Recent writing/écrits récents

[Commentary] Pride: Not Mine

Pride celebrations have begun in the township I live in, Belfast, a place where a brand of ignorant homophobia pervades the largest local political party. In a deeply divided society with enduring scars of conflict, sectarian division and antagonism, there is a great deal of ‘territoriality’ about all things progressive. Those who purport to present themselves as the forerunners of LGB and Trans activism, just like activists in many other sectors, are very keen to claim ownership of LGBTQI issues, and sideline voices that are different to their own, or coming from people from who do not fall within their careerist agendas.

Read more here.

 

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[Press] BLACK LIVES MATTER: A GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE COMES TO BELFAST

In 2013, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was created by Alicia Garcia, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of African American teenager Trayvon Martin. Today, #BlackLivesMatter (or #BLM) is a global movement for racial, gender and social justice. The central focus of #BLM activism is to highlight and campaign against multiple forms of injustice that especially affect black people. #BLM is also aninclusive movement, which strongly emphasises intersectional issues affecting racial and gender minorities. Indeed, in many cities in North America and as of late elsewhere, #BLM campaigns, protests, vigils, sit-ins and marches have been largely led by LGBTQI people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. In North America, Black Lives Matter increasingly works in partnership with First Nations lobbies.

Read more here.

Decolonising the academy: the only way forward: 1

An eye-opener of a sojourn?

My recent visit to Canada, to attend the two largest academic events in political science in francophone and Anglophone Canada, was an eye opener, and a stark reminder of the ways in which racial, socioeconomic and political hierarchies operate in academia. It was also a fulsome confirmation of the ways in which knowledge production takes place in the field of international politics. The near-totality of research work on peace processes, power-sharing, peacebuilding, conflict management, IR theory is, pace a handful of rare exceptions, all done by cis white people in the global North. After a few months of field work in x and y location in the global South, they structure their arguments, present papers at conferences, publish in scholarly journals and academic publication houses, and the knowledge they produce thus becomes the ‘status quo’ knowledge. It is this body of work that serves as ‘the’ reference to their very powerful and influential Western governments, supra-national bodies and, appallingly, to the large majority of governments in the global South. To the so-called urbane, Westernised ‘civil society lobbies’ in countries in the global South (especially in deeply divided societies), the work produced by cis white academics in the global North is, [continue reading here].

Questioning the gender binary: an absolute priority

A cursory glance at the ways in which a large number of people out there write about feminism would suffice to denote a worrying reality — to an awful lot of self-proclaimed feminists, ‘feminism’ continues to be a movement, a discourse and an analytical tool meant near-exclusively for cis, able-bodied and wealthy white women. It goes without saying that the many efforts to question, critique and deconstruct this approach to ‘feminism’ need to continue, with the utmost vigour and energy. If someone advocates for a feminism that only encompasses cis women, then it is a form of oppression that perpetuates a colonial, patronising and a very ‘white’ attitude, as this type of discourse strongly rests on, reinforces and reaffirms the gender binary. The gender binary is all but a thoroughly outdated, colonial Abrahamic, invasive, intrusive and brutally violent concept. It should have no decisive place in a progressive world. The extent of one’s commitment to the gender binary provides a fine measurement of their commitment to equality and justice to all. Coming from a non-Western sociocultural….[Read more here].

[Podcast]Repenser le pluralisme ? Propagandes médiatiques et les enjeux à la cohésion sociale : regards croisés sur l’expérience londonienne

Podcast portant sur ma communication lors du congrès annuel de 2016 de la Société Québécoise de Science Politique. Pour l’écouter, veuillez cliquer ici.

[Press] On the ‘cisgender’ problem of gender equality work

A cursory glance at universities, research centres, government bodies and international organisations suffices to note that a great deal of work is being done in promoting gender equality, and in raising awareness about persistent problems such as the gender pay gap and gender disparities in many sectors. This article is intended at zooming in on a problematic issue that can be observed in nearly all of the gender equality initiatives out there. It is also an omnipresent problem, from institutional/localised levels to more influential governmental and supra-national…

Read more here.

[Press] On the importance of Trans-Inclusivity in reproductive justice campaigns

As the media zooms in on ‘trans visibility’, trans issues and trans people are discussed in the public domain more openly than ever. The so-called transgender ‘tipping point’ and the media’s zooming in on trans celebrities conceals major challenges and restrictions to the fundamental rights of trans people across the world, which the mainstream media tends to summarily ignore.

Read more here.

[Press] Women and Politics, Intersectionalities and Inclusion

The political Studies Association’s Women and Politics Specialist Group(WPSG) meeting was perhaps the most thought-provoking event that I attended during my brief passage to Brighton for the PSA’s 2016 annual conference earlier this week.

Read more here.

[Press] Gender self-determination: An absolute human rights priority

The Gender Recognition Act 2015 signified a breath of fresh air to Irish legislation, and a solace to the trans community in the Irish Republic. For trans people in Northern Ireland, it is still the same old story, with recourse to mental health professionals, waiting lists and a long-winded process to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate according to existing UK legislation. In many countries in Western Europe, as this writer highlighted in a recent article, it used to be compulsory for trans people to undergo not only medical transition but obligatory, if not forced sterilisation to be recognised as trans, or to be assigned their actual gender. Such policies that involved an absolute infringement of fundamental rights were reversed only recently in many countries, including Scandinavia. However, apart from Ireland and Denmark, other EU member states continue to lag behind when it comes to securing the right for gender self-determination to their citizens.

