Monday, April 28, 2008

Super-correct South Africa

A programme investigating initiation schools was retracted by the SABC on the grounds that stakeholders needed to be consulted before it was aired. Special Assignment, a weekly investigative documentary show, planned to broadcast a story on the death of 25-year-old UCT graduate Buntu Majalaza, who went to the bush to be initiated into adulthood, but died two weeks later on January 6 from septicaemia because of a botched circumcision. The programme focuses on the dangers of informal initiation schools where some students died.

The show was meant to be aired on Tuesday but was retracted two hours before the scheduled time. It is believed that the SABC refused to allow the show to go on air because of its controversial nature and its potential to offend traditional leaders. But SABC spokesperson Kaiser Kganyago said on Thursday that the show had not been banned but that the broadcaster had wanted to "consult stakeholders". He said they had had a similar situation last year when they had failed to consult stakeholders and had then "experienced big drama around cultural issues". He could not say when the SABC planned to air the show as the consultation was an "ongoing process".

Jason Stanier, a friend of Majalaza's who was interviewed for the report, said he hoped they would go ahead with the broadcast. "I want the show to be aired because I think it is an important story that needs to be told. There are people dying out there and we have the opportunity to tell the story. "From what I heard it was going to be a great show. "The producers had managed to get a few first-hand testimonies of the many outrageous things that are happening to these men who go to the bush.

"Maybe it's just me, but when did not wanting to offend people become more important than exposing the countless deaths that are occurring in these schools?" he said. Producer Hazel Friedman said she was very passionate that Majalaza's story be told.


Poor white boys are victims too

By Trevor Phillips (The black chairman of Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission)

To be sure, the problems of racial discrimination against minorities haven't gone away - black and Asian young men are still up to seven times more likely to be arrested by the police; Pakistani men will earn more than a quarter of million pounds less than their white equivalents over a lifetime; and young Bangladeshi women are having to settle for jobs for which they are overqualified. But we are also confronting for the first time in my lifetime an equality deficit not much talked about at Westminster. I am referring to the growing underclass of poor white boys - a forgotten group who also face a kind of institutional racism. I am deeply worried that they will grow into poor, disillusioned, alienated white men.

Why should the Equality and Human Rights Commission care? Many people, including our friends, think that it exists largely to shout the odds for anybody who is not male, white, straight and able-bodied. But that is wrong on every count. We aren't a minorities' pressure group. We work for the whole of society, not just those at the margins - though those who suffer most disadvantage have a right to come first in the queue for our support. (And let's remember that some of those who face systematic inequality aren't small minorities - women are a majority, most of us will become parents and virtually all of us will get old.)

What we are is a body that attacks unfairness wherever it sees it. That's why some of the wider trends that may be leading to greater inequality are right at the top of our agenda - economic change, the skills gap and, above all, migration.

Let me be unambiguous about this last issue. I am pro-immigration. The British people's experience is that managed migration has brought great advantages to the country, not the tide of hate that Powell prophesied. But immigration has also raised important issues - not least that if we aren't careful, the benefits from it will fall into the hands of employers, shareholders and middle-class professionals, while any burdens are left to be borne by the poorest in society.

So we have to ensure that the positive impact of migration is not offset by the costs - such as public services under increased pressure and an infrastructure that is struggling to cope. Let these issues languish in the tray marked "too difficult to talk about", and resentment will grow. We also need to be clear that worrying about the consequences of immigration does not make you antiforeigner. And we must tackle a vital question: why are some groups in society not getting the chances they deserve? Last week two reports highlighted again the issue of underachievement. A report by the Bow Group, the Conservative think tank, showed that in the past 10 years almost 4m pupils left school without gaining the basic qualifications of five good GCSEs.

The cost to the economy of low educational attainment - and low social mobility - is 32 billion pounds a year, or 1,300 to the average family, according to Reform, the independent think tank. Its report spoke of the "why bother?" generation - people who feel shut out by the system. If people feel shut out, they will try to find someone easy to blame: the outsider, the immigrant.

At the commission, we are doing research on educational underachievement and its link to ethnicity. Initial findings reveal that, for example, Bangladeshi and black African students at school outperform their white peers from comparable economic and social backgrounds. Statistics also show that black African, Bangladeshi and Pakistani students achieve higher GCSE scores than equivalent white students. We know that it is not only white children from poorer background who are struggling. Black Caribbean children are also underachieving.

