Democracy in Egypt

Democracy in Egypt

An upbeat analysis from someone who knows Egypt.

Govt asked to explain failure to stop fatwa

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Front Page

Govt asked to explain failure to stop fatwa

HC gives Shariatpur admin 15 days to tell why it could not save life of 14-year-old rape victim

L-R: Mofiz Uddin and Joynal

The High Court yesterday ordered district officials in Shariatpur to explain why they failed to protect 14-year-old rape victim Hena from being whipped to death as per a fatwa on Monday.

The deputy commissioner, the superintendent of police of Shariatpur and the thana nirbahi officer of Naria upazila -- where the incident took place--will have to report to the HC in 15 days how it happened although the court (HC) had eight months ago declared fatwa illegal and a punishable offence.

In a suo moto rule, the HC directed them also to report what steps they have taken in this regard.

An HC bench comprised of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain issued the rule following press reports on the killing of Hena.

The reports said Hena was raped by her 40-year-old relative Mahbub on Sunday. Next day, a fatwa was announced at a village arbitration that she must be given 100 lashes. She fell unconscious after nearly 80 lashes.

Fatally injured Hena was rushed to Naria health complex where she succumbed to her injuries.

Supreme Court lawyer Seema Zahur yesterday placed before the HC bench a press report on the incident on behalf of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association.

Meanwhile, another HC bench yesterday directed the law enforcement agencies to submit a report to it within three weeks on what steps have been taken following this incident in the light of its judgement on extra-judicial punishment.

The bench comprised of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder also ordered the information ministry to run a media campaign to create awareness among people against extra-judicial punishment.

The bench headed by Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain on July 8 last year delivered the verdict declaring illegal all kinds of extra-judicial punishment including those in the name of fatwa at local arbitrations.

Following three writ petitions, the court directed the authorities concerned to take punitive action against people involved in enforcing fatwa against women.

It also observed that infliction of brutal punishment including caning, whipping and beating at local salish [arbitration] by persons devoid of judicial authority constitutes violation of the constitutional rights.

Barristers Rabia Bhuiyan, Sara Hossain and Mahbub Shafique, and advocate KM Hafizul Alam, lawyers for the writ petitioners, yesterday placed the judgement to the bench following the incident involving Hena.

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), a human rights watchdog, expressed deep concern and shock yesterday at the killing of teenage rape victim Hena.

It demanded punitive action against those who enforced fatwa concerning her.

The ASK called upon the government to take effective steps to stop recurrence of such incidents.

Can this be?

Philosophy Bites Index

This is a list of links that might be helpful.

Philosophy Bites Index

Philosophy Bites: Index

Here are links to brief audio presentations on Philosophy Bites. On the linked page, click on the POD icon to listen in your browser. To download the mp3 file to your computer, right-click on POD and Save.

For each assigned item, please write a brief summary of what you got from it in your course blog. Try to cover the main points raised in the interview. Also, be sure to list your interpretive and/or evaluative about the discussion.

I do not expect you to follow every bit of the conversation. These are abstruse topics discussed by highly educated experts. Your careful attention to these conversations will reward you greatly the more you persist in sitting in on such sessions. What I will look for in your blog is evidence of careful listening and active questioning.

