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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Authorities detained a Saudi woman on Saturday after she launched a campaign against the driving ban for women in the ultraconservative kingdom and posted a video of herself behind the wheel on Facebook and YouTube to encourage others to copy her.
Manal al-Sherif and a group of other women started a Facebook page called "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself," which urges authorities to lift the driving ban. She went on a test drive in the eastern city of Khobar and later posted a video of the experience.
"This is a volunteer campaign to help the girls of this country" learn to drive, al-Sherif says in the video. "At least for times of emergency, God forbid. What if whoever is driving them gets a heart attack?"
Human rights activist Walid Abou el-Kheir said al-Sherif was detained by the country's religious police, who are charged with ensuring the kingdom's rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings are observed.
Al-Sherif was released hours later, according to the campaign's Twitter account. The terms of her release were not immediately clear.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women - both Saudi and foreign - from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
Women are also barred from voting, except for chamber of commerce elections in two cities in recent years, and no woman can sit on the kingdom's Cabinet. Women also cannot travel without permission from a male guardian and shouldn't mingle with males who are not their husbands or brothers.
The campaigners have focused on the importance of women driving in times of emergencies and in the case of low-income families. Al-Sherif said unlike the traditional argument in Saudi Arabia that driving exposes women to sinful temptations by allowing them to mingle with policemen and mechanics, women who drive can avoid sexual harassment from their drivers and protect their "dignity."
Through Facebook, the campaigners are calling for a mass drive on June 17 and more than 12,000 people viewing the page have indicated they support the call. To encourage women to get behind the wheel, al-Sherif went for a drive on Friday as another activist filmed her.
Dressed in a headscarf and the all-encompassing black abaya all women must wear in public, al-Sharif said not all Saudi women are "queens" who can afford to hire a driver. She extolled the virtues of driving for women, saying it can save lives, and time, as well as a woman's dignity. Al-Sharif said she learned how to drive at the age of 30 in New Hampshire.
"We are humiliated sometimes because we can't find a taxi to take us to work," she said.
On their Facebook page, the group says women joining the campaign should not challenge authorities if they were stopped and questioned, and should abide by the country's strict dress code.
"We want to live as complete citizens, without the humiliation that we are subjected to every day because we are tied to a driver," the Facebook message reads. "We are not here to break the law or demonstrate or challenge the authorities, we are here to claim one of our simplest rights."
On April 28, hundreds of NOW activists and allies gathered around the country to make sure politicians know that women "do not want to work until we drop!" About a dozen actions in various states drove home the message that NOW opposes increasing the retirement age to 69 years -- something that conservatives in Congress are pushing. Activists also protested the proposed dismantling of Medicare and block-granting of Medicaid.
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In a perverse sign of the economic recovery, the US divorce rate, which dipped in the recession, has bounced back, lawyers and matrimonial experts say.
A stronger economy, lower unemployment and a housing market that - while still weak - is no longer in free fall are all contributing to a rebound in divorce filings.
"There is huge pent-up demand," said Marshal Willick, a Las Vegas matrimonial attorney, who has noted an upturn in his business.
During the recession, couples who were out of work or unable to sell their house stayed married to save money. The percentage of the population 15 years and older who counted themselves divorced dropped to 9.7 in 2009, from 9.9 three years earlier, according to the Census Bureau. More than half of the 1,600 attorneys who are members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported a downturn in their business in 2009, the most recent year for which survey data are available.
Now, those same lawyers are inundated with new clients. Linda Lea Viken, the group's president, said her practice in Rapid City, South Dakota, was 25 per cent busier this year, compared with the same period in 2009.
One client first approached her about leaving his wife in 2008, but put the divorce on hold when the local bank would not lend him the money to buy her out of their ranch. As property values in the area rebounded following a steep rise in the price of corn and wheat, the once stalled divorce is "moving full steam ahead", Ms Viken said.
Divorce has not become any less acrimonious but the fights have changed, lawyers said.
