Current Affairs

#Brexit

“Filthy immigrants”

“Go back to where you came from”

Paki

Above are a few examples of insults being thrown around recklessly by the ignorant, in the wake of the Brexit result. It appears the only thing to come out of the EU referendum so far is a sense of freedom for people to express racist, ignorant and bigoted views on “immigrants” who are actually working their absolute hardest just like the rest of us, with as much right to be in the United Kingdom as their neighbour.

From the responses on social media and the news, it seems as if many who voted didn’t fully understand what they were voting for; it’s my view that voters used this referendum as a platform on which they could attack and politically protest the government. However, in doing so, they have sabotaged the future of many generations, including mine. One person being interviewed on Sky News told a reporter she wanted a tighter control on immigration and she would be voting to leave the EU in hope that this would take place; when asked more on the subject of the referendum, she admitted she had no knowledge of what an actual referendum was. This lack of knowledge during the referendum is exactly what has led to the sorry state of affairs in the UK now.

Interestingly, many who voted to leave believed that in doing so, “immigrants” would be deported back to “where they came from” which contributes to the notion that those who voted to leave, with that mindset, were clearly either heavily misinformed or delusional. Or perhaps both. Yes, the leave camp’s (only) argument was to clamp down on uncontrollable immigration. But what was not mentioned by the remain camp in enough detail were the ramifications of leaving the EU. The substantial effect it would have on our economy, trade and society. Brexit, in my opinion, has now isolated us from the other countries, making us appear far more vulnerable. The referendum promoted the United Kingdom as a democracy, which was undisputed prior to Cameron calling for a public vote, but now makes us look pathetic, especially with Scotland standing firmly against our decision.

Furthermore, the indisputable surge in racist attacks towards considered “not British” is wholly unacceptable and a terrifying reminder of the past we thought we had overcome. My parents grew up with sickening racism on a daily basis and firmly believed, following the riots, in that extent of racism being well and truly over. The fact that it has returned has angered so many nationwide. From shouting abuse at women in hijabs, to hurling racial abuse at someone of ethnic minority on public transport, this level of ignorance will not be tolerated. I’m seeing an unacceptable number of people sitting or standing around uncomfortably whilst abuse is being shouted at British citizens, solely due to their skin colour. Racism has become a kind of taboo –  if it’s not mentioned, it’s not happening. Majority of people who’ve come to Britain from countries like Poland (repeatedly referred to by bigots, who claim are ‘stealing’ their jobs) are working alongside the rest of us to earn a living. They have just as much right to be here. Those who are ignorant enough to hurl racist abuse have less of a right to live in the UK, because a vast majority of them are unemployed. Why are they unemployed? Not because “immigrants are taking all the jobs” but because they’re too lazy to earn their way in life –  instead relying on benefits and reproducing offspring in order to abuse the benefit system.

Another sticking point has been the leave camp’s stance on refugees coming into Britain. Someone told me that refugees were taking everyone’s jobs and as a result, they are not welcome into Britain. I’m struggling to see what wrong can come of allowing war-torn victims into a country, where they can make a living for themselves and provide safety above all else for their families. The West are responsible for the wars in these countries, so it wouldn’t it be hypocritical for us to turn them away? They come here to escape danger, not “steal” jobs. I had an interesting conversation with a group of friends, of which you can see below – refugees should not be looked at as any less than us. They’ve endured the worst anyone can experience, yet are shunned by ignorant members of society  for choosing to escape rather than die.

Kamaal_Ahmad_-_How_the_fuck_can_you_claim_you_re_not_a_racist_when___Kamaal_Ahmad_-_How_the_fuck_can_you_claim_you_re_not_a_racist_when___Kamaal_Ahmad_-_How_the_fuck_can_you_claim_you_re_not_a_racist_when___

It’s been a week since we voted, and the state of Britain is already laughable. “We want our country back” – it never left. Of course, we must respect the voters, and in all honesty we cannot solely blame the leave voters, but certainly the leaders of the camps for not providing enough information to begin with. However, the racist and bigoted attitudes of a certain (older) demographic of voters will not be tolerated or accepted.

