Al Jazeera

Call for Israeli academic boycott stokes SOAS campus divisions

London, United Kingdom – Student leaders at the UK’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are set to call on the university to cut its academic links with Israeli institutions in a show of support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

SOAS [Simon Hooper]

SOAS has a reputation for student activism and progressive politics [Simon Hooper]

SOAS student union officials will make their case at a meeting of the school’s governing body on Friday and will point to the result of a ballot of students, academics, and staff in February, in which 73 percent voted in favour of a boycott of Israeli universities.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

‘Shut them down’: Protesters demand end to ‘racist’ detentions

London, United Kingdom – Migrants, asylum seekers and social justice campaigners in the UK are joining forces to call for the closure of the country’s notorious immigration detention centres amid concerns for the well-being and dignity of those locked inside.

Several hundred protesters gathered recently outside the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres, two adjacent facilities on the perimeter of London’s Heathrow Airport, the latest in a series of demonstrations intended to draw attention to a system that critics decry as racist and brutal. Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Women seeking asylum in UK face ‘trauma and disbelief’

London, United Kingdom – Msgana walked for three days and three nights across the desert to escape from Eritrea into Sudan.

Women protest against the detention of asylum seekers [Simon Hooper]

Women protest against the detention of asylum seekers outside Harmondsworth detention centre in April [Simon Hooper]

From there, with the help of a family member, she arranged to be transported to Europe. After 30 days hiding aboard a ship, Msgana eventually reached the northern French port of Calais. She was then smuggled onto a lorry bound for the UK and, she believed, a better life.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Counter-terrorism in the classroom: Teachers ‘spying on students’

London, United Kingdom – Teachers have claimed that they are being pressured to spy on their own students because of new counter-terrorism laws which they say risk scapegoating Muslim school children and stifling discussion of controversial issues in the classroom.

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

Delegates attending this week’s conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the UK’s largest union of school staff, voted in favour of a motion criticising the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, known as Prevent, after hearing that teachers were being used as “front-line stormtroopers” to monitor students for signs of extremism.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Saddam’s surgeon: ‘Iraq infected with hate and heading towards a cliff’

London, United Kingdom – Ala Bashir is a celebrated Iraqi artist and surgeon who spent two decades as a personal doctor and plastic surgeon to Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi leader, and his family and inner circle.

Ala Bashir: "Was Saddam a psychopath? I think most people in power probably are. " [Copyright Simon Hooper]

Ala Bashir: “Was Saddam a psychopath? I think most people in power probably are. ” [Copyright Simon Hooper]

A former head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Baghdad University, Bashir was widely respected in Iraq for his work treating thousands of soldiers injured during the country’s eight-year war with Iran, which included developing new plastic surgery techniques and performing pioneering operations to reattach severed hands. He says his surrealist paintings, often dwelling on themes of mortality and fate, are particularly influenced by his experiences of the war and the horrors to which he bore witness.

Continue reading

Standard