Friday, August 28, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Bagariya tribal women in the village of Badi Sadri, Rajasthan, have to prove they have been faithful to their husbands by dipping their hands in boiling oil for five seconds. It's a weird test: If you are chaste, your hands will come out unscathed from the bowl of boiling oil; if you suffer burns, you've been cheating on your husband.
What's worse, it's an annual ritual. Every year, women in a tribal village in Rajasthan, western India, face this trial by fire - to prove their good character during the previous year.
Every year, when the country celebrates the victory of good over evil by burning effigies of the demon king Ravana and his brothers, men in this village, in wanton disregard of human life, subject women to this barbaric test.
This Dushehra, too, at least 20 women of the Bagariya tribe, in Badi Sadri village in Udaipur District, were forced to take this test. Fortunately, none of them got burned.
The men broke into gay folk songs and cooked a meal for the tribe.
On the morning of this festival, a wood fire was raised to boil mustard oil in 14 bowls outside a temple in the village. The women were then asked to immerse their hands one by one into the liquid, and to keep them submerged for five seconds.
When they remove their hands, they are checked for burns. Those who suffer burns, have been immoral in the past year. The gravity of the burns dictates the degree of infidelity.
"Our men mostly stay out during the nights for livelihood. We sustain on crime: thefts, loot. Therefore, it's quite likely women will fall for the other guy," Durgesh Bagariya, the tribe's head, defends this ritual. Yet he offers no reason for this test. Nor does he answer why men aren't subjected to the same test.
Such tests are commonplace in the tribal areas of Udaipur and adjoining districts.
A few years ago, a theft was reported. Instead of summoning the police, the village heads decided to subject all the men to a test to identify the thief. They boiled oil and made the men immerse their hands.
Three were singed, and the villagers concluded them to be the thieves. The local police also accepted this theory, and the trio were arrested without any further investigation.
But that was once-off incident. In Badi Sadri, it happens every year - ironically, on the day when the country burns the evil.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A Bollywood actress caught saying
so-and-so is amazing as a director. He can make even a black African look pretty”.
A Bollywood actor saying:
(I knew) it was time to leave Shanghai and Hong Kong after six weeks of stunt training and go home when his eyes started “turning into little slits like the Chinese”.
As the BBC critic of Indian origin remarks, these are not unsurprising remarks. As most Indians know, we make these remarks all the time and either don’t realize these are offensive, or just don’t care. Why, we have names for such obscenities. We call our north-eastern country-men(and women), or just any person with mongoloid features “chinky”. We call any white-skinned person “firangi”. Any person of African origin is still called a “negro”, decades after this term has been replaced by “africans” or “african americans” in politer societies.
The fact is that we Indians have more ways to divide and discriminate humans than any society in the world, but few Indians would admit to this. We discriminate by race,skin color,caste, religion, regionality(”madrasis”) … if there are any other ways to divide people that I can’t remember now, we probably do that too.
However, nobody in India has the guts to address this problem. We let people openly advertise for “fair”, “brahmin” etc. brides and grooms in matrimonial listings in newspapers and online sites. There is still no government push for banning all temples from restricting who can enter by caste. There is no push to accommodate our north-eastern brothers and sisters into mainstream society. In fact, most of India would rather revel in “Gandhigiri” but blissfully ignore that Iron Sharmila , who has redefined Gandhian methods of struggle, even exists.
Friday, May 29, 2009
It was a dark reminder that sometimes the Constitution isn't enough.
The reason we know about this undignified part of American history is the successful lobby for reparations, which put the story in front of the press, the Congress and the President. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 allowed for each imprisoned Japanese American or their heirs to receive $20,000.
Reparations are sometimes looked down on, but it goes beyond asking for cash. Apologies come easy and cheap. They provide a thin blanket for a cold storm and don't require any sincerity or penalty. Reparations acknowledge, in action, that a wrong was done and sometimes that the nation benefited at the expense of the livelihood of others. It also creates a future penalty for violations of human rights.
This country disowned its Japanese American citizens as it created propaganda to demonize their entire ethnicity. In addition, they were bartered with like poker chips, exchanged with Japan for the freedom of American POWs. How much is that dignity and disruption in life and family really worth?
