Anchoring 2016: Fear Must Not Rule (Part I)

[Editor: Most of this was written at the beginning of 2016.  I could not get a full newsletter out, but I wanted this published as an opening concern for the year.  To be clear while Part I deals with U.S. politics (though “fear and despair” have global concerns, and Part II will look more at one global topic), it is not written to endorse any party or candidate.  Apart from not knowing positions well enough since I am not American, its value is simply meant as a piece for reflection for whatever value it brings, and regardless of perspective].

Fear and despair have stalked the land (fortunately so have courage, hope and tenacity; a separate topic).  While I could list the simmering conflicts around the world, this section will focus on the dynamics affecting most of this readership (Western world and primarily the U.S., given the global reverberations such responses would have).  [Addendum: Human Rights Watch just produced its annual report, entitled, “Politics of Fear”, reporting on 90 countries].

Part I: The Ominous Symptom of “The Strong Man”

The first fear dynamic surrounds Donald Trump.  The focus is not Trump himself – commentaries abound – but the glimmer of insight arising from Trump’s supporters.  The caricature by some is that Trump’s followers are crazy. I disagree. These people are responding quite normally within the framework of how they view the world. People would not respond that way in such numbers for so long unless it really was grounded in something deeply distressing.

In that context I feel I am witnessing an extremely disturbing phenomenon with the following broad contours:

  1. There exists a substantial seam of society whose sense of marginalizing dynamics is so deeply felt that the normal recourse is considered futile. Thus the only viable option they see is the archetypical “strong man” who will make things right.
  2. While a sense of marginalization / disenfranchisement can have layers and many factors and even be illusory, in this case its primary source is a disconnect from the American dream (defined as the opportunity for meaningful work which results in societal progress and standing). Part of it is the debilitating widening income gap.  Part of it is an “elite Washington” – either political party – disconnected from normal people’s reality.  Part of it is fueled and even manufactured by hidden money (see 3(i) below). Part of it is the continued globalizing trends (oversea jobs, reduced sovereignty; see TPP).  In such dynamics there is a sense of loss of control and thus easily a diminishment of one’s sense of worth.
  3. Futile normal recourses: (i) Government is part of the elite and is lobbied and shaped by the elite – corporations, etc. (for example, Koch Brothers’ “Dark Money” [CBC] and the resulting right shift that disgusts traditional conservatives [Patheos]); (ii) In a reverse “Occupy Wall Street” sense (where OWS was a great groundswell which arose from the 2008 economic collapse, yet accomplished nothing, zero), the rage against the machine is seen as futile.  Thus the only recourse is the “strong man.”
  4. A side-effect is that the thin veneer of civilization erodes, and thus racism and xenophobia increase. It also seems to bring a diminished desire for dialogue, engagement with the other and empathy.

In smaller degrees the above dynamics have played out over the years.  But this time the dynamics are potentially seismic in nature.  Three points:

  1. For the first time in my life I feel I am witnessing parallels in North America to what gives rise to the “strong men” of the past like Hitler and Mussolini. To be clear my entire focus in not on the strong men nor suggesting similarities (I find those claims quite wanting; although I find Trump’s statements often reckless and inflammatory), but rather entirely focused on the ferment beneath;
  2. While I do not think this will be a tipping point, the fermentation will continue until the underlying issues are addressed, specifically until those areas of well-being that have withered, are restored;
  3. For all the wonderful people who are attempting to tilt dynamics in sound directions, or who still uphold the core value of dialogue, listening and empathy, may you remain steadfast. This will lessen any pendulum swing and will reinforce or more quickly re-anchor solid societal grounding.

For anyone wanting an introduction to the notion of the hidden layers of power and what some consider the gutted notion of democracy in America, Sheldon Wolin’s (Princeton prof., died 2015) Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism work is briefly explored in Inverted Totalitarianism [TruthDig]

While many people warn of the demise of any form of substantive democracy, others point to some aspects that can start to strengthen democratic tendencies.  The hope here is that this is not a cache-22 limit on human aspirations – this list does deal with the rather intractable need to devolve power – but rather will be seen a century from now simply as a particularly thorny epoch.  A brief list includes:

  1. Get unbridled money out of political campaigning; create transparency in lobbying.
  2. Address the financial systems still unchanged after the 2008 financial crisis.
  3. Address the  widening income gap – its chasm has become  life-stifling and life-distorting.
  4. Provide robust oversight that can establish an appropriate surveillance balance between truly threatening activity and personal privacy.

In the end, the high drama may fizzle, normal political discourse may return for the time being.  But without change to the disturbing undercurrents, the “strong man” catastrophe will remain waiting for the next person able to capitalize in a twisted fashion to the genuinely disturbing undercurrents.

November 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the November 24, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

This newsletter contains two topics of note.  The first is a brief comment on the recent Paris terrorist attacks.

