Category Archives for Womens’ Rights

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

THE OBSCENITY OF MODERN SLAVERY AND ABUSE

In my regular weekly news posts about Syria and Iraq, I write often about the many obscenities committed by the Islamic State.

One of these is its twisted Koranic justification for enslaving more than 3,500 captured Yezidi women and children and trading them as “sex-slaves” among their Jihadists.

What those women and children must be going through, physically, emotionally and psychologically, particularly as many will be under-age, beggars belief.

As a psychotherapist I known that the consequences of these experiences, even if they ended today, will be with them for the rest of their lives.

Having worked with many victims of sexual abuse over the years, I can assure you that they do not just “get over it” as many people will exhort them to do.

Sexual abuse deeply damages a victim’s sense of self-esteem and leaves psychological and emotional scars that only prolonged therapy over many years will heal.

Typically, sexual (and physical) abuse victims will be afraid of close or intimate contact with others, particularly with those who look or behave like their abusers, will exhibit hypervigilance and anxiety which monitors everything (but everything) in their environment and be so stressed that normal functioning is almost impossible without the use of anti-depressants or stimulants of some kind.

On top of that, most victims of sexual abuse, male and female, feel so worthless, powerless and inadequate that they will be unable to seek, sustain or afford therapeutic help, even if it is available.

Those very, very brave souls that do undertake the journey of recovery and who are helped to feel and expiate the emotional pain from terror to anger, will do well. But they will never forget.

All the more alarming then that in the 21st century, slavery, and the sexual abuse that often accompanies it, is more prevalent than ever.

Across the world there are currently an estimated 4.5 million victims of sex trafficking. Add to that the estimated 20.9 million trapped in forced labour plus those in bonded labour where they endless work to repay a debt, child labourers working in clothing factories and other places for cents and the estimated 51 million girls that have been forced to marry against their will.

Getting out of poverty, of course, is often the driving force for those that end up in some form of slavery or extreme exploitation, plus the promise of a “better life” that never comes but only gets worse.

And then there are the scum that perpetrate this violence against the soul, seeking out the already vulnerable and desperate to entrap and exploit.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

If you think this is not happening in your “backyard” – think again.

I guarantee that in your everyday activity you have passed someone who is trapped into servitude or exploitation in some way or you have purchased an article of clothing, a carpet, electronic products, cocoa and many other products that were made or harvested by someone on the poverty line and with no future prospects, for a few cents pay a day if they are lucky.

According to End Slavery Now.org, “The standard price for sex at a brothel in the U.S. is $30.

Typically, trafficked children see 25-48 customers a day.

They work up to 12 hours a day, every day of the week; every year, a pimp earns between $150,000 and $200,000 per child”.

Between 1995 and 2012, judges in the US allowed 178 children between the ages of 10 and 15 to marry in New Jersey, often to older adults and the Tahirih Justice Center reported a suspected 3,000 forced marriage cases across the US between 2009 and 2011.

In the UK, where forced marriage is now outlawed (though most assuredly still takes place in exploitative and closed domestic settings) there have been a number of cases of young Asian girls, who were born and educated in Britain, being taken to Pakistan or India for a “family holiday”, only to discover that they are actually there to be married off to much older relatives they have never met and with whom they have little in common. That is both sexual abuse and slavery.

Other cases in the UK have involved road and driveway laying gangs who have picked up off the streets men with mental health and addiction problems, imprisoned them and forced them to work for little or no wages and minimal amounts of food or illegal immigrants collecting cockles (seafood) in dangerous tidal waters for less than minimum wages while paying back “accommodation and signing on fees” all the time living in appalling, overcrowded and filthy conditions.

Slavery, in one form or another, is still common across the Middle East and especially in the Gulf States.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

The Real Cost Of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup Stadium?

Although King Faisal abolished slavery in Saudi Arabia in 1962, the “employment” of domestic servants from the Philippines, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Africa often results in conditions of enforced slavery and sexual exploitation.

Karl Anderson, a former Californian accountant, who became an accidental anti-slavery activist when a Facebook friend from the Philippines asked for help, now aids about 10 women a month escape abuse to go to one of the little-discussed shelters in Saudi Arabia established for “household maids.”

“It is slavery,” Anderson says. “Every day, I see the face of slavery.”

“There is a woman who was forced to eat a child’s faeces out of a diaper because she didn’t clean the diaper soon enough,” he says.

“Women are raped, tortured, denied food, denied water, made to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week. One woman was only allowed to eat the food that her sponsor family left on their plates. They are treated like dogs.”

In Qatar, an estimated 600 workers from Nepal, India and Bangladesh are dying every year in appalling conditions and extreme temperatures in the construction industry, including the building of the 2022 World Cup Stadium.

All of this has a long history of course. Slaves almost certainly built the Pyramids in Egypt and most other ancient buildings that survive throughout the world.

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire, which had been instrumental in shipping Africans to its sugar producing colonies in the West Indies for years, in 1833. The USA made slavery unconstitutional in 1865. The French abolished slavery in its colonies in 1848.

Monument to the Fallen Heroes, Tofu, Mozambique

Monument to the Fallen Heroes, Tofu, Mozambique

In my travels I have stood several times below a monument in Mozambique in southern Africa where “unruly” African slaves captured by British and Arab traders were hurled off the cliffs onto the rocks below, not unreminiscent of the behaviour of the Islamic State.

