This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Revelations and Perspectives on the "Outrage" of the Trump Executive Order on Temporary ME-Nation Visa Entry to U.S.

"Early this morning an Arabic radio station in the Middle East called asking my opinion about President Trump's ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim nations. The radio host, who sounded angry over the ban, was a Christian Arab. She was surprised to hear that I supported the ban and think that it should have taken place the day after 9/11."
"She then asked me if I knew any Arab American activist who was against the ban because she wanted to interview someone against the ban. She seemed shocked to hear that I do not have any Arab or Muslim friends who are protesting the ban, and that many immigrants of Islamic and Middle East origin support the ban and are fed up and embarrassed by what jihadists are doing."
"Muslims need to know that the world does indeed have a justifiable and legitimate concern about Islam and actions done in the name of Islam by Muslims. Muslims need to look at themselves in the mirror and see the world from the point of view of their victims. Instead, the West is sacrificing its culture, values, laws, pride and even self-respect. Muslim culture needs a wake-up call telling them that, sooner or later, non-Muslim nations will close their doors to any kind of Muslim immigration if the jihad culture continues. That will also be a strong message to Muslims already in the West who still believe in jihad."
Nonie Darwish, Egyptian-born, writer, Gatestone Institute

"The United States is and has always been a generous nation when it comes to welcoming those who seek refuge and want to contribute. I expect that these executive orders are in fact temporary and that after the Administration strengthens the vetting process, we can continue our tradition of welcoming those who are persecuted in an orderly manner and without any kind of religious test."
U.S. (Republican) Representative Carlos Curbelo, Florida

"I support the temporary entry restriction from certain nations until the administration, Congress and the American people know with confidence that any individual being granted admission does not pose a threat to our security . . . . With all that being said, I will be closely monitoring the execution of this EO to make sure that any misapplication is corrected immediately."
U.S. (Republican) Representative Lee Zeldin, New York 

"With the stroke of a pen, he is doing more to shut down terrorist pathways into this country than the last Administration did in eight years."
U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Representative Michael McCaul, Texas (Republican)

"I've been a journalist for 30 years and I'm really disappointed that the media has unfortunately gone along with this meme #MuslimBan. It's a propaganda campaign. In communications there is a term called agitprop, it means agitation propaganda. What we see right now is agitation propaganda from a very partisan political movement that lost the election. What I am really disturbed by is when I did a search last night of how many outlets have #MuslimBan in their headlines, they go everywhere from the New York Times to Slate magazine. It's a disturbing tend where we are inciting fear and doing it very irresponsibly . . ."
"We know very clearly that there is an extremism problem that has been exported to the world that reaches the far corners of our societies . . ."
Asra Nomani, journalist, co-founder, Muslim Reform Movement
Asra Nomani -- Muslims Come Out in Support of Trump's Immigration Order

It seems obvious there are two Muslim-American protagonist groups with stark divisions between them. One, which appears to have infiltrated the Obama administration and which has become quite an establishment darling of the Liberal-left, extolling the virtues of Sharia in a surreptitious manner, defending Islam as a misunderstood religion, and charging that criticism of this world-leading religion second in global numbers only to Christianity, is clear Islamophobia, which should be legally outlawed. Among them are loyalists who support terrorism.

The other, representing much smaller numbers involved in decrying the militarization of their religion and how it has inveigled its way into non-Muslim societies so they now host large numbers of Muslims hostile to the societies that have absorbed them, and posing a clear threat, both violently expressed in viciously deadly attacks, and more subtly by agitating for Sharia to be recognized as a liberal gesture of goodwill in recognition of the stunningly large numbers of Muslims who have emigrated from their home countries, along with refugees flooding out of Muslim nations embroiled in ethnic, tribal and sectarian violence.

The latter is experiencing great difficulties in persuading the bulk of Western societies that it is not in either of their best interests to succumb to the guile of the fundamentalist Islamists who have their ear, while the former continue to enjoy great popularity in academia, among unions, and civil liberty organizations and church groups taking up their 'cause' as a misunderstood religion intending harm to none, victimized by virulent Islamophobia.

Protest marches have had among their organizers, figures of Islamist celebrity whose backgrounds are surfeit with links to terrorist groups. The marches succeed in influencing huge groups of people of non-Muslim background to come out to shout their defiance of the new American administration whose head is not an urbane moderate, but a distasteful mountebank representing the choice of the majority of American voters who wanted a gruff, no-nonsense, non-politician whose rhetoric reflects their inner-core thoughts to represent their interests.

Invariably, because it is the Liberal-left that has twinned itself with the Muslim-majority groups who claim to represent the best interests both of American Muslims and the greater American population, the demonstrations are rife with more than a whiff of anti-Semitism, burnished by a Muslim culture of traditional hostility to Jews, bolstered anew by their adversity to the State of Israel, with the pretext of supporting Palestinian rights against the Israeli 'occupier', leading to the presence of placards held aloft slandering Israel and Jews.

Organizer of Women’s March Against Trump Pictured Flashing ISIS Sign

"Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers behind Saturday’s Women’s March, being held in Washington, D.C., was recently spotted at a large Muslim convention in Chicago posing for pictures with an accused financier for Hamas, the terrorist group."
"Sarsour, the head of the Arab American Association of New York and an Obama White House “\'Champion of Change', was speaking at last month’s 15th annual convention of the Muslim American Society and Islamic Circle of North America."
"While there, she posed for a picture with Salah Sarsour, a member of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and former Hamas operative who was jailed in Israel in the 1990s because of his alleged work for the terrorist group."                                             The Daily Caller

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Monday, January 30, 2017

In Contention

"There’s certainly a chance of it, absolutely. I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I’ll tell you that."
"It’s a very big decision because every president for the last number of presidents, large number, they’ve come in and they were going to do it and and then all of a sudden they decide they don’t want to get involved."
"[The decision is] not easy. [It] has two sides to it." [But he is prepared to] studying it very long and hard [before making a decision]."
"I hate to do that because that’s not usually me. Usually, I do what’s right."
U.S. President Donald J. Trump

"I would like to clarify unequivocally that our view has always been, and continues to be, that the United States' embassy should be here in Jerusalem."
"Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and it is appropriate that not only the American embassy will be here but that all embassies will move here and I believe that in due course most will come here, to Jerusalem."
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu
This photo comes from 1844 and was taken by French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Smithsonian.com

The Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv is where most international diplomatic legates work out of, where the global community feels the Israeli capital should be located until such time as a compromise settlement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel, whose heritage since antiquity has been there where ancient Judeans lived, and where the ancient Temple of Solomon was built and rebuilt, but which the Palestinians, a recent Arab introduction to the land once named Palestine where Jews lived, have coopted as their own.

