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whlw: no. 277

August 16 – 22, 2021

Hey, this is Sham, your very own news curator. Simi also says hi. In this issue, we'll talk about
  • The world is conflicted about recognizing the Taliban rule in Afghanistan
  • We jailed another war criminal responsible for the Bosnian Genocide
  • The worst mass shooting in Britain in more than a decade
  • We remember the 2012 Marikana massacre in South Africa
  • Malaysia's new prime minister
Are you listening to our Spotify playlist Decolonize Weekly yet? My favorites in this week's selection (if I had to choose) are Malaysia's pop princess Talitha and her song, 'Go Dumb' and Afghan rap deluxe aka Naqibullah's 'Shabikhoon' (that beat).  

Next month, on September 15, this newsletter turns seven years old. As of now, 239 people support this newsletter on Patreon. Can we bring that number to 300? :)

Also, I'm introducing a new subcategory to this newsletter: Friendly Ads aka affordable plain-text ads with up to 180 characters, seen by more than 12,000 subscribers, shown at the bottom of each issue of whlw. You can book a classified ad to promote a product or service, make an announcement or advertise your job openings. If you're interested in finding out more, just reply to this mail.

Now without further ado, here's what happened last week,
Sham 

what happened last week

KIND-OF-MIDDLE EAST
We are all so conflicted about the Taliban ruling in Afghanistan
After 20 years, the Taliban are now back in power in Afghanistan while the country’s former government looks like it’s booked an evacuation flight with no return ticket. These past few weeks have been very hectic, extremely emotional and dangerous-for-so-many. Associated Press says at least seven Afghans have died, while other reports put the death toll as high as 20. I know we have all seen the pictures and videos (of those that went viral, this one calmed me down a little bit). 

The international community is now trying to find a way forward.

But how?
Now, over the next few weeks and months, countries worldwide will need to update their ‘relationship status’ with the Afghanistan's new ‘government’. The question now is, ‘do we formally recognize the rule of a terrorist group who has committed atrocities against its own people, or do we insist on their retreat?’

Who has decided on what status so far?
Well, some countries are saying, ‘honestly,
depends on how the Taliban want to rule the country’, while others are like, ‘never ever will we take them seriously.’ To be fair, nobody can truly trust the Taliban anyway. They, over and over again, violated the terms of the 2020 peace agreement (which basically was like, 'please promise you won’t keep fighting') and kept attacking foreign troops.
  • Dig deeper: Ashley Jackson (follow her Twitter) is a researcher, author and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Armed Groups at the Overseas Development Institute. She’s focused on conflict and armed groups. As such, she shared this super-thread about whether or not the Taliban can be trusted.
Here’s an overview of all the new ‘relationship status updates’:
  • China is $o excited. The country has always been flirting with Afghanistan's mineral wealth but hasn’t come too close to it yet. Plus, the Taliban might finally give their Belt and Road infrastructure mega project direct access to the Middle East
  • Pakistan is just happy to have the United States out, and there are reports that parts of the country are tight with the Taliban (and have been for a long time).
  • Russia is like, ‘we’ll take you seriously if you don’t give safe haven to militants who want to attack or any of our former Soviet republics in Central Asia.’ 
What can the Taliban even do without U.S. cash?
Depends on the countries above. At this point, the U.S. is holding a lot of Afghan government money (billions of dollars) in its pockets. With the value of local currency in
freefall and the head of the central bank gone, it's hard to imagine how the Taliban will stay in power for long if they can't pay the bills. Unless… well, unless someone else fills the void. To be continued.

What’s life like in Kabul right now?
‘As a journalist, I can’t get out for reporting,’ says Omar Lemar, who lives in Kabul. I reached out to him via
his Instagram and he generously took the time to answer a couple of questions. I published the entire interview on this newsletter’s Patreon page – it's available to all.
Elsewhere in the region

Egypt plans to sell a piece of its state company behind its new capital city (yes, they're building a new one). It could be the country's biggest-ever initial public offering (IPO).

(People representing) Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (who are actual enemies) met up. People are like, 'are they... ready to become friends? And why?'
EUROPE
We jailed another war criminal responsible for the Bosnian Genocide
Trigger warning: Graphic, disturbing content 
One of the many men responsible for the Bosnian Genocide lost an important trial at Bosnia and Herzegovina's state court last week.

For his role, Rade Garić will be
going to prison for 20 years for crimes against humanity, including torture, rape, and murders between 1992 and 1995 in the areas of Srebrenica and Vlasenica.

