Urgent call to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in solidarity with Istanbul


June 11th 2013

A photo of a 13-year old child injured in the police attack on the protest.

 

This is an urgent call to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from Istanbul

Valuable members of the IOC;

This is an urgent call from Istanbulites, from all ages, social and political backgrounds, associations, ideologies and beliefs. This is a call from Urban Movements Istanbul / Habitat International Network together with People’s Houses on behalf the citizens of Istanbul whose right to life has been threatened by a government determined to crush a peaceful resistance against the demolishment of a public park ( Gezi Park) by means of unproportional use of force through excessive utilization of tear gas and pepper gas bombs over limits, the use of plastic bullets and more over the deliberate use of canisters as bullets to target and hit armless people.

Up to now the police has intervened and used brutal force 4 times in Taksim against peaceful demonstrators; the last one taking place this morning. There are 3 deaths and after this morning’s violent attack, we are afraid that there may be more losses. The resistance has spread to the other cities and there are nearly 10,000 people injured throughout Turkey, 23 of which fatal. The right to peaceful assembly and to demonstration, the right to expression, to freedom of opinion and to life have been and is being (at the moment as well) grossly violated by the government.

Valuable members of the IOC, the ideals of Olympic Games rest on friendship, peace, democratic values and freedoms. We are sending you just 3 of the hundreds of  videos documenting the unproportional use of force by the police; these are material evidences of the brutality and are more than enough proof of how the government violates  the ideals of Olympics.
http://alkislarlayasiyorum.com/icerik/126067/yabanci-medyadan-gezi-parki-belgeseli-istanbul-rising

this morning http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/06/201361111245916696.html
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151523695173492&set=vb.142140739308470&type=2&theater (ankara 10-11 june midnight)

Having Istanbul on the list of applicants will be tantamount to pepper gasing these ideals.

Having Istanbul on the list will mean bombing these ideals.

Keeping Istanbul on the list disgraces Olympic ideals.

 

 

We, as Istanbulites whose lives are under threat, request the IOC to take Istanbul out of the list of cities for Olympics 2020 in order to reclaim the honour of Olympic ideals.

On behalf of                                                                        On behalf of

Urban Movements Istanbul / HIC Network                 People’s Houses

Cihan Uzunçarşılı Baysal                                                    Çiğdem Çidamlı

 

Supporting Signatories

KALYANİ MENON-SEN  (INDIA)

KAMAYANI BALI MAHABAL (INDIA )

 

 

 

Free and fair: Saudi Arabia to build a women-only city


Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new city exclusively for women as it bids to combine strict Sharia law and career minded females, pursuing work.

It is thought the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been asked to bring the country up to date with the rest of the modern world with the controversial city, which is now being designed with construction to begin next year.

It is hoped it will allow women’s desire to work without defying the country’s Islamic laws.

Mono-city: A women only city is set to be built in Saudi Arabia to allow women to pursue a careerMono-city: A women only city is set to be built in Saudi Arabia to allow women to pursue a career

The municipality in the Eastern city of Hafuf is expected to attract 500 million riyals (£84m) in investments and it will create around 5,000 jobs in the textiles, pharmaceuticals and food processing industries.

There will be women-run firms and production lines for women.

Although Saudi Sharia law does not prohibit women to work figures show that only 15 per cent of women are represented in the workforce.

SHARIA LAW: HOW IT WORKS IN SOME ISLAMIC STATES

Sharia Law is the moral code and religious law of Islam dealing with crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting.

In general Sharia doesn’t guarantee equal rights for women and men.

For many it does but for rights including marital and inheritance laws, it doesn’t.

Married women have the right to seek employment although it is often thought in patriarchal societies that the woman’s role as a wife and mother should have first priority.

Islam allows both single and married women to own property and the right to inherit from other family members but a woman’s inheritance is different from a man’s, for instance, a daughter’s inheritance is usually half that of her brother’s.

Islamic jurists have traditionally held that Muslim women may enter into marriage with only Muslim men, while the Quran allows a Muslim man to marry a chaste woman from the People of the Book, a term that includes Jews and Christians.

In 2003, a Malaysian court ruled that, under sharia law, a man may divorce his wife via text messaging as long as the message was clear and unequivocal.

The plan coincides with the governments ambitions to get women to play a more active part in the development of the country. Among the stated objectives are to create jobs, particularly for younger women.

