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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,479

Journal Archives

These Women Are Fighting Al-Qaeda In Syria

posted on December 2, 2013 at 10:28am EST
Mike Giglio - BuzzFeed Staff
Yusuf Sayman - BuzzFeed Contributor

"In Syria, female fighters fill out the front lines for a Kurdish militia that is locked in a bitter battle with rebels linked to al-Qaeda. They say they’re sending a message: “When you fight against them, the first thing you think about is the freedom of women.”

"Though the Kurds are on the upswing, winning a series of important strategic victories of late, the soldiers said they remained locked in a bitter battle — one for ideology as well as territory. “These groups want to build a radical Islamic system here,” said Serhat Aso, a male fighter at the checkpoint. “And we are in the 21st century. No one will accept this.”

"Dunya also said that in the battle with extremists, having women on the front lines sent a message."

“We are fighting for freedom as women fighters,” she said. “Not just for our people, but for women across the world — because in the al-Qaeda system, women should be like slaves.”

"Beyond the checkpoint, on the Kurdish side, villages that had been controlled by jihadis until Kurdish fighters pushed them back still bore some signs of the fighting, a reminder of the continued threat of war."

Full article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/these-women-are-fighting-al-qaeda-in-syria

Good grief. Who's going to tune in for this? 'Conrad Black to interview Rob Ford on weekly TV show.'

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has a date with Conrad Black.

The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Dec. 02 2013, 6:02 PM EST
Last updated Monday, Dec. 02 2013, 6:04 PM EST

"The city’s embattled mayor will sit down with the former newspaper publisher for a segment on Mr. Black’s show that airs weekly on Vision TV and is targeted at the over-50 crowd. The show promises to be an interesting conversation between the erudite Mr. Black and a mayor who has built his reputation as a scrappy regular man who doesn’t have time for the so-called elite."

"It’s also a pairing of two men trying to redeem themselves following considerable setbacks – Mr. Black spent time in an American prison after being found guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice and Mr. Ford is trying to rebuild his reputation after admitting to using crack cocaine and having a problem with alcohol."

"Vision confirmed the mayor would appear on the show, which is cohosted by Denise Donlon and airs on Monday nights, but didn’t confirm which night it would air."


Nearly A Century After The Armenian Genocide, These People Are Still Being Slaughtered In Syria

By Robert Fisk

Source: The Independent

Monday, December 02, 2013

Just over 30 years ago, I dug the bones and skulls of Armenian genocide victims out of a hillside above the Khabur River in Syria. They were young people – the teeth were not decayed – and they were just a few of the million-and-a-half Armenian Christians slaughtered in the first Holocaust of the 20th century, the deliberate, planned mass destruction of a people by the Ottoman Turks in 1915.

It was difficult to find these bones because the Khabur River – north of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zour – had changed. So many were the bodies heaped in its flow that the waters moved to the east. The very river had altered its course. But Armenian friends who were with me took the remains and placed them in the crypt of the great Armenian church at Deir ez-Zour, which is dedicated to the memory of those Armenians who were killed – and shame upon the “modern” Turkish state which still denies this Holocaust – in that industrial mass murder.

And now, almost unmentioned in the media, these ghastly killing fields have become the killing fields of a new war. Upon the bones of the dead Armenians, the Syrian conflict is being fought. And the descendants of the Armenian Christian survivors who found sanctuary in the old Syrian lands have been forced to flee again – to Lebanon, to Europe, to America. The very church in which the bones of the murdered Armenians found their supposedly final resting place has been damaged in the new war, although no one knows the culprits.

Yesterday, I called Bishop Armash Nalbandian of Damascus, who told me that while the church at Deir ez-Zour was indeed damaged, the shrine remained untouched. The church itself, he said, was less important than the memory of the Armenian genocide – and it is this memory which might be destroyed. He is right. But the church – not a very beautiful building, I have to say – is nonetheless a witness, a memorial to the Holocaust of Armenians every bit as sacred as the Yad Vashem memorial to the victims of the Jewish Holocaust in Israel. And although the Israeli state, with a shame equal to the Turks, claims that the Armenian genocide was not a genocide, Israelis themselves use the word Shoah – Holocaust – for the Armenian killings.

