10th November 2012: Malala Day

Irna Qureshi is superb in explaining the need for a Malala Day:

“In his role as UN special envoy for global education, Gordon Brown has declared this coming Saturday 10 November 10th a ‘global day of action’ in support of Malala Yousafzai, a month to the day that the 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl was attacked by the Taliban, simply for insisting that she go to school.

As she recovers in a Birmingham hospital, Brown has urged people to support the estimated 32 million girls worldwide who are denied the right to go to school every day, by marking Malala Day. The tribute will coincide with his trip to Pakistan to deliver a petition containing more than a million signatures, to President Asif Ali Zardari, urging him to make education a reality for all Pakistani children, irrespective of gender. “

A Damp Round Up Of World News

Lighter blogging than expected, so it’s a good time for a roundup.

Tom points to David Cameron’s greed, Cameron is the first PM to pocket private rent while living at number 10.

Bob from Brockley argues that the slaughter in Syria is not really covered in the Western media with any vigour. The old adage of, if it bleeds it leads, doesn’t always applied to certain parts of the Middle East.

Sexism down under, as Julia Gillard rips into her conservative opponent.

Owen Jones on Hugo.

To quote Carl Packman: “Why are @GeorgeGalloway and Ken Livingstone silent about their employer giving so many anti-Semites a platform? …”

Elsewhere, Ruskin College is accused of academic vandalism and destroying its own historical records.

Battle of the ads in NYC, the campaign to counter Pam Geller’s bigoted nonsense.

Fit for work? Don’t believe it.

The statistics are frightening: I missed it but the Mirror pointed it out in April 2012. Chris Tattershall’s treatment was atrocious.

“Panorama also revealed that between January and August last year, on average 32 people died every week who the government had declared could be helped back into work in the medium term. “

Malala Yousafzai and the Taliban. As CNN reports:

“The Taliban controlled Malala’s valley for years until 2009, when the military cleared it in an operation that also evacuated thousands of families. Last year, Malala told CNN she feared “being beheaded by the Taliban because of my passion for education. During their rule, the Taliban used to march into our houses to check whether we were studying or watching television.” She described how she used to hide her books under her bed, fearing a house search by the Taliban.”

Norm on the Guardian’s pandering. The Beeb’s Malala Yousafzai: Portrait of the girl blogger. Related, the Safe World for Women campaign has a message. Alex Andreou is sharp on the Tories:

“Last year, he framed his speech with “Britannia didn’t rule the waves with her armbands on”. This year he says “it is time to sink or swim”. An elegant, if unwitting, indication of how his thinking has moved on; from foolhardy champion swimmer to panicked doggy-paddler. The UK economy is fast becoming a small makeshift raft, cobbled together from antiquated dogma, U-turns and fiascos, adrift in a sea of global uncertainty. Selling off the planks to passing sharks is not a solution. When the water is ankle-deep, crew and passengers look to the captain for action, not regurgitated rhetoric, however deftly delivered. All he can do is stand there and shout passionately “The Free Market will save us! Enterprise will save us! Aspiration will save us!” Abstract, deified, neoliberal concepts without a smidgeon of policy, detail or budget to back them up. I recognised his speech for what it was: A drowning man’s gurgling prayer. “

Immigration detention centres in Britain. Bradley Burston’s appeal:

“Send a message. The asylum seekers want nothing more than to live productive lives and contribute to this society. It makes much better economic sense to integrate asylum seekers into work places and schools, than it does to waste millions on building, maintaining, and operating centers for endless detention of non-criminals and their children. “

Nikolas Kozloff’s Chomsky, Ali, and the failure to challenge the authoritarian left is damning.

Some say Keynes was right? The IMF?

Trending swastikas? Twitter shows that antisemitism is not dead, not even by half.

Atos and Scotland, I must start reading the Daily Record.

When next you meet a Press TV admirer remind them of how it openly pushes the Far and Extreme Right, plus a whole host of nasty racists.

Julian Assange and leaving Sweden.

Topically, sexual harassment and the 21st century.

