Thursday, June 28, 2007
In fact, hooray for Egypt.
Courtesy the fine folks at Yahoo News:
CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt on Thursday finally banned all female circumcision, the widely-practised removal of the clitoris which just days ago cost the life of a 12-year-old girl.
Officially the practice, which affects both Muslim and Christian women in Egypt and goes back to the time of the pharoahs, was banned in 1997 but doctors were allowed to operate "in exceptional cases".
On Thursday, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali decided to ban every doctor and member of the medical profession, in public or private establishments, from carrying out a clitoridectomy, a ministry press official told AFP.
Any circumcision "will be viewed as a violation of the law and all contraventions will be punished," said the official, adding that it was a "permanent ban".
A survey in 2000 said the practice was carried out on 97 percent of the country's women.
In the latest fatality, 12-year-old Bedur Ahmed Shaker was taken by her mother to a private clinic in Minya, a town on the Nile south of Cairo, for the operation. She died before she could be transferred to hospital.
Her mother accused the woman doctor of negligence, charging that her daughter's death was linked to the anaesthetic and not the removal of the clitoris, for which she had paid 50 pounds (nearly nine dollars). Police have arrested both women.
I wonder how this will be enforced, and what punishment will be used.
I am also moved to wonder if similar laws will be enacted to prevent male circumcision. (just curious, not trying to start shit. just curious.)
Monday, June 25, 2007
Mingle2 - Online Dating
in case y'all were wondering.
Someone actually from Australia
I think this blogger is also from Australia
here's a Christian perspective
and finally this blog here.
Governments worldwide are taking a hard line on pornography, but not without controversy:
courtesy Yahoo News -
SYDNEY (AFP) - Police and soldiers began deploying to outback Australia Monday as part of a radical plan to end child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities which has been criticised as a return to the nation's paternalistic past.
Prime Minister John Howard last week announced he would use police backed by military logistics to seize control of indigenous camps in the Northern Territory to protect women and children.
The controversial decision, which includes bans on alcohol and pornography and medical check-ups for all children under the age of 16, was taken following a damning government report into child abuse in indigenous communities.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough said 20 Australian Defence Force personnel were already on the ground and their number would be boosted in coming days as they prepared to deploy to remote communities.
"Right now I'm trying to stabilise in the order of 70-odd towns in the territory -- that is a massive undertaking," Brough said.
Federal police also began arriving in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin, Monday along with those from several states, each of which has been asked to contribute 10 officers.
But one of the most troubled communities, Mutitjulu near Uluru, has questioned what some of its leaders termed a military occupation.
"The fact that we hold this community together with no money, no help, no doctor and no government support is a miracle," community leaders Bob and Dorothea Randall said in a statement released by their lawyer.
"Police and the military are fine for logistics and coordination but healthcare, youth services, education and basic housing are more essential."
They also questioned whether children should undergo medical checks.
"Of course, any child that is vulnerable or at risk should be immediately protected, but a wholesale intrusion into our women and children's privacy is a violation of our human and sacred rights," the Randalls said.
Former conservative prime minister Malcolm Fraser also criticised the plan as a throwback to paternalistic practices of the past, such as the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
"People must be treated with respect, and in relation to this point they have not been," Fraser told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"In relation to that, I said it was a throwback to past paternalism because it clearly this time has been put in place, announced without any consultation with the communities."
Mutitjulu resident Mario Giuseppe said women were scared that the police were coming to take their children away, just as the so-called "stolen generation" of Aborigines were snatched from their parents under ethnic assimilation policies between the 1930s and the 1970s.
"They think the army is coming to grab their kids and the police are coming to help them," he told ABC radio.
"This is bringing back a lot of memories and opening a lot of scars for these old people here, they are running to the hills and hiding."
Howard dismissed accusations of high-handedness over the plan, which was devised without consultation with Northern Territory leaders.
"I have no doubt that the women and children of indigenous communities will warmly welcome the federal government's actions," he said.
I haven't seen much of this around the blogosphere - possibly because I haven't been paying close attention, but it occurs to me that many of us living with White Woman Syndrome are a little daunted by the prospect of commenting on the lives of Native Australians, which I gotta admit I know less than nothing about. in fact, I wouldn't even know where to look for reliable information. So maybe the relative silence (or at least, as I've observed) is due to the fact that no one wants to look like a bigger idiot than usual.
And I can see how concern for women and children of Native Australian descent led to the Australian government's action - you don't need a master's in Native Australian Studies to grasp that the most vulnerable members of that community are really suffering.