The sea there, where whales can be often seen migrating offshore, is wild and the noise, the blasting spray and the jagged rocks make you think; wondering what it must have been like for those young men and women to be ripped away from their families and tribes and set down in a completely alien environment after a very long and appalling sea journey shackled in the most terrible conditions.

Slavery is now illegal in all countries of the world, but in practice it continues in many places in many forms.

The fact is that there are now more slaves in the world today than ever there were at the height of the transatlantic slave trade to the West indies and the southern United States.

President Obama declared January 2016 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

That’s a start, but let’s bring some more consciousness into our own lives.

First, let’s be more aware of how we treat others, particularly those who are weaker or less powerful than ourselves – and especially when we are angry or upset.

Secondly, let’s be more aware of others who may be the victims of exploitation. If you suspect something is going on, there are help or tip-off telephone lines in most developed countries.

And thirdly, if you want to discourage slave-worker exploitation you can find a list of slave-labour free companies by putting in your email address, (scroll down) HERE:  and/or follow @EndSlaveryNow on Twitter.

PETER CLIFFORD 20th January 2016

Many thanks to End Slavery Now for resource material for this article, Elizabeth Arif-Fear  for the idea and The Daily Beast for other quotes.

 

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

Slavery Today

Laxmi Saa http://www.petercliffordonline.com

THE DARK SHADOW OF HUMAN CRUELTY

THE DARK SHADOW OF HUMAN CRUELTY

Writing in recent days about the siege of Madaya in Syria, where 28 people were deliberately allowed to starve to death, made me ponder on the dark shadow of human cruelty that always hangs over our daily lives.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

A Starving Child in Madaya, Syria

What is it that makes a presumably intelligent, well educated couple like President Assad and London-born wife Asma, who have 2 healthy children of their own, stand back and let other people’s children 30 miles away die from malnutrition and lack of food?

The Assads had the power to change that in an instant.

They could have supplied medical assistance that would have kept the starving alive, but chose not to do that either, because of politics and religion – the victims all belonged to wrong (Sunni) sect.

By contrast Alawite/Shia, supporters of the regime, trapped by an opposition siege in Kefraya and Al Fuah have received fairly regular airdrops of food and other supplies.

Similarly, what makes members of the Islamic State in sickening acts of cruelty, behead people, burn them alive or suicide bomb innocent tourists to death?

The acts of cruelty in war are endless. It’s as though the state of war “gives permission” for common humanity to be completely and illegally suspended – though the boundary between war combatants and non-combatants is becoming increasingly blurred.

And it is not just in war that cruelty manifests, we see it around us almost every day.

VICTIMS OF ACID ATTACKS

Take the cases of acid attack victims. More than 200 in the UK over the last 2 years and an estimated 1,000 a year in India, many of them there never officially reported or treated.

They also occur in the USA and South America and across Europa and Asia. In Bangladesh there have been 3,512 people attacked with acid between 1999 and 2013 alone, though annual numbers are at last reducing.

Acid attacks melt distinctive facial features like noses and ears that most of us take for granted, disfigures bodies, take away sight, cause deafness and ruin lives. The emotional and psychological damage is immeasurable.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

Iqbal – Victim of Cruel Acid Attack

Iqbal in Pakistan, a very handsome young man, was just 15 years old when he was attacked with acid.

He was a passionate dancer and danced professionally with his parents in wedding processions.

One night, Iqbal was approached by another man who sexually propositioned him but Iqbal said he wasn’t interested.

While sleeping at home along with his family, Iqbal had acid poured over his head.

He was left blind in both eyes by the attack and his lips and neck burned so badly that eating and drinking are extremely painful.

Iqbal is from a family of poor wood cutters, who dance to earn extra income.

Now aged 20 he is at last receiving treatment for the first time in 5 years. (You can read more and/or donate at Acid Survivors Trust International)

ANIMAL CRUELTY

It is not just our fellow humans that human beings are cruel to. It is also animals.

The reports of animals starved and beaten to death are endless on the Internet, including many animals that were supposedly “pets” or destined for our dinner plates.

And then you have the bizarre phenomena of people who lovingly care for their pets but starve or are cruel to their children.

All of which goes contrary to our natural instincts.

http://www.petercliffordonline.comFrom a biological point of view, newly born and young children and animals are “cute”, innocent and appealing precisely to trigger an affectionate and protective bonding response from those around them, particularly their parents.

We have all probably done cruel things to people, animals or insects at some time in our lives, however “good” we try to be.

I have to confess that I once worked in a zoo where we had to feed the owls and other birds of prey with day-old-chicks.

If we had put live chicks into the cages for the birds to kill there would have rightly been a public outcry, so every week a box of freshly hatched little miracles would arrive at the zoo – and one by one we killed them by breaking their necks and storing them in the fridge.

After a short while, a friend and I could no longer do it – every death felt like an emotional knife wound and eventually such cruel actions became impossible.

DISCONNECTING FROM OUR FEELINGS

Human cruelty and lack of care, which in regard to the young or the elderly can also be cruel, is a result of a disconnect with our feelings to one degree or another. The less we truly feel, the more we can separate ourselves from and ignore what goes on around us.

