MoJo Author Feeds: Fatima Bhojani | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/authors/240651 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Travels Through India's Sexual Revolution http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/05/sally-howard-the-kama-sutra-diaries-sexual-revolution-india <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In late 2012, Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, boarded a bus in Delhi headed towards home. She never made it to her destination. While on the bus, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/father-india-rape-victim-identifies-daughter-article-1.1234227" target="_blank">she was gang-raped by six men</a> who left her with fatal injuries.&nbsp;</p> <p>But unlike in the past, when Singh's story might have remained hushed, <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/protests-prayers-mark-1-year-delhi-rape" target="_blank">tens of thousands</a> of men and women poured into the streets to protest the rape. This public pressure led to the passage of <a href="http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/New-anti-rape-law-comes-into-force/articleshow/19359543.cms" target="_blank">a bill</a> that criminalized stalking, voyeurism, and sexual harassment (though it falls short of criminalizing marital rape). The January 2013 anti-rape uprisings are part of a socio-sexual revolution unfolding in India, argues journalist Sally Howard in her book <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Kama-Sutra-Diaries-Intimate/dp/1857885899" target="_blank"><em>The Kama Sutra Diaries: Intimate Journeys Through Modern India</em></a>, which hit American shelves in May.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/safecitypledgeupload_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Anti-rape protests in India </strong>Courtesy Sally Howard</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>Originally from the UK, <a href="http://www.sallyhoward.net/">Howard</a> has been traveling to India for the past 15 years, writing for Indian and British publications like the<em> Telegraph</em>, the</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/CoverPINKcropped.jpg"></div> <p><em>Guardian</em>, and the <em>Sunday Times</em>. India is a land steeped in contradiction, observes Howard; a place which gave the world the revolutionary Kama Sutra, but remains hooked on the idea of arranged marriages; "where families bow down to a graphic depiction of a conjoined phallus and vagina, the Shivaling, but where couples are routinely attacked by the police for the indiscretion of holding hands in public," she writes in <em>The Kama Sutra Diaries</em>.</p> <p>But over the last decade, Howard argues that a sexual revolution has begun in India, one with very different characteristics than the West's transformation during the 1960s. "While the Western sexual revolution was propelled by contraception and feminism," she tells me, "India's revolution has more to do with a young generation rediscovering sex, and pushing up against parental expectations." Today, more than half of <a href="http://thediplomat.com/2013/03/the-promise-and-peril-of-indias-youth-bulge/" target="_blank">India's population</a> is under the age of 25, with 65 percent of the population under 35. "And these young are saying we've had enough, we want to have sex. They're telling their parents 'I don't want the life you have ascribed to me,'" says Howard.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/erotic%20temple%20upload.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Kama Sutra temples in Madhya Pradesh </strong>Kirat Sodhi</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>Howard's travel partner Dimple, a 32-year-old Delhiite who left a loveless arranged marriage, exemplifies this social shift. "I was married at 21 by arrangement to a man I didn't know," Dimple told Howard. "The consummation of my marriage was like being hit with a cricket bat. Now I'm 32 and I'm a divorc&eacute;e. My mother, who was herself very unhappy, and my grandmother, couldn't think of getting divorced. So this is a big change for my generation."</p> <p>Over the course of two years, Howard and Dimple journey to the Kama Sutra temples of Madhya Pradesh, the hillside station at Shimla where Indians had a history of sexual escapades with the colonial British, and to Delhi, rocked by the recent rape uprisings. In Gujarat, Howard interviews a gay prince who is setting up a retirement home for gay and <em>hijra </em>(third gender) Indians, many of whom don't have families to rely on for support as they age.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/GayPrinceupload.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Manvendra Singh Gohil, a gay prince who established a retirement home for eunuchs </strong>Hemant Bhavsar</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>Howard's journey voyage helps her uncover some shifts in sexual attitudes across the country. "Middle class Indians are getting more flexibility in choosing their own mate, and finding the space to be together and experimenting," she tells me. And aided by new digital tools, Indians seem more piqued by sex. Over the past decade, Google searches for the word "porn" in India have <a href="http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/india-considers-banning-pornography-as-reported-sexual-assault-rises/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=2&amp;" target="_blank">increased fivefold</a>. In 2012, people in New Delhi searched for the word "porn" at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. A survey by <em>India Today</em> showed that <a href="http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/from-the-editor-in-chief-india-today-sex-survey/1/328110.html" target="_blank">35 percent of Indian women</a> consume porn as opposed to 13 percent a decade ago. Fifty percent of women disapprove of pre-marital sex, as opposed to 64 percent in 2003.