‘How dare you?’ and ‘The rapist is you’: 2 powerful phrases from 2019
UNTV News • December 23, 2019 • 582
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.
‘HOW DARE YOU?’ A SCOLDING TO SAVE 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.
‘THE RAPIST IS YOU,’ A FEMINIST ANTHEM FROM CHILE TO NEW ZEALAND
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
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Australia’s prime minister on Monday again defended his stance on climate change after teenage activist Greta Thunberg criticized a lack of political action to prevent disasters such as the bushfires raging in the Oceanian country.
Thunberg on Sunday retweeted an Australian news video clip of fires ripping through a town west of Sydney, adding the comment: “Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible?”
“Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires. That’s what needs to change. Now,” she added.
The tweet has since garnered over 50,000 retweets and 170,000 likes.
In Mudgee, New South Wales, on Monday, Scott Morrison told reporters “it’s not for me to make commentaries on what those outside of Australia think that Australia should do.”
“We’ll do in Australia what we think is right for Australia. And that has always been my guiding principle. I’m not here to try to impress people overseas.”
It comes a day after the prime minister publicly apologized for having gone on holiday to Hawaii with his family as fires tore through forests and property in his country.
He also defended his government’s policies around the climate change.
Morrison, a strong advocate of the country’s coal industry, has faced a series of demonstrations protesting his lack of leadership during the fires and the lack of measures introduced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and undertake a transition to clean energy.
Meanwhile, about 100 homes were feared to have been destroyed by bushfires in New South Wales over the weekend in “catastrophic” conditions affecting much of the southeast of Australia where more than 100 outbreaks remain active.
The bulk of the damage was recorded in New South Wales where temperatures of almost 47 degrees Celsius (116 degrees fahrenheit) led the authorities to declare “catastrophic” conditions around Sydney, the second time the highest level of bushfire alert has been used since it was introduced 10 years ago.
“I think it will be another 24 hours before we get an accurate number but it is fair to say it is around 100 (homes),” the NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers told reporters.
The other affected area was the state of South Australia. At least 86 homes have been razed in the mountainous area around Adelaide, where a 69-year-old man also died on Saturday while trying to protect his property.
The weekend raised the number of homes destroyed by the bushfires to nearly 1,000 since July, 829 of them in New South Wales where 3.41 million hectares have been razed, an area similar to that of Belgium.
“It’s an enormous amount of the landscape and forested areas,” said Rogers. “We shouldn’t underestimate just how much of the natural environment is being burnt and that’s got serious ecological impacts as well as the fire impact … I think that’ll be felt for years to come.”
In New South Wales, where six people have died due to the fires since November, firefighters hope to contain 100 active outbreaks thanks to improved weather conditions, with lower temperatures and increased humidity.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said “there’s not much left” in the town of Balmoral, southwest of Sydney.
The authorities anticipate that at the end of the week the conditions will again worsen and a shortage of rain is expected until March 21, the end of the southern summer. EFE-EPA
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that she invited United Nations Human Rights Commission prosecutors to look into the government’s campaign against illegal drugs after she was appointed to co-lead its inter-agency committee.
Robredo said she only met with officers from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and the United States Embassy in Manila last week to discuss initiatives against illegal drugs.
“Wala akong UN prosecutor na kakilala. Wala akong sinulatan. Wala akong inimbita. Kaya kung may nakarating sa kaniyang may inimbita ako, fake news yun,” she said.
Duterte on Tuesday appeared incensed over a tweet by Phelim Kine, former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, in which he stated his willingness to go to the Philippines to help advise Robredo about her new role as anti-drug committee co-chair.
“Dear VP @lenirobredo – my bags are packed and I’m ready to come to the #Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous “drug war,” Kine said in his tweet posted on Nov. 11.
“Meanwhile here is my Recommendation No. 1: Arrest #Duterte and his henchmen for inciting & instigating mass murder,” he added.
Duterte described Kine as a United Nations prosecutor supposedly invited by Robredo.
“Pati ba naman ‘yang prosecutor and the tweet. Nakita ko yung tweet eh. ‘I am packed and ready to go to arrest Duterte.’ Yan ang imbitahin mo? Ganun ang salita sa akin?” he said.
“She invited even ang mga prosecutor ng Human Rights Commission which we rebuked. Bakit papupuntahin dito ang mga prosecutors and all? She was grandstanding na. It was like a carnival, she was talking right and left na,” he added.
Duterte has been sensitive to criticisms against his administration’s war on drugs, and even decided to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty that created the International Criminal Court following its move in 2018 to launch a preliminary probe on claims that Duterte committed crimes against humanity through his war on drugs.
In July 2019, The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution led by Iceland, seeking to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines amid the administration’s war on drugs.
Youth climate activists filed an official complaint on Monday (September 23) under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, calling for leaders to protect the children of the world from the peril of climate change.
“The world signed a contract between generations that the present world would leave a world worth inheriting to the future. And today, I want to tell the world you, you are defaulting on that contract and we’re here to collect,” said U.S. teen climate activist Alexandria Villasenor.
Days after millions of young people took to the streets worldwide to demand emergency action on climate change, leaders gathered at the United Nations on Monday to try to inject fresh momentum into stalling efforts to curb carbon emissions.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned governments that they would have to offer action plans to qualify to speak at the summit, which is aimed at boosting the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming.
“I just hope something good will come out of it. I hope it will have a good outcome. But we also have to prepare ourselves for the worst and continue even though if it has a bad outcome,” Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said.
With climate impacts such as extreme weather, thawing permafrost and sea-level rise unfolding much faster than expected, scientists say the urgency of the crisis has intensified since the Paris accord was agreed.
Over the past year, Guterres has called for no new coal plants to be built after 2020, urged a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies and asked countries to map out how to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. (REUTERS)
(Production: Angela Moore, Mike Wood, Catherine Koppel)
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