Wednesday, January 09, 2008

News stories of interest

The first feminist book store in Turkey

Amargi takes its name from a Sumerian word meaning freedom and "returning to mother." It aims to unite the experiences of women and academia and to develop feminist analysis and policies at the same time.

"We develop feminist thought and feminist policies through an analysis of current problems and through the organization of seminars and workshops, and by publishing books," Selek said, emphasizing that Amargi has been active in politics as a cooperative for seven years. In addition to the quarterly Amargi journal that has been published for the past two years, the feminist bookstore is both the outcome and the driving force of the organization's efforts.

Such an encouraging step for this country. This is exactly what I have been hoping to see out of the dominantly Muslim countries. I really hope that western feminist will lend their support however they can to this venture.

Gloria Steinem's NY Times editorial from earlier this week.

THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?

She's got a point. But there are also some problems with her conclusion.

Via NY Times, how poor, non-white people's diseases simply don't attract the funds of others.

“Sleeping sickness” is too benign a nickname for human African trypanosomiasis, which is caused by a protozoan spread by biting tsetse flies. When the parasites enter the brain, victims hallucinate wildly. They have been known to chase neighbors with machetes, throw themselves into latrines and scream with pain at the touch of water. Only at the end do they lapse into a lassitude so great that they cannot eat, followed by coma and death.

About 150,000 people contract the disease each year, but 50 million people in 36 countries live in areas where they are at risk.
After critics accused Sanofi-Aventis of catering to vain rich women while letting poor Africans die, the company agreed to make an injectable form of the drug and now gives it free to the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders.

But in rural Africa, eflornithine is very hard to use. Patients need intravenous infusions four times a day for two weeks. When a “hospital” is a row of iron beds under a thatched roof, and the “nursing staff” is mostly relatives of the sick who sleep on the floor, round-the-clock treatment is hard. There might be no night nurse to insert an IV line.

It really is sad how situations like this continue to exist. Especially alongside people trying to claim racism and classism don't exist anymore.

A cool new MOMA exhibit: Prefab Housing

To many people the term “prefab housing” calls to mind trailer parks. Yet lately prefabricated houses — built off site and then delivered largely complete — have become fashionable at architecture schools and among an upscale segment of the housing market. They pose a considerable design challenge.

Seizing the moment the Museum of Modern Art has commissioned five architects to erect their own prefab dwellings in a vacant lot on West 53rd Street, adjacent to the museum. Whittled down from a pool of about 400, the five architects are participating in “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” an exhibition opening in July.

This is really exciting! Pre-fab housing has the potential to make house building in general so much more eco-friendly. I was reading about them in Dwell magazine's recent "Green Issue" and the possibilities really seem endless, if only we can get people interested in them.

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