Elections:

Nov. 26th, 2011 11:05 pm
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
YEMEN

Yemen presidential vote set for Feb. 21; Saleh returns home



GAMBIA

Gambia's Jammeh wins disputed elections: Incumbent president in power for 17 years set to begin new five-year term after polls marred by intimidation of voters.


THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

 

Deadly clashes in DRC capital ahead of vote: At least three people killed in Kinshasa as rival campaign rallies are concluded ahead of Monday's vote

DR Congo voters: What elections mean to us: Citizens in eastern DRC tell Al Jazeera why they are looking forward to national elections on November 28.

Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo - In the lead up to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s second general election since independence in 1960, most analysts have raised the alarm over poor logistical arrangements as well as significant security concerns, due to the continued presence of armed groups in the eastern parts of the country.

Nevertheless, many ordinary citizens of the DRC are looking forward to the elections.

For many, the elections offer a rare opportunity to play a role in who should govern the country, and direct the next phase of their fragile democracy's development.

Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa speaks to residents of Goma and Walikale, both in the North Kivu province in the eastern DRC about why these elections means so much to them.MORe


Who's up? Profile: Joseph Kabila ... Incumbent president is credited for bringing peace but critics say he lacks political vision to lead DRC forward.

Read more... )


Profile: Etienne Tshisekedi :After three decades in politics, the veteran is widely regarded as the biggest threat to incumbent Joseph Kabila.


Read more... )

Explainer: The DRC elections...DR Congo gears up for only its second national election since independence in 1960 amid fears of violence.

Read more... )
eumelia: (master politician)
[personal profile] eumelia
It's worse, because it is far more insidious than ever. You know the old saying about the frog in the boiling pot?

That's us.

It's been forever since I've had a good "bad news" round up. This platform has become something of an escape for me, you see, since the Summer in which thousands of people took to the streets protesting the current political, financial and social disparity in Israel - we forgot to take into account the underlying reason the current government has managed to shut us up and shut us out.

We are occupying another people and the Summer of so-called social change decided that that was too "political", not to do with "us" and not to do with the fact that the cost of living is practically unbearable within Israel. Because that's one thing and Israeli society is another.

Apartheid never seemed so clear.

Over the past few months, while we were resting on the laurels of actually being in the street and protesting the Men, the superficiality of (Jewish) women's equality has been steadily eroding.

Who is to blame? I mean, other than patriarchy. Of course.

Deepening religious extremism is one reason, I mean, when you have a Settler Rabbi telling soldiers should chose death rather than suffer a woman singing. You may go O_o at this little piece of News, but when you have more conservative interpretations to the Jewish adage "A woman's voice is Ervah" i.e. the sound of a woman's voice is pubic or sexual by it's very nature.

A woman is nothing but her sex, of course.

Speaking of voices, our freedom of speech has been basically been taken away, I can't tell you who you should boycott for fear of being sued for damages and now I can't call the Prime Minister, for example, a smug lying asshole, due to this abso-fucking-loutly spiffing amendment bill.

In which, and I quote the article linked above:
The bill represents an amendment to Israel's existing libel law, which would make it possible to sue a newspaper for libel, not only for commensurate compensation for any tangible damage caused by the publication, but for an additional sum of NIS 300,000 − without having to prove damages.

Emphasis mine.

Was there an emergency meeting of journalists? You bet there was.

Unsurprisingly, this bill coincides with the firing of one of Israel's few true watch dogs from public broadcasting Keren Neubach. As you can read in the link, the "reason" given? She "looks" bad on screen.
They're not even bothering any more.

Ditto on shutting down the Ramallah based radio station Palestinian-Israeli cooperative "Kol Ha'Shalom" (a play on words, as "Kol" is a Hebrew homophone for "voice" and "all").

Last night 2000 people rallied in protest of this bill.

2000. Yep, that many.

That really is the equivalent of crickets chirping.

The other bills that have been passing through the Knesset floor have been eroding civil society for years.

But wait. There's more.

The totalitarian nature of the Occupation is finally catching up with Israel proper. The non-violent demonstrations in the West Bank, exemplified by the recent Freedom Rider arrests (amazing pictures) shows the stark contrast of what is actually happening on the ground and the mindset of the average Israeli.

I mean, when the Prime Minister "shelves" the bill set out to persecute NGO's by limiting their funds, but his Foreign Minister goes ahead and does it anyway is, well, telling.

Add to that the fact that there is an all out political attack on the political science department of Negev's Ben-Gurion University, the alarm bells should be ringing off the walls.

Because when the Germans are telling the Israeli government: Um, excuse me, this is not very good and we're really sorry that we have to criticise you like this.

History repeats and really, the Germans would know.

In the meantime, my parents are watching commentary about a documentary about Steve Jobs and Apple.

I fucking hate the world.

X-Posted from my dreamwidth
ajnabieh: A seagull standing on a "no seagulls" sign, with the text FIGHT THE POWER (fight the power seagull)
[personal profile] ajnabieh
I've started, for my teaching and research, keeping a publicly readable GoogleDoc on news articles, blog posts, tweets, etc on gender, women, feminism and the Arab revolutions of the past year. (Most of my links are only a month or two old, at this point in time.) I thought members of this community might find it useful! Nearly all the links are in English, though some have untranslated Arabic text in images, or untranslated Arabic audio for video clips. The links don't have annotations right now, because I don't have time--but parts of them are sorted into readings for my class, so those at least have themes.

