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Islamophobia is a big problem in Europe. says Swedish MP Carl Fredrik Malm

WHILE IN A MEETING WITH HIM I FOUND HIM A VERY DETERMINED AND CLEAR PERSON. A PERSON WHO UNDERSTANDS THE VALUES OF HUMANITY AND WHO WORKS FOR THE SAME ON PRACTICAL GROUNDS. IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE OSLO TIMES THIS IS WHAT HE HAS TO SAY ABOUT HIS GOALS AND THE CAUSE WHICH HE FIGHTS FOR.

TOT: So, what are the challenges which you have faced in endorsing these causes and the hindrances which are still needed to be overcome by you?

 

 

 

Carl Fredrik Malm: A lot, but above all, I feel that there is grooving support for a more active and value driven foreign policy. Of course, states and non-state actors often make considerations based on real politik and economic interests, but, nonetheless, there has to be room for a much stronger critique against extensive abuse and clearer red lines against the oppressors of the world.

TOT: “Being a member of parliament in Sweden and a supporter of democracy” – What are the steps are being taken by the Swedish Government to promote democracy in other countries?

Carl Fredrik Malm: Sweden has a strong and extensive focus on democracy in the foreign aid policy. We give 1 percent of our GDP in foreign aid. From our point of view, a larger proportion of this amount should go to supporting democracy and human rights around the world. Sweden has also taken a lead role in supporting the access to and training in information technology for dissidents, to name a few examples.

 

TOT: How you can describe the struggle of Kurdistan?

 

Carl Fredrik Malm: The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without an own nation. The Turkish state has for 70 years denied the very existence of the Kurdish people. In Iraq, the Kurds was attacked with chemical weapons. It is not particularly surprising, then, that the Kurds decide to go their own way.

 

 

TOT: Is there any progress till date which you have got in independence movement of Kurdistan?

 


Carl Fredrik Malm: For the Kurds, the most important question is to have the right to determine their everyday life and their own future. This must also apply to non-Kurds in Kurdistan, such as Armenians and Assyrians. However, self-determination in Kurdistan is not a question for the Swedish Parliament to decide, whether it be independence, autonomy or federalism.

 

 

TOT: What are the future prospects you have for Kurdistan independence movement?

 


Carl Fredrik Malm: The support for Kurdish independence will be large as long as the wide spread oppression continues in Kurdistan, albeit to a varied extension in different regions. Kurdish nationalism is a young phenomenon and to a big part a reaction to oppression from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. However, this does not necessarily imply that if and when these countries become more democratic that the demands for Kurdish independence will lose its strength. Rather, increased openness might lead to a situation where Kurds are freer to speak their mind, allowing Kurdish identity and culture to flourish, and thereby increasing the impact of the political struggle. This is problematic, not at least for Turkey. If Turkey decide to implement democratic reforms for the benefit of the Kurds, this does not necessarily mean that the Kurds will be more loyal to the government in Ankara, but rather that the Kurds will gain new possibilities, tools and channels to promote their cause.

 

TOT: What does your project Cuba Free Library stands for?

 


Carl Fredrik Malm: The Cuba Free Library is a project that I started with a friend in the late 1990’s. The purpose with the project was to gather books and magazines in Spanish and then bring them to Cuba in order to break, or undermine, the monopoly on information that the state currently have. We also supported independent libraries on Cuba. I personally visited Cuba at three occasions in order to support the libraries and follow up projects.

 

 

TOT: What are the main proposed objectives which you have set for your project Cuba Free Library?

 


Carl Fredrik Malm: The main objective is to contribute to break the information monopoly on Cuba. But after the mass arrests of political opponents in the spring of 2003 we shifted focus from supporting the independent libraries to instead focus on helping political prisoners and their families. This was carried out within the framework of the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC), which is the Swedish Liberal Party’s international aid organization.

 

 

TOT: What kind of role you want to play in promoting your democratic concept in Iran?