&nbsp; But remnants of a misogynist past still linger. The same <em>India Today</em> survey revealed that 36 percent of men blamed women's revealing clothes for India's rape crisis.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, Howard notes, the shift in thinking about sex is happening mostly with younger generations. But that doesn't mean the past is trivial. In fact, India's ancient texts may better inform contemporary lust than America's Puritanical roots. "I hope that the new sexual story the land of the Kama Sutra tells itself will feature some of the depths of romantic feeling of the old courtly poets&mdash;that it might rediscover the deep sentiments that gave the world its finest physical embodiment of romantic love: the Taj Mahal."</p> <p><em>The Kama Sutra Diaries</em> is equal&nbsp;parts travelogue and cultural analysis, blending vivid characters with upbeat prose and humor. With this entertaining read, Howard pushes past taboo to give us a more exposed India.</p></body></html> Mixed Media International Religion Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Sat, 28 Jun 2014 10:01:15 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 252931 at http://www.motherjones.com Film Review: "Documented" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/04/film-review-documented-jose-antonio-vargas-immigration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FElg8E16LeU" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Documented</strong></p> <p>CNN FILMS</p> <p>In this film, Filipino immigrant and former <em>Washington Post </em>reporter Jose Antonio Vargas does what he does best: tell a story&mdash;in this case, his own, with an eye toward humanizing the debate over America's 12 million undocumented immigrants. Since revealing his undocumented status in a 2011 <em>New York Times Magazine</em> article, Vargas has traveled the nation pushing reform and sparking difficult conversations with lawmakers and voters. But one place he hasn't been able to go is the Philippines. <em>Documented</em>,<em> </em>which shuttles<em> </em>between Vargas' New York City flat and his mother's home in Manila&mdash;with a stop at a Mitt Romney town hall meeting along the way&mdash;is sprinkled with heartbreaking scenes of their complex relationship, strained by 20 years of separation. Keep a box of tissues handy.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Immigration Media Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:00:16 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 248946 at http://www.motherjones.com Map: Which States Allow Gay Marriage? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/gay-marriage-states-legal-map <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update (2/17/2015):</strong> On Tuesday, a Texas judge ruled the Lone Star State's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. However, Travis County probate judge Guy Harmon's ruling, which came in an estate fight, does not mean same-sex couples can begin marrying right away. &ldquo;The Travis County Attorney&rsquo;s office is examining the order as well as the status of the current federal litigation related to marriage equality at the Fifth Circuit and in the Supreme Court."&nbsp;<a href="http://kxan.com/2015/02/17/texas-ban-on-same-sex-marriage-unconstitutional-travis-co-judge-rules/" target="_blank"> Read more.</a></em></p> <p>Just a few years ago, the fight for marriage equality looked incredibly bleak. More than half of all states had banned same-sex marriage through ballot initiatives or legislation, with some states going so far as to inscribe same-sex marriage bans into their constitutions.</p> <p>Supporters of marriage equality today are reversing the situation at an astonishing pace. A <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/the-marriage-plot-inside-this-years-epic-campaign-for-gay-equality/265865/">massive </a><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/the-marriage-plot-inside-this-years-epic-campaign-for-gay-equality/265865/">2012 campaign</a> by marriage equality activists to reverse the pattern of defeat they'd suffered at the ballot box, as well as the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-doma-decision_n_3454811.html">strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act </a>have proven to be major catalysts for change.</p> <p>But progress has been uneven. Depending on the state, the right to same-sex marriage relies on voters approving a new constitutional amendment, legislators repealing a law, or judges striking down the ban (and the judge's decision surviving the appeals process). States with domestic partnerships or civil unions don't offer nearly the same protections for couples as states that recognize same-sex marriage. For instance, Wisconsin law allows domestic partnerships but makes it <a href="http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/765.pdf">illegal</a> for same-sex couples to travel out of state to marry. Couples who do so, and continue living in Wisconsin, risk <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2014/0203/Same-sex-marriage-Four-Wisconsin-couples-challenge-state-ban-video">a $10,000 fine and nine months in prison</a>.</p> <p>Below are two maps that will help you keep it all straight. The maps, which are continually updated, tell you everything you need to know about how marriage equality is spreading across the country.</p> <p>First, here's a look at where same-sex marriage stands in each state:</p> <script src="http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/plugins/map-table/tabletop.js"></script><div id="map_container"> <header><h2>Where Is Gay Marriage Legal in the US?