Pistorious – A movie in the making

Money can buy the best legal & PR team in South Africa, but buying blood thirsty and fame driven criminals is another matter.  Might be best to talk to “The General” of the Numbers Gang.

Watch Ross Kemp

Or the story in the Metro

One of the most dangerous prisoners in South Africa has vowed to ‘take out’ Oscar Pistorius is he is sent to prison.

‘The General’, who is the leader of the notorious Numbers gang, said the paralympian must pay for ‘what he has done’.

Despite being a convicted murderer himself, the General, whose real name is John Mongrel, said he wished to make an example of wealthy South African prisoners who can buy protection.

Speaking to South African paper The Citizen, he said: ‘Anyone who thinks they can come here and live like a king, will have a hit on their head.

‘If he thinks he is going to come here and buy his way to get computers and cellphones and a lavish lifestyle, he must know that will never happen for as long as I am around.’

Think it’s only the ignorant are #racist? Here’s Prof Spurr an example of supremacism

Prof Spurr racism
prof-spurr racism Image courtesy of

A university lecturer was suspended today after he sent a string of highly-derogatory emails attacking other cultures, sexes and religions over more than two years. 

Professor Barry Spurr, from University of Sydney, describes Aboriginal people as “human rubbish tips” and “Abos” while complaining against the inclusion of their culture in education and politics.

The poetry expert, who advises the Australian government on reforming the English literature curriculum, attacked people of different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds by using offensive terms such as “Mussies”, “Chinky-Poos”, “bogans” and “fatsoes”.

He calls Nelson Mandela a “darkie” and Desmond Tutu a “witch doctor”; describes women as “whores”; and shockingly stated that a victim of a sexual attack needs more than just “penis” put in her mouth, before it’s “stitched up”.

British people were also described as “the scum of the earth” in emails sent from September 2012 to date, to around 12 people including senior academics and officials at the university.

A rally yesterday saw students protest on the campus for the immediate sacking of Professor Spurr.

He yesterday defended his choice of words, telling New Matilda they were intended to mock the “very extreme language” used.

He said: “The comments that you refer to are largely to one recipient with whom I have had a whimsical linguistic game for many years of trying to outdo one another in extreme statements.

“These statements are not reflections of my views or his.”

The Students’ Representative Council’s education officer, Ridah Hassan, said the emails had been met with outrage from students.

She said: “Such vile, bigotry belongs back in the 1950s and it has no place at Sydney University.”

The professor argued that the curriculum should focus more on western civilisation and Judeo-Christian culture in a government report that was strongly supported by Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Education.

He also tells university colleagues and friends that 95 per cent of Australian students should not be studying in higher education, and bemoans that that view could be “derided as elitist, fascist, misogynist – the usual litany”.

His contribution to the curriculum review also suggested that Aboriginal writers’ presence in Australia’s literary tradition is “minimal”, despite him petitioning against their inclusion.

A spokesperson for Education Minister Christopher Pyne denied the government had anything to do with the appointment of Professor Spurr.

They said: “The appointment was not made by the Government. The Minister and his office had no input into the selection of any subject expert.”

“The Minister utterly rejects and finds repugnant the denigration of any minority on the basis of their sex, race, sexual orientation or beliefs,” he added.

 

SOURCE: Independent

https://justlearningman.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/arab-racism/

Hypocrite #IHaveADrone Obama UN 2014 speech + transcript

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen, each year we come together to reaffirm the founding vision of this institution. For most of recorded history, individual aspirations were subject to the whims of tyrants and empires and divisions of race and religion and tribe were settled through the sword and the clash of armies.

The idea that nations and peoples could come together in peace to solve their disputes and advance a common prosperity seemed unimaginable. It took the awful carnage of two world wars to shift our thinking.

The leaders who built the United Nations were not naive. They did not think this body could eradicate all wars. But in the wake of millions dead and (inaudible) rubble, and with the development of nuclear weapons that could annihilate a planet, they understand that humanity could not survive the course it was on.

And so, they gave us this institution, believing that it could allow us to resolve conflicts, enforce rules of behavior and build habits of cooperation that would grow stronger over time.

