daily archive: 03/07/2005
, the Pakistani woman who was gang-raped on orders of a tribal council and had the guts to take her rapists to court, is an amazing person in more ways than one:
She received $8,300 in compensation and used it to start two schools in the village, one for boys and one for girls, because she feels that education is the best way to change attitudes like those that led to the attack on her. Illiterate herself, she then enrolled in her own elementary school.
After she ran out of money, she sold her family's cow to keep the school open.
Read Kristof's op-ed after the jump and give a thimbleful of something strong to evariste who bypassed registration so you don't have to.
And a note of hope: in Eastern Pakistan thousands of women rallied demanding justice and protection for Mukhtar
no comments yet
Syria may be capitulating
no comments yet
The Cuisine of Chiapas
no comments yet
Women's Rights Now
Kuwaiti women are rallying for their political rights
Even though gender equality is stipulated in the Kuwaiti constitution, a 1999 legislative attempt allowing women to vote and serve in parliament was shot down by the powerful Islamic bloc. This is the battle they're facing:
Some hardcore Islamists and their supporters have come out strongly against enfranchising Kuwaiti women, calling it a disgrace and a Western idea to damage local norms. Islamist MPs call rights for Kuwaiti women a disgrace (a shot of cognac to ev for this link)
"Those who want women to enter politics aim at fragmenting society and spreading Western ideas to destroy our society," MP Waleed Al Tabtabaei announced late Tuesday at the diwaniyah of MP Daifullah Bu Ramiah held to protest against granting political rights to women.
A number of prominent personalities participated in the meeting titled "Under Islamic Sharia Women Have No Political Rights". Al Tabtabaei, who is also the chief of the Human Rights Committee in parliament, was the main speaker.
Bu Ramiah reaffirmed his earlier stand that granting political rights to women is a stigma. "It is a shame to grant women political rights while we deprive Kuwaiti citizens who are already 18 years of age the same," Bu Ramiah said.
A day before the meeting, the MP installed about 60 signs across the country telling the public their attendance will be equal to defending Islamic law.
Al Tabtabaei also defended Salafist MP and Justice Minister Ahmad Baquer for his stance against granting political rights to women, saying the minister believes it is not in the public interest to give women the right to contest elections although they should be given the right to vote in accordance with religious controls.
He also called on women's rights activists to respect the views of others who oppose it.
Kuwaiti women have a long struggle ahead of them in their fight for equality. Wouldn't a little extra pressure help? Amir Taheri
seems to think so:
In the meantime an Arabic translation of "Lysistrata", a comedy by the classical Greek playwright Aristophanes, is making the round, often under the abayah for just one Kuwaiti dinar.
The play is about one Lysistrata (meaning: the Loosener) who leads the women of her city into a marriage strike until their husbands agree to their demands, including equal rights.
So, my Kuwaiti sisters, there you have it: don't give them any sex until you get the vote. It worked for the Greeks! ;-)
no comments yet
Israel, terrorists deny Syria's claim to have expelled Hamas, PIJ leaders
With both the Israelis and the terrorists calling you a liar, life can't be too comfy for Assad right now. Also, as the Israelis note, apparently it's a gimmick the Damascus regime has employed before, pretending to crack down for a while and then allowing them to resurface. Links and quotes under the fold...
no comments yet
Polygamy in France
If you're a bigamist in France, you could go to prison - unless you're Muslim, in which case you're exempt from the law.
Polygamy in France is officially banned, but the authorities tolerate the existence of an estimated 30,000 families in which there is more than one wife.
Having grown up in one such family in the suburbs of Paris, Aminata was determined to escape the same fate as her mother.
“I spent my whole childhood in Nanterre with my ten brothers and sisters hearing my two mothers arguing. I just couldn’t stand it any longer," said the 19-year-old.
When her family decided to send her back to Mali to marry her cousin, she ran away from home and took refuge with one of a number of associations who care for women like her.
There are thousands of women like Aminata in France.
Although bigamy carries a prison sentence, French law tolerates it among foreigners, mainly members of France’s sizeable African community.