The second topic contains a global action for November 29 and is why the newsletter must go out now.  The overall topic is the upcoming world Climate Change conference in Paris.  While this newsletter has touched on the climate issue several times, the complexity of the topic itself is beyond the scope to address.  No one can predict accurately what impact humanity will have on our climate (due primarily to carbon dioxide emissions, as well as methane, etc.).  But the overwhelming consensus leans heavily toward a negative long-term impact if emissions are not reduced.  Long before such a consensus (though noting it is not scientific unanimity) this newsletter voiced a stance of using the Precautionary Principle, whereby the greater the risk, the greater the need to fall on the side of caution (and thus in this case to take mitigating action).  The blog link, below, was created particularly for issues such as this, that gives rise to many perspectives and thoughts – so please feel free to share respectfully your views.

Also included are articles on the recent Myanmar elections and such topics as antibiotics concerns.

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Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

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GLOBAL CLIMATE MARCH (NOVEMBER 29!)

Global climate change talks take place in Paris, November 30 – December 11.  While many people do not feel that substantial progress will be made, a signal of grassroots support – in the form of a global march – is a critical component to show that a large constituency for such change exists.

Paris was going to be the centerpiece of the Global Climate Change march, which will take place around the world on Sunday November 29.   However the Paris rally was cancelled due to the recent terrorist attacks.

Thus it becomes more essential that people around the world bring a strong, vibrant voice supporting a robust action plan on climate change!  Please consider attending by checking the link below (thus far over 2300 events worldwide)

Find An Event Near You:
http://globalclimatemarch.org/en/
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/event/globalclimatemarch/?blog

Add Your Name to the Global List:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_the_date_nov29_loc/?cl=8930374888&v=68264

 

 

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BRIEF REFLECTION ON PARIS ATTACK

For the Western world, the Paris terrorist attacks were extremely jarring.  They also evoked wide sympathy for all those affected by such a senseless loss of innocent lives.  I will defer analysis here – the attacks have already resulted in a massive stream of commentaries.

Instead I will simply voice a hope based on the “well-being of all.”   Such senseless loss is rightly an affront to one’s sense of humanity.  The hope is simply that everyone might use the above sense of sympathy to expand or refresh our sense “of all”.

It is hard to break through the typical narrow news that comes to us and recognize how tragically prevalent such loss is encountered through various forms of barbarism.  For instance using our longitudinal study, on a typical day (Nov. 22) in Darfur two children and others were burned to death in a militia raid while in a separate militia attack six women were raped.

May we continue to expand our sense of who is affected by any senseless loss of life.  And may it lead us to advocate for solutions better grounded in the well-being of all and thus less susceptible to any influence of undue fear-based reactions.

 

 

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SAVE INDONESIA’S FOREST AND PEOPLE’S HEALTH

Most environmental issues impact several other domains.  In this case people are burning areas of rainforest and peatland so they can grow palm oi and for paper products.  This impacts climate change both in the release of CO2 and for the peatland, methane which has a 100-fold greater impact.  It also destroys the habitat of some endangered species. The smoke and smog also affects the farmers’ health. Plus mono-culture farming is the worst on the ecosystem and least sustainable.  For all these reasons please consider sending a letter to Indonesia’s President and the CEOs of the companies in question to tell them to stop such destructive practices.

Take action:
Tell Indonesian President and CEOs to end crisis  [Greenpeace]

Background:
Effect of Palm Oil production in Indonesia

 

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Burma (Myanmar) Elections Provide Hopeful Direction

The November 8 elections resulted in a landslide for the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, even though she is barred from being president.  As noted earlier there has been a hopeful shift in the last couple of years.  Now begin the delicate dance among Suu Kyi, the newly elected representative and the military who retain control over security and have a fixed minimum 25% of the seats.  The path exists for a better country overall.  It may be quite uneven since for instance Suu Kyi has ignored the plight of the Rohingya, though it is not known if that is a terrible blind spot or political calculus that such an embrace would be one step too far.

https://www.hrw.org/blog-feed/burma-elections-2015

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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The Future of Conflict:

On the 20th anniversary of the International Crisis Group they have produced a set of 20 articles about the future of conflict by significant world leaders and thinkers.  It can provide nothing more than interesting glimpses including “The Failures of Democracy”, “Globalistan’s Challenges”, and “Faith in Islam & Faith in Women: Why Gender Justice is Key to an Islam Without Extreme”.  To further enliven this set, it should be noted that some counter critiques would name some of the authors as part of the problem not the solution.
https://medium.com/the-future-of-conflict

 

Serious Alarm: World Running Out of Antibiotics

A recent Lancet report has raised serious alarm about a turning point where our top antibiotics will no longer work.  In short an infection could become lethal.  The basic concern, echoed for decades, has been the overuse of antibiotics, particularly in animals and in not keeping antibiotics for animals and humans separate.

Our last current top antibiotic – colistin – now has a mutation that renders it ineffective and is easily spread.  It is in Southeast Asia and is spreading.  While science may come up with another answer, leading scientists depict a highly troubling future of staying ahead of superbugs, and of doctors having to simply say to patients with an infection, “There is nothing more I can do.”
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34857015

October 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the October 31, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!
As promised in the last newsletter this brief newsletter focuses on the Syrian crisis and possible responses we can make. In addition there is further news on oil drilling in the Arctic and disturbing new about tuberculosis.

