"If we are going to say prostitution is illegal, why are so few men prosecuted for it? The answer is because they are powerful, well-connected, and can afford expensive lawyers that can keep their names private. ... becoming 'tough on prostitution' is likely to fail in the same way becoming 'tough on drugs' has."
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The concept of reciprocal justice does not always float my boat, but it sounds perfect here:
Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she'll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won't see her eyes, and she won't see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor.
If she gets her way, her attacker will suffer the same fate. The 31-year-old Iranian is demanding the ancient punishment of "an eye for an eye," and, in accordance with Islamic law, she wants to blind Majid Movahedi, the man who blinded her.
"I don't want to blind him for revenge," Bahrami said in her parents' Tehran apartment. "I'm doing this to prevent it from happening to someone else."
Bahrami says she first crossed paths with Movahedi in 2002, when they attended the same university.
She was a 24-year-old electronics student. He was 19. She never noticed him until they shared a class. He sat next to her one day and brushed up against her. Bahrami says she knew it wasn't an accident.
. . .
Bahrami said that over the next two years, Movahedi kept harassing her and making threats, even as he asked her to marry him. "He told me he would kill me. He said, 'You have to say yes.' "
On a November afternoon in 2004, Movahedi's threats turned to violence.
That day at 4:30 p.m., Bahrami left the medical engineering company where she worked. As she walked to the bus stop, she remembers sensing someone behind her.
She turned around and was startled to see Movahedi. A moment later came the agonizing pain. Movahedi had thrown something over her. What felt like fire on her face was acid searing through her skin.
"I was just yelling, 'I'm burning! I'm burning! For God's sake, somebody help me!' "
The acid seeped into Bahrami's eyes and streamed down her face and into her mouth. When she covered her face with her hands, streaks of acid ran down her fingers and onto her forearms.
. . .
Bahrami's lawyer, Ali Sarrafi, said Movahedi had never shown any remorse. "He says he did it because he loved her," Sarrafi said.
Attack victims in Iran usually accept "blood money": a fine in lieu of harsh punishment. With no insurance and mounting medical bills, Bahrami could've used the cash, but she said no.
"I told the judge I want an eye for an eye," Bahrami said. "People like him should be made to feel my suffering." Watch how the acid destroyed Bahrami's eyes (includes graphic content) »
Bahrami's demand has outraged some human rights activists. Criticizing acid-attack victims is almost unheard of, but some Internet bloggers have condemned Bahrami's decision.
"We cannot condone such cruel punishment," wrote one blogger. "To willingly inflict the same treatment on a person under court order is a violation of human rights."
Late last year, an Iranian court gave Bahrami what she asked for. It sentenced Movahedi to be blinded with drops of acid in each eye. This month, the courts rejected Movahedi's appeal.
Bahrami's lawyer, Sarrafi, said the sentencing might be carried out in a matter of weeks. He said he doesn't think Bahrami will change her mind. Neither does Bahrami.
"If I don't do this and there is another acid attack, I will never forgive myself for as long as I live," she said.
Bahrami is largely self-sufficient despite not being able to see. She can make a salad, prepare tea and walk up the five flights of stairs that lead to her parents' apartment.
She has undergone more than a dozen surgeries on her badly scarred face, but she says there are many more to come. She can't afford to pay for her medical care, so she's using the Internet to raise money.
She's lost her big brown eyes, but she likes to smile, especially when she imagines her wedding day.
"I always see myself as someone who can see and sometimes see myself in a beautiful wedding gown, and why not?"
HOW was this an act of love? In what world?
I saw a CNN segment on this tragedy while at the gym today, and couldn't help but cry. May Allah (swt) give Ameneh strength, and the beautiful wedding she dreams of. And may he protect us all from deranged, delusional and violent men of this sort.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 12:04 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.
The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.
He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.
As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.
He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'
He smiled as he patted my hand and said,
'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'
I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, 'that is the kind of love I want in my life.'
True love is neither physical, nor romantic.
True love is an acceptance of all that is,
has been, will be, and will not be.
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.'
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 4:01 PM
Thursday, February 12, 2009
"In the Christianization of cultures, ancient celebrations were often replaced by Christian holidays. Some claim that this is the case with Valentine's Day, which falls around the time of the pagan Lupercalia festival. Lupercalia, like many great ancient rituals, included a good old-fashioned goat slaughter. The goat meat was cut into strips, dunked in sacrificial blood and then used to lightly slap women and crops, a ritual that was supposed to make them more fertile. According to legend, single women would then place their names in an urn. Bachelors of the city would draw a name out of the urn and the couple would be paired for the year."
