Wonk’s Saturday Reads: a time for prayers

Click Image to go to Al Jazeera Live Blog on Egypt for Feb. 5th

Photo: A wounded antigovernment protester joined fellow demonstraters for Friday prayer at Tahrir square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered for sweeping “Day of Departure” demonstrations to try to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit. (Mohammed Abed/AFP-Getty)

Good morning, news junkies!

So the story this week is still Egypt, and I thought I’d start off with a first-person account that Bloomberg ran yesterday from reporter Maram Mazen:

A policeman looked me in the eye and said: “You will be lynched today,” running his finger across his neck.

But, that wasn’t Mazen’s most frightening moment on Thursday in Cairo. Click over to find out what it was.

Next up, a youtube of the protesters in Tahrir square breaking into song yesterday, led by a guitarist off-camera, amidst cries for Mubarak’s immediate exit during Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ demonstrations. It’s almost at a 100,000 views already. Please go give it another. It’s just plain enjoyable music too. Rough translation of what they’re singing, from the comments:

Let’s make Mubarak hear our voices. We all, one hand, requested one thing, leave leave leave … Down Down Hosni Mubarak, Down Down Hosni Mubarak … The people want to dismantle the regime …. He is to go, we are not going … He is to go, we won’t leave … We all, one hand, ask one thing, leave leave.

Click Image to see more pictures of the day for Feb. 4th from the NYT Lens

Photo: Iranian women participated in Friday prayer outside Tehran University (Behrouz Mehri/AFP-Getty)

Here’s the latest word from Secretary Clinton on Egypt, speaking at a Munich security conference this Saturday — Hillary characterizes the unrest that the Mideast is facing as a “perfect storm of powerful trends” and says:

This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable.

Al Jazeera English also reports that she said there must be clear progress toward “open, transparent, fair and accountable systems” across the region not to risk even greater instability.

While we’re on the Middle East, did you hear? Rand Paul wants to end “welfare to Israel.” Hey, don’t shoot, I’m just relaying the news here. And, before anyone on the other side of that issue goes goo goo over Paul following in his father’s isolationist footsteps, remember the libertarian catch that it comes with–Paul is also calling for dramatic education cuts.

There’s an interesting blog piece on Egypt, Obama, and Indonesia at the New Statesman that I’m still thinking on, but I thought I’d put it out there for Saturday reading. I have to say, I have yet to see any indication that Obama has much of a plan when it comes to Egypt. The deer-in-the-headlights look coming from this White House has been hard to miss.

This next item didn’t seem to generate much buzz, but I thought I’d put it in here and get your reactions… a Mississippi federal judge threw out a challenge to HCR on Thursday.

Here’s a story I’d been meaning to cover last week but didn’t get to, and there’s an update on it this weekend too. You may or may not know but Indian human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen is facing life imprisonment. Here is the report Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat filed from Chhattisgarh in advance of the global day of protest calling for Binayak’s release last Sunday. And, here is the update on Binayak’s wife, Ilina Sen, who has been under a witchhunt by the Maharasthra Police. An FIR against her has been reportedly thrown out:

Illina was named as an accused for her alleged failure to inform the police of the participation of foreign delegates at a conference of the Indian Association for Woman Studies ( IAWS) in Wardha.

Illina, who had termed the FIR an vindictive act of the state, told Mail Today on Thursday that she was unaware of the development. ” But if it is happening, it is a welcome step,” she said.

” The home ministry has intervened in the matter… Illina’s name will be dropped from the FIR,” a government source said.

Looks like a bit of good news we can hang our hats on as the rest of the world spins out of control. Speaking of women’s studies…

This Saturday in Women’s and Children’s Health headlines

BYU School of Family Life researchers Sarah Coyne and Laura Padilla-Walker find that teen girls who play video games with their parents are less depressed (Truthdig), as part of the Flourishing Families project that began in 2007. Here’s the pdf to the actual study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health this month for anyone who is interested. According to Coyne, et al. (2011), for girls there is a link between playing age-appropriate games with parents and lowered internalizing (anxiety/depression) and aggression. There is no correlation for boys, and further studies are still needed to determine causality and long term effects for girls. Two years ago, the larger study that this research is a part of found a link between frequent gaming and relationship difficulties. This summer the project led to research that found having a sister may counter depression. Let’s hear it for sisterhood! Which brings me to…

Cinematherapy…in Feminist Perspective

Click poster to go to missprepresentation.org

A great op-ed last week on Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary Missrepresentation, by Ashley Chappo in The Cavalier Daily — “Showgirls.” Here’s a teaser of Chappo’s piece:

As the American activist Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Our national misconceptions about the value of women have contributed to the fact that the United States currently ranks 90th world-wide when it comes to women’s representation in politics. This year, Newsom’s documentary is a must-see because it challenges all Americans to reconsider their values and confront institutions that perpetuated inferior images of female capability.

Another film featured last month at the Sundance festival that you might want to take a look at is Lynn Hershmann’s !Women Art Revolution. Also, if you have a chance, check out: “Global Girls Go Sundance.”

This last one is really a review of a review of a book, but I’m sticking it here because it goes with feminist reads. Historiann: “Rebecca Traister on Stephanie Coontz’s A Strange Stirring.”

This day in history (February 5)

1871: Mary Sewall Garnder, pioneer of public health nursing, was born.

(If you click on Mary’s name, the link will take you to more women’s history trivia for February 5th.)

Closing thought

With all the upheaval going on in the world these days, I thought I’d share the Gayatri mantra before I go… I grew up on it, and though I’m agnostic and don’t believe in a “creator god,” this one stuck for me, perhaps because Gayatri is a girl goddess and the prayer is about asking her to dispel the darkness of ignorance. I like this translation:

Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

Mother who subsists as all three Kalas, in all three Lokas, and all three Gunas, I pray to you to illuminate my intellect and dispel my ignorance, just as the splendorous sunlight dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene and bright.

And, to make this roundup even more cross-cultural…

La fin and merci beaucoup if you made it to the end. Let’s hear what you’re reading this Saturday in the comments.

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Sky Dancing and Taylor Marsh]

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3 Responses

  1. The youtube I posted of the Egyptian protesters breaking into song is already up to 122,654 views! It was just shy of a 100,000 earlier this morning when I put it in my roundup.

  2. Oh, and I added a note to the post about this just now, but if you click on Mary Sewall Gardner’s name, it will pull up some more women’s history trivia treats! I know we have people visiting this blog who might appreciate that kind of thing.

  3. Laura Rozen:

    Mubarak resigns as head of ruling NDP party

    Hosni Mubarak has resigned as head of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party, Egyptian state television and several media report.

    The development comes amid reports that Egyptian officials have been discussing Mubarak assuming a figurehead role as a way to ease him from power during the transition. Among the possibilities reportedly discussed are that Mubarak might move to his residence in Sharm-el-Sheikh or take medical leave in Germany.

    The shake-up of Egypt’s ruling party leadership is not a resignation of his government role, Middle East analyst Hussein Ibish said.

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