November 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to the November 29, 2014 edition of this Peace&Justice action email!

Given that this is a human right’s newsletter, the primary action is to take part in Amnesty International’s global Write-for-Rights campaign.  In addition there is an action related to Darfur and the UN’s mishandling of the situation, and an action to raise again the hope that the U.S. will ratify the Convention on Child Rights.

In addition are a couple of follow-up and other articles of note.

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WRITE-FOR-RIGHTS

Consider joining the annual Write-For-Rights campaign, where hundreds of thousands of people around the world write letters or take other actions on behalf of those unjustly detained, tortured, imprisoned!  It takes place during the first 2-3 weeks of December, coinciding with Human Rights Day, December 10.  You can join a group, take web actions, or better yet create your own group (they can supply you with all necessary material)!

Take Action:
Australia: http://www.amnesty.org.au/activist/campaign/35547/
Canada: http://www.writeathon.ca/
U.K.: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/Write-for-Rights-2014
U.S.: http://write.amnestyusa.org/?ac=none_r

 

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DARFUR: TOWN WOMEN RAPED; UN REPORT IN DENIAL

On October 31 Sudanese forces entered the town of Tabit, reportedly beating the men and then raping 200 women, many of them girls.  The UN peacekeeping force (UNAMID) was 30 miles away.  They sent a team to investigate three days later but soon after arriving and reportedly getting a little corroborating evidence, the Sudanese forces kept them out for a week.  When UNAMID came back they could not get anyone to confirm the atrocity.  Their eventual report denied any rape had taken place. Given other corroborating testimony, this has shed light not only on this incident but has confirmed the suspicions of many about UNAMID’s compromised reporting in general.  Apart from creating a furor at the UN, it has now frayed relations with Sudan who has verbally asked UNAMID for an exit path.

The following petition by Waging Peace (UK) demands an immediate investigation into the mass rape, that the UN provide immediate medical and psychological treatment for the victims and that the government soldiers be held accountable for their brutal crimes, including compensation for the victims.

The event is sickening.  And on a revealing ironic note, the town – Tabit – was one of five towns that were designated in June as one of Darfur’s “model villages”, that is, suitable for the voluntary return of displaced persons.  It demonstrates what most people knew – the effort by the government to paint the conflict as over, is an utter farce (for fuller overall details of conditions of Darfur and Sudan see: Current Status  [UntilAll]).

Take Action:
https://www.change.org/p/un-security-council-protect-the-people-of-darfur

Background:
UNAMID Covers Up Darfur Atrocity [Foreign Policy]
Initial Report of Rape [Radio Dabanga]
Actual UNAMID Internal Report [Sudan Tribune; Eric Reeves]

 

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US: RATIFY THE CONVENTION ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

The US and Somalia (and newly created South Sudan) are the only countries who have not ratified the Convention on The Rights of the Child.  November 20 was Universal Children’s Day.  The action below was to tell U.S. President Obama to announce on that day that he will submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification.

It may seem stunning to some to think that the US, who helped shape the Convention, has not ratified it.  As the background articles indicate, US failure to ratify it stems largely from concern over the possibility of it undermining parental authority. Many countries include formal reservations and declarations of interpretations, so that the Convention won’t override national interpretations of their laws and customs.  Given that all other Western countries with the same basic standards on issues of concern have not been affected by ratifying the treaty, such US concerns do not seem to be grounded in reality, but rather agendas.

US-ONLY: Tell President Obama to Sign:
Tell Obama to Ratify Treaty

Background:
Why is US Against Children’s Rights?  [TIME]
Why Won’t US Ratify Child Rights Convention?  [The Economist]
Actual Convention on Rights of the Child

 

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ISLAMIC STATE (ISIS / ISIL)

The emergence of a new, well-funded, tech- and media-savvy terrorist group that uses grotesque acts and images as one of its chief vehicle for spreading fear and gaining recruits, has caught the Western world scrambling to react.  Analysis of this truly despicable group abound; there is little to add.  Short-term actions have already been implemented. Such actions at best can only contain the immediate situation and by their fast-reaction nature contain terribly compromised elements that easily spark other sometimes worse results.

This newsletter would be remiss not to note this new repugnant dynamic.  Specifically, how do we dissipate ISIS, so that it is only known as a footnote in history? Bombs and bullets (and intelligence gathering and other tactics) may reduce some immediate threat, but they cannot dispel an idea that has gained such deadly traction. For that one needs the long-term classic nonviolent strategy of strengthening the reasonable voices on all sides.  This will be explored more in the next newsletter.  One role is to use Islam itself to combat the horrible distortions (and yet that somehow have appeal) and provide a more solid and compelling alternative vision.  Given that 85% of the victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims [Sanders: The Myth of the Muslim Tide], no one has a greater stake in this than Muslims.  The following is a sample:
Using Islam To Combat ISIS [Huffington Post;  MPAC]

Stay tuned for more on how this seemingly hyper-idealistic strategy can actually contain much grip.

