Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mirabal sisters:فراشات يقدن حركة ضد العنف حتى بعد وفاتهن


في يوم 25 نوفمبر سنة 1999 قررت الأمم المتحدة بتسميته اليوم العالمي للقضاء على العنف ضد المرأة لإحياء ذكرى مقتل ثلاث أخوات من عائلة إيرماناس ميرابال “Hermanas Mirabal” المعارضين السياسيين في جمهورية الدومينيكان الذين عارضوا الديكتاتور رافاييل تروخيو “Rafael Trujillo”.

في 25 نوفمبر 1960 تم اغتيال ثلاثة من الأخوات وفي عام 1999 تم تكريمهن بإعتراف الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة التي عينت 25 نوفمبر من كل عام تحت اسم اليوم العالمي للقضاء على العنف ضد المرأة.

بداية القصة:
كانت عائلة ميرابال مزارعين من الطبقة الوسطى في جمهورية الدومينيكان، نمت بناتهم في بيئة مثقفه والدهم هو انريكي فرنانديز ميرابال “Enrique Fernández Mirabal” والأم مرسيدس رييس كاميلو”Mercedes Reyes Camilo” والأخوات الأربعة هن الكبرى باتريا “Patria” والثانية ديديه “Dedé” والثالثة مينيرفا “Minerva” والرابعة ماريا تريزا “María Teresa”.

كبرن الفتيات متأثرات بشقيق والدهن الذي انخرط في الحركة السياسية ضد تروخيو “Trujillo” الذي حكم البلاد حكم ديكتاتوري على مرحلتين 1930-1938 و 1942-1952، درست مينرفا القانون وأصبحت محاميه وحصلت على الشهادة الجامعية ولكن تروخيو رفض السماح لها بالحصول على ترخيص لممارسة مهنة المحاماة لأنها رفضت الدخول معه في علاقة رومانسية في عام 1949.

وانضمت أخواتها لها في مهنتها الأولى “ماريا تيريزا” التي لازمت مينيرفا وتعلمت منها نشاطاتها، ومن ثم “باتريا” التي انضمت لأخواتها بعد أن شهدت مجزرة قام بها بعض رجال “تروخيو” اثناء تجمع ديني، وبالأخير انضمت “ديديه”، وفي نهاية المطاف شُكلت مجموعة حركة الرابع عشر من تموز ” the Movement of the Fourteenth of June” وهو تاريخ مذبحة شهدتها “باتريا” لمعارضة نظام “تروخيو” حيث وزعوا منشورات وكتيبات عن العديد من الناس الذين قد قتلهم “تروخيو”، وحصلن على المواد اللازمة من بنادق وقنابل لاستخدامها عند تنفيذ العمليات بالعلن، وأطلقن على انفسهن “Las Mariposas” وتعني الفراشات.

منيرفا وماريا تيريزا دخلن السجن وتعرضن للتعذيب في عدة مناسبات، وقد سُجن ثلاثة من أزواجهن تورطوا في تنفيذ عمليات في سجن لافيكتوريا “LaVictoria Penitentiary” في سانتو دومينغو “Santo Domingo” وبالرغم من هذه الإنتكاسات استمر القتال لانهاء حكم “تروخيو”، وفي عام 1960 أدانت منظمة الدول الأمريكية اعمال “تروخيو” وأرسلت مراقبين لجمهورية الدومنيكان وأفرج عن منيرفا وماريا تيريزا ولكن بقي أزواجهن في السجن.

