lunes, 29 de junio de 2009

Kyrgyzstan, The Kidnapped Bride

Tomado de

Allí pueden ver el video de como secuestran a las mujeres a la fuerza para casarse, el día anterior a su matrimonio, con desconocidos que las eligen al azar, en éste país que hizo parte de la antigua Rusia y ahora es independiente. A continuación el reportaje completo.

For centuries, Kyrgyzstan was a remote, mountainous outpost along the Silk Road to China. Under Soviet rule, few Westerners ventured here. But since the country gained independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan is slowly opening to the West.

FRONTLINE/WORLD correspondent Petr Lom -- a professor at Central European University in Budapest -- first traveled to Kyrgyzstan to investigate Islamic extremism. But he stumbled across a strange local custom, which he decided to explore.

With his translator and friend Fatima Sartbaeva, a young Kyrgyz woman, as his guide, Lom sets out on a journey of discovery, driving deep into the countryside to a small village just outside the ancient city of Osh.

Petr and Fatima arrive as a wedding is about to begin. Women are busy making traditional Kyrgyz bread for the occasion, and men sit in chairs outside, talking and sipping tea. The groom confesses he has had some difficulty finding a bride, but he is hopeful that "this one will stay."

When the bride does arrive, she is dragged into the groom's house, struggling and crying. Her name is Norkuz, and it turns out she has been kidnapped from her home about a mile away.

Fatima had prepared Petr for this scene, telling him that the custom of bride kidnapping is shocking, but he is still stunned by what he is seeing.

As the women of the groom's family surround Norkuz and hold down both of her hands, they are at once forceful and comforting, informing her that they, too, were kidnapped. The kidnappers insist that they negotiated the abduction with Norkuz's brother, but her sister, a lawyer from Osh, arrives to protest that her sister is being forced to marry a stranger. Ideally in Kyrgyz circles, a bride's family gets a price for their daughter, but Norkuz is 25 -- considered late to marry -- and the women remind her she is lucky she was kidnapped at all.

Within the space of an hour, Norkuz struggles less, looking exhausted but laughing along with the women who have placed a scarf on her head. Tradition dicates that once the bride accepts the ceremonial scarf, the matter is settled and the wedding can commence. Norkuz relents.

A few days later Petr and Fatima return to see how Norkuz and her new husband are doing.

"Only one in 100 Kyrgyz girls marries her true love," Norkuz tells them as she cleans her new home. "After the kidnapping, you've no choice. You start loving, even if you don't want to. You have to build a life."

Having finally found himself a wife, the groom seems pleased. "We're happy," he says. "Keep visiting and we'll be happier."

Petr learns that the origins of this strange custom are murky: "Some say Kyrgyz men used to snatch their brides on horseback. Now they use cars, and if a villager doesn't have a car, he hires a taxi for the day."

Petr and Fatima speak with a taxi driver in Osh who says he helped kidnap a girl earlier that same day. During Soviet times, bride kidnapping was banned, but in the past decade, the old tradition has revived, especially in rural areas.

Jumankul, 19, is under pressure from his parents to marry and bring home a wife who can help work on the family farm. Jumankul tells Petr and Fatima that he's seen a girl in Osh whom he likes and plans to drive to the city in a few hours to kidnap her.

"We can't afford her hand," says Jumankul's father. "They wanted too much money."

The family has hired a taxi to drive Jumankul to Osh where he and his friends plan to find and kidnap the girl he has seen at a bazaar. But when they get to Osh, Jumankul can't find the girl. The group drops by a vodka stand to try to find out where she lives, but the girl working there suspects a kidnapping and refuses to tell Jumankul's brother, Ulan, the address of the girl. "Find it yourself," she tells him.

Not wanting to return home empty-handed, Jumankul and his friends decide to change plans and kidnap the girl in the vodka bar.

Her name is Ainagul, and by the time Petr and Fatima return to Jumankul's village outside of Osh, she has been resisting a room full of women for more than ten hours. Though Jumankul's older brother claims her family has already agreed to the kidnapping, Ainagul stands in a corner of the room, crying, and continuing to fend off the women who take turns trying to put the wedding scarf on her head.

"It'll be over soon," Jumankul's brother, Ulan, tells Petr. "You'll see."

But Ainagul puts up a strong fight, and the women tire of trying to convince her. After the oldest woman in the village makes a final attempt, telling Ainagul to stay or she will be unhappy, the women give up. Her ordeal over, Ainagul is free to go.

Once she has left, the women sit outside Jumankul's home and curse the departed girl. They say that her child will be a drunk and that her mother-in-law will be cruel. Jumankul, too, is upset and worries that he will never find a bride who will stay.

