TIME politics

Why I Never Laughed at a Single ‘Crack Mayor’ Joke

Dax-Devlon Ross is a contributing writer for Next City Magazine.

Marion Barry's rise and fall is a reminder that black uplift is an ongoing struggle that requires vigilance

Until I was about 12 years old, it never once occurred to me that African Americans were a minority group, or that less than a decade before I was born, the inner city had smoldered in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination in 1968. In retrospect it seems ridiculous, I know, but I had my reasons and they made perfect sense to me back then. One, the most important, was that Washington, D.C., in the 1980s was very much a black town. The struggles for equity and opportunity that our elders had endured in pre-1968 D.C. and risen up for upon King’s death had been replaced, in less than a decade, with access and upward mobility. For all the backlash typically directed at urban uprisings, they were a catalyst for change in D.C. Should it have had to come to that? No. Did the uprisings (not riots) yield a result that peaceful protest alone was unable to produce? Without question.

By the time I came of age in the ’80s, everywhere I looked black people were thriving and, in many instances, in charge. My dad ran his own business. Friends’ parents were doctors, lawyers, news anchors, professors, architects, and award-winning journalists. They all lived in nice homes, drove nice cars, shopped in fine department stores, sent their children to private schools, and vacationed on the Vineyard. Howard was the first university I ever knew; therefore, quite naturally, the idea that it was a black college never crossed my mind. I just assumed that a lot of black people went to college. Equally telling, I also assumed that lots of black students attended Georgetown University since its basketball coach, John Thompson Jr., and the entire Hoya team was black. Then there was Mayor Marion Barry, who by the time I was old enough to wrap my head around our minority status, was already well into his second term.

I can remember being amused that the combination of his name and title formed a literary device I had learned in school. I can also remember being fascinated that the two words Mayor and Marion sounded almost interchangeable. In fact, I would contend that the blurring of the line between his birth name and the title bestowed upon him four times by the residents of D.C. was at the core of his undoing — that, over time, the rhetoric of “Mayor Marion” became the reality of “Mayor for Life,” the nickname his faithful awarded him, only partially in jest, later in life.

By all accounts — that is to say the untold hours my elders and now peers have expended arguing over his legacy — Barry entered office an earnest, intelligent man with a vision for black economic uplift. He was shrewd enough to institute a summer jobs programs that bred generations of loyal voters and economic policies that built the black middle class in D.C., my family included. He was personable enough to remember your name years after meeting you and ask about a sick family member when you least expected it, and he would leave practically everyone he encountered genuinely believing with utter certainty that they had a special bond with him.

My mother was one of those people. The morning he passed she sent me a text message recalling the last time she saw Barry alive, which was a mere two Sundays ago. He’d hugged her and told onlookers, “This young lady used to work for me, and she was an excellent employee.” My mother took pride in her work for Barry and for his administrations because she remembers what the city was like before he took office. In fact, as a city government employee for 30 years she worked in the office established by Barry to ensure that minority-owned businesses secured a share of city contracts. To put it bluntly, my mother’s career and the retirement she now enjoys would not have been possible without Marion Barry. Ergo, I, as her son, am an indirect beneficiary of Barry’s policies as well.

I distinctly remember the summer afternoon that the surveillance footage of the mayor smoking crack aired on the news. I was at home alone. I sat in a chair in my kitchen and watched the footage over and over again. I could not text, tweet, or distract myself with Facebook. I had to simply sit with that image of one of my heroes in such a weak and pathetic state. Even then it seemed like more than an effort to take down one man; it felt, to me, at 15, like an attempt to break a people’s spirit, to shame and embarrass a city, to make us all look like fools for ever having believed in a drug-using, women-chasing beast, to issue payback for the uprisings that had spurred the creation of D.C.’s black middle class. A quality of pleasure and smug satisfaction seemed to be lurking in the reporting of the story.

That afternoon marked an awakening for me. Certainly, I witnessed a leader fall from grace and, in the process, let so many people down. Yes, I saw the corrupting influence of power and privilege. But I also saw a ruthless media looking back through the screen and mocking black America. Whatever impressions I had about the power that black people had in D.C. became inconsequential in that moment. There was absolutely nothing I or anyone else could do to stop the story from oozing across the country and coagulating into a stock punch line in every comic’s arsenal for the next decade.

