Abort until a son is born.
Having a girl is bad news in China and India, where female fetuses are too often aborted on purpose. But, according to a new German documentary, even Europe is not free of the horrid practice sometimes called "gendercide."
Die Welt reports that the documentary entitled So Long As It's A Boy, broadcast last week on the German-language Central European 3sat network, reveals stories of the willful abortion of female fetuses around the world, including Albania, Armenia and even in Indian communities within the UK.
There already is a worldwide deficit of 160 million women, but it will be years before the consequences of the continued practice are felt. Millions of men will not be able to find wives.
China and India spring to mind when contemplating the phenomenon, note reporters Birgit Wuthe und Magdalena Schüssler, but according to the report, the third-highest rate of gendercide in the world is actually much closer to us: Albania. High numbers of abortions of female fetuses in this country may be explained by the trend towards smaller families and the weight of tradition: Ideally, a couple in Albania has two children, and one of them is male, writes Die Welt.
Monda, an Albanian woman, reveals in the broadcast that she has already had three abortions, because they would have been girls. Her husband started beating her when she failed to give him sons, and because women are still financially dependent on their husbands, she couldn't flee.
In Armenia, "gendercide" has been publicly recognized as a problem. The country is trying to avoid abortions of female fetuses by providing state subsidies to families with daughters.
The 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, that annual European musical event that no one really understands, will take place on May 23 in Vienna, Austria. This year, 40 countries will participate, including, for the first time that country down in the extreme southeastern corner of Europe: Australia. (organizers cite “strong cultural ties” to explain their qualification).
We will use this space to introduce the 40 contestants this year, one-by-one.
It turns out Eurovision has a whole set of rules, and voting doesn’t only consist in countries giving points to their neighbors. But as we’re still not too sure what makes a good Eurovision song, we will rate them according to our own three selected criteria: “Does it make you want to visit that country?”, “Was there enough glitter?” and “Should they actually be in the music business (OK to quit your day job)?”
Our first contestant is Albania and its singer Elhaida Dani, who became famous after winning Star Academy Albania in 2009 and The Voice of Italy in 2013. She will be performing “I’m Alive,” a song about feeling one’s existence and emotions to the fullest through love and pain.
In the video, various women working different jobs can be seen staring at the camera, shedding a single tear before pulling that tear back into their eye and smiling.
Does it make you want to visit that country? 4/10
Was there enough glitter? 3.25/10
Ok to quit your day job? 4.75/10
OVERALL AVERAGE: 4/10
Getting married is hard work. This Albanian couple was taking a break from their wedding photo shoot in the ancient Roman theater of Butrint. Located in the very southern tip of modern-day Albania, this archeological site was known as Bouthroton in Ancient Greece and later as the Roman city of Buthrotum.
This is one of the very first pictures I took with my new camera. Still getting used to it...
That's right, only last year, after six decades of old-fashioned (and unbeatable) flim photography, I went digital. So this is one of the only shots you'll see that's not actually a slide. History indeed!