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Khalil – inside the mind of a terrorist

D+C - 15. Juli 2020 - 11:17
Yasmina Khadra’s latest novel gives insights into the thoughts and life of a terrorist

Cheering and celebrating people fill the streets of Paris. Football fans stream into the Stade de France under the watchful eyes of security forces. People sit in bars and cafés, enjoying their evening. Meanwhile, four “brothers” from the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, are on their way to the scene. One of the young assassins is Khalil, the protagonist of the novel. Two of the “brothers”, whom Khalil does not know, get out of the car at the Stade de France and disappear into the crowd. In a few minutes, the French capital will be transformed: openness, joie de vivre and the lightness of being will give way to fear, mistrust and controls.

Khalil and his childhood friend Driss know this. They talk about what is going to happen. They are convinced that they are doing the right thing. “For the first time in my life, I feel important,” says Khalil as he hugs his friend. Then he slips into the train station and squeezes into a suburban train crowded with commuters at the end of the day. Surrounded by people, he gropes for the trigger on his explosive belt and presses the button – determined to blow himself up and take as many people as possible with him.

But nothing happens. Stunned, almost panicking, Khalil keeps pressing the button, but the ignition mechanism is not triggered. What now? Together with Driss, he had prepared for weeks for this mission; failure was never an option.

Helplessly, Khalil wanders through Paris. Desperation and self-doubt plague him. He finally succeeds in returning to Molenbeek. There, he tries to contact the “brothers”. He wants to make it clear to them that the failure was not his fault.

Through the first-person narrative, Khadra leads us into the thoughts of the 23-year-old Khalil, who lives as the son of immigrants in Molenbeek. Khalil despises the life of his parents, who come from a village in Morocco and, in his eyes, will never amount to anything. He has a bad relationship with his family, feeling misunderstood and hating his father. His twin sister Zhara is the only one to whom he feels close.

Khalil ends up on the street. He sees no meaning in his life, seems not to belong to society, feels like a parasite – that is the ideal breeding ground for the ideologies of extremist organisations. Khalil’s lack of self-esteem is compensated for by the so-called “brothers”.  In the mosque he finds security and the feeling of being part of a strong community: “I wandered around blindly for a long time, looking for the right path,” says Khalil. “The brothers showed me the way, and for the first time in my life I felt taken seriously.”

Through the novel, the reader experiences Khalil’s radicalisation. The author does not sympathise with his protagonist, but he does not condemn him either, although as a high officer in the Algerian army, he fought against Islamists himself. Khadra rather seeks the human being in Khalil.

The author sees his novel as an “anti-radicalisation book”. In an interview he said that he would like his novel to become compulsory reading in schools. For Khadra, there is nothing more valuable than life. He hopes to convey this message to young readers so that they will not be blinded by extremist leaders’ seductive speeches.

Khalil loses contact with his family and argues with his twin sister, who later falls victim to a terrorist attack in Brussels. However, Khalil only finds out about this by chance after the funeral. Angry at his family and society, he sits at her grave and mourns.

The “brothers” give Khalil a second chance after his failed attack: the organisation is planning attacks in Marrakech in which Khalil is to play a central role. Will he carry out his mission this time?

Book
Khadra, Y., 2018: Khalil. Paris, Julliard. (The english version will be published in November 2020 by Nan A. Talese, New York.)

Kategorien: english

Black lives matter

D+C - 15. Juli 2020 - 9:21
Legacies of colonialism and slavery are being reassessed around the world after protests that started in Minneapolis

This looks like a global reckoning with the legacies of colonialism and slavery. It started in Minneapolis, after police officers killed George Floyd, an African-American man. Protest fast spread across North America and then to other continents.

I am sure that President Donald Trump’s tone-deaf response added momentum to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the USA. He equated demonstrators with violent thugs, claimed his opponents are terrorist and spoke of dominating the streets with military force. At the same time, he now shows no interest in Russia paying bounties for the killing of US troops and rejects any responsibility for managing the Covid-19 crisis, which affects the affluent less than it does the poor, many of whom are black.

Opinion polls show that up to two thirds of the US public now support BLM. Trump certainly helped to make that happen. Nonetheless, the global protests are not primarily anti-American. People in many countries are upset about police brutality and racism at home. They are aware of things being unacceptably bad in the USA, but also know that they are not much different and perhaps even worse in their own countries.

