kangeiko: (thoughtful)
Cameroon denies homosexuals face persecution

I am of two minds on this.

On the one hand, I sincerely doubt that the Cameroon government is going to expand any effort to prosecute a person for something that does not benefit the officials involved (Transparency International has Cameroon ranked 146th out of 180 countries in the corruption perceptions index for 2009). However, should it choose to do so, that same lethargy would mean that there is practically no chance for them to face either a fair trial (although what that would mean is questionable, as their mere existence is outlawed in Cameroon), nor do I believe them to be wealthy enough to navigate the complexities of the Cameroonian legal system and extract themselves in that fashion.

Furthermore, whether or not the government chooses to prosecute is mostly irrelevant in this instance. Both of these men (the applicant from Cameroon and the one from Iran) have been 'outed' in their communities, and those communities have expressed hostile reactions. This means they would either have to move, or they would face the daily threat of violence.

So let's suppose the Cameroonian applicant decided to move (setting aside the trauma of such a move). But where would he move to? Cameroon has 230 languages. While both English and French are official languages, much of the population speaks neither. So you're going to be using one of the local languages in the absence of a lingua franca. The majority of the country has languages from the Niger-Congo family, which narrows it down to 173 languages.

In short, movement across the country is difficult unless you speak a number of languages, and even more so if you have to leave in a great hurry. In fact, if you don't speak the language you are much more likely to fall afoul of the authorities, as you will be unable to talk your way out of a routine stop (and hurried exists don't often allow a great deal of financial liquidity). On a practical level, you are back where you started: the government doesn't care enough to prosecute you, but if you should happen to end up in the system, there is little to no chance of getting out.

I think that all those ranting about how the Cameroonian government's position makes this all possible are missing the point somewhat: it isn't the move from the country that would disadvantage this person, it is the move from his community. When the neighbouring town is different enough to be a different country, then what does being in a different country matter? It's not the destination but the departure that is relevant. This person felt threatened enough to leave his community - to travel to the other side of Cameroon, to travel to the other side of Africa, to travel to a completely new continent, ultimately that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that he chose to come to the UK; all that is relevant is that he felt he had no choice but to leave his friends, family and entire community. I would wager that very few people would voluntarily choose an option that extreme, with no hope of going back: his bridges were burnt for him. The argument here shouldn't be about whether Cameroon prosecutes people for being gay or not. It would be inhuman for the UK to try to shove a man into the river for the lack of a bridge.
kangeiko: (naked)
EU health food claims law begins to bite

I'm interested in this as a result of my brief stint in food supplements and vitamins following that copyrights and patent internship. My final conclusion was that in the next five years the EU will crack down on such unsubstantiated claims, and anyone thinking of getting into the market just as it is beginning to become more regulated ought to think again. I'm quite gratified to see this coming true seven years on (ok, I was out by a couple of years, who's counting?).

Sad to see that all those tales of how cranberry juice protects you from/cures thrush etc is in fact baloney. I wonder how many other commonly accepted 'cures' are in fact myths internalised through advertising? I was amused to read that green tea's argument that it is an antioxidant was rejected, as antioxidants do diddly squat.

Holy crap

Apr. 14th, 2010 09:12 am
kangeiko: (Default)

Am in shock over the China quake. That's one major earthquake for every month this year, plus assorted natural disasters (landslides, cyclones) and several transport crashes (Italian train, Mexican and Polish planes, probably others). This seems a much bigger quota than we usually get in any one year. Where the fuck are we going, and what are we doing in this handbasket?

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

kangeiko: (Default)
So it's true, then.
kangeiko: (Default)
The new President is busy overturning close to a decade of insane and borderline-psychotic policies:
- A lift on the ban on stem cell research.
- Dropping the global gag rule.
- Banning 'enhanced interrogation' and rendition - or as we like to call it, torture and kidnapping.
- Pledging to close Guantanamo Bay, and all ghost prisons.

