In January, reproductive rights have invaded the front pages and screens under the impact of Pope Francis’ statementurging the faithful not to reproduce as “rabbits”. This speech act inevitably provoked reactions from the most diverse quarters actors, including the German Association of Rabbit Breeders, whose president declared that it is “unacceptable that the reproduction of the world’s poorest people is compared with the reproduction of rabbits… the Pope should allow Catholics to use contraception and not resort to inaccurate clichés when discussing the topic”. Here and here you can read more critical opinions on the Pope’s statement.
Moving to Egypt, an important civil rights victory has been resgistered after a Cairo court acquitted 26 gay men arrested on charges of debauchery and performing indecent acts in public. The men were arrested in December, 2014 after a police raid in a public sauna in Cairo, in the context of a series of wider repressive measures adopted by general Al-Sisi regime. We invite to read two articles by Scott Long, one on the court victory and the other on the ongoing repression perpetrated by the Egyptian regime against LGBT population.
There are also good news from Latin American. In Chile, the Congress approved a law recognizing civil unions between same sex persons. The law must still be sanctioned by President Michelle Bachelet, who in another important move presents this week a project to decriminalize abortion in cases of risk of death for pregnant women, impossibility of the fetus and pregnancy resulting from rape. (in Spanish here and here).
One sad note in January: the death of Chilean writer and artist Pedro Lemebel, one icon of sexual dissidence in Latin America.
Paris, January 2015
When revisiting January 2015 it is impossible to circumvent the tragic episodes of Paris that left behind 17 dead people, including the journalists and cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo, as it reactivated the schematic visions on the conflict between West and Islam that dominates the global political debates since 11 September 2001. The questions and arguments triggered by these episodes are not unrelated to sexual politics tensions and debates at global and national levels, as for example in respect to freedom of expression. SPW has therefore compiled a series of articles that scrutinize the complexities and pitfalls of the debate around what happened in Paris in January 2015.
Why I am not Charlie – Scott Long
Slavoj Žižek on the Charlie Hebdo massacre: Are the worst really full of passionate intensity?
Unmournable Bodies – Teju Cole
Why Charlie Hebdo attack is not about Islam – Mark Levine
SPW recommends the documentary “Foot Soldiers” on the lives and politics of sons and daughters of sex workers from Sonagachi in Kolkata, directed by our dear Debolina Dutta.