Migrant and refugee children are victims of more bullying than their peers

By Simona Carla Silvia Caravita, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

As migrants and refugees begin to settle into new lives across Europe, they face many challenges – from securing residency papers, to learning a new language and finding work. For children, new schools can also be difficult places to grow up. In our recent research we found that migrant and refugee children in Italian schools were more likely to be bullied than their peers, many because their schoolmates already held prejudices against them.

Rates of bullying among children are high across the world, according to a recent report from the UN’s special representative on violence against children. There is a big social cost to being bullied and these children face a greater risk of poor health, internalised stress, and suicidal thoughts.

Negative outcomes of bullying are now not only being reported in high-income countries, where the majority of research is conducted. A new briefing published by UNICEF’s Office of Research has looked at bullying among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries and the effect this has on young adults. It showed how adolescents in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam who were bullied by peers at age 15 tended to experience negative effects at age 19. These included lower self-esteem, a lower perception of their own success (known as self-efficacy) and more strained relationships with their peers and with their parents.

In our research, we wanted to look at the factors that increase the risk of bullying among particularly vulnerable children. The recent European immigration crisis, and in particular the situation in Italy and Greece, called our attention to the problem of bullying among migrant and refugee children attending Italian schools.

In 2013 and 2014, 9% of the Italian school pupil population were migrant and refugee children, according to data from the Italian Minister of Education Bullying of migrant and refugee children because of their migrant status, similar to victimisation of children of a particular ethnic group, is known as bias-based bullying.

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Martin Bosma — Geert Wilders’ brain

Politico reports: Look at photographs of Geert Wilders in the Dutch parliament, and the camera often shows a figure seated behind him: Martin Bosma, the polemicist of the Freedom Party (PVV).

A former journalist, whose side-swept brown hair keeps him a youthful 52, Bosma is often described in Dutch media as the PVV’s ideologist. “He’s the brain. He invented the PVV,” said Geert Tomlow, a former parliamentary elections candidate from the party.

Bosma’s ideas are bearing fruit at just the right time, with the PVV leading in the polls five months from a general election that could see the party double in size in the parliament. He and Wilders have helped push the center-ground of Dutch politics to the Right and mainstreamed positions once confined to the fringe.

Since entering parliament a decade ago, Bosma has published two books, each released to a flurry of television interviews and controversy.

The autobiographical “The Fake Elite of the Counterfeiters” takes aim at a left-wing clique he accuses of taking over cultural institutions and allowing immigration in an underhand coup to achieve radical aims by stealth.

“Minority in One’s Own Land” turns to South African history. Bosma argues that the predominantly Dutch-descended settlers, the Afrikaners, became outnumbered by black South Africans and subjected to “cultural genocide” and “Apartheid 2.0” in events he warns could foreshadow the fate of the Netherlands. [Continue reading…]

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The alt-right’s fight against ‘the systematic browbeating of the white male’

Sanjiv Bhattacharya reports: It’s not every day that a brown journalist gets to sit in on a white-nationalist strategy meeting. But these are strange times. Racism is trending. Like Brexit, Trump has normalised views that were once beyond the pale, and groups like the AFP have grown bold. Their man’s stubby orange fingers are within reach of actual power, so maybe it’s time to emerge from the shadows at last.

I first met [William] Johnson [the chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party (AFP)] in May after he signed up as a Trump delegate before being swiftly struck off by the campaign when the press found out. He’s a surprising figure. An avid environmentalist, fluent in Japanese and, in person, not the bitter old racist I’d expected but rather a jolly Mormon grandfather, bright eyed and chuckling, a Wind in the Willows character. Eric is even more unexpected. Tall and impassioned, he came to racism via hypnotherapy, of all things. He sells solar panels for a living and practises yoga. Together with his friends Matt and Nathan, who are also here at lunch, he runs an alt-right fraternity in Manhattan Beach – “a beer and barbecues thing”. They’re called the Beach Goys. “We’re starting a parody band,” he beams. “We’ve found a drummer!”

Between them they represent two poles of a racist spectrum, young and old. And judging from this lunch, it’s the millennials who are the more extreme. Johnson wants white nationalists to appear less mean and he finds the “JQ”, the Jewish Question, archaic. But Eric loves the meanness of the alt right. “We’re the troll army!” he says. “We’re here to win. We’re savage!” And antisemitism is non-negotiable. In fact, he’d like to clear up a misnomer about the alt right, propagated by the Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos, who is often described, mistakenly, as the movement’s leader. Milo casts the alt right as principally a trolling enterprise, dedicated to attacking liberal shibboleths for the “lulz”– there’s precious little actual bigotry. But Eric insists otherwise. Yes, they like to joke, they have memes, they’re just as funny as liberals – have I heard of their satirical news podcasts, the Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation? But make no mistake, the racism is real. Eric especially enjoys The Daily Stormer, a leading alt-right news site, which is unashamedly pro-Hitler. [Continue reading…]

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Nearly half the adults in Britain and elsewhere in Europe hold extremist views

BuzzFeed reports: Almost half of the adults in 12 European countries now hold anti-immigrant, nationalist views, according to major new research that reveals the spread of fringe political views into the mainstream.

