Archive: 29 January 2023

U.S. Persecution of Black Americans Dominate Global Headlines

U.S. Persecution of Black Americans Dominate Global Headlines

U.S. persecution of Black Americans dominate global headlines and we are not even 30 days into the New Year.

The most recent headline is the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who the Scorpion Unit stopped and brutally beat earlier this year. On January 10, Nichols succumbed to his injuries. Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean and Preston Hemphill, were among the officers involved in Nichols death.

Days before Nichols’ death, law enforcement officers killed Keenan Anderson, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matters movement.

Both videos depict two men, Nichols and Anderson, who were both visibly frightened of law enforcement officers and fled. In one video, Nichols can be heard screaming for his mom while five officers punched and kicked him repeatedly. In the other video, Anderson can be heard yelling, “You are trying to George Floyd me.”

There is a debate among Americans as to whether these incidents should be considered acts of racism. CCG Bryson, who is known for his Christian conservative rapping, said “Can someone explain, logically, how 5 black officers killing a black man is white supremacy?” To which, Tariq Nasheed responded, it was the “white supremacist power structure that created that police unit that allocated the resources to them, trained them and incentivize them to go out there and terrorize the black community. That’s 100% white supremacy.” To be sure, prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said on The Daily Show that “the race of the police officer isn’t the determining factor of whether they’re going to commit excessive use of force. But it is the race of the victim. And it’s often Black and brown people who bear the brunt of police brutality.”

It must be emphasized that American law enforcement officers’ harassment and treatment of Black Americans as suspects, through pedestrian and traffic stops, has been thoroughly researched. A recent study found when police use tactics to gain control in encounters with civilians, such as issuing commands in an aggressive way, it fosters fear and make those encounters less predictable (Pickett, Graham & Cullen, 2022). For instance, an officers’ frightening commands may cause an individual to flee the scene, or result in them being hesitant to leave their vehicles even when officers command them to (Pickett, Graham & Cullen, 2022).

U.S. Persecution of Black Americans Dominate Global Headlines. Will the International Community Step In?

In 2016, the IACHR found U.S. law and practices regarding police killings soared to high levels of impunity (Canada, 2022). As a result, the IACHR urged the U.S. to conduct “exhaustive, impartial, independent, effective and prompt investigations.” Although human rights bodies have repeatedly advised the U.S. to bring its domestic law into compliance with international law and standards on use of force practices, the U.S. has failed to comply (Canada, 2022).

As I mentioned last year, in Bullets of Terror: Staring Down the Second Amendment’s Barrel of Death, the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety does not go far enough, nor does it provide for specific criminal legislation for penalties against race-based policing that often results in death for many Black Americans.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made clear that police are not free to use any amount of force. Indeed, the CERD stated the brutality and excessive or deadly use of force by law enforcement officials against Black and Latinx Americans, including against unarmed individuals, was deeply concerning. It also was concerned at the persistence of the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement officials in the U.S.

Both the End Racial Profiling Act of 2019 (H.R.4339) and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 (H.R.1280) have not made it pass the House. Moreover, U.S. federal and state legislation that regulates the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials is not in accordance with international law and international standards.

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How to Sleep Through Anything in Direct Provision

How to Sleep Through Anything in Direct Provision

Do you have a noisy neighbor? Is a new development being constructed near you? Is there a smoke detector that needs a new battery or, are you dealing with an overloaded circuit breaker? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will give you the secret on how to sleep through anything in direct provision!

Music May Help with PTSD Symptoms

While the circumstances above may prevent an individual for achieving much needed sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related symptoms can prevent sleep as well. According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD “is characterized by three symptomatic clusters: (1) intrusive/re-experiencing symptoms, including flahbacks and nightmares, (2) avoidance symptoms (e.g., avoiding thinking about the event), and (3) hyperarousal symptoms, including insomnia symptoms and hyper-vigilance,” (Jespersen and Vuust, 2012). In the study Jespersen and Vuust (2012) conducted, between 50% and 73% of refugees had a lifetime prevalence of PTSD, compared to 1–2% in the general population. Indeed, Jespersen and Vuust (2012) found that many traumatized refugees experience symptoms consistent with a full PTSD diagnosis. They also discovered that relaxation music might help with PTSD symptoms.

