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In These Countries, This Number of Women Think It’s Okay for Men to Beat Women

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Karzai Throws Afghan Women Under the Bus, Says Women are “Worth Less than Men,” are “Secondary”

Last Friday, the Council, Afghanistan’s highest Islamic authority, issued a non-binding edict saying that women were worth less than men — a statement released by Karzai’s office and then endorsed by the president on Tuesday.

“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” it said, adding women should avoid “mingling with strange men in various social activities such as education, in bazaars, in offices and other aspects of life”.

Such advice effectively implies that women should not go to university or to work at all, no matter that in the lower house of parliament, for example, 27 percent of seats are reserved for women.

The edict went on to say that women would wear “full Islamic hijab”, should respect polygamy — Islam allows a man to take up to four wives — and comply with Sharia law on divorce, which severely restricts women’s rights.

It further stated that “teasing, harassing and beating women” was prohibited “without a sharia-compliant reason” — leaving open the suggestion that in some circumstances, domestic abuse is appropriate.

Karzai, who has formally outlawed violence and discrimination against women, caused consternation on Tuesday by publicly endorsing the statement, saying that it “reiterated Islamic principles and values” in supporting women.

In response, Afghanistan’s first deputy speaker, Fawzia Koofi, who was this week listed as one of the world’s “150 Fearless Women” by US website The Daily Beast, accused the Council of returning women to the dark days of Taliban rule.

“This move by the Ulema council drives Afghan women rights towards Talibanization,” she told AFP. “Nobody has the right to interfere in women’s rights, not even President Hamid Karzai.”

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The Disappearance of Gertude Beasley

“Gertrude Beasley’s memoir of growing up dirt poor in and around the Bible Belt town of Abilene, My First Thirty Years, was released in 1925 by Contact Press in Paris. That’s the same press that published James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. H.L. Mencken hailed Beasley’s book as one of the best coming-of-age books ever …

“Despite these accolades, her memoir is largely unknown. Its violent and sexually deviant material caused it to be banned in Britain, where Beasley was living at the time. Most copies were destroyed by Scotland Yard and U.S. Customs. The few that made it to Texas were mostly yanked off shelves by the Texas Rangers, probably on the orders of prominent Texans maligned in her book. Then the author vanished. She was 35. Continue reading

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