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RESPONDING TO THE SYRIAN CRISIS

The Western world has been bombarded with images of desperation as waves of refugees have boarded rickety boats or endured parched and hostile journeys. This crisis has reached a threshold in our world, resulting in a call for extraordinary action, just like the “Vietnamese Boat People” of the 1980s.

This article will not attempt to cover the complexities of this crisis (though please raise any issues of concern via the above blog link). What follows is simply a quick sketch of possible responses:

1. An acknowledgement of our primitive dynamics. Human creativity has put men on the moon and created driverless cars. Canadians just spent $1 billion on Halloween. Contrasting that incredible ability and such disposable income with all the preventable and curable diseases that still ravage the world; with the existing 60 million refugees and others suffering unnecessarily (eg., Darfur’s forgotten yet continuing atrocities); and with an earth that still has enough and to spare, seems – at best – like the definition of “primitive”. I start here, not to evoke any guilt, but to step back, attempt to ground myself better in what life is really about, and thus hopefully engage in new possibilities.

2. Support credible humanitarian help. One aspect of the deluge has been the under-funding of the normal crisis agencies. For example, the World Food Programme had to cut its funding to Syrian refugee camps by 50%. Such underfunding forces people who were desperate enough to go to refugee camps, to consider leaving them, thereby adding to the exodus to Europe.

To be clear this point must be seen in the context of the entire list. It is not a subtle attempt to keep such people “over there, away from my country”, nor that refugee camps should be seen as normal, permanent fixtures on the world scene. It is more basic – for now they are simply the first line of refuge for a traumatized people and should be able to provide all essential resources for this stage. But they do not. There are many issues outside the scope of this article – the inconsistency of other stages, issues of land and local relations for the camps, etc. – that must be left for another article.

Thus within the context of this entire list, this aspect does need support and it can take two forms:

a. Donate to the reputable charitable aid agencies;
b. Press your country to increase its funding to the UN aid agencies;

3. Support agencies in your area that provide resources that help refugees adjust to life in Canada. These are not the sponsoring groups themselves, but agencies that assist immigrants with the basic tools and resources to integrate into one’s society (language classes, translation resources, basic living skills, etc.). Support could be donations of money or time;

4. Sponsor one or more families with another group. Details for this will depend on your country. But if feasible it is an easier path to join with a group who already has expertise in sponsorship;

5. Fully sponsor a family. Again this will depend on your country. But if feasible one must be clear-eyed about the commitment. The very basics usually involve:
a. A substantial cash outlay (usually at least $30,000 for a one year commitment to fully support their needs);
b. Enough volunteer time to help them get established (housing, schooling, medical, language, jobs, etc.). It would involve substantial time at the start, though a pitfall can be that once the basics are stablished that the continued support falls off. As well, some people will have extra needs due to trauma, low literacy rates, etc. (This must be clearly factored in, but is also a doubly wonderful gift to give them if it is viable). One needs to be clear-eyed about this year-long commitment, and hopefully beyond;
c. For both this point, and the one above, “sponsorship” does not need to mean a Syrian family. If your country has a good policy on refugees, it can be best to simply take what they deem the most critical need. Remember, there are currently 60 million refugees around the world (4 million Syrians). Our longitudinal study of Darfur should have taught us that “being in the spotlight” does not necessarily mean “the most critical need”.

6. Advocate an end to the civil war via all political and diplomatic means, so that the exodus will be stopped and the people will be able to return home. Again the complexity and layers involved are well outside the scope of this article;

The above barely touches all the factors in this complex disaster. But “complex” does not need to mean “immobilized”! The above responses do make a difference.

Finally, I do what to raise up a counter sentiment to the start of this article. While it is clear how primitive we are, especially on point #6, there are also numerous people and organizations using the creative human ability to envision and create organizations and resources that are slowly building alternative patterns to move us forward (such as the value of transparency and good governance, the transformative role women can play, the indicators of a failing state so that it can be caught before it fails, and so on). World conditions are improving, due to such wonderful people and efforts. Unfortunately it remains at an abysmal pace and is continually undercut by other dynamics, thus keeping the word “primitive” the most apt overall label.

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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US curbs Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling
The US government has announced new curbs on oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast. It comes after oil giant Royal Dutch Shell last month stopped its Arctic activity citing “disappointing” tests. These are further hopeful steps on this issue.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34557099

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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TB ‘joins HIV as most deadly infection’
Tuberculosis now ranks alongside HIV as the world’s most deadly infectious disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. While there had been a great drop in TB rates (cut in half since 1990) it is more difficult now due to more resistant strains of TB, and a lack of global focus.
   http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34658015

 

 

 

September 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the September 27, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

This brief newsletter revisits the world of human slavery and slavery-like conditions, focused on those trying to uncover this repugnant largely hidden world.  The first action is URGENT, given that the court case is in mid-October.  The second action involves the head of Mauritania’s most prominent anti-slavery group, who has been detained for almost a year.  In addition there is a thank-you to those opposing the Shell Arctic drilling – they have ceased explorations for now.  The next newsletter will hopefully have some basic guidelines regarding the Syrian refugee crisis.