So much so, that although more than ample evidence exists in historical notations both sacred and secular in origin of Jerusalem's Jewish connection that the Palestinians have gone to extraordinary lengths to deny any connection of Judaic presence in Jerusalem, much less that the most sacred site in Judaic tradition and religious history is sited in east Jerusalem, where thousands of years later Islam, claiming the city as its own, built over the destroyed Temple, a deliberate extermination of history in a technique favoured by Islam.

"It's clear as the sun is clear that the Temple, which was demolished by the Romans [in its second iteration] is a Jewish temple."
Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
"He [Guterres] neglected the UNESCO resolutions, which clearly said that the al-Aqsa Mosque is purely an Islamic heritage. [Guterres' remarks] are a violation to all human, diplomatic and legal rules and laws and a violation to his position as the secretary-general. He [Guterres] should apologize to the Palestinian people for his remarks", spluttered an enraged Adnan al-Huseini, Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, referring to the UNESCO October resolution setting aside Judaic connection to the Temple Mount.

And it is precisely this entitled attitude of re-writing history to suit the Palestinian narrative of exclusive ownership of a geography and its symbolism as a sacred site to a religion hugely predating that of Islam, that Israel must contend with. Where the international community has seen fit to empathize with distortions and lies preferring the public relations campaign waged by the Palestinian Authority identifying itself and Palestinians as suffering the indignities associated with being 'occupied' by a nation's military dedicated to self-defence.

A self-defence that more recent history has proven time and again is required and is perfectly legal under international law when a nation is constantly under siege, threatened and attacked by its neighbours, with deadly consequences. Moreover, a neighbour delighting in portraying itself as the wronged party, though incitement to violence and to 'resistance' to 'the occupation' is doublespeak for murderous attacks later lionized, the 'heroes' that kill honoured, their families financially supported by the PA through funds made available by international donors.

The contested east Jerusalem which the Palestinian Authority aspires to command as its capital, is only a portion of the Palestinians' aspirations of driving Israel from the ground it occupies to 'restore' to the Palestinians the entire land mass it claims for itself, denying any Judaic presence there at any time in history.

With a new administration now installed in the  United States, one where the current President had promised to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, during the election campaign, and in compliance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act which the U.S. Congress had passed into law in 1995 and which Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama chose to waiver as they are permitted by law to do every six months, in reflection of "national security interests", Israel is awaiting action.

That promise and the anticipation that it may yet occur, has seen the Palestinian Authority threaten consequences of violent dissent. And it is clear that should the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem take place, there would be a violent reaction, impacting not only Israeli citizens and their government, but that of the United States itself. When the PA wants to have its way it resorts to violence, alternately to using diplomacy since discovering that works for them at the UN.

US embassy Israel
A flag flutters outside the US embassy in Tel Aviv August 4, 2013. (photo credit:REUTERS)

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The World Advancing Out of Poverty

The World -- Advancing Out of Poverty

  • 4.6 million lives saved. These are children and babies who are growing up and getting a real chance at life in no small part because the U.S. saw an opportunity and seized it. Because we saw kids dying of illnesses we could prevent, and diseases we could treat and did something about it. Because we followed the evidence, and made investments in proven interventions.
  • 9 million. These are the small farmers and other producers who used new technologies and practices to improve their harvests just last year through Feed the Future. These are the kinds of improvements that have led to drops in poverty between 7 and 36 percent in the areas where Feed the Future works, and helped producers, many of them women, boost their incomes by a combined $800 million in 2015.
  • 5,000 megawatts. In three years, Power Africa has already closed on enough transactions to generate that much electricity, and is tracking towards much more. And that’s because the U.S. chose to use the influence and expertise of our government to help connect people and communities to power for the first time. And in doing so, we are helping to steadily break down one of the biggest barriers to growth on the African continent.
  • And while we’re at it, here’s another really good Power Africa number: $54 billion. That’s how much we’ve mobilized in private and public commitments, starting with a U.S. commitment of $7 billion. So not only are we laying a foundation for transformative change, we’re not even footing the bulk of the bill.
  • 11.5 million. That’s how many people are on life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR, up from 2.1 million when President Obama took office, and an AIDS-free generation is indeed within sight. That’s in no small part because of the leadership of not one, but two Presidents.
  • 60. That’s the average number of humanitarian crises USAID has responded to every year of this administration. 60. We’ve deployed 24 Disaster Assistance Response Teams – widely considered the best in the world, actually that’s a fact that’s not just an opinion – over the last eight years to coordinate U.S. efforts on major crises. We helped defeat Ebola in West Africa, took on severe food shortages in Ethiopia and Nigeria and natural disasters in Nepal, Haiti, and the Philippines. And we continue to respond to crises fueled by conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and Iraq – in every case, saving lives and meeting urgent needs in the face of extraordinary obstacles.
    Gayle Smith, former head, U.S. Agency for International Development 
A goal was set by the United Nations in 2000 to eradicate poverty in thirty years' time. In half that number of years, the world's destitute have seen a reduction in numbers of 50 percent. Which means roughly a billion people were lifted from extreme poverty and millions of children whose post-birth survival was unlikely after five years of age, did survive and went on to attend school in growing numbers.

Preventable diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are falling in incidence, and are continuing to fall. According to the World Bank, people living on $1.90 or less a day represent the poorest people on Earth. However, in recent years the populations striving to live beneath that level have decreased and their numbers continue to descend.

The survey agency Barnagroup, undertook a survey which they named: Global Poverty Is on the Decline, But Almost No One Believes It. That unwieldy title proved to be a fairly accurate representation of what in actual fact exists. Their opinion survey showed that over eight people out of ten questioned had no idea that global poverty had been dramatically reduced in the last thirty years.