For decades, the United Nations has, in fact, made a difference from helping to eradicate disease to educating children to brokering peace. But like every generation of leaders, we face new and profound challenges, and this body continues to be tested. The question is whether we possess the wisdom and the courage as nation states and members of an international community to squarely meet those challenges, whether the United Nations can meet the test of our time.

And for much of my tenure as president, some of our most urgent challenges have involved around an increasingly integrated global economy and our efforts to recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetime.

Now, five years after the global economy collapsed, and thanks to coordinated efforts by the countries here today, jobs are being created, global financial systems have stabilized and people are once again being lifted out of poverty.

But this progress is fragile, and unequal and we still have work to do together to assure that our citizens can access the opportunities that they need to thrive in the 21st century.

Together we’ve also worked to end a decade of war. Five years ago nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in harms way, and the war in Iraq was the dominant issue in our relationship with the rest of the world. Today, all of our troops have left Iraq. Next year, an international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of Al Qaida that attacked us on 9/11.

The United States — these new circumstances have also meant shifting away from a perpetual war footing. Beyond bringing our troops home we have limited the use of drones so they target only those who pose a continuing imminent threat to the United States where capture is not feasible and there’s a near certainty of no civilian casualties.

We’re transferring detainees to other countries and trying terrorists in courts of law while working diligently to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. And just as we reviewed how we deploy our extraordinary military capabilities in a way that lives up to our ideals, we’ve begun to review the way that we gather intelligence so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share.

As a result of this work and cooperation with allies and partners, the world is more stable than it was five years ago. But even a glance at today’s headlines indicates that dangers remain. In Kenya, we’ve seen terrorists target innocent civilians in a crowded shopping mall. And our hearts go out to the families of those who’ve been affected.

In Pakistan, nearly 100 people were recently killed by suicide bombers outside a church. In Iraq, killings and car bombs continue to be a terrible part of life.

And meanwhile, Al Qaida has splintered into regional networks and militias which doesn’t give them the capacity at this point to carry out attacks like 9/11, but does pose serious threats to governments and diplomats, businesses and civilians all across the globe.

Just as significantly, the convulsions in the Middle East and North Africa have laid bare deep divisions within societies, as an old order is upended and people grapple with what comes next.

Peaceful movements have too often been answered by violence from those resisting change and from extremists trying to hijack change.

Sectarian conflict has re-emerged, and the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction continues to cast a shadow over the pursuit of peace.

Nowhere have we seen these trends converge more powerfully than in Syria. There, peaceful protests against an authoritarian regime were met with repression and slaughter. In the face of such carnage, many retreated to their sectarian identifies — Alawites and Sunni, Christian and Kurd, and the situation spiraled into civil war.

The international community recognized the stakes early on, but our response has not matched the scale of the challenge. Aid cannot keep pace with the suffering of the wounded and displaced. A peace process is stillborn. America and others have worked to bolster the moderate opposition, but extremist groups have still taken root to exploit the crisis.

Assad’s traditional allies have propped him up, citing principles of sovereignty to shield his regime. And on August 21st, the regime used chemical weapons in an attack that killed more than 1,000 people, including hundreds of children.

Now, the crisis in Syria and the destabilization of the region goes to the heart of broader challenges that the international community must now confront. How should we respond to conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa? Conflicts between countries, but also conflicts within them. How do we address the choice of standing callously by while children are subjected to nerve gas, but we’re embroiling ourselves in someone else’s civil war?

What’s the role of force in resolving disputes that threaten the stability of the region and undermine all basic standards of civilized conduct? And what’s the role of the United Nations and international law in meeting cries for justice?

Today, I want to outline where the United States of America stands on these issues.

With respect to Syria, we believe that as a starting point the international community must enforce the ban on chemical weapons.

When I stated my willingness to order a limited strike against the Assad regime in response to the brazen use of chemical weapons, I did not do so lightly. I did so because I believe it is in the national security interests of the United States and in the interest of the world to meaningfully enforce a prohibition whose origins are older than the United Nations itself.

