Global Quickies: Norway’s Lucky Rabbit, Brazil’s Facebook Page for the Homeless, and Sudan’s Storytellers


Check out the Photos of the Week from In Focus!


Meet Afghanistan’s ‘Bruce Lee’ – “Just a few weeks ago, Abbas Alizada was a just another young Afghan with little money and big dreams. But after posting a picture on Facebook of himself striking a pose next to martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the Kung Fu fan from a Kabul suburb has shot to social media fame.”

Kabul Postcard: A Neighborhood In Transition – “As I walk out my front door — and step over the open sewer trenches that line most of the city’s streets — the most pronounced change is the pavement. When I moved in, there wasn’t any. The street was nothing but dirt, and it had craters so deep, small cars could seemingly disappear inside them. When it rained, the street looked like something you’d imagine in medieval Europe. An Afghan woman walks past Woman Palace, which recently opened in Kabul. Despite the country’s poverty and traditional, modest dress, stores catering to wedding gowns and other upscale women’s clothing are doing a brisk business. But, after what felt like an endless period of construction that stopped and started several times, the street was finished and is still holding up — that’s something that can’t be said for many other streets paved in my time here that are again crumbling.”


Invisible Sao Paulo: A Facebook page for the homeless – “A Facebook page dedicated to homeless people in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has gone viral, helping some reunite with their families and others to start a new life.”

Rio’s debutantes: favela residents shall go to the ball – in pictures – “Teenagers from favelas in Brazilian city attend ball organised by the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) in an effort to build goodwill between residents and the force”


‘The Last Victim of China’s Inquisition’ – “Five years ago this month, the writer and professor Liu Xiaobo was tried and sentenced to 11 years in a Chinese prison. His crime: authoring and promoting Charter 08, a manifesto that appeals for freedom of expression, democratic elections, and human rights in China. In court, the authorities permitted Liu to make a public statement. That statement, entitled ‘I Have No Enemies,’ is the finest articulation of the struggle for freedom in modern China. It illustrates why he is so deserving of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Beyond humanistic, it is also a timeless declaration of immeasurable love for his wife.”


India’s ‘Banksy’ behind provocative graffiti – “Kochi is in the midst of a huge art biennale, and Guesswho’s graffiti seems to be a poke at the organised festival. The stencils are a clever mash-up of Western pop culture with Indian icons, and the artist’s (or artists’) style is certainly influenced by that anonymous yet famous British street artist, Banksy.”

A New Superhero Is Battling Sexual Violence in the Most Kick-Ass Way Possible – “A new comic book, Priya’s Shakti, is making waves in India for its unconventional heroine: a rape victim-turned-superhero who fights gendered violence with the help of the Hindu goddess Parvati. According to the comic’s website, the storyline focuses on Priya, a mortal woman who experienced a brutal rape and ensuing social stigma and isolation. Inspired by Parvati, Priya breaks her silence and reveals her assault, encouraging people around the world to take action against sexual violence.”


Syrian Women Displaced By War Make Tragedy Of ‘Antigone’ Their Own – “Antigone is outraged: She sees this as being against all the laws of decency and buries him herself, even though she knows that means the king will kill her, too, which he does. The dilemma of whether to do the right thing, even if it’s self-destructive, seems to speak to these women, who saw a peaceful uprising met with force and turned into a multi-polar war that consumed their country.”


Liberia’s Daily Talk: All The News That Fits On A Blackboard – “Just off Tubman Boulevard — Monrovia’s busy main thoroughfare — stands a plywood hut with a large blackboard at the front, in three panels. On them — written in clear, bold white chalk lettering — is a form of newsreel: mini-articles and editorials, as well as graphics and illustrations. The creator of Daily Talk — this Liberian journal with a difference — is Alfred Sirleaf. He’s 41 and has been “writing” the news since 2000, three years before the civil war ended.”


Mozambique sex workers learn to put life before money as HIV rates increase – “According to the most recent UNAids report (pdf), Mozambique has the fifth highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with 4% of the population affected. The prevalence of the virus among adolescent women is 7%, a figure that rises to 15% by the age of 25. The report also reveals that the districts with the highest density of people living with HIV – including Maputo – are located along the country’s transport corridors to South Africa, Swaziland and Malawi. These are areas that are associated with rapid economic growth and high levels of migration and mobility, all of which act as a catalyst for transactional sex.”


Lost Disney Film, Featuring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, Found In Norway – “Before Mickey Mouse, there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Only 25 seconds of Empty Socks, a Walt Disney cartoon featuring Oswald, was thought to exist. But archivists at Norway’s National Library conducting an inventory at the library’s vault in Mo i Rana, in the Arctic Circle, found an almost complete version of the film.”


How Pakistan’s women are punished for love – “In a country fighting to preserve patriarchal and tribal traditions, Pakistan’s women can face brutality – and even death – if they fall in love with the wrong person.”


Stray cat enjoys $1,000 fish feast – “A stray cat got its paws on a gourmet feast courtesy of an airport delicatessen, after managing to get inside the fish counter, it’s reported.” (OK I know this is a fluff piece–pun intended–but I was all like FUCK YEA for this kitty.)


‘I write to expel my fear’ – storytelling in the Sudans – “In collaboration with Warscapes, we introduce five Sudanese writers and ask them to reflect on the uses and misuses of storytelling during conflict”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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