And we stop feeling of course when we are so full of pain and distress ourselves that feeling it threatens our functioning. Depression, is precisely that, pressing down our painful feelings, but those suffering depression are more likely to harm themselves than be cruel to others.

The dangerous ones are those that are so disconnected from their feelings that they act them out without taking responsibility for those actions. Rage, jealousy, rejection, fear, feelings of inadequacy or other strong emotions can trigger acts of cruelty, often on the weaker and most vulnerable.

Facing up to cruelty of many kinds in our world is not an easy thing to do. It is noticeable with my blog that when I write about people “starving to death” for example, the views of the site immediately go down and when I write about “battles and victories”, the number of views goes up! (It will be interesting to see how this article fares)

Extraordinarily, at the other side of the human coin, sometimes out of cruelty, pain and suffering some good things come.

Laxmi Saa, one of the acid victims mentioned above, was attacked when she was 15 years old merely because she rejected an offer of marriage. Her attacker got just 3 years for disfiguring her for life.

Despite her injuries, Laxmi is well known in India for her campaign to get the sale of acid regulated, because it is far too easy to buy and misuse it.

Now a designer clothes company in India, Viva N Diva, is employing and empowering her as a model for its latest range. Kudos and respect to the company and to Laxmi for her bravery and determination. (You can read more at the BBC)

Finally, what can we do in our own lives to lift the dark shadow of human cruelty hanging over the world?

We can certainly challenge, report and remove cruelty from our own life in whichever form it appears.

As I always say, if you can’t be right, be kind. No-one, animal or human, deserves cruelty.

 Laxmi Saa http://www.petercliffordonline.com

Laxmi Saa Modelling for Viva N Diva

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

Saudi Women Take One Small Step Into the 21st Century

SAUDI WOMEN TAKE ONE SMALL STEP INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Congratulations to Saudi Arabia as Saudi women take one small step into the 21st century by both voting and standing for council posts in last weekend’s municipal elections.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

Women in Saudi Arabia Vote for the First Time

Right across Saudi Arabia from small villages to the largest cities, 20 women were elected to municipal council seats.

Of the 7,000 candidates who stood for election, 979 were women and 2,100 seats were up for the taking in 249 local councils, so 20 female winners represent only 1% of those appointed – but it’s a start when before you have had no representation at all.

The Saudi King also has a quota of 1,050 seats to fill with his appointees, so hopefully he will he will take the opportunity to let in a few more of the women candidates.

4 women were elected in Riyadh, the conservative capital and 2 in the predominately Shia Islam Eastern Province.

Another woman was elected in Jeddah in western Saudi Arabia, perhaps the country’s most cosmopolitan city, while one more gained a seat in the holy city of Medina, the site of Prophet Mohammed’s first mosque.

Another woman was elected in the village of Madrakah, 150 kilometres north of Mecca which over bad roads has the nearest hospital, pointing out that many women in her village ended up giving birth in cars.

Other issues raised by the women candidates were more nurseries to look after children while mothers worked, more community centres for sports and cultural activities, the aforementioned better roads, improved garbage collection and greener cities.

I suspect there might be some more directly feminist issues waiting to surface in the background, but with this tentative level of suppression release it is probably wise to save those for another day. Saudi Arabia’s extreme clerics will be enraged at the changes as it is.

Credit for the policies all go to the new Saudi leader, King Salman, the Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef and the Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, plus a coterie of relatively young, well-educated Cabinet members who frequently travel to the West and other countries worldwide.

While I am no great believer in the inalienable rights or abilities of hereditary royals, when it’s all you’ve got and they hold all the power and the purse strings, that’s what you have to work with.

In an attempt to make the elections a more level playing field for women forced to wear the full face-veil the General Election Committee, presumably on orders from the Government, banned all candidates, male and female from showing their faces in promotional posters, advertising boards or online. They were also not allowed to appear on television.

Of the 130,000 women who registered to vote, a 106,000 did so. Of the 1.35 million men registered to vote, less than half actually filled in a ballot paper, around 600,000. Overall turnout was 47%.http://www.petercliffordonline.com

In Jeddah, 3 generations of women from the same family voted for the very first time, the oldest being 94.

Her daughter reflected on how important it was to vote, saying, “I walked in and said I’ve have never seen this before. Only in the movies. It was a thrilling experience.”

That response, while understood, would probably be seen as “sad” in the West.

Especially as Saudi women are still not allowed to drive a car, go out on their own unless accompanied by a male chaperone (usually a close family member), go to a mixed swimming pool, compete in sports, or wear clothes or make-up that “may show up their beauty”.

Interestingly, in a show of support, Uber drivers in some of the major cities drove women to the polling stations in last weekend’s elections, for free (though I can’t help wondering how many men refused to accompany their wives or even let them out of the house?)

There is still a long way to go.

Saudi women who competed in the last Olympic Games were described as “prostitutes” by hardline clerics back home and the Saudi consultant to the Olympic Committee has even proposed this year, 2015, that Saudi Arabia be allowed to host the Games – but with no women at all taking part!

At a recent book fair in Jeddah, where books by female Saudi writers were displayed and women took part in Q and A panels (and even Donald Trumps’ books were on display), 2 men got up and protested when a female poet started quoting poetry from her new book.