</h2> <p>The current status of gay marriage&nbsp;across the US. Latest state to legalize highlighted below. Click any state for details.</p> <dl><dt class="Legal">item</dt> <dd>Legal</dd> <dt class="Appeal">item</dt> <dd>Ban struck down, appeal pending</dd> <dt class="Challenged">item</dt> <dd>Banned, currently challenged in court</dd> <dt class="Banned">item</dt> <dd>Banned</dd> </dl></header><section id="state_specific_area"><span style="display:none">&nbsp;</span></section><section><aside>Source: Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign</aside></section></div> <script> var super_simple_map = function(options) { var svg_string = '<svg version="1.1" class="us_map" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="632px" height="400px" viewBox="0 0 632 400" enable-background="new 0 0 632 400" xml:space="preserve"> <g> <path class="HI" fill="#e6e6e6" d="M160.737,363.397l1.33-2.439l1.553-0.222l0.222,0.555l-1.442,2.106H160.737z M167.723,360.847 l4.214,1.774l1.442-0.221l1.108-2.662l-0.443-2.328l-2.882-0.333l-2.772,1.22L167.723,360.847z 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l3.331,0.646l1.476,1.432l2.188,0.276l0.596,0.823l-0.302,3.216l0.942,0.757l-0.328,1.324l0.843,0.542l-0.152,0.95l-1.848-0.065 l0.062,1.109l1.564,1.058l0.083,0.968l1.216,1.225l0.337,1.731l-1.751,0.947l1.078,1.025l3.979-1.156L570.953,211.298z"/> <path class="DC" fill="#e6e6e6" d="M550.769,181.324l-0.739-1.123l-0.695-0.578l0.754-1.108l1.531,1.036L550.769,181.324z"/> '; var map_svg = jQuery(svg_string); var state_specific_area = jQuery('#' + options.container); state_specific_area.before(map_svg); var remove_previously_selected = function() { var previously_selected = map_svg.find('.selected'); previously_selected.each(function() { var $this = $(this); var previous_class = $this.attr('class') || ''; if (typeof previous_class !== 'string') { $this.get(0).setAttribute('class', $this.get(0).getAttribute('class').replace('selected', '') ); } else { $this.attr('class', previous_class.replace('selected', '')); } }); } state_specific_area.hide(); map_svg.find('path').bind('click', function() { state_specific_area.hide(); remove_previously_selected(); }); /* FANCY FADE if you're feeling fancy, you can apply a fade in and out here instead replace the two lines above with state_specific_area.addClass('fade-out') map_svg.find('path').bind('click', function() { state_specific_area.addClass('fade-out').removeClass('fade-in'); remove_previously_selected(); }); and search for FANCY FADE below to make a similar change there If you do this you'll need to copy our fade-in fade-out css or make your own */ var state_specific_headline = jQuery('<h3 id="state_specific_headline">'); state_specific_area.append(state_specific_headline); var state_specific_body = jQuery('<p id="state_specific_body">'); state_specific_area.append(state_specific_body); var color_map = function(states) { for (var i = 0; i < states.length; i++) { var state = states[i]; var class_to_add = ''; if (!state['class']){ class_to_add = ' blank'; } else { class_to_add = ' clickable ' + state['class']; } var state_svg = map_svg.find('.' + state.abbr); var old_class = state_svg.attr('class'); if (typeof old_class !== 'string') { //an ancient version of jquery state_svg.get(0).setAttribute('class', state_svg.get(0).getAttribute('class') + class_to_add ); } else { var new_class = old_class + class_to_add; state_svg.attr('class', new_class); } } } var place_state_specific_data = function(states) { for (var i = 0; i < states.length; i++) { var state = states[i]; var state_svg = map_svg.find('.' + state.abbr); state_svg.attr('data-state-specific-headline', state['headline'] ); state_svg.attr('data-state-specific-body', state['body'] ); //this is what happens when you click on a state state_svg.unbind('click'); state_svg.bind('click', function(event) { //first update the state_specific var headline = jQuery(event.target).attr('data-state-specific-headline'); var body = jQuery(event.target).attr('data-state-specific-body'); state_specific_headline.html(headline); state_specific_body.html(body); state_specific_area.show(); /* FANCY FADE if you're feeling fancy, you can apply a fade in and out here instead replace the line above with state_specific_area.addClass('fade-in').removeClass('fade-out'); and search for FANCY FADE above to make a similar change there If you do this you'll need to copy our fade-in fade-out css or make your own */ //give class selected remove_previously_selected(); var state = jQuery(event.target); previous_class = state.attr('class'); if (typeof previous_class !== 'string') { state.get(0).setAttribute('class', state.get(0).getAttribute('class') + ' selected' ); } else { new_class = previous_class + ' selected'; state.attr('class', new_class); } }); } } var tabletop_options = { key: options.key, callback: function(data) { color_map(data); place_state_specific_data(data); if (options.initial_state) { map_svg.find('.' + options.initial_state).click(); } }, simpleSheet: true }; if (options.proxy) { tabletop_options.proxy = options.proxy; } Tabletop.init(tabletop_options); }; </script><script> super_simple_map({ container: 'state_specific_area', initial_state: 'SD', //proxy: proxy here, key: 'https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Aq7nL59nLsCMdDJxZUo4cFZaWGF5d0pSZU9XSE44NVE&output=html', }) </script><p>As the above map shows, more states ban same-sex marriage today than allow it. But that's only part of the story.</p> <p>Although the end of DOMA didn't have an immediate effect on state laws, the 2013 Supreme Court ruling signaled that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Accordingly, federal judges in nearly a dozen states&mdash;the ones in light green on the map above&mdash;have overturned such bans. (In each case, the state has appealed.)