When Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) wrote ‘Cahier d’un Retour au pays Natal’, (Notebook of a Return to my Native Land), coining the term “Négritude” he started a movement, founding the journal ‘L’Étudiant Noir’ along with Lépold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001), and Léon Damas in 1934. Négritude was the movement of black consciousness, in a political and cultural statement. Négritude was the reclaiming of black culture and history; wherever in the world the black diaspora was situated, these individuals had a unifying identity under the particular notion of African ancestry.
With hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing towards Bangladesh from Rakhine in Myanmar, the Rohingya situation is said to be the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. What is the cause of this ongoing crisis? Persecutions led by the Myanmar government, with the United Nations describing such an atrocious offense as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
In a meeting with an IRA gun smuggler the historian Richard English noted how easily the Republican could explain Irish history: “the Brits – they’re the problem, and will be. They have been since 1169, and will be until such time as they leave”
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states, “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Despite a clear attempt by the International Olympic Committee to create an a-political sporting event, the very exercise of holding the Olympics in South Korea is politically charged.
The recent death of over 200 Russian mercenaries in Syria has exposed the use of private military contractors in Russia’s wars, an affair that lay dormant after the Ukrainian conflict. Crucially, it has highlighted the use of nationalism as a rallying point for recruits and the creation of a discourse of duty to fight for the country.
With the influx of immigrants around 2014, migration is increasingly becoming the focus of foreign and defense policies, making it one of the most salient and controversial political issues in Europe. In Hungary, anti-immigration rhetoric has evolved over the last few years, with the actual campaign targeted at the 87 year-old Hungarian-born American financier and philanthropist George Soros.
The Referendum held in Slovakia in February 2015 gained an attribute ‘On Family’. Yet, interestingly, the very word ‘family’ did not appear in the three questions of the referendum at all.
Was anyone surprised on 25th February, when China’s constitutional amendment package revealed that President Xi Jinping can now potentially keep his power for a limitless amount of time? Xinhua News Agency announced the amendment that simply proposed removing the line, ‘China’s President and Vice President shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.’ Referred to as the ‘core’ of the party leadership and increasingly simply as the ‘leader,’ a title only dedicated to Mao in the past, Xi Jinping can now stay for a third term beyond 2023, or even pursue a life-long rule.
On the 26th of January 2018, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Polish parliament legislated a law that would ban any discussion of Polish crimes against humanity during the Holocaust. The bill, as stated, aims to “eliminate public misattribution to the Polish nation or the Polish state of responsibility or co-responsibility for Nazi crimes committed by the German Third Reich,” including a strict ban on discourse such as using the expression “Polish death camps.” Its outrageous dismissal of basic human expression and right to discourse aside, the legislation should remind us of a deeper underlying issue, that is, how we, as the world, have decided to remember the Holocaust.