Declaring that “life must always be protected”, a senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.
Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told reporters that although the girl fell pregnant after apparently being abused by her stepfather, her twins had, “the right to live, and could not be eliminated”.
The controversy represents a PR nightmare for the Vatican. The unnamed girl’s mother and doctors were excommunicated for agreeing to Wednesday’s emergency abortion yet the Church has not taken formal steps against the stepfather, who is in custody. Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco where the girl was rushed to hospital, has said that the man would not be thrown out of the Church, because although he had allegedly committed “a heinous crime”, the Church took the view that “the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious”.
A very thoughtful critique of the Arab Spring appeared in Foreign Policy that I think deserves everyone’s attention:
Some may ask why I’m bringing this up now, at a time when the region has risen up, fueled not by the usual hatred of America and Israel but by a common demand for freedom. After all, shouldn’t everyone get basic rights first, before women demand special treatment? And what does gender, or for that matter, sex, have to do with the Arab Spring? But I’m not talking about sex hidden away in dark corners and closed bedrooms. An entire political and economic system — one that treats half of humanity like animals — must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.
So: Yes, women all over the world have problems; yes, the United States has yet to elect a female president; and yes, women continue to be objectified in many “Western” countries (I live in one of them). That’s where the conversation usually ends when you try to discuss why Arab societies hate women.
But let’s put aside what the United States does or doesn’t do to women. Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt — including my mother and all but one of her six sisters — have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating “virginity tests” merely for speaking out, it’s no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband “with good intentions” no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are “good intentions”? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is “not severe” or “directed at the face.” What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it’s not better than you think. It’s much, much worse. Even after these “revolutions,” all is more or less considered well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home, denied the simple mobility of getting into their own cars, forced to get permission from men to travel, and unable to marry without a male guardian’s blessing — or divorce either.
Not a single Arab country ranks in the top 100 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, putting the region as a whole solidly at the planet’s rock bottom. Poor or rich, we all hate our women. Neighbors Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for instance, might be eons apart when it comes to GDP, but only four places separate them on the index, with the kingdom at 131 and Yemen coming in at 135 out of 135 countries. Morocco, often touted for its “progressive” family law (a 2005 report by Western “experts” called it “an example for Muslim countries aiming to integrate into modern society”), ranks 129; according to Morocco’s Ministry of Justice, 41,098 girls under age 18 were married there in 2010.
It’s not a short read, but you can check out the rest here.
Has mankind outgrown Earth?
A new report from the World Wildlife Fund says we’re gobbling up the planet’s resources at such an alarming rate that by 2030, even a second Earth wouldn’t be enough to sustain us
Which resources are we depleting?
Renewables like fish, water, timber, and food are being used up much faster than previously thought. According to experts, mankind’s “ecological footprint” is now over 50 percent higher than it was in 2008, meaning it takes 1.5 years for Earth to regenerate the natural resources we use up annually.
Why is our ecological footprint growing?
The world’s population, which according to the U.N. surpassed 7 billion last October, is getting too big, and the average individual is using more than he or she needs. “The excessive demands that we are putting on the planet will inevitably lead to acute water shortages, a chronic food crisis, and rising prices for energy, metals, and minerals,” says Robert Walker at the Huffington Post.
Alternative Jurassic Park PostersThe original poster for Jurassic Park is iconic and has had an immeasurable influence on pop culture.ShortList Magazine has found some very talented artists that have their own vision
These are awesome posters, and shortlist.com lists the names of the artists who created them. They have some very impressive posters other than Jurassic Park, so check them out! (Numbers go left - right; starting at very top)
- Franco Spagnolo on DeviantART.com
- McGillvray Designs on Flickr.com (also on Behance.net)
- McGillvray Designs on Flickr.com (also on Behance.net)
- Rémy BAUDEQUIN on Flickr.com
- Harshness on Etsy.com
- Wolf Cadet on Wolfcadet.bigcartel.com
- Jamie Bolton on Behance.net
- Adam Rabalais on DeviantART.com
- Trevor A. Dunt on Thirtyninthst.net
[O]ne of the lessons from the attack on Iraq was that if foreign nations use military force to remove a long-standing despot and then fail to stabilize the country, it will be followed by extreme levels of violence, lawlessness, chaos, brutality and militia rule. That is precisely what is happening in Libya, and has been happening there for almost a year now.
As I wrote from the start of the proposed intervention, one cannot say that things have improved for Libyans by the mere killing of Gadaffi without knowing what replaces his rule (those who declared victory based solely on Gadaffi’s death were guilty of succumbing to the adolescent, Hollywood-manufactured tendency to view the supreme foreign goal as killing the “bad guys”; Chris Hayes wrote about that mentality a year ago). It’s still possible, of course, that the situation in Libya can improve, but it’s been fairly infuriating to watch the loudest advocates of the intervention, who flamboyantly claimed vindication upon Gadaffi’s death, simply ignore the aftermath. For obvious reasons, that conspicuous indifference seriously calls into question the role that “humanitarianism” actually played here.