Two thirds of those questioned held the opinion that world poverty had instead risen in that time frame. Half of those questioned had the perception that child deaths have been on the increase since 1990, while over a third believe that deaths from HIV/AIDS have steadily increased in the past five years. Whereas, in fact, both child deaths and deaths caused by HIV/AIDS have decreased in the period in question.
"The world is witnessing an epochal 'global rebalancing' with higher growth in at least 40 poor countries helping life hundreds of millions out of poverty and into a new global middle class."
United Nations report
Oxford University's poverty and human development initiative undertook a study to identify nations where progress has been recognized as unusually swift, and that took in Rwanda, Nepal and Bangladesh. Followed closely by Ghana, Tanzania, Cambodia and Bolivia. While those lagging seriously behind were countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Much of the poverty reduction owes to economic growth improving prospects for the poor, where governments and private organizations have substantially increased education opportunities, improved health services and invested in roads. Developments which altogether propel people along the path of working their way out of poverty.



The Forgiving Judiciary

"In my view the 12-year global sentence imposed on Mr. Ahmed for the two terrorism-related offences in respect of which he was convicted, reveals no reversible error, is entitled to deference, and in all the circumstances was a fit sentence."
"Further, there is no reason to interfere with the trial judge's disposition concerning Mr. Ahmed's parole eligibility."
"But for the fact that Mr. Ahmed has been convicted for terrorism offences rather than some other serious offence, he would likely be considered an appropriate candidate for a conditional [non]custodial] sentence."
Ontario Court of Appeal
Misbahuddin Ahmed was convicted of two terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Misbahuddin Ahmed was convicted of two terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison. (CBC)

But this man was in fact, convicted on charges of terrorism. And his sentence should reflect that incontrovertible fact.

Misbahuddin Ahmed, a father of three young children and a former diagnostic-imagining technician at a local hospital, had been arrested in 2010 along with two co-conspirators. They had been under investigation for a year by Canada's RCMP and CSIS in a surveillance operation called Project Samossa. Police charged the three men with plotting to build improvised explosive devices, but lacked evidence of a specific plan of action, let alone a target for their attack.

One of the two charged and found guilty had been abroad where he had been exposed to jihadist training. Kurdish born, Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh had obtained Canadian citizenship, despite which he travelled to Afghanistan where he took part in workshops assembling explosive devices. He eventually pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him by the Crown, and he was sentenced to 24 years in prison, as the ringleader. His intention was to "break their backs in their own country".

"You have effectively been convicted of treason", Justice Colin McKinnon, the presiding judge at the man's trial pronounced, adding that under the circumstances of a citizen of Canada plotting to mount a terrorist attack on fellow Canadians, he had "no hesitation" in sentencing him to the 24-year prison term that had been recommended by Crown and defence lawyers.

In the case of Misbahuddin Ahmed, Iranian born, who had established himself in Canada with a responsible medical career, who had decided to throw in his lot with Mr. Alizadeh, drawing in a third accused, Khurram Sher, (who had been acquitted of charges), his 12-year sentence had been under appeal. Federal prosecutors had sought to increase the sentence to 20 years, while Ahmed's appeal layers wished the sentence to be reduced to five-to-eight years.

The judicial disagreement was settled when the Ontario Court of Appeal found the sentencing Justice, Ontario Superior Court Justice Colin McKinnon, had not erred in assessing the serious nature of Ahmed's offence. His 12-year-sentence remains in effect. Justice McKinnon had expressed his opinion that he was convinced the man regretted his terrorist affiliation and wish to exact vengeance in Canada, as a Muslim-Canadian.

Justice McKinnon's compassionate understanding of a successful young Canadian Muslim feeling violently reproachful against fellow Canadians, on a spur-of-the-moment impulse that last a year, does him justice as a typical left-leaning Liberal prepared to forgive and forget. Had Canadian intelligence and policing agencies not been alerted, the conspirators could very well have exacted the kind of bloody revenge that Islamists are so well noted for.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cry, And You Cry Alone

"After the Holocaust our mission became to help survivors of the Shoah in the United States and from all European countries. We are the only national organization whose sole mission is to provide financial assistance to Holocaust survivors in need [in the U.S.]."
"We learned that their greatest need for assistance was for home care in order to remain safely in their homes, instead of living in institutions which often re-triggers trauma."
"Another issue facing survivors is housing and utilities, we see often that many [survivors] did not have children or could not have children or their children live far away, and with the passing of a spouse there is suddenly only one income, and so we begin to see eviction notices or utility notices." 
"The time to act is now, as the number of survivors is decreasing rapidly and the needs of those remaining are very high. We ask that the general public gets involved, is able to contribute, volunteer with survivors, and identify survivors in need and ensure that their final years are lived with dignity, comfort and respect."
Masha Pearl, executive director, The Blue Card NGO

"It's not pleasant to be alone. It gives a good feeling [when people visit]."
"On the one hand, it feels good to have all these people [recognize his existence]. On the other hand it reminds you of such tough times."
"Happy it can't be, because it was not happy times [during the years of the Holocaust], but it is nice to have someone listen."
Ernest Weiner, 92, widowed, childless, Holocaust survivor, Ramat Hasharon, Israel 

"Morally, not just as Jews but as people of the world, we must help them [Holocaust survivors]  finish their life in dignity without them having to beg for warm food."
"These are people whose lives were robbed from them because of the world's silence, and we all have an obligation to give them something back in the little time they have left."
Tamara More, The Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors, Israel
In this Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2017 photo, Israeli Holocaust survivor, Ernest Weiner, wearing crown, sits during his birthday in a restaurant in the central Israeli city of Ramat Hasharon. More than 100 fellow Holocaust survivors and advocates on their behalf gathered for the 92nd birthday party of Weiner -- a blind and widowed survivor who uses a wheelchair to get around and still lives on his own.  (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel, understandably home to the world's largest Holocaust-survival community of 160,000 elderly people, struggles to fill the needs of thousands living alone, with various government institutions as well as private organizations seeking to fill the gap of their needs in offering material, psychological and medical support. Their experiences during the extermination horrors of 70 years earlier scarred them for life. Half are given government stipends but even so a third live under the poverty line.

The Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors exists on voluntary donations to serve those in need, with the aid of 8,000 volunteers around Israel. The survivors are given help with legal assistance, with paying bills, buying groceries; they are driven to medical appointments and several times yearly parties are put on representing a social highlight on the calendars of Holocaust survivors.