Other stuff has also happened that shock me beyond words:

The good:
- Laurent Nkunda is captured in Rwanda. If you don't know who General Nkunda is, he's a born-again Christian who happens to be the leader of the rebel armies doing their fair of raping, killing and mutilating across the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC has requested that Nkunda be extradited. The worry now is that a deal may be struck or, worse, that he may be executed. Neither one of these options fills me with joy. But not having him running about with the killing and the mutilating and the raping? Plus, there is a small but still present chance that he might be put on trial. Which - would be a blessed miracle indeed.

The bad:
- New evidence of Gaza child deaths - what's shocking about this is not that children died (because when you wage a war in the middle of a city you're going to primarily kill civilians, let's not kid ourselves), but that Israel is still insisting that people were shooting at them. Looking at several of their targets - UN facilities, schools, groups of children - that's starting to wear a little thin. I'd like a real answer - and an investigation - of this.
- UN accuses Israel of using white phosphorous. For those who don't know what phosphorus does, imagine something that clings to you, that can't be removed, and that will stick until it burns right through you, through skin and muscle and bone. Now throw that stuff at a bunch of civilians, and watch even the smallest wound kill. The reports that this might have been used against civilians horrifying. I'm going to be following the investigation of this very closely indeed.
- Artic melt 20 years ahead of climate models - US researchers claim to have found evidence that accelerated melting has crossed a "tipping point" from which there is no going back.

***

Something not related to the Real World - and we can all be grateful -

Nextwave slash, by [livejournal.com profile] apiphile. I leave you with the image of the Captain helping Aaron try out his latest attachment. And I run away in the opposite direction.
kangeiko: (Default)
UN suspends Gaza aid operations - because they are being bombed by the Israelis.

Anyone who justifies bombing a school because it may hold militants permanently loses the moral high ground, IMNSHO. Although Hamas is doing the Palestinian cause no favours, by vowing retaliation - against Israeli children. Nice to see where you stand on the idea of a ceasefire, Hamas.

Meanwhile, the US, UK and France have stopped blocking the UN resolution - thanks, guys, nice to see some sense, finally.

Except it seems that everyone is too cash-strapped to give anything to Gaza. So what with there being no money, and aid agencies having to withdraw due to being bombed, and Israel not tending to the wounded, it might be too late already.

Meanwhile, everyone seems terrified of having an opinion, lest they offend someone.

I'm not afraid to have an opinion. I think both sides are behaving appallingly, and it's the children who are paying the price.

There. Now everyone can be offended.
kangeiko: (Default)
The US is blocking a UN Security Council statement on a cease-fire in Gaza.

...

I have no words.

EDIT: Actually, I do have words. Most are expletives.

You can donate money to the Muslim Aid Gaza appeal here.
kangeiko: (wasting time online)
Clinton nominated as Secretary of State. Hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] athena25. Nice to see Susan Rice on there as well - and Samantha Power working on the transition team? It would be nice if she stuck around; never know when a human rights expert might come in handy...

*

Spent the day studying, mostly. Had the day booked off for that, so, you know, nose to grindstone and all that. I'm definitely making progress, but I won't know if it's enough progress until the weekend, when I'll be staring at a Tuesday exam (9th Dec) and trying to do last-minute consolidation of, you know. Stuff. Well-wishes and any spare brain-cells you might have would be very much appreciated.

*

In other news, I just completed a good portion of my Xmas shopping in one fell swoop online. God bless Amazon.
kangeiko: (atia of the julii)
Hmmmm. Not a single woman on that list.

A surprising amount of grace )

Also had my first Arabic lesson yesterday, and learnt more than I thought was possible in two hours. Entirety of the alphabet (individual letters and cursive (joined up) letters, and did you know that they look COMPLETELY DIFFERENT depending on where they are in the word? And bear no resemblance to the printed letters? Yup. Good times.), greetings and small-talk, introductions, vocatives, and how to fend off an overly-amorous former State Department employee over here doing his Masters and about one overly-friendly comment away from getting my boot in his face. Why is it always me??

