Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Bahrain sentences medics who treated protesters

 

Bahrain sentences medics who treated protesters

A court in Bahrain has jailed 20 medics who treated protesters for up to 15 years each, after convicting them of incitement to overthrow the regime

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Posted 29 September 2011, by Staff, BBC News, bbc.co.uk

 

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They treated people injured when a protest movement calling for more rights for the country’s Shia majority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom was crushed.

But a spokesman for the government said the group was involved with “hardline protesters” who sought regime change.

The medics had been released on bail after many staged a hunger strike.

In a separate case, the special security court sentenced a protester to death for killing a policeman.

‘Surprise’ sentence

The Bahraini doctors and nurses were sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison on charges that include possessing unlicensed arms, seizing medical equipment, and provoking sectarian hatred.

All worked in the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama, which security forces entered on 16 March after forcefully clearing the nearby Pearl Roundabout of demonstrators.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Mubarak, of Bahrain’s information ministry, said protesters had used the hospital as a “co-ordination centre”, and that some of the medical staff had helped them.

“They should not have got themselves involved in choosing sides in a tragically dark period in Bahrain’s history,” he told the BBC.

“There is hard evidence that political rallies were taking place in the grounds of the complex and those seeking treatment were only allowed in on sectarian lines,” he added.

Human rights activists say the sentences against the medics come as a surprise.

They had been cautiously hopeful that the medics’ release on bail was a sign that the government was softening its approach.

One of the doctors charged, Fatma Haji, said she and her colleagues are currently saying goodbye to their families as they await arrest.

“I know that I am definitely, 100% innocent. Our crime – I’m talking about all the medics – was that we helped innocent, helpless people who were just protesting and got injured,” she told the BBC.

The medics and other suspects have been tried by a special security court

‘Tortured’

The medics were also accused of refusing to treat injured security officials.

Relatives of some of the medics said in June that they were tortured into making false confessions.

A wave of mostly peaceful protests swept the country in February and March, but they were put down by force by the government, which called in troops from neighbouring Gulf states.

However, skirmishes are reported regularly as protesters try to keep their movement alive.

Bahrain’s official news agency, BNA, said the protester sentenced to death, Ali Yusof al-Taweel, had killed a policeman in the Shia area of Sitra, south of Manama.

Earlier, the security court had sentenced two other protesters to death for killing a police officer.

On Wednesday, the court upheld life sentences for eight Shia activists convicted over their alleged role in protests.

It also upheld sentences of up to 15 years on 13 other activists.

 

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(Ed Note: Please visit the original site for two news videos associated with this article (“In a video recording for her son, one of the doctors, Fatma Haji, maintains her innocence” and “Sheik Abdulaziz Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa from Bahrain’s Ministry of Information: ”No-one is above the law””))

Bahrain Protests

More on This Story

From other news sites

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15105270

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Occupy Boston: Smart, Savvy, and Aiming to Emulate Wall Street Protests


Occupy Boston: Smart, Savvy, and Aiming to Emulate Wall Street Protests

About 200 people in Boston express their outrage at America’s economic woes – and promise to take up the protest baton

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Posted 28 September 2011, by Paul Harris, The Guardian, guardian.co.uk

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There were socialists, anti-poverty campaigners, students, anarchists, computer hackers, the unemployed, and workers ranging from a vet to an accountant.

And, numbering around 200 and meeting to plot until late in the night, a group of Bostonians have decided to recreate the anti-Wall Street protests that are gripping New York.

Unlike previous attempts, such as a march that fizzled out in Chicago with just 20 people, the people behind Occupy Boston showed a strong dose of media savvy and organizational skill on Monday night, as they drew a committed crowd of volunteers to their cause: to occupy a slice of the city. Local TV crews were in attendance at the evening mass planning meeting, and it had been flagged on the front pages of Boston’s newspapers.

The move raises the first serious prospect of the Wall Street protests spreading beyond New York and comes as other events are also being planned in Los Angeles and Washington.

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Organiser Marissa Egerstrom addresses the Boston general assembly
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The crowd of Bostonians listened and spoke about their anger at the ills in the capitalist system in general and the financial industry in particular.

Gathering in the center of Boston Common, in the heart of the city, they heard various speakers promise to copy the New York protests. “Tonight we begin to show the world how to live in freedom and peace. Right here, right now, a new life is starting,” said Marissa Egerstrom, one of the organizing forces behind Occupy Boston.

Those were big words to say in front of just 200 people. But Occupy Boston aims to emulate Occupy Wall Street protesters, whose seizure of a downtown Manhattan park was first ignored by most of the media but has now generated headlines around the world, especially after police used pepper spray against peaceful women demonstrators.

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Matthew Krawitz explains why he is joining the Boston protest
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Many of those gathered on the Common, including nearly all the key organizers, had been to New York to witness the protests. One organizer, Matthew Krawitz, who brought his two daughters to the Common, had been in Manhattan for the first day of the protests there. Now the unemployed IT expert was helping set up something similar in Boston. “I’m here to give them a better future,” he said, referring to his two children.

In style and substance, Occupy Boston closely followed that of Occupy Wall Street, which was itself inspired by recent social movements in Spain and Arab countries. After the speeches different tactical groups were formed – covering everything from legal affairs to food to medical to media outreach – to prepare for the coming occupation.

Potential sites to be occupied included the Common itself and Dewey Square in Boston’s financial district. Potential dates were also picked, with some as soon as this coming weekend. The separate groups operated in a “leaderless” style that dragged on in often circular debates but were impressive for eventually coming to collective agreement.

The meetings lasted for several hours in the park, as crowds listened to rabble-rousing speeches and critiques of capitalism. It promised a striking protest to come, but at times offered an incongruous vision of Boston. Ringing the common where the protesters met are some of the most upmarket streets in the city, lined with million-dollar townhouses. And on the park itself, virtually next door to where scores of people talked of forcefully bringing down American capitalism, fellow Bostonians enjoyed games of tennis on brightly lit late-night courts, seemingly oblivious to what was going on in the darkness just 50 yards away.

But what was never in doubt among the disparate participants was a sense of outrage and injustice at America’s current economic woes. Bob Norkus, 54, had been out of work for a year. He has one simple desire. “Things need to be realigned. It’s 99 percent of us versus one percent of them. This is still a democracy if we care to grab it,” he said.

There were people with jobs in the crowd, too, and they were equally angry. Cynthia Brennan, 41, is a veterinary nurse. She had been inspired to come to the common by watching the popular revolts of the Arab Spring. “I was fascinated by Egypt. I was in front of al-Jazeera all the time. It needs to happen here,” she said.

Local government accountant Tim Larkin, 28, agreed. But he wanted to improve on the New York protests in Boston. “We have to be better than New York and have a stronger set of demands,” he said.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
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Displaced women from San Juan Copala forced to suspend peaceful sit-in

Displaced women from San Juan Copala forced to suspend peaceful sit-in

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Posted 29 September 2011, by , Intercontinental Cry, intercontinentalcry.org

 

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A group of displaced Triqui women from the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, have been forced by the government of Oaxaca to suspend their peaceful sit-in which began more than 12 months ago.

CREDIT: Municipio Autonomo De San Juan Copala

According to The Autonomous Community Council Of San Juan Copala, the government recently threatened to violently remove all women and children from the main plaza in Oaxaca city, where they have lived since August 2010.

San Juan Copala initially agreed to suspend the sit-in temporarily as part of a new agreement with Oaxaca government.

At the center of the new agreement, at least for the Triqui, is the right to return to the town of San Juan Copala, which Triqui Authorities evacuated just one month after the sit-in began.

The evacuation was ordered after paramilitaries threatened to execute all supporters of the autonomous municipality. Having already endured seven months of violence and inhumane treatment at the hands of the same paramilitaries, the Triqui simply couldn’t take the chance of ignoring the threat.

In addition to the right to return home, the newly formed agreement with Oaxaca included an understanding that the Triqui would suspend their sit-in for two days to make way for the “Grito de Independencia” celebrations on September 16. In exchange for this, the government promised to give the Triqui women and children temporary lodging; after which they could return to the plaza.

“But as is well-known of those who fail to govern this country, if anything distinguishes them it is their lack of honor… police fenced in the palace corridors preventing us from sitting in, and we were called again by the same officials who bring lies and deceit in order to present us with the offer of another round table,” said the Community Council in a Sept. 20 statement. The officials also asked the Triqui for ten days to respond to their principle demands.

“Not being capable of more resistance actions, and because our movement is one of peace and dialogue we again agreed with the warning [of returning to reinstate the camp]” said the Community Council.

However, they also decided to issue their a deadline of September 30th, giving the government more than enough time to adequately respond to the demands.

If the government fails to do so, the Triqui say they are going to reestablish the sit-in “at any cost” and where everyone “will take responsibility for what might happen.”

For news and updates on this situation, keep an eye on municipioautonomodesanjuancopala.wordpress.com, sanjuancopalaoaxaca.wordpress.com, cdefensayjusticiamasjc.blogspot.com (links in Spanish only)

September 20, 2011

[Unofficial translation courtesy of www.projectisd.org. You can view the original statement here.]

The displaced people of San Juan Copala may return this September 30th to the main plaza in Oaxaca if there is no response to their demands from Gabino Cué

TO THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF OAXACA AND MEXICO
TO FRIENDS IN SOLIDARITY
TO SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
TO THE “OTRA CAMPAÑA”
TO THE HONEST MEDIA

Sisters, brothers we wanted to take a few days before sending word to let you know the reason why, after more than one year, we suspended the sit-in in the corridor of the government palace.

We did this in response to the hateful and false statements towards our dignity which some people have expressed in anonymity, which is the mask of cowards, and once it was known that the sit-in was suspended they started spreading an account that some of our people received money in exchange.

Throughout the resistance that has been principally sustained by women and children displaced from San Juan Copala, we have received a helping hand from many friends who selflessly decided to discretely walk with us in our fight, always respecting our decision.

As a result, we have received the cooperation that helps us with expenses, medical care and the company of brothers and sisters that have been with us at all times enduring the difficult conditions under which you live when you have no home and you live practically out in the open, and as if this were not enough there was the constant threat of eviction, especially with the prior government during which we were displaced on two occasions with the police force, to all of these friends we extend our heartfelt appreciation and promise that we have not sold out nor have we surrendered, simply that confronted with the threat of violent eviction of the sit-in on the part of the government, our Autonomous Community Council which are a part of our authorities, and that were here to strengthen our sit-in, made the decision that we do not have the ability in this moment to resist a violent eviction, because we do not want to jeopardize the physical integrity of anyone that is a part of our sit-in.

It is for this reason that on the evening of September 14th, we agreed to leave, accepting in only return a place to spend two nights because the agreement with the government’s representatives was that on the morning of September 17th we could reinstate the sit-in, but as is well-known of those who fail to govern this country, if anything distinguishes them it is their lack of honor and if they don’t have honor, then even less so do their words and that is why on September 17th we intended to reinitiate the sit-in, but police fenced in the palace corridors preventing us from sitting in, and we were called again by the same officials who bring lies and deceit in order to present us with the offer of another round table, then asked us for a period of 10 days to respond to our principle demands, not being capable of more resistance actions, and because our movement is one of peace and dialogue we again agreed with the warning on our part that if it didn’t happen before the 30th of this month, we will sit-in at whatever cost and that each individual will assume the responsibility of what happens to them, for this we call on those who have stood with us to await for the 30th, and to those who are interested in antagonizing and creating division we tell you that your words may create doubt in another of our friends who are not evil without realizing it, thus helping those you claim to be fighting.

INDIGENOUS DIGNITY CANNOT BE CHEAPENED OR SOLD
MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO ACHIEVE PEACE WITH JUSTICE AND DIGNITY
AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF SAN JUAN COPALA

September 20, 2011

Published on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:14am Some Rights Reserved
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A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Eleven)

A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Eleven)

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Posted 27 September 2011, by , Occupy Wall Street, occupywallst.org

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This is the eleventh communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street. We will not be moved.

On September 27th, 2011, many friends participated in our democratic process.

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We are seeing change in our world, block by block – city by city.

Join our conversation.

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https://occupywallst.org/article/day-eleven/

Occupy Wall Street: Nine Conversations and a Protest Song

 

Occupy Wall Street: Nine Conversations and a Protest Song

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Posted27 September 2011, byEdward Champion, Reluctant Habits, edrants.com

 

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Please visit the original site to listen to multiple audio tracks (the conversations and the song) associated with this article

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On Tuesday afternoon, I discovered this report from NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. NPR hadn’t aired a single story in relation to the Occupy Wall Street riots, which I had reported about on Sunday in relation to the pepper spraying incident. I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and attend the protests myself. What follows are nine conversations I had with various individuals at the protests.

