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MEXICO Peace Movement Meets Zapatistas


PALENQUE, Mexico, Sep 19, 2011 (IPS) - The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, headed by Mexican writer Javier Sicilia, travelled through southeastern Mexico and reached the heart of the territory controlled by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), bringing a message of solidarity.

Sicilia and other relatives of victims of the wave of violence triggered by the militarisation of the war on drugs by the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón visited the "autonomous community" of Oventic, in the southern state of Chiapas, Friday Sep. 16.

The community is part of the territory under the influence of the EZLN, guerrillas who took up arms in 1994 in Chiapas to demand democratic reforms and greater recognition of indigenous rights. After two weeks of skirmishes with the army, a truce was agreed. The barely-armed group remains in political and administrative control of part of the state, where communities are organised autonomously under local councils.

No Zapatista commanders took part in the meeting, but the peace movement activists were welcomed by the Junta de Buen Gobierno (Council of Good Government). The meeting lasted for over three hours. Five EZLN representatives listened to the victims' testimonies, but made no statement.

"They have their own methods and sense of timing. The main thing is that it was possible to hold this meeting," one of the coordinators of the peace movement, Pietro Ameglio of the Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ), told IPS.

On May 8, when a national march convened by Sicilia arrived in the Zócalo, Mexico City's central square, the Zapatistas held a demonstration in the southeastern town of San Cristóbal de las Casas in support of the peace movement.


MORE


MEXICO Peace Caravan 'Has Made Us Feel Stronger'

OAXACA, Mexico, Sep 13, 2011 (IPS) - With a huge hug, Olga Reyes from Chihuahua, who has lost six family members in Mexico's wave of drug-related violence, greets Araceli Rodríguez from Mexico state, the mother of a young federal police officer who "disappeared" in Michoacán two years ago.

They are both travelling with the Peace Caravan, heading for Mexico's southern border with Guatemala.

Reyes and Rodríguez then embraced Rosario Ocampo, the niece of Lucio Cabañas (1939-1974), a rural schoolteacher and leader of the insurgent Partido de los Pobres (Party of the Poor). Her family were displaced from their home and forced to flee from the southern state of Guerrero after the legendary guerrilla fighter's widow was murdered two months ago.
MORE


MEXICO
Peace Caravan Tells Migrants 'You Are Not Alone'


TECÚN UMÁN, Guatemala, Sep 16, 2011 (IPS) - Lucía and her family left their village in Guatemala village at 8:00 am to join the Peace Caravan, but they had to wait for six hours at the Rodolfo Robles bridge between Ciudad Tecún Umán, in Guatemala, and Ciudad Hidalgo, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

When the motorcade, led by writer Javier Sicilia and activist Julián Le Barón, of Mexico City and Chihuahua state, respectively, finally arrived at the Guatemalan border, Lucía had held her one-year-old son in her arms for ages. Tired out by the wait, he was fast asleep, oblivious of the commotion on the international bridge.

"We came to represent our organisation (the Campesino Unity Committee), because there is a lot of crime, a lot of poverty, and many people are being killed or are victims of extortion in Mexico," the young mother told IPS.
MORE
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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.


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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

Huh.

Aug. 27th, 2011 09:09 pm
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PORTUGAL:Young Professionals Flee Crisis - to Former Colonies

LISBON, Aug 22, 2011 (IPS) - Thousands of young people from Portugal are joining an emigration flow that never trickled to a stop but is turning into an exodus now due to the severe economic crisis plaguing this southern European country. And the main destinations of those looking for a better future abroad are former colonies, especially Brazil.

The new emigrants are overwhelmingly young university graduates or skilled technicians, who have failed to find opportunities for personal and professional development at home. Many are drawn by the buoyant optimism prevailing in Brazil, in contrast to the disillusionment and fatalism hanging over Portugal.

The enormous investment this country has made in education in the last two decades seems to be going down the drain – or to Brazil, and to a lesser extent, to other former Portuguese colonies, in Africa and Asia.

For the less-skilled migrants, especially truck drivers, construction equipment operators, construction workers and electricians, the promised land is Angola, where oil and diamonds have made the southwest African country one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Macau, a former Portuguese enclave on the southern coast of China, 70 km southwest of Hong Kong, has also begun to look attractive to victims of the crisis.

The tiny territory, which returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999 after five centuries of Portuguese rule, is often referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia. Besides the robust growth of its travel and tourism market and the presence of a number of Portuguese companies, Macau is attractive to Portuguese investors and traders as a gateway to China.

But it is in Brazil where the Portuguese tend to feel most at home, in terms of cultural identity. "It's like leaving Portugal without really going abroad," Mafalda Assenção, who has a degree in humanities from the University of Lisbon and plans to head overseas, told IPS.

