‘Two Shortest Short Stories’ by Sana Janjua

Story # 1
Woman
She negotiated with every power structure till she reached the edifice of their desire. There stood her man. He touched her breasts, shook his head and said: ‘Too soft for my taste’.

Story # 2
Man
He said he had loved her all these years. So then he came, moaning, and said: ‘You are too good at it. Who taught you that, Slut?’
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Urgent Petition: Stop the Israel/Gaza violence!

Israeli gov., Hamas & Palestinian leaders, USA gov., European leaders: Stop the Israel/Gaza violence!

We, Israeli civilians living along the border with Gaza, civilians in Gaza and citizens from all around the world call to end the violence!
Every few weeks violence across the Gaza/Israel border surges. Israel air raids in Gaza, kill and injure innocent civilians, and rockets fired from Gaza into civilian populations in Israel, cause trauma, chaos and physical harm.

We have lived through this long enough, and will no longer sit by quietly.

We are people on both sides of the border who deserve the right to live normal lives. That’s it!

We call upon the Israeli and Hamas governments to end this violence once and for all. Find the ways to sit down and talk, end the attacks and the siege on Gaza, and stop playing with our lives.

http://www.change.org/petitions/israeli-gov-hamas-palestinian-leaders-usa-gov-european-leaders-stop-the-israel-gaza-violence

By Other Voice

uddari@live.ca

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Call for Submissions: Telling Truths – Creative Writing on Mothering & Motherhood – Jan 15/13

CALL FOR PAPERS
Demeter Press is seeking submissions for an edited collection entitled
Telling Truths: Creative Writing on Mothering and Motherhood
Editors: Dr. Sheena Wilson and Dr. Diana Davidson

DEADLINE FOR EXTRACT or ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: January 15, 2013
DEADLINE FOR FINAL COMPLETE SUBMISSIONS: June 1, 2013
Preliminary acceptance, based on abstracts, will be announced by March 1.
Completed manuscripts of 3000-7000 words will be due June 1, 2013.

“My children cause me the most exquisite suffering of which I have any experience.
It is the suffering of ambivalence: the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness.”
Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born

This collection of creative nonfiction aims to give voice to a diversity of women writers from various backgrounds, generations, and writing experience. We are proposing a literary collection that will speak to the experiences of mothering in all its ambivalence-both the joys and the struggles of women’s lives in ways that will cut across class, race, ethnicity, culture, geographical location (remote rural to urban Canada), age, sexual orientation, physical and/or mental disability (of child and/or of mother), infertility, abortion, miscarriage, and death.

Topics can include (but are not exclusive to) the following:
mothering in other/minority languages, cultures and religious paradigms, in Canada or other multicultural contexts; Canadian mothers mothering in another international context; mothering in poverty; mothering and the environment: environmental practice, ethos, resistance, failure etc; negotiating climate change activism and the struggles of living responsibly in a petroculture, especially as these issues relate to mothering and family dynamics; practices/ethics of consumerism and mothering; the pressures of intensive mothering for contemporary mothers of all classes; comparative pieces that reflect on historical versus contemporary practices of mothering; lesbian mothers; single mothers; teen mothers; late mothers/aging mothers; grandmothers as mothers; adoptive mothers; childless mothers (through abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, death, loss of parental rights); infertility stories; abortion stories; birthing stories; mothering young children; mothering grown children; mothering gay children of any age; struggles of co-parenting with partners for any variety of reasons: gender, culture, religion, socio-economic backgrounds etc.; mothering through mental illness (of oneself or other family members); mothering through postpartum depression; mothering having never been mothered oneself; mothering through physical illness and/or disability/ies; mothering disabled children; urban mothering and/or rural mothering; working mothers; stay-at-home mothers; mothering and memory; mothering & writing creative nonfiction.

Submission Guidelines
We are predominantly seeking contributions that might be classified as creative non-fiction, but we are also open to other multi-genre texts or texts in other genres. The essays in this collection must privilege the “I” and lived experience. They can certainly be supported by research and/or narrative inquiry practices but experience must be central. At least 50 % of the collection will privilege the experiences of Canadian mother or mothering in Canada. We look forward to reading your stories of motherhood.
Deadline for Excerpt or Abstract/Summary of 200-300 words is January 15, 2013
Please include a 50-word biography
Please send submissions and inquiries directly to:
Dr. Sheena Wilson and Dr. Diana Davidson
sheena.wilson@ualberta.ca, and diana.davidson@ualberta.ca

Preliminary acceptance, based on abstracts, will be announced by March 1.
Completed manuscripts of 3000-7000 words will be due June 1, 2013.

