A lesson

This is horrifying. Nushin Arbabzadah says religious violence has become normalized in Afghanistan.

The brutal lynching of Farkhunda, has revealed a number of significant issues regarding the state of Islam in Afghanistan.

The most crucial is that a fanatic strand of Islamic has become normalized, and accepted by a mainstream audience. The imam who incited the violence, the mob who lynched Farkhunda, the bystanders who filmed it — they were not the disenfranchised. They were ordinary Afghans, members of the middle class, including shop keepers. The initial public reaction was approval, expressed by public figures representing the spheres of culture and education. [Read more…]

As if we’re all ticking discrimination lawsuit timebombs

Mandy Brown comments on the ruling in Ellen Pao’s suit against Kleiner Perkins.

The law has been constructed in such a way that only extremely blatant discrimination counts. More subtle sexism (and racism) can hide behind all kinds of gender- or race-neutral justifications which can never be wholly dismissed. So Pao wasn’t passed up because she was a woman, but because she wasn’t likeable. She wasn’t fired because of her lawsuit, but because she didn’t have what it takes. She was both too pushy and not pushy enough. She wasn’t a “thought leader.” [Read more…]

A lone and persecuted voice

Nick Cohen reviews Nigel Farage’s campaign biography and finds yet another “get me I’m an outsider” phony.

Farage is an attack dog who poses as an underdog. He’s the small-minded man who pretends he’s the friend of the little guy. He writes as if he were a dissident in a dictatorship: a lone and persecuted voice, who has suffered for telling truth to power. The results are occasionally hilarious. The BBC and press are always out to get him, even though most of the Conservative press supports Ukip’s policies, and the BBC never has him off air.

They promote him, but they don’t cuddle and squeeze him.

Farage’s vainglorious anecdotes are accompanied by a long, low moan about how he could have made “an enormous amount of money” if he had not chosen to leave the City and enter politics. So relentless is the self-pity, so often does Farage play the victim card, that there are times when this book feels like the Home Counties equivalent of a martyrdom video.

Hasn’t he read the memo? He’s supposed to be thick-skinned and resilient. A thick-skinned resilient outsider underdog.

The priest delivered his homily

What not to say about rape:

A Catholic priest in Melbourne has reportedly been criticised for a speech in which he said Jill Meagher would have been at home instead of out on the night she was raped and killed if she was more “faith filled”.

Meagher was murdered by Adrian Bayley after a night out Melbourne in September 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The priest delivered his homily at an end-of-term service for a Catholic primary school in Melbourne on Friday and radio station 3AW reported he held up a newspaper article with a picture of Bayley on it to make his point. The report says he told a crowd of about 100 that if Meagher had been more “faith filled” she would have been home and “not walking down Sydney Road at 3am”.

That. That’s something not to say about rape. So many reasons – one of them being the casual dismissal of women’s right to walk around in the world, and the implication that there’s something immoral about women doing so, and the implication that if they were more god-obsessed they would stay home, obsessing over god, and that that would be a good thing.

Nothing to do with higher education

Robert Reich thinks college fraternities should be abolished. I do too.

There are exceptions but for the most part fraternities are elitist, exclusive, and privileged. They have nothing to do with higher education. And they’re periodically mired in scandal involving hazing (such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison frat’s degrading hazing); racism (the video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members calling for the lynching of African-Americans); sexual assault (the University of Maryland frat brothers’ pro-rape emails, and allegations of drug dealing and sexual assault in a North Carolina State frat); degradation of women (Penn State fraternity’s secret Facebook page for sharing photos of nude passed out women); destructive drunkenness (University of Michigan frat brothers destroying a ski resort in a drunken rage). The list goes on, and this is just in the last few months.

[Read more…]

Well he didn’t see that coming

Indiana is surprised and, frankly, a little hurt by all the hostility that has greeted its friendly new law inviting everyone to treat selected sets of people like pariahs.

Three days after signing legislation widely criticized as a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he didn’t anticipate “the hostility that’s been directed at our state.” [Read more…]

At the museum

In Tunis today, thousands of people marched to the Bardo Museum in protest against terrorism and death and culture-murder, and in favor of freedom and art and museums and human flourishing.

Chanting “Tunisia is free! Terrorism out!” they marched to the Bardo Museum, the scene of an attack in which 21 tourists and a Tunisian died.

French President Francois Hollande and other world leaders attended a ceremony at the museum. [Read more…]