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If any of the people on this com who're more aware of the subtleties of the US "justice" system than I am, or at least have useful links to share, could help me understand WTH is going on in this case then I'd be grateful.

News via: http://nothingiseverlost.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/leah-lynn-plante-a-third-anarchist-comrade-jailed-for-silence/

Leah's statement on tumblr: http://leahxvx.tumblr.com/post/33298924637

Leah's statement at anarchist news: http://anarchistnews.org/content/we-are-made-star-stuff-statement-leah-lynn-plante

I first heard this story via: http://nothingiseverlost.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/katherine-olejnik/

Write to the three prisoners: http://supportresist.net/letters.html (my postcards are on their way).
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Venezuela Launches School for Human Rights & People’s Power


Last week, the Venezuelan Public Defender’s Office launched a school for human rights education that will be run by the state-funded Juan Vives Suria Foundation in Caracas and will carry out seminars in twelve of the country’s 23 states.

The new school will aim to “dismantle the liberal, reductionist, and individualist vision of human rights”, said Gabriela Ramirez, Venezuela’s chief public defender, during a press conference at the foundation, which is named after a Catholic Priest famed for his activism in defense of human rights.

“Our vision is not just to train the staff of the Public Defender’s Office, but rather to build an enduring culture of human rights, just as our constitution calls for, and that it be the communities themselves that have the capacity and the competence to defend their rights”, said Ramirez.

Social workers and community activists who have already been leading human rights campaigns or who have denounced human rights violations will be the initial participants in the school. While enrolment is free of charge, aspirant students must submit a proposal outlining a social problem in their community and how their human rights education will help them solve it. The school will also offer a certificate of training in the new Anti-Corruption Law for local advocates who can vigil the behaviour of government institutions and of their own communal councils.MORE


Venezuela has got issues but I am really curious as to what comes out of this.
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[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!
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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
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The Montreal Metro System will be fully wheelchair accessible in 2058


I know a lot of people skip titles of posts. Please read the title of this one.

I had an argument with someone at school on Thursday and it's still sitting with me. I think this is because we'd had an earlier argument on a similar subject on Tuesday. As you can probably imagine, it was about disability, or more specifically, about how disabled people have existed and advocated for themselves since long before the mainstream folks started paying attention, and well before I ever started paying attention.

The argument on Thursday was about my colleague's disagreement with the abstract for a master's research paper on disability discrimination in the Montreal Metro System. I'm not from Montreal, so the place this system has in Montreal was a bit much for me to grasp. Apparently it's a big thing, a progress thing. A thing about how Montreal has been advancing into the future. When it was opened in 1966, it was opened to everyone.

Everyone, of course, except people who can't walk up and down stairs.

The presentation and follow-up short video talked explicitly about ableist constructions of public spaces. She called it out very bluntly: this is discriminatory. This has always been discriminatory.

The part that others tend not to get, the part my colleague at the university didn't get, is that the people at the time knew this.MORE from trouble
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But someone needs to explain how a NATO strike killed him when he had been discovered in a drainage hole by rebels.


Graphic footage showing him after his death in Sirte


Muammar Gaddafi killed as Sirte falls: NTC military chief says toppled leader died of wounds following capture near his hometown of Sirte.


Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after National Transitional Council fighters overran loyalist defences in Sirte, the toppled Libyan leader's hometown and final stronghold.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed," Mahmoud Jibril, the de facto Libyan prime minister, told reporters on Thursday in Tripoli, the capital.

Crowds took to the streets of Sirte, Tripoli and Benghazi, the eastern city that spearheaded the uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year rule in February, to celebrate the news, with some firing guns and waving Libya's new flag. 

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured on Thursday.

The body of the former Libyan leader was taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons, Mohamed Abdel Kafi, an NTC official in the city of Misrata, told the Reuters news agency.

Earlier, Abdel Majid, another NTC official, said the toppled leader had been wounded in both legs.

Sirte captured

The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte after weeks of fierce fighting.

 


Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reports from Sirte

 

Fighters flashing V for victory took to the streets in pick-ups blaring out patriotic music.

"Thank God they have caught this person. In one hour, Sirte was liberated," a fighter said.

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley, reporting from Sirte, said Libyans there celebrating the beginning of a "new Libya".


