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Mem Fox’s apology from the US should be news only because of the hypocrisy it highlights

When I travel to the USA, it is always the same deal. The moment they see on my passport “Place of Birth: Caracas” it must sound a dog whistle somewhere because suddenly “Sir, you have been selected for a random search.”

Cool.

They take out my luggage, pass over it with some ridiculous bomb search device. Open up any boxes with gifts or electronics. Ask me ridiculous questions like “have you used drugs in the last 48 hours?” or other charming things, like the last time I was there “so what’s with the tight pants and hair?”

Cool.

This is part and parcel of being a person of colour and travelling to the United States. Interviews, dumb questions, luggage searches. It happens, every, single, time.

So when today I read the furore around Mem Fox’s admittedly horrendous experience with immigration during Trump’s Muslim travel ban, I knew what was up. When I read that she received an actual apology I was furious.

Reading the comments from the ABC News post to Facebook just about gave me an aneurysm, a sea of white people calling out at the way that the US had treated their national treasure.

What in the world? THIS is what you are mad about? A white woman, of extraordinary privilege, SO privileged she receives an official apology was treated poorly? What about all the Muslims and Latinxs who are rightfully attempting to enter being detained and questioned with the same abuse and harassment, on a daily basis?

Where is my god damn apology? Apologise to me! Apologise to people of colour!

Every white person’s response to seeing this article should have been “that is terrible, but this happens everyday to people of colour, and worse.”

Mem Fox received just a taste of what it is like for people of colour to travel, and she has every right to feel how she does. But the rest of you need to get the hell over it and recognise, that if the USA is willing to apologise to a white woman for how they treated her, it’s because they recognise that the practice is horrible to experience, but they don’t care if they put entire nationalities and ethnicities through that very practice on a daily basis.

Get it together white people – check your privilege.

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Boko Haram: Misogyny Militarised

The processes of radicalisation have understandably been at the forefront of much literature surrounding terrorism. This critical literature review is written to interrogate two prominent “macro” level theories of radicalisation. This is done by outlining the theories of Martha Crenshaw and Ehud Spriznak. They will be applied to a case study of northern Nigeria’s terrorist insurgency group, Boko Haram, and problematized by the theories of violence and ideology from Slavoj Žižek and Marx’s theory of historical materialism. The application of Crenshaw’s/Spriznak’s theory suggests that both are applicable and helpful in understanding Boko Haram but do little in explaining its chosen methods. Without an application of critical theory to Boko Haram’s methods, Crenshaw’s and Spriznak’s theories fail to account for Boko Haram’s frighteningly militant misogyny.

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The Intersection of Disability and Masculinity in International Relations

Disability through injuries is a consequence of war for both combatants and non-combatants. In particular the gender lens is fundamental to understanding the lived experience of people with disabilities. This essay seeks to answer the question of how masculinity intersects with (dis)ability in ‘post conflict’ situations.

My thesis is that masculinity and the sense of being emasculated forms a central concern for men who are disabled and that the state must consider gender in the forms of welfare it seeks to provide for the disabled.

I will do this in three parts with the first stating the theory used and definitions of terms. I will then look at two case studies, Turkey and Uganda before providing my thoughts on potential solutions to some of the problems encountered by men in both communities.

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Women Warriors of America Latina

Abstract

From 1970 to 1999 leftist guerrilla groups proliferated throughout America Latina engaging in “New Wars” of decentralised violence that differed from traditional forms of warfare. This essay seeks to investigate how, if at all, traditional gender roles have been disrupted during and after these conflicts. Using Standpoint Feminist theory to track the experiences of women in the recruitment, duration and aftermath of the conflict, attention will be brought to how gender is and has been constructed within these contexts, specifically in El Salvador where high rates of female participation translated into the greatest opportunity for significant disruption. The findings suggest that while guerrillas present a significant disruption to traditional gender roles, this disruption is largely forgotten post-conflict, yet there is the potential for greater female political representation to be integrated into post-conflict governance.

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The War on Drugs: Colombia’s loss of sovereignty to the U.S.

The “War on Drugs” (WoD) is a prominent example of transnational crime (TNC) counter measures. This essay will focus on how the WoD has affected Colombia. I contend that the WoD and its TNC counter measures have had a deleterious effect on Colombia’s peasant class and international interests have undermined the self-determination of the Colombian people, leading to protracted conflicts against insurgents and drug lords instead of negotiated solutions.

I will do this by firstly defining my terms and the theory I will use to make my case. Secondly I will provide a brief legal history between Colombia and the US, outlining the key pieces of legislation which have been enacted between the two partner states. An analysis of these policies will follow with particular attention on the gains made by the US and its effects on Colombian self-determination. Read More…

Sex Work: Radical Feminism vs Liberal Feminism

Sex work and human trafficking are frequently conflated in international arenas and spaces in which global governance is produced(Almeida, 2011, p. 229; Baye & Heumann, p. 78; Limoncelli, 2009, p. 261; O’Brien, 2015, p. 191; Saunders, 2005, p. 344). This essay will investigate the strengths, weaknesses and alternatives to Amnesty International’s approach to sex work and in particular how debates around sex work affect spaces in which global governance is produced.

I will argue that while on an ideological level, Amnesty’s model does little to challenge the pervasive gendered super structure within which sex work is located, its focus on harm minimisation and the human rights of those involved is better than abolitionist alternatives.

I will do this by first explaining the theoretical debate between radical feminism/neo-abolitionism and liberal feminism/the human rights model and why this matters. Secondly I will show how the ideological infighting between feminists obscures the multidimensional nature of human trafficking and its effects on global governance. Thirdly I will make recommendations of alternatives to policy which Amnesty could lobby for states in order to minimise harm.

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Can mainstreaming challenge the liberal legacy in human rights?

Human rights as understood in global politics are a product of liberal political philosophy and thought[1]. They come with a philosophical pedigree that extends back to the enlightenment and further[2]. This pedigree however means they were constructed by a particular class of humans, namely Caucasian European men of reasonable wealth and education, and that people of different cultures, sexes and (dis)abilities were not part of this formational period. Thus human rights can be criticised for this legacy as privileging the experience of this class of humans over others, that is they protect humans from the types of violations that would be experienced by Caucasian men and ignore potential violations they are not exposed to because of their privileged position in society[3].

In this essay I will attempt to show how human rights are a malleable tool which can challenge this liberal legacy through the use of concerted efforts to ‘mainstream’ the experiences of other identities by handing over the application of rights to minorities in specific contexts. Read More…