Inter Press Service
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- The weeklong Homeless World Cup football competition came to a dramatic climax here last month, with Afghanistan and Zambia, respectively, winning the mens and womens competitions in what was the sixth edition of the annual tournament. The competition provides poor and homeless players with the opportunity to represent their country and gives spectators a chance to appreciate some exhilarating street soccer.
MEXICO CITY -- Social activists and Catholics in gay, lesbian and transsexual unions are discussing public actions to be taken when Mexico hosts the Sixth World Meeting of Families organized by the Vatican Jan. 13-18.
The plans will be revealed in early January, according to Víctor Espíndola, director of the Mexican Sexual Diversity News Agency, a nongovernmental organization specializing in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual community-related issues.
BAGAMOYO, Somalia -- The moderator raps her pen on the table to hush the boisterous assembly of Somali women gathered in Bagamoyo, on the Indian Ocean coast of Tanzania. Their voices drop for a moment before the sound level rises again to a heated crescendo.
This group of 60 is being given a rare public forum to share their thoughts on the role of women in the peace process of war-ravaged Somalia, a nation without an effective central government since 1991.
Seventeen years of civil conflict, serious food shortages from frequent droughts and deepening poverty has created what the United Nations calls one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.
Through it all, women in the largely conservative Horn of African nation have largely been prevented from voicing opposition.
"The war is being fought by men and it is men leading the politics in the country," said Zahra Mohamad, of the women's empowerment NGO Gender, Education, Empowerment and Leadership Organization (GEELO) based in Nairobi Kenya, in an interview with IPS.
DESCENT INTO CHAOS: THE UNITED STATES AND THE FAILURE OF NATION BUILDING IN PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, AND CENTRAL ASIA, by Ahmed Rashid, Viking (2008) 544 pages, $27.95
News coming out of Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent months has unsettled many assumptions about the U.S. war on terror.
To most casual observers of the war on terror, Afghanistan served until recently as a reassuring contrast to the grim and bewildering conflict in Iraq -- the “good war” as opposed to the “bad war”.
Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan offered a war which was unambiguously undertaken in response to the 9/11 attacks. The framing of the war on terror in Afghanistan presented obvious good guys (the secular democratic government of Hamid Karzai) and bad guys (al Qaeda and the Taliban). Above all, Afghanistan seemed to be a success story for peace and democracy.