Japanese Latin Americans Left Out
One chapter that is often left out of the history of Japanese Internment Camps is the fact that the United States pressured Latin American nations to deport their Japanese, German and Italian citizens to the United States. German and Italian prisoners had additional access to court hearings, but still suffered greatly. There's some speculation that some German Jews from Latin America may have been traded with Germany.
Japanese Latin Americans leaving a temporary internment camp in the
Panama Canal Zone to join their relatives in U.S. internment camps.
April 7, 1942. Courtesy of San Francisco Public Library.
At least 12 nations responded with Japanese and European prisoners, with two-thirds being Japanese and 80% originating from Peru. There were over 2,000 Japanese Latinos imprisoned in the United States; 800 were traded to Japan in exchange for prisoners.
These Spanish-speaking Japanese suffered double humiliations. They were disowned by their own countries, deported to a foreign country and then further alienated in a nation whose language they did not speak. Many of their native countries were simply reacting to racism and jealousy of a successful demographic. Peru had many successful Japanese businesses and schools, which were easily grabbed once their owners and participants were deported. After the war, many Japanese Latinos were not permitted by their former countries to return. Because of their limbo status, many were imprisoned for much longer than other Japanese. Today, many of them still have tainted immigration records.
Japanese Latinos were not included in the reparations. Janet Reno, who was US Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice at the time, interpreted the law to only apply to people who were citizens at the time of imprisonment. Because we forced these Japanese Latin Americans into our borders, Reno interpreted them as illegal aliens. Illegal aliens that our nation kidnapped and imprisoned in our borders.
One of the indignities of seeking redress is the fact that you have to sue to get your government to acknowledge what is plainly wrong. To hear your government only apologize after being sued is disheartening. To have to go through it twice is even more painful.
After a class action lawsuit was settled in 1998, it was decided that Japanese Latinos would only get $5,000. That's one fourth of what Japanese American citizens from the US received. In addition, there was no guarantee that it would be paid. Japanese Latinos were paid from a general fund only after Japanese Americans were paid their share.
The money ran out and only allowed for 145 Japanese Latinos to be paid from the fund.
"We need slaves," my friend says. "We need slaves to build monuments. Look who built the pyramids - they were slaves."
It is already home to the world's glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls - now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation.
Click here for the full article.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The Polish national took the boy out in his car and allowed him to pick out the prostitute, who was standing at the side of the road in the red-light district of Nottingham.
But the 42-year-old father was arrested because the teenager had chosen an undercover police officer, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons,was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, after he admitted a charge of trying to solicit a woman to have sex with a child, the Press Association reported.
The court heard that the father, who came to Britain eight years ago, was arrested last July during an undercover operation by the city's vice squad.
Prosecutor Adrian Harris said the man and his son had approached the undercover officer whose code name was Sarah and beckoned her over .
He asked "Sarah" how much it would cost for her to have sex with his son and they agreed on a 20 pound fee. However, when the car pulled over, the man was arrested by plainclothes police officers.
"The boy said that they had driven past the girl and his dad pointed to her and said 'will she do?'" Harris said.
"He said 'yes' and they had turned round. He said his dad did this because he was still a virgin and he was taking care of that for him."
Judge Jonathan Teare said he would spare the father jail because of his excellent character and that he believed he did not mean any harm to his son.
"You have a duty of care to your son and that is to look after his moral welfare, not as you might think to break him in to the ways of sex through a prostitute," he said.
The court was told the boy would continue to live with his father.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
His was the seventh Roma death in Hungary in a year and the third fatal shooting targeting the Roma community in the past five months.
In March a father and his five year old son were killed as they ran from their home which had been set alight.
The incident mirrored a similar attack on a man and woman in November.
Police are so concerned over the spate of attacks they have offered a 222,000 dollar reward for information.
Meanwhile the Roma community staged a protest in the Hungarian capital Budapest. Speakers criticised the the criminal justice system and people's complacency over the attacks.
Roma people say the marches of the far right radical extremist organization, Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard) have legitimized the anti-Roma feelings in society by openly talking about what they call Gypsy crime.
