Police brutality in France

The recent horrifying terrorist attacks in France have reportedly led – some might say, with gloomy predictability – to an increase in police brutality against Muslim and black people within its borders.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch separately produced reports detailing what they describe as ‘abusive and discriminatory raids’ against Muslim people in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Those targeted said the police burst into homes, restaurants, or mosques; broke people’s belongings; threw Qurans on the floor; terrified children; and placed restrictions on people’s movements so severely that they lost jobs and income, or suffered physically…
In one house raid, Human Rights Watch said, police broke four of a disabled man’s teeth before they realised he was not the person they were looking for…
In another case recorded by Amnesty, police forced open the door of an elderly man with heart problems, causing him to faint. He was later taken to hospital in an ambulance, while his daughters – one of whom is disabled – were handcuffed and screamed at by officers.

You can read more from Aljazeera here.

Residents of the Calais refugee camp, known as The Jungle, also suffer at the hands of the police. The violence has noticeably increased after the terrorist attacks, with what reports describe as ‘civil militias’ now involved too.

In Paris, a couple of months ago, Adama Traore, a young black man, died in police custody. The ‘official’ version of events has been variously that he had a heart attack, that he had a serious infection, that he was intoxicated, that he suffered from previous health problems. But an independent autopsy carried out on the instructions of his family show that he died from asphyxia. Blood test results show that he was not intoxicated at the time of his death. His family say he had no long-standing health conditions, and was beaten to death by the police. Sound familiar?

Then last week, Sorbonne professor Guillame Vadot was attacked by the police for filming their mistreatment of a young woman (not white, of course) in the train station he was passing through, who didn’t have a ticket. Police officers snatched his phone, pinned him to a wall, and threatened to kill and rape him. One of them groped him. Vadot is filing a report with the General Inspector of the National Police Force for ‘abuse of power, willful acts of violence, sexual assault, rape threats and injuries’. In so doing he wishes to draw attention primarily

to all those who are subjected to this kind of brutality within this context. [An attack such as his] is the result of the laws and regulations put in place in the past few months, which have given the police a sense of impunity… We cannot consider this to be normal, we are not going to get used to it.

Poland’s proposed abortion ban

Banner from Krakow Post

Photo from BBC website

Thousands of Polish women went on strike yesterday in protest at a proposed abortion ban. The Polish government is currently debating legislation that would ban abortion in all cases, making the woman and the doctor who performed the operation liable to criminal prosecution.

Poland – a largely Catholic country – already has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, only permitting abortions in cases where a court official determines that the mother has been raped, or where the mother’s health is in danger (which requires the opinion of two doctor’s), or where the foetus’s life is threatened.

This bill is a piece of citizen-sponsored legislation – legislation that is debated by government if sufficient people sign a petition – created by a conservative advocacy group Ordo Iuris.

Poland’s majority party Law and Justice has also put forward an alternative piece of abortion legislation to be debated alongside it, which would allow abortion in cases of rape, or where the mother’s life is in danger, but not in cases where the foetus’ life is under threat, which means it’s still stricter than Poland’s current abortion law.

You can read more here, and here.

Updates on Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for Underrepresented Philosophers

This Saturday (10/8) from 1:30PM PST onward, we’ll be hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to improve the coverage of underrepresented philosophers and philosophy, in honor of Kevin Gorman.  (See our earlier post here.)  The editathon will be in the San Diego Central Library as part of Wikiconference North America, but you may also join us remotely from wherever you are, or send me (alexmadva@gmail.com) content, references, or ideas in advance.  We will have Wikipedia-savvy folks on hand to help newbies learn how to edit, but if you are intimidated by the prospects of editing, you can also just email me stuff, e.g., in a Word doc, to hand off to the seasoned editors.  Below is a working list of folks about whom we’ll try to write pages (see also here).  (Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!  I’m sure there are still tons of names being left out, of course, so keep those suggestions coming.)  In the next day or two, I will also post a list of content pages that we’d like to improve or create.

This is a classic scenario in which a lot of people doing a little bit will go a long way.  So, for example, if you know of any awards that one of these people has won, or if you know of an article (perhaps an article you’ve written!) that references one of these people as being influential (e.g., by explaining how a person has made a significant contribution to a debate), please let me know.  Also feel free to post more suggestions, etc., here.

  • Kathryn Pine Addelson of Smith College
  • Sybol Cook Anderson
  • Susan Babbitt
  • Bat-Ami Bar on
  • Dorit Bar-on
  • Elizabeth Barnes
  • Margaret Batton
  • Elizabeth Lane Beardsleyof Temple U
  • Karen Bennett
  • Samantha Brennan
  • Rachael Briggs
  • Sarah Broadie
  • Sarah Buss
  • Helen Cartwright
  • Leigh Cauman of Columbia University
  • Tina Chanter
  • Gertrude Ezorsky
  • Elizabeth Flowers of U of Penn
  • Hide Ishiguro
  • Ann Jaap Jacobson
  • Agnieszka Jaworska
  • Karen Jones
  • Rebecca Kukla
  • Maggie Little
  • Kate Lindemann
  • Sabina Lovibond
  • Mary Beth Mader
  • Linda López McAlister of U of South Florida
  • Susan Sauve Meyer
  • Sarah Moss
  • Mary Beth Mader
  • Susan Sauve Meyer
  • Sarah Moss
  • Jennifer Nagel
  • Catarina Dutilh Noaves
  • Dorothea Olkowski
  • Phyllis Belle Parun
  • Diana Raffman
  • Deborah Satz
  • Susan Sherwin
  • Sharon Street
  • Connie Rosati
  • Carol Rovane
  • Nancy Tuana
  • Moira Gatens
  • Catriona Mackenzie
  • Jeanette Kennett
  • Rachael Briggs
  • Katherine Hawley
  • Janice Dowell
  • Rosemarie Tong
  • Jean Grimshaw
  • Janice Moulton
  • Leslie McCall
  • Rita Manning
  • Ellen Feder
  • Alison Watson
  • Nadine Puechguirbal
  • Mary Ann Weathers
  • Patricia Bell Scott
  • Cellestine Ware
  • Alma M. Garcia
  • Michelle Habell-Pallan
  • Ziba Mir Hosseynni
  • Oumayma Abu Bakr
  • Irene d’Almeida
  • Carole Boyce-Davies
  • Anne Adams
  • Talia Mae Bettcher
  • Esa Diaz-Leon
  • Kristie Dotson
  • Ishani Maitra
  • Helena de Preester
  • Mari Mikkola
  • Helen de Cruz
  • Margaret (Peggy) Battin
  • Leslie P. Francis
  • Catharine MacKinnon improve
  • Suzanne Pharr expand from stub
  • Jane English improve
  • Luce Irigaray improve
  • Manuel Vargas
  • Eduardo Mendieta
  • José Medina
  • Lucius Outlaw
  • Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
  • Dwayne Tunstall
  • Neil Roberts
  • Tommy J. Curry
  • Robert E. Birt