Fraudulent FIFA 

It isn’t surprising that the World Cup in Qatar has turned out the be a scandal, what is surprising is that the real corruption has been exposed to the world so soon. The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to the rich Gulf state with a terrible human rights record was a controversial one. There have been extensive allegations of bribery: not shocking when the decision was to award the Cup to a tiny country with sweltering summer heat and no football culture or history.

On Wednesday seven senior officials were arrested in Zuric following a long-running FBI investigation. The charges against the senior FIFA officials include money laundering, racketeering, bribery and fraud.

On the surface, it’s just another white collar crime story: rich, powerful men making themselves richer and more powerful. But a closer look suggests that there is a lot of real-world suffering and misery happening as a direct result of FIFA executive malfeasance. There are about 400,000 Nepalese workers in Qatar among the 1.4 million migrants working on a £137bn construction spree in the tiny Gulf state. Many travel to Doha having borrowed money from unscrupulous recruitment agencies, only to find the wages and conditions on offer differ significantly from what they were promised.

Workers are allegedly lured to the country by false promises of high salaries and then become trapped after employers take their passports. Under feudal kafala law, employees are bonded to employers and not allowed to quit or leave the country without their employer’s permission. Nepalese workers weren’t allowed to leave the country for family funerals after the earthquake.

An investigation by the Mirror found workers were subjected to appalling working conditions in the cripplingly hot temeratures, including being beaten and paid just 57p an hour, which can be withheld for months at a time. A total of 1,200 migrant workers have died so far in construction since the 2022 Qatar World Cup was awarded. Dying at a rate of one every two days.

Rather than scrapping the exit visa system, which in effect allows employers to stop their charges leaving the country without permission, Qatar proposed a complex procedure that still allowed employers to raise objections.

Fifa’s president Sepp Blatter, a Swiss football administrator has today been re-elected for the fifth time despite the arrests of 7 Fifa officials on corruption charges. Sepp was not charged and claimed he can not be held responsible for the misdeeds of others within the organisation he has controlled for the better part of two decade. 

Despite the scandalous and shocking result of the election, due to the system on voting, the outcome is not surprising. Each footballing country is given one vote, making Europe just a small percentage compared to the rest of the world, particularly in continents such as Africa and Asia in which Blatter is very popular. Seb Blatter gained 133 votes to Price Ali’s 93. His re-election was welcomed by next World Cup hosts Russia. 

Visa and other key sponsors of FIFA have threatened to pull out if issues are not resolved. McDonald’s, Coco-Cola and Adidas have all issued statements calling for Fifa to take steps to win back trust.

But now back with power, Sepp Blatter has downplayed FIFA’s scandals, Meanwhile, Swiss authorities have launched a separate criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar. European football associations will meet at next week’s Champions League final in Berlin to discuss their next move. 

Europe’s seat at today’s meeting of Fifa’s powerful executive committee was empty, as newly appointed representative David Gill confirmed he would not take up his post following Mr Blatter’s re-election. 

Fashion or Poverty

With the privileges that come with living in a first world country, it is easy to be obsessed with material things. Fashion is a multibillion leading industry across Europe and other rich countries across the globe. The total UK household consumption on clothing and footwear is around £44 billion. Despite these crazy figures linked to disposable income, there are many countries and people across the world in crisis, living in poverty and war zones. Whilst we’re thinking about what shoes to match with a dress, families in third world countries are wondering where their next meal will come from.

i have worked together with a friend to create ‘Fashion or Poverty’to highlight the inequalities that exists between these two worlds.

Africa, Kenya - Two school children on their way home in Kibera.

Africa, Kenya – Two school children on their way home in Kibera.

Average Giambattista Valli gown £5,000.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 47% of the population live on average $1.25 a day or less, not even a sufficient income to purchase food to live on.

The price of this gown could provide schooling tuition for up to a year for 66 children in Africa.

http://www.actionaid.org.uk/donate

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Syria was a middle income country of 20 million people before the war, since the crisis there are currently 9.3 million people in need of aid. Over 4 million people in need of food. Over 100,000 civilians have been killed.

The price of this gown could provide 890 Syrian refugee families with an emergency water kit, which would include, a water container, bucket, soap and water purifying tablets.

http://www.unicef.org.uk/landing-pages/donate-syria/
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Average Edward Arsouni gown £8,000

37% of the 738 million people globally who lack access to clean water are living in sub-Saharan Africa.

The price of this gown is also the equivalent to the price of vaccinating 1,600 children against deadly diseases such as meningitis, tetanus and pneumonia.

https://www.rednoseday.com/donate

Women in Politics

Current to the general election and the recent celebration of international woman’s day on the 8th of March, here are five different women who have made a difference to the world and politics:

Sufferagette Emily Pankhurst at London's Trafalgar Square

  1. Emmeline Pankhurst – Emmeline Pankhurst was the founder and leader of the British Suffragettes movement which fought for the right of woman to have the vote. Pankhurst was a controversial figure who was regularly imprisoned for her violent and extreme versions of protesting. Due to the attention created by the movement women were eventually given the right to vote for the first time in 1918. After the War Pankhurst became a member of the conservative party. She died at the age of 69 in a nursing home in 1928, just two weeks before parliament passed the representation of the People (equal franchise) act 1928, which gave women equal votes with men.

