formerly known as
Womens Liberation Front


Welcome to, formerly known as.Womens Liberation Front.  A website that hopes to draw and keeps your attention for  both the global 21th. century 3rd. feminist revolutution as well and a selection of special feminist artists and writers.

This online magazine will be published evey six weeks and started February 1st. 2019. Thank you for your time and interest.

Gino d'Artali
chief editor
and radical feminist











                                                                                                            CRYFREEDOM 2019/2020

Part 3 Sept 30 untill Back to August 5 2021

Part 2 August 27 untill Sept 15 2021: the resistence is becoming bigger and spreading more in Afghanistan.

Also visit Afghanistan's Women Resistence Part 1
July 7 untill August 18 2021




Part 1 to 7

Part 7:  International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
Sept 30  2021 to Sept 1 and some August parts.











When one hurts or kills a women
one hurts or kills hummanity and is an antrocitie.
Gino d'Artali

and: My mother (1931-1997) always said to me <Mi figlio, non esistono notizie <vecchie> perche puoi imparare qualcosa da qualsiasi notizia.> Translated: <My son, there is no such thing as so called 'old' news because you can learn something from any news.>
Gianna d'Artali


 A few days in August 'till 30 Sept and Sept 1 2021 and below more days in august

AGAIN YOU ARE HERE: International Women's Day 2021 i.e. Atrocities against women Part 7

For your convencience please read me first

Opinion by Gino d'Artali
Indept investigative journalist.
8 Sept 2021

I am almost 24 hours a day reading international articles and phrases about global athrocities against woman. For example:
<<The report cited testimony from a Syrian woman, Alaa, who was arrested along with her 25-year-old daughter at a border crossing as they came back from Lebanon. The two were detained for five days.
<They removed my daughter’s clothes. They handcuffed her and hung her on the wall. They beat her. She was totally naked. One put his penis inside her mouth,> the report quoted Alaa as saying.>>
The report is titled <You’re going to your death> by Amnesty International. A 4-liner in an article from Al Jazeera on 7 Sept 2021.
Now, don't misunderstand me because Al Jazeera is one of the few television networks based in Qatar. Originally started as an Arabic news and current affairs channel, Al Jazeera has since grown into a multi-channel network, internet and specialist TV channels in multiple languages and multiple regions of the world and especialy also pays a lot of attention to atrocities against women so the 4-liner in the article may be short but still, I count them to a co-combatant against atrocities women. In any case, read the article here:

Also this: since in Afghanistan the taliban on August 15 2021 took over the power from the USA and without any armed defence I took it upon me to create a new special as past of titled Afghanistans Women Resistence. Read more here:
Also, since the taliban took over the international media is almost completely centered around the taliban's politics if one call it that, and almost not anymore with articles about global atrocities against women. Shame on them!

16 Sept 2021

By and by the international media is no longer centered only what is happening in Afghanistan but re-focused again also about atrocities against women. Keep it both up I'd say!

Rukhshana Media
15 Sept 2021

<<One month after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.

Women are still at home. On the twenty-fourth day of Assad this year, Afghanistan underwent a transformation. The government of the country led by Mohammad Ashraf Ghani fell to the Taliban terrorist group.
The arrival of the Taliban in Kabul and the return of the group to power coincided with the escape of the President of Afghanistan. Someone who has said many times, <He beheads, but not the trench.> Now he has acted contrary to what he told the people, leaving the country's population of 36 million alone in fear of the Taliban's return.

This month, Afghanistan has been in the spotlight of foreign media and journalists. The issue of Afghanistan is still at the forefront of the world's media coverage. The majority of the people of this country believe that rapid and shocking developments have taken place in Afghanistan within a month and they are surprised by the return of the Taliban to power. Among all these events, what is very naked is the sudden change in the living conditions of Afghan women. The lives of women in this country have changed unimaginably. Half of Afghanistan's population now has to stay at home. The majority of women left all their offices and workplaces and took refuge in their homes just about an hour before the advent of Saturday, August 15th. With the exception of some female employees, other female employees of Afghan government departments have not been allowed to work in accordance with the Islamic Sharia law imposed by the Taliban in the Ministries of Public Health and Education.

Women who also worked in private offices,
Women who also worked in private offices, with the exception of a number of female journalists, are still housewifes.
Lida (a pseudonym), a girl who until a month ago was the financial manager of a private construction company, is now, in her own words, <in the corner of the room.> A girl who no longer laughs out loud, as her mother says. She, who has been protesting for three days in a row in Kabul, says life has no meaning for her. Because they have spoken face to face with the Taliban and they do not smell anything of a life of democracy and a participatory society.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
From: The Stream
August 5 2021

<<What should Pakistan do to end violence against women?

Shocked by the recent gruesome murder of a prominent woman in Pakistan, activists are pressing authorities to address rising cases of gender-based violence within the country. Noor Mukadam, a 27-year-old daughter of a former diplomat, was tortured and beheaded in late July by an acquaintance for allegedly rejecting his advances. Her death has reignited calls for reform in Pakistan, a conservative Muslim country where courts and laws have been accused of favouring perpetrators. Pakistan has grappled with misogyny for decades. But coronavirus-related lockdowns are exacerbating the problems women face and have resulted in a huge spike in domestic violence incidents. Reported cases of slapping, pushing, kicking and other incidents jumped up to 40 percent in some parts of the country, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
Pakistan also continues to rank near the bottom of global gender indices when it comes to educational, political and economic opportunities for women. Some activists cite growing religious extremism as one reason why the crisis is getting worse.
However, government leaders often downplay the scope of the problem. In an interview late last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan said:
<“You look at the situation in Pakistan even now, you look at the rape cases here, compare it to Western countries, they are minuscule compared to there. Yes, we have our issues, we have certain cultural problems, every nation has that. But that comes with cultural evolution, with education. But as far a women’s dignity goes, respect, I can say after going all over the world, this society gives more respect and dignity to women.> >>
Note from Gino d'Artali:
'Yeah right. Read the full article here: SS/2021/8/5/what-should-pakistan-do-to-end-violence-against-women

Al Jazeera
30 Sept 2021

<<Sarah Everard: UK police officer gets life term for rape, murder.
Wayne Couzens abducted Sarah Everard on March 3 while she was walking home from a friend’s house in south London.

A British court has handed the police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard a whole life sentence without parole.
Wayne Couzens, 48, abducted Everard on March 3 while she was walking home from a friend’s house in south London. He had pleaded guilty to murder, rape and kidnap.
Thursday’s sentencing at London’s Central Criminal Court means Couzens, who was part of the Metropolitan Police (MET) service’s elite diplomatic protection unit at the time of Everard’s killing, will never be eligible for release from prison. Reading the sentence, Justice Adrian Fulford described the circumstances of the murder as <grotesque> and said Couzens had demonstrated <no evidence of genuine contrition>. He said the seriousness of the case was so <exceptionally high> that it warranted a whole life order, the most severe punishment available in the UK.
Fulford said Couzens, who was present in court on Thursday, had gone <hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape> on the evening of Everard’s abduction having plotted his crime in <unspeakably> grim detail beforehand.
<The defendant had planned well in advance … what was to occur and when he encountered Sarah Everard all that was missing up to that point was his victim,> he added.

‘Her death leaves a yawning chasm’

On Wednesday, at the outset of Couzens’s two-day sentencing hearing, the court heard how he had tricked 33-year-old Everard into his car under the pretext of a false arrest. He accused her of breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules, then handcuffed and arrested her before driving her far outside of London. Couzens later raped and killed her. He then burned Everard’s body.
Everard’s remains were found in woodland in Ashford, Kent, about 60 miles (nearly 100km) southeast of London, a week after she went missing.

Members of Everard’s family attended the court sessions.
On Wednesday, they spoke of the impact of her death.
<No punishment that you receive will ever compare to the pain and torture that you have inflicted on us,> her father, Jeremy, told the court.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
29 Sept 2021

<<UK officer faked COVID arrest before killing Sarah Everard: court.
Jailed police officer Wayne Couzens, who has admitted guilt, is expected to be sentenced on Thursday.

A serving British police officer falsely accused Sarah Everard of breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules, then handcuffed and arrested her before kidnapping and murdering the 33-year-old, a court has heard. Wayne Couzens, 48, abducted Everard on March 3 while she was walking home from a friend’s house in south London. He has admitted to her kidnapping, raping and murdering her and is in custody in the United Kingdom’s top security Belmarsh jail.
At the beginning of a two-day sentencing hearing on Wednesday at London’s Central Criminal Court, prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens targeted Everard on the evening of her disappearance. Couzens, who was part of the London Metropolitan Police’s (MET) elite diplomatic protection unit at the time, kidnapped her in a <false arrest> by <handcuffing her and showing his warrant card>, Little said. Couzens then put her into a rental car he had hired <to kidnap and rape a lone woman>, he added.
A couple in a passing car witnessed the kidnapping but mistook it for an arrest by an undercover officer, Little said.
Everard was the victim of <deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation and fire>, Little said. Couzen burned Everard’s body after killing her.

‘Sickened, angered, devastated
Everard’s body was found in woodland in Ashford, Kent, about 60 miles (97 kilometres) southeast of London, a week after she went missing.
Her case gripped the UK, triggering a national conversation about women’s safety on the streets.
A former boyfriend had given evidence that Everard was <savvy and streetwise> and would not have entered a car with a stranger except <by force or manipulation>, Little said.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
29 Sept 2021

<<Romdhane named Tunisia’s first female PM by President Saied.
President Kais Saied appoints Najla Bouden Romdhane as the new prime minister, nearly two months after his power grab.

Tunisian President Kais Saied has named Najla Bouden Romdhane, a little-known university engineer who worked with the World Bank, as the country’s first female prime minister, nearly two months after he seized most powers in a move his foes call a coup.
Romdhane will take office at a time of national crisis, with the democratic gains won in a 2011 revolution in doubt and as a major threat looms over public finances.
Saied dismissed the previous prime minister, suspended Parliament and assumed wide executive powers in July, and has been under growing domestic and international pressure to form a new government.Last week he brushed aside much of the constitution to say he could rule largely by decree.
He named Romdhane under provisions he announced last week and has asked her to form a new government quickly, the presidency said on social media. Saied’s office published a video of him meeting Romdhane in his office and charging her with presenting a cabinet <in the coming hours or days>.

He repeatedly emphasised the <historic> nomination of a woman, calling it <an honour for Tunisia and a homage to Tunisian women>.

Saied said the new government’s main mission would be to <put an end to the corruption and chaos that have spread throughout many state institutions>. The new government should respond to the demands and dignity of Tunisians in all fields, including health, transport and education, he added.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
29 Sept 2021
The ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’ still plagues America
Derecka Purnell

<<When the late Gwen Ifill used the phrase <Missing White Woman Syndrome> at a 2004 journalism conference, she was responding to news anchor Suzanne Malveaux’s concern that US media outlets had failed to cover international genocides early on, including Rwanda and Kosovo. Malvaeux told the diverse crowd: <In 1994, during Rwanda, we were looking at Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.> The two figure skaters had received more coverage than a million genocide victims and survivors. Ifill playfully interrupted her, mocking newsroom executives: <If it’s a missing white woman, you’re going to cover that, every day.> The room welcomed her interjection with resounding applause.

But rather than being celebrated as part of Malveaux’s criticism of US-centric media, <Missing White Woman Syndrome> has found a life of its own. Commentators widely use it now to describe the disparity in media coverage that missing young, conventionally attractive white women receive over missing Black and brown people. This disparity is real. Black people constitute 13% of the US population and 31% of missing persons; 54% of missing persons are white, though they make up 76% of the population. A 2013 study found that news outlets covered missing white women significantly more often, and more intensely, than everyone else. As Charles Blow recently penned: <It is not that these white women should matter less, but rather that all missing people should matter equally. Race should not determine how newsroom leaders assign coverage, especially because those decisions often lead to disproportionate allocation of government resources, as investigators try to solve the highest-profile cases.> Advocates and families of color express that the disparate media coverage signals that their loved ones’ lives don’t matter as much as the lives of white women, which they believe then discourages police from pouring resources to pursue the cases.

Disparity and visibility are such fickle things. We can safely assume that the exorbitant alarms around particular kinds of white women who go missing and the silence around missing Black and Indigenous women presents racial, gender, and class equity issues. But what is missing from the popular disparity discourse surrounding <Missing White Woman Syndrome> is that cops and cover stories were never meant to rescue our loved ones, and those of us who make this demand might turn up empty.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
29 Sept 2021
Tayo Bero

<<If society valued Black women and girls, convicting R Kelly wouldn’t take so long. For decades, Kelly hid his predatory behavior in plain sight – and people did nothing. After a six-week trial, R&B megastar R Kelly has been convicted of nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking and now faces decades in jail. Over the course of the trial, several of Kelly’s victims recounted harrowing testimony of the abuse they suffered at the singer’s hands, starting when many of them were just teenagers.
Although a guilty verdict is the best possible outcome in this horrific situation, I can’t help but think about all the other adults who failed these Black girls along the way, and how long it took the justice system to deliver this reckoning. For over two decades, serious allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate contact with minors have followed the Grammy award-winning singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly. Why did no one do anything about it? The answer is simple and twofold: first, Kelly was a superstar; second, society simply doesn’t value Black girls’ lives.

When you look closely at the singer’s history, you’ll find a network of enablers who helped him operate without punishment, and secured the silence of his victims. All of those people played a role in leaving those girls at the mercy of a violent, predatory man who was known as early as 2000 – 21 years ago – to have <had a problem> with young girls.
From the former tour manager who admitted to paying the bribe that allowed Kelly to marry the late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old and he was 27, to the assistants who <arranged flights, food and bathroom breaks for his traveling entourage of young women>, there were countless adults who either looked the other way, or willfully aided Kelly’s behavior, all because society sees Black girls as worthless.
Then there’s the adoring public, who for years refused to accept that the man who provided the soundtrack to some of our most treasured memories, was in fact a monster. For decades, Kelly hid his predatory behavior in plain sight. He referred to himself as the <Pied Piper of R&B> – a creepily obvious reference to the old German tale of a mysterious man who lured children away from their homes using music. He embedded his desires in hypersexualized song lyrics and performances – including naming an album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. In the 2019 bombshell Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly, former Chicago residents recalled seeing Kelly trawling a local high school, hunting for young girls. Despite all of this, he was able to amass millions of dollars, produce chart-topping hits and become one of the most well-known and revered figures in R&B history.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
28 Sept 2021

<<Anita Hill on sexual harassment and survival: ‘You have to think: what is my life for?’
Before Christine Blasey Ford and Monica Lewinsky, there was Anita Hill, shamed for exposing the actions of a powerful man. She explains how she withstood the tumult
by Nesrine Malik

<<Anita Hill sits so still that, when she is not speaking, I worry that the screen through which we are talking may have frozen. Yet despite her lawyerly, academic poise, she exudes warmth: you would feel safe confiding in her. And that is what people have been doing for the past 30 years – telling her of their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault. <I was a symbol of so many people’s experiences,> she says.
In the pantheon of women shamed for exposing the actions of high-profile men – before Christine Blasey Ford in 2018 and Monica Lewinsky in 1998 – there was Anita Hill. In 1991, the US president, George HW Bush, nominated Clarence Thomas to the supreme court. Senate hearings for his confirmation were completed without incident, until an interview of Hill by the FBI was leaked to the press. In it, Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment while he was her supervisor in two separate jobs, at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Among other claims, Hill said that Thomas discussed women having sex with animals, and pornographic films depicting group sex or rape scenes, and described his own sexual prowess and anatomy. According to Hill, Thomas’s behaviour forced her to resign from her job.
The Senate hearings reopened, and Hill repeated her claims in a series of televised sessions. Not only was she not believed, her character and motivation were impugned by members of the all-white, all-male Senate committee. The senator Orrin Hatch called her allegations “contrived” and her motivations suspect as she was working with <slick lawyers> and interest groups bent on destroying Thomas’s chances to join the court.