The ban against the use of chemical weapons, even in war, has been agreed to by 98 percent of humanity. It is strengthened by the searing memories of soldiers suffocated in the trenches, Jews slaughtered in gas chambers, Iranians poisoned in the many tens of thousands.

The evidence is overwhelming that the Assad regime used such weapons on August 21st. U.N. inspectors gave a clear accounting that advanced rockets fired large quantities of sarin gas at civilians. These rockets were fired from a regime-controlled neighborhood and landed in opposition neighborhoods.

It’s an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack.

Now, I know that in the immediate aftermath of the attack there were those who questioned the legitimacy of even a limited strike in the absence of a clear mandate from the Security Council. But without a credible military threat, the Security Council had demonstrated no inclination to act at all.

However, as I’ve discussed with President Putin for over a year, most recently in St. Petersburg, my preference has always been a diplomatic resolution to this issue. And in the past several weeks, the United States, Russia and our allies have reached an agreement to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control and then to destroy them.

The Syrian government took a first step by giving an accounting of its stockpiles. Now, there must be a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments. And there must be consequences if they fail to do so. If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws.

On the other hand, if we succeed, it will send a powerful message that the use of chemical weapons has no place in the 21st century and that this body means what it says. Our agreement on chemical weapons should energize a larger diplomatic effort to reach a political settlement within Syria.

I do not believe that military action by those within Syria or by external powers can achieve a lasting peace. Nor do I believe that America or any nation should determine who will lead Syria. That is for the Syrian people to decide.

Nevertheless, a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a badly fractured country. The notion that Syria can somehow return to a pre- war status quo is a fantasy. It’s time for Russia and Iran to realize that insisting on Assad’s rule will lead directly to the outcome that they fear: An increasingly violent space for extremists to operate.

In turn, those of us who continue to support the moderate opposition must persuade them the Syrian people can’t afford a collapse of state institutions, and that a political settlement cannot be reached without addressing the legitimate fears and concerns of Alawites and other minorities.

We are committed to working this political trek. And, as we pursue a settlement, let’s remember this is not a zero sum endeavor. We’re no longer in a cold war. There’s no great game to be won, nor does America have any interest in Syria beyond the well being of its people, the stability of its neighbors, the elimination of chemical weapons and insuring that it does not become a safe haven for terrorists.

I welcome the influence of all nations that can help bring about a peaceful resolution of Syria’s civil war. As we move the Geneva process forward, I urge all nations here to step up to meet humanitarian needs in Syria and surrounding countries. America’s committed over $1 billion to this effort. And today I can announce that we will be providing an additional $340 million.

No aid can take the place of a political resolution that give the Syrian people a chance to rebuild their country, but it can help desperate people to survive.

What broader conclusions can be drawn from America’s policy towards Syria? I know there are those who’ve been frustrated by our unwillingness to use our military might to depose Assad and believe that a failure to do so indicates a weakening of American resolve in the region.

Others have suggested that my willingness to direct even limited military strikes to deter the further use of chemical weapons shows we’ve learned nothing from Iraq and that America continues to seek control over the Middle East for our own purposes.

In this way, the situation in Syria mirrors the contradiction that has persisted in the region for decades. The United States is chastised for meddling in the region, accused of having a hand in all manner of conspiracy, at the same time the United States is blamed for failing to do enough to solve the region’s problems and for showing indifference towards suffering Muslim populations.

I realize some of this is inevitable, giving — given America’s role in the world. But these contradictory attitudes have a practical impact on the American people’s support for our involvement in the region and allow leaders in the region, as well as the international community sometimes, to avoid addressing difficult problems themselves.

So let me take this opportunity to outline what has been U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa and what will be my policy during the remainder of my presidents (sic).

The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.

We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.

We will dismantle terrorist networks that threaten our people. Wherever possible, we will build the capacity of our partners, respect the sovereignty of nations, and work to address the root causes of terror. But when it’s necessary, defend the United States against terrorist attack, we will take direct action.

And finally, we will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction. Just as we consider the use of chemical weapons in Syria to be a threat to our own national security, we reject the development of nuclear weapons that could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and undermine the global nonproliferation regime.