The document is here. Enjoy--and if you have other links you think I should have, pass them on!
unusualmusic: (balloons)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
EcoMobility Gaining Ground, Step by Step

CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov 1, 2011 (Tierramérica) - Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.

Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility - mobility without private cars.

"EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these three systems clicking together: connectivity is the key," Gil Peñalosa, former director of parks and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, told those attending the EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress.

The congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities was organised by the South Korean city of Changwon and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local government members from more than 1,220 cities in 70 countries.

"The famous Times Square in New York City is now a permanent pedestrian mall. Who would have believed that could happen just three years ago?" Peñalosa commented to Tierramérica.

"Five years ago who would have thought Paris would have over 22,000 bikes as part of a tremendously successful bike sharing system?" added Peñalosa, who is now the executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO based in Toronto that promotes walking, cycling, parks and urban trails to improve the public life of cities. MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Yemen women burn face veils to protest attacks

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Hundreds of Yemeni women have set fire to a pile of female face and body veils on a main street in Sanaa to protest the government's brutal crackdown against the country's popular uprising.

The act of women burning their clothing is a symbolic Bedouin tribal gesture signifying an appeal for help to tribesmen.

Wednesday's protest comes as clashes intensify between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and renegade fighters who have sided with the opposition in demands that the president step down.

Medical and local officials say up to 25 civilians, tribal fighters and government soldiers died overnight in Sanaa and the city of Taiz despite Saleh's ceasefire announcement late Tuesday.

Saleh has clung to power in the face of more than nine months of massive protests against his rule.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's president on Tuesday called in the U.S. ambassador and told him he would sign a deal to step down, a U.S. official said. The embattled leader, who has made that pledge several times before, spoke as violence shook his capital.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh informed Ambassador Gerald Feierstein of a new cease-fire, but clashes on the streets threw that into doubt. Activists said seven protesters were killed and 10 wounded.MORE
unusualmusic: text icon: serious fail set on fire and perched atop a rotting corpse pf wven more fail with skull & crossbones, fire (FAIL-set-on-fire)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Secret Cables: Big Pharma's Prints Cover US Foreign Policy


Among the hundreds of thousands of secret US State Department cables recently released by WikiLeaks, the controversial whistleblower website, a cache reveals US diplomats defending the interests of big pharmaceutical companies, even at the risk of the hosting nation’s own public health priorities. The memos dutifully detail the many embassy meetings with local Big Pharma reps, during which US officials are presented with laundry lists of issues to raise with one or another local government ministry. Invariably the goal of the exercise is for pharma to pressure the US to pressure the host country to give favorable treatment to expensive brand name drugs, typically by preventing in-country manufacturing or marketing of far cheaper generic versions.

Separate cables show such industry profiteering tactics threatening to taint US diplomatic relations in emerging nations such as Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Turkey, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and India. Overall, a familiar picture emerges of a diplomatic corps if not held hostage by, at least a captive audience to, the financial interests of the biggest American pharma companies as they come into covert conflict with developing nations that quite naturally prioritize the health care of their people over the high margins that Big Pharma has come to expect. With several hundred drugs and vaccines in development to treat addiction, the scourge of hundreds of millions worldwide, the affordability and accessibility of these innovative (and, no doubt, expensive) medicines will become a pitched battle in global public health over the next decade. The outcome of the skirmishes sketched in the WikiLeaks cables will help decide whether profits or people prove victorious.

The cables by no means paint a uniform portrait of government lackeys doing industry's bidding. Many memos betray a between-the-lines irritation at pharma's monomaniacal self-interest. Still, there is a disturbing silence on the obvious moral or ethical objections to industry demands for high price, long patents, and other protections despite the cost in human lives. Only a single cable—from the outgoing US ambassador to Poland in 2009—lays bare the vast greed that drives these complex, highly technical negotiations.

The developing nations, contrary to what you might expect, in many ways hold the best cards in this political game. Emerging nations have the fastest-growing economies, the most upwardly mobile middle classes, and the biggest untapped markets in the world. And in their impressive pushback against Big Pharma, India has been the 800-pound gorilla over the past decade. A democracy with well-educated but relatively inexpensive brain power, the pharma industry views India not merely as a market but as a potential new hub of drug development and testing.

Aware of its advantage, India has played hardball, starting with its approval of local generic HIV drugs for its hundreds of thousands of citizens with the virus—a defiant challenge to Big Pharma, which had refused to discount its own brand-name AIDS drugs to affordable levels. (In the US, HIV treatment costs as much as $15,000 a year; the Indian generic knocked out knockoffs with a $350 price tag.) In addition, India’s supreme court has been fearless in shooting down foreign pharmas when they sue for patent infringement by Indian generic companies. When an emerging nation's entire legal and legislative apparatus unite to oppose industry interests, the company can either fold its hand or fold up its tent. When drug companies retaliated by boycotting India and refusing to sell new drugs there, they attracted universal opprobrium for denying sick people medicines.


MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Lebanon: Empowering Migrant Workers With Language


A community of enthusiastic young people in Beirut, The Migrant Workers Task Force, are working to support foreign domestic workers in Lebanon whose living and working conditions are often desperately unfair.

The volunteer group has only been active since January 2011, but already they have managed to attract the attention of both localand international media for their innovative approach to changing the perceptions of both workers and employers. Among their main achievements are the free language courses they offer to workers learning Arabic, English, or French every Sunday.

