Year 2022 has been a rough year. Dick Clark said “Music is the soundtrack of your life,” and I couldn’t agree more. Music rhythmically tells a compelling story; can uplift you out of a depressive state, and may help you reach a solution to a complicated problem. It can pull at your heart strings and show you how to lyrically break the glass ceiling. Its refrain may even compel you to fight the battle for a bigger cause. So, here are 12 songs that will get you through anything in 2023.
12 Songs that Will Get You Through Anything in 2023
According to Donald Collins, music reduces cortisol levels. Collins points to a recent 2021 study. which showed that adults who listened to both personal and neutral selections of music had significantly “reduced cortisol levels.”
Kandi – Fly Above
“I built up a shell and its hard and its armored. It seems like every step I take up drama comes along with the bread I cake up. But you aint doing nothin if you dont have haters so I welcome you to do whats in your nature.”
Sober – Pink
“I don’t wanna be the girl who laughs the loudest
Or the girl who never wants to be alone I don’t wanna be that call at four o’clock in the mornin’ ‘Cause I’m the only one you know in the world that won’t be home
Ah-ah, the sun is blindin’ Ah-ah, I stayed up again Oh-oh, I am findin’ That’s not the way I want my story to end…”
Little Mix – Breakup Song
“Ain’t no more tears Ain’t gonna cry Boy, I’ll do anything to get you off my mind I’m gonna dance Under the lights Boy, I’ll do anything to get you off my mind”
A years long investigation into the intimidation of particular asylum seekers in the direct provision system reveal Ireland’s Activists Deportations Find Approval in Political Abuse Psychiatry.
How We Investigated Ireland’s Activists Deportations Find Approval in Political Abuse Psychiatry
You feel like you’ve found your calling. Whether you received it in a dream; while gazing up at a billboard or, after consulting a high power in prayer—you have chosen this calling to give your life a deeper meaning. A sense of purpose. For many people across the world this calling is: activism. Activists often turn to ideological support—the good of grassroot movements—while standing their ground. Brow-beating, intimidation, profiling and arrests are the bad of activism when one speaks truth to power. The question of security is undoubtedly the ugly and worrisome slice of politicking, especially when safety cannot be guaranteed. Indeed, the unsettling feeling of not being safe may compel one to flee their country. But will sanctuary find them in the country they land?
“Activism crept its way back up and now I am at it again,” says a confidential source residing in direct provision, who will be referred to as “John Doe.” “Even though I know who they are; I can point to the asylum seekers, no one will listen,” says Doe, who believes its his past social wrongs that have persuaded refugee advocate services and NGOs to ignore his plight. Doe claims authority have used asylum seekers to intimidate and to force him out of the international protection system. “I stand up for myself in protest and I am labelled chaotic. Called paranoid,” says Doe. If this sounds eerily familiar you’re not mistaken.
How Ireland’s Activists Deportations Find Approval in Political Abuse Psychiatry
The Irish Examiner published an article on an American asylum seeker named Thomas Stofiel, who mysteriously died in 2020. Imad, who the Irish Examiner interviewed, alleged that he had spoken to Stofiel. Imad also alleges Stofiel and another American asylum seeker had “the same problem, like mental.”
There is another source in Noel Barker’s article who reinforces the “mental” stereotype about American asylum seekers, “…if you are paranoid about the U.S., you are going to have real fear for your data being used by anyone, anywhere…” says the CEO of a refugee advocate service in Cork. There seems to be a trend, as the International Protection Tribunal archive reveals 2 other cases of American asylum seekers that were alleged to be overly suspicious of the government. Are their suspicions illegitimate or is it something else?
The CEO in the article gratuitously assesses the state of mind of American asylum seekers from afar, rather than exploring a third event that is defensibly the cause. In Torture and Psychiatric Abuse: Definition, Ethics, and Assessment, Ryan C.W. Hall and Richard C.W. Hall states psychiatric abuse may consist of an intentional misdiagnosis to discredit an individual, imprison them or, to cause their unemployment and loss of specific rights. An intentional misdiagnosis may also be to protect others (i.e., individuals in power). This quote appeared in Chapter 9 of Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry (2017, p. 846).
As early as the 1920s, governments have pilloried activism and political demonstrations as—not a rights issue—but a mental health issue. To illustrate this point, one need only refer to Aurora D’Angelo, who participated in a rally in support of Sacco and Vanzetti, and was sent to a mental health facility for psychiatric evaluation.
Jonathan M. Metzl calls this psychiatry abuse “protest psychosis.” In The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease (2011), Metzl draws a connection between the discriminatory perceptions of schizophrenia as a disease prone to Black men and women, and the continued pathologisation of them within systems that relies on language that has been shown to oppress.
