formerly known as
Womens Liberation Front


Welcome to, formerly known as.Womens Liberation Front.  A website that hopes to draw and keeps your attention for  both the global 21th. century 3rd. feminist revolutution as well and a selection of special feminist artists and writers.

This online magazine will be published evey six weeks and started February 1st. 2019. Thank you for your time and interest.

Gino d'Artali
indepth investigative journalist
and radical feminist











                                                                                                            CRYFREEDOM 2019/2020

Part 6 December 2021 and some time back.
This part: <The Taliban must allow women to go to work. They must provide jobs for them, there is no employment right now.>

Part 5 November 2021 and some time back.
This part: <Eliminating women means eliminating human beings!> One slogan of Afghanistans Resistence Women's Slogans.

Part 4 October 2021 and some time back
This part: Girls and women keep fighting for education!

Part 3 Sept 30 untill Back to August 5 2021

Part 2 August 27 untill Sept 15 2021: the resistence is becoming bigger and spreading more in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's Women Resistence Part 1
July 7 untill August 18 2021




Part 10
Dec 2021 and some time back

Part 9
Nov 2021 and some time back

Part 8
October 2021 and some time back.

Part 1 to 7









When one hurts or kills a women
one hurts or kills hummanity and is an antrocitie.
Gino d'Artali

and: My mother (1931-1997) always said to me <Mi figlio, non esistono notizie <vecchie> perche puoi imparare qualcosa da qualsiasi notizia.> Translated: <My son, there is no such thing as so called 'old' news because you can learn something from any news.>
Gianna d'Artali

21-30 Dec 2021
21-13 Dec 2021
10-3 Dec 2021 read below

Al Jazeera
10 Dec 2021

<<Saudi rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul sues ex-US contractors
US lawsuit accuses three former US contractors of helping hack al-Hathloul’s phone, leading to arrest and imprisonment.

Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has sued three former United States intelligence contractors, accusing them of helping hack her cell phone prior to her 2018 arrest and imprisonment. The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday filed the lawsuit on behalf of al-Hathloul in the US federal court against former US officials Marc Baier, Ryan Adams and Daniel Gericke, as well as a cybersecurity company called DarkMatter that has contracted with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
<Companies that peddle their surveillance software and services to oppressive governments must be held accountable for the resulting human rights abuses,> EFF Civil Liberties Director David Greene said in a statement.
<The harm to Loujain al-Hathloul can never be undone. But this lawsuit is a step toward accountability.>
The lawsuit alleges that the surveillance operation run by the three ex-contractors and DarkMatter led to al-Hathloul’s arrest by the Emirati security services. From there she was extradited by private plane to Saudi Arabia, <where she was detained, imprisoned and tortured>, it states.
DarkMatter assigned her the codename <Purple Sword>, the lawsuit also says, citing a 2019 investigation by the Reuters news agency that first detailed the hacking of al-Hathloul.

Al-Hathloul, who pushed to end a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, was imprisoned in 2018 alongside several other Saudi women’s rights advocates. She was sentenced to an almost six-year jail term on terrorism-related charges in a case that drew international condemnation, and held for 1001 days, with stints in pre-trial detention and solitary confinement, before being released in February.
Rights organisations say some of the women, including al-Hathloul, were held in solitary confinement for months and subjected to abuse including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault.
According to al-Hathloul family members, some of the torture sessions have been in the presence of Saud al-Qahtani, a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS. Saudi officials have denied torture allegations.
<No government or individual should tolerate the misuse of spy malware to deter human rights or endanger the voice of the human conscious,> al-Hathloul said in a statement as part of her lawsuit, which was shared by EFF.
<This is why I have chosen to stand up for our collective right to remain safe online and limit government-backed cyberabuses of power. I continue to realize my privilege to possibly act upon my beliefs,> she said.
<I hope this case inspires others to confront all sorts of cybercrimes while creating a safer space for all of us to grow, share, and learn from one another without the threat of power abuses.> >>
Read more here:

Follow also these related topics/links on the same page:

Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul released from prison
Sisters of freed Saudi activist al-Hathloul demand ‘real justice’
The Saudi women’s rights activists who remain behind bars

Al Jazeera
10 Dec 2021

<<Women's Rights
US top court allows challenge to Texas abortion ban to proceed
Ruling lifts a block on lower court proceedings, but allows law that bars abortions after six weeks to remain in effect.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that abortion providers in Texas can challenge the constitutionality of the state’s new law banning most abortions, while allowing the controversial Texas law to remain in force. The procedural ruling, issued on Friday, lifts a block on lower court proceedings, which may pave the way for a US federal judge to block the law at least in part. But most women in Texas must continue to travel to other states to obtain an abortion.
The country’s top court, which currently has a 6-3 conservative majority, heard arguments in the case on November 1.

<We won, on very narrow grounds. Our lawsuit can continue against the health department, medical board, nursing board and pharmacy board,> Whole Woman’s Health, the abortion provider that challenged the law, wrote on Twitter.
<We’d hoped for a statewide injunction, but no clear path to it. Rest assured, we will NOT stop fighting.>
Read more here:

The Guardian
9 Dec 2021
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Lizzy Davies

<<Women in prison falling through gaps in feminist funding, report finds.
Foundations shy away from supporting those with ‘complicated’ narratives, says head of Women Beyond Walls, resulting in a funding crisis.

Organisations working with women in prisons around the world are not attracting the support they deserve, as even feminists shy away from helping people with <complicated> narratives, according to new research.
Lawyer Sabrina Mahtani, founder of Women Beyond Walls (WBW), said many charities and NGOs around the world were doing vital work <supporting some of the most marginalised and overlooked women> in society.
But their futures were insecure, partly because of insufficient funding from mainstream feminist groups as well as other organisations, she said.
In a survey published by WBW, more than 60% of organisations working with women in prison said they were in a precarious financial situation, and more than a quarter said they may be unable to operate next year due to a lack of funds.
More than 70% said they did not receive funding from women’s rights or feminist foundations. <Foundations that fund feminist organisations etc [sic] are not interested in incarceration issues,> said one organisation.
Another added: <There is generally a negative perception about women in prison or prisoners that make it hard for society to support [them]. The question of crime is never an interest to most donors or corporate [funders] and many would choose not to associate themselves with prisons.>
A third said: <In the broader women’s rights movement it is very difficult to embrace work in prisons and funders exclude such initiatives. They base their argument on the [small] number of women [in prison] versus the number of men.>
Though there is a lack of precise data, Penal Reform International put the global female prison population at about 740,000 – not quite 7% of the global total.
Mahtani, a Zambian-British lawyer, said: <These are some of the most marginalised women and, really, we shouldn’t be looking at numbers; we should be looking at who are the women who most need support and help and actually that’s a core tenet of feminist funding principles: […] fund those who are most [subjected to] gendered oppression.>

Asked why donors, including those focused on women’s rights, were shying away from such organisations, Mahtani said: <I think it’s overlooked because we like to support women if they fit into the stereotype of what is ‘marketable’,> suggesting that groups were often working with women who did not fit into a neat profile of victimhood.
<Maybe there’s a woman who has been subjected to domestic violence and one day she just snaps and she kills her husband in self-defence or as a reaction. That’s much more complicated, right? It’s more complicated to sell to your donors, to your board.>
At the Generation Equality Forum in June, more than $40bn (£30bn) was pledged to support efforts to tackle gender inequality. But, the WBW survey noted, <any attention to incarcerated women was notably absent>.
It has called for some of that funding to be used to support work with and for women and girls affected by the criminal justice system. <This is a really exciting opportunity now for donors and foundations who might have overlooked this issue to come and address it,> said Mahtani.