In Lebanon, approximately one domestic worker a week dies under murky circumstances (often described as “suicide”). Eighty percent of domestic migrant workers are not allowed to leave their employer's house at all. Their plight and rights are almost universally ignored.

Migrant Workers Task Force logoInitially the task force consisted of only Alex, Lioba, Farah, Ali, and Janie and a few other members, but recently the group has been expanding. According to Janie Shen, 24, one of the co-founders (the only foreigner one who is actually still in Lebanon) the idea for the Migrant Workers Task Force was born after newcomers to Lebanon, like herself and Alex, were shocked by the conditions of migrant workers in the country - for instance, the degrading uniforms, general mistreatment, having passports confiscated, food rationed, and only one day a week off or none at all.


MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
2008 Part 7: Women in India Form Their Own Political Party

DELHI, India (WOMENSENEWS)--It is a mellow December morning in Delhi. Soft sunlight filters through the trees that line the boulevards of the city's stately Krishna Menon Marg neighborhood.

Suman Krishan Kant, however, is oblivious to the tranquillity outside the windows of her well-appointed bungalow.

The prominent social activist is reviewing and paying bills while files wait on the table for her attention. The elegant waiting room outside is beginning to fill in with men and women hoping to meet with her and enlist her advocacy with government agencies on their behalf. One of them, for instance, is a widow who hopes Kant will help her application for an increase in her pension.

It is the beginning of another working day for the president of the country's all-women's political party.

In October, Kant, the widow of former vice president Krishan Kumar Kant, joined with other influential women to launch the United Women's Front to address issues such as women's illiteracy, early marriage and tokenism in parliament, where women hold just 8 percent of seats. To qualify for official party status, the group had to muster at least 100 members and pay about $300 in registration fees.

Read more... )
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
INDIA Campuses Lead Gay Rights Struggle


KOLKATA, India, Sep 5, 2011 (IPS) - It was with some trepidation that Nivvedan, a student at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Bombay, helped launch ‘Saathi’ (Companion), catering to the needs of people with different sexual orientations on campus.

Yet, when Saathi held its first meeting in July it attracted not only students but also alumni and even some members of the faculty. "There’s a lot of confusion around sexuality in our society. We have encountered it in our campus too," Nivvedan told IPS.

Nivvedan expects Saathi to grow as "students who need support gain better confidence in the sessions. Right now most of them would rather discuss things in an informal way with other fellow students."

"I believe the issue of sexual orientation, homosexuality etc. should be discussed and awareness created right from student life," said Nivvedan, acutely conscious of the fact that the initiative is the first one of its kind on an Indian campus.

Ketan Tanna, activist with ‘Gay-Bombay’, an informal group of "like-minded gay people," says: "None of the colleges in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) has active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activism or any guidance cell, so this is a first."

The initiative by IIT-Bombay suggests that gay rights are slowly gaining acceptance into India’s conservative society and that its decriminalisation by an order of the Delhi High Court order in 2009 is beginning to have an effect. MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Israel: Netanyahu's problematic wife: Just how a domestic helper at the Netanyahu residence broke her finger is the source of some debate.


Sara Netanyahu, 53, has a propensity for disputes with household staff. This is the third time in three years a menial worker has left her home amid accusations of mistreatment or underpayment.

“Sara-Tara” arrives with almost theatrically bad timing for the prime minister, who is striving not to appear as a member of the economic elite as Israel gears up its “March of a Million” social protesters this coming Saturday.

But the particular detail that tipped Ovadia into unbidden giggles was the extraordinary sequence of some eight consecutive press releases issued yesterday by the office of the prime minister, referred to as “a tempest of press releases” by some media outlets, as his staff toiled to contain this new scandal.

Then, following a stern warning by the attorney general that prime ministerial personnel could not be enjoined to run a public relations campaign on behalf of the first lady, at almost the same moment Kumari was fired, a privately paid spokesman for Sara Netanyahu was hired.

Kumari has worked for two years overseeing the daily welfare of Sara Netanyahu’s 96-year-old father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, without previous incident. She worked at his private residence for most of that time. In early August, after a brief hospitalization, Ben-Artzi moved in with his daughter, and with him came Kumari.

How she ended up with a broken digit remains in dispute, but the contretemps in the official residence was so loud that the prime minister, who was present in the building and chairing an inner cabinet meeting, reportedly felt obliged to interrupt the business of state several times to go see what was taking place.


Kumari told Army Radio yesterday that life in the prime minister’s official residence was like being “in jail.”

“It is very difficult for me,” she said. “I am not free, and I never go out. Even when I ask for vacation, it is not given to me. Sara says that if I go for a vacation there will be no one to care for her father.”

According to Kumari, the disagreement leading to the fracture occurred after she requested her July paycheck. She said that after she made her request, Mrs. Netanyahu ran toward her, causing her to fall and break her finger.

Ovadia stopped short of saying on the air what the entire country was tittering over, which is that Sara Netanyahu herself, personally and directly, was mismanaging yesterday’s news cycle and issuing the awkward press releases herself — a highly irregular turn of events.MORE



Apparently many people are taking Ms Netanyahu's attempts to contain the news as a joke, instead of paying attention to the serious issue of the continual mistreatment of caregivers by this woman. It pisses me the hell off. 
Related posts: Domestic Workers...are workers
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
OP-ED Language Becomes a Political Weapon in Israel


TEL AVIV, Sept 1, 2011 (IPS/Al Jazeera) - Speaking to the U.S. congress in May, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu boasted that his country is a beacon of freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, that it is the only place where Arabs "enjoy real democratic rights".