اغتيالهن
في 25 نوفمبر 1960، ذهبت باتريا، مينرفا، وماريا تيريزا، مع سائقهم روفينو دي لا كروز، حيث كانوا في زيارة لأزواجهن في السجن وفي الطريق إلى البيت أوقفهم أتباع تروخيو وتم فصل الأخوات والسائق وتم ضربهم بالهراوات حتى الموت وجمعت الجثث و وضعت في سيارتهم الجيب حيث تم تشغيلها قبالة الطريق الجبلي لتبدو وكأنهن تعرضن لحادث.
وبعد أن اغتيل تروخيو في مايو 1961 اعترف الجنرال بوبو رومان “Pupo Roman” أن لديه معرفة شخصية بأنه تم قتل الأخوات من قبل اثنين من رجال “تروخيو”، فيكتور اليخينو “Víctor Alicinio” وبينيا ريفيرا “Peña Rivera”، الذين كانوا اليد اليمنى لتروخيو، مع أعضاء قوة الشرطة السرية والأمر الغير مؤكد هل تروخيو امر بقتل الأخوات ام الشرطة السرية تصرفت من تلقاء نفسها، ديديه “Dedé” لم تصاحب أخواتها في الرحلة، وقد عاشت لتروي قصة اغتيال أخواتها، وفي عام 2012 انتقلت لتعيش في سالسيدو “Salcedo” في المنزل الذي ولدت فيه الأخوات، وقالت انها تعمل للحفاظ على ذكرى أخواتها من خلال متحف إيرماناس ميرابال “Museo Hermanas Mirabal” الذي يقع أيضا في سالسيدو وهو المنزل الذي سكنته الشقيقات في العشرة أشهر الأخيرة من حياتهم، ونشرت كتاباً بعنوان يعيشون في حديقتي “Vivas en su Jardín” في 25 آب 2009.

إرثهم
في 17 ديسمبر 1999 أعلنت الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة 25 نوفمبر موعد سنوي هو اليوم العالمي للقضاء على العنف ضد المرأة في ذكرى الأخوات، وهو اليوم الذي يصادف أيضا بداية فترة 16 يوم من الأنشطة المناهضة للعنف ضد المرأة لتستمر16 يوماً وتنهي 10 ديسمبر الذي يوافق اليوم العالمي لحقوق الإنسان.

وفي 21 نوفمبر 2007، سميت مقاطعة سالسيدو مقاطعة ميرابال إيرماناس لتكريم الأخوات،
وتم وضع صور الأخوات على الأوراق النقدية، وتعد الأخوات ميرابال كأبطال لمعظم اهالي جمهورية الدومينيكان، لأنه بعد وفاتهن انهارت إمبراطورية الديكتاتور تروخيو.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The cost of education in UAE? AED 1m per child



The cost of a full education up to degree level per child in the UAE is almost AED1 million ($250,000), making it the most expensive country in the world, according to research by insurance giant Zurich.

The figure, which excludes multiple interest rates, is based on the total cost of education of two years at pre-school, six years at primary school, six years at secondary school and three years at a British university.

Pre, primary, and secondary school costs in the UAE total an average of almost AED530,000 ($145,000) per child.

The costs exclude fees such as cost of books, uniforms, and trips, which could increase the figure by 40 percent for top-level schools.

As for tertiary education, it costs an average of over AED 76,000 ($21,000) per year for UAE-based universities in comparison to AED55,000 ($15,000) in Australia and Canada, AED85,000 ($23,000) in the US, and AED57,000 ($15,500) in the UK.

Extra costs of basic living expenses per UAE student studying in the UK for a three-year course amount to almost AED235,000 ($64,000).

“A typical family with two children could look at spending as much as AED2 million on education,” Amrita Sethi, head of marketing and communication for Zurich International Life, Middle East, said in a statement.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Celtic’s fans have demonstrated an unprecedented act of solidarity with the people of Palestine


Celtic’s fans have demonstrated an unprecedented act of solidarity with the people of Palestine, and it is going viral:
[ £117,547 and rising; raised for Palestine charities ]

What have the generous folk in Scotland done? Quite simply, in terms of peaceful civil rights movements, they have produced a “game changer” which will go on to have a profound effect on the future of the already powerful global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Thousands of ordinary Celtic fans picked up and waved Palestinian flags at their Celtic Park Stadium during a match against an Israeli team, as reported here in MEMO; the flag-waving demonstration flew in the face of police advice. This simple but powerful act of mass defiance created a storm of media attention across the Middle East, which has now propelled Celtic alongside the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United in terms of stature and popularity in the region.

Football’s European governing body, UEFA, warned that it would fine Celtic for its fans actions, but the fans retorted that they would match any fine imposed on the club, pound for pound, in donations to Palestinian causes. True to their word, the Green Brigade has raised nearly £100,000 in a crowdfunding appeal for Palestinian charities; the total continues to rise.