Hungary has one of the largest Roma communities in eastern Europe, which makes up between 5 and 7 percent of the population. They have remained on the margins, lacking jobs, wealth and proper education for decades.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The officers also let loose unmuzzled dogs at the boys, and some of the children were bitten.
The policemen recorded “humiliating scenes” with their mobile phones and cameras, laughing and encouraging the children to punch each other.
Referring to the recording, the daily wrote that the police had shouted and called names at the boys and ordered them to undress. The video was released on 8 April, 2009, a day before International Roma Day, a day to raise awareness of anti-Roma discrimination.
The worst case of Slovakian police brutality against the Roma so far occurred in July 2001, when 50-year-old Karol Sendrei was taken to a police station, handcuffed to a radiator and beaten throughout the night. He was discovered dead in the morning with the post-mortem detailing damage to his vital organs from kicks and punches.
The Roma, who make up approximately 6 percent of Slovakia’s population, are targets for abuse in many Eastern and Central European countries where they are a substantial minority.They have long suffered from discrimination in areas such as jobs, education and housing, which has in some places become worse in the current economic crisis.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
In Cleveland, USA Linda Perry Jent describes how she overcame the racial prejudice of her father.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
HANGU: Sikh families living in Orakzai Agency (Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan) have left the agency after the Taliban demanded Rs 50 million as jizia (tax) from them, official sources and locals said on Tuesday.
Residents of Ferozekhel area in Lower Orakzai Agency told Daily Times on Tuesday that around 10 Sikh families left the agency after the demand by the Taliban, who said they were a minority and liable to pay the tax for living in the area in accordance with sharia.
Locals said the Taliban had notified the Sikh families about the ‘tax’ around a week ago. They said of the 15 Sikh families in Ferozekhel, 10 had shifted while the remaining were preparing to do so.
The locals said the families were impoverished and had left the area to avoid any Taliban action.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A similar incident happened in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, which is outside the purview of Pakistan government.
A man and a woman, who were accused of committing adultery, were gunned down by the Taliban in northwest Pakistan a few days ago.
The chilling video footage of the execution was sent to the Dawn newspaper yesterday. It shows a Taliban firing squad killing the man and woman, both apparently in their forties, after accusing them of adultery.
They were shot dead in the presence of their relatives. The newspaper quoted its sources as saying that the incident took place in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province.
In this video, the woman is heard appealing to the Taliban militants for mercy. Have mercy on me, please have mercy. The charges against me are false and no man has ever touched me, she is heard saying.
The couple try to flee when they realise what is about to happen.But the militant first shoot the woman by firing two bullets in her chest and later open a burst of Kalashnikov fire at both the woman and the man, leaving them bleeding in the dirt. But the woman is still seen breathing, and the Talibans start yelling that she is alive and issuing orders to "kill her, kill her".
Sources told the channel that the Taliban had asked the relatives of the woman and the man to present the two before them for questioning at a specified place. The relatives brought both of them to the Taliban, who killed them in cold blood.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
A 17-year-old screaming, burqa-clad girl was whipped by Taliban fighters in
“Please! Enough! Enough” the girl is heard crying. "Please stop it," the girl begged repeatedly. "Either kill me or stop it now." After 34 lashes the punishment stopped and the wailing girl was led into a stone building.
What is her crime??According to local reporters the girl was whipped because she came out of her house with a man who was not her husband. But some residents have revealed a local Taliban commander ordered the beating to get revenge after the girl refused to accept his proposal of marriage.
Pakistan government ceded authority of Swat valley to the Taliban under a peace deal(?), giving them almost a free hand to impose their puritan Islamic rule on the around 600,000 people of Swat and its seven neighbouring districts.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa's acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa's best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema.
Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbians in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call "corrective rape" committed by men behind the guise of trying to "cure" lesbians of their sexual orientation.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Members of the all female Indian Formed Police Unit of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) get ready to receive medals of honour, in recognition for their service. (UN Photo/Christopher Herwig)
Members of the all female Indian Formed Police Unit of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) perform martial arts exercise prior to receiving medals of honour, in recognition for their service. (UN Photo/Christopher Herwig)
Members of the all female Indian Formed Police Unit (FPU) of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) stand ready to receive medals, in recognition for their service. (UN Photo/Christopher Herwig)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
An 1852 poster advertising an auction of Roma slaves in Bucharest, Romania.