In 1980, laws were relaxed to allow thousands of women from Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia to move into the residences in France of the man and his first wife.
This influx was stemmed in the early 1990s under new legislation introduced by the then hardline interior minister Charles Pasqua, but following a series of protests the government relaxed its legislation.
no comments yet
A Souvenir from Chiapas
I don't buy souvenirs usually. When I travel overseas I may buy books but that's about it. But it was just after the march of Commandante Esther and Subcommandante Marcos from Chiapas to Mexico City and I happened to be in Puerto Vallarta. Okay, so I wasn't exactly in the middle of the revolution but at least I was in the same country. And the Commandante was a woman! So to show my support I decided I'd buy a t-shirt. I'm particular about t-shirts; more specifically, I don't wear them. But this was important.
I was spending a lot of time on the beach, us European revolutionaries like to do that, we sun and swim and solve the world's problems at the same time. And we help the third world economies: we order margaritas and give money to poor indigenous women to braid our hair in cornrows.
Being sort of a lazy revolutionary, I started asking the beach vendors if they had t-shirts with the Subcommandante and the Commandante. None of them did, not a single one. And they would smile nervously too when I would ask. On the third day I realised none of them for reals had anything from Chiapas at all so I just started asking if they knew of a shop where I could get a souvenir from Chiapas. Most of them shrugged their shoulders. That didn't discourage me one little bit, especially since I didn't even have to get up from my beach chair to ask. Finally some guy who was selling blankets in 98 degree weather told me that the Tourist Police is forbidding the vendors from selling stuff that had to do with politics - the "gringos" don't like it. I huffily explained to him I was not a gringa I was a Greca, "es muy diferente!" Made no difference.
I wasn't just disappointed at this point, I was obsessed. In a frenzied mix of Italian, French, Spanish, Greek and English, I demanded to know if they knew of any place, any place at all with souvenirs from Chiapas, how can a whole town ignore a revolution! Most people would politely smile and point out to me that Chiapas was something like 3,000 miles away. But really, so what? If I was in South Carolina and there was a revolution in Oregon, wouldn't I still want a t-shirt?
The day before my impending departure - empty handed and depressed about it - a young soldier approached me on the beach. He whispered to me in English: "Are you the one who's looking for souvenirs from Chiapas?"
I froze. A soldier? What did that mean?! I had to think quickly, something I don't do well so I just said "yes" expecting to see either a t-shirt or handcuffs and I would take it from there. He whispered again "Paseo Lázaro Cárdenas y Paseo Octávio Díaz." My mouth was dry. I wanted to ask him "am I meeting you there? What time? What's going on?" but he left quickly.
I was scared but I also really wanted a t-shirt. At the hotel they had made everyone listen to this boring lecture about how Mexico had Napoleonic laws - whatever that means - and we shouldn't try to buy drugs but I was not really paying much attention because I hadn't come to Mexico to buy drugs. Of course now, I regretted not having listened more closely. Had the lecture mentioned political souvenirs from Chiapas and I, between yawning, tapping my foot and daydreaming, had missed it somehow?
I took my chances. I took a cab and told the driver the address while looking at his face for a sudden change of expression. I thought if it was the prison or something he would at least tell me "oh, the prison?" but he didn't say anything. We did the whole trip in silence as a matter of fact, which made me kinda nervous. He stopped at a corner but I wasn't so sure I wanted to get out. I looked around and saw small shops, a quiet neighbourhood and anyway, it was only a little after five in the evening. I didn't see any military or police or anything like that, and the taxi driver finally pointed out to me that I should really get out of the cab.
I got out and started walking. I walked three blocks in each direction. I had fleeting thoughts that maybe this was a trap and I would end up in some basement with torturers yelling at me "what do you know about Marcos?!" and blowing cigar smoke in my face. Why else had the soldier whispered this address to me? Unless he was talking about - souvenirs from Chiapas?! I started looking around me even more carefully. I saw a shop that sold refrigerators, two ice cream shops, a place that sold coffee beans, a few grocery shops and a bar with mariachi music but empty of customers.