The EU referendum was never about deporting “foreigners”, it was about the detachment from EU legislations and controlling immigration. Instead, it has been subverted into a free pass for racist attitudes to be voiced. This comes as a result of ignorance. Thankfully, the ignorant appear to be the minority.

Let’s keep it that way.

A

NB: I’ve said it before, but just to clarify I am NOT a current affairs writer, I simply write my opinion on current affairs around the world. If anything I’ve said isn’t correct, politically or in any sense for that matter, I apologise but it’s not my intention to write objectively. 

Featured Imagehttp://www.cbc.ca/news/world/brexit-parliament-cameron-merkel-corbyn-1.3655607

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-36646979

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/jun/30/racism-brexit-eu-referendum-video

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Current Affairs, Original Writing

The Saudi Experience

Whenever people hear that I’ve come back from Saudi, I’m usually greeted with a raised eyebrow, an uncomfortable side glance or a “really? Saudi?” I thought I’d shed some light on my experience there, culturally, not just spiritually.

Firstly, the strictness people associate with Saudi Arabia is relatively accurate, but this is fundamentally due to a strictness in cultural lifestyle. Additionally, what we in the West may consider to be “strict” is the norm for them. More and more often, I find myself talking to people who condemn the lack of freedom in their dress code; it’s conflicting, because on the one hand, it’s completely irrational to dispute another country’s cultural values when you don’t live there yourself. However, the lack of freedom for women is a growing concern within the East, especially in Saudi Arabia with more women desperately seeking freedom, independence and the desire to become something greater than a daughter, wife and mother. While it’s not exactly desirable being covered from head to toe in black garments in 35 degree heat, it respects the religious values of the kingdom, especially with it being an Islamic country.

Furthermore, it’s also imperative to understand the differentiation between orthodox Muslims and liberal Muslims: the latter of which is increasingly growing in the East. Once girls get their first period, they’re required to ‘veil’ – wear a burqa and niqab (face veil). As this necessity doesn’t extend to all Muslim countries and is not obligatory within Islam, it therefore becomes a cultural aspect of living in Saudi Arabia for the orthodox. Whilst some see the burqa as oppressive, other see it as liberating. This conflict is also very evident with Saudi women. Hearing stories of women’s experiences in Saudi, I’ve come to understand that women breaking the moulds set to confine them to their gender. The age of stay-at-home wives and daughters is slowly coming to an end as young members of the Saudi royal family are seen to be wearing jeans and dresses instead of the traditional burqa. Maybe we’ll see a drastic increase in western clothing becoming a prominent part of Saudi culture in a few years.

Finally, whilst on my travels I noticed the undeniable amount of wealth Arabs are born into. From families of seven travelling in first class on flights around the world to hands and necks adorned with gold, it’s clear that the rich, have a good life out there. Yet, when you pass a shopping centre and turn onto a side road, slums slowly come into view with children sitting outside, begging for money whilst the elders take refuge in the shade. They’re not wealthy enough to afford a fan, or pay electricity bills. This paradox of extreme wealth juxtaposed with extreme deprivation within metres of each other brings to light just how little is being done for the people of Saudi, 15% of which live in poverty. Since the assassination of King Faisal, a King who had great ideas for Saudi in his plans to liberate the country and introduce more freedom and independence as well as financial reform designed to help the people, the country has digressed. The royal family live with an abundance of wealth at their fingertips: the people’s money. Instead of projecting this wealth onto poorer parts of the country, helping eradicate poverty and poor living standards for those who can afford very little, the royal family are seen to be travelling across the world, to their villas in Spain and Cannes or apartments in central London.

My love for Makkah and Medina stems from a spiritual enlightening I gained whilst on my pilgrimage. My love cannot extend to Saudi Arabia as a whole, simply because of the explicit inequality which is grossly overlooked by the country’s wealth as a whole. The people’s money is not being used effectively. Women are awfully restricted in that they still cannot drive; if they don’t hold a valid driving license, they cannot vote. They’re required to travel with a chaperone. They cannot take part in criminal proceedings as they’re considered forgetful and too emotional. Saudi has a long way to go to achieve gender equality and freedom; something which may never be achieved, predominately due to Wahhabi sects exercising their beliefs on how one should live their lives as a true Muslim. It’s the 21st century, but it appears Saudi are still centuries behind.