Slavery of Roma people (Gypsies) existed on the territory of present-day Romania from before the founding of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia in 13th–14th century, until it was abolished in stages during the 1840s and 1850s.
The master was allowed to punish his slaves physically, through beatings or imprisonment. 1821, at a time when Boyars in Moldavia fled their country to escape the Eterist expedition, Austrian authorities in Bukovina were alarmed to note that the newly-settled refugees made a habit of beating their slaves in public, and consequently issued an order specifically banning such practices. A dispute followed, after which the Boyars received permission to carry on with the beatings, as long as they exercised them on private property.
A Shatra or Roma(Gypsy) slave village, Romania, 1850s.
In a gradual, step-by-step process, Roma began to lose their cultural identity and internalise their inferior status in society. Ashamed of themselves, perceiving their ethnic identity as damnation, they were stigmatised and excluded from the society of their former masters. Roma thus became a scapegoat for all the frustrations and failures of Romanian society.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
"Doctors came and brought me to the operating room [for a C-section] and there they gave me anesthesia. When I was falling asleep, a nurse came and took my hand in hers and with it she signed something. I do not know what it was. I could not check because I cannot read, I only know how to sign my name. When I left the hospital, I was only told that I would not have any more children…I was so healthy before, but now I have pain all the time. Lots of infections…"
Alexandra from Richnava,Slovakia talks about Racial Segregation in Slovakia’s Public Hospitals:
"In Krompachy hospital, there are separate rooms for Roma—there are three Gypsy rooms, one shower and one toilet for us while white women have their own toilets. White women can go to the dining room but Roma cannot eat there. In Gypsy room, there is not even a dust bin. It is like in a concentration camp there."
Romani women in Slovakia continue to be subject to grave violations of their human rights, particularly their reproductive rights, even though a communist-era law offering monetary incentives for sterilization has been rescinded. A three-month fact-finding in late 2002 by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Poradna pre obcianske a ludské práva (Centre for Civil and Human Rights), a Slovak human rights organization, reveals that not only do coerced and forced sterilization practices continue in Slovakia, so too does the widespread abuse and discrimination against Romani women in the country’s maternal health services. We conducted extensive interviews with more than 230 women in almost 40 Romani settlements throughout eastern Slovakia, the region with the highest concentration of Roma.
The interviews revealed numerous instances of coerced, forced and suspected sterilization of Romani women, along with physical and verbal abuse, racially discriminatory standards of care, misinformation in health matters, and denial of access to medical records.
Iveta Cervenakova, was forcibly sterilized after the birth of her second daughter 12 years ago. She was among possibly as many as a quarter of a million Roma (Gypsy) women sterilized against their will in the Czech Republic.Since the end of the cold war and the opening up of central and eastern European countries in 1990, the living conditions of the Roma and Sinti minority have drastically deteriorated as a result of nascent racism. However, racist-motivated violence and discrimination against Roma and Sinti have significantly increased in a large number of countries in western Europe. As The New York Times correctly observed in a commentary in March 1996, members of the minority are today subjected to marginalization and racism to an extent that corresponds to the situation of African-Americans in the United States up until the mid-1950s.