How to Sleep Through Anything in Direct Provision

A few nights ago, I had difficulty falling asleep and nothing seemed to work. Listening to the humming sound of a fan was soothing and usually guided me to the REM phase. However, in my current environment, the fan was of little use and didn’t seem to help much. Then I remembered: music! How could I forget! In 12 Songs that Will Get You Through Anything in 2023, I attached a study from Donald Collins, who found that music could reduce cortisol levels. The study Collins pointed to further showed that adults who listened to both personal and neutral selections of music had significantly “reduced cortisol levels.” To be sure, in The Effect of Relaxation Music Listening on Sleep Quality in Traumatized Refugees: A Pilot Study, researchers found that listening to relaxation music at bedtime distracts the listener from stressful thoughts.

Moreover, Kate Robards found that slow, soothing music lowers the heart rate and relax the body. It also reduces anxiety, stress or, simply distract from stressful thoughts that prevent sleep.

One video that I would recommend to anyone who may be having a difficult time falling asleep is Ryan Crooper’s Sleep Talk Down, Guided Meditation Music – Sleep Faster. Crooper’s video will show you how to sleep through anything in direct provision!

Police Who Assaulted Black Trans Woman Serves No Time in Jail

Police Who Assaulted Black Trans Woman Serves No Time in Jail

Police who assaulted Black trans woman serves no time in jail.

In May 2019, a shop owner had a confrontation with Breonna “BB” Hill, a Black trans woman residing in Kansas, Missouri. Hill sought to resolve the dispute and contacted the Kansas Police. Soon after, officers Charles Prichard and Matthew Brummett arrived on scene.

Rather than conducting a thorough investigation into Hill’s complaint, Brummett and Prichard slammed Hill to the ground, handcuffed her and kneed on her neck. Brummett and Prichard can also be seen slamming Hill’s head onto the concrete and pulling her hands above her head.

Police Who Assaulted Black Trans Woman Serves No Time in Jail
Courtesy of Google

Roderick Reed, the individual who recorded the incident, continued to record Brummett and Prichard while they assaulted Hill. However, this resulted in Kansas Police charging Reed with a “municipal violation” for not obeying an officer’s commands.

Kansas Police eventually charged both officers with a misdemeanor but this charge was upgraded to a felony third-degree assault after the video of their assault against Hill went viral.

Five months after the officer’s assault, reports surfaced that a man named Allan Robinson shot Hill. Police initially charged Robinson with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. However, this count was reduced because prosecutors were of the opinion that Robinson shot Hill in self-defense.

Missouri is a state that does not prohibit the use of the Trans Panic defense. According to the American Bar Association, the Trans Panic legal defense legitimses and excuses violent and lethal behaviour against trans people. This defense has also been used on numerous occasions before a suspect reaches a jury, which shifts the burden to trans persons, who then must show they did not provoke the suspect’s violent reaction. While it is obvious to some, most do not see how this defense criminalises trans bodies in the United States.

In November 2022, a United States judge ruled that both officers did not have to serve time in jail.

Police Who Assaulted Black Trans Woman Serves No Time in Jail. Why Violence Against Trans Women Persists in the U.S.

When LGBTQ+ organizations fail to speak up for trans women, the LGBTQ+ community is fractured by distrust. In keeping with my thoughts in Is Trans Community Support Disappearing?, when the LGBTQ+ community are silent on the harms against trans women, they lose of critical source of moral and epistemic support within their own community—either through support withdrawal or death.

Hill’s death, in my opinion, is another ghastly case of what I call the Zaru Effect—when law enforcement officers close their eyes to harms perpetuated by private actors against trans women. It also involves law enforcement’s arrest of trans women for making complaints, and their failure to speak out against abuses that either causes the physical and sexual assault, or the incarceration and death of trans women.