However, if one comes out AGAINST government troops with guns marching on Native Australian communities, does that mean one is coming out FOR pornography, in this case?
and what is this "paternalism", anyway? what does that mean?
and would a kinder, gentler, less stormtrooper-y approach really make a difference?
here's something from a blogger from Australia, Scarlet Words (linked above):
However, I don’t believe that Howard has got it right. It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that these decisions have been made without any consultation with community leaders or even Clare Martin, the NT’s Chief Minister. Instead we have a disturbing paternalistic intervention that does not address the two biggest contributors to their predicament: Addiction, and the horrific events of the past 200 years that began the cycle of this widespread addiction. For the record, non-indigenous Australia is responsible for most of those.
is the Australian government trying to say that only indigenous Australians are harmed by alcohol and pornography? if not, why are they only "protecting" indigenous Australians?
Friday, June 15, 2007
courtesy the fine folks at CNN, via Trinity, Belle, Ren, etc:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that could lead to the death penalty for persons convicted of working in the production of pornographic movies.
With a 148-5 vote in favor and four abstentions, lawmakers present at the Wednesday session of the 290-seat parliament approved that "producers of pornographic works and main elements in their production are considered corrupter of the world and could be sentenced to punishment as corrupter of the world."
The term, "corrupter of the world" is taken from the Quran, the Muslims' holy book, and ranks among the highest on the scale of an individual's criminal offenses. Under Iran's Islamic Penal Code, it carries a death penalty.
The "main elements" referred to in the draft include producers, directors, cameramen and actors involved in making a pornographic video.
The bill also envisages convictions ranging from one year imprisonment to a death sentence for the main distributors of the movies and also producers of Web sites in which the pornographic works appear.
Besides videos, the bill covers all electronic visual material, such as DVDs and CDs. Other material, such as porn magazines and books, are already banned under Iranian law.
To become law, the bill requires an approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog in Iran.
It is widely believed that the drafting of the bill came about as a reaction to a scandal last year, when a private videotape, apparently belonging to Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi and allegedly showing her having intercourse with a man, became available across Iran.
The videotape was leaked to the Internet and released on a black market DVD, becoming a full-blown Iranian sex tape scandal. Ebrahimi later came under an official investigation, which is still ongoing. She faces fines, whip lashing or worse for her violation of Iran's morality laws.
The unnamed man on the tape, who is suspected of releasing it, reportedly fled to Armenia but was subsequently returned to Iran and charged with breach of public morality laws. He remains in jail.
In an exclusive interview with the British newspaper The Guardian early this year, Ebrahimi denied she was the woman in the film and dismissed it as a fake, made by a vengeful former fiance bent on destroying her career.
In recent years, private videotapes have increasingly been leaked to the public in Iran, riling the government and many in this conservative Islamic country, where open talk of sex is banned and considered taboo.
However, pornographic material is easily accessible through foreign satellite television channels in Iran. Bootleg videotapes and CDs are also available on the black market on many street corners.
Iran does NOT play, y'all.
But it's not an inconsistent position to take, really, even if one is not an Iranian Fund-o-crat. I mean, if your hatred of pornography is intense enough, why not support such an ordinance?
It's perfectly fair and uniform. Everyone involved gets punished more or less equally.
and if your hatred of pornography is not intense enough, how can you really call yourself anti-porn?
I'd hate to be one of the five representatives who voted against the ordinance, though. I imagine they're having a hard time.
think their colleagues call them "porn-lover"? "tool of America"? "collaborator?" "corruptor-of-the-world-lover"?
Wonder how they found the strength to stand against the anti-porn ordinance.
The woman is out of time at the DV shelter in mid-July.
Her options are to transfer to a family shelter, if there is room, or to another shelter in a different part of the state -- where she will have to begin the apartment search all over again.
Solve this problem.
(Or keep talking about the evils of pink.)
A woman finally gets the nerve to leave her abuser.
"Come to shelter, we will help you!"
Except, after her time at the shelter has run out, she is homeless.
Where are these women, these very same feminists who are so outraged about others "ruining what they started?"
Started back in the days when folks got off their lazy, self-righteous blogging asses and did something.
Protested, got sent to jail, looking for a revolution.
NOW, it appears this "revolution" can take place entirely ONLINE?
Where are these very serious, very non-fun radical feminists for this homeless woman?
Busy, it seems, weeding out the good women from the bad; the deserving from the non-deserving.
Busy, it appears, making threats and saying hateful things.
Busy it appears trying to all be Commander in Chief of their troops.
Because not one of them wants to be a foot solider.
But anyone could, if they wanted to, oh laws, yes, sister, we know.
If you wanted to, you could.
But you're busy.
Reveling in self-righteous Woman Loving.
Gathering fans and sneering at the bones, makeup, tits and ass of other women.
Do you think, this homeless woman, would give a crap if a volunteer who was also a stripper wanted to help her out?
Do you think, this woman would care one iota?
When this woman says and I quote verbatim, after a non-productive day of searching for housing, "I see now why women go back to their abusers," do you think it matters at all?