A notable cause for the continued marginalization and discrimination of Roma and Sinti is the structures of prejudice and racist clichés, which have been substantially influenced by the misanthropic racial ideology of the National Socialists and the associated fascist regime. In view of these ideological lines of continuity, it is hardly surprising that Roma and Sinti minorities are not only socially disadvantaged to a considerable extent but are also repeatedly the victims of open violence. The authorities in eastern and western Europe have recorded a drastic increase in racist violence against minorities by neo-Nazis; however, such attacks increasingly emanate from the security forces themselves. Only rarely can the perpetrators expect consistent prosecution and conviction by the police and legal authorities. As an example, the police officers responsible for the obviously racist-motivated murders of two Bulgarian Roma in 1996 were not punished by competent authorities; only after a judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in 2005 was the Bulgarian State obliged to investigate the racist background to this crime. The Court issued a similar adjudication in a comparable case, also in Romania; in all probability, however, the perpetrators will escape criminal prosecution appropriate to a State governed by the rule of law.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The alleged victims vomited after being made to eat fouled food
In the video the white students, who make no attempt to hide their faces, order the black cleaners at the whites-only Reitz hostel to down full bottles of beer. They then lead them to a playing field where they are told to display their athletic skills. In the final extract a white man urinates on food and into a plastic soup container. Then, shouting: Take! Take! in Afrikaans he apparently forces the campus employees to eat the dirty food, causing them to vomit.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
An Iranian woman looks at a new book mocking the Holocaust in Tehran on September 26, 2008. Photo: AFP
The book's cover depicted a Jew with a hooked nose dressed in traditional clothes drawing the outlines of dead bodies on the ground.Inside pages have pictures of bearded Jews shown leaving and re-entering a gas chamber with a counter that reads 5,999,999.Another picture shows a hospital patient covered in an Israeli flag and on life support, breathing Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas used in the death camps.
A patient covered in an Israeli flag and on life support breathing Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas used in the extermination chambers.
The commentary inside the book includes anti-Semitic stereotypes and revisionist arguments, casting doubt on the massacre of Jews and mocking Holocaust survivors who claimed reparations after World War II.
One comment in a question-and-answer format reads:
"How did the Germans emit gas into chambers while there were no holes on the ceiling?" Answer: "Shut up, you criminal anti-Semite. How dare you ask this question?"
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Men feel free to assault women in public, with complete impunity. A Global Crescendo photographer caught this man beating his pregnant wife. The man in the background looking on appears to be laughing.
Women suffer from violence in every society. In few places, however, is the abuse more entrenched, and accepted, than in sub-Saharan Africa. One in three Nigerian women reported having been physically abused by a male partner, according to the latest study, conducted in 1993. The wife of the deputy governor of a northern Nigerian province told reporters last year that her husband beat her incessantly, in part because she watched television movies.
It is like it is a normal thing for women to be treated by their husbands as punching bags," told Obong Rita Akpan, former Nigerian minister for women's affairs, here. "The Nigerian man thinks that a woman is his inferior. Right from childhood, right from infancy, the boy is preferred to the girl. Even when they marry out of love, they still think the woman is below them and they do whatever they want."
In Zambia, nearly half of women surveyed said a male partner had beaten them, according to a 2004 study financed by the United States - the highest percentage of nine developing nations surveyed on three continents. About 80% of Zambian wives find it acceptable to be beaten by their husbands "as a form of chastisement", according to the Zambia Demographic Health Survey.
A World Health Organization study has found that while more than a third of Namibian women reported enduring physical or sexual abuse by a male partner, often resulting in injury, six in seven victims had either kept it to themselves or confided only in a friend or relative.
In South Africa, researchers for the Medical Research Council estimated last year that a male partner kills a girlfriend or spouse every six hours - the highest mortality rate from domestic violence ever reported, they say. In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, domestic violence accounts for more than 6 in 10 murder cases in court, a United Nations report concluded last year.
Women's rights activists say that the prevalence of abuse is emblematic of the low status of women in sub-Saharan Africa. Typically less educated, they work longer hours and transport three times as much weight as men, hauling firewood, water and sacks of corn on their heads.
Some societies have the idea that women are foolish and childlike, and need to be beaten to be corrected. In one survey, 44.7 percent of Kenyan women said that men have the right to discipline their wives by beating. The women who are beaten often feel that it is their fault. Even many matrilineal and matrilocal societies accept men beating their wives as correction.
In some Sub-Saharan African countries where wife beating is widely accepted as a response to women's transgressing gender norms, women are More likely than men to justify wife beating. An analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data from in seven Sub-Saharan African countries found that 36-89% of women justified wife beating in at least one of five specified situations such as if she burns the food, neglects the children, argues with him, goes out without telling him or refuses to have sex with. The analysts contend that women's acceptance of wife beating "may be explained only by entrenched social and cultural learning processes that subjugate the position of women in the society, socially and collectively undermine their self-esteem and facilitate romanticisation of the 'ideal' gender role of women."