The common language as well as ties with the thriving Portuguese community in Brazil make the country look promising to young people seeking to flee the recession in Portugal.

Young Portuguese professionals who feel they have nothing to lose in a country that offers them neither jobs nor ongoing unemployment benefits find a world of opportunities in moving to the planet's eighth largest economy, which is 94 times the size of Portugal's and has a population 18 times larger than this country.

MORE
Soooo...what will happen to the locals in terms of the job market? And how will this work out in terms of class and race?
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UN Women releases first report: Progress of the World’s Women

The newly created organization within the UN, UN Women, led by former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, (Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director) dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women which was established to accelerate progress on meeting the rights of girls and women worldwide, has released their first report yesterday, Progress of the World’s Women.
The report can be downloaded here (link goes to PDF file) and the facts sheets (also in PDF format) are available here.
In the interest of brevity for this post (and you will notice that brevity has not been achieved given the amount of data I went through), I have specifically gone through the fact sheets and not focused on the overall report. I might collate the data in the report itself (which deals with specific cases and studies in each region) for a future post.

Read more... )
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All work and No pay: The Great Speedup


Webster's defines speedup as "an employer's demand for accelerated output without increased pay," and it used to be a household word. Bosses would speed up the line to fill a big order, to goose profits, or to punish a restive workforce. Workers recognized it, unions (remember those?) watched for and negotiated over it—and, if necessary, walked out over it.

But now we no longer even acknowledge it—not in blue-collar work, not in white-collar or pink-collar work, not in economics texts, and certainly not in the media (except when journalists gripe about the staff-compacted-job-expanded newsroom). Now the word we use is "productivity," a term insidious in both its usage and creep. The not-so-subtle implication is always: Don't you want to be a productive member of society? Pundits across the political spectrum revel in the fact that US productivity (a.k.a. economic output per hour worked)consistently leads the world. Yes, year after year, Americans wring even more value out of each minute on the job than we did the year before. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Except what's good for American business isn't necessarily good for Americans. We're not just working smarter, but harder. And harder. And harder, to the point where the driver is no longer American industriousness, but something much more predatory.

MORE



The Spam Factory's Dirty Secret Uh...this article will make you feel sick. You should probably not be eating, at least.

First Hormel gutted the union. Then it sped up the line. And when the pig-brain machine made workers sick, they got canned



SINCE 1989, the line speed at QPP had been steadily increasing—from 750 heads per hour when the plant opened to 1,350 per hour in 2006, though the workforce barely increased. To speed production, the company installed a conveyor system and humming automatic knives throughout the plant, reducing skilled tasks to single motions. Workers say nearly everyone suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome or some repetitive stress injury, but by October 2007, there were signs of something else. Workers from QPP's kill floor were coming to Carole Bower, the plant's occupational health nurse, with increasingly familiar complaints: numbness and tingling in their extremities, chronic fatigue, searing skin pain. Bower started noticing workers so tender that they struggled with the stairs to the top-floor locker rooms, high above the roar of the factory line.


Six workers were referred to Richard Schindler, a doctor at the Austin Medical Center who'd first seen Matthew Garcia. Garcia had returned a second time to the brain machine, worked four-hour days, then six hours—but his symptoms soon returned. He began falling on the plant floor, his legs numb and motionless under him. Schindler found that Garcia and another brain-machine operator were the most advanced cases. Besides Garcia and the six workers referred by Bower, Schindler had seen another five men and women with similar symptoms—all workers at QPP. Schindler believed they were suffering from something like the rare disorder Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)—death of the peripheral nerves caused by damage to the fatty neural covering known as the myelin sheath. He emailed a group of neurologists at the Mayo Clinic for advice. MORE



USA! USA! USA! USA!

Capitalism for the wins!!!Not.
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TRIGGER WARNING FOR MENTIONS OF RAPE, ABUSE ETC:

Saudi Arabian torment of migrant workers at mercy of abusive 'madams'


Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia send £17bn to families back home annually. But for some, the cost in physical and mental abuse is too high, writes Jason Burke

Shortly after dawn, as the sun rises over the hills behind the city, tens of thousands of women will wake in the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah and go to work. Maybe 14 or 16 hours later, their day will be over.

They are maids, almost all from the Philippines or Indonesia, working for £100-£200 a month. There are more than 500,000 of them in Saudi Arabia, among nearly nine million foreign workers who sweep roads, clean offices, staff coffee shops, drive the cars that women are banned from driving and provide the manpower on the vast construction projects.

The story of the maids rarely receives attention, except when a new shocking incident reveals once again the problems many of them face. Last weekend a 54-year-old Indonesian maid was beheaded by sword for killing her female boss with a cleaver. Ruyati binti Sapubi had, an Islamic court heard, endured years of abuse before finally attacking her "madam", as the maids call their employers, when denied permission to return home.

