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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
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One Moment More


I discovered this song a little while after losing my Dad. Sending love to those who have lost their Fathers, no matter what, he will always be by your side. And also hugs to those who never knew their father or to those who didn't receive the love they deserved from theirs. Thoughts are with you.

Happy Father's Day Dad...until we meet again ❤❤❤

Innovative Organization Turns African Poachers Into Sustainable Farmers

June 20, 2015 by Amanda Froelich

This non-profit teaches alternative life choices to poachers, such as beekeeping, sustainable farming, and carpentry.

A former hunter and his family prepare rice fields for the imminent Luangwa river basin flooding.
Credit: Gael McKeon

This is the aim of the non-profit organization Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), which is in the business of providing alternative life choices for would-be poachers. When individuals grow weary of hunting the increasingly barren brush in Africa, COMACO teaches them beekeeping, vegetable gardening, and carpentry in exchange for putting their guns to rest.

For example, Edson Zimba used to illegally hunt animals in Zambia; he was a poacher. For twenty years, he combed the bush of Zambia’s Luangwa National Park, a remote reserve known by tourists as a place to experience wildlife undisturbed.

A procurer of animal products, Zimba hunted buffalo, elephant, and hedgehog. But inevitably the sport took its toll, and he decided change was in order. About that time the non-profit asked him to learn a new trade and stop illegally hunting animals, an offer he quickly accepted.

After being taught by the organization sustainable farming techniques, Zimba now yields enough to feed his family. And what is left of his yield, he sells to COMACO for its food processing facility. This, in turn, is used to manufacture It’s Wild food products sold in markets across Zambia.

One reformed poacher says that, before, he was a destroyer. Now, the farmer calls himself a human being.

Full article: http://www.trueactivist.com/innovative-organization-turns-african-poachers-into-sustainable-farmers/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29

Why Traumatic Head Injuries Are an Urgent Feminist Issue

Given the already precarious circumstances of many domestic abuse survivors, early and accurate diagnosis is essential.

By Sophie Ghitman / AlterNet June 20, 2015

But a recent article in the Huffington Post posits that a different group may make up the majority of those living with TBI. Melissa Jeltsen writes that survivors of domestic violence are now thought to experience these injuries in numbers that eclipse previous estimates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's haveestimated that 1.7 million people experience TBI every year, and 2 percent of the population, or 5.3 million Americans, are living with a disability caused by it. But experts speculate that as many as 20 million women each year - up to 6% of the population - could have TBI caused by domestic violence.

Walker is now a coordinator for Sojourner Center, one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. On June first, Sojourner Center launched the BRAIN (Brain Recovery And Inter-professional Neuroscience,) Program. Together with TBI experts at local hospitals and medical institutions, BRAIN will seek to determine the percentage of domestic violence survivors suffering from TBI caused by domestic violence. They hope to develop an accurate estimate by screening the roughly 9,000 women and children who are seen at Sojourner every year.

The program will investigate the occurrence of domestic violence-related TBI, its short-term and long-term effects, and how best to provide individualized treatment plans. BRAIN also aims to develop tools that can be used by non-medical staff, such as social workers and shelter employees, to screen for head trauma.

For Kerri Walker, It’s taken enormous time and effort to adjust to life after TBI. "It’s changed me for the rest of my life," Walker said. "My short-term memory is shot. I’ll be writing and I’ll mix up letters. All of a sudden, I’ll write an E backwards. I had to find a new normal for myself.” Walker had a brain aneurysm rupture just four months after leaving her abusive partner. It’s taken her years to accept the effects of her cumulative brain injuries.

Full article: http://www.alternet.org/why-traumatic-head-injuries-are-urgent-feminist-issue?akid=13232.44541.7sKtqB&rd=1&src=newsletter1038135&t=9

I sometimes wonder if I should go get checked. I have pictures that look like I went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson over many years, one with my nose under my left eye. I do some things sometimes like the women in this article ... like forgetting how to write a letter, or not being able to concentrate at all for brief periods of time. I'm probably fine, but it would be interesting to get tested although I imagine it's way too late to do anything.

Saudi Arabia warns citizens about 'fake' information after Wikileaks release 60,000 secret documents

The Independent

Sunday 21 June 2015


It mentioned ways to publicise the concerns of Iranian citizens through the internet and social media.