<We have specific portfolios focusing on LGBT rights, for example, or reproductive health rights. Why can’t we have specific portfolios focusing on women’s incarceration?> >>
Read more here:

The Guardian
9 Dec 2021

<<Belgian pop sensation Angèle: ‘When we speak about feminism, people are afraid’. Kim Willsher

A few years ago, a popular pub quiz question involved naming 10 famous Belgians. The answers often revealed more about British cultural ignorance than Belgium’s ability to produce international celebrities, given that the fictional Tintin and Hercule Poirot were the best many could come up with.
The game has got easier since the rise of Angèle, a stridently feminist Belgian pop singer-songwriter who shot to fame in 2016 after posting short clips singing covers and playing the piano on Instagram. She was young, talented and not afraid to make fun of herself, pulling faces and sticking pencils up her nose. Her 2018 debut album, Brol, sold a million copies; by 2019, she was a face of Chanel. <I’d always wanted a career in music, but I was thinking more of working as a piano accompanist,> she says, folding into an armchair at a five-star boutique hotel near the Paris Opéra. <I really didn’t expect it to happen like that.>
If Angèle, 26, is known in the UK, it is for her duet with Dua Lipa on the British singer’s 2020 song Fever (<There’s something very natural between us,> Angèle says), but in France and Belgium she is a household name performing to packed arenas. She has just released her second album, Nonante-Cinq (95, after the year she was born), 12 introspective disco-pop tracks with deceptively naive, childlike vocals. It follows a Netflix documentary about her life. <The success came from nowhere, almost from one day to the next,> she says. <It was very rapid and intense. I was very surprised by it all. I still am.>

This intensity ramped up in 2017 when she agreed to talk to Playboy. Despite being asked not to, the magazine used a photograph of Angèle topless and holding two peppers in front of her breasts. Feeling humiliated and betrayed, she says she cried for a week.
“They didn’t even write about the music I was doing, but just the fact that I was sexy,” she says. Amid the fallout, <I was also reduced to being a woman who wanted to draw attention to herself by sexualising her image, as if that wasn’t something good, while being sexy and sexual shouldn’t be a problem>. Playboy breaking her trust, she says, <was a hard lesson>.
Her response was Balance Ton Quoi (Squeal on Whatever), a song that played on the French #MeToo phrase Balance Ton Porc (Squeal on Your Pig) and instantly turned her into a feminist figurehead.
<As a girl and young woman, I have suffered lots of sexist aggression, like the majority of women. There’s the harassment in the street and in relationships and there are sexist remarks and behaviour in the [music business],> she says, adding that it was seeing the lack of reaction to her brother, the rapper Roméo Elvis, performing shirtless that hammered home the sexist double standard. <Nobody remarks on it when he does it, but if there’s a topless picture of me in Playboy the discourse is pejorative. People don’t say: wow, isn’t that great and isn’t she lovely; they think it shames me.>
She wrote Balance Ton Quoi <because I knew what these women were talking about from my own experience. This song suddenly became a feminist hymn at protests – I found myself a bit of a feminist icon at 23 years old when I still had many things to learn.> Belgium and France, she says, <are still behind on sexism. Violence against women is still treated as a taboo subject and one that’s difficult to address and is minimised.>
The video that accompanies the song is lighthearted but loaded, with Angèle running a courthouse and an anti-sexism academy. <We wanted to show what we have to fight if we are feminists and we want to combat the patriarchy, but we also wanted it to be beautiful, accessible and light and funny, because I prefer to pass these messages with humour; I think it’s the way to get even the hardest message across.> On a similar note, the cover of Brol shows a young Angèle missing a front tooth. <I think it’s super-important to make fun of oneself. It’s the best of weapons. In the end, it’s a way to stop the hurt, because there’s a certain power in mocking oneself before others do it.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
8 Dec 2021

<<US journalist held in Lebanon freed after call by rights groups.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International had said journalist Nada Homsi was being detained arbitrarily.

Lebanese authorities have released a freelance American journalist who was detained in Beirut last month, hours after two international human rights groups called her detention arbitrary and demanded that she be set free, her lawyer said.
Nada Homsi was detained on November 16 after her home in Beirut was raided by members of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate <without judicial order> and was denied access to a lawyer, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Homsi’s lawyer, Diala Chehade, told The Associated Press later on Wednesday that <Nada is at home and the decision to deport her has been dropped,> adding that all her papers and documents were given back to her.
Homsi, a freelance journalist working with the United States media outlet National Public Radio (NPR), had been held until Wednesday despite Lebanon’s public prosecutor ordering her release on November 25.
<General Security’s refusal to release Homsi despite the public prosecution’s order is a blatant abuse of power and a very worrying indication of the security agency’s lack of respect for the rule of law,> Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch, said when calling for her release.
Homsi was charged for drug possession after General Security found a small amount of cannabis at her home and charged her with drug consumption, her lawyer Chehade said earlier on Wednesday, but officers from the agency had said she was being held for “security reasons”.
No security or military charges had been filed against Homsi, despite General Security officers claiming the raid on her home was based on security intelligence gathered by their information unit, the statement by the rights groups said.

Homsi was also denied access to a lawyer for six days, and in violation of article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, was interrogated without the presence of one, according to Chehade. Homsi was told by officers that <these rights do not apply at General Security.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
8 Dec 2021
Opinion/Women's rights
Marame Gueye
Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Literatures at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina

<<Senegal: To whom do women’s bodies belong?
The Miss Senegal rape case, like many others before it, appears to demonstrate that in Senegal, women’s bodies belong to everyone except themselves.

In Senegal, gender-based violence is once again occupying headlines. This time, the country’s top beauty pageant, Miss Senegal, is at the centre of the controversy. In November, Miss Senegal 2020 Fatima Dione’s mother told Senegalese media that her daughter was raped while carrying out official pageant duties. She explained that the 20-year-old beauty queen became pregnant as a result of the assault and gave birth to a son five months ago. Dione’s mother also talked about the pain and shame her daughter experienced after giving birth to a baby conceived through rape.
While the allegation itself was shocking, what brought the issue under the national spotlight was the response from pageant officials.
In a November 18 press conference, the President of the Organising Committee of Miss Senegal, Amina Badiane, tried to blame Dione for what her family says happened to her.
<If Miss Senegal 2020 was raped, it’s because she wanted it. She is over 18,> Badiane said.
Badiane’s egregious comments caused a widespread uproar, especially among women’s rights advocates who for years fought to make rape a serious crime in Senegal, and finally succeeded in January 2020. Hundreds of women filed official complaints against Badiane for “rape apology” and a petition calling for the immediate withdrawal of the pageant organising committee’s operating licence has garnered more than 60,000 signatures. Badiane’s attempts to blame Dione for her rape also led many other former contestants, including former Miss Senegal laureates, to speak up about the sexual abuse they allegedly endured during their time in the pageant. Badiane has sued for defamation.

Badiane’s comments attempting to legitimise rape and sexual assault, for which she has since apologised, were undoubtedly outrageous – especially as it is her responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the young women competing in this popular beauty pageant, including Dione. However, Badiane is not the source of the problem – she is merely a symptom.
In Senegal, there is a deep-rooted culture of rape and gendered violence. Large segments of Senegalese society do not really know what constitutes rape and view sexual assault as a misdemeanour at best. Thus perpetrators of such crimes are rarely brought to justice or shunned by the public. As a result, public figures like Badiane routinely engage in victim-blaming without facing any real consequences.
In 2018, for example, a philosophy professor and public commentator Songué Diouf claimed on Jakarloo-bi – a popular show on the television network owned by famed Senegalese pop star, Youssou N’Dour – that women get raped because of the way they behave and dress. <You do everything so that we rape you, and when we rape you, we go to prison and you who have done everything so that you are raped, you continue to be free,> he told the audience.
Following pressure from women’s rights activists, Diouf eventually issued an apology, but neither he nor the producers of Jakarloo Bi faced any real consequences. In fact, Jakarloo Bi continues to employ commentator Cheikh Yerim Seck, who was convicted of raping a minor in September 2012. Initially sentenced to three years, Seck only served 15 months in prison and swiftly returned to public life after his release.
Earlier this year, a member of parliament and prominent opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was accused of raping 22-year-old masseuse Adji Sarr. But after hearing her story, the public focused not on the alleged suffering of the young woman, but the political consequences of her accusation. While Sonko was charged with Sarr’s rape in March, he is yet to stand trial. And the public vilification of Sarr continues to this day.