U.S. officials’ harassment of activists on account of their political views have been widely documented over the years. In the 1950s, declassified documents revealed the FBI diagnosed Malcolm X with “pre-psychotic paranoid schizophrenia,” and “membership of the Communist Party.” Metzl contends in the early 1960s, the same agency diagnosed Robert Williams, the head of the North Carolina NAACP as having two minds—“armed, and dangerous during his flight from trumped-up kidnapping charges.” Doe unequivocally believes psychiatry from afar is being deployed in direct provision by “those in power” to undermine the claims of individuals fleeing countries Ireland perceives as safe.
A question often raised among proponents and dissidents in international refugee law is: who can be considered a refugee? Refugees with a nationality are defined by the UNHCR as a “person who is outside the country because they have—or had—a well-founded fear of persecution by reason of her race, political opinion, nationality or religion.” The individual may also be unable to avail themselves of the protection of the government because of fear. From examining the UNHCR’s definition, it appears that any person, including someone from a democracy can become a refugee.
The Eradication of the Principle of Confidentiality
When countries acquire information on an applicant’s country of origin, they are bound by the principle of confidentiality. In other words, they cannot disclose information regarding the applicant to the actors of persecution or serious harm. Yet, Doe believes officials are using a combination of its diplomatic relations and the protest psychosis to undermine his asylum claim. “Look at what they did to Edward Snowden,” says Doe.
Snowden applied for political asylum in 21 countries and asserted the U.S. administration and President Joe Biden had pressured governments to refuse his asylum petitions. Biden had also telephoned President Rafael Correa days prior to Snowden’s remarks, asking the Ecuadorian leader not to grant him asylum. France, Poland, Brazil, Germany and India were countries that also rejected Snowden’s application outright. The influence countries like the U.S. wields in the international arena underpins the position that Ireland is likely allowing its diplomatic relations to influence how it decides cases from applicants who have fled western countries.
How the Protest Psychosis is Being Used in Ireland to Undermine Asylum Claims
Doe reaffirms the susceptible followers of this protest psychosis are “asylum seekers” and that each can “be identified.” Art Padilla, the author of Leadership: Leaders, Followers, and Environments (2012), echoes the sentiment that susceptible followers either acquiesce without resistance or align themselves with toxic leaders.
From reviewing Doe’s statements and observations, the protest psychosis is clearly a strategy to intimidate asylum seekers who have fled democracies into “abandoning our asylum claim and voluntarily returning home,” says Doe confidently. Asylum seekers who are poor, worried, and living in fear of deportation seem to be much easier for authority to control and manipulate into undertaking its political abuse of psychiatry. Indeed, the fear of deportation is a persuasive and logical reason, as it explains how asylum seekers help toxic leaders establish the protest psychosis of those applicants Ireland wishes to reject.
When Protest Psychosis Conformers Turn Into Colluders
Doe further asserts “refugee advocate services” conform to the protest psychosis by remaining non-active. If the refugee agency confronts the wrongs happening to asylum applicants, as in Doe’s case, the toxic leaders are likely to withhold funding from the NGO.
Impressionable conformers, as stated by Padilla, may become colluders when they internalize a toxic leader’s vision by committing to their destructive enterprise. This is accomplished when NGOs assist toxic leaders in violating international refugee law. Financial incentives are another reason why NGOs may collude with destructive leaders in violating its positive and negative obligations under international law.
It is believed the asylum seekers who were—and may still be—involved in the implementation of the protest-psychosis-like scheme allegedly contributed to Stofiel’s death by engaging in these exploitative relations. “No one without power can do what they have done. Their support and encouragement are to advance their personal agendas,” says Doe.
It cannot be denied that NGOs, solicitors, media organisations and asylum seekers have beliefs consistent with the idea that individuals from democratic regimes have no legitimate reason for claiming asylum. This leads one to believe these conformers are assisting toxic leaders in diagnosing particular asylum seekers without an official psychiatric evaluation. When asked, “Who did you tell about this?” Doe said, “Everyone. They just said I’m paranoid.”
The overly suspicious phenomenon raises a broader question as to whether the International Protection Office or a country’s diplomatic servants, are appointing psychiatrists to unethically diagnose particular asylum seekers in direct provision for their justified remonstrances.
Martha Beall Mitchell, the wife of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, experienced the political abuse of psychiatry first hand. In the 1970s, a practitioner diagnosed Mitchell with a paranoid mental disorder after she claimed that the administration of President Richard M. Nixon was engaged in illegal activities. The “Martha Mitchell effect” was coined to describe mental health misdiagnoses when accurate claims are dismissed as delusional. Indeed, many of her claims were later proved correct.