Mysterious Deaths in Direct Provision: Suicide or Murder?

Mysterious Deaths in Direct Provision: Suicide or Murder?

Mysterious Deaths in Ireland’s Direct Provision: Suicide or Murder?

Asylum seekers within Ireland’s direct provision institution have died under mysterious circumstances, with the coroner’s office ruling several of these cases death by suicide. In 2022, mainstream media published an article that revealed  four asylum seekers died by suicide, while the cause of death of other asylum seekers were unknown. It is not immediately clear whether these statistics include Thomas Stofiel and Muhammad Arif Ahrar, two asylum seekers who were housed in direct provision and, allegedly died by suicide. What is clear is: these deaths are indeed puzzling.

According to Malekmian, Arif was residing in the city of Monaghan in an emergency direct provision centre. Asylum seekers in that centre described Arif as an “intelligent and educated” man. While no scientific evidence shows a correlation between intelligence and levelheadedness, there seems to be an association between education and dissidence. If so, it may be the case that Arif fell under the class of dissident asylum seekers—those who are less likely to obey Milgramesque directives meted out by authority.

First, let’s consider the facts. Malekmian discovered that “those close to Arif were fearful of his mental health” and “urged him to go to the doctor” before his death. However, Abolish Direct Provision alleges that Arif had sent several e-mails to the International Protection Accommodation Service requesting to be transferred. If Arif had close connections to people in the Monaghan centre, how do you explain the copious requests for a transfer?

It could be that Arif’s request for a transfer was grounded on the idea that other cities offered better employment opportunities. A request to transfer in order to gain better access to employment is motive for life, is it not? Indeed, access to employment is undoubtedly an alibi for Arif, given employment is a requisite for most asylum seekers who have a responsibility to financially assist their families in their home countries. This raises another question: if Arif sought to assist his family back in Afghanistan, suicide would thwart this very goal, would it not?

Suicidal Disclaimer
Courtesy of Journey to the Center

Mysterious Deaths in Ireland’s Direct Provision: Suicide or Murder? If Murder, How Long Will They Get Away With It?

It may be that Arif’s transfer had little to do with employment and more to do with behaviour within the Monaghan centre itself. In Out of the Miqlaatun into the Fire, I describe the parlous state of encountering a post-Wahhabistic form of social control by so-called asylum morality police—a faction of male asylum seekers in Direct Provision, and how Islam was the driving force.

But Arif was Muslim, wasn’t he? Arif’s status as a Muslim is a plausible rebuttable to the phenomenon, in light of the fact that he would have obeyed the tenets of Islam. Building on this argument, it is quite possible that Arif would not have come to the attention of them. Further, research seems to indicate that “…asylum seekers may face unique risk factors for mental disorder before, during, and after their migration leading to suicidality.” While this may be true, the article cited asserts “the lack of early and thorough exploration of suicidal intent in this population requires large-scale quantitative studies to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of current practices in mental-health care and suicide prevention.” In other words, it is difficult to determine what may lead to an asylum seeker’s suicidality.

If research does not support the suicidal argument, could it be that we are all ignoring a common cause? Is it within the realm of possibility that another faction of asylum seekers like those mentioned in Out of the Miqlaatun into the Fire, bullied Arif to suicide? If we factor in Arif’s intelligence and education, and its connection with dissidence, are we looking at another protest psychosis incident? It is plausible that the political abuse of psychiatry, as experienced by my confidential source, may have variations to fit the individual profile of specific asylum applicants.

If so, does this point to intentional murder? The phases drafted in Dominant Woman were preliminary and mirrored the direct behaviour of men in direct provision. As far as we know, Arif was not a member of the LGBTQ community. If not LGBTQ, then it is unlikely male asylum seekers would have exposed Arif to similar phases. Moreover, Dominant Woman was silently condemned by several NGOs and politicians in Ireland, and lacked the imprimatur given to the asylum morality police. If the protest psychosis was the cause, and it has variations, how long will it be before they use it on someone else? Better yet, will it result in someone’s death?