*

Giving up internets for a while while broadband is reconnected. Should hopefully have a phoneline this evening, so internets to follow soon.
kangeiko: (Default)
No internets from tomorrow afternoon, and I so want to blog endlessly about the election! I managed to stay up until, about 3.10am, until they called Ohio for Obama, and was then too tired to stay up any longer. A pity, 'cause apparently it only took another hour for it to be called for the new President-Elect.

I am too excited for words. So I won't blog. But I will read the paper and squee. And possibly rewatch S6 and S7 of The West Wing. (Did anyone else see Richard Schiff on the BBC2 midmorning yesterday, doing commentary? Lotsa fun.)
kangeiko: (Default)
We are changing our phone-line provider (and broadband provider) over the next month. This means that I will not have a phone-line for about a week, and broadband for a further two weeks. I will continue to have internet access for a little while longer (courtesy of Old Work's wifi laptop gadgets) but, come Friday, I shall be departing Old Work. And will not be spending New Work's time on personal internet-fu. Because I am dedicated and full of good intentions.

So.

1. I can't post pictures of my costume just yet - work laptop will not talk to phone, poo. Will have to wait until I am properly returned.

2. I have signed up for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide! Well, ok, I signed up twice, because I always change my mind on what fandoms to offer and always get too exciteable and offer everything in my 'first run' sign-up. I then do a more considered, less crazy sign-up, featuring fandoms that will not cause me acute pain and stabbing of the eyes if I end up having them assigned. I am so excited already!

3. After 7th Nov, I will only have access to email (managed by my exciting google-enabled phone) for hopefully a week, but most likely two weeks. I could probably browse lj, but it will cost me a fortune. So pls email me if you need to get in touch/are posting momentous news/want to meet up, for my lj-fu will be lacking for a little bit.

4. I want to stay up all night Tuesday night and watch the election, ready with a really big stick if people are stupid. But I suspect that I may fall asleep instead. Hmmm. Stupid time difference.

5. I'm reading Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson. It makes me happy. In a full-of-rage, militant environmentalist sort of way. (You didn't know that I was a militant environmentalist, did you? Only when it comes to politics. And the ANWR. And Antarctica. And any forests, anywhere. And fish. No, really. I bored [livejournal.com profile] athena25 to tears during my undergrad dissertation, when my only topics of conversation were 1. fish; 2. trees; 3. cars. Yes. But I feel much more informed, now. Also, Palin-rant ))

*pant pant*

OK, that's me done. Will continue posting/reading/commenting until Friday. (Expect Weds morning's post to be a doozy.)

no words

Feb. 20th, 2008 12:12 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
Is anyone else following this?

I have no words for just how sick it makes me to even think of it. If he's gearing up for an insanity plea, he's making a good case for it.

(Although it does beg the question - if she was alive when he found her, and was dead when he left her, wouldn't that stand to reason that the assault was what killed her - the stab wounds aside? Even if he wasn't the guy who stabbed her, wouldn't he be just as culpable?)
kangeiko: (Default)
Reactions to the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments on Sharia law in the UK.

Of particular interest to those interest in debates centring around individual vs. group rights. Also of interest because no-one (other than the tabloids, who have 1 braincell between them) has lost their shit - yet.
kangeiko: (Default)
Twin bombings kill 64 in Baghdad

This is one of the most despicable acts I've yet to encounter in this whole sorry mess. Not only were the bombs detonated in a marketplace - a marketplace, for crying out loud, where parents take their children and buy food for the week - but the bombs were strapped to two mentally disabled women and detonated remotely.

That's right. A bunch of armed men got together and decided that the way forward would be booby-trap the mentally disabled. What next? Grenades in nurseries?

I have a lot of time for people who want to argue that the Allied presence in Iraq is doing more harm than good. I have a lot of time for people who want to argue that suicide bombers are born of desperation, and we should do something about the growing levels of desperation around the world. I have a lot of time for people who argue that the politics of Iraq and its slow disintegration can't be explained away with 'heroes' and 'bad guys'.

I have no time whatsoever for people who strap bombs to the mentally disabled. That's not a suicide bomb. That's another victim.

