Anu Shukla

I am a UK-based multi-media journalist with bylines published at The Independent, Al Jazeera, Reuters and The New Internationalist amongst others. @AnuShuklaWrites

Free school meals fiasco: Is it time to consider the Leeds model?

The school meals fiasco has once again exposed the impact of privatisation on Britain’s most vulnerable. But some local authorities have proven there are better options than external contractors like Chartwells when it comes to delivering public services like free school meals. Despite losing £2 billion in funding since 2010, Leeds City Council has its own in-house catering team to provide help for vulnerable families affected by loss of earnings caused by COVID. In fact the authority has mana

Ibiza clubbing and COVID-19: how the White Isle has adapted during the pandemic

“The only people who are going to survive this are the super rich. Cleaners, suppliers and everyday small business owners working 15-hour days for next to zero profits won’t exist anymore.” He’s not hopeful about restriction-compliant events making a difference, either. “Who wants to do socially distanced sit-down events? I’d rather cut my leg off with a spoon, to be honest.” The domino effect is being felt by venues. Marian Escandell, the manager for Benimussa Park, says that because Clockwork

Lucid dreaming: a universal passport to freedom of movement? | FairPlanet

When 16-year-old Sudanese boy Abdulfatah Hamdallah was found washed up on a French beach after attempting to cross the English Channel from Calais to the UK - his family placed the blame on French authorities for rejecting his bid for asylum. Meanwhile, news reports of the tragedy triggered a nauseous wave of anti-immigrant attitudes. It’s no small feat to confront such behaviour engrained by the mechanics of a system that seems to dehumanise by default, the world’s most marginalised people. B

No music, no dancing: a postcard from Covid-era Ibiza

When music represents the soul of a place like Ibiza, keeping the vibe alive without breaking constantly-changing Covid rules is no small feat. But now, the legendary White Isle – currently devoid of its superstar DJs and massive crowds – is left to do just that. There have been an estimated 489 Covid cases in Ibiza, while Spain as a whole now stands at the 1.1 million mark. And in a bid to minimise infections, local government has banned loud music and dancing anywhere – Ibiza included. On Fr

Meet the British poet teaching asylum seekers to lucid dream

What if lucid dreaming (being conscious during a dream) could become a tool for manifesting freedom of movement for the most marginalised and oppressed people in society? Spoken word artist Potent Whisper's contextualisation of this very idea has materialised into a musical audiobook called Lucid Lovers and a series of lucid dreaming workshops for asylum seekers, the homeless and people living with disabilities. The artist, real name Georgie Stephanou, delivers powerful political prose dissect

Advocates Consider COVID-19 Pandemic Opportunity to Push To Legalize Cannabis In Spain

Cannabis clubs in Spain are prising open their doors as the country enters the second phase of lockdown de-escalation. But campaigners say socio-economic impacts of the shutdown prove cannabis is an accepted norm of mainstream Spanish society, and private weed clubs should be allowed to dispense like pharmacies if illicit market forces are to be defeated once and for all. Spain’s first cannabis club opened in 2001, providing a legal loophole for consumption in private spaces, which, according t

Let's make some noise for George Floyd - we've been silent for too long

Benjamin Zephaniah says the Black Lives Matter movement is testament to how little has changed since stop and search police brutality that gave rise to the Brixton riots, and that the world should “make some noise” instead of observing a one minute of silence for victims of systemic institutional racism. The legendary dub poet who is a patron of the UK Chagos Support Association has dedicated a lifetime of work to vocalising the realities of institutional racism. He said he understood the sent

Thieves kill 30,000 bees in hive shared by former deputy Mayor of London

A failed hive heist has killed 30,000 bees after thieves tried to steal honey from a community beehive shared by former London Mayor Deputy Lee Jasper. Mr Jasper served as Senior Policy Advisor on Equalities from 2004-2008 for then Mayor of London Ken Livingston. He told : “We’ve carefully nurtured our hive over the last couple of years, and our bees are such a central part of our community garden. “Now, as a result of some selfish b*stard, over 30,000 bees are dead. I just can’t understand so

After starvation and violence, traumatised Rohingya fear impact of cyclone on prison island

The New Arab spoke with parents of youngsters desperate to be reunited with their families as they brace themselves for the impact of Cyclone Amphan. Experts predict it's likely to hit low lying coastal areas like Bhasan Char, which sits at just three metres above sea level. The trauma of starvation, rape and violence are added not just to fears of a brewing storm, but to the impact of coronavirus for a young generation of Rohingya on the island who have already survived the treachery of traffi

