Egypt expands crackdown on LGBT community
- Dozens of LGBT Egyptians have been arrested , including raids on cafés and detentions following a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila (fronted by a gay man).
- As citizens continue to be subjected to invasive medical examinations and entrapment via social media and mobile apps, Egypt’s media regulatory body issued a statement condemning homosexuality as a “sickness” and barring the presence or representation of gay people in the media.
- In addition to political and law enforcement assaults, LGBT Egyptians have recently been the targets of cultural campaigns by the media and conservative religious and academic leaders.
“Brutal crackdown has gay and transgender Egyptians asking: Is it time to leave?” (The Los Angeles Times | October 2017)
“Egypt’s latest crackdown on gays creates fear in LGBT community” (USA Today | October 2017)
“Unofficial Translation of Statement by Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation” (Human Rights Watch | October 2017)
Australia’s “Stolen Generation” Speaks
For six decades across the 20th century, the Australian government pursued a ruthless policy of the forced assimilation of its indigenous population, tearing mixed-race children from their communities and creating “stolen generations” deprived of access to the culture of their aboriginal roots. The policy, similar to those pursued in Canada and the U.S., forced children into boarding schools, church missions, and adoptions to erase connections to their communities. Canadian photographer Matthew Sherwood has documented the stories of those in the Northern Territory through his photo series Generations Stolen, profiled in The New York Times.
“Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’ Tell Their Stories” (The New York Times | May 2017)
Female students locked in hostels to avoid harassment during Holi festival in Delhi
- Two women’s hostels at the University of Delhi were put on lockdown over the Holi holiday out of safety fears.
- India’s minister for women argued the restrictions were necessary to defend against consequences of “hormonal outbursts.”
- Women have long reported being sexually assaulted during the festival, but some activists expressed outrage at women’s rather than men’s mobility being targeted as a response.
“Holi festival: Delhi women forced into lockdown amid sexual harassment fears” (The Guardian | March 2017)
“Delhi University hostels ‘lock up’ girls on Holi” (The Asian Age | March 2017)
“Delhi University hostels prohibit women students from playing Holi outside the premises” (International Business Times | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Reuters, via International Business Times)
The Poetics of Protest for Bengali Muslims in India
Named for the pejorative term used to describe Muslims presumed to be undocumented immigrants, Miyah poetry has emerged as a cultural protest against the marginalization and scapegoating faced by the Bengali Muslim community in the northeastern state of Assam. Its dissemination through social media channels has made it distinctly public and communal as opposed to more academic forms of cultural protest, bringing together the voices of the trained and untrained alike. Al Jazeera highlights the origins of the form and the social and political conditions that have shaped its evolution.
“Protest poetry: Assam’s Bengali Muslims take a stand” (Al Jazeera | December 2016)
“For better or verse: Miyah poetry is now a symbol of empowerment for Muslims in Assam” (Firstpost | September 2016)
“A state on edge” (India Today | October 2016)
#MiyahPoetry (The Sunflower Collective)
(Image Credit: Kazi Neel/Al Jazeera)
Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas
Christians see restrictions on Christmas celebrations as crackdown by Chinese government continues
- A hotel in Zhejiang province canceled plans to host two services by local churches after a warning from the government.
- Zhejiang authorities have also moved to prevent informal “house churches” from operating and have banned all forms of religious activity in hospitals.
- Officials have condemned many forms of religious expression in the name of national security, considering Christianity an example of the “infiltration of hostile Western forces.”
“China Cracks Down on Christmas Celebrations, Bans Protestant Services” (Radio Free Asia)
“China’s Zhejiang Bans Religious Activities in Hospitals as Crackdown Widens” (Radio Free Asia, August 2016)
“Decapitated Churches in China’s Christian Heartland” (The New York Times, May 2016)
(Image Credit: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
The Resilience of Africa’s Top Female Football Players
Facing nonexistent funding, social suspicion, and expectations of continued domestic obligations, many female football players across the African continent have endured challenges far greater than their male counterparts for the love of the game. Where men’s teams have been able to rely on state support and a long history of social sanctioning, women’s teams have had to resort to informal networks and social media to drum up the support necessary to enable them to compete, all while facing sanctioning of the opposite sort: underinvestment, disparagement, and insults about their gender and sexuality. The Guardian profiled a number of the competitors in this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, revealing the divide in opportunity for women and men and burgeoning signs of progress in the continent’s most popular sport.
“Skilled, determined and broke: Africa’s female football pioneers” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Andy Clark/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)