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Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

 

 

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URGENT: DROP CHARGES AGAINST THAI INDUSTRY RESEARCHER

Human rights activist Andy Hall will soon find out if he faces time in prison for reporting on labour rights abuses in the Thai pineapple industry. In 2013 a report entitled Cheap Has a High Price was published by the NGO Finnwatch, which included some of his research.  It contained allegations of worker abuse and slavery-like practices in the Natural Fruit factory, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world.

Instead of looking into the allegations, Natural Fruit targeted Andy. He was hauled into court on charges of computer crime and criminal defamation.  Despite an international outcry, Natural Fruit have not backed down.  Thus WalkFree is calling on the Thai government to ensure that all charges against Andy Hall are dropped.

The Thai authorities are already facing global scrutiny for not doing enough to protect workers from abuse — the latest US Trafficking in Persons report gives Thailand the lowest score for action to tackle trafficking.

Take Action:
http://www.walkfree.org/drop-the-charges-against-andy-hall-now/

Background:
Charged in Thailand [The Guardian]
Joint Letter to Thailand Prime Minister [Human Righs Watch]

 

 

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FREE MAURITANIA’S ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVISTS

Biram Dah Abeid is a leading anti-slavery activist in Mauritania, the country with the highest prevalence of slavery in the world1. The organization he founded, the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement, has fought for the freedom of countless men, women and children.

Mauritania fully outlawed slavery in 2007 but has systematically failed to end it in practice. It has fallen to activists like Biram to fight for people’s’ freedom and they face regular harassment and harsh treatment in their campaigning.

Take Action:
http://www.walkfree.org/mauritania/

Background:
Mauritanian Sentenced to Prison [Slate]

 

 

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Shell Stops Its Arctic Drilling

Thanks to all who took action this spring calling on Shell to not drill in the Arctic.  Shell just announced that it will cease exploratory drilling “for the foreseeable future” due to surprisingly marginal discoveries and indirectly to what they saw as the surprising public pressure.
Shell Abandons Alaska  Arctic Drilling [Guardian]

 

 

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Detecting (and Eventually Preventing) Mass Killings and Genocide

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has unveiled an online tool to forecast which countries have the highest risk of state-led mass killings.  The aim of the project is to help prevent civilian mass atrocities by providing earlier and more accurate warning.  Much has been learned from past genocides in Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Holocaust in terms of the clear early warning signs that precede mass violence.

The tool takes into consideration factors including political instability and potential threats to a regime’s hold on power that might lead to a response in the form of a mass killing. Live expert feedback is also part of the project, which defines mass killings as killings of more than 1,000 civilians.

Topping the list of countries currently at risk are: Myanmar, followed by Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.
New Tool To Assess Risk of Mass Killings [Al Jazeera]

August 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the August 31, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

Every year or two this newsletter devotes an issue to evaluating the direction and intent of the newsletter. The end of summer (North America) seems a suitable time. So in this issue we will explore any insights gained from both our content in general as well as our longitudinal focus on Darfur.  In addition there are a few items at the end that have accumulated since the last newsletter.
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GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

This newsletter began over 15 year ago, during the start of online petitions.  Its original loosely-defined intent was two-fold and the observations will be clustered accordingly:

#1: To allow people who were already immersed in life’s concerns, the opportunity to respond to the larger issues that swirled around them; within that if people were too busy to respond, to keep them informed of a few major issues not being covered by mainstream media.

  1. The format worked fairly well for busy people: It was eventually honed into a brief description followed by the action link (which could be done quickly) and including links for further background.
  2. The newsletters helped people stay informed when they were too busy to take action, and tried to highlight at least a few areas not typically seen on front pages of mainstream media.
  3. Actions have always been filtered to ensure integrity of the action and congruence within best development (and occasionally aid) principles. But starting with the economic collapse of 2008, the number of organizations dropped significantly and has never fully recovered. This has had a slight impact on the range of actions, which was and remains part of the exploratory nature of the newsletter.

#2: To explore the impact of this new form of advocacy and track its changes over time.

  1. There have been significant shifts over the past 15 years. Web technology has allowed organizations like Avaaz to create petitions with over 4 million signatures.  But the only metric that counts is “impact” – is the cause advanced by the action?  And the response remains the same as last time – “It depends.”  In brief it typically requires the self-interest of both the target group and possible pressure groups to align.
  2. Over the past few years the term “slacktivism” has gained coinage. Its most basic meaning is simply activism via a few clicks on web petitions or other social media sources.  It can also be more pejorative, explored below.
  3. Long before the term “slacktivism” gained coinage this newsletter tried to indicate on occasion that this form of advocacy was a modest targeted part of a much larger dynamic that was needed for success. Informally, the newsletter tried to distinguish the three basic  types of intended effects / targets:
    1. The action itself in sufficient numbers might bring about the change;
    2. The action would not bring about direct change but would help build the constituency that could help push the issue to success by others more directly involved;
    3. No action would likely bring about change, but it would be terribly amiss to have the world remain silent about the issue;

Anyone who viewed these actions as more substantial than that would have misinterpreted this project.

