May. 20th, 2011

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Egypt Hunts Down the Right to Love

CAIRO, May 17, 2011 (IPS) - Abeer Fakhry, a young Christian woman, had only wanted to live with a man who would love and respect her, and not with her abusive husband. But within months of trying to escape her marriage, and her faith, Abeer finds herself chased by her family, by the Orthodox Christian Church, by the fundamentalist Islamic Salafi Group and, lately, by Egypt’s top army generals.

"I just wanted to be happy," said Abeer, who is now known by her first name, in a Youtube video that made her story famous in this country.

Abeer’s story has come to underscore the conditions of Orthodox Christian women who are subjected to domestic violence and who seek protection elsewhere, but find that the teachings of their church keeps them in permanent, and often intolerable, wedlock.

While the Church itself complains of discrimination by the country’s Muslim majority, this case also highlights denial of freedom practised by the Church itself against its own members.

Just... read the whole thing.
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PERU No Easy Choice for Women in Presidential Runoff

LIMA, May 20, 2011 (IPS) - In other circumstances, many women in Peru would be celebrating the possibility of a female president for the first time in the history of their country, or the alternative: the triumph of a candidate who promises to improve things for the poor. But both candidates taking part in the Jun. 5 runoff draw heavy opposition or awaken serious doubts among women's groups.

The second round of elections, in which Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the former president who launched a campaign of forced sterilisation of thousands of poor women, and Ollanta Humala, a former military officer stigmatised for leading a failed coup in 2000, puts the women's movement in a bind, activists say.

"I always wanted to see a woman elected president of my country, but with Keiko there is no possibility that women would be respected. 'Fujimorismo' is used to governing with impunity and corruption," Victoria Vigo told IPS, with the vehemence of someone who was a victim of forced sterilisation in 1996, during the regime of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000). MORE

Peru: Humala and Fujimori in Final Stretch

(IPS) - If retired military officer Ollanta Humala wins the Jun. 5 presidential runoff in Peru, he will have to govern with a highly fragmented Congress. And if lawmaker Keiko Fujimori triumphs, her most notable move may be the release of her father, former president Alberto Fujimori, who is serving 25 years in prison.

Leftwing nationalist Humala came in first in Sunday's elections, and according to the partial results, his adversary in the second round will be the 35-year-old Keiko Fujimori, who is conservative and has pledged to be tough on crime.

Humala, a 48-year-old former army officer who heads the Gana Perú party, took 29.3 percent of the vote, followed by Fujimori of Fuerza 2011, with 23 percent, and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Alianza por el Gran Cambio, with 21 percent.

The leading candidate had to win at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

This is the second time that Humala – who led an uprising against former president Fujimori (1990-2000) in 2000 – has won a first-round victory. In 2006 he garnered 25.6 percent of the vote, but was defeated by current President Alan García in the second round, by 52.6 percent to 47.3 percent.

Keiko Fujimori, whose father is in prison for human rights violations and corruption, is set to go on to the next round, because the gap between her and Kuczynski is small but consistent, the electoral authorities announced.


Meanwhile, "Fujimorismo" - the movement represented by Fujimori – will go from the 13 seats it currently holds to nearly three times that number.

But what is most worrisome about a possible triumph by Fujimori is that she may use the office of president to free her father, the director of the local human rights organisation Legal Defence Institute, Carlos Rivera, told IPS. MORE

Can you imagine being a Peruvian voter in this situation?
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Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Sébastien Bassong attack France race quotas

Benoît Assou-Ekotto still finds the concept faintly amazing, despite having lived in England for the past five years, and so does Sébastien Bassong, his Tottenham Hotspur team-mate, who has been in the country now for three. When the French-born Cameroon internationals ask colleagues such as Jermain Defoe or Aaron Lennon where they come from, the answers touch a nerve that is red raw in France at present.

"They say, of course, that they are English or British," Assou-Ekotto says. "At first, I thought that they must be ashamed of their origins because coming from where I did in France, even if you had only one little drop of Moroccan blood, for example, you would represent it to the death. You would be fiercely proud of being African.

"But here, it is different. People might say that their parents are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria or wherever but they are fiercely proud of being here and the society accepts that, which is a big difference to France. When you ask the same question in France, people will say, 'I'm from Congo or Mali or Cameroon' because there isn't the sense of belonging."


But the general unpleasantness of the affair has raised more fundamental questions, with the most prominent concerning why young men such as Assou-Ekotto and Bassong, who were born and raised in France, can feel such a disconnection from the society and, by extension, the France national team.

"I'm surprised by this affair but I'm not necessarily shocked because it's a reflection of French society as I see it," Assou-Ekotto says. "I would put a question to you. Can you name another country where, when the national anthem is sung at the stadium, people boo and whistle? This happens in France all the time. It is not foreigners who make up the crowd; it is people who are supposed to be French and yet there is this disconnect between the state and the people, and they do that. And yet, when something is wrong, they highlight the foreigners.

"France has, at its heart, a problem where it has been unable or unwilling to accommodate the sons and daughters of its former colonies, even though France benefited and enriched itself greatly from the relationship. That's hard to accept and it's what sits at the base of what is dysfunctional in France

I and other have been saying this shit for a long fucking while: if the dominant culture is nasty to its immigrants then what the fuck do they expect said immigrants to do? Continue to hold out their hands to get slapped? Of course they are going to be alienated and draw away from the dominant society. This is logic and common fraking sense! Now the fun thing of course is that Britian has it own issues with immigration. But damn France, damn.


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