In this post, I’m discussing the death of Dalian Atkinson (former Aston Villa striker), the image of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh that shook the world, Ryan Lochte’s antics in Rio, the launch of Young Muslim Ascent mentoring scheme and lastly, the inspiring story of Somali-Canadian activist Ilwad Elman.
The Death of Dalian Atkinson
Last week, 48-year-old Dalian Atkinson who is a former striker for Aston Villa, unfortunately, died after the police tasered him and the two police officers involved in the incident are currently under criminal investigation by the IPCC. Tasers deliver an incapacitating 50,000-volt shock, and its use has been linked to at least ten deaths in England and Wales over the last decade. This is an incredibly sad incident and it highlights the role of UK Black Lives Matter movements which I’ve discussed in a previous ‘In The News Last Week‘ post. You can read more on the case on the Guardian here.
The Image of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh that shook the world
The above image of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh caused a worldwide outrage when it surfaced alongside a video on the internet. Omran survived the attack but his brother, Ali unfortunately, died a day later. These siblings are just a few of the numerous victims of the five-year-old conflict that has ripped Syria apart. The International Committee for the Red Cross recently described the battle for Aleppo as “One of the most devastating conflicts in modern times.” It’s unfortunate that we’ve become desensitized to the violence and the death that is ongoing in Syria, and even more of a shame that we only feel outraged when a picture goes viral. More importantly, our outrage at pictures such as Omran’s should not be limited just to emotional outbursts. We have to channel our emotions into action, at the very least praying for the people in Syria and contributing to donations and aid relief efforts.
Cartoon by Khalidal Baih.
Ryan Lochte, White Privilege and His Lies About Being Robbed at the Olympics
The treatment of Ryan Lochte, a 32-year-old Olympic swimmer by the media over revelations about his ‘alleged robbery’ while in Rio provides us with a masterclass in what white privilege means in our society. In many articles, Lochte was repeatedly referred to as a ‘kid’ whose actions should be excused because he was merely having fun with his teammates. The suggestion that his actions are excusable is outrageous considering the fact that his false robbery story was damaging for the host country and at the time, stoked fears about the safety and security of athletes. Rather than holding him to account, a host of mainstream media coverage went ahead to describe his lies simply as ’embellishments.’ We don’t even have to imagine the witch hunt by the press if the athlete was black. Just read up on the bullying that Gabby Douglas faced for forgetting to put her hand on her chest during the American anthem and you get the idea. We live in a world where Tamir Rice – a 12-year-old boy – is seen as a grown man but Ryan Lochte a 32-year-old man is perceived as a kid. Let that sink in. Also, watch the short video below with Al Roker shutting down the stupidity because it’s hilarious!
Launch of Young Muslim Ascent
The Young Muslim Ascent mentoring scheme was launched recently by four Muslim sisters who have studied/ are studying at the London School of Economics. The project aims to help aspiring Young Muslims to get into the UK’s top universities by matching students with mentors that can assist in providing guidance for UCAS applications, and provide one to one support. In addition, the scheme also facilitates workshops which are starting from the 27th of August in Manchester, 3rd of September in London and 4th of September in Birmingham. This is a fantastic scheme for Muslims across the UK to get involved with and if you’re interested in signing up as a mentee or mentor, do check their website www.youngmuslimascent.com to get more information.
Ilwad Elman’s Appointment as a member of UN advisory group
Ilwad Elman is the name of the 26-year-old Somali-Canadian activist who was appointed last week by UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon as a member of the UN advisory group of experts on youth, peace and security. Over the past few years, she has been working tirelessly at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu alongside her mother Fartuun Adan, the NGO’s founder and Executive Director. Ilwad also helps to run Sister Somalia which is a subsidiary of Elman Peace and is the first program to assist victims of gender-based violence. An inspirational story for us to start our week!