MORE



Who was Muammar Gaddafi? Video


What does Gaddafi's fall mean for Africa? As global powers become more interested in Africa, interventions in the continent will likely become more common.

"Kampala 'mute' as Gaddafi falls," is how the opposition paper summed up the mood of this capital the morning after. Whether they mourn or celebrate, an unmistakable sense of trauma marks the African response to the fall of Gaddafi.

Both in the longevity of his rule and in his style of governance, Gaddafi may have been extreme. But he was not exceptional. The longer they stay in power, the more African presidents seek to personalise power. Their success erodes the institutional basis of the state. The Carribean thinker C L R James once remarked on the contrast between Nyerere and Nkrumah, analysing why the former survived until he resigned but the latter did not: "Dr Julius Nyerere in theory and practice laid the basis of an African state, which Nkrumah failed to do."

The African strongmen are going the way of Nkrumah, and in extreme cases Gaddafi, not Nyerere. The societies they lead are marked by growing internal divisions. In this, too, they are reminiscent of Libya under Gaddafi more than Egypt under Mubarak or Tunisia under Ben Ali.

Whereas the fall of Mubarak and Ben Ali directed our attention to internal social forces, the fall of Gaddafi has brought a new equation to the forefront: the connection between internal opposition and external governments. Even if those who cheer focus on the former and those who mourn are preoccupied with the latter, none can deny that the change in Tripoli would have been unlikely without a confluence of external intervention and internal revolt.

More interventions to come

The conditions making for external intervention in Africa are growing, not diminishing. The continent is today the site of a growing contention between dominant global powers and new challengers. The Chinese role on the continent has grown dramatically. Whether in Sudan and Zimbawe, or in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, that role is primarily economic, focused on two main activities: building infrastructure and extracting raw materials. For its part, the Indian state is content to support Indian mega-corporations; it has yet to develop a coherent state strategy. But the Indian focus too is mainly economic.

The contrast with Western powers, particularly the US and France, could not be sharper. The cutting edge of Western intervention is military. France's search for opportunities for military intervention, at first in Tunisia, then Cote d'Ivoire, and then Libya, has been above board and the subject of much discussion. Of greater significance is the growth of Africom, the institutional arm of US military intervention on the African continent.
MORE
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The Road Not Built: Redefining Progress At Home and Abroad

Local opposition to a proposed road in Trinidad brings new understanding of “progress,” and what it means to be rooted.

Most Americans love roads: Ours is a country of roads with a network of highways that rivals any other. So too does the U.S. government love roads. When the Obama administration passed its epic $787 billion stimulus plan just weeks after taking office, where did much of the money go? Into fixing and upgrading our highways.

When U.S. aid agencies look to poorer nations, they too love to fund the building of roads that can deliver crops to markets and ports and bring “progress” to remote areas. After all, who could be against a road?

In our stay in Trinidad and Tobago, the two-island nation off the coast of Venezuela, we discover that more people than we expected are opposed to a particular road. Their reasons turn the prevailing view of progress on its head and add to our understanding of “rooted” communities.

As we prepare to travel to Trinidad, we notice something strange on maps of the island: The coastal road that goes almost entirely around Trinidad stops for a 17-mile stretch in the center of the northern coast. Our research reveals that government promises and plans to complete the road go back to 1962 when the country gained independence. Some five decades later, still no road.

Not only does the couple not want a road, they want the entire mountain region to be declared a protected area to be stewarded by the people who live around it and in it.

This intrigues us. So we travel to three towns that surround the no-road area in part to see what life is like at the end of the road and to find out the “what,” “why” and “how” of the unfinished project.

MORE
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Gold or Water: The Fight Goes on in El Salvador

At this moment, unbeknownst to most of the world, the government of El Salvador is in the midst of a decision that could make it the first country in the world to ban gold mining. Corporate eyes are trained on this tiny nation, hoping it will decide that mining revenues are too lucrative to forgo. So too should those of us who believe that people and their ecosystems come first be doing our part to make sure that corporate interests do not determine what should be a democratic decision among Salvadorans.

