Rape Culture in India
 
 

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Arab Labor Season 2, Episode 1 Explainer: Shower

Link TV has enlisted Palestinian-American comedian Aron Kader and Jewish-Israeli actress/philanthropist Naomi Ackerman to recap season two of Arab Labor, providing insight into the cultural nuances depicted in the award-winning sitcom.

Here's their take on the season two premiere, Shower.

Arab Labor Season 2, Episode 1: Shower



Aron Kader:

The opening episode of season two deals with a couple of rather serious topics in a funny and brilliant way. The first issue is Israel's control over water, while the second is the discriminatory housing practices and the nearly nonexistent awarding of permits to Arabs.

Water rights have been a controversial issue historically between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. Jewish neighborhoods tend to have higher water pressure as a result of their superior infrastructure and management of water resources. In the beginning of the episode, Amjad looks out Meir's window, admiring the green grass and peaceful neighborhood.

Without getting into the politics too much, here's one narrative surrounding water. Traditionally, Israel has served its own community's needs first and Arabs second, which has led to the drying up of Palestinian lands -- mainly orchards and farms that have been passed down for many generations. Palestinians have viewed this as an Israeli strategy to dry the land out until they're forced to abandon it, leaving their property to be sold. Writer Sayed Kashua brilliantly uses shower/water pressure as a comedic vehicle to comment on social injustice.

After being prompted by Meir to put his foot down, Amjad takes his complains about the weak water pressure to the municipality only to have it tragically backfire. When the authorities look further into his concerns, they determine that his father Abu Amjad's home violates an unexplained property code. They serve an order for its demolition. Unfortunately, this happens to be a very common occurrence in Israel since Arabs typically are not granted permits to build on their own lands and if they are, it's usually accompanied by many obstacles to overcome.

Aron Kader is a Palestinian-American comedian and founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour that debuted on Comedy Central in 2007. He performs regularly in Hollywood at his home club, The World Famous Comedy Store.


Naomi Ackerman:

Saying "have a nice day" and smiling comes naturally in the United States. In order to have that nice day, all people really need are the basics -- for example, a strong, hot shower. Because if we don't have the basics, the entire day can be ruined.

In the first episode of season two of "Arab Labor," Amjad is frustrated with the water power in his house. Water politics in the Middle East is about controlling the supply and allocation of water resources. It is a sore issue that reflects a central aspect of the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fact that the Israeli government is the regulator of water to the West Bank, the influx of an additional large population to a relatively fragile geographical area, and the massive expansion of previously existing populations have all caused variance and struggle.

The water in this specific episode also addresses the difference in the utility services citizens of east Jerusalem receive, as opposed to citizens of west Jerusalem. Eastern Jerusalem is primarily populated by Palestinian Israelis, while the West is populated by Jewish Israelis. Palestinians can only be Israeli citizens if they don't live in the West Bank and hold an Israeli ID. Both sides of Jerusalem are served by a joint municipality. Unfortunately, there is a lack of equality in many of the services.

Naomi Ackerman is a Jewish-Israeli American. She is the founder and executive director of The Advot Project -- a non-profit organization that uses theater for transformation with incarcerated youth. Naomi draws upon her vast experience as an actress in theater, musicals, films, and television to develop programs that promote peace, change, and encourage self-empowerment.

Click here to watch the full episode
Click here for more web extras

 
 

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Arab Labor Season 2, Episode 2 Explainer: Moving

Link TV has enlisted Palestinian-American comedian Aron Kader and Jewish-Israeli actress/philanthropist Naomi Ackerman to recap season two of Arab Labor, providing insight into the cultural nuances depicted in the award-winning sitcom.

Here's their take on season two, episode two, Moving.

Arab Labor Season 2, Episode 2 Explainer: Moving



Aron Kader:

This is a pivotal episode that introduces a new cast of characters that will change the trajectory of the entire series. When Amjad moves into an all-Jewish building, it adds another dimension to the show, providing more opportunities for social commentary surrounding race, culture, and prejudice.

