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The other world, 2013

These days, I read some quite troubling articles. The world seems to be going in a very awkward direction. The EU urges Cyprus to nationalize the money in its bank deposits, the US allows civil use of drones by the police, US politicians try to ban the anonymous comments in Internet, some secret spy agencies give to NASA a 15 years old satellite with mirrors as big as Hubble's aimed at the Earth's surface, with technology beyond the current one, and in the meantime, a huge percentage of the South American leaders (and maybe not only) are sick with cancer (?!?). What's going on?
Well, I can't tell you what's going on, but I know something is awfully wrong. When a civilization reaches its limit of destruction, it starts regressing. And right now, I think we are pretty close. When the human life loses its meaning, and death becomes just another tool, the dark ages are coming. You could argue that the value of human life has always been relative, but there always has been some idea of "own/ours" vs "the others". When you start killing off your own people on a global scale, that can't be good.
And the biggest problem is that people just won't see it. The crisis has produced such wide-spread misery, cutting money flow in so many intellectual fields, that the educated people who must had seen this coming are basically blind. Or too scared to talk. So what is left for the rest of the population.
I won't focus on politics today, even though, it is implied. I know you've probably had enough of politics for your next 3 lives.
I'd like to move your attention from our world, to the other world. Because certainly there is another world. World obeying different rules, different norms and whispering different moral. Or maybe the moral is the same everywhere, we just need to see its essence in the multitude life-stories around us.
So here is this other world. The world where half of the population of a country has practically no rights. Where that part of the population needs to be constantly observed, "protected", limited, oppressed for its own safety. Yes, you can guess it, I'm speaking of the Arab world.
You can read the news below. I'd just like to point out something. The countries we're talking about are all US allies. They are countries which have been either democratized or pointed as a good example (in the case of Turkey). Yet, we see how democracy in those countries has strangely different taste than in ours (if we believe we have democracy in USA or EU that is). With all its power, the USA and its allies have not brought well-being to this second half of the population of those countries. They've brought them just lies. Lies of a better and more equal life. Beautiful images of modern life and of freedom which never came true.
And yet we don't care. We think of the ruins of our well-ordered life. And weep. But we never think of those women. Of their lives. Of the way they need to adapt in order to survive. We cry over our money or loss of job or security, yet a HUGE number of humans on this planet live well below our own standards for well-being. We ignore them, because it is easier. But as the last article points out, that may be wrong. Because sooner or later, we'll have to deal with that. And if the change from sexy uniforms to Ottoman-style long dresses happened in less than 30 years, what can we expect for our own world? Can we resist the crash with this different civilisation? Do we have the identity to withstand the pressure to change our own values? Are we ready to protect them, at any cost?
People look for comfort in all kind of different places, religion in particular. Christianity, however, has been wounded deeply by all the scandals and lack of understanding for the problems and needs of the ordinary people. Then, people would look at other direction. Newer, different, seducing them with moral they like but never dared to require. Giving them a new line to draw between themselves and the sick society. I do believe in religious freedom, the problem comes when there is no strategy on national level, or European level if we speak of the EU. When the politicians turn rogue, ordinary people need sanctuary. Squeezed between our own crazy politicians, the young, rich and religious Arab world and the huge, even richer, but free of religion China, I'm not sure where we can hide, how we can resist. I'm not sure what place this world is going to be in 10 years. Latin America offered a good way out of the situation. Yet, its leaders seem to have very bad luck with their health. And the rest of the western civilization actually rejoiced, when one of those leaders, who fought for solidarity and freedom from the big money, died. Why intelligent people would fail to see the rebirth of humanity in South America is beyond me.
In any case, the best answer, instead of thinking where to run and hide is to work on our problems while we can. A Belgian MP LAURENT LOUIS said it very well in his speech. I think we all know where the problem is. We just need to find a way to stop it. Just to say NO to all those crazy bastards which are trying to rob us of our humanity, of our values, of our dreams, all in the name of the big money and their masters. Just stop believing the easy thing and start looking for the truth behind their words. It is there. I mean, whatever they tell you, if it will harm big groups of people of any gender, class, social status or education, it is very likely to be a lie. We all know what good and right is -- to create wealth and happiness without harming others. We just need to start requiring this from our leaders. If we want, 10 years from now, our life to be better, that is.  

  1. Muslim Brotherhood’s Statement on Women Stirs Liberals’ Fears 
  2. 2 Afghan Sisters, Swept Up in a Suicide Wave 
  3. Turks Debate Modest Dress Set for Takeoff 
  4. Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy
  5. Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout in Mideast