Earlier this year, we traveled to El Salvador for The Nation to learn more about how the first progressive government (led by the FMLN party) in El Salvador in decades was deliberating over its choices. As part of its 2009 election promises, the government of Mauricio Funes had announced it would grant no new mining permits during its five-year term and that it was considering a permanent ban. Once elected, the Funes government initiated a major “strategic environmental review” to help set longer-term national policy on mining.

So, we found ourselves at the Ministry of the Economy, which along with the Environment Ministry, is leading the review. (Can you imagine the U.S. Treasury Department and EPA joining forces to do a collaborative review of U.S. policy?) With us was the man overseeing the review process from the economy ministry: engineer Carlos Duarte. Duarte explained that the goal was to do a “scientific” analysis, with the help of a Spanish consulting firm.

We pushed further, trying to understand how a technical analysis could capture the two sides of such a high-stakes issue. On one hand, El Salvador is a country of deep poverty, with people desperately in need of jobs. How could it not be tempted by visions of earnings from gold exports, especially now that gold’s price had skyrocketed from under $300 an ounce a decade ago to over $1,500 an ounce at the time of our meeting with Duarte? This view is perhaps best epitomized by former Salvadoran finance minister and mining company economic adviser Manuel Hinds, who said that “renouncing gold mining would be unjustifiable and globally unprecedented.”

On the other hand, there is the environmental cost. Here we quoted to Duarte from Maria Silvia Guillen, the head of the Salvadoran human rights group FESPAD: “El Salvador is a small beach with a big river that runs through it. If the river dies, the entire country dies.”MORE
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The Sticky Situation Surrounding Plumpy'nut


Afro-Leo is pleased to bring you a guest post by Isaac Rutenberg, PhD, Patent Agent at Bozicevic, Field & Francis LLP in San Francisco, CA, USA. If you would like to contact Isaac directly, he can be reached at rutenberg@bozpat.com.

Is intellectual property always harmful to poor people? Plumpy’nut has been cited as an example that supports the case against allowing patent rights in matters of humanitarian aid. On the contrary, Plumpy’nut is a shining example of how proper use of intellectual property protections could have significantly enhanced international aid and development work.
A recent article in the NYTimes describes the row that has developed over Plumpy'nut. In short, Plumpy'nut is a revolutionary peanut-based product with the potential to end or significantly reduce severe acute child malnutrition. Developed by Dr. Andre Briend, a "crusading pediatrician" who became tired of traditional (frequently unsuccessful) solutions to acute malnutrition, Plumpy'nut is a simple product that is remarkably effective and practical.

So why the row? Turns out that the Plumpy'nut formulation has been patented in 38 countries, including the US, France, and much of Africa. The owner of the patent, the French company Nutriset, appears to be bent on commercializing not just the miracle product but the entire process of combating acute malnutrition. Nutriset and Nutriset's collaborators (including a US for-profit company manufacturing Plumpy'nut in New Jersey for distribution to USAID) have defended their approach and their product, taking steps to prevent others from producing similar products. Criticism of Nutriset has been unsurprisingly harsh: non-profits worldwide say that Nutriset is trying to profit on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable children. Inevitably, there is the claim that intellectual property is to blame for this disaster.

I say, not so fast. The NYTimes article says that Nutriset obtained the patent rights because Dr. Briend "signed a consulting agreement" with Nutriset after developing Plumpy'nut, since he "never knew anything about manufacturing food." This is somewhat vague, but according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office database, Dr. Briend and a co-inventor assigned (i.e., sold) the patent to Nutriset. This left Nutriset entirely in charge of the patent – Dr. Briend has no say in how it is used.

Why didn't he open source copyright the formulation?


You should read the New York Times article. Just be prepared to RAGE. The Peanut Solution
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Chilean girls stage 'occupation' of their own school in education rights protestFor five months, girls demanding free university education for all have defied police to occupy their state school


Sleeping on a tiled classroom floor, sharing cigarettes and always on the lookout for police raids, the students of Carmela Carvajal primary and secondary school are living a revolution.

It began early one morning in May, when dozens of teenage girls emerged from the predawn darkness and scaled the spiked iron fence around Chile's most prestigious girl's school. They used classroom chairs to barricade themselves inside and settled in. Five months later, the occupation shows no signs of dying and the students are still fighting for their goal: free university education for all.