  1. The notion of slacktivism raises another observation. Any genuine contribution should be welcomed.  If there is a valid evaluation, it is measured against the adage of keeping “your eyes on the prize.”  That is, it needs to be: (a) an action that can somehow be connected to nudging the goal forward; and (b) the focus of the person doing the action must be on the goal and not on what it does for him/herself.  The latter definitely fails the whole concept (and is part of the pejorative sense of slacktivism).  “Eyes on the prize” also means an egoless effort – no one cares who has done what.  Of course people should care for each other, but in the context of assuring each remains well-anchored as each keeps their eyes on the prize.
  2. Even successful campaigns are generally contingent. Apart from some ideal prototypical success where a complete holistic transformation has taken place, most achievements leave various degrees of residual antagonists who will continue to look for chances to regain momentum.  The point is that while achievements can be celebrated one can never assume it will last –a watchful eye must be kept. For example, some year ago an action nudged Japan off its humpback whale hunts, but it recently has threatened to resume it.
  3. Crowdfunding: The final topic is also a new phenomenon whereby someone hears of a dire heart-wrenching story, for example, parents who need expensive medical care for special conditions in their child, but cannot pay for its enormous cost. And thus the news goes out to donate to help the family story.

    On the one hand they are irresistible stories, one can have a real impact and there is an immediacy in seeing the results.  On the other hand it highlights the gaps in our social safety net, etc.  If nothing is done about the systemic nature then again it easily slips into a “favoritism of the privileged loudest/visible voices” and “feel-do-goodism.”

    I think the best resolution is firstly to acknowledge this downside and then to commit to an overwhelming ratio of giving to root causes.  That is, for every dollar given to such crowdfunding, commit ten dollars to organizations that efficiently are attempting to deal with the underlying systemic imbalance.  There are many ethical base points at play here so feel free to explore them on the blog (link at top).  This includes the parallels to activism in general.

 

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OBSERVATIONS FROM OUR LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF DARFUR

  1. When the media spotlight moves elsewhere and political avenues fail to resolve the situation, the death, displacement, rape, malnutrition, and lost futures in Darfur continue (now for 12 years). It becomes monotonous news, but it remains a devastating reality
  2. When the spotlight moves elsewhere, it can result in a sharp climb in violence. We saw that with the creation of the ruthless Rapid Support Forces (2014).  This has also been true in newly created South Sudan where many displacement camps have grown enormously and are on the verge of starvation.
  3. Advocacy helped keep tens or hundreds of thousands of people alive. But advocacy can’t bring about lasting peace when a government is intent on its destructive ways and the international community will not provide the government sufficient pressure to change its calculus. Primary bridling includes:
    1. Sudan’s almost totalitarian control (control/suppression of media; almost omnipresence of ruthless security services);
    2. Outside funding for Sudan (Qatar; Russia & Chine arms, etc.);
    3. Veto power of UN Security Council (China, Russia);
    4. Conflicted US policy (State Dept wanting to resolve issue; security agencies wanting terrorist info.; the latter continues to win);

      There are times, with all sides seemingly entrenched, when advocacy, while always looking for openings, can do little.  But it can at least let the people of Darfur know that they are not forgotten.

  4. A basic rule-of-thumb for despots: Slow down the rate of death and displacement and you can keep the atrocities under the news radar.
  5. Advocacy was most helpful in the early years, but it was slow to adjust its narrative to the changing dynamics, though that has been somewhat corrected. However in 2007 it made a blunder by knowingly over-inflating the number of deaths.  Its credibility has never fully repaired.
  6. When a conflict is not quickly resolved, it starts to compete for media attention and international resources. It is easy to start comparing tragedies in terms of priority.  That is always a mistake as a first principle – any death torture or displacement is equally abhorrent.  Of course given limited resource, priorities must be made but the point is that to start improperly is never to visit and reinforce the perspectives that might get us beyond such dynamics (by ensuring there are adequate resources for conflicts; developing better overall global strategies that reduce conflicts, etc.).
  7. UN (and African Union) hybrid Peacekeepers: it is better to have them than not.  Their firewood patrols – where they would accompany women gathering wood – have kept some people from being raped..  But in terms of being able to keep conflicting groups apart, it was an utter failure.  Here are three basic reasons:
    1. The Sudanese government did not {willingly} invite them in; it was more of a begrudging coercion. Thus they continually threatened to kick out the peacekeepers if they became too active (and did kick out some NGOs) and hampered all efforts by the peacekeepers.  This is far the main reason.
    2. In ongoing conflict and civil war-like scenarios, it is hard to distinguish all the relationships and sides as they eventually splinter; as well as groups that use the unrest to create an advantage over previously existing tensions, and those groups created solely to obtain power to loot, etc.
    3. Internally: While not diminishing those who have a commitment to a deeper sense of peacekeeping and have put themselves at risk for it, the effectiveness of the UN peacekeeping was undercut by:
      1. The makeup of the forces was often not up to standard. As one of my contacts notes, for some African recruits it was basically a pay cheque, much more money than any other option but not something they would risk their life for,
      2. Sometimes their actions were questionable and even reprehensible because for some peacekeepers, all they had known was a violent world;
      3. The supporting UN agencies did not provide sufficient support, for example, the long-term plea for a measly 18 helicopters;

