Love Knows No Borders

love-knows-no-bordersI discovered the #LoveHasNoBorders on Twitter where interracial families, friends and couples are sharing their stories. In light of the upsetting xenophobia which has been pushed forward particularly by the far right, who fail to understand that every story has it’s own human face and merits, I thought this quick post was fitting.

As the world gets smaller, borders seem to be getting unfairly discriminatory towards people who just want to live, love and not have to face the horrendous attitude and prejudices towards immigrants at the moment. Borders are superficial, but the emotions created by treating someone without dignity are real. As I said, every story has a human face. People migrate to new countries all the time for many reasons whether that be for work, refuge or to join family. And through that journey there is love, hardships and potential fear, especially if leaving a dangerous country to seek refuge. Compassion does not have to mean accepting anyone anywhere at anytime without any form of criteria, but it does mean respecting that fundamentally we are all human, and fear of a minority group should not overtake our solidarity and desire to offer support to those who need it most. 

Let us build bridges, not walls and understand that we all have far more in common than our differences. Nationality is determined by a piece of paper but how you treat those who are different to you can never be bought.

Bushra

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks

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THE HYPOCRISY IN TRUMP’S DIVISIVE POLICIES – TORTURE, MEXICAN WALL, MUSLIM BAN!

I’ll be honest – for a split second I assumed Trump was probably being outrageously outspoken for the cameras and would probably realise that if elected President, he has to be a bit more diplomatic and wary of his approach. Especially in this age of fear.

Well, I can now confirm that I am not even American and feel the weight of his dangerous tactics, especially after Theresa’s May refusal to say if she condemns his stances on refugees, torture and democratic values on behalf of the British people.As Jeremy Corbyn recently tweeted, that clearly indicates that you have taken the side of the oppressor by refusing to condemn.

Some of Trump’s recent moves:

His reaction to the woman’s march and the media’s coverage of his donald-trump-grow-upInauguration’s crowd sizes: Trump needs to seriousely get over the crowd sizes dispute and accept that the protests and marches were far bigger than it. It’s worrying that a President has so much energy to put into the crowds than to listen to the legitimate concerns of many of the woman protesting in regards to woman’s reproductive rights, minority rights, disability rights and other vulnerable groups who have been demonised by Trump’s divisive election campaign and are yet to receive any reassurance that their rights will be guaranteed. Rather, Trump went straight to Twitter to slam the purpose of the march, stating that they should’ve voted and even signed an executive order soon after banning federal funding to international NGOs which can provide SAFE abortions, rather than resorting to dangerous means. I wonder what the desperation will now do to these woman.

His belief that torture such as WATERBOARDING should be permitted: This is quite clearly an ABSOLUTE violation of the human rights stated within the Geneva Conventions.  Trump states he will stick by his advisers who claim it works. It’s disgusting that the leader of the once free world cannot see through this practise and it’s implications. Firstly, it leads to the possibility of false allegations admitted to out of desperation which completely contradicts a fair trial, as seen multiple times in Guantanamo Bay. Also, what example will America set to the world by presenting the ludicrous idea that the use of torture, a barbaric practice, is permissible? It would be a slap to the US constitution at best.

The assumption that Mexico will pay for a wall on the Southern Border: If any nation, America must know the dangers of mistreating your neighbours. The Mexican President has made it clear,  that he will not pay for this wall and so Trump has no choice but to tax them for it, especially after making it clear to Mexico that the intended meeting between them should not happen if the payment of the wall cannot be agreed to. And therefore, the Mexican President cancelled it. It will therefore cost the American taxpayer billions. And increase food prices for Mexican imported goods. Oh, but screw federal funding of woman’s reproductive rights, or the medical care for those struggling to afford it.

AND MOST OUTRAGEOUSLY, Trump has executed an executive order for a total ban on citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. I’m absolutely speechless. This is a clear manipulation of many American’s desire to control immigration sensibly and a clear attempt to appease those who like to pretend that this divisive policy will somehow protect them. Funnily enough, most of the banned nations have/have had direct American interference such as the bombing of Syria, Iraq and Libya which has ironically created the very many refugees which Trump now refuses any form of interaction with.