Evidence further indicates an overemphasis of psychotic symptoms in marginalised groups, especially Black Americans, as compared with other racial or ethnic groups. This was revealed in a study that looked at 599 Blacks and 1,058 non-Latino whites. Clinicians failed to effectively weigh mood symptoms when diagnosing schizophrenia among Black Americans, suggesting that racial bias, whether conscious or subconscious, is one factor in the diagnosis of schizophrenia in this population. The study also supports extensive previous research done by Stephen Strakowski of Dell Medical School on how overemphasis of psychotic symptoms in Blacks can contribute to misdiagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, it is unethical to diagnose an individual from afar. The Goldwater Rule is a statement of ethics that enjoins psychiatrists from professionally diagnosing someone they have not personally evaluated. If the Goldwater Rule proscribes psychiatrists from diagnosing someone they have not personally evaluated, then it stands to reason that asylum seekers, who have no medical license, have no epistemic footing when it comes to psychiatric diagnoses. Principle 3 of the Psychology Association of Ireland further states “psychologists are required to act in a trustworthy, reputable, and accountable manner towards clients and the community. They shall avoid doing harm to clients and research participants, and act to prevent harm caused by others. They shall ensure that those whom they supervise act ethically.”
A Freedom of Information request was emailed to the International Protection Office in September 2022. It gave no response. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland also issued no statement.
Comments regarding Ireland’s Activists Deportations Find Approval in Political Abuse Psychiatry should be addressed here.
There is a long history of Americans fleeing the U.S. and claiming asylum in other nations. In this article, I will show you 9 Americans granted refugee status.
Here Are 9 Americans Granted Refugee Status
Peter Norwood Duberg
Duberg is one of the first Americans to claim asylum. In the 1950s, Duberg was subjected to an official investigation. He refused to answer the United Nations’ loyalty-related questions and was terminated. For this reason, Duberg fled the U.S. and claimed asylum in Switzerland, who granted the application.
Liberman fled to Israel in 1962 after the U.S. accused of him fraud. While Israel had a law that empowered the Minister of the Interior to exclude individuals with a criminal past, Israel granted Liberman asylum and temporary residents’ visa.
Shakur was Black activist who fled the U.S. after government officials accused her of murdering a state trooper. In 1984, Shakur sought asylum in Cuba, who granted the application.
Lockshin was an American Communist Party activist and cancer researcher who claimed the CIA harassed him because of his political views. He claimed asylum in the Soviet Union in 1986.
Glen Michael Sauter
Sauter was a man who claimed asylum in the Soviet Union. He asserted that he “to hide from U.S. secret services which unfoundedly persecuted him.” While evidence indicates the Soviet Union engaged in practices of persecution, like the U.S. and other countries, there no reliable evidence to suggest it persecuted Lockshin and Sauter. In all, the Soviet Union found both Lockshin and Sauter to be refugees.
Holly Ann Collins
Collins is an American woman who fled the U.S. after the government failed to investigate allegations of domestic violence. Collins alleged the U.S. authorities showed favorable bias towards her husband, who had a large circle of friends and was perceived by most as friendly. In 1997, the Netherlands granted Collins asylum and reasoned that it couldn’t guarantee that the U.S. would protect her.
Chere Lyn Tomayko
Tomayko is an American woman who fled to Costa Rica and was granted asylum on domestic violence grounds.
Christopher Mark Doyon
Doyon is an American who fled the U.S. for acts associated with Anonymous and his support of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Mexico granted Doyon’s refugee application.
Edward J. Snowden
Snowden is the most widely known American who claimed asylum against the U.S. government. In 2013, Snowden leaked classified information from the National Security Agency. Snowden feared that the U.S. would persecute him and filed several applications for asylum. He then fled to Russia who granted him permanent residency in 2020. Snowden’s asylum claim promoted a discussion around global surveillance programs, national security, and individual privacy.
These 9 Americans granted refugee status unequivocally demonstrate persecution suffered in the U.S. and raises the broader question: will other Americans flee the nation to seek asylum?
Is trans community support disappearing? While it may appear that there is adequate support, it is my contention that LGBTQ+ positional power figures are not doing enough to advocate for trans people.
Transphobic behaviour and reactions to trans women is a clear indicator of marginalisation. These behaviors and reactions disempowers and oppresses them. It also intimidates them with values and decisions not of their own choosing. Take, for example, a trans woman who reports harassment to an LBGTQ+ advocate service, only to discover the service does not give her testimony epistemic weight.
The failure to afford proper epistemic weight to her testimony appears in a variety of forms. Testimonial injusticeis the most common. One example of testimonial injustice is when positional power figures disbelieve that trans women are being victimised, especially Black trans women. One reason for this is that Black trans women have a low societal position in the hierarchy. This leads one to believe that trans women will be further victimised or, experience what I call The Zaru Effect .
