“Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl, gave an incredible speech as she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on Wednesday after becoming an icon of the fight for children’s education rights. She just became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history, and her speech shows her spectacular wisdom...’I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not,’ she said. ‘It is the story of many girls. Today, I tell their stories too. I have brought with me some of my sisters from Pakistan, from Nigeria, and from Syria who share this story…This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education,’ Yousafzai said. ‘It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice.'” – Business Insider
Wednesday night, a grand jury in New York City refused to indict police officers in the killing of Eric Garner, a man who died after officers used an illegal chokehold on him. The decision set off protests across the country.Some in Congress have already expressed their solidarity with Garner.
Hank Johnson, the sponsor of legislation to curb police militarization, made a moving tribute to Garner, including the phrase, “I can’t breathe” between each statement—the phrase Eric Garner said as he was being strangled, and which has since become a rallying cry for protesters.
Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, Buy Nothing Day is held on the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving; elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November.
The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday”, which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.
The Washington National Cathedral, considered the United States’ “national prayer house,” hosted a Muslim service Friday, the first such event in the sanctuary’s history.
Muslim prayer rugs were laid and “the Arabic call to prayer echoed among the vaulted stone arches,” which the dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, called “a beautiful sacred language in a beautiful sacred space,” according to The Washington Post.
Welcoming the worshipers, director of liturgy Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell said, “Salaam, shalom, peace. You are all so very welcome here.” She also used the occasion to issue an impassioned call for interfaith understanding, saying, “Let us stretch our hearts and let us seek to deepen mercy for we worship the same God.”
Christian and Muslim leaders also spoke about the need for religious dialogue and harmony, including South Africa’s Muslim Ambassador to the U.S. Ebhraim Rasool, co-organizer of the event. Rasool used the sermon, or Khutba, to call for the protection of Christians in the Middle East, as well as greater Muslim tolerance for other religions, saying: “I think that we must return to the Muslim prophetic tradition in which the Prophet, may peace be upon him, invited Christians to his own mosque that he established in Medina – and said to them, you can pray here.”
Islam is the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, and with at least 2.6 million adherents, constitutes approximately 0.8% of the country’s population.
Boys have always had great toys to help them imagine, build, create, play and grow… In many shops, the “little girls” aisle is full of pink glittering toys that just invite girls to dream they are princesses. Girls deserve better!
The word “redskins” is a racist word to call American Indians. Yet the Washington American football team uses it as its nickname. Many people think that they should change their name, or that it should be banned from TV.
“We either die or win. No fighter is leaving,” Esmat al-Sheikh, leader of the Kobani Defence Authority, told Reuters. “The world is watching, just watching and leaving these monsters to kill everyone, even children…but we will fight to the end with what weapons we have.”
Some people have more motivation than others. Those people include women. A very large percentage of the YPG fighters are women. (YPG: the Kurdish People’s Protection Units)
I asked her about YPG’s women’s wing, the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), and the women fighters coming from Turkey. She said Kurdish women were as equally involved in defense affairs as in social services. “We have set up training camps for women in all three cantons. Women are active in all fronts,” she said. “Of the first 20 martyrs we had when IS attacked Kobani, 10 were women. Last year, of our 700 YPG martyrs, 200 were women…”
I reminded Nimet of the legends we hear of IS militants fearing to encounter women fighters. She replied, “This is not a myth but reality. I personally met IS fighters face-to-face. They believe they won’t go to paradise if they are killed by women. That is why they flee when they see women fighters.”
Malala Yusafsai is the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner, whereas Kailash Satyarthi is in his sixties. She comes from Pakistan, he comes from India: their countries are close neighbors yet have often been at war since the Partition of India in 1947. She is a woman, he is a man, but both fight for the rights of children (all children!) to freedom and education. She is a Muslim, he is a Hindu: the proof that different religions can agree and work together towards a humanitarian goal that is common to both. Their joint prize is a message of hope for the world!
Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered an emotional and powerful speech at the United Nations headquarters on Saturday to help launch the HeForShe gender equality campaign.
Here are some extracts from her speech asking for equal rights for men and women:
“We want to end gender inequality and to do this, we need everyone involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We want to try to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change”
“the more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
“for the record, feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
“I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.”
“But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality. These rights, I consider to be human rights”
“Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation.Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued les by society despite my needing his presence, as a child, as much as my mother’s.”
“We don’t want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. “
“We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
“If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you.”
“I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?'”
A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country or stay in the United Kingdom will take place on Thursday, 18 September 2014.
The referendum question will be “Should Scotland be an independent country?” – voters can only answer yes or no. With some exceptions, all residents in Scotland over 16 can vote, representing over 4 million people.