In Aleppo, an Armenian church has been vandalised by the Free Syrian Army, the “good” rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, funded and armed by the Americans as well as the Gulf Sunni Arabs. But in Raqqa, the only regional capital to be totally captured by the opposition in Syria, Salafist fighters trashed the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs and set fire to its furnishings. And – God spare us the thought – many hundreds of Turkish fighters, descendants of the same Turks who tried to destroy the Armenian race in 1915, have now joined the al-Qa’ida-affiliated fighters who attacked the Armenian church. The cross on top of the clock tower was destroyed, to be replaced by the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Full aticle: http://www.zcommunications.org/nearly-a-century-after-the-armenian-genocide-these-people-are-still-being-slaughtered-in-syria-by-robert-fisk.html

The Real Purpose of International Aid to Haiti

By Yves Engler

Source: Counterpunch

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Step one for everyone trying to make the world a better place should be listening to those they wish to help.

This is certainly true in the case of Haiti, a longtime target of Canadian ‘aid’. But, while Haitians continue to criticize Ottawa’s role in their country, few Canadians bother to pay attention.

After Uruguay announced it was withdrawing its 950 troops from the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti last month, Moise Jean-Charles, took aim at the countries he considers most responsible for undermining Haitian sovereignty. The popular senator from Haiti’s north recently told Haiti Liberté: “Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are not the real occupiers of Haiti. The real forces behind Haiti’s military occupation — the powers which are putting everybody else up to it — are the U.S., France, and Canada, which colluded in the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d’etat against President Aristide. It was then they began trampling Haitian sovereignty.”

For the vast majority of Canadians Jean-Charles’ comment probably sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person. When the media in this country focuses on Haiti, it is typically to highlight Canadian aid projects. Yet, here is one of Haiti’s most popular politicians telling the press (and audiences throughout South America) that Canada helped overthrow its elected government and continues to undermine its sovereignty.

Jean-Charles’ opinion is not uncommon in Haiti. Since Aristide’s government was overthrown in February 2004, Haiti Progrès and Haiti Liberté newspapers have described Canada as an “occupying force”, “coup supporter” or “imperialist” at least a hundred times. Haiti’s left-wing weeklies have detailed Ottawa’s role in planning the coup; destabilizing the elected government; building a repressive Haitian police force; justifying politically motivated arrests and killings; militarizing post-earthquake disaster relief; pushing the exclusion of Haiti’s most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas, from participating in elections.

Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/the-real-purpose-of-international-aid-to-haiti-by-yves-engler.html

More Than A Plate of Food: Food Houses Serve Examples and Hopes of Life

By Mariana Serrano

Source: Venezuelanalysis.com

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Although 18 people are living in the house, 100 plates of food are served daily at lunch. The house number is 83, which is barely enough to identify itself in the middle of a row of homes that line the street of the first alleyway in the area. The house has been converted to guarantee that one hundred people receive a plate of “hot and very tasty” food, prepared by the hands of women of the house who comprise the Liendo family.

The alarm sounds at 4:00 in the morning. Mrs Zaida Liendo is up first and her colleagues follow behind her: her daughters and granddaughters. Seasonings, vegetables and meats are chopped, and the assembled food is a balanced diet with a nutritional content equal to almost 50% of the caloric requirement of a person for a day. It's work that occupies at least seven hours a day.

From Monday to Friday, the women of the Liendo family prepare an amount of food equivalent to 100 plates of food a day, for a total of 500 servings per week and 2,000 per month.

This Friday, recognition from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO is its English abbreviation) reached the house of Mrs Liendo. This year the same organisation awarded Venezuela for its fight against hunger. For Mrs Liendo, having assumed the responsibility to help with her seasoning and dedication, there's a personal sense of satisfaction and a commitment to the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez.

“After my comandante died, I felt a greater commitment to this. Because he was a humanitarian, because he wouldn't allow his people to starve, because he, out of his heart would have given me and my family one or one hundred plates of food,” she said with the same certainty that her tears came with.

Full Article:


On the Road to Pushkar

Every fall, a small band of nomadic Indian traders descend on Rajasthan's great camel bazaar to sell their herd and buy new stock.


In November 2012, Hukuma Ram made the trek to the Pushkar with a group from his village, their many camels in tow. It took them nine days of walking through countryside and roads to reach their destination. It was not an easy journey; they often struggled without enough water or food and there were days when they did not eat at all. But they could not miss the holy pilgrimage to Pushkar Mela, the great camel fair.

Ram is Rabari, a nomadic people whose culture centers around their relationship to the camel. Each year, for five days around early November, camel traders bring some 20,000 camels from their villages to Puskar, a town in Rajasthan, India, for the Pushkar Mela where they buy and sell their camels, participate in religious ritual and celebration. This year's Pushkar Mela, which begins on Nov. 9 and lasts through Nov. 17, will see crowds of upwards of 200,000 people.

