Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Karzai claims to be reconsidering the new marriage law (which my previous posts should have made clear apply only to Shiites, who are a smallish minority in Afghanistan). Today Obama finally spoke out about it (in response to a question at a press conference), calling it “abhorrent.” I could have done without him adding a cultural sensitivity caveat (“And we think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture, but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.”), since I can’t think of any instance in which being “sensitive to local culture” about the position of women in society is not likely to be at the expense of equality (and you’ll notice he talked about respect for women, a rather elastic term – the Shiite fundies would claim to have nothing but respect for their chattel women – and freedom and integrity, but did not mention equality.)

It’s interesting that Western news stories have focused almost exclusively on the marital rape aspect, with many reports leaving out the requirement for wives to get their husbands’ permission to set foot outside the family home, and even fewer mentioning the legalization of marriage of girls after they menstruate for the first time. LINK

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As Jim Hightower explains it, is that “the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90 percent of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic ‘normal’ of long-term joblessness, low wages, no benefits or worker rights, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.” We must restore sanity to this nation.