For the record, I’ve never chuckled under my breath at a single “crack mayor” joke. They’ve never been funny to me. They’ve always struck me as mean-spirited and flippant since, more often than not, the teller couldn’t possibly understand how important it was to come of age in a city where blacks folks had real social, political, and economic clout and how disorienting it’s been to watch it all disintegrate into memory, even as the city experiences unprecedented prosperity. In that light, Barry’s departure is the perfect metaphor for the still tenuous and conditional nature of black progress. His rise and fall is a reminder that black uplift is an ongoing struggle, the maintenance of which requires vigilant oversight and, at times, desperate measures. With respect to the flames engulfing Ferguson, Barry’s passing might also remind us that despair can be a catalyst for courageous, transformative leadership that can change the destiny of a city.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

Watch John Boehner Tell You How To Cook Your Turkey

House Speaker reveals the secret to the perfect turkey brine, and it actually sounds pretty good

Nothing could be a more soothing—and more bizarre—than listening to Speaker of the House John Boehner explain in his resonant bass voice how he cooks his turkey for Thanksgiving.

The most powerful Republican in Congress revealed “The Boehner Brine,” the perfect Thanksgiving turkey in a video released Tuesday.

Like a besuited Martha Stewart, Boehner tells the camera with a roguish cock of the head, “Now, I only cook my bird to about 160, max.” He adds, “And then I take it out and I put foil over it and let it sit for at least an hour,” punctuating his culinary strategy with a subtle finger point like a scat singer acknowledging a fan on the Las Vegas strip.

The video also includes footage of Boehner in what is presumably his kitchen, wearing a flattering green apron over a crisp shirt far too white for messy cooking. But what’s the real secret to the turkey brine? “Sixteen ounces of pure maple syrup,” Boehner says.

TIME United Kingdom

Save the Children Staff Call Tony Blair’s Award ‘Morally Reprehensible’

Former British prime minister Tony Blair attends the 2nd annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza in New York, Nov. 19, 2014.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair attends the 2nd annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza in New York, Nov. 19, 2014. Erik Pendzich—Demotix/Corbis

The charity faces major backlash for its decision to give an award to former British prime minister

A week after the U.S. branch of Save the Children (STC) presented Tony Blair with a “global legacy award” in New York, almost 200 staff at the charity have signed an internal letter saying the award is “inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values.”

The letter says that U.K. management were not consulted about the award and want it to be withdrawn since it was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally.”

The American arm of STC presented Blair with the award at a gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York on Nov. 19 for his “leadership on international development”, citing his debt relief work and the Make Poverty History campaign.

A separate online petition calling for STC to revoke the award says Blair’s “legacy in Iraq overshadows his achievements in Africa”, adding that many see him “as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East.” The petition had gathered more than 97,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.


TIME People

Elian Gonzalez, 15 Years Later

The April 17 2000 Cover of TIME
The April 17, 2000, Cover of TIME TIME

Nov. 25, 1999: Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, just shy of his 6th birthday, is rescued off the coast of Florida

Elian Gonzalez’ mother was so desperate to escape Cuba and raise her son in the U.S. that she risked the 90-mile ocean crossing in a rickety aluminum boat. When it capsized, drowning her and nine others, 5-year-old Elian clung to an inner tube until he was rescued by fishermen on this day, Nov. 25, in 1999, and later reunited with relatives in Miami.

Elian’s father, meanwhile, wanted to raise his son closer to Castro. What followed was an international tug-of-war between Elian’s father, Juan Miguel, and the relatives who struggled to keep him in the country his mother had died trying to reach.

Elian became a poster child for the troubled relationship between Cuba and the U.S. — and, some said, a pawn in their political posturing. The drama made headlines because it combined a bitter political divide with a fundamental parenting question: Is it possible to be both a good father and a communist.

After more than four months of legal wrangling and a one-on-one meeting between Juan Miguel and Attorney General Janet Reno, the U.S. government reluctantly conceded that yes, it was possible. According to a 2000 TIME story about their meeting, Reno wanted to give Miguel every possible opportunity to recant: “She wanted to see for herself: Was he really a loving father — and did he really, truly want to raise his child in a country where milk is rationed for children over 7 and soldiers drown citizens who try to flee?”

But Miguel managed to convince her of both his love and his genuine desire to raise his son in Cuba. Elian’s return was a new trauma for the boy, who had already suffered unthinkable trauma. To get past the crowds of protesters who surrounded the Miami home where he was staying with relatives, armed federal agents were sent to forcibly seize the boy.

He was separated not just from his Miami relatives — and a new puppy — but from an American lifestyle that included unlimited chocolate milk, trips to Disney World and a growing collection of toys. His relatives feared that when he returned to Cuba, he would be subjected to high-pressure political indoctrination. According to the BBC, Cubans countered that “Elian ha[d] already been indoctrinated in the U.S., and [was] being turned into a ‘toy-obsessed’ capitalist.”

Back in Cuba, however, he quickly put capitalism behind him. By age 12, he addressed Fidel Castro as “my dear Grandpa Fidel,” according to a get-well letter he sent the Cuban leader in 2006. At 14, he was inducted into the Communist Party.

And last year, at age 20, he railed against the American embargo of Cuba, which he blamed for his mother’s death.

“Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba,” forcing people like his mother to flee, he proclaimed at a youth rally in Ecuador.

When a CNN reporter at the rally asked Elian what his life had been like since his repatriation, he answered: “magnificent.”

Read TIME’s Apr. 17, 2000, cover story about Elian Gonzalez: I Love My Child

TIME politics

Why We Loved Marion Barry

D.C. Council member Marion Barry
D.C. Council member Marion Barry poses for a portrait in his office in Washington, D.C., on July 6, 2011. Nikki Kahn—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Anita Bonds is an At-Large Councilmember at the District of Columbia.

Washington's "Mayor for Life" is remembered by his former campaign manager

Correction appended, Nov. 26, 2014

The twenty-third of November forever marks the death of a legend.

Mayor for Life, Marion Barry was a prodigious politician, a once in a lifetime talent, and a man of the community who was eternally beloved by the people he served. It was here, the District of Columbia, where Marion decided to make his home, it is where his people are, it’s where he fought, and it is in this great city on a hill where his legacy will most fervently live on.

The Washington Post once aptly wrote that “to know the District of Columbia is to know Marion Barry.” Mayor Barry’s narrative: his triumphs, his achievements, his setbacks, and his phoenix-like political career, defines a transformative era in Washington, one where the community’s hopes and dreams once deferred, became fulfilled.

The District’s annals are ubiquitously wrought with the struggles of African Americans seeking the dignity of self-determination. Blacks whose ancestors were brought here as slaves to build the nation’s capital where democracy was carried out, but for whom participation was excluded and fiercely restricted by powerful whites.

Marion changed that. His perspective was that anyone regardless of background could bring about change for the betterment of every citizen in the District of Columbia.

In 1979 Marion was the right mayor at the right time, expressing compassion for the poor and the voiceless. He entered office with the clear intent to give representation to populations in need of a champion to help them benefit from a District landscape on the rise against the backdrop of social ills that beset many American urban centers during the 1980s. He breathed life into the community. Because of his advocacy, hope replaced nihilism, promise replaced despair, and bridges to the middle class replaced poverty for many. Those who won’t remember all the details of Mayor Barry’s achievements will always remember how he made them feel.

His legacy teaches us a lesson in self-belief. It is nearly impossible to predict how one man, born of a sharecropper’s son in segregated Mississippi, became Mayor of the nation’s capital, helped create the black middle class, and became the hero of hundreds of thousands of residents. His self-belief was partly born of his natural intuition for dealing with people, but also a consequence of clarity in his life’s mission — serving people. Marion was always drawn to helping the most vulnerable. It was providence that Marion was the President of his college NAACP, the first President of the SNCC, a leader in PRIDE Inc., a workforce development program that employed District residents, school board member, and ultimately Mayor of the District Columbia.