It is often said that nothing has changed in the USA since the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. That is not true. I lived in the USA as a child and remember that, in the 1960s, it was considered a spectacular exception that the mayor of Gary, Indiana, was a “Negro”, as we said back then. Today, so many big cities have – or had – a black mayor that these leaders are not exceptional anymore. There is no lack of African-American role models, though it is still true that black people are under-represented in positions of power. There has been change – but not enough change. On average, African-Americans are still poorer, have fewer opportunities and are more likely to suffer police violence.

Awareness of racism, however, is more advanced in the USA, than in Germany, for example, where many still refuse to see that institutions systematically discriminate against migrant communities. We should know better. When the neo-Nazi terrorists of the NSU went on their killing spree, German security forces systematically failed to investigate their crimes and thus could not prosecute the terrorists effectively. For a long time, officialdom blamed Turkish gangs. Later it turned out that agents of the Verfassungsschutz, the domestic intelligence service, were entangled in NSU networks and potential evidence was therefore declared to be a state secret. It could not be used in court. Germany is among the countries where children from migrant communities struggle partucurlaly according to the OECD – and migrant youngsters say they feel discriminated against by the police.

The sad truth, however, is that not only high-income countries have to come to terms with troubling divisions in society. Years ago, an intern with a Kenyan father told me that a Luo – Barack Obama – was elected president of the USA, but another member of that same tribe – Raila Odinga – saw an election stolen from him in Kenya.

Tribal hatred, ethnic divisions and social marginalisation of specific groups haunt many other countries too. The divide-and-rule strategies that exploit them often date back to colonial times. Paroma Soni, an Indian author, is right to speak of hypocrisy when some of her compatriots express solidarity with BLM, but stay silent about Indian security forces’ violent abuse of religious minorities or the lowest castes.

Police brutality is worse in the USA than in Europe, but things are still worse in many developing countries. By early June, according to official data, the Kenyan police had killed 15 people when enforcing lockdown rules. A Kenyan colleague tells me that tribal resentments did not play a role, but that the police’s brutal anti-poor bias has not changed since colonial times. Either way, I found photos of Nairobian protesters depressing. They adopted the symbolism of BLM, taking a knee and raising their fists. Though Trump certainly does not appreciate it, civil-society activism in the USA is leading the world.

Hans Dembowski is editor in chief of D+C Development and Cooperation / E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit.
euz.editor@dandc.eu

Kategorien: english

Intersectionality

ODI - 15. Juli 2020 - 0:00

The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion team has a long-standing focus on the norms, practices, structures and institutions that intersect with one another to contribute to marginalisation and inequality.

Our work has focused particularly on issues of class, age, race and ethnicity, (dis)ability, sexual orientation and gender identity and the ways they intersect with gender norms to affect experience, life chances and realisation of rights.

Recent work has included a focus on gender and ageing, anti-discrimination policies and programmes to address a range of inequalities and work on the intersection of gender norms with issues of sexuality and gender identity. The GAGE programme has mainstreamed disability throughout all its primary and secondary research. A new ALIGN workstream explores the role of social movements in changing discriminatory norms with a particular focus on gender, race and ethnicity.

Kategorien: english

Methodologies and approaches

ODI - 15. Juli 2020 - 0:00

Our Gender Equality and Social Inclusion team provides research advice, support and mentoring and undertakes mixed methods research, including operations research and impact evaluations. We make use of innovative approaches such as participatory photography and Sensemaker and our team are recognised as experts in qualitative methods. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have developed pioneering best practice guidance in remote research with adolescents.

Through GAGE we have substantial experience in longitudinal cohort studies. In addition to primary research, we have a track record in systematic, rigorous and rapid evidence reviews on topics as diverse as media approaches to address gender norm change, the efficacy of girls’ clubs to promote empowerment and projects to promote positive masculinities for adolescent boys and young men.

We also identify priorities and develop conceptual frameworks, advise donors, multilateral bodies and NGOs on strategic engagement, and convene high-level networks to support in the development of relevant, impactful and evidence based gender equality agendas.

Kategorien: english

Health, psychosocial well-being and freedom from violence

ODI - 15. Juli 2020 - 0:00

Our research on gender and health spans sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, neglected tropical diseases and gender-based and sexual violence. This includes service provision in fragile and post-conflict contexts; health systems strengthening and multi-level analyses of health systems; health innovations; community approaches to addressing barriers to service uptake and access; and the social relations and gender norms determining health disparities.