Tell me more
Garić was part of the police at first, but joined the military later. He became more and more 'unscrupulous and brutal,' said the court. For the purpose of this probably being your Monday-morning-read, I'm not going into how brutal but 
Marija Tausan and Azra Husarić for Balkan Insight did if you're curious. He ordered that his men kill an 11-year-old kid. The only crime he was not made responsible for legally: the rape of women and girls by members of his in the village of Luke.

Why this matters: One Twitter user said it best: "This is sending a powerful message that crimes committed at Srebrenica will be punished however long it takes! Well done the prosecutors and police force that brought Garić to justice."

Update your view on Srebrenica
I've got two movie recommendations for the strong-hearted. First, '
Disturbed Earth' (2021), directed by Kumjana Novakova and Guillermo Carreras-Candi about what life is like in Srebrenica today. It's currently running at the (27th) Sarajevo Film Festival. Here's both of them explaining why they think it's a must-watch. 'Srebrenica is part of the past, present and future. We must learn our lessons.'

Second, '
Quo Vadis, Aida?' (2020) directed by Jasmila Zbanićabout the genocide itself. I got the chance to watch it the other day. And, in a sad coincidence, the news coming out of Afghanistan last week reminded me of that one scene when during the fall of Srebrenica, within a few hours, it became clear who was part of the so-called 'international community staff' and who wasn't – and what that meant for the safety of their lives. There was also this tweet by journalist Jenan Moussa that reminded many of the same thing.
  • Btw, Zbanić is also the director of 'Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams,' (2006) another movie about the Bosnian War, focusing on the life of a single mother in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina today.
We witnessed a gunman commit the worst massacre in Britain in more than a decade – and he hated women
Five people died in Plymouth, England on August 14. A gunman killed five people with a shotgun, including a mother and a three-year-old girl, before turning the gun on himself. The massacre took six minutes. It was the worst mass shooting in Britain in more than a decade.

Was it a terrorist attack?
Well, that’s up for debate right now. Police at first said, 'this is a domestic incident,' but didn't know what the motive was. Now, as the police learn more and more about him, 'he probably killed these people because he hated women.' They said that he ‘
probably was an incel.’

A what?
Incels aka are men who are not happy with the way they look, or that they don't have a love life or just generally don't like their lives, and think women (
and the ‘alpha’ men who have relationships with them) are to blame for this. They are known as 'involuntary celibate' men, or short, 'incels' and basically believe that men are victims of oppression. They want government-sponsored girlfriends and women to be held in concentration camps. A lot of experts keep saying that incels are ‘terrorists and not so-called lone wolves. How do they know that?
Well, in the lead-up to the attacks, he
compared himself to incels in YouTube videos and contributed to their forums. He said he was socially isolated, struggled to meet women and complained about being a ‘virgin,’ ‘I can't attract women at all.’
  • Btw, misogyny and guns seem to go together. In Scotland, at a shooting range, a picture went viral that showed a man firing a gun through a hatch in a board with the words ‘that b*tch’ written on it.
What now?
England and
Scotland want to bring this topic into the classrooms, to 'train our teachers to spot incel extremists in the future.’ Plus, the police are thinking out loud about its role in having granted the gun licence to the gunman. ‘Maybe we need to check their social media accounts, too.’

Plus,
in the words of political commentator Natalie Wynn, ‘Making fun of incels is probably counterproductive. It piles onto the shame and humiliation. [What] they need is to unlearn their poisonous thinking about sex, age, masculinity, and happiness. But that’s on them, most of us are out of patience.’

Why this matters: Hatred of women kills. There are so many massacres committed by men who belong to this incel 'community'. It doesn't start and end with England. Read up on those in the United States, Canada and Germany.
AFRICA
We remember that the police massacred 34 mine workers in 2012 in Marikana, South Africa
On August 16, 2012, a huge crowd of mine workers went on a strike. Then, police opened fire on the crowd, killing 34 people and seriously injuring 78 others at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, South Africa. Afterwards, some 250 people were arrested. Until this day, nobody has taken responsibility for what happened.

Why were they on a strike?
It all started on August 9. Some 3,000 miners went on strike to basically demand a living wage. The workers’ union was against this strike, the police, too. But it was effective. Five days later, the mine officially halted production. Two days later, police launched an attack to break up the strike.

An attack?!
Yes, more than 400 heavily armed police were deployed. They put up a barbed wire fence to close the miners in, and military police vehicles and helicopters were deployed. on the scene. Later, police said that they were acting in self defence but ‘that is just not true,’ say witnesses. others. About a dozen miners were caught on camera being shot at directly. Nobody from the police died.

Who was killed?
Among the miners killed were Mgacineni ‘Mambush’ Noki, Bongani Nqongophele, Janaveke Raphael, Van Wyk Sagalala, security guard Matlhomola Mabelane, Andries Ntshenyeho, Xolani Nduzuzu, Telang Mohai, Thabile Mpumza, Stelega Gadlela, Thabiso Thelejane, Thabiso Mosebetsane, Jackson Lehupa and many others. Members of the victims’
families will ‘never be happy until the policemen who pulled the triggers are behind bars.’ 

What happened then?
The
Marikana Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the massacre of miners at Marikana. But nothing came of it. And that’s basically the problem today. The report said, ‘none of the political leaders were to blame,’ including now-President Cyril Ramaphosa who at the time of the massacre was a (non-executive) director at Lomnin. 

How is the country talking about this?
It’s a huge deal, of course. For any other country, this would have been a traumatic moment in history. Julius Sello Malema, the commander-in-chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters,
went on TV to talk about President Ramaphosa’s accountability, ‘but he will be fetched from his home even when he has retired like it happened with Jacob Zuma.’ Some very angry people refer to the president as ‘Cyril Killer.’ That’s how controversial the country’s president has become. 

Why this matters: The Marikana massacre in South Africa’s history, as Nick Davies writes for The Guardian, “revived images of massacres by the state in the old apartheid era, with one brutal difference – this time it was predominantly black policemen, with black senior officers working for black politicians, who were doing the shooting.”
ASIA
We have a new prime minister in Malaysia – because the old one was overwhelmed with the coronavirus pandemic
Malaysia has a new prime minister. His name is Ismail Sabri Yaakob

But there were no elections.
Yes. Yaakob only became prime minister because the old one, Muhyiddin Yassin, quit after only 18 months in power. The country was just too unhappy with him. 

Why?
Malaysia has one of the
world’s highest levels of COVID deaths and infections – even though the entire country has been in a ‘state of emergency’ for seven months now. The people blame him for this.

Tell me more about Ismail Sabri Yaakob?
Well, he’s 61 years old and a Capricorn. He is a lawyer (typical Capricorn), pro-vaping (lol) and has been the country’s deputy prime minister under the government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin before. So, this would be
his big breakthrough. Oh, and he is a member of the political party United Malays National Organization, or UNMO, for short. The party led the country since it got its independence from Britain in 1957.

Sounds good so far?
Not really? The party also lost in the 2018 general elections because of allegations of corruption. The party is linked to what’s called the
1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, one of the world’s most famous multibillion-dollar financial scandals. 

What do the people say?
Some are like, ‘this is just political musical chairs’ and ‘the same old sh*t.’ In the meantime, Yaakob plans to buy another six million doses of coronavirus vaccines, raise purchasing power and help the private sector get back on its feet. ‘I pledge to work with the people,’ he said in
his first national address yesterday.

Why this matters: Some 32 million people live in Malaysia. They’re also a huge player in Asia’s trade.
OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT FIND INTERESTING
Switzerland: Researchers calculated pi to 62.8 trillion digits. It’s a new world record.

West Bank: Israel’s border police tried to arrest someone they believed to be a member of terrorist organization Hamas, and raided the refugee camp in Jenin. Four Palestinians died.

Ivory Coast: Someone got Ebola. So, the country vaccinated health care workers (Guinea donated 5,000 vaccines). It’s the first case of the virus since 1994.

Haiti: Some 2,200 people have died, following the earthquake from two weeks ago. I will be coming back to this next week.

Uganda: Remember when the government banned pornography in 2014? Yeah, well, that law is now scrapped. Women’s rights groups are super happy.

Peru: The foreign affairs minister of the three-weeks-old new government quit. The situation is tense.

Zambia: Good news! The election in Zambia turned out peaceful! Plus, it was the highest voter turn-out in the country’s history. The winner is Hakainde Hichilema.

Mauritania: 47 people (migrants and/or refugees) died as their capsized. The country’s coast guard was only able to rescue a couple of people. All we know: The boat departed from Western Sahara and was travelling to the Canary Islands, Spain.
FRIENDLY ADS
  • Are you part of the Asian diaspora in Berlin? If so, an artist collective is creating a digital decolonial city map, and you can get involved. Submit your own personal story by August 29.
     
  • The University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) has a 12-month scholarship programme for 12 refugees, IDPs, stateless and asylum seekers. They will get US$750 per month. Apply by August 30.
On a funny note
Someone in Italy got a tattoo of his QR code leading to the his EU COVID vaccination certificate.

I guess, you do you.
Please send us your recommendations for our Decolonize Weekly playlist. We add new songs every week.

If you enjoy this newsletter, you have my patrons to thank at least in part. Patreon makes an important contribution to helping me stay freelancing and scour the internet for underrepresented news and perspectives. So, thank you so much to everyone supporting me there.


That's it. 'See' you next week. Please consider taking a few social media break this week,
Sham
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