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Bee Decline Now Evidence Of Bird Decline

A decline in bee populations due to a new pesticide (neonicotinoid family) has previously been highlighted in this newsletter.  Now a Dutch study has linked it to a decline in the bird population, though it need further work.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28216810
http://commondreams.org/news/2014/07/24/notorious-neonics-pervasive-midwest-waters-study
 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Is Selection Process for UN Peacekeepers Flawed?

Reports coming from some of the top UN troop-contributing countries indicate that many troops are not adequately educated regarding basic human right.  Often they come from areas which have poor human right records.  Examples were given where UN troops, when previously in their country, were part of serious rights violations.  For others, it is a “reward” thus reducing any motivation to take seriously the UN mandate.  In 2012 the UN set up guidelines for this overall issue but the vetting  process thus far seem unable to address basic flaws.
http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=100415

 

Is U.S. Public TV Dominated by the One-Percent?

In a world where traditional meda is continually squeezed thereby diminishing the range of voices heard and in-depth journalism, one presumes that atleast in the public broadcast sphere there is a better range.  Yet a study by FAIR has found that most U.S. public broadcasting stations have governing boards dominated by the corporate sector.  Even billionaire David Koch sits as a trustee.

While recognizing the value of business people to ensure sound fiscal policies, the point raised here is one of dominance.  On the one hand those from the corporate world constitute 84% of the governing bodies and most are drawn from elite entities.  On the other hand there is a dearth of other areas – few academics, and almost no journalists, educators, artists and leaders of nonprofit groups.
http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/who-rules-public-tv/

2 thoughts on “November 2014 Newsletter

  1. , I would invite anonye to suggest an organization that is genuine about helping the Sudan and that is not a pawn of Western nations that will create their own genocide in their rush for gold, oil and probably archaeological artifacts that fetch a high price. During Saddam’s time, death was the preferred treatment for anonye defacing the ancient artifacts. Apparently in Iraq, the US army made it possible for many ancient artifacts to be stolen by Americans, British or Iraqis. It is incredible that this was not given much coverage in the media. This of course brings me to one of my favourite quotes: He who controls the past, controls the present. He who controls the present, controls the future (George Orwell’s book: 1984). I guess the media doesn’t want show the link between Iraq and its ancient history. To do that would make it harder to demonize the Iraqi people and portray them as being barbaric in comparison to people who live in the West. Iraq was known historically as Mesopotamia and was home to Sumer, the world’s first known civilization. This last part is a lie of course: Egypt is older than Sumer and Sudan is even older than Egypt. Of course, we’ll never know this history if the UN troops get into Sudan. Outside Arabic influences would also like destroy the ancient history of Sudan or claim it for their own. Anything to keep the black man in an state of mental slavery. I honestly believe that we must do all we can to influence what happens in Sudan. They took Egypt from us (kind of), but Sudan, home of the most ancient Nubians, must remain with us, as we have removed us from much of ancient history. For those interested in ancient African History but don’t know much about it, I suggest World’s Great Men of Color, Volume 1 by J.A. Rogers. It is informative, and is a quick read. There are plenty of Great Women of Colour in the book as well. But I digress. I have a suggestion that maybe someone could start a on-line petition. The petition could press for diplomatic solutions to Sudan and a mandate to give the African Union more equipment and money to pay the troops. We could petition other African countries. Perhaps we could petition the government of China to supply money to the African Union. Possibly India, who is also competing with China for trade/business in Africa could be pressed to give money to the African Union. Either way, once you’ve got a petition with a whole heap of signatures, it can possibly open doors especially if you keep making more petitions and get more people involved. I mean, why can’t we do our own petitioning? All we need is a letter with a mandate and a bunch signatures.I will see if I can find any organizations that are working to genuinely help the people of Darfur. Again, if anonye knows of any such organizations, I’ll be glad to hear of them. Until then, I’ll search for any groups/organizations that we can support and give our money to, that will actually ensure it gets to the people of Darfur.

    • Thanks for the thoughts Ahmed. It was a long post; yes history (& current news) is altered by the winner, the powerful. As for creating petitions, you can create one at change.org and avaaz.org. Regarding organizations that help Sudan, there is enough.org and unitedtoendgenocide.org; in UK there is Aegis Trust. They all consult or have on staff people from Darfur/Sudan. As for your UN comment, in fact the UN has been in Sudan for years: in Darfur as part of UNAMID; and in the southern part of Sudan as part of UNMIS. There have been many critiques of them (many of them echoed in these newsletters), but I’ve never heard of them taking artifacts in Sudan (they aren’t in the very north).

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