Again, we remain flexible on these guidelines in order to include a diversity of voices and genres.
Editorial review of complete pieces will take place over the summer months.
Final acceptance is contingent and will depend upon the strength and fit of the final piece.

DEMETER PRESS
140 Holland St. West, P.O. Box 13022
Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (tel) 905-775-5215
http://www.demeterpress.orginfo@demeterpress.org

Information from Joanne Arnott
joannearnott.blogspot.ca

uddari@live.ca
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‘Blasphemy, Religious Hatred, and the United Nations’ by Austin Dacey

In the wake of the furor over Innocence of Muslims, we are hearing renewed calls to criminalize blasphemy under international law from the halls of the United Nations. This comes a little over a year after the so-called Islamic states retired a discredited, decade-long campaign to combat “defamation of religions” (and legal coherence).

Meanwhile, the 1966 human rights treaty banning “advocacy of religious hatred” remains in force. Indeed, it is precisely such a charge that has the Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan and the Russian punks Pussy Riot locked away at this moment. What more could one want?

Those who study the history of blasphemy laws are condemned to repeat themselves: These laws don’t work. Unless what you are after is more blasphemy. Consider the case of India.

In September 1917, Muslim villages in the Shahabad and Gaya districts of the Indian state of Bihar were besieged by tens of thousands of rioting Hindus, who for days ranged in mobs looting and destroying homes, desecrating mosques, and stealing cattle. By their end, the Shahabadriots had resulted in assaults on 150 villages, 176 serious injuries, and 41 deaths.

What caused this carnage? The ceremonial slaughter of cows by members of the local Muslim community in celebration of the religious festival of Id Al-Adha.

British colonial records document eruptions of such inter-community violence throughout the nineteenth century. Today these tensions are ratcheted up by the opposing political agendas of Hindu nationalist and Islamist movements.

This tragic legacy has unfolded not despite but alongside robust laws prohibiting “outraging the religious feelings” of others. These laws were installed under British colonial rule ostensibly to manage and mitigate precisely this kind of interfaith strife.

The Indian Penal Code was drafted in 1837 by the Indian Law Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay and eventually adopted in 1860. It is “a truth which needs no proof,” wrote the Commission, that there are “many persons of such sensitive feelings among the higher ranks of the Natives of India” for whom “insults have as great a tendency as bodily injuries to excite violent passion.”

But the Indian Penal Code’s criminalization of religious offense in its Article 295 — the ancestor of the infamous blasphemy laws of Pakistan, as well as Bangladesh — has not solved the problem. It has institutionalized the problem.

The law legitimizes and incentivizes outrage. Where the incensed reactions might be seen as religious demagoguery inciting extrajudicial murder, in the context of Article 295 they can be seen as agitation for the reign of justice and the enforcement of a duly enacted law. Where they might otherwise be nothing but impotent rage, with the help of the law they can be tactics that succeed in removing the offending practice — if only for the moment.

Furthermore, the law expanded the meaning of blasphemy, generating new opportunities for outrage. Traditional Islamic law, for example, recognizes the offense of sabb al-rasul, insult to the Prophet. But an insult to the Prophet obviously is not equivalent to feelings of outrage about just any sacred values. A legal system crafted to encompass Hindus, Muslims, and Christians created a standard that went far beyond any of their religious doctrines: the standard of respect for all believers.

The law quite literally wrote new blasphemies into being.

Consider Urdu literature’s first “angry young woman,” Rashid Jahan. Jahan, a young medical doctor, made her literary debut in a 1932 anthology called Angarey (Embers), a critique of contemporary Indian Muslim society — in particular the conditions endured by women — denounced by local clerics and conservative papers as an “Absolutely Filthy and Foul” pamphlet of blasphemies.

Rashid Jahan and her three fellow contributors were threatened with death by stoning and hanging. In March 1933 the authorities of Uttar Pradesh state government intervened, confiscating and destroying all but a handful of copies of the book under Article 295’s protection of religious feelings. The law helped to turn a critique of Islamically-based gender inequality into a blasphemous affront to Muslims.

Whose interests are served by generating new opportunities for outrage that are legitimized and incentivized by law? Those who benefit most are the most extreme voices — like Angarey’s most implacable enemies — who anoint themselves as representatives of the outraged and thereby claim authority and consolidate power within the community.

The lessons of this history are clear. If you want to bring about greater reverence for your sacred values, laws against blasphemy won’t help. If, on the other hand, you want to boost your bids for power and authority within your religious community, they are a god-send.

From Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/austin-dacey/un-blasphemy-laws_b_1915920.html

Related content at Uddari
Holier Than Life by Fauzia Rafique
The Clowns of Blasphemy by Fauzia Rafique
Blasphemy vendetta: Pakistan 1990-2009
Search Uddari with keyword ‘blasphemy’ for more.
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‘Iran resurrects Salman Rushdie threat’ by Robert Tait

Uddari condemns Ayatollah Hassan Sanei, an Iranian Imam, who has chosen, yet again, to target Author Salman Rushdie by reviving Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa. By doing this he has openly instigated violence against an individual; tried to delude Iranians with religious hysteria instead of addressing their real-life issues; perpetuated fear in artists; and, has continued with the vulgarity of using money as incentive to kill human beings.

The Telegraph, UK

Iran has seized on widespread Muslim outrage over a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad to revive the death threat against Salman Rushdie, raising the reward for killing him by US$500,000 (£320,000).

Ayatollah Hassan Sanei, head of a powerful state foundation providing relief to the poor, said the film would never have been made if the order to execute Rushdie, issued by the late Iranian spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had been carried out.

Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwa sentencing the author to death in 1989 after declaring his novel, The Satanic Verses, “blasphemous”, but Iranian officials later indicated it would not be implemented.
“It [the film] won’t be the last insulting act as long as Imam Khomeini’s historic order on executing the blasphemous Salman Rushdie is not carried out,” he said in a statement.

“If the imam’s order was carried out, the further insults in the form of caricatures, articles and films would not have taken place. The impertinence of the grudge-filled enemies of Islam, which is occurring under the flag of the Great Satan, America and the racist Zionists, can only be blocked by the absolute administration of this Islamic order.”

Ayatollah Saeni’s offer appeared to be an officially-sanctioned attempt by Iran to harness anger across the Muslim world over the film, which was produced by anti-Muslim Christians based in the United States. The film, which depicts the Prophet Mohammed in a derogatory manner, has provoked riots and violent attacks on western interests in several Muslim countries, including Libya, where Americans, including the ambassador, were killed.

Although Ayatollah Sanei has offered financial rewards for carrying out the edict in the past, he said Muslim anger over the recent film meant the time was now ripe.
“The aim [of the fatwa] has been to uproot the anti-Islamic conspiracy and now the necessity for taking this action is even more obvious than any other time,” he said. “I’m adding another $500,000 to the reward and anyone who carries out this order will immediately receive the whole amount.” The total bounty is now $3.3m (£2.1 m).

The increased bounty was issued on the eve of the publication of a memoir by Rushdie about his years spent in hiding and living under armed guard from would-be executioners intent on carrying out Khomeini’s sentence.

It also re-opens an affair that appeared to have been laid to rest after Iranian officials gave assurances that the fatwa would not be put into effect.

In 1998, Iran’s reformist then president, Mohammad Khatami, declared the Rushdie affair “completely finished” during an appearance at the UN General Assembly in New York. The Iranian foreign minister at the time, Kemal Kharrazi, also announced that Iran would not threaten the author’s life or encourage others to kill him.

The statements led to a restoration of diplomatic ties between London and Tehran, which Britain had cut in protest. It also prompted Rushdie to come out of hiding.

However, the fatwa – passed four months before Khomeini’s death – was never annulled and hardliners have frequently revived the issue as a political weapon in their internal struggle with more moderate elements in Iran’s theocratic regime.

It is unlikely that Ayatollah Sanei, personal representative of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the 15th Khordad Foundation, was acting without higher approval. In 2005, Ayatollah Khamenei himself reaffirmed the fatwa while addressing pilgrims preparing to visit Mecca.

In a speech last Friday, he decried the film as the work of US imperialism and “Zionism” and linked it to other perceived western attacks on Islam, including The Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoon contest depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

“Had they not backed the previous links in this evil chain, namely Salman Rushdie, the Danish cartoonist, and the US pastors who burned the Holy Koran and had they not made orders for [production of] tens of anti-Islam movies to companies affiliated to the Zionist capitalists, things would not have lead to this great and unforgivable sin today,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the reports and take any threat to the life of a British National very seriously. Our diplomatic position has always been clear that threats to Mr Rushdie are completely unacceptable.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9546513/Iran-resurrects-Salman-Rushdie-threat.html
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15 September: Day of Solidarity with workers and their families

15 September
Day of Solidarity
With those workers of Lahore and Karachi
Who lost their lives
For the crimes they had not committed
 