Didn’t  anyone see this coming? Jean-Marie Le Pen backs Marine on kippah ban.

The UK Human Rights Blog is always worth reading, in particular, their post on Back in the spotlight: the detention of mentally ill asylum seekers.

In cult news, Scientology and the Nation of Islam. Even the free-wheeling Economist thinks Mitt Romney’s foreign policy is weak:

“In truth, his speech, though grave and stern in its delivery, was pretty short on policies that differ greatly from Mr Obama’s.”

B’Tselem’s camera project.

How a society treats minorities, women and rape victims is emblematic of its priorities.

Nick Lowles on football and how not to tackle racism.

Finally, lest we forget buttons, and why history is important, Kublai Khan.

The Taliban’s Real Attitude

I remember a few years back reading, from Westerners, that the Taliban had changed, moderated its excesses, that it was softer, gentler, etc you can imagine the rest.

I didn’t believe such nonsense then, or now.

Let’s forget not the fate awaiting women and girls under Taliban, arbitrary murder:

“KABUL — A man Afghan officials say is a member of the Taliban shot dead a woman accused of adultery in front of a crowd near Kabul, a video obtained by Reuters showed, a sign that the austere Islamist group dictates law even near the Afghan capital.

In the three-minute video, a turban-clad man approaches a woman kneeling in the dirt and shoots her five times at close range with an automatic rifle, to cheers of jubilation from the 150 or so men watching in a village in Parwan province.

“Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it’s the wrong way,” another man says as the shooter gets closer to the woman. “It is the order of Allah that she be executed”.

Provincial Governor Basir Salangi said the video, obtained on Saturday, was shot a week ago in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district, about an hour’s drive from Kabul.

Such rare public punishment was a painful reminder to Afghan authorities of the Taliban’s 1996-2001 period in power, and it raised concern about the treatment of Afghan women 11 years into the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents. “

Conservatives, IQ and Bookshops

Some snippets I found, Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism.

Look at the 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World, I thought the one in Buenos Aires worth a visit.

An informative piece on Russia and Syria:

“Russian support for the Syrian regime – founded when Bashar al-Assad’s father Hafez seized power in 1970 – is still shaped in part by Cold War-era considerations. Hafez al-Assad’s Ba’ath Party (like its cousin in Iraq) portrayed itself as a force for socialist-style modernization. More importantly, it was staunchly anti-American and anti-Israeli, and quickly turned to the USSR as its principal source for weapons and military advisors.

Those relations continued even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers, estimates the value of Russian arms sales to Syria at $162 million per year in both 2009 and 2010. The total value of Syrian contracts with the Russian defense industry is likely more than $4 billion. Russia also leases a naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus, giving the Russian navy its only direct access to the Mediterranean, and Moscow its only remaining military base outside the former Soviet Union. Moscow fears that Assad’s fall would jeopardize both its lucrative arms contracts and its access to Tartus.”

Excerpts from Nato report on Taliban at BBC News.

Romney supporters raise millions.

A legal backgrounder on Julian Assange’s appeal at the Supreme Court. The Guardian’s coverage.

Is Alabama’s crackdown on immigration coming back to haunt it?

Peculiarly Western

I enjoy reading Terry Glavin’s writing on Afghanistan and his comments in this article by Eva Sajoo are compelling, if too close to the bone for many:

“We also meet Malalai Ishaqzai, an MP from Kandahar whose views differ sharply from those of the famous Malalai Joya. Joya has become famous in Europe and North America for claiming that international troops have made no difference to Afghan women and should leave immediately.

Many other female MPs, including Ishaqzai, disagree. The mother of seven children, she has been winning male votes in a province considered the Taliban heartland. This is surely progress.

Aware of the fading Canadian commitment, she and other Afghans ask why. Glavin’s answer to that question is complicated. He points to a disturbing tendency to see human rights as a peculiarly Western set of values. This belief has the benefit both of allowing us a sense of superiority while simultaneously distancing ourselves from the struggles of others in the name of respecting their cultural customs. As if people in other societies somehow find oppression more agreeable.

(H/T: Norm)