The word ‘zaru’ comes from the Three Exemplary Monkeys: Mizaru, who sees no evil, covers his eyes. Kikazaru, who hears no evil, covers his ears; and Iwazaru, who speaks no evil, covers his mouth. See no evil and speak no evil are integral to the discussion, as positional power figures ignore and fail to speak up for trans people. In other words, they allow legal and moral wrongs to oppress trans people. Hear no evil is also vital, given the deafness of some advocate services and how they mishear harm. But according to Rachel McKinnon, trans victims are epistemically situated to perceive events properly. If so, positional power figures within the LGBTQ+ community should do more to advocate for them.
To be sure, the Williams Institute found transgender persons of color, especially Black trans women, reported higher rates of police abuse.
Is Trans Community Support Disappearing? If so, Can Anything Be Done?
Philosopher Talia Bettcher asserts positional power figures have a moral responsibility that consist of giving disadvantaged identities first person authority. In the Explanation of First Person Authority, Bernhard Thöle argues there is a presumption that present tense self-ascriptions of mental states are not mistaken. Thöle further states while it is possible for others to discredit self-ascriptions, this cannot happen generally because the speaker is not mistaken when she sincerely self-ascribes mental states of a certain class. In other words, trans women are on a better epistemic footing to judge when others harm them. If so, then it follows that positional power figures should do more to advocate for them.
When LGBTQ+ organizations fail to speak up for trans women, the LGBTQ+ community is fractured by distrust. It also loses of critical source of moral and epistemic support within their own community.
The disappearing act shows internal members and external groups that community is all but an illusion. A real showing of community is when positional power figures hold space for trans people. That’s when the real magic occurs.
Guns killed 100 Americans in the last 72 hrs. You read correctly. In the last the 3 days, 100 Americans have died by gun violence in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Several significant pieces of gun control legislation have failed in the U.S. Congress over the last few years. For instance, the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act would prohibit the possession of certain ammunition and large capacity ammunition feeding devices. This brings the question back to: is the U.S. really a safe country? In May 2022, Health Data published an article showing the U.S. to be an outlier on gun violence. Nevada, Florida and Texas were just some of the states that had the worst mass shootings since 1991.
Recently, a woman was murdered by a violent partner with a gun, which Twitter user Rudy Owens says has been a consistent outcome of misogynistic violence exacerbated by lax gun laws and their unregulated sale. Cindy Laughlin stated on Twitter, “Another senseless tragedy. A deadly shooting at America’s largest mall right before Christmas. When will this stop?” Earlier this month, four people were found shot and killed at a home near Valley Station, according to WDRB.COM. In December, approximately over 844 people have lost their lives to gun violence. That is approximately 18 Americans dead per day.
Guns Killed 100 Americans in the Last 72 hrs. What Does Science Say?
What is more, 41,000 Americans die from gun violence every year—an average of more than 110 per day, based on data collected by Cliffords Law Center. Furthermore, Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide than people in other high-income countries. While U.S. accounts for just 4% of the world’s population, it has 35% of global firearm suicides.
America has the weakest gun laws and the most guns—393 million—of any comparable nation.
Was there a migrant in the U.K. caught in grooming sting? Share for Awareness posted a video on December 22, 2022 of an alleged migrant in the U.K. being caught in a child grooming sting. David Atherton, a journalist with The European Conservative, also reposted the video of the same man who recently moved to Bournemouth, and is alleged to have groomed a thirteen year old female minor online. The man seen in the video claims he is from Pakistan and has been in the U.K. for 25 days.
Days before his apprehension, another man who sought to engage in a sexual liaison with a thirteen year old child was apprehended in London.
The videoAshwini Shrivastava uploaded to Twitter on December 14, 2022, which has garnered over 253K views, depicts an Islamic man calling out to Allah after being caught pursuing an underaged girl. Citizens of the U.K. have also called for the man’s immediate removal from the U.K. on account of sexual predation.
There have also been allegations regarding male asylum seekers harassing women in Killarney, Ireland as depicted in this video.
The U.K. has been plagued with child grooming scandals in recent years, such as the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. For instance, in August 2019, seven men became the latest to be convicted under Operation Stovewood, a sting relating to the sexual exploitation of seven teenage girls. At least four were already in prison at the time of sentencing.
In 2004, Dateline NBC televised a show in the U.S. called To Catch a Predator featuring confrontations with host Chris Hansen and child predators. Decoys who chatted with adult men online lured them to the sting house, where they were confronted by Hansen who questioned them on their chats histories with minors. The confrontations were partly filmed with a hidden camera, following the arrest of the men.
