UNTIL ALL ACHIEVE WELL-BEING

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 26, 2006 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

This email, somewhat regrettably, focuses on three phases of crisis - new (Lebanon-Israel), ongoing (Darfur) and impending (Niger). While "new" crises grab the headlines - and are often quite tragic and need attention - they also tend to remove the spotlight from other areas of concern, thereby reducing our sense of true global dynamics and ultimately our sense of how best to structure ourselves and move towards a more decent world. Finally, on a separate note, is a rating of gas companies

 

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ISRAEL - LEBANON CONFLICT

It seems that few people anticipated that the Middle East events of the past few weeks would be at their current stage, although analysis from several sides has sprung up. But the central action concern here comes from Amnesty International, who is calling on all parties in the conflict to respect international law regarding civilians and hopes some form of peace keeping force can be put in place. There is no single click action, but you are given the email addresses, to which you could simply state "As a concerned {country} citizen, I urge you to do all within your power to protect civilian lives and to bring an end to the conflict."

Take Action:)
    http://web.amnesty.org/pages/lbn-210706-action-eng



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DARFUR: MAINTAIN THE PRESSURE

Darfur is being maintained as an ongoing focal point in these emails, to highlight, that despite heroic attempts by some: (a) a conflict that originally had a much simpler solution, gets more complex and ugly (in this case flowing into Chad and other areas, splintering rebel groups and resulting complexities, etc); (b) while the crisis has changed little over the past three years from those who suffer, that our perceptions of it wax and wane; (c) it lays bare the tragically inadequate mechanisms and structures we have to deal with such a basic issue - stopping a preventable genocide.

Depressing as I find this, I want to remain steadfast - a settlement is possible and opportunnites still exist to maintain pressure, as outlined below:

Everyone: Take Action (President Bush to Call Sudan's President):
    http://capwiz.com/africaaction/issues/alert/?alertid=8930051&&type=PR

Previous Action (Appoint US high-level negotiators):
    http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/dont_forget/iiegu5k4hj7ei6t?

Aside: A Darfur Child's Drawing of their village:
    http://capwiz.com/africaaction/issues/alert/?alertid=8252951


CANADIANS:
I recently spoke with Senator Mobina Jaffer, who had been Canada's (and the world's first) Special Envoy for Sudan. With the change in government she is no longer in that role. That doesn't bother her, but she is very concerned that the role has been left vacant and worse, that the task force involved with Sudan, has largely become something in name-only. These are clear signs that the new government is reducing the priority of Darfur.

PLEASE consider writing to the Prime Minister and copy your local MP, urging him to assign a new Envoy and to make Darfur a top priority. I don't want a Canada that turns it back on a genocide.


Canadian Action):
    Write PM: pm@pm.gc.ca
    Write Foreign Affairs Minister MacKay: MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca
    Write local MP: http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/membersofparliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E
    Find MP by Postal Code: http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/PostalCode.asp?Language=E&&source=sm


Side Note: To reinforce the above "waxing and waning" effect that mainstream media play, Senator Jaffer also told me that both the CBC and the Globe and Mail, have only one permanent correspondent for ALL of Africa - thus Darfur usually gets mentioned only once per month or so.  On the other hand, any new crisis will likely have a dozen or so people working on it.  Thus as possible, it is imortant to get alternate new sources. Contact me if you would like some.






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UPCOMING TRAGEDIES

The food crisis in Niger last year is about to repeat with a vengeance. There is no action for this yet, though it does give one pause to reflect on the bigger picture. If you follow the link below, you will also find related links to impeding or current food crises in Somali, Ethiopia, and other areas.

Background Link:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5218134.stm



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MISC: GAS COMPANY RATINGS

Does it make a difference which company I buy gas from? The following link is one NGO's view of how to rate the oil companies in terms of their environmental and human impact:


Background Link:
    http://www.coopamerica.org/emails/canews/20060509/



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UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of "Until Well-being is Achieved for All."


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Rod Downing
rdowning@istar.ca.

Surrey BC Canada
(604) 535-6550