Welcome to Thursday, where Japan says the Olympics could still be cancelled, the U.S. is set to impose sanctions on Russia and there's a wild new treatment for depression. We also have a piece from Cairo-based online magazine Mada Masr about how the particular way the #MeToo awakening on sexual violence is playing out in Egypt.
• COVID surge in Japan, Olympics still at risk: The pandemic's fourth wave is hitting Japan hard, prompting a senior leader to say that cancelling the Summer Olympics "remains an option." The World Health Organisation warns that Cambodia might be on the verge of "a national tragedy," as it experiences its worst COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
• Hong Kong's first "National Security Education Day": The government celebrations are aimed at promoting the controversial law imposed by Beijing last year that punishes anything the Chinese government considers as subversion, secession, "terrorism" or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
• U.S. to impose sanctions on Russia over cyber attacks: Washington is expected to announce sanctions against Russia over cyber attacks and alleged interference in the 2020 presidential elections.
• Officer who killed Daunte Wright charged: U.S. ex-officer Kim Potter who fatally shot a black motorist near Minneapolis — where George Floyd was killed last year by a police officer — has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
• Bernie Madoff dies in prison: The infamous architect of the most expensive Ponzi scheme in financial history, Bernie Madoff, died yesterday at the age of 82, while serving a 150-year prison term.
• Two-year anniversary Notre-Dame blaze, cathedral to reopen in 2024: Two years to the day after Notre Dame's devastating fire, the director of its restoration mission has announced that the iconic site is very likely to reopen for worshippers in 2024.
• Magic mushrooms help cure depression: The psychedelic drug found in magic mushroom is said to be as efficient at reducing depression symptoms as any conventional treatment, an early-stage study reports.
"Hospitals are over the limit," titles Brazilian daily Estado de Minas responding to President Jair Bolsonaro, as the country's COVID death toll surpasses 360,000.
Honor killings, #MeToo and the future for Egyptian women
Women in Egypt have definitively broken the silence around sexual violence — but what comes next? asks Yasmin El-Rifae in Egyptian online newspaper Mada Masr.
It's costly to talk about sexual violence. It's costly for the victim speaking out. It's costly for other women who feel called on to show solidarity, especially on the policed and trolled terrain of social media. It's costly for the collective audience, so many of whom feel traumatized again. More than this, sexual violence becomes overwhelming, it becomes another spectacle: the fact that women are talking about rape becomes the story itself.
The thousands of testimonies published and shared since last summer, while often followed by regressive and exhausting debates, have been powerful and cathartic for many, and inspired demands for better accountability in universities and workspaces. Many have willfully, and wishfully, called it a women's revolution. But we haven't yet addressed the larger problems that make sexual violence so prevalent in the first place. By focusing on it as an isolated problem, we become stuck, and it starts to seem like the root of women's oppression, rather than a symptom. It becomes easier, also, to treat it as a problem of individuals — bad men and better men, strong survivors and weak ones.
We've seen this happen throughout different iterations of the #MeToo movement, and in older mobilizations around harassment as well. This is partly because working on sexual violence takes so much energy and attention itself, but also because, again, it is such a unifying battle — at least on the surface. Agreeing that rape happens and that it's bad is not a large enough common ground from which to address the systemic problems that perpetuate rape in the first place. To do this, we have to break from the idea that there is one kind of feminism.
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