1. Simon Blackburn on Plato's Cave

2. Mary Warnock on Philosophy in Public Life

3. Stephen Law on The Problem of Evil

4. John Cottingham on The Meaning of Life

5. Miranda Fricker on Epistemic Injustice

6. Barry Smith on Wine

7. Alain de Botton on The Aesthetics of Architecture

8. Anne Phillips on Multiculturalism

9. Edward Craig on What is Philosophy?

10. Roger Crisp on Mill's Utilitarianism

11. Adrian Moore on Infinity

12. Anthony Grayling on Atheism

13. David Papineau on Physicalism

14. Timothy Williamson on Vagueness

15. Jonathan Wolff on Disadvantage

16. Simon Blackburn on Moral Relativism

17. Brad Hooker on Consequentialism

18. Peter Adamson on Avicenna

19. Mary Warnock on Sartre's Existentialism

20. Jonathan Rée on Philosophy as an Art

21. Tim Crane on Mind and Body

22. Anthony Kenny on his History of Philosophy

23. Quentin Skinner on Hobbes on the State

24. Onora O'Neill on Medical Consent

25. Stewart Sutherland on Hume on Design

26. Angie Hobbs on Plato on Erotic Love

27. Alain de Botton on Philosophy Within and Outside the Academy

28. Myles Burnyeat on Aristotle on Happiness

29. Henry Hardy on Isaiah Berlin's Pluralism

30. Susan James on Spinoza on the Passions

31. Julian Baggini on Thought Experiments

32. Barry Stroud on Scepticism

33. G.A. Cohen on Inequality of Wealth

34. Mark Vernon on Friendship

35. Barry Smith on Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy

36. Angie Hobbs on Plato on War

37. Richard Bourke on Edmund Burke on Politics

38. Richard Norman on Humanism

39. Stephen Mulhall on Film as Philosophy

40. Richard Tuck on Free Riding

41. Hugh Mellor on Time

42. A.C.Grayling on Descartes' Cogito

43. Anthony Appiah on Cosmopolitanism

44. Thomas Pink on Free Will

45. Melissa Lane on Plato and Totalitarianism

46. Derek Matravers on the Definition of Art

47. Raimond Gaita on Torture

48. Janet Radcliffe Richards on Men and Women's Natures

49. Peter Millican on Hume's Significance

50. David Miller on National Responsibility

51. Richard Reeves on Mill's On Liberty

52. Chandran Kukathas on Hayek's Liberalism

53. Peter Singer on Using Animals (originally on Ethics Bites)

54. Jonathan Wolff on Marx on Alienation

55. Michael Sandel on Genetic Enhancement in Sport (originally on Ethics Bites)

56.  Anthony Kenny on Aquinas's Ethics

57. Mary Warnock on the Right to Have a Baby (originally on Ethics Bites)

58. Donna Dickenson on Body Shopping

59. Tim Scanlon on Free Speech (originally on Ethics Bites)

60. Jennifer Hornsby on Human Agency

61. Will Kymlicka on Minority Rights

62. John Dunn on Locke on Toleration

63. Robert Rowland Smith on Derrida on Forgiveness

64. John Broome on Weighing Lives

65.  Melissa Lane on Rousseau on Civilization 

66. Matthew Kramer on Legal Rights

67. Peter Adamson on Plotinus on Evil

68. Quentin Skinner on Machiavelli's The Prince

69. Alex Neill on the Paradox of Tragedy

70. Clare Carlisle on Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling

71. Aaron Ridley on Nietzsche on Art and Truth

72. MM McCabe on Socratic Method

73. Ray Monk on Philosophy and Biography

74. Barry C. Smith on Neuroscience

75. Adrian Moore on Kant's Metaphysics

76. Peter Cave on Paradoxes

77. Christopher Janaway on Nietzsche on Morality

78. Anthony Appiah on Experiments in Ethics

79. Roger Crisp on Virtue Ethics

80. Raymond Geuss on Real Politics

81. Alexander Nehamas on Friendship

82. Christopher Shields on Personal Identity

83. A.C. Grayling on Bombing Civilians in Wartime

84. Anne Phillips on Political Representation

85. Wendy Brown on Tolerance

86. Don Cupitt on Non-Realism About God

87. Raymond Tallis on Parmenides

88. M.M. McCabe on The Paradox of Inquiry

89. Chandran Kukathas on Genocide

90. Kate Soper on Alternative Hedonism

91. David Papineau on Scientific Realism

92. Keith Ward on Idealism in Eastern and Western Philosophy

Elegance and freedom

The ballroom dancing of the baroque era is restrained and rational.  It is as far remove as can be from the dancing that results from the injunction to "let it all hang out, baby" that insinuated itself in the sixties.  Here is a move from that dancing.  The move is called doing a reverence, or bowing.  Note that it is mutual: both partners must participate. And what they participate in is an art form where nature is constrained and restrained and forced by human will to conform to ideal patterns. A complicated reverence requires presence of mind and self-control.  It cannot be performed by, say, someone in the grip of road rage. 

In such a move we see tradition, order, rules, restraint and training at work.  Indeed, at the end of the video we hear the voice of the teacher, the dancing master of those days.  Dancing was something you learned how to do, not something that was inside you automatically and merely needed a steady rhythm and a few pops to come out. It was the epitome of being civilized.  The puritans could sniff at dancing but society, both high and low, enjoyed it in a good spirited way.  Whether in the manor house or in the barn, the dancers, the musicians, the dancing-masters, the onlookers knew good form when they saw it.

Romanticism smashed all that.

Macauley on the Puritans with reading by JV

The Whig historian Thomas Babington Macauley explains why the Puritans, ridiculous and ridiculed, deserve our respect and admiration. You may notice the irony of his attacking the Catholics for lack of tolerance, when he treats them to very little of it himself.  This is an excerpt from his essay on Milton, the greatest of Protestant poets.

Chesler Chronicles » The Steady Erosion of Women’s Rights in Egypt: A Photographic Story

The Steady Erosion of Women’s Rights in Egypt: A Photographic Story

January 28, 2010 - by Phyllis Chesler

These photos, sent by my good friend Tareq Heggy, speak volumes about the politicization of the Islamic Veil. In the 1950s, Cairo University graduates were not veiled. By the twenty first century, the veiling of educated women was fully underway.

Class of 1959

Class of 1978

Class of 1995

Class of 2004



YouTube - Republican Response to the State of the Union 2011- VIDEO analysis

Republican Response to the State of the Union 2011- VIDEO analysis

The linked video shows an analyst reviewing Paul Ryan't response to the State of the Union Address by the President.  Click the link to the critique.  My critique of the critique:

Paul Ryan is the father of three children and the Chairman of the Congressional Budget Committee. He is no kid or gawky office manager. The analyst here is a media consultant, however, and not interested in substance at all. He is all about image. It is true that Ryan looks young.

The anlaytic tradition of our speaker goes back to the sophists by way of Machiavelli. For them, it is silly to worry about what is right or wrong.  What matters is results.  The sophists claimed that everything is opinion.  If so, truth does not matter.  Persuasion and persuasive technique do. Power is everything.  In this case, I believe every individual point made is valid. This is a competent analysis.  But it is what is chosen to analyse that troubles me some.

The analyst assumes that Ryan shares his professional cynicism, butconsider that Ryan was  saying that if our government keeps borrowing as it is, disaster is inevitable. Disaster means deep austerity and slow growth, which translates to a lower standard of living for everyone. If he is right, his message is urgent., His style or haircut, not so much.

Thus media analysis even though correct on every point may still, by its choice of the terms of reference, end up trivializing everything. And in the process, the citizenry become merely members of a vast audience.


Bloom's Taxonmy of Educational Objectives


From Bloom, et al., 1956

As teachers we tend to ask questions in the "knowledge" category 80% to 90% of the time. These questions are not bad, but using them all the time is. Try to utilize higher order level of questions. These questions require much more "brain power" and a more extensive and elaborate answer. Below are the six question categories as defined by Bloom.

    • remembering;
    • memorizing;
    • recognizing;
    • recalling identification and
    • recall of information
      • Who, what, when, where, how ...?
      • Describe
    • interpreting;
    • translating from one medium to another;
    • describing in one's own words;
    • organization and selection of facts and ideas
      • Retell...
    • problem solving;
    • applying information to produce some result;
    • use of facts, rules and principles
      • How example of...?
      • How is...related to...?
      • Why is...significant?
    • subdividing something to show how it is put together;
    • finding the underlying structure of a communication;
    • identifying motives;
    • separation of a whole into component parts
      • What are the parts or features of...?
      • Classify...according to...
      • Outline/diagram...
      • How with...?
      • What evidence can you list for...?
    • creating a unique, original product that may be in verbal form or may be a physical object;
    • combination of ideas to form a new whole
      • What would you predict/infer from...?
      • What ideas can you add to...?
      • How would you create/design a new...?
      • What might happen if you combined...?
      • What solutions would you suggest for...?
    • making value decisions about issues;
    • resolving controversies or differences of opinion;
    • development of opinions, judgements or decisions
      • Do you agree...?
      • What do you think about...?
      • What is the most important...?
      • Place the following in order of priority...
      • How would you decide about...?
      • What criteria would you use to assess...?

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Jerry Cerny,