Regrettably, the situation of women in Senegal is getting worse by the day. The country is becoming increasingly conservative, and the deeply misogynistic views of ultra-conservative preachers are gaining more and more visibility and support. Take some popular preachers’ reactions to the November 7 triple murder-suicide by dentist Falla Paye.
Paye killed his three children (aged 8, 11 and 13) and died by suicide, allegedly to punish his wife of 15 years who recently left him. He claimed in a 10-page rage and hate-filled letter that his wife pushed him to commit the crime and accused her among many other things of <depriving him of sex for 42 days>.
The Senegalese media published Paye’s hateful letter in full and framed him as a <victim> in a family tragedy. Commenting on the case, popular Muslim preacher Oustaz Iran Ndao raised the question about what kind of suffering Paye’s wife inflicted upon him. Another preacher, Oustaz Modou Fall, meanwhile, said that women can be deliberately mean and cause a man’s heart to <dissolve like an effervescent pill>. Fall went on to claim in a Facebook video about the Paye case that men should groom four-year-old girls with material gifts to turn them into submissive wives.>>
Read more here:
The Guardian
Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent
06 Dec 2021

<<Metropolitan police
Two Met police officers jailed over photos of murdered sisters
Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis sentenced to two years and nine months for taking and sharing photos of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry

Two Metropolitan police officers who <dehumanised> two black murder victims <for their own amusement>, by taking and sharing photos from the scene where they lay murdered, have each been jailed for two years and nine months.
Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Jamie Lewis, 33, were ordered to guard the scene in a London park, where two sisters, Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, were found stabbed to death in June 2020.
The Old Bailey heard that instead they took photos, some showing the bodies, and shared them in two WhatsApp groups, calling the victims <dead birds>. One – a group <called the A team> – contained 41 police officers and the other contained friends of Jaffer and was entitled <Covid cunts>.
The sentencing followed a criminal trial where the two pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office after the Guardian last year revealed the scandal that rocked Britain’s largest force.
The court heard the actions of the two officers amounted to a gross breach of trust, stripped the two women of dignity in death and intensified the agony of their mother and their family, some of whom served in the Met.
Their actions helped the defence of the murderer of the two women, Danyal Hussein, whose defence team tried to claim possible contamination by the two officers entering the crime scene.
Joel Smith, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey: <The bodies of the women would not have been visible from the path adjacent to the large bush where they were found. Nor would it have been possible to take the photographs taken by the defendants from their position on the cordon. Accordingly, to take the photos found on their phones the officers would have had to enter the bush itself, thus risking contamination of the crime scene.>
Smith added: <The offending stripped Ms Henry and Ms Smallman of dignity in death. That factor is more weighty given that the offenders were charged with protecting their bodies.>

The judge, Mark Lucraft QC, described the offences as <appalling> and done for a <cheap thrill>. Both former officers will serve half their sentence before being released on licence.
The mother of the two sisters, Mina Smallman, described their actions as a <betrayal of such catastrophic proportion>, <sacrilegious>, and carried out <for their own amusement>.
Smallman, in her victim impact statement, said: <It made me think of the lynchings in the Deep South of the USA where you would see smiling faces around a hanging dead body. Those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable that they felt they would take photographs with our murdered daughters. Those police officers dehumanised our children.>
Smallman believed police racism lies behind why the Met first bungled the search for her daughters when they were reported missing.>>
Read more here:
The Guardian
5 Dec 2021
Haroon Siddique Legal affairs correspondent

<<Oxford postgrad says sexual assault complaint was met with hostility.
Open letter condemning Harriet’s treatment has been signed by hundreds of students and supporters.

Students at an Oxford University college have accused staff of disregarding their welfare after a postgrad who alleged she was sexually assaulted said she was treated with hostility after making a complaint.

Harriet, a PhD student at Balliol, who has multiple disabilities, alleged she was repeatedly sexually assaulted in 2019 by a fellow student. The college has announced an independent inquiry into its handling of her complaint after she said staff made inappropriate comments about her appearance and behaviour and concluded no further action should be taken without interviewing or accepting evidence from her.
An open letter by the newly formed Balliol Community for Safety to the master of the college, Helen Ghosh, condemning Harriet’s treatment has been signed by hundreds of Oxford students as well as supporters including equality campaigners, Labour MP Jess Phillips, and Oxford Labour councillor Shaista Aziz.
Students have protested outside the college and, at a carol service last Sunday, a group wearing red stood up and turned their backs whenever Ghosh or the college chaplain spoke.
Harriet, who first detailed her experience in an al-Jazeera investigations documentary said she had hoped speaking publicly would lead to reform. <This has not been the case,> she said. <In fact, Balliol has only become more adversarial in response to what it perceives as threat to its reputation. Balliol’s handling of this whole matter has left me exhausted, highly anxious, and deeply depressed, on top of the extremely painful process of dealing with the assault itself.>

Among allegations of Balliol’s inappropriateness made by Harriet, who has endometriosis, chronic gastritis and interstitial cystitis, were:
The chaplain, Bruce Kinsey, asked her if she was aware of the effect she had on men, called her very physically attractive and said she should be wary of the impact on her alleged attacker.
Kinsey told her: <You don’t want to piss people off who you might meet again downstream.> >>
Read more here:

The Guardian
4 Dec 2021
<<The Week in Patriarchy
Surprise surprise! The supreme court is coming for women’s rights after all.

Arwa Mahdawi

With Trump appointees setting the tone, promises to be above the partisan fray are revealed as – obviously – a pack of lies.

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask how many kids you can have for your country
Looks like those <hysterical> women were right after all. For the past few years anyone worried that civil rights in America would be gutted by a right-leaning supreme court has been dismissed as a fearmonger. The supreme court was above partisan politics, we were told. Upstanding “carpool dad” Brett Kavanaugh had no interest in reversing Roe v Wade, we were told. The fact that People of Praise, the Christian community where Amy Coney Barrett previously served as a <handmaid> (their term for a female leader) was virulently anti-abortion and would expel members for gay sex wouldn’t affect her decisions on the supreme court, we were told.
We were told, as was always obvious, a pack of lies. On Wednesday, the US supreme court considered the most important abortion case in a generation. Its final ruling, due in June 2022, could overturn Roe v Wade and put an end to the constitutional right to an abortion in the US. If that happens, and it seems an increasing possibility that it will, more than 65 million US women would immediately lose access to an abortion in their home state, thanks to <trigger laws> 20 states have in place. But don’t worry, Justice Barrett has said, forcing women to give birth isn’t barbaric at all: if you don’t want to be a mother you can just put the kid up for adoption! Easy peasy.

The rightwing assault on US reproductive rights isn’t taking place in a void. Countries around the world are escalating attempts to coerce women into having children. A new report, Welcome to Gilead, by a UK-based charity called Population Matters, warns that women’s rights around the world are under attack <because of a pervasive, political push for women to have more children, no matter the cost>. The percentage of countries with pro-natalist policies grew from 10% in 1976 to 28% in 2015, according to UN data cited by the report.>>
Read more here:

And if interested follow another opinion/link to by Arwa Mahdawi about <The Week in Patriarchy
Sexual harassment
Women still have to worry speaking up about abuse will cost them their lives.

The Guardian
Mark Townsend Home Affairs Editor
4 Dec 2021

<<Police treated us like criminals, say families of girls trafficked to Islamic State in Syria.
British authorities accused of interrogating parents who came seeking help when their daughters went missing.

Details of how police attempted to criminalise British families whose children were trafficked to Islamic State (IS) in Syria are revealed in a series of testimonies that show how grieving relatives were initially treated as suspects and then abandoned by the authorities.
One described being <treated like a criminal> and later realising that police were only interested in acquiring intelligence on IS instead of trying to help find their loved one. Another told how their home had been raided after they approached police for help to track down a missing relative.
Their experiences were revealed in a parliamentary session last week that was closed to the media at the request of the families, due to concern they would be misrepresented and harassed. However, four of the families that gave evidence have agreed to share their experiences with the Observer anonymously to shed light on their treatment by the authorities and how their daughters have been left stranded in Syrian refugee camps.
One woman revealed how she had cooperated with police when her sister went missing only to learn officers had had no intention of tracking her down. <We thought the police were there to help us. Over time, we could see the police and the authorities weren’t talking to us to help us, but only to get information. Once they had their information, they washed their hands of us.>
She added: <We were never offered any support. I felt I had to prove I was anti-extremist to them; I felt I was always under suspicion.>
A member of another family said: <I was interrogated as if I was a suspect, and once they had decided I wasn’t, they didn’t really want anything to do with me. It became really difficult to get in touch with them.>

Their testimonies follow a report from legal charity Reprieve that found two-thirds of British women detained in north-east Syria were coerced or trafficked to the region, often lured there after being groomed on dating sites, before being sexually exploited.
The report found that many girls were under 18 when they travelled to IS territory and have since suffered exploitation, forced marriage, rape and domestic servitude. They include a British girl who was trafficked to Syria aged 12, then raped and impregnated by an IS fighter. One of the most high-profile British cases of children joining IS involves three London schoolgirls, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, both 15. The latter’s lawyer says there is <overwhelming evidence> Begum was trafficked.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
By Charis McGowan
3 Dec 2021

<<Women's Rights
Women in Chile voice fears over far-right presidential candidate.
As Chile’s presidential runoff nears, some women fear victory for Jose Antonio Kast may roll back their rights.

Santiago, Chile – Olga Valenzuela waits on the side of a busy street in the Chilean capital in the late November heat, wearing a black T-shirt with the name <Muriel> printed on it. Muriel, Valenzuela’s daughter, was killed four years ago by her boyfriend during an argument in their home. She was 19, and her boyfriend has yet to go to trial or be sentenced.
<I’m not a political person, but I’ve joined this group to be heard,> says Valenzuela, who joined thousands of women in a march on November 25 to Chile’s presidential palace to protest violence against women in the South American nation.
Several mothers walked alongside her, each with names printed on their T-shirts and holding banners to denounce domestic violence. One member of the group carried a suited effigy with a cardboard cutout of the face of far-right presidential candidate, Jose Antonio Kast.
Kast, a 55-year-old devout Catholic and founder of the far-right Republican Party, earned more votes than any other candidate in the first round of Chile’s presidential elections on November 21, securing 27.91 percent support. He will face 35-year-old progressive Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader, in a December 19 runoff.
For Valenzuela and many of the mothers around her, fears are mounting that a Kast government could cripple their bids for justice and exacerbate the violence that killed their daughters. “No one has listened to me – I’m just one more mother looking for justice,” Valenzuela tells Al Jazeera.
<But I don’t want a Kast government, he is someone that does not support women. I won’t have granddaughters,” she adds. <But I want my daughter’s friends to live with respect.>

‘Against the feminist movement’

UN Women has called on Chile to address prevalent gender inequalities, including the low political representation of women in parliament, as well as threats of violence. In 2018, 5.8 percent of Chilean women had reported sexual and/or physical domestic abuse in the previous 12 months, the organisation found.
As part of his campaign, Kast has pledged to curb domestic violence through harsher sentencing for perpetrators.
However, during his 16 years in the Chamber of Deputies, he repeatedly voted against gender equality acts and women’s rights legislation. He has reiterated his beliefs in a patriarchal family unit and Catholic family values, which was condoned as misogynistic and retrogressive by women’s rights activists. In his presidential programme, Kast announced plans to eliminate the existing Women’s Ministry, which was established in 2017 to eradicate gender inequalities and eliminate violence, and merge it with the social development ministry.
Earlier this week, in a bid to attract the support of women voters, he said he would not eliminate the Women’s Ministry <by name>, but has not retracted his plans to downsize and merge it with the other department.
His programme also includes plans to offer subsidies to heterosexual families with children – excluding single mothers and same-sex couples – and to prohibit abortion under all circumstances, undoing a current rule that allows women to access abortion in the case of rape, danger to the mother’s life, or if the fetus will not survive.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
3 Dec 2021

<<France stunned as judo star’s coach cleared of domestic violence.
Margaux Pinot says she feared her partner would kill her, but judge says there is not enough proof of guilt.

French sports stars and politicians have expressed anger at the acquittal of a coach accused of domestic violence against the Olympic judo champion Margaux Pinot, as the state prosecutor launched an appeal.
Pinot, 27, a gold medallist at the Tokyo Olympics, had serious facial injuries including a fractured nose when she filed a police complaint in the early hours of Sunday. She said her partner and trainer, Alain Schmitt, had attacked her at her flat outside Paris, wrestled her to the ground, verbally abused her, punched her many times, repeatedly smashed her head on to the ground and tried to strangle her.
Pinot said she managed to escape the apartment with the aid of neighbours and called police. Officers arrested and questioned Schmitt that night.
The case was fast-tracked to a court hearing on Tuesday where Schmitt, 38, denied the allegations. The state prosecutor requested a one-year suspended sentence for what they deemed <very serious violence>. But the judge decided there was not <enough proof of guilt> for the prosecution to proceed. <A court is never there to tell who is telling the truth and who is lying,> the judge said.
Schmitt told the court that he denied the allegations <100%> and that it had been a fight between lovers, started by Pinot.
Pinot posted a picture of her swollen, injured face on social media. She talked of the <blood across the floor of my apartment> and said: <What was missing? My death at the end, perhaps? It’s probably judo that saved me and my thoughts go out to other women who cannot say the same.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
3 Dec 2021
From: UpFront
Native American women are facing an epidemic of violence.
More than 80 percent of Indigenous women in the United States have experienced violence in their lifetime.


Indigenous women in the United States are going missing and getting murdered, at an alarming rate. A rate 10 times the national average on some reservations. Ninety-six percent of the time, the crimes are committed on Native land by a non-Native perpetrator. But because tribal courts and tribal police, for the most part, do not have the authority to prosecute crimes committed on reservations by non-Native perpetrators, there is rarely ever any accountability for these crimes or justice for the families of the victims.
This week on UpFront, Marc Lamont Hill is joined by Mary Kathryn Nagle, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a lawyer focused on tribal sovereignty and safety for Native women and children, and Kerri Colfer, a member of the Tlingit tribe of Southeast Alaska and National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s senior Native affairs adviser, to discuss the roots of this epidemic of violence, and what is being done to end it.>>
Watch a video here:

Al Jazeera
3 Dec 2021
Weronika Strzyzynska

<<Poland plans to set up register of pregnancies to report miscarriages.
Proposed register would come into effect in January, a year after near-total ban on abortion.

Poland is planning to introduce a centralised register of pregnancies that would oblige doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to the government. The proposed register would come into effect in January 2022, a year after Poland introduced a near-total ban on abortion.
This has raised serious concerns among women’s rights activists, who believe that in light of the abortion ban, the register could be used to cause legal difficulties for women who have self-administered abortions.
The draft legislation is part of a wide-ranging project to update the medical information system in Poland.
<It’s about control, it’s about making sure that pregnancies end with birth,> Natalia Broniarczyk, an activist from Aborcyjny Dream Team told the Polish weekly Gazeta Wyborcza.
The plan prompted online protests. A social media initiative titled <I’d like to politely report that I am not pregnant> encouraged Polish women to email photos of their used sanitary pads, tampons and underwear to the Polish ministry of health.
The ministry has strongly denied the project amounts to a centralised pregnancy register, with a spokesperson saying the changes are simply part of wide-ranging digitalisation project that will update the way data about a multitude of conditions, including allergies, is stored.
The spokesperson said doctors always had information on pregnancies, but before it was stored on paper by hospitals, rather than centrally by the government.

The concerns of activists about the register grew considerably after a bill proposed by the government that would establish an <institute of family and demographics> passed first reading in the Polish parliament by one vote on Thursday.
The institute would aim to monitor family policy, pass opinion on legislation and educate citizens on the <vital role of family to the social order> and the importance of “cultural-social reproduction” in the context of marriage. The institute would have access to citizens’ personal data and prosecutorial powers in the realm of family law, prompting worries it could be used to enforce the country’s strict abortion law.
The project has drawn widespread criticism from Polish academics and civil rights advocates.
<Maybe just call it the ‘Red Center of Rachel and Leah’,> a feminist organisation from Lódz said in an Instagram post, referencing Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. In the novel the Rachel and Leah Center is a training facility for women designated to be <breeders> by the authoritarian regime.>>
Read more here:
Al Jazeera
3 Dec 2021

<<Philippine court allows Maria Ressa’s trip to receive Nobel prize.
Nobel laureate requires special permission to travel abroad due to pending cases brought against her under the Duterte administration.

An appeals court in the Philippines has allowed journalist Maria Ressa to travel to Oslo next week to personally accept her Nobel Peace Prize for 2021. Ressa, the CEO of the Manila-based news website, Rappler, was awarded the prestigious prize alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov over their work in fighting misinformation and the spread of fake news on social media.
Because of several pending cases, including a cyber-libel conviction, brought against her and her news organisation under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Ressa is required to ask for special permission from the court every time she travels abroad.
In a resolution issued on Friday afternoon, the Court of Appeals granted Ressa’s motion to leave the country on December 8 to attend the awarding ceremony in Norway’s capital on December 10. It directed Ressa to return to the country by December 13.
Earlier on Friday, Ressa told Al Jazeera she had just arrived in the Philippine capital following a trip to the United States to attend a month-long series of lectures at Harvard University in Boston.
During that period, she had also informed the court that she was planning to visit her ailing 76-year-old mother in Florida during the Thanksgiving holidays.
The appeals court had allowed her to travel to the US saying it was necessary for her to be physically present at Harvard to deliver the lectures. That permission was issued just days after her Nobel Peace Prize was announced.
The Court of Appeals had previously denied Ressa’s trip to the US to accept the 2020 International Press Freedom Award from the National Press Club.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
29 Nov 2021
By Brandi Morin

<<In this six-part series, Al Jazeera tells the stories of some of the Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered along an infamous stretch of highway in British Columbia, Canada.

Warning: This article contains content that some readers may find distressing.

British Columbia, Canada - In 1971, the women’s liberation movement, the campaign for LGBTQ rights and the rise of the American Indian Movement dominated news headlines across North America. It was an era of long hair, bell bottoms and disco music blaring from the speakers of young people growing up on the heels of the 1960s hippy movement.
But life was slow amid the rugged mountains, clear flowing rivers and mile upon mile of wilderness in northern British Columbia - even in the Indigenous communities and occasional towns dotted along the only paved roadway in the area, Highway 16.
The long, winding stretch of highway spans 725km (450 miles) from the port of Prince Rupert

In this six-part series, Al Jazeera tells the stories of some of the Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered along an infamous stretch of highway in British Columbia, Canada.

Read part 1: The stench of death
Read part 2: Snatched away

British Columbia, Canada - In 1971, the women’s liberation movement, the campaign for LGBTQ rights and the rise of the American Indian Movement dominated news headlines across North America. It was an era of long hair, bell bottoms and disco music blaring from the speakers of young people growing up on the heels of the 1960s hippy movement.

But life was slow amid the rugged mountains, clear flowing rivers and mile upon mile of wilderness in northern British Columbia - even in the Indigenous communities and occasional towns dotted along the only paved roadway in the area, Highway 16.

The long, winding stretch of highway spans 725km (450 miles) from the port of Prince Rupert on the northwest Pacific Coast to the interior city of Prince George. It runs largely parallel to the Canadian National Railway on which the route was modeled.

[Alia Chughtai/Al Jazeera]
It is part of the Trans-Canada Highway, a transcontinental federal-provincial highway system that passes through all 10 provinces of Canada from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. The portion of the highway in northern British Columbia was completed in 1969 and, soon after, Indigenous women and girls started to die or disappear along it.

But life was slow amid the rugged mountains, clear flowing rivers and mile upon mile of wilderness in northern British Columbia - even in the Indigenous communities and occasional towns dotted along the only paved roadway in the area, Highway 16.

The long, winding stretch of highway spans 725km (450 miles) from the port of Prince Rupert on the northwest Pacific Coast to the interior city of Prince George. It runs largely parallel to the Canadian National Railway on which the route was modeled.
It is part of the Trans-Canada Highway, a transcontinental federal-provincial highway system that passes through all 10 provinces of Canada from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. The portion of the highway in northern British Columbia was completed in 1969 and, soon after, Indigenous women and girls started to die or disappear along it.

 add link to 25 nov 21

The Guardian
By Severin Carrell Scotland editor
2 Dec 2021

<<Police Scotland pays £1m to family of woman left in crashed car for three days.
Lamara Bell was found in critical condition next to dead partner and later died.

Police Scotland has paid £1m in compensation to the family of a woman who died after being left for three days in a crashed car on the M9 motorway.
The force has settled a compensation action taken by the family of Lamara Bell, 25, after they sued over its failure to respond to a call from a farmer who had spotted a crashed car lying off the hard shoulder in 2015.
When police finally arrived at the scene three days later, after a second call from the public, they found Bell in critical condition and her partner, John Yuill, 28, dead alongside her. She died in hospital four days later, leaving two children, aged 5 and 10. The Record newspaper has reported that the children, now in the care of grandparents, will be awarded £500,000 each. The force has already admitted there were avoidable failures in its call-handling system which <materially contributed> to her death, and issued an unreserved apology. It was found guilty in September of corporate criminal liability.
The family’s lawyer, David Nellaney of Digby Brown, said they welcomed Police Scotland’s compensation payment but criticised the force for failing to settle the case at a far earlier stage.
<The Bell family has endured things very few people could ever comprehend but the patience, resilience and compassion they have shown at all times cannot be understated,> he said.
<It is unfortunate that Police Scotland did not admit its failings sooner as it might have spared them unnecessary distress, but at least we do now have a conclusion and the Bells can rightly focus on themselves and times ahead.>

In a statement, the Bell family said the settlement was the end of <chasing answers, recognition and justice for six years>.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
2 Dec 2021
By Moira Donegan
<<US politics
The supreme court is signalling that it’s ready to end Roe v Wade.
Predictions that the court would keep abortion as a constitutional right are starting to look incredibly optimistic.
It went worse than had been expected, and expectations were already low. As the supreme court prepared to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a lawsuit over a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that constitutes the most serious challenge to Roe v Wade in a generation, many court watchers predicted a massive rollback of abortion rights. But the line among reasonable pundits was that the court, fearing censure from a largely pro-choice American public, would attempt to have its cake and eat it too – allowing states to impose abortion bans earlier in pregnancy, but keeping abortion as a constitutional right intact. The most convincing version of this argument came from Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who predicted that the court, like it did in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v Casey, might weaken the abortion right without abandoning it entirely. In Casey, the supreme court lessened the standard of scrutiny applied to state abortion restrictions – from a robust “strict scrutiny” standard to a more malleable <undue burden> standard – and affirmed that states could ban abortions outright after fetal viability, the point of gestation at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, usually at about 24 weeks.
Stern, like many others, predicted that the court might impose an even more deferential legal test on abortion restrictions – <rational basis review> – and eliminate the viability standard. The result would be that states could ban and restrict abortions more easily, even before viability, but they would still not be allowed to ban abortions entirely. <The court could move back the point at which states can prohibit abortion outright from 24 weeks to 15 or perhaps 12, the end of the first trimester,> Stern wrote. <A diminished right to abortion would survive, battered but extant.>

And yet the end of the viability standard would still have been practically disastrous for abortion access on the ground, as well as for women’s freedom and dignity. This much was elegantly explained by New York’s Irin Carmon, who wrote that attacks from conservatives over the past 30 years have increased the abortion right’s legal reliance on the viability standard, even as developments in pre- and neo-natal care have pushed viability itself earlier in pregnancy. <If a ban on abortion at 15 weeks is allowed for whatever reason, why not draw the line at six?> Carmon asked.
Getting rid of the viability standard, but still leaving the right to abortion technically intact, would in practice invite an anarchic scramble, as conservative states rushed to ban abortion as early as possible and push the limit back sooner and sooner in pregnancy. Julie Rickelman, a longtime abortion rights advocate and the lawyer representing Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic in the Dobbs case, put it bluntly: if viability goes, Roe is effectively no longer good law. <If the court upholds this law, it will be discarding the viability line and overruling Roe,> she told Carmon. <That is the key line in the law that has protected people’s access to abortion.> >>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
2 Dec 2021
By Umar Farooq

<<Women's Rights
Documentary on femicides in Turkey is UK’s Oscars nomination.
Dying to Divorce has been chosen as the UK’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards.