It's true that Palestinian citizens of Israel have some democratic rights, like the vote. But, as Netanyahu told congress: the "path of liberty is not paved by elections alone." And the summer months have seen an acceleration of worrisome anti-democratic trends.

First, the Knesset passed the anti-boycott law, a move that was widely condemned as a strike against free speech and democracy. Even some of Israel’s staunchest supporters expressed concern.

Now lawmakers have introduced a bill that proposes to change the definition of Israel as "Jewish and democratic" to "the national home of the Jewish people".

If passed, the legislation would become part of Israel's Basic Laws, which are used as a working constitution.

Whenever a conflict between democracy and Jewish values arises, the new definition of Israel would allow courts and legislators to favour the latter. According to Haaretz, the proposed bill will also make halacha, Jewish religious law, "a source of inspiration to the legislature and the courts". And, in the spirit of favouring the Jewish character of the state over a state for all its citizens, the legislation would also downgrade Arabic from an official language to one with "special status".

Arabic is the mother tongue of 20 per cent of Israel's citizens. It has been an official language of the land since 1924, when the British mandate set three: English, Hebrew, and Arabic.

Linguistic marginalisation

When the state of Israel was established in 1948, English was struck from the books. While Arabic remained an official language, it has always gotten second class treatment- as have the citizens who speak it.

Many government forms - including those for Social Security and National Insurance - come in Hebrew only. Arabic-speakers are under-represented in the public sector. So if a Palestinian citizen has weak Hebrew, he or she may be deprived of services or benefits they are legally entitled to and desperately need.

The results are sometimes devastating.
MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Syria: the regime's war of attrition

The Syrian regime's response to five months of popular uprising was described by a recent report of the International Crisis Group as "slow motion suicide", resulting from a "mix of uninhibited brutality, sectarian manipulation, crude propaganda and grudging concessions".

The regime opted for a survival strategy: responding by violence and threatening the population with chaos and civil war in the event of its demise. The objective was to launch a war of attrition by playing on time to wear out any internal revolt. It chose, however, the wrong combination of brutal repression and gradual concessions. The result was a crisis of confidence which was too deep to be overcome by mere calls for national dialogue and reform.

The death toll is estimated at 2,000 civilian casualties (including more than 100 children), and 400 members of the security services. The situation has now reached a stalemate. Neither side appears to be able to defeat the other. Protests are rallying at major urban and rural centres, including Damascus and Aleppo in the last weeks. Rallies continue in Hama, Homs, Lattakia, the Idlib province, and continue to be met with massive military assaults and house to house arrests. The cities of Homs, Hama and Deir ez-Zor were brutally besieged by the regime's armed forces; hundreds of civilian casualties have fallen since the start of the holy month of Ramadan. In Deir ez-Zor, the regime was met with strong resistance by local tribesmen, including the leading Baqqara tribe who joined the opposition movements.

On July 17, the National Salvation conference held in Istanbul gathered 450 opposition figures who called for civil disobedience throughout the country. Tenets of regime survival quite naively assumed that they would effectively counter the historical meeting held in Damascus on June 27 by prominent opposition figures in the Semiramis Hotel of Damascus. The regime's so-called "national dialogue" conference held on July 10 included a few organic intellectuals and public figures which were carefully selected and summoned to contribute to the process of constitutional amendment and political reform. The strategy was to divide the opposition and maintain the status quo. Dialogue under repression was, however, firmly rejected by the opposition. MORE

Sigh

Aug. 12th, 2011 01:01 am
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
'New' Iraq a Nightmare for Women, Minority Groups


UNITED NATIONS, Aug 9, 2011 (IPS) - A United Nations report on Iraq says the human rights situation there remains fragile, and huge development challenges loom as the country transitions out of a near decade-long conflict.

Torture and poor judicial practices are widespread, says the report, released Monday by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The report claims the 2,953 civilian deaths it attributed to violence in 2010 were mostly carried out by insurgent and terrorist groups.

It stressed that minorities, women and children suffered disproportionately from these abuses.


While there have been improvements in some areas of human rights, many challenges remain and some areas were actually worse off in 2010 than previous war-torn years.

MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
I.H.T. SPECIAL REPORT: SMART CITIES
An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century



SINGAPORE — The math is impressive. In the last 25 years, the population of Singapore has nearly doubled, to more than five million. Over the same period, its green cover — planted areas that appear green on satellite photos, from parks to rooftops — has increased from a little more than a third of the city-state’s area to nearly half.

But it is not enough. In Singapore’s next “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.” “The difference might sound very small,” says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country’s National Parks Board, “but it’s a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as biodiversity, including wildlife, all around you.”


Read more... )



From the NYT
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Honduras Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women’s Constitutional Assembly

Proposals to radically re-formulate the constitution of Honduras need to incorporate the experiences and perspectives of indigenous and Afro-Honduran women, declared Berta Cáceres, a longtime feminist indigenous activist and an organizer of the Constitutional Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women. The historic event, which is taking place July 10-14, 2011 in Copán Ruinas, will include indigenous and Afro women delegates from all over Honduras, said Cáceres, who is also coordinator of COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations in Honduras).

Many of these women have been front and center in the popular resistance movement against the repression following the coup d’etat in their country in June, 2009, struggling against assaults on their lands, sovereignty, natural resources and cultures. Likewise, many have been specifically targeted as leaders in these struggles with aggressive and violent assaults and detentions by police and private security forces.

