ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for March 9th, 2011

Libya, Egypt And Mauritania.

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News is coming out on Twitter that three private planes belonging to the Gaddafi family have set off from Tripoli.

“Karl Stagno-Navarra, a journalist in Malta, told al-Jazeera taht three out of five of the Gaddafi family jets are in the air, headed to Vienna, Athens and Cairo respectively. His sources were air traffic control in Malta and Cyprus. “

The Guardian has good on-going coverage of events in Libya.

International women’s day didn’t go well in Cairo, as the Washington Post reports:

“CAIRO – Women hoping to extend their rights in post-revolutionary Egypt were faced with a harsh reality Tuesday when a mob of angry men beat and sexually assaulted marchers calling for political and social equality, witnesses said.

“Everyone was chased. Some were beaten. They were touching us everywhere,” said Dina Abou Elsoud, 35, a hostel owner and organizer of the ambitiously named Million Woman March.

She was among a half-dozen women who said they were repeatedly groped by men – a common form of intimidation and harassment here that was, in fact, a target of the protesters. None of the women reported serious injuries.

The demonstration on International Women’s Day drew a crowd only in the hundreds to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the popular revolt that drove President Hosni Mubarak from power. Gone, organizers said, was the spirit of equality and cooperation between the sexes that marked most of the historic mass gatherings in the square.

As upwards of 300 marchers assembled late Tuesday afternoon, men began taunting them, insisting that a woman could never be president and objecting to women’s demands to have a role in drafting a new constitution, witnesses said.

“People were saying that women were dividing the revolution and should be happy with the rights they have,” said Ebony Coletu, 36, an American who teaches at American University in Cairo and attended the march, as she put it, “in solidarity.”

The men – their number estimated to be at least double that of the women’s – broke through a human chain that other men had formed to protect the marchers. Women said they attempted to stand their ground – until the physical aggression began. “

Meanwhile over in Mauritania:

“Young leaders have been severely beaten by dozens of policemen. Some 200 demonstrators have been dispersed by force and 30 were arrested fort further investigation. One leader was beaten so severely he remains in coma. Protesters collectively chanted their slogans, calling for justice, freedom and urgent social reforms. “

John Galliano, Fashion And Fascism.

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The New York Times has a piece on John Galliano and High Fascism:

“Maybe we were. Fashion is more than business in France: it’s a mythology, a secular religion, a source of national pride, especially during Fashion Week, when the country recalls its history as the birthplace of haute couture.

In recent days, though, in response to the anti-Semitic diatribe by Christian Dior’s creative director, John Galliano, the French have been recalling a far more ominous chapter in their history.

According to witnesses, a drunken Mr. Galliano exploded at a woman seated near him in a Paris bar. “Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead,” he is said to have told her. “Your boots are of the lowest quality, your thighs are of the lowest quality. You are so ugly I don’t want to see you. I am John Galliano!”

France is highly sensitive to such matters, and reprisals came quickly. Dior fired Mr. Galliano, who now faces charges of using a racial insult, a crime in France. But beyond the spectacle of one man’s abhorrent politics, the episode invites consideration of the curious relationship between French fashion and fascism.

During the Occupation, the Nazis and their French allies recognized the power and national prestige of the French fashion industry and sought to harness it. When the collaborationist Vichy government took over direction of the French lifestyle magazine Paris Soir, it announced in its pages a “summer of couture … and shopping.” The Nazis were so enamored with fashion’s place in French culture that in their plans for postwar Europe, they stipulated that, unlike other industries, the fashion sector would remain in France.

Which brings us back to Mr. Galliano in the Paris bar. His was not a generic anti-Semitic tirade, but the self-conscious pronouncement of a world-class arbiter of taste (“I am John Galliano!”). Not only did he use ethnic slurs, he accused the woman of being unattractive and unfashionable, associating both with ethnicity, with being Jewish (which she happened not to be).

The link is clear: like a fascist demagogue of yore, he was declaring that she did not belong to the gilded group who wear the right boots, and from this Mr. Galliano slid effortlessly to a condemnation of her very flesh, and a wish for her death. “

Written by modernityblog

09/03/2011 at 01:35

Blogger Detained in Qatar.

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News is coming out that a blogger, Sultan al-Khalaifi, has been detained in Qatar by the State security services:

“Blogger and human rights activist, Sultan al-Khalaifi, has been detained by security forces after criticising the country’s censorship rules on his blog. Khalaifi, who is founder of a rights group campaigning on cases of detention in Qatar, has been in detention since March 2 after being contacted by state security. According to his lawyer he has been detained on numerous occasions in the past. “

Global Voices covers it too.

Alkarama says:

“On 1 March 2011 at nine o’clock at night, a number of state security agents raided the house of Mr. Sultan Khalifa Al Khulaifi in Doha. After searching his house and car for two hours, he was taken to an unknown place by the State Security agents.

A female officer who was accompanying the agents informed the wife of Mr. Khulaifi that they were sent by the Attorney General, but without they were unable to produce any judicial warrant justifying the decision.
Alkarama fears that the arrest of Mr. Sultan Khalifa Al Khulaifi is as a result of his human rights activities. We were recently contacted by him regarding three cases of arbitrary detention in Qatar, which Alkarama has transmitted to the Qatari authorities in the hope that they will release them. The three names are the following: Abdullah Ghanem Mahfouz Muslim Jouar, Salim Hassan Khalifa Rashid Al Kuwari and Hamad Rashid Al-Marri.

Mr. Al Khulaifi served as Secretary-General of the Alkarama Foundation until the beginning of 2010, before leaving to found a new organization for the defense of human rights.

Alkarama reminds that human rights defenders and others who collaborate with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, are particularly protected by the United Nations and indeed the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 12/ 2 on 1 October 2009 “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights” to protect human rights defenders active both inside and outside their countries.

Alkarama calls on the Qatari authorities to respect their obligations under this resolution and requests that they immediately release Mr Sultan Al Khulaifi and those arrested with him or immediately put them under the protection of the law, ensuring full respect for their human rights. “