Potential British Exit from European Union

Beyond the Cusp

Despite the unsolicited commentary and thinly veiled threats from President Obama, the British governance from both sides of the aisle have always endeavored to keep open the financial freedom of the British Isles to depart from the European Union (EU) by retaining the Pound Sterling as their independent Coin of the Realm and merely recognized the Euros as legitimate for use within its boundaries giving it a right above that of any normative foreign currency. One cannot use the Dollar, or other foreign currency, without changing them for Euros or Pounds to pay for items in the United Kingdom (UK). Further, the British were late entries into the European exclusive club which itself had their doubts about allowing the British into the EU as the British were seen to have too close and almost personal relations with the United States (US), especially in trade relations as there existed independent of…

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Turkey: The Business of Refugee Smuggling, Sex Trafficking

On International Women’s Day, March 8, Turkish news outlets covered the tragic life and early death of a Syrian child bride.

Last August, in Aleppo, Mafe Zafur, 15, married her cousin Ibrahim Zafur in an Islamic marriage. The couple moved to Turkey, but the marriage ended after six months, when her husband abruptly threw out of their home. With nowhere to sleep, Mafe found shelter with her brother, 19, and another cousin, 14, in an abandoned truck.

On 8 March, Mafe killed herself, reportedly with a shotgun. Her only possession, found in her pocket, was her handwritten marriage certificate.

Mafe Zafur is only one of many young Syrians who have been victims of child marriage. Human rights groups report even greater abuse that gangs are perpetrating against the approximately three million Syrians who have fled to Turkey.

A detailed report on Syrian women refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in Turkey, issued as far back as 2014 by the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Oppressed (known in Turkish as Mazlumder), tells of early and forced marriages, polygamy, sexual harassment, human trafficking, prostitution, and rape that criminals inflicted upon Syrians in Turkey.

According to the Mazlumder report, Syrians are sexually exploited by those who take advantage of their destitution. Children, especially girls, suffer most.

Evidence, both witnessed and forensic, indicates that in every city where Syrian refugees have settled, prostitution has drastically increased. Young women between the ages of 15 and 20 are most commonly prostituted, but girls as young as thirteen are also exploited.

Secil Erpolat, a lawyer with the Women’s Rights Commission of the Bar Association in the Turkish province of Batman, said that many young Syrian girls are offered between 20 and 50 Turkish liras ($7-$18). Sometimes their clients pay them with food or other goods for which they are desperate.


A Call to Remember

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club.

A mobile phone on a bench rings and a man answers it, engaging the loudspeaker function as he does so. Everyone in the room stops to listen to the conversation.

“Hey babe, I’m at the city center mall now and I found this gorgeous leather coat. It’s only $1,000. Can I buy it?” asks the woman at the other end.

“Sure, if you like it then go ahead!” replies the man.

“I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2016 models. There’s one I LOVE and it’s $98,000,” the woman continues.

“Okay, go ahead and buy it. Just make sure it comes with all the options for that price though,” the man says.

Pushing her luck even further, the woman asks: “Do you remember that house I wanted last year? Well, it’s back on the market for $980,000…”

“Make an offer of $900,000 – they’ll probably accept it. Go to $950,000 if you think it’s a really good price for the house,” the man replies.

“Okay honey, see you later! I love you so much – you’re so good to me,” the woman says.

“You’re worth it. Goodbye dear,” replies the man, and hangs up the call.

By this point, the men in the room are aghast, mouths wide open.

The man says: “Hey guys, does anyone know whose phone this is?”

J. Hoberman Reviews ‘Eva Hesse’

Had she lived, artist Eva Hesse would have turned 80 this year. But lovely-looking, dark-eyed, and dead at 34, she personifies transitory beauty. So does her groundbreaking work—serial arrangements of biomorphic tubes, webs of latex coated rope, fiberglass stalactites, and wire clouds—which, hell on conservators, seems largely about its own evanescence.

“Eva Hesse was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century,” the curator Elizabeth Sussman declares early on in Marcie Begleiter’s new documentary, named for its subject. Given the brevity of Hesse’s career, one might wish to change “greatest” to “most brilliant” or modify the word “artist” with “American” and “20th century” with “late” but there is no question that Hesse had one of the 20th century’s more compelling life stories.