</p> <p>With that in mind, the fight for marriage equality looks very different&mdash;more like a movement that is succeeding at a faster clip every year:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/marriageEqualityGIFnew_4.gif"></div> <p>The tipping point came in 2012, when voters in Washington, Maine, and Minnesota recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Of the nearly two-dozen states that recognize some form of same-sex unions, more than half joined the pack in just the past two years.</p></body></html> Politics Full Width Interactives Civil Liberties Gay Rights Supreme Court Top Stories Explainers Mon, 19 May 2014 10:00:19 +0000 — By the Mother Jones news staff 251796 at http://www.motherjones.com 6 Photos of the Oldest Living Things in the World http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/04/oldest-living-things <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>For the last decade, photographer and artist <a href="http://www.rachelsussman.com/oltw/" target="_blank">Rachel Sussman</a> has traveled the world to document its oldest living organisms. Her photographs, stories, and essays are interwoven in her new book,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Oldest-Living-Things-World/dp/022605750X%3FSubscriptionId%3D0ENGV10E9K9QDNSJ5C82%26tag%3Doltw-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D022605750X" target="_blank"><em>The Oldest Living Things in the World</em></a>.&nbsp;I talked with Sussman about her first encounter with a very old tree, climate change, and how she tracked down her ancient subjects.</p> <p><strong><em>Mother Jones</em>:</strong> How did you come up with the idea for this project?</p> <p><strong>Rachel Sussman:</strong> I had gone to Japan in 2004.&nbsp; I wasn't having the best time, and was even at one point thinking of going home. I had learned this one phrase, "<em>fundoshi o shimete kakaru" </em>which literally means "tighten your loin cloth"&mdash;a saying that basically means "buck up." I ended up taking that advice. A couple of people had told me that I should go visit this 7,000-year-old tree. So instead of going home, I went the opposite direction, to this island called Yakushima, where this tree lives. The funny thing is that I didn't have an epiphany standing in front of the tree. It was incredible and obviously had an impact. But it was over a year later, sitting at a restaurant in Soho, eating Thai food with some friends that I had my eureka moment.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/seagrassmaster.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>100,000-year-old sea grass, Baleric islands, Spain </strong></div> </div> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> What was the research process like?</p> <p><strong>RS:</strong> One thing that is really interesting is that there is no area that deals with longevity across species. For example, dendrochronologists study tree history, and mycologists study fungi. But they don't talk to each other. So there was no list of old organisms. Apart from a lot of Google searches, I would try to find the published scientific research. It might start out with a rumor in a local newspaper&mdash;"hey, here is this 100,000-year-old sea grass"&mdash;and I then track down some hard facts and contact the researchers, who nine out of 10 times, are so thrilled that someone is interested in their esoteric work.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Baobab_parfurimaster.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>2,000-year-old Parfuri Baobab, Kruger Game Preserve, South Africa </strong></div> </div> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> What's the oldest thing you've photographed?</p> <p><strong>RS:</strong> Half-million-year-old bacteria found in Siberian permafrost. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to Siberia. The research was done in the Neils Bohr institute in Copenhagen, so I went there and looked at a soil sample under the microscope and made some digital images.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/bacteriamaster.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Soil sample containing 400,000-600,000-year-old Siberian bacteria </strong></div> </div> <p><strong>MJ:</strong>&nbsp; How will climate change affect these organisms?</p> <p><strong>RS:</strong> On the one hand they are these amazing symbols of resilience and perseverance; on the other hand if you think of almost every marker of climate change, they are impacted&mdash;by rising temperatures, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, rising carbon dioxide, polar ice caps melting, basic human encroachment.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/coralmaster.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>2,000-year-old brain coral, Speyside, Tobago </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/pandomaster_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>80,000-year-old colony of Quaking Aspens, Fish Lake, Utah</strong></div> </div> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> What does it feel like to gaze at something that's so old and majestic?</p> <p><strong>RS:</strong> It's different for different ones. For the giant sequoias, of course, they take your breath away. Whereas some of these other things&mdash;the 3000 year old lichen living in Greenland&mdash;that does not take your breath away, I would walk right past it without even knowing the difference. Some of them, the fact that they're so diminutive and have been alive for millennia is just mind-blowing.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/lichenmaster.