Recommended by Liberals: On good immigrants and concentration camps

This is the justLiberals recommended reading list, sourced from articles shared on our subreddit. If you think something should be on the next list, share it with the community!

In this edition:

  • The Problem with the Concept of a 'Good Immigrant'
  • Why food parcels are the wrong way to feed hungry children
  • 'Our souls are dead': how I survived a Chinese 're-education' camp for Uighurs

These are not necessarily by Liberals, but we believe these are great additions to a Liberal's reading list - and we hope they are thought-provoking and insightful for you.

The Problem with the Concept of a 'Good Immigrant'

A bit later, his studies paid off, and he became a math teacher. And then something weird happened. It was like the volume on his otherness had been abruptly turned down and something else had been turned up. Abusive comments became less frequent. Hassle evaporated. He became respected, almost revered. He always swears that even the bricks and mortar of our little semi-detached house seemed to take on new meaning. "Some foreigners live there" became "a teacher lives there." Neighbors who usually struggled to give us the time of day started turning up at the door step with a bottle of whatever was on sale, asking if he could tutor their kids on their homework. In the eyes of our immediate community, he had gone from being a threatening other—the sort of "bad immigrant" who invades in hordes, steals jobs, sponges off the NHS, gobbles benefits, takes a dump on the economy, and is personally responsible for all that is wrong with life in Britain—to being someone worth their time, a "good immigrant."

Joe Zadeh's article exploring the ideas around critically acclaimed anthology The Good Immigrant is a great gateway into an attitude all Liberals must resist - read it here.

Why food parcels are the wrong way to feed hungry children

So why don’t we just increase child benefit or universal credit? The answer is twofold. The first is that since April, Rishi Sunak has been trying to undo the open-ended commitments he made at the beginning of the crisis and to avoid spending commitments he fears he will be unable to reverse after the crisis is over. But the second, and more insidious one, is that tackling the consequences of the pandemic via cash transfers goes against the default assumption in so much policymaking: that poverty is the result of a moral failure on the part of the poor.

Spending more money to give poor people less food could be considered a quintessential conservative policy; so ideologically focused on imposing a warped morality that any pretence of economic prudence is laid bare. Stephen Bush deconstructs the policy - read it here.

'Our souls are dead': how I survived a Chinese 're-education' camp for Uighurs

I was held in Baijiantan for two years. During that time, everyone around me – the police officers who came to interrogate prisoners, plus the guards, teachers and tutors – tried to make me believe the massive lie without which China could not have justified its re-education project: that Uighurs are terrorists, and thus that I, Gulbahar, as a Uighur who had been living in exile in France for 10 years, was a terrorist. Wave after wave of propaganda crashed down upon me, and as the months went by, I began to lose part of my sanity. Bits of my soul shattered and broke off. I will never recover them.

This harrowing account of a woman, coaxed into returning from France to China and then imprisoned without trial, forced to work, tortured.. well worth reading, and understanding just how far the Chinese government has gone in committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the west of the country (all under the auspices of a "war on terror"). Read it here.

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