Now, to say that these are America’s core interests is not to say that they are our only interests. We deeply believe it is in our interests to see a Middle East and North Africa that is peaceful and prosperous. And we’ll continue to promote democracy and human rights and open markets because we believe these practices achieve peace and prosperity.

But I also believe that we can rarely achieve these objectives through unilateral American action, particularly through military action. Iraq shows us that democracy cannot simply be imposed by force. Rather, these objectives are best achieved when we partner with the international community and with the countries and peoples of the region.

So what does this mean going forward?

In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab- Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.

The United States and Iran have been isolated from one another since the Islamic revolution of 1979. This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs and of America’s role in overthrowing the Iranian government during the Cold War. On the other hand, Americans see an Iranian government that has declared the United States an enemy and directly or through proxies taken American hostages, killed U.S. troops and civilians, and threatened our ally Israel with destruction.

I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. The suspicions run too deep. But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road toward a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

Since I took office, I’ve made it clear in letters to the supreme leader in Iran and more recently to President Rouhani that America prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully — although we are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.

Instead, we insist that the Iranian government meet its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty and U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, the supreme leader has issued a fatwah against the development of nuclear weapons. And President Rouhani has just recently reiterated that the Islamic republic will never develop a nuclear weapon.

So these statements made by our respective governments should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement. We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful.

But to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. After all, it’s the Iranian government’s choices that have led to the comprehensive sanctions that are currently in place.

And this not — is not simply an issue between the United States and Iran. The world has seen Iran evade its responsibilities in the past and has an abiding interest in making sure that Iran meets its obligations in the future.

But I want to be clear. We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course, and given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.

The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested. That while the status quo will only deepen Iran’s isolation, Iran’s genuine commitment to go down a different path will be good for the region and for the world, and will help the Iranian people meet their extraordinary potential in commerce and culture, in science and education.

We are also determined the resolve a conflict that goes back even further than our differences with Iran, and that is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state.

Earlier this year, in Jerusalem, I was inspired by young Israelis who stood up for the belief that peace was necessary, just and possible. And I believe there’s a growing recognition within Israel that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric of the Jewish state.

But, the children of Israel have the right to live in a world where the nations assembled in this body fully recognize their country, and where we unequivocally reject those who fire rockets at their homes or incite others to hate them.

Likewise, the United States remains committed to the belief that the Palestinian people have a right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state.

On the same trip, I had the opportunity to meet with young Palestinians in Ramallah, whose ambition and incredible potential are matched by the pain they feel and having no firm place in the community of nations.
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They are understandably cynical that real progress will ever be made, and they’re frustrated by their families enduring the daily indignity of occupation. But they, too, recognize that two states is the only real path to peace. Because just as the Palestinian people must not be displaced, the state of Israel is here to stay.

So the time is now ripe for the entire international community to get behind the pursuit of peace. Already, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks. President Abbas has put aside efforts to shortcut the pursuit of peace and come to the negotiating table. Prime Minister Netanyahu has released Palestinian prisoners and reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state. Current talks are focused on final status issues of borders and security, refugees and Jerusalem.

So now the rest of us must be willing to take risks as well. Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depend on the realization of a Palestinian state. And we should say so clearly. Arab states and those who support the Palestinians must recognize that stability will only be served through a two-state solution and a secure Israel.

All of us must recognize that peace will be a powerful tool to defeat extremists throughout the region and embolden those who are prepared to build a better future. And, moreover, ties of trade and commerce between Israelis and Arabs could be an engine of growth and opportunity at a time when too many young people in the region are languishing without work.
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So let’s emerge from the familiar corners of blame and prejudice; let’s support Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are prepared to walk the difficult road to peace.

Now, real breakthroughs on these two issues — Iran’s nuclear program and Israeli-Palestinian peace — would have a profound and positive impact on the entire Middle East and North Africa.

But the current convulsions arising out of the Arab Spring remind us that a just and lasting peace cannot be measured only agreements between nations; it must also be measured by our ability to resolve conflict and promote justice within nations. And by that measure, it’s clear that all of us have a lot more work to do.