A x

 

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Current Affairs, Original Writing

Mental vs Physical Health

I was reading up on the law recently (as one does in their free time, of course) and something struck me as particularly concerning.

Context: I was looking to apply for my student loan for this September when I visited the Disability Allowance section. I have no physical disability (minus asthma but I don’t really consider that a disability in the scheme of things) but I wondered if suffering from mental health conditions qualified as a disability in the eyes of the law and if it did, to what extent?

Here’s the tricky part; it does. Kind of. From studying law at college, I remember how important it is to pay close attention to the use of particular diction in legislation. For example, the Equality Act 2010 specifically states that a disabled person must “have an impairment that is either physical or mental… must have adverse effects which are substantial, long-term and affects normal day-to-day activities.” If all factors stated above are met, the person is thereby classified as disabled, legally. But what is classified as an “impairment?” Can mild forms of mental health conditions still be classified as impairments?

The issue I have with this legislation is that there is an awful lot of grey area with regards to what can be classified as a disability and where the line is drawn between disability and an “impairment” which does not warrant the term disability. Usually, an act will define its own terms. For example, they’ll say something along the lines of “used in its ordinary meaning.” However, there is an element of subjectiveness and discretion in this act. Nevertheless, there is very little subjectiveness associated with physical disability. In the act, examples are given of where there should be no deliberation over disability; specifically, an obese woman who has trouble breathing because she’s overweight. The law  points out that the reason behind her breathing difficulties (her obesity) should NOT be referenced. She is automatically classified as disabled, due to her breathing problems. Fair enough.

However, when looking into the mental health aspect of this law, I came across a sticking point. As per the act, in order to be classified as disabled, one’s “impairment” must affect one’s daily life as well as being a long-term condition. In particular, the act uses an example of social anxiety and panic attacks; it states that if a person’s anxiety is so severe that it warrants having to travel at certain times of the day to avoid the rush hour then yes, they are classified as disabled. However, if one doesn’t need to make changes, to their routine for example, in accordance to their condition, it is not classified as an impairment, nor is it classified as debilitating enough to warrant the term “disability.”

This stood out to be as considerably worrying due to the high percentage of people who suffer from mental health conditions in silence because they’ve known nothing else. For sufferers of severe mental health conditions, there are certain requirements within the field of treatment which contribute to their condition being a disability. But what about those who suffer from mild anxiety, mild social anxiety, mild depression etc? Where do they stand in the eyes of the law? Where do I stand, someone who is still overcoming their health condition day by day, without altering anything in their routine?

Ultimately, this all comes down to the fact that mental and physical health will never be treated equally. Ironic, considering the name of the above act. The act states that cancer and HIV are automatically classed as a disability (rightly so) thereby reiterating a distinction and distinct lack of equality between mental and physical health. There should not be any grey area in the law regarding mental health, if there is no element of subjectivity for physical disabilities. That is unfair not to mention unequal. Until schizophrenia is treated with the same importance as cancer, we will be stuck in a unequal society, trapped by the stigmatisation of mental health.

A x

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Current Affairs

Save Our NHS: Fight the Junior Contract

I’m both saddened and appalled at the strikes going ahead over the next few weeks, but I support the junior doctors in their decision because I hope it serves as a wake up call to this blindly ignorant government.

Although this isn’t the first strike to take place over working hours, it’s shocking to see the government’s utter nonchalance at this whole situation, with Hunt instead referring to those striking as “trade union militants.” Junior doctors are striking against unjustifiable hours, and rightly so.