Published 18 months after her death, the lead piece in the November 1971 issue of Artforum, “Eva Hesse: Post-Minimalism Into Sublime,” shattered the magazine’s precedent by putting Hesse’s personal history up front. The article, which was written by Robert Pincus-Witten (a critic who would later write several essays on the nature of Jewish art), began “Eva Hesse was born in Hamburg, Germany to a Jewish family on January 11, 1936—in full Hitlerzeit.”


Why Are Christians Leaving the Holy Land?

No one of good will, especially Catholics, wants to accuse a prominent member of his faith of being knowingly untruthful. The truth rarely is found in the Palestinian public narrative. But in case of the latest repetition of Father Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, falsely blaming Israel for the ongoing spate of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, it appears certain from his consistent record of non-nuanced criticism of Israel, that he is motivated by a political bias.

Twal proclaimed that Israel’s alleged “occupation” of “Arab Palestine” is the cause of the murderous violence visited on Israeli civilians by Arab attackers — apparently “forgetting” that the Jews have lived in the region for nearly 4000 years. He was also apparently forgetting that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) have been glorifying such “acts of resistance” since the autumn of 2014. How can Twal ignore the reality that Palestinian media has been glorifying these knife attacks as “glorious feats.” In Palestinian schools, in fact, the attackers are hailed as heroes.

Outright lies are also part of the PA and Hamas propaganda campaigns. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas, for instance, has claimed that a Palestinian boy, who was hit by a car after stabbing an Israeli child, was executed by Israeli troops, when it was well known that the perpetrator was alive and being cared for in an Israeli hospital.



Shortly after Harriet Krzykowski began working at the Dade Correctional Institution, in Florida, an inmate whispered to her, “You know they starve us, right?” It was the fall of 2010, and Krzykowski, a psychiatric technician, had been hired by Dade, which is forty miles south of Miami, to help prisoners with clinical behavioral problems follow their treatment plans. The inmate was housed in Dade’s mental-health ward, the Transitional Care Unit, a cluster of buildings connected by breezeways and equipped with one-way mirrors and surveillance cameras. “I thought, Oh, this guy must be paranoid or schizophrenic,” she said recently. Moreover, she’d been warned during her training that prisoners routinely made false accusations against guards. Then she heard an inmate in another wing of the T.C.U. complain that meal trays often arrived at his cell without food. After noticing that several prisoners were alarmingly thin, she decided to discuss the matter with Dr. Cristina Perez, who oversaw the inpatient unit.

Krzykowski, an unassuming woman with pale skin and blue eyes, was thirty at the time. The field of correctional psychology can attract idealists who tend to see all prisoners as society’s victims and who distrust anyone wearing a security badge—corrections officers call such people “hug-a-thugs.” But Krzykowski, who had not worked at a prison before, believed that corrections officers performed a difficult job that merited respect. And she assumed that the prison management did not tolerate any form of abusive behavior.

Perez was a slender, attractive woman in her forties, with an aloof manner. When Krzykowski told her that she’d heard “guys aren’t getting fed,” Perez did not seem especially concerned. “You can’t trust what inmates say,” she responded. Krzykowski noted that complaints were coming from disparate wings of the T.C.U. This was not unusual, Perez said, since inmates often devised innovative methods to “kite” messages across the facility.


Obama’s Ignorance: Fortunate to be Living in “Most Peaceful Era in History”

Addressing world leaders at a trade fair in Hannover, Germany on Monday, US President Barack Obama acknowledged the good fortune of living in what he considers to be the “most peaceful” era in human history. He noted major advances in education, longevity of life, health care, and the spread of democracy as some of the many benefits of living today.

With pride, Obama added extreme strides in social equality to the list. “Around the world we’re more tolerant, with more opportunity for women and gays and lesbians as we push back on bigotry and prejudice,” he said.

Discouraging any incredulity, he explained that the negative images portrayed in the media showing rampant global violence were misleading.

“I want to begin with an observation that, given the challenges that we face in the world and the headlines we see every day, it may seem improbable but it’s true. We are fortunate to be living in the most peaceful, most prosperous, most progressive era in human history,” he said.

The president clarified his position, noting that it had been several decades since the major world powers had faced each other in war. “[Though] it seems like only bad news comes through every day, it’s been decades since the last war between major powers,” he said.