One joke that I found very funny could easily be overlooked: The Arab movers arrive at Amjad's new apartment complex in an old, beat-up truck and complain that the address they were given didn't mention a landmark, only a street name and number. A lot of the areas where Arabs live don't use numbered addresses; they use landmarks like "green trash can." I have experienced this myself in the Arab world.

We are then introduced to the characters that will create many misunderstandings throughout the season. Amjad offers a framed picture as a gift to the building that turns out to be an insult to his new Jewish neighbors because of its depiction of the Al Aqsa mosque. Some believe that the Al Aqsa mosque is built on top of where the temple mount used to be, which is considered to be the holiest Jewish shrine from antiquity. There are people that want the mosque torn down so that they can rebuild the temple for the Jewish people. Of course, this would cause a major fight since the Al Aqsa mosque is considered the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. All three major religions have legends attached to that spot, but one major belief is that it's where Abraham sacrificed his son Isaac.

One other thought I had watching as a Palestinian is the phrase, "self-determination." That phrase is used a lot when it comes to being able to move around as you please and not being told where and how you can live by Israelis. Self-determination is likely something Americans take for granted, as we can essentially move anywhere in the country without restrictions. In Israel, there are different territories with different rules, especially around Jerusalem, which is split between Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities.

Aron Kader is a Palestinian-American comedian and founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour that debuted on Comedy Central in 2007. He performs regularly in Hollywood at his home club, The World Famous Comedy Store.

Arab Labor Season 2, Episode 2 Explainer: Moving



Naomi Ackerman:

Like many other cities, Jerusalem is divided into neighborhoods. But because Jerusalem is the heart of the political, religious conflict in the Middle East, this division is taken to an extreme. There are no written rules or laws, but there is a very strong segregation of communities in the city and the suburbs. Jews live in the West and Arabs live in the East; there are no mixed neighborhoods. This segregation is not only between Arabs and Jews, but between religious Jews and secular Jews as well.

In this episode, Amjad, in his desperation for equal social services -- like water pressure, organized parking, beautiful parks -- moves his family from the familiar Arab village to a Jewish secular neighborhood in west Jerusalem. He is the only Arab in the building, if not the entire neighborhood. He wants and tries desperately to make a good impression, fit in, and not be "too Arab," but of course, the more he tries not to be the stereotype of his people, the more he becomes it.

Ironically, you will find in this building every Israeli stereotype in the book: the army vet, the one that fears Arabs and blatantly hates them, the ones who say they are evolved and enlightened but are as racist as the next, and the real friend who doesn't care if Amjad is an Arab. Together they struggle with the idea that an Arab is moving into the building, try to be civilized, and are confronted with their own ignorance and misconceptions.

Naomi Ackerman is a Jewish-Israeli American. She is the founder and executive director of The Advot Project -- a non-profit organization that uses theater for transformation with incarcerated youth. Naomi draws upon her vast experience as an actress in theater, musicals, films, and television to develop programs that promote peace, change, and encourage self-empowerment.

Click here to watch the full episode
Click here for more web extras

 
 

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In Defense of the Chinese Tourist
 
 

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Survey Says: China and Japan Really Hate Each Other

Thuy Vu:
A troubling revelation: The Japanese government believes the stricken nuclear reactors at Fukushima are leaking 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean every day. To give you some idea: That's way more than an average American family consumes every year. The government says the leak's been going on for most of the two and a half years since an earthquake and a tsunami smashed the reactors. The owner of the nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric and Power Company, or TEPCO, says the 300 tons is only a guess. Guess or not, it adds to growing doubts about TEPCO's efforts to clean up. The Japanese government has become impatient. Here's Japan's public broadcaster, NHK.

 

--


Reporter:
Prime Minister Abe gave details of his decision when government officials met about the nuclear disaster. Abe told the industry minister to instruct TEPCO managers to do whatever they can to stop the leaks right away. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says the government is considering a plan to give TEPCO funding to contain the radioactive groundwater and protect the sea.