Rosie Crowley, center, portrayed the pregnant Dorothy Malcom Monday in a re-enactment of a group lynching in Monroe, Georgia., on July 25, 1946. No one was ever prosecuted for the four killings.The lynchings of Roger and Dorothy Malcom, and George and Mae Murray Dorsey on July 25, 1946, have long been a source of racial tension in Monroe, a town about 45 miles east of Atlanta.
See and hear scenes from the re-enactment
On July 25, 2005, fifty-nine years to the day after the incident a group reenacted the murders, with the hope that the federal government would reopen the case and bring those that were involved to justice.
Cold-case Convictions in USA1977: Ex-Klansman Robert Chambliss convicted of 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls in Birmingham, Alabama
1994: Byron de la Beckwith convicted in 1963 sniper murder of Mississippi civil rights activist Medgar Evers
1998: Former Klan leader Samuel Bowers convicted in the death of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer Sr., killed in 1966 firebombing of his Mississippi home
2001, 2002: Thomas Blanton Jr. then Bobby Frank Cherry convicted of involvement in 1963 Birmingham church bombing
2003: Earnest Avants convicted in 1966 slaying of handyman Ben Chester White, purportedly to lure the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Natchez, Mississippi
2005: Edgar Ray Killen sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 1964 "Mississippi Burning" manslaughter of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi
2007: Former sheriff's deputy and Klansman James Ford Seale convicted in the 1964 deaths of two Mississippi teenagers
-- Sources: CNN, The Associated Press
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Aisha Ibrahim was involved in an auto-accident in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.,but case particularly attracted the media attention because an unusual occurrence was attributed to her. Eyewitnesses said she was hit by a car as a cat, but later transformed into a woman.As the story goes three cats were crossing the busy road when an okada (motorcycle taxi) ran over. One of them immediately turned into a woman. This strange occurrence quickly attracted people around who descended on the scene. A crowd soon gathered, accused her of being a witch and began to beat her up using whatever he came with or could lay his hands on right there. Finally, policemen arrived a the spot and fenced her away from the attackers wanted her dead.
However,another witness gave a completely different account of the incident. He said “I saw the accident as it happened, I saw the car hitting a woman. I didn’t see any cat and it was surprising when everybody said she was a cat and started beating her up instead of helping her.”
Women's groups have expressed outrage over the killings
Desire to control women’s lives and their sexuality is far greater in areas where feudal and tribal systems are prevalent. For example, you will not find the same oppression of women in Islamabad, Karachi or Lahore. But where there is a strong tribal or feudal hold you see that women’s sexuality is strictly controlled by the family – and particularly the male members of the family.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
This strange event had occurred in Congo.
Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.
Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.
Some Kinshasa residents accuse a separatist sect from nearby Bas-Congo province of being behind the witchcraft in revenge for a recent government crackdown on its members.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Ritual servitude is a practice in Ghana, Togo, and Benin where traditional religious shrines take human beings, usually young virgin girls in payment for services, or in religious atonement for alleged misdeeds of a family member. Tro means deity and kosi means slave or wife so Trokosi translates as slave or wife of the deity.
These shrine slaves serve the priests, elders and owners of a traditional religious shrine without remuneration and without their consent, although the consent of the family or clan may be involved. Those who practice ritual servitude usually feel that the girl is serving the god or gods of the shrine and is married to the gods of the shrine.
These girls are sexually abused, serve at hard labor without compensation, suffer harsh punishment, and are denied education and human affection. If a girl runs away or dies, she must be replaced by another girl from the family. Some girls in ritual servitude are the third or fourth girl in their family suffering for the same crime, sometimes for something as trite as the loss of trivial property. It is still practiced in the Volta region in Ghana, in spite of being outlawed in 1998, and despite carrying a minimum three year prison sentence for conviction. Among the Ewes who practice the ritual in Ghana, the practice is also called trokosi or fiashidi. In Togo and Benin it is called voodoosi or vudusi.
The most disturbing detail is that although the Trokosi system, alongside all traditional and cultural practices that violate the constitution of Ghana was banned in 1998 the practice is still very much alive. In some cases the practice has moved ‘underground’. Some members of the communities involved do not see Trokosi as a Human Rights violation but as a traditional and reliable way of dispensing and maintaining social justice. The researchers estimated the number of victims to be roundabout 1400. To date no one has been arrested or persecuted in spite of the law banning the practice. Tro means deity and kosi means slave or wife so Trokosi translates as slave or wife of the deity.
