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In Brazil, Racism’s Second Lives

Black Awareness Day in Brazil passed some weeks ago. Half the country’s 200 million people consider themselves white, half say they are black or brown, making it one of the most racially diverse large countries in the world. In this essay, a Brazilian journalist recalls the appalling practices of not so distant a past and measures the powerful, though almost invisible, present remains of the beast within.

In the 1970s, I remember vividly how one of my relatives kept two types of glasses in the cupboard.

How They Killed The Hollywood Kid

Come down the rabbit hole into the nihilistic world of El Salvador’s gang culture, via this chronicle of a little death foretold; Oscar Martinez’s menacing tale of the assassination of an assassin: Miguel Angel Tobar, killer, police informant, father of two, predator and finally prey.

Miguel Angel Tobar knew since November of 2009 that he was going to be murdered.

Slum Golf

What lies beyond the manicured grass and stately buildings of Porto Alegre’s most exclusive country club? A slum village where the only jobs available are in service to wealthy golfers, a place where kids prefer golf to soccer. A landscape where old shipping containers converted into houses, open sewage ditches, rocky terrain, and impressive amounts of garbage are the fairway for their own golf course.

The path is narrow and winding. In some places it is not even a meter wide, a dirt track covered with candy wrappers, popcorn bags and plastic cups.

The Unburied

For Muslims, the mandate to wash and bury their dead immediately is very strong. So, while the sight of hundreds of women camping out in the road for days with the corpses of their murdered children would be shocking anywhere, the mothers’ protests that paralyzed the Baloch regional capital of Quetta earlier in the year were particularly jolting for Pakistanis: the vigil an almost blasphemous demonstration of the Hazara community’s rejection of the orchestrated campaign of murder against Hazaris that the Pakistani state has allowed to prosper.

On 10th January 2013, Rukhsana Bibi lost three sons in twin bomb blasts at a snooker hall on Alamdar Road, Quetta.

The Black Herald

Was there a better chronicler of the pitiless cruelty of Guatemala’s urban society than the artist Anibal Lopez? A profile of a provocateur, of the artist as thug and transgressor, by Sebastian Escalon:

Piglets are plentiful, on hog farms. But a piglet with a name, ‘Hugo,’ dressed up with a beautiful blue bow is something special; a pet, almost a person, a character like one of the three pigs who vanquished the wolf, or like the cartoon Porky Pig. Anibal Lopez, the controversial Guatemalan artist who died recently, knew this well.

Everything Reminds Me of Sex

Obsessed with sex, and yet entirely unwilling to talk about it: the judgment of writer Baraa Ashraf on modern Egyptian society.

There is a joke about a famous Egyptian anchorwoman who decides to take on the subject of “human rights and equality” for her upcoming TV show. She goes out on the streets of the capital to ask people about their thoughts on the idea of equality. She takes a comb with her, as a concrete illustration of the prophet Muhammad’s famous maxim that “All people are as equal as the teeth of a comb.”

Emergency Medical Marriage

Saudi Arabia’s strange gender relations produce endless challenges and contortions for situations that are elsewhere straightforward. Here, for example, Al Safir Al Arabi ponders the question of how ambulances and paramedics must deal with female patients in medical emergencies. If they have no male relative nearby, should they be rescued at all? The answer turns out to be generally, no.

A woman was recently arrested for driving a car in Safwa City, in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif province. According to newspaper reports, [Aaliya al-Farid] had been driving herself to a hospital during an attack of a chronic illness she suffers from.

The Last Days of the President’s Pet Parliament

Just days ago, Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaore had instructed his parliament to amend the constitution so he could head toward a fourth decade in power. But as deputies prepared to vote the measure through yesterday, the population turned out en masse to burn down the parliament, and went on to sack the prime minister’s office, the national television and radio offices, and the homes of various authorities for good measure.

Protestors dead or injured, others knocked unconscious. But in spite of it all, the people of Burkina Faso have accomplished something that not a single political analyst would have predicted.

The War of Bicycles and Thumbtacks

New bicycle lanes bearing vast tides of lower and middle class bike commuters sweep through the wealthy neighborhoods of Sao Paulo. Thumbtacks and twitter rants from elite residents who want to keep the roads for their Mercedes and BMWs only. In Brazil, class warfare over a painted line on the asphalt:

Over the past few days, Brazilian social media has buzzed with complaints from cyclists about thumbtacks being scattered on the new [Sao Paulo] bike lanes by those who oppose their creation.

The Women Behind the Block the Boat Movement

American media are remaining predictably silent on an important new front in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. But the repeated blockades of cargo ships from Israel’s Zim line, which began with a four-day action in August during the heated aftermath of Israel’s latest armed assault on Gaza appear to be doing damage to the firm as well as giving new energy to the BDS movement, writes Daikha Dridi in Al-Huffington Post Algeria.

Behind the success of the California-based Block the Boat campaign are a multitude of activists, and two exceptional women in particular.

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