On September 11, terrorism took on a whole new meaning for people in the U.S. Here, activists from around the globe, many from places wracked by violence, speak out on the state of the world, the prospects for peace, and the place of women in a time of terror.
Part I of III
Sima Samar, M.D., director of Shuhada Organization for Afghan women and children, Quetta, Pakistan I am 46 years old, and I have never seen such a culture in Afghanistan. Fundamentalism, drug producing, drug smuggling, and fanaticism were never our culture. They were imposed on us by the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. n Everyone is asking the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden, but that is not possible. Maybe Osama can hand over the Taliban, but the Taliban are not strong enough to hand over Osama.
I strongly oppose the military attack on Afghanistan because it's very difficult to distinguish between the real enemy and civilians. We have the example of Iraq: Saddam Hussein is still fat, and the people are dying of hunger.
I think the U.S. must help create a broad-based government that includes all ethnic groups. Women want full participation. We are the majority of the population but we have been ignored for two decades. That is not Islamic. Without women, the situation in my country will go back to how it was with the Taliban.
We kept telling U.S. diplomats that the problems Afghanistan has suffered will hurt all humanity. Now we see the result, and now we need sisterhood. We cannot do it alone.
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Fredericksburg, Virginia Those who perpetrated this heinous crime need to be brought to justice in a court of law. Their network needs to be dismantled. But in my 20 years of activism, I have seen that a violent response to violence creates a breeding ground for continued terrorism.
Here in the U.S. we are being told that to ask why we are a target of terrorist attacks is unpatriotic at best, treasonous at worst. To ask why terror has reached our shores is not to condone terrorism; it is to try to understand the root causes so we can "dry up the sea in which the fish swim." We are told that this campaign against terror has been undertaken to protect freedom. But if we cannot ask "Why?" what are we protecting? Must we not ask who is the biggest arms dealer in the world? Must we not ask who armed and trained the terrorists in these networks?
I do not believe that peace is the mere absence of war or some dreamy vision. Building peace is damned hard work. It is built by thousands of small acts every day. Peace is about creating a world where the real fundamentals of national security are basic education, health care, and housing for all. Building peace is creating a public will to deal with guns here in the U.S. We cannot embrace multilateralism when it's in our interest, and then go it alone when it's not on issues like global warming, biological weapons, our export of small arms, and the conference on racism and discrimination. If "we" do to "them" what they do to us, how are we different?
Nawal El Saadawi, president of the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, Cairo, Egypt Terrorism is how you use and abuse power. We've suffered a lot because of U.S. intervention in our region. Economic terrorism and economic genocide are found in the Middle East and in Africa because of the World Bank, the IMF, and multinational companies. Some people say Israel practices state terrorism against Palestinians, and the U.S. practices it against Iraq. Although I am against the killing of civilians on September 11, this has long been happening in our region and it has to stop. I was astonished when Bush used the word "justice" after the attacks. Justice was never used when Arabs or Africans were being killed.
There is a positive and negative aspect to Septemb
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .