Curtain Raiser

Go Where the Blood Beats, Colltalers

The U.S. Supreme Court’s radicalization didn’t start last week. Neither the decision to void Roe v Wade by the court led by Justice John Roberts was unexpected; there were at least two other rulings that combined, represent profound betrayals of the Constitution and mortal wounds to democracy.
In Afghanistan, a land whose time is filled with tragic news, Wednesday’s 6.1 earthquake may have killed thousands but help has mostly not arrived. Publisher Julian Assange, soon to be extradited from the U.K. to the U.S., can’t count on Australian new P.M. Albanese for support. Here comes G-7.
We begin in Ecuador where weeks of protests by the Indigenous majority forced President Guillermo Lasso to lift a state of emergency he’d imposed in six provinces. That and security enforcements had been his answer to a general strike called up by the country’s largest indigenous organization to demand lower gas prices, controls over agricultural goods, and an education budget. Talks are now underway between the government and the group.
In Brazil, over 270,000 mothers who gave birth between 2010 and 2020 were no older than 14, according to Health Ministry data. These children were victims of rape, given the Brazilian legislation, and as such, were all entitled to legal abortion. The case of an 11-year-old who became pregnant and was initially refused an abortion caused an uproar in Brazil last week, especially after it came out that a judge had tried to coerce her to keep the baby.
In Iran, state television aired the launch of a solid-fueled rocket, stirring tensions just as there have been new efforts to resume talks over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. E.U.’s foreign policy Josep Borrell has said that talks about a new accord could resume this week if Washington lifts its terrorism sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In March, the U.S. secretly met top military officials from Israel and other Arab nations to discuss Iran.
In Israel, the army arrested three relatives of Ali Hassan Harb, a Palestinian stabbed to death on Tuesday by a Jewish resident. The three were said to have witnessed the attack near the settlement of Ariel and gave testimony to the police. It’s still not clear why they were the only ones arrested so far.
In Ukraine, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that renowned Nazi hunter Eli Rosenbaum will head a probe to persecute war crimes during the Russian invasion. He had previously led similar efforts to identify and deport WWII war criminals. Accusations of Geneva Convention violations have been traded by both sides from the onset of the invasion. But it’s indeed a tall order considering the complex and troubled past of both countries.
The right to legal abortion is recognized in practically every functioning democracy in the world. And so are strict rules to prevent corporations from interfering in the political process, and the states’ changes of voting laws without federal consent. All these three exercises of citizenship have been taken away from Americans by Scotus. Which now has clearly turned from a supposedly equanimous justice institution to a downright partisan outfit.
The court of Justice Roberts has compromised its own constitutional duty by accepting to review three tenets of American democracy – the sanctity of the vote, the precedence of citizens over private interests, and individual freedom – which would’ve been better left alone as they’re fully supported by the overwhelming majority. Instead, it’s ruled that corporations are ‘people,’ racism is over in America, and women’s bodies are properties of the state.
To add insult, it also struck down a century-old NY state law that limited who can carry concealed weapons in public and the right to remain silent under arrest, the infamous Miranda law. All that just weeks after mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, left a trail of dead bodies. The ruling “declares that any restriction on the right to self-defense is presumptively unconstitutional.” Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern told DemocracyNow.
“Yesterday’s visit reaffirmed to me both the extreme suffering of people in Afghanistan and their tremendous resolve in the face of great adversity,” said U.N. Special Rep. Ramiz Alakbarov, who toured the hard-hit Paktika province to assess the damage and distribute food, medicine, and tents.
Since the U.S.’s left Afghanistan after a failed 20-year-long occupation, about 20 million Afghanis face life-threatening levels of hunger and poverty.
There was much expectation when center-left Anthony Albanese became Australia’s new P.M., after 20 years of his Labor party being in the opposition but to supporters of the founder of Wikileaks, nothing has changed. Albanese has refused to appeal the extradition of his fellow Australian to the U.S., on charges of espionage. Assange may spend the rest of his life in jail for exposing war crimes committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And the group of the world’s richest nations, the G-7, or the group of ‘leading democratic economies,’ as they’d rather be called, gathers this week in Germany for another annual round of talks with not much substance. Otherwise, this would be a crucial meeting. to find ways to stop the war, or rush solutions for the climate disaster the planet is facing, or any other issue of interest to, say, the so-called Global South. Instead, they’ll talk about Russia.
“I am normal, I have wishes and desires. I dated men, I date women.” That’s former Brazilian soccer start Richarlyson, who’s now a sports analyst, coming out just in time for the Gay Pride parades happening all over the world this month – except in those nations ruled by despots or religious zealots. The LBGTQ+ community has faced homophobia and violence in Brazil, so Richarlyson’s courageous statement packs an awful lot of power.
“I resent the interference of the state, or the church, or any institution in the journey to whatever it is we are journeying toward. But it has been made a public question by (the American) institutions.” Much has changed and much remains the same since the late great James Baldwin came out of the closet as Black, poor, and gay. “If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all.” That is Pride. WC


One thought on “Curtain Raiser

  1. People think that abortion is a form of birth control. It may be at times, but …


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