Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Relax: Water Flow Art
Labels: Arts and Ents
Bushinejad Strikes Again!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Hudud’s Limits in Pakistan
One of today’s top international headlines is that Pakistan’s upper house of parliament has today finally passed very minor amendments – but improvements nonetheless – to a set of laws which should actually be completely eradicated, regarding premarital and extramarital sex, as well as rape. The laws, called “Hudood” which is Arabic for “limits” basically follow sharia law in their governance of people’s private matters, as well as matters of criminal sexual conduct which according to various human rights groups both in Pakistan and abroad are in high numbers and increasing in Pakistan.
The amendments to the Hudood law include punishments that still fail to be in line with a universal standard of human rights:
--for those people convicted of having consensual sex (including those who are
indeed at the legal age of consent) there will no longer be a punishment of
death or flogging, however they are still subject to 5 years imprisonment or a
10,000 rupee fine (equivalent to approximately USD 160). It is worth pointing
out that the average salary in Pakistan, according to the Islamic Relief Agency is approximately USD 420 annually .
-- DNA and other scientific evidence can now be admissible in court for rape cases
--the great newsmaker is that now, according to the discretion of a judge, a rape case can be tried in either a sharia court or a civil court – the improvement being
that in a civil court a rape victim is not obligated to produce 4 male witnesses
to the rape in order to justify the fact that her life has just been ruined.
However, one wonders at the benefits of a law that would place major decisions on rape cases in the hands of men at all, for two reasons: rape is most often a crime against women, and rape cases against men are reported even less than women, especially in societies where any reference at all to homosexuality is extremely intolerable, even when it is nonconsenual. A close look at the situation of women judges in Pakistan indicates that, well, there aren't that many of them:
--Of the 77 judges in the courts of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human
Rights – which, by the way, doesn’t even have a Human Rights Court amongst its 8
different courts -- only 4 are women
--Of the 4 major high courts, only 2 of 78 judges are women: Lahore High Court (0/36); Sindh-Karachi (2/23); Peshawar (0/14); Baluchistan (0/5)
--Of the 8 judges on the Shariat court, all are men
Prior to Zia ul-Haq's Islamization of Pakistan -- wherein he created Shariat courts to rule the peoples' private lives, massively increased religious madrassah schools and religious training in the country, and overall imposed religious beliefs and practices in all levels of Pakistani life -- most Pakistanis were actually not very religious at all, except in the sense that they identified themselves as Muslims. This is the reason why, according to famed Pakistani intellectual Tariq Ali, most Pakistanis of his generation were very secular and today's generation (the progeny of Ali's generation) are so very religious. He has asserted time and again that it was not even a common practice for people to celebrate Ramadan or Eid-ul-Fitr back then, though today it is perhaps the most significant holiday of the calendar year.
Pakistan, like Iran, like Afghanistan, like so many of these neighboring nations, has become a hotbed of not only religious fundamentalism but of intense religious moderation -- yes, the moderates are arguably more dangerous than the fundamentalists since they are more influential on a broader scale and since fundamentalism is initially rooted in moderation -- for one reason and one reason only: because the US wished it that way to fight off any chances of communist takeovers. Too bad the people don't recognize this -- that's how powerful religious brainwashing is.
As I've always done, I like to put these things in perspective: Western and non-Islamic nations are hardly an improvement when it comes to equal employment for men and women. The US Supreme Court has only 1 of 9 judges who is a woman, for instance. However, in those countries there is one significant positive: a lot more of the basic human rights (as indicated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents) that all humans deserve are being respected. In places like Pakistan, basic human rights issues are years, perhaps generations away from being up to standard.
This is the issue at hand -- this is the reason why it is so easy for the West to condemn non-Westerners: because so many non-Western nations fail to meet basic standards of human rights for the bulk of their people -- though, to be fair, many of these non-Western governments are being led by ignorant, uncompassionate criminals placed and supported in power by Western governments. Nonetheless, on the face of it, this is why the West is so arrogant and condescending toward the non-West. But this is also why the non-West should get its act together, recognize its shortcomings and fall in line with progressive and logical standards for the treatment of people -- standards most often referred to as human rights.
A wise person once said that "laws are for idiots," meaning that certain things should just be common sense. Sadly, as we know, common sense is a rare commodity which is why there is so much stagnation in human advancement. Pakistan's laws have today taken a tiny step toward advancement, but the bigger question is whether Pakistan's people will take that step, too.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Marilyn Monroe: Brainiac
That's right. Marilyn Monroe was a hot brainiac who played a dumb blonde because she thought it would give her everything she wanted in life, even though it didn't: admiration, adoration, and love.