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Status of Hunt for LRA and Joseph Kony

In 2011 there began a more concerted effort to capture Kony, with some US Special Forces joining the African Union Special Task Force.  Since then the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has lost several key commanders, and over 260 people have defected.  The LRA is scattered in three countries.  The strategy has reduced the LRA attacks to mainly survival rather than growth.  But it also means attacks still occur and there remains controversy about whether this approach or a rapprochement style would finally bring things to an end.
http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=101667

 

Court Rules Against Gay ‘Conversion Therapy”

In what is considered to be a landmark civil-rights ruling, a New Jersey court ruled against the notion of “gay conversion therapy” – the notion that gay people can be “cured” and made straight through some form of treatment.  This newsletter already noted [Special issue on mental health] the serious harm that can be done and the harsh criticism of it from the American Psychiatric Association.
Landmark Ruling Against Conversion Therapy [Guardian]

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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‘Sea Slaves’: The Human Misery That Feeds Pets and Livestock

The vast oceans hide many terrible deeds.  This newsletter has highlighted some of the environmental destruction as well as overt human trafficking.  But this article highlights another dimension: abuses suffered by the crews, as well as a whole industry hidden behind simple pet food.
Thailand ‘Sea Slaves’ [Four-part series; NYT: requires registration]

 

Mapping the World’s Current Wars

The conflict in places like Syria and Iraq dominate the news recently.  Their effect is global – from humanitarian crises, to migrant flows to money spent, etc.  But there are other conflicts that don’t make the headlines.  Our long-term focus on Darfur has made it clear that the world (at least the western media) can only highlight a couple of tragedies at a time.  The rest are seldom even given passing mention.
http://newirin.irinnews.org/map-world-conflicts-dataviz-interactive/

June 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the June 20, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

Please note the urgent June 24 deadline to take action below! The action is to request the UN Security Council not to withdraw or reduce its peacekeeping troops form Darfur – they are the only remaining very thin line of protection for civilians, who are still caught in unspeakable swirls of violence!

Due to this urgent action, this June newsletter will have a second part, done later.

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Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

 

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KEEP UN PEACEKEEPING IN DARFUR

On June 24 the UN Security Council will be meeting to decide whether to reduce or even possibly withdraw UNAMID, the UN peacekeeping troops in Darfur.  Sudan has been pressing for an “exit” plan.  Earlier there had been serious talk at the UN about reducing their presence in Darfur.

This needs to be seen against the backdrop of this past 18 months, where Sudan began very concerted efforts to defeat the rebel forces. The techniques remain the same – using indiscriminate bombing runs and militia attacks in rebel areas, resulting in large civilian displacement and causalities.  In addition tribal rivalry and a lawless element have added to the unrest.  This newsletter has tracked all of this (see: Current Status  [UntilAll]). The UN Refugee Agency estimates that well over 2 million people are currently displaced [http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e483b76.html].

It would be unconscionable to pull UNAMID out.  While this newsletter has been clear that UNAMID has been largely impotent, the solution lies in addressing the core issues which one of the following resolutions attempts to list.  In addition, as ineffective as UNAMID has been, it remains the last line of recourse for the civilians, whose lives remain caught in various repugnant layers of violence.

Thus please consider signing both petitions below:

Petition To UN Security Council:
Renew UNAMID’s Mandate

Petition to President Obama:
Keep UN Peacekeepers in Darfur

 

 

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WORLD REFUGEE DAY

June 20 is World Refugee Day.  There are almost 60 million who have fled their homes, resulting in over 20 million refugees.  This past year has seen a higher rate largely due to the conflict in Syria.

Our longitudinal study of Darfur gives us a sense of the reasons, the world politics that maintains that status quo, the despair as one month becomes one year becomes a decade, and so on.  But our study of Darfur should also keep us open to the ongoing struggles around the world.  For some of those stories see:
http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/

March 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the March 31, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

Due to other pressing projects, this again will be a minimal newsletter edition.  There are three actions.  The first involves a US notion of feasible, reduced support for nuclear weapons. The second action pertains to Michigan and discrimination, while the third action involves the potential for Arctic drilling.

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Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

 

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US: SUPPORT ‘SANE’ SPENDING ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

The amount of money spent on nuclear weapons is always a contentious issue.  For U.S. citizens, the following petition will allow you to consider whether the current priorities form a good balance.

Citizens for Global Solutions support the “Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act” [H.R.1534; S.831], suggesting that the current nuclear spending and priorities do not align with today’s security needs.  They believe that cuts in nuclear programs will not jeopardize security but rather will increase security if it is accompanied by a more relevant focus on contemporary threats.  Read more details in the link below.