Istanbul, Turkey – A documentary chronicling the efforts of activists working to end violence against women in Turkey has been chosen as the United Kingdom’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards.
Dying to Divorce, which was produced by Turkish and British filmmakers and took five years to shoot, was released in UK cinemas last week.
It follows the work of lawyer Ipek Bozkurt and activist Aysen Ece Kavas who meet women survivors of gender-based violence in order to help them and their families seek justice through a labyrinthian Turkish criminal system.
As the film points out, many of the victims of violence in Turkey are in fact mothers.
Bozkurt and Kavas are part of the We Will Stop Femicides Platform, which tracks violence against women in Turkey. The organisation also helps mobilise support for victims and apply public pressure by showing up at trials and organising rallies around cases.
So far in 2021, men in Turkey have killed 285 women, according to the platform – on course to exceed the 300 who were killed last year.
Violence against women has often captured headlines in Turkey, but women’s rights activists say the country’s legal system has failed at following through prosecutions and sentencing of the perpetrators. The failure, they say, is a result of a top-down narrative that blames women who choose an independent life.

'More sincere’

Along with seeking to point out the relationship between politics and violence against women, the 81-minute film offers a close look beyond statistics – specifically, at the painstaking physical and emotional toll on two women.
One is Kübra Eken, a television news anchor, who suffered a brain haemorrhage after her husband brutally hit her on the back of the head two days after giving birth to their first child. It took years of treatment and therapy for Eken to regain some mobility and speech.
The other is Arzu Boztas, a mother of six, who decided to divorce her husband after she learned he had raped an underage neighbour and then sought to take her as a second wife. One day, the husband told Boztas to send the children away, then showed up with a shotgun, made her lie on the ground and shot her at point-blank range in each arm and leg. Civil society in Turkey, not just women’s rights groups, have been gutted in the past five years.
British director Chloe Fairweather said she decided to make Dying to Divorce after seeing a meeting of Boztas with Kavas, the activist. <I had not been quite prepared for the extremity of the violence that happened to her, but I was also really struck by Arzu,> Fairweather said.
<She was so strong in a way and so committed to rebuilding her life … I was motivated then to get her story out there.>
The film follows Boztas and her family, including her father who regrets having married her off at the age of 14, as they seek to ensure her ex-husband is properly prosecuted.

Later in the feature-length documentary, the former husband explains from prison that he does not regret shooting Boztas, saying she was not a good mother to their children. <We should kiss the soles of the feet of such mothers, that’s what our president says,> he says, in reference to a 2014 speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about women and motherhood that is shown early in Dying to Divorce. <I would not have gone so far, but she insulted my pride and honour,> the ex-husband adds.
But as the film points out, many of the victims of violence in Turkey are in fact mothers. Boztas waits to see her six young children until she has regained some independence. Doctors are able to restore some use of her arms, but the damage caused by the shotgun wounds to her legs is too widespread, and her legs are amputated. In one scene, after years of rehabilitation, she is fitted with artificial legs, and she shows them to her children.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
Akhtar Mohammad Makoii
11 Dec 2021

<<‘I wondered whether a bullet had my name on it’: my terrifying 24-hour journey out of Afghanistan
I wanted to stay and tell the world what it was like living in a city besieged by extremists, but as my neighbourhood fell I had no choice but to leave. Soon, I was being pushed across the border in a wheelbarrow.

I have bundles of cash stuffed into my socks, and my passport strapped flat against my chest. The passport has a dangerous word in it: reporter. This is the reason I am in disguise, holding a bundle of clothes and sitting in a wheelbarrow in the middle of a huge crowd trying to cross through a Taliban checkpoint into Pakistan. Dozens of people are arriving at the border town of Spin Boldak each minute from across the country. The main focus of the Taliban and international forces is Kabul airport where a chaotic evacuation is under way. Spin Boldak is the only other way to get out of Afghanistan.
A Reuters reporter was killed by the Taliban in the same town in July. Taliban fighters with black turbans are beating people with pipes; they keep opening and closing their part of the border as people push each other to get out.
I never thought I would be leaving in such circumstances – taking nothing with me, with no opportunity to say goodbye
As I am pushed towards the border, I think about the dreams and memories I have left behind in Herat, the city in western Afghanistan I have called home for about 10 years. It is 20 August 2021 and Afghanistan has fallen, once more, to the Taliban. As I inch towards freedom, I don’t know when, if ever, I will be able to come back.
The fall happened very quickly. The Taliban took over most of the countryside in May, after Joe Biden said all US forces would withdraw by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On 5 August, I told my editors in London that the situation in the south-western province of Nimroz did not sound good. The following day, the first provincial capital fell to the Taliban, and the entire country was on the brink. Seven chaotic days followed as I reported the fall of province after province, updating stories through the night. I hear one sentence a lot: “Kabul did not send help.” Herat fell into Taliban hands on 12 August; Kabul three days later.

I was born in Iran, but grew up there as a refugee. My grandparents left Afghanistan in 1980 after the Soviet Union’s invasion. I spent my childhood in a refugee camp in a city south of Tehran, where some of my relatives still live today. Last year, the camp got a telecommunications tower, and now its residents can video call from their houses rather than having to drive somewhere 30 minutes away.
When I returned to Afghanistan a decade ago, to go to high school and study journalism at the government-funded university in Herat, I realised I liked to tell people’s stories. In the first week of my course, a friend and I launched a student magazine that, with the backing of university officials, we published weekly.
In August 2017, I began contributing reports on the war in Afghanistan for the Guardian from Herat. The war seemed to produce a different atrocity every day, but I liked the work, telling the world what was happening in Afghanistan – to make people think about it. I never thought I would be leaving in such circumstances – taking nothing with me, with no opportunity to say goodbye to many of my friends, who were themselves looking for ways to get out – just for telling the truth through my career.
Before my dash to the Pakistan border, Herat was besieged by the Taliban for more than a month, with fighters attacking security forces and trying to break through the frontlines almost every night. The actual frontline of war is only a 10-minute drive from downtown. We frequently check on our friends. My phone rings after each explosion. As the Taliban close in, many of my friends delete their social media accounts to remove any trace of anti-Taliban posts. After dark, we watch American B-52 bombers flying over the city, and one night hear huge explosions in the distance, probably airstrikes against the Taliban positions. If the Americans were hitting the Taliban, we later ask ourselves, how did they take over the city in a matter of hours?

I refuse to leave because the story is right here, and I want to tell the world what life looks like in a city besieged by extremists. The price of goods rises every day. Some government employees are being told to hide important documents. Reporting becomes even more challenging. To file stories to London I have to switch between several sim cards as the Taliban have destroyed most of the internet lines in Islam Qala, the border town with Iran where the internet infrastructure is located. I find myself spending hours on the roof of my flat, trying to get a better signal, to work out what is happening in a country that has become a battlefield. While talking with local officials around the country over the phone, I often hear heavy gunfire as they try to resist the Taliban; sometimes they tell me they will “defend” Afghanistan, but some switch sides and join them hours after talking to me. Herat has almost no power because the electricity lines have been damaged in the crossfire. I go to a cafe with a generator, hoping to charge my phone and laptop, but its doors are shut; they only allow in people they know. There is a 10pm government curfew to contend with. Nights are hot and dark, and often filled with the sound of explosions.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
10 Dec 2021

<<From teacher to shoe-shiner: Afghan economic crisis spares few
Hadia Ahmadi, a 43-year-old teacher who lost her job after Taliban seized Kabul, now polishes shoes to earn her livelihood.

In the biting cold of a Kabul autumn, Hadia Ahmadi, a 43-year-old teacher who lost her job after the Taliban seized Afghanistan’s capital in August, sits by the roadside trying to earn the equivalent of a few cents polishing shoes. The abrupt withdrawal of foreign aid following the Taliban victory has sent Afghanistan’s fragile economy into free fall, leaving millions facing hunger and making once well-off middle class families destitute.
<I turned to polishing shoes when I saw that my kids were hungry,> said Ahmadi, a mother of five who did not want to give her family name.
The economy has long stood on shaky foundations, dependent on aid that has now disappeared and with enormous gaps between the Kabul elite and millions living just above the breadline.
After 10 years of teaching, with a husband employed as a cook in a private company and a daughter with a job as a clerk at a government agency, they enjoyed a modest prosperity that was swept away in a matter of weeks.
With girls’ schools closed indefinitely, her job was first to go, and her husband and then her daughter lost theirs soon after. A son studying computer science was forced to give up his course when the family could no longer afford the tuition fees.
Roadside displays of household goods for sale have sprung up across Kabul, as families try to raise money to eat. They bear witness to how common Ahmadi’s experiences have become, with people taking once unimaginable steps to survive.
<We are spending days in hunger right now, and for the time being, there is no one in our family who could financially support us all,> she said.
The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and is trying to raise $4.5bn to help avoid the worst, but with foreign aid blocked and the bank system near collapse, the economy has been strangled by a lack of cash.
The Taliban famously did not allow women to work outside the home when they were last in power between 1996-2001 and have severely limited employment opportunities for women. But for many like Ahmadi, there is no alternative.
<Some widows are the only food providers for their families, while some women want to financially help their husbands,> she said. <The Taliban must allow women to go to work. They must provide jobs for them, there is no employment right now.>
Al Jazeera
9 dec 2021

<<EU countries agree to take in 40,000 Afghan refugees
Group of 15 EU member states agree to resettle Afghans, with Germany accepting the bulk of new arrivals, commissioner says.

