A PBS “Frontline” production, “Outlawed in Pakistan” deals with the alleged gang rape of a young girl, and the devastating consequences on her and her family.
Written and directed by Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann, “Outlawed” chronicles the story of Kainat Soomro, who claims to have been kidnapped and repeatedly raped by four men at the age of 13. Instead of outlawing her or putting her to death, her family stands behind her, in a culture where the woman is blamed and labeled “impure” simply for leveling such charges. That's because in Pakistan, women and girls who allege rape are often more strongly condemned than their alleged rapists
However, the evidence is...well, none was collected, and there’s no DNA testing to prove Kainat’s case in the face of denials from the accused. Yet as her lawyer puts it, given the stigma associated with such claims by young women -- we’re told matter-of-factly Kainat will never be able to marry -- “Why would this girl lie?”
What follows is both maddening and heartbreaking, told with sensitivity and restraints and almost exclusively through subtitled first-person accounts and interviews. “All I want is justice for you,” Kainat’s mother tells her, but during the course of legal proceedings that the producers covered for nearly four years, the prospect of “justice” seem increasingly elusive.
Action meant to raise awareness of out-of-control student debt and prompt nationwide protest
NEW YORK - Relentless tuition hikes, even at public institutions, have contributed to an astonishing student debt burden of more than $1 trillion. Inspired by student movements over the last month in Canada, Mexico, Chile, and across the world, education activists in cities around the U.S. have been organizing rallies and marches to raise awareness about the education crisis in this country. All in the Red, a New York-based activist collective, is declaring this Friday, June 22 to be the “Night of the Living Debt.” At 7 p.m. in Washington Square Park, performance artists/activists Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping will exorcise the demons of student debt, after which costumed zombies will march with pots and pans in hand through the streets of Manhattan, kicking off a summer of nationwide actions.
All in the Red emerged as a series of marches expressing our solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of students striking in Quebec against tuition hikes. Lack of affordable education and suffocating debt are even more glaring in the United States, and similar displays of protest and outrage are becoming increasingly common. All in the Red calls for a nationwide network to spread awareness and organize around the issue of student debt through direct action, political theatre, and spreading the visual imagery of the red square, which has come to symbolize this struggle worldwide.
Along with our colleagues in Occupy Wall Street, student activist organizations, and other public interest groups, we are concerned in particular with the pernicious relationship between education and debt. The predicament is compounded, both by seeming disregard from the government for the welfare of student debtors, despite overwhelming public support for student debt relief -- a petition to forgive student loans recently reached one million signatures -- and also by the predatory practices of financial services firms. We can no longer allow the shackles of debt bondage to be a source of shame. The student debt crisis must be placed at the center of our conversation about the public good.
On the “Night of the Living Debt,” Friday evening, June 22, we will rise from the grave of debt and join the struggle to end the ties that bind our education to a decadent financial system. We will call for a nationwide conversation about how we can transcend an obsolete system that enriches a few by mortgaging the futures of the many.
Darcy Burner, the Harvard-educated, Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington's 1st District was one of the keynote speakers at this year's Netroots Nation. Carla Axtman of Blue Oregon was an attendee this year in Providence, R.I., and caught Burner's speech on the topic of the "War on Women:"
As an attendee of last week's Netroots Nation in Providence, Rhode Island, I was privileged to attend a speech by Democratic congressional candidate Darcy Burner. During the speech, Burner asked if there were women in the room who would be willing to stand up and talk about making the choice to have an abortion. All over the room, women stood. Myself included. Burner then asked those who were willing to support these women who would speak up about their choice to stand. As far as I could see, the entire rest of the room came to their feet.
For me, it felt like the safe and warm embrace of a loving community--willing to support me and speak out against those who would try and shame me.
For conservatives, it was just another chance to engage in being jackasses.
Burner said,”If you are a woman in this room, and statistically this is true of about 1/3 of the women in this room, if you’re a woman in this room who has had an abortion and is willing to come out about it, please stand up.”
She continued, “Now, if you are willing to stand with every woman who is willing to come out about having had an abortion, please stand up.”
Nearly everyone stood.
Burner said,”This is how we change the stories in people’s past. We need to make it okay for women to come out about the choices they make.”
The left will say that they’re not pro-abortion, they’re pro-choice or they’re pro-women. It was clear, though, that abortion itself was elevated as something good and something to be celebrated.
The speaker and the audience was honoring women who had an abortion as though the action was an objectively good thing.
While it's not surprising that Ms. Clothier doesn't get it, as the entire exercise was about women standing up and refusing to be shamed by the anti-choice crowd, and everyone applauding to show solidarity and support of the rejection of shame that's created by the aspersions of others.
This statement threw me for a loop, though:
.Darcy Burner’s presentation gives insight to how the left sees women and their place in the world. It is abortion focused and rooted in the past.
It's the anti-choice crowd voting to force women to take Big Government with them to visit their doctors, invading their privacy, and forcing them to jump through hoops for healthcare. But we're "abortion focused and rooted in the past"? Axtman offers her version of Clothier's remarks, "Shorter Melissa: Sit down you shameful, murdering sluts. How dare you celebrate taking responsibility for your life & choices in a way in which I disagree."
The anti-choice crowd has long held some invisible flag they call the "moral highground" and waved it around to pronounce judgement on others for actions they disagree with. Women are taking a stand and saying "enough," brave women like Darcy Burner and Carla Axtman. The anti-choice "moral highground" is not rooted in medical science, or even logic, it's a false flag that is being torn down and people will applaud this moment finally arriving.
Abortion is a legal medical procedure. It's not a satanic ritual. Get over it.