Many will say his death marks the end of an era, many will say he represents a time long gone, many who know nothing of the man will attempt to impugn is legacy. And to them I say: Have you ever spoken to the individuals whose lives he touched as I did? Did you ever witness him fiercely fighting for the most vulnerable members of society, as I did? And do you know the cheer that he brought to his friends as he brought to me? If not, then you will never know why we cherished his presence so greatly.

As his passing is mourned, we can be comforted in knowing that his legacy and love for the District will continue through the renaissance of DC, which he began, and the millions of lives he touched in doing so.

Anita Bonds is an At-Large Councilmember at the District of Columbia. Councilmember Bonds was a political staffer on Marion Barry’s 1974 DC Council campaign; the Deputy Campaign Manager for Barry’s 1978 mayoral campaign; and the Campaign Manager for Marion Barry’s 1982 and 1986 mayoral campaign.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the purpose of the PRIDE Inc. program.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Foreign Policy

Rand Paul Wants to Declare War Against ISIS

“War cannot be initiated without Congress”

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said in a new interview that Congress should formally declare war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) as a way to limit the engagement against the militant group and take war powers back from President Barack Obama.

“War cannot be initiated without Congress,” Paul told the New York Times in advocating for the first formal declaration of war since World War II. Paul is circulating a resolution to do just that.

A likely 2016 presidential candidate whose libertarian-leaning foreign policy is viewed skeptically by many conservatives and mainstream Republicans, Paul is likely to face backlash from members of his own party who don’t want to limit the President’s authority when it comes to fighting ISIS.

“Conservatives are mad at him about immigration. And they’re mad about him using executive authority on Obamacare,” Paul said. “But this is another example where he doesn’t have much respect for Congress, and some conservatives don’t quite get that.”

MORE: The reinventions of Rand Paul

Paul told TIME earlier this year that his support for fighting ISIS, which has taken control of large swaths of Iraq and Syria, “doesn’t mean you give up your principles of thinking war is the last resort.”


TIME Opinion

Is Obama Overreaching on Immigration? Lincoln and FDR Would Say ‘No’

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 20, 2014 Jim Bourg—AP

Like Lincoln and Roosevelt before him, Obama occupies the White House in a time of great crisis

Last night, President Obama announced new steps that will allow about five million undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits and feel free of imminent deportation. Given that we now have an estimated 10–11 million such people within our nation and that many of them clearly will never leave, this seems a reasonable first step towards giving them all some kind of legal status. But, because of the anti-immigration stance of the Republican Party, which will entirely control Congress starting on Jan. 3, the President will have to base this step solely on executive power. And even before the President spoke, various Republicans had accused him of acting like an emperor or a monarch and warning of anarchy and violence if he goes through with his plans.

There are, in fact, substantial legal and historical precedents, including a recent Supreme Court decision, that suggest that Obama’s planned actions would be neither unprecedented nor illegal. This is of course the President’s own position, that no extraordinary explanation is needed—yet we can also put his plans in the broader context of emergency presidential powers, which in fact have a rich history in times of crisis in the United States. It is not accidental that this issue of Presidential power is arising now, because it will inevitably arise—as the founders anticipated—any time a crisis has made it unusually difficult to govern the United States. Like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, Obama occupies the White House in a time of great crisis, and therefore finds it necessary to take controversial steps.

The Founding Fathers distrusted executive authority, of course, because they had fought a revolution in the previous decade against the arbitrary authority of King George III. But, on the other hand, they had come to Philadelphia in 1787 because their current government, the early version of the U.S. system established by the Articles of Confederation, was so weak that the new nation was sinking into anarchy. So they created a strong executive and a much more powerful central government than the Articles of Confederation had allowed for—and having lived through a revolution, they also understood that governments simply had to exercise exceptional powers in times of emergency.

