World View: Gang Rape Victim Sparks Nationwide Protests in India

World View: Gang Rape Victim Sparks Nationwide Protests in India

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Iran begins annual war games in Strait of Hormuz
  • Sunnis hold mass protests in Iraq against Shia-majority government
  • Gang-raped victim sparks nationwide protests in India

Iran begins annual war games in Strait of Hormuz

Iran launched the Velayat-91, six days of major naval exercises aroundthe Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The exercises will involve warships,submarines, jet fighters and hovercraft while testing the navy’smissile systems and electronic warfare capabilities. Iran hasfrequently threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepointthrough which about a third of the world’s tanker-borne oil passes,linking the Gulf’s petroleum-exporting states of the UAE, SaudiArabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar. The exercises come just after theGulf Cooperation Council (BCC) of Arab states said that it “rejectsand denounces” Iran’s “continued interference” in their internalaffairs. The National (UAE) and Payvand (Tehran)

Sunnis hold mass protests in Iraq against Shia-majority government

Tens of thousands of protesting Sunnis have shut down highwaysproviding vital trade routes carrying government supplies betweenBaghdad to and from Jordan and Syria. The protests were on theirfifth day on Friday. Iraq’s army forces are preventing protestersfrom other provinces from arriving to join in the protests. The armyis also preventing journalists from covering the event, and isconfiscating journalists’ transmission equipment. The latest protestswere triggered by the arrest, last week, of nine bodyguards of Iraq’sfinance minister, who is one of the governments most senior Sunniofficials in the Shia-majority government of Prime Minister Nourial-Maliki. This is also the one-year anniversary of the completewithdrawal of American forces from Iraq, and the immediatelysubsequent arrest of Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, whois currently hiding in exile. Sunni protesters are complaining ofmassive discrimination against Sunnis by the Shia-led government, andsome activists are demanding that Sunnis should have autonomy in theirown region, along the model of the Kurdish region in the north.Al-Jazeera and Aswat Al-Iraq

Gang-raped victim sparks nationwide protests in India

An unnamed 23-year-old girl who was gang-raped last weekend died onSaturday in a Singapore hospital from her injuries. The girl had beencoerced onto an off-duty bus, where the bus driver and six other malesgang-raped her for half an hour, beat her and her male companion withan iron bar, and then threw them off the bus while it was in motion.The attack has triggered widespread protests all week in Delhi andacross the country.

There’s a lot more going on here than the mainstream media aretalking about, and in India, that would be caste. Apparently the girlwho was raped was from an upper caste, while the six men were from alower class, such as the “untouchable” Dalit caste. Dalit activistssay that they’re forced to take the worst jobs, if they can getemployment at all, that they’re subject to repeated discrimination andharassment, and that Dalit girls are frequently raped and then ignoredby the police. If a Dalit girl brings charges, then the allegedperpetrator is almost always acquitted.

So this is only tangentially a story about rape. The real story hereis that India’s caste system is far from dead, and that there willalmost certainly be another war among India’s castes and many ethnicgroups. AFP and Guardian and Eurasia Review

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