There has been approximately 6,601 sex attacks on women in Ireland in three-year period with half of victims under 18, according to the Irish Mirror. The Gript, a right-wing media outlet, posted a convincing video of an alleged migrant who appears to be harassing an Irish woman.
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Fact Check: Higher Approvals for LGBTQ+ Asylum Activists? On 21 December 2022 Beryl Ohas published an article in GCN News claiming LGBTQ+ activists have it easier in the international protection process. Is it true? Before I get to the answer, I want to say that I empathise with Ohas and at no time discount her experiences as an LGBTQ+ person navigating the asylum process.
Fact Check: Higher Approvals for LGBTQ+ Asylum Activists? No, LGBTQ+ Asylum Activists Are Not Approved at a Higher Rate
First, asylum protocols do not favour activists or educated and successful LGBTQ+ refugees in Ireland. In fact, protocols are more likely to disfavour them on the grounds that it is believed that “the more knowledgeable” the asylum seeker, the easier it is for them to create an asylum-friendly scenario, which the International Protection Office may believe to be superficially compatible with the conditions known to exist in the country of origin. To illustrate this point one only need to refer to the case of Bulelani Mfaco, a well-known activist in Ireland, who has been vocal about homophobia and attacks in South Africa, but still had his asylum application rejected in 2019. Danni Askini, an American trans activist who sought asylum in Sweden also had her claim rejected. This clearly demonstrates LGBTQ+ activists are not approved at a higher rate.
LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers in Ireland From Islam Can Fully Be Themselves
While I agree with Ohas, less popular, antisocial and introverted LGBTQ+ individuals regularly experience discrimination, the claim that LGBTQ+ Muslims cannot be themselves in Ireland is misleading. This argument forces Ireland to shoulder the burden, when in fact the burden belongs on the shoulders of the Islamic community. First, ‘Muslim’ is not a country or continent. Muslims are people who adhere to the Islamic religion. Second, I haven’t found a law on the books in Ireland that requires LGBTQ+ asylum seekers to be part of the Islamic community. Indeed, the ECtHR explicitly held that Sharīaʿ law is not compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights. The explicit ruling of the ECtHR and the fact that Muslims are people who adhere to the Islamic religion leads one to believe that LGBTQ+ asylum seekers who identify as Muslim are likely adhering to Islam.
Most LGBTQ+ persons who are persecuted in Islam would not purposely re-associate themselves with the religion in Ireland because they understand that a hard line may be drawn between sexuality and spirituality. Indeed, a gay Muslim who attended a mosque in Ireland found out the hard way when a Sheikh forbade his lifestyle. The admonishment to his gay lifestyle also resulted in the man abandoning the Irish Muslim Council when he found himself without anywhere to pray for fear of judgement. He also told theIrish Mirror he’s now questioning whether he’s welcome among Muslims at all. As can be seen, it is not Ireland that is preventing LGBTQ+ asylum seekers from fully being themselves.
No, LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers Do Not Have to Celebrate Pride
Pride celebration is not required in order to receive a Refugee Declaration. Article 10 of the Irish Constitution states everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This means that public authorities in Ireland cannot require LGBTQ+ asylum seekers to celebrate Pride. Several high profile LGBTQ individuals in western countries, such as Blair White and Lewis Oakley, do not necessarily celebrate Pride month. In addition to these voices, Ally Hills uploaded a video in 2021 Reacting to Gays Who Hate Pride. If LGBTQ+ citizens do not have to celebrate Pride, then it follows that LGBTQ+ asylum seekers do not have to celebrate it just to get a Refugee Status Declaration.
Intrusive Questioning of LGB Asylum Seekers Have Changed
While there have been cases where gay asylum seekers have been asked intrusive questions in visa interviews, most International Protection officers generally avoid intrusive questions. Intrusive tests, the submission of intimate evidence, and questioning about sexual practices are explicitly prohibited as they infringe on a person’s rights under the EU Charter. We know this if we look at C-473/16 F v. Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal, where the CJEU clarified which evidence is permitted in assessing asylum claims based on sexual orientation. The CJEU’s judgment in A.B.C. v. Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie also delineates what cannot be asked, as well as what the decision maker is not able to receive as evidence in sexual orientation cases. As noted above, both cases demonstrate the changes being made in the International Protection process as it relates to intrusive questions.
No, There is No ‘Imaging’ of LGBTQ+ Persons in Western Countries
Ohas argues that “the use of stereotypical western imaging of LGBTQ+ sex, expressions of identity through rainbow-coded fashion styles is the framework within which ‘truth’ is legitimised and validated.” However, this could not be further from the truth. The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender. In other words, there are many shades of gray as it relates to human sexuality and gender. If there are many shades of gray in western society when it comes to gender and sexuality, then we cannot possibly accept the argument that there is a western imaging conspiracy being used to deny LGBTQ+ applicants.
