‘How dare you?’ and ‘The rapist is you’: 2 powerful phrases from 2019

UNTV News   •   December 23, 2019   •   940

Greta Thunberg, the 16-years-old climate activist from Sweden, addresses world leaders at the start of the 2019 Climate Action Summit which is being held in advance of the General Debate of the General Assembly of the United Nations at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 23 September 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/JUSTIN LANE

MADRID/SANTIAGO– This year, two short but powerful phrases have been added to our collective memory: “How dare you?” which teenage Swedish activist spat at world leaders faced with the climate emergency, and “The rapist is you,” the chorus line of a song that some Chilean women sang in a flash mob that has spread across the planet.


From an inconspicuous high school student striking outside the Swedish parliament building every Friday to TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, it has been a whirlwind 12 months for climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The 16-year-old spent 2019 traveling the length and breadth of Europe and North America by rail, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in both directions on a sailboat to highlight environmentally-friendly travel alternatives.

Millions of like-minded youngsters have been inspired by the Swedish teenager, following her example by launching their own Fridays4Future strikes all around the globe.

Thunberg’s call for the adults in charge to take responsibility for tackling the pressing climate crisis has put the topic at the top of the international agenda in a year blighted by wildfires in the Amazon, California and Australia, and record-breaking heatwaves.

“How dare you?”

This soundbite of her speaking to world leaders at the United Nations in New York back in September this year went viral.

Not one for platitudes, she continued: “This is all wrong, I shouldn’t be up here, I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood.

“People are suffering, people are dying, entire eco-systems are collapsing, we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she said.

The next UN climate summit was set to be held in Santiago de Chile, but unrest prompted organizers to move it to Madrid.

At the COP25 in the Spanish capital, Thunberg insisted that the adults in charge needed to be educated on the science behind the climate crisis just as much as the youth.

The COP dragged on two days over schedule as delegations struggled to reach agreements on topics such as carbon-market regulation, ocean and land use and boosting commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Fridays4Future called for a strike on Dec. 13, what should have been the final day of the COP, saying the outcomes of the summit had been “insufficient.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Chilean official hosts of the summit both expressed disappointment as many of the sticky decisions were postponed for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, next year.

One text, urging countries to demonstrate more ambitious measures within the framework of the Paris Agreement, was approved.

Meanwhile, Thunberg traveled home by rail to Sweden, dropping in on a climate strike in Turin along the way.


A Chilean protest song showed that rape culture and systemic gender violence is a language that all women around the world understand.

The song “A Rapist In Your Path” (“Un violador en tu camino”) was first performed in Chile on Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and has since transcended cultures and nations thanks to its powerful message.

From Chile to New Zealand, from Kenya to Canada, and from Spain to India, the protest has been replicated in 46 countries and 187 cities as of Dec. 19, according to the women mappers collective Geochicas OSM.

“It’s feminicide, impunity for the killer … It’s rape, and the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed. The rapist is you, it’s the cops, the judges, the State, the president,” sang women of all ages across the world.

In Istanbul, Turkey, an attempt to stage the song was broken up by police, although the catchy tune was later performed in parliament. In New York, a group of women danced the song in front of the Flatiron building and even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) retweeted the popular dance in solidarity with Chilean women.

In Quito, Ecuador, a group of deaf women performed the song in sign language, and in Tlapa, a small city in the Mexican state of Guerrero, indigenous girls and women sang the song in their native language, an action that was replicated in other cities across Latin America.

The performance was replicated “throughout the world, in many languages, including native languages, and by women of all profiles, in their few or in their thousands, recognizing themselves through a voice and cause common to half of humanity: our constant risk of violence,” the collective said on its Twitter account.

According to UN Women, it is estimated that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives.

Moreover, it is estimated that one in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

The song was written by LasTesis, a feminist group based in the Chilean city of Valparaiso, founded a year and a half ago by Dafne Valdés, Paula Cometa, Sibila Sotomayor, and Lea Caceres.

The performance is based on rape research by the four women and on the work of the Argentinean feminist theorist Rita Segato. The lyrics describe how institutions uphold systematic violations against women’s rights.

The original work was modified to include elements that refer the police brutality and sexual abuse committed by the Carabineros (police) during the latest social unrest in Chile. EFE-EPA

Duterte to join first virtual UN General Assembly debate

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will join the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beginning Tuesday (September 22) where he will address more than 190 state and government leaders.

Due to the pandemic, the said gathering of leaders will be held online for the first time coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

This is also the first time President Duterte will participate in the said assembly that will end on September 26.

According to Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, the President will deliver his speech at the high-level general debate Tuesday night in the Philippines.

The Chief Executive will be the 12th among the 14 speakers set to speak at the UN-GA morning session.

This will be the President’s first time to address the UN General assembly, the main deliberative organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented,” Borje said.

The President will be able to cover several issues in his speech including the maritime dispute in the South China Sea as well as issues on human rights and justice in the country to which his controversial war on drugs campaign is related.

“President Duterte will article principal positions of the Philippines on a wide range of issues. I do not want to pre-empt the President, but these are of key importance to the country,” Borje said.

Borje identified the main points Duterte is expected to raise during the assembly which include: global response to the coronavirus pandemic; peace and security including terrorism, geo political developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; rule of law; justice and human rights including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; peace-keeping; and United Nations reforms. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

UN aid chief to G20 nations: ‘step up now or pay the price later’ for COVID

UNTV News   •   July 17, 2020

Coronavirus support to poor countries has been so far “grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said on Thursday (July 16) as he asked wealthy countries for billions more dollars in assistance.

The United Nations increased its humanitarian appeal by more than a third to $10.3 billion to help 63 states, mainly in Africa and Latin America, tackle the spread and destabilizing effects of the coronavirus. This is up from the world body’s initial $2 billion request in March, then $6.7 billion in May.

So far, Lowcock said, the United Nations has only received $1.7 billion.

“The message to the G20 is step up now or pay the price later,” Lowcock told reporters.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economies will meet virtually on Saturday (July 18).

The coronavirus has infected at least 13.6 million people and there have been more than 584,000 known deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. The United Nations has warned that if action is not taken, the pandemic and associated global recession will trigger an increase in global poverty for the first time since 1990 and push 265 million people to the brink of starvation.

“The response so far of wealthy nations, who’ve rightly thrown out the fiscal and monetary rule books to protect their own people and economies, the response that they’ve made to the situations in other countries has been grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” Lowcock said.

Lowcock added he had lobbied U.S. lawmakers for funding earlier this week. A House of Representatives committee has proposed $10 billion in international aid. So far, Congress has provided $2.4 billion in emergency foreign aid.

In May, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion to help deal with the coronavirus and economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing states.

Lowcock said he would “very much welcome it if some significant proportion of those resources could be used directly to support the global humanitarian response plan.” (Reuters)

(Production: Catherine Koppel)

U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran’s Soleimani an ‘unlawful’ killing

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).

The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.

Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.

Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.

Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)


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