Our growing work on gender, mental health and psychosocial well-being adds depth and nuance to an area traditionally dominated by biomedical approaches, also exploring the social determinants of mental ill-health.

We research and analyse risk factors and protective measures among children, adolescents and older people, including the role of digital approaches in promoting psychosocial well-being. Our partners include leading global health organisations, community associations and universities, such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (where GESI team member Dr. Fiona Samuels is an Honorary Associate Professor), and journals such as The Lancet

Kategorien: english

Political voice and leadership

ODI - 15. Juli 2020 - 0:00

Our work on political voice and leadership explores pathways and barriers to equal representation in the political space, including in leadership roles, at decision-making tables and within social movements. In our work we consider the role of harmful gender norms in shaping political representation and mobilisation and strategies for shifting them in different contexts, including a focus on how these dynamics unfold and change in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

In other research, we analyse women’s experience of formal and informal political settings, including within gender equality movements, broader social and democratic movements and other forms of political action. We also investigate how different actors navigate informal rules of political negotiation and agenda-setting at global, national and local levels. Finally, we explore how adolescent girls develop voice and agency in household, school and community life.

Kategorien: english

Economic empowerment

ODI - 15. Juli 2020 - 0:00

Our analysis on youth skills, women’s employment and the care economy has informed donor, government and international policy processes. Our work explores women’s economic empowerment from adolescence to adulthood, including skills development and access to productive assets; credit and decent employment; access to and control over land; and gender norms that limit women’s financial inclusion.

We also examine how social and gender norms shape expectations around the occupations people should work, as well as the effects of care responsibilities and harassment on economic inclusion and strategies for shifting them.

Our research also explores the role of women in agriculture and the effects of agricultural development and economic empowerment programmes on their labour trajectories and their agency. One example is our work supporting the Youth Forward Learning Partnership, where we address the challenges that rural women face in agriculture, their role as economic agents and the effects of Youth Forward on women’s access to jobs, financial services and the expansion of the economic opportunities available to them. This work has influenced policymakers and others to adopt and support successful employment of women and entrepreneurship models.

Kategorien: english

Post-merger development governance in the UK: a preliminary cross-national investigation of Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors

ODI - 15. Juli 2020 - 0:00
A rapid analysis of development governance across DAC donors for the UK post-merger.
Kategorien: english

‘Country-driven’ approach needed to limit COVID-19 damage to food security 

UN ECOSOC - 14. Juli 2020 - 22:05
A ‘business as usual' approach is no longer an option, the head of the UN agriculture agency said on Tuesday, launching a new plan to move past the coronavirus pandemic.
Kategorien: english

C20 Opens Call for Proposals for C20 Summit

#C20 18 - 14. Juli 2020 - 21:04
As we gear up towards the biggest gathering of Civil Society in the G20 process, the C20 Secretariat is pleased to launch a Call for Session Proposals for the C20 2020 Summit that will take place from Tuesday, October 6th to Saturday, October 10th. The call for proposals is open to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), [...]
Kategorien: english, Ticker

‘Turn the tide’ across a turbulent world, UN chief urges key development forum 

UN #SDG News - 14. Juli 2020 - 19:56
“Concrete, bold and implementable solutions” are needed to turn the tide on the many challenges the world is facing, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, on the biggest day so far for the UN’s key international forum on sustainable development.  
Kategorien: english

14.07.2020 Federal Ministers Heil and Müller: "Now the Coalition Agreement will come into play for a supply chain law. The aim is finalisation before the end of this legislative term."

German BMZ - 14. Juli 2020 - 15:45
Today the results of the process to monitor the implementation of Germany's National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights were presented to the Interministerial Committee. There are 7,300 larger-scale German companies with more than 500 employees that are required to show how they ensure that human rights and social minimum standards are met in their supply chains....
Kategorien: english

Disaster response: why democracy matters

EADI Debating Development Research - 14. Juli 2020 - 12:24
By Isabelle Desportes It is inherent to times of crises, and we can witness it in the way the COVID-19 pandemic is being handled too: strong leadership emerges, many decisions and emergency legislative mechanisms are enforced, and some key issues move to the background. While such centralistic measures are often necessary, they also bear the …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Nichtregierungsorganisationen fordern geschlechtergerechtes Lieferkettengesetz