When peaceful transitions began in Tunisia and Egypt, the entire world was filled with hope. And although the United States, like others, was struck by the speed of transition, and although we did not, and, in fact, could not dictate events, we chose to support those who called for change.

And we did so based on the belief that while these transitions will be hard and take time, societies based upon democracy and openness and the dignity of the individual will ultimately be more stable, more prosperous and more peaceful.

Over the last few years, particularly in Egypt, we’ve seen just how hard this transition will be. Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected but proved unwilling or unable to govern in a way that was fully inclusive. The interim government that replaced him responded to the desires of millions of Egyptians who believed the revolution had taken a wrong term. But it, too, has made decisions inconsistent with inclusive democracy through an emergency law, and restrictions on the press and civil society, and opposition (inaudible).

Of course, America has been attacked by all sides of this internal conflict, simultaneously accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and engineering the removal of power. In fact, the United States has purposely avoided choosing sides. Our overriding interest throughout these past few years has been to encourage a government that legitimately reflects the will of the Egyptian people and recognizes true democracy as requiring a respect for minority rights and the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, and a strong civil society. That remains our interest today.

And so going forward the United States will maintain a constructive relationship with the interim government that promotes core interests like the Camp David Accords in (ph) counterterrorism, will continue support in areas like education that directly benefit the Egyptian people, but we have not proceeded with the delivery of certain military systems. And our support will depend upon Egypt’s progress in pursuing a more democratic path.

And our approach to Egypt reflects a larger point: The United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests.

Nevertheless, we will not stop asserting principles that are consistent with our ideals, whether that means opposing the use of violence as a means of suppressing dissent, or supporting the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We will reject the notion that these principles are simply western exports, incompatible with Islam or the Arab world. We believe they are the birthright of every person.
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And while we recognize that our influence will, at times, be limited, although we will be wary of efforts to impose democracy through military force, and although we will, at times, be accused of hypocrisy and inconsistency, we will be engaged in the region for the long haul, for the hard work of forging freedom and democracy is the task of a generation. And this includes efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like Iraq, Bahrain and Syria.

We understand such long-standing issues cannot be solved by outsiders. They must be addressed by Muslim communities themselves. But we’ve seen grinding conflicts come to an end before, most recently in northern Ireland where Catholics and Protestants finally recognized that an endless cycle of conflict was causing both communities to fall behind a fast-moving world. And so, we believe those same sectarian conflicts can be overcome in the Middle East and North Africa.

To summarize, the United States has a hard-earned humility when it comes to our ability to determine events inside other countries. Now, the notion of American empire may be useful propaganda, but it isn’t borne out by America’s current policy or by public opinion. Indeed, as recent debates within the United States over Syria clearly show.

The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.
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I believe such disengagement would be a mistake. I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree. But I believe America is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.

I must be honest though, we’re far more likely to invest our energy in those countries that want to work with us, that invest in their people instead of a corrupt few, that embrace a vision of society where everyone can contribute — men and women, Shia or Sunni, Muslim, Christian or Jew — because from Europe to Asia, from Africa to the Americas, nations that have persevered on a democratic path, have emerged more prosperous, more peaceful and more invested in upholding our common security and our common humanity.

I believe that the same will hold true for the Arab world.

This leads me to a final point. There will be times when the breakdown of societies is so great, the violence against civilians so substantial, that the international community will be called upon to act. This will require new thinking and some very tough choices. While the United Nations was designed to prevent wars between states, increasingly we face the challenge of preventing slaughter within states.

And these challenges will grow more pronounced as we are confronted with states that are fragile or failing, places where horrendous violence can put innocent men, women and children at risk with no hope of protection from their national institutions. I’ve made it clear that even when America’s core interests are not directly threatened, we stand ready to do our part to prevent mass atrocities and protect basic human rights. But we cannot and should not bear that burden alone.

In Mali, we supported both the French intervention, but successfully pushed back Al Qaida, and the African forces who are keeping the peace. In eastern Africa, we are working with partners to bring the Lord’s Resistance Army to an end. And in Libya, when the Security Council provided a mandate to protect civilians, America joined a coalition that took action. Because of what we did there, countless lives were saved and a tyrant could not kill his way back to power.