Muslim Brotherhood’s Statement on Women Stirs Liberals’ Fears

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and MAYY EL SHEIKH Published: March 14, 2013  CAIRO — During its decades as an underground Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood has long preached that Islam required women to obey their husbands in all matters.   “A woman needs to be confined within a framework that is controlled by the man of the house,” Osama Yehia Abu Salama, a Brotherhood family expert, said of the group’s general approach, speaking in a recent seminar for women training to become marriage counselors. Even if a wife were beaten by her husband, he advised, “Show her how she had a role in what happened to her.”
Now, with a leader of the Brotherhood’s political arm in Egypt’s presidential palace and its members dominating Parliament, some deeply patriarchal views the organization has long taught its members are spilling into public view. The Brotherhood’s strident statements are reinforcing fears among many Egyptian liberals about the potential consequences of the group’s rise to power. 
In a statement Wednesday on a proposed United Nations declaration to condemn violence against women, the Brotherhood issued a list of objections, which formally laid out its views on women for the first time since it came to power. In its statement, the Brotherhood said that wives should not have the right to file legal complaints against their husbands for rape, and husbands should not be subject to the punishments meted out for the rape of a stranger. A husband must have “guardianship” over his wife, not an equal “partnership” with her, the group declared. Daughters should not have the same inheritance rights as sons. Nor should the law cancel “the need for a husband’s consent in matters like travel, work or use of contraception”.
In an interview on Thursday, Pakinam El-Sharkawy, President Morsi’s political adviser and Egypt’s representative last week at the United Nations commission, sought to distance the Morsi administration from the Brotherhood’s statement. The Brotherhood, she emphasized, does not speak for the president;" source

2 Afghan Sisters, Swept Up in a Suicide Wave

By AZAM AHMED, Published: March 11, 2013 MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — On the surface, the Gul sisters seemed to have it all: they were young, beautiful, educated and well off, testing the bounds of conservative Afghan traditions with fitted jeans, makeup and cellphones. 
But Nabila Gul, 17, a bright and spunky high school student, pushed it too far. She fell in love. Her older sister, Fareba, 25, alarmed at the potential shame and consequences, tried to intervene. Their argument that November day ended in grief: side-by-side coffins, both girls dead within hours of each other after consuming rat poison stolen from their father’s grain closet. 
For many, the deaths have come to symbolize a larger crisis: an intensifying wave of suicide attempts. Although the government says it does not collect data on these cases, the city’s main hospital says it has been overwhelmed, with three or four such patients co ming in every day, up from about one or two a month a decade ago. The number of attempts has grown with such speed that the head of investigations for the police, Col. Salahudin Sultan, says he can no longer follow up on them. source

Turks Debate Modest Dress Set for Takeoff

By TIM ARANGO Published: February 24, 2013 ISTANBUL — When flight attendants first rode aboard Turkish Airlines in the late 1940s they wore cotton blouses under blue suits tailored to accentuate “the contours of the body,” as a fashion history of the airline puts it. In the ’60s and ’70s the trend continued with fashions straight off the Paris runway.   Now, the country’s shifting mores are reflected in a proposed new look: long dresses, skirts below the knee and Ottoman-style fez caps.
The dispute was only heightened after the airline said it was banning alcohol on some domestic and international flights.  Others slammed the new look as too conservative, a transparent effort to please the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The party’s decade-long run in power has wrought changes in the traditionally secular culture, like the acceptance of Islamic head scarves in public and on college campuses and restrictions on alcohol in certain places.  source 

Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy

Published: November 24, 2012  WASHINGTON — Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
The administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.
Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.
Partly because United Nations officials know that the United States is setting a legal and ethical precedent for other countries developing armed drones, the U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva early next year to investigate American drone strikes.
Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency. But by many accounts, there has been a significant shift in the nature of the targets. In the early years, most strikes were aimed at ranking leaders of Al Qaeda thought to be plotting to attack the United States. But for at least two years in Pakistan  most strikes have been directed at militants whose main battle is with the Pakistani authorities or who fight with the Taliban against American troops in Afghanistan.
In Yemen, some strikes apparently launched by the United States killed militants who were preparing to attack Yemeni military forces. Then there is the matter of strikes against people whose identities are unknown.  Experts say the strikes are deeply unpopular both in Pakistan and Yemen, in part because of allegations of large numbers of civilian casualties, which American officials say are exaggerated.

Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout in Mideast

RAMALLAH, West Bank — For years, the United States and its Middle East allies were challenged by the rising might of the so-called Shiite crescent, a political and ideological alliance backed by Iran that linked regional actors deeply hostile to Israel and the West. But uprising, wars and economics have altered the landscape of the region, paving the way for a new axis to emerge, one led by a Sunni Muslim alliance of Egypt, Qatar and Turkey.
For the United States and Israel, the shifting dynamics offer a chance to isolate a resurgent Iran. But the gains are also tempered, because these Sunni leaders also  promote a radical religious-based ideology that has fueled anti-Western sentiment around the region.
But otherwise confusion reigns in terms of knowing how to deal with this new paradigm, one that could well create societies infused with religious ideology that Americans find difficult to accept. The new reality could be a weaker Iran, but a far more religiously conservative Middle East that is less beholden to the United States. Already, Islamists have been empowered in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, while Syria’s opposition is being led by Sunni insurgents, including a growing number identified as jihadists, some identified as sympathizing with Al Qaeda. Qatar, which hosts a major United States military base, also helps finance Islamists all around the region. In Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi resigned as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood only when he became head of state, but he still remains closely linked with the movement. Turkey, the model for many of them, has kept strong relations with Washington while diminishing the authority of generals who were longstanding American allies.  source

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