Must be able to handle a sword

Job opportunity in Saudi Arabia: they’re hiring executioners.

Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences, usually done by public beheading.

No special qualifications are needed for the jobs whose main role is “executing a judgment of death” but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, the advert, posted on the civil service jobs portal, said.

Not a bad job at all; just cutting off heads and hands. Light, healthful work in a pleasant environment.

The Islamic kingdom is in the top five countries in the world for putting people to death, rights groups say. It ranked third in 2014, after China and Iran, and ahead of Iraq and the United States, according to Amnesty International figures.

Great company my country keeps, isn’t it – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Murderers’ Row.

A man beheaded on Sunday was the 85th person this year whose execution was recorded by the official Saudi Press Agency, compared to 88 in the whole of 2014, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Amnesty said there were at least 90 executions last year.

Most were executed for murder, but 38 had committed drugs offences, HRW said. About half were Saudi and the others were from Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Burma, Chad, Eritrea the Philippines and Sudan.

Well at least the US doesn’t execute people for drugs offences. Yet.

Those young women were totally unwilling

HRW on Indonesia’s “virginity test”:

Virginity testing is a form of gender-based violence and is a widely discredited practice. In November 2014, the World Health Organization issued guidelines that stated, “There is no place for virginity (or ‘two-finger’) testing; it has no scientific validity.”

Indonesia’s coordinating minister for politics, law, and security, Tedjo Edhi, acknowledged that the military requires the tests on November 18, 2014, the day that Human Rights Watch issued a report about “virginity testing” for female National Police candidates. Maj. Gen. Fuad Basya, the armed forces spokesman, said that the Indonesian military has conducted “virginity testing” on female recruits for even longer than the police, without specifying when the practice began. Human Rights Watch research found that all branches of the military – air force, army, and navy – have used the test for decades and also extended the requirement to the fiancées of military officers.

[Read more…]

Two fingers

A news item from the Jakarta Globe:

Jakarta. The commander of Indonesia’s armed forces believes that invasive virginity tests for female recruits are a good thing and the only way to gauge the women’s morality.

Asked for his response to growing international condemnation of the practice, Gen. Moeldoko insisted to reporters at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday that the so-called two-finger test was one of the requirements for women joining the Indonesian Military, or TNI.

“So what’s the problem? It’s a good thing, so why criticize it?” he said.

[Read more…]

Tarek’s goodbye to Taslima

Tarek Fatah thinks highly of my friend Taslima Nasreen.

On my way to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport Sunday night for a flight back to Canada, I made a detour to pay my respects to someone I consider the bravest woman alive today — exiled Bangladeshi author, Taslima Nasreen.

I think many people consider her that, and rightly so.

Despite the security, this woman of steel, who has braved both physical and verbal assaults over her last 20 years in exile, sounds despondent.

She tells me, “The jihadi death squads of Bangladesh, who have killed three secular writers in three months, have now added my name to their list.” [Read more…]

“Your brother’s engaged and we need your dowry money to pay for his wedding.”

Another Mighty Girl.

18-year-old Sonita Alizadeh never expected her love of rap music to change her life. When the Afghan-born singer was 14 years old, she was devastated to learn that her parents were arranging a marriage for her. In response, she wrote and recorded a powerful song called “Brides for Sale.” Not only did it change her parents’ minds, but the attention her music video generated has led to new opportunities and given her the chance to speak out on behalf of girls forced into child marriages around the world.

Sonita fled Afghanistan with her family to Tehran, Iran when she was eight years old. She discovered a non-profit organization that offered programs for undocumented Afghan kids; there she learned karate, photography, and had her first lessons in singing and rapping. Her lyrical ability quickly caught people’s attention, and she started working with an Iranian director who helped her polish her style and make her first music videos. She had high hopes for pursuing her interest in music until one day her mother told her: ‘You have to return to Afghanistan with me. There’s a man there who wants to marry you. Your brother’s engaged and we need your dowry money to pay for his wedding.” [Read more…]

Ten minutes’ grace

Of course. Obama got a shiny new POTUS Twitter account, and he tweeted a tweet to see if it worked. Ten minutes later, the Twitter scummerati were calling him “nigger.” Of course they were.

Here at [New Civil Rights Movement], announcing the news about 45 minutes later, we joked, “Someone’s going to have to break it to him that he doesn’t get to keep the account when he leaves office…”

But back on Twitter, it took conservatives all of ten minutes to start engaging in despicable acts, by calling President Obama “nigger.”

[Read more…]

Guest post: I can tell a story about a concerned, caring Earl

Originally a comment by A Masked Avenger on Guest post: Narrative in literature is about explaining something

Narrative is a particularly engaging form of explaining.

Engaging… and dangerous. I can tell a story about how a woman saves herself from an attacker in the park by shooting him with her concealed weapon, and influence readers to believe (a) that “normal” attacks against women are by strangers in parks, and (b) women would be safer if only they carried more guns.

Or I can tell a story about a concerned, caring Earl, who sticks by his servants despite their being arrested twice and charged (falsely, of course) with two different murders, and who spends himself to the brink of penury all for the welfare of his tenants. [Read more…]

It is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels

Annals of Gender Policing. Anna Merlan at Jezebel reports:

The Cannes Film Festival is reportedly not allowing women into screenings if they’re wearing flat shoes.

Into screenings. It would be bad enough if it were the Top Gala Codfish Ball, but it’s screenings. People go to screenings as part of their work, as well as for entertainment and enlightenment. The Cannes Film Festival is a professional event as well as social and festive and so on.

And then there’s the issue of what high heels are, which is a form of temporary and comparatively mild foot-binding. The bones aren’t actually broken as they are in footbinding (although high heels can easily cause broken bones in the feet and anywhere else, because they’re highly unstable – that’s the whole point of them), but they are pinched and bent. [Read more…]

Hussain Jawad

There was this human rights outrage in February

On the night of 16th February, the latest victim in Bahrain’s war on domestic dissent was arrested by masked policemen in Manama, the tiny Gulf Kingdom’s capital. The target on this occasion wasHussain Jawad, head of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR), who is well-known for his condemnation of abuses committed by the regime.

Jawad is at the time of writing being held in detention by the regime, and according to EBOHR (in a statement collected from Mr Jawad through his lawyer) has been subjected to torture, beatings and sexual abuse. These assaults are alleged to have taken place at Manama’s notorious Crime Investigation Directorate (CID) site.

The purpose of Jawad’s alleged mistreatment appears to have been to punish him for his rights advocacy and to silence a staunch critic of the government – if possible, by finding grounds to lock him up permanently.

The British government considers Bahrain to be on the Correct Path.

As was revealed in January, Bahrain is to host a British Naval base; in announcing this move, Foreign Secretary Phil Hammond cited “significant reform” in Bahrain as a sign that Bahrain was “travelling in the right direction.”

Prominent dissident Maryam Al-Khawaja told me that she viewed such statements as virtual “PR” for the regime, decrying the timing of Hammond’s assertion, which took place at a moment “when the crackdown is much worse.”

Asma Darwish, Hussain Jawad’s wife, expressed similar sentiments. When I asked her for a response to Britain’s presentation of the situation in her country, she said: “I invite Hammond to my house to see what is really happening in Bahrain.”

The US Navy parks the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.

At any rate, Elham Manea just told us Jawad has been released.