I know that some now criticize the action in Libya as an object lesson, that point to the problem that the country now confronts, a democratically elected government struggling to provide security, armed groups in some places, extremists ruling parts of the fractured land. And so these critics argue that any intervention to protect civilians is doomed to fail. Look at Libya.

And no one’s more mindful of these problems than I am, for they resulted in the death of four outstanding U.S. citizens who were committed to the Libyan people, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, a man whose courageous efforts helped save the city of Benghazi.

But does anyone truly believe that the situation in Libya would be better, if Gadhafi had been allowed to kill, imprison or brutalize his people into submission?

It’s far more likely that without international action, Libya would now be engulfed in civil war and bloodshed.

We live in a world of imperfect choices. Different nations will not agree on the need for action in every instance. And the principle of sovereignty is at the center of our international order.
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But sovereignty cannot be a shield for tyrants to commit one murder. Or an excuse for the international community to turn a blind eye.

While we need to be modest in our belief that we can remedy every evil, while we need to be mindful that the world is full of unintended consequences, should we really accept the notion that the world is powerless in the face of a Rwanda, or Srebrenica?

If that’s the world that people want to live in, they should say so, and reckon with the cold logic of mass graves.

But I believe we can embrace a different future. And if we don’t want to choose between inaction and war, we must get better, all of us, with (ph) the policies that prevent the breakdown of basic order; through (ph) respect for the responsibilities of nations and the rights of individuals; through meaningful sanctions for those who break the rules; through dogged diplomacy that resolves the root causes of conflict, not merely its aftermath; through development assistance that brings hope to the marginalized.

And, yes, sometimes although this will not be enough, there are gonna be moments where the international community will need to acknowledge that the multilateral use of military force may be required to prevent the very worst from occurring.

Ultimately, this is the international community that America seeks: one where nations do not covet the land or resources of other nations, but one in which we carry out the founding purpose of this institution and where we all take responsibility. A world in which the rules established out of the horrors of war can help us resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the kind of wars that our forefathers fought. A world where human beings can live with dignity and meet their basic needs whether they live in New York or Nairobi, in Peshawar or Damascus.
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These are extraordinary times with extraordinary opportunities. Thanks to human progress, a child born anywhere on Earth today can do things can 60 years ago would have been out of reach for the mass of humanity. I saw this in Africa, where nations moving beyond conflict are now poised to take off, and America is with them, partnering to feed the hungry and care for the sick, and to bring power to places off the grid.

I see it across the Pacific region, where hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty in a single generation. I see it in the faces of young people everywhere who can access the entire world with a click of a button and who are eager to join the cause of eradicating extreme poverty and combating climate change, starting businesses, expanding freedom, and leaving behind the old ideological battles of the past.

That’s what’s happening in Asia and Africa. It’s happening in Europe and across the Americas. That’s the future that the people of the Middle East and North Africa deserve as well, one where they can focus on opportunity instead of whether they’ll be killed or repressed because of who they are or what they believe.

And time and again, nations and people have shown our capacity to change, to live up to humanity’s highest ideals, to choose our better history.

Last month, I stood where 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. told America about his dream at a time when many people of my race could not even vote for president. Earlier this year, I stood in the small cell where Nelson Mandela endured decades cut off from his own people in the world.
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Who are we to believe that today’s challenges cannot be overcome when we’ve seen what changes the human spirit can bring? Who in this hall can argue that the future belongs to those who seek to repress that spirit rather than those who seek to liberate it?

I know what side of history I want the United States of America to be on. We’re ready to meet tomorrow’s challenges with you, firm in the belief that all men and women are, in fact, created equally, each individual possessed with a dignity and inalienable rights that cannot be denied. That’s why we look to the future not with fear, but with hope, and that’s why we remain convinced that this community of nations can deliver a more peaceful, prosperous and just world to the next generation.

Thank you, very much.

SOURCE: Washington Post

#HeForShe Emma Watson @ UN + transcript of speech

UNITED NATIONS – “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are.”