Read more... )

Recall the recent headline:UN's ILO (International Labour Organization) says that domestic workers...are workers Hopefully this new ruling will help to combat this kind of abuse.
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The Arab World’s Forgotten Rebellions: Foreign Workers and Biopolitics in the Gulf

The Arab world is undergoing a potentially world-historical transformation. The Tunisian street vendor Muhammad Bouazizi’s self-imolation, following mistreatment by state authorities in late 2010, sparked a deluge of populist anger and activism that has toppled the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, respectively, soon to be followed by street demonstrations and battles across the region. At the time of this writing, Libyan rebels in alliance with a NATO coalition are battling Qaddafi and his loyalists. Bahrainis, Omanis, and Yemenis, and most recently Syrians, have taken to the streets en masse, and have been met by the bullets and security thugs–and in Bahrain’s case, Saudi troops–pressed into service by regimes desperately trying to maintain the grip on power of entrenched one-family states. The analogy has been made between these events and the Prague Spring of 1968, both with its hopes for popular challenges of illegitimate state power, and its warnings about the cunning and brutality of such power arranged against popular movements. Yet before these rebellions came others, arguably more modest in their aims and undeniably less noticed by the world media. For years, workers, predominantly South Asians, have been taking to the streets in the United Arab Emirates. What have these protests been about and why have they been ignored? How might they inform future scholarship on the Gulf?MORE
It would be enlightening I think to see the differences and similarities between the immigration debate here in the USA and whats going on in the Gulf.
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Millions May Soon Be Fleeing the Floodwaters

OSLO, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - Mass migration will inevitably be part of human adaptation to climate change, experts agree, since parts of the world will become uninhabitable in the coming decades.

Last year, 38 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters such as the flooding in Pakistan and China.

"Human displacement due to climate change is happening now. There is no need to debate it," Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway's minister of foreign affairs, told over 200 delegates attending the Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century in Oslo Jun. 6-7.

Governments and the humanitarian community need to understand this fact - and that it will get much worse in the coming decades, Støre said. MORE
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Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Sébastien Bassong attack France race quotas

Benoît Assou-Ekotto still finds the concept faintly amazing, despite having lived in England for the past five years, and so does Sébastien Bassong, his Tottenham Hotspur team-mate, who has been in the country now for three. When the French-born Cameroon internationals ask colleagues such as Jermain Defoe or Aaron Lennon where they come from, the answers touch a nerve that is red raw in France at present.

"They say, of course, that they are English or British," Assou-Ekotto says. "At first, I thought that they must be ashamed of their origins because coming from where I did in France, even if you had only one little drop of Moroccan blood, for example, you would represent it to the death. You would be fiercely proud of being African.

"But here, it is different. People might say that their parents are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria or wherever but they are fiercely proud of being here and the society accepts that, which is a big difference to France. When you ask the same question in France, people will say, 'I'm from Congo or Mali or Cameroon' because there isn't the sense of belonging."

...

But the general unpleasantness of the affair has raised more fundamental questions, with the most prominent concerning why young men such as Assou-Ekotto and Bassong, who were born and raised in France, can feel such a disconnection from the society and, by extension, the France national team.

"I'm surprised by this affair but I'm not necessarily shocked because it's a reflection of French society as I see it," Assou-Ekotto says. "I would put a question to you. Can you name another country where, when the national anthem is sung at the stadium, people boo and whistle? This happens in France all the time. It is not foreigners who make up the crowd; it is people who are supposed to be French and yet there is this disconnect between the state and the people, and they do that. And yet, when something is wrong, they highlight the foreigners.

"France has, at its heart, a problem where it has been unable or unwilling to accommodate the sons and daughters of its former colonies, even though France benefited and enriched itself greatly from the relationship. That's hard to accept and it's what sits at the base of what is dysfunctional in France
."MORE


I and other have been saying this shit for a long fucking while: if the dominant culture is nasty to its immigrants then what the fuck do they expect said immigrants to do? Continue to hold out their hands to get slapped? Of course they are going to be alienated and draw away from the dominant society. This is logic and common fraking sense! Now the fun thing of course is that Britian has it own issues with immigration. But damn France, damn.


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Europe moves to end passport-free travel in migrant row:European interior ministers agree to 'radical revision' of Schengen amid fears of a flood of migrants from north Africa


European nations moved to reverse decades of unfettered travel across the continent when a majority of EU governments agreed the need to reinstate national passport controls amid fears of a flood of immigrants fleeing the upheaval in North Africa.

In a serious blow to one of the cornerstones of a united, integrated Europe, EU interior ministers embarked on a radical revision of the passport-free travel regime known as the Schengen system to allow the 26 participating governments to restore border controls.

