AYLAN KURDI: 6 MONTHS ON

by Jess Howard

Last year, I wrote an article on what a photograph of a drowned Syrian toddler’s body being lifted from a beach in Turkey could tell us about the Syrian civil war. About how the common misconception that refugees are coming to western countries in order to receive benefits and take money from our governments was entirely incorrect, and how these photographs show us the risks these people are taking just to survive.

Aylan Kurdi, along with his brother Galip, mother Rihan and father Abdullah, were travelling from Syria to the Greek Island of Kos. Their goal was to eventually travel to Vancouver in Canada, where Abdullah’s sister Teema had lived for a number of years. However, during their journey to Kos the boat in which they were travelling capsized, and the two young boys and their mother subsequently drowned.

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ASEAN NATIONS CONTINUE TO BE SILENT ON THE ROHINGYA CRISIS

by Faizal Nor Izham

The recent Rohingya crisis in South East Asia is nothing new — clashes between the ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, have been ongoing since 2012 through a series of riots. By October of that year, Muslims of all ethnicities had begun to be targeted.

The riots were supposedly triggered by widespread fears among Buddhist Rakhines that they would soon become a minority in their own ancestral state. Riots sparked after weeks of sectarian disputes, which included a gang-rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by Rohingyas and the killing of ten Burmese Muslims by Rakhines.

It is the refusal from fellow South East Asian nations to
take in tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees which
has been the main source of recent controversy.

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TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH – NOW OR NEVER

by Faizal Nor Izham

In the aftermath of the Germanwings crash, Britain’s call to take mental health more seriously has never been more relevant. German pilot Andreas Lubitzmade headlines for killing himself and 149 others in a plane crash after reportedly going through a bout of depression (which he is said to have suffered from since 2009). Although the perpetrator of the March 24th crash was a non-Briton, this nevertheless makes the issue of mental health more urgent no matter which part of the world you’re from.

Tackling mental health is met with stigma across cultures. Terms to describe individuals are often derogatory, if not downright offensive — words like ‘loony’ and ‘nutter’ will often be tossed around a little too casually. Despite calls from celebrities such as Stephen Fry to take the matter more seriously — Fry has long made his battle with bipolar disorder public — efforts to combat the stigma in the public sphere will always be a tricky issue.Continue Reading