When these elderly survivors die, leaving behind not family members but treasured companion dogs and cats, the charity houses those orphaned animals. Funding can seem scarce at times, to answer to all the needs to make life more tolerable for the survivors, but the more ephemeral but equally if not more vital element of companionship is required to bring the elderly survivors away from the solitude and misery of their memories.

They require more than a monthly stipend and state-provided health care, free medication and discounts on living expenses; their emotional needs are critical and must be met in the true spirit of giving aid. In their final years, the survivors often go full circle from refusing to discuss their Holocaust experiences, to expressing a compelling need to do so. "There is always more you can give them, but what they really want most is someone to just be with them", explained Naama Schultz, senior Israeli political adviser.

In the United States, an estimated 100,000 Holocaust survivors got on with their lives; now a third live at or below the poverty line. Some live on less than $23,000 annually, making basic necessities, adequate medical care, food and mental health seem unaffordable at times. A nonprofit which provides ongoing financial help to Holocaust survivors in the U.S. has witnessed a 20% increase in survivors needing help.

According to the Blue Card, "We see that more survivors are coming forward and their needs are growing exponentially as maintaining independent living becomes more difficult", explained Masha Pearl.

In 1934, the Jewish community in Germany established the Blue Card, whose purpose was to help Jews who were unemployed resulting from Nazi restrictions against Jews. Blue paper cards were issued to Jewish donors who helped raise funds for Jews in need, and this is where the organization's name stemmed from. By 1939, a reorganized Blue Card appeared in the United States to give aid to refugees of Nazi persecution who managed to resettle in America.

Needless to say, it is Jewish organizations which engage themselves in support of Holocaust survivors that represent the mainstay of aid to those in need. The world failed to respond to the anguished appeals for aid during the years of Nazi destruction of European Jewry. A brief period of shocked response to the revelations of the full magnitude of the extermination of European Jews cast a pall over the globe representing a kind of communal shame.

But the world has grown weary of commiserating and feeling any lasting degree of empathy with Jews determined never to forget, to insist on bringing the world's attention at regular intervals to the fact that fully one-third of Jews were destroyed in a terrible effort at genocide that succeeded to a gratifying degree for Jew-haters. Jews persevere and non-Jews yawn with boredom, submitting to a yearly soul-searching, swiftly dissipated.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

The Complexity of Human Identity

"Intersex, also known as disorders or differences of sex development [DSDS] represents a dozen different conditions] where what you see on the outside is not necessarily matching what you see on the inside."
"[A number of different] configurations [can present. With ambiguous genitalia] it's not clear if you're looking at a large clitoris and vagina, or if you're looking at a small penis with hypospadias [where the opening of the urethra is on the underside, and not the tip of the penis]."
"There used to be time where doctors used to say, 'this is what  your child has, this is what should happen'. Now it's 'here's the evidence about what happens with early treatment, here's the evidence about what happens with later treatment'."
"The most important and the biggest change is that we counsel the parents about explaining from a very early age to the child exactly what's going on, so there's nothing that's hidden and secret. It might be private, you might not tell the whole community. But it's not secret, so there's nothing shameful about having one of these conditions."
Barbara Neilson, social worker, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

"Hi, I'm Hanne and I was born intersex. This means that my body isn't really male or female."
"It's very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo. At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this. . . . Unconsented, unnecessary and irreversible surgeries that cause 'way more harm than do good."
"I am proud to be intersex, but very angry these surgeries are still happening."
Hanne Gaby Odiele, 29, Belgian, Chanel model
hanne gaby odiele
Hanne Gaby Odiele poses for photographs at the amfAR's 23rd Cinema Against AIDS Gala at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 19, 2016 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/WireImage)

"[Surgery to make the genitals appear] more normal [should never be performed until such time as the child is sufficiently mature to decide for himself or herself.]"
"There is no evidence that children who grow up with intersex genitals are worse off psychologically than those who are altered."
interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth
Born with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), the body fails to respond to testosterone properly resulting in the penis and other male parts failing to develop normally, despite being genetically male with male chromosomes; and this describes the condition of Vogue supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele who has decided to speak publicly of her birth condition in support of interACT Advocates in the hopes that no other young people will be manipulated by well-meaning doctors to undergo unnecessary surgery.

Hanne Gaby Odiele is that one in four thousand  people born with both male and female physical traits. When she was ten years of age doctors surgically removed the internal testes she was born with, in a common but  now-controversial effort to "fix" babies born with ambiguous genitalia. She tells how the doctors looking after her informed her parents that "I might develop cancer and I would not develop as a normal, female girl" without surgery.

She is now married. When she was 18 she underwent vagina reconstructive surgery. Females born with AIS have no womb, Fallopian tubes or ovaries. A child looks like a girl at birth with normal appearing genitals reflecting a female appearance, but with undescended or partially descended testes, along with an unusually short vagina, and no cervix.

In 1998 an article was published in The New York Times stating that girls with AIS "often grow into unusually beautiful women, with long legs, clear skin ample breasts and thick hair."

The ancients knew the condition and named an intersex being in their pantheon of gods and goddesses, as Hermaphroditus: Hermaphroditus | Apulian red-figure lekythos C4th B.C. | Rhode Island School of Design Museum, New York

Up to 1.7 percent of babies worldwide are born with sex characteristics which do not match typical definitions of "male or "female", according to the United Nations. Which also cautions that sex-assignment surgery has the potential to cause infertility, lifelong pain, loss of sexual sensation and mental anguish. As a result, that interference is considered to represent a human rights violation when surgery is undertaken lacking proper legal consent.

As far as the Intersex Society of North America is concerned, babies who exhibit intersex should ideally be "assigned" boy or girl, "depending on which of those genders the child is more likely to feel as she or he grows". In the 1950s, doctors at Johns Hopkins University felt that the "optimum gender of rearing" position would best work in treatment of intersex children, performed by surgery before 18 months of age.

Ethicists at the present time argue that consent should be awaited on whether or not to proceed with surgical sex assignments until such time as the child him/herself can appreciate the consequences, arguing that there is no harm in delaying surgery, even though the practise of performing surgery on children with ambiguous genitalia remains commonplace to the present time.

