Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Month: September 2008 (page 2 of 4)

This is what stress is.

No matter what I do lately, I can’t seem to get things done. Now, I’m not normally one to complain to the greater Internet, but this is so unlike me. Typically able to write multiple articles in a day, plus balance my actual job and keep a moderately clean home, I’m amazed at my inability of late to multitask. Granted, since coming to Berkman, my social calendar is a bit fuller, and since I’m actually passionate about my job, I do spend some weekend time catching up on weekday work, but I’m still not sure that explains it.

I think the truth is that I need to drop a couple things. Frankly, I take on too much (and have done so for the past six or seven years). And for a long time, it’s been worthwhile to me…work really hard, get my name out there, trade in a personal life for one of work 24/7. I’m no longer sure it’s worth it. I treasure my weekends with friends, my weeknights out, and my time by myself (which, until recently, always involved my MacBook).

On the other hand, this was a good test for the future…what am I capable of? The answer, I suppose, is that I’m asking the wrong question. It isn’t a matter of what I’m capable of, but what I actually desire. And the answer apparently isn’t what I thought it was.

Let’s just ban the internet, k?

From the files of the absolutely ludicrous…

Turkey just blocked the official site of Richard Dawkins, a prominent evolutionist and author.  Given how frequently Turkey seems to block sites, this doesn’t seem all that ridiculous on the surface.  Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find something far more nefarious.

Turkey banned Dawkins’ site at the request of Adnan Oktar, aka Harun Yahya, aka Islam’s most prominent creationist.  Oktar, incidentally, is also a sex offender, prosecuted in May and sentenced to three years in prison (he has appealed and has not yet been incarcerated).

What seems like a case of Turkey kowtowing to a religious nut gets even worse when you look at Oktar’s history with censorship.  In August 2007, Oktar managed to get WordPress.com banned in Turkey after finding WordPress blogs that contained insults directed at him (that blocking was later overturned), and later successfully got Google Groups blocked (the filter remains on one Turkish ISP).

Something’s fishy in Turkey.  Why is it that Oktar can say whatever wacky anti-science bull he wants, but the second someone insults him he’s against freedom of speech?  And why is the Turkish government so complicit in this?

That Crazy Old Sheikh

The third big brouhaha this month from Morocco is that of Sheikh Mohammed Maghraoui, the imam who issued a fatwa stating that it’s acceptable for 9-year-old girls to marry.  Keep in mind that Morocco’s family code sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 (with exceptions granted only by a civil judge).  Compare that to the United States, where most states allow teenagers aged 16+ to marry with parental consent.

Moroccans are, of course, outraged at the fatwa.  Aside from the fact that most would naturally disagree, many of my friends have stated annoyance at the negative attention this crazy imam is drawing to their country.

From Magharebia:

University student Khaled Najib said such fatwas distort religion and “give enemies of Islam a good reason to attack us and call us backward-minded.”

Housewife Fatima Banani said “I do not think any two sane parents who care about the best interests of their daughter, who is still below the age of menstruation, will marry her off, even if the suitor is a good and honourable man.”

Of course  the anti-Islam sites are jumping on this as well, stating that although they understand that the Moroccan public disagrees, Maghraoui’s statements are actually based in Islamic doctrine.

Personally, I’m dying to know what Sheikh Maghraoui’s motivations were for making such an inflammatory statement.  The fact that he did so on a website rules out the possibility of him being a crazy old man stuck in the middle ages.  Thoughts?

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