By Prarthana Mitra
A street van ran over scores of civilians in Toronto last month, in what was later confirmed as an “incel rebellion” inspired by a misogynistic Reddit subculture. Equally inexplicable was Trump’s much-awaited meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron last week which provided more fodder for comedians than political analysts. It was a good week for human rights in South Asia, as Myanmar, Pakistan and Malaysia took commendable action to ensure justice against military rape, child pornography and fake news respectively.
The Toronto van rampage shines a light on the misogyny of the ‘incel’ culture
On April 23, a horrific street van attack in Toronto, Canada, left 10 pedestrians dead and a dozen injured. Police reports later discovered a Facebook post by prime suspect Alek Minassian that referred to mass murderer Elliot Rodger, who had bemoaned his involuntary celibacy in a manifesto before orchestrating the California shooting and driving spree in 2014, killing six.
Minassian’s message which was deleted shortly afterwards read, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” The post notoriously garnered a lot of support despite Reddit shutting down a similar forum in November for hosting discussion threads like “why women are the embodiment of evil”.
According to Michael Arntfield, Associate Professor of Criminology, there needs to be an extensive conversation about schizoid personality disorder which leads to such violent crimes.
The one word that defined Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump’s meet: Awkward
French president Emmanuel Macron and American President Donald Trump met in Washington DC last week to discuss the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as other crucial global issues like trade, climate change, Russia, North Korea and counterterrorism.
However, the awkwardness between the two leaders, now immortalised by daily talk show hosts, began as soon as Macron stepped foot on the US soil, with awkward handshakes and Trump infamously brushing dandruff off of the French statesman.
A French official, speaking to the Washington Post added that “Macron is doing this because he knows that he has to be close to our closest ally, the president of the most powerful country in the world.” The official added he thinks the visit is an “opportunity to start forging a more unified front” against Chinese economic expansion and Putin, whom Macron will visit next month in St. Petersburg.
Human rights watch in South Asia:
Pakistan, Myanmar & Malaysia take action against violations
A Pakistani court sentenced Sadat Amin to prison for 7 years and levied a fine of Rs 1.2 million, for the possession of over 6,50,000 pictures and videos related to child pornography, making it the first judicial victory of its kind. The Lahore court found Amin guilty of being involved in an extensive racket with clients in Sweden, Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In Myanmar, Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing assured the United Nations that adequate action will be taken against soldiers who have been accused of sexual violence against Rohingya Muslims after accounts of horrific rape by the military emerged from those who managed to flee to Bangladesh. The UN envoy was told that the military will be “taking harsh and stronger actions against such offenders”, with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi pledging thorough investigation of any credible accusations of abuse.
Malaysian judiciary takes punitive action against perpetrators of fake news for the first time after Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman of Danish origin posted an erroneous and misleading video claiming the police took 50 minutes to respond to a distress call when it only took them eight minutes. Despite apologizing in the court, Sulaiman has been sentenced to a month in jail after he was unable to pay the fine thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the country’s new Anti-Fake News Act. This marks the first conclusive action taken against the menace of fake news, as governments around the world are trying to bring a semblance of regulation to digital and social media journalism.
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