Live-streaming creativity: How lockdown is dismantling borders for Arab artists

Lockdown is no new phenomenon in the Middle East . As it happens, neither is live-streaming.But their polarising energies are bringing an ironic sense of freedom to artists channelling a new lease of life in quarantined climes, with live streams that are dismantling borders and opening frontiers like never before. Creativity can emerge from the gloomiest of places, and as Palestinian techno artist, DJ Sama tells The New Arab: "Music has always evolved and emerged from surreal moments like this,

For Rohingya refugees, Ramadan under lockdown offers little respite from hardships of life

Along with the rules of social distancing, it is not the ideal environment for observing rituals of the holy month. And for Rohingya who spoke to The New Arab, there are evident challenges to fasting the entire day in squalid conditions under a baking sun before settling to break bread. "We panicked when we first heard about the epidemic. It's a serious moment. Ramadan is compulsory for every Muslim; we must worship, fast and carry out the Taraweeh prayer," Rohingya Youth Association worker Ali

Smashing the patriarchy one BPM at a time | FairPlanet

Race and gender inequality in the music industry has existed for half an eon - or so it feels. And the electronic music scene is no innocent bystander. According to new research though, change is emerging in dance music culture - but there's still a massively long way to go. In 2016, founding father of Detroit Techno Juan Atkins hit out at global artist directory, The DJ List, for “publishing a racist top 100 DJ list” that indexed just two black DJs. He said it was “a slap in the face for the e

Internet ban spreads coronavirus fears faster than infection at Rohingya refugee camps

A humanitarian crisis looms over some 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar's brutal military crackdown, as they struggle to survive in cramped and squalid conditions at government-run camps in Kutapalong, Ukhia, and in Tecknaf Upazila, which runs along the coast of Myanmar. But in the absence of mobile and internet connection - a ban was implemented in September 2019 - misinformation about the coronavirus epidemic is spreading rumours and fears faster than the virus

300 People Are Trapped at a Music Festival in Panama Because of Coronavirus

Imagine: you’ve spent a fortnight gurning to rib-shaking basslines. You’ve spent hazy afternoons listening to the wisdom of indigenous elders. And you’ve lazed on the sand with a bunch of globe-trotting hippies on Playa Chiquita, one of Central America’s most beautiful beaches. But as you reach the end of your music festival, you realise something’s not quite right. You’re actually stuck here – or more accurately, you’re trapped by local military and their fear of coronavirus. This is currentl

Coronavirus 'inching closer' to dual national political inmates at Iranian prison

On Wednesday, the Iranian judiciary, "in view of the current conditions", delivered a directive allowing "eligible" prisoners to leave Evin Prison in Tehran to stay with their families until 2 April 2020. Eligible prisoners, it stated, included male and female prisoners over the age of 70 and 60 years respectively. However, this did not include "security prisoners" of the same ages with "sentences longer than five years". With a death toll of 237 as of Monday, Iran is one of the worst hi

Yanis Varoufakis exclusive: To persecute Assange is to “murder the truth”

If the trial of Julian Assange has made one thing clear, it is that the US has immunity from alleged war crimes exposed by Wikileaks, Yanis Varoufakis told at the Don’t Extradite Assange protest in London yesterday. Speaking on Parliament Square the Greek economist and former finance minister of the Syriza Party warned that these are no longer the days of Daniel Ellsberg. “The machinations of the establishment were not as sophisticated back then as they are post 911.” “Absolute power leads to

Brexit will 'embolden bigotry' towards people of colour, warns former Green MEP Magid Magid

The UK's departure from the European Union has "emboldened bigotry" against people of colour, says outgoing Green MEP Magid Magid. But he said the "fight for a better democracy, a better Europe and a better UK, doesn't stop with an election or a referendum." His plan now is to raise certain issues, including the existence of anti-Muslim rhetoric, with some of the EU's highest echelons of power. He spoke to The New Arab in Brussels on the eve before the UK's exit from the European Union. "We

How Qasem Soleimani's assassination was an 'ill-conceived effort to contain Iran's growing regional power'

The assassination of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani reveals the rise of a "particularly violent form of international anarchy," says SOAS professor of Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies, Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.The author of On the Arab Revolts and the Iranian Revolution , speaks to The New Arab about the media's role in serving "political currents" and how LGBTQ+ and women's rights violations weaponised to legitimise war are a construct of the very imperialist machine that conde

How British universities are fuelling Israel's human rights abuses

The companies, it is said, are claimed to be financing, or are directly involved in Israel's military industry, illegal settlement industry, or are involved in the production of technologies used in the surveillance of Palestinians. The FOI results, collated into a database seen by The New Arab, includes a list of "complicit" companies and the total amount that each establishment is alleged to have invested in them. It also indicates whether or not each institution has an ethical investment pol
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