Forgiveness not vengeance shown to Iranian murderer

This article actually made me feel like there is still some good left in the world. I was so surprised to read that after Balal Abdullah stabbed and killed Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during an argument, the young boys parents forgave him. Abdullah was sentenced to death by public hanging, and the Iranian penal law hands responsibility for the final sentencing to the victim’s families. This is known as an eye-for-an-eye punishment. Families are encouraged to participate in executions, often by pushing away the chair beneath the hanged person’s feet. (THIS IS CRAZY)  but when the time came instead of actively helping kill the young man, when the execution day arrived, Hosseinzadeh’s mother slapped her son’s killer across the face and forgave him. Hosseinzadeh’s father removed the noose, and his wife and Abdullah’s mother embraced. The mother dreamt she had seen her son in a “good place”, where he encouraged her “not to retaliate.” I find this to be so inspiring and powerful, I know for a fact that I would not have been able to hug the person who just killed my son. This shows that people really can be forgiving and are able to move past whatever issues they may have with one another. Props to the family for forgiving the boy.


Saudi Arabia bans domestic abuse

This article was short and sweet but the ban on all kinds of abuse including physical, psychological and sexual, as well as the threat of abuse gives me great hope. Those found guilty could face up to a year in prison or fines of up to SR 50,000. I have stated in an earlier blog that my aunt lives in Saudi Arabia with her husband and children and I have always worried about her well being and safety. She lives in an area where women have been killed for driving alone and beaten for simple reasons. I have always told her she should move and she should have never moved there in the first place but her husband got a good job there and so they decided to move from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia about 7 years ago.

Spokesperson Neil Durkin from Amnesty International stated that, “The law falls far short of international standards in protecting victims of domestic abuse, who are disproportionately women and girls, from all forms of discrimination and violence,”  but that, “It is at least a first step in tackling the issue of domestic violence in the Kingdom.”

A dance of hope for child refugees in Middle East

“A groundbreaking social project is using the art of capoeira to coax shell-shocked and vulnerable children out from behind their painful memories and towards empowerment and hope.” I am glad that there are people out there who wish to help the innocent children who are forced to go through this terrible time in the Middle East. Having to go through times like these leads to aggression, violence, hyperactivity, depression and bedwetting and those are just some of the psychosocial symptoms commonly reported in the communities of the Middle East. “These desperately disadvantaged people can be hard to help,” executive director Ummul Choudhury tells Positive News. “Cultural sensitivities are high, unemployment is rife and poverty is normal. Young people with nothing to do, who feel unsafe, are vulnerable to drugs, crime and xenophobia. In such environments, interventions are difficult to sustain.”

It’s sad that in refugee camps these people are cramped, with families of ten or more living in just a few rooms. Getting work permits is basically impossible and families come under unbelievable stress. It’s no surprise that violence between young people is increasing. I wanted to learn a little bit more about refugee camps and had a conversation with my mother about it a week ago or so. She told me that before coming to America she was in a refugee camp in Sudan, where it was completely cramped from so many Ethiopians and Eritreans fleeing from their countries and that the tension between them were high and a lot of fighting broke out. So many people, like both of my parents wanted to just flee and get away from the fighting and the camps were filled with young kids (my parents both barely 20) filled with so much anger and confusion. I can imagine how scary it must have been to leave your country at such a young age, unsure of what would happen and go to a foreign land, or be stuck in a cramped refugee camp for a long period of time. The charity teaches capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines dance, music, sport and play, to groups of children. If only previous camps have done this, maybe then some people would have been able to enjoy and forget the reality of what was really happening and save some kids from the downward spiral they might be going on.