‘I’m sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suits their interests, their nature and their ability’, Modon’s deputy director-general, Saleh Al-Rasheed, told Saudi daily newspaper al-Eqtisadiah.

Saudi’s existing industrial cities already have factories owned by women, as well as companies that employ a small portion of the female population and Saleh Al Rasheed added: ‘We are now working on a second industrial city for women.

‘We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the kingdom’.

As part of a mass overhaul of its workforce and its bid to get women into work the state is also attempting to replace foreign salespeople with Saudi women.

This summer, women started replacing staff in cosmetics and perfume shops, only half a year after they replaced male sales staff in lingerie stores.

But despite some progress, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are still defined by Islam and lack basic freedoms found in many Western cultures.

Last September, King Abdullah announced that women will be able to vote and run in the 2015 local elections but Saudi Arabia is still the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving and it took huge efforts from the International Olympic Committee to persuade them to enter women in the Games for the first time ever.

Wojdan Shaherkani’s Olympics lasted just over a minute, but the fact she made it to her judo bout with Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica meant it was a revolutionary moment for the women of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi judoka Wojdan Shaherkani, who was embroiled in a political and religious row in her home country before being allowed to compete
The 100m sprinter Tahmina Kohstani of Afghanistan runs in a hijab and long clothing to conform with Islamic modesty laws

Making history: Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Shaherkani and Afghanistan’s Tahmina Kohistani were the first women to represent their countries in the Olympics

The country’s ultra-conservative clergy tried to destroy her ambitions to be Saudi’s first female Olympian, before an argument about the type of headscarf she should wear jeopardised her place at the eleventh hour.

The Games in London were also a first for Afghanistan, also bound by strict law, when Tahmina Kohistani ran in the 100m, despite months of harassment from men who believed she should not be allowed to compete.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2187072/Saudi-Arabia-Women-city-planned-allow-more-females-pursue-career.html#ixzz23Pf2p0Xq

Athletes don’t wear heels-Women at #Olympics are shaking off pressure to be feminine


 

BY THE AMERICAN PROSPECT

Athletes don't wear heelsA beach volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday in London. (AP)

This article originally appeared on The American Prospect.

Athleticism in women has generated social unease going back at least as far as the Greek myth of Atalanta, the princess who refused to marry a man who couldn’t beat her in a footrace and was finally conquered by a “hero” who beats her by cheating. Women in sports flout the feminine not only by being competitive, but by using their bodies for an end other than sex and child-bearing.
The American Prospect
Since they first started competing in 1900, female Olympians have faced pressure to relieve sexist anxieties by turning up the girliness, even if doing so hurts their performance. In the past, the need to distinguish female from male athletes—and thus preserve their femininity—has led the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to enforce silly uniform requirements like bikinis for beach volleyball and skirts for tennis.

Social ideals about femininity have also guided which female sports get the most attention: It tends to be those that highlight beauty and grace, such as gymnastics or figure skating. Note also that these sports tend to produce the pre-pubescent look, which has led to widespread eating disorders, such as the one that ended ice skater Jenny Kirk’s career. Pressure to be cute and tiny on gymnasts got so out of control that the Olympics finally set a minimum age requirement of 16.

This Olympics, however, feels like a step forward. Don’t get me wrong; there have been plenty of sexist incidents. Despite being one of the strongest women in the world, weightlifter Sarah Robles had a hard time attracting sponsors because of her size. Australian swimmer Leisel Jones was shamed by the press for weighing 150 pounds (Michael Phelps in his fighting-est form only weighed 30 pounds more). Despite these incidents, female athletes have felt free to shake off sexist expectations during this year’s games—and they’re getting surprisingly little blowback for it.

The change is apparent from the top. This year, beach volleyball players have the option of wearing more clothes than the regulation bikini required in the past (which has led to players wearing long-sleeved shirts to stave off the London chill), and the IOC struck down proposed rules that would have mandated skirts for female badminton and boxing competitors. This was also the first year that every country participating has female athletes on their teams, challenging notions of what women are capable of even in some of the most conservative countries on earth.

But the shift is most visible in the way that female athletes conduct themselves in public. Male athletics has always been a zone for bad-boy behavior; outside of requirements that athletes show good sportsmanship on the field, male athletes have plenty of room to be aggressive, party hard, and even to display a lack of humility that would be more off-putting if they weren’t as great as they say they are. From hockey players brawling to Derek Jeter’s womanizing and Muhammed Ali’s braggadocio—it’s hard to imagine what men’s sports would even look like without a hefty share of roughness, pride, and, of course, partying.

