Split decision

Greek voters gave the edge to the conservative and pro-austerity New Democracy party in yesterday’s elections, presumably to preserve their membership in the European Union:

ATHENS — Greek voters on Sunday gave a narrow victory in parliamentary elections to a party that had supported a bailout for the country’s failed economy. The vote was widely seen as a last chance for Greece to remain in the euro zone, and the results had an early rallying effect on world markets.

Greece’s choice was also welcomed by the finance ministers of the euro zone countries, who in a statement on Sunday night in Brussels said the outcome of the vote “should allow for the formation of a government that will carry the support of the electorate to bring Greece back on a path of sustainable growth.”

While the election afforded Greece a brief respite from a rapid downward spiral, it is not likely to prevent a showdown between the next government and the country’s so-called troika of foreign creditors — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — over the terms of a bailout agreement. Even the most pro-Europe of Greece’s political parties, the conservative New Democracy, which came in first, has said that a less austere agreement is crucial to a country where the unemployment rate is 22 percent and the prospect of social unrest is rising.

In France, however, actual Socialists won a majority in runoff elections, giving President Francois Hollande strong support for his legislative agenda:

PARIS — President François Hollande’s Socialists and their allies won an absolute majority in runoff parliamentary elections on Sunday, strengthening the hand of Mr. Hollande both at home and in Europe, where he is pressing for less austerity and more growth in the face of a deepening recession.

He will travel to the Group of 20 summit meeting in Mexico on Monday with his authority reinforced as a spokesman for the European left and a proponent for economic stimulus and job creation.

Mr. Hollande will also be able to keep a Socialist government and pass legislation with little difficulty, without having to rely on the far left, which is more antagonistic to the European Union. Nor will he need to rely on the support of the Greens.

According to projections from partial vote counts, the Socialists’ parliamentary bloc obtained 296 to 321 seats — considerably more than the 289 needed for a majority in the National Assembly. The Greens are expected to win 20 seats, and the far left is likely to take 10.

My Neighbourhood

Becky Garrison at Killing the Buddah:

Julia Bacha’s film tells the woefully under-reported stories of how ordinary Israelis and Palestinians engage in nonviolent grassroots advocacy toward a more equitable future. After I saw her documentary Budrus at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, I made an effort to clear my schedule to catch her short film My Neighbourhood when it screened at Tribeca this past spring.


Through the eyes of Mohammed El Kurd, a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem, we sense his anger and confusion when at the age of 11, his family is forced to share their home with Israeli settlers as part of a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to ensure Jewish control of this area. As he comes of age, he joins in the peaceful protest against the evictions, where he finds himself unexpectedly side-by-side with Israeli supporters.


While the film doesn’t come to a Hollywood ending—this is life, not Los Angeles—real-life justice often doesn’t roll on like a river as per the prophet Amos. But I left the theater feeling a bit more hopeful that some good news does trickle down.

Stop and frisk

It’s important that people stand up against these repressive tactics, because you have to fight them every step of the way. A federal judge in May ruled that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the practice led to thousands of illegal stops and granted class-action status to a legal challenge, so it looks like the policy’s days are numbered:

In a slow, somber procession, several thousand demonstrators conducted a silent march on Sunday down Fifth Avenue to protest the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies, which the organizers say single out minority groups and create an atmosphere of martial law for the city’s black and Latino residents.

Two and a half hours after it began, the peaceful, disciplined march ended in mild disarray. As many marchers dispersed, police officers at 77th Street and Fifth Avenue began pushing a crowd that defied orders to leave the intersection, shoving some to the ground and forcing the protesters to a sidewalk, where they were corralled behind metal barricades. After protesters pushed back, the officers used an orange net to clear the sidewalk, and appeared to arrest at least three people.

The presence of several elected officials at the march, including the Democratic mayoral hopefuls Bill de Blasio, the public advocate; Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker; Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president; and William C. Thompson, the former city comptroller, seemed to signal a solidifying opposition to the policy, which has long been opposed by civil rights groups.

Wade Cummings, 46, a teacher, attended with his 19-year-old son, Tarik. Both said they had been stopped by police officers — once for the father, three times for the son.

“I’m concerned about him being stopped and it escalating,” the father said. “I like to believe I taught him not to escalate this situation, but you never know how it’s going to go down.”

Police officers stopped nearly 700,000 people last year, 87 percent of them black or Latino. Of those stopped, more than half were also frisked.

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