Tag Archives: Cultural Expression/Integrity/Integration

Kyrgyzstan Feature | LGBT

The Expanding Insecurity of Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT Community

Bishkek, long viewed as a relatively liberal haven not only in Kyrgyzstan but within the largely conservative Central Asia region, has seen an increase in political and social hostility towards its LGBT community. As in other parts of Eurasia, Kyrgyzstan has witnessed a resurgence in far-right ultra-nationalism and an attendant conflation of LGBT rights with Western encroachment on Kyrgyz culture, leading to increased attacks on the Kyrgyz LGBT community. Similar to other Eurasian nations, legislation has been proposed to limit information access about the LGBT community, and the shuttering of Bishek’s last remaining gay club has left the LGBT Kyrgyzstanis with few opportunities for safe communal socializing.

Read

‘All of us will be victims at some point’: why Bishkek’s only gay club closed” (The Guardian | October 2017)

Curtain Falls On Bishkek’s Lone LGBT Club Amid Worsening Atmosphere” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | June 2017)

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Labrys
Kyrgyz Indigo

France News | Black Women

Paris mayor backtracks after threatening to ban Afro-feminist festival
  • Mayor Anne Hidalgo originally threatened to prohibit the Nyansapo Festival, alert police, and sue for discrimination, repeating far-right accusations that the event was “prohibited to white people” despite no such language appearing in the organizers’ materials.
  • Festival organizers, part of the Mwasi Collective, planned to reserve certain events for black women, others for black people of all genders, others for women of color in general, and others still for the general populace in an attempt to provide open discussion spaces free of judgment for minority participants.
  • The mayor eventually backtracked, although she and right-wing activists claimed victory for having “established a solution” as a rest of Hidalgo’s “firm intervention.”
Read

Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks” (France 24 | May 2017)

Aux origines de la polémique sur le festival afroféministe Nyansapo” (Libérationin French | May 2017)

Comme au Nyansapo Fest, pourquoi certaines associations prônent la non-mixité” (Huffington Postin French | May 2017)

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Festival Nyansapo

(Image Credit: via Libération)

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

Read

Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Australia Feature | Mixed-race Aboriginal

Australia’s “Stolen Generation” Speaks

For six decades across the 20th century, the Australian government pursued a ruthless policy of the forced assimilation of its indigenous population, tearing mixed-race children from their communities and creating “stolen generations” deprived of access to the culture of their aboriginal roots. The policy, similar to those pursued in Canada and the U.S., forced children into boarding schools, church missions, and adoptions to erase connections to their communities. Canadian photographer Matthew Sherwood has documented the stories of those in the Northern Territory through his photo series Generations Stolen, profiled in The New York Times.

Read

Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’ Tell Their Stories” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Senegal Feature | Chinese

The Mutual Tensions of Chinese-Senegalese Relations in Senegal

At 2,000-strong, the population of Chinese immigrants in Senegal has become a visible presence in major urban areas like Dakar, though immigrants remain largely cloistered within enclaves. With commercial potential driving immigration into the country, Chinese people in Senegal have depended on an uneasy relationship with native Senegalese, a microcosm of a broader burgeoning relationship between China and African countries built on uncertain economic hopes. The New York Times profiles the Chinese community in Dakar and the state of Chinese-Senegalese relations in the country.

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Chinese Merchants Thrive in Senegal, Where People ‘Needed Stuff’” (The New York Times | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times)

India News | Women

Female students locked in hostels to avoid harassment during Holi festival in Delhi
  • Two women’s hostels at the University of Delhi were put on lockdown over the Holi holiday out of safety fears.
  • India’s minister for women argued the restrictions were necessary to defend against consequences of “hormonal outbursts.”
  • Women have long reported being sexually assaulted during the festival, but some activists expressed outrage at women’s rather than men’s mobility being targeted as a response.
Read

Holi festival: Delhi women forced into lockdown amid sexual harassment fears” (The Guardian | March 2017)

Delhi University hostels ‘lock up’ girls on Holi” (The Asian Age | March 2017)

Delhi University hostels prohibit women students from playing Holi outside the premises” (International Business Times | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via International Business Times)

Estonia News | Ethnic Russians

Estonian government reaches out to Russian Estonians to counter Kremlin influence
  • Anxious about a repeat of Ukraine in their country, government officials have begun learning Russian and conducting outreach to increase the integration of ethnic Russians in Estonia.
  • Russian speakers comprise roughly 25% of Estonia’s population, with many concentrated on the country’s border with Russia where a mix of Estonian and Russian media provide differing views on regional geopolitics.
  • Although Russians have been in Estonia since pre-WWII times, many ethnic Russian immigrants in Estonia lack Estonian citizenship after post-Soviet language tests left many holding Russian passports.
Read

Wary of divided loyalties, a Baltic state reaches out to its Russians” (Reuters | February 2017)
Nervous in Narva: a town caught between East and West” (The Irish Times | February 2017)
Baltic Russians: Are They Sudetendeutsche?“* (Forbes | February 2017)

* Commentary/Opinion