Posts tagged asia
Posts tagged asia
Some 10,000 Israelis took to the streets on Saturday to protest against impending austerity measures proposed by new Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
İstanbul is under police siege today, Public transport banned, roads blocked, pepper spray used extensively, police attacks demonstrators.
Teargas enveloped Istanbul as demonstrators defiantly merged onto the city’s symbolic Taksim Square, where they hold May Day protests every year. The government banned all events there this year, because the square is under construction. As protesters and police clashed they turned the 15 million strong metropolis into a war zone, leaving behind destroyed property and reportedly dozens of injured people. To get a grip on the increasing number of protesters, Turkey’s police fortified their ranks with four planes full of officers transfered from other cities. Among the injured were four journalists and a teenage high school student who suffered head injuries. and is in critical condition at the hospital. Opposition politicians affected from gas and police brutality were also hospitalized.
The Russian government has unleashed a crackdown on civil society in the year since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency that is unprecedented in the country’s post-Soviet history.
The authorities have introduced a series of restrictive laws, begun a nationwide campaign of invasive inspections of nongovernmental organizations, harassed, intimidated, and in a number of cases imprisoned political activists, and sought to cast government critics as clandestine enemies.
All photos © Human Rights Watch
Tajik authorities should promptly and thoroughly investigate the brutal beating of an opposition leader. Mahmadali Hayit, deputy head of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), the country’s largest opposition party, was attacked in the evening of April 19, 2013, outside his home.
“This was a savage attack on a prominent opposition figure in an election year, which raises many concerns about the motivation”
- Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Photo: Mahmadali Hayit, deputy head of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, lies in his hospital bed at the National Medical Center in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on April 20, 2013. © 2013 Human Rights Watch
Graphic: The Military Balance on the Korean Peninsula
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have soared with a series of provocations from North Korea as well as a revelation in a U.S. intelligence report that suggested the Hermit Kingdom now has the ability to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead — even if the weapons would lack reliability. Some analysts fear a miscalculation by Kim Jong-un, or an accident, could provoke a regional war dragging in even China and Russia.
Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1984, photographer Farzana Wahidy was only a teenager when the Taliban took over the country in 1996. At age 13 she was beaten in the street for not wearing a burqa, she recalls, and she describes those years as a “very closed, very dark time.” To carry a camera would have been unthinkable.
And yet, she says, “I felt lucky compared to other women at that time.” Women were banned from continuing their education during Taliban rule. But some, like Farzana, found ways to keep studying. She would carry books under her burqa and attended what she calls an “underground school” with about 300 other students in a residential area of Kabul.
When U.S.-led forces ended Taliban rule in 2001, Wahidy was able to attend high school. A friend encouraged her to apply for a photojournalism program, knowing that she had hopes of sharing her experiences with the world.
“Day by day, as I started learning about photography, I fell more in love with it,” she says. “There was a huge need for women photographers in Afghanistan.”
Wahidy became the first Afghan female photographer to work for the AFP and later AP, two leading wire agencies, and eventually received a scholarship to continue studies in a photojournalism program in Canada. In 2010, Wahidy returned home to Afghanistan.
“I try to show the bigger image, not just show we have problems,” she says. “And we do have a lot of problems, but I do want to show normal daily life.”
Wahidy focuses on women. “This subject was important to me because I am a woman,” she says, recognizing an advantage that gives her. When she wants to document their lives, “it’s easier for a woman to get access,” she says.
Her photos of daily life range from men selling balloons on the streets to the secret lives of female prostitutes. And Wahidy was not the only one to recognize the need for this type of photography in Afghanistan. She is now part of the recently created Afghan Photography Network.
“Many Afghan photographers are not well-connected,” she explains. “We hope it will create a better connection and show Afghanistan by Afghan photographers.”
It is a young website, still in development, but the Afghan Photography Network is already bringing increased visibility to the work of Afghan photographers.
Of the eight women in her original photojournalism program, Wahidy is the only one working as a full-time photographer. Some got married, and others stopped working for reasons unknown to Wahidy. Wahidy, meanwhile, plans to continue for a very long time.
“When I shoot and I get a good photo,” she says, “that is a beautiful day.”
North Korea says it has final approval to launch ‘merciless’ strike on the U.S.
The North Korean army said on Wednesday that it had final approval to launch a “merciless” strike on the United States, AFP reported.
“The merciless operation of [our] revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement published by the official North Korean news agency said.
The statement also said that war could break out in the Korean peninsula either today or tomorrow.
In the face of escalating threats from North Korea, the Pentagon said Wednesday it will deploy a missile defense system to Guam to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region’s protections against a possible attack. (UNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
Jordan is routinely and unlawfully rejecting Palestinian refugees, single males, and undocumented people seeking asylum at its border with Syria. President Obama should seek assurances from King Abdullah II that Jordan will not reject any asylum seekers at its border with Syria. The risks to their lives in Syria are too serious to send anyone back at the present time.
Photo: Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their country cross into Jordanian territory, near Mafraq on February 18, 2013. © 2013 Reuters
Nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bombers fly over South Korea in ‘deterrence’ message to North Korea
South Korea said a B-52 bomber will fly over South Korea on Tuesday for the second time in March as part of the U.S. effort to send a signal to North Korea after it threatened preemptive nuclear strikes.