US-only: Tell Your Representatives to Co-Sponsor the SANE Act:
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5550/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19838

 

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US AND “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LEGISLATION”

The state of Indiana is getting so much negative reaction regarding discrimination after its “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was recently passed that it may be self-correcting, a topic for another day.  However, right now in Michigan, there are no laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and Michigan may try to implement a similar version of the Indiana law which could, worst case, entrench such discrimination.

As a specific example, a pediatrician in Michigan discriminated against a six-day-old baby because the baby’s parents are lesbian.  The couple came to the doctor’s office, but the doctor had “prayed on it,” and decided she could not care for their baby.

The following petition can be used to send a signal to Michigan lawmakers about how such a law would be perceived.  It might have been useful for the Indiana lawmakers to have fully understood the outside-state consequences (which include the freedom of people and companies to move or avoid an area) before the voted.  Democracy works best from a well-informed standpoint.

Take Action (open to all):
Tell Michigan Legislators Not To Discriminate

Background:
Indiana’s Law Puts Obstacles to Equality [The Atlantic]

 

 

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DARFUR: EMPTY ELECTIONS, EMPTY VILLAGES (OR WORSE)

Sudan will go to the polls in mid-April.  It is a foregone conclusion that President Bashir will be re-elected.  This means that the horrid conditions in Darfur, as well as the deplorable state of South Kordofan and the Nuba mountains will remain.

Up to six million people are at humanitarian risk in Darfur.  As mentioned last month the levels of death and displacement approach the most gruesome levels of the 2003-2006 outbreak of violence.  Villages remain empty or even worse, are being filled by outside Arabs.  One contact recently returned from Darfur has indicated that some of these outsiders have extremist tendencies.

There is no action at the moment for Darfur.  However a new set of strategies, relying partly on Sudan’s feverish mining of gold, is being developed, as noted in the link below.

Background:
Latest Potential Pressure Points for Sudan

 

 

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SHELL MOVING OIL RIG TO ARCTIC

Greenpeace is following the movement of a Shell oil rig as it makes it way to the Arctic.  This newsletter has previously explored the potential negative impacts of drilling for oil in the Arctic and has advocated for making the Arctic a sanctuary.  The following link can be used join the movement to save the Arctic and/or to track the progress of the oil rig and Greenpeace ship.

Take Action / See Progress
https://www.savethearctic.org/en/live/info-box/

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Canada Ratifies the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Good news: Canada became the 91st State Party (and 19th NATO member) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on March 16, 2015.  Its stockpiles were completely destroyed as of June 2014.
http://stopclustermunitions.org/en-gb/media/news/2015/canada-is-the-newest-state-party.aspx

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Do you need a new cell phone?

There are continual voices that lure us to buy the ‘next’, the biggest or the best. Green America has produced a simple one-page flowchart to remind us that buying a new phone is not simply a financial decision.  It has environmental implications from e-waste to the cost of producing yet more rare and precious minerals and other components.  Our newsletter has already highlighted that some of those costs also sometimes include the fueling of conflict and the maintenance of sweatshop labour.

http://www.greenamerica.org/PDF/2014gam98apr-may-fix-it-flow.pdf

January 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the January 30, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

Due to other pressing projects, this will be a minimal newsletter edition.  There is a single action – a follow-up action on Darfur.  If you want to take other actions, I have included links to some of Amnesty International’s websites.  In them you will find actions from LGBT issues, to issues of torture, denial of freedom, and so on.

Plus there is a huge “Thank you!” for the amazing response to the global Write-for-Rights campaign.

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Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.
 

 

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DARFUR: 2015 STARTS WITH ATROCITIES

Sudan’s President Bashir has recently initiated yet another deadly campaign against the people of Darfur.  Since the start of January, bombings and assault have displaced over 30,000 people with an unknown death toll (400,000 displaced in 2014).  With description of “cleansing” entire areas such as parts of East Jebel Mara, this has repulsive echoes of the early days of the Darfur crisis (for fuller overall details of conditions of Darfur and Sudan see: Current Status  [UntilAll]).

In addition, the U.N. is planning to further cut-back its forces, largely due to pressure from Sudan, even as violence has drastically increased.

A petition has been created to press the U.N. into more robust action.  Tell the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to the new wave of bombings.

Take Action:
Tell UN Security Council to Protect People of Darfur

 

 

 

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TAKE MORE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION

While I have a list of other possible actions to take, I have not had time adequately to investigate them.  Thus if you want to take other human rights actions, please go to any of the Amnesty International websites.

Take Action:
Australia: http://www.amnesty.org.au
Canada: www.amnesty.ca
U.K.: http://www.amnesty.org.uk
U.S.: http://write.amnestyusa.org
International site: www.amnesty.org

 

 

 

 

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Amnesty Write-For-Rights Campaign Success

A big “Thank you” goes out to all who participated in Amnesty International’s annual international Write-For-Rights letter writing campaign in December!  Over 3 million actions have been tallied so far – simply amazing!