One of the men, addressing the audience, asked, “Do you accept that a woman recites poetry?” Fortunately, the audience responded with an unequivocal ‘yes’ and the two men were escorted out.

In Saudi Arabia the roots of all this, on the surface at least, lie in Wahaabism the official religion of the State founded on the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, an 18th century cleric from the remote eastern interior of Arabia.

The main tenets of this religious philosophy is that there is only one God, Allah, and any that do not believe in him are unbelievers or apostates. The sectarian philosophy also does not believe in the worship and revering of clerics or saints and that there should be no shrines or places of worship other than those purely devoted to the “one God” (as defined by them).

This therefore excludes the Shiite Moslems who have numerous shrines and places of pilgrimage. In fact, in the original Wahaabi doctrines, jihad, or holy war against all “unbelievers”, including all other Moslems, was fully permissible.

In its extreme form Wahaabism forbids the “performing or listening to music, dancing, fortune telling, amulets, television programs (unless religious), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play or writing fiction” and even the keeping or petting of dogs.

As far as women are concerned, they are forbidden to travel or work outside the home without their husband’s permission on the grounds that their “different physiological and biological structure” means they have a different family role to play, and if the husband does give permission to his wife to work outside the home, it can be withdrawn at any time.http://www.petercliffordonline.com

As mentioned before, Wahhabism also forbids the driving of motor vehicles by women and sexual intercourse out of wedlock may be punished with beheading – although sex outside marriage is permissible with a “slave woman” (though probably not a woman with a “slave man” of course?).

(Just as well as Prince Bandar bin Sultan [former ambassador to the US and director of Saudi Intelligence] was the result of a “brief union” between his father, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz and a 16 year old “black serving women” – though slavery has since been “formerly banned” in the kingdom.)

In all of this it is easy to see the where the Islamic State gets its basic tenets and “vindication” from, offering a “pure” form of Islam which is “justified” in taking over the world (See last week’s post on The Anatomy of an Islamic State Jihadist).

Wahaabism has been so successful because it formed an alliance with the militarily aggressive House of Saud back in the 18th century, eventually taking over the whole of the Arabian peninsular, and more recently because of the billions of dollars of oil revenue monies used to promote it.

The result however is a bloody and deadly sectarian schism in Islam between the Sunni (of which Wahaabism is a part) and Shia branch descendants of Prophet Mohammad. Until this is sorted the Middle East and many other parts of the Islamic world will remain a mess.

However, the apparent misogynist aspects of Islam, Wahaabi or otherwise, are not restricted to males of the Moslem religion, they are still too common in the rest of the world.

Here in the UK, British boxer, Tyson Fury, who became WBA World Heavyweight Champion in November 2015, recently caused controversy by declaring that “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back – that’s my personal belief.”

Undoubtedly, he should keep his “personal beliefs” to himself, but I suspect that covertly a lot of men, wherever they are in the world, think the same way.

Such beliefs, in my view, are based on fear, pure and simple.

Again, as I have often written, our values are formed in childhood and if we grow up with bullying mothers, for whatever reason, and/or are encouraged by other males in the absurd notion that somehow men are “superior”, then we are more likely to gravitate to a male ethos that tries to suppress women in adulthood.

In fact it may be that suppression of women in the Islamic world and elsewhere which contributes to the disdain and disrespect that males show as adults towards women, is sometimes started by frustrated women taking out there anger at exclusion from full participation in the world, on their male (and female) children. And so the circle of deprivation and loss continues into the future.

The key to accelerating change is female education, as Malala Yousafzai, the 18 year old Pakistani, Noble Peace Prize winner has championed and to which, unsurprisingly, the Taliban and the Islamic State remain fiercely opposed.

At the Jeddah book fair mentioned earlier, the Saudi Minister of Education and Information, Adel al-Toraifi, said that an Arab reads six minutes a day, compared to the world average of 36 minutes.

He also said that the Arab world prints 27,809 books a year, which translates into 12,000 Arabs getting one book.

Compare that with China which publishes 440,000 books a year and the United States and the UK which publish just under 500,000 books a year between them.

Hopefully, the spread of and access to the Internet (when its male viewers are not accessing pornography) can help to change all that.

Peter Clifford  – 16th December 2015

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

EGYPT: The “Revolution” that Never Was?



[google1]

[tweetthis]

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.

BAHRAIN: Allegations of Sexual Misconduct and Continued Human Rights Abuse


[google1]

[tweetthis]

BAHRAIN’S AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE DENIES “GROPE ALLEGATIONS” AND “SKIPS WORK” TO RECOVER:

ACCUSED AMBASSADOR’S SISTER SUDDENLY NO LONGER “HUMAN RIGHTS” MINISTER – I WONDER WHY?:

3 REASONS WHY THERE ARE NO HUMAN RIGHTS IN BAHRAIN:

TIMELINE – 7th JUNE 2012 12.55 GMT:

Bahrain’s Ambassador to France, Dr Nasser Mohammed Al Balooshi (EDITOR: English spelling of the surname confirmed by the Gulf Daily News today) yesterday denied “unfounded allegations” that he had groped a domestic worker at his up-market residence in the Paris suburb of Neuilly.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Ambassador Balooshi With Wary Embassy Staff

On Tuesday the French police had announced that they had opened an initial investigation into claims by a 44 year old domestic worker that the Ambassador had groped her and attempted rape on a number of occasions between July 2010 and October 2011.