Petr and Fatima catch up with Ainagul two weeks later in Osh, where she is living with relatives.

"Because of what people say, you think you should stay," Ainagul tells them, sitting at a table. She is still shaken from the experience, looking down while she speaks. "But no one lives your life. You build your own future. Follow others, you'll be unhappy. I'd have lived in the mountains and tended sheep. I'd be a sheep too. I would waste my life."

Fatima identifies with Ainagul's hope to make a life of her own. Fatima confides to Petr that she herself was nearly kidnapped before she met her husband, an instructor at the American University in the capital, Bishkek. She says that her mother wanted a Kyrgyz man to kidnap her so she wouldn't study at the university and one day perhaps leave the country to live abroad.

Fatima's mother was kidnapped as well. In Balykchy, Fatima sits down with her mother to talk about bride kidnapping.

"Even though we want to stop violence against women and support gender rights we still practice bride kidnapping. My parents followed this custom even during Soviet times," Fatima's mother tells her daughter and Petr. "If my daughter was stolen by a man that I didn't want or know, I would be disappointed but I wouldn't reject our tradition; it is a part of us, our custom, our mentality."

In the most disturbing case of all, Petr and Fatima learn of a girl, Kyal, who was kidnapped from outside her home, then died. Four days after the kidnapping, her father picked up her body from a village a few hours away. She'd hanged herself. Though it isn't clear exactly what happened, Kyal's father has a theory.

"I think they kidnapped her," he tells Petr and Fatima. "And she refused to stay. Maybe she resisted and was raped, so she hanged herself." Even though the groom's family does not admit to any wrongdoing, Kyal's father wants to see an investigation. Though a widely practiced tradition, bride kidnapping has been illegal in Kyrgyzstan since 1994, but the law is rarely enforced. Kyal's grief-stricken family prays for justice.

"In one of the poorest countries in Central Asia, bride kidnapping is not high on the agenda for reform," observes reporter Petr Lom.

Back in the city, Petr and Fatima make one last stop to check in on a man whom, earlier in their filming, they watched attempt to kidnap a bride. After the girl refused to stay and was eventually let go, the groom kidnapped another girl the next day. This bride stayed.

By the time Petr and Fatima return to visit the groom and his new wife, it has been four months since the marriage. The couple stands together in a light snowfall, laughing with each other. The woman is two months pregnant.

"I have a husband. Before I got married, I was alone," she tells the visitors. "Now I have someone to take care of and to dream with." As the couple bids Petr and Fatima farewell, Fatima -- a university-educated woman who escaped being kidnapped -- wrestles with more complicated, conflicted feelings about this Kyrgyz tradition. In this case, at least, the couple seems happy.

lunes, 22 de junio de 2009

Hay más de 12 millones de personas en condiciones de servidumbre, explotación y esclavitud sexual

Tomado de la Revista Cambio,

Viernes 12 de septiembre de 2008

La Policía colombiana detuvo recientemente a dos lancheros de Buenaventura que transportaban a 25 chinos que intentaban llegar a los Estados Unidos, vía Panamá, y hace poco descubrió en Bogotá a decenas de orientales hacinados en un sótano. La frecuencia de estos casos permite pensar que Colombia es zona de paso en el tráfico de personas, un delito casi siempre impune. Detienen a los lancheros, pero no a los mafiosos chinos, europeos o japoneses, ni a sus contactos latinoamericanos o estadounidenses. Miles de colombianos -sobre todo mujeres- son cada año víctimas de este delito.

Hasta finales del siglo pasado se hablaba, como máximo, de "trata de blancas" para referirse a redes de prostitución internacional. Hoy, además de este fenómeno de esclavitud sexual, está el tráfico de niños, de trabajadores sometidos a regímenes de servidumbre. "La esclavitud del siglo XXI en el mundo globalizado" lo llama la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones. Según la OIT, en el mundo hay más de 12 millones de personas en condiciones de servidumbre, explotación y esclavitud sexual: el 80 por ciento mujeres y el 50 por ciento menores. Las causas: la pobreza, la falta de trabajo, la búsqueda de una vida mejor, el fraude, la estafa, el engaño...

La mayoría de estas víctimas proceden de los países del antiguo bloque soviético. Los burdeles de Barcelona, Madrid o Turín están atiborrados de rumanas, rusas, serbias... Como intermediarias, las redes kosovares se llevan la palma.

Las infortunadas que suelen "hacer la calle" en ciudades de Europa, tienen más suerte que las que son seducidas para viajar a Japón con el señuelo de un trabajo. Cerca de 2.000 latinoamericanas para el comercio sexual.