What is most interesting to the Saccharinist is not that Monroe might have been a Commie, but that she, like many women throughout the world was suppressed into hiding her intelligence in favor of exploiting her sexuality. She was the ultimate sex tool who sacrificed her true self for the pleasure of men. But why? What convinced her that intelligence is not sexy? What convinced her that she could not be both intelligent and sexy and still be admired in society?
Marily Monroe was the perfect example of the latent but equally disturbing and damaging sexual discrimination that exists in the West as compared to the East. There is no doubt that in the Middle East, in Muslim nations, in developing countries of all sorts, women are overtly accepted as 2nd class citizens -- open discrimination is unquestioned. But the West, as the Saccharinist has said time and again, is no better.
Sexual discrimination is veiled in the West, but it is harmful and degrading to women, no less. Women get paid less than men in the West. Women get less promotions at work. Women are emotionally and physically harrassed on a regular basis (what do you think all of that catcalling and staring is all about?). Women are treated as sexual objects -- just open up any fashion magazine and it will be as plain as day for you to see.
US Most Unfriendly
The survey, conducted for the Discover America Partnership organization determined that the main reasons for this were that those godforsaken Customs and Immigration employees who "greet" everybody at the wondrous gates of America are just too darn rude. The funny, or not so funny thing is that they are rude to everybody, including Americans.
"The survey shows there is more fear of our immigration officials than of terrorism or crime," says the executive director of DAP.
All of this is extremely hilarious in the context of the latest bill passed in the Iranian parliament which requires that all US nationals entering Iran be fingerprinted and investigated.
Y'all come back now, ya hear?
Labels: the US of A
KKKramer: Race Relations USA
Iran-US Alliance Kills Iraq
FIFA is a Thief-a: Suspends Iran
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Dilawar Khan Found
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Dilawar Khan Disappears
Dilawar is Persian for "brave" and Dilawar Khan is very brave indeed to cover the news in a region that does not have much regard for an open press. It's journalists like Khan who make a major difference in this world by putting their lives on the line to bring news and information to the rest of us. What the people who've kidnapped Khan do not know is that he was also helping them in his news coverage: at least a local was covering the region rather than an outsider who is likely tainted with either prejudice or ignorance.
The Pakistani government has much to answer for if Khan is not returned safely to his home. Please don't let this be another case of violence against a journalist. Dilawar, you are in our thoughts.
Friday, November 17, 2006
UCLA Police Attack Student
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Al Jazeera England's Network
Labels: the Me-dia
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Iranian Sex Tape Tragedy
The story of Zahra Amir Ebrahimi is a tragedy of personal liberty, of privacy, of individuality, of decency, of humanity -- it is a story that has repeated itself in various guises throughout all close-minded and religiously-inclined societies millions of times over.
25-year-old Amir Ebrahimi is a beautiful and talented actress, or should I say was, until her jealous and mean-spirited ex-boyfriend decided to release a personal video they had made together onto the internet just last month. It is still not clear whether she authorized the making of the tape, or whether it is even her in the video -- but what is clear is that she is in deep deep trouble in a society -- like all societies where religion plays a key role in the culture and morality of the people -- where pre-marital relations are not only prohibited but considered a criminal offense.
The Saccharinist never thought a reference to Paris Hilton would be made in this blog, but it seems now is the time. As many readers may know or recall, Paris Hilton's career was made thanks to her boyfriend's unauthorized release of her sex tape -- a tape which clearly indicates Hilton's knowledge of the ongoing taping. America is a prude and increasingly religiously fundamentalist society, but what happened to Hilton is a supreme example of the difference between a society where the individual is respected and personal freedom is actually something of value and a society where those things are meaningless. Hilton's career skyrocketed to success. Amir Ebrahimi is now fighting to stay alive.
The worst thing about religious societies like Iran is that the men are not even aware of how prejudiced they are against women -- they are totally oblivious to how strongly they have been conditioned against a mentality of gender equality. It seems impossible for them to see the other side of the coin on that issue.
Amir Ebrahimi's ex-boyfriend is now a criminal on the lam -- he has escaped to Dubai and his identity has been forbidden to be released by the authorities. But the Saccharinist strongly disagrees -- this horrible adult's name and identity must be made known. This criminal -- like all criminals -- should be exposed for who he is and what he has done because the public's scrutiny is a powerful source of justice against the horrible people amongst us.
Dear Readers, if any of you have any information whatsoever about this criminal's identity, please email the Saccharinist on email@example.com If bloggers unite and take a stance against this criminal, we can make a difference in at least one person's life.
