#METOO is Not for Everyone

When I lived in Paris and worked as a journalist, I had a weekly radio program called An American in Paris. No subject was off-limits. A news subject that caught my attention one day was about a young Black man who was dragged behind a pickup truck in Texas, horribly tortured until he died.  Shocked and furious, my reaction on the radio was to call for the death penalty. A position I never took before.  Comments came pouring in from the international community. Either you are for or against the death penalty but you can’t pick and choose when to use it. Eventually I regretted my radio spot since I realized it trivialized the whole notion of the death penalty. Worried about a day when a kid could find him or herself on death row for stealing a candy bar. The punishment must fit the crime.

When courageous women come forward to speak up about sexual abuse—whether at the hands of Donald J. Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby or countless others-they are talking about criminal acts, which they are. Any form of nonconsensual sex through intimidation—be it physical or psychological—justifies criminal punishment. To that there is no question. Period.

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One month and one week.

Two major news events. One major technological failure.

Russia invades Crimea and seems poised to take over the Ukraine

Malaysia Flight 370 disappears from the face of the earth.

We save our documents on our computers. The NSA can monitor our phones, e-mails, and every other electronic device we own. Yet, the aircraft industry has not put into service cockpit data in the “cloud” from all airplanes. Nor has it enabled the black box to be replaced by constant cockpit recordings between pilots and crew or hijackers and pilots and crew.

I have waited this past month to try and make sense of both the priority with which the media has covered these two stories, as well as to make sense of the reaction of the victims of both events. As for the stone-age mentality of the aircraft industry, that is possibly the most egregious fact that has come to our attention.

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Tom Friedman’s editorial in today’s New York Times has abundant errors.

It seems to be a piece more about Secretary of State John Kerry’s so-called original last-ditch effort to cement an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement. Kerry’s effort is far from original. There hasn’t been an American government official—be it an ambassador, president, vice-president, secretary of state or any other political pundit or elected official who has not, at one time or another, proposed similar solutions. Freidman claims that “Kerry is daring to test a question that everyone has wanted to avoid…” In Friedman’s words, “Is it five minutes to midnight or five minutes after midnight or even 1AM” which signifies beyond diplomacy?

Everyone involved in trying to come to a mutual conclusion to the conflict has always dealt with the same dilemma when listing concessions from either side. And, those concessions have always focused, among other points, on the continued constructions of Israeli settlements, several Intifadas where both sides have suffered inhumane losses, or simply a division in political thinking in the Knesset (hawks versus doves) or a fight to the death between El Fatah and Hamas who has successfully taken over Gaza. Frankly, any effort to effect any kind of conciliation between the Palestinians and Israelis has always been a last ditch effort that has always ended in failure.

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On 2 August 1990, Iraqi troops crossed the border into Kuwait. The Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, claimed that his military presence in Kuwait was not an offensive nor was it an invasion. According to Saddam, history made the incursion justified since back in the days when Iraq was part of the Babylonian Empire, Kuwait or at least the territory designated as the modern-day country of Kuwait was part of Babylonia and therefore, part of Iraq.

Like looters during natural disasters or riots, the Iraqi military and civilians looted, robbed, destroyed, plundered and pillaged stores, residences and political buildings with a vengeance that only the deprived could muster.

The world was shocked or at least distressed enough to form a coalition that ultimately, on 24 February 1991 until 28 February of the same year, rolled into Kuwait, drove out the Iraqis, and liberated Kuwait.

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When I decided to redesign my website, the images and thoughts I had of the beauty of our world back when evoked nostalgia though mingled with a bit of sadness.

Back then, politically, socially, and culturally, strides were made that gave us hope that those issues we treasured and fought for would continue to improve. Politically, we believed our voices were heard when it came to equal rights, gay rights, abortion, protesting a war, enabling education for all regardless of their socio-economic status, as well as following the example of  many other nations that provide health care for their citizens. We even believed and expected that those we elected would evolve with the times.

We hoped. We believed. And, somehow we were fooled.

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Mecca Blog

Barbara Victor's blog ranges from Middle East issues to international gossip, and includes her opinions, commentaries, criticism and analysis on all social, political and cultural matters. In other words, Barbara gives her perspective on the mecca or center of the world today. She welcomes all comments - laudatory and scathing. If you have something to add to the conversation, please email Barbara directly at