"People no longer argue about who's keeping the house, but about who's stuck with it," Mr Willick said.
So-called underwater homes, that are worth less than the balance on their mortgage, are flummoxing judges who cannot decide whether to treat them as an asset or a liability.
In one Las Vegas case, the husband wanted to sell and the wife did not. While they argued, the value of the home continued to fall, said Gary Silverman, their lawyer. The couple is still in the process of splitting.
Other divorce rituals are also going by the wayside. It was once standard practice to make copies of family photos. "But today, people don't want to shoulder the expense," said Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, a New Jersey lawyer.
Even in times of economic distress, however, there is only so much misery that people can bear. One divorcing Manhattan man had planned to use the proceeds from his Bernard Madoff account to pay for a new apartment when he had left home.
The man still moved out after Mr Madoff's investment fund was exposed as a Ponzi scheme. "But he got a much smaller apartment," said his lawyer, Alton Abramowitz.
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AUSTIN, Texas, April 5 (UPI) -- A Texas woman who pleaded guilty to smearing feces on her daughter's catheter has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.Again, imagine if the perp was a man.
Emily Beth McDonald, 25, pleaded guilty to injury to a child Monday and was sentenced by State District Judge Julie Kocurek under the terms of a plea bargain that spared McDonald from a possible life sentence, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Her lawyer said McDonald was "under extreme psychological stress" at the time of her crime brought on by factors including fatigue and depression.
Attorney Bob Phillips said McDonald put feces on her daughter's catheter because she wanted to elevate the girl's fever, something she hoped would make doctors continue an antibiotics regimen that they had planned to end.
"Obviously it was a criminal act, and it was wrongheaded, but it was done with a pure heart," Phillips said.
McDonald had been set to go to trial next week, facing up to life in prison on a charge of first-degree injury to a child for intentionally and knowingly causing serious bodily injury to her daughter.
She pleaded guilty instead to second-degree injury to a child for recklessly injuring the girl.
In 2002, Roz Savage, then 34, appeared to have everything: a large Edwardian house in the fashionable London suburb of Kew, a career as a management consultant and a happy marriage. Yet she gave it all up to row single-handedly across the Atlantic in
In 2008, she started out on her attempt to be the first woman to row solo across the Pacific. She has completed stages one and two, which have taken her from California to Hawaii and then on to the Tarawa Atoll, and she plans to finish in Australia later this year.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1243425/Rowing-solo-ROZ-SAVAGE-perfect-life--left-including-husband-search-bigger-adventure.html#ixzz1I1FPyPaH
LOS ANGELES -- A high-profile charitable foundation set up to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi, founded by the singer Madonna and fellow devotees of a prominent Jewish mysticism movement, has collapsed after spending $3.8 million on a project that never came to fruition.
The board of directors of the organization, Raising Malawi, has been ousted and replaced by a caretaker board, including Madonna and her manager, officials with the organization said Thursday. Its executive director, who is the boyfriend of Madonna's former trainer, Tracy Anderson, left in October amid criticism of his management style and cost overruns for the school. These included what auditors described as outlandish expenditures on salaries, cars, office space and a golf course membership, free housing and a car and driver for the school's director.
Most strikingly, the plans to build a $15 million school for about 400 girls in the poor southeastern African country of 15 million -- which had drawn financial support from Hollywood and society circles, as well as the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre International, an organization devoted to Jewish mysticism -- have been officially abandoned.
That prospective move set off a fierce backlash when first raised earlier this year, with Malawi officials saying they were stunned and asserting that Madonna was blaming management breakdowns because she had been unable to raise the money she had promised.
"A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived," Michael Berg, a co-director of the Kabbalah Centre and the co-founder of Raising Malawi, said Thursday in an e-mail to the center's members who had contributed to the project. The e-mail announced the replacement of the board of directors.