The memo also suggests "hosting opposition figures overseas, coordinating with them and encouraging them to use galleries to show pictures of torture carried by the Iranian regime against the people."

Other memos are even more inflammatory. One, which shows the Saudi emblem of a palm tree and two crossed swords above the words 'Top Secret', claims that Gulf states were willing to pay $10 billion to secure the release of deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Another page marked as top secret alleges that Iranian fighter jets bombed South Sudanese forces during a 2012 standoff over the oil-rich area of Heglig, during a confrontation between Sudan and the newly independent nation of South Sudan.


In a press release that accompanied the first batch of documents, Wikileaks co-founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange said: "The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself."


The Saudi government is not known for its tolerance of dissent, and issued a warning to citizens yesterday telling them not to distribute "documents that might be faked". The statement was made via Twitter from the Foreign Ministry, and did not directly deny the documents' authenticity.

Full article: http://world.einnews.com/article/271954741/nBJVM5el1T5sZJyd

Cast out and abandoned

Helen Jarvis reports on the persecution of the Rohingya and the inadequate response of the international community, in an article for the Australian newspaper Red Flag.

June 17, 2015

Rohingya refugees wait for medical care in Bangladesh (Pierre Prakash)

Rohingyas in exile and their supporters have for years been documenting the increasing abuse. Their status and rights as one of Burma's formally recognized ethnic groups have been stripped away--to the point that they are labeled "Bengali immigrants" and forced into squalid and overcrowded refugee camps.

The majority of the country's Rohingyas are not in camps, but in neighborhoods that have been described as "vast open prisons." Their movement is severely restricted by armed guards. The government says that this is "for their own protection." George Soros, who escaped from Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944, visited one of these neighborhoods. He described it as "a ghetto."

Rejected and oppressed by the Burmese government, about half of the Rohingya population, more than 1 million people, have fled to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some have made it to Canada, the UK and Australia.

Successive military governments since the 1970s have demonized the Rohingyas--the only Muslim community with its own ancestral geographic pocket along Burma's colonial borders--as "a threat to national security."

While earlier generations often found acceptance in other countries, such possibilities are becoming ever more remote, as countries in the region adopt the barbaric anti-refugee policies, instituted in Australia by both Liberal and Labor governments.

Tutu's appeal was amplified by six other fellow Nobel Peace laureates: Mairead Maguire from Ireland, Jody Williams from the U.S., Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, Shirin Ibadi from Iran, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel from Argentina. They said: "What Rohingyas are facing is a textbook case of genocide in which an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government."


The fight for water rights in Kenya

June 20, 2015 12:57 pm CDT

Analysis of an environmental struggle in Kenya by Chris Williams. Go to the original for the accompanying photo essay by Maria Davis. --PG

Damming the future
Source: Truthout
The struggle to protect Kenya's Ewaso Ngiro river

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 00:00
By Chris Williams, Truthout | News Analysis

"Had the local district officer not had a swimming pool filled with clean water, maybe there would have been more for us to drink."

White highway markings gleam from the hot black tarmac, as if newly painted. The almost completely deserted A2 road, immaculate in its pristine underuse, snakes its way from Nairobi on the way to Ethiopia. Five hours north of Nairobi, the road, a powerful symbol of the modernizing imperative of the Kenyan state, passes through the small, but now rapidly growing, town of Archer's Post.

In a chilling throwback to Britain's hideous colonial occupation of Kenya and brutal counterinsurgency war, Archer's Post still hosts a British military training base, notorious for leaving unexploded munitions that kill and maim local nomadic herders and their children, as well as for frequent sexual assault, rape and violence against local women. Archer's Post was in part chosen for British Army training because of the dry scrub, intense heat and, according to Lt. Col. Andy Hadfield, commanding officer from the 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment, because of the challenging terrain. Hadfield noted that the Samburu National Reserve, which surrounds Archer's Post, is similar to the terrain and heat of another postcolonial outpost - Afghanistan: "There are a lot of thorn bushes out there - hostile animals and insects. And, for the soldiers coming here, operating within that environment really makes them better, more robust, and develops their natural fortitude."