Please join us
 
 Hyderabad demo: 1.30pm Old Campus Hyderabad
 contact: Bukhshal Thallo
034 4333 3888
 
Karachi demo:   4pm from Ghani Churangi SITE industrial area to the factory where 300 worker lost their lives in fire.
Contact:
 Nasir Mansoor 0300 358 7211
Lahore Demo: 3pm at Charing Cross Mall Road
Contact Rana Aslam 03004210024
Faisalabad: all power looms and textile factories to be closed and rally from Saddar at 10 am to the city centre
Contact Rana Tahir 0300 725 2295
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Contact
Farooq Tariq

Member
Federal executive committee
Labour Party Pakistan
Tel: 03008411946
Background:

The fire at Ali Enterprises in Karachi, one of the worst ever industrial accidents in Pakistan that led tothe death of more than 350 workers on 11 September 2012 along with the other accident on the same day in asimilar garment factory in Lahore has brought into focus the critical issue of lack of workplace safety. This horrific incident shows the complete lack of safety regulation even in the organised manufacturing sector for which both the employer and government must be held criminally culpable.

The fire at Ali Enterprises, a five-storey garment factory located in Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE), at Karachi’s prestigious industrial area which is home to several global firms, killed more than 289 workers while the one in the shoe factory in Lahore claimed lives of more than 25 workers. Most of these workers were unable to escape due to inadequate access and the complete lack of emergency and fire exits. The building flouted all fire-safety norms and hence workers died due to asphyxiation and burns, unable to leave the building.

The Government is equally criminally liable for this negligence as the employer as it allowed flouting of all labour legislations and building safety norms.

Pakistan had ratified the ILO Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No 81) in 1953 under which, the government is bound to maintain a system of labour inspection in industrial workplaces. This Convention contains binding legal provisions relating to conditions of work and the protection of workers, including industrial safety and health that is enforceable by labour inspectors. The working conditions in the industry in Punjab worsened after the abolition of labour inspections following an Executive Order issued under the provisions of the Punjab Industrial Policy 2003, which aimed at “developing an industry and business-friendly environment” to attract fresh investment. The routine physical inspection of factories was stopped by the then Provincial Government through an amendment to the Punjab Factories Rules, 1978 which replaced physical inspection of the workplace by labour inspectors with a self-declaration statement by the employers on compliance with labour laws in their units. There is no law to even check or take action against those employers, who do not submit this self-declaration.

NTUI condoles the death of over three hundred workers in the two separate incidents of fire and joins the Pakistani trade unions in their immediate demand for payment compensation of Rs. 50 lakhs to the families of the workers who were killed, and Rs. 20 lakhs to the injured workers and further that the workers should receive their wages until such time as safe and secure production resumes. We also support the demand that the Government hold the employer criminally liable of homicide and take action against the Labour Department and government authorities that failed to ensure the safety and health of these workers.

The NTUI also joins the call for the Ratification of the ILO Convention 155 on Occupational Safety and Health and Convention 187 of Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health by all countries in the sub-continent that have seen several such incidents of fire at workplaces leading to innumerable loss of lives. Factory fires have alone claimed hundreds of lives in factories in India, Bangladesh, and now Pakistan in recent years – many of which are in the garment industry that are part of the global supply chain. This is not coincidental but is closely linked to the nature of the supply chain of this industry wherein capital is continually searching for areas of low labour costs for shifting production in order to keep the profit margins soaring. Hence lax implementation of even basic labour laws is critical for location of industry.

Trade unions across the subcontinent must come together to ensure that governments in South Asia arrive at a common minimum framework for labour laws including industrial safety and wages so as to prevent the movement of capital across borders in search of cheap labour and lax regulation.

We stand in solidarity with the call of the National Trade Union Federation for a Black Day on 15 September against the dreadful incident.

We will together build a safe and secure South Asian Work place!

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Gautam Mody,
Secretary
New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)
B-137, First Floor, Dayanand Colony,
Lajpat Nagar IV,
New Delhi 110024
Telephone: +91 11 26214538
Telephone/ Fax: +91 11 26486931
Email: secretariat@ntui.org.in
Website: http://ntui.org.in

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325 workers dead in one day – Pakistan