 


Carl Fredrik Malm: I try to shape public opinion and give support to Iranians who work to promote democracy, because, it takes democrats to build a proper democracy. The government in Tehran has no interests in forming a democratic Iranian society, why the only possibility to build democracy in Iran is when the current government is removed from power.

 

 

TOT: What is your outlook on Communism and how you will define its role in 21st century?

 

 

Carl Fredrik Malm: Communism no longer plays a major role on the global international scene, even though there still are some armed groups and political parties that call themselves communists. The way I see it is that those who call themselves communists today are not so often the bearers of the communist ideology as once formulated by Marx and Lenin. I am however very concerned about the political heritage of oppression and control that continue to characterize the political life in many post-Soviet states. There is therefore an unfortunate, and dark, communist legacy which has been transferred to new authoritarian regimes in former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

 

 

TOT: According to your belief what are the democratic measures which Iran should execute for the sake of democracy in country?


Carl Fredrik Malm: It’s not about Iran, it’s about the Iranians. It’s the population that needs the political and moral support in order for them to be able to contribute to political and social progress in the country.

 

 

TOT: According to Amnesty International report Muslims around the world are being discriminated and particularly in Europe. So, what are the measures you and your party have taken so far to abolish the discriminatory issues faced by the Muslims?

 


Carl Fredrik Malm: Islamophobia is a big problem in Europe. There is also a risk that xenophobic political parties will grow stronger now that Europe is going through hard times economically and financially. The Swedish Liberal party has a strong agenda and works extensively to counter all forms of hatred and extremism. We also believe that the EU must make it easier for immigrants from outside the EU to enter the union. Furthermore, it is important to show that Islam is not about to conquer Europe – on the contrary, many Muslims are excluded from society in many European states and face discrimination as they try to enter these societies. It is clear that radical Islamism must be opposed, but I consider these movements more as groups driven by ideology rather than religion, even if they promote and conduct their ideology and struggle on the basis of Islamic religious teachings and to a wide extent on the Islamic arena and in Muslim countries.

 

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©The Oslo Times – All Rights Reserved 

Major events in 2011.

January

January 1st – Estonia adopts the Euro currency and becomes the 17th Eurozone country.

January 4th – Prince Ali-Reza of Iran, born 1966, commits suicide. Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia dies after burns of self immolation.

January 9th-15th – Southern Sudan holds a referendum on independence. The Sudanese electorate votes in favour of independence for the creation of the new state in July.

Flooding in Brazilian state, Rio de Janeiro kills 903.

January 14th – Arab spring. The Tunisian government falls after a month of violent protests and President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power.

January 24th – 37 people are killed and more than 180 wounded in a bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia.

February                          

February 11th – Arab spring. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after unrest and protests calling for his departure. The control is left in the hands of the military until general elections can be held.

February 22nd – March 14th – Uncertainty over Libyan oil output causes crude oil prices to rise over 20% over a 2 week period following the Arab spring causing the 2011 energy crises.

February 27th – 25th Prime Minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan passes away, born 1926.

March

March 4th – Dutch Nobel physicist, Simon van der Meer, born 1925 passes away.

March 11th – A 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hits the east of Japan killing 15,840 and leaves 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings are issued in 50 countries and territories and emergencies are declared at 4 nuclear power plants affected by the quake.

March 15th – Arab spring. Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain declares a 3 month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council are sent to quell the civil unrest.

March 17th – Arab spring. Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; The United Nations Security Council votes 10-0 to create a no-fly zone over Libya in response to allegations of government aggression against civilians.

March 19th – Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; continuously attacks on Libyan rebels by forces in support of leader Muammar Gaddafi leads to military intervention authorized under UNSCR 1973 begins as French fighter jets make reconnaissance flights over Libya.

April

April 5th – Anna Hazare began his famous faste at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a stronger anti-corruption bill with stronger penal actions and more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He said he wanted to fast until the Lokpal bill was passed. The movement attracted attention in the media, and thousands of supporters. Almost 150 people reportedly joined Hazare in his fast. People have shown support in internet social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

April 11th – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his home in Abidjan by supporters of elected President Alassane Ouattara with support from French forces ending the 2010 – 2011 Ivorian crises and civil war.

April 29th – The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.

May

May 1st – May 2nd – U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden, founder of the militant group Al Qaeda has been killed during an American military operation in Pakistan.

May 14th – 32 year old maid, Nafissatou Diallo, at the Sofitel New York Hotel alleged that Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her after she entered his suite. Strauss-Kahn was formally indicted on 18 May and granted US$1 million bail, plus a US$5 million bond, the following day. He was ordered to remain confined to a New York apartment under guard. After completing a lengthy investigation, prosecutors filed a motion to drop all charges against Strauss-Kahn, stating that they were not convinced of his culpability beyond a reasonable doubt due to serious issues in the complainant’s credibility and inconclusive physical evidence, and therefore could not ask a jury to believe in it.

May 16th – The European Union agree to a € 78 billion rescue deal for Portugal. The bailout loan will be equally split between the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism, The European Financial Stability Facility and the International Monetary Fund.

May 26th – Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic, wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is arrested in Serbia.

June

June 4th – Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate.

June 5th – Arab spring. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh travels to Saudi Arabia for treatment of an injury sustained during an attack on the presidential palace. At the same time, protesters celebrate his transfer of power to his Vice-President.

June 9th – Indian painter, M.F. Hussain, born 1915 passes away.

June 12th – Arab spring. Thousands of Syrians flee to Turkey as Syrian troop’s siege to Jisr ash-Shugur.

July

July 7th – The world’s first artificial organ transplant is achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.

July 9th – South Sudan secedes from Sudan as a result from the independence referendum held in January.

July 20thGoran Hadžić is detained in Serbia, becoming the last of 161 people indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The United Nations declares a famine in southern Somalia, the first in over 30 years.

July

July 21st – Space shuttle Atlantis lands successfully at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135, concluding NASA’s space shuttle program.

July 22nd – 76 people are killed in twin terrorist attacks in Norway after a bombing in Regjeringskvartalet, the government center in Oslo and a shooting at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya.

July 31st – September 24th – Arab spring; Because of the uncertainties associated with a clamp-down of the free press. It is believed that at least 121 people were killed in a Syrian Army tank raid on the town of Hama and over 150 people are reportedly killed across the country. The total number of the dead is unknown but estimated to be 3,000 as for September.

August

August 5th – NASA announces that its MARS Reconnaissance Orbiter captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars during warm seasons. Later Juno, the first solar-powered spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

August 20th -28th – Arab spring; and the Libyan civil war. In the battle of Tripoli, Libyan rebels took control over the nation’s capital effectively overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

September

September 5th – India and Bangladesh signs a pact to end their 40 year old border demarcation dispute.

September 10th – Zanzibar ferry sinking; The MV Spice Islander, carrying at least 800 people sinks off the coast of Zanzibar killing 240 people.

September 12th – Approximately 100 Kenyans dies after a petrol pipeline explodes in Nairobi.

September 14th – German Nobel physicist, Rudolf Mössbauer, born 1929 passes away.

September 19th – With 434 dead, United Nations launches a $357 million appeal for victims of the 2011 Sindh floods in Pakistan.

September 20th – Burhanuddin Rabbani, President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 is killed by a suicide bomber.

October

October 4th – 2011 Mogadishu bombing; 100 people are killed in a car bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

In Thailand, 657 people are killed by floods during a severe monsoon season with 58 of the country’s 77 provinces affected.

The death toll from the flooding of Cambodia’s Mekong River and attendant flash floods reaches 207.

October 5th – American computer engineer Steve Jobs, born 1955, passes away.

October 18th – Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas began a major prisoner swap as they released the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,280 prisoners and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel including 280 prisoners serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating terror attacks.

October 20th –Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte with National Transitional Council forces taking control of the city and ending the war.

Basque separatist militant organization ETA declares and ends to its 43 year campaign of political violence that has killed over 800 people since 1968.

October 23rd – A earthquake with 7,2 magnitude destroyed the city of Van in eastern Turkey, killing 604 people and damaging about 2,200 buildings.

October 27th – After an emergency meeting in Brussels, the European Union announced a agreement to tackle the European sovereign debt crises which includes a writedown of 50% of Greek bonds, a recapitalization of European banks and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility totaling to €1 trillion.

October 31st – This date was selected by the UN as the symbolic date when global population reached 7billion.

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed.

November

November 26th – The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is launched from the Kennedy Space Center. It is planned that it will land on Mars on August 5, 2012.

November 28th – A congressional investigative committee disclosed Monday that it has begun a wide-ranging probe into operations at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, escalating public scrutiny of the military installation charged with handling America’s war dead. In December, a federal investigation by the United States Office of special counsel found the center had committed “gross mismanagement” of remains, including losing body parts, sawing off the damaged arm bone of a soldier so he would fit in a casket without telling his family, and lax supervision. Three supervisors were disciplined but not removed from duty. The Special Counsel investigation revealed that Air Force officials had attempted to silence whistleblowers by firing them from their jobs, had falsified records, and lied to investigators.

December

December 15th – The United States formally declares an end to the Iraq war.

December 16th – Tropical storm Washi hits the Philippines causing floods, killing more than 957 and 49 are officially listed as missing.

December 17th – Kim Jong-il, Supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dies.

December 18th – Vaclay Havel, Czech playwright, 10th President of Czechoslovakia and 1st President of the Czech Republic passes away.

December 22nd – Lawmakers in France’s National Assembly – the lower house of parliament, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft law outlawing genocide denial, which will be debated next year in the Senate. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan described the bill put forward by members of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling party as “politics based on racism, discrimination, xenophobia.”He said Sarkozy, was sacrificing good ties “for the sake of political calculations,” suggesting the president was trying to win the votes of ethnic Armenians in France in an election next year.

Erdogan said Turkey was cancelling all economic, political and military meetings with its NATO partner and said it would cancel permission for French military planes to land, and warships to dock, in Turkey.

22nd- Several coordinated bombs exploded in Baghdad. At least 16 bombs went of killing over 72 and injuring more than 200 people.

23rd – A earthquake with 5,8 schook Christchurch, New Zealand. Same place was hit with 6,3 in February where 180 people lost their lives.

Nobel Prizes

  • Chemistry – Dan Shechtman
  • Economics – Christopher A. Sims and Thomas J. Sargent.
  • Literature – Tomas Tranströmer
  • Peace – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman
  • Physics – Saul Perlmutter, Adam G. Riess and Brian P. Schmidt.
  • Physiology or Medicine – Bruce A. Beutler, Jules A. Hoffmann and Ralph M. Steinman

 

Virgin suicides

“My family attacked my personality, and I felt I had committed the biggest sin in the world. I felt I had no right to dishonor my family, that I have no right to be alive. So I decided to respect my family’s desire and die.” Derya, 17 years old. Turkey.

The order to kill herself came from her uncle in a text message to her cell phone. “You have blackened our name, kill yourself and clean our shame or we will kill you first,” it said. Derya’s crime was to fall in love with a boy she had met at school. She knew it was dangerous because her aunt had been killed by her grandfather for speaking with a boy.

When news of the love affair spread to her family, her mother warned her that her father would kill her but she refused to listen. Her brothers and uncle sent her text messages every day threatening her. Filled with shame and afraid, Derya decided to commit suicide. First she jumped into the Tigris River, but survived. Then she tried to hang herself but another uncle cut her down. Last she tried to slash her wrists with a kitchen knife.

Elif, another young girl received her death sentence when she declined the offer of an arranged marriage with an older man. Her wish was to continue on her education. The disobedience brought shame on her whole family and the only way out was death. She managed to escape.

These honor suicides in Turkey has reached new heights as they have turned into honor suicides. This phenomenon emerged after the new reforms to Turkey’s penal code in 2005. Before, killers could receive reduced sentences claiming provocation but after the reforms, the government introduced mandatory life sentences for honor killings. Soon after the law was passed, honor suicides increased in numbers. Batman, a city in the south east with a population of 250,000 has got the nickname “suicide city” because of the high number of suicides among girls. The city was also featured in the novel by Turkish writer and Nobel literature winner in 2006 Orhan Pamuk’s “snow”. The story was about a journalist’s investigation of a suicide epidemic among teenage girls. Between 2001 and 2006, there were 1,806 murders in Turkey that fell under the definition of honor killings, according to the State Minister for Women and Family Affairs Nimet Çubukçu. Meanwhile, during the same period, 5,375 women committed suicide.

 A man showing pic of his 14 year old daughter who committed suicide

A majority of the murders happens in the Kurdish regions where people have been segregated from the rest of the society. Education usually ends in an early age and ignorance seems to transfer from generations to generations. These rural communities are ruled under a strict patriarchal system and decisions are usually made by a “family council” when the extended family meets to discuss honor. They discuss everything from how the victim should be killed and if it isn’t a forced suicide, a killer is chosen. The youngest member of the family is often chosen in hope that they will receive a shorter sentence. The families have the choice between sacrificing a son to a life in prison or forcing the daughter to finish the job herself.

23-year-old Yildiz A. from Turkey was stabbed in the stomach six or seven times and her nose and ears and part of her lip cut off, then she was dumped in a field. She managed to crawl to the side of the road where a passing motorist took her to hospital.

13 year old Rojda was raped and as punishment for “allowing” herself to be raped, her nose was cut off

There are many honor killers in the prisons and oddly enough, they are treated with huge respect among the other inmates and even some prison guards. In the recent years, many Kurds have fled their hometowns and settled to other cities across the country because of the fighting’s between Turkey’s government and the rebels PKK. With the migration, the honor killings and suicides are spreading as well.

Turkey has the highest proportion of female professors in Europe, at 27% and the lifestyle has developed into modern and secular. Families who move to bigger cities and face a modern secular lifestyle have a hard time adjusting and the clash of culture makes it hard on the females who are forced to behave conservatively when there are more temptations around.

Almost every week, a young female tries to commit suicide in Batman or in the nearby areas which are commonly poor and rural with deeply rooted tribal traditions. Others have been stoned to death, strangled, shot or buried alive. Their crime was everything from looking at a boy, wearing a short skirt, declining an arranged marriage, wanting to go out with friends, being raped or engaged in sexual relations out of wedlock. Once the shame has spread to the family, the only way it can be restored is through death. Some women’s group have reported that the girls are being locked up in a room for days with a gun, rat poison, rope etc. they are constantly reminded on that their disgrace is punished by death.

In an effort to help these girls, Ka-Mer, a local women’s group has created a hot line for women who fear that their life might be at risk. They help the girls find shelter and to apply to the courts for restraining orders against their relatives. Ayten Tekar, a caseworker for Ka-Mer in Diyarbakir stated that half of the 104 women, who called the hot line, were uneducated and illiterate. Some had also told that the families hadn’t wanted to kill them but the social pressure and the village gossip had driven them to commit suicide.  “We have to bring these killings out from the shadows and teach women about their rights. The laws have been changed, but the culture here will not change overnight,” she said.

A worldwide epidemic

According to the United Nations, about 5,000 honor killings take place each year, most of them in the Middle East. Iraqi Kurds, Palestinians in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey appear to be the worst offenders. But honor crimes long ago spread to Britain, Belgium, Russia and Canada and many other nations.These killings have spread throughout Europe and reached to the US during the last 10 years as migrants have settled down. Police authorities across Europe who wasn’t familiar with the problem met in 2006 to discuss the reasons and preventions. Denmark was the first country out in a European court to sentence several family members for honor killing instead of just the triggerman. It can now be found in USA, Germany, Sweden, France, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Ghazala Kahn, a Pakistani 18 year old, had an intimate relationship with her future husband, Emal Khan 3 years before her murder. She kept the relationship secret but eventually revealed her feelings to her mother, who became outraged and beat her, joined by Ghazala’s older brother, Akhtar Abbas, the same man who would later shoot her. After this, Ghazala was locked up inside the house and “frozen out” by the rest of her family, all of whom refused to speak to her or eat with her. Finally, on 5 September 2005 she managed to escape and lived with Emal. In the period up until her murder they lived with various friends in Denmark. They repeatedly contacted the police for protection, but were denied help. On 21 September they married and two days later, the family, pretending to want to come to a peaceful reconciliation, convinced the newlywed couple to arrange a meeting at the railway station where Ghazala’s brother shot both Ghazala and Emal Khan. Ghazala was killed instantly while Emal, shot twice survived.