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
One morning, a husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, his wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, drops anchor and settles down to read her book.
Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up next to the woman and greets her, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"
"Reading a book," she replies (while thinking: "Isn't that obvious?"). "There is no fishing allowed in this area, it's restricted," he informs her. "I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading." "Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start fishing at any moment. I'll have to tow you in and write you up."
"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you," says the Game Warden. "That's true," she replies, "but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."
"Have a nice day ma'am," he quickly replies as he leaves.
MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 5:18 PM
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Don't know what to do? Have no idea where to look? Can't overcome the trend of laughable prospects? Well, reality TV has a solution for you! The show I previously blogged about at Muslamics is making progress as it prepares to launch.
CBS is treading into potentially controversial reality TV territory again.
The network has ordered a new series from the producers of "Top Chef" that puts lovelorn singles into arranged marriages.
The show introduces four adults in the 25-45 age range who are eager to get married but have been unsuccessful in their search for a mate. Their friends and family select a spouse for them, and the newly paired couple exchange marital vows. The series follows their marriages.
The rest of the details for the project, whose early working title is "Arranged Marriage," are being kept under wraps.
The series order for "Marriage" shows that CBS is not shying away from reality projects that might draw a few pointed editorials in the wake of the network's previous envelope-pushing social experiment, the fall 2007 series "Kid Nation."
"Marriage" also will inevitably draw comparisons to another arranged-marriage reality show, Fox's infamous "Married by America."
The 2003 series drew fire from conservative groups, and one bachelor party scene containing pixelated nudity resulted in the Federal Communications Commission's slapping Fox stations with a $1.18 million fine (which was reduced last month to $91,000).
But CBS' project differs from the earlier show in key ways.
In "Married," couples were paired by viewers voting from home and then sequestered in a hotel to learn more about each other. CBS' "Marriage" presents itself as a documentary series about finding true love, a show that extends the Eastern tradition of an arranged marriage (where friends and family select the mate) into the West.
Another difference is that on "Married," despite the pundit outcry, nobody on the show actually ended up getting hitched. On CBS, couples will really tie the knot.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
This week, the Senate will consider a mind-bogglingly large stimulus package - the latest figures put it somewhere in the neighborhood of $900 billion. Here at CREDO, we believe a stimulus package this large is necessary because our economy is in dire straits. But there is a right and a wrong way to stimulate the economy. Join us in asking the Senate not to screw up the stimulus in five easy steps. The Senate needs your help -- so please add your own suggestion when you sign the petition at right.
- Get rid of a $2 billion provision for "clean coal" plants. Instead, invest this money in green infrastructure and alternative energy development.
- Invest in infrastructure, not tax cuts. Don't reward businesses that got us into this mess with tax cuts that won't create new jobs in the future.
- Reinstate the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Funding state healthcare programs for women will protect jobs of healthcare workers and make sure women living in or on the edge of poverty get the care they need.
- Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Bankruptcy judges should regain the ability to restructure mortgages (that is, lower the amount owed and the interest rate, reflecting the lower value of the house) so that borrowers can stay in their homes.
- Don't give Verizon $1.6 billion in tax cuts without generating a single new job. Money originally earmarked to encourage companies to bring high speed internet to underserved low-income and rural communities has turned into a billion dollar giveaway to big telecom.
The stimulus package will never be perfect, nor will it please everyone. However, these five key suggestions can help to make it the kind of package that will truly help our economy and aid those Americans who need it the most.
Source: Credo ActionSign the Petition: Credo Approved
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:08 PM
Monday, February 02, 2009
This is disturbing beyond words:
However, the women's allegations are described in detail in an affidavit by a State Department investigator assigned to the case. In the affidavit, filed in federal court in Washington, the women give similar accounts of being assaulted by a man described as an official of the U.S. Embassy in the Algerian capital. The official is identified in the affidavit as Andrew Warren, an "employee of the U.S. government" assigned to the embassy.
. . .
ABC, quoting unnamed officials, said the women's accounts were backed up by videotapes that were found in the CIA officer's residence. The tapes, apparently secretly made, allegedly show the CIA officer engaged in sex acts with several women, including one of the alleged victims in the case who appears to be in a semiconscious state, the network reported.
Tupac said it best, "I wonder why we take from our women? Why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it's time to kill for our women. Time to heal our women, be real to our women."
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 2:10 PM