Douglas: “I’m here because I’m American. I was born here in New York. I was born here in Manhattan.”

Jeff and Miike came from Colorado.

Miike: “We came on Sunday specifically for this. And we decided we wanted to come down for the week also.”
Jeff: “We had already planned a trip to New York. And then they were talking about it on the radio station that I listen to in Denver. And they were saying there’s a total media blackout on this whole thing. And so I said I’m going to go down there. I called them up and said I’m going to go down there.”

Dorjee: “I hope it brings it down completely and we get a completely new system of human respect with viable resources and fair trade, instead of I lend you. You, you need a thousand dollars. Okay, I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you pay me back $1,000 plus $200.”

Me to Dorjee: “Be careful with that fist. Because you’re trying to be peaceful, right?”

Marvin was holding a sign that read JESUS IS NOT FOR CORPORATE GREED. What will the protest actually do?

Marvin: “It will make people more aware that we live in a capitalist system where more people are living in poverty than ever. And the most ironic part of it is that it’s a capitalist system, but we live off the Communists. We have to borrow money from Communists to even exist.”

Mary was a tourist who had stopped by Liberty Square on the last day of her vacation.

Mary: “I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier. Now it has. I started following it on Twitter. And then I thought I’d come down and see what was happening.”

Ed and Robin came to the protests all the way from West Virginia.

Robin: “The corporations have done a great job in dividing people, separating people into issues. People are coming together here and realizing that we have much more in common with each other than we do with the people who are trying to sell us on what a good way of life is here.”

Ed and Robin were also kind enough to perform their song “Let ‘Em Eat Cake” for me. Here is Uncle Eddie & Robin’s website.

Roman carried a sign calling for President Paris Hilton and had some unusual ideas about making sex appeal a more predominant characteristic than others.

Roman: “I’m an aspiring, you know, Paris Hilton. I want to just be able to live and party. I live with my parents right now but we don’t have much money. And I think that if Paris Hilton becomes President, you know, she can help everybody just party.”

Brian worked very close to Liberty Square. He was checking out the protests on his lunch break.

Brian: “This is funny anyway. [indicating sign] I mean, who hasn’t tried to go to school looking for a job when they first get out of school. I mean, that’s what we all do. It’s hard to find a job. But, like anything, you continue to look and try until you find one and do what most of us have done.”

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Please note that an earlier version of this story misidentified the “Steven Levy” as “Wired senior writer Steven Levy.” Reluctant Habits expresses its apologies to Wired‘s Steven Levy and greatly regrets the error.]

As I was circling Liberty Square and talking with many people about what it meant to protest, I observed an older man berating a young man going by the name of Matt. It was the only contentious banter I had observed in what was otherwise a peaceful gathering — complete with donated food, plentiful signs laid along the ground, activists singing protest songs on banjos and guitars, and even a library established in close proximity to the main dais.

I was curious about what had caused this older man to lose his gasket. Because while I had talked with people who did not approve of the protest (including some cops who declined to go on the record, but all NYPD officers I observed were calm and professional), the older man was the only one prepared to go ballistic. This being a public space, I naturally began recording audio and approached the shrieking man, hoping that I might use this moment to generate a civil discussion. But the man, who identified himself as “Steven Levy” (not to be confused with the Wired senior writer) wasn’t especially interested in explaining to me why he was upset at Matt.

“He and I were just talking with another woman,” explained Matt after the exchange. “And I think they’re more on the liberal interventionist side of the economic policies — at least in terms of their opinions. And I was like saying, ‘Look, I’m personally against Keynesianism. Because I think Keynes is all about government spending. And I don’t believe government is a good allocator of spending.’”

This position apparently infuriated Levy. When I approached Levy and Matt, Matt was explaining to Levy that the two of them were on the same side. Levy responded, “You don’t read well.”

I decided to intervene. I merely wanted to know what Matt was misrepresenting. The results can be listened to below:

Please visit the original site to listen to multiple audio tracks (the conversations and the song) associated with this article

About Edward Champion

Edward Champion is the Managing Editor of Reluctant Habits.

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http://www.edrants.com/occupy-wall-street-nine-conversations-and-a-protest-song/

US’ polling machines for 2012 allow remote hacking

 

US’ polling machines for 2012 allow remote hacking

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Posted 28 September 2011, by Staff, GMA News (GMA Network), gmanews.tv

 

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Many of the electronic voting machines that about a third of American voters will use in the 2012 polls may be hacked remotely, a laboratory has shown.

Experts at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois said the hack could change voting results without leaving a trace.

“We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines. We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine,” said Roger Johnston, leader of the assessment team, in an interview published on the Salon magazine website.

“This is a national security issue. It should really be handled by the Department of Homeland Security,” he added.

The Salon article said that the Diebold voting machines can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and eighth-grade science education.

Argonne Lab, run by the Department of Energy, has the mission of conducting scientific research to meet national needs.

The Diebold Accuvote voting system used in the study was loaned to the lab’s scientists by VelvetRevolution.us, which received the machine from a former Diebold contractor.

According to the Argonne team, e-voting system hacks such as Princeton’s demonstration of a viral cyber attack on a Diebold touch-screen system – which relied on cyber attacks to change the results of elections – will require more coding skills and knowledge of the voting system software.

In contrast, the Argonne team’s attack allegedly required no modification, reprogramming, or even knowledge of the voting machine’s proprietary source code.

Demonstration, proof of concept

The team demonstrated in a video that inserting an inexpensive electronic device into the voting machine can offer a “bad guy” virtually complete control over the machine.

A cheap remote control unit can enable access to the voting machine from up to half a mile away.

“The cost of the attack that you’re going to see was $10.50 in retail quantities,” said Warner.

He said an RF [radio frequency] remote control to stop and start the attacks will cost an extra $15.

A video prepared by the team shows three different types of attack, each showing how the intrusion developed by the team allows them to take complete control of the Diebold touch-screen voting machine.

They were able to demonstrate a similar attack on a DRE system made by Sequoia Voting Systems as well.

Under the setup, the intruder would allow the voter to make his or her selections. But when the voter actually attempts to push the “Vote Now” button, which records the voter’s final selections to the system’s memory card, Warner said a bad guy “will simply intercept that attempt … change a few of the votes,” and the changed votes would then be registered in the machine.

“In order to do this, we blank the screen temporarily so that the voter doesn’t see that there’s some revoting going on prior to the final registration of the votes,” he said.

Such an attack would allow manipulation would occur after the voter has approved as “correct” the on-screen summaries of his or her intended selections.

Johnston said the machines could also be tampered with during so-called voting machine “sleepovers” when e-voting systems are kept by poll workers at their houses days and weeks prior to the election or at other times when the systems are unguarded.

But he said the more realistic way to insert these alien electronics is to do it while the voting machines are waiting in the polling place a week or two prior to the election.

“Often the polling places are in elementary schools or a church basement or some place that doesn’t really have a great deal of security. Or the voting machines can be tampered while they’re in transit to the polling place. Or while they’re in storage in the warehouse between elections,” Johnston said.

He noted that the Argonne team had no owner’s manual or circuit diagrams for either the Diebold or Sequoia voting systems they were able to access in these attacks.

Election security procedures

Also, the team members criticized election security procedures, which rarely if ever include physical inspection of the machines, especially their internal electronics.

But even if such inspections were carried out, the Argonne scientists said their attack leaves behind no physical or programming evidence if properly executed.

“The really nice thing about this attack, the man-in-the-middle, is that there’s no soldering or destruction of the circuit board of any kind. You can remove this attack and leave no forensic evidence that we’ve been there,” Warner said.

Gaining access

Gaining access to the inside of the Diebold touch-screen is as simple as picking the lock, or using a standard hotel minibar key, the team noted.

It pointed out the machines use the same easily copied key, available at most office supply stores.

“I think our main message is, let’s not get overly transfixed on the cyber,” team leader Johnston says. Since he believes they “can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine,” he recommends a number of improvements for future e-voting systems.

“The machines themselves need to be designed better, with the idea that people may be trying to get into them. If you’re just thinking about the fact that someone can try to get in, you can design the seals better, for example,” he added.

He also warned against using a standard blank key for every machine.

“Spend an extra four bucks and get a better lock. You don’t have to have state of the art security, but you can do some things where it takes at least a little bit of skill to get in,” he said.

New findings

The Vulnerability Assessment Team’s new findings raised concerns about e-voting vulnerabilities issued by other computer scientists and security experts.

While the use of touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems such as those Argonne showed to be vulnerable to manipulation has declined, similar systems may be used by a “significant part” of the electorate on Election Day in 2012, the Salon article said.

It cited Sean Flaherty, a policy analyst for e-voting watchdog group VerifiedVoting.org, as saying that “about one-third of registered voters live where the only way to vote on Election Day is to use a DRE.”

Flaherty said almost all voters in states like Georgia, Maryland, Utah and Nevada, and the majority of voters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas, will vote on DREs on Election Day in 2012.

He added voters in major municipalities such as Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Pittsburgh will also line up in next year’s election to use DREs of the type hacked by the Argonne National Lab.

‘Security by obscurity’

While voting machine companies and election officials have sought to protect source code and the memory cards that store ballot programming and election results for each machine, critics like California Secretary of State Debra Bowen have pointed out that attempts at “security by obscurity” largely ignore the most immediate threat.

Such threats come from election insiders who have regular access to the e-voting systems, as well as those who may gain physical access to machines that were not designed with security safeguards in mind.

“This is a fundamentally very powerful attack and we believe that voting officials should become aware of this and stop focusing strictly on cyber (attacks),” said Warner.

He added there’s a very large physical protection component of the voting machine that needs to be addressed. — TJD, GMA News

 

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http://www.gmanews.tv/story/233629/technology/us-polling-machines-for-2012-allow-remote-hacking

Saudi Women Granted Right To Vote (And Save Planet)

 

Saudi Women Granted Right To Vote (And Save Planet)

Why women’s right to vote is important not only for gender equality but for the planet

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet, greenprophet.com

 

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It been a political roller-coaster of a year for the Middle East and it doesn’t look set to stop just yet. Yesterday, an event many thought would never happen in their lifetime finally happened- Saudi women were granted the right to vote. Not only did this de-bunk claims made by ‘Ethical Oil’ that Canadian tar sands were better than Saudi oil due to the latter’s gender bias but it also meant that women in the country were strengthening their ability to fight climate change and better resist the devastating impact it could have on them.

It is widely accepted that women will be worst affected by climate change and troubling phenomenons such as land grabs due to gender inequality which means they are less equipped to secure their own protection. For example, in the case of land grabs a recent report by Oxfam highlights their particular vulnerability as they lack the same land rights as most men and so they are more likely to be mistreated. Consequently, the recent move in Saudi to grant women an equal voice in the political sphere by 2015 is an important step to achieving gender equality which is vital if women are to tackle the impacts of climate change.

Saudi Women Gain Green Political Voice

Not that Saudi women weren’t working to tackle environmental problems facing the country prior to the vote. I spoke to the pioneering green women-led Saudi intiative Naqa’a around a year ago and they showed great concern about the need to stop climate change and deal with environmental issues in Saudi such as water shortages and wastefulness.

Although a women-led group, they also highlighted the fact that the need to protect the environment was a duty required of every Muslim – man and woman. However, the right to vote means that eco-friendly women in the country now have a stronger voice and will be able to express their views at the polls and at government policy level.

Building on protests demanding women’s right to drive in Saudi, it finally looks like the establishment (who are probably keen to avoid full-scale protests such as those in Syria and in Bahrain by pushing through these much-needed reforms) are paying attention to their citizens and their demands for change.

Clear Restrictions Which Need Challenging

Even so, there are some clear limitations to the recent news. For one, the law won’t take effect till another four years and some have criticized the overall democratic nature of governance in Saudi stating that the vote doesn’t really have an influence on the way the country is run. What’s more, women still cannot drive or travel abroad alone so there is still some way to go for gender and political equality.

Despite these restriction, it is encouraging to hear that women in Saudi have been granted the right to vote and stand for elections. It’s a step in the right direction and these are really exciting time we are living through at the moment in the Middle East – let’s hope that they will be just as green.

: Image via en_el_houston/flickr.

For more on Saudi and the environment see:

King Abdullah Gives Saudi Women Right To Vote

Interview With Naqa’a: Saudi Women Fight For Environment

Saudi Spring For Women Drivers In Saudi Begins Now!

Browse topics: , , , ,

 

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http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/09/saudi-women-vote-save-planet/