The family was upset so they persuaded Ghazala’s brother to shoot her. The court however convicted 9 members of the family, including her father who conceived the murder and received a life sentence. Her brother received 16 years in prison and an aunt will spend 14 years in prison for luring Ghazala to what she believed would be a family gathering.

Migrants have lived in Europe for many years, so why haven’t they managed to integrate to the society? The problem goes way longer than a couple of years. After World War 2, Europe, especially Germany was left war stricken and the country needed guest workers to rebuild its cities. A huge amount of immigrants, mostly Turkish and Kurds migrated to West Europe and most of them were poor and uneducated. The mistake Germany commit was to allow separate schools for over 20 years and special housing for the guest workers where only their native language was spoken. This led to closed communities where Western culture and values were disregarded making room for ghettoes. Today, there are still classes at public schools where the native language is spoken and in the afternoon the children go home where the parents doesn’t speak German.

Iraq

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq has regularly highlighted “honour” killings of Kurdish women as being among the country’s most severe problems. Most of these crimes are reported as deaths caused by accidental fires in the home. 12,500 women were murdered or had committed suicide between 1991 and 2007 for “honour” reasons in Iraq’s 3 major Kurdish provinces. Authorities have admitted that they feel powerless when it comes to preventing the honor killings and honor suicides following by an increase of 70%. On reason can be that there is almost no conviction. Few years ago, 81 women were reported murdered and the authorities had made only 5 convictions. The police release the killers shortly after the arrest and does little attempt to track them down.

Rand Abdel-Qader was killed after her family discovered that she had formed a friendship with a 22-year-old infantryman whom she knew as Paul. She was suffocated by her father then hacked at with a knife. Abdel-Qader Ali was arrested and shortly after released without charge. Rand’s mother, Leila Hussein, who divorced her husband after the killing, went into hiding but was tracked down weeks later and assassinated by an unknown gunman. Her husband had told The Observer that police had congratulated him for killing his daughter. The father has left Basra. He was held by police in connection with his daughter’s murder for only two hours and a local businessman who described the actions of Rand’s father as ‘courageous’ was believed to have given a huge amount of money to him and his two sons, who disowned their mother after she objected to Rand’s killing.

An Iraqi lawyer said that some fathers had started to hire professional hitmen to carry out ‘honour killings.’ “The life of these women isn’t higher than $100. You can find a killer standing in any coffee shop of Basra, discussing prices of a life as if he was buying a piece of meat,” he said.

Mariam Ayub Sattar, an activist in Basra, said that any woman caught speaking to a man in public who was not her husband or a relative was considered a prostitute and punished. Three women were burned with acid while walking through a market in Basra after stopping to speak to a male friend, Sattar also told. This shows how narrow minded the Iraqi’s are and how much they try to isolate the women while the men have enormous freedom. A blow to the face was when The Women’s Rights Association in Basra was forced to close down after receiving death threats following the murder of Rand’s mother. Two women from a voluntary organization who had been helping her to hide from her husband were also injured.

Besides the murder, hundreds of women commit suicide every year by setting themselves on fire. In the first half of 2010, 80 suicides were reported in the Kurdish city of Suleimania according to a human rights activist named Suaad al-Khazraji. These suicides are actually not suicide but murder since they are forced by family members to restore the family honor. Looking at the numbers in Suleimania that is regarded to be the most open and modern city, the numbers are probably in thousands in the more conservative provinces like Baghdad, Basra, Arbil and Dahouk.