Image result
Mlahanas -- Hermaphroditus, the son of Aphrodite and Hermes

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Remembering the Holocaust

  • To ruminate upon exile, to make critical notes upon injuries, and be too acute in their apprehension, is to add unto our own tortures, to feather the arrows of our enemies, and to resolve to sleep no more. Sir Thomas Browne
  • It is more wretched to commit than to suffer an injury. Seneca
  • It is the mark of a good man not to know how to do an injury. Publilius Syrus
  • It is a principle of human nature to hate those whom you have injured. Tacitus
  • But when I observed the affairs of men plunged in such darkness, the guilty flourishing in continuous happiness, and the righteous tormented, my religion, tottering, began once more to fail. Claudian
  • To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it. Plato
 The Home Book of Quotations
  • Still on Israel's head forlorn, Every nation heaps its scorn. Emma Lazarus
  • Who hateth me but for my happiness? Or who is honoured now but for his wealth? Rather had I, a Jew, be hated thus, Than pitied in a Christian poverty. Marlowe
  • He hath . . . laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Shakespeare
  • If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew. Albert Einstein 
  • Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon. Benjamin Disraeli
  • The Jews are among the aristocracy of every land; if a literature is called rich in the possession of a few classic tragedies, what shall we say to a national tragedy lasting for fifteen hundred years, in which the poets and the actors were also the heroes. George Eliot
  • When people talk about a wealthy man of my creed, they call him an Israelite; but if he is poor they call him a Jew. Heinrich Heine
 The Home Book of Quotations
  •  April 20, 1943: Near Krakow, Poland, Jewish women attack their male SS guards while being transferred from one person to another. Most are killed.
  • April 30, 1943: Two thousand Jews deported from Wlodawa, Poland, to Sobibor attack the death camp's SS guards on arrival at the unloading ramp. All of the Jews are killed by SS machine guns and grenades.
  • May 6, 1943: Hajj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem, suggests to the Bulgarian foreign minister that Bulgarian-Jewish children should be sent to Poland rather than to Palestine.
  • May 7, 1943: Nearly 7000 Jews are killed in Novogrudok, Belorussia; a group of Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto is ambushed by German troops while travelling through the city's sewer system; Sephardic Jewish homes in Tunisia are ransacked and looted by departing German troops.
  • August 11, 1945: Anti-Jewish riots erupt in Krakow, Poland.
  • November 19, 1945: Anti=Jewish riots erupt in Lublin, Poland.
  • November 20, 1945: The Nuremberg Trials open. Defendants include Hermann Goring, Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolph Hess, and Julius Streicher.
  • December 1945: Antisemitic Poles murder 11 Jews in the town of KosowLacki, Poland, less than six miles from the Treblinka extermination camp.
  • December 22, 1945: The American Displaced Persons Act makes it easier for Nazi war criminals to immigrate to the United States; particularly benefiting Baltics, Ukrainians and ethnic Germans many who engaged in a "high level of collaboration:" with Germany.
  • 1945 -- 1950: Between 250,000 and 300,000 Jews survive German concentration-camp incarceration. About six million Jews have perished; 1.6 million nonincarcerated European Jews also survive. Jews emigrate from Europe en masse: 142,000 to Palestine/Israel; 72,000 to the U.S.; 16,000 to Canada, 8000 to Belgium and about 20,000 to other countries.
The Holocaust Chronicle


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Modernizing Egypt, Slowly Empowering Egyptian Women

"Why cannot we, as a state concerned with the safeguarding of society ... issue a law that only legalizes divorce when done in the presence of a Maazoun [cleric authorized by government to officiate marriage and divorce] so we can give the couple a chance to reconsider?"
"It cannot be just a word that is casually uttered. [Children would be protected under a proposed law, preventing 'inappropriate behaviour'."
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi
(File : AFP)
Egyptian President Fatah el-Sissi, AP

President el-Sissi, with much on his agenda, not the least of which is Egypt's economy, its domestic crime rate, sectarian hostilities, the pressures of Islamists loyal to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and the violent attacks taking place in the Sinai by Salafist Bedouin, Islamic State and el-Qaeda militias and Brotherhood-linked Hamas on Egyptian police and military, still obviously uses his nimble brain to ruminate on how Egyptian society could benefit by setting aside some of the Islamist-inspired cultural traditions such as a man's prerogative to end a marriage simply by stating "I divorce you" three times in succession. 

As a devout Muslim himself, President el-Sissi is aware of creeping fundamentalist Islamism and the violence that ensues, and has expressed his frustration in the past over ancient Islamic scripture being revived that reflects the mores of its medieval past, rather than moving forward into the 21st Century. In particular, he has spoken of Islamic exceptionalism and jihad, rejecting both as inappropriate for a world religion and deploring the existence of terrorist groups patterning themselves on the Islam of its early years of bloody conquest.

Now he has addressed himself to his nation's high divorce rate. He feels that legislation that would outlaw the verbally valid divorce in Sharia law -- to make it mandatory for Muslim men and their spouses to seek out alternatives to spur-of-the-moment sundering of a marriage contract -- would represent a step forward. President el-Sissi spoke recently during a televised address of his alarm on hearing from the head of the nation's Statistics Bureau that some 40 percent of Egypt's annual 900,000 marriages last a mere five years.

Legislation was required -- he suggested to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the international authority of the Muslim world and of religious learning and jurisprudence -- that would de-legalize the too-simple social convention of three-times-repeated "I divorce you", which could be initiated only by a man. Divorce should ideally be legal only when announced in the presence of an officially authorized cleric, he sressed. The idea being to avert emotional arguments between husband and wife, descending to a splintering of the marriage.

The Religion of Peace

The old verbal protocol, announcing the dissolution of a marriage, satisfies the traditional patriarchy in Egypt which considers that kind of decision the prerogative of the male. President el-Sissi's foray into reforming such outdated cultural traditions is not popularly embraced by either conservative militants or fundamentalist clerics. President el-Sissi understands these dynamics well, that he requires the cooperation of Al Azhar's grand imam, sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, for success in overturning the male-centric privilege.

But the Egyptian president is firm in his belief that Islam is badly in need of a new image, and to do so would require expunging the interpretation of the radical readings of the Koran, popularized by militant groups such as the Islamic State. "It's a harsh war and the entire world knows that we are fighting it alone", said President el-Sissi in contradiction of pro-government media asserting that the militants were on the verge of destruction, successfully challenged by the Egyptian military.

