When Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win the presidential nomination from a major party, the historic moment got a rather lukewarm response. Many young women who had grown up taking gender equality as a given were unmoved. One twentysomething concluded that Clintonâ€™s nomination was â€œgreeted with a collective millennial yawnâ€. Was there really a need to celebrate gender milestones in whatâ€™s often described as a post-feminist society?
The latest news from the presidential campaign would decimate any such assumptions about gender equality in the U.S. On Friday, a leaked video from 2005 surfaced where Donald Trump can be heard bragging about being able to kiss and grope women without their consent because of his celebrity status. At last nightâ€™s second presidential debate, he brushed off his comments as â€œlocker room talk.â€
That comparison is perhaps more apt than he realizes. In the U.S., high-profile cases involving male athletes are part of an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. After Trumpâ€™s remarks, the hashtag #NotOkay started trending in the U.S. as women shared stories of being sexually assaulted.
With his campaign reeling, Trumpâ€™s strategy included dredging up accusations against Clintonâ€™s husband, underscoring the sexist idea that a woman should be judged solely by the men sheâ€™s related to. Trump, of course, has been making demeaning comments since he entered the race 16 months ago, insulting fellow Republican Carly Fiorinaâ€™s face and implying debate moderator Megyn Kellyâ€™s tough questions were due to her menstrual cycle. Despite all that, enough Republicans voted for Trump to give him the nomination.
This campaign is reflecting that in the U.S., women can be judged by their appearance, that their professional accomplishments can be dismissed in a cavalier fashion, that the language used to refer to them can be sickeningly derogatory. And violent.
What strides in gender equality has the U.S. really made if this is what the pinnacle of its democratic process sounds like? As weâ€™re dragged through this nauseating spectacle until voting day on Nov. 8, itâ€™s clear that when it comes to the role of women in society, Americans need to rethink how far theyâ€™ve come.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- North Korea commemorates 71st anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party amid fears of more Pyongyang provocations.
- Eurozone finance ministers decide whether to release the next payment from Greeceâ€™s third bailout package.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan and attend 23rd World Energy Congress.
FAMINE, CHOLERA THREATEN HAITI
The death toll in Haiti continued to rise over the weekend, as the Caribbean island assesses the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Some 900 people are now believed to have died and Haiti, one of the worldâ€™s poorest countries, now faces the double threat of starvation and cholera, the Miami Herald reports. The stormâ€™s death toll in the United States stands at 17.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL STALLS ON SYRIA
The United Nationsâ€™ Security Council voted on two competing resolutions on Syria on Saturday â€" one from France, the other from Russia â€" but both failed, Russia applying its veto to the first, while the second failed to gather enough votes, AP reports. Tensions are high between Washington and Moscow over the situation in Syria, and Russia moved nuclear-capable missiles to its Kaliningrad enclave, near Poland. Germanyâ€™s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Bild that â€œthe current times are different and more dangerousâ€ than the Cold War.
â€" ON THIS DAY
London opened its â€œEyeâ€ 17 years ago on this day. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.
YEMEN AIRSTRIKES KILL SCORES
Airstrikes on a funeral hall in Yemen from the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on Saturday killed more than 140 people and left more than 500 wounded. The air raids, which were widely condemned by the international community, â€œunleashed political forces that could drastically change the course of Yemenâ€™s war,â€ The New York Times reports.
NOBEL PRIZE IN ECONOMICS
The Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences 2016 was awarded jointly to British-born Oliver Hart and Finnish-born Bengt Holmström "for their contributions to contract theory."
TERROR SUSPECT ARRESTED IN GERMANY
German police arrested early this morning a Syrian terror suspect, after a two-day manhunt that followed the discovery of explosive material in the 22-year-oldâ€™s apartment, Deutsche Welle reports.
Wissam lives with his wife in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, which has been under government siege since July. Violence is escalating in his neighborhood, but the teacher and activist wouldnâ€™t want to be anywhere else, Syria Deeply writes:
â€œDay after day, life is becoming ever more difficult under the burden of siege and heavy shelling in eastern Aleppo. Food is getting more and more scarce. There are a few kinds of vegetables still available, but no more gas with which to cook. An airstrike targeted and damaged the main water plant so now we have no supply of drinking water. There is no electricity, either, so getting water from wells has become very costly. The fuel used to run bakeries and operate local electricity generators is running out and becoming more expensive.â€
Read the full article, Iâ€™d Rather Live Under Siege In Aleppo Than Leave Her Behind.
SOUTHEAST TURKEY HIT BY CAR BOMB ATTACK
At least 10 soldiers and eight civilians were killed on Sunday in a massive suicide car bomb attack in Turkeyâ€™s Hakkari province, near the border with Iraq. According to Hürriyet, the bomber was a Kurdish militant with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
â€" MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
European Timber â€" Aarhus, 1967
SAMSUNG HALTS NOTE 7 PRODUCTION
Samsung has temporarily halted the production of its smartphone Galaxy Note 7, amid serious battery issues that have reportedly also affected replacement devices, South Korean news agency Yonhap reports, quoting an official at the Seoul-based company.
FILMMAKER ANDRZEJ WAJDA DIES
Oscar-winning Polish film director Andrzej Wajda has died at the age of 90. Wajda made more than 40 films, including Academy Awards-nominated The Promised Land, The Maids of Wilko and Katyn.
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You can be ranked No. 2 in the world and still need to take a look at your cheat sheet to defeat your opponent. On his way to winning yesterdayâ€™s China Open final, British tennis champion Andy Murray was literally studying up on Bulgariaâ€™s Grigor Dimitrov.
A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.
BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.
Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.
The incident at the cemetery
They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."
There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.
It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.
The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.
The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender
Crimes against Jews are rising
Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.
Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.
Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.
And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?
Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously
This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.
Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.
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