Offenders are whipped with a long strip of rattan that cuts into the skin and leaves permanent scars to remind them of their punishment. According to the New Straits Times, the cane will be 1.22m long and 1.25cm thick. Mohamad and Baharuddin will be allowed to face their punishment wearing clothing.
(PHOTO: NEW STRAITS TIMES PRESS)
An Acehnese woman kneels to be caned by Sharia law authorities Jan.12, 2007 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
He said that Sharia law in Aceh was a tourist attraction because it allowed foreigners to see a reality, that perhaps, they did not already know. "Here the tourists can visit many mosques and see how a community lives under laws based on the Koran," he said. "
Muslim-devout Aceh is the only province in Indonesia allowed to apply Sharia law. However observers say that the application of Sharia in the province has harmed the rights of the poor and women.The Indonesian government agreed to allow Shariah law in Aceh four years ago as part of negotiations to end the 29-year war between separatist rebels and the military.
Canning is carried out in Aceh for crimes including the sale or consumption of alcohol, gambling or meeting a person of the opposite sex, that is not your husband, wife or family member, in a private place.
The Widespread Practice of Female Circumcision in Iraq's North Highlights The Plight of Women in a Region Often Seen as More Socially Progressive. Launch Photo Gallery
There was no celebration. Instead, a local woman quickly locked a rusty red door behind Sheelan, who looked bewildered when her mother ordered the girl to remove her underpants. Sheelan began to whimper, then tremble, while the women pushed apart her legs and a midwife raised a stainless-steel razor blade in the air. "I do this in the name of Allah!" she intoned.
As the midwife sliced off part of Sheelan's genitals, the girl let out a high-pitched wail heard throughout the neighborhood. As she carried the sobbing child back home, Sheelan's mother smiled with pride.
Read more at: washingtonpost.com
Sunday, March 8, 2009
"My mother took a pestle, she warmed it well in the fire and then she used it to pound my breasts while I was lying down. She took the back of a coconut, warmed it in the fire and used it to iron the breasts.I was crying and trembling to escape but there was no way."- Geraldin Sirri, a young student in Cameroon.
What is Breast ironing?
Most tools are warmed before pounding the girls' chests
Is this really what women have to do to protect themselves from sexual assault? Some parents are just doing to so their daughters do not have consensual sex.
"Breast ironing is not a new thing. I am happy I protected my daughter. I could not stand the thought of boys spoiling her with sex before she completed school", one woman explained."Unfortunately, television is encouraging all sorts of sexual immorality in our children."
A pilot study by RENATA (a local NGO composed of teen mothers) suggests that:
*Breast ironing appears to be most widely-practiced in Cameroon. It's more common in the Christian and animist south of the country than the Muslim north, where only 10 per cent of women are affected.
*It also occurs in Guinea-Bissau, West and Central Africa, including Chad, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Conakry.
*Some 24 per cent of girls in Cameroon, about one girl in four, undergo breast ironing.
*Breast ironing occurs extensively in the 10 provinces throughout Cameroon.
*A sample survey published in January 2006 of 5000 girls and women aged between 10 and 82 in Cameroon, estimates that 4 million women had suffered the process.
*Today, 3.8 million teenagers are threatened with the practice.
*Up to 53 per cent of women and girls interviewed in the coastal Littoral province in the southeast, where the country's main port, Douala, is situated, admit to having had their breasts 'ironed'.
*More than half (58 per cent) of cases breast ironing were undertaken by mothers. Other relatives also participate.
Health and Socio-Economic Implications
*Breast ironing is terribly painful and violates a young girl’s physical integrity.
*Breast ironing exposes girls to numerous health problems such as abscesses, itching, discharge of milk, infection, dissymmetry of the breasts, cysts, breast infections, severe fever, tissue damage and even the complete disappearance of one or both breasts.
*This painful form of mutilation could not only have negative health consequences for the girls, but often proves futile when it comes to deterring teenage sexual activity.