The President's views on sexual harassment in Egyptian society as a chronic social ill, has him speaking forcefully in condemning the practise. He guided his 596 seat parliament last year on producing tougher penalties for female genital mutilation, where amendments to punish perpetrators with up to 15 years in prison should a child die as a result of the medieval practise, and up to seven years for performing the procedure.

Egypt is well served under his tutelage and guidance.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

From There To Here : Obama and the Muslim World

"[I am] proud to carry the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: al-salamu alaykum."
"We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars." "Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights."
"So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end."
President Barack Obama
"I recognize that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground."
"I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire."
"I know there are many - Muslim and non Muslim - who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort - that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash."
"There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward."
U.S. President Barack Obama, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, June 2009

Moving forward, we find ourselves in January of 2017. So, has the promise of a new era dawning come to fruition, validating the Nobel Peace Prize? This son of a Muslim father and a mid-western American mother, who spent his formative years with his mother and a Muslim stepfather in Indonesia where he was exposed to a way of life in Islam first-hand, felt his paternity and his childhood experience would gain him priceless credibility in the Muslim world. The Muslim world was skeptical, and reserved its applause in favour of sitting back and waiting.

Barack Obama was not particularly interested in Islam in the most populous Islamic country on the globe where he grew up before moving to Hawaii, nor in the Islam that lived in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, though the United States had a more muted interest and presence there. A more visible one by far in Afghanistan where the United States was fully embroiled in a thread that led back to the Middle East through Osama bin Laden's privileged Saudi background and stunning coup in helping to plan the spectacularly successful mass deaths of 9/11.

Under this president, despite his avowed intentions, Guantanamo was not closed emptied of its Islamist detainees and closed down, and withdrawal from Afghanistan did not solve the problem of the Taliban, joined at a later date by Islamic State to jostle the on-the-ground al-Qaeda presence. This president increased drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, doing little to endear himself to fundamentalist Islam practised there. And he orchestrated withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in the conflict that murderously pitted Islam against itself with Sunni and Shiite Iraqis happy to slaughter one another; the constraint of Saddam Hussein previously removed.

And then under President Obama his purpose of "leading from behind" grew apace as the Arab Spring blossomed, then withered. Promising his new era of renewal and removal of the U.S. irritant lodged in Islam's jaundiced eye, the time was ripe for the appearance of a new Islamic threat that would eclipse earlier ones and Islamic State and its vast caliphate established on the back of its terrifying atrocities opened a new era, but not the one Mr. Obama envisioned. The absence of the United States led to side effects and consequences and ISIL was one of them.

Another price was American non-interference in the Syrian civil war to persuade the Islamic Republic of Iran to sign a nuclear deal that would advantage it at a later date in its nuclear weapons aspirations, and the result of that was the deaths of a half million Syrians, while Syria's neighbours in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and Egypt took in the hordes of Syrian civilians fleeing their regime's barrel bombs. Iran satisfactorily attained the leverage it longed for in its Shiite crescent as Syria became a client state along with Iraq and Lebanon.

And the vacuum of America's exit invited Moscow and Vladimir Putin to choreograph a rescue of the Syrian regime, hard put to maintain itself despite Iran's proxy Hezbollah militias fighting with Bashar al-Assad under the concerted defiance of the Syrian rebels, abetted by foreign terrorists who from time to time attacked the rebels to establish their own unadulterated Sunni base in Syria. No one in their sane minds could view Europe as a beneficiary of a prospectively invigorating new addition to their resident populations in the process of which thousands of migrants and refugees drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

This, then, is Mr. Obama's Middle East legacy, his triumph in establishing a new relationship between the United States and the Middle East. Where no longer could Muslim states take umbrage at their natural resources holding them prisoner to American energy needs. Dethroned by a man of rude and profane expression who will brook no nonsense and sturdily set about his own agenda, beginning with destroying any last vestige of a legacy other than that of the Middle East, Mr. Obama is now free to make himself even wealthier than he is on leaving office.

It has been estimated in the New York Times that Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle have the earning potential of raking in anywhere from $20 million to $45 million annually between them by engaging in book writing of their experiences to entertain the reading public curious about how history will be portrayed from the Obama perspective, and setting out on the speaking circuit where they can command princely speaking fees to further entertain the public on the details of their presidential exploits. It is said that an ex-president of the United States can readily command $250,000 and more for a single speech.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Extremist Groups" aka Islamist Terrorists : From the Academic Perspective

"I believe, personally, that alternative discourses or counter-discourses on the Internet should be a government responsibility."
"There should be a concerted action from the ground level to the government level. Just individuals will no longer be able to handle the massive use of social media by extremist groups."
"Extremist movements are becoming very good in using that discourse [of extreme messaging] as a feminist gesture, as a power gesture."
"Let's get out of the victimization paradigm of women. They are not just victims of extremist movements, they are major actors in extremist movements, only they are hidden actors, and what is hidden is usually more effective."
Ghayda Hassan, professor of clinical psychology, University of Quebec, Montreal

"There are mountains that we don't understand about how people get radicalized."
"If we don't know how they get in, how can we design programs to get them out?"
Lorne Dawson, professor, departments of sociology, legal studies, religious studies, University of Waterloo
Tossing the bodies of their victims off cliffs, instead of giving them any kind of burial.

At a conference held at Queen's University in Kingston last week through the auspices of Queen's Centre for International and Defence Policy, about fifty academics, government, security and law-enforcement officials attended from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. The issue was to examine extreme messaging aimed at a younger global audience, and the dilemma that poses for government agencies who are under pressure to find methods in response to the violent messages extremist groups send out, proliferating on social media.

Judging from some of the expression and opinions made public through reportage on the event, these academics, like the politicians who tread lightly and most newspapers who wince at the very idea that clear language be used identifying the causes and the actors be avoided at all costs, no mention is made in connection with the extremist messages that they all emanate from 'radicalized' as polite society puts it, Islamists dedicated to Koranic-invested jihad. Cavils aside, one can only hope that some facts and perceptions circulated that will be useful to the attendees.

Research in Australia, it seems, has demonstrated that the average age of youth charged with crimes related to terrorism has reached a younger age demographic and the ages of those involved are decreasing as younger targets become involved to dedicate themselves to the brave new world of Islamist violent terrorism. More compellingly exciting than the most adventurous of dreams for the bored, the restless and the young prepared to travel and invest themselves in bracing adventure.