The woman, whose husband has also lodged a complaint, was fired shortly afterwards.

The alleged victim also says that the Ambassador’s son threatened her with a gun in September 2010.

A statement released by the Bahrain embassy in Paris yesterday said, “His Excellency Nasser Al Balooshi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to France, forcefully refutes the inaccurate and unfounded allegations of assault that former domestic workers have made against him and his son,” and added that the ambassador was available to French investigators “to shed light on these false accusations.”

The initial inquiry is to determine the veracity of the allegations. It could lead to charges, the appointment of an investigating judge, or no further action.

Back in Bahrain, unable to completely ignore the international media reporting of the incident, both the official Bahrain Government News Agency (BNA) and the leading English language paper, Gulf Daily News (GDN), played down the report.

In 7 short lines the BNA reported  that his “Excellency … forcefully refutes the inaccurate and unfounded allegations” and without any investigation has already decided that these were “false allegations”.

The GDN rather naively headlined the report “Harassment Case Envoy Skips Work”, as though he had rather naughtily just decided to  take a day off without permission.

Again in a short 8 line report it repeated the outline of the alleged allegation and then said, “An embassy official told the GDN that Dr Balooshi did not show up for work yesterday, without commenting further” and , “Officials at Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment”.

(EDITOR: They had all obviously “skipped work” for the day as well suffering from an acute outbreak of “dire embarrassment”.)

The GDN also pointed out that Dr. Balooshi is Bahrain’s permanent delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

ACCUSED AMBASSADOR’S SISTER SUDDENLY NO LONGER “HUMAN RIGHTS” MINISTER – I WONDER WHY?:

What the state news agency or the GDN have not mentioned (neither being part of a free press) is that Dr. Nasser Ballooshi is the brother of Dr. Fatima Balooshi, who until Tuesday was Bahrain’s Minister of Human Rights and Social Development.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Dr Fatima Balooshi - Embarrassed Sister? - GDN

Since Tuesday, when the reports from Paris first surfaced, Dr. Fatima Balooshi is now only the “Minister of Social Development”, “Human Rights” having “gone out the window” and  hastily dropped by royal degree from both her official title and the name of the Ministry.

Co-incidence? Or has a family “human rights abuse” “accident” caused the Minister and the Bahrain Government acute embarrassment?

Any bets on how long before the “ambassador” is recalled to Manama?

Another Tweet received this morning comments on Dr Naser Balooshi’s former post as Director of Administration at the Bahrain Central Bank, where he is reported to have been reluctant to recruit Shia employees and to have “used the bank drivers to serve him and his family”. “He treated them bad”, says the Tweeter.

Nasser Al-Balooshi was also formally Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States. Apparently, the Balooshi family originates from Iranian Balochistan, a Sunni area in conflict with the Shia Government of Iran.

(EDITOR: And which is why the Al Khalifa Government employs Shia-hating mercenaries from the Balochistan area in Pakistan to work for them as policemen.)

3 REASONS WHY THERE ARE NO HUMAN RIGHTS IN BAHRAIN:

Talking of HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (1), here is a picture of 11 year old Ali Hassan, now detained in Bahrain police custody for more than 3 weeks for “participating in an illegal gathering”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Ali Hassan, 11 Year Old Detained for 3 Weeks

(EDITOR: Perhaps he and “Ambassdor Balooshi could swop places? I am sure Ali would be much better behaved.)

Yesterday, Ali is reported to have told his lawyer, “I just want to go home!”.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (2): According to reports, Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested in court again yesterday for Tweeting messages allegedly “insulting” the residents of the Sunni dominated neighbourhood of Muharraq.

In a complaint registered with the Public Prosecutor’s office, 24 retired police officers who live in Muharraq accused Nabeel Rajab of casting doubt on their patriotism and allegedly suggesting the people of Muharraq were “government stooges”.

(EDITOR: The retired policemen obviously have too much time on their hands!)

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (3): It is reported from the Dry Docks Prison that 50 detainees have gone on hunger strike in protest at the continued refusal of the authorities to allow imprisoned demonstrator Ahmed Oun to have scheduled medical treatment for the removal of a shotgun pellet in his eye.

Ahmed Oun, a 17 year old student, was injured after being fired at with a police shotgun whilst taking part in a pro-democracy demonstration and was arrested shortly afterwards after seeking medical help at a private hospital.

Surgery was arranged for the 29th May but Ahmed has been prevented by the authorities from having that treatment. Every second counts. If the pellet is not removed shortly, doctors say he could well lose his sight permanently.

Ahmed is in severe pain, has bleeding from the eye and is reported to have fainted on several occasions.

Since the Formula 1 event in Bahrain in April the use of birdshot directly fired at protesters has increased significantly, causing loss of sight in a number of demonstrators and at least one death. You can read further details, HERE:

There is an #EYE4FREEDOM demonstration in Bahrain today, in support of all those who have lost an eye in the struggle for freedom in Bahrain and specifically to demand treatment for Ahmed Oun.

http;//www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Ahmed Oun in Private hospital Shortly Before His Arrest. - BCHR

.