They made one explicit reference to an emergency power, authorizing the federal government to suspend the right of habeas corpus—freedom from arbitrary arrest—”in cases of rebellion or invasion [when] the public safety may require it.” Nearly 80 years later, when the southern states had denied the authority of the federal government, Abraham Lincoln used this provision to lock up southern sympathizers in the North, and eventually secured the assent of Congress to this measure. He also used traditional powers of a government at war—including the confiscation of enemy property—to emancipate the slaves within the Confederacy in late 1862. With the help of these measures, the North won the war and the Union survived—apparently exactly what the Founders had intended.

When Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of office in the midst of a virtual economic collapse in March of 1933, he not only declared that the nation had “nothing to fear but fear itself,” but also made clear that he would take emergency measures on his own if Congress did not go along. That spring, the country was treated to a remarkable movie, Gabriel Over the White House, in which the President did exactly that—but as it turned out, the Congress was more than happy to go along with Roosevelt’s initial measures. It wasn’t until his second term that Congress turned against him; he, like Obama, used executive authority to find new means of fighting the Depression. In wartime he also claimed and exercised new emergency powers in several ways, including interning Japanese-Americans, this time without a formal suspension of habeas corpus. In retrospect both a majority of Americans and the courts have decided that some of these measures, especially the internment, were unjust and excessive, but the mass of the people accepted them in the midst of a great war as necessary to save the country, preferring to make amends later on. Though opponents continually characterized both Lincoln and FDR as monarchs and dictators trampling on the Constitution, those are judgments which history, for the most part, has not endorsed.

As the late William Strauss and Neil Howe first pointed out about 20 years ago in their remarkable books, Generations and The Fourth Turning, these first three great crises in our national life—the Revolutionary and Constitutional period, the Civil War, and the Depression and the Second World War—came at regular intervals of about 80 years. Sure enough, just as they had predicted, the fourth such great crisis came along in 2001 as a result of 9/11. President Bush immediately secured from Congress the sweeping authority to wage war almost anywhere, and claimed emergency powers to detain suspected terrorists at Guantanamo. (Some of those powers the Supreme Court eventually refused to recognize.) The war against terror was, however, only one aspect of this crisis. The other is the splintering of the nation, once again, into two camps with largely irreconcilable world views, a split that has paralyzed our government to an extent literally never before seen for such a long period. Immigration is only one of several problems—including climate change, inequality and employment—that the government has not been able to address by traditional means because the Republican Party has refused to accept anything President Obama wants to do.

The Founders evidently understood that when the survival of the state is threatened, emergency measures are called for. We are not yet so threatened as we were in the three earlier crises, but our government is effectively paralyzed. Under the circumstances it seems to me that the President has both a right and a duty to use whatever authority he can find to solve pressing national problems. Congressional obstructionism does not relieve him of his own responsibilities to the electorate.

David Kaiser, a historian, has taught at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Williams College, and the Naval War College. He is the author of seven books, including, most recently, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War. He lives in Watertown, Mass.

TIME politics

Prop. 8 Plaintiffs: Charles Manson Can Get Married, But We Still Can’t

Charles Manson and friends
From Left: Afton Elaine Burton and Charles Manson, imprisoned for life for association with a series of murders in the 1960s in Corcoran, Calif. on Aug. 14, 2011. Manson Direct/Polaris

Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami were plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court decision in the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8 in California.

By not ruling on marriage equality, murderers are afforded more fairness and dignity than our LGBT brothers and sisters

When the news broke that Charles Manson had obtained a marriage license while serving out his life sentence in a California prison, we were mad. Really mad. This man was sentenced to death—a sentence later commuted to life in prison—after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit mass murder. The Supreme Court has told him that his right to marry is federally protected. That same court has yet to affirm that same right for the LGBT community. The only thing we are guilty of is falling in love with a member of the same sex.

So while Manson and his bride-to-be make their wedding plans, thousands upon thousands of LGBT couples in 15 states, which accounts for nearly 30% of the U.S. population, are left at the altar. Opponents of marriage equality surely can’t say that Manson is more worthy of the right to marry than the couples in these states, can they? Would Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins rather have a dinner in our loving home or in the jailhouse cafeteria with a man who has no regard for human life? Would Cardinal Timothy Dolan prefer Manson and his “Helter Skelter” cult to the God and churches that many good and decent LGBT couples pray at and want to be married in? Would National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown prefer the sanctity of this sham Manson marriage–to a woman he is not even permitted to have a child with–over the marriage of loving and committed gay couples who are already raising children?

Our society is affording prison inmates more fairness and dignity than that of our LGBT brothers and sisters. Ted Olson and David Boies, who were our attorneys in the Prop 8 case, underscored this dichotomy to Chief Judge Vaughn Walker in court when fighting for our right to marry. Frankly, we don’t care if Manson gets married. It’s his right. Good for him. What we can’t stand by and tolerate is inaction by the Supreme Court on this issue. The piecemeal approach with which the Court has “ruled” in favor of marriage equality–by not ruling on the issue–is not nearly enough. Now that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the right for states within its jurisdiction to discriminate against its LGBT citizens by preventing them to marry the person they love, the Supreme Court must agree to hear one or all of the cases and do the right thing. You did it for Manson and now the prison has assigned him a wedding coordinator. We plan great weddings. What about us?

Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami were plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court decision in the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8 in California.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME health

New Global Study Calls Violence Against Women ‘Epidemic’

A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls in a village about 80 kilometres from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya, Oct. 16, 2014.
A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls in a village about 80 kilometres from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya, Oct. 16, 2014. Siegfried Modola—Reuters

Governments need to step up their game to protect women, says extensive new research

When it comes to stopping violence against women, actions speak louder than words. So even though there’s increased worldwide awareness about violence against women, the problem won’t be solved unless countries make significant policy and financial changes to support victims, according to a five-part series of studies in The Lancet, one of the world’s premier medical journals.

The series, entitled “Violence Against Women and Girls,” calls the violence a “global public health and clinical problem of epidemic proportions,” and the statistics are bleak. 100-140 million women have undergone female genital mutilation worldwide, and 3 million African girls per year are at risk. 7% of women will be sexually assaulted by someone besides their partner in their lifetimes. Almost 70 million girls worldwide have been married before they turned 18. According to WHO estimates, 30% of women worldwide have experienced partner violence. The researchers said that these problems could only be solved with political action and increased funding, since the violence has continued “despite increased global attention,” implying awareness is not enough.

“No magic wand will eliminate violence against women and girls,” series co-lead Charlotte Watts, founding Director of the Gender Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement. “But evidence tells us that changes in attitudes and behavior are possible, and can be achieved within less than a generation.”

One of the major problems highlighted in the Lancet series is that much of the current research on violence against women has been conducted in high-income countries, and it’s mostly been focused on response instead of prevention. The study found that the key driver of violence in most middle-and-low income countries is gender inequality, and that it would be near impossible to prevent abuse without addressing the underlying political, economic, and educational marginalization of women.

The study also found that health workers are often uniquely positioned to help victims, since they’re often the first to know about the abuse.

“Health-care providers are often the first point of contact for women and girls experiencing violence,” says another series co-lead, Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, a physician at the WHO, in a statement. “The health community is missing important opportunities to integrate violence programming meaningfully into public health initiatives on HIV/AIDS, adolescent health, maternal health, and mental health.”

The series makes five concrete recommendations to curb the violence against women. The authors urge nations to allocate resources to prioritize protecting victims, change structures and policies that discriminate against women, promote support for survivors, strengthen health and education sectors to prevent and respond to violence, and invest in more research into ways to address the problem. In other words: money, education, and political action are key to protecting the world’s most vulnerable women. Hashtag activism, celebrity songs, and stern PSAs are helpful, but this problem is too complicated to be solved by awareness alone.

“We now have some promising findings to show what works to prevent violence,” said Dr. Cathy Zimmerman from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “We urgently need to turn this evidence into genuine action so that women and girls can live violence-free lives.”

The study comes just in time for the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on Nov. 25.

TIME politics

Biden Will Push Turkey to Step Up Role in Fight Against ISIS

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following airstrikes by the US led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Nov. 17, 2014.
Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following airstrikes by the US led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Nov. 17, 2014. Vadim Ghirda—AP

Biden is the latest U.S. official to meet with Erdogan as divide between the coalition and Turkey grows

ISTANBUL — Vice President Joe Biden on Friday will become the latest in a parade of U.S. officials trying to push Turkey to step up its role in the international coalition’s fight against Islamic State extremists.