Thomas was confirmed by a slim margin of 52-48. Since then people have been contacting Hill to tell her what they went through – and she has chosen to embrace the role.
<I went back to a lot of turmoil – threats to my job and threats to my life,> says Hill, 65, who since 1999 has been a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. “But what I also got was people reaching out to me. I mean literally thousands of people, and this was before email. I don’t know what it would have been had there been email or social media. It occurred to me that I had a duty.” She heard from female victims of sexual harassment, incest survivors, domestic violence victims and, increasingly over the years, men.
In her new book, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence, Hill expands on all the reasons why gender inequality and sexual violence exist, why there are still so many of these stories. She concludes that our legal infrastructures and social hierarchies do not prioritise these issues, making it easier to assume people are lying or exaggerating about sexual harassment and assault than to believe they are telling the truth.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Peter Beaumont
Tue 28 Sep 2021

<<‘Humbled and heartbroken’: WHO finds its Ebola staff abused women and girls.
Inquiry commissioned by WHO details sexual abuse, including rape allegations, during DRC outbreak.

The World Health Organization has described itself as <heartbroken> after an independent inquiry it commissioned said scores of women and girls were sexually abused by aid workers during the devastating 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The findings were described as <harrowing reading> by the WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while its regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said she was <humbled, horrified and heartbroken>. The commission, which examined about 80 cases of women and girls aged 13 to 43, identified 21 employees working for the UN global health body among perpetrators of serious abuses, including a number of rape allegations. According to the report, the abuse led to 29 pregnancies, with some of the perpetrators insisting the women have abortions. The report added that the WHO perpetrators included local and international staff. Western diplomatic sources said four people had been dismissed and two placed on administrative leave, based on a closed-door briefing involving WHO that was provided to diplomatic officials in Geneva on Tuesday. The report detailed a far-reaching breakdown of responsibilities for protecting against sexual exploitation and abuse in a health emergency in an insecure region, largely dominated by male responders.

The investigators found that most victims were <highly vulnerable>, often younger women in precarious economic situations, with some of the abusers holding responsibilities for preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.
<I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what was done to you by people who were employed by WHO to serve and protect you,> Tedros said. <I’m sorry for the ongoing suffering that these events must cause. I’m sorry that you have had to relive them in talking to the commission about your experiences. Thank you for your courage in doing so.>
The panel released its findings on Tuesday, months after media reports that senior WHO management had been informed of multiple abuse claims in 2019 but failed to stop the harassment, and even promoted one of the managers involved.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
27 Sept 2021

<<R&B singer R Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial.
R Kelly faces the possibility of decades in prison for crimes including violating an anti-sex trafficking US law.

R&B superstar R Kelly has been convicted in a sex trafficking trial in the United States after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children. A jury of seven men and five women on Monday found Kelly, 54, guilty of all nine counts, including racketeering, on their second day of deliberations.
Kelly wore a face mask below black-rimmed glasses and remained motionless with eyes downcast, as the verdict was read in federal court in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and aides who helped Kelly meet girls – and keep them obedient and quiet – amounted to a criminal enterprise. Two people have been charged with Kelly in a separate federal case pending in Chicago.
He faces the possibility of decades in prison for crimes, including violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines <<for any immoral purpose>. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4.
One of Kelly’s lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed and hoped to appeal. <I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place, given all the inconsistencies,> Cannick said.

Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage. For years, the public and news media seemed to be more amused than horrified by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly’s illegal marriage to the R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15. His records and concert tickets kept selling. Other artists continued to record his songs, even after he was arrested in 2002 and accused of making a recording of himself sexually abusing and urinating on a 14-year-old girl.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
27 Sept 2021
Phil Maynard and Archie Bland

<<The Pegasus project: hacked in London.

The tragic story of Alaa Al-Siddiq has further exposed the extent of how powerful Pegasus spyware has been used against human rights activists even once they have fled their home country. Presented by Michael Safi with Stephanie Kirchgaessner; sound design by Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Phil Maynard and Archie Bland Back in July the Guardian, along with a number of international partners, revealed how a powerful spyware tool called Pegasus created by an Israeli company and sold to governments around the world was being used against journalists, human rights workers and politicians. We had a leak – a database of 50,000 phone numbers – giving clues as to who some of those victims could be. We spent months trying to match the leaked phone numbers to real people and one of those matches came in the last weeks of the investigation: Alaa Al-Siddiq, a dissident from the United Arab Emirates, who had asylum in London. In June, just before the investigation was published, she died in a car accident. There was nothing suspicious about her death but now new evidence has emerged about an intense campaign to surveil Al-Siddiq, who served as executive director of ALQST, a non-profit organisation advocating for human rights in the UAE and wider region.
The Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner tells Michael Safi that the case exemplifies a worrying trend for activists such as Al-Siddiq, who escaped the UAE to live in the relative safety of the UK, but was never out of the reach of Pegasus spyware. One of Al-Siddiq’s friends describes the months leading up to her death as she felt increasingly concerned about the surveillance she knew she was under.

In 2020, shortly after she learned she had been hacked, Al-Siddiq gave an interview, using a pseudonym, to film-maker Laura Poitras and researchers at Forensic Architecture, a London-based research group that has studied NSO Group and how digital infections of civil society often target networks of collaborators.

Shourideh Molavi, a researcher at Forensic Architecture describes the powerful surveillance tools as a form of <digital violence> that should increasingly be viewed alongside other examples of state violence.

Last week the investigative website Mediapart reported that traces of Pegasus spyware were found on the mobile phones of at least five current French cabinet ministers, citing multiple anonymous sources and a confidential intelligence dossier.> >>
View and listen to the video here:

Al Jazeera
By Emily Fishbein and Nu Nu Lusan
27 Sep 2021

<<In western Myanmar, conflict creates new dangers for women.
Sagaing region is a hotbed of resistance to military rule and women are forced to flee every time soldiers appear.

Khine Thu fled her home in Myanmar’s northwestern Sagaing region for the first time in June, running into the jungle as soldiers stormed her village. She has lost count of how many times she has fled since, but thinks it may now be about 15.
<Whenever we hear soldiers coming, we run,> she said. <We escape into the forest, and we come back to the village when the soldiers are gone.>
As armed resistance to the February 1 military coup increases, the military rulers have responded with violent crackdowns on entire villages, mirroring a <four-cuts> strategy which it has honed for more than 60 years in the country’s restive border areas. Since April, the Sagaing region has been a stronghold of resistance, and also a hotspot for deadly military incursions. A total of 109 people have been killed in the region since July, according to a report Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 19.
Among the victims are 73 people from Depayin and Kani townships, where mass killings were documented by human rights groups and local media in July. Those killed, including fighters and civilians, were all men, but as security forces maintain a presence in the area’s villages, women are living with the consequences of conflict on a daily basis. This month, the military blocked the internet in 10 townships in the Sagaing region, including Kani, adding to fears the military could intensify its attacks.
The violence started in Khine Thu’s village of Satpyarkyin in Depayin township on June 14, when soldiers opened fire and killed one person the day after two daughters of a military-appointed administrator were found dead in a nearby village.
Soldiers returned on July 2; the ensuing clashes left at least 32 local people dead amid indiscriminate shelling and small arms fire, according to the NUG’s report, while the media outlet Myanmar Now reported that 10,000 people from eleven villages fled their homes.

The People’s Defence Force (PDF) in Depayin said on its Facebook page that 26 of its members were killed in the incident and that the military had fired heavy weapons onto fleeing villagers, while the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported that “armed terrorists” had “ambushed” security forces, killing one soldier and injuring six before retreating after security forces retaliated. Khine Thu, who, like the other women Al Jazeera spoke to, asked to use a pseudonym for fear of reprisals, said soldiers have since been in and out and that she and other villagers were always ready to run. Even when soldiers are gone, the village remains quiet, and shops and markets have closed. Hiding in the forest for days or weeks at a time, the villagers find it difficult to meet their basic needs, she said.
<We couldn’t get drinking water in some places,> she explained. <Some days, we had only one meal, and sometimes, only rice with salt and oil or fish paste. I feel really depressed, and sometimes I don’t even want to live any more.>
Aye Chan, another local resident, said locals lacked access to medicine and were relying on plants and herbs to treat their ailments.
She and Khine Thu have stopped their work as hired farmhands because of the danger. <We cannot live in peace. We cannot work. We are just depending on other people’s donations and running around seeking safety whenever [soldiers] come,> said Aye Chan. <The presence of soldiers in our village affects us physically and mentally. We cannot eat or sleep well.>

Women at risk

The military has used force and widespread arrests to crack down on mass protests and a civil disobedience movement, which began days after it seized power from the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Since then, security forces have killed more than 1,100 people and arrested more than 8,200, according to the rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) or the AAPP, which has been tracking the military’s abuses.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
26 Sept 2021
Catherine Rottenberg
Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham

<<Just six months after Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered in the UK by an off-duty police officer, Gabriella Petito’s disappearance while travelling with her fiancé in the US and her now-confirmed death made international headlines. The Everard and Petito stories, though very different, have compounded the sense that gender-based violence threatens women everywhere. Then, a week or so after the Petito case gained media visibility, yet another woman’s violent death was reported in the UK, that of Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old teacher who was walking to a nearby pub from her home in South London.
The Nessa case has intensified local fear that women are unsafe on the streets of London. But this fear is a global one. It is nothing less than a reaction to the other pandemic – gender-based violence – that plagues our society, and that COVID-19 has merely exacerbated.

Visibility for some

Between March 2021 and September 2021, many women have gone missing or been murdered around the world. Yet we do not even know the names or the circumstances of most of them – even those in the UK or the US – because their stories have not made national or international headlines.
So why do some stories make the news while others do not? Feminist media scholars have long pointed out that the race, class, and age of victims of gender-related violence play a crucial role in determining whether stories become newsworthy as well as how they are framed; namely, whether the victims are portrayed as <innocent> or, conversely, shamed and blamed.
The families of victims whose stories have gone unheeded know this only too well. In a recent Washington Post article, they decried the silence surrounding the deaths of their loved ones. They insist that Gabriella Petito’s case has received such widespread international media attention precisely because she was white, middle-class and photogenic. Whereas their loved ones’ disappearances – women of colour, poor women, trans women – have gone publicly unremarked, at best.

Grievable lives

This differential media coverage, however, merely reflects a wider societal truth: Some people’s lives are deemed more grievable and, consequently, their deaths generate a public outpouring of sorrow. Other lives, as feminist philosopher Judith Butler has taught us, are considered less worthy.
We live, she says, in a society in which the distribution of liveable lives is profoundly unequal, and only those who are recognised as <mattering> become grievable in the wider social and public sense.
This also helps explain the power of the hashtag #SayHerName, which began as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the number of Black women and girls who have been killed by law enforcement officers in the US. It is now being used in relation to Sabina Nessa’s murder.
Read more here:

The Guardian
26 Sept 2021
Sonia Sodha
<<‘White feminists’ are under attack from other women. There can only be one winner – men.
Undermining female solidarity serves only to strengthen the grip of the patriarchy.

Blaming women for the ills of the world might appear an odd feminist call to action. But an idea gaining traction is that the “white feminism” dominant in the United States and the UK is not only a driving force of societal racism, but responsible for a host of other bad things, from the war on terror to the hypersexualisation of women in popular culture, to the dreadful abuses of power we see in international aid. It’s part of a growing tendency on the left to look for scapegoats at the cost of building the solidarity needed for social change.
This is not to downplay the extent of racial inequalities in the UK, the way they affect women of colour and the structural racism that lies behind them. But it’s quite a jump to move from the observation that women are no more immune to racism than men to holding the feminist movement accountable for the plight of women of colour around the world. A new book, Against White Feminism, by Rafia Zakaria, makes precisely this case. To stack up the argument, she stereotypes feminism beyond recognition as a shallow, consumerist and exclusionary movement dominated by selfish white women who care little about scrutinising the male violence perpetrated by white men.
Feminism is a broad movement: look for it and you’ll find superficial strands. But to reduce feminism to this alone is to ignore the British tradition of radical grassroots feminism that has brought women of all colours and classes together in the fight against patriarchal male violence.

In one of the best-known examples, Justice for Women and Southall Black Sisters worked together from the early 1990s to get long prison sentences overturned for women driven to kill their abusive partners following the most dreadful prolonged abuse.
In the case of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, Southall Black Sisters led with Justice for Women standing alongside. <It brought women – black and white, young and old, professionals and survivors – together in a wonderful moment of unity to highlight injustice and change things for the better,> says Pragna Patel, a founding member of Southall Black Sisters. <There were differences, but it was only through solidarity with each other that we could create change. The black feminist tradition has challenged feminism’s blind spots around race and class not in the interests of separatism, but to strengthen our collective movement.> The women’s refuge movement provides similar examples.
Attacks on white feminism are the product of a broader divide in the anti-racist movement about the best route to social change. Is it by making well-intentioned people who are unwittingly complicit in replicating inequalities feel guilt and shame for their <white privilege>? Or by inviting them to feel a shared sense of injustice in a way that emphasises common belonging to a movement, without glossing over difference? Feminists such as Zakaria fall into the former camp. But guilt and shame can make solidarity harder, not easier, to build.
The mainstream anti-racist left has a bad track record of hanging out to dry women of colour challenging misogyny within their communities, for fear of upsetting cultural sensitivities. Examples abound: the Newsnight investigation that revealed several Muslim female councillors who have experienced pressure not to stand from Asian Labour party members, which prompted the Muslim Women’s Network to call for an inquiry into systemic misogyny in the party that was met with overwhelming silence; the smears the MP Naz Shah has faced from local Asian men in her party; the negative response to the anti-FGM activist Nimco Ali from her local Labour party. The white privilege discourse makes this more not less likely, because it makes people more scared of being culturally insensitive.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
26 Sept 2021
Josh Halliday

<<Man arrested over killing of London schoolteacher Sabina Nessa.
Police say they are questioning 36-year-old on suspicion of murder in ‘significant development’.

Detectives are questioning a 36-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of the London schoolteacher Sabina Nessa, in what they called a <significant development> in the case. The man was arrested at 3am on Sunday at an address in East Sussex and was taken into police custody. He is the third man arrested over the killing. DCI Neil John, of the Metropolitan police’s specialist crime command, said: <Sabina’s family have been informed of this significant development and they continue to be supported by specialist officers.>
Nessa, 28, is suspected to have been killed as she made what should have been a five-minute journey on foot to a pub from her home at about 8.30pm on Friday last week. She was found dead the following day in Cater Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, where on Friday about 500 mourners held a candlelit vigil in her memory. The killing has reignited concerns about the level of danger women face in Britain.
Two men previously arrested by homicide detectives – a 38-year-old man and a man in his 40s – were released under investigation.
Detectives have until the early hours of Thursday morning to question the latest suspect, before deciding whether to charge him or release him under investigation.