I went to the refrigerator place, two guys were repairing a fridge and one of them looked like my uncle so I knew he couldn't be bad. "Usted conosce una tienda de Chiapas?" He said yes, there is a shop two blocks up and turn left and if they're closed go to the other one, turn left, three blocks that way.
I was speechless. It was that simple? And the soldier? And the basement with the torturers? The cigar smoke in my face? I was slightly disappointed, I must admit. For a split second I had imagined myself impressing my fellow revolutionaries back home - "when I was in jail in Mexico..."
But I was on my way to the t-shirt so nothing else mattered. I went to the first place but there was no souvenir shop there. I went to the second place uncle had told me but there wasn't a souvenir shop there either. I went back to the refrigerator place. "Señor, I didn't find the Chiapas shop." "Que?" he said, "over there, look, that way." I explained to him that I went to both places but there was no souvenir shop. He looked at me silent for a minute. "Chiapas" he said and made a movement with his hand like he was unlocking a door. I stared at him having no idea what he was talking about. "Chiapas!" he repeated and showed me his keys. "Lláves!" I answered, proud that I actually knew that one. "Chiapas!" he repeated. "She means Chiapas, México!" yelled his assistant, laughing.
After apologising for making me walk halfway up and down the mountain a few times, uncle pointed me to the coffee bean shop across the street. Apparently Chiapas is famous for its coffee. It's the best coffee in Mexico and among the best in the world. If I wasn't so worried about the revolution and all, I probably would have known that. It would have helped a lot too, all this time I could have just asked "where can I get coffee from Chiapas?" There would probably be no soldiers involved.
I went to the coffee place. They had bags with coffee beans and on some shelves on the wall there were the souvenirs. There were no t-shirts. There were some little cloth dolls on cloth horses, made by Chiapas Indians and they were very ugly. I bought them all, of course. I think there were five or six of them altogether. I gave them to my revolutionary cousins and friends and one I kept for myself to remind me of the march from Chiapas to Ciudad de México but my dogs started peeing on it very soon after that. I didn't want to throw it away still. Out of respect for Indians and the revolution, I just put it outside in the garden. So now I have Commandante Esther and Subcommandante Marcos disintegrating of natural causes in my back yard.
no comments yet
Reuven Paz affirms Stephen Schwartz: Saud Delenda Est
From the Weekly Standard: The Face of Iraqi Terrorism
. (An orange '74 Porsche 911 with a bottle of ouzo in the passenger seat to zorkie for this link).
FOR MONTHS, a behind-the-scenes, seldom-mentioned debate has raged in the West, over the origins of the "foreign fighters" attacking the U.S., coalition, and local anti-jihadist forces in Iraq. Some, including Saudi dissidents like Ali al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute and myself, have suspected Iraq's dangerous southern neighbor, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of being the main source.
Our evidence often seemed thin. We cited the repeated calls by hundreds of Saudi clerics for volunteers to go north of the unpatrolled border to kill themselves and others. We circulated translations and photographs of Saudi "martyrs" whose biographies appeared in the kingdom's print media and on websites.
But official opacity was maintained in the West. In mainstream media and government statements, the jihadist killers were never identified, beyond noting that they were foreign.
Now we have real evidence, and the verdict still points south of the Iraqi border.
The Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, a highly reputable and reliable think-tank, has published a paper titled "Arab volunteers killed in Iraq: an Analysis," available at e-prism.org. Authored by Dr. Reuven Paz, the paper analyzes the origins of 154 Arab jihadists killed in Iraq in the last six months, whose names have been posted on Islamist websites.
The sample does not account for all jihadists in Iraq, but provides a useful and eye-opening profile of them. Saudi Arabia accounted for 94 jihadists, or 61 percent of the sample, followed by Syria with 16 (10 percent), Iraq itself with only 13 (8 percent), and Kuwait with 11 (7 percent.) The rest included small numbers from Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Morocco (of which one was a resident in Spain), Yemen, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories (only 1), Dubai, and Sudan. The Sudanese was living in Saudi Arabia before he went to die in Iraq.
