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Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter

 Mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse: Jimmy Carter

Note: I think this is also true in matriarchal structure for abusing men

With his signature resolve, former US President Jimmy Carter dives into three unexpected reasons why the mistreatment of women and girls continues in so many manifestations in so many parts of the world, both developed and developing.

The final reason he gives? “In general, men don’t give a damn.”

The president of the United States from 1977 to 1981, Jimmy Carter has used his post-presidency years to work for peace, teach, write and engage in global activism. Full bio

As a matter of fact, I was trying to think about my career since I left the White House, and the best example I have is a cartoon in The New Yorker a couple of years ago. This little boy is looking up at his father, and he says, “Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be a former president.”

00:26 (Laughter)

Well, I have had a great blessing as a former president, because I have had an access that very few other people in the world have ever had to get to know so many people around this whole universe.

Not only am I familiar with the 50 states in the United States, but also my wife and I have visited more than 145 countries in the world, and the Carter Center has had full-time programs in 80 nations on Earth.

And a lot of times, when we go into a country, we not only the meet the king or the president, but we also meet the villagers who live in the most remote areas of Africa.

So our overall commitment at the Carter Center is to promote human rights, and knowing the world as I do, I can tell you without any equivocation that the number one abuse of human rights on Earth is, strangely, not addressed quite often, is the abuse of women and girls.

There are a couple of reasons for this that I’ll mention to begin with.

First of all is the misinterpretation of religious scriptures, holy scriptures, in the Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, Quran and so forth, and these have been misinterpreted by men who are now in the ascendant positions in the synagogues and the churches and in the mosques.

And they interpret these rules to make sure that women are ordinarily relegated to a secondary position compared to men in the eyes of God.

This is a very serious problem. It’s ordinarily not addressed. A number of years ago, in the year 2000, I had been a Baptist, a Southern Baptist for 70 years — I tell you, I still teach Sunday school every Sunday; I’ll be teaching this Sunday as well — but the Southern Baptist Convention in the year 2000 decided that women should play a secondary position, a subservient position to men.

So they issued an edict, in effect, that prevents women from being priests, pastors, deacons in the church, or chaplains in the military, and if a woman teaches a classroom in a Southern Baptist seminary, they cannot teach if a boy is in the room, because you can find verses in the Bible, there’s over 30,000 verses in the Bible, that say that a woman shouldn’t teach a man, and so forth.

But the basic thing is the scriptures are misinterpreted to keep men in an ascendant position. That is an all-pervasive problem, because men can exert that power and if an abusive husband or an employer, for instance, wants to cheat women, they can say that if women are not equal in the eyes of God, why should I treat them as equals myself?

Why should I pay them equal pay for doing the same kind of work?

The other very serious blight that causes this problem is the excessive resort to violence, and that is increasing tremendously around the world.

In the United States of America, for instance, we have had an enormous increase in abuse of poor people, mostly black people and minorities, by putting them in prison.

When I was in office as governor of Georgia, one out of every 1,000 Americans were in prison. Nowadays, 7.3 people per 1,000 are in prison. That’s a sevenfold increase. And since I left the White House, there’s been an 800% increase in the number of women who are black who are in prison.

We also have [one of the only countries] on Earth that still has the death penalty that is a developed country. And we rank right alongside the countries that are most abusive in all elements of human rights in encouraging the death penalty.

We’re in California now, and I figured out the other day that California has spent four billion dollars in convicting 13 people for the death penalty.

If you add that up, that’s 307 million dollars it costs California to send a person to be executed. Nebraska this week just passed a law abolishing the death penalty, because it costs so much. (Applause)

So the resort to violence and abuse of poor people and helpless people is another cause of the increase in abuse of women.

 Let me just go down a very few abuses of women that concern me most, and I’ll be fairly brief, because I have a limited amount of time, as you know.

1. One is genital mutilation. Genital mutilation is horrible and not known by American women, but in some countries, many countries, when a child is born that’s a girl, very soon in her life, her genitals are completely cut away by a so-called cutter who has a razor blade and, in a non-sterilized way, they remove the exterior parts of a woman’s genitalia.

