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The Olympic Games in China are a Rubik's Cube, in the opinion of Ben Heine from Brussels. The five rings, symbolising the five continents with their colours and thereby all national flags, can be recomposed in Ben Heine’s cartoon. The result of this is not always pleasing: red, red, red, blue, yellow, black, black as a crow ...
The twisted rings form an endless chain. Moreover, nobody is able to burst these fetters. Ben Heine is a famous cartoon artist who combines newspaper articles, poems and symbols into an up to date political statement. Just like another great artists from Belgium, René Magritte, he is thereby shaking up the conventional ways of thinking and perceptions. Here it is the Rubik’s Cube that the Chinese dislocate in whatever way they see fit. (toonpool.com 05/08)
International Women’s Day, March 8, could be an annual day of celebration over the economic, political, and social advancements of women worldwide, and not just a press op for the Bush administration.
Condoleezza Rice on March 10 declared, “International Women’s Day reminds us of the critical role women play in addressing the economic, political, and human security challenges our world faces. The enfranchisement of women, supported at all levels, is essential to meeting our global prosperity. As history unfolds, nations are increasingly judged by whether they afford women equal opportunity. It is undeniable that the advancement of countries is inhibited when women are excluded, and it is unacceptable that women continue to be deprived of the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
Rice’s statement defies the reality of the situation, as many of us mourn what our government has done to the women of
The Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), a grassroots political movement headquartered in
Hundreds of Iraqi women have been murdered by religious gangs and unveiled women are routinely targeted and threatened with violence if they don’t wear hijabs and follow strict Islamic law. The government has not moved to stop the violence or the threats, according to the Iraq Freedom Congress. The Iraq Freedom Congress “stands at the forefront of the struggle to expel these bandits from
The international protests against sexual discrimination are growing louder every year, says Al-Jawhary, and yet in
“We must put an end to the killing of women,” said Fryal Akbar, head of the IFC’s Women’s Bureau at a press conference in
“Women today have every right to defend themselves against the religious and sectarian gangs by all means.” She also warned that the IFC will not stand by watching crimes being committed without consequences. “From our experience, these gangs will not put an end to their crimes unless serious action is taken.”
One year ago, Yifat Susskind of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization headquartered in New York, wrote: “Since the United States invaded, Iraqi wmen have endured a wave of death threats, assassinations, abductions, public beatings, targeted sexual assaults, and public hangings.
“Both Sunni and Shiite Islamist militias direct much of this violence. These groups mushroomed across
Suhad Salim, another member of the IFC’s Women’s Bureau, described a young woman’s sense of hopelessness: “The deterioration of the security situation, the intervention of the political Islamic groups into everyone’s personal life and the enforcement of the Islamic law on the street has forced women to quit both school and work to stay home seeking safety. These conditions create desperation and hopelessness in life leading many women to buy shrouds and wait for their death.
“I asked Sawsan Ali of Althawra city who is 30 years old why she quit school and stays home. She has lost her ambition and tends to think about death. Sawsan answered: ‘There’s no hope for safety in the foreseeable future, my rights as a woman do not exist. Everything is against me as a human: family, traditions and culture. Killing and terrorizing women have become a daily show. Why should I live? I cannot go to school safely or voice my opinion. Whatever I do is opposed by others. Basically nothing is left to live for, therefore I am preparing for death.’”
As the famous feminist and prolific writer Robin Morgan recently pointed out (while speaking at the U of M as part of International Women’s Day on March 15), women are the majority of the world’s population and not a “special interest group.” She also forcefully asserted that it is a myth that the women’s movement is a movement of Western women bringing their ideas to other societies and “causing trouble.” Morgan says that women’s rights issues are globally interconnected and women everywhere, of all classes, from
Condoleezza Rice knows full well that conditions for women in Iraq are horrid and have deteriorated since the 2003 invasion, but in the unfortunate tradition of Jeanne Kirkpatrick or Madeline Albright (who claimed that the deaths of one million Iraqi children under U.S.-imposed economic sanctions in the 1990s was “worth the price”), Rice’s turning a blind eye to the plight of Iraqi women informs us that gender alone does not make one an advocate for human rights. Ms. Rice speaks only for the patriarchal Bush administration, whose policies run roughshod over women and children in the goal of controlling
Let’s make sure that Rice’s voice of hypocrisy is drowned out by our voices, in chorus with Iraqi women, as we call for the demilitarization of
The wealthier a country is, and the larger its CO2 emissions, the less worried its citizens are about global warming.
It’s the same across the globe: the level of concern in a country’s population is precisely correlated with two things: that country’s gross national project (GNP) and the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The more a country has of both, the less worried its population is about the consequences of global warming, according to a global study conducted by Hanno Sandvik, a postdoc at the
Dutch are least worried
Sandvik used the results from an electronic survey that was conducted in 46 countries as the basis for his work. The survey encompassed countries from every inhabited continent and with different economies – aside from poor developing lands where an internet-based survey wouldn’t work.
The survey showed that the world’s least climate-worried population lives in the country that will be the first to notice that sea level is rising – the Netherlands. Next in line were
Most of these people have access to all the information they could possibly want – and then some. Why the lack of concern about climate change?
Other researchers have looked for explanatory reasons and variables that are inherent in the country itself: gender, age, education level, family income, political views and so forth. Sandvik is the first who has looked for explanations at the national level.
“People are all too willing to repress unpleasant truths, particularly if one is responsible for something that’s not good. I had a theory that the countries that contribute the most to global warming might perhaps have a population that would rather not believe so much in the dangers from climate change,” Sandvik says.
When Sandvik compared data on level of concern to data on emissions, he found support for his theory: the more responsibility a country had for causing global warming, the greater the tendency of its citizens to explain away or ignore the problem. And as a country’s emissions levels increased, the level of concern sank even further.
The biggest emissions bad boys in the world, by population, are the
The rich would rather not share
The most striking connection came when Sandvik compared the level of worry data to the GNP for the 46 countries: the richer the land, the less worried its population.The five richest countries in the dataset were Norway, the United States, Ireland, Denmark and Canada. All of these countries are also considered to be among the worst in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. That consequently doubles the fertile ground for the lack of worry. Researchers were not particularly surprised by the findings. All “idealism research” shows that those who are most well off are always the least willing to contribute.
“If you take global warming to heart, you understand that you have to sacrifice something. And the richer you are, the less willing you are to sacrifice. It’s far more pleasant to decide that you actually don’t quite believe in the climate threat,” Sandvik says.
The study is being published in the journal Climatic Change.
(*) Lisa Olstad writes about science for the
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