Christina Gillham

Stories by Christina Gillham

  • The Saudi 'Sex & and the City'?

    When Rajaa Alsanea’s “The Girls of Riyadh” hit bookstores in the Middle East in 2005, it caused a furor. Referred to by some as a “Sex and the City” for Saudi Arabia, the book delved into the social, romantic—and sometimes sex—lives of its four female characters. Published first in Lebanon—and published in the United States this month—the book almost immediately made its way to Saudi Arabia, where it was denounced by religious conservatives as immoral and hailed by reformists as a much-needed condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s restrictive society. Alsanea, 24 years old at the time, was propelled to stardom, making appearances on TV, receiving supportive phone calls from the royal family and an endorsement from no less a figure than the king’s labor minister and close adviser, Ghazi al-Gosaibi.“The Girls of Riyadh” explores the lives of four young women—Lamees, Sadeem, Gamrah and Michelle. Their stories are told by a narrator in a series of postings on an Internet chat room. The women,...
  • Does Your Child Need a Personal Trainer?

    Like many 13-year-olds, Adam Hillen likes sports. As a seventh grader in Mason, Ohio, he plays on his junior high school's football and wrestling teams. But his father became concerned when Adam began working out with his friends. "He would go to the weight room with a bunch of kids, and I just thought that invited injury," says Doug Hillen.So he took Adam to meet Doug Gibson, a personal trainer and president of Sensible Fitness in nearby Blue Ash. "I wanted Adam to learn the right way to lift weights," says Hillen. "I thought a personal trainer was the way to go."Gibson started Adam on basic strengthening moves, using lunges and leg presses to build up his leg muscles and glutes, and then eventually worked him into speed training, sprinting and lateral running drills, useful for his position as fullback on the football team. The sessions also helped him with his workouts outside the gym. "Doug teaches me a lot that I can do at my house," says Adam. More than eight weeks after Adam...
  • Bought to Be Sold

    Every year, close to 65,000 dogs are used for medical research in the United States. How do laboratories get the animals? Some come from licensed "Class A" dealers, who specifically breed dogs for research. But the majority of dogs are acquired from Class B dealers, who are also licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture—but who can obtain their dogs from various sources, including unlicensed sellers known as bunchers, for as little as $20.The transactions are legal if the bunchers can prove they raised the animals themselves or acquired them from someone who did. But animal-rights groups claim that Class B dealers, who can sell the dogs for hundreds of dollars, often do not check the origins of the dogs they acquire—and that bunchers will pick up strays or simply steal dogs from backyards. Moreover, animal-rights groups claim, some dealers often neglect and abuse these dogs before selling them. Members of one animal-rights organization—Last Chance for Animals—spent six months...
  • ORGANS: NOTEWORTHY PROBLEM

    The biggest mystery in Europe this year isn't "The Da Vinci Code"--it's the question of what is killing the Continent's great pipe organs. That is the issue confounding scientists, music historians and organ experts involved with the EU-funded Corrosion of Lead and Lead-Tin Alloys of Organ Pipes in Europe (COLLAPSE), a research project formed when a mysterious corrosion began appearing in the hollow cylinders of some of Europe's oldest and most venerable instruments. One of the first incidents was discovered in the early 1990s, when the pipes of the 538-year-old Stellwagen organ of the St. Jakobi parish church in Lubeck, Germany, became cracked and hole-ridden. Since then, similar cases have appeared from Italy to the Netherlands. Experts fear that thousands of Europe's 10,000 historic organs are damaged.There are many theories as to what lies behind the deterioration. One likely cause is corrosion by acids that are emitted naturally from oak wood, which was used to renovate many...
  • 'An Evolution'