And sometimes, in more extreme cases but not very rare cases, they sew the orifice up so the girl can just urinate or menstruate.

And then later, when she gets married, the same cutter goes in and opens the orifice up so she can have sex. This is not a rare thing, although it’s against the law in most countries.

In Egypt, for instance, 91% of all the females that live in Egypt today have been sexually mutilated in that way. In some countries, it’s more than 98 percent of the women are cut that way before they reach maturity. This is a horrible affliction on all women that live in those countries.

2. Another very serious thing is honor killings, where a family with misinterpretation, again, of a holy scripture — there’s nothing in the Quran that mandates this — will execute a girl in their family if she is raped or if she marries a man that her father does not approve, or sometimes even if she wears inappropriate clothing. And this is done by members of her own family, so the family becomes murderers when the girl brings so-called disgrace to the family.

An analysis was done in Egypt not so long ago by the United Nations and it showed that 75% of these murders of a girl are perpetrated by the father, the uncle or the brother, but 25 percent of the murders are conducted by women.

3. Another problem that we have in the world that relates to women particularly is slavery, or human trafficking it’s called nowadays.

There were about 12.5 million people sold from Africa into slavery in the New World back in the 19th century and the 18th century. There are 30 million people now living in slavery.

The United States Department of State now has a mandate from Congress to give a report every year, and the State Department reports that 800,000 people are sold across international borders every year into slavery, and that 80% of those sold are women, into sexual slavery.

In the United States right this moment, 60,000 people are living in human bondage, or slavery. Atlanta, Georgia, where the Carter Center is located and where I teach at Emory University, they have between 200 and 300 women, people sold into slavery every month.

It’s the number one place in the nation because of that. Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world, and they also have a lot of passengers that come from the Southern Hemisphere.

If a brothel owner wants to buy a girl that has brown or black skin, they can do it for 1,000 dollars. A white-skinned girl brings several times more than that, and the average brothel owner in Atlanta and in the United States now can earn about $35,000 per slave.

The sex trade in Atlanta, Georgia, exceeds the total drug trade in Atlanta, Georgia.

So this is another very serious problem, and the basic problem is prostitution, because there’s not a whorehouse in America that’s not known by the local officials, the local policemen, or the chief of police or the mayor and so forth.

And this leads to one of the worst problems, and that is that women are bought increasingly and put into sexual slavery in all countries in the world.

Sweden has got a good approach to it. About 15 to 20 years ago, Sweden decided to change the law, and women are no longer prosecuted if they are in sexual slavery, but the brothel owners and the pimps and the male customers are prosecuted, and  prostitution has gone down.

In the United States, we take just the opposite position. For every male arrested for illegal sex trade, 25 women are arrested in the United States of America. Canada, Ireland, I’ve already said Sweden, France, and other countries are moving now towards this so-called Swedish model. That’s another thing that can be done.

We have two great institutions in this country that all of us admire: our military and our great university system.

In the military, they are now analyzing how many sexual assaults take place. The last report I got, there were 26,000 sexual assaults that took place in the military 26,000. Only 3,000, not much more than 1 percent, are actually prosecuted, and the reason is that the commanding officer of any organization — a ship like my submarine, or a battalion in the Army or a company in the Marines — the commanding officer has the right under law to decide whether to prosecute a rapist or not, and of course, the last thing they want is for anybody to know that under their command, sexual assaults are taking place, so they do not do it. That law needs to be changed.

About one out of four girls who enter American universities will be sexually assaulted before she graduates, and this is now getting a lot of publicity, partially because of my book, but other things, and so 89 universities in America are now condemned by the Department of Education under Title IX because the officials of the universities are not taking care of the women to protect them from sexual assault.

The Department of Justice says that more than half of the rapes on a college campus take place by serial rapists, because outside of the university system, if they rape somebody, they’ll be prosecuted, but when they get on a university campus, they can rape with impunity. They’re not prosecuted. Those are the kinds of things that go on in our society.