 

UN Arms Trade Treaty Takes Effect

On December 24, 2014, the UN Arms Trade Treaty took effect, regulating the international trade in arms trade.  This newsletter has advocated for this treaty, although its effect is tied to broad support, especially from the large arms exporters.  Thus far, sixty-one nations have ratified it and thus are bound by it.   Of the large arms exporters:

  1. Britain, France and Germany have signed and ratified it;
  2. Russia, China and Pakistan have not even signed it;
  3. The world’s largest exporter, the U.S., has signed it but is unlikely to ratify the treaty since it requires approval by its Senate, and the concerns of the National Rifle Association (NRA) hold sway.

In the January 2013 newsletter the concerns of the NRA were explored as honestly as possible, although in the April newsletter the overall logic regarding the treaty concerns was deemed to be “incredulous” (although I remain open to further dialogue).
Announcement of UN Treaty (Reuters)
Actual UN Treaty Text

 

Western Sahara: Nonviolent Women’s’ Resistance

This newsletter raised the issue of problems brewing in sub-Saharan Africa long before they became mainstream news.  While many issues remain bleak, there are also signs of hope.  The following article highlights a nonviolent women’s resistance movement:
Nonviolent Women’s Resistance in Western Sahara  [openDemoracy]

 

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Ten Wars to Watch for in 2015

Here is the annual list from International Crisis Group:
http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/op-eds/2015/guehenno-10-wars-to-watch-in-2015.aspx

 

 

One Almond Requires One Gallon of Water

 

The following article combines two environmental sub-themes of this newsletter: (a) our disconnection between what we consume and the resources to produce it; (b) the growing issue of water.  And please note that it is a separate question regarding how much of that gallon of water is left to use again.
Almonds, California and Water   [Mother Jones]

 

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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Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

 

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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/

June 2014 Newsletter

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

This issue deals with the horrible escalation of violence in Darfur and the rest of Sudan, as well as the Egyptian’s court refusal to rectify its original sham trial resulting in the mass sentencing of hundreds of people to death.

In addition you will find articles on the global groundwater crisis, the current global country index, and a new campaign to counter the notion that homosexuality can by “cured” via therapy.
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Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.
Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

 

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END ABHORRENT VIOLENCE IN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN

The March newsletter raised the alarm bell regarding Darfur – the repugnant dynamics are back (see: Current Status  [UntilAll]).  Under the new guise called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), villages were again being razed, people killed or displaced, all linked back to Khartoum.  Recently even the New York Times highlighted the same abhorrent violence [‘Sudan Said to Revive Notorious Militias’, {requires registration}].  The violence also extends to previously noted areas in the Nuba mountains, and on both sides of the Sudan-South Sudan border areas. Pockets of famine and genocidal targeting are threatening both countries and the intensifying conflicts are pulling in neighboring states.

The advocacy group, Enough, now has the following action to help reinvigorate diplomatic actions to address the escalation of violence.  The U.S. has had a major stake in this area for years, helping to broker the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan, as well as being involved in trying to end the Darfur conflict, mottled as some say those efforts were. The action also calls for full international reengagement (for non-US citizens, consider also forwarding this to your government).

Take Action (open to everyone):
Ask U.S. Government to Reinvigorate Sudan Diplomacy  [Enough]

 

 

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EGYPT FOLLOW-UP: STOP THE MASS EXECUTIONS

This newsletter previously recommended action to tell the Egyptian courts to stop the mass execution of over 500 people.  The courts proceeded, and appeals to both the court and the government have thus far had little or no impact.  Amnesty International considers the proceedings to be nothing short of a complete “travesty of justice.”  Thus they have initiated the following campaign to continue the pressure for a fair trial, which also includes a demand that the three Al Jazeera journalists be freed..

Take Action:
Tell Egypt to Stop Mass Executions  [Amnesty International]

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Global Map of “Groundwater Footprint” and Stress

As has been highlighted here and elsewhere, water will likely become a major global tension-point in coming decades. We can see change in rivers, lakes and glaciers.  But for the first time we now have a map of the stresses being put on something we can’t see – groundwater levels.  In many ways this is even more ominous.  The following article, from McGill University and published in Nature, highlights a tool to start measuring the use (sustainable or not) of groundwater throughout the world.  It suggests that “groundwater footprint” may soon have the same coinage as “carbon footprint.”
Article and Actual Map of Global Groundwater Usage  [McGill University]

 

The 2014 Fragile States Index

Each year the Fund for Peace calculates its Fragile States Index which is published by Foreign Policy.  This newsletter again presents the annual data, which can make for interesting analysis of what is considered worthy of indexing and how the results are highlighted.
2014 Fragile States Index  [Foreign Policy]

 

New Campaign to End Gay Conversion Therapy

This newsletter has previously indicated the danger of “conversion or reparative therapy”, which is the notion that through therapy homosexual activity can be “cured”.  The medical community has abandoned such notions years ago.  And while some places have formally banned the practice (for example, the states of California and New Jersey in the US) it remains a topic of controversy.  Thus a new campaign has been launched to take direct aim at such notions.
New Campaign to End Gay Conversion Therapy  [TIME]

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Missed an action email?  An archive is kept at: www.UntilAll.org/archives.htm.