Above, Ram stands beside his camel, Ropal. Ram first started working with camels when he was 15 years old, learning the trade from his father and grandfather. Ram has 15 camels of his own; he uses the females primarily for milk and the males for transport and plowing his patch of land where he grows vegetables. "It's a hard, tiring life caring for our camels," he said, "but I love them."

Last fall was Ram's 20th consecutive year coming to Pushkar Mela. He went to both buy and sell. He remembered the first time he came to Pushkar when there were only as many as 12,000 camels and there was plenty of grass for camels to eat. In recent years, he's noticed that the grazing land is disappearing and traders now have to purchase food for their camels. Ram worried that Mela has become too commercial, that it has lost its sense of close-knit community.
Still, he said, "If camels are happy, we are happy."


Sorry if I posted this in the wrong place, I just thought the photos are so gorgeous.

Last moments of Lac-Mégantic: Survivors share their stories

Last moments of Lac-Mégantic: Survivors share their stories

The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 28 2013, 5:00 PM EST
Last updated Friday, Nov. 29 2013, 5:42 PM EST

Amazing stories and photos.



Inside the oil-shipping free-for-all that brought disaster to Lac-Mégantic


The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Dec. 02 2013, 6:00 AM EST
Last updated Monday, Dec. 02 2013, 3:17 PM EST

A shortage of oil pipelines in North America had created a new kind of railway industry traversing the continent. In just a few years, tankers carrying crude oil from the resource-rich West had grown from a mere 8,000 in 2009 to nearly 400,000, and Lac-Mégantic is located along one of the main routes to refineries in the East.

Despite this extraordinary boom in oil shipments, there was no change in regulatory oversight, or added safety measures, governing these veritable pipelines on wheels passing through hundreds of small towns across the country.

Related video: From the U.S. to Lac-Mégantic: Inside the massive growth of oil by rail

There were no new rules affecting the chain of 72 crude-laden tankers that barrelled toward the Quebec town on the night of July 6 – the same train that would explode in the worst rail disaster in modern Canadian history. The railway was not required to formulate a plan to deal with catastrophe, in the event the crude train derailed.

Such strategies, known as Emergency Response Assistance Plans, are the primary safeguard against materials designated as dangerous that move through communities. Though these plans are required for shipping everything from chlorine to gasoline, they do not apply to crude – even though regulators had ample opportunity to make that change. For years, Ottawa never saw crude, even in mass quantities, as such a dangerous product.



The deadly secret behind the Lac-Mégantic inferno

The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Dec. 03 2013, 5:31 AM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Dec. 03 2013, 10:14 AM EST

Emergency crews ran for cover when they heard the noise, as they fought blasts of burning oil during the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. The kettle-boil scream meant one thing: Oil vapours were shooting out of a derailed tank car and another fireball was about to rip from the broken train.

It wasn’t until four days after the July 6 derailment that the fires finally subsided. But even before the inferno was extinguished and the burned-out town counted its 47 dead, rescue workers and rail, petroleum and government officials were asking the same troubling question: Why was the oil so explosive?

The North Dakota crude that levelled Lac-Mégantic was classified as flammable, a long-standing practice for all oils moved by rail. Hazardous material experts and rail officials interviewed by The Globe and Mail say the risks of exploding crude were not scrutinized until the tragedy.



How Lac-Mégantic has left towns more resentful of rail’s power

The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 04 2013, 5:10 AM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 04 2013, 5:36 AM EST

The tracks bisect the town. The hospital lies on one side, the fire station on the other. Over the past five years, as the oil boom escalated and more and more bitumen from Fort McMurray was shipped by rail, the oil trains grew long enough to block all the town’s railway crossings for extended periods of time.

“We’ve had blockings up to 45 minutes,” Mayor Aurel Langevin said. “If we have an ambulance that’s waiting to get to the hospital and it’s caught up in this traffic, there could be some very serious consequences.” And what is now a few trains a day will likely increase. “We’ve received some notice, some forecasts , that we can expect up to eight trains a day coming through our community – eight trains of 100 cars or more,” the mayor said.

One might think the town would have the ability to tell the railway to manage the crossings better. But the plight of Lac La Biche illustrates the problems that cities and towns face in dealing with railways in their own backyard: They have no power.