4. Another thing that’s very serious about the abuse of women and girls is the lack of equal pay for equal work, as you know. 

And this is sometimes misinterpreted, but for full-time employment, a woman in the United States now gets 23 percent less than a man.

When I became president, the difference was 39 percent. So we’ve made some progress, partially because I was president and so forth — (Applause) (Laughter) — but in the last 15 years, there’s been no progress made, so it’s been just about 23 or 24 percent difference for the last 15 years.

These are the kind of things that go on. If you take the Fortune 500 companies, 23 of them have women CEOs, out of 500, and those CEOs, I need not tell you, make less on an average than the other CEOs. Well, that’s what goes on in our country.

5. Another problem with the United States is we are the most warlike nation on Earth.

We have been to war with about 25 different countries since the Second World War. Sometimes, we’ve had soldiers on the ground fighting. The other times, we’ve been flying overhead dropping bombs on people. Other times, of course, now, we have drones that attack people and so forth. We’ve been at war with 25 different countries or more since the Second World War. There was four years, I won’t say which ones, where we didn’t — (Applause) — we didn’t drop a bomb, we didn’t launch a missile, we didn’t fire a bullet. But anyway, those kinds of things, the resort to violence and the misinterpretation of the holy scriptures are what causes, are the basic causes, of abuse of women and girls.

6.There’s one more basic cause that I need not mention, and that is that in general, men don’t give a damn. (Applause) That’s true.

The average man that might say, I’m against the abuse of women and girls quietly accepts the privileged position that we occupy, and this is very similar to what I knew when I was a child, when separate but equal had existed.

Racial discrimination, legally, had existed for 100 years, from 1865 at the end of the War Between the States, the Civil War, all the way up to the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson got the bills passed for equal rights.

But during that time, there were many white people that didn’t think that racial discrimination was okay, but they stayed quiet, because they enjoyed the privileges of better jobs, unique access to jury duty, better schools, and everything else, and that’s the same thing that exists today, because the average man really doesn’t care.

Even though they say, “I’m against discrimination against girls and women,” they enjoy a privileged position. And it’s very difficult to get the majority of men who control the university system, the majority of men that control the military system, the majority of men that control the governments of the world, and the majority of men that control the great religions.

 what is the basic thing that we need to do today?

I would say the best thing that we could do today is for the women in the powerful nations like this one, and where you come from, Europe and so forth, who have influence and who have freedom to speak and to act, need to take the responsibility on yourselves to be more forceful in demanding an end to racial discrimination against girls and women all over the world.

The average woman in Egypt doesn’t have much to say about her daughters getting genitally mutilated and so forth.

I didn’t even go down to detail about that. But I hope that out of this conference, that every woman here will get your husbands to realize that these abuses on the college campuses and the military and so forth and in the future job market, need to protect your daughters and your granddaughters.

I have 12 grandchildren, four children, and 10 great-grandchildren, and I think often about them and about the plight that they will face in America, not only if they lived in Egypt or a foreign country, in having equal rights, and I hope that all of you will join me in being a champion for women and girls around the world and protect their human rights.

Dis-investment in Israel is the rage now; (September 12, 2009)

 

            The world community is no longer taking the UN seriously for applying the appropriate pressures on Israel; it is no longer taking the EU and the USA Administration seriously for exercising on Israel applicable human rights laws. Israel has been repeatedly flaunting the laws concerning human rights and the rights of the Palestinians under occupation.  Even the investigation of the atrocities that the Palestinians in Gaza suffered during the invasion from December 2008 to January 2009 is doublful that it will follow the due judicial procedures.

            The international communities of organizations, associations, and even truly democratic States are appealing to boycotting, dis-investing, and sanctioning (BDS) Israel so that it starts respecting international laws.

