Skepticism

Global Quickies: Malala, Anti-gay Laws, and Terrible Hashtags

PAKISTAN
Ten militants have been taken into custody in connection with the 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai. The military said the attackers had been under orders of the leader of the main Pakistani Taliban branch, who, on the day of the attack, called Malala’s pro-education campaign an “obscenity” and her shooting a warning to other advocates of Western culture.

ARGENTINA
The province of Salta, in northwestern Argentina, has declared a state of emergency for violence against women. In this region of 1,300,000 inhabitants, there have been over 100,000 cases of domestic violence since 2006.

GAMBIA
National Assembly in Gambia passed an anti-gay bill imposing life imprisonment for so-called “aggravated homosexuality.” The bill is almost identical to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was nullified by the Constitutional Court. Gambia already criminalizes homosexuality, and gay people charged with having sex can go to jail for up to 14 years. With the new legislation, the sentence could be extended to life imprisonment.

NIGERIA
After tons of Twitter backlash and a critical article in the Washington Post, President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the supporters of his re-election to stop using the “offensive and repugnant” #BringBackGoodluck2015 hashtag, which tried to capitalize on the popularity of #BringBackOurGirls. Jonathan never officially endorsed this version of the hashtag, but it appeared on signs and banners around the capital city of Abuja. Despite the government’s promises, the 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram are still being held captive.

EGYPT
The Egyptian authorities have arrested seven men accused of appearing in a video apparently showing a gay wedding. Homosexuality is not explicitly outlawed in Egypt, but gay men are periodically accused of charges such as scorning religion or debauchery.

SOMALIA
Human Rights Watch reports that African Union troops (a regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the UN) have raped women and girls seeking medical aid or water from their bases. Some soldiers have used humanitarian assistance, provided by the mission, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity.

MEXICO
Several members of a Mexican family have been jailed for 30 years for gouging out the eyes of a five-year-old who refused to close his eyes during a ritual in which the family called on Satan to protect them from the apocalypse.

IRAN
A British-Iranian woman has been in an Iranian prison for more than two months for trying to watch a men’s volleyball match. She and other female activists had been protesting the ban on women watching male sports. The ban of women in stadiums has been in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when mixed gender crowds and women seeing “not fully dressed” men was seen as un-Islamic.

Featured image from the Free Ghoncheh Ghavam Facebook page.

Daniela

Born and raised in Mexico City, Daniela has finally decided to abdicate her post as an armchair skeptic and start doing some skeptical activism. She is currently living in Spain after having lived in the US, Brazil and Italy. You can also find her blogging in Spanish at esceptica.org.

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