The arrest on Sunday came 48 hours after police appealed for help to trace a man captured on CCTV images taken near where Nessa was found dead. Scotland Yard would not confirm if the suspect was the man in the footage, but it is understood investigators are no longer seeking him.
The man in the CCTV images was filmed on the night of the killing carrying what is thought to be a reflective red item. Detectives have said the man may have been trying to conceal the item up his sleeve but that police retained an open mind as to whether it was used in the killing.
A 12-second video released by the Met shows the balding man wearing a black hooded coat and grey jeans looking over his shoulder and pulling at his hood as he walks down a footpath. Police said they were content that neither of the two men previously arrested featured in the CCTV footage.
Nessa’s sister, Jebina Yasmin Islam, issued a statement on Friday evening before a rally at the East London Mosque – one of many vigils that took place across the country.

<There are no words to describe how we are feeling as a family at the moment,” she said. “We did not expect that something like [this] would ever happen to us. I urge everyone to walk on busy streets when walking home from work, school or a friend’s homes. Please keep safe.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
26 Sept 2021

<<Women win majority of seats in Iceland’s election
Voters elect 33 women to parliament, up from 24 in the last election.

Iceland’s national election has, for the first time, seen more women than men elected to a European parliament. Final results on Sunday also showed the country’s ruling left-right coalition strengthening its majority.
Opinion polls had earlier forecast the coalition would fall short of a majority but a surge in support for the centre-right Progressive Party, which won five more seats than in 2017, pushed its total count to 37 seats in the 63-seat parliament Althingi, according to state broadcaster RUV.
Voters elected 33 women to parliament, up from 24 in the last election. Iceland was ranked the most gender-equal country in the world for the 12th year running in a World Economic Forum (WEF) report released in March. As of last year, only three other countries – Rwanda, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates – had more women than men in parliament, according to data compiled by the World Bank. In Europe, Sweden and Finland have 47 percent and 46 percent women in parliament respectively.
Unlike some other countries, Iceland does not have legal quotas on female representation in parliament, though some parties do require a minimum number of candidates to be women.

Iceland’s current government, which consists of Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the centrist-agrarian Progressive Party, said before the election that they would negotiate continued cooperation if they held their majority.
President Gudni Johannesson said he would not hand a mandate to form a new government to any party but would await coalition talks among the three parties.
<Now the ball is in the hands of the sitting government,> he told the Visir newspaper.
The conservative Independence Party again became the biggest in parliament with nearly a quarter of the votes and 16 seats, unchanged from the last election.
Party leader and former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said he was optimistic that the three parties could form a coalition and he would not demand to lead a new government, RUV reported.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
25 Sept 2021
Child Rights
By Farai Matiashe

Taekwondo: Ending child marriage in Zimbabwe, one kick at a time.
The martial art is a welcome refuge for teenage girls hoping to escape the widespread practice of child marriage.

Epworth, Zimbabwe – Growing up in Epworth, a densely populated suburb southeast of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, 17-year-old Lisa Nyambupu would see many of her friends getting married at a young age. It was a future she also expected for herself – until she stepped on a taekwondo mat for the first time. <All along I thought there was nothing wrong about getting married early,> said Nyambupu, who in 2019 decided to join a taekwondo training class offered by another girl her age, Natsiraishe Maritsa. <It was at this forum where I learned that it is actually a bad practice which must not be encouraged.>

She has never looked back.

<Taekwondo gives me hope,> said Nyambupu, who competes in the 45-50kg weight class. <I learn discipline, self-defence and the art pushes me to strive in life.>
Born in a family of five, Nyambupu said lack of financial support forced her to drop out of school aged 13 following the death of her father.
<He was the breadwinner and my mother could not pay my school fees,> she said.

A 2019 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Zimbabwe said school dropouts and those from poor households were more likely to get married before reaching 18 years – the legal marriage age in the country – as compared with those who continue to higher education.
*Nyasha Tomeni, 43, still recalls the emotional abuse she went through at the hands of her in-laws when she got married aged 17.
<When my parents found that I was pregnant they forced me to elope. My in-laws did not want me to get married to their son. They could not give me food and they called me derogatory names,> said Tomeni.

‘Proving them wrong’

Another report published by UNICEF in 2019 said that about one in three (34 percent) of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were first married or in union before the age of 18. Child rights campaigners have warned child marriage cases have risen due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed more families into poverty and kept girls out of school for a longer period. In a report last year, international charity Save the Children said an estimated 500,000 more girls were at risk of being forced into child marriages worldwide, as a result of the economic effects of COVID-19.
This marked a four percent year on year increase, reversing the progress made to reduce early marriage over the previous 25 years.
It was the widespread prevalence of the practice that prompted taekwondo ace Maritsa to launch in 2018 the Vulnerable Underaged People’s Auditorium initiative. Since then, the teenager has trained dozens of girls and survivors of child marriages
<Most of my friends were married before 18 years. The future of these girls was robbed while I was watching,” she said. “Some were married off by their parents and guardians. I want to change this,> she added.
<Of course, one should get married after 18 years,> continued Maritsa, the third born in a family of five girls. <But even after reaching the legal age, there is no need to hurry. What is important for the girls is to achieve their dreams such as having a sustainable source of income generation.>
Inspired by her father Richard Maritsa, who practised kyokushin, a full-contact martial art, the teenager delved into the world of martial arts aged five. Later on, she focused on taekwondo and has gone on to compete at national tournaments, winning several accolades.

<Taekwondo is male-dominated. Many people believe that girls cannot survive the pain involved in taekwondo. We are proving them wrong,> she said.

‘Laws are letting us down’

Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution prohibits boys and girls below the age of 18 from marriage, but the country’s marriage laws do not abide by that, resulting in Zimbabwe having no legislation that explicitly outlaws child marriages. Despite the constitutional court outlawing a section in the Marriage Act in 2016 which allowed teenagers to get married before their 18th birthday, the practice remains widespread.
An amendment to the Marriage Bill introduced in 2017 seeks to align the inconsistencies in the current marriage legislation to the constitution.
Fadzai Ruzive, a legal practitioner with Women and Law in Southern Africa, said they were eagerly waiting for the bill to be signed into law because it clearly criminalises child marriages.
<The Constitution states that a person can marry at the age of 18. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act states that at 16 years a person can consent to sex. The Marriage Act sets the marriage age at 16 years. So, when we have laws that are not in alignment with the Constitution it creates a lot of problems. The laws are letting us down,> she said.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
25 Sept 2021
Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito’s death is tragic. But I wish missing women of color got this much attention.
By Akin Olla

Considerable resources were dedicated to finding Petito’s body. Yet Indigenous people in Wyoming are more likely to disappear and to be killed, and their cases are barely noticed. The apparent murder of 22-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito has been a consistent part of the American news cycle since she disappeared on 11 September. Her YouTube presence and participation in the Instagram #vanlife subculture, which involves young people travelling around the country living aesthetically appealing lives in vans and converted buses, provided plenty of content for internet detectives on sites like TikTok and Reddit to consume. Her story is heart-wrenching, especially after police footage has emerged of Petito and her fiance Brian Laundrie, who is now a <person of interest> in her death, having a domestic crisis.
But the story also feels eerily familiar – so familiar, in fact, that there is a term for it: <missing white woman syndrome>. White women, particularly conventionally attractive middle- or upper-class white women, tend to receive disproportionate media coverage when they go missing. Petito’s case is tragic, but the media attention it has attracted replicates a systemic pattern.
Gabby Petito deserves justice; there is no doubt about that. Her death was ruled a homicide by a Wyoming coroner on 21 September, a few days after her body was discovered. She’d been missing for weeks after a roadtrip with her fiance, who returned from the trip without her and soon went missing himself. Her story quickly went viral on social media outlets: a Reddit forum created to track her case has accumulated more than 119,000 members at time of writing, and TikTok videos featuring her have received over 200m views.

The media joined in this explosion of attention, and public officials soon followed. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared online that he has directed all state agencies to assist with the search for Laundrie, who is on the run. I hope they catch him. According to 2019 numbers, however, there are well over a thousand other missing persons in Florida alone. Media attention influences how politicians and law enforcement agencies allocate resources, and it is concerning when policy priorities are so clearly weighted toward victims of certain racial identities and social classes.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
26 Sept 2021
Opinion by Moira Donegan
US politics

<<Two disbarred lawyers sued a Texas doctor who performed an abortion. Flustered ‘pro-lifers’ are backpedaling.
Anti-choice groups are embarrassed that their draconian law is being enforced the way it was designed.

In an essay published in the Washington Post last Saturday, the doctor announced that he performed an abortion on a woman who was past six weeks of gestation, the limit imposed by Texas’s new abortion ban, SB8. The doctor wrote that he felt morally obliged to perform the procedure, his worldview shaped by his years in obstetric practice having conversations with patients who revealed that they were terminating their pregnancies because they couldn’t afford more kids, because they had been raped, because they were with abusive partners, or because they wanted to pursue other dreams. He wrote, too, of beginning his practice in 1972, the year before Roe v Wade, the last time an outright ban on abortion was in effect in his state. <At the hospital that year, I saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions,> Dr Braid wrote. <One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.> Dr Braid reasoned that to avoid such needless deaths, he had a <duty of care> to the woman whose newly illegal abortion he performed.
He was promptly sued. Two complaints – both from men living out of state – were filed against Dr Braid on Monday morning. One, a rambling, weird document, comes from a convicted felon and disbarred former attorney named Oscar Stilley, who is serving a prison term on house arrest in Arkansas. That complaint, which Stilley seems to have written himself, makes multiple references to Dr Braid’s conduct regarding “bastards” and his supposed belief in a god referred to by the Hebrew name <Elohim.> Stilley, who has said he does not personally oppose abortion, feels strongly that “if there’s money to be had, it’s going to go in Oscar’s pocket.”

The second lawsuit is from a man named Felipe Gomez of Illinois, another disbarred lawyer, who labels himself <pro-choice plaintiff>, and whose complaint asks only that SB8 be overturned. These test cases, strange and off-putting as they are, now represent the best chance for SB8 to be vacated, and for abortion rights to be returned to Texans – at least for now. It didn’t have to be this way. When a conservative state passes an abortion ban – as they do with some regularity – state employees are usually tasked with enforcing the law, those employees are named as defendants in lawsuits brought by pro-choice groups, and the law is blocked from going into effect by courts that declare it unconstitutional before any real patients are denied abortion care. But Texas’s SB8 was designed to elide this normal process of judicial review, with a novel enforcement mechanism that bars state agents from acting to enforce the law. Instead, the law can only be enforced by private civil suits against people suspected of facilitating abortions – lawsuits, that is, like the ones filed by Stilley and Gomez.
Read more here:

The Guardian
26 Sept 2021
Opinion by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

It’s not just the right who can admit feeling uncomfortable about ending a pregnancy. By allowing women space to talk about difficult abortions, we may be able to improve access to them.

Like many people, I’ve been thinking about the women in Texas, a US state that is now in the business of forced births. When you consider how pregnancy is dated from the first day of a woman’s last period, its newly imposed six-week limit on abortion essentially amounts to a ban, leaving such a tiny window for a woman to arrange a termination. As well as being horrified by this cynical assault on human rights, I find myself once again counting my lucky stars that I live in England, a country that – unlike many others, including Northern Ireland, where women are still being forced to travel due to a postcode lottery – has access to safe, legal abortion free of charge.
For as long as the assault on women’s reproductive rights continues around the world, it feels taboo to talk about abortion in any other way. It is a privilege to be able to make an appointment, take the pills (if it is early enough), and get on with our lives. But what has become difficult to acknowledge is that for some women, even a legal, safe abortion can be a traumatic experience. This is a story that we have surrendered to the right, when it is an experience that deserves to be heard and could even serve to strengthen the case for better access.
An intensely traumatic abortion is the theme of Larger Than an Orange by Lucy Burns. This is not a story about a woman who has an abortion and feels nothing but relief, then moves on, hardly giving it a second thought. It is the diary of an abortion and its aftermath, which sees the narrator alone in her grief and her pain, telling people about it compulsively and scrolling through anti-abortion memes on the internet. It somehow manages to both truthfully convey the trauma of one woman’s abortion while also being resolutely pro-choice. It’s quite a balance, in these polarised times.

In conveying the gulf between politics and personal experience, Larger Than an Orange provides us with vital nuance, and articulates emotions that feel unspoken, even to women. <So many of my women friends have said, ‘I knew this to be true, it had to be true, but I have never heard anyone say it before.’ Which is mad,> Burns tell me of their reaction to the book. (As for her male friends, many of them had no idea what abortion even involved.) Like Burns, I believe that what lies behind this silence is fear.
<We are fortunate enough to be able to have safe legal abortions in England. So people don’t want to talk about all the bad sides, because they’re worried that, when access feels so precarious, it will just be taken away from them.>
I wonder if they also worry that too much candour might frighten other women, particularly younger ones. In the film Saint Frances, a woman has an abortion and bleeds for almost all the rest of the film, and for much of it refuses to admit – much to the frustration of the man she slept with – that she has any feelings about it at all. It feels radical, and new, and belongs in a similar space to Larger Than an Orange: a space of complex feelings and grey areas, coexisting with a powerful message about the importance of safe and legal abortion. A space that, though Saint Frances is an American film, I’m unsure the US is fully ready for, being as it is still bogged down in emotive, religious arguments about when life begins. (It is notable that Burns’s book has not yet found a US publisher.)>>
Read more here:

Women's Media Center
Emily Wilson
24 Sept 2021
<<New Documentary Spotlights a Remarkable Woman Imam.

As a young Muslim girl growing up in Berlin in the ‘70s, Seyran Ates decided at an early age that she wanted to challenge the patriarchy within Islam and society in general. She noticed the difference in the way she and her brothers were treated, and how they were allowed to go out and play while she needed to stay at home. Ates didn’t reject Islam — rather she decided to work to change it from within, and now she’s a lawyer and the imam of the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque in Berlin, which she established in 2017. Due to numerous death threats (she’s been shot and been the target of two fatwas), Ates has constant police protection. A new documentary, Seyran Ates: Sex, Revolution and Islam, shows Ates’ work at the mosque, where women and men worship together, there’s an LGBTQ youth group, and Ates encourages discussion and debate. It also tells some of Ates’ personal stories — the movie opens with her reading some of the emails she has received containing death and rape threats, and she talks about being shot in the neck and shoulder when she was a counselor at a women’s shelter. We see her police escorts. The film also tells the story of her nephew, who started getting radicalized online but with Ates’ help came out as gay and became active in the mosque. We accompany Ates as she travels around the world working for human rights, going to Madrid, for example, for the anniversary of the 2004 bombings at 10 train stations that killed 193 people, and visiting traditional female imams in China, who are shocked that in the Berlin mosque, women often go without head coverings.

