OFFSHORING: A DEMONSTRATION OF CONSERVATIVE CRUELTY AND XENOPHOBIA

by Sarah Edgcumbe

CW: mentions of suicide, sexual assault

The war crime-laden conflict in Syria has not ended; Saudi Arabia (at the time of writing) continues to drop British-made bombs on Yemen; Israel is once again escalating its policy of state-sanctioned slaughter of Palestinians; the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan, reducing armed violence, but increasing the risk of persecution and repression; Bosnia is teetering on the edge of a relapse into conflict; violence in the Central African Republic is ongoing; human rights abuses in Eritrea and Ethiopia continue. These are merely a few examples of the conflicts and instabilities which blight the lives of civilians who otherwise simply wish to live a life of safety, health and happiness. 

Safe routes of asylum to the UK should be available to all who need them, not least because Britain is complicit in an untold number of conflicts and repressive governments around the globe. Yet of all those who require support and protection, only Ukrainian refugees are deserving of such assistance, according to the Conservative government; one clear demonstration is the introduction of the government’s  ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. Of course, Ukrainians should be welcomed to the UK – or any other country they’d prefer to claim asylum in – but so should refugees from any other context of conflict or persecution. Just as Russia has obliterated parts of Ukraine leaving a trail of war crimes in its wake, so too has it devastated swathes of Syria. Why then, as a nation, are we willing to be so selective as to who we will welcome as refugees?

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TWO BILLION BEATS BY SONALI BHATTACHARYYA – REVIEW

By Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

The presence of South Asian characters in British theatre is not the extreme rarity it once was. Whilst South Asians and people of colour more widely are still hugely underrepresented in theatre – as actors, writers, directors and in storylines – there has undoubtedly been some progress in recent years. What remains less visible, however, is South Asian characters engaging in rich discussions of history in all its complexity, from a questioning, left-wing perspective. If this is not for you, you should probably avoid playwright and Momentum activist Sonali Bhattacharyya’s Two Billion Beats, showing now at London’s Orange Tree Theatre.

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POLITICAL ACROBATICS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, AND ISRAELI OPPRESSION

by Sarah Edgcumbe

“A disgraceful attack on the Jewish state” is how one conservative American publication responded to Amnesty International’s most recent report on the 2nd February. The Amnesty report, which bears the title ‘Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity’ was published by Amnesty on the 1st February this year –  predictably attracting the wrath of Israel whilst generating much controversy. The Israeli government responded as maturely as ever, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid alleging that “Instead of seeking facts, Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations.” Meanwhile, a range of wilfully ignorant journalists and public figures have labelled the report “anti-semitic”. Here we go again. 

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THE BEST READS OF 2021

By Ewa Giera, Sarah Edgcumbe and Samantha Rajasingham

Content warning: mentions of violence against women, police violence

From getting through that ‘to read’ backlog while stuck at home to reciting inspiring extracts at protests and on picket lines, we have read in many ways these past 12 months. As ever, at The Norwich Radical we believe in the written word as a world-changing source of joy, inspiration, education and hope. In this article, three of our contributors come together to share the best things they read in 2021, new and old. Each recommendation comes with a link to buy it direct from the publisher or on bookshop.org (where possible), but we encourage you to use your local bookshop in the first instance if you can. Happy reading!

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SPOKEN WORD, SLAPSTICK AND SURREALISM – CRYSTAL PALACE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

By Carmina Masoliver

South East London has given me a new found love for cinema. After enjoying the Catford Mews’ short film festival recently, I made a point of attending the Crystal Palace International Film Festival (CPIFF) in September. Since 2010, CPIFF has been bringing independent films to the big screen from across the globe, including short films, mid-length films and feature films of all genres.

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FOOTBALL, ENGLISH PATRIOTISM AND THE LEFT

by Callum James

Perhaps Marcus Rashford was trying to be too precise. Whilst Frank Lampard, my dad and thousands of others criticised Rashford’s stuttering steps in the build-up to his penalty, he successfully sent Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way. Had his effort been just a few inches to the right it would have been hailed as a brilliant penalty. But elite sport is a game of inches.

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I AM MINE

by Samantha Rajasingham
a white skinned, black hair and clothed, Asian woman on a red background, looking at the viewer and wearing red lipstick; the style is a bit in the style of Alex Katz paintings, the eyes doing all the work at looking back at the viewer.

I am your nail technician, your straight A student,

your wildest dream, your exotic girlfriend, your

piano teacher, your lawyer, your doctor, your

nanny, your hairdresser, your Made in China,

your waitress, your receptionist, your

maths tutor, your babysitter, 

your Instagram hero,

your voice of wisdom, 

your liar, your thief, 

your nurse, your writer, 

your convenience store clerk,

your disease, your leader,

your toy, your master,

your victim of

foot binding,

your submissive,

your friend,

your enemy

your fantasy

your heresy

!

!

.

I am mine


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BLACK LIVES MATTER: POEMS FOR A NEW WORLD – REVIEW

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By Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

Content warning: references to police violence, racist violence.

The revival of the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired an array of haunting artistic responses. Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World, edited by Ambrose Musiyiwa, is no exception. With over 100 contributions from writers of diverse ages and backgrounds, the collection is a poignant exploration of an era of renewed protest and newfound solidarities, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

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BLIGHTED LIVES: ROMANI CHILDREN IN STATE CARE

Lil' Sister Looking Out The Window
by Bernard Rorke

CW: child mistreatment, state violence, abuse

Back in May 2018, both Vladimir Putin and former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions hit the headlines in the same week by threatening to take children away from their families. In the New Yorker, Masha Gessen called this a form of state terror: “Hostage-taking is an instrument of terror. Capturing family members, especially children, is a tried-and-true instrument of totalitarian terror.”

This form of ‘state terror’ is all too familiar to Europe’s Roma. While for centuries, racist folktales warned children not to wander into the woods lest they get ‘snatched by Gypsies’, the historical reality is quite the reverse. It is Romani children who have been kidnapped by the authorities and separated from their parents; kidnapped by authorities bent on forced assimilation, or in the case of the Nazis and their allies, gruesome experimentation and annihilation. In the democratic 21st Century, where anti-Roma racism has been routinized, disproportionate numbers of Romani children are removed from their biological families and placed in institutional state care.       

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UN VOTES TO COMBAT NAZISM – BUT THE WEST OPTS OUT

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By Howard Green

On December 16th, the UN General Assembly passed a proposal entitled ‘Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance’. 130 out of 193 UN members voted in favour of it, and only two against: the United States and Ukraine. Similarly alarmingly, all EU member states and the UK abstained from the vote. Why are the nations who take so much pride in having defeated Nazism 75 years ago now refusing to vote in favour of combating it?

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