The names of most of the dead appeared on the websites after the battle of Falluja, and they were all supporters of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al Qaeda.
Of the 94 Saudis, 61 originated in the region of Najd, known as the heartland of the Wahhabis. The total of 154 included 33 suicide terrorists, of whom 23 were Saudis (with 10 from Najd). Given that Najdis make up 43.5 percent of Saudi suicide bombers in Iraq, and 65 percent of all Saudi jihadists on the list, Paz concludes that the "Wahhabi doctrines of Najd--the heart of Wahhabism--remain highly effective."
Paz emphasizes that "the support for violent Jihad in Iraq against the Americans was encouraged by the Saudi Islamic establishment." But he also offers some interesting observations:
* "Jihadi volunteers constitute a significant portion of the Sunni insurgents," suggesting that referring to the terrorists as if they represented Sunnis in general, or were merely guerrillas opposed to a foreign invader, is inaccurate.
* "Another element to note is the relatively small number of Iraqis involved in the fighting on behalf of the Zarqawi group."
* "Particularly striking . . . is the absence of Egyptians among foreign Arab volunteers [in] Iraq, even though Egypt is the largest Arab country, with millions of sympathizers of Islamist groups." Paz notes that Egyptians were previously prominent as fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Chechnya. He ascribes the failure of Egyptians to enlist in the Iraqi jihad to a combination of the decline of Islamist influence in Egypt, effective Egyptian government action against jihadism, and orders from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt not to participate physically in the Iraqi jihad.
The predominance of Saudis in Iraqi terrorism also goes a long way toward explaining the other fact that Western media and government have been reluctant to admit: the role of Wahhabism as an inciter of violence against Shias. Wahhabis hate Shias even more than Christians and Jews, because, as Saudi schools (including those like the Islamic Saudi Academy in the United States) teach, Christians and Jews have their own religions that are openly opposed to Islam, but Shias want to "change Islam," which the Wahhabis consider the personal property of the Saudi rulers. Few in the West seemed to notice earlier this week when 2,000 people assembled in Hilla, near Baghdad, to protest a car bombing that killed at least 125. The demonstrators chanted "No to terrorism! No to Baathism and Wahhabism!"
Paz concludes his study with words difficult to surpass for their clarity and relevance: "The intensive involvement of Saudi volunteers for Jihad in Iraq is . . . the result of the Saudi government's doublespeak, whereby it is willing to fight terrorism, but only if directly affected by it on its own soil. Saudi Arabia is either deliberately ignoring, or incapable and too weak, to engage in open and brave opposition to Jihadi terrorism outside of the Kingdom . . . Their blind eyes in the face of the Saudi Islamic establishment's support of the Jihad in Iraq may pose a greater threat in the future, as the hundreds of volunteers return home."
Only one thing needs to be added: it's time to close Saudi Arabia's northern border, silence the jihadist preachers, and cut off the financing of international Wahhabism.
the Saudi border closed?
no comments yet
Rather: once a liar, always one...
At Weekly Standard, this devastating piece makes clear that something I was taught and always believed true was one of Rather's lies: that schoolchildren in Dallas cheered the news of JFK's death. Wrong from the Beginning
WHEN CBS ANNOUNCED THAT IT will smile through the pain of Dan Rather's dying credibility with an hour-long retirement tribute in early March, the network released an image of a young Rather posing in front of the Texas School Book Depository, looking gravely into the distance. While a little nostalgia was understandable--what, no photo of Rather huddled over a fax machine last October?--CBS still managed to remind those who knew the anchor during his salad days in Texas how tendentious and unprincipled he was even then.
Eddie Barker, for one, remembers. The news director for CBS's radio and TV affiliates in Dallas at the time of President Kennedy's November 22, 1963, assassination, Barker is widely credited with first reporting on the air that the president was dead, having received word through a doctor acquaintance directly from the hospital ER. Rather, then based in Dallas as a reporter for CBS's national news broadcast and working out of Barker's newsroom, later took credit for the scoop, Barker says. The error is repeated in historical accounts often enough to annoy the now-retired Barker, though he says the falsehood was later acknowledged by Rather.
It was a different lie--one delivered on national news, and at the expense of children--that caused Rather trouble at the time. As reporters from around the world descended on the Texas city, Rather went on the air with a local Methodist minister who made a stunning claim: Children at Dallas's University Park Elementary School had cheered when told of the president's death.
The tale was perfect for the moment, reinforcing the notion among distant media elites that Dallas was a reactionary "City of Hate." It slyly played to a local audience, too: The school named was in upper-income University Park, one of two adjacent municipal enclaves that shared a school district and a reputation for fiercely protected, lily-white privilege. Finally, for the ambitious Rather--a native Texan and then a Dallas resident--the account represented the very sort of revealing, local dirt that the throngs of out-of-town competitors would have to work far harder to get.
Except that it wasn't true, and Rather knew it, Barker says.
Read the whole thing. A camelback full of cheap wine to Photios
no comments yet
Monday Winds of War is up!
Brought to you by yrs truly and Bill Roggio of the fourth rail
: Winds of War: Mar 07/05
including such fascinating junk as:
Another 9/11; Chinese espionage; Invading Abu Musa, Syria, Iran tunnels; State trying to throw cash around; Clinton looks to extend his streak of pointless apologies; Iranian secret police murdering dissidents abroad; France and Spain want to legalize Hamas; Israeli technomagic; democracy in Lebanon? Fat chance; New glam shots of Zarqawi, who may be in custody; Shi'a win seats in Saudi elections; Palestinian economy minister in bed with Hamas; Hezbollah won't beat its swords into ploughshares; Syria expels two terrorists; I believe I(raq) can fly; Syria's best gambit in Lebanon is...more chaos!; Hamas could attack US; US WMD sensors not too shabby; military recruitment is really hurting; Air Force, Boeing patch things up; Waterways Watch program inaugurated; CIA claims innocence of torture; tunnels being found at alarming rates; Canadians confiscate an Al Qaeda laptop; the nature of submarine warfare; Chinese submarine development; B2s deploy to Guam; Smurfs actually shoot some people in the Congo; GPSC not done terrorizing Algeria yet; The wheels on the Kashmir bus go round and round; Pakistan raids Waziristan Al Qaeda hideout; Lashkar e Taiba killed and arrested in India, merely arrested in the UK; Swiss bag 5; info on Dutch and UK antiterror bills; Hillary to NK; Beslan killers killed; 200 AQ walk the streets of the UK; terrorists flourish in Germany, spirit fighters to Iraq; wandering Pakistani imams threaten Italian security; Italian kidnapping a hoax?; Singapore's new elite maritime force; FSB wants global terrorist list and more...
no comments yet
Dear Viewers, we would like to apologise for last week's sloppy typing. We've fired the secretary, the executive secretary, the cameraman and the caterer. Contrary to rumours, zorkie is not sleeping with the producer, she's a brilliant upcoming star and won a starring role in "Bloggies of Our Lives" by auditioning, just like everybody else. It's not her fault producers like her. zorkie is a very happy person and the only thing that occasionally clouds her happiness is the pity she feels for talentless directors. zorkie is an activist and a very active member of Human Rights for Alligators, an organisation for the protection of various alligators. zorkie believes strongly in astrology and senses things as a hobby. She plans to wear a pink Galliano to the Daytime Blog Awards and will be going alone.
To celebrate zorkie's return on "Bloggies of Our Lives," this episode is dedicated to her, one of our most popular daytime stars. So enjoy some of your favourite zorkie scenes and remember: they may be reruns but they're very funny!
[att. screenwriters - What the fuck?! - director]
[att. director - You weren't around this weekend, were you? All hell broke loose. She walked out and refused to come back unless we did a promo "to set the record straight" - screenwriters]
no comments yet