Any legitimate grievances these bombers may have had are now so completely irrelevant in my head. I don't care. OK? I know I should, I know that the best way to settle conflicts is to stop assigning blame, but in this instance I don't care.

Grumpy k

Jan. 17th, 2008 02:09 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
Everyone is squeeing over the James Marsters appearance in Torchwood. Having neither a past nor present interest in Torchwood, I did not watch it, so this journal is devoid of squee on that account. [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky and I did watch episodes 6 and 7 of S1 of The Wire last night, though, and an embargo on spoilers is now in place. Anyone who spoils me for any Wire stuff will have their face fed to them. Just sayin'. :) Also - isn't it the most amazing thing ever?? It truly, truly is.

As it turns out, lost of stuff is happening in the world these days. Have some links.

1. Outrage as US accuses Britain of inexperience in Taleban conflict (The Times) OK, that headline's a little misleading, as the US accused NATO, not Britain specifically. However, this simply means that Canada and Netherlands can be just as pissed off about it as we are.

reasons to be pissed off )

2. First human-animal hybrids to go ahead (The Times)

huh )


3. Foreign Office sued for sex and race discrimination (Independent)

Yup. )

4. One of the last taboos: abuse of men by women (Independent)

5. Seven dead in Kenyan protests (BBC)

6. Of interest to no one but accountants and civil servants: Watchdog exposes PFI charges gap

ahahaha! )

7. Killings after the war (NY Times) 121 cases of soldiers killing people (usually members of their immediate family) after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

8. China woman in legal first over abortion case (Telegraph) A woman is suing the Chinese authorities in a legal first after being forced to have an abortion at nine months' pregnant.

But... )

In non-world news, come join the fun at [livejournal.com profile] ninebillion. You know you want to.
kangeiko: (irina-smile)
Brilliant news!!

ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2008) — An extraordinary new scientific study, which for the first time documents marked improvement in Alzheimer’s disease within minutes of administration of a therapeutic molecule, has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

Hat-tip: [livejournal.com profile] fastfwd.
kangeiko: (LoM)
a ha ahaha!!

Why Ashes to Ashes?

Gene: Because of me. I am an icon.

Grrr.

Dec. 2nd, 2007 10:27 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
please someone tell me this is not true.

I mean, seriously. What. The. Fuck.
kangeiko: (Default)
There is a very good article in The Independent today which basically sums up my views of the ‘multiculturalism v. womens' rights’ debate. Have a read of it below:

Read more... )


What the article is pointing out is the inherent racism in the belief that women’s rights and feminism is a ‘Western’ concept, and that tolerance of others includes tolerance of the oppression of others. In other words, instead of our legal system acknowledging different backgrounds as motivation, yet still acknowledging that the law has been broken and acting accordingly, a significant number of people are being put outside of the law through the excuse of ‘multiculturalism’. This is not the aim of the proponents of multiculturalism, but is the result of the high-jacking of this phrase by the PC brigade. Multiculturalism does not mean that UK law does not apply, or that certain people within UK territories are not entitled to their human rights. It means that the UK legal system should be flexible when dealing with the background and beliefs of the citizenry it is supposed to server – all of them.

What Hari is missing in his commentary is some of the reasons why these verdicts – and this view – are on the increase. Firstly, ‘sexism’ is a lesser thing to be tarred with than ‘racism’, and judges may err on the side of caution. Secondly, the topic of domestic violence has long since been a hot potato for those inside the legal system, due to its wide-ranging implications.