It is Widely Understood that Asylum Seekers Miss Their Families
It is widely understood that asylum seekers miss their families. Candi McDow states “When you miss someone it means you really care about the person and you value them.” You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t miss your loved ones or certain aspects of your nation. For example, I miss Cream of Wheat and cannot find it anywhere in Ireland. I don’t think anyone would say, “Oh, you miss Cream of Wheat? Then you must not be persecuted!” Or, “You miss your family? People who miss their family are not persecuted!” People understand persecution in different ways. I think the best way to educate someone on persecution, without revealing intimate details about oneself, is to talk about it.
Where Ohas Gets it Right: Direct Provision
In the midst of misinformation Ohas does get it right on direct provision. Some asylum seekers in Ireland do have to share room with homophobic people, which promotes bullying and discrimination. While I disagree with Ohas that heterosexual refugees are highly homophobic and transphobic, there is an argument to be made that the myopic mindset could be the result of religious dogma, which emboldens an individual’s unwillingness to integrate to create a safe space for everyone.
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Here is why a practical definition of advocacy is key for the LGBTQ+ community: a narrow definition of advocacy and support does not exists. I’m serious; perform a Google or Bing search. I’ll sit here and wait.
While it is true that some define ‘effective advocacy’ as a service that enables nonprofits to shape the public debate on important social issues and to ensure underserved communities have a voice in the policies that impact their lives, this definition does not specify what social issues are necessarily important. Moreover, which communities are underserved? To what extent are those voices represented in policies? Other definitions for advocacy are the advancement and inclusion for transgender and gender nonconforming persons. However, what does advancement mean to these organisations? One cannot deny the state of being included into a group or structure is important, but is that it? How can one know? I guess we will never.
Another conundrum I’ve encountered is the adoption by Twitter users of the rainbow or trans flag. Many of these profiles belong to individuals and organisations who are in positions of power. Yet many remain silent when LGBTQ+ persons are harmed. This raises the question as to whether the adoption of the flags are a spectacle. If not a spectacle, then what? One may interpret it as a show of solidarity and mutual support. But is it exactly that: a show? To what extent does solidarity ceases to be visible? When one raises their social profile? When the number of constituents achieved; elections won? When the trend ends?
All these questions point to the conclusion that the LGBTQ+ community should better define what it means by advocacy and support, as no unified definition can lead to ‘selective advocacy’ and marginalisation.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines advocacy as “public support for an idea, plan, or way of doing something” and support as “to help someone emotionally or in a practical way.” If we combine the words ‘support’ and ‘advocacy’ we have sup- advocacy.
What is sup-advocacy?
Sup-advocacy can be defined as the practical and public support LBGTQ+ organisations provide to marginalised members of their own community. Practical support means LGBTQ+ organisations provide a tangible action to marginalised members, rather than an idea of support (e.g., communicating with the Gardai on behalf on marginalised members to get answers on why the Gardai has failed to properly investigate a complaint). Public support means LGBTQ+ organisations protect marginalised members of their community by making phone calls, writing emails and letters, or withdrawing its endorsements from groups and organisations that harm members of the LGBTQ+ community. These actions show other groups that it will not tolerate the antipathy and unfair treatment shown to marginalised members of their community.
Who are marginalised members of the LGBTQ+ community?
UN expert on gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, said on December 16th that “Trans women are among the most vilified, disenfranchised, and stigmatized people on this planet.” Madrigal-Borloz, who encouraged the Scottish Parliament to adopt the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, disclosed that he witnessed “shocking acts of violence” against trans women, such as killings, torture and beatings. If trans women are especially vulnerable to acts of violence, why are they often last to receive sup-advocacy?
Why a Practical Definition of Advocacy is Key for the LGBTQ+ Community
Well, some people think trans women are stealthy and are always ‘hiding who they really are.’ If trans women are not being honest about ‘who they really are,’ then they are likely not being honest about what led to an act of harassment and violence. This argument is fallacious because it appeals to the popular belief that the more successful the trans woman in her preferred gender role, the more likely she is being deceptive. It also assumes there is only one explanation for the violence trans women suffer: her perceived ‘deception’. They have a point in thinking trans women are deceptively navigating the world in stealth. But this idea ignores several mitigating factors, one being the true purpose of transition, which is to align oneself in the preferred gender role.
Canadian philosopher, Talia Bettcher, asserts that authority figures have a moral responsibility to give trans women the benefit of the doubt. The strength of this approach is exploring other factors, such as external ones there were not considered before, that likely resulted in a trans woman being victimised. Nonaction only gives imprimatur to wrongdoers and emboldens them to commit acts of violence against trans women.