Along the northern coast of Honduras, there are 48 Garifuna communities “who are suffering an accelerated expulsion from our territories that we have inhabited for 214 years,” said Miriam Miranda of OFRANEH (National Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans) in a public letter she released after being violently detained and assaulted by security forces in March, 2011 for her role as a leader in the resistance. Communal lands of the Garifuna have been subject to widespread privatization as part of massive development plans by the government and World Bank to create big tourist resorts and “model cities.” The Garifuna are matrilocal, meaning the land has been traditionally passed along matrilineal lines, so this massive assault on communal lands has hit women particularly hard (Vacanti Brondo, 2007).MORE



Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women: Autonomy and an End to Violence Against Us

Final Declaration of Constituent Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women

From the rhythmic beat of powerful drums and ancient spiritual songs that echoed through the sacred ruins of the Mayan Chortí in Copan in western Honduras, the three-day event ended with hundreds of indigenous and Afro- Honduran women demanding autonomy and an end to the colonization of their lands, their bodies, their lives, and ways of doing politics.

The
Final Declaration of Copán Galel of the Self-Organized Constituent Assembly of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran women denounced the “violence, repression and domination of women operating through capitalism, patriarchy and racism,” said Berta Caceres, coordinator the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in an interview with Escribana.

Caceres was also one of the organizers of the Assembly, which took place July 11 to 13, 2011 in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. The Assembly involved an intensive dialogue on the realities of life of the 300 participating women whose cultures, lands, natural resources and the country have been under siege that intensified since the military coup in June 2009.

Since then, the government, the powerful elites and transnational corporations have been using the “
Shock Doctrine” (Naomi Klein) to promote a rapid re-engineering of business, economic policies and all policies before people have opportunity to react. (Http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine).

For Honduras, this has meant immediate and aggressive plans for mass-tourism projects, mega-projects such as hydroelectric dams and the expansion of mining, agribusiness and forestry, all involving the confiscation of indigenous and Afro lands.
MORE





Israel Daphne Leef:How a woman in a tent became Israel's Top Story

Until recently nobody had heard of Daphni Leef. Now, everybody in Israel knows the 25-year-old's face and her cause. Just a few weeks ago, Leef was waiting tables. Now, her schedule has become such that she cannot help keeping people waiting. This interview was meant to take place at 11am but did not start until 5pm. Among things that might have distracted her was the small matter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu putting everything on hold to respond to her demands.

Even after the interview started, we were interrupted by well-wishers, delighted to see her in the flesh sitting outside a Tel Aviv café. A young man wanted a hug; a little old lady wanted to have her picture taken with Leef. And upon hearing her voice a blind woman halted her guide dog and chatted excitedly.

So what did Leef do to bring her such national attention? She got chucked out of her flat. And then wrote on Facebook. Just over a month ago she was told that she needed to leave her Tel Aviv apartment because the building was slated for redevelopment. She started looking for a new home, and was shocked to find how expensive rents had become.

"I called up a friend and said, 'I'm setting up a tent'," she recalls. "He said I should calm down." But she did not calm down - instead she opened a Facebook "event", inviting people to erect tents in central Tel Aviv to protest against high housing prices.MORE


Dude. They profiled the originator of a protest that has seen up to 300,000 people participate....in the lifestyle section. God. DAMN.


Tunisia Tunisian women fear the Algerian way

TUNIS, Aug 5, 2011 (IPS) - A women’s group begins campaigning near La Marsa beach in Tunis to convince more women to come up and register in the electoral lists, in time for the deadline now pushed back to Aug. 14. Most of the women watching the proceedings are veiled.

The veils present more a question than a suggestion at present. One survey among veiled women conduced by journalists here claims that four in five of these women will not vote for Ennahda, the Islamist party surging ahead in popularity ahead of elections for a constituent assembly due in October.

Veils in such numbers are an unusual sight in Tunisia where women visit the beach just as comfortably in a bikini as wearing a headscarf, and just as comfortable sipping wine as a soft drink, listening to rap or traditional music.

Looks may be deceptive, one way or another. "Look around," says Khadija, an activist with the Modernist Democratic Front - a coalition of local Tunisian democratic parties - on another beachfront near the fashionable La Goulette. "Can you see these people living under Islamic law? Tunisia is not Algeria. I am sure it will never happen here."

...


Women have had successes they want to hold on to: half the candidates in the electoral lists must now be women. A strong presence of women in the constituent assembly could be crucial to women’s rights.

Women also want to consolidate the position taken by the High Commission charged to verify that the goals of the revolution are respected - namely that religion and politics will be kept separate. Ennahda has opposed this move in the transitional period. It has also opposed the transitional government’s decision that parties cannot receive funds from outside.

On another front women are fighting the undemocratic influence of former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in institutions such as the media. The media gives little space to women, even though they are politically active, and many will be candidates. MORE
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic

 

Kashmir: The militant in her: Women and resistance Kashmiri women defy state oppression by being on the frontlines.



Relegating women's engagement in conflict situations to the passive space of victimhood is an anticipated outcome of the unequal distribution of power in gender relations. However, this narrative obfuscates their role as active participants, which is of equal, if not greater, significance - and which has increasingly become an accentuating facet of their participation during the recent years of the conflict.