Most Adults Are Bad
So will people change? Will the good people someday outnumber the bad? It seems unlikely in these days of capitalistic greed, religious brainwashing, and political disingenuousness. Love, kindness and humanity has taken a backseat to pretense and profit. But there is still one positive that remains in human relations: there are still good people out there -- few and far between as they are.
Labels: Humane Rights
Friday, November 10, 2006
Updates: Borat, Darrell Hair, The Queen
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Good Riddance, Dumsfeld
Yesterday's US elections have won another victory. The American government is finally reacting to the public's outcry that this War on Iraq and this farcical Wart on Terror needs to change its bloody course.
Will other criminals replace Dumsfeld? Surely. Will Bush continue his war path? Undoubtedly. But at least one sociopath has been tossed in the rubbish where he belongs. We the ones who care for humanity and human rights, civility and common decency, must count our victories, large and small.
Results: Republicans Swept Out
--The United States gained independence from Britain in 1776 but it took 230 years for a woman to finally become speaker of the House and contrary to worldwide and American trends on female leadership where the women tend to have to be even more scary and conservative than the men (see Condosleazea Rice and Ang-Hell-a Merkel for the latest incarnations of this), Pelosi is a progressive politician who supports fundamental social issues (such as abortion and immigrant rights) and has been very vocal against the war in Iraq. This is also the closest a woman has ever come to being President of the United States: the Speaker of the House is 3rd in line for the Presidency after the Vice President.
-- The US now has its second-ever Black governor now that Deval Patrick has captured Massachusetts. Still, it's shocking that in a nation where over 13% of the population is Black, and in certain districts that percentage is way over the majority, there has only ever been two Black governors.
--Iowans have finally voted that lump Jim Leach out of a Congressional office he has been molding over for thirty years. Leach was another example of a person who would relent to progress on a few fronts but still could not totally accept that open-mindedness and progress are the way forward for improving life and society. Good riddance to another on-the-fence politician.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Well Awl Be: A Terrorist!
You see, a completely naked 33-year-old John Sheehan was peacefully masturbating himself in the middle of a town where most people openly smoke marijuana and still think it's 1968, when police surrounded him and attempted to arrest him for what was presumably indecent exposure, only to be struck with fear at his next admission: that he was carrying a concealed weapon!
Shock! Horror! and...the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.
Turns out ol' man Sheehan was concealing his weapon in the only place he had left to conceal anything: his rectum. Moments later, hero that he was, he saved the Bay Area and most likely the world from horrible terrorist destruction when he pulled out a 6-inch awl from his ass. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
Thank goodness for invasive security measures!
Today, Americans will not only prove to the world whether they are the digital age's greatest victims of political and media propaganda in a free society, but whether capitalistic democracy -- in an age of epic greed and outright hate -- is waning or as strong as ever.
As Michael Moore said to his subscribers today, this is not an election about voting for individuals -- as recent past US elections have been -- but about voting strictly and shamelessly along party lines: the Democrats, though they are as useless, conservative, backward and ignorant as the Republicans, must win today because George W. Bushler's party must lose. "This election is nothing less than a National Referendum on George W. Bush and his War," Moore writes.
And boy do we know it! What a surprise that Saddam was "sentenced to death" just yesterday -- strange that a trial that has taken years to come into existence somehow manages to pull itself together just in time for the last big election of Bushler's presidency. (All of the major newspapers of the world, even including the so-called Independent, pandered to this ridiculous "news" by putting it on their front page.) Political theatrics or human rights victory? Hmmm...I think the answer to that is best characterized as they said in the 2004 documentary, "Control Room", about Al Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq War: "if there's only one Iraqi left when this war is over, it will be Saddam Hussein."
Polls close at around 9 pm in most states. The world watches. Waits. Hopes.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Kerry Dirty American Politics
Two more years of pre-emptive massacres...
Two more years of thievery and high stakes crime...
Two more years of fooling the American people into overlooking the fact of their miserable lives...
None of that will change next Tuesday. And speaking of nothing changing, that overgrown chin John Kerry has managed to succumb to playground taunts from the Republicans again. The first time around, they managed to convince not only the public, but him, that being a Vietnam war veteran is a crime punishable by an election loss.
This time, a paltry, pale-faced point he made about the nature of US military recruitment has thrown him back into the shadows of politics, even though he wasn't even running for office but merely trying to help the Democratic vote! Kerry's horrible words? "If you make the most of [education], you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in Iraq." Kerry stating the obvious: that those little 18,19, 20 year old American privates that are dying left and right in Iraq only ended up there in the first place because they didn't pursue their education and instead had no where to turn but the military. The result? Bushler's camp has actually forced an apology from Kerry and he has squirmed back into his blackhole of political impotence.
Another victory for Bushler's dirty tricks campaigns. When will this awful Western end?