Three years ago, I held most junior doctors in utter contempt simply because of my experience in an NHS hospital which left me in an increasingly worrying state of health, both physically and mentally. The doctors I came across were completely unexperienced and out of their depth when they came to me, primarily because my body was rejecting all medication and they were at a loss as how to treat me. However, with 2015 being the year which saw my accident and emergency admissions at an all time high, I’ve come to realise that my experience three years ago was fundamentally due to the hospital and certainly isn’t an accurate representation of junior doctors over the country. They sacrifice everything for us and we tend to forget that a free health service is a luxury in many senses; free services, 24 hour emergency rooms, surgical intervention being free. Of course, there’s many downsides to the NHS which can be inferred as counteractive but the fact that these people are working day and night to help us is something we cannot and should not take for granted.

Hunt, along with the rest of this pathetically useless government, are dissuading the public from supporting the doctor’s strike by claiming harm will come to those with pre-booked appointments, particularly the elderly and cancer patients etc. Bullshit. The appointments have not been cancelled, they’ve been rebooked for a later date. If the patients were in such grave danger, surely they’d be admitted into hospital and be under the care of surgeons, registrars and senior consultants? Outpatient appointments have been affected but this is not the end of the world. It’s really not that big of deal compared to what these doctors endure daily. If we had even an inkling of what their schedules must be like, we’d hardly be kicking up a fuss and Hunt’s position would most definitely change. It’s very easy to criticise a strike when you won’t be remotely affected by the consequences of your own actions.

Hunt also claims that the lives of the public will be put in danger, but he’s failing to register, or possibly ignoring, the fact that lives will be in danger with overtired doctors. They’re more likely to make a mistake if they’re unsafely overworked. This kind of gross ignorance sums up the government. Surgeons, nurses, doctors, they’re all working incomprehensible hours out of their own goodwill, and a disregard for this is inhumane.

If anyone is to be blamed over this walkout, it’s David Cameron and his NHS cuts. The only people “damaging” patients’ health is this government.

I support the junior doctors, and their decision to oppose a cut in pay as well as overworking to the point of disregard for their own health.

#SaveOurNHS

#JuniorDoctorStrike

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Current Affairs

Syria Air Strikes

The result of the Syria Vote has pretty much summed up David Cameron’s attitude towards terrorism, innocent war-torn victims and the general public, including those who stupidly elected him.

After signing a petition, with over 179,000 other members of the public against the Syrian air strikes, I was utterly disgusted to hear our government’s final decision. Cameron’s arrogance at going ahead with launching attacks on Syria is fundamentally fuelled by his ego; he doesn’t want to be seen doing nothing so he does the next best thing – bombing. In many ways, its hardly surprising. He’s following in the footsteps of Blair and Bush who caused a war in which the vacuum of terror expanded. I’m struggling to understand how Cameron came to this decision knowing that air strikes on Syria will furthermore put British society at risk of terror  attacks.

The decision also shows an utter disregard for human life. The blood of innocent Syrian men, women and children is already on his hands as recent footage has shown mass casualties. A river of blood running down an destroyed town, men crying “what is my fault” to cameramen and parents picking up their children’s lifeless bodies from rubble. It’s imperative to note how the airstrikes targeted civilians, with ISIS bases nowhere near casualty sites.

I’m ashamed to live in a country where a prime minister has made such a reckless decision which he believes is for our safety. We’ve let Syria down when they were most vulnerable and in need of our help. David Cameron’s exploitation of the vulnerable has reflected in his choices as Prime Minister, from the cuts to mental health care services and NHS funding, treatment of working class citizens and now this.

Sadly, we’re living in a society where people in power believe the answer to terrorism is more terrorism. And by doing so, we’ve increased the problem. The deaths of Syrian civilians is NOT collateral damage. Instead of fighting a war against terror, Cameron has opted to fight Syria. I hope he can live with the increased threat he’s introduced on our society as well as on innocent civilians in Syria.

Oh, and David? The fact that we’re supporting a country you’ve agreed to obliterate is not “terror sympathising” as you put it. It’s called humanitarian duty: to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

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Current Affairs, Original Writing

Panorama: 26th October 2015 – Britain’s Mental Health Crisis

After watching Panorama’s recent documentary tonight, I’m absolutely appalled at the state of mental health care. Of course, this is not the first reminder of the terrible state the government cuts have reduced the trusts to, but it’s an imperative reminder to all of us that we need to raise awareness for those vulnerable citizens silenced by their psychological disorders.

