Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Before dawn last Wednesday morning, in the search for the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks, French police raided an apartment complex in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Dennis, killing two people and wounding eight. According to CNN, gunfire was exchanged for over an hour, and explosions eventually collapsed a whole floor of the apartment complex. Police have yet to release details about who was killed, but word has surfaced about an unusual casualty.
The police dog Diesel, a seven-year-old German Shepherd and bomb squad veteran, died when a currently unidentified woman detonated a suicide vest. On social media, praise for the courageous animal has been effusive. In a nod to the January Charlie Hebdo attacks, the hashtag #JeSuisChien (I am dog) began trending on Twitter, and as I write this, 80,000 people have tweeted expressions of grief and praise.
Once again, students are protesting entrenched inequities. Building on grassroots movements for justice such as Black Lives Matter and decades of student organizing, these demonstrations at colleges and universities are inspiring but not surprising. Students' demands expose a pattern of neglect and outright exclusion generations in the making.
From schools as varied as the University of Missouri, Amherst, Brown, Claremont McKenna, the California State Universities, Yale and Occidental College, students are calling for open and just universities. This entails the fostering of inclusive campus climates that root out racial, class, gender and sexual oppression.
The fictional worlds created by Aldous Huxley and George Orwell in their novels Brave New World and 1984, respectively, have the ideological themes of power and control intricately woven throughout their unsettling narratives of negative utopia that have an all too familiar feel and relevance to the present day story of Monsanto. In both works, the ultimate ends pursued by society's overseers aimed at just that: complete control and the consolidation of power; however, the means each set of overseers utilized to achieve that goal was where their literary ventures diverged. Society in Huxley's Brave New World was conditioned to revel in their servitude, while in Orwell's 1984 they were cowed by fear and coercion. As we shall see, Monsanto's narrative seems to be directly plagiarized from both classics of modern literature.
Homecare provider, in-home caregiver, home health aide - we have many names and even more duties, yet workers like me are paid poverty-level wages throughout this country.
There are over 2 million in-home caregivers nationwide, and our workforce is made up of mostly women and people of color. We work hard to keep seniors and people living with disabilities healthy and safe in their homes, and out of more costly nursing homes and institutions. But despite the critical nature of our work, on average, in-home caregivers throughout this country make less than $23,000 a year, and more than half are forced to rely on some form of public assistance.
It has been frightening to listen to the intolerant tone of the debate over admitting Syrian refugees into America. Despite the fact that conflating refugees with terrorism is irrational and bigoted, this notion has spread quickly with: most of the Republican presidential aspirants making frighteningly bigoted statements about refugees or Muslims, in general; more than 30 governors saying that they will not accept Syrians in their states; and 289 Members of Congress voting to restrict the ability of the President to fulfill his goal of increasing the number of Syrian refugees to be admitted each year.
In a time of global turmoil surrounding refugee crises in many areas, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the Palestinians compose one of the largest refugee populations as well as the most longstanding refugee population in the world. Of the 11.6 million Palestinians dispersed worldwide, 4.5 million individuals live today in stateless insecurity within the Israeli-dominated Occupied Palestinian Territory, a geographically discontinuous, increasingly fragmented, and ever-shrinking area including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
As we recognize the one-year anniversary of Obama's November 20 executive action on immigration, I remember that night one year ago when immigrant families packed into a room together to watch the president announce the executive action. He had already signaled that he’d be responding to the unprecedented community pressure against the record deportations that had surpassed two million at that point. He had publicly committed to reform inhumane policy and finally it looked like the delays would end.
One thing we have become all too used to is that our reality can be manipulated to create the appearance of something else entirely. Invading another country is defensive, rigged elections are passed off as democracy in action, more guns (or more nuclear weapons) ensure the peace, trade and foreign investment increase jobs at home. Orwellian logic has become commonplace.
Many people in Lebanon have overlaid their Facebook profile pictures with a transparent flag of the French Republic, making use of a feature promptly provided by the social media platform, through which users could visually express their solidarity with France's terrorism victims by displaying the country's flag. While people in Lebanon and worldwide collectively mourn the victims of Paris, the 46 victims of the attacks against the so-called Paris of the East, the capital of the former French Mandate, Beirut, remain marginalized in public discourse.
I picked some sea shells at Henoko in Okinawa. Henoko is where the US is relocating their military base against the wishes of 76.1% of Okinawans.
I gave the sea shells as gifts to some of the Afghan Peace Volunteers to help them remember Okinawa's story.