Madonna has lent her name, reputation and $11 million of her money to the organization that she founded with Mr. Berg. She has been a regular visitor to Malawi, attending at least two ceremonies at what would have been the site of the school in Lilongwe, and has adopted two children from the country.
On Thursday, in conceding the shortcomings of her charity, Madonna issued a statement saying she was still intent on using the organization, which has raised $18 million so far, to advance improvements in the beleaguered nation.
"There's a real education crisis in Malawi," she said. "Sixty-seven percent of girls don't go to secondary school, and this is simply unacceptable. Our team is going to work hard to address this in every way we can." She and her aides offered no explanation of why, given her high interest in the project, she had not noticed the problems as they began unfolding.
Trevor Neilson, a founder of the Global Philanthropy Group, which Madonna recruited last November amid signs of upheaval at her charity, said he told her that building an expensive school in Malawi was an ineffective form of philanthropy, and suggested instead using resources to finance education programs though existing and proven nongovernmental organizations.
Mr. Neilson said that an examination found that $3.8 million had been spent on the school that will now not be built, with much of the money going to architects, design and salaries and, in one case, two cars for employees who had not even been hired yet.
"Despite $3.8 million having been spent by the previous management team, the project has not broken ground, there was no title to the land and there was, over all, a startling lack of accountability on the part of the management team in Malawi and the management team in the United States," he said. "We have yet to determine exactly what happened to all of that $3.8 million. We have not accounted for all the funds that were used."
A written report by the Global Philanthropy Group, a copy of which was provided Thursday by the Kabbalah Centre, was critical of two former officials of the organization: Philippe van den Bossche, who has worked for Madonna since 2004 and was the executive director of Raising Malawi from 2005 until October, and Anjimile Oponyo, who worked at the United Nations Development Program when she was chosen last year to head the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls.
Ms. Oponyo said that she was barred from talking about her association with the foundation, and that she could not comment on the allegations in the report of mismanagement -- including whether she benefited from an extravagant compensation package that included that car and driver and golf club membership.
In an e-mail, Mr. van den Bossche said he, too, was prohibited from commenting; Madonna has a history of confidentiality agreements with employees.
"I am strictly bound by the confidentiality agreements and I am forced by those agreements to be silent on any of these questions," Mr. van den Bossche said.
Mr. Neilson said that Madonna was involved in a film project -- she is directing a movie about King Edward VIII -- and was not available for an interview. But in a statement, Madonna said she was pleased with other work that Raising Malawi had done in helping children in Malawi, even as she acknowledged its problems. "While I'm proud of these accomplishments, I'm frustrated that our education work has not moved forward in a faster way," she said.
Raising Malawi will not disband and will instead use its money in different ways to help the poor in a country where Madonna has sought to become a major philanthropic presence, foundation officials said.
Madonna attended a fund-raiser hosted by Gucci in New York in 2008, whose guests also included Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow, and was on hand for what turned out to be a purely ceremonial groundbreaking and the laying off the first brick at the school. Other donors to the project include the Yankee Alex Rodriguez.
The report faulted Mr. van den Bossche for his roles both in overseeing the planning of the building and in creating the educational curriculum. "Philippe's level of mismanagement and lack of oversight was extreme in both aspects of the project," it said, "and the lack of success of the players on the ground is in large part a result of his inability to effectively manage project plans, people and finances."
The report was similarly critical of Ms. Oponyo. "Her charisma masks a lack of substantive knowledge of the practical application of educational development," it said, "and her weak management skills are a major contributor to the current financial and programmatic chaos."
The litany of injustices women still face in this country is by now familiar. On the one hand, nearly half of all American workers today are women, and more than a third of them are single heads of household. Their low earnings depress wages overall. On the other hand, in two-income households (though sadly a declining percentage of the total) female earnings are beginning to reach parity with men. In 1980, two thirds of families depended on only a male breadwinner and less than a third of married women with children worked. Today that number is exactly reversed. Yet the myth of traditional domestic arrangements as a norm still persists in our public policies.