The argument goes as follows:

To qualify as a political refugee or asylum seeker under the Refugee Convention, you have to be part of a distinct group that is suffering from the denial of your rights. Your rights are defined by whatever conventions your home country has signed, or the human rights act of whatever country you end up in as your first ‘safe zone’. These rights are political in nature: the right to vote, to appear in public, etc. They are centred on the public sphere: the things you do out in the open. The home – the private sphere – is not covered by your political rights. The way of dealing with domestic abuse is to report it to the authorities, and then wait for them to investigate. You cannot ask for asylum based on domestic abuse, as it is the home country’s duty to intercede on your behalf.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Your home country doesn’t have to protect you. It only has to show that it has followed the proper process. The authorities have to demonstrate due diligence on the part of protecting its citizenry. So, if you turn up and say you’ve been raped, they have the duty to actually file a report etc, but not to bring a conviction. You can argue that governments not policing certain areas are failings in due diligence in protecting the residents of those areas – but these must be public areas that the government would have normal access to.

So. In asking for asylum due to domestic violence, you are denied this status because:
1. [when applying as part of a group] Domestic violence victims have been ruled to not be part of a discrete group. There is no way of putting a fence around them, basically.
2. [when applying as an individual] The government of the home country often does not have access to the home, and therefore it does not have due diligence failures in not intervening. The difficulties of reporting and bringing a case of domestic violence to court are not a significant factor here.

The problem of saying that domestic violence is something that all women must be protected from – that the right to not beaten half to death supersedes the right to privacy and government intervention – is that it makes reason 2 fall down on its head. Suddenly, if this right is judged higher than the right to the political right of a lack of government influence, then a large group of women can band together, call themselves “Women of Village X” and claim under reason 2, and they will have to be granted asylum. This is the real problem: it opens up a VERY broad category under which asylum must, according to international law, be granted.

A case like this was brought to the Canadian court (I think it was Canadian…) where women from another developed country (Australia?) asked for asylum based on domestic violence. The women argued that by leaving their country, they would be protected from their abusers, and that their home country had failed in its duty to protect them. The case failed: the judge argued that Canada was no better equipped to protect these women from domestic violence than the originating country. This is another issue: in saying that domestic violence is illegal, above the considerations of religious freedom etc, and it is grounds for asylum, we are making a statement that this country is better equipped to deal with victims of domestic violence than any other country. This is (arguably) not the case, and we are more or less in the same boat. In recognising domestic violence as grounds for asylum, however, it recognises it as a failure of due diligence - which opens up the domestic government to accusations of human rights failures, right here at home.

I understand why these judges ruled as they did. The right to religious freedom is held to be one of our highest rights. The issue is not a confrontation between multiculturalism and women’s rights but, rather, that public rights – the right to religious and political freedom – are judged to be higher than personal rights. The ICESCR is largely ignored where it concerns individuals. Protecting individuals is a difficult business for governments, who find it a lot easier to protect groups. Groups can be defined, and can be protected by law. The protection of individuals has somehow been pushed to the domain of NGOs and special interest groups, who will fight on behalf of a single individual, and will shelter those the government can’t or won’t protect. The problem here is where legal protection is not only denied to these individuals, but it is actively stripped away. These last few rulings will serve as precedent: the religious right of the man is a higher right than the individual’s right to not be beaten.

Interestingly, the right to religious freedom does not appear to extend to terror suspects. If you beat or kill a single person, your religious views grant you leniency. If you try to blow up a bus or train, your religious views are used to impose a stiffer sentence. Proponents of multiculturalism never advocated creating enclaves with their own internal laws, created and enforced by the strongest and most brutal members. That nightmare has been our very own invention.
kangeiko: (Default)
Some good news for you all, on a variety of subjects:

- After years of study, Mathmatica Research, Inc., has just released their 164-page report on the impact of abstinence-only education, proving that it is ineffective and has been propped up by the Bush administration for years.

- In a similar vein, the UK Ofsted (the monitoring body for educational institutions) director is encouraging students to discuss sex".

- Portugal has voted to legalise abortion.

- For those who missed him The Tempest, Patrick Stewart will be in Twelfth Night and Macbeth at the Chichester festival this summer.

- This weekend's London weather will be glorious, with a high of 23/24C.

- A key has been found to the spread of breast cancer.

- And, just for fun, how the humble chicken came from the mighty T. rex.

*

OK, it's stupid o'clock, so I should probably go to bed. But I'm pretty blissed out right now. Not sure why but, hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.

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