In the days following the rogue US soldier’s shooting spree in Kandahar, most of the media, us included, focused on the “backlash” and how it might further strain the relations with the US.
Many mainstream media outlets channelled a significant amount of energy into uncovering the slightest detail about the accused soldier – now identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. We even know where his wife wanted to go for vacation, or what she said on her personal blog.
But the victims became a footnote, an anonymous footnote. Just the number 16. No one bothered to ask their ages, their hobbies, their aspirations. Worst of all, no one bothered to ask their names.
In honoring their memory, I write their names below, and the little we know about them: that nine of them were children, three were women.
Mohamed Dawood son of Abdullah
Khudaydad son of Mohamed Juma
Shatarina daughter of Sultan Mohamed
Zahra daughter of Abdul Hamid
Nazia daughter of Dost Mohamed
Masooma daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Farida daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Palwasha daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Nabia daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Esmatullah daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Faizullah son of Mohamed Wazir
Essa Mohamed son of Mohamed Hussain
Akhtar Mohamed son of Murrad Ali
Haji Mohamed Naim son of Haji Sakhawat
Mohamed Sediq son of Mohamed Naim
This is really, really good news and one step closer toward fixing that horrible discrepancy between healthcare costs for women and men. But like I’ve said in the past, nothing is free. “Free” will be reflected in our increasing monthly premiums. Health premiums double every 7 and a half years, and new mandates are only going to make that rate worse. Hopefully, “free” birth control will lead to less unwanted pregnancies, which will decrease our population’s total healthcare costs. Less unwanted pregnancies means fewer births and fewer children being brought up by parents who may not be prepared to raise children.
Norway Attacks News Round Up:
Oslo Bombing: A bomb that exploded today near the Oslo offices of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg claimed the lives of at least 7 people and injured several others, some seriously. The Prime Minister was not in the building at the time and is currently in a safe location.
Summer Camp Shooting: A shooting incident involving a Norwegian-looking gunman disguised as a police officer took place on the island of Utøya at a gathering of the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing, where Stoltenberg was reportedly due to speak tomorrow (former PM Gro Harlem Brundtland was due to attend today). Nine, “perhaps ten” killed, according to police.
Connection: Police believe the attacks are related; AP: Man arrested at Utøya linked to Oslo bombing.
Body Count: The death toll in both incidents is expected to rise, with witnesses reporting at least 20 dead at Utøya youth camp.
Weapon: Some reports suggest the explosion may have been set off by a car bomb; multiple explosions have also been reported; police have asked residents to stay away from the city center for fear that unexploded bombs may be present.
Responsibility: An obscure terrorist group called Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (Assistants of the Global Jihad) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, calling them retribution for Norway’s “occupation of Afghanistan” as well as “unnamed insults to the Muslim prophet Muhammad”; others have speculated that the attacks, if carried out by al-Qaeda, were likely acts of revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden’s death, involvement in Afghanistan, and/or retaliation for Danish Muhammad cartoons republished in a Norwegian newspaper; an al-Qaeda bomb plot against Norway was uncovered last year.
Reax: President Obama expressed his condolences, adding that the attacks offer “a reminder that the entire community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring”; Swedish FM: “We are all Norwegians.”
[Raquel]Nelson, 30 and African-American, was convicted on the charge this week by six jurors who were not her peers: All were middle-class whites, and none had ever taken a bus in metro Atlanta. In other words, none had ever been in Nelson’s shoes:
They had never taken two buses to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart with three kids in tow. They had never missed a transfer on the way home that caused them to wait a full hour-and-a-half with tired and hungry kids for the next bus. They had never been let off at a bus stop on a five-lane speedway, with their apartment in sight across the road, and been asked to drag those three little ones an additional half-mile-plus down the road to the nearest traffic signal and back in order to get home at last.
And they had never lost control of an over-eager four-year-old as they waited on a three-foot median for a car to pass. Nor had they watched helplessly as a driver who had had “three or four” beers and two painkillers barreled toward their child.
