sabato 7 marzo 2015

Gli elettrodomestici e le rose

Secondo uno studio citato dal New Internationalist ( le donne che utilizzano per cucinare utilizzano stufe tradizionali a legna impiegano in media 35 ore alla settimana per cucinare e procurarsi la legna. Tra l'altro, il fumo generato da queste stufe causa numerosi problemi di salute. Sarebbe sufficiente dotarle di stufe più avanzate, o addirittura di elettrodomestici, per liberare ed emancipare ore ed ore di tempo. Sgravando, oltre alle madri di famiglia, tutte quelle figlie chiamate prematuramente a rimanere ad aiutare in casa.

Certo, anche la modernizzazione avrebbe i suoi rovesci. Questo tempo dovrebbe essere liberato per che cosa, semplicemente per sradicare e immettere milioni di individui nel circuito della produzione? E se tutte le case di questo mondo, se tutti i forni elettrici e le lavatrici e i condizionatori del mondo si unissero, che ne sarebbe delle risorse del nostro pianeta?

Ma in molte società rurali il problema non si pone, almeno non per ora, perché l'acquisto di questo genere di bene spetta abitualmente ai mariti, restii a investire in questo genere di innovazioni. E poi c'è la cultura, le tradizioni, le aspettative di genere e di ruolo. Aspettative nemmeno troppo esotiche: si pensi al mito della casalinga e della donna di casa, che nasce o almeno si sviluppa in Europa proprio in concomitanza con il boom degli elettrodomestici e della meccanizzazione e con la società piccolo borghese (perché le donne del popolo, in fondo, hanno sempre dovuto lavorare doppio: in casa, e pure fuori). Che dovranno mai fare, queste donne, fuori?

Fatto sta che milioni di donne rimangono così confinate, la loro energia intrappolata, l'orizzonte ristretto alle immediate vicinanze del focolare. Ad anni luce dalle battaglie per l'autodeterminazione.

giovedì 16 ottobre 2014

When schoolgirls dream of jihad, society has a problem (Guardian)

Don’t underestimate the role of the burqa ban in turning teenagers into would-be militants. The influence of repressive and discriminatory legislation on vulnerable young minds should not be ruled out.

martedì 14 ottobre 2014

The abortition ministry of dr. Willie Parker (Esquire)

In Mississippi, there is only one clinic where a woman can go if she needs an abortion. The state is trying to close it down. At that clinic, there is a doctor who tends to the needs of these women, and he has to fly in from out of state to do it. There is no shutting him down.

giovedì 9 ottobre 2014

Obesity: Africa’s new crisis (Guardian)

Fat is no longer just a developed world problem. Forget those tired old clichés beloved by the aid industry. Today more people in poorer countries go to bed each night having consumed too many calories than go to bed hungry.

lunedì 6 ottobre 2014

The Destruction of Mecca (New York Times)

The dominant architectural site in the city is not the Sacred Mosque, where the Kaaba, the symbolic focus of Muslims everywhere, is. It is the obnoxious Makkah Royal Clock Tower hotel, which, at 1,972 feet, is among the world’s tallest buildings. The initial phase of Mecca’s destruction began in the mid-1970s. Innumerable ancient buildings, including the Bilal mosque, dating from the time of the Prophet Muhammad, were bulldozed. The old Ottoman houses, with their elegant mashrabiyas — latticework windows — and elaborately carved doors, were replaced with hideous modern ones. Within a few years, Mecca was transformed into a “modern” city with large multilane roads, spaghetti junctions, gaudy hotels and shopping malls.

venerdì 19 settembre 2014

A 9-Year-Old at a Shooting Range, a Spraying Uzi and Outrage (NYT)

The four-hour tours offered by one of the big gun ranges here are a popular tourist attraction. Starting at $200 a person, a bus will pick up visitors at their hotel in Las Vegas, 25 miles to the north, show them Hoover Dam and bring them to a recreational shooting range called Last Stop, where they can fire the weapons of their dreams: automatic machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers. A hamburger lunch is included; a helicopter tour of the nearby Grand Canyon is optional.
But on Monday, one family’s adventure went horribly wrong.