Now, more women are embracing the same bad-boy attitude; it’s become alright to be a tomboy. Hope Solo, the keeper for the U.S. women’s soccer team, has a reputation for being a loudmouth, which she’s earned with stunts like running down fellow soccer player Brandi Chastain on Twitter for criticizing the team’s defensive strategy. In a highly circulated story about all the partying that goes on in the Olympic Village, Solo openly bragged about sexual conquests, saying, “I may have snuck a celebrity back to my room without anybody knowing, and snuck him back out.” The press has for the most part reported this straightforwardly, without a hint of the hand-wringing that accompanied other incidents of female athletes acting like their male counterparts—remember the wall-to-wall tut-tutting Chastain received for stripping off her jersey at the 1999 World Cup?

Solo is in good company. Megan Rapinoe, who was one of the stand-out players during the last World Cup, officially came out as a lesbian this year. The news coverage of this has been perfunctory to the point that one might forget that coming out was unthinkable even a few years back—and still is to a large degree for male athletes. The team captain Abby Wambach identifies as straight, but she’s not particularly interested in being girly, either. After getting punched in the face by Colombia’s Lady Andrade, Wambach tweeted pictures of her shiner, complete with jokes mocking how unladylike it is: “#reverseeyesmoke #notcool.”

Women aren’t just playing rough; they’re owning their bodies, shaking off the pressure to attend to their attractiveness before their athleticism. Zoe Smith, a weightlifter from Great Britain, decided to go online and let her critics know that she didn’t “give a toss” if they think strong, muscular women are unfeminine and unattractive, adding that she preferred to be with men who were open-minded about female strength. Another weightlifter, 350-pound Holley Mangold, smacked down Conan O’Brien’s mockery of her weight and strength by tweeting, “#dontactlikeyournotimpressed.” He should be; she’s only been training since 2008 and now she’s in the Olympics.

Even if the media wanted to maintain an image of the demure, petite female Olympian, the women themselves clearly won’t be having it. For no other reason than pure competition, women from all sorts of backgrounds have been redefining what’s acceptable.


Read more of The American Prospect at http://www.prospect.org.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and journalist. She’s published two books and blogs regularly at Pandagon, RH Reality Check and Slate’s Double X

 

Draconian ‘Wi-Fi police’ stalk #LondonOlympicGames


 

August 3, 2012,Asher Moses,Technology Editor

All unauthorised Wi-Fi networks including smartphone hotspots are banned from Olympic venues.All unauthorised Wi-Fi networks including smartphone hotspots are banned from Olympic venues. Photo: Sadao Turner Esq

You’ve probably heard of the overzealous Olympic Games “brand police” harassing old ladies making Olympic cakes and other shop owners getting into the Olympic spirit, but how about the “Wi-Fi police”?

The Olympics brand is the second most valuable brand in the world at $US45 billion.

Sponsors pay tens of millions of pounds to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for exclusive rights to spruik their wares around London and beyond, and the IOC will stop at nothing to protect those revenue streams.

BT is the “official communications services provider” for the Olympics and has 1500 Wi-Fi hotspots at Olympic sites, with prices starting from £5.99 for 90 minutes. It’s the largest single Wi-Fi venue installation in Britain, according to BT.

Advertisement

To protect this lucrative deal – and presumably minimise any potential technical interference – LOCOG, the London Olympics organising committee, has banned “personal/private wireless access points and 3G hubs” from Olympic venues.

Want to create a wireless hotspot on your smartphone so you can get online on your laptop or tablet in between matches? That’s prohibited, as are portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices.

Sadao Turner Esq, director of new media for TV personality Ryan Seacrest’s production company, tweeted a photo of the “Olympics Wi-Fi police” that are charged with seeking out unauthorised Wi-Fi hotspots with big red detectors.

The absurdities don’t end there. According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Fish and chip stalls have been advised they are not allowed to serve chips on their own without fish as McDonald’s is the official chip maker of the Games. The Independent reported that the ban on chips extended to 800 retailers at the 40 Olympic venues.

Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers have been patrolling London enforcing the multimillion-dollar marketing deals signed with companies such as Visa, Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s and BP.

Only official sponsors who have paid a certain amount of money are permitted to use Olympic Games trademarks in their advertising.