 

--


Thuy Vu:
Relations between Japan and China have steadily declined over the past year, largely due to territorial disputes. Diplomacy has taken on a frosty tone. Researchers in both countries wanted to know how citizens feel. They say the recent survey reveals more than 90 percent of Japanese and Chinese have negative feelings toward each other. For more on that survey, here's NHK.

 

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Reporter:
Staff with the Tokyo-based non-profit think tank Genron NPO and the state-run newspaper, China Daily, have been conducting the poll annually since 2005. They asked more than 2,500 Japanese and Chinese what they think about their neighbor. They carried out the survey between May and July. Ninety percent of Japanese said they have negative feelings towards China. That's up six percentage points from last year. Ninety-three percent of Chinese said they had negative feeilngs towards Japan, an increase of 28 percentage points. The new poll suggests animosity between people in China and Japan worsened over the past year.

Japanese Citizen:
I don't have a positive image of China.

Japanese Citizen:
Chinese people push too much about their views on historical issues.

Chinese Citizen:
I especially hate Japan.

Chinese Citizen:
We don't need good relations with Japan.

Reporter:
The researchers asked Japanese and Chinese why they have bad impressions of each other. The tug of war over the East China Sea was the top reason. More than 53 percent of Japanese cited the territorial dispute compared with nearly 78 percent of Chinese. Wartime history is the second highest reason for this ill will. Nearly half of Japanese surveyed say they don't like Chinese criticizing them over the past. Sixty-four of Chinese feel Japan's apology for its invasion of their country isn't good enough. Some respondents consider armed conflict in the future a possibility. Nearly 24 percent of Japanese believe hostilities could break out compared to nearly 53 percent of Chinese. The leader of the Japanese NGO that conducted the joint survey said the results show relations have entered a critical phase. But he notes more than 70 percent of respondents on both sides consider the Japan-China relationship important.

Yasushi Kudo:
It's now a crucial time for both governments to start talks to resolve the deadlock. And the private sector should start taking action as well.

Reporter:
The researchers say their study suggests animosity is at its worst level since 2005. They say they want to see ways to overcome the bad feelings with dialogue. They are scheduled to hold a joint forum in Beijing this coming October. Tomoko Kamata, NHK World, Tokyo.

 
 

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Burma, Not Quite Out of Orwellian Danger
 
 

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A Childhood Dream Come True: Raising Awareness of Illness


For more info about The Power of Two and to find out how you can become an organ donor, visit LinkTV.org/PowerofTwo.

 
 

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Burma's Anti-Muslim Riots: A Buddhist Dilemma

 
 

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Tibetans March Against China in New Delhi
(LinkAsia: November 30, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
In New Delhi, hundreds of Tibetans protested against Chinese policies that they say drove people to self-immolate. Here's a report from Japanese broadcaster, NHK.

--

NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: November 28, 2012

Reporter:
Tibetan people are protesting in New Delhi to show their solidarity with the self-immolators. Four hundred exiles marched, calling for "freedom for Tibet!" and burning a Chinese flag.

Demonstrator:
You can't talk about a free Tibet, you can't talk about religion. And you can't, you know, say anything against the government.

Reporter:
The Tibetan government-in-exile says the situation is desperate in Chinese provinces, including Qinghai, that are home to large numbers of Tibetans. It says 72 Tibetans have set fire to themselves this year. Sixty of them died.

The Chinese government claims the Dalai Lama encourages their actions. China and the Dalai Lama have held negotiations since 2002.The Dalai Lama demands autonomy for Tibet except for military and diplomatic issues. But China's position has not moved. No official talks have taken place since January 2010.

China's leadership transition began this month. Tibetan leaders hope Wednesday's demonstration will add pressure on those taking power in Beijing to return to the negotiating table.
 