    Democratic Rep. Barney Frank is known for his witty candor and his dedication to liberal causes, particularly gay rights. One of the few openly gay members of Congress, Frank had been in Washington six years before he came to out to his colleagues, and the nation, in 1987. Two years later he found himself embroiled in a sex scandal with a male prostitute named Stephen Gobie that thrust him into the spotlight--and before the House Ethics Committee. But Frank's constituency, Massachusetts's Fourth Congressional District, voted him back into office despite the scandal and the House of Representatives' reprimand. He has handily won every election since. In 1998, Frank fervently defended President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment trial that followed. A film chronicling Frank's role during that time, "Let's Get Frank," directed by Bart Everly, played at a number of film festivals over the past year. It was released in New York City last Wednesday. Frank...
  • Snap Judgment: Books

    Occidentalism by Ian Buruma and Avishai MargalitIslamic jihadists don't have a monopoly on hating the West. As this slim volume shows, West-bashers have a long pedigree, from Japanese intellectuals to Russian Slavophiles. The authors gather their dehumanizing images of the West under the rubric of Occidentalism. But even more interesting than the examples is the key insight that "most revolts against Western imperialism have borrowed from Western ideas." That makes confronting them all the more difficult--but is something of a victory in itself.--William DobsonI Am Black and I Don't Like Manioc by Gaston KelmanThe idea that garbage collection is for black people is an enduring prejudice in France. But when even blacks take it for granted, it's time for action, warns this Cameroon-born French author. With humor and conviction, Kelman debunks the racial cliches inherited from colonial times as well as the myth of victimization. The book has touched a nerve in France at a time when...
  • Calling All Moms, Again

    On Aug. 10, 1999, Donna Dees-Thomases became an activist. That's the day she witnessed on television a shooting at a Jewish community center day camp in Granada Hills, Calif., an incident that left five people wounded, three of them children. Hours later she was online researching gun control and was shocked to find how few gun laws exist in the United States. Those that do have "such giant loopholes that I could drive my minivan through them," Dees-Thomases says in her new book, "Looking for a Few Good Moms" (Rodale).Dees-Thomases's ensuing obsession with gun control eventually led to her creation of the Million Mom March, a Mother's Day rally against the gun lobby that drew hundreds of thousands of supporters in 2000. A former publicist for Dan Rather and David Letterman and the sister-in-law of a good friend of the Clintons, Dees-Thomases was later accused of misportraying herself as a ordinary mom starting a grass-roots movement. Now, four years after the first march, Dees...
  • Q&Amp;A: 'Democrats Do Have A Prayer'

    The Democratic Leadership Council bills itself as a movement that seeks to "go beyond the old left-right debate." Its philosophy embraces centrist ideals such as fiscal discipline, economic growth and welfare reform--in short, the so-called Third Way adopted by Bill Clinton.Recently, however, the DLC has come under fire from members of its own party for warning liberal Dems not to stray from those middle-of-the road principles.Al From, the DLC's founder and CEO, spoke to NEWSWEEK's Christina B. Gillham about the battle within his party, how Democrats can win the presidency in 2004--and about Wesley Clark's entry into the White House race. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Your warnings to Democrats not to turn too far to the left has been interpreted as a jab at candidate Howard Dean. Many liberals have also accused the DLC and the New Democrats of selling their souls to centrism. Your response?Al From: I think it's wrong. The New Democrat philosophy is the modernization of progressive politics in...
  • Q&Amp;A: Can We Ever Justify War?

    The book documents the mass killings of the last half of the 20th century--from Pol Pot's slaughter of Cambodians to concentration camps in the former Yugoslavia--and analyzes the United States' reluctance, and sometimes outright refusal, to get involved. It also shows the struggle of the few officials who sought to intervene but went largely ignored.On Wednesday, "A Problem From Hell" was awarded the prize for nonfiction by the National Book Critics Circle. Power is currently the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She recently spoke by phone from Boston with NEWSWEEK's Christina Gillham about the humanitarian aspect of a war with Iraq. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: First of all, congratulations on your award. How does it feel?Samantha Power: It is enormously gratifying to see people slowly but surely coming to this book, because it did not come quickly out of the gate. In a sense it confirms one of...