Writing

Here there be monsters: Lara Logan and the madness of crowds

As more sickening details emerge in the Arab media—including mobile phone videos etc.—of what actually happened to CBS reporter Lara Logan in Tahrir Square February 13 the rhetoric on the left/right divide shows no signs of abating. Some bay that it was ‘pro-Mubarak’ thugs who sexually assaulted (mounting evidence points to gang rape) and almost killed the 39-year-old mother of two, while others point the finger at ‘pro-liberation’ hooligans, Muslim fanatics or ‘liberal’ revellers. Such distinctions however, have nothing whatsoever to do with the reason why Logan was attacked and in fact obscures the real issue. The simple fact is that the gang of men who attacked Logan did so because they wanted to and could. Not only was she blonde and western (Logan was born in South Africa) but she was an independent, seasoned reporter at the top of her game in a country where females are still regarded as third-class citizens. Once separated from her team (some Arab sources claimed a burly bearded man pulled her away by her hair) she was a lone woman in an ocean of men.

The Arab Intifada and Women's Rights

By Valerie M Hudson and Patricia Leidl | Published by World Politics Review The massive, exhilarating protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen mark a sea change for the better in the Arab world. But the implications of the uprisings for women in these countries have not yet been fully analyzed. All of the countries currently experiencing upheaval have made significant progress for women -- progress that could be swept away very easily, as it was in Iran in 1979, never to be regained.

A report on malnutrition in Rwanda for World Vision

Killing unhurriedly

Pervasive stunting hampers poverty alleviation efforts

By Patricia Leidl and Didier Habimana

Jeanette is five years old but unnaturally tiny for her age. A year ago she could not stand, play with other children, eat solids or talk. The thin monotonous wail that convulsed her scrawny frame drove her mother, Esperance, to distraction. “I desperately feared that she might die”, says the 45-year-old. “Her hair colour changed. It turned orange.”

A World Vision feature on birth registration in Pakistan

Missing People, Missing Rights

Universal Birth Registration in Pakistan

By Patricia Leidl | Published by World Vision

It is an overcast day and stagnant ponds of greasy water pockmark the fields that surround Matta, a nondescript village located in Kasur, Pakistan, a bleakly impoverished district huddled against the teeming Indian subcontinent to the south. In the compound where Safina Sarfaz, her husband and three daughters live, goats bleat angrily while scrawny chickens scratch amid piles of refuse.

Nawa: hearts and minds, one community at a time

 

Marjanne is so shrunken that from a distance she looks like a heap of black velvet that someone carelessly tossed onto the chaff-strewn ground. Six months ago, she and the dusty little boy she travels with—a nominal chaperone—would never have ventured down from her home in Lashkar Gah (Lash to the locals) to Nawa unaccompanied and in her case, uncovered. Today she squats balanced on two ancient ankles patiently waiting in the scorching heat: the only woman of among a group of one hundred men and two marines. What looks to be some kind of skin cancer is eating away at the tip of her nose, but her sunken black eyes are sharp and penetrating. Her purpose? To gather an allotment of cut-rate seed, a USAID-backed scheme designed to encourage local farmers to grow wheat instead of opium poppy.