After the September 11 attacks in the U.S., Oslo-based Turkish Norwegian filmmaker Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, who sees herself as doing “gender activism through films,” thought about leaving her faith, feeling it no longer had room for her. But her gay Muslim friends felt differently. Lorentzen wanted to try and understand how they felt about Islam, and she made a trio of controversial films to explore how being a feminist and gay could fit with being a Muslim, as well as one about the patriarchy: Gender Me, A Balloon for Allah, and ManIslam.
Lorentzen then planned to make a film about female imams. Her mother sent her an article about Ates, telling Lorentzen she needed to talk to her if she wanted to make a good film. The filmmaker went to Berlin to meet Ates. She was struck by the singularity of Ates’ vision, her determination, and how she stood out from other leaders. She decided to make a film focused on Ates.
Lorentzen says she felt a connection to Ates almost immediately. Ates experienced that as well, saying it feels as though they’ve known each other forever. Ates said she and the filmmaker believe in working for social change — but they want to have fun too. She says she’s glad she chose Lorentzen to make this film.
<More than 40 people wanted to do a documentary about this new mosque and our visions and ideas and what we’re doing and what is contemporary Islam,> Ates said on a video call from Berlin with Lorentzen in Oslo. <We had a lot of media interest worldwide, but when Nefise wrote me and sent me links to her movies, I realized, ‘Oh, she’s great. Maybe she can understand our vision and our dreams, and maybe she can feel the spirituality,’ and it worked. It was like she’s an old friend of mine, and I’ve known her for centuries.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
24 Sept 2021

<<US House passes bill to secure abortion rights for women.
Legislative drive to codify precedent of Roe v Wade gains momentum in Congress but still faces Republican opposition.

The United States House of Representatives on Friday approved a proposed law that would guarantee women’s right to an abortion throughout the United States. The bill, which would override new laws in Texas and other Republican-led states restricting abortions, passed the House by a vote of 218-211 but faces opposition from Republicans in the US Senate. For decades, women in the US have had access to abortion services under a 1973 landmark US Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v Wade. But the judicial precedent is under attack and potentially at risk of being overturned by a new conservative majority on the court.
In proposing the new law, Democrats in Congress aim to create the right to an abortion in federal law, which Congress has not previously done. That would make it very difficult for the courts and states to legally restrict women’s access to abortion.
The new Texas law, which already is being challenged in the courts, seeks to ban abortions after a foetal heartbeat is detectable, which occurs at about six weeks – often before a woman knows she is pregnant.
It allows private citizens to file suits against anyone who <aids or abets> an abortion and if successful, be awarded a minimum of $10,000. The law went into effect on September 1.

<We’re going to see an uprising like we’ve never seen before if we do not codify this law that has been passed in the House now, and we’re going to call upon our Senate colleagues to do that,> Representative Jackie Speier, a Democratic lawmaker and champion for the proposed bill, said on MSNBC after the vote. President Joe Biden supports the House bill and has called the Texas law an <unprecedented assault> on women’s reproductive rights in the US. The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit to block the Texas law.
<We are going to stand together unified and fight for women’s constitutional rights to make decisions about their own body,> Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president in US history, said on ABC’s The View talk show on Friday.
The nine-member US Supreme Court now has a 6-3 conservative majority following the appointments by former President Donald Trump of three conservative justices believed to favour reversing Roe v Wade to the court. The court rejected an emergency request to block the law. A Florida lawmaker has introduced similar legislation to the Texas ban.
Abortion opponents hailed the law as a possible model for banning the procedure elsewhere.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
24 Sept 2021

<<Miscarriage of Justice: A fight for women’s rights in El Salvador.
The empowering story of Teodora Vasquez who was imprisoned for 10 years under El Salvador’s strict abortion law.

Teodora Vasquez was convicted of aggravated homicide in 2008 after being accused of aborting her baby. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison even though she says she had a stillbirth.
This film follows Teodora’s story from Ilopango women’s prison as she appeals her conviction in the courts through to her release 10 years later, after which she travels around the world to advocate for women’s rights.
Her story is set against the backdrop of the Salvadoran government’s 2018 review of its strict abortion laws.
Click here to watch the film , Spanisch spoken/English subtitled, :

Al Jazeera
24 Sept 2021
David Child

<<Sabina Nessa: London murder reignites fears over women’s safety.
Campaigners say authorities must tackle ‘root causes of male violence against women’ in the wake of a 28-year-old teacher’s killing.

London, United Kingdom – The murder of a 28-year-old teacher in a London park has reignited a national conversation over women’s safety, six months after the death of Sarah Everard, who was killed by a police officer, topped the United Kingdom’s political agenda.
Sabina Nessa, a primary school teacher, was killed a week ago on the evening of September 17 while walking in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, an area in the capital’s southeastern Borough of Greenwich.
It is understood that she was on her way to meet a friend at a bar less than a 10-minute walk away from her home on Astell Road when she was attacked at about 8:30pm, according to London’s Metropolitan Police Service (Met). Her body was found by police officers in Cator Park the following afternoon, nearly 24 hours later, close to a local community centre. A post-mortem carried out on Monday proved inconclusive.
On Thursday, a 38-year-old man was arrested in London on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody.

Police have also released images of another man they wish to speak to in connection with the case. Officers have appealed for any witnesses or individuals with information of the incident to contact them. <We know the community are rightly shocked by this murder – as are we – and we are using every resource available to us to find the individual responsible,> Joe Garrity, the detective inspector leading the Met’s investigation, said in a statement.

‘Epidemic of violence’

As the Met’s probe continues, calls are growing for authorities to tackle what campaigners say is an <epidemic of violence towards women in the UK>.
Emma Kay, co-founder of WalkSafe, a free mobile app aimed at safeguarding women in public spaces, said many women have been killed by men in the UK since March, when Everard’s murder by a Met officer shocked the nation.
Everard was 33. Wayne Couzens, 48, has pleaded guilty to murdering her and will be sentenced on September 29. So far this year, at least 108 women in the UK have been killed by men, or in instances where a man is the principal suspect, according to Counting Dead Women, a group that tracks femicide in the country. <Enough is enough,> Kay told Al Jazeera. <UK women are calling for action. We must be able to walk home safely and live without violence in our own homes.>
Kay said <a police and court system that protects women> was needed, as well as “concrete safety initiatives” such as improved CCTV and a free or subsidised transport system.
Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said it was <devastating> that little had been done to address male violence against women despite widespread demands for action after the Everard tragedy.
The criminal justice system was too slow in responding to violence against women, she said, and routinely fails to prosecute rape and domestic abuse cases.She also said support services should be granted more funding.
<We must not risk viewing these murders as isolated incidents. Violence against women is so deeply normalised that women must constantly carry out personal safety work – assessing our surroundings, researching the safest route, carrying keys in our hands and sharing our location with friends,> Simon told Al Jazeera.
<We need an approach that addresses the root causes of male violence against women and the attitudes that minimise and tolerate abuse.> >>
Read more here:

The Guardian
23 Sept 2021
Alexandra Topping and agencies

<<Woman with Down’s syndrome loses UK abortion law case.
Heidi Crowter has argued allowing terminations up to birth if foetus has Down’s syndrome is discriminatory.

A woman with Down’s syndrome who took Sajid Javid to court over the UK’s abortion law has lost her case in the high court.
Heidi Crowter, who brought the case alongside Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son Aidan has Down’s syndrome, and a child with Down’s syndrome identified only as A, had argued that allowing pregnancy terminations up to birth if the foetus has Down’s syndrome is discriminatory and stigmatises disabled people. They challenged the Department of Health and Social Care over the Abortion Act 1967, which sets a 24-week time limit for abortions unless there is <substantial risk> of the child being <seriously handicapped>. At a two-day hearing in July they argued it interfered with the right to respect for private life in article 8(1) of the European convention on human rights (ECHR), including the decision to become or not to become a parent and <rights to dignity, autonomy and personal development of all three claimants>.
But in a ruling on Thursday [pdf] their case was dismissed by two senior judges, who ruled that the legislation was not unlawful and aimed to strike a balance between the rights of the unborn child and of women.

Lord Justice Singh and Mrs Justice Lieven said: <The issues which have given rise to this claim are highly sensitive and sometimes controversial. They generate strong feelings, on all sides of the debate, including sincere differences of view about ethical and religious matters. This court cannot enter into those controversies; it must decide the case only in accordance with the law.>
Crowter said it was a <sad> day but vowed to keep on fighting. Speaking alongside her husband, James Carter, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, she said: <The judges might not think it discriminates against me, the government might not think it discriminates against me, but I’m telling you that I do feel discriminated against and the verdict doesn’t change how I and thousands in the Down’s syndrome community feel.>
During the hearing Jason Coppel QC, representing the claimants, told the high court Down’s syndrome was the single largest justification for <late-term abortions> under the Abortion Act.
The judges said the evidence they had heard <powerfully> showed that there were families who positively wished to have a child even if they would have severe disabilities, but not every family would react that way.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
Jamie Grierson Jessica Murray and Sarah Marsh
23 Sept 2021

<<‘London streets are safe for women,’ say Met after Sabina Nessa killing. Killer of primary school teacher, 28, is still at large, say police

Scotland Yard has said London’s streets are safe for women as it investigates whether a primary school teacher was killed by a stranger who is still at large. Sabina Nessa, 28, is suspected to have been murdered as she walked through Cator Park in south-east London, on what should have been a five-minute journey to a pub from her nearby home, at about 8.30pm last Friday.
Her body was found near the OneSpace community centre in the park off Kidbrooke Park Road, Greenwich, at 5.30pm on Saturday by a member of the public.

What we know about Sabina Nessa's murder.

Speaking from the crime scene, DCS Trevor Lawry, of the Metropolitan police, said London’s streets <are safe for women>, although he was unable to rule out that Nessa’s killer could strike again. Her killing, which follows the high-profile murders of Sarah Everard and the sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, has once more prompted debate over the safety of women and girls on Britain’s streets.
Lawry said he was <keeping a completely open mind> on the motives of the attacker but was concerned that they were still on the loose.
Asked whether the Met was worried that the killer could attack someone else, he said: <We have lines of inquiry that we’re pursuing at the moment. It’s always a concern that it may happen, but that’s not something that we have any intelligence on at this time.>
Asked whether he believed a stranger was behind the attack, Lawry added: <That’s definitely a line of inquiry that we’re looking at.> He went on: <The streets are safe for women, I’d like to reassure the public around that, I’d like to make sure that people are free to walk around free from fear and my officers will make sure that that can take place.>

Nessa is understood to have been heading towards the Depot bar in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke Village, when she was attacked. A postmortem examination, carried out on Monday into the cause of death, was inconclusive.
A man in his 40s who was arrested on suspicion of murder has been released under further investigation.
DI Joe Garrity, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: <Sabina’s journey should have taken just over five minutes but she never made it to her destination. We know the community is rightly shocked by this murder – as are we – and we are using every resource available to us to find the individual responsible.>
Nessa was raised in Sandy, Bedfordshire, and attended the University of Bedfordshire to study for her postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
A few doors down from the Nessa family home in Sandy, a neighbour, Carol Ball, said the whole street was in shock following the news. <What can you say? I spoke to her dad and he’s in a daze,> the 76-year-old said. <I’ve known her since she was just a little girl. She was lovely, so well-mannered and well brought up, all the girls were. They all did well at school and with their driving.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
21 Sept 2021

<<HRW slams Kenya’s response to surge in gender-based violence.
Kenya failed to provide support amid a spike in violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic, HRW says.

Human Rights Watch has decried the Kenyan government’s response to a surge in gender-based violence (GBV) that took place throughout the coronavirus pandemic, specifically during periods of lockdown. In a new report released on Tuesday, the US-based rights group claimed the government failed to ensure that health, economic and social support services were available to women amid restrictions that affected their mobility.
In doing so, HRW said the Kenyan government actually facilitated an increase in GBV. The report says there was a staggering 301 percent increase in calls reporting violence against women and girls in the first two weeks of the lockdown between March and April 2020.
While previous studies have shown that cases of GBV increase during health emergencies, the Kenyan government should have <expected and planned for a similar uptick during the COVID-19 health emergency>, HRW said.
Other research on sexual violence and GBV has also showed that Kenya’s current government structures and policies are “inadequate to respond effectively to violence against women and girls” during such emergencies, it added.

The report is based on 26 interviews conducted between June 2020 and February 2021 – 13 of whom were survivors of GBV.
The group documented various forms of violence against women and girls – including sexual abuse, beatings, being thrown out of the home, being forced to marry, and being forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).
According to the report, many of the abuses happened <in the home> and attackers were <close family members including husbands, but other abuses happened in the communities perpetuated by neighbours>. The girls interviewed said they experienced ongoing sexual harassment from men in their communities, some of whom “lured them” with gifts of food or sanitary pads.

In one case, Juliet, a 16-year-old girl living in an informal settlement in Nairobi, was held captive for four days by a man who sexually assaulted her, HRW said. She was eventually rescued by neighbours and cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. Despite already having high levels of violence, there is a <clear trend> of increased violence against women and girls in Kenya, HRW said.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
20 Sept 2021
Belen Fernandez
Contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

<<It is time to abort Texas’s abortion law – and much more.
The anti-abortion legislation in Texas is an extension of homegrown American fanaticism.

On September 1, the state of Texas implemented Senate Bill 8 (SB8) banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest. Given that most women are not even aware they are pregnant at six weeks, SB8 amounts to a near-total abortion ban. It is the most restrictive such law in the entire United States, where the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling ostensibly offers constitutional protections for abortion rights.
In addition to being criminally invasive, the Texas law is totally unhinged. For starters, its enforcement is delegated not to agents of the state but rather to individual citizens who stand to win $10,000 or more by bringing lawsuits against doctors, abortion clinic staff, Uber drivers, and any other witting or unwitting accomplices to abortions performed after the six-week cutoff. Plaintiffs need not be from Texas nor have any relation to the defendants. Presumably, SB8 will not only encourage run-of-the-mill American religious zealots to further unleash their inner policemen but also incentivise assorted other demographics to capitalise on efforts to dismantle the semblance of women’s rights that has been attained under patriarchal capitalism. As NPR notes, the Texas Right to Life organisation has already <set up what it calls a ‘whistleblower’ website where people can submit anonymous tips about anyone they believe to be violating the law>.

While the Justice Department has sued the state of Texas over SB8’s alleged unconstitutionality, the US Supreme Court has refused to block the law. Reuters reported that <in an unsigned explanation, the court’s majority said the Texas law’s unusual construction – leaving enforcement to individuals bringing lawsuits – limited its ability to act>. The moral of the story, it seems, is that it does not matter if a law is legal or not as long as it is being enforced by private citizens rather than the people who are supposed to enforce laws.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
19 Sept 2021
Martin Pengelly in New York

<<Texas doctor protests abortion law by admitting he carried out procedure.
Alan Braid writes column for Washington Post.
Texas law shows fragility of women’s rights, say activists.