            Four years ago there were campaigns of boycott and dis-investments to pressure Israel to refrain from resuming building the Wall of Shame that the International Court of Justice has ruled illigal. This campaign has begun in July 2005 and is gaining fresh impetus after the genocidal war in Gaza where more than half the 1,600 victims were civilians and childrens. The entire infrastructure in Gaza was destroyed, including all the UN facilities.

            Powerful political figures and Nobel laureate for peace such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy Carter have considered that the practices of Israel are a reminder of the aparthide system in South Africa. The BDS campaign against Israel was relaunched during the World Social Forum in Belem (Brazil) on March 30.  The campaign is inciting the consumers not to purchase products made or grown in Israel, especially when proven that these industries are located in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.  The campaign is actively meeting with large surface owners and managers to disseminate information and intelligence as to the prohibited products.

            The Peace Cycle association is pressuring the EU to suspend the cooperation accord for tariff exemptions between Israel and the EU because Israel has failed respecting human rights and the democratic principles that was signed in 1995 and applied since 2000.  This campaign has forced 20% of Israeli exporters to lower their price because they lost substantial share of markets in Jordany, Britain, and the Scandinavian States.

            Cultural, academic, sport, and diplomatic boycotts of Israel have been recurring very often. For example, the musician Roger Waters, the authors Eduardo Galeano, Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy, and the film makers Ken Loach and Jean-Luc Godard.

            Hertz refused to be associated to a promotional campaign by El Al airline; Sweden refrained from joining an international air maneuvers because Israel was participating. In Belgium, operation “Dexia out of Israel” lead 14 comunities to pressure this French-Belgium bank to stop financing Israeli collectivities located in Palestinian territories.

            The French transport companies of Alstom and Veolia are having hard time securing contracts from Scandinavian States and Britain for cooperating in transport businesses with Israel.  Other enterprises did not wait to be condemned and dis-invested in Israel; for example, Heineken re-located its affiliate Tempo Drinks from the West Bank; the same was done by the Swedish company Assa Abloy specializing in electro-mechanic security systems.

            Many States are accepting to prosecute judicial cases in human rights natures because Israel justice system has not proven to taking seriously these allegations cases.  The USA has been pressuring Spain, Belgium, and France to desist from prosecuting former Israeli Generals, officers, and ministers who committed mass killings against the Palestinians. For example, Dan Halutz, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Moshe Yaalon, Doron Almog, Giora Eiland, Michael Herzog, and Abraham Dichter have to get special permission from the Israeli cabimet of Minister to travel abroad for fear of being detained by European court of justices.

            Zionism is an ideology of the colonial and racist period; if the people of Israel want to continue adhering to that ideology then they will realize that it is bad business.

Bi-Weekly Report (#25) on Lebanon and the Middle East (June 8, 2009)

 

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Election Day in Lebanon

 

I got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday June 7, 2009; it is Election Day for the Parliament in Lebanon.  I wrote and published the post “I have a position: I am voting today”.  As my parents were ready we drove around 8:15 to one of the three election centers in the town of Beit-Chabab. Our center was located in the previous private school that the municipality has purchased five years ago and didn’t move in yet.  This is the first time in Lebanon that election is done in one day: Parliamentary elections were performed in two successive Sundays until the last election proved that parties with heavier financial muscles could regroup, focus, and swing elections to their advantages by chastising parties that didn’t stick to the alliance terms in the previous Election Sunday. 

I was shocked by the long line that did not move. The army was positioned outside the perimeter and the internal security forces within the enclosed place.  You had first to exhibit your ID to enter the only entrance/exit “door”.  You wait for a security officer to call on a range of numbers corresponding to your family civil record.   The elder people were given priority and my parents voted within half an hour.  The urn assigned to my category was very slow in processing voters. I sat and ate a loaf of “mankoush bi zaatar” that one party was distributing. I asked my parents to hitchhike home.  I waited for an hour and a half and the line never budged. I lost any hope for my turn to come in the morning. I returned home hoping to come back after lunch for the line to get moving.  Those who arrived at 7 a.m. made it nicely. My brother-in-law, a retired military officer, voted for the first time as well as one of his eligible daughters.