British actress Emma Watson made this call as she launched a United Nations campaign for men and boys worldwide to join the movement for gender equality. (WATCH the full video here.)

The UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador was at the UN Headquarters in New York on Saturday, September 20, to deliver a strong and personal message on equality, gender roles, and feminism.

“I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves,” Watson said.

The UN Women campaign called “HeForShe” aims to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates of change in ending inequalities that women and girls face globally.

In the speech that earned her a standing ovation, Watson stressed the importance of men’s involvement in promoting women’s rights.

“How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”

“I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man …. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”

Watson said liberating men from stereotypes ultimately benefits women.

“When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong,” she said.

The actress famously known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series poked fun at being in the UN but turned serious about her advocacy.

“You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make this better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something.”

‘Feminism is not man-hating’

Watson spoke at length about her personal experience as a feminist, and how society views the concept. The 24-year-old actress took on her role as UN Women ambassador 6 months ago. Earlier this month, she visited Uruguay to learn about women’s political participation there.

 

 

Here is a transcript of Watson’s speech: [SOURCE]

Today we are launching a campaign HeForShe. I am reaching out to you because we need your help. We must try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. We don’t just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure it’s tangible. I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women 6 months ago.

The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.

When I was 8, I was called bossy because I wanted to direct a play we would put on for our parents. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media. At 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of sports teams because they didn’t want to appear masculine. At 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men, unattractive even.

Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.

But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality. These rights are considered to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones.

My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the inadvertent feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those.

If you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It is the idea and the ambition behind it because not all women have received the same rights I have. In fact, statistically, very few have.

In 1997, Hillary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly, many of the things that she wanted to change are still true today. What struck me the most was that less than 30% of the audience were male. How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or being welcomed to participate in the conversation?

Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and heart disease. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom. I want men to take up this mantle so that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.

You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something. Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is need for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.

In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt, I told myself firmly: if not me, who? If not now, when? If you cast doubts when opportunity is presented to you, I hope those words will be helpful. Because the reality is if we do nothing, it will take 75 years or maybe 100 before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates, it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls can have a secondary education.

If you believe in equality, you might be one of the inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier and for this I appraud you. We must strive for a united world but the good news is we have a platform. It is called HeForShe. I invite you to step forward, to be seen and I ask yourself: if not me, who? If not now, when? Thank you.

Is Israel targeting civilians?

When the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Hamas of using “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”, he overlooked an element of the conflict that could not be skewed for the viewing public: the damage to Gaza’s infrastructure.

Read full article

Protective Edge has left the world asking: ‘Is Israel targeting civilians?’

by

Luisa Gandolfo

Lecturer in Peace and Reconciliation at University of Aberdeen

Israeli tank engaged in Operation Protective Edge. EPA/Abir Sultan

When the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Hamas of using “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”, he overlooked an element of the conflict that could not be skewed for the viewing public: the damage to Gaza’s infrastructure.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge 15 days ago, approximately 900 homes and four hospitals have been shelled. The result is more than 500 fatalities, 3,000 injured and 85,000 people living in 67 United Nations shelters.

As the conflict progresses, the death toll escalates: on “Bloody Friday” 61 Palestinians were killed, including 12 children; by Sunday, shelling in the Shujai’iya suburb resulted in the deaths of 100 Palestinians.

The emotional and psychological strain on residents in the Gaza Strip is compounded by the pressure placed on the region’s hospitals. With the number of patients increasing, supplies are scarce and the shells introduce the war to the halls of buildings designated to preserve life.

Systematic Institutionalised Mysogyny

Not my words, but the words of Nazie Eftekhari in a film by Honor Diaries

 

IHEU premieres “Honor Diaries” film at United Nations

By On 2014-03-21 · Add Comment

A still from Honour Diaries

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) organized the first screening in continental Europe of the film, Honor Diaries, in order to help highlight the widespread violence that women suffer around the world in the name of “honour”.

A short of the film was screened at the UN Human Rights Council this week—with IHEU in association with the US Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the British Humanist Association (BHA)—in order to help raise awareness of the number of women subjected to honour violence and the nature of that violence, and to foster further discussion at the UN.