They also agreed to combat immigration by pressing for "readmission accords" with countries in the Middle East and north Africa to send refugees back to where they came from.

The policy shift was pushed by France and Italy, who have been feuding and panicking in recent weeks over a small influx of refugees from Tunisia. But 15 of the 22 EU states which had signed up to Schengen supported the move, with only four resisting, according to officials and diplomats present.

The issue will be discussed at a summit of EU prime ministers and presidents next month. But the "reforms" of the Schengen system also need to go through the European parliament, where there is likely to be strong resistance to empowering national governments to reinstate controls.



...

The border-free region embraces more than 400m people in 22 EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. It extends from Portugal to Russia's borders on the Baltic, and from Reykjavik to Turkey's border with Greece.

The move to curb freedom of travel came as the extreme nationalist right, which is increasingly influencing policy across Europe, chalked up a notable victory in Denmark, which announced it would unilaterally re-erect controls on its borders with Germany and Sweden.

The centre-right minority government in Copenhagen capitulated to the fiercely anti-immigrant nationalists of the Danish People's party to secure parliamentary backing for long-term budget, welfare and retirement policies. "I have worked hard for this," said Pia Kjaersgaard, the far-right leader.MORE



Denmark's populist border controls reintroduced but many remain sceptical

The rightwing Danish People's Party (DPP) laid on a spread of bacon crisps and pink champagne to celebrate the agreement on tighter border controls. But many Danes refuse to toast legislation they see as damaging to the country's reputation around Europe.

"It is an expression of xenophobia," said Carl Carstensen, a history teacher from Vejle, an hour's drive just north of the German border. "I guess Pia Kjaersgaard [the DPP leader] is scared of all the people who will come flooding up from the Arab countries. Presumably, the idea behind this is to catch criminals but it is border control officers who are at the borders, not police. Unless the officers have police privileges it doesn't make any sense."

The DPP is a key supporter of Denmark's Liberal-led coalition, and has been criticised for making concessions on the government's new financial plan in order to secure a populist deal on border control.

"Kjaersgaard has a phobia about foreign people and she knows she can win lots of votes this way, especially among the older population," said Carstensen. "The idea behind the EU was European integration. This is the complete opposite and I think that we have been noticed. But not for anything good."

Immigrants and their descendants make up about 10% of Denmark's 5.5m population, and the number of residence permits granted rose by more than 50% between 2004 and 2009. Many believe the Danes have become steadily more opposed to immigration in recent years, reflected in the rise in DPP support.


MORE
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April 8th War is not peace
For decades, School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois has argued that embracing militarism will never bring us the security we seek. But he thinks he knows what will.

It’s known as the School of Assassins among the poor of Latin America; a vessel for the spread of democracy among its U.S. military proponents; and one of the world’s most infamous human rights offenders for the thousands of protesters who gather in Fort Benning, Georgia, each November to honor the names of union leaders, campesinos, priests, and children who have been gunned down by its alumni.

This week, activists led by longtime peacemaker Father Roy Bourgeois are fasting in Washington, D.C. to demand the closure of the “School of the Americas,” a training center, funded by U.S. taxpayers, for tens of thousands of Latin American soldiers and police forces.

The institution was initially founded to curb the spread of communism in the region—training, arming, and supporting some of the 20th century's most deadly regimes in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Bolivia, and on. With an eerily Orwellian turn of phrase, the school, originally founded in Panama in 1946 before it was relocated to U.S. soil in 1984, was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC, in 2001.

"We rely on what our leaders tell us is true, and we don't know what our foreign policy means to those on the receiving end."

According to Bourgeois' watchdog group, the School of the Americas Watch, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people—from Jesuit priests to village children—have been traced to the more than 60,000 graduates trained during the school's 59 years of operation. Bourgeois, a veteran and firsthand witness to the carnage in Vietnam, first went to work in Latin America in 1972 as a priest. Five years living with the poor on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, exposed him to the United States' complicity in atrocities committed by General Banzer’s regime. “I met my country there,” he says. “We were the ones giving them guns and teaching them how to use them.”

Bourgeois' outspokenness eventually got him arrested and effectively deported, but it also got him rolling. Every Sunday, he spoke at different churches throughout the U.S., explaining how our own military might, money, and expertise were supporting some of the world's most merciless oppressors.

In 1989, a congressional task force investigating the massacre of six Jesuit priests, their co-worker, and her teenage daughter, revealed that some of the killers had been trained at Fort Benning. Bourgeois organized a 35-day fast at the base’s gate.

Two decades later, Bourgeois' activism has spread, with tens of thousands of participants from all over the world demanding the closure of the school. Bourgeois has personally petitioned leaders—from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Bolivian President Evo Morales—to discontinue their militaries’ involvement with the school.

