*NEW* Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

16-22 October 2004

*NEW* Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

Margaret Hassan

Margaret Hassan, kidnapped on her way to work where she runs Care International’s Iraq operation, was a strong opponent of UN sanctions on Iraq. Tony Blair, who supported the sanctions which Margaret Hassan condemned, remarked that Britain will do all that it can to secure her release.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said on Thursday that Australia would not offer a ransom or withdraw its 300-troop contingent in Iraq to secure her freedom but offered that the Australian Government might appeal for Hassan’s release. “There are, if you like, three authorities who will have a direct interest in getting her released other than us–the British Government, because she’s a dual Iraqi-British national, obviously the…interim Government in Iraq, and Care Australia who we’re helping as best we can,” he said.
http://www.dawn.com/2004/10/21/int7.htm; http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/10/21/1098316790546.html

The Caravan for Justice

The Caravan for Justice for the Women of Ciudad Juarez, a project to raise awareness regarding the murder of women in this region, kicked off at the University of Washington, October 18. The Mexican government, noted for underreporting atrocities, has recently stated that over 4000 young women have recently gone missing from Jaurez. The police are allegedly complicit in the killings. See http://www.mexicoslidaritynetwork.org for updates as the caravan moves south.

Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran: Atrocities

In Iran Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajouh has reportedly been sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, who, she claims, tried to rape her then 15-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Fatemah’s execution was expected to take place this week.

The fundamentalist regime of Iran is planning to stone a 13-year-old girl, Jila, in the city of Marivan in coming days. Jila was raped and impregnated by her brother and Iran’s clerical judge has sentenced her to death by stoning. According to the Iranian regime’s penal code, stoning is the punishment for those who commit adultery.

From: Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran press@wfafi.org
WFAFI, P.O.Box 15205, Boston, MA 02215, Tel: (617) 590-1665

Update on the Case of Jila Izadi in Iran

Due to the immediate international response, Jila Izadi’s stoning has been postponed. WFAFI calls upon all the women’s activists and advocates, NGO’s and human rights organizations to urge the UN General Assembly, in its current session, to issue a resolution condemning Iran’s human rights violations and particularly its criminal behaviour toward women.

Please write to:
Secretary Powell
Ambassador John C. Danforth – usa@un.int
Secretary General Kofi Annan – ecu@un.org
European Parliaments – civis@europarL.eu.int

WFAFI – P.O.Box 15205, Boston, MA 02215, Tel: (617) 590-1665, CONTACT: press@wfafi.org

Killing by Any Other Name…

Last Friday In Lahore, India, the non-government organisation Aurat Foundation held a conference on honour killing. Participants felt that the bill presented to the National Assembly by ruling party Pakistan Muslim League was weak and flawed. One glaring omission was that the bill had not demanded a mandatory punishment for honour crimes. Participants hoped that an effective bill would be presented to the Assembly and incorporated in the Constitution.

Women Speaking Out

Last Saturday a “Women in Black” group in Lawrence, Kansas crashed a tailgate party before a football game.

From a participant: “Wearing black garb and carrying our ‘Bush lies, 1000’s Die’ and ‘1157 US dead, 15,000+ Iraqi Dead’ signs, we slowly and silently walked through the crowd…Screaming angry people yelled obscenities at us and called us traitors. Out of thousands of people, only three offered encouragement. One women walked beside me and said, ‘you’re so brave, thanks for doing this.’ …An African-American man took his hat off as we walked past, and said, ‘thank you ladies for doing this.’ Then another man screamed obscenities at us. The kind black man held him back and said something like, ‘I’m a Veteran. You don’t know about war, man. These people are trying to help us.’ He continued to talk the guy down as we walked on. He was my hero.”

womeninblack mailing list – womeninblack@listas.nodo50.org

What, if Anything, is Wrong with Pink?

October is breast cancer month, and thus the month to air the controversy over the raising of money for breast cancer research and education. The conflict revolves around allegations that some companies are using the pink campaign (colouring products or packaging pink to tell consumers that a portion of sales of that item will go to breast cancer research and education) to enhance their image (“Corporate Pinkwashing”) while only donating a small fraction of the profits to cancer research. Another issue is that the very companies who openly sponsor this research are themselves possible culprits in the proliferation of breast cancer!

A mammogram only detects existing breast cancer. Recent studies have strongly evidenced the possibility of a direct link between breast cancer and the environment. Several studies have shown that routine mammography screening does not benefit women under 50, and some researchers argue that it may actually increase the risk or developing breast cancer. GE and Du Pont aggressively market mammography screening toward younger women. The concept of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was dreamt up in 1985, by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), a multi-billion dollar producer of plastics, pesticides, and paper products. ICI was later purchased by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, a British based multinational corporation and manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, as well as herbicides and fungicides known to be carcinogenic. In 1997, Zeneca merged with the Swedish pharmaceutical company, Astra, forming the AstraZeneca partnership, the chief financial sponsor for NBCAM and key player in both the chemical and cancer industries. NBCAM and the cancer industry have chosen not to make breast cancer prevention a priority. Judging from their profits, prevention doesn’t pay nearly as well as the search for a cure.

General Electric, which sells more than US $100 million per year in mammography machines, has the highest number of EPA Superfund sites in the US, and is responsible for dumping an estimated one million tons of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) oil into the Hudson River. Du Pont, which markets much of the film used in mammography machines, is allegedly the most polluting company in the US. The cancer-treatment drug Tamoxifen may cause uterine cancer, liver cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

From Lara Jill Rosenblith, Your Guide to Environmental Issues –
More information at:
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – http://www.komen.org/

Sisterly Sayings

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes”
Maggie Kuhn

Sisters Bringing Home the Prize

Austrian writer Elfriede Jelenik, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize for Literature, writes about the structures of gender and capitalism with a critical eye. She writes in German and her works have been translated into 18 languages.

Her novels available in English are: The Piano Teacher (Trans: Joachim Neugroschel: 1988), Wonderful, Wonderful Times (Trans: Michael Hulse:1990), Women as Lovers (Trans: Martin Chalmers:1994) and Lust (Trans: Michael Hulse:1992). All are published by Serpent’s Tail, London).