Despite the river flowing through the center of town, the dry and dusty terrain surrounding Archer's Post, so useful for British Army maneuvers, is symptomatic of a problem the Kenyan government has long known about: water shortage and the lack of infrastructural development. Decades ago, in a more hopeful and politically self-conscious era, it published a prescient and forward-thinking paper on issues facing the newly independent country, which included the need to address water scarcity and degradation. Sessional Paper No. 10 "African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya" (1965) states:


Damming the Future: The Struggle to Protect Kenya's Ewaso Ngiro River

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 00:00
By Chris Williams, Truthout | News Analysis


The Making of the Migration Crisis

By Harsha Walia
Source: teleSUR English
June 20, 2015

Leading up to World Refugee Day on Saturday, the United Nations unveiled a devastating and damning report on the scale of global displacement. The U.N.’s Refugee Agency data reveals a total of 59.5 million people are displaced around the world. With one in every 122 people being internally displaced or seeking asylum in a new country, this is the highest level of displaced people ever recorded. It is also the largest leap recorded within a single year, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres calls it “a staggering acceleration” that will only worsen.This 56-page report illuminates the context for Angela Davis’ remarks in Germany last month, when she declared that the “refugee movement is the movement of the 21st century.” Patterns of displacement and migration reveal the unequal relations between rich and poor, between North and South, between whiteness and its racialized others.

Roots of the Migration Crisis

While militarization and persecution are typically understood as primary forces of migration, forces of economic violence, climate change and gendered violence are all also causing displacement. The forced privatization and neoliberalization of subsistence farming has resulted in the loss of rural land for millions, particularly women peasants, across Asia, Africa, and South and Central America.Though the U.N. report does not tackle displacements due to corporate interests and free trade deals, a recent study by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Huffington Post found that over the last decade, World Bank-funded projects physically or economically displaced 3.4 million people, forcing them from their homes, taking their land or damaging their livelihoods.

According to statistics by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, by the year 2020 there will be 50 million climate refugees. A day after the U.N. report on displacement, Pope Francis released his encyclical on climate change in which he articulates the connection between the climate, capitalist, and migration crises. He writes:

“Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry … There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world.”


The Refugee Crisis in Context

Neoliberalism’s Refuse

by Matt Reichel / June 19th, 2015

A report issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) this week provided a jarring statistical glimpse at the unprecedented crisis facing 59.5 million people who are currently displaced. With ongoing wars and sectarian conflicts raging in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, South Sudan and Somalia, and record numbers moving in search of economic betterment, an additional 8.1 million people were uprooted in 2014. If all of the world’s refugees were to form one independent country, it would be the 24th largest, just behind Italy and ahead of South Africa. This country would contain .8% of the global population, which means that if it were instead composed of the world’s richest people, it would possess nearly half of the planet’s wealth.

What’s more, these two hypothetical countries would represent opposite sides of the same coin. It is no accident that the concentration of global wealth is accelerating alongside the numbers of the dispossessed. It is the very predictable result of a US-led system of economic and military hegemony that values the mobility of labor and capital, but not of people, and that reflexively destabilizes any regime it views as being inadequately obsequious. Meanwhile, the market fundamentalism it espouses effectively turns farms into agribusinesses and cities into slums. It displaces as a matter of course. This is the part that the UNHCR report missed: the refugee is neoliberalism’s refuse.

Unmanaged capitalism produces unmanageable waste, human included. The reserve army of labor has long been filled, and so the remaining population is superfluous. Meanwhile, the scope of neoliberalism is practically global. There is no longer a hinterland, nor much space for an alternative such as subsistence agriculture. Precarious, low-wage labor is the international norm, even increasingly so in the industrial north, where social-democratic protections are under steady assault. Nonetheless, conditions remain superior enough in these countries to attract millions of migrants each year, though the centrifugal force that propels people out of their home countries continues to operate in their adopted lands, driving them to the margins. Quite often they will find themselves veritably stateless: lacking any foundation to return to, and having no visible path forward. They become trapped in a state of “liminal drift,” as Michel Agier calls it. They are permanently transitory, forever seeking a resolution that stubbornly remains out of reach.