A tour of the school is a trip into the wired reality of a generation that boasts the communication tools that feisty young rebels of history never dreamed of. When police forces move closer, the students use restricted Facebook chat sessions to mobilise. Within minutes, they are able to rally support groups from other public schools in the neighbourhood. "Our lawyer lives over there," said Angelica Alvarez, 14, as she pointed to a cluster of nearby homes. "If we yell 'Mauricio' really loud, he leaves his home and comes over."

For five months, the students at Carmela Carvajal have lived on the ground floor, sometimes sleeping in the gym, but usually in the abandoned classrooms where they hauled in a television, set up a private changing room, and began to experience school from a different perspective.

The first thing they did after taking over the school was to hold a vote. Approximately half of the 1,800 students participated in the polls to approve the takeover, and the yays outnumbered the nays 10 to one.

Now the students pass their school days listening to guest lecturers who provide free classes on topics ranging from economics to astronomy. Extracurricular classes include yoga and salsa lessons. At night and on weekends, visiting rock bands set up their equipment and charge 1,000 pesos (£1.25) per person to hear a live jam on the basketball court. Neighbours donate fresh baked cakes and, under a quirk of Chilean law, the government is obliged to feed students who are at school – even students who have shut down education as usual.

So much food has poured in that the students from Carmela Carvajal now regularly pass on their donations to hungry students at other occupied schools.

Municipal authorities have repeatedly attempted to retake the school, sending in police to evict the rebel students and get classes back on schedule, but so far the youngsters have held their ground.

Read more... )
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NAMIBIA Skulls Repatriated - But No Official German Apology

BERLIN, Oct 4, 2011 (IPS) - A delegation of Namibian government representatives and leaders of the indigenous Herero and Nama people who came to Germany to repatriate 20 skulls of their ancestors were once again disappointed in their hopes for dialogue and an official apology.

The skulls were of victims of the mass murder of 80,000 Herero and Nama between 1904 and 1908, which were stolen by the former colonial 'Kaiserreich' for racial research some 100 years ago.

"When the Great Powers partitioned Africa in 1884, unfortunately we were allotted to the Germans," said Advocate Krukoro of the Ovaherero Genocide Committee, one of the 60 Namibian delegates, during the Sept. 27-Oct. 2 visit to Berlin.

In 1904, some 17,000 German colonial troops commanded by General Lothar von Trotha launched a brutal war of extermination against the Herero and Nama people, after they revolted against the continued deprivation of land and rights. Following their defeat at Waterberg on Aug. 11, 1904, they were hunted, murdered or driven deep into the Omaheke desert where they died of thirst.

Thousands of men, women and children were later interned in German concentration camps, and died of malnutrition and disease. The territories of the Herero and Nama people were seized, their community life and means of production destroyed. The discussion about the mass murder did not start until Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990.

Germany's foreign ministry has routinely avoided the use of the term "genocide" in dismissing the Herero and Nama peoples' claims for compensation, using instead vague phrases such as "Germany's historic responsibility with respect to Namibia."


Cornelia Pieper, the minister of state in the German foreign office, did the same this time around. "Germans acknowledge and accept the heavy moral and historical responsibility to Namibia," she said on Sep. 30 at the Charité University in Berlin, which hosted the ceremony in which the skulls of nine Herero and eleven Nama people were handed over to the Namibian delegation.

The remains of four females, 15 males and one child were part of the Charité anatomical collection. They were used by German scientists in research that had the aim of proving the supposed racial superiority of white Europeans over black Africans.

Now, 100 years later, the president of the executive board of the 300-year-old institution, Karl Max Einhaeupl, deplored "the crimes perpetrated in the name of a perverted concept of scientific progress" and said: "We sincerely apologise".

The treatment of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia – mass extermination on the grounds of racism, extermination through labour, expropriation of land and cattle, research to prove the alleged superiority of white people – is widely seen as a precursor to the Holocaust. MORE
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Revolting Women: Geneviève Pastre



Pastre’s coming-out, at the age of 56, followed successful careers as an academic, theatre practitioner and poet.

...