  I retuned at 1:30 after lunch to the voting urns and had to wait another hour before I managed to vote.  There were too many voters for the reduced number of urns (kalam ektira3); citizens complained that they lined up as if they were receiving rations “i3ashi”.  General Michel Aoun of the Tayyar Party has warned a couple of months ago on the strong possibility of this problem and had suggested that election be resumed on two successive days.

The opposition claimed that the slow process was intentional to discourage their voters from exercising patience.  Apparently, the slow processing of voter lines is due mainly, in addition to the first reason, to the decrease in numbers of urns because of shortage in personnel.  By law, any voter within the enclosed voting area was eligible to vote after 7 p.m.  Dozens of election monitoring groups from around the world were gathered in Lebanon to take notes of the proceedings; the groups of ex-US President Jimmy Carter, the European Union, and the Arab League were present weeks before that well “observed” and critical day.

News are that over 100 thousands Lebanese immigrants flew in to participate in the election process.

 

Monday Morning, June 8, 2009

                       

            I got up at 4 a.m. and watched TV for any crumbs of news on the election results and removed to my study to read.  Official results will not be in before noon but I got a good idea of the trend.   Our neighborhood and the districts of Metn and Kesrouan are very calm and not because people are not up.  The government coalition parties that usually are the loudest and the most trouble makers have lost the election in these two districts.

            Unofficial results indicate that the government allies received a majority of 67 deputies to 57 for the opposition.  Actually, the results were already known before midnight.  The minister of the interior Ziad Baroud had announced previously not to expect any official results before late afternoon.  My contention is that, in addition to waiting for formal arrival of evidences, the minister of the interior was asked to delay official results for 18 hours.  The purpose of that delay is first, to permit negotiations for swapping deputies from losers to winners as the implicit entente of the Dawha agreement demanded so that the main leaders represented there will re-enter Parliament and second, so that the difference between opposition and government coalition deputies would not exceed more than 5 deputies.

            The opposition coalition major defeats were in the districts of Betroun, Koura, Zahle, and Ashrafieh (Beirut 1).  The government coalition lost Baabda and Zghorta districts.

            The main leaders on both sides are winners; Saad Hariri, Michel Aoun, Walid Jumblat, and Hezbollah. Thus, any government has to be formed of the three major blocks representing the three main religious sects (Maronite, Shiaa, and Sunni) with practically even power politically in the parliament. 

            Basically, the Tayyar of Michel Aoun has increased the number of its deputies from 20 to over 27; the Tayyar gained the leader Suleiman Frangieh of Zghorta and lost Skaf of Zahle.  Michel Aoun strengthened his unchallenged Maronite leadership in Mount Lebanon (the district of Jubeil, Kesrouan, Metn, Baabda, and Jezzine). The block of General Michel Aoun represents two third of the Maronite deputies and 50% of the Christian deputies and an overwhelming popular support in all Lebanon.

            Hezbollah gained the strategic district of Baabda because it is an extension to its headquarters in south Beirut.  Consequently, the resistance had secured internal political backing of all Mount Lebanon to the southern borders. Obviously, Hezbollah prevails militarily and Lebanon policy of defense cannot circumvent Hezbollah’s concerns for its internal security. 

             

            Saad Hariri emerged as the unchallenged leader of the Sunni sect in Beirut, Saida, North Lebanon, and the central Bekaa Valley.  Fouad Seniora PM got a seat in Saida.

            The main losers are the President of the Republic, Michel Suleiman, because the opposition coalition badly defeated the President’s implicit list of candidates in the district of Jubeil. The Maronite Patriarch lost because he can no longer claim any political weight in Mount Lebanon since he publicly supported the parties challenging Michel Aoun.  Thus, Michel Aoun is practically the political leader of the Maronite sect according to Lebanon’s caste system.