A group of 15 European Union member states have agreed to take in 40,000 Afghans for resettlement, Commissioner Ylva Johansson said after meeting interior ministers of those countries. Germany will accept the bulk of the new arrivals, with 25,000, with the Netherlands accepting 3,159, Spain and France 2,500 each, and other countries in lower numbers, according to a document seen by the AFP news agency.
A group of 15 European Union member states have agreed to take in 40,000 Afghans for resettlement, Commissioner Ylva Johansson said after meeting interior ministers of those countries.
Germany will accept the bulk of the new arrivals, with 25,000, with the Netherlands accepting 3,159, Spain and France 2,500 each, and other countries in lower numbers, according to a document seen by the AFP news agency.
But UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi has warned that 85,000 Afghans who are living in vulnerable situations outside the bloc need resettlement, and has urged Europe to take half.

Johannson had previously described this goal as <doable> but she still had to persuade member state governments, only confirming the figure after the meeting on Thursday.
The 40,000 Afghans are part of a larger 60,000 package of resettlements and humanitarian admissions pledged by member states, according to the document seen by AFP. In the larger global envelope, France and Sweden make bigger pledges of 5,000 and 4,200 resettlements, but these will not necessarily be Afghans. Belgium promised places for 425 Afghans and 1,250 others. EU officials were not immediately able to give a time scale for the new arrivals.>>

Al Jazeera
9 Dec 2021

<<‘We’re not giving up’: A radio station for Afghanistan’s women.
Radio Begum fills the airwaves with programmes for women, by women: educational shows, book readings and call-in counselling.

From Taliban-controlled Kabul, Radio Begum is broadcasting the voices of women that have been muted across Afghanistan. Station staff fill the airwaves with programming for women, by women: educational shows, book readings and call-in counselling.
For now, they operate with the permission of the Taliban which regained power in August and has limited the ability for women to work and girls to attend school.
<We’re not giving up,> pledged 48-year-old Hamida Aman, the station’s founder, who grew up in Switzerland after her family fled Afghanistan a few years after the Soviet Union invaded.
<We have to show that we don’t need to be scared,> said Aman, who returned after the overthrow of the Taliban’s first regime in 2001 by US-led foreign forces. <We must occupy the public sphere.>

‘Vessel for voices’

The station was founded on March 8, International Women’s Day, this year, five months before the Taliban marched into Kabul and finalised its defeat of the US-backed government.
From a working-class neighbourhood, it continues to broadcast across Kabul and surrounding areas – and live on Facebook.
<Begum> was a noble title used in South Asia, and it now generally refers to a married Muslim woman. <This station is a vessel for women’s voices, their pain, their frustrations,> Aman said.
The Taliban granted permission for the broadcaster to stay on the airwaves in September, albeit with new curbs. Radio Begum’s 10 or so employees used to share an office with male colleagues who worked on a youth radio station.
Now they are separated. Each gender has its own floor and a large opaque curtain has been installed in front of the women’s office.
Pop music has been replaced with traditional songs and <quieter music>, Aman said.
Nevertheless, staff members said working at the station was a <privilege>, with many female government workers barred from returning to offices.
The Taliban is yet to formalise many of its policies, leaving gaps in how they are implemented by the group across the country. Most public secondary schools for girls have been shut since the takeover. But twice a day, the radio studio resembles a classroom.
When AFP news agency visited, six girls and three boys – all aged 13 or 14 – pored over their books as the presenter gave an on-air lesson about social justice.
<Social justice is opposed to extremism,> said the 19-year-old teacher, a student of journalism until a few months ago.

‘Golden opportunity’

Mursal, a 13-year-old girl, has been going to the studio to study since the Taliban blocked some secondary schools from reopening.
<My message to girls who can’t go to school is to listen to our programme carefully, to use this golden chance and opportunity,> she said. <They may not have it again.>
There are also on-air lessons for adults. In one such lesson, station director Saba Chaman, 24, read the autobiography of Michelle Obama in Dari. She is particularly proud of a show where listeners call in for psychological counselling.
In 2016, just 18 percent of women in Afghanistan were literate compared with 62 percent of men, according to the former education ministry.
<Women who are illiterate are like blind people,> one woman who cannot read said on air. <When I go to the pharmacy they give me expired medication. If I could read they wouldn’t do it.>
A few months after the Taliban seized power, Aman met with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, and told him the radio was <working to give a voice to women”. He was “very encouraging>, she said.

But the future is uncertain.>> Note by Gino d'Artali:
Please read more here:
Al Jazeera
7 Dec 2021

<<UK’s Kabul evacuation effort risked Afghan lives: Whistleblower.
A tiny fraction of Afghans who needed help received support and some were left to die at the Taliban’s hands, civil service staffer says.

Just five per cent of Afghan nationals who applied for help to flee the country under one UK scheme after the Taliban swept to power received help – with some left behind having been killed since the collapse of Kabul, a whistleblower has claimed.
In evidence published by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, Raphael Marshall – who worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) during the evacuation effort – told how at one point he was the only person monitoring an inbox where pleas for help were directed.
The government’s public statements over hopes the Taliban had changed did not tally with the information he was receiving.
Marshall’s written evidence is due to be published by the committee on Tuesday, and its chairman, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, said the <failures betrayed our friends and allies and squandered decades of British and NATO effort.>
He said it painted the evacuation as <one of lack of interest, and bureaucracy over humanity.>
Marshall worked in the Afghan Special Cases team, which handled the cases of Afghans who were at risk because of their links with the UK, but who did not work directly for the UK government.

He estimated that <between 75,000 and 150,000 people (including dependants) applied for evacuation> to the team under the leave outside the rules (LOTR) category. He estimated that <fewer than 5 percent of these people have received any assistance> and states that <it is clear that some of those left behind have since been murdered by the Taliban.>
He said that no member of the team working on these cases had <studied Afghanistan, worked on Afghanistan previously, or had a detailed knowledge of Afghanistan.> Marshall added that junior officials were <scared by being asked to make hundreds of life and death decisions about which they knew nothing.>
His remarks come as officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the ambassador to Afghanistan, Laurie Bristow, are due to give evidence to the committee on Tuesday.

Marshall alleged that then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab <did not fully understand the situation.> Emails were opened but no action was taken, as Raab felt <the purpose of this system was to allow the prime minister and the-then foreign secretary to inform MPs that there were no unread emails,> Marshall charged. He said: <These emails were desperate and urgent. I was struck by many titles including phrases such as ‘please save my children’.>
<The contrast between Her Majesty’s Government’s statements about a changed Taliban and the large number of highly credible allegations of very grave human rights abuses HMG has received by email is striking,> he added.
Tugendhat said: <These allegations are serious and go to the heart of the failures of leadership around the Afghan disaster, which we have seen throughout this inquiry.>
<This evidence raises serious questions about the leadership of the Foreign Office, and I look forward to putting these to officials, including former Afghanistan Ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow.>
A government spokesperson pointed out that <UK government staff worked tirelessly to evacuate more than 15,000 people from Afghanistan within a fortnight.>
<This was the biggest mission of its kind in generations and the second-largest evacuation carried out by any country. We are still working to help others leave.> >>
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Al Jazeera
5 Dec 2021

<<100 days of taliban rule>>
Watch the video here:

Al Jazeera
4 Dec

<<France evacuates more than 300 people from Afghanistan.
France and Qatar jointly operated the humanitarian mission while also delivering medical equipment, food and winter supplies to Kabul.

