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RIP Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died Friday. He was 90. His death was announced by Cuban state television. In declining health for several years, Mr. Castro had orchestrated what he hoped would be the continuation of his Communist revolution, stepping aside in 2006 when he was felled by a serious illness. He provisionally ceded much of his power to his younger brother Raúl, now 85, and two years later formally resigned as president.

Fidel Castro had held on to power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II. He became a towering international figure whose importance in the 20th century far exceeded what might have been expected from the head of state of a Caribbean island nation of 11 million people. He dominated his country with strength and symbolism from the day he triumphantly entered Havana on Jan. 8, 1959, and completed his overthrow of Fulgencio Batista by delivering his first major speech in the capital before tens of thousands of admirers at the vanquished dictator’s military headquarters. He wielded power like a tyrant, controlling every aspect of the island’s existence. He was Cuba’s “Máximo Lider.” From atop a Cuban Army tank, he directed his country’s defense at the Bay of Pigs.

Fidel Castro’s religious beliefs have been a matter of some debate; he was baptized and raised a Roman Catholic, but he identified himself later in life as an atheist. He criticized use of the Bible to justify the oppression of women and Africans,[372] but commented that Christianity exhibited “a group of very humane precepts” which gave the world “ethical values” and a “sense of social justice”

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Women – “Lightly Beaten”

Dear Pakistan – please do  not listen to these morons!

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has proposed its own women protection bill, recommending ‘a light beating’ for the wife if she defies the husband. The 20-member CII is a constitutional body which gives recommendations to parliament regarding Islamic laws. However, parliament is not bound to consider its recommendations. The bill was drafted after the CII rejected Punjab’s controversial Protection of Women against Violence Act (PPWA) 2015 terming it un-Islamic. The CII will now forward its proposed bill to the Punjab Assembly. The council has proposed that a husband should be allowed to ‘lightly’ beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.

It has suggested that a beating is also permissible if a woman does not observe Hijab; interacts with strangers; speaks loud enough that she can easily be heard by strangers; and provides monetary support to people without taking consent of her spouse. Available with The Express Tribune, a copy of the 163-page bill proposes several bans on women. It says there should be a ban on co-education after primary education, ban on women from taking part in military combat, ban on welcoming foreign delegations, interacting with males and making recreational visits with ‘Na-Mehram’. It says female nurses should not be allowed to take care of male patients and recommends that women should be banned from working in advertisements. It recommends that an abortion after 120 days of conceiving should be declared ‘murder’. However, it says a woman can join politics and contract a Nikah without permission of parents.

The bill suggests that anyone who tries to force women to marry with the Holy Quran or facilitate this should be awarded 10-year imprisonment. Similarly, the proposed bill says if any non-Muslim woman is forced to convert, then the oppressor will be awarded three-year imprisonment while the woman will not be murdered if she reverts to her previous faith.

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Saturnalia

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of innocence. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.

The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the third and fourth centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, some of its customs have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year. Saturnalia is the best-known of several festivals in the Greco-Roman world characterized by role reversals and behavioral license. Slaves were treated to a banquet of the kind usually enjoyed by their masters. Ancient sources differ on the circumstances: some suggest that master and slave dined together, while others indicate that the slaves feasted first, or that the masters actually served the food. The practice may have varied over time, and in any case slaves would still have prepared the meal. The toga, the characteristic garment of the male Roman citizen, was set aside in favor of the Greek synthesis, colourful “dinner clothes” otherwise considered in poor taste for daytime wear.

The Sigillaria on December 19 was a day of gift-giving. Because gifts of value would mark social status contrary to the spirit of the season, these were often the pottery or wax figurines called sigillaria made specially for the day, candles, or “gag gifts”, of which Augustus was particularly fond. Children received toys as gifts. In a practice that might be compared to modern greeting cards, verses sometimes accompanied the gifts. Martial has a collection of poems written as if to be attached to gifts. Catullus received a book of bad poems by “the worst poet of all time” as a joke from a friend. As an observance of state religion, Saturnalia was supposed to have been held ante diem xvi Kalendas Ianuarias, sixteen days before the Kalends of January, on the oldest Roman religious calendar, which the Romans believed to have been established by the legendary founder Romulus and his successor Numa Pompilius.