Netflix vs Orthodox Jews, travel for the unvaxxed and deadbeat dads in blue helmets | Borderline Brief #2
A weekly curation for global citizens. This week: Cambodia, UN peacekeepers, Haredi Jews, Black Britons, US immigration, Afghan refugees, Facebook, Covid, climate, Antarctica, France, Mexico, Russia, China and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.
IDENTITY & BELONGING
- 🇰🇭 Peacekeepers in Cambodia fathered children with local women and left them behind when the UN mission moved on. Now adults, those children face discrimination and questions about where they belong.
- 📺 Netflix is producing a spate of popular shows about ultra-Orthodox Jews. But how do you fairly reflect a community that cannot participate in its own portrayal?
- 👴🏾 His ancestors came to Liverpool in the 19th century. A fourth-generation Black British man still faces funny looks at passport control.
IMMIGRATION & ASYLUM
- 🧳 Forget breathless coverage of the US Southern border or Channel crossings. Immigration is at its lowest in a couple decades.
- 🇺🇸 The Biden administration has designated schools, hospitals, places of worships and playgrounds as off-limits to immigration enforcement. It may also compensate families that were separated at the border under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
- 🇦🇫 In the US too, tens of thousands of Afghan refugees remain in military camps. Families are being discouraged to move to cities where they know people and the Afghan diaspora is already strong.
- 👥 “Facebook does not care about the Global South.” Like much of Silicon Valley, it is global when it comes to making money, but parochially American in which public opinion it pays attention to.
- 🕊 In the “age of unpeace”, our global interconnectedness is being weaponised. What will be this era’s arms control?
LONG STORY SHORT: Travel for the vaxxed, the unvaxxed and the not-the-right-vaxxed
- Travel restrictions are changing everywhere: border agents no longer look at your country of origin but at your vaccination card. This week alone, the United States, UK, Thailand, Chile, Israel, Singapore or Australia are all loosening entry rules… for the vaxxed only.
- Just a handful of countries take in unvaccinated foreign visitors. Mexico appears to be the last country you can enter without even testing or quarantine requirements.
- That’s a problem for the nearly 5 billion humans who haven’t been fully vaccinated. Though because they are nearly all in Africa and the Global South, their more immediate obstacles to travel include poverty and passport discrimination.
- It’s also an issue for those who didn’t get the “right” jab. The UK and EU generally only accept the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen shots. The US more generously accepts all WHO-approved doses, including China’s Sinovac.
- That notably leaves out Russia’s Sputnik vaccine. A cottage vaccine tourism industry has sprung in Serbia and Croatia to jab wealthy Russians. But Russia’s main problem is having probably the highest Covid death rate on the planet.
- 🌪 Meet the migrant day labourers who follow climate disasters in the US.
- ❄️ A man claimed a (vast) patch of Antarctica and made it a country. Now the Grand Duchy of Westarctica is fighting climate change. (Hat tip: Counterflows)
- 🇫🇷 A likely far-right candidate in the French presidential election is using the Trump playbook and the media are falling for it in exactly the same way. I despair.
- 🇬🇧 Jonn Elledge wrote up in more details (and more science fiction references) what he meant on the podcast last week when he said the UK’s destiny was always in the European single market but out of any political union, however the Brexit referendum turned out.
- 🇨🇳 I’ve long been fascinated by Youtuber Li Ziqi’s brand of fauxthentic videos of a Chinese country life apparently untouched by industrialisation or the Cultural Revolution. I’m now even more fascinated by her rebellion against the influencer industry.
Isabelle Roughol Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.