His visit comes after weeks of public bickering between the two NATO allies. The Turkish president insists that if the U.S. wants his help, it must focus less on fighting IS and more on toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad. Erdogan wants the U.S.-led coalition to set up a security zone in northern Syria to give moderate fighters a place to recoup and launch attacks.

The U.S. has no appetite to go to war against Assad and has said a no-fly zone against Syria’s air force is a no-go.

Turkey has pledged to train and equip moderate Syrian forces on its soil, but no details have been announced by either side. U.S. and Turkish officials have discussed the coalition’s desire to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for U.S.-led operations against IS militants, but Turkey has made no public decision about Incirlik.

“From the no-fly zone to the safety zone and training and equipping — all these steps have to be taken now,” Erdogan said on Wednesday. Then he echoed the same line he’s been saying all along: “The coalition forces have not taken those steps we asked them for. … Turkey’s position will be the same as it is now.”

That’s after a U.S. military delegation spent two days in Ankara last week trying to hammer out details to implement Turkey’s pledge to train and equip moderate fighters. That’s after top U.S. military officials visited Incirlik in the past few weeks. And it follows two visits in two months by retired Marine Gen. John Allen, the U.S. envoy for the international coalition.

Allen told the Turkish daily Milliyet on Wednesday in Ankara that fighting extremists in Iraq was the “main effort” right now, but that’s not the only effort and “we’ll be doing that in Syria as well.”

“Eventually, of course, our policy intent for the U.S. is that there be a political outcome in Syria that does not include Bashar Assad,” said Allen, who left Turkey for NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Now it’s Biden’s turn.

He plans a dinner meeting Friday with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. On Saturday, Biden is to have an extended meeting with Erdogan, and plans to fly back to Washington on Sunday.

The obvious compromise would be if Washington shifted its policy on Syria to do more to force out Assad, and Turkey agreed to do more against IS, said James Jeffrey, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq who is now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Jeffrey is not holding his breath.

“Erdogan is a tough customer to reason with, but Turkey is already a major source of stability and support in region and could be better if we play cards right,” Jeffrey said. “But Erdogan is, at this point, troublingly unpredictable.”

Turkish officials say Turkey is an active partner in the coalition.

Besides pledging to train moderate Syrian forces, Turkey gave Kurdish fighters from Iraq permission to traverse its soil on their way to help Kurdish fighters in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani near Turkey’s border. That was an unprecedented step for Erdogan, but Turkey’s military has been inactive regarding the IS advance on the town.

Turkey has good relations with the Kurds in Iraq, but it views the Kurds in Syria as an extension of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party. The party has waged a 30-year insurgency against the Turkish government and is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. and NATO. Asked if more Kurdish fighters from Iraq would be moving through Turkey, a Turkish official said: “Yes, we might see them again.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about Turkey’s policy on Syria.

Turkey also is hosting 1.6 million Syrian refugees. Washington acknowledges that Ankara has worked to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, although it’s still easy in some places to move across for a price. U.S. officials also say Turkey has cracked down on oil smugglers. Analysts estimate that IS earns up to $3 million a day in revenue from oil fields captured in Iraq and Syria.

Still, the U.S. and Turkey are not in sync about Syria, and Biden’s visit follows weeks of misunderstandings and harsh rhetoric emanating from both capitals.

Locals in Istanbul have dubbed one flap the “apology-no apology,” which began over something Biden said in a speech at Harvard University.

Biden said that early in the Syrian conflict, Turkey assisted extremists because they were seeking to depose Assad. Erdogan demanded an apology; the White House said Biden called Erdogan to apologize, but Biden said he didn’t.

There was more disagreement over whether Turkey had decided to let the U.S. use Incirlik base for operations against extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Aggravating the tension was an incident last week in Istanbul where three American sailors from the USS Ross were roughed up by anti-American demonstrators.

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