human rights

Propaganda desensitizes Iranian public to Baha’i persecution

Bahai house of worship

Baha’i House of Worship, Delhi, India.

Daily discrimination against Baha’is in Iran continues as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad convinces the Iranian population of the Religion’s attempt to undermine the State…

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The world needs more celebrities like Aamir Khan

Miles apart from your average vain and selfish celebrity, Aamir Khan has been using his influence and popularity to spread public awareness of India’s most controversial social issues.

Indian Bollywood actor, director and producer Aamir Khan launched his pioneering TV show Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails) this May. And he didn’t begin half-heartedly. The show’s first season dived straight in at the deep end of cultural sensitivity to address female feticide, child sexual abuse, dowry system, honour killing and domestic violence.

It’s one thing to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and NGOs. To create a charity and pay other people to run it for you while it has your name written all over it, boosting your image and your movie/music sales at the same time. This seems to be the extent of most celebrity’s humanitarian side.

But to physically talk to the people you claim to care about, stand up for them, and create a platform for discussion and awareness in an attempt to criminalise social wrongs is something else. Using your influence to make people pay attention to the issues that beg for attention, yet have never been discussed like this before.

In the UK and US, where celebrity culture has become ridiculous, documentary-makers and producers abide by the trends of the “infotainment” industry. Viewers are only interested in serious programmes if they are hosted/presented by a celebrity, resulting in shows where comedian Lenny Henry is put in the middle of a Kenyan slum.

But the only way to spread awareness and to open minds beyond superficiality is to educate. Once these issues are known to all, and their negative impacts realised, the road to change is paved.

Kurds demand attention from UK Media

A group of Kurdish protesters breached security and staged a demonstration at the Guardian office in London last week.

They were reacting to what they felt had been a lack of coverage of the Kurdish plight from the Western media.

According to the New York Times, last Friday’s was one of two demonstrations in Europe in the past week. Another similar protest was held in Cologne in Germany, at the RTL studio.

Hilary Osborne at the Guardian tweeted, “One of the PKK protesters sneaked through the barrier on my pass. They are now reading a statement to the newsroom.”

A New York Times blog also referred to the protesters as being affiliated with the PKK. The Guardian says that the group were members of a Kurdish Youth group, based in London.

The Kurdish population is currently split predominantly between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. The Kurdish people remain the largest ethnic group in the world without its own state, according to scholar Jean Allein.