22/02/2019 by socialistfight
Socialist Fight statement on Shamima Begum and imperialist racism
Sajid Javid has announced that the British government have stripped Shamima Begum of her British citizenship. This sets a dangerous precedent against anyone born in the UK if the government simply decide they are not ‘British’ enough. Since 2002 and the ‘war on terror’ the government have used the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act to strip British citizens of UK nationality from individuals using prerogative powers. This policy will by default target non-white British citizens, as it will be they who are more likely to have parents with dual nationality, thereby showing its true nature. The government has assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner deciding at its own leisure and with no due process who is British and who is not, worryingly it was Theresa May who introduced a clause in the Immigration Act in 2014, which potentially allows removal of nationality even if it renders them ‘stateless’. This is disguised in the wording of Part 6 of the Act which allows the Home Secretary to simply decide if an individual may be able to seek citizenship elsewhere:
“(c) the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds for believing that the person is able, under the law of a country or territory outside of the United Kingdom, to become a national of such a country or territory.”
This girl, who was 15 years of age at the time of running away from home, may not have committed any crime other than running to an area and ‘marrying’ a fighter who may well be dead. The government has provided no evidence to the contrary. Removing citizenship and leaving someone stateless is illegal (Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) but this doesn’t matter to the British government, it is simply a continuation of the racist Tory ‘hostile environment’ that deliberately targets people of colour. The racist nature of this government with its rampant Islamophobia and deportation of British citizens with the Windrush scandal should be a concern for all of us who stand up against racism. 104 British citizens were deprived of their British citizenship in 2017, an increase from 14 individuals during 2016. This has all the hallmarks of an attempt by Javid to show the Tory racists on the right of the party that he is as tough as May as Home Secretary. A populist on immigration demonising Muslims, immigrants, and refugees while pandering to voters in a looming leadership election and the nation at large, which has been exposed to the English nationalist fervour unleashed by Brexit.
This is not about terrorism, if indeed it was then we suspect that the intelligence services would be interested in interviewing Shamima Begum. This decision to remove her citizenship conveniently absolves the government from answering some awkward questions. In 2015 Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, reported that a Canadian national was arrested, who was an intelligence agent working for the coalition. It is claimed that he helped the three girls from Bethnal Green cross the border into Syria. If this is true, this needs answering as to what role the British government potentially played in assisting people to travel to Syria? For this government to claim that a 15 year old girl running away from home, after being groomed and radicalised online, and to have full cognitive awareness to understand the severity of her actions and not be a victim, exposes their hypocrisy and racism in full view.
If this girl was a 15 year old white non-Muslim girl groomed online under different circumstances, she would quite rightly be considered a victim and be provided with the support that both her and her newborn baby would desperately need. To suggest that she shows no remorse is contradicted by her statements that claim that she didn’t understand what she was getting herself into and clearly warning other young girls not to be taken in by the propaganda from religious fanatics. Her ‘bravado’ during her interview when atrocities were discussed may well be a genuine response to well-held beliefs, or it may be simply because she is confused having been exposed to the horrors of war. This is what she said:
“I do feel that is wrong. Innocent people did get killed, It’s one thing to kill a soldier, it’s fine, it’s self-defence. But to kill people like women and children, just like the women and children in Baghuz who are being killed right now unjustly by the bombings. It’s a two-way thing really. This is kind of retaliation. Their justification was that it was retaliation, so I thought that is a fair justification. That was unfair on them … They weren’t fighting anyone. They weren’t causing any harm. But neither was I and neither [were the] other women who are being killed right now back in Baghuz. I didn’t want to be on the news at first. I did hear a lot of people were encouraged to come after, but I wasn’t the one who put myself on the news.”
Since the interview of Shamima Begum she has been demonised for daring to suggest that the terrorist atrocity in Manchester was no different from the air strikes in Syria. She’s questioning why 70 civilians in Al-Baghuz are seen as collateral damage and is acceptable, whereas 22 people in Manchester (very rightly) are seen as innocent victims. While this may be unpalatable to many, in many respects she is correct. Both are atrocities and to dismiss the culpability of this and previous British governments allows them to wriggle off from the hook. UK foreign policy has provided fertile breeding ground for terrorism to grow with its imperialist hands dripping in blood in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
This blood cannot be simply washed off like some modern-day Pontius Pilate, absolving themselves of all responsibility by blaming Muslims. The British government also has an aggressive policy of arresting British nationals fighting overseas, or even for providing humanitarian assistance in war-torn areas. The arrests of people fighting against Da’esh, or in the Donbass shows that the UK government has double standards. Many UK nationals serve overseas in the IDF under the Mahal programme, an army that routinely violates international law and is responsible for supporting the illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. Soldiers of an occupying force who routinely carry out war crimes with impunity. Where are Sajid Javid and the British government’s condemnation of these people? Tory racism is at the very heart of this and nothing else.