In the autumn, after our research is published, we will host a conference on white working-class boys. We want to listen to the pupils themselves, the teachers and the parents. And we need to demonstrate that fairness is about equal treatment for all - black, white or Asian. It is only in tackling these issues that we take the toxicity out of debates on immigration, race and socio-economic underachievement. Fair treatment and equal chances are everyone's right. No one should feel the work of the commission is "not about me".


Council of Europe Declares Unlimited Abortion an Unconditional Right for all of Europe

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has passed a resolution to declare unlimited legal abortion an unconditional right. The Assembly passed the resolution with 102 to 69 votes with 14 abstentions. Amendments seeking to make the resolution less extreme in its promotion of abortion were rejected. In preparation for what is being described as a rushed vote, the Assembly restricted plenary session speeches to three minutes, amendment speeches to 30 seconds and denied the Assembly's legal affairs committee any scrutiny. Only 185 of the 318 members of the Assembly were present for the vote.

Pat Buckley of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, who was present at today's debate, said, "Today is a tragic day for Europe, not least because this report in favour of even more killing of unborn children was rushed through the Assembly without proper scrutiny...The only consolation is that the resolution is not legally binding." Nigel Dodds, MP and MLA for Belfast North, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and a minister in the Northern Ireland executive, said, "It's a sad day for the unborn child in Europe, but the fight goes on."

Assembly member Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, representing Malta, a country which upholds the right to life of all children, born and unborn, opposed the resolution, warning that "a society which destroys its young condemns itself to oblivion."

The Assembly, the oldest of the pan-European organisations, has no power to compel compliance among member states, but its recommendations are nonetheless influential in other bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights. Buckley continued, "Nothing in the European Convention on Human Rights recognises a right to abortion or confers on individuals a right to require a state to permit or facilitate abortion. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the issue of when the right to life begins is a question to be decided at national level. It follows that the legal protection afforded to early human life must also be decided at national level."

The PACE committee met in late March to discuss a report that called for the total elimination among European Union member states of any legal restrictions on abortion. The report called for "access to safe and legal abortion" and urged all the member states to "guarantee women's effective exercise of their right to abortion." The committee's report criticised even the legal restrictions not specifically restricting abortion, saying, "The repeated medical consultations required, the time allowed for changing one's mind and the waiting time for the abortion all have the potential to make access to abortion more difficult, or even impossible in practice".

"The ban on abortions does not result in fewer abortions, but mainly leads to clandestine abortions, which are more traumatic and more dangerous. The lawfulness of abortion does not have an effect on a woman's need for an abortion, but only on her access to a safe abortion," the report said. It also recommended that countries make "sex-education" mandatory for young people, a strategy that precipitated in Britain one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the western world.


Dutch Gov't to Marriage Commissioners: Won't do Gay "Marriages"? Then No Natural Marriages Either

The dogmatic Dutch love their homosexuals

The Netherlands equality commissioners have ruled that if a civil marriage commissioner refuses to conduct wedding ceremonies for homosexual partners, they must be barred from conducting ceremonies between men and women as well. The Equal Treatment Commission (CGB) ruled yesterday that local authorities are "not violating the equal treatment law if it refuses to appoint a marriage registrar who does not wish to marry persons of the same sex on grounds of religion".

The judgment comes after the municipality of Langedijk placed advertisements for two marriage registrars and demanded that applicants be prepared to conduct wedding ceremonies for natural couples and for same-sex partners.

The Christian Union party called the ruling an "unnecessarily harsh approach." The party, Christen Unie, is a Dutch orthodox-protestant and Christian-social party that holds "conservative" social views and centre left ideas on economic, migration, social and environmental issues. A party spokesman said, "This ruling does not help us further in the search for a careful balance between groups in society with differing beliefs" about homosexual "marriage".

When it comes to freedom of conscience for Christians and anyone who objects on moral grounds to homosexuality, however, it seems that homosexual political activists are only willing to apply tolerance to those who agree with their views.

In 2007 in Canada, homosexual activists fought efforts to allow marriage commissioners the right to exercise their freedom of conscience. When a Conservative MLA in New Brunswick tabled a piece of legislation meant to protect Christians and others who objected to the imposition of "gay marriage", homosexual activists responded with outrage, saying the legislation would grant rights to individuals who "discriminate" and would be an affront to the "equal marriage" movement.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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