Neoliberalism has transformed the secure into the precarious and the subaltern into refuse. It has created previously unknown flows of information and capital, while holding the displaced in captivity. Indeed, the ever-rising American prison population must be seen as a connected phenomenon. Far from enshrining freedom, market fundamentalism converts flesh into monetary quantity. It also provokes fear, because we are able to witness the hardships endured by the underclass, thus reminding us of our own expendability. Zygmunt Bauman notes: “Rather than remaining a misery confined to a relatively small part of the population, as it used to be perceived, assignment to ‘waste’ becomes everybody’s potential prospect – one of the two poles between which everybody’s present and future social standing oscillates.” As long as one of us is deemed rubbish, the rest of us have a vested interest in identifying and addressing the underlying cause. The refugee crisis riddle will not be solved until we repel the forces that created it.


Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/the-refugee-crisis-in-context/#more-58843

The Dominican Republic’s 'Ethnic Purging' Through the Mass Deportation of Haitian Families

The decision to possibly send half a million legally stateless people to Haiti has been met with condemnation.

By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez / Democracy Now!

June 17, 2015

The Dominican Republic’s decision to denationalize hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent has sparked international outcry. In an interview with Democracy Now!, Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat spoke about the significance of the government’s campaign—she is among several writers who condemned the decision in a letter to The New York Times.

Below is an interview with Danticat, followed by a transcript:


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Dominican Republic is set to begin what some are calling "ethnic purging," placing the fate of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent into limbo. Half a million legally stateless people could be sent to Haiti this week, including those who have never stepped foot in Haiti and don’t speak the language. In 2013, a Dominican constitutional court ruling stripped the citizenship of children born to Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic as far back as 1929, retroactively leaving tens of thousands without citizenship. This is Dominican migration minister Ruben Darío Paulino.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Dominican Republic’s decision to denationalize hundreds of thousands of people has sparked an international outcry. Haitian President Michel Martelly has denounced it as "civil genocide." The United Nations protested the ruling, and the U.S. State Department voiced measured disapproval. Meanwhile, Dominican-American writers Junot Díaz and Julia Alvarez, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat and American writer Mark Kurlansky have united to express their shared condemnation of the decision. They wrote in The New York Times, quote, "One of the important lessons of the Holocaust is that the first step to genocide is to strip a people of their right to citizenship."

Full article: http://www.alternet.org/immigration/dominican-republics-ethnic-purging-through-mass-deportation-haitian-families

10-Year-Old Rape Victim Denied Abortion: The Horrific Realities of Abortion Bans

Restrictive anti-abortion laws in states like Texas are forcing women into dangerous situations.

By Nathalie Baptiste / The American Prospect June 18, 2015

In Paraguay, a 10-year-old rape victim is denied an abortion—even though her stepfather is her attacker. In El Salvador suicide is the cause of death for 57 percent of pregnant females between the ages 10 to 19. In Nicaragua, doctors are anxious about even treating a miscarriage. All of these instances are the result of draconian abortion laws that have outlawed critical reproductive care in nations throughout Latin America. If stories like these seem remote to American readers, it’s because they’ve been largely eliminated through widespread access to basic abortion services beginning in the 1970s. But with the Republican Party now chipping away at our right to make our own reproductive health choices, realities like these could become commonplace in the United States once again.

Draconian laws aren’t likely to lead to a reduction in the abortion rate but they do force women to take drastic measures to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, every year 21.6 million women worldwide have an unsafe abortion. 18.5 million of these unsafe abortions are in developing countries. Complications from unsafe abortions kill 47,000 women each year; these women make up nearly 13 percent of all maternal deaths.

Abortion is illegal (or only permitted to save the mother’s life) in 66 countries, or approximately a quarter of the world’s population. Due to social, political, and religious regions many of the countries with strict abortion laws are in the Latin America and Caribbean region. In El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti abortion is prohibited—under all circumstances.

In El Salvador a 1998 law went into affect that made abortion illegal with no exceptions—including rape, life of the mother or incest. Women who are found guilty of having an abortion face two to eight years in prison. Punishment is widespread as well. Anyone found guilty of assisting in the abortion also faces two to eight years in prisons. Doctors and nurses who assist and perform abortions face six to 12 years behind bars.

Full article: http://www.alternet.org/gender/10-year-old-rape-victim-denied-abortion-horrific-realities-abortion-bans
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