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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adios, Uribe!

A bold and creative effort to oust Ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe from the faculty of Georgetown University.

http://uribe-georgetown.org/category/blog/

Friday, September 24, 2010

Justine Masika Bihamba

http://hopeforjustine.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beijing Express Declaration

Beijing Express Declaration

Created en-route to the UN 4th Global Conference on Women, in Beijing. Still highly relevant in 2010

In 1995 a multinational group of 200 women from the 29 former Soviet Union and satellite nations travelled 8000 kilometres aboard a half-kilometre-long train from Warsaw to Beijing for the UN 4th Global Conference On Women. Trainers came from many nations, including the USA, Canada, Israel, Japan and Turkey. Trainers and experts presented workshops on Human Rights, negotiating skills, conflict mediation and conflict resolution, how to change world trade agreements and create economic policies to suit the world’s women - even courses in English, computer skills and networking through e-mail.

The train was sponsored by the UNDP and became known as ‘The Beijing Express’.

The Beijing Express Working Group was created from the 200 delegates and chaired by the UK delegate Lesley Abdela lesley.abdela@shevolution.com

The UK’s Lesley Abdela was sponsored by the British Council to conduct Democracy skills workshops aboard the Beijing Express

The Delegates affirmed the following Declaration developed by the Working Group.
1) The New '-ism'

Neither Communism nor Capitalism has worked well for the majority of women in the world. We believe the new ‘ism’ will come from a new approach to world economics.
Many economic policies have been disastrous for women. It is often women who bear the brunt of economic restructuring policies made by organisations who too often overlook the way their polices could impact on millions of women.
Under both Communism and Capitalism the quality of people’s lives is all too often sacrificed for the goal of wealth creation. Human development should not be sacrificed in the name of economic growth but rather economic growth should be used as a tool to help people achieve a healthy and creative life.
2) White Scarves, Not Blue Helmets

(This heading is symbolic - in certain Islamic countries, when a woman throws down her white scarf no person must pass. This has been used on occasion to stop men fighting)
The present system of peace-making and negotiations dominated by senior men at governmental levels has patently failed and is now discredited. We want women’s full participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-keeping. Therefore we want women’s organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations from all sides in all future peace talks and working with governments on developing and expanding ‘Preventive Diplomacy’.
3) 'Hot Spot' Commission

We want the United Nations’ mandate to be expanded to include preventive diplomacy. As part of this we want a ‘Hot Spot’ Commission set up to try to prevent conflict where trouble is brewing. This Commission, consisting of women and men, would be set up to intervene in conflict prevention, resolution and settlement.
4) Economic and Political Sanctions

We want economic and political sanctions imposed on parties violating Human Rights - but humanitarian aid should be allowed.
5) Rape as a War Crime

We want men who commit rape as a war crime to be brought to justice and prosecuted as war criminals. We believe this will only happen if women are included equally with men on committees responsible for bringing these men to trial.
6) Property Rights As Human Rights

We want property rights recognised as Human Rights, and improved mechanisms for getting back property snatched away in conflicts.
7) Women's Equal Participation

We want systems of national political and public life reformed to include women’s equal participation with men in political, economic and international decision-making at all levels, from local to national to global. This means also providing training and encouragement for women to participate in politics and public life.
8) Favourable Government Policies Towards Women

We want government policies favourable to women. Many policies developed by governments either ignore women’s needs or actually harm women. We want governments in transition economies to show what impact their policies are having on women. This would be a way to get policy-makers to develop policies that are more women-friendly.
9) Gender Neutral Language

We want governments and other entities to use gender-neutral language.
10) Government Financial Support

We want governments to give financial support to women’s groups. These voices must be heard.
11) Recognition of Unpaid Work

We want women’s unpaid work measured and recognised in economic arrangements such as pensions. Nearly 50% of the US$23 Trillion global output is provided by women’s unpaid work. We need fairer sharing of the work and equality in the home. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr of the UNDP says, “When we get world leaders to recognise that 70% of the world’s GDP is unpaid work, they won’t say women working at home can’t qualify for pensions on an equal basis with men.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

Grace Lee Boggs, the Visionary

Watch her interview with Bill Moyers

Human Rights Not Charity for Haiti

From the RFK Center for Human Rights.