mercoledì 17 settembre 2014

Why Did Crowd Flee Shanghai Subway After Foreigner Fainted? (NPR)

"The prevailing ethical system in traditional China is based on close-knit community ties, kinship ties." Yan says in traditional, agrarian society, Chinese sharply divided people into two categories: those they knew and those they didn't. "A person might treat other people in the person's social group very, very nicely," he says. "But turn around, when facing to a stranger, and [a person might] tend to be very suspicious. And whenever possible, might take advantage of that stranger."

lunedì 15 settembre 2014

Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist? (NYT)

"Research in the last couple of decades suggests that the problem is not so much overt racists. Rather, the larger problem is a broad swath of people who consider themselves enlightened, who intellectually believe in racial equality, who deplore discrimination, yet who harbor unconscious attitudes that result in discriminatory policies and behavior".

martedì 2 settembre 2014

How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved? (Bbc)

From 29 July to 28 August this year ALS received $98.2m - compared with $2.7m donated during the same period last year.

From 1 August to 27 August this year, the ALS Wikipedia page had 2,717,754 views. This compared with the 1,662,842 people who had visited the page during the whole of the preceding 12 months, according to data company Dataviz.
Average daily visits to the ALS association website were about 17,500 before the ice bucket challenge, compared with the peak of 4.5 million visits on 20 August (of which 83% were new to the site). During the past month there have been about 30 million visitors in total.

sabato 28 giugno 2014

Thailand’s Full Moon Party is debauched, depraved, and increasingly deadly. If only it were fun.

Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party long ago lost its original innocence, devolving into a mess of drunken foreigners cramming onto a once-beautiful beach to celebrate nothing more than the party itself. But in recent years, things have gotten much worse. There have been rapes, fatal accidents, suicides, and gang-related murders. 

It wasn’t always like this. [...] Later came Ecstasy and electro, Lonely Planet, and what friends back in England called gap-year “wow-yeahs”—Trustafarian types who couldn’t stop muttering about “the experience.”

domenica 22 giugno 2014

A former apartheid leader is seeking redemption—by washing the feet of those he wronged. But... (The New Republic)

A person like Adriaan Vlok poses a threat. Someone who would willingly debase himself and suggest Afrikaners still have something to apologize for is working at cross-purposes to much of the Afrikaner community’s goal at this moment in history: to resist more sweeping change. And thus, when the news of his foot-washing episode went public after Chikane talked about it in a sermon, Vlok became not an Afrikaner hero but an object of withering hate and contempt. One white op-ed writer called Vlok “ridiculous”; another, a “quivering dog.” An Afrikaner friend of mine pronounced him a “traitor.”

-un ex-leader Afrikaner cerca la sua redenzione - lavando i piedi di coloro che un tempo aveva tentato di uccidere-

domenica 15 giugno 2014

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (New York Times)

What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive. What follows is a series of small case studies of a handful of characters whose work then, and perspective now, sheds light on how the foods are created and sold to people who, while not powerless, are extremely vulnerable to the intensity of these companies’ industrial formulations and selling campaigns.

-la straordinaria scienza del cibo spazzatura-

martedì 3 giugno 2014

In Lagos selling the african dream (Roads and Kingdoms)

Ten years ago motivational speaking barely existed here, but practitioners say demand is growing. Nigeria’s economy averaged seven percent annual growth in the last decade, but roughly 60 percent of the country’s people still live in poverty. In Lagos, a city of hustlers, there is a feeling that dreaming bigger and working harder will help bridge the gap between potential and performance, and motivational speaking is becoming big business.

