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Migrant Lives

Persecuted Minorities Seeking Asylum In Thailand Face Crackdown

Bangkok and other urban areas in Thailand are home to some 8,000 refugees who have fled religious persecution in their home countries. But since the deadly shrine bombing in August, the government has been harassing and arresting illegal immigrants.

Thai police and Pakistani refugees in Bangkok
Thai police and Pakistani refugees in Bangkok
Kannikar Petchkaew

BANGKOK — Almost 8,000 asylum seekers, smuggled from countries such as Syria, Somalia and Pakistan, live in Bangkok and other urban centers in Thailand, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The kingdom has notably become a major destination for Christians leaving Pakistan to escape religious persecution in their homeland.

Unrecognized and stuck in limbo, asylum seekers are subject to harassment and arrests. But since August's Erawan Shrine bombing, authorities have intensified their crackdown on illegal immigrants, meaning the refugees are living in even more uncertainty and fear. Many Pakistanis flee their country looking for a better life, says 35-year-old asylum seeker Nadeem* — though they don't always find it.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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