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EGYPT: The “Revolution” that Never Was?



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BURMA: In my very first post on 1st January 2011 I wrote about women’s rights and how by depriving women of the opportunity to play their full role in society, we waste 50% of the earth’s human resources.

Two of the women in oppressive situations that I highlighted then were Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader who was held under house arrest, on and off, for almost 24 years until her release on 13th November 2010, and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani who was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, despite the fact that her husband was already dead at the time of the supposed “offence”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/revolution-that-never-was

Aung San Suu Kyi

It is with some pleasure then to note that Aung San Suu Kyi is now free to travel, that she and her followers have won some seats in the Burmese parliament, that Burmese leaders after years of isolation are now communicating with the world (though probably through self interest), and that Aung San Suu Kyi has today arrived for a visit to the UK.

This is her first visit to Europe since 1988, although she was married to an Englishman, Michael Aris, a Tibetan scholar, who died of cancer in 1999. Fearful that the Burmese authorities would not allow her to return if she went to her husband’s bedside, she made the painful decision to stick by her people and remain in Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi also has 2 sons based and born in the UK and during her UK visit she will make a visit to Oxford where they all lived for a number of years. Today, Tuesday, is her 67th birthday.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/revolution-that-never-was

Michael Aris & Aung San Suu Kyi + baby

She is expected to receive an honorary degree from the university while in Oxford, meet Prince Charles and his wife Camilla on Thursday and address both houses of the British Parliament, as well as meeting David Cameron the Prime Minister. She spoke in Ireland at the weekend, HERE:

Last Saturday Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the Nobel Committee in Norway and received the Nobel Peace Prize which they awarded her 20 years ago. She said she heard about it on the radio at the time, while under house arrest, and it helped reconnect her with the wider world.  You can read more about her life, HERE:

So sometimes the world does get a little better it seems, despite all the pain, persecution, killing and torture.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/revolution-that-never-was

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – guardian.co.uk

IRAN: Of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian lady sentenced to death by stoning, there is no word as far as I can trace.

In January 2012 the Iranian parliament changed the law on “adultery” to death by hanging, but that is effectively no improvement on a punishment that seems to be reserved for women and remains cruel, inhuman and unjust.

Sakineh Ashtiani, may still be alive in prison, but it would not surprise me to learn that she has been quietly and secretly executed.

EGYPT: The 2011 “revolution” in Egypt that brought down it’s long time president and dictator, Hosni Mubarak, looks as though it may have stalled.

Despite reaching the point of parliamentary elections, a “Supreme Constitutional Court” (odd when the country still does not have a constitution) declared last week that the legislative polls last year were unconstitutional because party members were allowed to contest seats in the lower house reserved for independents.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/revolution-that-never-was

Tahrir Square in The Heady Days of Revolution

 This has led the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scarf), which had controlled the country since Mubarak fell, still in complete power. 

So everyone is wondering if anything has changed.

The question gains more stringency when you discover that of the 2 remaining candidates in last week’s presidential election run-off, one is a former army officer and prime minister under Mubarak, Ahmed Shafiq, and the other is the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of whom the army are terrified.

Following the ruling by the constitutional court on the parliamentary elections, Scarf, dissolved parliament and prevented MPs from entering, and yesterday gave itself sweeping powers over legislation, the national budget and over who writes a new constitution, effectively removing power from any new president.

The Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi is believed to be slightly ahead in the polling but the results will not be declared until Thursday.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/revolution-that-never-was

Ahmed Shafiq & Mohammed Mursi – Presidentail candidates – AP

 The former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who was 3rd in the first round of voting, said the declaration was a “seizure of the future of Egypt”.

So far the street revolutionaries, many of whom supported Sabahi, have been restrained.

However, if Thursday’s result is suspected of being gerrymandered in favour of the ruling army council, who seem to have guaranteed themselves jobs for life and have huge and lucrative business interests all over Egypt, then the revolution in Egypt may just have to take place all over again.

Whether the people have enough energy or stomach for that remains to be seen.

4

Being Overweight l Death By Stoning l AVAAZ

9/1/11  Peter Clifford – http://www.petercliffordonline.com : BEING OVERWEIGHT –  DEATH BY STONING – AVAAZ….

www.petercliffordonline.com/being-overweight

Peter Clifford

Being Overweight:

In the United States 70% of the population is suffering from being overweight and obesity, i.e. more than 30 lbs overweight from the perceived norm.

Even more worryingly, child obesity statistics indicate that a third of children between the ages of 2 – 19 are in the same category (at a time of life when we expect to be slim), the rates having tripled since 1980.

In the UK, Europe, Africa and parts of Asia the statistics are heading in the same direction.

The reasons are usually listed as lack of physical activity and eating fast foods. However, I think the reasons are deeper and much more subtle than that. Truly happy and contented people don’t let their bodies or their lifestyle deteriorate – why would they, it is not in their best interests?

If you really love yourself, you don’t overeat and underexercise, put excessive amounts of alcohol in your body or pollute it with drugs. For the truth is that these are all addictions that are indicators of deep seated discontent. So is overshopping, oversexing (if you see what I mean), overworking and compulsive gambling.

My thoughts on this (and maybe yours as you consider yet another New Year resolution diet) were prompt by the story of Paul Mason, who last year achieved the dubious accolade of becoming the UK’s fattest man at 70 stone (980 pounds).

Paul Mason at 980 lbs.

Yes, it’s a terrifying picture. Poor man.

After living on a 20,000 calorie a day for years (normal average recommended intake for a man is around 2550 per day) he was unable to move, have a social life or any fulfilling relationships, or even go to the toilet or clean himself without outside assistance.This is not living and Paul, in the Channel 4 documentary aired this week, admits to hating himself for not controlling his eating.