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>3,000-year-old lichen, Southern Greenland </strong></div> </div></body></html> Blue Marble Interview Photo Essays Books Climate Change Religion Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:00:16 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 250211 at http://www.motherjones.com Meet the Artists Behind the Giant Poster Targeting Drone Pilots http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/drone-art-poster-girl-installation-pakistan <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On the night of August 23, 2010, an American drone destroyed a home in&nbsp;Danda Darpakhel, a village in North Waziristan, Pakistan. The strike was meant to target a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haqqani_network" target="_blank">Haqqani network</a> compound, but also killed Bismillah Khan, his wife, and two of their sons, aged 8 and 10 years old. The family's two young sons and daughter, whose names and ages are unknown, survived.</p> <p>Now Khan's daughter's face has become part of the first-ever art installation aimed at an audience watching from the sky: American drone pilots.&nbsp; Two weeks ago, artists spread out a large poster of the girl in Khyber Pakhtunkwwa, the Pakistani province that neighbors North Waziristan. The image on the sprawling poster comes from a photo (below) taken by Pakistani photographer Noor Behram a few hours after the strike on the girl's home.&nbsp;</p> <p>The artists call their project <a href="http://notabugsplat.com/" target="_blank">#NotABugSplat</a>, a reference to "bug splat," <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-rise-of-the-killer-drones-how-america-goes-to-war-in-secret-20120416?page=2" target="_blank">drone-pilot lingo</a> for kills.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/orphans21.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A girl and her two brothers after surviving a drone strike in August 2010&nbsp; </strong>Noor<strong> </strong>Behram/ Reprieve</div> </div> <p>The artist collective, which includes artists from France, Pakistan, and the United States, set up the poster with the help of the British charity <a href="http://www.reprieve.org.uk/" target="_blank">Reprieve</a>&nbsp; and a Pakistani NGO, the <a href="http://www.alternet.org/world/meet-shahzad-akbar-lawyer-pursuing-justice-pakistani-drone-strike-victims" target="_blank">Foundation for Fundamental Rights</a>. They hope that the poster will make drone operators empathize with the people who live under their gaze. "We were considering whether to put words in the poster, but decided against it, since the photograph already speaks a thousand words," one of the members of the collective, who asked to remain anonymous, told <em>Mother Jones</em>, "Her eyes say everything."</p> <p>When the artists arrived in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they were greeted by "warm, welcoming" villagers, who helped them unfold the gigantic image. The 90-foot by 60-foot poster took an hour and a half to unfurl. At ground level it looked like a bunch of pixels. But once the villagers saw a photo of the image taken by the artists' own remote-controlled mini-drone, they were ecstatic.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/setting_up_1.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Unfolding the image </strong>#NotABugSplat</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/crowd_with_poster21.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Villagers with the poster </strong>#NotABugSplat.com</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/drone%20master.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The poster as seen from the artists' own drone </strong>#NotABugSplat</div> </div> <p>To get a sense of the scale of the poster, it helps to look at the road winding besides it, dotted by miniscule people who are "about the size of bugs", says one of the artists.</p> <p>The strike that killed most of the girl's family also destroyed or badly damaged five other houses, killing at least nine civilians who were part of a community of Afghan refugees that had been there for two decades. The girl and her brothers were taken in by family members on the other side of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.</p> <p>More than <a href="http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2014/04/07/bureau-pakistan-drones-cia-data-used-in-pitch-interactive-graphic/" target="_blank">100 days</a> have passed since the last American drone strike in Pakistan. The #NotABugSplat artists hope there they won't have to make any more such posters. "But if the need is there, we will do more," says the collective.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Civil Liberties Foreign Policy International Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:21:27 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 249371 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch the US Drop 2.5 Million Tons of Bombs on Laos http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/laos-vietnam-war-us-bombing-uxo <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4UM2eYLbzXg" width="629"></iframe></p> <p>Between 1964 and 1973, the United States <a href="http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/weapons-of-the-vietnam-war" target="_blank">dropped</a> around 2.5 million tons of bombs on Laos. While the American public was focused on the war in neighboring Vietnam, the US military was waging a devastating covert campaign to cut off North Vietnamese supply lines through&nbsp;the small Southeast Asian country.&nbsp;</p> <p>The nearly 600,000 bombing runs delivered a staggering amount of explosives: The equivalent of a planeload of bombs <a href="http://legaciesofwar.org/about-laos/secret-war-laos/" target="_blank">every eight minutes</a> for nine years, or a ton of bombs for every person<strong> </strong>in the country&mdash;more than what American planes unloaded on Germany and Japan combined during World War II. Laos remains, per capita, the most heavily bombed country on earth.