It was during her time as a [theatre] director that Pastre began gaining recognition as a poet, subsequently publishing ten poetry collections between 1972 and 2005. In 1976, having privately begun to live with a woman, she began agitating for lesbian rights in France. Her official coming-out was a declaration in print: the 1980 essay on female sexuality, De L’Amour lesbien (About Lesbian Love).

By 2000, Pastre had published a further five books, including historical works. As the titles of Homosexuality in the Ancient World and Athens and the Sapphic Peril suggest, Pastre was one of the first feminist theorists to deconstruct classical myths. Challenging the dominance of Foucault’sHistory of Sexuality, she argued that Foucault – and with him the male academy – had misinterpreted both ancient languages and lesbian sexuality.

Pastre’s greatest contribution, however, has undoubtedly been to the transformation of queer rights, and thus queer life, in France. A year before coming out in the pages of De L’Amour lesbien, Pastre co-founded Comité d’Urgence Anti-Répression Homosexuelle(CUARH). Mobilising the smaller, disparate French gay rights groups that already existed – including David et Jonathan (gay Christians), and Beit Haverim (gay Jews) – CUARH organised a massive protest on 4th April 1981. 10,000 French LGBT people and allies joined what has since been recognised as France’s first ever gay rights march, campaigning for homosexual sex (decriminalised since the French revolution) to have the same age of consent as for heterosexuals.

 

Read more... )
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A Contrast in Discourses: Sicilia and the Peace Caravan in Oaxaca

The Annihilating Language of the Left Meets the Language of Humanity of Drug War Victims

This month’s journey by Javier Sicilia, family members of drug war victims and the Caravan of Peace provided a closer look at how different sectors of the Mexican left are receiving the emergence of the country’s first explicitly nonviolent movement on a national scale. The difference between Sicilia’s Gandhian strategy and discourse and those of more strident and militant traditions was especially magnified in the state of Oaxaca, where the caravan traveled September 11, 12 and 13, a majority-indigenous state which has its own deep history of struggle. ...

Oaxaca’s history of popular struggle is among the deepest in the hemisphere. We’ve learned a lot from it, particularly from the Zapotec communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, who in the 1980s launched the first resistance against the one-party rule of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in its Spanish initials). Much of my own early formation in Mexico came learning from my late friend, the exceptional community organizer and labor lawyer Carlos Sanchez, assassinated in 2003 in Juchitán, at the age of 49, while returning from his daughter’s 15th birthday celebration.

It is not easy to work or live in Oaxaca with a social conscience and not become overwhelmed at times with grief over the sheer volume of political assassination, unjust imprisonment and violence inflicted on good people who have worked to right wrongs and injustices. One day your friend and neighbor are there, fighting the good fight. The next day he and she are gone, forever. Then you watch helplessly as their children are raised fatherless or motherless. You see and feel the gaping holes left in communities throughout the state’s seven regions, and the long term consequences of such political violence, compounded today by the economic violence of the prohibitionist drug policy and its escalating consequences on all of Mexico, including Oaxaca, a key south-to-north funnel in the routes of South American cocaine.

MORE

YES!!!

Oct. 3rd, 2011 07:46 pm
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Supreme Court ruling opens doors to drug injection clinics across Canada Sit DOWN conservatives!!


The Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door to supervised drug injection clinics across the country in a landmark decision on Friday that ordered the federal government to stop interfering with Vancouver’s controversial Insite clinic.

The Court was persuaded by evidence that drug addicts are considerably safer administering their own injections under medical surveillance rather than obtaining and injecting hard drugs on the streets of the city’s troubled Downtown Eastside.

In its 9-0 decision, it said the federal government has the jurisdictional right to use criminal law to restrict illicit-drug use – but that the concerns it cited in an attempt to close Insite were “grossly disproportionate” to the benefits for drug users and the community.

“During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada,” the Court said. “The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.”

In ordering the Harper government to exempt the clinic from prosecution for its activities, the Court said that the government cannot simply close down clinics based on its own distaste for legally sanctioned drug injections.

It said that the consequences of interrupting the work of the clinic could have such “grave consequences” that only a direct court order can be assured that the spirit of the judgment would not be circumvented. MORE
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Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

(CNN) -- Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died Monday of an unspecified illness. She was 71.

"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," her organization said.
Maathai, an environmentalist, had long campaigned for human rights and the empowerment of Africa's most impoverished people.

