Category Archives: Life

Political uncertainty looms over Afghan women

Women listen to a speech by Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai during a district assembly gathering in Kabul last month. — Reuters

KABUL — A legal requirement that women make up at least a quarter of all provincial elected officials was quietly removed by conservative male parliamentarians, officials said, the latest in a series of decisions undermining advances in women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The change, engineered in mid-May, was only discovered by women members of parliament a few days ago.

The action has sparked fears among women’s rights activists that President Hamid Karzai’s government is increasingly willing to trade away their hard fought gains to placate the Taliban as part of attempts to coax them to the peace table.

Activists said it could also reduce the number of women serving in parliament’s upper house, as most women are elected there via their role as elected provincial officials.

“In negotiations you don’t gain anything unless you also give something up,” said prominent women’s rights activist and MP Farkhunda Naderi.
“This is a political strategy: to please (the Taliban) in peace talks they’re willing to give up women’s rights.”

Women entered Afghanistan’s male-only political arena in 2001 soon after the overthrow of the hardline Taliban regime by a US-led invasion.
The law had previously set aside for women at least a quarter of seats in some 400 district and 34 provincial councils.

Seventeen of 28 women in the upper house are appointed by Karzai. The remaining 11 must be chosen from among women sitting on district and provincial councils, but those positions are now under a cloud. The change was approved by parliament’s lower house, the Wolesi Jirga, on May 22.
Prominent parliamentarian Fawzia Koofi said female members did not discover the change until last week.

“(They) removed it without informing us. We trusted that the law we signed off on was the same as previous drafts,” she said, referring to the members who made the changes. The law still needs approval from the upper house and Karzai before being passed into law.

Critics of the change told Reuters its removal will not only affect women’s ability to serve in the upper house, but also do away with more than 100 seats in local government bodies nationwide that were previously guaranteed to women.

“Women are not in the position to win votes in this country based on popular vote alone, this amendment is worrisome they’ll lose their voice,” said Noor Mohammad Noor, spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission.

Conservative male parliamentarians backing the change said the concept of granting rights based on their gender was unconstitutional.

“It’s undemocratic to grant a seat to a woman even though a man had more votes, simply because the law favors her,” said Qazi Nasir Ahmad Hanafi, head of the legislative commission. — Reuters

Saudi Arabia blocks access to Jpost.com

Just  note, Im reposting this for our readers in Saudi Arabia. This blog has many readers in the Kingdom (#7) and I try to cover events that pertain to them, good and the bad. This I feel is such a step back for the people and I am sorry for the extra repression. This blog is blocked in Iran,North Korea and China. I would hate to add SA to that short list of violators of the most basic of freedoms. In order for Islam t.o ever reform or evolve, there cannot be censorship.

لاحظ فقط، وايم إعادة إرسال هذا لقرائنا الأعزاء في المملكة العربية السعودية. هذا بلوق لديه العديد من القراء في المملكة (رقم 7) وأنا في محاولة لتغطية الأحداث المتعلقة بها، الخير والشر. هذا أشعر مثل خطوة إلى الوراء بالنسبة للشعب وأنا آسف لقمع إضافي. تم حظر هذا بلوق في إيران وكوريا الشمالية والصين. أنا أكره أن تضيف SA إلى أن قائمة قصيرة من المخالفين لأبسط الحريات. من أجل الإسلام لإصلاح أي وقت مضى أو تتطور، لا يمكن أن تكون هناك رقابة.

 

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT

Editor of Post: Shame Saudi regime determined to stifle freedom.

A man reads a newspaper in Jeddah June 17, 2012 Photo: REUTERS/Susan Baaghil
BERLIN – Saudi Arabia’s government appears to have denied access to the website of the Jerusalem Post since early May.

The conservative British-based news and opinion website—The Commentator—first drew attention to the disruption on Tuesday in a report headlined: Has Saudi Arabia blocked the Jerusalem Post? The article wrote a “A lecturer from Saudi Arabia has claimed that the country is blocking access to the Jerusalem Post website.”

The prominent Saudi blogger and journalist Ahmed Al Omran confirmed on his Twitter feed that the Post website “is blocked,” whilst Haaretz and Ynet are both accessible.

The writer of the Commentator article Ahmed Abdel-Raheem is an Egyptian artist and a PhD student who works as a lecturer at Al-Lith College for Girls, Um Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia, according to his byline on the website of the Commentator.

He wrote, “Over the past week I have tried to access the website of the newspaper the Jerusalem Post, but every time I click the link of the paper, I have received the message: ‘Sorry, the requested page is unavailable.'”

It remains unclear why the Saudi government banned access to the Post’s website. Sara Miller, the editor of the Jpost.com website, said: “Since the start of May, there has been an almost 100-percent drop in the number of visits to jpost.com from Saudi Arabia.

Up until April 30, we were getting hundreds of visits from Saudi Arabia every day, and now it is less than 10. There is clearly a demand for news from the Jerusalem Post, and it is a shame that the Saudi regime is proving yet again that it is determined to stifle freedom of thought and expression among its own population.”

Speaking with the Post from London by telephone, Raheem Kassam, the executive editor of The Commentator, said the  “Saudis might have kept their eye on the Post  for a while and it reached a tipping point.”

He added there have been a lot of stories critical of Saudi Arabia, including reports about the coronavirus affecting the Saudi population.

