Jesse Ayala Jr. The conservative leadership strategy to galvanize the base by shifting away from the recovering economy to social issues is very disheartening. The heating up of the War on Women can produce a positive outcome, if vast media, culture and policy makers take advantage of the opportunity. Let's be frank, the War on Women has been actively ongoing in society, yet we are conditioned so far as people don't flinch at derogatory language towards women, or other minorities. Living in Egypt it is easy to observe as an outsider the treatment of women. My fear is that when we compare, we lose sight of the many similarities and focus on the differences. Patriarchy is alive and well in both countries. Let's hope this generation can start to realize it.
Jesse Ayala Jr. In Israel, where I am currently, individuals have expressed concerns regarding an Islamist victory in the Tunisian polls as the last Islamist victory Israelis recall is that of Hamas in the 2005-06 Palestinian elections. While Hamas and the winning En Nahda party have no direct links that I know of, En Nahda is loosely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile in Egypt the secularists are fearful of a a growing Muslim Brotherhood support base and potential victory. Domestically they have support, what can En Nadha do to disassociated itself with the negativity commonly attached to Islamist political groups in the international community. Rather is such disassociation necessary for their success in Tunisia?
Jesse Ayala Jr. Just this evening a in Topeka, Kansas laws protecting individuals from domestic violence were repealed as means to decrease county budget demands. Removing these safeguards not only puts spouses and children in danger, it also signals a regression in American values and justice, that both can falter to money. I wish I could say that liberal democracy will diminish human trafficking, but I can no longer say that confidently. The trend seems to be if there is money to be made, moral concerns are secondary in the American system; the home of the free (and cheap labor, that is). The privatization of ___ (prisons, education, health care) all follow this logic.
Jesse Ayala Jr. Since the disruption of Egyptian gas lines into Israel following the revolution, Israel has accelerated exploration and access to known hydrocarbon fields in the eastern Mediterranean. Partnering with Cyprus, Israel is aiming to diminish demand on foreign natural gas by creating it's own extraction and refinement capabilities, even selling surpluses outside of the Israeli demand to European markets, AND competing with the Turkish led Nabucco gas lines. Blair can definitely earn a lot from securing Israeli access to these reserves by keeping peace off. 'Changing facts on the ground' has turned into 'changing facts on the sea.'
Jesse Ayala Jr. The website StreetFilms documents innovations in public transportation and urban design. This past summer they completed a series on retrofitting New York for bicycles traffic. Many of the issues brought up in response to this article are discussed as part of the larger move to change a transportation culture. http://www.streetfilms.org/my-new-york-city-cycling-story/
Jesse Ayala Jr. Thanks Reem and Alexander for the article and input. I agree that securing the women's rights and participation in governance and society is paramount to a democracy. My major concern with patriarchal societies is that a few women are too often used to serve as the symbols of equality, creating the myth of equality. This happens to often when marginalized groups seek rights. The more important battle is continuing to fight for these rights even after the passage of laws, to ensure that legal systems are legislating societal change and defending the violations as they arise.
Jesse Ayala Jr. I too found this Op-Ed baffling, and I'm glad you mention Bahrain. I presume her response would include some fear-mongering on Iran due to Bahrain's Shia majority (disenfranchised and now targeted by a Sunni minority monarchy). In my correspondences with Bahraini opposition activists, however, they are quick to point out that the only “foreign meddling” is the presence of Saudi troops, literally occupying the tiny Gulf island.
Jesse Ayala Jr. There were many different types of documents that people were showing us ranging from passport and visa documents to several reports written in Hebrew with the official state of Israel emblem. There have been reports that financial records were leaked during this episode, but I can not independently verify those claims.
Jesse Ayala Jr. Adam, thank you for writing about this - the cases that you have mentioned have been largely ignored by the media, an even greater insult to a community that has such a painful history with police brutality.
Jesse Ayala Jr. @ChristineHarbin - I entirely agree that govt intrusiveness in our lives is crippling... But not for the reasons you mentioned - discriminatory and invasive laws regarding gays and women's health are what jump to my mind...