 

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This Week in Gaza: 'Operation Pillar of Defense' Revives Israel-Hamas Conflict

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

 

The latest violence in the Israel-Hamas conflict began on Wednesday with the Israel Defense Force's "Operation Pillar of Defense," a series of air strikes on the Gaza Strip. The first day of strikes saw the death of Ahmed al-Jaabari, the leader of the Hamas movement's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Factions in Gaza have responded with rocket fire into southern Israel, with fears on both sides that the situation is about to escalate into another ground war.

 

Below is a summary of this week's reports from Mosaic on the conflict, as well as the various international responses to the violence.

Wednesday, November 14

Al Jazeera reported that in an air strike on Gaza City, Israel assassinated Ahmed al-Jaabari, the head of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, in an air strike on the Gaza Strip.  An Al Jazeera report looks at the most prominent chapters in the life of al-Jaabari, from his beginnings as a guerilla in the Fatah movement to his rise to power in al-Qassam, and the previous attempts on his life that killed his son and brother. It also looks at his role in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

IBA reported that the IDF stressed that the attacks are an ongoing operation, the IDF chief of staff is overseeing the operation, and al-Jaabari is not the only target. The purpose is to stop the constant barrage of rockets on the south of Israel. Meanwhile, the Iron Dome system was bolstered in southern Israel, in the Negev town of Netivot, to guard against missile attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Press TV reported that the United States defended Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, while Egypt called on Tel Aviv to immediately stop the attacks. The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's health minister are calling on President Mohamed Morsi to reconsider all treaties and ties with Israel. The acting chief of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, also condemned the attacks, and called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the Israeli aggressions.

Thursday, November 15

Saudi TV reported that Western reactions to the recent Israel-Hamas attacks varied from supporting Israel to considering the Israeli strikes a "disproportionate response" to the firing of rockets by Palestinian factions. Meanwhile, Arab nations unanimously denounced Israel, and held it completely responsible for the escalation. Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, said that the Israeli aggression on Gaza is as a test for the leaders of the Arab world, and called on Islamic and Arab leaders to change the rules of the game with Israel.

Press TV reported that the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, paid tribute to the late military commander Ahmed al-Jaabari, and said that his assassination will be avenged. He also hailed Egypt for its support in the decision to withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv. In Lebanon, the leader of the Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, said the fresh Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip has once again shown the "true face" of the US and its allies.

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza said a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip caused an explosion in Tel Aviv. Earlier, the Israeli army said a rocket fell on Rishon Lezion, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv. This is the first time rockets launched from Gaza hit a Tel Aviv suburb. Three Israeli soldiers were injured after a shell fell in the western Negev. Israeli police also confirmed that three people were killed in the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi due to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

IBA reported that in Kiryat Malakhi, a direct hit by a Grad rocket on an apartment building killed Israeli civilians, including two women and a man who were trying to make their way into a fortified stairwell when the missile hit. IDF Spokeswoman Avital Leibovitch says that "all the options are on the table, including the possibility of a ground operation," and some reserve units have been alerted.

Friday, November 16

BBC Arabic reported that the Palestinian death toll has risen past 20, in addition to the over 250 people wounded in the more than 120 Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip. Israeli police confirmed that a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip fell south of Jerusalem, and two rockets fell in an open area near Tel Aviv. This comes as al-Qassam Brigades said it downed an Israeli warplane with a surface-to-air missile.

Al Jazeera reported that Israeli air raids continued despite the Netanyahu government's commitment to stop them during the visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil to Gaza. Meanwhile, during protests in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Hamas flags were raised, and chants echoed in support of the movement, in a scene that has been rare since the Hamas-Fatah split in 2007. Clashes erupted across the West Bank and Jerusalem during demonstrations that took place after Friday prayers against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Press TV reported that there is worldwide condemnation of the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Demonstrators in several countries, including Turkey, Yemen, South Africa, Lebanon, Libya, and Greece, have taken to the streets in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Image: Jihad al-Masharawi, a Palestinian employee of BBC Arabic in Gaza, carries the body of his 11-month-old son Omar, who according to hospital officials was killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

 
 

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