Bourgeois believes that American people must find new ways to be in relationship with the rest of the world—with or without the official support of our leaders. Militarism, he argues, has been an American addiction for years. But with drastic unemployment, languishing social services, widespread insecurity, and the creeping consolidation of power, we may finally learn how to say, enough is enough. MORE
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Are Your Papers in Order?


Tracked for nearly a mile by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies last May, when the Dodge still ran, Elaine [Sanchez] became alarmed, and then terrified, as the lawmen followed closely without ever turning on their lights. Her anxiety surpassed anything associated with an ordinary ticket; her family had already exchanged tales about this sort of enforcement.

For more Joe Arpaio's abuses of power, see our special report section. Elaine drove the van into her backyard. After banging on the back door and screaming for her own mother, she was wrestled to the ground by the sheriff's men. Sanchez's boys emerged from their home to find their mother flat in the dirt with a deputy's knee in her back as she was roughly handcuffed.The light over her license plate was out.
This is not an unknown crime in Elaine's neighborhood.

Indeed, Elaine Sanchez was no stranger to the sheriff's deputies who'd wrangled with her on the ground; one of them later volunteered that he recognized her from an earlier visit.
Sanchez and her family believe they have been targeted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's men as part of the fallout from the lawman's infamous anti-immigrant sweep in Guadalupe.

And here's the rub: In spite of their last name, none of the Sanchezes is Mexican. None of them is in the United States illegally.
All members of the Sanchez family are Yaqui Indians. They are all American citizens. They are as legal as the sheriff's family. They are, however, brown.

On March 4, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Mississippi) worried aloud that the 287(g) program — the enabling act that turns cops into immigration officers — was "using minor traffic violations instead of major crimes" to harass Hispanics.
Thompson, chairman of the
House Homeland Security Committee, has no idea. The genteel concerns of an uninformed Mississippi legislator are so beside the point as to be quaint.

Motorists in Maricopa County are confronted today by deputies in ski masks, guns drawn.
Ski masks.
The slightest pretext elicits the question: Are your papers in order?


With this article, we begin an occasional series to introduce the people swept up in this madness. The individuals you will meet in this installment are all Americans. But eventually, you will also shake hands with illegal aliens. Neighbors, one and all.And the WTFs keep coming
Hell why isn't this a national scandal, seeing as we are so post racial and all? These people are leaving in a motherfucking POLICE STATE. Are we going to wait until it takes over the WHOLE DAMN COUNTRY and is affecting us persoanlly to take fucking action??? HOW THE HELL IS HE NOT IN FUCKING JAIL AND HIS ENTIRE DEPT. DISMANTLED????
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What happened?

Bhutanese Refugees: The Story of a Forgotten People

Bhutan’s 650,000 people comprise three main groups, along with other small groups.

The Ngalongs of the western mountains and the central Bhutanese with whom they have intermarried form the elite. They form a minority alongside the more numerous Sharchhops (“easterners”). Both Ngalongs and Sharchhops are Buddhist.

The Lhotshampa, who live mainly in the south of the country, are the third largest group in Bhutan. Originally from Nepal, they speak Nepali and most practise Hinduism.


Read more... )


Government Repression of Southern Bhutanese[Lhotshampas]


In 1985 the government began its defense of Drukpa culture and traditions. A new citizenship act was passed that applied new criteria of citizenship, and made them retrospective, declaring all previous legislations null and void. The new citizenship Act of 1985, One Nation One People policy, Driglam Namza, Compulsory Labour, and No Objection Certificate were the vivid government repressions against the Nepali speaking Lhotshampas that resulted the democracy movement of 1990.

One Nation One People Policy

In the name of national integration, government's drive for "One Nation One People'' policy made all the southern Bhutanese liable to a fine or imprisonment if they ventured out in anything other than western traditional costume, and Nepali language was removed from the school curriculum. Many southern Bhutanese were fined and imprisoned for not complying with this order. The wearing of 'gho' and 'kira' , traditional Drukpa male and female garments was unsuited to the heat of southern Bhutan.

Driglam Namza, an ancient code of social etiquette of the western Bhutanese which dictates how to eat, how to sit, how to talk, how to dress or how to bow before the authority, and what hair style to adopt, was made mandatory to all the Bhutanese despite their cultural diversity.

MORE


And now?


No Homecoming for Bhutanese Refugees

KATHMANDU, Apr 20, 2011 (IPS) - A knock on the door of his home in Bhutan one midnight turned middle-level government official Balaram Paudyal into a fugitive overnight, after he managed to elude policemen arresting him for "anti-government activities", and then fled the country.

Twenty-two years later, Paudyal is living in a refugee camp in Nepal, along with thousands of fellow Bhutanese driven away in the 1980s. Last week, Bhutan agreed to resume talks to have them repatriated, raising hopes of a possible homecoming. But those hopes were dashed the next day, when the government insisted on screening the refugees, and verifying their identities.