La trata de personas es, después de la industria petrolera y del tráfico de armas y de drogas, el negocio más lucrativo. Según la ONU, mueve más de 7.000 millones de dólares al año.

El tráfico de niños es el que más "innovaciones" ha experimentado. Va desde el turismo sexual en Asia hasta el secuestro para la venta de órganos, pasando por la esclavitud pura. La ruta preferida para el paso al "primer mundo" son los aeropuertos. En el de Ámsterdam han detectado casos en que empleados holandeses operan de acuerdo con chinos y turcos. Los niños son vendidos para talleres textiles, restaurantes chinos o burdeles de diferentes capitales europeas.

Pero lo que más ha crecido son las adopciones ilegales. Un caso muy sonado fue el que protagonizó, a finales del año pasado, la ONG francesa 'Arca de Zoé' en Chad. Su avión fue interceptado en el aeropuerto de Abeché, cuando intentaba salir con 103 niños presuntas víctimas y huérfanos de la guerra en Sudán. Un reportero de la Agencia Capa que acompañaba a la comitiva "humanitaria", demostró que los niños eran "disfrazados" de heridos con vendas untadas de yodo. No venían de guerra alguna. Ni siquiera eran sudaneses. Los habían sacado de sus aldeas con la falsa promesa a sus padres de que les darían educación en Chad. Pero la verdad era que tenían apalabrada su adopción con familias francesas, que habían pagado 2.500 euros por niño para acogerlos previamente a la adopción. Algo similar fue detectado hace poco en Andalucía: una falsa ONG, llamada 'África Negra', vendía niños de Guinea por 20.000 euros.

Europeos y estadounidenses suelen preferir niños latinoamericanos a la hora de plantearse una adopción sin complicaciones burocráticas. En todos los países suele funcionar igual: entidades presuntamente altruistas compran niños desvalidos y los preparan para entregarlos a familias extranjeras. En Bolivia, el Gobierno habla de "mafias bien organizadas" que compran bebés de pocos meses a familias pobres por entre dos y cinco dólares, los llevan a "casas de engorde" donde son alimentados para que adquieran apariencia saludable y después, mediante falsos certificados de nacimiento, los revenden a alguna de las 18 agencias internacionales de adopción que funcionan sin controles legales.

Tráfico de órganos

El secuestro de personas para el tráfico de órganos es hoy uno de los crímenes de la trata de seres humanos. En Argelia, el habitualmente hermético Ministerio de Interior, dio a conocer hace un mes la cifra de secuestros de los últimos años pasados: 375, de los cuales 115 eran atribuibles a islamistas que usan esa abominable práctica para financiarse. El resto: pedofilia y tráfico de órganos.

Según la Liga Árabe de Derechos Humanos serían muchos más, pero muchos padres no denuncian por miedo al escándalo. Su portavoz, Hocine Zehouane, asegura que centenares de niños han sido secuestrados hacia Marruecos, donde les extirpan los órganos para venderlos en Europa. El más importante diario argelino, El Khabar, confirmó el desmantelamiento de una red para secuestrar adolescentes y venderlos por unos 4.000 euros a una clínica de la localidad fronteriza marroquí de Oujda. La misma que señalan defensores de Derechos Humanos.

La célebre jurista Carla del Ponte, primera fiscal del Tribunal de la ONU para la antigua Yugoslavia y actual embajadora de Suiza en Argentina, relata en su libro La caza cómo, a partir de denuncias recibidas en su despacho, pudo establecer que en el verano de 1999, entre 100 y 300 prisioneros serbios, en manos del Ejército de Liberación de Kosovo, liderado por el hoy presidente kosovar y antiguo terrorista, Hashim Thaçi, fueron llevados a una casa en la localidad albanesa de Burrel, donde les extirpaban diversos órganos, que enviaban inmediatamente a clínicas del extranjero, hasta que les causaban la muerte.

La ONU, consciente de la gravedad del problema, que crece en forma exponencial, considera que más que perseguir a las víctimas, como sucede con las recientes disposiciones europeas sobre inmigración ilegal o de deportar a las esclavas sexuales cuando desmantelan una red mafiosa, hay que considerar el problema en su real dimensión. Convocó en Viena la Primera Conferencia Mundial sobre el tema en la que participaron gobiernos, ONG y los más importantes organismos internacionales. Por su parte, el Departamento de Estado de E.U. creó una comisión especial de seguimiento de la trata de personas en el mundo, con imposición de sanciones a los países que no la persigan y su inclusión en una lista negra. En su último informe, dice que el impacto de la trata de personas "va más allá de las víctimas individuales, mina la salud y la seguridad de todas las naciones".

martes, 16 de junio de 2009

El Edificio Más Grande del Mundo

Tomado de

Sin duda alguna el crecimiento de Moscú ha ido en aumento. Esto se puede ver reflejado en su skyline ,el cual dentro de poco contará con un proyecto sin comparación. El “Crystal Island” se perfila como el edificio más grande del mundo con más de 2 millones 500 mil m2 proyectados por Sir Norman Foster. La torre con forma de montaña espiral será como “una ciudad dentro de un edificio” con un costo de 4 mil millones de USD , está programada para ser construida dentro de los próximos 5 años.