Protesting a Texas law which outlaws abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and empowers citizens to sue providers and anyone who helps them, a San Antonio doctor said he had provided an abortion beyond the new legal limit.
Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood, said Ruth Bader Ginsburg was ‘a trailblazer’.
Cecile Richards marks a year since RBG death with abortion rights battle cry.
<I am taking a personal risk,> Alan Braid wrote for the Washington Post. <But it’s something I believe in strongly.
<… I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of healthcare. I have spent the last 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.>
That was the year before Roe v Wade, the supreme court ruling which guaranteed abortion rights.
The court is now dominated by conservatives, after Republicans installed three justices under Donald Trump. Using an emergency “shadow docket” ruling, the court allowed the Texas law to stand. Many observers expect it to fully overturn Roe in another case, from Mississippi.
Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the death of the liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a key moment in the abortion battle. Ginsburg was succeeded by Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic.
Marking the anniversary, Cecile Richards, a former head of Planned Parenthood, told the Associated Press: <We are in a post-Roe world … all it takes is a Republican governor and a Republican legislature. Your state could be exactly the same.>

Braid said he began work in Texas in a pre-Roe world, starting a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at a hospital in San Antonio in July 1972.
<At the time, abortion was effectively illegal in Texas – unless a psychologist certified a woman was suicidal. If the woman had money, we’d refer her to clinics in Colorado, California or New York. The rest were on their own. Some traveled across the border to Mexico.>
That year, he said, he saw <three teenagers die from illegal abortions>.
<One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.>
The Texas law, SB8, went into effect this month. Braid said his clinics are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights in a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the law.
Braid said women who come to his clinic often say why they need an abortion.
<They’re finishing school or they already have three children, they’re in an abusive relationship, or it’s just not time. A majority are mothers. Most are between 18 and 30. Many are struggling financially.>
An architect of the Texas bill, former state solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell, has said women who want to avoid unwanted pregnancy can simply say no to sex.
Braid wrote: <Several times a month, a woman confides that she is having the abortion because she has been raped. Sometimes, she reports it to the police; more often, she doesn’t>. <Texas’s new law makes no exception for rape or incest.>
Describing how women must again be referred out of state, Braid wrote: <For me, it’s 1972 all over again. And that is why, on the morning of 6 September, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit. I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
16 Sept 2021

<<Attacks on Eritrean refugees in Tigray ‘clear war crimes’: HRW.
Eritrean soldiers and Ethiopian rebel fighters raped and killed refugees in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, Human Rights Watch says.

Eritrean soldiers and Tigrayan militias raped, detained and killed Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray in attacks that amounted to <clear war crimes>, an international rights watchdog has said.
Human Rights Watch’s report on Thursday contained detailed attacks around two camps in Tigray, where local forces have battled the Ethiopian government and their Eritrean allies since November in a conflict that has rocked the Horn of Africa region.
Tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees live in Tigray, a mountainous and poor province of about five million people.

<The horrific killings, rapes, and looting against Eritrean refugees in Tigray are clear war crimes,> said Laetitia Bader, the Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), whose work drew on interviews with 28 refugees and other sources, including satellite imagery.
Eritrea’s minister of information did not immediately return calls seeking comment, but Eritrea has previously denied atrocities and said their forces have not attacked civilians.
A spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said formal, uniformed Tigrayan forces had only recently moved into the area and that it was possible abuses were committed by local militias.
<It is mostly the last month or so that our forces moved into those areas. There was a huge Eritrean army presence there,> Getachew Reda told the Reuters news agency. <If there were vigilante groups acting in the heat of the moment I cannot rule that out.>
International investigators were welcome to visit the area, he said.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
15 Sept 2021

<<UN withdraws Gabon peacekeepers from CAR over sex abuse claims.
Gabonese defence ministry says a number of ‘exceptionally serious acts that go against military ethics and the honour of the armed forces’ reported in recent weeks.

Gabon’s defence ministry has said the United Nations will withdraw the country’s 450-strong peacekeeping contingent from the Central African Republic (CAR) over sexual abuse allegations.
<In recent weeks, exceptionally serious acts that go against military ethics and the honour of the armed forces, committed by certain elements in the Gabonese battalions … have been reported,> the ministry said in a statement sent to the AFP news agency on Wednesday.
<Following many cases of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse that are being processed, the United Nations today decided to withdraw the Gabonese contingent from MINUSCA>, the UN mission in the CAR, and <an investigation has been opened by Gabon,> the statement read.
Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, who has extensively covered the allegations of sexual abuse against the Blue Helmets that has tarnished their reputation globally, said the lawyer representing the victims described the news as “a small victory – but it’s not enough”.

<What she wants to see is prosecution of those involved in cases of sexual abuse happening in the CAR itself,> he added.
<As for the UN conventions, the soldiers involved in the allegations of sexual abuse are not prosecuted in the country where the crimes are committed but rather in their home country. That’s why we saw Gabonese prosecutors in [the CAR’s capital] Bangui for the last two years, investigating soldiers of that nation under the supervision of the UN.>
One of the world’s poorest countries, CAR has been chronically unstable since it gained independence from France in 1960.
It is currently suffering from the aftermath of a brutal civil conflict that erupted in 2013 after a coup against then-President Francois Bozize.
MINUSCA was deployed by the UN in April 2014 to end the conflict pitting the Seleka coalition of armed groups that overthrew Bozize against militias supporting him. The conflict has dramatically reduced in intensity but MINUSCA has 15,000 personnel in the country, of whom 14,000 are in uniform.
Their main mission is to protect civilians.
Allegations of sexual crimes involving peacekeepers have been recurrent, and while some contingents have been withdrawn in the past, no investigations have resulted in convictions to date, at least publicly.>>
Read more here:

Women's Media Center
SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 | Lakshmi Gandhi | FEMINISM

<<A Teen Girl Starts a Feminist Movement in Michelle Quach’s <Not Here To Be Liked>

As the title of Michelle Quach’s debut novel, Not Here To Be Liked, suggests, not everyone is going to immediately connect to Eliza Quan, the main character. In fact, the book’s back cover warns readers that the story they are about to read contains an “unlikeable female character.”
<There’s been a lot of discussion about unlikeable female characters in general and I personally wanted to give [creating one] a shot because I think unlikable characters are more realistic,> Quach told the FBomb. Eliza Quan’s world is shattered when, after working her whole high school career toward one day becoming editor-in-chief of the school paper, a charismatic star athlete, Len, is elected to the position because he <seems more like a leader.> When Eliza writes a scathing editorial about sexism and the expectations placed on teen girls, the essay quickly goes viral and sets off a mini-feminist movement at their school. But when Eliza begins liking Len as a person, things become even more complicated for both her and the budding movement. Not Here To Be Liked hits shelves on September 14. We had the chance to talk to Quach about her debut novel, the weirdness of going viral, and how teens can speak out against injustice when they see it.

How did you get the idea for a book about the election of a high school paper’s editor-in-chief? Did you write for the paper when you were in school?
Read Michele Quach's answer to this and other questions here:

Women's Media Centre
Lakshmi Gandhi
Sept 14 2021

<<A Teen Girl Starts a Feminist Movement in Michelle Quach’s <Not Here To Be Liked>

As the title of Michelle Quach’s debut novel, Not Here To Be Liked, suggests, not everyone is going to immediately connect to Eliza Quan, the main character. In fact, the book’s back cover warns readers that the story they are about to read contains an “unlikeable female character.”
<There’s been a lot of discussion about unlikeable female characters in general and I personally wanted to give [creating one] a shot because I think unlikable characters are more realistic,> Quach told the FBomb.
Eliza Quan’s world is shattered when, after working her whole high school career toward one day becoming editor-in-chief of the school paper, a charismatic star athlete, Len, is elected to the position because he <seems more like a leader.> When Eliza writes a scathing editorial about sexism and the expectations placed on teen girls, the essay quickly goes viral and sets off a mini-feminist movement at their school. But when Eliza begins liking Len as a person, things become even more complicated for both her and the budding movement.
Not Here To Be Liked hits shelves on September 14. We had the chance to talk to Quach about her debut novel, the weirdness of going viral, and how teens can speak out against injustice when they see it.
How did you get the idea for a book about the election of a high school paper’s editor-in-chief? Did you write for the paper when you were in school?

Yes, I was on the paper in high school, and also while I was in college, so I borrowed elements from those experiences for the book. For example, moments like the election of editor-in-chief as described in this book didn’t happen when I was in high school, but it did happen on my college paper. So the book was a blend of all those experiences.
When Eliza first wrote her editorial about sexism at the school newspaper, she never intended for it to be printed at all, let alone have it become a viral sensation. She also isn’t prepared for the attention she and the piece receive because of it. Why did you want to explore that in this book?

I wanted to explore this because I just saw, especially in the social justice space, how well-meaning things will blow up really fast and then how things can turn just as easily. I thought that was a very interesting phenomenon. I wanted to explore that in terms of the more microcosts [to going viral.] Obviously this story is confined to her school, so I wanted to take this small world and then explore what would happen.

It is also interesting to see how Eliza and her mom (who is a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant) view what happened very differently. Why did you want to include that divide between the mother and daughter in this book?

I wanted to include that dynamic because I think it’s realistic, especially in a family with that sort of divide culturally and generationally. It’s interesting because the mom in this book is in many ways a strong female role model. But she doesn’t have the language or interest really to talk about feminism in the way that Eliza is talking about feminism.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
11 Sept 2021
Richard Luscombe

<<Salesforce offers to help staff leave Texas as abortion law takes effect.
Software company sends message to workforce addressing access to reproductive healthcare.

The cloud-based software giant Salesforce is offering to help relocate employees out of Texas following the state’s enactment of its extreme new abortion law. Referring to the <incredibly personal issues> that the law creates, a message to the company’s entire workforce sent late on Friday said any employee and their family wishing to move elsewhere would receive assistance.
<Ohana if you want to move we’ll help you exit TX. Your choice,> the Salesforce chief executive, Marc Benioff, said in a tweet featuring a CNBC article about the offer, and using a term common in Hawaii for <family>.
In its message to workers, Salesforce, which is headquartered in California, did not directly mention Texas, where about 2,000 of its 56,000 global workers are based, or take a stance on the law. But its intention was clear.
<These are incredibly personal issues that directly impact many of us – especially women,> it said.
<We recognize and respect that we all have deeply held and different perspectives. As a company, we stand with all of our women at Salesforce and everywhere. If you have concerns about access to reproductive healthcare in your state, Salesforce will help relocate you and members of your immediate family.> The company’s offer appears to be part of a growing corporate backlash against the Texas law, which took effect on 1 September when the US supreme court refused to block it.

On Thursday, the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, announced that the justice department was suing Texas over the <unconstitutional> law that bans abortions after the detection of embryonic cardiac activity, at around six weeks, and allows private citizens to pursue legal action against anybody who assists a woman in getting an abortion. The ride-share companies Lyft and Uber have both said they will pay the legal costs of any drivers sued for transporting women to or from procedures. Meanwhile, Match Group, which owns the dating app Tinder, and its rival Bumble, which is also based in Texas, have set up funds for employees seeking abortions out of state.
<The company generally does not take political stands unless it is relevant to our business. But in this instance, I personally, as a woman in Texas, could not keep silent,> the Match chief executive, Shar Dubey, said in a memo to workers.
Salesforce, which was founded in 1999 by the former Oracle executive Benioff and partners as one of the first web-based software service providers, has a reputation for looking after its workers. In 2020 it was ranked in the top 10 US companies for employee satisfaction in a Forbes survey.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
<<From: The Stream
Bonus Edition: Somalia hunger, Afghanistan’s women, life in Gaza
On Friday, September 10 at 19:30 GMT:
In this bonus edition of The Stream, we go behind the scenes to talk about the growing hunger crisis in Somalia, to hear personal stories from Gaza and we have a special interview with the CEO of Women for Women International from our Instagram Live series.>>
Click here to watch the video:

The Guardian
10 July 2021
Tom Phillips in Brasília and Flávia Milhorance in Rio de Janeiro

<<Indigenous warrior women take fight to save ancestral lands to Brazilian capital.

Jair Bolsonaro is backing a legal move to open up large tracts of indigenous territory to commercial exploitation that tribal members call an ‘extermination effort’.
More than 5,000 indigenous women have marched through Brazil’s capital to denounce the historic assault on native lands they say is unfolding under the country’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.
Female representatives of more than 170 of Brazil’s 300-plus tribes have gathered in Brasília in recent days to oppose highly controversial attempts to strip back indigenous land rights and open their territories to mining operations and agribusiness. On Friday morning those guerreiras (warriors) trooped south from their encampment wearing bright-coloured headdresses made from the feathers of parrots and macaws and clutching banners condemning growing anti-indigenous violence under Bolsonaro’s <genocidal administration>.
Two demonstrators clasped an effigy of the embattled Brazilian leader whose presidential sash bore the words: <Fora Bolsonaro!> (Bolsonaro out!).
“What they want is to take away our land,” said Alessandra Korap, an activist from the Amazon’s Munduruku people, deploring a slew of political initiatives she claimed threatened indigenous lands and lives.
Foremost among those threats is the <marco temporal> or <time frame> argument: a legal challenge to indigenous land rights that is currently being considered by the supreme court. Opponents say that, if successful, the suit – which Bolsonaro has championed as a way of stopping Brazil being <handed over to the Indians> – would nullify all indigenous claims to land they were not physically occupying when Brazil’s constitution was enacted on 5 October 1988.

Speaking at the protest camp, organized the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, Korap said a ruling in favour of the thesis would effectively legalise the theft of indigenous land.
<The time frame thesis indicates that we have only existed since 5 October 1988. But this isn’t true. The whole of Brazil is indigenous territory – all of it. Unfortunately, it has been taken away, bit by bit – and now they want to take away those pieces that were left for us,> she said.
As well as Bolsonaro, under whose administration deforestation has soared, the legal challenge is backed by congress’s powerful ruralist caucus, whose members are simultaneously pushing a bill which would have a similar impact. That measure, known as PL490, would restrict indigenous land claims and permit infrastructure building and the commercial exploitation of native forests, without requiring indigenous occupants to be consulted.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
9 Sept 2021

<<$3m deal reached in rough arrest of Colorado woman with dementia.
US police officer pushed Karen Garner suspected of shoplifting against hood of his car and fractured her arm, suit claims.

Then-Officer Austin Hopp arrested Karen Garner, 73, after she left a store without paying for $14 worth of items in Loveland, Colorado, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Denver in June 2020.
Police body camera video shows that after she turned away from him, he grabbed her arm and pushed her to the ground. She was still holding the wildflowers she had been picking as she walked through a field. A federal lawsuit that Garner filed claimed he dislocated her shoulder and fractured her arm. Hopp pushed Garner against the hood of his car, she tried to turn around and repeated that she was trying to go home. He then slammed her back against the car and forced her bent left arm up near her head, holding it, saying, <Are you finished? Are you finished? We don’t play this game.>
The civil money settlement is one of a number of legal settlements reached between US cities and victims of police violence which has become a focus for local authorities and activists nationwide following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
Former officer Hopp and another officer who responded to help him both face criminal charges for assault, a rare consequence for police in the US because of the legal doctrine of <qualified immunity> which protects police in most instances.
In June, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd whose death had triggered the US protests. Sweeping police reform proposals are stalled in the US Congress.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
9 Sept 2021
By Ali M Latifi

<<Taliban accused of torturing journalists for covering protests.
Reports show the armed group being violent and intimidating journalists, despite their free-press pledge.

Kabul, Afghanistan – Taliban fighters have been accused of beating and detaining journalists for covering protests in the Afghan capital Kabul, raising questions over the group’s promises on media freedom. Two reporters for the Etilaatroz newspaper – Taqi Daryabi and Nematullah Naqdi – were detained by the Taliban while covering a women’s protest in the west of Kabul on Wednesday morning.
Two other journalists from the newspaper – Aber Shaygan and Lutfali Sultani – rushed to the police station along with the newspaper editor, Kadhim Karimi, to inquire about the whereabouts of their colleagues.
But the moment they reached the police station, they say, Taliban fighters pushed and slapped them and confiscated all their belongings, including mobile phones. <Karimi barely finished his sentence, when one of the Taliban slapped him and told him to get lost,> Shaygan told Al Jazeera, adding that as soon as they introduced themselves as journalists, the Taliban treated them with disdain.

Torture in holding cell

The three men were taken into a small holding cell with 15 people in it, two of whom were reporters with Reuters and Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Shaygan said. It was while they were in holding that the three heard reports of the disturbing abuse suffered by Daryabi, 22, and Naqdi, 28, who were being held in separate rooms. Two other journalists from the newspaper – Aber Shaygan and Lutfali Sultani – rushed to the police station along with the newspaper editor, Kadhim Karimi, to inquire about the whereabouts of their colleagues. But the moment they reached the police station, they say, Taliban fighters pushed and slapped them and confiscated all their belongings, including mobile phones.
The three men were taken into a small holding cell with 15 people in it, two of whom were reporters with Reuters and Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Shaygan said.
It was while they were in holding that the three heard reports of the disturbing abuse suffered by Daryabi, 22, and Naqdi, 28, who were being held in separate rooms. <We could hear their screams and cries through the walls,> the cellmates said of the piercing cries. <The cellmates had even heard the sounds of women crying from pain.>
Pictures posted by the newspaper online filled in the rest of the story. They showed clear physical evidence of the floggings and beatings with cables both men were subject to. Daryabi’s lower back, upper legs, and face were covered with deep red lesions. Naqdi’s left arm, upper back, upper legs, and face were also covered in red welts. <They were beaten so bad, they couldn’t walk. They were hit with guns, they were kicked, they were whipped with cables, they were slapped,> Shaygan said. He said the violence was so brutal that Naqdi and Daryabi had lost consciousness from the pain.
But it was not just journalists who seemed to meet this fate. Shaygan said a male protester was escorted into their cell by Taliban guards, clearly looking as if he too had been abused.
<He could barely walk, one of the other cellmates had to get up and help him in,> said Shaygan.

Stern warning

Though all five men were released after several hours in detention, Shaygan said they were issued a stern warning from a Taliban official before leaving: <What these protesters were doing is illegal and by covering such things, you all broke the law. We will let you go this time, but next time you won’t be let out so easily.
At the time, protests were not outlawed but, within hours, the Taliban issued a decree saying any protests, along with their slogans, must be approved 24 hours prior by the Ministry of Justice.
Those claims of illegality by the official struck Shaygan and his colleagues as going directly against statements the Taliban have made about freedom of the press in their <Islamic Emirate>. >>
Read more here:

The Guardian
8 Sept 2021
Humanity United
Zahra Joya for Rukhshana Media

<<‘They came for my daughter’: Afghan single mothers face losing children under Taliban.
Life for single mothers in Afghanistan has always been marred by stigma and poverty. Now with the Taliban in control, what few protections they had have disappeared.

The day after Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital of Balkh province, fell to the Taliban on 14 August, gunmen came for Raihana’s* six-year-old daughter. Widowed when her husband was murdered by Taliban forces in 2020, Raihana had been raising her child as a single mother. After her husband’s death she had fought her in-laws for custody of her daughter and won, thanks to the rights she had under Afghan civil law – which state that single women can keep their children if they can provide for them financially. Now, with her city in Taliban hands, Raihana was alone.
<The day after the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, my brother in-law showed up at my father’s house, where I lived, with Taliban fighters demanding to give them my daughter,> Raihana told the Guardian. Raihana was lucky. She and her daughter were not at home when the armed men arrived. As soon as she heard, she took her child and fled Mazar-i-Sharif for Kabul.
<They wanted to take my daughter away from me,> she said. <We hid in flour sacks in the back of a truck and when the driver found us we begged him to take us to Kabul.>
Once in the Afghan capital, Raihana went from embassy to embassy seeking help. Eventually her sister, who lives in the UK, was able to get them both on a flight out of Afghanistan to safety. They are now in Manchester.
<I managed to leave Afghanistan after so much hardship. I’m so happy that my daughter is with me,> Raihana says. <I thank the UK government.>

Life for single mothers in Afghanistan has always been marred by stigma, poverty and marginalisation. Now with the Taliban in control, what few protections they had have disappeared and their situation is increasingly desperate.
Yalda, a 28-year-old, single mother of three, is in hiding in Kabul as her ex-husband hunts for her children.
<My ex-husband is a member of the Taliban now and is trying to take my children away,> she said. <My father’s house is surrounded. They’re constantly harassing them, looking for me and my children. He wants to use any opportunity he gets.>
Yalda* says she was terrorised by her husband for years. <My father arranged the marriage when I was only 14 years old. I didn’t know anything about being married – I was still a child myself,> she says.
Soon afterwards Yalda fell pregnant and she had two more children in the years that followed. She also discovered that her husband was a member of the Taliban. She says their marriage was one of violence and abuse.
Read more here:

The Guardian
8 Sept 2021
Wu Yue, Christopher Cherry and Katie Lamborn

<<China's accidental feminist icon: 'I left my abusive husband for a life on the road' – video.

56-year-old Su Min decided to leave her abusive relationship and embark on an open-ended solo road trip. In China, where women are frequently expected to serve the role of a dutiful housewife and support their husbands, her decision to strike out on her own could be seen as controversial. But after she began live-streaming her journey and her struggles, she became a Chinese internet sensation with online fans sending her donations to fund her new life. Su has become an accidental feminist icon, inspiring other women to leave behind restrictive gender expectations for a life of adventure.
Watch the video here:

Al Jazeera
7 Sept 2021

<<Mexico Supreme Court says criminalising abortion unconstitutional.
‘This is a historic step,’ Supreme Court justice says of ruling hailed as a major victory for women’s rights.

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to penalise abortion, a major victory for women’s health and reproductive rights that comes amid a <green wave> of abortion decriminalisation in Latin America. The Mexican court’s decision on Tuesday follows moves to decriminalise abortion at the state level, although most of the country still has tough laws in place against women terminating their pregnancy early.
<This is a historic step for the rights of women,> said Supreme Court Justice Luis Maria Aguilar.
The court unanimously annulled several provisions of a law from Coahuila – a state on the border with the US state of Texas – that had made abortion a criminal act, and its decision will immediately only affect the northern border state.
But it established <obligatory criteria for all of the country’s judges>, compelling them to act the same way in similar cases, said Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldivar. The decision came amid a wave of abortion rights victories in Latin America, including in Argentina, where the Senate late last year voted to legalise elective abortions until the 14th week of pregnancy.

Ecuador in April legalised abortion in cases of rape, while women’s rights advocates in other countries in the region – where the Catholic Church continues to wield a strong influence – are pushing to loosen restrictive abortion laws, as well. But several US states have recently taken steps to restrict women’s access to abortion, particularly Texas, which last week enacted the strictest anti-abortion law in the country after the US Supreme Court declined to intervene. Civil and immigrant rights groups have denounced the Texas law, which bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
They say Black women and other minorities, as well as women in low-income communities, will be hardest hit by the prohibition – and at least one group, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), has said it will not abide by the legislation.
<RAICES assisted and gave financial support to immigrants seeking abortion in Texas for years, and will continue to do so – no matter what,> RAICES CEO and President Jonathan Ryan said in a statement last week.
Meanwhile, the Mexican ruling on Tuesday opens the door to the possibility for the release of women incarcerated for having had abortions. It could also lead to US women in states such as Texas deciding to travel south of the border to terminate their pregnancies.

Mexican reproductive rights group GIRE hailed the court’s decision as <a historic move> >>
Read more here:

and 3 more related articles:
Ecuador at critical crossroads in push for abortion rights
The struggle to secure access to abortion in Argentina goes on
The mental health cost of Poland’s abortion ban

Al Jazeera
By Anuja
8 Sep 2021

<<India: 25 years on, Women’s Reservation Bill still not a reality.
India ranks 148th in a list of 193 countries based on the percentage of elected women representatives in their national parliaments.

New Delhi, India – <This is a special day in the history of our country…>
These were the opening remarks of a debate that took place on September 12, 1996, in the Lok Sabha, the Indian parliament’s lower house.

On the agenda was the introduction of a constitutional amendment bill that sought to reserve one-third of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. Similar versions of the bill were introduced later in 1998, 1999, and 2008, but all four lapsed with the dissolution of those governments. Twenty-five years after it was first introduced in parliament, the Women’s Reservation Bill continues to languish and is yet to become a reality. Political leaders and experts say that while the initial delay was due to concerns over the issue of intersectionality, at the heart of the delays is the unwillingness to share power and fear of losing bastions of electoral support. An analysis by New Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that female representatives make up less than 15 percent in Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies, based on the results of the last state elections. Studies and experts agree that a lack of political participation by women has an impact on policy framing and diversity in decision making.

Globally, India ranks 148th in a list of 193 countries based on the percentage of elected women representatives in their national parliaments, as of June this year. The same data shows that while the global average for <lower chamber or unicameral> is 25.8 percent, India stands at 14.4 percent with 78 out of 543 Lok Sabha representatives elected in 2019 being women, the highest number to date. India’s parliament is bicameral and female members make up 11.6 percent of the upper house or Rajya Sabha.

Long wait

In those 25 years, each time the bill came up for discussion or passage, the Indian parliament saw high drama and hostile resistance. From objectionable comments about women to physical scuffles and ill-tempered debates – the bill has seen it all.
Read more here:

and 4 links to these articles:
Dalit women confront discrimination on Indian village councils
Indian female politicians face online abuse: Study
How Indian women contributed to the suffrage movement
The solitude of female politicians in South Asia

Al Jazeera
7 Sept 2021

<<Aid groups warn of ‘impending humanitarian crisis’ in Afghanistan.
Call for funding as thousands of health centres and NGOs face closure affecting millions of Afghans.

International aid agencies have raised the alarm about an <impending humanitarian crisis> in Afghanistan, with medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) saying the country’s vulnerable healthcare system was facing a <potential collapse>.
On Monday, the United Nations appealed for almost $200m in extra funding for life-saving aid in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover last month resulted in the exodus of aid workers and subsequent funding cut. <Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other life-saving aid is about to run out,> said OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke on Monday.
Martine Flokstra from the MSF said an already dire situation in Afghanistan’s hospitals has become worse since the Taliban’s march on Kabul on August 15 triggered a collapse of the West-backed government.
She said medics have not received salaries in months and health centres are running out of medicines amid an increase in the number of patients coming to facilities. <So potential collapse of the healthcare system is one of our major concerns,> she told Al Jazeera.

<Sirens are sounding,> Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, said about SOS being sent out by aid agencies such as World Health Organization (WHO), MSF, Afghan Red Crescent and Red Cross.
The WHO has warned that Afghanistan was becoming increasingly desperate and that a pause in the country’s wellness projects has left millions of Afghans at risk of losing essential medical care. <WHO has said that 90 percent of their clinics will close imminently,> Bellis said, adding that last year they treated millions of people through their 2,300 health clinics spread across the country.
Continue to provide assistance
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said the extra sum meant a total of $606m in aid was now needed for Afghanistan until the end of the year, as the country has been cut off from the international financial institutions and its foreign reserves frozen by the US.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that they will continue to provide assistance despite sanctions on the Taliban. <We are determined with the international community to continue to provide the Afghans with humanitarian assistance. We can and will do that working through partners and NGOs such as the United Nations as sanctions remain in place on Afghanistan,> he said at a news conference in the Qatari capital Doha.
Al Jazeera’s Bellis said donor countries are trying to find ways to send aid through different aid agencies.
<It is a complicated picture in Afghanistan. It is a vulnerable country, but it has always relied on international aid and donors and a lot of that money isn’t coming because of sanctions on the Taliban,> she said.

UN meet over Afghan issue

The Afghan situation will be discussed next Monday at a ministerial meeting in Geneva hosted by UN chief Antonio Guterres. The country, now under the control of the Taliban after 20 years of war, is facing a <looming humanitarian catastrophe>, Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric warned last week announcing the conference. OCHA voiced hope that countries would pledge generously at the conference, saying $606m was needed to provide critical food and livelihood assistance to nearly 11 million people, and essential health services to 3.4 million. The funds would also go towards treatment for acute malnutrition for more than a million children and women, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and protection of children and survivors of gender-based violence.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
6 Sept 2021
Interview by Henry Yates

<<Skunk Anansie: how we made Weak.
‘It was a vulnerable moment that turned into a moment of strength. It was basically me saying: I am never going to be hit by anyone ever again’.

Skin, vocals/co-writer

Weak was written about an experience I’d had a few years earlier. I was dating a guy I shouldn’t have been going out with in the first place: he was older, he wanted to get married and all these things, but he didn’t ask me, he just decided. Back then, I was so meek and mild. My friends would say: <Your boyfriend is so controlling. You have to stick up for yourself.>
I wanted to enter a dance competition but my boyfriend said: <You’re not going.> I told him: <I can do what I want.> So he drove me to some desolate car park and punched me right in the face. Then he did it again. I was so shocked and angry, I didn’t even feel the pain. I went into survival mode. Driving home, I jumped out at a traffic lights and ran. But I was standing at a bus stop when he pulled up and dragged me into the car. Nobody said or did a thing.
Once we got to his house, he started weeping, saying: <I’ll never do it again.> I could see my whole life in front of me, like, a housewife with five million kids. And then to be a battered wife as well? No fucking way. The relationship, from that second, was over. I remember feeling scared but also quite strong, because I knew I would never put myself in a position like that again.

One night, years later, during preproduction for our debut album Paranoid & Sunburnt, I was practising chords on the acoustic guitar I’d bought with my record deal money. Just playing E minor, D and C, over and over. Then I started singing along: <Lost in time, I can’t count the words.> Weak is a song about being vulnerable but strong and brave at the same time. The chorus – “Weak as I am, no tears for you” – is like I was crying, but not for him. I was basically saying: <I am never going to be hit by anyone ever again.>
The whole song is those three chords, with a fourth in the chorus. When I took it to the band, I told them: <I’ve got this B-side.> But we all worked on it, and put in the middle-eight, and that’s how the song was born. The boys gave Weak its groove, sexiness and power. So it was a vulnerable moment that turned into a moment of strength.
Read more here:

The Guardian
3 Sept 2021
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Chika Mefor-Nwachukwu

<<Having watched a woman and her baby die needlessly after being refused admission to a hospital over a lack of money, Liyatu Ayuba wanted to never let it happen again. The 62-year-old is one of Nigeria’s nearly 3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) – driven out of their homes by the violence of the Boko Haram Islamist militants. Ayuba fled Gwoza in the north-eastern state of Borno in 2011 with her family. After her husband was killed by Boko Haram and her teenage son badly wounded, she went to the makeshift Durumi 1 IDP camp, in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, where about 500 families live. <Two days after arriving in the camp, a pregnant woman became ill. She was suffering from eclampsia,> says Ayuba. The woman had trekked for two weeks from Cameroon, her first stop of refuge from Boko Haram, before being brought to Durumi 1.
<We took her to a government-owned hospital, which asked us for 150,000 naira [£265]. Even when we told them that we were IDPs and had no such money, they insisted. The woman and the baby died,> says Ayuba.
Early in the conflict, the Nigerian government allowed the camp’s residents to access public hospitals. But with the nearest hospital almost 10 miles away, many of the impoverished residents could not afford to get there and, as camps grew more crowded, the government put pressure on IDPs to return home, by cutting off their access to public health services. Ayuba had spent years watching her grandmother deliver babies as their village’s traditional birth attendant and she took on the task of becoming the camp’s only midwife, though untrained medically.
Since then, Ayuba has helped deliver 118 babies, becoming known in the camp as the <woman leader> and, for the mothers she helped, a saviour.

<We do not have enough money to go to the hospital. Having the ‘woman leader’ means we can deliver our babies for free. Who else can we run to when we are in labour? But with her clinic so close to us, we can just walk down, have our babies and return home,> says Hafsat Ahmed, one of Ayuba’s patients.
Another, Deborah Daniel, says Ayuba came to her home to deliver her baby, now seven months old, because she could not get to the clinic.
According to 2019 World Health Organization figures, Nigeria accounts for about 20% of the world’s maternal deaths, with more than 600,000 recorded between 2005 and 2015, and 900,000 maternity near-miss cases. A 2020 study attributed the exceptionally high maternal and neonatal mortality rate to delays in finding healthcare.
For roughly 1.17 million IDP women, of whom 510,555 were adolescent girls of reproductive age in 2016, these delays are multiplied. A 2020 report by the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy group, said most women in Durumi camp gave birth in their tents and that often those who sought care at a health clinic in the city were detained there for not paying fees. In one incident, the report said, the body of a woman who died in the clinic was not released until fellow IDPs raised the money to pay the bill.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
3 Sept 2021
By Faisal Fareed

<<Indian girls write to Modi demanding marriage age be raised to 21.
Hundreds of girls write to Indian PM, who himself promised last year to review the minimum age of marriage for women.

New Delhi, India – Sonam Kumari left her house in the eastern Indian state of Bihar after her parents began to plan her marriage last year.
The 19-year-old resident of the state capital, Patna, tried hard to convince her parents to allow her to continue her studies and delay the marriage.
When her requests did not get any positive response, she decided to leave her house and move to Gurugram city in the northern state of Haryana, 1,100km (683 miles) away. Currently pursuing her college education through distance mode, Sonam has also joined a job to meet her expenses.
<I wanted to study but my parents did not listen. I was left with no choice but to leave the house,> she told Al Jazeera. Though she was far away from her parents, the pressure to marry had not exactly eased. Last month, Sonam decided to write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to increase the marriage age for girls to 21, like it is for the boys, <so that we can complete our studies>.
Sonam’s story sparked a silent movement in Haryana, which at 879 (females against 1,000 males) has one of the worst sex ratios among the Indian states. Hundreds of girls from the state have written similar letters to Modi, who himself promised last year to review the minimum age for marriage for women during his independence day speech.

Currently, the minimum age of consent for marriage is 18 and 21 years for women and men, respectively, which is also prescribed in the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. In June last year, the government formed a committee <to ensure that the daughters are no longer suffering from malnutrition and they are married off at the right age>, Modi said in his August 15, 2020 speech.
According to Indian media reports, the committee submitted its report in January this year, but no decision on raising the marriage age of women has been taken by the government yet. In such a scenario, girls in Haryana continue to write to Modi, with nearly 800 letters sent to his office so far. Their main concern: they want to complete their studies before marrying.
<At 18 years, the girl hardly completes her school and at the age of 21, she completes her graduation. Obviously being a graduate, she has more options for a better job or if she wants to start something for her own,> Priyakshi Jakhar, a resident of Haryana’s Hisar district, told Al Jazeera.
In their letters, most of the girls have cited their experiences, while some have even penned a poem supporting their cause.
Anju from Haryana’s Palwal district is a postgraduate in law and is now preparing to join the judicial services.
<It has been my personal experience. My cousin was married at an early age. She had just completed her Class X. The relationship did not work out, she got pregnant and delivered a baby. Now she is separated and has nowhere to go. I think if she had completed her education, she would have been better settled,> Anju told Al Jazeera.

Mubashira, a native of Muslim-dominated Mewat in Haryana, completed her bachelor’s degree in education from New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university. She is now teaching young girls in her home district. Mubashira was instrumental in spreading the word about the letter campaign and got several girls to write to Modi on the issue. <I teach young girls and after a year of their college studies or so, they are married. Once married, their studies are disrupted,> she told Al Jazeera.
<They cannot even manage their households at this age. Several health issues during pregnancies are also common. We should allow the girls to mature, complete their studies, and when she is mentally prepared, then only marry her.>
Tabassum Muskan, a law student from Mewat, says she loves to play cricket and wants to pursue it as a career. She has also written to Modi, demanding marriage age be raised.
<We should give girls a chance. Just see how they are excelling in various fields and bringing laurels to the country,> she told Al Jazeera.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
2 Sept 2021
Shefali Luthra for the 19th

<<After the Texas abortion ban, clinics in nearby states brace for demand.
Texas-based patients put pressure on clinics in other states – and demands on abortion funds.

Originally published by the 19th.

With the vast majority of abortions now illegal in Texas, clinics in nearby states are already reporting increases in demand as patients prepare to travel hundreds of miles to safely, legally terminate a pregnancy.
The Texas ban prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a point at which few people realize they’ve conceived and before most abortions take place. Clinics in Texas have stopped scheduling abortion-related visits for people who are more than six weeks pregnant.
As a result, clinics in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico are either expecting or are already starting to receive calls from Texas-based patients now forced to leave the state to end their pregnancies – likely stretching those clinics’ already thin resources. Many patients will travel hundreds of miles: the law has increased the average one-way driving distance for a Texan seeking an abortion from 12 miles to 248, per analyses by the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health policy. The law also adds to the likelihood that someone traveling for care would need to find overnight lodging, potentially adding an additional cost.
Neighboring Louisiana has strict restrictions on the procedure, and many clinics are without power in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Abortion funds – which provide money for people who cannot afford an abortion or don’t have the resources to travel – are also preparing for increased demand.
<We’re planning on a large increase [in calls] starting late this week and next week,> said Joan Lamunyon Sanford, who heads the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which provides financial support for people who travel to the state for abortions. <We are doing very assertive targeted fundraising, so that we have the resources we need. We’ve never had to turn anyone down because of finances, and we don’t want to have to do that.>
But the often-fragile abortion clinic infrastructure in neighboring states probably will not be able to care for all of them. Many clinics and providers are already fully booked just caring for the people who live in their states, and abortion funds are already struggling to support everyone who seeks their aid. Providers and advocates worry that people with lower incomes and greater distances to travel will ultimately fall through the cracks, leading them to carry unwanted pregnancies to term or attempt to terminate their pregnancies at home, which is often dangerous.

We’ve never had to turn anyone down because of finances, and we don’t want to have to do that
Joan Lamunyon Sanford
Still, providers say they expect the surge in demand, already evident, to grow even further.

Trust Women, an abortion-providing clinic with outposts in both Oklahoma City and Wichita, is already seeing the effect. They started fielding calls from Texas-based patients even before the six-week ban took effect. The Oklahoma City-based clinic, which is more than 100 miles from the state’s border with Texas, had, as of 31 August, already scheduled abortion-related visits for about 40 people from Texas, according to spokesperson Zack Gingrich-Gaylord.>>
Read more here:

Read also The Guardian's article publisched online on 2 Sept 2021:
<<Texas now has abortion ‘bounty hunters’: read Sotomayor’s scathing legal dissent.
Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Sotomayor wrote a blistering dissent on the US supreme court failing to block an extreme Texas abortion law. We are republishing it here:

Women's Media Center
Sept 1 2021

<<A New Way to Combat High School Sexual Harassment and Assault.

Nearly half of students in grades 7–12 report facing sexual harassment. More than 11% of all students experience rape or sexual assault. Approximately two-thirds of college students experience sexual harassment. The first time I remember experiencing any form of sexual harassment was at my school bus stop in seventh grade. I stood waiting for the bus to come with a group of friends, chatting about upcoming tests and homework from the night before. Suddenly, an older man strolled up to me and said something that will forever be etched in my memory: <You’re pretty. I want to f*** you hard.> I felt targeted. I felt violated. If someone hadn’t been there to tell him to get away, I fear something worse would have happened to me. Around five years have passed since that incident, but I still think about it constantly. As a biracial (half Korean, half white) teenage girl, I often feel even more at risk, especially with the rise in AAPI hate within the past few months.
Asian American women are far too often oversexualized, painted as <exotic> and <submissive.> The shooting rampage that occurred in Atlanta in March is a prime example. Of those murdered, four women were of Korean descent, and two of Chinese heritage. The shooter, Robert Long, claimed he was motivated to act violently because of his self-proclaimed <sex addiction.> He sought to eliminate the objects of his sexual temptations: Asian women.

This sexual objectification needs to end.

Throughout my years of schooling, I have received a very limited education about sexual harassment. Consent was talked about briefly in my eighth-grade science class, and my health teacher presented a short unit on sexual violence during my freshman year. Since then, no teacher has even mentioned it. In fact, they almost seem scared to talk about what they deem to be a ,touchy subject.>
But the harsh reality is that sexual violence is very real and very common. I knew something within the education system needed to change.
So, when I first heard about Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS), a nonprofit working to “proactively address the epidemic of traumatic sexual harassment impacting our nation’s students,” according to the SSAIS website, I was immediately intrigued. I joined as a volunteer and got started right away.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
1 Sept 2021
By Amandas Ong

<<Excluded: How women suffer from digital poverty in the UK.
Women in ethnic minority communities are most likely to suffer the economic and social disadvantages that this brings.
Until the first wave of COVID-19 hit the United Kingdom last year, Karon, who prefers not to give her full name, only ever made limited use of the internet. The last time there had been a functioning computer in her South London home, her husband was still alive: that was in 2016. The final years of his life were punishing on the family. He had been made redundant from his job as a digital map librarian for a chartered surveyor, when Karon was pregnant with their daughter, Sian, in 2009. She would find him hunched over the keyboard, tapping away in his search for a new job.

<I mostly used the computer to store family photos, but not much else. We’d been talking about getting a new one before he died,> Karon, 52, says. This plan never came to fruition, however, as most of her time was consumed by the staggering trials that lay ahead of her in her untimely bereavement.
Karon had worked as a teaching assistant at several primary schools and nurseries. Suddenly, she was also the main carer for Sian, now 11, who was born with a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that causes severe motor and speech impairment. Even with state-provided childcare support coming out of her tax credits, things were difficult for the two of them. For 18 months after her husband’s death, Karon continued to work, but the strain of finding the childcare that Sian needed while she was away from home started to take its toll and she was forced to give up work for a time.
In March 2020, when Karon was working again, schools across the UK went into lockdown as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID. As Sian’s teachers began sending out homework that could be accessed through the school’s website, Karon panicked. <I said, ‘I’ve got no laptop’. Sian had been without schoolwork for two weeks. I was making little books for her from scratch to buy time, simple phonic exercises so she could practise the alphabet.> Her husband’s old laptop had long stopped working by this point, although they did still have access to the internet at their home.
A neighbour who heard about her problem offered to help print out Sian’s assignments for her until a solution could be found. Alerted to Karon’s predicament by a pastoral manager at the school, the headteacher dropped by their home personally with a laptop belonging to the school, telling her that she could keep it indefinitely. <He’s a miracle worker, Mr Taylor,> Karon says.

Karon’s experience of digital exclusion is far from uncommon in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics’ most recent figures, 59 percent of <internet non-users> in 2020 (or 1.97 million people) in the country were women. This is a segment of the population that has never gone online. A further 1.5 million women had not used the internet for at least three months at the time that the survey was conducted. Despite an overall surge in internet usage driven out of necessity by the pandemic, women have continued to lag behind men in terms of online access – a trend that has persisted since 2013. When it comes to technological competency, there is a similar gender divide. In 2018, women made up 61 percent of 4.3 million UK adults who were found to have no basic digital skills at all.>>
Read more here (long story):

Al Jazeera
1 Sept 2021

<<US Supreme Court mum, allowing Texas 6-week abortion ban.
The law took effect in Texas at midnight in what advocates say is a major backslide in abortion access rights.

A law in Texas banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy has taken effect as the US Supreme Court did not act on an emergency request by pro-abortion rights groups to block the measure.
Abortion rights advocates say the law represents the most dramatic restrictions since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe V Wade decision, which legalised abortion across the country in 1973.
The Texas law, which was signed by Republican Governor Gregg Abbott in May after passing the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, would prohibit 85 percent of abortions previously conducted in the state, advocates say. They have argued that women commonly do not know they are pregnant at that point – when a heartbeat is first detectable.
At least 12 other states have enacted bans on abortion early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.
Planned Parenthood and other women’s health providers, doctors, and clergy members challenged the law in federal court in Austin in July, contending it violated the constitutional right to an abortion.
In a tweet, Planned Parenthood vowed: <We aren’t backing down and we are still fighting>.
<Everyone deserves access to abortion,> the group said.
Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tweeted: <Abortion care is a human right.> >>
Read more here:
and 3 more Al Jazeera links to related articles on the same page


Al Jazeera
31 August 2021

<<Outcry in Ivory Coast over televised ‘rape demonstration’
NCI TV channel says presenter suspended amid nationwide backlash over scene with man using mannequin to simulate rape.

A TV channel in Ivory Coast has apologised after broadcasting a show in which a man presented as a former rapist explained how he assaulted his victims, using a mannequin for the demonstration.
The programme, broadcast at prime time on Monday by the private Nouvelle Chaine Ivorienne (NCI) channel, caused a nationwide outcry, including a petition signed by 30,000 people demanding that the presenters be punished.
The show saw host Yves de M’Bella hand his guest a mannequin, laughing, helping him lay it on the ground and asking him to explain in detail how he raped his victims.

At the end of this <demonstration,> the man was invited to give women <advice> to avoid being raped.
<Please tell me I’m dreaming,> Priss’K, an Ivorian rapper, wrote on Facebook.
<It’s disgusting, unacceptable, disrespectful, especially towards women,> she wrote. <Rape is so degrading and dehumanising for the victim.>

TV channel apology
The petition, addressed to the country’s media regulator and the ministries of communication and youth, called for the show to be cancelled and for <its presenting team, headed by Yves de M’Bella, to be sanctioned>.

NCI’s management apologised on Tuesday, saying it was committed <to respecting human rights and in particular those of women>, and expressing its <solidarity with women who are victims of violence and abuse of all kinds>.
Taking responsibility <for this serious and regrettable mistake>, NCI said De M’Bella had been suspended and the contested episode of the show would not be rebroadcast. In June, an NGO called CPDEFM, which campaigns for the rights of children, women and minorities, found, after an in-depth probe, that in the space of two years, 416 women had been killed in Abidjan alone. It also identified 2,000 cases of violence against women, including 1,290 marriages of girls aged less than 18 and 1,121 rapes.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
30 August 2021
Ali M Latifi

<<Kabul families say children killed in US drone attack.
Ten people from a Kabul neighbourhood killed in US drone attack – Washington claims ISKP fighters were the target.

Kabul, Afghanistan – The Ahmadi and Nejrabi families had packed all their belongings, waiting for word to be escorted to Kabul airport and eventually moved to the United States, but the message Washington sent instead was a rocket into their homes in a Kabul neighbourhood.
The Sunday afternoon drone attack, which the US claimed was conducted on an Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) target, killed 10 members of the families, ranging from two to 40 years old.
Aimal Ahmadi, whose nieces and nephews were among those killed, is still in disbelief. Like others in the neighbourhood, he is incensed that his brother and nephews and nieces were never recognised in the media as what they were, a family going about their life.
For hours, he and the rest of the surviving family had to listen to Afghan and international media refer to their loved ones, whose remains they had to gather with their own hands, simply as suspected ISKP targets.