 Rosa Parks

  1. Rosa Parks – Activist Rosa Park’s story is probably one of the most famous and influential from the Civil Rights movement. When told to give up her seat for a white man on a bus, in 1955 Alabama, 45 year old Rosa Park’s refused. The brave woman was arrested for violating the city’s segregation law. Though this is the story of a one woman protest, Rosa Parks set of the butterfly effect when news of her bravery spread across the country, influencing the beginning of the 13 month Montgomery bus boycott which was led by Black Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King.

 Margaret Thatcher

  1. Margaret Thatcher – Although people have strong opinions about our first female Prime Minister, she was an incredibly powerful woman none the less. Nicknamed ‘The Iron Lady’, Thatcher was a strong leader of Britain for ten years, depicting a strong image of early 1980’s Britain. Her policies included privatizing state-owned industries, reforming trade unions, lowing taxes and reducing social expenditure across the board. All policies succeeded in reducing inflation, but unemployment dramatically increased during her years in power which made her increasingly unpopular with the working class. Thatcher was victorious in winning the Falkland’s War in 1982, which is said to have encouraged patriotism to Britain in times of hardship.

Emma Watson

  1. Emma Watson – As a beautiful celebrity and brilliant actress, (mostly known for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter films), Emma Watson has used her popularity to make a difference and is currently the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Using her power Emma announced the launch of HeforShe which is a worldwide feminist campaign promoting gender equality by encouraging men across the world to openly speak out against sexism. In less than 48 hours of the campaigns launch, HeforShe acquired 85,000 signatures across the world. The statistics currently stand at 260, 600.

hilary clinton

  1. Hilary Clinton – Hilary Clinton is a former United States Secretary of State, U.S Senator and First Lady of the United States. In 2007 Clinton ran for presidency, however she conceded her nomination when Barack Obama held a majority of the vote. Obama appointed Clinton as secretary of state after he won the election of which she served until 2013. Hilary was married to former president Bill Clinton and was considered a valuable partner and influence during his leadership. Currently Hilary is preparing to begin her second presidential campaign, leading the democrats into power in 2016. If Hilary was too win she would not only be the first ever female President of the US and the most powerful woman in the world, but at age 69 she would be the second oldest president in history.

Free The Nipple

WHAT IS FREE THE NIPPLE?

‘Free The Nipple is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world. We stand against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe. Today, in the USA it is effectively ILLEGAL for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, an exposed nipple can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines. Even in New York City, which legalized public toplessness in 1992, the NYPD continues to arrest women. We’re working to change these inequalities through film, social media, and a grassroots campaign.’

Sourced  from http://www.freethenipple.com/

I have been inspired by the free the nipple campaign as have many others around me. I have been working with an artist to create our own designs of ‘Free the Nipple’ T-shirts to express belief in the campaign and support to the mission. Although the campaign is based and began in the USA, the issue is the same in the UK: it is illegal for woman to be topless in public, but not for men. Whether you have personal beliefs in this issue or not, woman should be entitled to the same freedom as a man. I ask readers of a ll ages to consider that even if you personally don’t think you’d go topless in public, wouldn’t you like the freedom too?DSC_0026_edited

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DSC_0033_editedThese T-shirts were designed by boobs, printed with real boobs and customized by designer-dressmaker Amanda Bennett.

A Woman in History – Lee Miller, Photojournalist

Lee Miller went from modelling for vogue in the 1920’s to risking her life when documenting photographs of World War Two on the front line. Famous for being photographed in Hitler’s bath tub, Lee Miller first entered the world of photography in New York where she modelled for photographers such as Edward Steichen and Arnold Genthe. She was discovered at the age of 19 as Conde Nast, founder of Vogue, saved her from stepping out in front of oncoming traffic.  By 1929, Miller had moved to Paris and was working with the well know surrealist photographer, Man Ray. In Paris, Miller learned to use the camera, and soon transferred to behind the screen as she became a portrait and fashion photographer.

Miller had a relationship with Man Ray which didn’t last, she returned to New York to set up her own photographic studio, in 1934 she married a rich Egyptian and moved to Cairo, but soon became bored and therefore returned to Paris. Though not yet divorced, she was now living with Roland Penrose, whom she met in 1937, she was living with Penrose in Paris when war broke out.

Her first big role as a Wartime photojournalist was documenting the London Blitz. When America entered the war in 1942, Miller became a war correspondent, attached to the 83rd Infantry Division of the US Army, where she travelled with them to the front line of the allied advance from Normandy down to Paris, and then into Germany.

