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“To Kill a Sparrow” (by CIR
“To Kill a Sparrow” is a short film revealing the plight of woman in Afghanistan who are imprisoned for so-called “moral crimes”: running away from forced marriages or domestic abuse, or falling in love and marrying against a father’s wishes. “Sparrow” tells the story of Soheila and her lover Niaz, who are sentenced to prison for daring to live together as a couple. Soheila is defying her father’s order to marry a much older man. If Soheila persists in refusing to submit to the arranged marriage, her father and brother say they will kill her “even if she moves to America.”
"In this week’s gallery of the best photojournalism from the week, we pay tribute to regular contributor Anja Niedringhaus. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was killed this week covering the presidential election in Afghanistan. She worked in the conflict areas of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya from where she always displayed compassionate and courageous photojournalism."
Nigeria: Nigeria is the most homophobic country in the world, according to a 2013 poll, which found 97 percent of citizens think society should not accept homosexuality. The laws reflect that: Same-sex couples face up to 14 years in prison and even public displays of same-sex affection are illegal.
Uganda: The spotlight has been focused on Kampala recently for its anti-LGBT policies. A law passed this week makes homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison, gay rights activists have been murdered, and gay citizens are widely discriminated against.
Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe has made a crusade out of homophobia – with widespread public approval. Last year, Mugabe threatened to behead gay Zimbabweans and described them as “filth.”
Saudi Arabia: Basing its law, it says, on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, the current Saudi regime has made gay sex punishable by death by the lash. But according to some reports from inside the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean homosexuality isn’t common.
India: Thought of as a highly tolerant society, it came as a surprise earlier this year when the country’s highest court reinstated a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex. But the decision has been met with protests and the court’s decision is being challenged.
Honduras: There have been a spate of anti-LGBT hate crimes here in recent years. More than 80 LGBT people have been killed in anti-LGBT hate crimes since 2009 and LGBT-rights activist say they are shunned by their families and communities.
Jamaica: Sex between men is illegal, hate crimes are alarmingly common and the government seems reluctant to protect gays from violence. Senegal One of the most anti-gay countries in the world, according to a 2013 Pew poll, which found 96 percent of Senegalese think society should not accept homosexuality, only surpassed by Nigeria at 97 percent. Gay sex is illegal and discrimination is commonplace.
Afghanistan: It may no longer be under the rule of the Taliban (at least in much of the country), but harsh views toward homosexuality still remain. It’s still news when an Afghan comes out as gay, even from Toronto. Yet its male homosexual culture is widespread but rarely commented on.
Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s last president, famously told Americans: “We don’t have homosexuals in our country like you do.” His successor, Hassan Rouhani, elected last June, hasn’t made gay rights – or anti-gay legislation – a priority, but it’s already on the books. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and can even be punishable by death in certain cases.
Lithuania: The Baltic state’s parliament is considering a law similar to Russia’s notorious anti-gay anti-propaganda law. And while homosexuality isn’t illegal, it has many opponents. Last year’s second-ever gay pride parade was interrupted by homophobic protesters.
Sudan: Homosexuality is punishable by death and even attempts at arranging a homosexual act can lead to a prison sentence. The good news is that there have been stirrings in recent years of a pro-LGBT rights movement.
The United States: We have undoubtedly made great strides in LGBT rights in recent years, from same-sex marriage to equality in the military. But Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and several other states have laws on the books that resemble Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. And anti-LGBT hate crimes remain frighteningly common, especially against transgender people.
Photo: Gay rights activists hold placards during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. (Photo credit: Adnan Abid/Reuters)
Our latest cover story: Greetings from Gitmo by Alexander Nazaryan
They lost their legs in Afghanistan and Iraq; now they have come to Guantánamo Bay to scuba dive.
This week’s NEWSWEEK: Reporters Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova trace the story of the United States’ impact on Afghanistan over the past 13 years of conflict, and the troubling situation the country is in today. The state, now governed by a group of shaky, corrupt individuals faces another, more insidious threat: a global $68bn opium trade that, in some areas, is the country’s only economic engine.
This week’s cover, if you missed it on Monday before we got all election crazy, features three soldiers the helicopter crew of DUSTOFF 73—a medevac team that took on a wildly perilous mission to save troops under fire in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
They are heroes.
But they’re not alone.
Next week your nwktumblrs ship off to Washington, D.C. to cover Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s “Hero Summit,” a two-day “theatrical-journalism event” (a cooler name for a string of on-stage panel discussions between journalists and subjects) where, ahem, “we’ll hear powerful theories about the essence of leadership, showcase veterans whose stories illuminate the connection between military service and success in the private sector, and examine what it means to speak truth to power.”
It’s all about stories that celebrate our nation’s heroes—from fighting in the poppy fields of Afghanistan to diffusing a bomb in the streets of Iraq.
Also: Bono & Aaron Sorkin will be there! We’re pretty psyched. So stay tuned, we’ll have more next week starting Wednesday, likely all found on a ‘Hero Summit’ tumblr tag.
[Major thanks to our sponsor, Jeep, which is helping us celebrate our nation’s heroes for their service. Visit their website to share your support.]
Backstage at Women in the World, Afghan elder Bibi Hokmina asked U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to please stop the night raids in her country. U.S. and Afghan forces frequently drop from helicopters to search the homes of suspected Taliban fighters, a practice that’s tremendously unpopular in Afghanistan. Hokmina told Napolitano that the raids violate women and children, and Napolitano replied that she would take Hokmina’s message all the way to the top. Admiral William McRaven estimates 2,800 raids were carried out last year.
Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.
But are they actually our enemy? We originally went to Afghanistan in search of the terrorists behind 9/11. Now, Al Qaeda’s mostly moved on to other countries. But the Taliban, many argue, are just as guilty for harboring the terrorists in the first place—not to mention their continuing to kill American troops. What do you guys think?
Newsweek’s Middle East Editor (and tumblr-er!) Christopher Dickey stars in our latest ‘Op-Vid: Campaign 2012’ video, tackling what the word “Occupation” truly means. If you’ve been following the revolution in Egypt, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yep, Occupy Wall Street, we think you’ll enjoy this three-minute video. nwk tumblr feels smarter already. Great job, Christopher!