Monday, June 04, 2007
does anyone remember that sweaty nervous day in 4th or 5th or 6th grade when all the boys went with the gym teacher and all the girls stayed in the classroom? remember those little pink pamphlets with the flowers? remember? remember thinking you already knew everything because, after all, you already read Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret?
remember asking your teacher "is there any way you can, like, NOT have your period?"
I always wondered what the boys were doing. It had to be more interesting than what we were doing with all those flowers and maxipads. I remember we were all on the cusp of menstrual technology - the birth of the beltless, pinless, adhesive sanitary napkin. sweet liberty, so we were told.
but really none of us wanted to talk about bleeding. we wanted to talk about boys. boys boys boys. except not. we wanted to talk about "doing booty". except not. we wanted to talk about our parents getting divorced and why bras were important. except not. thanks to our parents, largely, and the brisk circulation of "dirty" paperbacks smuggled from our mothers' bookshelves, most of us had, I think, at least somewhat of a handle on the physics of sex, - it was the chemistry that made us all dizzy and sick and feverish with curiosity. but, when given every opportunity to ask a real live woman - nothing. not a peep. we were scared.
so, aside from some basic questions about cramps and stuff, we were all silent.
And we remained so, at least in an academic context, until high school. It wasn't until ninth or tenth grade that the subject was even touched upon again, and then the focus was on pregnancy and STDs, and how to prevent such things at all costs. And again, we were on the cusp of something - AIDS.
This time, the adults were more scared than the kids.
"No." they said. "No. not in a box, not with a fox, not in a house, not with a mouse. No. just - no."
"but what about...?" NO
"how about...?" NO
"hey - I read that..." NO.
slowly that turned into "not until you're married, or, if you simply must, not without a condom."
"why? and what about?"
"hey - don't look at me, kids. I'm not here to compromise anyone's family values. This is what the curriculum says - not until you're married, or, if you simply must, not without a condom. See you next week."
and if you grasped that much, you passed with a lady's or gentleman's "C" and were left alone, to muddle your way through as though you never had the class at all.
think you're queer? talk to the shrink.
think you're pregnant? talk to your parents.
think you're sick? talk to the doctor.
because the teacher was not there to really educate the class. the teacher was there to tread the thread between state mandates and parental pressure. She couldn't really help it. She was a field hockey coach impressed into service, not really a sexual health education specialist.
I don't imagine that's changed so much in twenty years.
do they still separate into boys' classes and girls' classes? do parents still do "The Talk" or "The Book" or whatever?
(I always imagined myself giving a powerpoint presentation to my children. did anyone else do that?)
does any woman remember anything else besides those little flowery pamphlets, at the end of it all?
iTunesU. of Stanford. or Berkeley. or Penn State. or fucking Harvard. wherever.
podcasts of REAL lectures of REAL classes in BIG FAT WHOMPING COLLEGES just ooooooozing prestige and gravitas.
Elementary Greek. Modern Theoretical Physics. CS Lewis on the Hope for All Creation. Sociology 291 - Integrating Identities.
oh. oh. OH!
see...this changes EVERYTHING.
I can rock my smarty boots-boots for free. I can go to school in my underpants. yeeeeeeeeeha!
(I hear Yale offers great huge delicious sizzling chunks of their curriculum online for free. is that true?)
Sunday, June 03, 2007
It's cool she has a forum up. It must have been quite an undertaking. I mean, I don't have a forum up. I couldn't forum my way out of a pillowcase.
I guess that's the thing now. Lots of other erstwhile infotainers have message boards and the like. Bill O'Reilly comes to mind.
Mark Twain would have had one. or maybe not.
(well, I got better...)
so hi. didja miss me? ;)
Funny thing - I don't have a permanent gig yet, my temp job pays a fraction of what I used to make, my commute is exponentially longer - I should be shaking myself apart with worry. but somehow I sleep a thousand times better these days. I mean, nights.
I suppose some of that can be attributed to the fact that I love the little temp job the agency tossed at me. I have a humongous collective crush on all my coworkers. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to go to work. it's been a long time since I could say that.
"My" office works to place (and retain) urban kids at suburban schools, as part of a statewide mandate to improve education for all. There is an office which administers the suburban-kids-to-urban-schools side, but I (for now) help out on the urban-to-suburban side. I have nothing especially important or relevant or skilled to do - but someone's gotta put away files and answer the phone. and for now, that's me. and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
everyone in my office appears to be wicked committed to the agency's mission. It's a beautiful thing. It's really inspiring to be around women who are so focused and determined.
I am the only white girl among my office mates. I try not to be a pain in the neck. I do what I'm told and stay out of the way, pretty much. Apparently I'm really good at that because my assignment has been extended "indefinitely."
The supervisor said "don't make any plans." so who knows.
I guess while I was more-or-less absent the usual chaos reigned. anyone else feel like they just can't keep up?