The refugees have reacted with anger, saying Bhutan is simply stalling. "Nepal and Bhutan jointly verified refugees of Khudunabari, one of seven camps, some years back," says T. P. Mishra, the 28- year-old editor of the Bhutan News Service (BNS) that operates from exile. "Though most of them were categorised as genuine Bhutanese, not a single refugee has been repatriated."

...

Read more... )



Lhotshampa eclipse?

Its numbers increasingly scattered across the globe, Bhutanese Nepali-speakers are wondering how to ensure the continuation of their unique lifestyle.

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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
In December last year, the Cancun climate change conference took place. Its taken me this long to be able to write about it because I've been so pissed at the way so many stronger countries proceeded to be selfish shortsighted assholes and committed the entire planet to runaway climate change. Now that I can look at the issue without heading off into paroxyms of RAGE, here are the links:


THE BEGINNING:

April 2010 Native Peoples Reject Market Mechanisms

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OCt 15, 2010 Climate Talks Tank, Global South Sinks Further

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Lost in Cancun

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Don't Look to South Africa for Leadership

Read more... )Because sending us headfirst into more extreme weather leading famine and death will be SO helpful with poverty alleviation.

UGANDA:Carbon Finance May Not Benefit Forest Communities

Read more... )



WikiLeaks: US Manipulated Climate Agreement

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DURING THE SUMMIT

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Full Coverage

Alan Lissner's Cancun Photo and Video Montage

Groups Protest U.N. Climate Summit for Shutting out Civil Society

Cancún Betrayal: UNFCCC Unmasked as WTO of the Sky - IEN Statement on COP16 Outcome

GRASSROOTS CLIMATE JUSTICE IN CANCUN PART I

GRASSROOTS CLIMATE JUSTICE IN CANCUN PART II MORE articles at the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Page



MIGRANT DIARIES BLOGPOSTS
CJ from the USA


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For Life, Environment & Justice


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Closing out COP 16, Closing out Migrant Diaries

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Dispatch From Cancun: Developing Paradise in the Suicide Capital If you have triggers, you might want to skip this one.

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Battle in Cancun:The Fight for Climate Justice in the Streets, Encampments and Halls of Power

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Protesters Say "No" to Climate Market in Cancun

The short-cuts that the United Nations system is offering companies to profit from strategies against global warming were the target of loud protests on the Day of Action for Climate Justice.

Two separate demonstrations, of thousands of people each, were held Tuesday as the climate change summit that ends Friday in the southeastern Mexican resort town of Cancún enters the final stretch.

One of the protesters’ slogans, "País petrolero, el pueblo sin dinero" (In this oil-producing country, people have no money), referring to Mexico, underscored the main cause of the heating up of the planet: the burning of fossil fuels, a question that has been practically sidelined in the talks at the 16th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16). MORE






UN's Tiniest Nation: "Help! We're Drowning"

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Q&A
"Create a Protocol Based on Non-Emissions"
Emilio Godoy interviews YOLANDA KAKABADSE, president of WWF *


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CLIMATE CHANGE
New Forest Agreement - REDD Hot Issue at Cancún


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THE AFTERMATH


La Via Campesina Statement on Cancun: The people hold thousands of solutions in their hands

Climate Capitalism Won at Cancun: Everyone else loses


Cancun Climate Breakthrough

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More thoughts on Cancun

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Cancun Calamity:The agreement reached at the Cancún climate talks was actually a step backwards, writes Nick Buxton

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Emissions punted to Durban, breakthroughs seen on Forests

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The Cancun Climate Pact Is Not a Victory for Climate Justice

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Three months later: AFRICA: Anxious Eyes on Green Climate Fund

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Twenty Years to Save Coral Reefs

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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Migrant Refugees Swept into Revolutions in Libya and Bahrain
Over the past several weeks, the images emerging from the Middle East and North Africa have shocked and awed Western audiences, who had never seen, or bothered to notice, the massive potential of people power to challenge the rule of ossified dictators. But the protest movements across the region have also shed light on less glorious struggles that pervade stratified Arab societies. If the young protesters represent the rise of civil society forces, the imported migrant laborers caught in the crossfire reflect the often-hidden economic and ethnic dimensions to the region's power struggles.MORE
Foreign Laborers Targeting throughout Bahrain
MANAMA, Mar 25, 2011 (IPS) - As protests in Bahrain continue, increasingly migrant workers are being victimised in violent hate crimes. "We expats are victims of hate crimes because we didn’t leave the country or become part of the general strike called by the opposition to keep Bahrain on hold," Nastufi Sharma, and Indian who has been working in Bahrain since 1997, told IPS. "To stop locals from going to work, roads were blocked… we were attacked."

