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Cellar Door Links This Week (for the last time in 2011!)

December 31, 2011

A wonderfully informative and insightful piece on Rwanda’s Victoire Ingabire. Go read.

Victoire Ingabire left Rwanda almost two years ago in January 2010 to return to her native Rwanda in hopes of challenging Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the country’s 2010 presidential election. Her party was not allowed to register, she was not allowed to run, and she has spent the last year not as the president of Rwanda, but as a prisoner in Kigali’s 1930 maximum security prison. Paul Kagame secured 93 percent of the vote in Aug. 9 polls obviously staged to legitimize his presidency, with no serious challengers running against him.

Libyan women battle for empowerment

In Libyan society, rape is seen as the ultimate shame and, because victims do not come forward, no-one knows how many women might have been raped by pro-Gaddafi forces. The International Criminal Court is currently investigating the rape allegations.

“I’ve heard that 36 women committed suicide last month alone because of the shame of it,” says activist Sara Shukri.

A different and important take on rape culture.

African Rape is America’s Porn

Here we go again. The New York Times has a story today about rape in war torn Somalia.

It is difficult to critique this sort of journalism without seeming to be blasé about sexual assault. I am not at all uncaring about rape survivors here or abroad, but I am very wary of the media showing interest in women of color only when they are rape victims and the circumstances permit wholesale finger pointing at all black people. The Times has never given its readers a true history of the Somalia conflict, which is a direct result of American intervention.

How USAID undermines democracy in Haiti

Cash for dictators, sabotaged food production and enforced trade liberalisation: Leslie Mullin explains how USAID has undermined Haitian development.

Samira Ibrahim is the woman behind Egypt’s ban of virginity tests

An Egyptian court has banned virginity tests for female detainees, many months after women arrested in Tahrir Square in March said they had been forced to take examinations.

Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing

A must-read on America’s drone war.

Nevertheless, for a president who campaigned against the alleged counterterrorism excesses of his predecessor, Obama has emphatically embraced the post-Sept. 11 era’s signature counterterrorism tool.

And a heart-aching account of its consequences.

My mistake had been to see the drone war in Waziristan in terms of abstract legal theory — as a blatantly illegal invasion of Pakistan’s sovereignty, akin to President Richard M. Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia in 1970.

But now, the issue has suddenly become very real and personal. Tariq was a good kid, and courageous. My warm hand recently touched his in friendship; yet, within three days, his would be cold in death, the rigor mortis inflicted by my government.

Assam: Anti-dam protestors call bandh against ‘police atrocities’

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity, an organisation spearheading protests against a proposed dam in eastern Assam, has called for an indefinite bandh in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts from Tuesday.

The bandh has been called to protest ‘police atrocities’ on agitators who were forcefully evicted from the demonstration site at Ranganadi in the wee hours of Monday.

Update on Soni Sori

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party National Secretary D Raja urged him to take the matter “urgently” and intervene to “put an end to the persecution of Soni Sori and her family, including her nephew Lingaram Kodopi”, who is also under arrest.

Re-settled or living in forced exile?

Opposite the worn-out Tsunami Quarters that have an uncanny resemblance to similar tenements in Kannagi Nagar and Semmancherry, stand the newly constructed tenements that house people displaced due to the city’s thirst for expansion and better transport facilities. For 35-year-old M.Viswanathan, who was a casual labourer in Parry’s Corner, the sudden displacement from a familiar territory feels like a forced exile.

A closer look at Rajiv Gandhi’s alleged assassin

Death stalks him, but 40-year-old Perarivalan is an eternal optimist. He might have spent two decades in jail but that hasn’t deterred him from living life to the fullest.

Last Christmas, he enthralled the inmates by playing on keyboard his favourite lyricist Thamarai’s song Vaarayo from film Aathavan.

Bodies in Alliance: Gender Theorist Judith Butler on the Occupy and SlutWalk Movements

They saw the Mubarak regime fall because people refused to move. They set up their camp in the middle of the public square. They laid claim to the public as their own and asserted a popular will against the regime, which they did bring down. We have this extremely graphic, nearly hallucinatory, image of the power of the people in public assembly to stop a regime. Now, how you stop an economic regime, if it is actually global, is a much harder thing. We don’t have a monarch; we can’t just ask them to resign. It’s not the same. So, it needs a different kind of tactic.

At the same time, it is important that Occupy Wall Street started with the collection of people, all of whom had slightly different things to say: “My house has been foreclosed and I was living there for 40 years.” Or, “I can’t make my payments and I had to give up my car.” Or, “My job was suddenly destroyed and I can’t find another.” All different stories, at a very individual level, came together to produce a kind of mosaic picture of how this economic suffering has been lived.

Homeless Family Occupies Foreclosed Home in Brooklyn. A heartwarming video.

Still Black [a film]

In the past decade, independent cinema has seen an explosion of films that explore transgender issues. Many of those films, however, have elided issues of race in regard to trans communities of color. In light of this, still black: a portrait of black transmen is a feature-length experimental documentary that explores the lives of six black transgender men living in the United States.


Pro-Marijuana Argument Given By Superior Court Judge James P. Gray (2009). Worth Watching.

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