I don’t think that the elder generations will change their opinion about honor killings and suicides. For them, this is the only right thing to do and honor goes before everything. What the government should do is to target the younger generations in the rural areas. Education is number one solution to everything. When they know their rights, know how to read and write, then they also can escape this horrible practice. We cannot afford to lose more daughters, sisters and wife’s.

“In my village and in my father’s tribe, boys are in the sky while girls are treated as if they are under the earth. As long as families do not trust their daughters, bad things will continue to happen.”Derya, 17 years.

Earthquake in Turkey

There was a massiv earthquake in Turkey/Van 5 days ago. Today the numbers of the dead has rised to575, injured is 2608 and at least 8026 households has been homeless.

The citizens of Van is in our thoughts and prayers.

I also congratulate the Turkish people on their Republic day on October 29, 2011

NATO – Deterrent of Unification

Overview:

After World War II the shadow of another possible war now looming over the sky which if comes into picture the enemy at the gates will bang it will full lightening; the name of that shadow was Cold War era which started immediately after the much daunted D-Day. The fear of Soviet invasion was irresistible as after the war more than half of the Europe was under communist control & influence. So the Western European countries of UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands & Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Brussels on 17th March 1948 which is considered as the precursor of NATO.  But in order to counter balance the power of Soviet Union participation of US was necessary, so the talks to form new alliance started immediately after it. These talks resulted into the formation of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on 4th April 1949 with the signing of North Atlantic Treaty in Washington D.C which increased the horizon of a complete military alliance including the members of Treaty of Brussels & new members the US, Canada, Italy, Iceland, Portugal, Norway & Denmark with its headquarters based in Belgium with its Parliament General Assembly which meets at an Annual Session.  But the first few years of its formation were full of crisis as the influence of US was a major concern in the organisation which resulted into French withdrawal from NATO & development of French nuclear deterrent. With the start of Korean War NATO galvanised its military structure under the command of US Marines. However after the formation of Warsaw Pact by the Eastern Bloc, NATO started developing its standardization program for its arsenal systems.   The reason for its non involvement in Falkland War was that since its formation & as its name suggest that NATO always want to limit itself above the Tropic of Cancer so, since the southern hemisphere is not under its operational limit NATO kept itself out of that.

Post Cold War: After the collapse of USSR & the German reunification in 1990 NATO has increased its member states & limits which has now crossed the borders after the Prague summit of 2002 held for the first time in the Eastern Bloc country which enlarged its horizon by including Albania, Croatia, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Mauritania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania has been brought under the NATO umbrella while Ukraine & Georgia were told that they will be included as a prominent members. The inclusion of these states irked Russia who has now threatened NATO of withdrawing from CTE which was signed between RUSSIA & NATO as a peace agreement due to the posting of US anti missile defence system which as per Russia’s concern will trigger a new arms race in the region. The first NATO intervention was in 1995 bombings of Bosnia & Herzegovina and in 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. With the inclusion of Turkey, Spain & Greece NATO now controls almost all the bordering points with Russia.

Post 9/11 Terror Attacks:  caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in its history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all with invocation of its Article 5 NATO invaded Afghanistan in 2001 & consequently invading Iraq in 2002 under its military force command of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Groups under NATO:

EURO – Atlantic Partnership,

Individual Partnership Action Plans,

Contact Countries

2008-2009 Recession: NATO which has 70% of total world’s defence budget announced huge budget cuts due to the economic meltdown in the majority stake holding countries of US & Western Europe Which accounts 43% by the US alone & the 15% by UK, France & Germany.

Future Enlargement plans of NATO are for Asia to confront China’s rise & the nuclear crisis of North Korea, Iran, Burma, Pakistan & Syria.

Turkey. A role model for Egypt?

