Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Afghan Women Pelted With Stones During Rape Law Protest

Afghan women protesting against a new law that severely undermines women's rights were pelted with stones in the country's capital Wednesday, say reports.

About 300 mostly young women gathered in Kabul to show their opposition to a recently passed law that forbids women from refusing to have sex with their husbands and requires them to get a male relative's permission to leave the house.

The demonstration, organized by women's rights activists in the country, occurred in front of a Shia mosque recently built by a cleric who helped craft the law. Critics of the law say it effectively legalizes rape within marriage and is a return to Taliban-style rule.

About 1,000 people opposed to the protest surrounded the women and threw gravel and small stones as police struggled to hold them back. The group of counter-protesters included both men and women.

Some shouted "Death to the slaves of the Christians."

"You are a dog. You are not a Shia woman," one man shouted to a young woman in a headscarf holding aloft a banner that said, "We don't want Taliban law."

There were no reports of injuries.

Sima Ghani, a women's rights activist, said everyone at the protest is united against the law.

"No matter what religion we belong to, what sect we follow, we all stand against this law and want a reform of the law," she said.

Jeremy Starkey, a reporter with The Independent newspaper who was at the demonstration, said he saw men pelt the women with stones.

"I saw the men surging forward on a number of occasions," he said.

"Female afghan police officers joined hands to form a human chain around the women to try to protect them."

The law, which applies only to the minority Shia community, received widespread international condemnation.

The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the law will be reviewed and won't be implemented in its current form.

Canada's foreign affairs minister, Lawrence Cannon, said earlier this month Afghan officials had assured him they would delete "contentious clauses" from the legislation.

The Afghan constitution guarantees equal rights for women, but also allows the Shia to have separate family law based on religious tradition.


I don't think I actually have to say anything about this article.


Jena and I went to the movies last week for two reasons:

1. We were going to go to the beach but the bizarre weather of late meant it was cloudy and not so hot.

2. I was having inhuman-strength cravings for popcorn.

We ended up at the mall and decided that we both wanted a good ogle at Clive Owen (we weren't disappointed, he has rather nice chest hair!) but having seen the movie, are none the wiser to what it was actually about. It was a spy/romance about two spies who share a romantic past who attempt to rip their bosses off and make a forturne....but we're not even sure we get the romance part.

I'm not good with movies that aren't in chronological order. I'm getting better, but things like Pulp Fiction, Vantage Point and any of those that tell a story from multiple angles or skip back and forth between time periods just spin me out. So we couldn't tell when Clive and Julia's characters actually met and got together and why they ended up shafted at the end of the movie and why all the other characters seemed in on it.

Apart from gathering that Julia Roberts is perhaps one of the best actresses around and that Clive is delicious and welcome at our place for dinner any time, there's not much more I can say about it because I just don't know!

Friday, 17 April 2009

End of an Era

It’s the end of the world as we know it.....

An earth-shattering thing has just happened in Dubai – Ashleigh, one of my best friends and flatmate of 3 years, has pulled the pin. After almost 3.5 years of service, she’s resigned and has departed the sandpit one last time and has relocated to Melbourne where the pastures are certainly greener.

While some crew pretty much schedule farewell tours with endless dinners, piss-ups and get-togethers, Ash went quietly ... although I wasn’t there to witness the possible debauchery of her final night out. We had a nice low-key buffet dinner at Yalumba, the lovely Australian restaurant that has been the setting for many boozy brunches. With low lighting, a one-man band and a few bottles of rose, we chattered and talked about what the future holds for Lil Ash.

There aren’t many words to describe the loss felt when a best friend leaves. No-one really talks about it as the focus has always been on what happens when we first move to Dubai – all the new experiences, the outings, the culture shocks, the new friendships forged and of course, the ever frustrating battles with things like banks, car registration and phone conversations with the phone company. When people leave, unless they’re very good friends, the world seems to swallow them up and life resumes as normal in the desert. I can’t see that happening this time.

While there are some very frustrating and foot stamping moments in Dubai, the majority of us love our lives and freak out at the thought of returning to what we did before flying or ... gasp ... the possibility of trying something new. This is such a fear-inducer that some crew get comfortable and just never leave! I’ve never really known what I wanted to do when I grow up. Now that I’m 26 maybe I should think about it! There are lots of things I’d love to try, with the more eccentric ranging from being a jewellery designer or a diamond expert, to a guide dog trainer to a model. I’ve not yet finished uni, but following my final remaining part-time semester I’ll have a Bachelor of Criminology with majors in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Ideally I’d love to get a job in the field I’ve trained in but I also have thoughts of running a shop that sells beautiful things with my Mum. Or moving to Bolivia with Felicity and establishing a Llama and Meerkat farm. I’d like to take this moment to assert that there will be equal numbers of Meerkats and Llamas on the farm. Are you reading this Felicity??

There are possibilities for anything and that’s what makes life so beautiful. Due to my lack of words regarding Ash’s departure, I’ve chronicled our greatest adventures caught on film. Enjoy!!