... Eight migrant workers died and approximately 49 sustained various injuries since Mar. 17 when the government with the support of Cooperation Council of the Arab Gulf States (GCC) peninsula shield troops started cracking down on demonstrations blocking roads in Manama - the financial capital of Bahrain. The government has also declared a three-month state of emergency to be enforced by the Bahrain Defence Force. Most expats are not yet considering leaving the country, hoping for the situation to revert to normal. They fear of losing their jobs and not finding new ones back home. MORE
Revolts bypass domestic workers
The uprisings sweeping the Arab world have been provoked by long injustice, low income, police brutality, and lack of social security. While the world looks at this, the suffering of up to three million maids across the Arab world remains wrapped in silence. Victims of abuse, confinement and rape, migrant domestic workers are often invisible because they suffer in places that remain hidden to the public eye, mostly private homes. A freelance Indonesian domestic worker in Jordan says, "If you go to the Indonesian embassy in Jordan you will see hundreds of women who ran away from their employer. "I also ran away after mistreatment. I want to go back to Indonesia but the embassy has no money to send us."MORE

Bahrain protests Victim vs. victim

Migrant workers and the Shia community comprise two victimised populations in Bahrain; a new system that truly aims to be just and representative must not pitch them against each other.
“They were beating me so hard I could no longer see, there was so much blood running from my head.” These were the words of Bahraini physician Dr Sadek Al-Ikri to BBC reporters about the security forces’ crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain. But this was not all. Dr Al-Ikri also told the journalists that the men beating him refused to stop even when he told them that he was a doctor and that he spoke Urdu. The role of Pakistani migrant workers in the protests in Bahrain has since been highlighted by other international news outlets too. A report in the Guardian said that Bahrainis resent the fact that many riot police and security forces do not speak Arabic and denounce them as mercenary soldiers with little empathy for the common people. The Canadian press reported that a majority of participants in pro-government demonstrations were Sunni Arabs and Pakistanis who have recently been granted citizenship in Bahrain. In the words of one regime supporter, Abdelrahman Ahmed, a 21-year-old student born in Bahrain of Pakistani parents, “We always support the government and they are always on our side.”MORE
2011-03-05 Cables: The Vulnerability of Black African Migrant Workers in Libya
A cable from December 2007 features Gaddafi Development Foundation Executive Director Dr. Yusuf Sawani discussing trans-national terrorism threats and security with US diplomats. The director talks about the fact that a million sub-Saharan African guest workers are resident in Libya and says it should be a “cause of concern.” The workers are a concern because Dr. Sawani believes any of those individuals could possibly commit an act of terrorism. In recent days, many of those guest workers have fled, as Libyans have grown suspicious and attacked a number of black Africans due to reports that Leader Muammar Gaddafi hired “black African mercenaries.”

The latest from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates 191,000 or more have fled Libya to Egypt, Tunisia and Niger. A previous report estimated around 80,000 Pakistanis, 59,000 Sudanese, 50,000 Bangladeshis, 26,000 Filipinos, 2,000 Nepalese and other African and Asian migrant workers are hosted by the country.

OCHA reports have been tracking the risk of violence migrant workers face.MORE
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
The World Social Forum which bills itself as ...

/
1) What is the World Social Forum?

The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action. Since the first world encounter in 2001, it has taken the form of a permanent world process seeking and building alternatives to neo-liberal policies. This definition is in its Charter of Principles, the WSF’s guiding document.MORE



...took place in Dakar, Senegal in February this year.

THE BEGINNING

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AS IT HAPPENED


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ANALYZING THE AFTERMATH



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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
BAHRAIN and SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi soldiers sent into Bahrain
Saudi troops and police from UAE deployed to Gulf neighbour to help protect government facilities after weeks of unrest.

Hundreds of Saudi troops have entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there amid escalating protests against the government.

Bahrain television on Monday broadcast images of troops in armoured cars entering the Gulf state via the 26km causeway that connects the kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

The United Arab Emirates has also sent about 500 police to Bahrain, according to Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister.

The US, which counts both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia among its allies, has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.MORE




Read more... )
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
CôTE D'IVOIR. (guys? how do I get that punctuation mark on the "o" in Côte d'Ivoire?)

Côte d'Ivoire: The Difficult Legacy of Houphouët-Boigny

In order to better understand the origins of the current political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, it is necessary to place recent events within the context of the post-colonial era.

Post-Colonial Politics

Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of Côte d'Ivoire from its independence in 1960 to his death in 1993. Henri Konan Bédié, president of the national assembly succeeded the deceased president in accordance with the Ivorian constitution. In 1995, Henri Konan Bédié remained in power, having been elected with 96.44% of the vote.