BuzzFeed News has been given exclusive access to new data from YouGov, which polled more than 12,000 people across the continent to measure the extent of what it termed “authoritarian populist” opinions – a combination of anti-immigration sentiments, strong foreign policy views, and opposition to human rights laws, EU institutions, and European integration policies.

The YouGov findings are the first to capture the political attitudes that are both fuelling, and being fuelled by, upheaval across Europe and beyond – from the continent’s refugee crisis and the Brexit vote in Britain, to the burkini ban in France, to the rise of Donald Trump and the radical “alternative right” in the US.

In Britain, the poll found authoritarian populist attitudes were shared by 48% of adults, despite less than 20% of the population identifying itself as right-wing. Three months on from the EU referendum, prime minister Theresa May has responded this week by appealing directly to disaffected working-class voters with a promise to crackdown on immigration and reassert British sovereignty. [Continue reading…]

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The new star of Germany’s far right

Thomas Meaney writes: For decades, the German far right has been a limited force, with easily recognizable supporters—nicotine-stained ex-Nazis in the sixties and seventies, leather-clad skinheads in the eighties and nineties. [Alternative für Deutschland leader, Frauke] Petry is something different, a disarmingly wholesome figure — a former businesswoman with a Ph.D. in chemistry and four children from her marriage to a Lutheran pastor. During a month I spent with her this summer as she drove around Germany giving speeches, she drew connections between politics and laboratory science, sprinkled her speech with Latin phrases, and steered discussions about German culture toward the cantatas of Bach.

Petry is not a gifted orator. Her speeches tend to be dull, with ornate sentences and technocratic talking points, and she is more comfortable citing economic studies than discussing the lives of ordinary people. Her manner belies the extremism of the AfD’s views. At the start of this year, Petry said that, in the face of the recent influx of refugees (many of them fleeing the war in Syria), the police might have to shoot people crossing the border illegally. In April, the Party said that head scarves should be banned in schools and universities, and minarets prohibited. Party members called for a referendum on whether to leave the euro; for the expulsion of Allied troops, who have been stationed in Germany since 1945; and for school curriculums that focus more on “positive, identity-uplifting” episodes in German history and less on Nazi crimes. Most contentious of all was the declaration “Islam does not belong in Germany.”

By American standards, especially in the age of Donald Trump, contemporary German politics is decorous and understated. But although Petry’s crisp style is in many ways the opposite of Trump’s, her rise has similarities to his. She, too, has come late to politics and relishes her outsider status. Like him, she often works by insinuation, fanning right-wing conspiracy theories not merely to stir up grievances but to bind members together with a sense of shared beliefs. Like him, she has been accused of financial improprieties. Like him, she castigates the media for liberal bias but also thrives on media attention. Petry and her colleagues have mastered the art of dominating the news cycle, to the point where a visitor to Germany listening to the radio or reading the newspapers could be forgiven for thinking that the AfD is the party in power. [Continue reading…]

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Russia, jailer of local separatists, welcomes foreign secessionists

The New York Times reports: Russia may jail its own separatists, but that did not hinder a nominally independent Russian organization from laying out the welcome mat on Sunday for an oddball, global troupe of liberation movements, including, improbably, four from the United States.

The official name of the government-funded gathering, held within sight of the Kremlin, was “The Dialogue of Nations.” Its stated goal was to affirm the right to self-determination while demonizing globalization.

The unofficial goal seemed to be to support groups, however marginal, that might help rattle Western governments. The main talking points, particularly those vilifying the United States for the violent aftermath of uprisings in the Middle East and Ukraine, echoed a standard Kremlin argument.

Nate Smith, a 36-year-old country-music performer and information-technology consultant representing a group called the Texas Nationalist Movement, summed up the theme of the conference.

“We have gathered from around the world to discuss the principle and the future of self-determination in direct contradiction to those seeking a global solution to the people of the world,” he told the conference. “Much like the people of Catalonia, the people of Ireland, the people of Puerto Rico and many other peoples that are represented at this conference, we believe that the best people to govern Texas is the Texan people.” [Continue reading…]

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