Slavery has no place full stop

Amnesty International shares a letter from Samar Badawi to her husband Waleed Abu al-Khair. Samar Badawi is Raif Badawi’s sister.

He taught me that a person is born free and that it is up to him or her to live in freedom or die trying to achieve it. Slavery has no place in his life except when it comes to serving God, the one and only. Now, he lives in freedom even though he is behind bars with his colleagues Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and many other activists imprisoned purely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

That’s a very odd exception, I have to say. Slavery is bad except when it’s slavery to god? I couldn’t disagree more. Slavery to god is the worst, because there is no avenue of appeal.

But, that apart…

Know then, dear husband, that it is tyranny and oppression that have put you behind bars. [Read more…]

An own goal

I’m late catching up with the Hugo awards – Vox Day – Sad Puppies – Rabid Puppies – Connie Willis stories. It’s pretty pathetic, and sad.

One recent summary:

The Hugo Awards have long honored authors, illustrators, and even fans, for their contributions to the field of sci-fi and fantasy. Past recipients have included Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, and J.K. Rowling, to name just a few. Like any prestigious award in a highly competitive industry, the Hugos are no stranger to controversy. This year, however, the Hugo nomination process was marred when a small cadre of science fiction writers and their fans systematically set out to manipulate the entire awards roster away from a diverse group of authors writing about diverse issues, and towards stories about big explosions and shiny lasers. And thanks to the Hugo’s relatively open nomination process (for $40, anyone can become a “supporting” and voting member of the awards’ parent organization, The World Science Fiction Society) it’s all perfectly legal. Not a single rule broken.

Making speculative fiction more conservative! What a great idea! Obviously it’s the ideal genre for conservatism and let’s keep doing things the way they were done when I was six-ism. [Read more…]

Stacey Eden is a mensch

The so-called “white savior,” Stacey Eden, posted a bit of video on Facebook of the verbal abuse of the Muslim couple on a train. It seems pretty clear that she didn’t take it or post it to show off, but to document the abuse and say “people, don’t do that.” She did a damn good job of telling the abuser “don’t do that.”

Here’s her caption:

So i sat there for a good 10 minutes before i started recording this, while i listened to this woman bad mouth muslims and call the lady sitting opposite me an ISIS supporter because she wore a scarf, then she told me to go join ISIS because i was sticking up for her. People like this make me sick. People who are so ignorant and disrespectful to other people who were clearly sitting there minding their own business.
She was saying some pretty horrible and hurtful things before i spoke up then as soon as i started defending them she stopped.
[Read more…]

Oh no, not a “white saviour”

Hey, it turns out it actually is the right thing to do to sit still when people are being verbally abused and do nothing to intervene. I know, I’m surprised too! I thought it wasn’t! I thought it was pretty assholish to sit like a lump and stare while people are given shit by a stranger in a public place. But nope! Nope nope nope! That’s the correct, non-white-savior thing to do. If you speak up you’re denying agency to the people being abused. Leave them alone, you colonialist!

It’s Ashitha Nagesh who sets us straight about this, in the Independent.

You may have already seen the video from Australia that has gone viral today. It shows a middle-aged racist in a train ranting at a young Muslim couple, making some confusing links between the woman’s hijab and the Islamic State, Al-Shabaab’s attack in Garissa, and Muhammad “marrying a six-year-old” or something. She made no sense, as hardline racists never do.

But cue superwoman Stacey Eden! A white knight in shining armour swoops in to save the day, protecting the couple from the onslaught of abuse being hurled at them from across the carriage. [Read more…]

Lettre ouverte aux escrocs de l’islamophobie

L’Obs today has extracts from Charb’s book, “Lettre ouverte aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racistes.”

Again, I’ll attempt a translation; tell me what I get wrong. (I know some of you are Francophones, you can’t hide.)

L’islamophobie, un concept mal taillé

“Les militants communautaristes qui essaient d’imposer aux autorités judiciaires et politiques la notion d”islamophobie’ n’ont pas d’autre but que de pousser les victimes de racisme à s’affirmer musulmanes (…) Si demain les musulmans de France se convertissent au catholicisme ou bien renoncent à toute religion, ça ne changera rien au discours des racistes : ces étrangers ou ces Français d’origine étrangère seront toujours désignés comme responsables de tous les maux.” [Read more…]

Capitalising much?

One of those times when the jaw drops so hard it hits the desk.

charb

A tweet by Myriam François-Cerrah:

M Francois-Cerrah‏@MFrancoisCerrah
Capitalising much? Charlie Hebdo’s Charb publishes posthumous book on Islam http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32325884 … #bloodmoney

Blood money? Blood money? Whose blood is she talking about? Charb and his colleagues were murdered by the Kouachi brothers, not the other way around. Charb didn’t kill anyone, or order anyone killed, or incite anyone to kill. What blood money is François-Cerrah talking about?

And “capitalizing”? Charb is capitalizing on his own death, when he is dead? How is he doing that exactly?

He wrote the book before the Kouachi brothers murdered him and all those others. He’s not “capitalizing” on anything – he’s dead. Finished, story closed, no more books or cartoons, over.

“Sometimes I was sold. Sometimes I was given as a gift.”

HRW reports on what ISIS/Daesh is doing to Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq. HRW interviewed 20 women and girls who escaped.

ISIS forces took several thousand Yezidi civilians into custody in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province in August 2014, according to Kurdistan officials and community leaders. Witnesses said that fighters systematically separated young women and adolescent girls from their families and other captives and moved them from one location to another inside Iraq and Syria.

The 11 women and 9 girls Human Rights Watch interviewed had escaped between September 2014 and January 2015. Half, including two 12-year-old girls, said they had been raped – some multiple times and by several ISIS fighters. Nearly all of them said they had been forced into marriage; sold, in some cases a number of times; or given as “gifts.” The women and girls also witnessed other captives being abused.

I think that must mean they were all raped. I wonder if they’re not calling it rape if they were forced into “marriage.” (In my view forced “marriage” shouldn’t be called marriage at all. That’s not marriage, it’s enslavement. The two should be treated as radically different.) [Read more…]

What is that, if not discrimination?

Charb finished a book on the right to ridicule religion two days before he was killed in the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo.

Charb had received numerous death threats following Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad in 2006. The magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2012.

Charb’s book – which goes on sale on Thursday – is entitled An Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia who Play into Racists’ Hands. [Read more…]

On a boat headed to Sicily

This is a tiny taste of what climate change is going to look like in the future – mass migrations, which by definition overwhelm the countries or regions people migrate to, because it’s not possible to prepare for them in advance. There will be horrors. There already are horrors, and they’ll get worse.

Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat headed to Italy.

The Christian migrants, said to be from Ghana and Nigeria, are all feared dead. [Read more…]