Saudi Arabia appoints first female newspaper editor

In brighter news, Saudi Arabia appoints the first female newspaper editor.The employment glass ceiling has long been off-limits to women in Saudi Arabia, but it’s hoped that this new appointment will strike within it a tiny crack that turns into an open door. Women in the Arab world, as in other areas of the world, have experienced discrimination and have been subject to restrictions of their freedoms and rights. So this is a huge breakthrough in the Middle East for women who hope to obtain the same equality as men, which they have been fighting for, for such a long time. This is the move that gender-rights activists hope will inspire more Saudi women to enter the workforce and seek leadership roles.The Saudi Gazette, an English-language daily with a circulation of 15,000, named former deputy editor Somayya Jabarti as its editor-in-chief. The newspaper, one of the few in the Kingdom that aren’t part-owned by Saudi royalty, has a reputation for being relatively liberal, at least by the standards of Saudi Arabia’s tightly controlled media, which makes this an even greater feat. Only around 15% of Saudi women work, but that figure has gradually increased since 2011. I hope that this will spur further progress. In recent months, women have begun to openly defy the Kingdom’s ban on female drivers, and also to petition for the right to marry without their fathers’ consent. This makes me feel a bit happy because my aunt lives in Saudi Arabia and I want her to be able to work freely without feeling like she is in danger, or that she can’t drive alone without feeling like she will be hurt.

ISIS Unites the World

ISIS has made a name for itself by killing just about everyone: American NGO workers, Japanese journalists, members of minority communities in Iraq. As an organization that targets nearly everybody, ISIS should not be surprised that it has had this unifying effect on the world. There are some voices urging the United States to team up with Syria and help fight ISIS attempts. I would not be surprised if in the next couple of months, some countries come together and start a war if the killings become worse. The extremist group has begun to kill people from other countries, they’re basically asking for a full out war. The fact that 28 Ethiopians were recently killed by ISIS because they were Christian is not only alarming but I’m surprised that it hasn’t caused more of an outrage in my country. Many Americans are so upset over this and want something to be done about it however. There have been many ceremonies held and money raised for the families of those 28 men who were killed. It’s sad that they are so ruthless with their killings and even more sad that they record it for those families to watch. I personally would not be against a war with them, I would encourage it. It’s the only way things will end.

Why Are Women Joining the Islamic State?

This is a very interesting article because for some women in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State offers something no one else has given them before: power. I found this very interesting but honestly, not surprising. In a place where women really have no say or rights in the same way as a man, gaining power is probably something so addictive, no matter how evil. Female insurgents have begun to play a huge roles in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in the Middle East. The Islamic State has actively sought to entice women into joining its ranks.  The group deems single women between the ages of 18 and 25 eligible to participate, providing a monthly salary of 25,000 Syrian pounds — the equivalent of about $140, as of this writing — as an incentive. This makes it even more of a glorified reason to join. To pay women to join their fight and to pay them is basically the best thing a woman in the middle east could do, especially if they are afraid of being killed as well. Those who don’t wish to kill or do things of the sort tend to perform tasks such as searching people who pass through checkpoints, in part to expose men who have disguised themselves as women to avoid recruitment. They also serve as the Islamic State’s police, ensuring that female community members in seized areas dress appropriately and refrain from going out in public without male accompaniment. Without the help of women at the local level, the Islamic State would not have been able to establish its presence in the Middle East so rapidly and effectively.

Why ISIS exists

ISIS is the latest and most horrifying modern terrorist group that has plagued the region in recent years. They have 20,000 to 30,00 combatants and recruits streaming in from all over the globe, which itself is terrifying due to how fast they have grown and have gotten followers from all over. The article states that the media often depicts ISIS recruits as lost souls in search of a cause or suffering from mental illness. That may be true in some cases. But these explanations are not sufficient to explain ISIS’s resilience and recruitment capabilities. But just like the article argues, no organization, especially a terrorist one, can survive without support. I believe that this is completely true. So to me, it is really scary to think about how many people are actually willing to fight for this cause. Saudi Arabia beheads over 100 people per year, and its fellow Gulf States defy any semblance of respect for basic human rights. This anger isn’t going away anytime soon. But unless we begin an honest effort to address it, ISIS — and movements we cannot predict, will continue to use these issues as ammunition. People are easily persuaded and I feel like as things continue to worsen in the Middle East, people will eventually give in and join the terrorist group simply because they are afraid of getting killed and want to survive. People wonder why so many people did what they did in Nazi Germany, well it was to survive, even if they didn’t agree with what was happening, and that is the scariest thing of all of this. People doing something that is so horrific, to keep themselves alive but killing thousands, millions even in the process.