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.
The gender stall is dead. Last week a Council on Contemporary Families online symposium provided new data suggesting that the stall in progress on gender egalitarian attitudes and behaviors has ended. Evidence has accumulated, and a stall in attitudes that started around 1994 may have turned around after 2004.
“Her father was killed in Helmand amidst fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan/U.S.-NATO forces,” said a relative about Gul Jumma, who looked down, shy and full of angst, sensing a future that’s not promising.
Gul Jumma, together with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, expressed their opposition to wars in this video. Gul Jumma holds up the sign for ‘Ukraine’, indicating ‘No to wars in Ukraine’. She understands what it is like to be caught in the crossfire, as happened to her father when he was killed in battle.
My old family house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza was recently rebuilt by its new owner, into a beautiful three-story building with large windows adorned by red frames. In Israel’s most recent and deadliest war on Gaza, the house sustained significant damage. A large hole caused by Israeli missiles can be seen from afar, in a part of the house where our kitchen once stood.
It seems that the original target was not my house, however, but that of our kindly neighbor, who had spent his entire working-life toiling between manual jobs in Israel, and later in life as a janitor for UN-operated schools in Gaza. The man’s whole lifesavings were invested in his house where several families lived. After “warning” rockets blew up part of his house, several missiles pulverized the rest.
First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out
“Diving into the Wreck,” Adrienne Rich
Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas’s restrictive photo ID law violates the state constitution and must be struck down by the state Supreme Court, argued the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in an amicus brief filed today with a group of Arkansas historians, political scientists, and law professors.
Drones are doing in Gaza and Iraq what they have done in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, not only performing the work of occupation and killing, but giving the political and military leaders who command them a completely false sense of their power to control the people whose privacy and lives they feel a God-given right to violate. Just because you can stalk a person doesn't mean you can make that person love you; most likely, it will make the person want to kill you.
But the leaders of the United States and Israel and other wannabe colonial "powers" have not only failed to learn from such horrible, failed efforts at technological domination as the Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, they have failed to learn from the miserable fiasco of drone surveillance and attack in Gaza. For at least the last five years, drones have been at the heart of Israel's attempts to make life intolerable for the people of Gaza to the point where they would give up any sense of self or wish for personal or community freedom.
Bombs stopped falling on Gaza for three days, allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to return to what had once been their homes and neighborhoods.
For many, this brief respite provided no relief since they emerged from their shelters only to find that the places they knew no longer existed. Homes in which they were born and raised, that held within their walls memories of the lives they lived, had been reduced to rubble. Not only had lives and hope been victims of this onslaught, memories were shattered, as well.
A mass trial in Egypt tomorrow (August 12) could see death sentences handed down to hundreds of prisoners, including an Irish teenager who was a juvenile at the time of his arrest.
Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen, was 17 when he was arrested last August along with his three older sisters, now released, after being caught up in protests in Cairo in the turmoil that followed the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi. He has since been held in a series of adult prisons in the capital without charge or trial, in contravention of international law and the country’s own Child Laws.
Lady Justice, Justitia, depicted as a blindfolded statue since the 15th century, illustrates John Rawl’s conception of justice as requiring a veil of ignorance (A Theory of Justice, 1971). Such a veil of ignorance means that, in order to be just, we must ignore the differences between people, such as their identity, power or weakness.
To be just, in the following cases, we must not victimize the innocent, whether that person is a cherished child in one’s family or an unknown girl in Iraq, Gaza, or Israel. To do otherwise, in cases of violent conflict, would not only be unjust, it would be terrorism. If one accepts this principle, then the justifications of bombing “militants,” regardless of their use of human shields, or the inevitable civilian deaths as “collateral damage” are fallacious arguments, as explained below.
Village Building Convergence (VBC) activists and their supporters from Cittaslow Sebastopol, Transition, the Grange, Permaculture Skills Center, and other groups recently packed the City Council meeting of the small town of Sebastopol in semi-rural Sonoma County, Northern California. Testimony in support of VBC came from enthusiastic advocates who ranged in age from 3 to 70-years-old.
After an hour-long discussion at its August 5 regular meeting, the Council voted unanimously to permit the VBC to occur on public property from Sept. 12 to Sept. 21. Some local merchants have welcomed VBC to beautify their places. In addition to art and natural building “place-making” projects, there will be a series of community events and festivities hosted at various sites.