More than 30 years ago she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to simultaneously mitigate deforestation and to give locals, especially women and girls, new purpose. They have since planted more than 40 million trees.

In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the first woman from the continent to win the prize.

"Her departure is untimely and a very great loss to all of us who knew her—as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine—or those who admired her determination to make the world a peaceful, healthy, and better place for all of us," said Karanja Njoroge, executive director of the Green Belt Movement.

Born in Nyeri, Kenya, on April 1, 1940, Maathai blazed many trails in her life.
She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. In December 2002, she was elected to Kenya's parliament with an overwhelming 98% of the vote.MORE
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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Is Done; What Now?

"Don't ask, don't tell" is over Tuesday.

The ban against gays serving openly in the military has been repealed. Starting Tuesday, gay service members cannot be discriminated against for their sexual identity. But the policy has affected the lives of thousands of people during the 18 years it was in place. NPR spoke with two of them: one who was discharged from the military under the law eight years ago; the other a gay Marine who has been keeping his sexual identity a secret for 14 years. MORE
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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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France bans public Muslim prayers

MUSLIMS will be banned from praying outdoors in France from today in the latest move by officials to remove Islam from the public sphere.

The ban, announced by the government yesterday, infuriated French Muslim leaders, one of whom accused President Sarkozy's government of treating them like cattle.

They say that Muslims, who pray outdoors only because of a lack of space in mosques in France, feel stigmatised.

But Claude Gueant, the Interior Minister, said that the sight of hundreds of people gathering in the streets of Paris and other cities for Friday prayers was "shocking".

It comes after laws to prohibit pupils from wearing headscarves in schools and women from wearing the niqab, the full Muslim veil, in public.

Mr Gueant described outlawing street prayers as the latest brick in the wall that is shoring up the secular nature of the French state. He said that he had nothing against Islam, but wanted it out of the public eye.

...

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, was accused of racism when she said that the worship amounted to an "occupation" - a word that for many French is associated with the Nazi invasion during the Second World War.

But the government now appears to be on the same wavelength, with Mr Gueant agreeing that street prayers would "upset" his fellow countrymen.MORE


Wait a second. Muslims praying on Paris streets are a fucking occupation!? WHAT now? I ain't even hitting the Nazi invasion, what about the French occupation, invasion, colonization of a good chuck of the world's surface not too long ago? And for damn sure they weren't doing anything as innocuous as praying the streets!!!!


And why oh why can't Muslims build bigger mosques to spare our Mr. Gueant's racist, white-supremacist, ignorant, discriminatory, ahem! delicate sensibilities? Why, because the fucking French gov't refuses to give em the permits! See how that works?

France to ban Muslim street prayers

“Here we have the hypocrisy of the French right. On one side, they authorize in the street and on the other side, they say ‘look French people, Muslims are taking over our streets and speak of invasion’,” French lawmaker Axel Urgin told a Press TV correspondent.

Even though France has the greatest Muslim population in Europe, Paris has only one mosque. This lack of mosques leaves French Muslims no choice but to attend Friday prayers at about a dozen street locations across France.

“If we are praying in the street, it’s because we have no other choice. We are using what we have, and that is the street,” the president of Muslim Association of Openness, Moussa Niambele said.

French politicians use the country’s 1905 secularism law as reasoning why Muslims cannot be financially assisted by the government to build mosques. Right-wing mayors also allegedly refuse issuing construction permits to those who have the money.MORE


via [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political

Ah... All these civilized European countries. Such a contrast to all those barbaric Global South countries, yes?
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
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
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**TRIGGER WARNING: discusses topics and stories around rape and sex slavery within prisons.**


Ed Mead, organizing prisoner


Writing on the back of picture reads, “MAS [Men Against Sexism] member Ed Mead + Danny Atteberry (misidentified as “lovers” in CM [“Concrete Mama”, a nickname for the prison]) walk the tier of Big Red, the isolation unit at Walla Walla State Pen. 77 or 78

Ed Mead was arrested relatively early in the Brigade’s trajectory, so he spent much of his organizing time behind bars. In his close to twenty-year sentence, Mead led work strikes, filed petitions, and generally did his best to fan the flames of discontent wherever he went. This made him something of a scourge to prison administrators, who bounced him through state and federal penal systems, moving him along whenever his organizing efforts began to bear fruit.