That’s right: Because Nelson did not lug her exhausted little ones three-tenths of a mile from the bus stop to a traffic signal in order to cross five lanes of traffic, she is guilty of vehicular homicide. Because she did as her fellow bus riders, who crossed at the same time and place, and because she did what pedestrians will do every time – take the shortest reasonable path – she is guilty of vehicular homicide.
The drunk driver has a history of hit and runs. He served six months in jail. Nelson faces three years in jail. Justice?
this is what I’m talking about when I say that mothers get harsher sentences than the person who actually killed the child does.
Famed British fantasy, science fiction, and children’s author, Diana Wynne Jones has died. Ms. Jones passed away March 25, 2011 from a two-year battle with cancer, according to a listserv of children’s literature professionals. The author inspired many children’s fantasy writers working today, including American author, Jane Yolen.
Ms. Jones is known for several fantasy series, including the Chrestomanci series; the Derkholm series; Dalemark Quartet; the Castle series, and Magids series.
Her novel, Howl’s Moving Castle, was adapted into an animated film in 2004. The film was directed by Hayao Miyazaki and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated feature.
Ms. Jones’s work is critically acclaimed. Several of her novels have been nominated or shortlisted for awards, including the Carnegie Medal, Mythopoeic Fantasy, British Fantasy Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book, and World Fantasy Award.
Despite dozens of novels and a long career as an author, many of Ms. Jones’s readers believe she has not received adequate recognition. Ms. Jones was gracious about the seeming oversight.
About J. K. Rowling’s global commercial success with herHarry Potter series, for example, a series many say bears several resemblances to threads in Ms. Jones’s work, she toldthe Guardian in 2003, “I think that she [Rowling] read my books as a young person and remembered lots of stuff; there are so many striking similarities.” Asked about any seeming “downloads” of story elements on the part of Ms. Rowling, she added, “I feel slightly aggrieved, but it happens so easily - one retains something in one’s mind. I would like to ask her about it, but she’s hard to meet: she was very frightened by all the publishing furore.”
Diana Wynne Jones was born in London in 1934 and studied at Oxford with both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. In 2007, she received the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
R.I.P. Diana Wynne Jones. Condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and her many readers.
An added note: if you haven’t read the series that Howl’s Moving Castle was based on I would definitely recommend that you do. They’re fantastic and may put several incongruities within the movie into perspective.
Photos: Scenes of survival and devastation from Japan
A Self Defence soldier smiles as he holds a four-month-old baby who survived the recent tsunami with her family at Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011. (YOMIURI SHIMBUN/AFP/Getty Images)
From the Guardian:
A 60-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.
Please everybody, do not refer to CNN, or most American news networks for accurate updates on the development of the situation here. I would suggest Japan’s NHK news network.
Most news networks keep running the same 4 or 5 extreme damage loops focusing on the body count and tragedy. Those are valid points as well, but to repeat them with music and logos is sickening, and now Japan has become the lead star in American news network Natural Disaster Series.
There are also positive developments that keep hope and humanity alive and together. I know everybody loves to hear “the end is near!” And the news media is the food for more subconscious hunger for catastrophe, so we can all witness something that makes history, but in the end it will be just another 24 hour programming run to sell advertising for mortgage refinancing and arthritis medication.
Japan and its people are competent and caring individuals. Restoring order is what they are the best at. I feel most at ease knowing that the professionals and technicians involved are determined with a samurai spirit to manage the disaster at hand.
This life is as real as you want it to be, and it’s worth as much as you are. Enjoy your time in this body, on this planet, that’s all you have!
— Rikki Kasso, Tokyo Undressed
No mobile phones: People line up to use public telephone booths at Shibuya station in Tokyo.
Credit: Yomiuri / Reuters
Follow the Live Blog for updates all weekend, and go through some of these links for background, science, economics and a live seismic activity map.
- Despite Colossal Quake and Tsunami, Life in Japan ‘Particularly Orderly
- U.S. Pacific Rim on High Alert After Japan Quake Triggers Tsunami
- Japan Reels From Tsunami, Quake: Did Preparedness Work?
- Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami: How They Happened
- Japan ‘the Most Prepared Place in the World’ for a Tsunami
- Financial and Economic Impact of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
- View Live Aftershock Activity in Japan