Firstly, the assessment of those “less ill” to free more beds for furthermore patients. Sickening. A patient who had the intention of committing suicide at a train station shouldn’t be “assessed” on whether or not they’re worthy of a bed: this is nonnegotiable. Vulnerable citizens are silenced due to their psychological conditions which is the most shameful fact of all. I’ve said this before in my last post regarding mental health and I’ll say it again: a cancer patient, or a terminally ill patient, will not be refused a bed, neither will they be “assessed” on how unwell they are. They’d be given a bed as soon as possible, with the professionals working as hard as they can to get them on the road to recovery, or at least to make sure they’re not suffering as much. Why aren’t mental health patients treated with this urgency?

How can patients, who are assessed to be suffering from their health conditions to a great extent, but not as great as other patients, say suicidal, be cast out into the community with no social help or support system to rely on if they relapse? Where’s the security that they’ll be helped if they ever feel vulnerable or have a bad day? This isn’t just a disgrace, it’s an atrocity and complete disregard for mental health sufferers.

Fundamentally, patients are judged on their suffering. As someone who’s been rushed to Accident and Emergency 11 times over the past two years with multiple health conditions, I know that patients are assessed on how much pain they’re in. The more pain you’re in, the quicker you are treated. As a sufferer of anxiety which almost crippled me to not leaving my house for weeks on end, my parents and I felt I had no choice but to receive private help as my condition was too serious to be thrown onto a waiting list. Which could take months. This is where the problem lies, and where it will continue to lie until the stigma attached to mental health has dissolved. Most of us cannot afford private healthcare, let alone private mental healthcare. How can the government expect a patient to pay £1000 a day to receive help and support which needs to be offered free, and is easily accessible?

I urge as many of you as possible to sign the petition below, which, if 100,000 signatures are received, the parliament will be obliged to take action and debate the bed crisis.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/109889

This is an increasingly concerning situation and we are all ambassadors for those in need of our support and help. Together we can make a difference, and we will.

A x

PS: Follow my twitter @_anisahhamid for more tweets regarding this.

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Current Affairs, Original Writing

The War on Gaza

Once again, I’m filled with anger and outrage at the zionists murdering innocent Palestinians in order to gain full control over their land. Once again, I’m filled with remorse and guilt at being utterly unable to do anything from here other than raise awareness and give to charity.

Words can’t describe what it’s like to see newspapers plastered with images of dead toddlers and pregnant women, with houses being obliterated simply because the homeowners spoke out against being terrorised in their own homes. And the fact that the Israeli government are refusing so acknowledge their atrocious war-crimes makes the situation evermore disgusting; they don’t admit this is an act of terrorism. They do not admit their fault in killing innocent civilians, including children. If one has the audacity to kill a child in cold blooded murder, we must question their humanity.

The most frustrating aspect of this conflict is the Israeli government’s denial. For as long as I can remember, we are forced to recognise the atrocities of the Second World War, even from childhood. It’s a part of the syllabus! The act of persecution is one we simply cannot refute. So how can one reject the fact that Palestinians are being persecuted? Oh, the irony, that the persecuted are now the persecutors. And to think, if anyone denied the Holocaust took place, there would be a public outcry, death threats and protests. Look at how quiet the world is with regards to the conflict in Gaza, compared to the persecution of Jews by Hitler. It’s sickening and incredibly hypocritical.

It’s optimistic to know, however, that people are growing furthermore angry with the situation and are directly demanding Israel for answers. I stumbled across a video a while ago which inspired to me write this. We are few in numbers but there are people publicly speaking out on behalf of the voiceless Palestinians. The next step is to hold our government accountable for the negligence they’ve shown. How they’ve allowed this to happen, still, this humanitarian crisis.

Their voices cannot be silenced forever. The sooner the world collectively realises the corruptive nature of the Israeli government and the hypocrisy in their actions, the sooner this conflict can be resolved.

We are with you, Gaza.

#PrayForGaza

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