Almost alone among Western democracies, the US provides little or no subsidized childcare and few maternity benefits to women. There is no federal legislation beyond a hard-won mandate for unpaid pregnancy and medical leave, which covers only workers in large organizations. Only a handful of states require paid family leave or flexible hours to cover personal obligations. School hours and educational calendars pay little attention to the absence of parents in most homes. Tax policy, wage scales, Social Security benefits, and health insurance formulas all still discriminate in multiple and often devious ways against working women.
Emory, 21, who authorities say "victimized" an entire Ravenna first-grade classroom on Jan. 12, was arrested late Tuesday, charged with manufacturing child sexual abusive material, a 20-year felony.
Emory was lodged in the Muskegon County Jail and authorities say an arrest warrant will be issued early Wednesday. Prior to his arrest Monday, Emory told WOOD-TV 8 he deceived school officials because if he would have told them what he planed, "they would never have let me do it."
A LETTER TO PARENTS
Download the .PDF of the Ravenna Public Schools superintendent and Beachnau Elementary principal letter to parents.
Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said what Emory did by posting a YouTube video of him apparently singing sexual explicit lyrics to a Beechnau Elementary School classroom last month is "disturbing."
It was also criminal, Tague said.
At first, things looked good. The opening episode of Season 2 rocked, most memorably in the startling scene when Jackie Earle Haley cold-cocks a skinny little waif in a thunderous recapitulation of his character's essential Sam Spade ethic of never playing the sap for anybody. But by the end of the hour, it became clear that some horrendous changes were in the making. Not one but two ladies were added to the permanent weekly roster alongside the three guys -- and as the second episode progressed it became clear that both were firmly stuck in the sad realm of hoary Hollywood feminist cliché. In scene after tiresome scene, both characters repeatedly dissipated every attempt at recapturing the sleek, blistering, cat-and-mouse action of the first season.
So it's over. Maybe it was a divorce, maybe just a breakup, but, in any case, she's gone. Chances are she left you, because two thirds to three quarters of divorces are filed by women, and probably most breakups in dating relationships are initiated by women.
Now you're alone -- maybe for the first time in a long while. The longer you have been in a relationship, the more daunting this may sound. But a new girlfriend may be the last thing you need right now.
Many men start lining up prospective dates and bed partners even while the smell of their ex's perfume is still lingering in the air. You may fantasize about having choices again, and as soon as friends see you as "single" they may offer to "fix you up" with their coworker or their cousin who is also newly single. It can be flattering, and it can be exciting, but more likely it is confusing. You may not have dated in years, and you may find the whole process more anxiety-provoking than fun.
When a relationship ends, both men and women often say that they are going to be very cautious about their next one. Yet, the statistics show that single life tends to be short-lived for most people. About 50 percent of divorced men remarry within two years, and maybe 30 percent remarry in less than one year. For guys whose girlfriend called it quits, that period of single life is probably even shorter.
Rushing into a new relationship?
Why are we so quick to rush into another relationship? After all, if you have been in a committed relationship that has lasted for a year or more, what are the odds that the first or second woman you meet after the breakup is the perfect match for you?
One major reason for men getting too quickly involved with a new girlfriend is that they are accustomed to having their emotional needs met by women. Most guys are not very good at connecting emotionally with other men. We may have buddies, but we usually are reluctant to bare our souls to them. Instead, when guys are hurting, we turn to our wives or girlfriends. But if these women have left us or, worse, are the source of our pain, in whom do we confide?
Furthermore, for many guys, especially ones who have been married a good while, their female partner is the key to their social life. We may go to her family's house for the holidays, and she probably has accompanied us to most social events. Guys also may quickly start a new relationship because they dread the idea of being alone. But being alone does not necessarily imply being lonely. After all, some of the saddest cases of loneliness occur when you feel unloved in a relationship.
Some of us are anxious to jump into a new relationship in order to find a new sexual partner. If this is you, remember to use your brain, the part above the belt, and not the part below that all too often wants to call the shots.