Politician Laurent Koudou Gbagbo called a boycott of this presidential election due to reforms that had been implemented to the electoral code. He was elected as a member of parliament in his constituency after his party, the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), won five of the eight seats in the elections.

General Robert Guéï overthrew President Bédié on December 24, 1999, after the latter attempted to change the constitution in his favor.

Presidential elections were then held in 2000 and Guéï was beaten by Laurent Koudou Gbagbo. The elections were marred however, by the elimination of several candidates by the Supreme Court including former president Bédié and politican Alassane Ouattarabecause of ”dubious nationality”, forgery and use of a false identity. During Ouattara's prime ministerial rule under President Houphouët-Boigny, Gbagbo was imprisoned as a political opponent in1992 and sentenced to two years in jail, although he was released after seven months.

The result of the contest was strongly contested by Guéï and some clashes marred this period; he eventually recognized the legitimacy of Gbagbo, thus winning FPI a majority of 91 seats in parliament (against 70 and 16 to the opposition).

While Gbagbo was abroad in September 2002, soldiers made an attempt to overthrow him. During the coup, several assassination attempts took place against political figures including Alassane Ouattara, and several difficult years in Ivorian politics ensued.

Bitter Context for 2010 Elections

It is within this context that elections were organized by the international community in December 2010.

MORE



Read more... )
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[personal profile] yvi
The arrival of thousands of Tunisian refugees on the shores of the Italian island of Lampedusa this week has alarmed Italian authorities and sparked an anguished debate in Germany and the rest of the EU over how to respond.

More than 5,000 Tunisian immigrants, the majority of them young men, have arrived in Italy in the past five days, just one month after protests brought down Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

More on Spiegel International
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[personal profile] trouble
to find undocumented immigrants.

I got this via radicallyhottoff on tumblr.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 14, 2011

Violence against Women and Immigrant/Refugee services oppose new directive from Canada Border Services Agency.

Toronto, February 14, 2011: Women’s rights experienced a serious set-back when the Canada Border Services Agency issued a new policy directive that will impact immigrant and refugee women who are seeking safety from abuse across Canada.

Over the last two years Anti-violence against women service providers, migrant women and anti-racist organizers with the Shelter | Sanctuary | Status Campaign (SSS) in Toronto have mobilized forums, rallies, protests, press conferences, delegations and actions to ensure that women fleeing abuse can access services without fear of deportation. These actions led the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre of the CBSA to pass a policy that it would prohibit their officers from entering any space that serves survivors of violence to arrest undocumented women. The policy was originally signed in October 2010 with the endorsement of Violence against Women organizations in the GTA.

On February 11, 2011, the National Office of CBSA called a meeting with organizations that work with women who experience and are fleeing violence in Toronto to announce that a new national policy would be implemented immediately, that would replace the previously agreed to policy. Women at the meeting were shocked to find that a policy that would be effective in ensuring that women with precarious immigration status could receive essential services was being replaced by a much weaker one, which reiterated the CBSA’s priority to conduct surveillance at and enter women’s shelters in the name of national security.

Women’s advocates present at the meeting with CBSA voiced their concerns about this policy and the complete lack of consultation prior to its implementation. The lack of consultation and absence of a gendered analysis of immigration policy, including the enforcement of deportation orders in violence against women spaces, raises serious concerns about the commitment to uphold women’s rights under provincial, national and international legislation and covenants.

In response to the new CBSA policy, Eileen Morrow of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses states, “Services that work with women and children who experience violence are dedicated to keeping women safe from violence and maintaining their confidentiality. That is our mandate and it is the mandate of all services that work to end violence against women. We’ll continue to follow that mandate. If CBSA isn’t prepared to comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada, we still are. Services will need to make decisions about how they can do that to protect women and their children from violence.”

We will continue to oppose any policy or action on the part of the CBSA or any other government agency that endangers women and their children. We demand that the policy that was enacted on February 11, 2011 be revoked immediately, and that the policy that was originally endorsed by anti-violence organizations be reconstituted for Toronto and the whole of Canada.

- 30 -

For more information contact:

Eileen Morrow - Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, 416-977-6619

Notisha Massaquoi - Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, Toronto, 416-593-7655
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[personal profile] la_vie_noire
The trial is happening:

'Please don't shoot me:' Girl, nine, begged for her life before she and her father were shot dead by 'anti-immigrant vigilantes'.

Shawna Forde, the head of the Minutemen American Defence group, is on trial accused of two charges of first degree murder.

She is allegedly orchestrated the attack on the Flores family with two male accomplices, due to face face court in.March.

Police claim that Forde believed Mr Flores was a drug trafficker and would have cash and goods in the house which they could use to fund their patrols.


Notice the, "not hate crime" rhetoric here.

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