‘Political gimmicks over the death of 300 workers’
By Farooq Tariq
Today, a smiling Asif Zardari emerged from his caravan at Mao Hospital Lahore waving hands to his sycophants, when he came to enquire the health of the five injured workers during a fire in a shoe factory while 27 died on 11th September 2012. Till today, no Pakistan People’s Party leader visited the factory or went to see the families of those who had died.
The 10 minutes visit to the hospital by the president of Pakistan who is also co chairperson of PPP was an immediate response to the visit of Mian Nawaz Sharif to a Karachi factory where over 300 had died on the same day in a similar incident. He announced Rupees 300,000 compensation for every worker killed in the incident on behalf of Punjab government while according to commercial media report; President Zardari offered flowers to the five injured workers.
Punjab is ruled by Muslim League Nawaz while the provincial government in Sindh is of PPP. During the last three days after the worst industrial incident of Pakistan history, a routine message of sorrow by these two leaders were printed and broadcasted by the commercial media. Once Mian Nawaz Sharif decided to go to Sindh, President Zardari decided to visit Lahore.
The both sides accused each other for negligence in providing all the health and safety measures to the workers in the factories. The fact is that during the last four years of the power of PPP and PMLN in Sindh and Punjab, no factory inspection took place and the factories literary became the concentration camps. It was general Musharaf handpicked Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Ilahi, who put a ban on labour inspection of the factories across the province.
The PPP and PMLN government did not lift this ban until an earlier shocking incident at the pharmaceutical factory in Lahore that killed 27 workers on 4th January 2012. The Punjab government did announced lifting of the ban on factory inspection but no practical steps were taken by the labour department in this regard.
Ironically, Pervaiz Ilahi of Pakistan Muslim League Q is at present deputy prime minister of Pakistan and was accompanying the president during today’s hospital visit.
On the instruction of the Punjab government, it was decided that no official will be able to visit any factory without the permission of PPP and PMLN. The DLO will not give that permission and hence no labour inspection took place in Punjab. It was worst in Sindh where PPP and MQM were in power and there was a complete ban on factory inspection.
The worst incident in the history of Pakistan leaving over 325 workers dead in one day was a routine for the ruling class for the last three days. The PPP leaders invited by the commercial media to debate with PMLN leaders during this time accused Punjab government for negligence and PMLN accused the other. It was blame game and a political gimmick.
Had 300 capitalists died in any incident or accident, the whole commercial media, the ruling class and all those who are putting a mum on their lips would have declared a national tragedy, a great loss and would have declared a national day off, at the least. The 300 deaths of the workers  were like a routine matter, “a message of solidarity, a compensation of 200,000 Rupees, a promise to provide job to the relatives and may be a visit to the families of the dead” that is it. It shows a complete collapse of morality of the ruling capitalist class in Pakistan.
The interior minister, Rehman Malik, a real joker, went further than every ones guess; he hinted that it might be an act of terrorism. What non sense. That shows the thinking pattern of the ministers. They want to link every incident to their war on terror so they could prove to the Americans that they are the victims of the war on terror and the Americans should give them more money.
Some of the anchor persons tried to divert attention from this grave incident by spreading rumors that the owners were threatened by some gangsters to pinch money and they might have started the fire. Although, it was dam bloody clear to everyone that a total negligence towards the environment within the factories led to these two incidents where state has failed to play any role. And this 9/11 of Pakistan was not an isolated incident, it is happening every now and then.
Apart from the rich ruling politicians who have always protracted the capitalist class, now judiciary has once again came to the rescue the class they are protecting. The three owners of the factory went to Sindh High Court Larkana bench and got so-called protective bail for eight days.
The real class based prejudice of the judiciary can be seen from the fact that those “Faisalabad 6” textile workers who are accused of burning a factory front room with no life damage are given 590 years of total jail terms and were not granted bail for a single day. While here in this case, a factory owner responsible for 300 deaths is granted a bail. It is no accident that the owners went to Larkana bench, the home town of Bhuttos family, instead of Karachi.
The Faisalabad six are facing anti terrorist laws while no life was lost during the strike in July 2010 for wage increase despite some incidents of violence from both sides, and here three factory owners responsible for 300 deaths are not charged under anti terrorist laws. There are other Karachi textile workers facing anti terrorist laws just for the crime of raising voices for better wages and conditions.
Ordinary people of Pakistan are in real shock over the incident. There is great sympathy for the workers who have lost their lives. On the contrary, this incident is a political gimmick for the ruling politicians. We must reject this rough politics. We must build a genuine movement of solidarity by fighting for decent age and working conditions for the industrial working class. It is wake call once again for all of us.
Farooq Tariq
Member federal executive committee
Labour Party Pakistan
03008411945
Labour Party Pakistan
1/7 Street 7, Mohammed Nagar, Allama Iqbal Road, Lahore, Pakistan
tel: 00 92 42 36315162
www.laborpakistan.org
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