Avoiding the pain?
But the major reason that men prematurely get into a new committed relationship is to avoid the pain associated with the loss of the previous relationship. This is quite natural. Almost everybody will use aspirin to quell a headache, for example.
However, the pain after a relationship ends is part of the recovery process. It makes you reevaluate the relationship, its history, the mistakes you made, and the meaning of it for your life. Most importantly, the pain can help you avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Unfortunately, people don't really learn very well from their mistakes in relationships. For example, the divorce rate of second marriages is even higher than that of first marriages.
You are not ready to engage in another committed relationship soon after a breakup. You may think that you, but you are overestimating yourself. If you have ever sustained a sports injury -- say, a sprained ankle while running -- you probably remember being anxious to get back on the track as soon as possible after getting hurt. But if you rush to resume your old regimen before your ankle is fully healed, you will most likely re-injure it -- but this time the injury will be more severe and put you out of commission for a lot longer. This is exactly your situation now, but instead of your ankle being injured, it's your "heart" that's suffering. Give it the time it needs to heal before you get into a new relationship.
Tempted to find a new girlfriend?
Consider these thoughts as you get tempted to find that new girlfriend:
Don't look to another woman to make you feel OK: If you are still hurting, don't try to bandage the wound by explaining your plight to another female. She can't make it better, but you can. Instead of distracting yourself or looking to a new girlfriend to ease the pain you feel, work on self-improvement and self-understanding. The last thing you need is another failed relationship.
Find comfort in being alone: Strangely enough, unless you are comfortable being alone, you are probably not ready for a new relationship. The best relationships grow out of a desire to be with a particular person, not from the fear of being with no one at all. To be comfortable with being alone means you: don't feel depressed when you don't have someone with you; can take care of your own basic needs; don't need someone else to entertain you; and can deal with not having a regular sexual partner.
Let go of your anger at your ex: Consider doing some small thing to communicate kindness and forgiveness to a person that you once loved. Yes, she may have hurt you, but you learned in elementary school that two wrongs don't make a right. Practice forgiveness of her and of yourself.
Be careful not to party too hard: Drowning your sorrows via drinking or drugging won't change anything for the better. Instead, focus on improving your health habits for the New Year or getting back to "catching weight" (i.e. your ideal body weight). Psychologists Fred Rabinowitz and Sam Cochran note that we men are most likely to externalize our psychological distress through action, distraction and/or compulsive acting out. Consequently, men are more likely than women to get in trouble because of substance abuse.
Develop some new part of yourself: In order to connect more with others, look for situations in which you can be yourself, have fun, learn something and, later down the line, make contacts. Developing pastimes is very important, and they can make a huge difference in the quality of your life.
when are you ready for a new girlfriend?
You will know you are more ready to have a new relationship when you:
* Can consider the possibility of going out with a woman without masses of anger or anxiety welling up in you.
* Have reconnected with people in non-romantic ways.
* Are not preoccupied with thoughts of your previous relationship or marriage.
* Can tolerate living on your own and being by yourself.
* Can find meaningful and interesting things to do even if you are alone.
* Have developed ways to meet and engage with new people.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/12/21/new-girlfriend-thing-need/#ixzz18ruAuy5U
Making the rounds on YouTube these days is a film of a group of manly looking women preparing for and conducting a "flash dance" in a Philadelphia food store. The crew of ladies, dressed in tight black clothes and sequined accessories, arrives at The Fresh Grocer supermarket, breaks into a preplanned chant ordering shoppers not to buy Sabra and Tribe hummus and telling them to oppose Israeli "apartheid" and support "Palestine."
From their attire and attitude, it is fairly clear that the participants in the video would congratulate themselves on their commitment to the downtrodden, the wretched of the earth suffering under the jackboot of the powerful. They would likely all also describe themselves as feminists.
