politics at the Awards

At both the Grammys and Baftas over the last weekend,  A Tribe Called Quest and Ken Loach use their moment on state to deliver powerful political messages about the classism and racism in the US and UK.

“I just wunna thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I wunna thank President Agent Orange for you unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban. but we come together – we the people.”

We definitely recommend you take a look….!

‘One Day Without Us’

A protest is planned for Monday 20th February outside Number 10 in London against the growing anti-refugee and anti-immigration sentiments in the UK. Monday 20th is also One Day Without Us day where people have an opportunity to acknowledge and be thankful for the work migrants do for us and for the UK as a whole. This is also an opportunity for you to show your solidarity: you can put up posters, wear badges or stop classes or work for just a few minutes for everyone to be able to appreciate and respect the work migrants do for us in a world which increasingly ensures they are at the receiving end of racially motivated abuse.

You can see our small paragraph on the Funoon London website we wrote for the occasion here: http://www.funoon.co.uk/one-day-without-us/

And you can go to the One Day Without Us website by clicking this link: http://www.1daywithoutus.org/

We look forward to seeing you there!

Welcome: Call Out for Writers!

Welcome to our first blog post! Too much has already happened since we first started working on our website; it’s been increasingly difficult and painful to observe events recently…but we at the Everyday Bigotry Project are more committed than ever before to ensure this project continues to offer space for critical, uncompromising analysis of bigotry in the form of Islamophobia, racism, misogyny, classism and homophobia that is being mainstreamed all over the world. We want to hear what you have to say against the relentless avalanche of hated, so, we are calling out to writers, bloggers, artists, authors, and thinkers to join us. If you are the first time writer, no problem, we are the people you are looking for! Send us a draft of a blog post (500 words) or an article (800 words) at everydaybigotry@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!