Secondly, this ‘ban’ appears to exclude the more prosperous Muslim nations which Trump has business dealings with AND includes the famous Saudi Arabia, where many terrorists have been bred including the majority of those who committed the 9/11 atrocities. The fact that Trump has appeared to pick on mainly third world countries plus Iran (who the US maintains no diplomatic ties to anyway) proves that this is an attempt to satisfy the ego of those who want to scapegoat the reality of where the true threat of terrorism lies. Because that’d hurt Trump’s wallet, you see.

It has also just been announced that this ban applies to those of dual nationality from those countries which is the sickening considering MANY American citizens hold dual nationality from such countries. What sort of message is this sending to Muslim-Americans? That they are not welcome? Because that sure reminds me of a time in history. It’s deeply disturbing that vulnerable people such as refugees, exiled citizens and people in fear of their life for defying the country with LEGITIMATE VISAS have simply been turned away. IT IS AN OUTRAGE and a MASS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW. It is also a clear stereotype against the potential of citizens of those countries. Trump is deterring and preventing intellectuals, inspirations and those in search of the American dream from making their mark. ALL cases should be made on an individual basis, with vetting towards ALL, not a specific group of people. These are people, not a political bargaining tool!

Bushra

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SAUDI/UAE TREATMENT OF FOREIGN WORKERS

Dubai has pretty swanky five star hotels and skyscrapers beyond belief. With a mere population of just over 2 million, and less than 10 million for the whole of the UAE combined, who is under the lavish constructions? Migrant workers, especially from South Asian countries of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and from parts of South East Asia are wholly behind this, yet are rarely credited for it. In fact, what goes on behind closed doors of some of these construction companies is disgusting.Burj_Dubai_Construction_Workers_on_4_June_2007

Many of these foreign workers come from poorer countries and therefore look to the prosperous Gulf countries for work in order to have a better chance at earning an income and supporting their families abroad. Advertisements are often promising with reasonable paid salaries and better living conditions than their former country. However, quite often for many workers this is not the case and on arrival, passports are confiscated, the working conditions are vile – with several people sharing a room and toilets, with no concern for their well being, as well as wages highly reduced from what was promised, and quite often, not paid for months at a time. The contract is effectively destroyed thereon and they are subjected to a binding contract of hell as I call it.

They need the money badly, but at the same time are subject to a horrific new life. Migrants workers make up a majority (approximately 80%) of the resident population of the UAE, and account for 90% of its workforce, so to think that there is a dark side to the luxury holidays that attracts foreigners across the entire world, particularly the West, is daunting as to just how bad of a life the workers behind it are living. Human trafficking, slavery and torture of migrant workers is not uncommon. The fact that the majority of the UAE itself is simply foreign workers points out the fact that there is often a clear separation between Arab nationals and foreign workers, despite many being Muslim themselves and therefore distinguished by race.

Foreign workers in RiyadhMany have worked most of their life there, yet will never be granted citizenship on the basis that they are not a national of the country. It is due to this that their rights, often scarce are not fully recognised, and therefore rarely enforced, even though practices like confiscating their passports are illegal in the states. They are essentially treated as slaves by certain companies and quite often seen as lesser than their Arab counterparts. There are Arabs who silently disagree with their treatment by their counterparts, though can rarely speak out, or in fact are simply not aware of the harsh scale of it. There are maids who work in the household setting of some families in Saudi/UAE and there have been cases where they have been beaten, tortured and denied their wages, as well as some female maids having been assaulted by the male householder. Quite recently, an Indian maid had her hand chopped off by her Saudi employer, and she has claimed that she has been denied food and forced into long hours of work, as well as having been abused. The overwhelming majority of Saudi/UAE citizens are employed in the government sector, and it is therefore jobs such as construction and cleaning in 50 degrees heat left to the migrant workers, who receive no enforced rights to basically ‘do the jobs that nobody wants to do’.