Meet the Woman Who Waged an Artistic War Against Her Street Harassers

Brooklyn oil painter Tatyana Fazlalizadeh got fed up with dudes invading her space. So she started telling them so—very publicly.
—By Nina Liss-Schultz | Wed Nov. 27, 2013 3:00 AM GMT

For many women, just walking down the street can mean being subject to harassment by men—from subtle comments to overtly hostile remarks. Back in 2012, fed up with such treatment, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, an oil painter by trade, decided to speak out: She produced an illustrated self-portrait with a caption—"Stop Telling Women To Smile"—and plastered copies all around her Brooklyn neighborhood. Since then, Fazlalizadeh has created countless posters, literally taking to the street to combat sexist harassment. Each piece features a different woman, with a caption that reflects her own experiences with public harassment. With $35,000 raised on Kickstarter, Fazlalizadeh has now taken her project, named after that first caption, on the road. In January, after traveling to Chicago and Boston to interview women there about how they experience public space, she'll be heading to the West Coast.

MJ: Yes, I've noticed that many of your poster subjects are women of color. Did you intend that as your focus?

TF: Not necessarily the focus, but it was important to have these images and voices in this project. I'm a woman of color. I've lived in black neighborhoods all of my life, and most of the time I get hit on in my neighborhood—and mostly by black men. And so I wanted to have my specific experience and my perspective on street harassment out there. I also feel like this is a feminist issue and is going to be a part of a feminist conversation, and I wanted images of women of color in that conversation—feminism historically has left us out. And I'm learning more about how race is a part of street harassment, and how the differences between what a woman looks like and who she is affects how she is treated outdoors. So black women, Mexican women, Indian women, mixed women and their stories have been part of the series, and as the project continues there will be even more diversity. There'll be queer women, trans women, all of these women who have different perspectives.

Full article: http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/11/tatyana-fazlalizadeh-artist-street-harassment-stop-telling-women-smile

Something unique and powerful, I congratulate women like these who really are fighting back and affecting the disparity women do face daily. Education in a very real and public way, it's great to see.

aaand, as usual I messed up the title - fixed!

I Tried to See Where My T-Shirt Was Made, and the Factory Sent Thugs After Me

After meeting India's "sumangali girls," I'll never look at cute, cheap clothes the same way again.

—By Dana Liebelson | Fri Nov. 29, 2013 3:00 AM GMT

Aruna, 19, recalls that her bosses at the mill “said that we would get less work if we slept with them.” All photos by Redux

Aruna, a 19-year-old nurse I met in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a lot like some of my friends in Washington, DC—bright, single, self-assured, loves her job. She speaks quickly and eloquently, not stopping to drink her tea and hardly ever even pausing to breathe. When I first meet her in Coimbatore, a city known for its textile industry, she is on her lunch break, wearing her freshly starched white uniform and a traditional red bindi dot on her forehead.

In Tamil Nadu, many people know a girl like Aruna, someone who has been lured to work in the garment factories with the promise of earning a dowry. The scheme is so common that it even has a name: sumangali, the Tamil word for "happily married woman." A 2011 report by the Dutch watchdog groups Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and India Committee of the Netherlands found that sumangali factories employed an estimated 120,000 workers, some as young as 13, and supplied dozens of international companies, including Gap (which denied the allegation), H&M, American Eagle Outfitters, and Tommy Hilfiger.

In the garment industry the world over, it is common for workers to be locked into exploitative conditions until they fulfill contracts. But in India, the dowry tradition—which persists even though it's officially illegal—makes teenage girls especially vulnerable to these schemes. In part because of this, India has comparatively strong child labor regulations: It's illegal for children younger than 14 to work in factories there, and all workers must be paid double for overtime. Enforcing those laws, however, is another matter. Factories go to great lengths to cover up illegal practices. (Aruna recalls that when inspectors would come—she didn't know whether they were government or company auditors—factory supervisors would shove the younger girls into a special wing. If they were found, they were told to say that they were 18.)

And workers themselves hardly ever report abuse, in part because many come from lower castes, including the dalit, or untouchables. "People don't take up these issues with factory management because they are afraid of losing income and afraid of possible retaliation because they are in a vulnerable position in society," says Heather White, a fellow at Harvard's center for ethics who has researched global clothing supply chains. In her interviews with factory workers, she says she heard about "numerous cases of sexual harassment, which normally in the factory worker context means rape."

Full article: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/11/india-garment-factories-sumangali

K&R. nt

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