On the night of April 30th 1945, Miller watched as the concentration camp Dachau was liberated by American forces.  In her writings Miller expresses that the camp was so close to town that there is no question about the inhabitants knowing what went on. The book Lee Millers War, Beyond D-Day, held a personal passage from Miller about her first-hand experience of the liberation of the camp:

‘In the few minutes it took me to take my pictures, two men were found dead, and were unceremoniously dragged out and thrown on the heap outside the block. Nobody seemed to mind except me. The doctor said it was too late for more than half of the others in the building anyway. The bodies are just chucked out so that the wagon that makes the rounds everyday can pick them up at the street corner, like garbage disposal.’

The pictures are stark and sickening, and have not yet lost their emotional impact; you can see the surrealist irony of the shocking images in almost all Millers wartime photography. Miller had a natural talent in writing and documented her thought and feelings whilst describing the places she took photographs.

One of the most known photographs of Lee Miller was taken of her in Hitler’s bath tub. It is a striking yet unsettling image that was taken in Hitler’s apartment in Munich 1945, at the time he was hiding with Eva Braun in the Berlin bunker. In the image Miller is naked in the bath, with her boots which are covered with the filth and dirt of Dachau left carelessly on the floor. It is suggested that she was sticking two fingers up at Hitler. What Miller didn’t know was that Hitler and Eva Braun would kill themselves a few hours later that day.

After the War, Miller eventually married Roland Penrose in 1947. She continued her career as a photographer contributing to Vogue for a further two years. Lee Miller died at Farley Farm House in 1977, her portraits of famous artists such as Picasso are some of the most powerful images of individuals ever produced however it is mainly for her shocking and surrealist wartime imagery she is remembered for.

Afgan Skateboarding

Skateboarding school sounds pretty awesome, right? Who wouldn’t want to spend their days learning to Ollie and Pop Shove in the sunshine? Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich recognised just how much potential skateboarding has, opening ‘Skateistan’ in 2007, his non-profit skate school. Opened in the unexpected location of Afghanistan, the club started a gender revolution, enabling young Muslim girls to gain an education, whilst learning to do gnarly kick flips at the same time. His mission is simple: ‘to use skateboarding as a tool for empowering youth, to create new opportunities and the potential for change’.

In Afghanistan 85% of woman and girls have no form of education and are illiterate. The country was identified by UNICEF as one of the worst places in the world to be born as a woman. Along with these everyday limitations, girls aren’t allowed to participate in any sports, including cycling, football and even kite flying. Skateboarding creates a loop hole as ignorance is bliss for the girls. Perceived as a game rather than sport, Skateboarding is accepted.

Working with ages 5 to 25, Skateistan engages vulnerable youth with education through skateboarding; building trust and social capability whilst learning vital life skills such as leadership and community. Skateboarding has become a tool for empowerment in a country worn away by 30 years of conflict. Not only are 40 percent of Skateistan students girls, with schools also in Cambodia and South Africa, 50 percent of the students are also street working children.

Already, the school is having a positive impact as perceptions are generally changing in a country where being a female still limits potential of life. Boundaries in Afghanistan are mainly set by social convention and enforced by family loyalty and tradition.  Nelofar, a student of the school for 18 months expressed her dream ‘that everyone can do sport, especially girls in the street, and nobody will disturb them.’ She also now works for Skateistan, specialising in student administration and media, and is studying to be a doctor. Parents of female students are positive about the school and the opportunities it is given their daughters. Nelofar’s father supports her and believes the organisation to be a basis to building her future.

Photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson documented the girls attending Skateistan in a series of photographs. ‘The Skate Girls of Kabul’ made Jessica one of four photographers shortlisted for the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The image was showcased at the Taylor Wessing exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery from the 13th of November 2014 to the 22nd of February 2015, its content consists of a beautiful young girl and her skateboard.

‘I wanted to show these young Afghan girls with their skateboards within the liberating environment that Skateistan provides for them. It is here that for a few hours a week they are able to have some semblance of a childhood in a place that is detached from the war and their working lives on the streets. Like so many other girls across the world, when given the chance to do something positive that they love, each starts to discover their own identity and strength, their own distinctive style and personality.’   Jessica Fulford-Dobson, The National Portrait Gallery.

Skateistan makes Afghanistan the title holder for the highest rate of female skateboarding out of any country in the world yet skateboarding is just the start for engaging with young people as its programs work with growing numbers of marginalized youth. The children learn both on the ramps and in the classroom as Skateisan provide them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs.

It is wonderful and refreshing that girls in a country with such limitations due to something as discriminating as gender have finally begun to become empowered, and by something as simple and enjoyable as Skateboarding.

[Sourced from http://skateistan.org/ & http://www.npg.org.uk/photoprize1/site14/ ]Skate girl in shari

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo

As everyone is aware, a tragedy happened today in Paris. 12 innocent lives were taken for the sake of creativity and the freedom of the press. There have been many tragic events over recent months but as a young art student with an interest in journalism today has shaken me. I have little words to describe my great sorrow for this hideous event however these cartoonists responses speak louder than words:

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