“Just having the B-52 near the Korean peninsula and pass through means that the U.S. nuclear umbrella can be provided whenever necessary,” South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok told reporters in Seoul, declining to disclose Tuesday’s flight time. The bombers carry air-to-ground missiles with a range of up to 3,000 kilometres and “are believed to deliver nuclear warheads,” he said. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A few weeks after the invasion of Iraq, coalition forces began a long occupation, marked by almost immediate chaos. Groups held down by Saddam’s regime rose up, and groups who opposed them struck back. Militias based in Iraq began a long insurgency against the occupation, and terrorist organizations joined the fight, escalating levels of brutality with each attack. Dozens of battles were fought across the country, with mounting tolls on the insurgents, the allied troops, and the civilian population caught in the middle. From 2003 to 2010, progress toward a new government and reconstruction was made in fits and starts, punctuated by frequent bombings, assassinations, and uprisings. Ten years later, we look back in a three-part series. Today’s entry focuses on the period during which the majority of the war took place, after the 2003 invasion and just prior to the 2011 withdrawal. This entry is part 2 of 3, be sure to see part 1 from yesterday, and come back tomorrow for part 3.
See more. [Image: AP/AFP/Getty/Reuters]
Meet some of the more than 120,000 Syrian refugees living in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon while their country is at war. Families are living in camps, unfinished houses, and abandoned buildings; most are not getting adequate aid.
(via The Guardian)
In many tribal communities, including the Hadza and the Innu featured here, women and men enjoy equal status. But tribal people often face displacement, murder and rape, according to Survival International. Often humiliated by governments that perpetuate the idea they are ‘backward’, some have their lands taken away. Yet resistance is growing as they take action to protect their land and ways of life.
What problems do tribal peoples have?
Tribal people are still violently attacked, and sometimes killed, particularly in parts of South & Central America, Africa and Asia.
Violence, often self-inflicted, is also a big problem in wealthy countries, which have largely dispossessed their indigenous peoples (such as Canada and the USA, Australia and New Zealand).
In some areas, tribal people are still held in a form of slavery, called ‘debt-bondage’, where they are forced to produce raw materials to pay a supposed debt to an outsider.
The view that tribal people are ‘primitive’ and not able to make rational choices about their own future derives from a colonialist, racist ideology. It is still used to justify their dispossession.
Tribal peoples are generally self-sufficient and dependent on their land to provide their food and support their way of life. It also forms the bedrock of their identity. It is stolen for ‘development’, such as mining, dam-building, farming, etc., as well as for ‘conservation’ projects.
Even where the land itself isn’t taken, its resources often are. These can be timber or minerals.
All peoples are changing all the time, but changes forced on tribal peoples in the name of ‘progress’ result in a far lower quality of life than before, with increased illness, suicide, imprisonment, substance abuse and dependence etc. Changes should be under the control of the people themselves.
More information at Survival International’s website.
1. The Dongria Kondh women of the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha state, India – who call themselves Jharnia, or protectors of streams – have lived in the lush, forested hills for millennia. For the past 10 years these women have worked with Dongria men to protect their most sacred mountain, Niyam Dongar, against plans for an opencast bauxite mine. (Jason Taylor/Survival International)
2. The Bushmen are the original people of southern Africa. Between 1997 and 2002, after the discovery of diamond fields in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, almost all Bushmen were taken from their homes in the reserve and driven to eviction camps. Some women and their families have now returned to the reserve, but harassment and intimidation continue. (Mark Håkansson/Survival International)
3. A Nenets woman outside her chum, or teepee, in Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula. Her homeland is a remote, wind-blasted place of permafrost, serpentine rivers and dwarf shrubs; the reindeer-herding Nenets people have migrated across it for over a thousand years. Today, their way of life is severely affected by oil drilling and climate change. (Steve Morgan/Survival International)
4. These Innu women on the shores of the Labrador-Quebec peninsula in north-eastern Canada have resisted attempts by missionaries and the Canadian government to impose European patterns of living. The women have been prominent in opposing extractive industries on Innu lands, and have been active in efforts the people are making to maintain their way of life. (Dominick Tyler/Survival International)
5. Between Tanzania’s Lake Eyasi and the Great Rift Valley live the Hadza, a tribe of approximately 1,300 hunter-gatherers. The Hadza are one of the oldest lineages of humankind. Over the past 50 years, however, the tribe has lost 90% of its land. The tribe value equality highly, recognising no official leaders. Hadza women have a great amount of autonomy and participate equally in decision making with men. (Joanna Eede/Survival International)
The country’s media will be free to print daily newspapers for the first time in five decades starting on April 1. But first, they have to learn how.
Read more. [Images: Jake Spring]
A Palestinian protestor, with his face covered in the colours of his national flag, uses a plastic table as a shield during clashes with Israeli soldiers outside Ofer prison, near Ramallah, following a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails on March 6, 2013.
[Credit : Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images]
Recently, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai ordered U.S. forces to leave Wardak province, partly in response to U.S.-funded militias in the region accused of “torturing, harassing, and murdering” ordinary civilians. The U.S. has been training and funding tribal militias in Afghanistan for years, hoping to emulate the success of a similar strategy in Iraq. Journalist Vikram Singh has been been tracking these militias across Afghanistan over the last few months and says that “the accusations of torture and murder come as little surprise. … In my visits to different zones where militias are active, I’ve seen their leaders operate as quasi-warlords. Instances of abuse are common and well documented. In provinces like Kunduz, there are districts with no government unit strong enough to challenge the militia’s authority.” In this essay, Singh focused on two different militia groups. One is in Logar Province, set up by a construction company owner angry at the killing of his mother by the Taliban in 2012. The second group operates in the northeastern province of Kunduz, where it chased the Taliban away almost three years ago but did not disband afterward. The militia’s leader, an ex-mujahideen called Nabi Gecchi, has now started taxing the local population to finance its operations.
See more. [Images: Vikram Singh]