France has carried out an evacuation mission in Afghanistan, taking 258 Afghans as well as 11 French, some 60 Dutch nationals and an unspecified number of people linked to them out of the country, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Friday. The operation was organised with help from Qatar, a ministry statement said. Evacuees included Afghans who were at risk, such as journalists and people with links to France, including civilian workers employed by the French army.
Since September 10, at least 110 French people and 396 Afghans have been evacuated from Afghanistan on 10 flights organised with the help of Qatar, the statement added.
France and Qatar jointly operated a humanitarian mission on Thursday, delivering medical equipment, food and winter supplies to international organisations operating in the country with a Qatari military plane, the French foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
French President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to the Gulf, expressed praised Qatar on Saturday for helping to organise the latest evacuation to France of more than 250 threatened Afghans.
<I thank Qatar for the role it has played since the start of the crisis, and which permitted the organisation of several evacuations,> Macron said before heading to Saudi Arabia for the final leg of his two-day Gulf tour.
Macron met on Friday evening with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Qatar has played a significant role both in diplomacy and evacuations at the end of a 20-year war in Afghanistan by Western nations.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week described an <alarming> socioeconomic outlook for Afghanistan for the next 13 months. Afghanistan is struggling with a sharp drop in international development aid after the Taliban seized power in August, and the UNDP has projected that poverty may become nearly universal by mid-2022.
Al Jazeera
4 Dec 2021

Andreas Stefansson
Elizabeth Winter
Liv Kjolseth
Jessica Hazelwood

<<Aid cut-off may kill more Afghans than war.
Urgent action is needed by the international community to prevent catastrophic hunger in Afghanistan.

Three months after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding before our eyes. Poverty and malnutrition are increasing at an unprecedented speed. Without swift, pragmatic?action?from the international community, more people will die of hunger in 2022 alone than from violence during the last 20 years of conflict.
This dire situation is exacerbated by decisions taken far away from Afghanistan. Following the Taliban takeover, international funding to the Afghan state was immediately cut off. This was done in compliance with the US and the UN Security Council sanctions targeting the Taliban who are now the de-facto government. Nearly $10bn worth of Afghan central bank reserves were blocked by the US. In addition, donors froze development aid.
Roughly 75 percent of Afghanistan government expenditures, including healthcare, were previously directly funded by international aid. The abrupt cut-off left hundreds of thousands of public sector employees out of pay.
Many more millions who were dependent on that income were immediately thrust into acute poverty. The blow to the private sector and trade has been devastating, and the public health system has been almost entirely out of function.
Today, the economy and the banking system are on the brink of collapse. Global banking institutions will not deal directly with the central bank of Afghanistan. Mainly due to US and UN sanctions, which the European Union adheres to, Afghan banks are isolated from the international monetary system. With a few exceptions, they cannot receive money from abroad.

The US Treasury has allowed some limited exemptions. “General Licenses” from the US Treasury permit the UN and some international NGOs to make transactions for specific humanitarian activities. However, international banks remain extremely cautious to avoid the risk of being punished by the US.
In addition to the financial meltdown, there is an ongoing severe drought. According to the World Food Programme, around 40 percent of the crops have been lost this year. Roughly half the population, some 20 million people, are unable to feed themselves on a daily basis – and that number is expected to rise, according to UN agencies. An estimated 3.2 million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year. Of those, at least 1 million children are at risk of dying if they do not receive immediate treatment.>>
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Al Jazeera
3 Dec 2021

<<Taliban bans forced marriage of women in Afghanistan.
Taliban chief in a decree says women should not be considered ‘property’ and must consent to marriage.

The Taliban has issued a decree barring forced marriage in Afghanistan, saying women should not be considered <property> and must consent to marriage, but questions remain about whether the group that returned to power in mid-August would extend women’s rights around work and education.
The decree was announced on Friday by the reclusive Taliban chief, Hibatullah Akhunzada – who is believed to be in the southern city of Kandahar. <Both (women and men) should be equal,> said the decree, adding that <no one can force women to marry by coercion or pressure>.
The decree did not mention a minimum age for marriage, which previously was set at 16 years old. The group also said a widow will now be allowed to re-marry 17 weeks after her husband’s death, choosing her new husband freely.


Longstanding tribal traditions have held it customary for a widow to marry one of her husband’s brothers or relatives in the event of his death. The Taliban leadership says it has ordered Afghan courts to treat women fairly, especially widows seeking inheritance as next of kin. The group, which came to power in August, also said it had asked government ministers to spread awareness about women’s rights across the population.
The development was hailed as a significant step forward by two leading Afghan women, but questions remained about whether the group would extend women’s rights around work and education.
<This is big, this is huge … if it is done as it is supposed to be, this is the first time they have come up with a decree like this,> said Mahbouba Seraj, executive director of the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Center speaking from Kabul on a Reuters Next conference panel on Friday.
The international community, which has frozen billions of dollars in funds for Afghanistan, has made women’s and human rights a key element of any future engagement with Afghanistan.
Seraj said that even before the Taliban took over the country on August 15, Afghan politicians had struggled to form such a clear policy on women’s rights around marriage.
<Now what we have to do as the women of this country is we should make sure this actually takes place and gets implemented,> said Seraj.
Roya Rahmani, the former ambassador for Afghanistan to the United States, echoed her optimism and added that it was likely partly an attempt to smooth over international fears regarding the group’s track record on women’s rights as the Taliban administration seeks to get funding released.
<An amazing thing if it does get implemented,> Rahmani told the Reuters Next panel, adding details such as who would ensure that girls’ consent was not coerced by family members would be key.
<It’s a very smart move on the part of Taliban at this point because one of the (pieces of) news that is attracting the West’s attention is the fact little girls are being sold as property to others in order to feed the rest of the family,> she said. >>
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Opinion by Gino d'Artali: Hurray indeed but let's wait and see! The Afghani women in resistance against the taliban wil not stop 'till getting full rights!

Al Jazeera
By Aisyah Llewellyn
Published On 3 Dec 2021

Photo:Afghan refugees hold placards to ask for justice, and process resettlement within 36 months during a rally outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Jakarta in August 2021. Many have been waiting for years [File: Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]

Medan, Indonesia – Afghan refugee Ezat Najafi sensed something was wrong when his friend and fellow refugee, Ahmad Shah, began to behave erratically in front of the Indonesian Organization for Migration (IOM) building in the Indonesian city of Medan. For a month, a group of Afghan refugees — some of whom have been living in limbo in Indonesia for almost a decade — had been staging a 24-hour protest in a makeshift camp in front of the IOM office, sleeping in tents pitched in the forecourt.
The IOM is responsible for the care of refugees while they are in Indonesia awaiting resettlement in a third country.
<I tried to save him and talk to him,> Najafi, 30, told Al Jazeera. He came to Indonesia in 2015.
<I said, ‘Please don’t do this’. Suddenly he poured petrol on his clothes and took out two lighters, one in each hand. I tried to talk to him and told him to be patient but he didn’t listen.>
Shah, 22, probably felt that he had been patient enough.
Having travelled to Indonesia as a teenager in 2016, Shah has been waiting for five years to be permanently resettled, and the uncertainty, coupled with a long-term health issue, caused him to fall into a depression, his friends told Al Jazeera.
Shah decided to set himself on fire, and Najafi did not realise that anything was amiss until he saw his friend, clearly agitated, pacing in front of the building and shouting incoherently.

An amateur video shot at the scene that circulated widely on Indonesian social media shows what happened next: Najafi and several other refugees tried to reason with Shah as he flicked the lighters in his hands and ignited his petrol-soaked clothes.
Flames engulfed his upper body as Najafi lunged towards Shah in a desperate attempt to help him, before being beaten back by the heat. Finally, a security guard rushed to Shah with a fire extinguisher and doused the flames.
<He was on fire for maybe 20 seconds,> another refugee, 25-year-old Mohammad Reza, told Al Jazeera.
When the flames subsided, Shah’s arms and face had been badly burned. He was reportedly taken across the street to a private hospital, but was moved to one of Medan’s public hospitals on the same day by the IOM, according to his friends who said that the organisation did not want to have to pay for his medical care.>>
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