In the early stages of the armed struggle, broad-based support for the independence movement was apparent, and resulted in the creation of both dissident men and women. However, men and women formed their opposition to Indian rule largely in different ways. Men took to combat, women to facilitating the men's fight, or by registering their support for azadi through popular protest.

Women also became facilitators of combat by acting as couriers for arms, informers for militants, provided them shelter and food, and at times helped them escape capture during the sudden and dreaded Indian military raids or "crackdowns", which continue to happen in civilian areas. Their motivation came from the general feeling for independence running deep in the masses - as a result of which, the Indian Armed Forces were always looked at as the "other", and militants and other dissidents as their "own".MORE



Libya

via : [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political

Libyan Women Challenge Mindset Created by Tyranny

BENGHAZI, Libya (WOMENSENEWS)--While rebel fighters battle for a democratic future in the west of Libya, a handful of women back in the rebel capital of Benghazi are working on showing people what democracy actually means.

The small group, going by the name Abeer or Express, will be hosting its most ambitious project to date later this summer, after Ramadan is done--the First Libya Youth conference to spread the ideals of democracy.

....

The organizing group for Express is very small. It lists only six people as its core members--five young women and one young man--but its goal is ambitious: to ensure that democracy and personal freedom flourish in Libya.

For 42 years--since Col. Moammar Gadhafi's 1969 coup--the country has known mainly autocracy and secret police acting on the colonel's behalf.

Members of Express say Libyans crave democracy but aren't quite sure what it means.

Fourth-year medical student Halima ben Jomiah, 22, is the founder of the group. Two years ago, she stumbled across the subject of human development and self improvement in books like "Do Not Grieve" by Sheikh Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni and "The Leader In You," the 1936 classic by Dale Carnegie. Ever since, she's been hooked, reading about psychology and how to realize human potential whenever she could find the time.

Ben Jomiah, her sister and her friends decided that for the revolution to succeed, people have to have correct attitudes about democracy: not being afraid to speak, but at the same time, having the respect to listen.

They called their group Express in order to focus on personal expression as a form of civic participation.

As a first step, the group has interviewed dozens of Libyans to get a sense of their hopes and dreams and what is standing in the way. Express has also solicited opinions from advanced researchers in human development, such as Egypt's Sherif Araba and Libya's Omar Gnaiber.MORE


Turkey The Muslim Women’s Media Archives: Kadınlar Dünyası

In Turkey and beyond, it is a common misconception that struggle for women’s rights is a new phenomenon. This struggle is thought of as not organic to the Muslim world, but imported from “the non-Muslim West.” This particular misconception has not only nurtured the neo-colonialist rhetoric of “liberating Muslim women,” but has also played an important role in the debate surrounding whether women’s rights or feminism can ever be “Islamic.”

Unfortunately, little has been done to research historical women’s rights movements in the Muslim world, even though there were many examples that clearly disprove this misconception and could provide a lot to the debate. For instance a simple research in the archives of periodicals that were published during the last two centuries of the Ottoman Empire expose a great availability and diversity of women’s publications, some of which are very focused on women’s rights. One such magazine is Kadınlar Dünyası [“World of Women”]. While its name suggests an early-twentieth-century Cosmopolitan, it was famous for its radical rhetoric and strong emphasis on women’s rights at the time of its publication.

MORE

unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic

MIDEAST Palestinians Prepare for Massive Uprising



BEIT UMMAR, Occupied West Bank, Jul 29, 2011 (IPS) - Leading members of the Palestinian Popular Committees in the West Bank plan massive civil unrest and disobedience against the Israeli occupation authorities come September when the Palestinians take their case for statehood to the UN.

"We plan to take to the streets en masse," Musa Abu Maria, a leading member of the Popular Committee in Beit Ummar, a town 11 km north of Hebron in the southern West Bank told IPS. "We will block entire highways leading to and from Israel’s illegal settlements. We will march on settlements. But these will be non-violent and the protestors will be peaceful.

"We have worked out creative strategies to bring the occupation increasingly to the attention of the international community and the world media. We will be coordinating with our international supporters in Europe and America to increase international recognition of the Palestinian predicament as the tide turns in our favour," added Abu Maria.

The Israeli government, intelligence agencies and security forces have been preparing for an outbreak of Palestinian protests in September as they expect the UN General Assembly to overwhelmingly endorse the Palestinian bid for independence.

The country’s security forces have been holding military drills in preparation for massive clashes. Meanwhile, the political leadership has engaged on a lightning tour of Europe trying to win the support of "quality European countries", as the Israeli government put it, to vote against Palestinian statehood.

The Israeli government is hoping that the economically and politically stronger members of the UN will side with Israel as approximately 140 UN members from "developing and Third World" countries, amongst others, are expected to vote in favour of Palestine. MORE


"Quality Europeans countries? WTF????

Hope...

Jul. 29th, 2011 12:28 am
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic

PAKISTAN After the Flood, Green Homes


KARACHI, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) - Subhan Khatoon’s brand new home is nothing like the one that got washed away, along with all her worldly goods, in the 2010 monsoon floods that submerged a fifth of Pakistan and left 2,000 people dead.

Before that deluge, Khatoon, 45, could not have dreamed of owning a well-ventilated house with such luxuries as an attached toilet and a clean kitchen.

Khatun was lucky that the district administration of Khairpur identified her village Darya Khan Sheikh, on the banks of the Indus in Sindh province, as one of the worst affected, and her house as one that had been completely destroyed and, therefore, merited replacement.

