“the hill that women built” by andrea bruce
on a hill overlooking kabul, with little access to electricity, more than one thousand women have made their own houses, brick by brick, from the land beneath them. they have created what is known by afghans as tapaye zanabad - “the hill that women built.”
widowed by the violence of the past 15 years, these women were left without the means to take care of their families, let alone a place to live. many were forced into prostitution and lived in constant fear of the taliban’s strict interpretations of sharia law.
the united nations development fund for women places the number of ‘war widows’ in afghanistan at more than two million. many are are uneducated, illiterate and lack basic job skills, and lead, as a consequence, secluded, poverty stricken lives. as one of the hill’s inhabitants put it, “it is better to be dead than be a widow in afghanistan.”
beginning in 2001, widows from all corners of afghanistan left the shadows of their harsh life for the rumor of a utopia in kabul made just for them. the abandoned government property they live on, once an outpost for the soviets, is now organized by the women in commune fashion.
aneesa (pictured above), with few relatives and no work opportunities for her as a woman, came to the hill after her husband, a soldier, was killed. “once you become a widow and live alone, people are strange toward you. they say a lot of bad things,” she said. “we feel more comfortable when we’re around other widows.”
but it was tough going at first, as police would tear down the homes and walls. but, she says, “i would rather have died than abandon this place.” with little help from the government or international donors, however, the hill can only offer mere refuge to these women.
The many faces of Elizabeth Jennings
(Source: bartonfinks, via jenningscomrades)
One of the most troubling things about the AIDS epidemic is that it could have been stopped so easily by rolling out life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) early on. Not only do ARVs prevent HIV from developing into AIDS, they also reduce transmission rates and increase people’s willingness to get tested. But Western pharmaceutical corporations have colluded in pricing these essential drugs way out of reach of the poor. When they were first introduced, patented ARVs cost up to $15,000 per yearly regimen. Generic producers were able to manufacture the same drugs for a mere fraction of the price, but the WTO outlawed this through the 1995 TRIPS agreement to protect Big Pharma’s monopoly. It was not until 2003 that the WTO bowed to activist pressure and allowed southern Africa to import generics, but by then it was too late – HIV prevalence had already reached devastating proportions. In other words, much of the region’s AIDS burden can be directly attributed to the WTO’s rules and the corporations that defended them. And they are set to strike again: the WTO will cut patent exemptions for poor countries after 2016. This dearth of basic drugs has gone hand in hand with the general collapse of public health institutions. Structural adjustment and WTO trade policies have forced states to cut spending on hospitals and staff in order to repay odious debts to the West. Swaziland, ground-zero in the world of AIDS, has been hit hard by these cuts. When I last visited I found that many once-bustling clinics are now empty and dilapidated. Neoliberalism has systematically destroyed the first line of defence against AIDS. The point I want to drive home is that the policies that deny poor people access to life-saving drugs and destroy public healthcare come from the same institutions and interests that helped create the conditions for HIV transmission in the first place.
A Minnesota man was ticketed after he tossed $1,000 in dollar bills from the third floor of the Mall of America into an audience watching a performance there, police said.
I am not sure where to start with Minneapolis restaurant Travail. This restaurant was trendy and popular, and I’m certain it will be just as trendy and popular when it re-opens. I’ve been there, and it’s definitely an interesting concept for the Minneapolis food scene….
Naima Lowe is a queer, Black artist based in Washington state whose most recent project is causing quite a stir. She’s created a book called 39 Questions for White People, a collection of simple questions that are meant to generate a discussion around white privilege. Here’s how Lowe describes it:
The deceptively simple text asks complex questions about race and accountability. Each page of this limited edition, forty-page, loose-leaf book, was hand inked and hand typed at a small collectively run print shop in Olympia, WA. This work started as an experiment based in my curiosity about how whiteness is framed and understood by white people. The work of creating the book became an exercise in turning the emotional labor of racism into tangible physical labor. I was able to turn all that pain into an object, which is incredibly strange, but also incredibly freeing.
Questions include: How do you know that you’re white? Do you notice when the last white person leaves the room?
Copies of the book just went on sale and it’s currently on display at The Wing Luke Museum in Seattle as part of their special exhibition “Under My Skin: Artists Explore Race in the 21st Century.”
A lie repeated often and confidently enough can become widely mistaken for the truth, becoming a belief that obscures the facts. False beliefs about disaster follow this model; their poison is concentrated in a few oft-deployed words, notably “mobs,” “panic” and “looting.”
Attempts at survival are not criminal acts, yet that is how they are often portrayed in news reports suggesting the problem is out-of-control mobs or looting rather than that the largest typhoon ever to make landfall has left thousands dead and tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands, without food, water or medical care.
This post is on point. They question, should someone who steals food simply to survive a crisis really be called a looter? Spot on.