Monthly Archives: December 2015

Her Rap Song Saved an Afghan Girl from Marriage at 14

A rap song saved an Afghan gjrl from early marriage. Living in Iran, Sonita Alizadeh’s parents told her when she was 14 they needed her dowry money to pay for her brother’s wedding. To protest, she made a music video called “Brides for Sale.” She dressed as a bride with a bruised face and a barcode on her forehead. Her parents got the message and backed down. She advocates that “girls need to have hope for heir future, even if it is hard. If a girl loses hope, she’ll feel dead inside and this is the worst thing.” Her music led to a scholarship in the US. Shuka Kalantari, “Afghan Rapper Escaped Teen Marriage by Singing About It,” PRI, May 12, 2015.

Cuban Youth Apathetic?

A Somos Jovenes magazine article on Cuban youth by Cuban Javier Gomez Lastra faulted them for apathy, being lazy, lacking motivation, and materialism. He called for an emphasis on what national hero Jose Marti taught: “Being educated is the only way to be free.” The author blamed the “lack of accurate guidance” by parents and the lack of jobs for youth for their focus on “salsa, greenbacks, and beer,” a slogan from a soap opera. The economic crisis of the early 90s caused by the end of support by the USSR, called “the struggle,” led to a falling away from revolutionary ideals. Thus, “many Cubans learned to live for the moment” and develop illegal strategies to make money. Psychologist Elaine Morales Chuco blamed the reduction of state educational and recreation centers and the decline of the old model of study-work-pay on “the move of many young people to the socio-cultural world of the street.” She added, “Thus, many Cubans learned to live for the moment, the uncertainty and with very little chance to develop solid life projects.”
Javier Gómez Lastra, Somos Jovenes Magazine,
March 13, 2015. 


Saudi young woman driver runs for council

restricted hours. However, the head of the Shura Council denied the report. In December 2014 two Saudi women were detained for driving unto the kingdom from the UAE because it encourages licentiousness. Loujain al-Hathloul (age 25) and journalist Maysa al-Amoudi (age 33) were detained longer than any other drivers, freed in February 2015. Between them they had 355,000 Twitter followers who were kept current on the journey from UAE.

Al-Hathloul became a YouTube star in 2013 when she posted a video of herself showing her face and hair stating that she would never cover herself and a video driving. In 2014 she live-streamed driving from the UAE into Saudi Arabia, which resulted in 73 days in prison.[i] Her finance created a video No Woman, No Drive, a take off on Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry. She was banned from running for office in 2015, along some other women activists, but successfully fought to be allowed to run for municipal council by “making some noise.”[ii] Her supporters used social media to campaign for her. She said, “Basically, I annoyed them,” she said. “I guess it worked.” This was the first time Saudi women could vote and run for office albeit with restrictions like not being able to use their photograph and only the third time males could vote. Al Hathloul was selected one of the 100 most powerful Arab women 2015.[iii]

[i] Loujain al-Hathloul


[iii] “The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2015”

Youth reject materialism

After seeing a film Into the Wild (2009) about a young American who gives up all his possessions to live in the Alaskan wilderness, Maheen, a Pakistani university student, emailed in 2015 that she related to, “The way he talked about how there aren’t any moral codes, society has turned greedy, lust for money and power has made us all corrupt and inhuman. I would want to live as a tramp with absolute freedom rather than have an ordinary life following decade-old societal norms, get degrees and dictate everything with money.”

Freshmen Less Religious

“The American Freshman National Norms,” Fall 2014., reported over 150,000 students’ affiliation with religion was at the lowest point in the 49 years of annual surveys led by UCLA. More than one-quarter (30% of men and 25% of women) didn’t have a religious preference, an increase of over 12% since 1971. Their self-rating of their spirituality as above average dropped from 44% in 1996 to 35% in 2014. They also had a drop in use of alcohol and tobacco and partying in their senior year of high school, and were likely to plan on earning an advanced degree. However, the freshmen reported more frequent emotional health problems such as depression (9.5% felt frequently depressed) and anxiety.

Kevin Eagan, et al., “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014,” Higher Education Research Institute, 2014.

Click to access TheAmericanFreshman2014.pdf