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THE OVERVIEW: Illegal Migration Bill highlights the tradition of xenophobia in the Tory party with echoes of racial incitement from global history

March 29, 2023 – 2:07 pm |

“Not a pretty picture: A Tory legacy of divide and rule” The Illegal Migration Bill highlights a party that has a history of xenophobic policies.

The UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s controversial Illegal Migration Bill has caused a lot of concern with protests and open letters condemning its harshness, even exposing …

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‘Journos Abroad’ Burma Elections and Ethnic Struggles

Submitted by on March 25, 2012 – 5:46 pmNo Comment

On Sunday the first of April 2012 Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy will for the first time have a chance to challenge the current military-backed civilian government head-on. But even if she should win every seat it will only be a first small step in solving Burma’s problems says Jack Aung and Sai Aung Thein, Burmese journalism students and editors of Hong Kong Baptist University’s student newspaper.

Left to right: Sai and Jack who are both from different Burmese ethnic minority groups.

Sai and Jack are both from minority ethnic groups (Shan and Mon respectively) and emphasise the real issue is not democracy, but instead ethnic inequality.

Sai: “Even if Aung San Suu Kyi wins and gets majority, the problems won’t be solved until the ethnic issues are brought to the table. Right now wars are still being fought, and the government haven’t done anything about it. We will get one month of ceasefire and then they start again, the armsgroups won’t go away until maybe the rights and the identities of the ethnic people are recognised.

There are seven major ethnic groups in the union of Burma and we were promised equality when the country was founded. The Burmese are the majority with about 60% of the population, but the land itself, territory-wise, both north and south are 60% non-burmese. You can’t ignore this issue, even if democracy arrives we still have to fight for our nationalities.”

Aung San Suu Kyi was recently portrayed by Michelle Yeoh in the Luc Besson film The Lady. While she is loved by the majority of the Burmese people, the attention she receives might be out of proportion.

Jack: “She is a great leader and she has sacrificed a lot, but that’s not new for us, thousands of people have sacrificed as much as her, but those stories are never told. The ethnic leaders have been fighting for the rights of the people but they aren’t mentioned. She was forced into house arrest, but other prisoners have been tortured. She was lucky, of course we respect her, but she is just one of many many stories.

For me this election is just for show, but I could by cynical. The fact is that even if the opposition party would get all the seats, what could they do, could they change the constitution? Even if she got in could she change the mind of the other MP’s, many of them coming from military backgrounds. For the moment what we hope is we won’t have any more military coups.  So far on the surface we have seen small things, but in the big picture we can’t feel it. Right now leading up to the election they have behaved better but will it last afterwards?”

Sai:  ”An interesting question is why did they allow this election? It’s because they don’t care. Maybe 2015 will be different. If everything goes smooth and the international community recognises our situation and Aung San Suu Kyi can raise her voice there might be a change, but we will have to wait and see.”

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