Under laws specifically passed for the London Games, the brand army has rights to enter shops and business premises and bring courts actions and fines up to £20,000.

Words such as “Olympic”, “gold”, “silver”, “bronze”, “sponsors”, “summer” and “London” have been banned from business advertisements so as not to give the impression they are connected to the Olympics. Even pubs can’t have signs displaying brands of beer that are not official sponsors.

LOCOG has previously said that the sponsor rights were acquired by companies for millions of pounds and this helped support the staging of the games. It said people who sought the same benefits for free by “engaging in ambush marketing or producing counterfeit goods” were effectively depriving the games of revenue.

From a public relations perspective, this hasn’t played well with Londoners, who could breach the legislation simply by getting into the spirit of the games. Residents have also missed out on tickets only to see rows of empty seats in sections reserved for sponsors.

Today they are reading rumours that just 15 Games organisers spent $70,000 on lunch.

To see why Olympics organisers go to such lengths to protect sponsors you only have to follow the money. The Olympics brand is the second most valuable brand in the world at $US45 billion, according to a study by consultants Brand Finance.

Apple is the only brand ahead of it, worth $US70 billion. Both maintain this value by going after anyone they perceive to be using their trademarks.

The Olympics brand has increased in value by 87 per cent since the Beijing Games, largely off the back of a rise in broadcast rights – deals which punters complain are also preventing them from fully enjoying the Games. Ticketholders have also been told not to post photos or videos of matches to social networking sites.

Matthew Gain, digital director of public relations agency Edelman, said there was a “fine line that needs to be tread” between the commercial realities and the ability of consumers to enjoy the Games.

The Olympics are expensive to run and sponsors provide a chunk of the cash, so they expect that competitors won’t be able to get the same or similar benefits for free.

“However at the same time you don’t want to protect that investment so much that you piss off everyone,” he said.

“You’ve got to keep sensible about it and you’ve got to remember that the moment that you as a brand by protecting your own brand start inhibiting consumer choice and consumer behaviour … then that’s when you start risking impacting and affecting your brand.”

So have organisers gone too far in this instance? “Some of the protection of the stuff in the UK where you’ve seen the local cake shop being told that they need to stop displaying the Olympic rings cake that they’ve made and put in the window is perhaps a little bit too far,” said Gain.

“I think if it’s a mum and dad business that’s not really benefiting from the Olympics but getting into the Olympic spirit … that’s probably where you’ve gone a little bit too far.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/draconian-wifi-police-stalk-olympic-games-20120803-23jdc.html#ixzz22erBpcpB

 

#Olympic Games and the tricky science of telling men from women


 

Olympics gender testing

Gender tests may be the most controversial obstacle the athletes face. The London Games tries a new approach based on testosterone.

By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles TimesJuly 30, 2012, 5:03 a.m.

Of all the obstacles athletes have had to overcome to compete in the Olympics, perhaps the most controversial has been the gender test.

Originally designed to prevent men from competing in women’s events, it is based on the premise that competitors can be sorted into two categories via established scientific rules. But the biological boundaries of gender aren’t always clear.

Consider the Spanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez-Patiño. A gender test revealed that she had a Y chromosome, which normally makes a person male. She also had complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, or CAIS, which prevented her body from responding properly to testosterone and caused her to develop as a woman.

The Spanish Athletic Federation got her test results in 1986, just before a major competition that would have set her up for an Olympic run. Though she won the 60-meter hurdles, the federation declared her ineligible for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

The International Olympic Committee has struggled with cases like these, variously using hair patterns, chromosomes, individual genes and other factors in their long-running attempts to distinguish men from women. All of these tests have been discarded.

For the London Games, officials are going by a new set of rules that shifts the focus from DNA to testosterone, a hormone that aids muscle development, endurance and speed.

To a group of increasingly vocal skeptics, the very notion of gender testing is flawed and efforts to measure it biologically are doomed to fail. But some experts said they had to try anyway.

“There is no single metric for sex or athletic potential,” said Eric Vilain, director of the Center for Gender-Based Biology at UCLA. But he called the new testosterone-based test a pragmatic solution to a real problem. “I have talked to many elite female athletes, and I haven’t found one who is comfortable with the idea of having no testing,” he said.

Once it’s agreed that men and women should compete separately, how should officials divide them up?

It’s not a rhetorical question. Though most people fall neatly into “male” and “female” categories, some do not. The fact that there are people with physical or genetic traits of both sexes prompted the IOC to rethink its gender test.

The new rules, announced last month, disqualify athletes from women’s events if they have testosterone levels in the normal male range, which is 7 to 30 nanomoles per liter of blood. Because the top range for women is slightly below 3 nanomoles per liter, such levels could give athletes an unfair advantage that officials have a duty to root out, said Dr. Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of IOC’s Medical Commission and a former Olympic high jumper. Athletes with complete androgen insensitivity will be allowed to compete.

It’s impossible to say how many athletes in London will be affected by the new test, Ljungqvist said. Unlike past tests, which were given to all competitors in women’s events, this one will be administered only when the chief medical officer of a national Olympic committee or a member of the IOC’s medical commission requests it.

Ljungqvist said the test had a narrow purpose: “We are not determining the gender in an individual. What we are talking about is athletic eligibility.”

Most of the studies linking more testosterone with better athletic performance have been small and focused on men. Its value to female athletes is hazier.

“We don’t know much about the biological characteristics of testosterone in healthy women,” said University of Michigan biopsychologist Sari van Anders. “People only tend to look at testosterone in women when there’s a health issue.”

The picture is particularly murky for Olympic-caliber women. Experts know of only one report on the relationship between testosterone and performance of elite female athletes. That study of 22 sprinters and volleyball players found that those with the highest levels could jump about 4 inches higher than those with the lowest levels.

But if testosterone were essential to athletic success, Martinez-Patiño would have been doomed to fail because her body can’t use the hormone. Many women with androgen insensitivity have competed in the Olympics, and “the idea that testosterone is a necessary ingredient for elite athletic performance is really undermined by these cases,” Van Anders said.

In fact, androgen insensitivity is overrepresented among female athletes, Vilain added: The general population has an incidence of 1 in 20,000, but for Olympic athletes it is about 1 in 400. No one knows why.

Vilain participated in the IOC’s deliberations over the testosterone test and said the new rules, while imperfect, were a step in the right direction.

“If we could just have a social answer and let everyone declare their own sex, that would be great,” he said. But “if we say, ‘Anyone who says they’re a woman is a woman,’ I worry that people will always take advantage of that.”

Accusations of men masquerading as women in the Olympics go back at least as far as 1936, the year questions were raised about American sprinter Helen Stephens after her upset win at the Berlin Summer Games. Stephens passed some sort of gender test — the details are lost to history — and was awarded a gold medal.

The Cold War raised tensions between the U.S. and Soviet-bloc teams. Whispers about men posing as women were rampant on both sides, leading the IOC to devise a testing procedure in the 1960s. Athletes had to parade nude in front of physicians, submit to genital exams and have their hair patterns analyzed before they could receive certificates of femininity.

In 1967, that gave way to a more scientific test based on DNA. In people with two X chromosomes, one of them is inactivated and curls up into a tight ball, which the test detects. But the test proved inadequate in cases of conditions like complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, in which athletes had an X and a Y chromosome but the biological appearance of a woman.

Martinez-Patiño fought her case for two years, enlisting experts to prove that her XY status gave her no advantage because her body could not benefit from extra testosterone.

Officials reinstated her in 1988, just a few months after the Seoul Games. At the 1992 Olympic trials leading up to Barcelona, she missed qualifying for the Spanish team by one-tenth of a second.

After her case, the IOC switched to a test based on a gene called SRY, which initiates testes development. But since the gene is on the Y chromosome and merely tests for that chromosome’s presence, it suffered the same flaws. Eight female athletes failed the SRY test at the 1996 Atlanta Games, though all had androgen insensitivity and were ultimately cleared to compete.

That convinced the IOC to drop routine gender testing, but it and the International Assn. of Athletics Federations retained the right to test those suspected of competing under false pretenses or with medical conditions offering an unfair advantage.

That’s how South African runner Caster Semenya came to be tested at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin. Her masculine face and build prompted accusations that she was a man.

The international association conducted an inquiry and cleared her to race after a 10-month ban. She carried her country’s flag in the opening ceremony for the London Games.

Association officials were criticized for the seemingly arbitrary nature of their inquiry. The new IOC policy is crafted to be more transparent, Ljungqvist said.

To Martinez-Patiño, now a professor of sports science at the University of Vigo in Spain, the new rules echo the old — they just use a different metric. “Over time they will conduct research and demonstrate the ineffectiveness of this test,” she said, “just as has happened with the others.”

jon.bardin@latimes.com

 

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