El Cristal Island será el segundo proyecto más grande de Foster en la capital Rusa, y el tercer proyecto en recurrir formalmente a torres cónicas. En medios como Inhabitat se habla de este nuevo edificio como el “Arbol de pascua” de Moscú.

Para los más escépticos sobre la factiblidad de llevar adelante un proyecto como éste, un pequeño dato a la causa. Norman Foster lleva un record de efectividad en proyectos finalmente construidos. En pocas palabras, lo que Foster proyecta, se construye, por lo que será muy probable que un plazo de 5 años el Kremlin deba compartir protagonismo con esta isla de cristal al momento de visitar Moscú.

Datos del proyecto

La planta de suelo del proyecto será 4 veces el tamaño del Pentágono en Washington DC. Los 457 mts de altura albergarán una multiestructura con más de 900 departamentos, 3 mil habitaciones de hotelería, colegio internacional para 500 estudiantes, cines, teatros, centros deportivos, entre otros programas. En los subterráneos se proyecta un área de aparcamientos para cerca de 16 mil 500 vehículos. Tal como hemos visto en los proyectos de Foster, este edificio no será la excepción en cuanto a variables tecnológicas incorporadas. Su fachada exterior está compuesta por paneles solares junto con turbinas de viento para la dotación de energía eléctrica de toda la torre. La ventilación natural está asegurada a través de una serie de atrios estratégicamente incorporados.

Con todo, el Crystal Island será sin duda un proyecto que de ejecutarse dará que hablar no solo en Moscú, sino en todo el mundo.

martes, 9 de junio de 2009

Cabestan - A Watch Masterpiece

Tomado de

Más información en

Operation Cabestan: When two independents come together to shake up the world of watches Jean-François Ruchonnet and Vianney Halter have combined their talents to present an exceptional watch, one with a truly revolutionary design and a spectacular mechanism. Its name is Cabestan (patented model).

Both of these men are intensely independent; both have strong characters; both are known in the watch world for being outspoken. Yet, they are both also quite different. Jean-François Ruchonnet is a man in perpetual motion, imagining a thousand ideas a second, not able to stand still for an instant. Knowledgeable about everything, ultra-talented, and having started from “zero”, Ruchonnet is recognized as the designer of perhaps the best synthesized images ever seen in the watch domain. His very impressive client list reads like the Who’s Who of the watchmaking industry. But he does not stop there. He is also, quite notably, the inventor and designer of TAG Heuer’s famous Monaco V4 Concept Watch.

Vianney Halter is just the opposite. Calm, serene, fairly discreet, he is one of the most talented and creative young master watchmakers of his generation. Fiercely independent, you must see this artist, of French origin, at work in his manufacture in Sainte-Croix, in Switzerland. It is a laboratory out of another age, enormously poetic, an improbable cross between the worlds of Jules Verne and Doctor Mabuse. Surrounded by a team of passionate young associates, he takes the craziest ideas and converts them into a type of watchmaking unique in its genre. Among other surprising timekeepers, he is credited with the very innovative Opus III, made for Harry Winston, which is the first watch to totally integrate digital indications on a pure mechanical basis.

Waiting for the V4 and the Opus III

But, apparently there’s a hiccup. As of today, neither the V4 nor the Opus III has been produced in series. Have these two creators imagined something that is wildly “innovative” but “impossible” to realize on an industrial level? The two colleagues are conscious of this “hurdle”, but they are defending themselves: these two watches will really and truly exist in the not-too-distant future. In fact, according to the brands in question, they are adamant that these watches are in the pipeline. The V4 will be sold starting in 2007; its construction has been entirely re-worked in view of its upcoming commercial scale production, and it is currently in test trials at TAG Heuer. The target date for Harry Winston’s Opus III is 2006, and it is currently in its testing phases.

So, with the roads leading to the sales of the V4 and Opus III cleared of their obstacles, our two heroes decided to combine their perfectly complementary talents in order to again surprise, delight, and even shake up the world of timekeeping. But, this is not the first time that these two men have collaborated. Seven years ago, they worked together to create the Antiqua, one of Vianney Halter’s first realizations. With the new Cabestan, however, it is something altogether different.