The LGBTQ+ community, in every nation, should trust trans women, should provide them with a critical source of moral support, and should put together a unified front against those who harm them. As stated by Bayard Rustin, “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.”
When LGBTQ+ organisations act as angelic troublemakers for trans women who are mistreated by unjust systems they are demonstrating an act of sup-advocacy. They are also troublemaking for a higher purpose.
Are people persecuted in safe countries? When we think about asylum seekers and the countries that are unable or unwilling to protect them, our thoughts may turn to Shia Hazara families fleeing Taliban violence in Afghanistan. We may think about the arbitrary detention of activists in Damascus by the Syrian Democratic Forces. As we think about what drives a person to flee their country, the Eritrean government’s barbaric acts of torture and its imprisonment of Asmara residents, or the Midgan clans use of female genital mutilation as a political tool to control women in Somalia may also spring to mind.
We may turn to lawyers and human rights experts to gain a better understanding of why militant organisations seeking to establish an Islamic state may arouse fear in political activists. Academic journals, country reports, and case law may also highlight how the inundation of terrorist propaganda in rogue nations can grow to be dangerous for the average national.
Are People Persecuted in Safe Countries?
As we journey away from the transgressions above, imagine that an individual fled their country because members of a criminal organization seek to extort and harm them. Are they entitled to international protection? What if authorities in a country fail to arrest the suspects who repeatedly assault and threaten a member of the LGBTI community? Suppose a student activist fled their country after police racially profiled and assaulted them and the courts refuse to prosecute. Is this a legitimate claim for international protection? What if a whistleblower wrote an academic piece about the human rights conditions in their country because they felt disclosure was in the public’s interest. However, had their act of fearless speech—that stands testimony to wrong—chilled by legal news and academic commentary publications in their country? Let’s assume the publication’s Managing Editor did it to conceal from the public, serious government wrongdoing that ought to be known and deliberated about. Are they entitled to international protection?
If the answer is yes, would it still be if we learned the individual fled Oceania, Europe or North America? Some jurisdictions would argue no, as these nations have a democratic style of leadership. When there is a system of checks and balances and “constitutional guarantees” of due process in place, a country is considered a safe country of origin. To be sure, the European Union’s Directive 2013/32/EU (Annex I) states:
“A country is considered as a safe country of origin where, on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law within a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be shown that there is generally and consistently no persecution as defined in Article 9 of directive 2011/95/EU, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.”
It may be difficult for some to accept this definition, as “consistently” indicates that in every democratic regime case, there is no persecution, torture, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment, nor is there indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict on any occasion. That is a heavy burden for a country to meet, even those with a democratic style of leadership.
If a country contends that its behavior is consistent with every citizen and there are absolutely no forms of persecution on its soil, can we really trust it? Moreover, can we trust the international bodies that believe it too? It is a question that figures prominently in terms of the principle of non-refoulement—the practice of not forcing asylum seekers and refugees to return to a country where they may face persecution.
The ECtHR’s Holding of an American Asylum Seeker
Another question of huge significance is whether the country of asylum participates in wrongdoing committed by the agent of persecution when it imposes an irrebuttable presumption on the claimant not to qualify as a refugee under the Refugee Convention. Miles Jackson explores the idea of attribution in Complicity in International Law, and asserts that countries “cooperate with each other and with non-state actors all the time, often virtuously but sometimes wrongfully.” Indeed, in Goldstein v. Sweden, an American asylum seeker was subjected to systematic police persecution and surveilled after he actively worked to reveal police brutality and other misconduct by the police in the United States. Non-state actors destroyed Goldstein’s property and attacked him with chemical substances. Even though Goldstein’s reports to the police authorities had been to no avail, the Swedish Migration Board decided there was no evidence to show that the United States police authorities had persecuted him and found him “not in need of protection in Sweden.” Goldstein appealed the decision to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Although Sweden breached its international obligation to offer protection, the ECtHR decided the United States could obviate the risk of non-state actors by providing appropriate protection.
Safe Country Nationals Who Flee to Canada
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) reached a similar conclusion in X (Re), 2014 CanLII 88897. In that case, applicants of Roma ethnicity in Hungary asserted Commandos forced themselves into their home and assaulted them. Their children were also assaulted on numerous occasions at school and on the bus. Although the applicants emphasized these attacks were racially motivated, the IRB rejected the appeal on grounds that Hungarian “police are being held accountable for their actions if they fail to take Roma complaints seriously or become agents of persecution of Roma citizens themselves.”