Kassam said the Jpost stories are “more in depth” about Saudi human rights abuses and the virus and that might be an element to the Saudis interest in blocking access to the Post’s website. “The Gulf countries want to control reporting” about coronavirus and cannot do that with non-Saudi publications in the Middle East, said Kassam.

Post calls and emails to the Saudi Embassy in Berlin and Washington D.C. were not immediately returned.

Ahmed Abdel-Raheem , the writer of the Commentator article, added that “Thinking that there would be a problem with my network or laptop, I tried to surf the news outlet from other networks and laptops, but there was no hope. In the end, I became very sure that the website had been blocked.”

Kassam, the executive editor of The Commentator, said Abdel-Raheem has written for the website “from afar” in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Gosnell Part II: The Texas Chapter

Second ‘house of horrors’ abortion clinic where doctor ‘twisted heads off fetus’ necks with his bare hands’ is investigated in Texas

  • Houston doctor Douglas Karpen is accused by four former employees of delivering live babies during third-trimester abortions and killing them
  • Witnesses said he would either snip their spinal cords, stab a surgical instrument into their heads or twist their heads off with his hands
  • Texas Department of State Health Services is using in its investigating of the doctor
  • Accusations come days after Dr Kermit Gosnells was found guilty of murdering newborns at his Philadelphia abortion clinic

By Helen Pow

A second ‘house of horrors’ abortion clinic is being investigated in Texas, just days after Dr Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of murdering newborns at his Philadelphia termination center.

karpen

Dr. Douglas Karpen, seen here in court, is accused of killing babies aborted in their third trimester

Houston doctor Douglas Karpen is accused by four former employees of delivering live fetuses during third-trimester abortions and killing them by either snipping their spinal cord, stabbing a surgical instrument into their heads or ‘twisting their heads off their necks with his own bare hands’.

Other times the fetus was so big he would have to pull it out of the womb in pieces, Karpen‘s ex-assistant, Deborah Edge, said in an Operation Rescue video, which has prompted a criminal investigation into the doctor.

‘Sometimes he couldn’t get the fetus out… he would yank pieces – piece by piece – when they were oversize,’ Edge explained.

‘And I’m talking about the whole floor dirty. I’m talking about me drenched in blood.’

Two of Edge’s colleagues, Gigi Aguliar, and Krystal Rodriguez, also described the hellish scenes which took place at the Aaron Women’s Clinic in Houston in 2011, and possibly two other abortion clinics run by Karpen in Texas.

Another staffer, who remains anonymous, filed an affidavit with her account of events, which the Texas Department of State Health Services is using in its investigation.

‘We have several people looking into the allegations,’ Harris County District Attorney spokesman Sara Marie Kinney told Chron.com.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he had read the allegations ‘with disgust’ before calling for a full investigation into Karpen and his clinics.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO – WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Speaking out: Krystal Rodriguez, left, Deborah Edge, center, and Gigi Aguliar, right, have all come forward to talk about their former boss Karpan

Speaking out: Krystal Rodriguez, left, Deborah Edge, center, and Gigi Aguliar, right, have all come forward to talk about their former boss Karpan

Lifenews.com, an anti-abortion news website, has published cell phone photographs taken by the employees of fetuses with gashes in their necks after they were killed at the clinic, though these are far too gruesome for MailOnline to show.

Edge said fetuses were killed well after 24 weeks gestation at the Houston clinic, which resulted in a sweat-inducing job that took about an hour per procedure. She said every morning on multiple occasions she would see fetuses born alive and then quickly killed by the doctor.

‘When he did an abortion, especially an over 20 week abortion, most of the time the fetus would come completely out before he either cut the spinal cord or he introduced one of the instruments into the soft spot of the fetus in order to kill it…. or actually twisting the head off the neck with his own bare hands,’ she explained.

‘It was still alive because it was still moving and you could see the stomach breathing.’

The women described one occasion where a fetus that Karpen thought was dead suddenly ‘opened its eyes and grabbed (the doctor’s) finger’ after he wrenched it from the womb. However, it met a similar fate to the other fetuses at the clinic, the women said.

‘He thought it was dead but the fetus actually opened its eyes and grabbed his finger,’ Aguliar said. ‘He was alive. He thought it was deceased already. He was getting ready to put it in the back.’

Crime scene: The hellish scenes allegedly took place at the Aaron Women's Clinic, pictured, in Houston in 2011, and possibly two other abortion clinics run by Karpen in Texas

Crime scene: The hellish scenes allegedly took place at the Aaron Women’s Clinic, pictured, in Houston in 2011, and possibly two other abortion clinics run by Karpen in Texas

They also recounted occasions when women were so far along with their pregnancy they were actually induced into labor and in two cases their fetus’ came out while they were in the bathroom.

Rodriguez described another incident where a patient’s fetus fell from her and onto the floor in the clinic’s waiting room.

‘(Karpen) just picked it up with a Chux and put it in the trash bag,’ she said.

According to Rodriguez, as long as patients had the cash, Karpen would perform an abortion well past 24 weeks. A late-term procedure cost between $4,000 and $5,000 at the clinic, they said in the video which was filmed as the clinic was still operating and released on Wednesday.

Edge said she regularly got upset during her work and couldn’t watch when Karpen allegedly killed the newborns. But she said she didn’t know that what he was doing was illegal.

‘We used to look at each other and sometimes our tears would come out with the other assistants,’ Edge said. ‘We would always think “he’s so greedy.”‘