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xaime aguiar
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An Egyptian court has sentenced four men to a total of 28 years in prisons, after they were tried and convicted of the “crime” of gay sex in early April. Patrick Kingsley reported this week on increasing fears amongst members of Egypt’s gay community that a targeted crackdown on LGBTQ citizens is beginning. Kingsley noted that, at the same time, “some think the raids are simply another example of the aggression aimed at all kinds of dissidents in recent months.”

Gay people are being equated to anti-government activists, a fact that highlights the increasing politicization of homosexuality in Egypt. Indeed, the BBC reported that “a leading Egyptian human rights group said the severe sentences the men received on Monday were part of an ongoing crackdown on personal freedoms.”
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Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, has become a wealthy metropolis of about six million people and three million private vehicles. Office complexes, high-rise apartments, busy markets and shopping malls have replaced the poor villages that once dotted the land. The city has a mass transit system called People’s Path, with corridors reserved for buses.

But Ahmedabad ceases to swagger in Juhapura, a southwestern neighborhood and the city’s largest Muslim ghetto, with about 400,000 people. I rode around there last week on the back of a friend’s scooter. On the dusty main street was a smattering of white and beige apartment blocks and shopping centers. A multistory building announced itself in neon signs as a community hall; a restaurant boasted of having air-conditioning. The deeper we went into the neighborhood, the narrower the streets, the shabbier the buildings, the thicker the crowds.
The Hindu nationalist who may be elected India’s next prime minister is no comic book hero.
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One of the things all Indians, including Modi voters, should be ashamed of is how we have allowed Modi to treat Rahul Sharma. This brave Indian Police Service, or IPS, officer tracked the movements of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) thugs who participated in the rioting. He did so by going to mobile phone operators and securing data from their signal towers to track cellphones. This is how we came to establish that Modi’s minister for women and child development, Maya Kodnani, was involved in the murder of 97 Gujaratis, among them 33 children and 32 women, in Naroda Patiya, Ahmedabad.

Sharma should have been decorated for his initiative, but instead he is persecuted.
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#indianelections2014  

This is a significant election for India: after 10 years in office, the incumbent Congress is facing a rout and the frontrunner is the opposition BJP, though its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is not exactly everyone’s favourite man. There's also a political newbie, the Aam Aadmi party, that's eyeing 5-10% of the vote. 

Four key concerns

The new government should focus on quality education.

Water.

Pollution.

Health.
We've been asking Indian voters to tell us the key concerns they want a new government to address. In the first of four blog posts, we discuss pollution, water, education and health Share the issues you're concerned about via GuardianWitness
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ON GENTRIFICATION

Once ruled by drugs and violence, Rio de Janeiro's slum district Vidigal is becoming a trendy place to live. This has led to rising prices, causing some of the poor residents to move out.

With 10,000 residents, Vidigal is a relatively small favela. Its size, the views that it offers and its unique charm have made it a popular place.
"We are happy about each visitor to Vidigal," said Marcelo da Silva, chairman of the local residents' association. But the district's popularity has also created a problem. "Many can't afford to live here anymore," he added. "Their rent prices go up and they are forced to move out."
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Of course, the impact of the aftermath of 11 September 2001 on the field of teaching Arabic goes well beyond this alphabet soup of agencies, centers, and scholarships. What it has meant for those of us in the field is a proliferation of jobs. Prior to 11 September 2001, telling someone that you were studying Arabic was likely to elicit a response of “What in the world are you going to do with that?”  Despite growing pains, it is very easy to portray all of this post-9/11 growth as a boon to the field.  There are more jobs for both teachers and students of Arabic; more funding opportunities to study the language and to develop materials to teach it; and study abroad, until the “Arab Spring,” was booming. These apparent gains, however, come at a considerable cost.

In 2010, The Washington Post ran a George Polk Award-winning series entitled “Top Secret America” which reports that in response to 11 September 2001 the US government created an unprecedented and vast web of secretive and sometimes redundant security programs. Results of attempts to put a dollar amount on the “Global War on Terror” vary tremendously, but it is clearly in the trillions of dollars. This militarization of our society has not spared universities. Though the condition is not new, 11 September 2001 coincided with shrinking state budgets for public universities that increased pressure on these institutions to find alternate sources of funding. Universities have sought to replace shrinking federal and state monies with military and intelligence funds. Many of us, particularly at public schools, have felt the pressure to seek out such funding. It is no coincidence that twenty of the twenty-two universities that host Language Flagship programs, among the most visible government initiatives undertaken post-11 September 2001 in the language teaching field, are public institutions.
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NEOLIBERALISM IN ALL ITS SPLENDOR

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.
Breaking: Reached in his cell, Free Alabama Movement leader tells Salon inmates will refuse work to end free labor VIDEO
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My #Postcolonial  thought of the day.

Using racial stereotypes to gender a laundry product

This set of Italian commercials for fabric dye are super clever and reveal a fantastic set of cultural assumptions about gender and race. 

First, commercial 1: Message: “Coloured is better” or black men are physically and sexually superior to white men.


Commercial 2: When the man tries to use the dye to transform his wife, it becomes clear that the dye only works one way.  Clearly, it is designed for women to produce the (heteronormative, racialized) object of desire that they supposedly want.  Message: Coloreria is “What women want” or the laundry room is for ladies.

Watch here:  Coloreria Italiana 2
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C York Grabed's profile photoxaime aguiar's profile photo
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Ahhhhh... you can add another one Classy Mentality there

Always look #BESTEST on others
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In 1971, following the fascist regime of Antonio Salazar in Portugal, Horta, along with fellow writers Maria Isabel Barreno and Maria Velho da Costa, wrote a collaborative work entitled Novas Cartas Portuguesas [New Portuguese Letters] intended as a direct challenge to censors, who had recently banned one of Horta’s books of poetry. It is a post-modern collage of fiction, personal letters, poetry, and erotica. The book was also quickly banned when it appeared in 1972, but not before most copies had sold out. The authors smuggled a copy to French feminists in Paris, who quickly arranged for the book’s translation. Horta, along with her two co-authors, was briefly imprisoned and allegedly tortured by the PIDE (Secret Police)

EXCERPT:


I’m a feminist, an active feminist. I went into the streets, took part in feminist demonstrations in Portugal, occupied a house on April 25th with other women so that we would have a headquarters for the only feminist movement that existed in Portugal, which was the MLM. Before April 25th I would go to demonstrations and distribute pamphlets, and I was caught by the police and was arrested. I am not a woman who sits at home, I am not the little female writer who sits at home. No, I’m in the middle of the street with the women, with men and women. My greatest asset is freedom.
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President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill blocking admittance to the U.S. by representatives to the United Nations that have "engaged in terrorist activity," such as Hamid Abutalebi, Iran's would-be U.N. ambassador.

"Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress's concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our Nation," Obama said in a statement.
President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill blocking admittance to the U.S. by representatives to the United Nations that have "engaged in terrorist activity," such as Hamid Abutalebi, Iran's would-be U.N. ambassador, the Hill reported.
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Muhammad Sabet's profile photoC York Grabed's profile photo
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Well, likewise acts of espionage against Iran and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, Mr. President. Don't say you don't know what your ambassador and embassy staff were doing in Tehran at the time.
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Morocco
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Spain - New york - Turkey - Malta - Cairo - Argelia - US
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Arab - Islamic policy and culture. Postcolonialism.
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I love politics, US-Middle east culture & politics. Postcolonial nerd. Coffee addict, Edward Said wannabe.
Breaking ideological-cultural prejudices.
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