Migrant workers are human too and deserve to work in the same conditions you would expect a non migrant worker to work in, They are not slaves! The ones from South Asian countries are often seen as 2nd class citizens and not treated as respectfully as those from the West and fellow Arab countries They cannot speak out on fear of being punished, so it’s time to speak out for them. This is a serious human rights violation so let’s push for their rights to be regulated and recognized, with the salaries promised non negotiable after they arrive and the freedom to leave as they will if they are not being treated right. They built what is Dubai today, for example, so let them be recognized for it and live as a full citizen of Earth. It’s sad, as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are beautiful countries, yet this is disturbed by the lack of humanity for the foreign workers. Of course, not all employees think this way,  nor would many citizens agree with their treatment.. but those working in these conditions are silenced far too often….

SHORT DOCUMENTARY ON TREATMENT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMh-vlQwrmU

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Bushra 😀

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks | https://twitter.com/BushraSpeaks

 

SAY NO TO FORCED MARRIAGES!

Marriage, supposedly one of the most happiest times of someones life. A breadth of a new chapter. A new beginning. Though, as we sit quite comfortably with masses of opportunity at our feet and education as we will and dictate, there are 15 million child brides yearly. Almost always, they are forced into marriages which not only robs them of their childhood, but deprives them of their human right of consent.

The majority of forced/child marriages are prevalent across Africa and South Asia and often as a result of the gender ForcedMarriageequality gap common in these cultures which means woman can be seen as more of a burden and more open to sexual harassment for example, and therefore married off early and against her will to prevent anything which can bring ‘shame’ or ruin the ‘honour’ of the family. This deprives them of their chance of education and basically puts them in a dangerous cycle whereby their children (often had early, despite their bodies not being sexually mature) can be put in the same situation – socially unstable, as well as deprived of an education which can put them into poverty. This cycle of being married off young means woman cannot complete or even have an education at all, and therefore fail to find a job which allows them to be economically stable. Far too often, the situation is that due to the marriage being unwanted in most cases, it can end in a few years following issues such as domestic violence, and general differences which makes the marriage incompatible in the first place, and in cases where they are married off to cousins/someone abroad, after gaining citizenship there is an immediate divorce, and the woman usually has to take the blame for it – is there any more of an evil way to dehumanize her and who she is?

I recently watched a documentary regarding British children born to immigrant parents and there have been hundreds and hundreds of girls in the past years who will be tricked and taken abroad to be forced to marry a man of their choice – often to a much older person or a cousin – despite only just hitting the legal age of marriage for the UK. This is typically done for the same reasons as child/teenage marriage, though often these British born woman (or woman of any nationality) are seen as commodities in that moment, and stripped of their right to say no and often threatened and bullied psychologically into accepting. Their passports here are all that is valued usually and again, the marriages typically don’t last often and are more like a easy pathway for the man to become a citizen of the country the girl is resident to. This makes me sick, as it completely devalues the girl as a individual whose citizenship is merely valued – not her. Marriages like this may be to benefit the family economically and socially, again devaluing her and silencing who she wishes to become. This is not to be confused with arranged marriages – still very common, however it gives both parties the right to refuse or accept, and are welcomed by some brides/grooms to be. The point is however, neither party should NEVER feel pressured or forced to accept a marriage that they do not want.

There are laws and minimum ages set in many of the countries that have high rates of child/forced marriage though law enforcement is hard to maintain and therefore thousands of them go ahead with no regards for the law. This is essentially re-enforcing gender equality in the sense that woman are culturally seen as to be kept ‘weakened’, with disregard for their education or future plans and so marriage is seen as the only option to preserve honour and prevent immorality which is deeply exaggerated. This is sparking more in poverty, where families are finding it hard to provide for her. However, no matter how we put it, it demeans them of their right of choice and right to decide their future and must be abandoned. Forced marriages are NEVER ok.

Perhaps with more opportunities for education for woman and increased emphasis on the benefits of extending the age in which they get married, such as better stability for their future children and themselves economically, socially and even culturally if attitudes can change. Because with education, can we not only benefit ourselves, but change and mould the opinions of the future towards this practice, and much, much more….. we can change the world….

CLICK THESE TO LEARN MORE about this, your rights and every human on this planet:

https://www.gov.uk/stop-forced-marriage

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_marriage

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Twitter: @BushraSpeaks

Bushra xx