Read more here.

[press] Addressing ETCA With Serophobia & Misogyny: No Way Forward

In December 2015, a medical doctor-turned politician and serving MP, Nalinda Jayathissa, demonstrated an appalling level of homophobia and transphobia in an interview with the Daily News. Several commentators and analysts highlighted the ignorance and insensitivity of these assumptions, all the more worrying when they came from a young MP representing a party with a non-negligible support base among educated youth, especially in university student circles. Despite several op-ed columns in Sinhala and English and letters addressed to the party leadership by LGBTQI advocacy groups, the JVP is yet to clarify whether Jayathissa’s views represent the JVP’s official position on LGBTQI rights, or not.

Read more here. [published on 23 February 2016].

[press] Reproductive justice: Achilles’ heel of Ireland, North and South

As the Irish general election approaches, one of the most conflicting issues that politicians often try to avoid discussing is that of reproductive justice, reductively referred to as ‘abortion’. Despite recent advancements in progressive legislation, such as marriage equality and the Gender Recognition Act of 2015, Irish authorities remain considerably averse to promoting progressive legislation on reproductive justice. In Northern Ireland, where a stalemate remains on both #reprojustice and#equalmarriage, political debates are marked by a strong sense of social conservatism, with larger political parties using debates on these issues to reaffirm their conservative (and invariably misogynist) attitudes. More often than not, discussions on the subject are reduced to paranoid interjections, mainly by cisgender and heteronormative men, upholding non-arguments such as the infamous ‘abortion-on-demand’. Those subscribing to opinions of this nature are simply unprepared to accept the concept of gender equality, and their views on reproductive justice provide an insight into a deeply ingrained inclination to exercise control on (in their opinion) female bodies. As far as the political establishment is concerned, there is a clearunwillingness to address the issue. In the #GE16 campaign, the issue is addressed cautiously, with Labour, for example, pledging a referendum.

Read more here. [published on 24 February 2016]

[Press] Reproductive rights and trans rights: deeply interconnected yet too often misunderstood?

When the issue of reproductive justice is raised, many people tend to focus exclusively on cisgender women. It is of vital importance to extend reproductive justice-related activism and discourses to include trans/genderqeer/nonbinary and other gender-plural people, which also involves using gender-inclusive language.[*] Over the last few years, trans activists have increasingly sought to highlight the salient reality that reproductive justice acutely concerns trans people, but more work is required to make reproductive justice-related debates and campaigns more trans-inclusive.

Read more here.[published on 9 February 2016]

[Review] Navigating Colonial Orders

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My review of Navigating Colonial Orders: Norwegian Entrepreneurship in Africa and Oceania (London and New York: Berghan Books) was published in the Scandinavian Journal of History (41:1, 135-140).

[Press] The JVP’s Jaundice: Inclination To Reactionary Politics

In an interview with an English language newspaper, JVP’s Nalinda Jayathissa MP has made a statement that makes one question the MP’s (and given its reputation of strict discipline, verification and vetting processes, the JVP’s) understanding of what progressive politics of the left really entails in the present-day world.

Read more at Colombo Telegraph [publication date: 16 December 2015]

[Press] Afraid of…Remembrance?

The title of a news article that circulated the other day read ‘Government issues stern warning against heroes’ day remembrance’. The stern warning in question was intended at Tamils, living in Sri Lanka, especially in the north’s ex-battle ground. The ‘heroes’ in question were a range of Sri Lankan citizens, who, for a multitude of reasons, fought against the Sri Lankan state in the ranks of the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the latter’s heyday, the ‘heroes day’ was primarily and near-exclusively meant at commemorating LTTE fallen cadres.

Read more here [published on 6 December 2015]

[Presse] L’élection présidentielle au Sri Lanka : absence d’un discours inclusif

Au mois de novembre 2014, le président de la république sri-lankaise, Mahinda Rajapaksa, avait annoncé que la prochaine élection présidentielle aurait lieu le 8 janvier 2015, deux ans avant l’expiration de son mandat actuel programmée en 2017. Selon de nombreux analystes politiques, ce passage aux urnes imprévu était dû à une chute croissante de la popularité du Président Rajapaksa et de sa famille, qui contrôlent presque la moitié du budget de l’état et des ministères les plus rentables. Au départ, une élection présidentielle servait surtout à renforcer la popularité du Président Rajapaksa, mais c’est le contraire qui semblait se confirmer à l’approche de 2017. Le groupe politique en place pensait réussir à se maintenir au pouvoir, car depuis l’élection de M. Rajapaksa, l’opposition etait confrontée une crise politique et à une série de défaites électorales.

Lire la suite ici. [date de publication: le 28 février 2015].

[Press] Embattled Media: On A Unique Book & A Seminal Launching Event

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The book Embattled Media: Evolution, Governance and Reform in Sri Lanka (ISBN: 978-93-515-0062-9), edited by Dr William Crawley, David Page and Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, was launched at the Senate House of the University of London on 20th October 2015. The launch involved an all-day conference, rich in contributions on a range of issues, from governance and media law reform in Sri Lanka, free speech jurisprudence in India, jurisdictional and political constraints to media freedom, teaching media, to donor behaviour with regards to media interaction. The event brought together senior academics and professionals, including past and present officials of the Commonwealth Secretariat and professional bodies attached to the Commonwealth, including the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association and the Commonwealth Journalists’ Association.

Read more here.