Saudi princesses tortured for protesting regime’s anti-women policy


This video from Britain says about itself:

28 March 2014

Tonight exclusively on Channel 4 News the daughters of the king of Saudi Arabia speak out about being locked away for years.

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

‘We are hostages’: Saudi princesses who say they are kept locked in palace as punishment for advocating women’s rights make another plea for help

Sisters claim they are being held hostage for supporting women’s rights

Princesses say their family beat them and deny access to food and water

By Josh Gardner and Daniel Miller and Jessica Jerreat

Published: 03:36 GMT, 20 April 2014 | Updated: 13:47 GMT, 20 April 2014

One of the Saudi princesses who claims she and her sisters are being held captive by their father has managed to make contact with the outside world.

Sahar, the eldest daughter of Saudi Arabia‘s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, said the women were being starved and beaten on the orders of her father.

The 42-year-old princess, who had lived a life of luxury before the past 13 years of captivity, made her claims during a clandestine phone call to the New York Post.

‘We are cut off and isolated and alone. We are hostages,’ she said.

‘No one can come see us, and we can’t go see anyone. Our father is responsible and his sons, our half-brothers, are both culprits in this tragedy.’

She said that the King was punishing her and her three sisters, Jawaher, Hala, and Maha, because they spoke out about the injustices and inequality faced by women in Saudi Arabia.

‘That was it for him. It was the end for us,’ Sahar said.

Saudi Arabia has one of the most oppressive human rights records for gender inequality. Women must be covered from head to toe, are banned from driving and have every move shadowed by a male guardian – usually a husband, brother or father.

The girls’ mother, who fled into self-imposed exile in London to escape what she said was an abusive relationship, backed up her daughters’ claims and said she feared for their safety.

‘They once had a normal life for Saudi Arabia, but they are free thinkers, and their father hates that,’ Alanoud Al Fayez told the New York Post.

‘They are compassionate about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arab world. The injustices that we see are terrible, and someone must say something.’

Her daughters claim that they are beaten, denied food and water for days at a time, and have been confined to a dark and isolated part of the royal estate.

Power supplies and running water are shut off for days or weeks at a time and the women have been separated from one another, with Sahar and Jawher in one room and Hala and Maha in another.

‘Our energy is quite low, and we’re trying our best to survive,’ Sahar said, adding that the rooms they are kept in are sweltering hot and overrun with bugs.

She added that men, including their half-brothers have beaten them with sticks.

An official at the Saudi embassy in London denied the sisters’ claims and said they were free to go where they liked but, because they are royalty, they needed to be accompanied by armed guards.

Their mother however, rejected the official’s claims and alleged that her former husband wanted the sisters to die.

‘That place was once a home. Now it’s a cage,’ she told the Post.

‘The king wants them dead and he wants them to die in front of the world, yet he will deny any of this ever happened.’

Al Fayez has campaigned about her daughers’ plight to President Obama and the UN.

The 57-year-old called on Obama to help before he visited the King during an official visit.

‘Mr Obama should take this opportunity to address these grave violations committed against my daughters,’ she said.

‘Since 13 years, my daughters Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher are being held captive. ‘They need to be saved and released immediately.’

Al Fayez has written to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to say that her daughters are ‘imprisoned, held against their will, cut off from the world’.

Obama paid a visit to Saudi King Abdullah’s desert oasis at the end of March.

Abdullah became king of Saudi Arabia in 2005. The oil-rich state is a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and its extensive royal family enjoy massive wealth, with the king one of the world’s richest men.

Al Fayez was only 15 when she married King Abdullah, who was then in his 40s, but he divorced her just over a decade later.

The king, who has 38 children by a number of wives, has placed his four daughters with Alfayez under the control of three of their half-brothers, according to Sahar.

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Woodpeckers and bananaquit in Costa Rica


Golden-hooded tanagers, blue-gray tanager, 20 March 2014

As this blog wrote, in the morning of 20 March 2014 at Arenal observatory in Costa Rica, it started to rain. As this photo, of two golden-hooded tanagers and a blue-grey tanager at feeders, shows.

Black-cheeked woodpecker male, 20 March 2014

Nevertheless, a male and a female black-cheeked woodpecker kept looking for food on a tree.