</p> <p>The map above, created by photographer Jerry Redfern, provides another view of the massive scale of the bombing. Each point on the map corresponds to one US bombing mission starting in October 1965; multiple planes often flew on missions.</p> <p>The unfinished aftermath of the air campaign is the subject of Redfern and Karen Coates' new book, <a href="http://eternalharvestthebook.com/" target="_blank"><em>Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos</em></a>. This stunning book, seven years in the making, documents how the secret air war is still claiming lives more than four decades after it ended.</p> <p>More than 100 Laotians fall victim to unexploded cluster bombs annually, delayed casualties of Operation Barrel Roll and Operation Steel Tiger, which dropped 270 million cluster bomblets. Packed by the dozens or hundreds in canisters, cluster bombs are designed to open in midair, scattering small explosives across a wide radius. Yet not all of them detonated, and today, 80 million live bomblets lurk under Laos' soil.</p> <p>Cleaning up the unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been agonizingly slow. In January, Congress approved <a href="http://legaciesofwar.org/press-releases/press-release-u-s-funding-for-uxo-clearance-in-laos-reaches-historic-high/" target="_blank">$12 million</a> for UXO clearance and related aid in Laos. In comparison, the bombing cost the United States <a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111hhrg56094/html/CHRG-111hhrg56094.htm" target="_blank">$17 million</a> <em>a day</em> in inflation-adjusted dollars.</p> <p>Below, a selection of Redfern's photographs from <a href="http://eternalharvestthebook.com/" target="_blank"><em>Eternal Harvest</em></a>. Learn more about his and Coates' work at <a href="http://eternalharvestthebook.com/" target="_blank">their website</a>.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/13_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>An aerial view of the countryside around Phonsavanh, Laos, shows craters from the US bombing campaign.</strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/14_laos_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Workers found this unexploded bomb shell in a quarry. It awaits a clearance team, which will attempt to defuse it safely. </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/15_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Left: Bo Ya, 35, lost his hands and most of his vision 10 years ago when he picked up some unexploded ordnance (UXO). Right: A pile of bomb scrap, shrapnel, and cluster bombs lies next to a new home along the old Ho Chi Minh Trail. </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/16_laos_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A Vietnamese trader and his family eat dinner by a heap of shrapnel and cluster bombs and an artillery shell. Scrap-metal traders buy bomb debris from Laotians who collect it in the fields and forests. </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/17_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A technician with an unexploded ordnance disposal team scans for bombs along the new road built atop the old Ho Chi Minh Trail. People began building new homes in this spot before the area had been cleared. </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/18_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Left: A 750-pound bomb is detonated by a clearance team. Right: A woman and her children paddle down the Banghiang River in a canoe fashioned from fuel tanks dropped by American bombers.</strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/19_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A guesthouse with decorations fashioned from war detritus caters to foreigners in the town of Phonsavanh.</strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/20_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Ethnic Lave kids count the money they earned from selling bomb scrap.&nbsp; </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/21_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The lobby of the Vinh Thong Guesthouse in Phonsavan displays an amazing array of defused UXO as well as a mural depicting the 1968 bombing of the Plain of Jars. </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/22_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Children study by a UXO warning poster in a one-room schoolhouse in Ban Pakeo. </strong></div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/23_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A dud rocket found in a clump of bamboo. It was later detonated by a bomb disposal team. </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/24_laos.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Left: A planter made from the tail fins of an American bomb in Vieng Xay, a former stronghold of the Pathet Lao communist guerillas. Right: Sou Lin Phan poses next to a large dud bomb in the middle of his village in Xieng Khouang Province. </strong></div> </div></body></html> Politics Interactives Photo Essays Video Foreign Policy International Military Top Stories Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:00:09 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 246336 at http://www.motherjones.com Quick Reads: "The Bargain From the Bazaar" by Haroon K. Ullah http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/03/quick-reads-bargain-bazaar-haroon-k-ullah <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Bargain From the Bazaar" class="image" src="/files/bargain-bazaar-250x300.jpg"></div> <p><strong>The Bargain From the Bazaar</strong></p> <p>By Haroon K. Ullah</p> <p>PUBLICAFFAIRS</p> <p>Western discussion of Pakistan tends to focus on geopolitics and terrorism. In this refreshing break from the policy stuff, Haroon Ullah, a Pakistani American scholar and diplomat, tells the story of a middle-class family struggling to stay united as violence, political turmoil, and extremism threaten to tear the country apart. The book reads like a novel&mdash;whose rich dialogue, colorful characters, and vivid descriptions of Lahore blend seamlessly with historical context to offer glimpses of a Pakistan we rarely see.