Whilst much of the world is pre-occupied with protesting against Donald Trump, as worthy as that may be, I’d like to illustrate what real oppression looks like around the world with just some of the longest standing and most severe cases of ongoing injustice around the world.
10. Jewish and Christian people in some Muslim countries
With all the news about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the hate mongering speech against Israel and Jews by officials from Iran and other countries, you may not realise that Jews live in many of those countries. Many Jews lived in Iran until the 1979 Islamic revolution convinced most of them to get while the getting was good. Of course, historically Jews have been discriminated against pretty severely at times, such as in Spain with the Inquisition and in Germany during the Holocaust. Russia and the Ukraine have historically conducted pogroms against Jews, and other supposedly liberal countries have had many cases of discrimination as well (such as the KKK in the US). Traditionally Jewish people often found sanctuary in Muslim lands from Christian Europe.
Similarly Christian minorities are frequently intimidated and murdered in many nations. They suffer from discriminatory practices and even badly invoked blasphemy laws. Churches can be burnt to the ground with little official protection or justice. In other places new churches cannot be built and the penalty for becoming Christian is punishable by death.
9. Albinos in Sub-Saharan Africa
Albinos among the Sub-Saharan black populations of Africa are commonly perceived as objects of fear and loathing. Witchcraft performed as part of native religions often results in the murder of human albinos, and to a large extent people afflicted with the disorder are shunned. Suffering from vision problems and sensitivity to the sun in Africa, albinos have it hard enough without the extreme discrimination from their fellow humans.
8. Native Americans in the USA
Whilst the big offences against Native Americans happened long ago and are in no way the blame or responsibility of those alive today, an underlying dismissive attitude towards them is still present in practice if not in law. Still largely in reservation lands with few natural resources, their views are often ignored if they should clash with progress or corporate interests as is the case with the ongoing pipeline dispute at Standing Rock.
There remains a great detail of insensitivity given to their cultures which can easily be seen in the names of popular American sports teams, the Cleveland Indians (with their Chief Wahoo), Washington Redskins, and Atlanta Braves. Change the ethnic group to another minority then it is hard to see it being allowed even if it was culturally acceptable 120 years ago. I could give some examples but it would be clearly racist to do so.
7. LGBT around the world
There are 77 countries in the world where homosexuality being illegal, some places such as Russia have even gone backwards in recent years with regards to the rights of their citizens.
6. People with disabilities
Luckily in most western countries, legal protection is now strengthening to protect this group of people. Nevertheless wherever there are stairs and no lifts or ramps, narrow doorways, high door sills, bathrooms not adapted for handicapped use, street curbs and other monumental obstacles for the mobility of people suffering from limitations there is tremendous disadvantage for them.
Although most people do not say so, handicapped and disabled people frequenty don’t get a job they are qualified for and can ably accomplish because of perceptions that they are less capable or will be a “problem” somewhere down the road in the workplace. Even physical appearance outside the norm (such as burn victims, cancer victims, and other disfigured people) results in discrimination in many aspects of how these people are treated by others. The mobility part of this problem is changing, but the rest is changing ever so slowly if at all. Let’s not even talk about those with invisible mental health issues such as depression.
5. Indians and Pakistanis in Africa
Enterprising people from the Indian sub-continent have emigrated to Africa and worked hard to open businesses, becoming a shopkeeper class in many areas. Local native Africans frequently have resented the success of these immigrants and have sometimes reacted violently toward them, venting their envy and resentment. This backlash against newcomers perceived as making money off the poorer natives is manifested around the world. From Indians, Pakistanis, Koreans, Lebanese, all suffer for the entrepreneurial spirit rather than welcomed for helping improve the wider community.
4. Muslims in China
Muslim populations in China occasionally make it to the international news when the Chinese government harshly cracks down on them for protesting or advocating change. With 1 to 2% of the Chinese population being Muslim (perhaps 20 to 40 million people) 10 of the 55 Chinese minorities are Islamic. Most of the Chinese Muslim population is well integrated with the rest of the country, but it is the Uyghur people of the far western part of the country that have earned the enmity of the government by advocating for their own separate country. This population of around 8 and a half million people feels oppressed and yearns for independence.
- Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims
- They make up about 45% of the region’s population; 40% are Han Chinese
- China re-established control in 1949 after crushing short-lived state of East Turkestan
- Since then, there has been large-scale immigration of Han Chinese
- Uighurs fear erosion of traditional culture
Uighurs are frequently executed or imprisoned, some for simply daring to express their own culture (similar to in Tibet). Is China not big enough all ready? If the majority of people anyway want independence is this not their right?
3. Kurds in Turkey and historically Syria and Iraq
Kurdish people understandably wonder how many other ethnic groups have won their own country in recent years. In Turkey and Iraq the Kurds have been treated like captive people and insurrections are put down harshly. Left wondering what hit them when George H. W. Bush encouraged them to revolt from Iraq in 1991 and the US failed to supply the expected assistance, the Kurds were once again beaten back into submission. Apparently pressure from Turkey, a US Nato ally, keeps the US from orchestrating a Kurdish state on the Iraq-Turkey border. Yet Kurds have time and again proven to be worthy of their own culture and country. If Kurdish has been banned in Turkey, who can blame them for that? Even in the last year, Kurdish fighters have proven to be both the best and continually most moderate forces against ISIS. Their self-governing territory in northern Iraq has become comparatively prosperous and peaceful compared to their Arab neighbours. It is to be hoped one day soon they gain their own homeland but to do that they will have to overcome several hostile local governments.
2. Palestinians in Israel
Like the Jews in Muslim countries, Palestinians in Israel do not have 100% of the rights and privileges of Jewish citizens. Israelis seem to think Palestinians have a homeland, and that it should be Jordan, but Jordanians think differently. Most other Arab countries do not welcome Palestinians. The argument that they easily go elsewhere is disingenuous and would be like telling any European to go in another European country or that millions of Americans shouldn’t complain about going to live in Mexico or Venezuela.
The video below is the famous footage of the murder of the terrified little boy Muhammad Al-Durrah. Unusually, the IDF immediately admitted the crime but following a worldwide outrage backtracked…. the wall behind the boy was demolished a day or two later. If only it were an isolated incident. One way or the other, the situation needs to be resolved, not just for Palestinians but also Israelis too and not least us in the rest of the world who see it as a legitimate ongoing grievance that plays in to the hands of Islamic radicals.
- Women and girls in much of Africa, the Middle-East and Asia
The largest group of people listed here, female humans are not even a real minority as they outnumber men around the world. Still, in Muslim countries more than others they are discriminated against by law and by public sentiment. Not allowed to drive cars, initiate a divorce, make contracts, go to certain places, and forced to obey dress codes in some countries, women are second-class citizens in parts of the Muslim World.
In China with a law limiting families to one child, female babies are sometimes killed, and in modern countries female fetuses are often aborted. A common practice in countries ruled by Islamic laws is “female circumcision” or the removal of the clitoris of young girls, so that as women they are denied even pleasure from sexual activity. In Pakistan sentiment is so strong against girls being taught to read that Malala Yousafza was severely attacked on her school bus. Even in the United States where women are by law “equal” there is controversy today over the statistic that women employees earn only 77% as much as a man doing the same work, and getting a law passed mandating equal pay for equal work seems improbable.
Just last week that kind-hearted Putin in Russia changed the law so that domestic violence in Russia against women is legal and some Russian media even said that women should take pride in their resulting bruises.