Samuel Yerokun of Action for Culture and Ethics is one of the organisers of Africa-Paisley 2021 , and took some time out ahead of the event to talk about his adopted town.
As we remember the compassionate and merciful redemption of the human race by our Lord and Saviour, there is a need for us to be conscious of actions, especially by the government, agencies and organisations, that are indeed injurious to the common good.
The complexity of these actions is that they are hidden under movements, campaigns and policies which are projected to the public as necessary for the common good and thought-through policies based on facts.
Just like some of these actions already exposed in the past, the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which had so loudly blocked our ears in the past 2 years has been found to not be evidenced or fact-based as you can read from the attached link below:
Interestingly, there has not been protest to this report either from the government or the organisations hired to proclaim the political FGM chorus.
We are not saying that FGM is not real but according to the Daily Mail Online report above ”A two-year study found just 61 confirmed instances – and all but four were before the girls came to live in this country.” Meanwhile, the research leading to the report started on the notion that there could be as high as 137,000 victim in England and Wales alone. This is contrary to the usual government-backed narratives that FGM is being done underground in the UK and that many girls were taken abroad for the purposes of FGM during the school holiday periods. This narrative is not only inaccurate, unfair and since it is targeted at only the people of colour, it is discriminatory!
Excerpt from our Facebook page on 29 March 2018.
”There are many causes which are moral on their own but when any becomes a political propaganda or a movement to discriminate a particular ethnic group or a means of livelihood to some scrap-eater is bound to fail at a point.
Meanwhile, many families, marriages especially from the African communities have been affected, subjected to in-necessary distress and pressure by the mad and insane choruses of these villains.
At the end of the day, it was all farce! Meanwhile, the UK and Scottish governments have spent so much on these campaigns which were deliberately chasing shadows and feeding the world with inaccurate statistics” – Director, AFCAE. ”
Someone’s going to hands-up for this but do we know how many marriages that have been destroyed and families separated because of this? Do we know the number of children that have been separated and ripped-off their families into social care? Do we know how many fathers or mothers whom have been pushed to depression and had suffered emotional breakdown because of these inaccurate narratives? What of the ones already deported? What are we going to do to mitigate the losses suffered by these people of colour?
A write-up by one Hannelore Van Bavel, a research student in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology (University of London) through the SOAS blog site queried the UK (and of course) the West claim of zero tolerance to FGM. The piece is on www.soas.co.uk and under the topic ”FGM: Zero tolerance to what?
Hannelore Van Bavel stated clearly that while the Western-style genital piercings which meet the FGM definition are not problematized like the targeted people of colour; African and Asian communities. She claimed that around 200 girls under the age of 18 in UK have undergone these genital piercings in 2015-16 and around 150 of them were under 15. She sort of challenged FGM being a gender equality issue when both sexes undergo circumcision and also challenged it being a Human rights issue since people should be allowed to choose what they want to do with their bodies rather than the government coercing them. She asked ”Is a zero tolerance approach really what we have now, if white women who trim their labia to live up to a cultural beauty standard are celebrated as sexually empowered, while black women who go through a similar practice to live up to cultural standard of womanhood are portrayed as passive victims?”
Please read the full report here: https://www.soas.ac.uk/blogs/study/fgm-zero-tolerance/
We are not saying that FGM does not exist and should not be looked into (especially Infibulation which is said to account for 10% of the cases and considered more healthy) but the campaign against FGM should not be based on inaccurate narratives targeted at discriminating a people’s culture unfairly.
Is there a colonial legacy practice of obsession for the African ”cultural practices” and the lack of attention for Western harmful practices as Hannelore Van Bavel opined?
One very good example about African community-focused culture is that everyone is your brother and sister even if they are not biologically related to you (we do this with faith too and it’s done in the military as comradeship). It is mostly in Africa that you will see someone calling a man or woman who is not his/her biological parent “daddy or mummy” – that is simply the beauty of the culture.
An unfortunate incidence was reported to us where it was stated that a caseworker became hostile to an African lady who said she left her child with her sister when she (caseworker) discovered that the so called “sister” was not her biological sister. She felt deceived and would not accept any explanation.
This is how one culture differs from another to the point that the lack of understanding of a culture, especially by public service providers like the Social Work has continued to unfairly dealt with African women (of course) with negative consequences on the children the system claimed to want to protect.
A record number of African children are falling into care and African working in care and fostering are extremely low. This leaves hundreds, if not thousands of African children in the care of those who do not understand their culture and as these children are mostly at their very young age, it makes rehabilitation to the original parent extremely difficult.
These children also, having been exposed to cultural conflicts right from their tender ages grow up to struggle with self-identity and which affects their self-esteem. We know that these could knock a child out at adulthood or seriously impede the child reaching his/her potentials in life.
The UK government and especially the Scottish Parliament need to look into this and act accordingly as this requires urgency.
Still talking about the language of communication and its uniqueness to each culture.
Laura Plummer (Briton under arrest in Egypt) was reported to have “entered an incorrect plea and admitted importing the drugs by mistake” after questions and responses in court were “lost in translation.” The family were reported to have said further “She’s answered some questions wrong because she’s not understanding them” It’s reported that trial will commence once the defence has found a new interpreter.
The 33-year-old shop worker was arrested after carrying 320 Tramadol tablets into Egypt. The painkiller, an opiate like codeine, morphine and heroin is legal in UK but banned in Egypt.
We continue to raise the need for the UK’s authority, government agencies, Social services, the police and others to understand not just the language of immigrants but also their mode of communication. Many ethnic mirnority people in the UK have been stopped by the police, interviewed by the police and Social services and even allocated solicitors without interpreters and/or without understanding the mode of communication of these cultures.
The society will continue to drag in unfairness and injustices as long as the host community is limiting the narratives of events to only the dictates of its culture.
What has happened to the Briton in Egypt is what is happening to many migrants in the UK and which we have been making several efforts to ensure that the UK government understands the implication of many of its agencies’ disregard for other people’s culture while celebrating UK’s multiculturalism.
We at AFCAE believe cultural pluralism is what we need which fosters not just learning the language of another culture but accepting and celebrating their ways of life and which is very different from multiculturalism which focuses only on the host community culture and expects other cultures to abandon their cultures and fuse into the host culture.
The Egypt case is a good example of communication breakdown because of information “lost in translation”
We all know the importance of greenhouses but for the sake of clarity, a greenhouse is a structure mostly made with transparent materials for the purpose of growing plants which require regulated climate control.
The greenhouse technology was a major scientific breakthrough because with it, a beneficial plant could be transplanted away from its location of natural environment and grown in another location under a simulated environment. For an example, a plant could be transplanted from Rwanda and grown in Scotland despite the climates of the two regions not being the same. What happens in Scotland is that the plant is kept in a greenhouse and the environment of the greenhouse is regulated to simulate the sort of climatic condition that obtains in Rwanda. The plant grows and the people in Scotland can enjoy the benefit without having to go to Rwanda from time to time. Thereby saving money, energy and time.
There is the possibility that UNESCO had this scenario in mind when it stated that cultural humans should be beneficial to one another just like the plant world or simply said, biodiversity by appreciating and understanding the minor cultures within a host community.
If we care so much about beneficial plants that we develop and construct greenhouses for them since we know that the climate of the host communities may be adverse to them, why do we find it difficult to understand the synergy of humans of different cultural background and identities through integration in the host communities and not by expecting them or ”forcing” their children to adopt the culture of the host community?
At Action for Culture and Ethics, it’s integration for us and not assimilation. Things have to change for our mutual benefits. ”Greenhouse ’em”
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