</p> <p><em style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans; font-size: 12px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 24px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">This review originally appeared in our <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/toc/2014/03" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans; font-size: 12px; color: black !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-bottom-color: black; text-decoration: none !important;">March/April 2014 issue</a> of</em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 24px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none;"> Mother Jones.</span></p></body></html> Mixed Media Books International Sat, 08 Mar 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 244446 at http://www.motherjones.com New Report Suggests Wedding Procession Drone Strike May Have Violated Laws of War http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/02/new-hrw-report-drones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A <a href="http://www.hrw.org/node/123244/section/8" target="_blank">new report</a> from Human Rights Watch outlines conflicting accounts surrounding a drone strike on a Yemeni wedding convoy that killed 12 people and injured at least 15 others. &nbsp;</p> <p>While the US government has not officially acknowledged any role in the December 12, 2013 attack, anonymous officials later told the <a href="http://world.time.com/2013/12/20/u-s-officials-drone-strike-that-hit-yemen-wedding-convoy-killed-militants-not-civilians/" target="_blank">AP</a> that the operation targeted Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, an Al Qaeda leader, and maintained that the dead were militants.</p> <p>But after interviewing witnesses and relatives of the dead and wounded, Human Rights Watch determined that the 11 cars were in a wedding procession. Although the organization concedes the convoy may have included members of Al Qaeda, the report concluded that there is evidence suggesting "that some, if not all those killed and wounded were civilians."</p> <p>The report, titled "A Wedding That Became a Funeral," has renewed calls for the Obama administration to carry out a transparent, impartial investigation into the incident&mdash;and to explain how such a strike is consistent with both international laws of war and Obama's own rules governing drone strikes. Announced <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/23/remarks-president-national-defense-university" target="_blank">last May</a>, the procedures limit the use of drones to targeting those who pose a continuing, imminent threat to the United States, where capture is not feasible, and there is a "near certainty" of no civilian casualties.</p> <p>The report suggests the strike may have violated the laws of war by "failing to discriminate between combatants and civilians, or by causing civilian loss disproportionate to the expected military advantage."</p> <p>Read the full investigation <a href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/02/19/wedding-became-funeral" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Foreign Policy Fri, 21 Feb 2014 01:32:43 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 246016 at http://www.motherjones.com 10 Awesome Girl-Power Songs—Just Because http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/01/10-awesome-girl-power-songs-feminism <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>From mocking the sexist superficiality of our&nbsp;society to celebrating financial independence, here, for no particular reason other than that they rock, are 10&nbsp;of the greatest feminist anthems of all times&mdash;inspiring,&nbsp;inquiring, and provocative. So p<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">lug in your iPod and go conquer the world. It's yours for the taking.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BR4yQFZK9YM" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>1. "Stupid Girls" by Pink &mdash; </strong><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none;">A fine critique&nbsp;of our image-obssessed&nbsp;culture&nbsp;and its effects on young women.</span></p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>What happened to the dream of a girl president?/She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XZGwHtGBZJU" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>2. "I will survive" by Gloria Gaynor:&nbsp;</strong>The iconic&nbsp;representation of women's (and gay) rights&nbsp;in&nbsp;1970s.</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>Do you think I'd crumble?/</em><em>Did you think I'd lay down and die?/</em><em>Oh no, not I,&nbsp;I will </em><em>survive.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZJL4UGSbeFg" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;"Man I feel like a Woman" by Shania Twain: </strong>In this Grammy-winning&nbsp;single,&nbsp;Twain sings that the&nbsp;<em>"best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun." </em></p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>We don't need romance, we only wanna dance/We're gonna let our hair hang down.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cYbs_O_iMfU" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>4.&nbsp;"RESPECT" by Aretha Franklin:&nbsp;</strong>This&nbsp;speaks for itself.</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>R-E-S-P-E-C-T/Find out what it means to me.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sIywtO0OY78" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp;"Suggestion," by Fugazi:&nbsp;</strong>One of the most powerful anti-rape songs ever written, "Suggestion"&nbsp;blames not just on the rapist, but the&nbsp;culture that looks away.</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>There lays no reward&nbsp;in what you discover/You spent yourself, boy, watching me suffer (suffer your words, suffer your eyes, suffer your hands)/Suffer your interpretation/of what it is&nbsp;to be a man.&nbsp;</em></p> <div style="overflow: hidden; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-align: left; text-decoration: none; border: medium none;">&nbsp;</div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/C3m3t_PxiUI" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>6) "Bad Bitch" by Lupe:&nbsp;</strong>Weighing&nbsp;in on the B-word and how young people interpret it.</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>First he's relatin' the word "bitch"&nbsp;with his mama, comma/And because she's relatin'&nbsp;to herself, his most important source of help.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/IneTSaBVEWA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>7.</strong>&nbsp;<strong>"Bloody Ice Cream" by Bikini Kill: </strong>In which <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/01/riot-grrrl-kathleen-hanna-bikini-kill-julie-ruin-interview" target="_blank">Riot Grrrl&nbsp;Kathleen Hanna</a> and her iconic band take on&nbsp;sexism in the poetry industry.</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> The whole damn thing!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0lPQZni7I18" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>8.&nbsp;"Independent Woman" by Destiny's Child:&nbsp;</strong>Who needs your money, man?</p> <p>Best lyric: <em>The shoe on my feet, I've bought it/</em><em>The clothes I'm wearing, I've bought it/The rock I'm rockin', I've bought it/'Cause I depend on me.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Dx2216sOOmA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>9.&nbsp;"This is our emergency," by Pretty Girls Make Graves:&nbsp;</strong>Slamming&nbsp;a&nbsp;culture that&nbsp;makes us&nbsp;lack fulfillment and feel helpless.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong><em> Baby you don't have to be&nbsp;</em><em>a picture in a magazine/Sometimes you're too blind to see/Anything objectively</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/f8cHxydDb7o" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>10.&nbsp;U.N.I.T.Y by Queen Latifah: </strong>QL's response to women being treated as&nbsp;sex objects. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Best lyric:</strong> <em>Every time I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho/</em><em>Trying to make a sister feel low...</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Sex and Gender Mon, 17 Feb 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 244226 at http://www.motherjones.com Science Explains What Really Causes the Munchies http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/02/why-pot-gives-you-munchies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A <a href="http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3647.html" target="_blank">study</a> published in <em>Nature Neuroscience</em> this week lends new insight<em> </em>to the age-old marijuana-munchies connection. It's old news that&nbsp;tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) fits into the mix, but this study establishes a previously unknown link: pot gives us the munchies by tricking our bodies into thinking we're starving&mdash;regardless of whether we actually are.&nbsp;</p> <p>Turns out that THC, the active ingredient in Mary Jane, activates cannabinoid receptors called CB1s that live in your brain's "olfactory bulb." This is the part of the brain that helps you smell.</p> <p>Cannabinoid intoxication&mdash;i.e. getting high&mdash;boosts "odor detection," amplifying your sense of smell and taste, which causes you to eat more. The authors of the study showed this with mice: First, they exposed a group of sober mice to banana and almond oils. The critters sniffed the oils, but then lost interest. But when a group of mice under cannabinoid intoxication were exposed to the same scents, they got the munchies: They maintained interest for much longer<strong> </strong>and also ate more. A dose of THC "decreased the threshold of odor detection and this effect was clearly correlated with successive food intake," says the study. Natural cannabinoids released by your body during food deprivation do the same thing that THC does for pot smokers&mdash;"hunger arouses sensory perception, eventually leading to an increase in food intake."</p> <p>The researchers also proved this another way: They genetically engineered mice to lack the type of cannabinoid receptor that THC binds to. Without these receptors, the appetite was unaffected by THC, as well as by food deprivation. This showed further that both THC and natural cannabinoids produced from hunger work to increase odor sensitivity.</p> <p>These findings may hold true for people too, the study points out. Knowing how to tune the sense of smell or appetite could be a useful tool in treating illnesses where these are deficient or in excess. Medical marijuana, for example, is already being used to stimulate appetite and sense of taste in <a href="http://www.livescience.com/12956-marijuana-ingredient-improves-appetite-cancer-patients.html" target="_blank">cancer patients</a>, improving nutrition and quality of life. Yay science!</p> <div> <p data-textannotation-id="140ade6ea50996c3cf242d8387641b94">&nbsp;</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Science Sat, 15 Feb 2014 11:01:36 +0000 Fatima Bhojani 245316 at http://www.motherjones.com