The cost to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) of caring for him over 15 years is estimated at £1 million.

Fortunately for Paul, he is still alive. After a major operation some months ago he is down to 52 stone (728 pounds), on 1200 calories a day and able to get out and about on a powered mobility scooter.

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Back eating Fish and Chips!

UPDATE 18th May 2011:  Paul Mason has reportedly now lost 37 stone (518lbs – 3 times my weight!) and is back home in Ipswich in the UK.  Last seen outside the Fish and Chip shop where a friend was buying him food!

However, my view is that is that the reduced diet won’t help him (or any of us that are overweight) if he is not helped to tackle the underlying lack of self worth that exists in the first place. Unless that happens, instead of overeating he is just as likely to replace it with another addiction.

The same applies to the rest of us. If you are overweight by any significant amount or have any of the other addictions mentioned then it is time to take a long hard look at your lifestyle, your primary relationship, your job, your direction in life and most of all, a long, hard, deep look at how you feel about yourself and your place in the world.

Getting to the bottom of those deep seated fears, anxieties and low self esteem, that we all have to one degree or another, will change everything about your life. And turn you into a not only more contented human being but a more effective and creative one as well. This should be our New Year’s resolution for 2011.


Death By Stoning:

In my previous post I highlighted the case of Sakineh Mohammidi Ashtiani who is threatened by death by stoning. This week Iranina officials indicated that it is “possible” the stoning sentence may be dropped. That’s nice of them. It doesn’t mean she won’t be hanged or shot of course. This despicable farce has been going on since 2006.

Sakineh Mohammedi Ashtiani

In December, Sakineh was returned to her home temporarily to take part in a “documentary” in which she “confessed” to killing her husband.

The part of her husband was “played” by her son (also held in prison along with Sakineh’s lawyer).

Governments and individuals around the world have taken up Sakineh’s case. If you would like to support this go to http://freesakineh.org/

AVAAZ:

You might also consider supporting AVAAZ http://www.avaaz.org/en/index.php which has also previously run a petition to support Sakineh.  AVAAZ is a very interesting international organisation, currently with 6.5 million members in 171 countries.

They are particularly skilled in using modern technology in a very powerful way to petition governments, companies and influential individuals to get effective, rapid results on issues such as human rights, protecting the environment, lack of democracy, poverty and climate change. Give them a look!

Until the next time,

Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com

If you value what I have written please click on the “Like” button and Tweet my short link http://bit.ly/petercliff onto your friends.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up (Top Right) for my mailing list for future information, advice, tips and reviews – for a limited time only there is a FREE 40 page giveaway on “Love Relationships”.


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27

New Beginnings l Women’s Rights

www.petercliffordonline.com/womens-rights

Peter Clifford

1/1/11 Peter Clifford – www.petercliffordonline.com : NEW BEGINNINGS : WOMEN’S RIGHTS – Wasting 50% of human capacity… I thought this was a pretty good date to start a new blog – So Welcome to this new site, a new start and to a New Year!

One of the things that has concerned me over the years is the appalling treatment of women – I suppose from my perspective as a therapist I have heard their stories first hand and it leaves an impact.

Two women who have come to the fore recently, Aung San Suu Kyi the Burmese Democracy leader who was held under house arrest for 15 years until her release on 13th November 2010, and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani sentenced to death by stoning for “adultery” in Iran despite the fact that her husband was already dead, illustrate my point.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party legitimately won 81% of the seats in the Burmese Parliament in 1990 and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, yet she has never been allowed to take her place as the country’s leader.

Aung San Suu Kyi

She has  also had to stand by completely helpless as her English husband died of cancer in Cambridge in the U.K. for she knew that if she left the country she would never be allowed to return.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani apart from being committed to a barbaric death by stoning was reportedly sexually abused and mistreated for years by her husband.  A male friend who – again reportedly -murdered the husband, has not been imprisoned.  Both her son and her lawyer have however been put in prison and another lawyer has fled into exile.

In some countries women are still not allowed to drive a car, go out alone or even to have an education.  Frankly, in the 21st Century this is completely unacceptable and to me smacks of blatant and brutal male domination and control.  There is no justification for any of this.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Even worse, in some countries female foetuses are routinely aborted in favour of the “supremacy” of  the preferred choice of male children.

Woman make up roughly 50% of the human population.  They therefore make up 50% of its talent, skills, intelligence, inventiveness and human potential.  As a  human race we are fools if we suppress it and waste that resource.

Women cannot contribute fully to human development without education, support, encouragement and the freedom to express themselves, and in my view the planet needs all the help it can get right now.

Fulfilled mothers will also produce and raise fulfilled and contented children who are more likely to turn into effective adults.

The Women’s Liberation movement in the 60’s addressed some of the issues in the West and redressed the male/female balance to some degree.

Now it needs good and true men wherever they are in the world, living under whichever religion or political and social system, to support the right of women to be equal and to lead full and active lives in any area or activity that they choose.

And more than this, it needs women to stand up for themselves both individually and collectively for the right to equality and freedom of opportunity.

I realise that many women are brutalised and cowed into submission, but it seems to me that too many women acquiesce to the status quo and allow their fellow women  (and their daughters) to be overruled, suppressed and controlled unnecessarily.

Women deciding to change themselves and what they are prepared to put up with can make the biggest difference to entrenched attitudes and bring about the quickest changes.

So that is my first thought for 2011 – the beginning of  a new decade. I hope it is a decade of immense change for women’s freedom, rights and equality –and it if is we will all benefit, the whole human race.

Until the next time,

Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com

If you value what I have written please click on the “Like” button and Tweet my short link http://bit.ly/petercliff onto your friends.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up (Top Right) for my mailing list for future information, advice, tips and reviews – for a limited time only there is a FREE 40 page giveaway on “Love Relationships”.

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