Black-cheeked woodpecker male, Costa Rica, 20 March 2014

Passerini's tanager male, 20 March 2014

Passerini’s tanagers, both male and female.

Passerini's tanager male, Costa Rica, 20 March 2014

Bananaquit, 20 March 2014

A small bird: a bananaquit.

A social flycatcher on a roof.

Pale-billed woodpecker male, 20 March 2014

Then, two spectacular birds: a pale-billed woodpecker couple, feeding on a big tree.

Pale-billed woodpecker female and male, 20 March 2014

A green honeycreeper.

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Unjustly convicted boxer ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies


This music video is called Bob Dylan – Hurricane (original). The lyrics are here.

From the Canadian Press:

‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76

April 20, 2014 / 8:04 am

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former American boxer imprisoned nearly 20 years for three murders before the convictions were overturned, has died at his home in Toronto.

Media reports say he was battling prostate cancer.

The Hurricane‘s autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” was published in 1975 it helped raise awareness for his case. Also in 1975 Bob Dylan wrote the song ‘Hurricane’ based on the book.

According to CTV, Carter was arrested in 1966, along with acquaintance John Artis, for a triple shooting in New Jersey. His conviction was quashed in 1985, with the help of a group of Canadians who fought to keep his case in the spotlight.

Eventually, Carter moved to Toronto, where he helped to form the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. He served as the association’s executive director from 1993 to 2004.

in 1999 Norman Jewison made the movie ‘The Hurricane’, Denzel Washington played the lead role.

See also here.

On race, the US is not as improved as some would have us believe. Despite the legacy of civil rights, some doors remain firmly closed. And across the US, schools are resegregating: here.

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Northern lapwing inspires music composer


This video is about a northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) at its nest.

Today on Dutch radio, for the first time a new piece of music by composer Henk Doeke Odinga was played.

This composition, for piano and clarinet, is about northern lapwings.

Both the sound and the movements of these birds inspired Odinga.

The music starts with part of the French national anthem, the Marseillaise. That is because, if there is a harsh winter in the Netherlands, lapwings migrate south to France.

You can listen to the music here.

You can download the music here.

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WordPress Family Award, thanks Carina!


WordPress Family Award

My dear blogging friend Carina of the blog Wolf Is My Soul has been so kind to nominate this blog for the WordPress Family Award.

The rules of this award are:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family
4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them
5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people that have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

Here is what Shaun, the creator of the award, had to say about it:

“This is an award for everyone who is part of the “Word Press Family”. I start this award on the basis that the WordPress family has taken me in, and showed me love and a caring side only WordPress can. The way people take a second to be nice, to answer a question and not make things a competition amazes me here. I know I have been given many awards, but I wanted to leave my own legacy on here by creating my own award, as many have done before. This represents “Family” we never meet, but are there for us as family. It is my honour to start this award”.

I do feel that WordPress has given me a new online “Family” and I am proud to nominate the following members of my family for this award:

1. The shadows of a dream

2. larondedelivres

3. jamoroki

4. Something there is…

5. Jane Risdon

6. At the Matinée

7. Hat Full of Why

8. Living and Lovin

9. immabelike

10. Nowhere to go but Everywhere

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Tanagers and honeycreepers in Costa Rica


This video, recorded at the Arenal volcano observatory in Costa Rica, is about Montezuma’s oropendolas.

As this blog reported, on 19 March 2014 we arrived near the Arenal volcano.

Next morning, 20 April.

A clay-coloured thrush.

Blue-grey tanager, 20 March 2014

A blue-grey tanager at the feeder water melons.

Montezuma's oropendola, 20 March 2014

Along with a flock of Montezuma’s oropendolas.

While white-nosed coatis walk underneath, hoping some food will fall.

Red-legged honeycreeper male, 20 March 2014

Red-legged honeycreepers near the feeder as well.

Red-legged honeycreeper female, 20 March 2014

Both males and females.

Red-legged honeycreeper male, Arenal, 20 March 2014

Hepatic tanager, 20 March 2014

A hepatic tanager.

Scarlet-thighed dacnis, 20 March 2014

A scarlet-thighed dacnis.

Scarlet-thighed dacnis and clay-coloured thrush, 20 March 2014

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