Instant Opinion

‘The international community must do more to help Myanmar’s citizens’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Tun Khin at Al Jazeera

Justice is the only answer to Myanmar’s bloody military reign

on international allies

“Exactly one year ago” today, writes Tun Khin at Al Jazeera, “the Myanmar military launched a coup and opened another bloody chapter in my country’s history”. Since then, “there has been a steady stream of horrific news” coming from Myanmar. The junta has “driven the state to the brink of collapse and committed widespread atrocities”, says Khin, who is president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK. There is “only one way to break this cycle of abuse: pursuing mechanisms of international justice that can hold those responsible to account”. If “a silver lining” can be found, it is “the renewed sense of interethnic solidarity” that has arisen since “people have realised that the military is our common enemy”. An ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court gives “hope to the military’s many victims”, and “as the net closes in” around the Tatmadaw leadership, there is “no question” that those at the top are “getting increasingly nervous”. But there is “much more the international community can and must do”, he concludes.

2

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post

Biden’s critics are clueless about his pledge to put a black woman on the Supreme Court

on pontential candidate

Last week, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker “derided” Joe Biden’s decision to place a black woman on the US Supreme Court as “affirmative racial discrimination”, writes Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. The implication that Biden’s pick for the nomination, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, “would not reach the Supreme Court but for her race and gender is yet another reminder that for too many politicians, the ‘default’ for federal judges is white and male”. Biden “understands that the dominance of white men on the federal courts is politically and morally untenable”, says Rubin. The president’s “biggest contribution” to these institutions “may be in making up for years of indifference or history to going outside the pool of white males”. His pledge to back Jackson is “an attack on the systematic exclusion of women of colour from the federal judiciary”, and his nominee “will be every bit as excellent – if not more so – than current members of the court”. Senators “should start to follow his lead as they participate in the advise and consent process”.

3

Eleanor Salter at The Guardian

A new Tory faction is ‘scrutinising’ net zero with tactics learned from Brexit

on climate costs

There was “an underlying consensus that ‘something had to be done’” back in 2019 when Theresa May passed the UK’s net-zero target. The landmark legislation “entered the statute book with hardly any resistance”, says Eleanor Salter at The Guardian, but now that “consensus seems to be falling apart”. A rebel faction of Tory MPs “is manoeuvering, Brexit-style, to systemically undermine the government’s stated climate efforts”, as the net-zero policy becomes “just another political football to be kicked around the government backbenches”. The Net Zero Scrunity Group (NZSG), run by Steve Baker and Craig Mackinlay, “rejects the characterisation that they are climate sceptics”, writes Salter. Their “focus is on blaming climate policy for the cost-of-living crisis, particularly soaring energy bills”. The group take “climate ‘delayism’ to extremes” – but “understimate” them at your “peril”. “These seemingly small configurations can hugely influence policy”, warns Salter, and “without rigorous myth-busting”, the “supposed ‘cost of net zero’ could breed popular resentment”.

4

Sarah Ditum at The Times

Beware the power of your online persona

on digital distortion

“There’s a kind of consutlation plastic surgeons say they dread,” according to Sarah Ditum. A “person (usually a young woman, but not always)” hands over a photo that has been digitally enhanced “with the help of filters”. The surgeon sees “the impossibility of reconciling the flesh to the image”, while the patient thinks it “equally obvious that the Snapchat version of her is the way she should look”, Ditum writes in The Times. “The internet is not ‘real life’, we like to tell ourselves, and it’s true but also a long way from the truth.” The decisions that social media users make on these various platforms “can feel natural, ordinary, dictated by the medium”, but they “accrete, surprisingly quickly, into a persona” until “eventually, they become the whole of what you are”. It happens “even if you actively and vehemently reject the very idea that you have an online persona”. And whoever it is that “you pretend to be online is someone you will have to live with for the rest of your life”.

5

Simon Kelner at the i news site

Covid has brought some positives, we’re less cavalier about travel and focusing more on our communities

on unexpected upsides

It's been two years since the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in the UK. Now “here we stand”, says Simon Kelner, each of us with “a different story to tell, of privation and isolation, of tragedy and loss, of disruption and restriction, and perhaps of the life-altering consequences of the virus”. As the pandemic begins to ease, we can begin “to assess how these past years of Covid have transformed our world, individually and collectively”, he writes at the i news site. Kelner suggests that it “hasn’t been all bad”. We have “become much more community-minded”, and “many of us have become more connected to family as a result of working from home”. The environmental benefits have “been well documented” too. That travelling has become “more complicated and less convenient” has “given us pause for thought. Do we really need to take that trip?” This “less cavalier attitude to overseas travel” will “benefit us all” if it sticks around as part of the new normal”, he argues. And “surely” we will “hold the NHS in greater esteem in the future”. Now may be the time “to take confort in those small, but significant, life enhancements”.

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