By way of showing their appreciation, Palestinians have come together to produce video messages like this one on social networks declaring, “We are all Celtic.”

In a statement, the Green Brigade explained that Celtic fans waved Palestinian flags at the Champions League match with Hapoel Beer Sheva on 17 August in an act of solidarity which “has earned our club respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from UEFA, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’.”

In response to what the group calls a “petty and politically partisan act” by UEFA, Celtic fans remain determined to make a positive contribution to the game. “We are today launching a campaign to #matchthefineforpalestine. We aim to raise £75,000 which will be split equally between Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Lajee Centre, a Palestinian cultural centre in Aida Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem. From our members’ experiences as volunteers in Palestine, we know the huge importance of both organisations’ work and have developed close contacts with them.”

“This was very much home grown and very deep and very profound,” said Mick Napier, a co-founder of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. “There are moments in a campaign where something burst outs into the public domain that was never imagined and has a huge effect. It was a mass public declaration that the injustices of the brutal Palestinian occupation will not be tolerated.” He described the protest at Celtic Park Stadium as hugely significant. “There aren’t very many democratic avenues for ordinary people to demonstrate this sort of huge public outpouring. What happened in the stadium that night cannot be ignored and will alarm the Israeli authorities and send out a clear message of support for the BDS movement.”

Napier pointed out that the primary task of protesting through BDS is to send a message to the beleaguered people of Palestine that they’re not alone. “You can put up with being in a prison if you know there’s real solidarity out there for you. This gesture from Celtic Park also shows Palestinians that there’s a huge gulf between our rulers and the ordinary people.” The actions of the Celtic fans, he added, will encourage and give support to the BDS movement at a time when supporters of Israel are trying to criminalise the entirely peaceful campaign. The generosity and solidarity of Glasgow Celtic fans is a game changer indeed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Panama Papers data breach is now searchable online



A month ago the sky ripped open for a lot of people who had opted to use offshore companies to hide financial assets in order to avoid paying taxes. The breach came in the form of the Panamanian based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which found itself out of pocket to the tune of over 11 million documents.


There has been no shortage of high profile individuals who have found themselves in the center of a swirling torrent as a result. One player in particular who profited from an offshore trust was none other than UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.

As a sidebar, I can’t help but to love the irony in this case. Back in 2012 the British comedian Jimmy Carr found himself on the wrong side of a tax avoidance set up. At the time Cameron called out Carr for his behaviour,

From BBC:

Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday called Mr Carr's use of the scheme "morally wrong".

But the PM refused to comment on Take That star Gary Barlow's tax affairs - saying it was a different case - after Labour called for his OBE to removed.

The Cameron revelations are just one example in an ever widening net of individuals. These documents were brought to light due to the efforts of the the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Now, the ICIJ has released a searchable database of a portion of the documents that were leaked in the data breach. The database contains just a small portion of the overall breach clocking in at 320,000 documents.

As the ICIJ points out in the disclaimer there are actually some legitimate uses for these sorts of companies. Something to keep in mind when searching the database.

From ICIJ:

There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.

Each time I run a search I’m absolutely amazed at the interconnects. So far I’ve not discovered anything that makes me slump in my chair but, the day is young.

So, how did we get to this point? The data breach has been linked to a person or persons who siphoned off the massive trove of data. The data was then passed to a publication in Germany and ultimately to the ICIJ which worked to coordinate the release of the data amongst numerous media outlets.

There has been all manner of theories as to how this happened. One of the theories that caught my attention was that this may have (take with a grain of salt) as a result of an old Wordpress plugin that was susceptible to remote compromise.

The salacious nature of the data breach notwithstanding we have to wrap our head around the need for better website hygiene. I’ve been tub thumping on this point for a while and, whether or not this is the issue with the Mossack Fonseca, it makes for an excellent learning opportunity. The Mossack Fonseca website had added a robots.txt file to their website soon after the breach made headlines around the world. A little too little to late.

When the barn has already burned to the ground and the horses have fled is categorically not the right time to worry about a your web security. I would recommend that everyone use this data breach story as an opportunity to review your own website security and patch levels before your company ends up as a headline.