Honor Diaries gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster.

Trailer for Honor Diaries

“Honour-based violence is understood to derive from a desire to control the behaviour of the female, with the honour of a family vested in her body,” said Elizabeth O’Casey, IHEU’s head of delegation at Geneva. “Ultimately, such an interpretation of honour is grounded in an objectification of the woman, with the honour of a family vested in her body. Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honour killings are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.”

The UN has estimated that 5,000 women are murdered by family members each year in “honour killings” but according to women’s advocacy groups the figure could be around 20,000.

The film Honor Diaries has been shown across North America and in the UK, but IHEU’s screening was the first time it was taken to continental Europe.

Discussion

honor-diaries-side-event2

The screening was followed by an enthusiastic and positive panel discussion between different actors and experts within the field, and the film’s producer, Paula Kweskin, and one of the women featured in the film, as well as a CFI delegate to the UN, Raheel Raza.  The need to keep on pushing in forums such as the UN Human Rights Council and support civil society in their attempts to combat honour violence and protect women was echoed by all.

The role of education was also emphasized by a number of participants, both for women to understand their rights and for societies to question the notion of honour as a tool to legitimize abuse and violence against women. The example of Malala  Yousafzai was mentioned to give context to the difficulty that females can face in gaining an education, and the reason for why so many women remain silent on these issues.

Raheel Raza, noted the problematic overlap between culture and religion and emphasized the need for more religious representatives to condemn honour-based violence and to reinforce the idea that such violence is not required by the religious code. She urged the silent majority to speak out on the issue.

A representative from the South Sudanese Lawyer’s society argued that more men need to be involved in the campaign against honour violence.

A Women’s International Peace and Freedom representative highlighted the dangers of initiatives at the UN Human Rights Council on the protection of the family; she argued that when the family is both the recipient and the defender of honour, resolutions that protect and prioritise the family unit make it much more difficult to look into the issues that take place within it.

Overall, the screening and panel discussion helped raise further awareness of the abhorrent worldwide abuse of women in the name of honour, and contributed to better engagement with many actors and experts already within the field.

More information

Your can organise a screening of the film yourself, by consulting the Honor Diaries website for details and read the film producer’s blog on the event: “The Sky’s the Limit”.

Along with screening the film, IHEU also submitted a written statement to the UN on Honour-Based violence against women. Download the PDF of our statement: “Global violence against women in the name of honour”.

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Kingdom of Male Guardianship criticises Norway over human rights record #FreeThe4

Those who can, do and those who can’t, teach.

Copied from article in the Independent Title Saudi Arabia critices Norway over Human Right record

Saudi Arabia has criticised Norway’s human rights record, accusing the country of failing to protect its Muslim citizens and not doing enough to counter criticism of the prophet Mohammed.
The gulf state called for all criticism of religion and of prophet Mohammed to be made illegal in Norway. It also expressed concern at “increasing cases of domestic violence, rape crimes and inequality in riches” and noted a continuation of hate crimes against Muslims in the country.
The Scandinavian nation came under scrutiny during the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review, in which 14 States are scheduled to have their human rights records examined.

Russia meanwhile called for Norway to clamp down on expressions of religious intolerance and and criticised the country’s child welfare system. They also recommended that Norway improve its correctional facilities for those applying for asylum status.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende was in Geneva to hear the concerns from 91 other countries. He told Norway’s NTB newswire prior to the hearing: “It is a paradox that countries which do not support fundamental human rights have influence on the council, but that is the United Nations,” reported The Local.

Human Rights Watch last report noted that in 2012 Saudi Arabia “stepped up arrests and trials of peaceful dissidents, and responded with force to demonstrations by citizens.”

It continued “Authorities continue to suppress or fail to protect the rights of 9 million Saudi women and girls and 9 million foreign workers. As in past years, thousands of people have received unfair trials or been subject to arbitrary detention. The year has seen trials against half-a-dozen human rights defenders and several others for their peaceful expression or assembly demanding political and human rights reforms.”

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