Global Policy Forum - 14. Juli 2020 - 8:47

Berlin/Bonn/Köln 14. Juli 2020

Heute werden die Bundesminister Gerd Müller und Hubertus Heil die Ergebnisse der Umfrage der Bundesregierung zur Einhaltung der Menschenrechte entlang globaler Lieferketten vorstellen. Es ist zu befürchten, dass diese nicht gut ausfallen und ein Großteil der deutschen Unternehmen Menschenrechte missachtet. Ein Lieferkettengesetz wird damit unumgänglich. Es muss auch geschlechtergerecht sein. Das fordert ein Bündnis von 12 Entwicklungs- und Menschenrechtsorganisationen in seinem aktuellen Positionspapier. In globalen Wertschöpfungsketten sind Frauen vielfach benachteiligt und größeren Risiken ausgesetzt als Männer. Die Bandbreite reicht von sexueller Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz über Arbeitsbedingungen, die keine Rücksicht auf die Sorgearbeit von Frauen nehmen bis hin zu ungleicher Bezahlung.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Nichtregierungsorganisationen fordern geschlechtergerechtes Lieferkettengesetz

Global Policy Forum - 14. Juli 2020 - 8:47

Berlin/Bonn/Köln 14. July 2020

Heute werden die Bundesminister Gerd Müller und Hubertus Heil die Ergebnisse der Umfrage der Bundesregierung zur Einhaltung der Menschenrechte entlang globaler Lieferketten vorstellen. Es ist zu befürchten, dass diese nicht gut ausfallen und ein Großteil der deutschen Unternehmen Menschenrechte missachtet. Ein Lieferkettengesetz wird damit unumgänglich. Es muss auch geschlechtergerecht sein. Das fordert ein Bündnis von 12 Entwicklungs- und Menschenrechtsorganisationen in seinem aktuellen Positionspapier. In globalen Wertschöpfungsketten sind Frauen vielfach benachteiligt und größeren Risiken ausgesetzt als Männer. Die Bandbreite reicht von sexueller Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz über Arbeitsbedingungen, die keine Rücksicht auf die Sorgearbeit von Frauen nehmen bis hin zu ungleicher Bezahlung.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Gender norms

ODI - 14. Juli 2020 - 0:00

Our work on gender norms aims to enhance understanding of the informal rules that influence attitudes and behaviours and their impact on gender relations, equality and empowerment. Our research identifies underlying drivers of discriminatory and harmful norms and proposes evidence-informed pathways to gender justice. Underpinning our knowledge is a nuanced understanding of how gender-based rights can be realised in complex cultural and political contexts.

The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion programme works to place discriminatory norms on the agenda, identifying where and how they are detrimental – from keeping girls out of school to excluding women from decision-making – and identifying solutions in political, civil, social, legal and economic structures, alongside measures to enhance personal efficacy and agency.

Recent systematic reviews have covered media approaches to address gender norm change, the efficacy of girls’ clubs to promote empowerment and projects to promote positive masculinities for adolescent boys and young men. We host the Advancing Learning and Innovation in Gender Norms (ALIGN) platform, which connects practitioners, policy makers and researchers working to understand and find effective ways to change discriminatory norms, and acts as a hub for knowledge sharing.

Kategorien: english

Education

ODI - 14. Juli 2020 - 0:00

Our work on education identifies good practices and innovative approaches that enhance gender equality in areas as varied as reducing financial barriers, curriculum reform, teacher training and system-strengthening. Our analysis examines how formal and informal education contributes to girls’ skills and wider agency, for example in life decisions such as marriage, and how education can better prepare young people for changing labour markets.

We also explore ways to mitigate threats to girls’ education in conflict-affected contexts and strategies to combat gender-based violence in schools. Our research explores the effectiveness of life skills education in helping both boys and girls develop gender-equitable attitudes and behaviour.

Recent work also brings together evidence on educational opportunities and outcomes for adolescents and young people with disabilities and the impact of anti-discrimination initiatives. Our work through the ALIGN platform explores routes to shifting harmful gender norms through school curricula and routes to supporting gender-equitable skills development, including girls’ education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Kategorien: english

Accountability dilemmas and collective approaches to communication and community engagement in Yemen

ODI - 14. Juli 2020 - 0:00
This study explores how and to what extent collective approaches to communication and community engagement have – or have not – been implemented in Yemen.
Kategorien: english

‘All eyes are on local actors’: Covid-19 and local humanitarian action

ODI - 14. Juli 2020 - 0:00
Will Covid-19 provide the catalyst to shift towards more local humanitarian action and leadership?
Kategorien: english

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