But if being a human rights activist means attacking the only country in the Middle East that defends human rights, then that means that at the very basic level, the term "human rights activist" is at best an empty term. And if being a feminist means attacking the only country in the Middle East where women enjoy freedom and equal rights, then feminism too, has become at best, a meaningless term. Indeed, if these anti-Israel female protesters are feminists, then feminism is dead.
IN 1995, then first lady Hillary Clinton spoke at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. There Clinton seemed to embrace the role of championing the rights of women and human rights worldwide when she proclaimed, "It is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights...If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
Yet as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton - like her fellow self-described feminists - has chosen to single Israel out for opprobrium while keeping nearly mum on the institutionalized, structural oppression of women and girls throughout the Muslim world. In so acting, Clinton is of course, loyally representing the views of the Obama administration she serves. She is also representing the views of the ideological Left in which Clinton, US President Barack Obama, the human rights and feminist movements are all deeply rooted.
Since the height of the feminist movement in the late 1960s, non-leftist women in the West and Israel have been hard-pressed to answer the question of whether or not we are feminists. Non-leftist women are opposed to the oppression of women. Certainly, we are no less opposed to the oppression of women than leftist women are.
But at its most basic level, the feminist label has never been solely or even predominantly about preventing and ending oppression or discrimination of women. It has been about advancing the Left's social and political agenda against Western societies. It has been about castigating societies where women enjoy legal rights and protections as "structurally" discriminatory against women in order to weaken the legal, moral and social foundations of those societies.
That is, rather than being about advancing the cause of women, to a large extent, the feminist movement has used the language of women's rights to advance a social and political agenda that has nothing to do with women. So to a large degree, the feminist movement itself is a deception.
The deception at the heart of the feminist movement is nowhere more apparent than in the silence with which self-professed feminists and feminist movements ignore the inhumane treatment of women who live under Islamic law. If feminism weren't a hollow term, then prominent feminists would be the leaders of the anti-jihad movement. Gloria Steinem and her sisters would be leading the call for the overthrow of the anti-female mullocracy in Iran and the end of gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia.
Instead, in 2008 Ms. Magazine, which Steinem founded and which has served as the mouthpiece of the American feminist movement, refused to run an ad featuring then foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and then speaker of the Knesset Dalia Itzik that ran under the headline, "This is Israel." It was too partisan, the magazine claimed.
Leading feminist voices in the US and Europe remain unforgivably silent on the unspeakable oppression of women and girls in Islamic societies. And this cannot simply be attributed to a lack of interest in international affairs. Islamic subjugation and oppression of women happens in Western countries as well. Genital mutilation, forced marriage and other forms of abuse are widespread.
For instance, every year hundreds of Muslim women and girls in Western countries are brutally murdered by their male relatives in so-called "honor killings." Pamela Geller, the intrepid blogger at Atlas Shrugs website has steadfastly documented every case she has found. This year she ran an ad campaign on public buses and taxis in major US cities to raise public awareness of their plight. And for her singular efforts in championing the right to life of Muslim women and girls, she has been reviled by the Left as an anti-Islamic bigot.
Former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali was forced to flee Holland and live surrounded by bodyguards for the past six years because she has made an issue of Islamic oppression of women and girls. The Left - including the feminist movement - has treated this remarkable former Muslim and champion of women's rights as a leper.
IF ALL the feminist community's policy of ignoring Islamic oppression of women did was keep it out of the headlines it would still be unforgivable. But the fact is that by not speaking of the central challenge to women's rights in our times, the organized feminist movement, and the Left it is a part of, are abetting Islam's unspeakable crimes against women and girls. It does so in two ways.
Tyranny unchallenged is tyranny abetted. And the first way that the organized feminist movement and the Left abet the oppression of women by Islamic authorities is by signaling to those authorities that they can get away with it. This truth is laid bare by the responses of Islamic authorities in the rare cases where their oppression of women has received Western attention.
