In 1991, President Bush announced the start of military operations to free Kuwait from the ravages of dictatorship after the invasion of Iraqi forces. He promised to restore Kuwait and its people to freedom. In the years following the liberation however Kuwait’s government has repeatedly shown that real freedom was confined to its ruling family and not average Kuwaitis. The sentencing in absentia of Rana Jassem al-Saadun is only the latest example. The female rights activist was given three years in jail for simply repeating parts of a speech by an opposition leader that was critical of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s authoritarian leader.
Despite heroic efforts of Chinese animal rights activists, the controversial Yulin Festival in China’s southern Guangxi province occurred on Sunday with the slaughter of up to 40,000 dogs and 10,000 cats — a practice widely condemned for its cruelty. Thousands of cats and dogs have been slaughtered at the Yulin Festival despite government promises to end the practice which has been condemned internationally on grounds of animal cruelty.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The vacuum brought forth by the absence of a strong state has led to increasing numbers of young women cast into forced marriages as compensation for perceived grievances between tribes. These marriages, called Fasliya Marriage for an Arabic word meaning marriages arranged for compensation, pose a serious threat to the civil rights of women in these tribes as they become pawns to be bartered between warring factions.
The increasing tribal tensions in areas of Iraq, and the absence of government law enforcement upholding federal laws banning the practice, has led to increases in frequency of these marriages through the resurrection of traditional tribal forms of conflict resolution.
The same week as Pope Francis’s historic encyclical warning of the dire dangers posed to humanity over climate change , scientists have issue new warnings that we are likely past the point of no-return to save humanity from catastrophe and possible extinction. Famed Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, a key figure in the elimination of smallpox in the 1970s, now believes that humans will be extinct in 100 years after making the planet uninhabitable. Others have pointed out that the United States and other nations continue to adopt insufficient targets from carbon reduction and that our passing the critical “3C” threshold now appears all but assured due to opponents and deniers of climate change or reforms.
As widely rumored, Pope Francis has issued a historic papal encyclical that agrees with the vast majority of scientists that global warming is real, largely caused by mankind, and threatens the very future of humanity. He has called for emergency action to curtail carbon emissions by reducing fossil fuels and developing renewables.
We have often discussed the plight of women in Muslim nations as they fight virtual chattel status in some areas and religiously based discrimination. However, even with this long history of abuse of woman, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, 21, could be forgiven for being a tad confused. Hadi wowed the audience at the Southeast Asia games with an amazing performance that garnered her nation six medals, including two gold medals. She was then denounced by a chorus of clerics and others for wearing a “revealing” leotard.
Regrettably, my seventh and final day in London has arrived. I made good use of the time before my afternoon flight but taking the Tube back to the Portobello district so that I could walk around and visit the antique stores when they opened between 9 and 10 am. I then went to visit the Hays Building and then finished with the HMS Belfast. For a military history nut, it was the perfect ending to a perfect stay in London.