Turkey is regarded as a model for a regime that will strengthen the democracy, but the differences between the two countries are large. There are two large and important non Arab Muslim majority countries in the Middle East; Turkey and Iran. The possibility that the revolution in Egypt would provide the Muslim Brotherhood increased influence has led to fears in the neighboring countries that it would end up with an extremist Islamic regime just like in Iran.

The Origin

Turkey and Egypt was once a part of the Ottoman Empire, but ever after it collapsed at the time of First World War, the development of the two countries has turned different directions.

The Egyptian constitution states that “Islam is the State religion” and that “The most important basis for the legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).” The Turkish constitution on the other hand states that the country is a secular, non-religious republic, and the basis for the state’s population. The modern day’s Turkey’s founder; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk wanted to create a modern nation. One of the examples is that the traditional headscarf was prohibited in public places and the Arabic alphabet was replaced with the Latin alphabet. The military was tasked by the government in 1961 to protect the Turkish republic’s integrity and secularism as described in the constitution something the army takes very seriously.

Sole ruler

Both under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, Egypt as a modern state has been characterized by sole ruler to a limited extend and haven’t allowed political oppositions. Nasser was a charismatic leader and Mubarak was a leader with not much support but with a determination to rule as long as possible. Despite all the differences, we can speak about Turkey as a model because of its bright developments over the past 10 years.

The road to democratization

After being a candidate in the EU in 1999, the requirement to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria for membership weakened the military’s role in Turkey. The National Security Council, where national security policy issues are discussed, have also been reformed and now consists of more civilian members than before when there was an emphasis on military officers. An attempted military intervention was still made as in 2007 it was revealed that there existed a right-wing military network that was planning a coup.

Since March 2003, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been in power. It is a moderate Islamist party, such as; that wishes to go in for a Turkish EU membership. This kind of moderate form of Islamic rule won’t happen over night in Egypt and if it would happen, then it does need a better functioning multi party system.

Statistic numbers

A survey conducted by the polling institute Pew Research Center before the protest wave began, shows clear differences between Egypt and Turkey. 72% of Turks see democracy as the absolute best form of government. 50% Egyptians do the same. 85% of Egyptians believe it is positive that Islam has an influence in politics and the number in Turkey is only 38%. When it comes to Islamic extremism, 61% of the Egyptians are strongly or partly concerned about it, while in Turkey 40% of Turks feel the same. While 52% of Turks see a conflict between the forces that will modernize the society and the fundamentalists, only 31% of Egyptians think the same. These numbers show that the Egyptians do want religion to play a role, but it gets disturbed by the extremists. In Turkey, the democratic way of thinking is quite strong, and soon 90 years of separation between state and Islam seems to have entrenched themselves. Turkey is an important model not only for Egypt but for the whole Middle East as it appears as a mediator whenever the storm hits its neighbours.

This was proven when President Abdullah Gül was awarded with the 2010 Chatham House Prize in London. Abdullah Gül has been a smooth operator and described as “the first proudly observant Muslim to be head of the secular Turkish state that wants to put an end to mutterings in Western capitals about Turkey’s shift to the East.” He was contributed this prize “for his contribution both to international relations and Turkeys development as a vibrant democratic state.”
While Gül will be remembered for his positive achievements, the Arab leaders will be remembered for their dictatorship, corruption and lack of respect for democracy.

Facts:

  • Turkey;

  • Governance: Republic.
  • Population: 77, 8 million.
  • Capital: Ankara.
  • Important export: Electronics, textile, agriculture products.
  • Economical growth: 4,7 %.
  • Living: Number 83 on UN’s list over 182 countries.
  • Corruption: Number 56 on Transparency s list over 180 countries, where 1 is least corrupt.
  • Surface area: 783.562 sqkms.
  • Egypt

  • Governance: Republic.
  • Population: 80 million.
  • Capital: Cairo.
  • Important export: Oil, cotton, metal products.
  • Economical growth: 4, 6 %.
  • Living: Number 101 on UN’s list over 182 countries.
  • Corruption: Number 98 on Transparency s list over 180 countries, where 1 is least corrupt.
  • Surface: 1 million sqkms.

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