For instance, in 2006, an Iranian Islamic court found Mohammadi-Ashtiani guilty of adultery and sentenced the ethnic Azeri kindergarten teacher and mother of two to death by stoning. She was later also found guilty of murdering her husband. Ashtiani's confessions in both cases were extracted under torture. She has already received 99 lashes for her reputed initial crime. Not a Farsi or Arabic speaker, when her adultery trial ended, Ashtiani didn't even know she was convicted or what her sentence was.
In recent years, Ashtiani's children assisted by Iranian émigré and non-leftist human rights groups launched a courageous campaign to save her life. Over the past year, the campaign was covered in the Western media and garnered the support of notables such as the French and Canadian prime ministers' wives as well as international film stars like Lindsay Lohan, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Robert Redford and Juliette Binoche.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International got on board this past summer and decried her treatment. Clinton herself gave a half sentence condemnation of Ashtiani's persecution in August. Indeed, the international attention focused on Ashtiani may have been the reason the Obama administration belatedly voiced opposition to Iran's election to the new UN women's rights council. Iran was elected by acclamation in April, but later defeated by India when a roll call vote was called.
Reeling from this criticism, Iranian authorities began backtracking. First they claimed Ashtiani's death sentence would be cancelled. Then they said she would be hanged rather than stoned. Today her fate remains unclear and her life is still in grave danger. But if pressure on Iranian authorities keeps up, there is a reasonable chance that Ashtiani's long ordeal will end in life, rather than death.
Ashtiani's case is proof that when the West makes the barbaric abuse of women an issue, the Islamic world attenuates its abuse of women. Pressure works. In contrast, an absence of pressure empowers the oppressors.
THE SECOND way that the feminists and the Left they are a part of abet Islamic oppression of women is through their animosity towards Israel. When the Shariah- besotted leaders of the Muslim world see the Western Left devote its energies to attacking Israel - the only human rights and women's rights protecting country in the Middle East - they see there is no reason for them to reconsider their willingness to tyrannize their women and girls.
Take Indonesia for example. In 2003, then Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri agreed that as part of a ceasefire agreement, the separatist Aceh province was allowed to institute Shariah law as the law of the province. In 2009, the Aceh parliament passed a law making adultery punishable by stoning. On the central squares of the province that is home to 4 million, people are routinely publicly whipped for offenses against Islam.
For example, just last Friday Anis Saputra, 24, and Kiki Hanafilia, 17 each received eight lashes in a public ceremony outside a local mosque for being caught kissing in October. The two are reportedly married to other people and they apparently were given lashes rather than stoned to death because they had yet to consummate their alleged romance.
Last year the province also forbade women and girls from wearing pants. A France 24 investigation of Shariah in Aceh showed a traumatized 14 year old girl who was beset by Islamic police on her way home from school. They cut her jeans off in the middle of the street.
Yet rather than criticize Indonesia for these appalling developments, last month Obama visited Jakarta and waxed poetic about Islamic tolerance of differences and applauded Indonesia for its commitment to democracy. And while ignoring Indonesia's repressive Shariah-ruled province where Islamic oppression is the rule not the exception, Obama devoted his criticism to attacking Israel for allowing Jews to build homes in Jerusalem.
THERE IS NO doubt that attitudes that discriminate against women exist today in Western countries as well as in Israel. Women in the free world have unique challenges to overcome because of our gender. But a sense of proportion is required here. These challenges are not overwhelming, systemic or in most cases life-threatening.
On the other hand, hundreds of millions of women and girls throughout the Islamic world are daily terrorized by everyone from their families to their judges. They have no reason to believe that if challenged their rights - even their right to life - will be protected.
The fact that the ladies in Philadelphia decided to take their stand against Israel and that that Clinton and Obama attack Israel for building homes for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria while they all ignore the suffering of the women of Islam speaks volumes about the degradation of the West under the Left's social and political leadership. It also tells non-leftist women in the West that being pro-women's rights and being a feminist are increasingly mutually exclusive.