The fertile audience that young Australians represent was brought to the attention of the gathering by Shandon Harris-Hogan of the Australian National University.  But though the situation is being recognized, it is doubtful that useful insights accompanied the statement, other than the obvious, that managing this dilemma in dealing with younger extremists in their teens simply makes for a more complex situation for agencies involved in rehabilitation programs.

This is a reflection of Western nations, in their delirium of solving such intractable problems imagining that re-education will aid to turn restless youth inspired by repeated messages of a brave new dawning achieved through the glories of promoting the ideology of a religion whose sacred texts celebrate committing non-believers to death everlasting is a wonderful solution of all that ails the world.
Image Credit: Getty - Ahmad Al-Rubaye     Forcing thousands of Yazidi refugees to flee their homes to Mount Sinjar or face a massacre.

So that ongoing efforts in countering radical extremism is achieved through programs addressing target communities, along with programs to enlighten those identified as vulnerable to those extremist messages, and finally the rehabilitation programs themselves, for the finishing touch. And Canada, said Professor Dawson, stands on the cusp of its own solution, whereby the current Liberal government is establishing a new strategy of containment, whereas the previous Conservative government was committed to a law enforcement response.

The obvious criminality of violent jihad hides behind the conventions of political correctness where no segment of society, however implicated, must be held to public account, or suffer any manner of embarrassment by being linked or having their religion linked to dreadful crimes against humanity, for isn't it obvious, that although terrorism inextricably linked to Islam is a polarizing issue indeed, Islam itself, according to its faithful is a peerless religion of peace?

ISIS Execution
Gathering crowds to watch the executions of unbelievers and lawbreakers. Image credit: YouTube

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Wasting No Time .... Seriously!

"With the faith in each other and the faith in God, we will get the job done."
"We will prove worthy of this moment in history. And I think it may very well be a great moment in history."
U.S. President Donald J. Trump
Within hours of taking the oath of office, new President Donald Trump signed his first executive order in the Oval Office while the press looked on.   Evan Vucci/AP

"In one of his first acts as president, President Trump made it harder for Americans to afford a mortgage. Working class Americans, struggling Americans — now it's harder for them to get a mortgage." 
"It only took an hour for those populist words delivered on the steps of the Capitol to ring hollow."
Senator Chuck Schumer 

"Visitors to whitehouse.gov Friday afternoon noticed some immediate changes. Pages on climate change, LGBT issues, civil rights, and health care, have been replaced with pages on an "America First Energy Plan," "America First Foreign Policy," "Bringing Back Jobs and Growth," and "Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community"."
National Public Radio 

"It's a very disappointing outcome [postponement of a hearing challenging a Texas voter ID law discriminating against Latina and African-American voters]."
"This case has been in the courts for the better part of four years, and the people of Texas deserve an expeditious recovery of their constitutional rights."
Myrna Perez, Director, Voting Rights and Elections Project, Brennan Center for Justice, Texas
Just think: it's early days, and the new administration is already hard at work, warming up to its task of reversing just about everything and anything that the earlier administration of Barack Obama had instituted. This, of course, is not solely peculiar to the United States. That a Republican administration sets about methodically and expeditiously wiping out the decision-making and choices of a Democratic administration.

America's next door, northern neighbour has just recently undergone the very same transformation. When the new Liberal government took office, most of its Conservative predecessors' legislation swiftly came undone. A rather unseemly haste and one born of completely ideological perspectives. Irritating no end to some, and perfectly acceptable to others. That's on the domestic front, of course. And, of course, anything that Canada does hasn't the repercussion-value of what the United States undertakes in its impact on the international scene.

For President Trump, the businessman-cum-politician, that China came away with a trade surplus with the U.S. of $366-billion in 2015 represents an urgent issue to be addressed as soon as possible. Unlike addressing domestic legislation, this one will take a little bit of time, and it is entirely doubtful whether it will be met with any degree of success. But there's a showdown in the near future, one that already has Beijing growling about Taiwan's status with a new American administration that will view it as sovereign.

Americans themselves hardly know how to parse their new president's chummy view of Russia and its redoubtable strongman. Clearly Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin share some personal characteristics. In appraising one another they find much in common and perhaps some manner of accommodation will eventually present itself, melting the frosty atmosphere that has prevailed to date. How President Trump will address President Putin's pugnacity and the Kremlin's Ukraine adventure will be interesting, much less NATO's presence in the Baltic states.

As for President Trump's casual critique of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a world leader whose ill-advised comforting of millions of Muslim refugees fleeing conflict in Syria, and millions more seeking haven from poverty in Africa, along with his sneering dismissal of the European Union, and his prediction relating to its imminent collapse as other dissatisfied members join Great Britain in its Brexit move, his frank appraisals certainly cannot be much appreciated by their recipients.

Americans themselves cannot quite seem to believe what they have wrought. On Inauguration Friday, according to Dan Stessel of the Regional transportation office in Washington, the Metro logged just over 470,000 trips using the rail system. Disturbingly, hugely so, regional transportation officials on Sunday noted that 1,001,616 trips were logged, on the day of the mass protests in Washington where women and their supporters from across the United States rallied to protest the social reversals their new president is embarking upon.

Washington, DC
Photo by Tamara Warren / The Verge

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

"I Have Done Nothing Wrong"

"Since there was suspicion of sexual relationship, the police sent the girl to forensic medical for virginity test."
Fraidoon Obaidi, chief, Kabul Police Criminal Investigation Department

"The virginity test has been banned. However, it's a long-lasting practice used wrongly by law enforcement authorities, especially police."
"However wrong, it is going to take some time to entirely be stopped and removed. But we are determined to change the practice."
Office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

"The circumstances of virginity test are never humane."
"In conducting virginity tests, no one asks for the consent of the victim or the suspect -- 99 percent of the virginity tests are conducted by force and without consideration of its legality."
Soraya Sobhrang, commissioner, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
Violence against women remains a major issue in Afghanistan. File photo of Afghan civil society activist women weep and lie on the grave of Farkhunda, 27 after she was lynched by an angry mob in central Kabul on March 22.
Violence against women remains a major issue in Afghanistan. File photo of Afghan civil society activist women weep and lie on the grave of Farkhunda, 27 after she was lynched by an angry mob in central Kabul on March 22.

