Tag: International

Nigeria bans female genital mutilation

[Content note: female genital mutilation (obviously)]

A new ban, passed in May and signed into law by outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan, outlaws female genital mutilation in Nigeria. The practice was banned worldwide by the U.N. in 2012 and already outlawed in several states within Nigeria, but the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 represents a nationwide commitment to the ban. The new law also outlaws abandonment of spouse and/or dependents without financial support, and battery.

Weekly Open Thread with the Hope Quilt

Women of many ages and races walk together along a street, dressed in hotel uniforms, each holding part of the edge of a large quilt

To mark International Women’s Day, this week’s threadful host is the Hope Quilt, symbol of the Hope for Housekeepers campaign against unfair work practices for hotel housekeepers (a mostly female workforce). Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything you like* over this weekend and throughout the week.

* with a few netiquette exceptions

What do little girls have to do with our wars?

This week a Taliban hit squad in Pakistan targeted and shot Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year old who was fighting for the right of girls to be educated. I cried at the inhumanity on and off all day when I heard. Maybe she should have just dressed the part and saved her life. I’m not being flip. I wish with all my heart that she didn’t have to be shot in the head to become a “global icon” for the plight of girls. But the plight of girls is the plight of the world. That’s what people need to come to terms with.

Midwifery should go international

Sorry I haven’t been blogging much this week — I am writing other things elsewhere, though, like this summary of a conversation with UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson. He gives a nice shout-out to midwives at the end, and is inspiring me to organize some sort of Midwives Without Borders group to send midwives to developing nations, and also train local women in midwifery to provide support for birthing women. Eliasson also talked about Syria policy, and the benefits of a political solution over a military one (which I am sure many readers here, including myself, aren’t entirely sure about). And while you’re over there, check out the other great pieces that UN Dispatch has on offer.

Freedom of expression should not be undermined

Obviously. And that should extend to mocking religion, even cruelly. And violence is not an acceptable response, even to someone maligning your God. But unfettered freedom of speech is not an entrenched value everywhere in the world (although I wish it were). And when we’re talking about swaths of relatively powerless people who have spent the past few decades facing hostility and violence from the United States and from their own leaders, rioting as the only way of demonstrating widespread frustration and discontent becomes somewhat… not understandable in the way that means “acceptable,” but understandable in the “capable of being understood” way. Because even if the better option was a cool, collected conversation, no one is sitting at the other side of that table. Which again isn’t a justification — the rioting is wrongheaded and horrible and I would even say silly in response to such an asinine, juvenile video — it’s just an observation. As is this: When there are already fires blazing, maybe don’t throw gasoline on them just to prove that you can.

The Story of One Drug User’s Return from Addiction

My dad is a police officer. My behavior had, of course, made my dad lose face in the eyes of his co-workers. They would talk about him behind his back and say things like, “A narcotics officer’s daughter is a drug user! How embarrassing!” It must have been so hard for him to endure that kind of treatment from his fellow officers, to say nothing of how his superiors must have viewed him. I must have put him through hell. But at that time, of course, I had no idea the kind of damage I was doing.

Giving Children a Healthy Start to Life

Mark Leon Goldberg here. The following article is from the most recent issue of PSI Impact Magazine, a quarterly publication from the global health NGO Population Services International. The cover story, written by Desmond Chavasse, Ph.D, Vice President, Malaria Control & Child Survival, PSI takes a look at some high-impact, low cost interventions that could greatly improve child health in the developing world. The solutions are relatively simple, but we need more political will (and funding) to fully realize their potential.