NYPD Officer Pummels 12-Year-Old Girl

NYPD Officer Pummels 12-Year-Old Girl

Breaking News (Cork, Ireland) – NYPD Officer Pummels 12-Year-Old Girl.

Rafael Shimunov, a political activist in Queens, New York, Tweeted a video of a New York Police Department officer pummeling a 12-year-old girl near Edwin Markham Middle School.

A girl is heard in the video saying “He’s hitting her?! He’s hitting her?” while the NYPD police officer pummels, what appears to be a Black American girl, on the skull several times. Girls attempt to break the girl free of the officer’s grip, but are unsuccessful.

NYPD Officer Pummels 12-Year-Old Girl. Is There A Trend?

In the U.S., law enforcement officers have a terrifying history of arresting and brutalizing Black girls. In 2015, an officer in McKinney, Texas is seen throwing a bikini wearing Black teenage girl to the ground. The video also depicts the officer placing his knee on her back while he handcuffs her. A similar incident happened to an 18-year-old Black girl in 2016, where a D.C. police knocked her to the ground and arrested her. During the same year, a police officer in Maryland pepper-sprayed and handcuffed a 15-year-old Black girl.

Michelle S. Jacobs retells numerous incidents much like the present one in her paper The Violent State: Black Women’s Invisible Struggle Against Police Violence (2017).

According to Jacobs, “all incidents revolve around Black girls “talking back” to the police or being so-called “loud.”” Jacobs further points out that in the U.S. “Black girls are likened more to adults than to children and are treated as if they are willfully engaging in behaviors typically expected of Black women.”

For example, a Metropolitan Police Department was forced to acknowledge that they arrested an 11-year-old Black girl when she came to report she had been raped. Even though the girl had signs of sexual trauma, much like the Baltimore incident, the police charged her with filing a false police report. These incidents undoubtedly show the precarious circumstances Black girls and women face in their encounters with law enforcement, and further demonstrate Black Oppression Still Persists in America.

The officer in the present incident has been suspended. No information as to whether NYPD will bring charges against the officer.

Veghel Mosque Set Ablaze on New Year's Day

Veghel Mosque Set Ablaze on New Year’s Day

Breaking News (Cork, Ireland) – Veghel Mosque Set Ablaze on New Year’s Day.

Sangar Paykhar, the host of The Afghan Eye, recently uploaded a video to Twitter of the Veghel Mosque set afire in the Netherlands, bringing in a horrifying message for the New Year.

Veghel Mosque Set Ablaze on New Year's Day
Courtesy of Sangar Paykhar

The Met states the English word “mosque” denotes a Muslim house of worship. The word evolved from the Arabic term masjid, which means “place of prostration.” The Islamic Foundation converges with The Met, in that, mosques are special places of worship for Muslims, who meet five times every day to pray together.

Based on recent data collected in 2019, 20.1% of the Dutch population identified as Roman Catholic, 14.8% identify as Protestant and 5.0% identify as Muslim.

Veghel Mosque Set Ablaze on New Year’s Day is a Message of Hate

While it cannot be denied there are reasonable arguments to make against Islam, setting a mosque afire is an intimidating message to send the public. Indeed, the attack on places on worship, whether by gasoline or firearms, is a violent act of hate. Not only does such message serve to intimidate communities, but it also places communities on edge and makes them fearful.

The torching of sacred places of worship, such as Baptist churches and Synagogues, have also been used throughout history to terrorize marginalised groups, such as Black Americans and Jews, and to prevent them practicing their beliefs. For example, three Black churches were set alight by a suspected arsonist in the U.S. in 2019. Based on reporting conducted by the New York Times, the first fire occurred at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre on March 26.  Ten days later, two other historic Black churches, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana, were also set on fire. Peter Szekely confirmed that the suspect destroyed both churches with gasoline.

In 2021, a man intentionally set afire the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Austin, Texas. In each case, all places of worship were empty and no one was injured.

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