A human rights abuse and indignity of the highest order, virginity tests are conducted in a small chamber at Kabul's forensic center. The room has much in common in appearance with a storage space. The government's deputy director of forensic medicine, Khalil Ahmad Pashtoonyar, hastens to give his assurance that women are never forced to undergo the examination. Should a woman refuse, his facility simply returns the appropriate file to the police with the notation that the subject failed to give consent.

Entirely overlooking the very fact that in this fundamentalist society extreme public pressure and social expectations weigh heavily on a family's honour and the end result is that a woman has little option but to submit to the test. The social devastation of censure and isolation that can result from a refusal to accept the pressure and submit to authorities' demands that the public morality be respected ensures that few women have the courage to defend themselves against such an intimate intrusion.

Rights groups have repeatedly warned against the lack of basic rights for women in Afghanistan [AP]
Yet, even if the test is conducted as social mores demand, and the woman is found to be without the moral blemish of a disturbed hymen, the very fact that she has been submitted to such a test is indication enough of her presumed moral failure in this backward society. A 17-year-old girl and a young man she had been linked with were sitting in a vehicle when a mob descended on them, setting fire to the car. The two young people managed to escape. When police arrived on the scene it was not the lynching-prone mob that interested them.

Instead they arrested the teenage girl. She was ordered by police to undergo the standard virginity test at the forensic medical centre. The completed test verified that her hymen was intact; nonetheless, she was held for 40 days at the detention center meant to hold children under suspicion. And the public shame of the accusation against her by the ravening mob compelled her father to send his daughter out of Kabul, to be with family in a different province. "I have done nothing wrong", she wrote to her father.

Afghanistan's president had acceded to the demands of rights activists that forensic virginity tests be officially abolished. Regardless, the examinations remain forced by officials upon women and girls who in many instances have been raped or who have suffered some manner of sexual abuse. In other words, they are held responsible for the violent attacks rapists subject them to, guilty for being women inciting men -- by virtue of the fact that they are women -- to attack them.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Euphoria, Entreaties and Despair

resident Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Credit Joe Raedle, Getty Images

"It's weird, but it's great, and for the first time ever Russians are applauding the victory of a U.S. presidential candidate. It's a sign of the times."
Stanislav Byshok, political analyst, Russia

"We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship."
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Facebook entry

"Canada and the United States have built one of the closest relationships between any two countries in the world."
"This enduring partnership is essential to our shared prosperity and security."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

"Congrats to my friend President Trump. Look fwd to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel&USA stronger than ever."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Twitter

"Germany’s ties with the United States of America are deeper than with any country outside of the European Union."
"Germany and America are bound by common values — democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel 

"[U.S. President Donald Trump] recognizes the importance and significance of NATO."
"I'm also confident the USA will recognize the importance of the cooperation we have in Europe to ensure our collective defence and collective security."
"From our conversations to date, I know we are both committed to advancing the special relationship between our two countries and working together for the prosperity and security of people on both sides of the Atlantic."
British Prime Minister Theresa May 
First lady Michelle Obama, flanked by President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump, greets Melania Trump at the White House in Washington
Credit Evan Vucuup
Quaking with trepidation, yet expressing confidence in a future that threatens to be derailed through the direct verbal expressions of the new President of the United States of America, traditional allies take hope in their vision that it will not be simple for anyone to promote wholesale rejection by this new administration of all the instruments of multi-national agreements in the promotion of intelligence gathering, mutual defence, and advantageous trade, along with open borders.

While world leaders express their limited confidence in phrases carefully gauged to mask their uneasiness over the unknown in dealing with a  volatile egocentric whose own pronouncements have made it abundantly clear that he basks lovingly in the multitudinous spheres of  his own ignorance, supremely satisfied that his views born of flighty attention spasms cannot be anything but accurate since he is, at the very least, infallible.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time is being highlighted once again through the agonizingly predictable unfolding of the present into the future. Protest marches are the latest indication, erupting all over the world, that fear has struck deep and promises to remain entrenched for the next four years over the uncertainty and perceived diminished prospects for humanity with this man at the helm of the world's superpower.

Theresa May's chirrupingly hopeful interpretation of the future is belied by Londoners outside the American embassy chanting "Dump Trump!", while in Mexico City people discuss the gravity of their country's future under the bad-tempered slander of a neighbour's vented spleen. "I listened to Trump's inauguration speech dubbed on an Arabic channel -- it could easily have been Saddam, Assad or Sissi", Mohamad Bazzi, professor of journalism at New York University tweeted through Donald Trump's favoured social media medium.

Protesters in Manila, the Philippines, burned an American flag, urging their redoubtable President Rodrigo Duterte to distance himself from the new American President, yet why he should, since they appear to have so much in common in their personal traits, declarations, mode of communication and intentions is puzzling. 

In contrast to the relief felt in Israel, banking on the pre-election promises that flew into the atmosphere like freshly-released doves, hundreds of residents of the West Bank city of Nablus marched with Palestinian flags, responding to their concerns over the new president's support of Israel, including his jaunty assurance that the U.S. embassy is soon to be moved to Jerusalem.

They have company in the scores of Americans who were arrested on charges of attacking police and trashing property. Signs reading "Resist Trump Climate Justice Now", "Let Freedom Ring", and "Free Palestine", were hoisted high in the hands of the outraged. Protesters smashed windows of a Starbucks, a Bank of America and a McDonald's, denouncing capitalism and its greatest symbol of capitalism's excess, the new President of the United States.

Protesters increased as the day of the inauguration went on, with some among the protest crowd  wearing gas masks. With arms chained together inside PVC pipe, they demonstrated their solidarity and their rejection of the man who they said was "Not My President!" Over 200 people were arrested, charged with rioting and for having caused "significant damage". 

"Get a job. Stop crying snowflakes. Trump won", countered one man among a Bikers for Trump group from Philadelphia.  In the final analysis, no one can truly foresee that the coming administration can be all bad all the time. They can and they doubtless will, get some things right, some of the time. Of a certainty the administration that preceded this one got quite a lot of the things wrong, too often. Can things get worse? Stay tuned.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol
Credit Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

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