            One fact stands out in this tough election: it is my contention that the sacerdotal caste of the Christian Greek Orthodox did its best to challenge Michel Aoun as the pre-eminent representative of all the Christians in Lebanon.  The Greek Orthodox clergy played politics big time by defeating the Tayyar in Koura, Betroun, and Ashrafieh.  I am not worried about this positioning at this phase because the Greek Orthodox citizens are the staunchest Lebanese patriots against our main enemy Israel; most of the secular and national founders of political parties were Greek Orthodox.  Michel Aoun will have to temper his zeal and negotiate with this Christian sect as an equal.  In any event, Saad Hariri will owe the Christian Orthodox big time for the next four years otherwise he is doomed to lose the majority in next Parliamentary election. 

            The Christian Armenians could swing victory only in the Metn district because they failed in Ashrafieh and Zahle to make any difference facing the outnumbered Sunni voters. 

            Actually, the 4,000 Sunni voters in Koura reversed a sure win for the opposition to a defeat by less than one thousand votes. The opposition lost the district of Zahle because the government hads transferred the registration of over 25 thousands of Sunnis to Zahle in preparation for this election. This election was an exacerbation of Sunni confessional rallying cry as the other religious sects were distancing from confessional rhetoric.  Saudi Arabia monarchy is deeply immersed in an ugly and dirty confessional battle.

 

Monday Evening

 

            Ziad Baroud returned partial official results of 15 out of 26 districts (kada2) by noon and a full declaration by 6 p.m. The trick that there were discussions going on for swapping deputies did not take off in Lebanon’s archaic confessional political system.  For example, I considered that at least two losing traditional deputies in Zahle would be declared winners in return for two traditional losers in the Metn District.  Lebanon election experienced high turn out averaging over 60%.

            Hassan Nasr Allah of Hezbollah delivered a speech by 8:30 p.m. He reminded the citizens of the lies of the government coalition leaders who used scare tactics claiming that the resistance would use its military power to affect election procedures and results.  In any case, if the new political power sharing is to take off then any discussion of Hezbollah military reality should be restricted to the special conference table on defense strategies.

 

            Iran is having its Presidential election on June 12, 2009.  The candidates Ahmadinajad and Mossawi faced off in a television debate.  Moussawi suckered to the public opinion of the western nations’ demands: he is speaking as a foreign affairs minister and not a candidate to win the presidency.  The attitude of appeasing the western public opinions is considered very disgusting in Iran and not the characteristic of a vast “Empire”.

            The largest, widest, and lengthiest military exercise conducted by Israel for 5 days and which started on May 31 faltered and was a failure.  The Israeli citizens did not respond as expected and went on to their daily routine as if nothing is happening, regardless of the loud and frequent siren alarms.  Those five days were a holiday and not of any serious exigencies.  The Israelis on the Lebanese borders were the least concerned.  The message was clear and louder than the siren alarms “Governments of Israel, we want peace.  We no longer believe than security should take priority over peace treaty.  For 61 years you have driven us hard to countless pre-emptive and expansionist wars. Enough is enough.  We paid dearly for mindless and losing priorities and we want your policy to do the right thing.  We want peace, period”

 

            President Barak Obama has to deliver something tangible in the Middle East and very soon, and not six months from now as he is planning. Periods of sweet talking with nothing tangible in return are gone.  The Palestinian Statehood is due now!  The return of the Golan Heights to Syria is due now!  Direct negotiations with Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon Hezbollah are due now!  Stabilizing Pakistan is due now!  The return of the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba to Lebanon is due now!  A specific schedule for the return of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to Palestine is due now!

 

            Why my urgency to resolving decades of roadblocks in the Middle East? Simple: the Middle East has been steadily catching on to extremist confessional attitudes as the absolution of Israel’s horrors and genocides has been the trade mark of the western nations.  Lebanon is catching on quickly to isolationist confessional extremism and if Lebanon is no longer a viable experiment for democracy then the USA and Europe will have no one to blame but themselves for laxity in executing and enforcing what is the right thing to do in this region.


adonis49

adonis49

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