<They were innocent, helpless children,> Ahmadi says of the majority of the victims, including two-year-old Malika. Had he not gone out to buy groceries, Ahmadi himself could have very easily been one of the victims.
He says his brother, 40-year-old engineer Zemarai, had just arrived home from work. Because the families were expecting to go to the US, Zemarai asked one of his sons to park the car inside the two-floor house. He wanted his older boys to practice driving before they arrived in the US.
Several of the children quickly packed into the car, wanting to take the short ride from the street to the garden of the family home.
<When the car had come to a stop, that’s when the rocket hit,> Aimal told Al Jazeera.

Walls stained red with blood

What happened next was an all-too-common scene of mayhem in Afghanistan as frantic relatives and neighbours ran to the scene. Some brought water, hoping to douse the flames that had spread from the Toyota sedan the children had packed into to an SUV parked nearby.
<It’s very symbolic that US operations in Afghanistan started with drone strikes and ended with drone strikes. It seems they’ve learned nothing in 20 years>.
Emran Feroz, an Afghan journalist
Neighbours speaking to Al Jazeera said the house, where little boys and girls had been playing a few minutes prior, turned into a <horror scene>. They described human flesh stuck to the walls. Bones fallen into the bushes. Walls stained red with blood. Shattered glass everywhere.
Talking about one of the younger boys, Farzad, a neighbour said: <We only found his legs.>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
29 August 2021

<<India: Four charged with rape, murder of nine-year-old girl.
Child was allegedly sexually assaulted by a priest and three workers after she went to a crematorium to fetch water.

A priest and three other men were charged with the gang rape and murder of a so-called <lower-caste> nine-year-old girl, Indian police said, in a case that sparked days of protests in the capital, New Delhi.
The girl was allegedly assaulted by the priest, 53, and three workers on August 1 after she went into a crematorium to ask for water.
The four men, who have been in custody since they were arrested in early August, face the death penalty.
The girl’s mother earlier told police the men called her to the crematorium and said her daughter had been electrocuted. They said if she reported the incident to police, doctors conducting an autopsy would remove her child’s organs and sell them.
Her daughter’s body was then cremated before some locals intervened and pulled the charred remains from the pyre.
A 400-page charge sheet from Delhi Police cited <scientific, technical and other evidence> and witness testimony after the accused were charged, the government said in a statement late Saturday.
Making the charges within 30 days of the alleged incident reflected <zero tolerance> of crimes against women and girls in the nation of 1.3 billion people, it said.

India is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. Home ministry data from last year said a woman is raped every 15 minutes in the South Asian country. But large numbers of sexual assaults are believed to go unreported.
Despite India’s stringent anti-rape laws, activists and feminists say the situation on the ground has not improved.
A report published by the National Dalit Movement for Justice in September last year said close to 400,000 incidents of violence were reported between 2009 and 2018, a six-percent increase from the previous decade.>>
Read more here:
and on the same page an Al Jazeera link to an article to a similar case.

Al Jazeera
30 August 2021
Malia Bouattia
Malia Bouattia is an activist and former President of the National Union of Students

<<This year’s Olympics were widely hailed as the most progressive instalment of the event in its 125-year history. Early media coverage in the lead-up to the games focused on the fact that almost half of the participants were women – a first for the international event since its inception in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

However, the headlines were soon replaced by coverage of the German women gymnasts’ somewhat radical choice of sportswear, which sought to challenge the expected bikini-cut leotards. The team captured global media attention when they wore long-sleeved, long-legged unitards, which one of the participants said was intended to <show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear>. They were hailed for defying the norms of the often revealing uniforms women athletes are expected to wear, and that some feel <uncomfortable or even sexualised> in.
While the action taken by the German athletes was symbolically important, the conversations surrounding the initiative, the gymnasts’ intentions, and their impact have felt quite limited to the small world of Olympic sports. This has been a missed opportunity to expand the public conversation on the issue, especially for Germany, which has been targeting women’s choice of dress for many years.

For over 15 years, German Muslim women have been fighting against systematic attempts by local authorities and the federal state to dictate what they can and cannot wear in public. It would have only made sense to bring this long struggle to the attention of the German public and have an honest discussion about how all women deserve the right to choose what they wear.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
31 August 2021
Akhtar Mohammad Makoii in Islamabad

<<‘People are broken’: Afghans describe first day under full Taliban control.
Citizens tell of ‘absolute feeling of depression’ after last American troops left country overnight.
Arifa Ahmadi* started her first day under full Taliban control by burning her jeans and any other clothes that the Taliban would be likely to disapprove of as the nation woke up to a new era after the last American troops left the country overnight.
Ahmadi is a part of the generation that has grown up during the past 20 years and enjoyed freedom, education and employment under a government backed by the west – but lost her job after the Taliban took over the country.
'I tried a lot to get a job in a customs office in Farah and I got that. I celebrated it with my friends. I invited them to my home. We were very happy,”'Ahmadi told the Guardian. 'But I lost it only after three weeks. Many of women were asked by the Taliban to leave the office. As I looked at the situation, I didn’t even try to go back.'
She added: 'A man with a long beard is sitting on my chair now.'
The Taliban have so far been at pains to show a more conciliatory face to the world, with none of the harsh public punishments and outright bans on public entertainment that characterised their previous time in power before 2001.
But Ahmadi left Farah after the Taliban overran the city and has been living in Kabul since then, hoping to leave the country through a foreign company.

'I have been crying since this morning. My brother went out and bought me a burqa, I burned my jeans today. I was crying and burning them, I burned my hopes with them. Nothing will make me happy any more. I am just waiting for my death, I do not want this life any more,' Ahmadi said.
'Since the Taliban took Farah, all these days I was feeling like I’m falling, and today I felt like crashing to the ground and dying. I have no feeling now, I am a dead girl now. Everything finished for me this morning, and also for all the people in the city. You can see nobody laughing outside. An absolute feeling of depression is all over the city.'>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
31 August 2021
Daniel Boffey in Brussels

<<Germany warns EU against setting target of Afghan refugees.
Interior minister says ‘pull-effect’ could risk sparking fresh European migration crisis.

Germany has warned fellow EU governments against following the UK’s lead in setting a target number of refugees from Afghanistan to be resettled in the union, claiming it will act as a pull-factor.
Horst Seehofer, the German interior minister, said that despite the reluctance of countries such as Austria there should be a common EU asylum policy but that the union should not risk a new migration crisis.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
From: The Stream
August 5 2021

<<What should Pakistan do to end violence against women?

Shocked by the recent gruesome murder of a prominent woman in Pakistan, activists are pressing authorities to address rising cases of gender-based violence within the country. Noor Mukadam, a 27-year-old daughter of a former diplomat, was tortured and beheaded in late July by an acquaintance for allegedly rejecting his advances. Her death has reignited calls for reform in Pakistan, a conservative Muslim country where courts and laws have been accused of favouring perpetrators. Pakistan has grappled with misogyny for decades. But coronavirus-related lockdowns are exacerbating the problems women face and have resulted in a huge spike in domestic violence incidents. Reported cases of slapping, pushing, kicking and other incidents jumped up to 40 percent in some parts of the country, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
Pakistan also continues to rank near the bottom of global gender indices when it comes to educational, political and economic opportunities for women. Some activists cite growing religious extremism as one reason why the crisis is getting worse.
However, government leaders often downplay the scope of the problem. In an interview late last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan said:
<“You look at the situation in Pakistan even now, you look at the rape cases here, compare it to Western countries, they are minuscule compared to there. Yes, we have our issues, we have certain cultural problems, every nation has that. But that comes with cultural evolution, with education. But as far a women’s dignity goes, respect, I can say after going all over the world, this society gives more respect and dignity to women.>>>
Note from Gino d'Artali:
'Yeah right. Read the full article here:

Al Jazeera
26 May 2021
By Julia Zulver and Kiran Stallone

<<The mothers on the front line of Colombia’s mass protests.
Madres de Primera Linea put their own bodies between police and protesters to prevent escalations of violence in Bogota.

Bogota, Colombia – The ,madres. arrive before evening falls. Wearing construction helmets and bandanas over their faces, and clutching makeshift plywood shields, they join a boisterous crowd of protesters at Portal de Las Americas, a bus station in southwest Bogota and one of the epicentres of Colombia’s ongoing national strike.
The women, who have dubbed themselves Madres de Primera Linea (Mothers on the Front Line), are here to put their own bodies between police and protesters – and prevent escalations of violence.
<We came together as neighbours and friends because we saw how hard they (anti-riot police) were fighting against our young people, including underage kids,> Alias La Flaca, a 23-year-old mother of two and member of the group who did not want her real name used for fear of retribution, told Al Jazeera. <We are all single mothers, heads of our households: If we don’t stand up for them, who is going to do it?>

Protest movement

Nationwide strikes since April 28 have paralysed Colombia, with demonstrators originally taking to the streets against a proposed tax reform.
While the tax plan was later withdrawn by the government, protesters are now demanding health, educational, and police reforms. The protests have shown no sign of stopping, and police and armed forces continue to respond with lethal violence.
The group of 10 mothers, friends from a nearby neighbourhood in south Bogota, stepped forward in mid-May to protect protesters expressing their discontent in the face of the ESMAD, Colombia’s anti-riot police.
The women are not biologically related to the young people on the front line. Rather, they see themselves in a symbolic role: <We all feel like we are family,> said La Flaca, who recently lost her job due to layoffs in the context of the national strike.
Every day, the mothers go to Portal de Las Americas, which protesters have renamed Portal de la Resistencia (<Resistance Portal>) and where they have established what they call a humanitarian zone.
In the early afternoon, the space has a festive feeling; protesters set up games and activities for children, engage in performances, and cook huge pots of soup.
<We are part of the first line of defence,> said La Flaca, her face covered with a white bandana and dark glasses to protect her identity. <We never attack; we wait until they attack us. We stand with the protesters to make sure that nothing happens to them, that they don’t take them away and disappear them.>

Police violence

Rights groups and the United Nations have raised concerns about the use of force to quell the continuing protests across Colombia.
Many have already been killed in the unrest. Human rights organisation Temblores said at least 43 people have been killed to date, and it has registered 2,905 total cases of police violence.
In an interview with The New York Times, Colombian President Ivan Duque said he did not consider police violence to be a “systemic” issue, although he did admit abuses of force by some officers. Duque also said he did not see the need for <significant> police reforms in Colombia.
Johana, a 36-year-old member of the Madres de Primera Linea who gave only her first name, said she has been tear-gassed during the protests. <The burning sensation of gas in your eyes, it’s unbearable,” she said. “The gas makes you feel like you’re drowning.>
The mothers have very few resources and rely on donations to keep themselves safe. Their shields, helmets and goggles were donated by a feminist human rights group and they have also received water, vinegar, and bicarbonate to offset the impact of the tear gas.
Young protesters like Alias El Pantera said that they appreciate the presence of the mothers during confrontations with the police. <Every night at around 8pm, they attack us, and the mamitas are always with us,> said the 17-year-old, who told Al Jazeera that he dropped out of school because the fees were too high.
He has been at the forefront of the protests every day since they began, alongside other protesters and the mothers. <We protect the mothers and they protect us. We are all united here,> El Pantera said.<<
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
16 June 2021

<<Simone Biles blasts USA Gymnastics, FBI for allowing sex abuse.
US star gymnasts berate institutions overseen by Congress for failing to investigate years of abuses.

United States Olympic gymnast Simone Biles blasted USA Gymnastics and the FBI for standing by while team doctor Larry Nassar assaulted her and hundreds of other athletes in the largest sexual abuse case in the history of American sports.
<We have been failed and we deserve answers,> Biles said in blunt and tearful testimony at a US Senate public hearing on Wednesday where she appeared with three other athletes, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols.
<It really feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us,> said Biles, who placed additional blame at the feet of legislators who have oversight over congressionally chartered US Olympic governing bodies.
Maroney echoed Biles’s accusations, recounting how she told <my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015. Not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report, 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said.>

When she recounted abuse that had happened in 2011 at the world championships in Tokyo, where she said Nassar gave her a sleeping pill and then got <on top of me, molesting me for hours,> she tearfully told an FBI agent over the phone.
The FBI agent then asked her “Is that all?” – an answer, she told the Senate committee, that “was one of the worst moments in this entire process for me”.
Biles said she chose to testify <so that no little girl must endure what I, the athletes at this table, and the countless others who needlessly suffered under Nassar’s guise of medical treatment for which we continue to endure today.>
<We suffered and continue to suffer, because no one at FBI, USAG, or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us,> Biles said.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued a 119-page report in July detailing errors by law enforcement officers that allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue for months. Nassar was convicted in 2017 and 2018 of sex crimes and is serving up to 175 years in prison.
FBI Director Chris Wray told the Senate panel that the actions of the agents who botched the investigation are inexcusable, and he announced that one of the agents “no longer works for the bureau in any capacity.”
<I’m deeply and profoundly sorry,> Wray said. Wray faced sharp questioning from senators about why FBI agents who botched the probe were never prosecuted for their misconduct.

<The actions and inactions of the FBI employees detailed in (the Inspector General’s) report are totally unacceptable,> Wray said. <These individuals betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
26 Mar 2021
By Tyra Bosnic

<< <Warrior women together’: Mothers of the Black trans family.
Chicago activist LaSaia Wade is combating systemic inequality in the LGBTQ community by following in her role model Valerie Spencer’s footsteps.

LaSaia Wade likes to say she is the culmination of every person who has walked before her, beside her and will continue to carve a path long after her.
<I am because we are> is her guiding principle, a translation of ubuntu philosophy that defines the human experience as being part of a collective. This thousands-year-old ethos originating from sub-Saharan Africa has been invoked by politicians, activists and
theorists. Today, 33-year-old Wade uses the mantra to define the ever-growing families she belongs in.
In her home office in Chicago, surrounded by monitors and with her six-month-old baby cooing off-screen during a Zoom call, Wade imagines the future: she and her fiance are at the heads of a long table and every seat in between them is filled. Young and old, biological relatives and found family are joined as one, all of their stories inextricably linked to each other.

<I will not be able to eat without you. You will not be able to breathe without me. It’s something that me and my fiance talk about a lot. We are happy to have a child. We are happy to build our own family,> Wade says, her voice softening as she describes what she wants for her future. <Our dream is to be able, in our 60s and 70s at the tip of the table, [to] say ‘I am because we are.’>
Wade’s definition of family extends beyond her immediate circle. As an Afro-Latina transgender woman, she sees herself as one of many matriarchs that support generations of LGBTQ people.
<I am a mother to a community that has no mothers,> Wade says. <But I have yet to be recognised as an elder, nor will I place that title on me just yet, because I’m a new biological mother. I’m literally [learning] to really understand what it looks like to be a mother … and catering that into the work that I do looks completely different.>
Wade has had a number of role models who have taught her not only about motherhood but the kaleidoscopic experiences of being a woman. Her tone turns serious as she reflects on the lessons her mothers have imparted to her. Marea Wade, her biological mother, taught her how to be a woman and Valerie Spencer <taught me how to be a happy trans woman>, Wade says.
She first met Spencer some eight to 10 years ago, neither woman could remember exactly when, at a speaking engagement in Memphis, Tennessee, that hosted transgender women renowned for their activism across the country.
Wade remembers her excitement at being surrounded by her elders. Spencer walked up to her to tell her she was gorgeous and ask her if she was hungry.
<What I remember is we had so much fun. Often the warriors are fighting in their own silos, and we don’t get to be warrior women together,> Spencer says from her home in Los Angeles, California.
A therapist, minister and activist for nearly 30 years, 54-year-old Spencer delivers each word as if she is holding a sermon.>>
Read more here:


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