Paperwork over, architects and engineers from the voluntary Heritage Foundation (HF) began designing Khatoon’s new home using locally available materials under its ‘Green Karavan Ghar’ initiative, which runs a similar rehabilitation project in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The vision behind the HF initiative is the use of local materials and a workforce backed by students from schools of architecture and engineering.

Established in 1984 by Yasmeen Lari - incidentally Pakistan’s first woman architect - the HF basically documents historic buildings and works for their conservation, but came forward to help with post-disaster reconstruction.

"These young professionals must learn to respect the traditional ways of building and also get hands-on training both technical and humanitarian in nature," Lari told IPS.

They have already handed over 104 homes in two villages in Sindh, all built with bamboo, lime (as opposed to cement) and mud. Not only can these be made speedily, they are cost-effective at Pakistani Rs 55,000 (647 US dollars) and have a low carbon footprint.
MORE


unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
NEPAL Religious Practices Oppress Women


KATHMANDU, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) - The recent gang-rape of a Buddhist nun and her expulsion from her sect have sparked a debate about the deep-rooted religious traditions and biases that foster discrimination and violence, especially against women, in this South Asian state.

The public outcry against the nun’s expulsion forced the Nepal Buddhist Federation to reconsider, saying now that once she recovers, the victim can return to her nunnery.

But it is only a minor triumph. While public debate on a discriminatory socio-religious practice led to its retraction, thousands of women continue to be victims of other religious rituals in Nepal.

The expulsion debate started after the 21-year-old nun was attacked on June 24 while travelling in eastern Nepal. Bad weather disrupted the journey and the young woman, easily recognizable as a nun by her shaved head and red robes, was persuaded by the bus driver to spend the night in the vehicle.

...

But more suffering awaited the victim. A joint statement supported by 15 organisations— including Nepal Tamang Lama Ghedung, an organisation of Buddhist monks, Nepal Buddhist Federation, and Boudha Jagaran Kendra (Buddhist Awakening Centre)— condemned the attack but said she had lost her celibacy and her religious status. The rejection triggered widespread debate, with Buddhist groups from across the world criticising it.

"There is a great deal of shock and disbelief at the very idea of such an action by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists in the U.S. and abroad," wrote Matthew Frazer, an American who established the Yeshe Tsogyal Foundation to defend Buddhists targeted by violence or abuse. "Such an action reflects badly not only on Nepal, but on Buddhists in general to the rest of the world. It will set a very perilous precedent that can be used to take similar actions against future victims."

MORE



For reals? She got raped and therefore she can't be a nun because her celibacy was TAKEN FROM HER??!?!?? How about NO.

unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
Israel Erupts in Protest, Tens of Thousands Chant 'Revolution'


Approximately 30,000 protesters marched in Tel Aviv last night, with social justice activists blocking central streets and chants of "Mubarak. Assad. Netanyahu" filling the air.

Tel Aviv police arrested 42 activists, which is an extremely rare number, "if not unprecedented," according to +972 Magazine, which has been closely following the circumstances surrounding the sudden rise of Israel's progressive left

The protests are part of a larger movement that began as opposition to rising housing prices, and indeed is still centered around that issue, but has spread to other social justice and progressive causes.

These protests are being described as "the greatest challenge PM Netanyahu faces on the home front," and show that the progressive left in Israel has awoken.

Change in Israel may be coming.

MORE



Facebook is driving Israel's protests

But the role of Facebook is not limited to news updates. The protesters on Rothschild Boulevard hold meetings where everyone can have a say. On Facebook, one status update can provoke a flood of responses and turn into a heated public debate.

Facebook is what radio was in the early days of the state, what television was when the Iron Curtain crumbled, what the newspapers were during the Spring of Nations. The protests over the price of gas, cottage cheese and, of course, housing, would not have accelerated as they did without Facebook.

It's even possible that without this platform, where people can call for a boycott and get infinitely more exposure for their views than they would by standing in the town square, these protests would have never taken place.

These are crazy times in the virtual world of Facebook. One strand of civil action meets another, 1,000 more people join a protest and a chain reaction that began with nothing in the morning can build up into a demonstration that is thousands strong by evening.

"What's happening tonight?" a friend asks. "Go to Facebook, all the details are there," I tell her. "I told you I'm against Facebook, I want to maintain my privacy," she says. But the wall of opposition is slowly but surely cracking; "perhaps today I will join," she finally says. MORE



Massive Housing Protests Shake Israel Government Into Action Demonstrators Reject Netanyahu's Plan as Inadequate


Tel Aviv — In a speech from his office July 26, Netanyahu announced that for the first time in Israeli history, the government will give contractors incentives to build housing for long-term private rental at low rates.

Netanyahu’s speech came as 350 tents lined Tel Aviv’s fashionable Rothschild Boulevard, filled with people demonstrating against high housing prices. More than 500 protest tents were pitched elsewhere in the country. A few hours before Netanyahu’s speech, Haaretz released a poll finding that 87% of Israelis supported the protests. Three days previously, about 30,000 Israelis marched for the cause in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu put other political business on hold and tried to quell the anger.

“In Israel protests by specific groups happen daily, but this has brought in many groups and become massive,” said Ben Gurion University historian of social economics Efraim Davidi. “It is the most important protest in a generation.”