-a Lagos, vendendo il sogno africano-

domenica 1 giugno 2014

Why India's sanitation crisis kills women (BBC)

The two girls were going to the fields to defecate when they went missing on Tuesday night.
Nearly half-a-billion Indians - or 48% of the population - lack access to basic sanitation and defecate in the open.
The situation is worse in villages where, according to the WHO and Unicef, some 65% defecate in the open. And women appear to bear the brunt as they are mostly attacked and assaulted when they step out early in the morning or late in the evening.
Women in one slum said when they went out in the open to defecate, local boys stared at them, made threats, threw bricks and stabbed them. Others said they faced "lewd remarks, physical gestures and rape when they relieved themselves in the bushes"

-perché la crisi sanitaria indiana uccide le donne-

mercoledì 28 maggio 2014

South African mother refuses to hand back switched baby (Guardian)

Two children mistakenly swapped at birth four years ago at centre of painful dispute between families over future custody

- madre sudafricana rifiuta di "restituire" il figlio scambiato nella culla -

giovedì 27 dicembre 2012

Servants in India: Cheap household labour is no longer in abundant supply

India, like Britain and America until a century ago, has an established culture of live-in servants. Professional urban families often have a “maid”, usually a young migrant woman, who does everything from dusting to child care. (...) Yet the culture may be changing. In Chennai, a commercial city in southern India, Bangalore, the country’s IT hub, and Goa, a coastal tourism hotspot, families also say it has become harder over the past five years to find live-in staff. Demand is rising as more women go out to work and fewer live in claustrophobic joint families where in-laws act as nannies. Yet supply is falling (...) Economic liberalisation in the past two decades has created a wider range of low-skilled urban jobs. Malls need shop assistants. Offices need errand boys. In rural areas a job-creation scheme for poor households is keeping potential migrants at home. Meanwhile, middle-aged servants have invested in their children’s schooling so that their offspring do not follow in their footsteps. Servants, in turn, are more able than before to demand decent working conditions.(...) Poor treatment is another deterrent. Even progressive families have an unwritten rule that servants should not sit on the same furniture or use the same crockery as their employers. Servants are vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse. Now India’s government is trying to boost servants’ rights.
 Reat the full story @ The Economist

giovedì 24 novembre 2011

Combattere l'islamofobia a colpi di reality show?

Un reality show per raccontare le vite quotidiane di 5 famiglie di musulmani americani di Dearborn, nel Michigan, città che ospita la più grande moschea degli Stati Uniti.

Si chiama All-American Muslim, ed è trasmesso dal canale TLC. A sentire i resoconti (The Guardian: "The Reality of the ‘All-American Muslim’ Reality TV Show"), sembra trattarsi di uno show tanto eterogeneo da lasciare scontenti tutti: tanto gli islamofobi che vedono nello show un modo per sdoganare l'islam, quanto coloro che ricordano come la realtà di quelle famiglie sia specifica e non rappresentativa.

D'altra parte, ci troviamo di fronte ad un reality show: forma che ha indubbi pregi (l'immediatezza, la naturalezza, l'immedesimazione, la leggerezza), ma anche arci-noti difetti (la stereotipizzazione, la banalizzazione, l'implicita selezione - dal Tutto che costutuisce la realtà, come tale irrappresentabile - di temi e scene accessibili ed interessanti per il pubblico di riferimento).

The five families on “All-American Muslim” should not be asked to represent all Muslims, Arabs or Americans. Does Jersey Shore represent all Italians? The best way to view “All-American Muslim” is simply a show about five families doing their best to be themselves. They’re just people, who happen to identify as Muslim, Arab and American. Their story isn’t the wild-eyed, paranoid fantasy that is colored by the hate-filled minds of the Islamophobia network. It isn’t the terrorist stereotype familiar to most American audiences thanks to mainstream Hollywood depictions and sensationalised news headlines. And it won’t be the story of this nation’s 3-4 million American Muslims (population estimates vary from 1.3 to 7 million), who will hopefully find more avenues to tell their unique narratives through mainstream outlets. In the meantime, we should exhale and simply let this reality TV show succeed or fail on the merits of its ability to entertain, instead of obsessing about how “realistic” its depiction of Islam and Muslims is. That’s a reality show whose authenticity cannot be denied.

Nell'immagine, gli Amens