Can we consider ‘war’ as a kind of environmental migratory force?
Category Archives: op ed
by editor Sanaz Raji
Recently I read of a court decision regarding Nisha, a 26 year old Moroccan living in Germany. Nisha filed for an early divorce on the grounds that her husband was beating her. However, the court decision produced a shocking surprise– the female judge, following the logic of multiculturalism, said that Nisha (and other Muslim women residing with their Muslim spouses in Germany) should “expect” to be beaten, citing what I believe is a poor translation of the Qu’ran stating that a man has the right to “corporal punishment”. This absolute reading of Sura 4, verse 34, as allowed for Muslim women to be treated as Johannas Hari puts “reduced to third-class citizens stripped of core legal protections – because of the doctrine of multiculturalism, which says a society should be divided into separate cultures with different norms according to ethnic origin.” I’ve put an a link to his excellent article on this topic-
Two new blogs were launched recently:
– Helen Carpenter, Project Co-ordinator of Welcome To Your Library, has been awarded a Travel Fellowship for 2007 on The Role of Public Libraries in Multicultural Relationships and will be visiting Canada, USA, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The purpose of her blog is to capture and share some of her reflections on this topic while she is travelling.
– The UK Refugee Council’s Poliblog is a new initiative from the Refugee Council to better share information about the politics of refugee and asylum issues in the UK.
In case you were wondering about the name, ‘Poliblog’ derives from the Greek term ‘polis’ (from which we get the word politics) and then we’ve just added blog (which is short for ‘weblog’ – an online diary) on the end.
For those of you who are just joining us, here’s a sampling of some of the ‘vox populi‘ submissions we have received since we went live a few short weeks ago:
And if you are interested in submitting something yourself, have a look at our Current CFP.
A hint about our next topic: Refugee Week will have something to do with it.
So, why Inter-sections? What can this blog contribute to the debates on migration and to the ever-expanding internet-scape? These are some of the questions we have been asking ourselves in an attempt to fill in what Lauren has described as a ‘black hole’. The reasons for being may be already obvious: to bridge the gap between the academia and a wider public interested in issues of migration (including community-based organizations, cultural and media industries and campaigning bodies), to provide a forum for researchers to exchange ideas, discuss research questions and results, and to interact with other relevant blogs or e-forums by way of ‘feeding’ into each others’ work and targets. While I believe that these reasons are significant, at the same time more questions spring to mind. Linking up with Eugenia‘s comment and the themes of the forthcoming ECREA Diaspora, Migration and the Media, European Workshop I wonder: who participates in this debate and who may be excluded? what is the role of blogs in mediating actions and reactions around diversity? The blogosphere may be influential in opening up and enriching this debate. I actually see blogrolls as an example of ‘multiple mediations of cultural difference’ and an increasingly powerful tool for all kinds of internet users. Again, the question is: to what extent can these multiple mediations ultimately produce direct actions and reactions. I realize that the blogosphere and its quite sophisticated bloglossary may exclude and, already excludes, individuals and groups who are not accustomed to them, or simply do not have access to the internet. You might say that I’m asking too much; blogs are blogs and all media have their limitations. In my view, this is the challenge: to try and overcome some of these limitations. But how?
The idea for this blog trickled in little by little. We four editors met at a conference in Leeds last December, along with a group of other postgrads interested in migration. One of the goals of this conference was to expand our methodological perspectives; we attended group seminars on the use of visual artifacts in social sciences, we listened to the experiences of fellow students who had tried other methods, we endeavored to absorb what we could and figure out how it might apply to our own projects.
To me, this question of ‘other methods’ has been a persistent one, from the beginning of my academic career. I am not a writing person, I am a Film Person. I prefer demonstrating what I’m talking about through editing images, not words. I firmly believe that a message can reach more people, and get across more effectively and more memorably, if you take it out of the written form. When looking for ways to communicate my ideas, especially so that they reach someone other than the same circuitous academic public, I come up to a black hole.
Hence: Inter-sections. My biggest hope for this blog is that we will see as many visual/video/audio submissions as written ones. I’d like to believe there are others out there who have an itch to see things off paper and on-screen, even if it’s a small one. As we gain increasingly easy access to more kinds of technology, and what’s more the means of sharing ideas through technology, what can we do but try to take advantage?
Looking forward to your submissions,