Under Netanyahu’s proposal, the government will offer free state-owned land to contractors willing to compete to build homes for long-term rental at the lowest prices. Netanyahu’s program will also offer half-price land for sale where contractors compete to promise the lowest sale price. Young couples, graduates, and people finishing military or civilian national service will have priority when these homes reach the market. MORE


Free state owned land, eh? Wonder where this land came from? Either way...I watch this development with interest...
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
People & Power: Freedom from Pain




For much of the Western world, physical pain ends with a simple pill. Yet more than half the world's countries have little to no access to morphine, the gold standard for treating medical pain.

Freedom from Pain shines a light on this under-reported story. "For a victim of police torture, they will usually sign a confession and the torture stops," says Diederik Lohman of Human Rights Watch in the film. "For someone who has cancer pain, that torturous experience continues for weeks, and sometimes months on end."

Unlike so many global health problems, pain treatment is not about money or a lack of drugs, since morphine costs pennies per dose and is easily made. The treatment of pain is complicated by many factors, including drug laws, bureaucratic rigidity and commercial disincentives.

In India, the first stop in the film and the world's largest grower of medicinal poppy for developed countries, there are severe restrictions to the use of morphine domestically. In 27 out of 28 states in India, narcotics laws are so strict that doctors fear prescribing it, and patients literally scream for relief. Drug companies have little incentive to manufacture morphine for the domestic market because of reporting requirements and small profit margins.

In the Ukraine, the film reveals that access to pain medication is halted by outdated, Soviet-style bureaucracy, arbitrary limits on doses, and a lack of oral morphine. As a result, many patients experience prolonged bouts of untreated pain, particularly in rural areas. In the Ukraine, we learn that Artur, a former decorated KGB colonel suffering from prostate cancer, sleeps with a gun under his pillow - his only way out, should he decide his pain is too great. MORE


Poppies for Pain Relief


Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from acute or chronic painwithout adequate access to pain medication. The problem is particularly acute in the developing world, as Time Magazinechronicled last year:

Whether you will have access to pain treatment depends largely upon where you live. Africa, which has most of the world’s AIDS victims, is a painkiller wasteland. In India, more than a million cancer and AIDS sufferers die each year in extreme pain as cumbersome regulations and paperwork make it nearly impossible to get prescription painkillers. (India produces much of the world’s legal opium, yet nearly all of it is exported to Western pharmaceutical companies.)

The geography of pain relief is so skewed that the seven richest countries consume 84% of the world’s supply of legal opiates, according to the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent agency that enforces U.N. conventions. For the estimated 10 million people who are suffering from untreated pain, relief is often found only on the black market, or in death

This gaping unmet need and global inequity is becoming the subject of various calls for change, by pain experts, by cancer treatment advocates, by international organizations, and by the human rights community. As Brent Foster explains in this podcast, the reasons behind the inequitable global distribution of pain medication are complex – like many intractable global social problems that get too little attention by policymakers.

However, a significant (and solvable) aspect of the problem is simply the relationship of supply to demand: the need for analgesics like morphine far outweighs the available supply. In part, this is due to the fact that such analgesics are produced from opium, the sap of the poppy. Since the same plant extract can also be used to produce heroin, a significant amount of political effort is now being expended worldwide to actually inhibit, rather than encourage, opoid production. This fuels shortages of analgesics.MORE



Getting Relief in Wartime: Opioids, Pain Management, and the War on Drugs

Profile from the War on Drugs: Joseph Casias

The Government's Cruel War On Pain Medication

The Pain Relief Network Archives


ETA: Depending on narcotics via [personal profile] annaham
unusualmusic: an old style mic against a blue background (Default)
[personal profile] unusualmusic
SKorean students ditch paper for digital books


GOESAN, South Korea (AP) — Outside the classroom a hot summer day beckons, but fourth-grade teacher Yeon Eun-jung's students are glued to their tablet PCs as they watch an animated boy and a girl squabble about whether water becomes heavier when frozen.

The small scene in this rural town is part of something big: South Korea is taking a $2 billion gamble that its students are ready to ditch paper textbooks in favor of tablet PCs as part of a vast digital scholastic network.

France, Singapore, Japan and others are racing to create classrooms where touch-screens provide instant access to millions of pieces of information. But South Korea — Asia's fourth-largest economy — believes it enjoys an advantage over these countries, with kids who are considered the world's savviest navigators of the digital universe.

A 2009 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-headquartered grouping of wealthy nations, found 15-year-olds in South Korea scored highest in their ability to absorb information from digital devices, beating runners-up New Zealand and Australia by a large margin.

At Sosu Elementary School in Goesan, principal Jo Yong-deuk speaks of a future in which his students interact in virtual reality with Ludwig van Beethoven and Abraham Lincoln. In the classroom, the children scribble answers in their tablet PCs with touchscreen pens as they watch the video clip explaining the scientific properties of frozen water.
"I liked this chapter, but my favorite clip is one where they show how flowers blossom and trees bear fruit in spring," 11-year-old Jeong Ho-seok said with a wide grin.

More than 60 primary, middle and high schools are now using digital textbooks as part of their curriculum, according to the state-run Korea Education and Research Information Service, which provides technical support for the program. Seoul believes it can finish the $2.1 billion program to build a single computer network packed with high-quality digital content by 2015. Replacing textbooks with tablet PCs will account for a quarter of that budget. MORE


Meantime we in the US like the jackasses we are, cut education to the bone and indulge in total fucking idiocy like NCLB and Race to the Top and whatever the hell Obama's got going. For the most powerful in the country in the world, we sure don't give much of a fuck about our future...

Profile

Discussion of All Things Political

January 2013

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728 293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags