Category: Culture

Arts, entertainment, culture, and lifestyle news.

A call center run by refugees fills a void in Greece

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Refugees arriving in Greece have found themselves forced to organize in order to survive. One of the most basic needs, after feeding oneself, is to be able to communicate — to be able to ask for help, to go to the doctor, to get a lawyer, to know your rights, to get out of the refugee camp and to work in a new country. These tasks can be extremely difficult for refugees in Greece, the majority of whom only speak Arabic.

Ramez Shame, who is a refugee from Egypt, speaks both Arabic and English, which is a second language for many in Greece. As soon as he realized how his language skills could help others, he went to work. After taking stock of the needs of refugees, Shame and three others started a cooperative hotline in Thessaloniki to act as a bridge for refugees, called the Refugees to Refugees (R2R) Solidarity Call Center.

Anger in Afghanistan at Female Pilot’s US Asylum Bid

There was an angry reaction in Afghanistan to news that the first female fixed-wing pilot in the country’s air force was requesting asylum in the United States after completing an 18-month training course.

The Afghan defense ministry confirmed Sunday that Captain Niloofar Rahmani, 25, had sought asylum after the Wall Street Journal quoted her as saying that she feared her life would be in danger if she returned home.

Christmas in the People’s Daily

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CHINA is by some estimates on track to surpass the United States and become the world’s largest Protestant Christian nation by 2021. Even if that doesn’t happen, the celebration of Christmas will remain one of the most important cultural and religious dates on the calendar for tens of millions of Chinese Christians. Beyond its spiritual significance in the country, the holiday has growing commercial appeal.

But regardless of whether we’re talking religion or consumerism, Christmas remains a prickly issue for the Chinese Communist Party. As Gary Sigley, a professor of Asian Studies at the University of Western Australia, wrote in 2007, Christmas is problematic for the CCP “because its sheer visibility in the urban landscape simply reinforces the fact that the monopoly the party-state once had over public space has long since eroded.”

As traditional Chinese culture increasingly becomes central to the Party’s reshaping of ideology and legitimacy, Christmas also gets caught up in the intensifying politics of cultural hegemony.

The God Line: Science, Psychedelics, And The Realms In Between

Interest in medicinal use for psychedelics is exponentiating within the confines of American consciousness. Perhaps successes in medical cannabis aided the humble psychedelics to transcend cultural stigma, but that’s less important.

What’s important is compounds like LSD and psilocybin have qualities besides medical benefits. Namely, the psychedelic experience: a journey through the self, outer world and, some report, those beyond. Psychedelic research oftentimes introduces scientists to a “god-line” separating simple medical curiosity, and “the other”. How is western– particularly American–science to navigate the god-line? Is our culture prepared for the consequences of crossing it?

Sex work: not prohibited, not permitted

Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.

In mid-November, I attended a RedTraSex meeting to review “Advances, challenges and strategies of the RedTraSex: strengthening sustainability and advancing the recognition of our rights.” RedTraSex is the Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinamérica y el Caribe (Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean.) RedTraSex, on the cusp of celebrating its 20th anniversary, is made up of organizations from fifteen countries – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic.

After Missing Woman Is Found Dead, Trinbagonians Say, ‘Enough is Enough’

Three days after 20-year-old bank employee Shannon Banfield went missing, her body was found in the warehouse of a variety store in Port of Spain, Trinidad, bringing to a gut-wrenching end any hope her family had of finding her alive.

On Monday December 5, 2016, Banfield told her family that she would take a taxi home after she ran a few errands in the capital city, one of them to the store in which her body was found. Shannon was widely known to be active in her church and a family-oriented, God-fearing person. On learning of her death, a member of her church said in a public Facebook post:

Femicide in Mexico and Guatemala

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Feminists in Mexico and Guatemala working on femicide also use the concept of ‘feminicide’ to draw attention to state complicity in the killings of women.

The word ‘feminicide’ was popularised over twenty years ago to denounce the killing of women due to their gender. The crime is called ‘feminicide’ (‘feminicidio’) in Mexico and ‘femicide’ (‘femicidio’) in Guatemala. Although there have been some attempts to differentiate the two concepts, both terms emerge as a form of resistance: to assert that women’s lives matter, and such crimes should not go unpunished. Impunity contributes to the normalisation of the feminicide machine. This ‘machine’ is supported by gender inequality as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights have suggested.

What lies beneath prostitution policy in New Zealand?

The rosy rhetoric that surrounds prostitution policy in New Zealand is being exposed by survivors of the prostitution system and the way that harm is glossed over by defenders of this approach.

Prostitution and trafficking are increasingly contested in international human rights and policy forums, with debates polarised around the question of whether the prostitution system entrenches institutionalised male dominance, or if its harm grows out of associated criminality and stigma. In April 2016 France joined other countries in adopting the approach now often referred to as the Nordic Model – decriminalisation of selling sex alongside exit and support programmes, together with criminalisation of sex purchase. This human rights approach sits in sharp contrast to the endorsement of the New Zealand approach by Amnesty International and in the interim report of the UK Home Affairs Select Committee.

Why We Need to Start Reporting on Transhumanism

Imagine for a moment that you have traveled back in time to the 1800’s to speak with everyday people of the era. Your mission is to describe to them what the internet is.

Nowadays, we take a basic understanding of today’s technology for granted, but if you could speak to the society of two centuries ago, the developments wouldn’t be describable in words they’d understand.

Now imagine, instead, what humanity in 200 years will have created that may be indescribable to us now. What will they have created that we couldn’t even begin to understand today?

Mass rapes to mass protests: violence against women in 2016

Impunity for violence against women remains a massive problem. Donald Trump hasn’t helped.

From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10) are a time to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and pillage in neighbouring Central African Republic. Bemba was found guilty under the concept of “command responsibility,” in which civilian and military superiors can be held criminally liable for crimes committed by troops under their control.

When a Man Kills a Woman

Across everything that divides societies, we share in common that men’s violence against women is normalised, tolerated, justified – and hidden in plain sight.

Since 25 November last year, at least 118 women and girls in the UK aged over 13 have been killed by men, or a man has been the primary suspect.

An average of one woman dead at the hands of a man every 3 days.

I’ve been recording women’s names and details of how they were killed since January 2012 when Counting Dead Women was launched.

Today we commemorate 653 women.

World’s Oldest Harbor Uncovered in Red Sea

Archaeologists have uncovered what they say is the world’s oldest harbor in the Red Sea of the Egyptian coast. The shipping hub was built by King Cheops 4,600 years ago, experts think.

Archaeologists from the French Institute of Archaeology in Cairo and the Sorbonne University discovered the oldest known harbor at Wadi el-Jarf.

The harbor is believed to have been used by King Cheops for importing materials to build his Great Pyramid of Giza. The harbor is located in the foothills of the desert mountains and was used for importing lighter copper and minerals, which help Egypt make the tools it would need to build the pyramid.