One of his more notable efforts was Men Against Sexism (MAS), a group of “tough faggots” who forcibly stopped the buying and selling of prisoners by prisoners for the purpose of sexual exploitation [violent pimping of weaker prisoners by stronger ones] in Walla Walla. During the group’s zenith in 1978, MAS proved so effective that a feminine male prisoner could wear a dress around without threat of violence. MORE


pic at the source.


Ed Mead and Men Against Sexism: The Story of a Revolutionary Queer Prison Group

**TRIGGER WARNING: discusses topics and stories around rape and sex slavery within prisons.**

Ed Mead is a revolutionary, Queer, Godless Commie and Ex-Political Prisoner who went to jail for his part in a group called theGeorge Jackson Brigade, which carried out a number of bombings, prisoner liberation’s and bank expropriations to further anti-capitalist struggle in the Pacific Northwest.

Earful of Queer talked with Ed about the history of his incarceration and his work with the revolution prison group called Men Against Sexism, which used violence and the threat of violence to stop rape within prisons in the Northwest of America in the 70′s.

We hear about the rise and fall of Men Against Sexism, failed escape attempts by Ed Mead & other revolutionaries, and the state of prison resistance then and now.

This is a beautiful collection of stories of queers engaged in class war against the state, and of small victories in that struggle.

Audio interview at the link



Ed Mead's Website
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Ghana’s Growing Gay Pride Faces Now-Familiar Evangelical Backlash

On particular midweek nights, throngs of men and women gather at a few particular clubs to dance the night away to pulsating beats, and sometimes live music. The men dance provocatively close to each other, with reckless abandon. The few women around do the same with each other. Kisses are even exchanged.

At seaside dance parties where beer and reggae flow to all and sundry, it’s no longer uncommon for men and women in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, to test the waters and try to pick up companions of the same sex. Even in conservative Ghana, it seems that gays and lesbians are taking steps out in the public domain, at least at night.

But like elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, a backlash to that new openness has erupted as well. Since late May, it has spilled out onto the radio. Hours are spent debating whether gays should be allowed to exist here. Then Ghanaians wake up to national headlines screaming that gays and lesbians are dirty and sinful and ought to be locked up.

The pattern is becoming a familiar one throughout sub-Saharan Africa. As evangelical Christianity has seen its fastest growth on the continent, gay communities have simultaneously grown more open. The parallel developments have led to a growing list of countries in which politicians and media outlets have both incited and exploited social panic around sexuality. In the late 1990s, a beleaguered Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe drew global attention as he invited violence against gay people and blamed the country’s growing troubles on the European deprivation he said they symbolized. Since then, similar moments have struck in places stretching across the continent. Most recently, Uganda has been embroiled in controversy over a proposed law that would, among other things, allow the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality. The authors of that law are closely tied to the U.S. religious right.

Now, this West African nation is having its own gay-dialogue moment and, once again, much of it has been unsavory, with religious leaders and some politicians stoking the flames.

Gay bashing had never been a feature of the Ghanaian social landscape until, oh, I would say the last 10-15 years. And it came with the evangelical Christians,” says Nat Amartefio, 67, a historian, lifelong resident and former mayor of Accra.MORE



Questions: WHY is evangelical Christianity so popular? What needs and wants does it fulfill? Who is funding it? Who are the missionaries? How in the hell do we stop it? Why is it that progressive Christianity seems to be so fucking far behind the assholes? Because GODDAMN, I am sick and fucking TIRED of this.
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Reader? I cried.


14 cows as a “handkerchief to wipe away tears” of 9/11


As America looked inward in the days, weeks and months after September 11, 2001, others around the world made extraordinary gestures toward the United States. 
We were all so focused on ourselves – understandably so – that many probably missed the fact that Iran’s President Mohammad Khatami condemned the attacks, that Ireland and Israel held full national days of mourning, that the Afghan Taliban told “American children [that] Afghanistan feels your pain”.

You are even less likely to have heard what could be one of the most touching reactions of all. This is the story of how a destitute Kenyan boy turned Stanford student rallied his Masai tribe to offer its most precious gift to America in its time of need.
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