Code name: Cabestan

As Jean-François Ruchonnet (JFR to his friends) declares right up front, “This new timepiece, the Cabestan [capstan] is certainly very spectacular, but it is what I would call ‘techno-design.’ The watch is totally innovative from its design point of view, but on a technical level, it is not as complex as one would think at first glance. Although its construction is very particular, I would still qualify it as accessible and entirely ‘masterable’. In fact, it basically involves a repositioning of elements, which in themselves, are an integral part of traditional watchmaking: a tourbillon, a chain, and a fusee... In the same manner, the majority of the essential component parts come from the traditional assortment. It is the architecture of the movement itself that is unusual, not its individual parts.”

A spectacular architecture

This really spectacular architecture seems to be absolutely original. The mechanical design of the Cabestan, including its tourbillon, is totally transversal. The indications (hour, minute, seconds, and power reserve) appear on the cylinders located at the four “corners” of the watch.

Starting from the lower left, we find the barrel, which transmits its driving power to the movement by the intermediary of a chain. This chain is connected to a second cylinder, at the upper left, made up of one part of a fusee (placed horizontally as opposed to the traditional fusees that are always vertical), and the other of the cylindrical power reserve indicator (a total of 72 hours).

Still on the upper end, but this time on the right, we find two cylinders next to each other, providing the perfectly readable hours and minutes. In the lower right hand corner, we can see the tourbillon, which is also placed vertically and is directly linked to another cylinder, which quite logically gives the seconds indication, as the tourbillon makes one rotation per minute.

This completely original mechanical movement, with manual winding, a fusee and a tourbillon, integrates six ball bearings into its operation. It is also water-resistant to 30 metres. The entire movement is visible from above and from the side, under a double sapphire crystal (“Trimaran” model) with three recessed and curved sides, taking the form of a “hood”, all in a very sturdy design.
Winding the watch and setting the hour and minutes are effected using a winding stem in the form of a movable “winch” that links directly to one of the small “capstans” that are found at the four exterior angles of the case: at the upper left, it acts directly on the fusee and, by the intermediary of the chain, allows the barrel to be wound; at the upper right, it acts on the minute cylinder which is connected to that of the hours. The two other small “capstans” are only there for decoration and to complete the aesthetics of the case. Once the small winch is used, it is easily stored in the buckle of the watch’s bracelet.

This model (patent applied for in 2003), will be realized in a limited series of 135 pieces, of which 15 are in yellow gold, 55 in rose gold, 50 in white gold and 15 in platinum. Its dimensions are 46 mm in length, 36 mm in width, 15 mm in thickness, for a total weight of 230 grams.


From a design point of view, this surprising watch seems to thoroughly follow the nautical theme that it evokes, whether in the general shape of the piece, the “bridge” (dial) that is visible under the sapphire crystal, the use of the chain that denotes the chain of a boat’s anchor, or even in the capstans and winch.

The marine inspiration comes from a design trilogy that Jean-François Ruchonnet intends to carry out. “The inspiration for the V4 was the Earth and the automobile. For the Cabestan, it is Water and maritime activities. I have a third piece, waiting in the wings, which is totally innovative and dedicated to Air and aviation,” he says.

Intersecting competencies

The role sharing between the two project initiators is clear, as Vianney Halter explains, “It is a very balanced relationship because it is between two independents whose competencies intersect and are mutually supportive, which is not always the case when an independent such as myself has in front of him a large enterprise where relationships are therefore necessarily not balanced. JFR came with the project and it was up to me, as a watchmaker, to make it happen. However, to succeed, I needed the help of not only my own team, but also the support of his team, involving designers, constructors, and a commercial group, which I, alone, do not have.”

Exclusive Edition

The Cabestan is an exclusive timepiece not only due to its innovative architecture but also thanks to the choice of an edition strictly limited to 135 pieces, to be delivered from end of 2006 up to the beginning of 2008.

Hour, minutes, secondes, tourbillon and power reserve will take place inside this time vessel, selling for around 220,000 dollars.

The totality of the collection will be made in gold and platinum, and all will be water-resistant to 30 metres.

Open orders

One functional prototype will be presented at Baselworld 2006, and a pre-series of the first ten watches is planned for the end of 2006. These watches are now ready to be ordered through Vianney Halter, at Janvier SA in Sainte-Croix. Attention collectors, and those who love unusual objects !

This somewhat crazy adventure demonstrates that the most visionary independent watchmakers are often the source of watchmaking’s vitality, and of the renaissance of mechanical haute horlogerie.