Howard Zinn IS the BOMB!

Howard Zinn's The Bomb

By David Swanson

The late Howard Zinn's new book "The Bomb" is a brilliant little dissection of some of the central myths of our militarized society. Those who've read "A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments," by H.P. Albarelli Jr. know that this is a year for publishing the stories of horrible things that the United States has done to French towns. In that case, Albarelli, describes the CIA administering LSD to an entire town, with deadly results. In "The Bomb," Zinn describes the U.S. military making its first use of napalm by dropping it all over another French town, burning anyone and anything it touched. Zinn was in one of the planes, taking part in this horrendous crime.

In mid-April 1945, the war in Europe was essentially over. Everyone knew it was ending. There was no military reason (if that's not an oxymoron) to attack the Germans stationed near Royan, France, much less to burn the French men, women, and children in the town to death. The British had already destroyed the town in January, similarly bombing it because of its vicinity to German troops, in what was widely called a tragic mistake. This tragic mistake was rationalized as an inevitable part of war, just as were the horrific firebombings that successfully reached German targets, just as was the later bombing of Royan with napalm. Zinn blames the Supreme Allied Command for seeking to add a "victory" in the final weeks of a war already won. He blames the local military commanders' ambitions. He blames the American Air Force's desire to test a new weapon. And he blames everyone involved -- which must include himself -- for "the most powerful motive of all: the habit of obedience, the universal teaching of all cultures, not to get out of line, not even to think about that which one has not been assigned to think about, the negative motive of not having either a reason or a will to intercede."

When Zinn returned from the war in Europe, he expected to be sent to the war in the Pacific, until he saw and rejoiced at seeing the news of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, 65 years ago this August. Only years later did Zinn come to understand the inexcusable crime of the greatest proportions that was the dropping of nuclear bombs in Japan, actions similar in some ways to the final bombing of Royan. The war with Japan was already over, the Japanese seeking peace and willing to surrender. Japan asked only that it be permitted to keep its emperor, a request that was later granted. But, like napalm, the nuclear bombs were weapons that needed testing. The second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki, was a different sort of bomb that also needed testing. President Harry Truman wanted to demonstrate nuclear bombs to the world and especially to Russia. And he wanted to end the war with Japan before Russia became part of it. The horrific form of mass murder he employed was in no way justifiable.

Zinn also goes back to dismantle the mythical reasons the United States was in the war to begin with. The United States, England, and France were imperial powers supporting each other's international aggressions in places like the Philippines. They opposed the same from Germany and Japan, but not aggression itself. Most of America's tin and rubber came from the Southwest Pacific. The United States made clear for years its lack of concern for the Jews being attacked in Germany. It also demonstrated its lack of opposition to racism through its treatment of African Americans and Japanese Americans. Franklin D. Roosevelt described fascist bombing campaigns over civilian areas as "inhuman barbarity" but then did the same on a much larger scale to German cities, which was followed up by the destruction on an unprecedented scale of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- actions that came after years of dehumanizing the Japanese. Zinn points out that "LIFE magazine showed a picture of a Japanese person burning to death and commented: 'This is the only way.'" Aware that the war would end without any more bombing, and aware that U.S. prisoners of war would be killed by the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, the U.S. military went ahead and dropped the bombs.

Americans allowed these things to be done in their name, just as the Germans and Japanese allowed horrible crimes to be committed in their names. Zinn points out, with his trademark clarity, how the use of the word "we" blends governments together with peoples and serves to equate our own people with our military, while we demonize the people of other lands because of actions by their governments. "The Bomb" suggest a better way to think about such matters and firmly establishes that
--what the U.S. military is doing now, today, parallels the crimes of the past and shares their dishonorable motivations;
--the bad wars have a lot in common with the so-called "good war," about which there was little if anything good;
--Howard Zinn did far more in his life for peace than for war, and more for peace than just about anybody else, certainly more than several Nobel Peace Prize winners.