While the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance encouraged Hungary to make further changes to continue its fight against racism, a report showed extensive discriminatory and abusive police practices against Roma. What is more, many of the police officers interviewed in the report admitted to ethnic profiling. If the rule of attribution were applied, Hungary’s inaction would constitute a breach of its positive obligations to take measures to prevent violations committed by non-state actors, an obligation conditioned by a due diligence standard. With regard to Canada, Jackson suggests imposing a correlative duty of non-participation, as it would hold Canada responsible for its own contribution to the wrongdoing.
The presumption that a country is “safe” for all of its citizens has been criticized by NGOs and scholars. EuroMed Rights, AEDH, and FIDH also opposes the notion of “safe countries of origin,” and points to members of minority groups who can face specific discrimination in countries where the rest of the population is generally “safe.” Although the UNHCR likened the presumption to a form of discrimination, when its committees and councils disregard violations committed by state and non-state actors in democratic regimes, and fail to hold these regimes responsible for positive obligation breaches, it acquiesces to such violations.
Should Tribunals be Held Liable for the Use of Irrebuttable Presumptions?
It is not argued here that an applicant who cannot substantiate a risk regarding the lack of state protection should be bestowed Convention Refugee status. The contention is this: when a country of asylum connivingly uses an irrebuttable presumption to withhold international protection—believing a low rate of convictions before human rights tribunals is proof that there are few rights violations in that country—it should be held accountable for its role in the toleration of the private human rights violations. To be sure, Jackson suggests where complicity is found in an international law matter, accomplices must be held responsible for their own acts of contribution to the principal’s wrong.
Take, for example, the case of A. v. Migrationsverket. In that case, the Swedish authorities relied on the rebuttable presumption in the recast Asylum Procedures Directive for procedures based on the safe country of origin concept to withhold international protection from a Serbian national, despite the fact it did not fully implement the concept in legislation. The CJEU held when a Member State has not implemented the concept of a safe country of origin into relevant laws, regulations, and administrative provisions, it cannot reject an asylum application as manifestly unfounded on the grounds that the applicant is from a safe country of origin.
Are People Persecuted in Safe Countries or Are They Economic Migrants?
Lastly, there is a widely circulated claim that asylum seekers from democratic regimes are not “real refugees” but are “economic migrants.” However, this is a charge launched against genuine applicants to degrade them and undermine the rights that emerge from obtaining Convention Refugee status. Many of these asylum seekers bear some of the most powerful passports in the world that enables them to enter countries that have cordially recognized free migration and emigration for purposes of curiosity, trade, or to remain as permanent residents. This observation should demystify the specious argument that asylum seekers from democratic regimes are leveraging incriminating country of origin evidence and fabricated stories so as to enter and remain in a foreign country.
Immigration and refugee law makes clear that the right to asylum is not a right to abreaction. It is a right to have an application for international protection carried out on an individual basis. The most effective way to exercise this right is for the persecuted to leave their country, and to provide evidence that outweighs a general presumption that their country is safe. The country of asylum must adequately examine and consider such evidence. When countries of asylum adopt and enforce administrative edicts based on nationality, they not only suspend this fundamental right, but they also breach their obligation not to discriminate—a precept widely recognized under international anti-discrimination law. In the words of the late Desmond Tutu, to remain neutral in situations of injustice is to be complicit in that injustice.
The locals in Dublin who have been protesting the housing of ‘military aged male’ asylum seekers and Conor McGregor stands in solidarity with East Wall. A Twitter user accused McGregor of wanting to be a politician, but the two division UFC World Champion stated, “…no I do not want to be a politician. Just that they have to answer to me.”
Over the past few weeks, locals have taken to the streets and protested the housing of male asylum seekers in Clondalkin, Dublin, Fermoy and Wicklow. They have also called for a referendum on Ireland’s current immigration policy, which has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures. Concerns raised in their petition revolve around the alleged sexual of assaults on girls, the alleged harassment of women, the alleged illegitimate claims made by asylum seekers, and the closing of nursing homes to house asylum seekers.
In the midst of the tension, Dublin Live reported that as many as 100 refugees moved into the East Wall centre on 15 December, inflaming the locals, who have called on the centre to be shut down.
East Wall Here For All posted a press release on the same day stating it would “maintain positive relations for all residents in East Wall and surrounding communities.” It further asserted that it would both “meet with residents in the direct provision centres,” and “consult with residents” residing in Dublin.
Conor McGregor Stands in Solidarity With East Wall. Anyone Else?
No blue checkmark figures retweeted the Cage Warrior’s tweet in support of East Wall nor has any responded in opposition to his support for the protesters. However, U.S. politician Kawika Freitas, business consultant Andreya Taylor, Irish hurler Peter Quellay, and Antelope Hill Publishing have all liked the tweet.
McGregor has strongly opposed Ireland’s membership in the European Union, and has made comments such as “It is time to talk to Ireland leaving the European Union.”