Democracy and Human Rights l Update

www.petercliffordonline.com

Peter Clifford

31/3/11 Peter Clifford –

www.petercliffordonline.com:

Democracy and Human Rights l Update

Over the last 3 months I have highlighted Democracy and Human Rights issues in the Ivory Coast, Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China and elsewhere, so I thought it was time for an update. (See my previous post Democracy on the March)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rightsLIBYA: At the time of writing the Libya story struggles on as battles continue between the forces loyal to Gaddafi and the armed revolutionaries ranged against him. Clearly much of the world wants Gaddafi to go and many stories of human rights abuse by his troops have emerged and will continue to come out in the future.

One disturbing story this week was told by a young woman lawyer,  Iman al-Obeidi, who got through into the hotel where all the foreign journalists in Tripoli are based. She told the journalists that she had been gang – raped by 15 of Gaddafi’s troops but was quickly bundled away by officials and hotel staff before getting to tell her story in full.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Iman al-Obeid - AVAAZ.org

At first called a “prostitute” by Libyan officials it later emerged that the Libyan Government had offered her family a house and money to keep her quiet.  She has not been seen since.

UPDATE 18th May 2011: Iman al-Obeidi apparently crossed into Tunisia earlier this month in the company of some defecting Libyan army officers and has since flown to Qatar and is safe.

To give you an idea of Gaddafi’s profound understanding of the human condition, here are a couple of extracts from his famed Green Book, the philosophical basis of the “revolution” that brought him to power:

“Freedom of expression is the right of every natural person, even if a person chooses to behave irrationally, to express his or her insanity”

“Women, like men, are human beings. This is an incontestable truth… Women are different from men in form because they are females, just as all females in the kingdom of plants and animals differ from the male of their species… According to gynaecologists women, unlike men, menstruate each month… Since men cannot be impregnated they do not experience the ailments that women do”

Yes….er…..well .!!. I think the sooner Gaddafi gives up the day job the better for all concerned in Libya, especially women!

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Gaddafi Tank destroyed

Meanwhile, do we know exactly who the opposition forces are and what are their future intentions?   “A Vision of a Democratic Libya”, just published by the Libyan Interim Transitional Council in Benghazi looks promising and there is also a useful map (though not always up to date in this fast moving situation!) on the progress of the revolution on their website too.

Moussa Koussa’s (Gaddafi’s Foreign Minister) “defection” to London is also interesting – just whose side is he on?

IVORY COAST: 11/04/11   Breaking News Update: Following overnight attacks on the heavy weapons around his compound, Laurent Gbagbo this afternoon surrendered to Ouattara’s forces and has been taken to the Golf Hotel, Ouattara’s  UN defended HQ, under arrest.

If you read my previous post Prevent War With Chocolate, you will know that the conflict in the Ivory Coast has been caused by the former president Laurent Gbagbo refusing to stand down after losing the election to his democratically elected opponent Alassane Ouattara.

AVAAZ, the pressure group, organised a campaign to get the world’s major chocolate manufacturers to, temporarily at least, boycott purchases of cocoa from the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, so that Gbagbo could not fund his army.

Clearly this has not worked as hostilities have now broken out between the two parties and their supporting groups and armed professionals are involved.

Ouattara’s New Forces have swept down from the North and taken over several towns, while Gbagbo, supported by the army has imported mercenaries from Liberia and shelled Ouattara supporters in Abidjan, the capital.  Atrocities are being reported on both sides.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

UN Struggle in the Ivory Coast

The people of the Ivory Coast have been here before, having suffered years of civil war prior to a ceasefire in 2007. UNHCR estimates that a million people have already fled their homes this time and a UN peacekeeping force of 9,000 stands by helplessly, under equipped and with no proper mandate to intervene.

Neighbouring countries such as Mali, Liberia and Ghana are being swamped with refugees and at least 800 people have already been killed since December. In the latest developments Ouattara’s New Forces have taken Yamoussoukro, a regional centre, and the key cocoa exporting port of San Pedro.  Gbagbo is left only with parts of Abidjan.

The United Nations has just past a UN resolution imposing sanctions on Gbagbo and his family until his sources of revenue dry up and he is forced to stand down.

Unfortunately this conflict does not have the high profile of Gaddafi and Libya, despite the fact that just as many civilians will suffer in the long run and another, once very prosperous country, will be wrecked.

TUNISIA: Mohamed BouaziziRemember that name. Mohamed was a  Tunisian street seller of fruit and vegetables who, sick to the teeth of corruption, harassment and humiliation by local officials and the police, set himself on fire on December 17th 2010 and sparked the demonstrations that led to the overthrow of the Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 23 years.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

The Revolutions Started in Tunisia

From that one act everything in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and right across the Middle East has followed and still continues.

While the interim President Fouad Mebazaa has announced the date of an election in July for representatives who will rewrite the constitution, unrest still continues and arrest warrants have been issued for the former president and his family who are believed to have fled to Saudi Arabia.

BAHRAIN: Democracy and Human Rights have been a hotly debated issue in this tiny Gulf State (100 times smaller than the Irish Republic!) since the events in Tunisia and Egypt.  Every revolution has its own particular flavour and ingredients and Bahrain is no exception.

Here there is an enormous division between the minority, ruling Sunni elite and the majority Shia population who feel dispossessed and under represented.  Median age in Bahrain is 30, while youth unemployment is almost 20%. At the same time literacy rates run at 91% – all part of the potent mix for revolution in the modern age.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Protesters in Bahrain

The root of the problems here is that almost 70% of the population is Shia Muslim, while the nearly 30% Sunni Muslim self appointed ruling class have 90% of the power and most of the wealth and virtually all of the most valuable land.

Gerrymandered electoral districts have always ensured that the Shia electorate ended up with a minority of seats in the legislative body. Women do have the vote but very few get elected.

The ruling Al – Khalifa family has been in power since 1820 and its members still hold most of the most important government positions.  Indeed,  Sheik Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifah, the uncle of the Crown Prince, has been Prime Minister of Bahrain for 40 years! (Thank God that could never happen in the UK!).

The ruling family also contains such leading lights as Sheikh Abdulrahman Mubarak Hamad Al Khalifa who, according to the London Telegraph has been taken to court in both London and Bahrain for the repayment of gambling debts owed to the betting firm Spreadex for the princely sum of £270,000.  No doubt he worked really hard to be able to gamble away such wealth.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Protesters Hold Pearl Roundabout

On February 14th 2011 the pot finally boiled over when protesters marched through the capital Manama and a month of unrest followed with more than 20 killed and 100’s wounded, many of whom declined to seek treatment as many doctors and staff at the world renowned Salmaniya Hospital, according to media reports, were threatened, arrested or prevented from treating protesters.

The protests are also embarassing for the US Navy as the island is also the home of its Fifth Fleet.

The Bahrain government’s answer to all this was to import 1,000 soldiers from its neighbour Saudi Arabia, suppress all further demonstration and to demolish the monument at the Pearl Roundabout which had been the focus of rebellion.

I doubt if any of that will solve the underlying problem, which is a pity as Bahrain has a reputation as one of the more “open minded” Gulf States.

YEMEN: What started as a protest by students has now escalated into a full scale insurrection. It has also, significantly, the support of a large number of women, in what has been until now a very conservative society.

On March 13th snipers killed 52 people and their families have since been offered money by the government to keep quiet.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Protester in Yemen

The protesters are demanding that President Saleh, who has been in power for more than 30 years, stands down, along with 25 members of his family – the usual cosy family arrangement exploiting the people they control. Another more sinister factor is that Al -Quaeda certainly have a presence in the country as well.

After six weeks of protest, many people want the President put on trial, especially after the fatal sniper incident.  At the moment there is stalemate – but there is certainly more to come.

EGYPT: Egypt, though coming after the revolution in Tunisia, has undoubtedly set the standard for protesters to maintain their peaceful stance and use the sheer force of numbers to promote change.

Nevertheless and estimated 685 people were killed in the revolution here and an uneasy truce remains between the protesters and what remains of the security services and police.

Police officers are slowly returning to the streets but many are unwelcome and a number of former ministers and security officials are to stand trial for killing protesters during the unrest.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

The Domino Effect

It remains to be seen whether the controlling Army Council will carry through its promises or whether it is just going through the motions in order to protect its own interests.  They can expect an angry backlash if they don’t give the people what they want.

Parliamentary elections will take place in September and the presidential election within two months after. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose  more extreme elements many fear, has said it will not field a presidential candidate.

In my previous post, I commented on democracy and human rights in relation to Egyptian Women.  I see this as the “heart” of the Arab revolution.

Unless the rights of women change, then in reality nothing changes, the Muslim world will still be locked in the past and wasting 50% of their human resource.

FOR FURTHER UPDATES ON DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS, ESPECIALLY IN SAUDI ARABIA, SYRIA AND CHINA click CONTINUE ………

www.petercliffordonline.com

Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com

TO HAVE YOUR SAY SCROLL DOWN & CLICK ON ” COMMENT” IN THE GREY PANEL

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 copy of my 40 page ebook on “Love Relationships – The 10 Step Guide” which I have written especially for this website.


Does The Western World Have a Conscience? l Egyptian Women

www.petercliffordonline.com

Peter Clifford

28/1/11 Peter Clifford –

www.petercliffordonline.com:

Does The Western World Have A Conscience?

As protest and revolution rumbles on across North Africa and through the Middle East and beyond, I can’t help wondering what is the role of Western countries in all of this?

Pausing just long enough to test which way the wind was blowing, western society has been quick to take up the side of the protestors and to support them verbally and morally at least.

And the western digital world (hail Facebook, Twitter and Youtube) has clearly been instrumental in aiding the protesters to spread their message rapidly and effectively and to give them a platform to air there grievances. It has also made fascinating and often gripping news for all of us westerners  sitting safely at home.

In western civilisation we like to promote democracy, freedom of self expression, the rule of law, protection of the disadvantaged etc. and quite rightly so.  However, at the same time western governments have a habit of cosying up to any government or dictatorial and repressive regime whom they want something from.

If your country has vast resources of oil or minerals which the West needs in order to fuel its economies, or there is the potential for rich trade opportunities, then it is very likely, no matter how repressive your regime, that you will get a call from western leaders and their ministers inviting you to do business.

It is extremely easy for governments in the western world to condemn repressive regimes that they do not, at present, want anything from e.g the military government in Burma, the communist regime in Cuba or nuclear threatening Iran.

It is also extremely easy it seems to embrace two way trade with China while at the same time completely ignoring its suppressive behaviour towards the people and culture of Tibet.

www.petercliffordonline.com/conscience

East - West Togetherness

Not only do western governments turn a blind eye to the behaviour of the oppressive regimes they choose to do business with but the cherished keystone values of western culture i.e. freedom, justice and equality go completely out of the window at the first sniff of a trade deal.

Not only do western nations love buying oil and other resources from repressive regimes that practice detention without trial, torture and political imprisonment but they love selling them the arms and weapons to carry out this oppression effectively!

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/conscience

Libyan Dancing Partners

One of their best customers, since his rehabilitation in 2004, has been Colonel Gaddafi who is now undoubtedly using those same weapons against his own people. And the The Irish Government, in their recent acute financial crisis even sent their financial representatives to Libya to try and secure multi – billion dollar loans from Gaddafi’s International Investment Fund!

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia for example, women are still not allowed to drive a car or go out alone and at the first hint of protest opposition leaders are hauled in for questioning, yet the West craves their oil and sells them (in particular the US, the UK and other western European governments) vast amounts of weaponry. No doubt it offsets the oil trade deficit.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/conscience

UK PM in Tahrir Sq. Cairo

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, was very quick this week to visit Egypt and a number of other undemocratic regimes in the Middle East with pro-democracy protestors making themselves heard currently on a daily basis.

It was rather bizarre therefore to see him striding across Tahrir Square in Cairo with a gaggle of British businessmen in tow, eight of whom represented British arms and weapons systems manufacturers.  No doubt US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, President Obama and other western leaders are all ready making their travel plans.

But are their also deeper lessons in all this for the West? These arab world revolutions have been led by their disaffected youth, the so called Facebook generation. In some western countries our youth are also equally angry.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

Student Protests London 2011

Witness the anger of students in the UK recently at the Coalition Government’s decision to increase university fees – fierce and destructive demonstrations in the streets of London and elsewhere over a number of days.

Currently the UK unemployment rate for 16 – 24 year olds is 20% and rising under the present harsh economic climate. I hope the UK’s senior politicians, many of whom are millionaires and telling us “we must all share the (economic) pain” are seriously taking note of the consequences of complacency.

Democracy Is ……..

……. the right to make fun of your ruling elite without fear of reprisal or a knock on the door from the Security Services.

So on a lighter {!} note, can someone tell me why so many Middle Eastern potentates seem to be critically overweight?  A great business opportunity for WeightWatchers perhaps?

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/conscience

Royal Wedding Sick Bag - copyright Linda Leith

And British designer Lydia Leith as an andidote to all the somewhat questionable quality of the memorabilia currently in full production for the wedding of Britain’s Prince William and his fiance, Kate Middleton, this coming April, has produced the Royal Wedding Sick Bag, in case you want to “Throne up”!  As they are of a certain age I think the Royal couple are laughing at this one themselves – at least I hope so, and I wish them every sucess with their marriage.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/conscience

Uniform Kitsch

In Libya, we can but pray that Gaddafi’s uniform designer has now got the sack and that the rest of his administration will follow soon.

And lastly, clearly the Arab world is catching on quickly to the idea of freedom of self expression with this effort recently posted on YouTube – Colonel Gaddafi’s recent “clayman” rant turned into “DJ Gaddafi Rocks” Zenga Zenga!

EGYPTIAN WOMEN:

Without wishing to be cynical, as I expressed in my last post, I am not entirely convinced that the ruling Army Council in Egypt will let go of the reins of power easily, despite making some of the right noises.  Certainly, when it comes to the rights of Egyptian women, they still do not seem to have got the message.

This week in Cairo, the Army Council appointed a judge, Tarik al-Bishry to set up a Constitutional Panel to draw up a new constitution for the country. Bishry then went on to choose all the members of the Panel himself, not one of which was a woman.

One of the appointees was a Christian Copt, who represent 10% of the Egyptian population.  Women  in Egypt, of course, represent 50% of the country’s population but that still does not gain them the right apparently to having a say in shaping the future of the new state.

http:www.petercliffordonline.com/conscience

Women Protesters Tahrir Sq. Cairo

Worryingly, in a survey conducted in Egypt shortly before the recent revolution 90% of those who took part still thought stoning for adultery was a “good idea”.

Similarly, in Malaysia on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, hotels in Kuala Lumpur were raided by the “religious enforcement police” and over 80 people detained for being unmarried and sharing a room or being “alone and in close proximity to a member of the opposite sex”. They can expect up to two years in prison if convicted. The law does not apply to non – muslims.

Clearly, for muslim women in particular and arabic women in general throughout the entire world the Revolution is only just about to begin.

Until the next time,

www.petercliffordonline.com

 

Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com

TO HAVE YOUR SAY SCROLL DOWN & CLICK ON ” COMMENT” IN THE GREY PANEL

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 copy of my 40 page ebook on “Love Relationships – The 10 Step Guide” which I have written especially for this website.



 

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.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

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”.


SCROLL DOWN TO ADD A COMMENT

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”.

SCROLL DOWN TO ADD A COMMENT